Fortnite melee weapons and how to use them

Fortnite melee weapons
(Image credit: Epic Games)

Knowing what a Fortnite melee weapon is means you can still deal damage and hit opponents, even if you don't have any guns or other items to hand. The Pickaxe is a melee weapon that you always have with you, and although it's not the most practical tool to fight your enemies with as you have to be up close and personal to have any impact, it can always help you out in a pinch. There are also some Fortnite quests where you specifically need to use a melee weapon to achieve your objectives, so here's some detail on how that works along with advice for how to go about hitting opponents with a melee weapon in Fortnite.

Fortnite melee weapons

(Image credit: Epic Games)

What is a Fortnite melee weapon?

The main Fortnite melee weapon is the humble Pickaxe (previously known as your Harvesting Tool), which is a standard item for all players in every match. Its normal swinging action, which is typically used to harvest materials – wood, brick, and metal – by damaging structures, can also damage other players and NPCs. Admittedly it doesn’t do much damage at 20 per hit, meaning the Pickaxe is hardly a good melee weapon, but it'll do the job if you need to destroy anything. Certain quests might task you with dealing damage to opponents, objects, or NPCs with a melee weapon, and your Pickaxe will always be ready in your inventory to help.

There have also been a number of special melee weapons available throughout the course of the seasons, including the Mandalorian's Amban Rifle, the Kingsman umbrella, Wolverine's Claws, and various Star Wars lightsabers. However, all of those were tied to previous in-game characters and events, so have subsequently been vaulted. More recently the Fortnite Chains of Hades were added, but at the time of writing those are also currently disabled leaving the Pickaxe as the only Fortnite melee weapon available.

How to hit opponents with a melee weapon in Fortnite

Hitting an opponent with a Fortnite melee weapon

(Image credit: Epic Games)

One of the easiest ways to hit opponents with a melee weapon in Fortnite is to wait onboard until the end of the battle bus journey at the start of a match, then see if any other players are around you when you're automatically ejected. If there are and they aren't moving, there's a good chance that your opponent is currently away from the game and not in control. If that's the case, simply wait until you both land and then start swinging at them with your Pickaxe to deal melee damage to your motionless enemy.

If that isn't working for you, a similar method is to leap from the battle bus as it sweeps over the island and try to follow an opponent all the way down to the ground. It will usually be a few seconds at least before they're able to find and equip a ranged weapon, which gives you a short window to hit them with a melee weapon. Beyond that, you always have the option to rush an opponent while swinging, though it's likely you'll sustain ranged damage unless you surprise them.

Future quests and challenges may also require the use of Fortnite melee weapons, so don’t forget our advice for anything that says "melee" – if in doubt, use the Pickaxe!

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Iain Wilson
Guides Editor

Iain originally joined Future in 2012 to write guides for CVG, PSM3, and Xbox World, before moving on to join GamesRadar in 2013 as Guides Editor. His words have also appeared in OPM, OXM, PC Gamer, GamesMaster, and SFX. He is better known to many as ‘Mr Trophy’, due to his slightly unhealthy obsession with amassing intangible PlayStation silverware, and he now has over 550 Platinum pots weighing down the shelves of his virtual award cabinet. He does not care for Xbox Achievements.

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