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For the Killing Floor 2 perk, see Berserker (Killing Floor 2).
Icon of the Berserker.

The Berserker (also known as Zerk) is the melee specialist of the team, and as such is almost always on the front line beating back the horde. Their focus is entirely on melee and can effectively use the Knife, Machete, Fire axe, Katana, Claymore, Chainsaw, Scythe and Dwarfish Axe in place of firearms. The Berserker generally takes some practice to function effectively, but in the hands of a skilled player it serves a vital role in cutting down the bulk of specimens, and absorbing the brunt of damage off of the rest of the team.

The Berserker has a number of abilities to aid their survival. Their melee damage and swing speed are drastically improved, backstabs inflict significantly more damage, and they move up to 30% faster than normal* when wielding any melee weapon other than the Chainsaw, making them the fastest perk in the game. Berserkers also enjoy up to 40% resistance to all damage types in the game while being extra against Bloat bile. They cannot be grabbed by Clots, which makes the Berserker a perfect candidate for deflecting aggro off of other players, and is the only class capable of stunning large specimens (such as the Scrake) using melee weapons. A Berserker typically aims to carry either the Katana or the Chainsaw, as both weapons can cut down standard foes very quickly and frequently extend ZED-time. The Berserker is one of the cheaper classes to maintain, as they rarely need to purchase ammunition; once they purchase their main weapon and armour, they can support their team by giving them any excess money.

Despite all its bonuses, the Berserker is a reasonably difficult class to play. They are typically the first contact for most specimens, and as such needs to handle incoming threats before they be struck. Although Berserkers have a very strong damage resistance, which applies to both health and armour, they are not able to withstand excessive continuous punishment, and avoiding strikes from specimens is a crucial skill. However, there are a few specimens that can make this quite difficult.

Crawlers pose a big threat as they are very common, small and fast. They prove a difficult target to hit, especially when they leap, and when on the ground they are hard to hit due to their size. They will chip away at the Berserker's Combat armour over the course of the round, making it easier for larger specimens to overwhelm them. Backpedalling or strafing out of the path of the Crawler's jump and striking when they land is one of the few ways to avoid taking damage. Gorefasts are not much of a threat as long as the Berserker can see them coming, but with a successful charge they can instantaneously deal a large amount of damage. Sirens and Husks are both ranged specimens that require the Berserker to close down on them fast to avoid damage from their attacks. This is made much harder when other specimens are blocking the route, especially with the Siren, as it will allow them to deal heavy damage to the player. One of the best ways to approach them is usually from around corners, as their screams and fireballs cannot penetrate walls, allowing the Berserker to ambush them before they can attack.

Since the Berserker is the first contact for most specimens, one of the major threats for a Berserker is the Fleshpound. Unlike most specimens, the Fleshpound is not susceptible to a critical headshot and cannot be easily decapitated. This, coupled with their high speed and damage output, makes them very dangerous to the Berserker. They are however weak against grenades, so stacking a few at their feet can allow the Berserker to take off a large amount of health before attacking with powerful melee attacks to finish them off. An advanced tactic for more experienced Berserkers is to use the Fire axe's primary fire and dodge the Fleshpound's attack while chipping health off the Fleshpound without causing it to rage. This does however require a lot of patience, cover fire and practice.



Dashes in cells separate the base statistic from the equivalent as a level 6 Berserker where the two differ; the absolute minimums and maximums.

Melee weapons
Knife Machete Fire axe Katana Scythe Claymore Chainsaw Buzzsaw bow Dwarfs!? axe
Trader Knife.png Trader Machete.png Trader Axe.png Trader Katana.png Trader Scythe.png Trader Claymore.png Trader Chainsaw.png Trader BuzzSaw bow.png Trader Dwarven Battle Axe.png
Cost range None £500–£150 £1000–£300 £2000–£600 £2500–£750 £3000−£900 £2750−£825 £4000−£1200 £3000−£900
Weight (blocks) - 1 5 3 6 6 8 7 6
Base damage 19–38 70–140 175–350 135–270 260–520 210–420 19–38 500–1000 235–470
Alt-fire damage 55–110 130–260 275–550 205–410 330–660 320–640 270–540 325–650
Fire rate (sec) 0.6–0.48 0.71–0.57 1.1–0.88 0.67–0.54 1.0–0.75 1.05–0.81 0.1–0.08 2.0–1.6 1.4–1.12
Alt-fire rate (sec) 1.1–0.88 1.1–0.88 1.33–1.07 1.0–0.8 1.6–1.20 1.25–1.0 0.8–0.64 1.5–1.2
Range 70 70 90 95 105 110 70 90

Weapon Analysis[edit]


Every player spawns with a knife. While it is the weakest weapon in the game, equipping it will allow the player to run faster, as is the case with every melee weapon except the chainsaw. A hard swing to the neck will decapitate Clots and Gorefasts easily, but Berserkers should seek to obtain a better melee weapon the first chance they get. The knife should also be equipped while running towards the Trader for better time-efficiency in case the player(s) killed the last specimen too early or if said specimen died by itself.


The Machete is essentially a bigger, nastier knife. It has negligible weight and can often be found spawned on the maps, and can make quick work of almost anything short of a Husk or Siren. The Machete will make a decent primary weapon for the Berserker until he can afford a better weapon. The Machete is also a great choice for other classes due to its negligible weight, cheap price ($500) and decent RoF/Damage.

Fire Axe

The Fire Axe is a powerful but slow melee weapon, capable of stunning a Scrake with an alt-fire blow to the head. Like the Machete, it can be found spawned around maps, but unlike the Machete, it is considerably heavier, at 5 blocks.


The Katana is an excellent choice for Berserkers who practice hit-and-run tactics, since the Katana's light weight and fast attack speed allow for a great deal of mobility. The Katana will make quick work of lesser specimens and can flinch-lock a Scrake with repeated headshots; however, this tactic will not work on Suicidal or Hell on Earth difficulty.


The Scythe is the most powerful weapon available to the Berserker class, runner-up to the Buzzsaw Bow. Its high damage and wide swing arc make it useful at mowing down specimens. However, compared to the Claymore, its damage may be overkill when used on lesser specimens such as Clots or Gorefasts, and the slower swing rate provides a slight drawback. Overall, it can be seen as a sort of sidegrade to the Claymore.


The Claymore is more expensive than the Scythe and does less damage, but it swings faster. It's slightly more efficient at killing smaller specimens and is one of the best melee weapons for dealing good damage to the Fleshpound. Alt-fire attacks from the rear do incredible damage, and the Berserker's thick skin and fast movement allow him to distract the Fleshpound while teammates help finish it off.


The Chainsaw is the heaviest melee weapon, but offers a great deal of versatility thanks to its multiple fire modes. Primary fire absolutely shreds Clots, Crawlers, and Gorefasts, and the alt-fire can be used against anything bigger, especially when aimed at the neck. Unlike other melee weapons, however, the Chainsaw does not grant a movement speed bonus, and the weapon's noise can mask the sound of incoming specimens. Nonetheless, the Chainsaw makes for an excellent defensive weapon.

Buzzsaw bow

The Buzzsaw Bow is the only ranged weapon for the Berserker perk. It is comparable to the Sharpshooter's Crossbow in terms of damage and rate of fire, but what the Buzzsaw Bow lacks in accuracy and range it makes up for with its ricocheting projectiles. A well aimed buzzsaw can cut down crowds of Clots or decapitate a Scrake, and the buzzsaws can be picked up after they are fired, saving money. However, the Buzzsaw Bow is both heavy and extremely expensive, relegating it to late game use unless the player is a high-level Berserker on a low difficulty.

Dwarfs!? Axe

The Dwarfs!? Axe is the slowest available melee weapon, and is comparable to the Claymore in terms of damage and cost. However, it possesses the unique ability to knock specimens back with a blow, making it useful for keeping Scrakes and Fleshpounds at arm's length. This allows you to kill even an enraged Fleshpound without taking damage.


  • Try to melee attack larger specimens from behind when possible, as melee attacks deal double damage from the back.
  • Instead of going close to an immediate threat to face them in a risky position, the Berserker can take a ranged weapon such as the Lever-action rifle to aid in eliminating problematic threats at any difficulty. For a hefty investment, some Berserkers prefer to be armed with an M79, Trenchgun or Crossbow to gain some alternative methods of removing threats too but these all come with their own handicaps. While they're great to deal with the flocks of Crawlers and awkward targets like Sirens, Husks and Bloats, collateral damage and lingering fire effects can pose problems for spawn rates on a kite. Among these, the Lever-action Rifle really shines because the high damage allows it to kill Crawlers with 1 shot and stun Husks with headshots on any difficulty.
  • Heavy pistols like the MK23 and .44 Magnum are very lightweight weapons that are useful for killing crawlers in 1 ~ 2 shots depending on difficulty level, while the heavier Handcannon can dispatch crawlers in one shot on Suicidal and below. All pistols weight 2 blocks but only Downloadable Content Flare revolver is strong enough to one-shot a Crawler at any difficulty at the cost of long reload times and having to buy the DLC package first. Pistols can be incorporated easily into any equipment setup and can be as useful as any sidearm to dispatch small specimen from any distance.
  • Fire axe's alternate fire can stun Scrakes with a headshot as a level 5-6 Berserker, in addition, you can also stun it by attacking from the back with a Katana alternate fire attack if you're on level 3. Alternatively, Berserker can do it with Axe by aiming at the back of the head with a Fire Axe alternate fire to its back of the neck at below level 2, at the ranks higher than 2, Berserker can do it by simply aiming at his back. On Hard difficulty and below, a Berserker can repeatedly flinch the Scrake and keep it from retaliating by using the Katana's primary attack or the Machete's primary attack at level 4 and above on its head, or the Katana's primary attack at level 1 and above on any part of its body.
  • Berserkers trying to flinch-lock a Scrake should try and avoid the ones which are on fire, as afterburn damage can sometimes interfere with the flinch-lock and allow the Scrake to retaliate in-between attacks. This is especially true for lower level Berserkers due to their lower attack speed. If possible, wait for the fire to be extinguished naturally before engaging.
  • Husks and Sirens should be a priority target once you're close enough to get in their range. If you can put a distance or walls in between then stay alert for Crawlers which can flank you in a matter of seconds. At higher difficulties, these specimens' attack frequencies and movement speed makes them very dangerous.
  • A nimble Berserker can kite a Fleshpound by staying at the edge of its range and quickly retreating just as the Fleshpound starts to swing, causing it to miss. He can then quickly dash in and out for a counterattack before the next swing and repeat the process over again. As long as the Berserker causes the Fleshpound to swing at him at least once every 10 seconds and he take care not to deal too much damage back to the Fleshpound within each 2~3 seconds interval, he can safely kill it without it ever raging.
  • During the Patriarch fight, the Berserker can help a cornered teammate by grabbing the Patriarch's attention with a melee attack, allowing the injured teammate to retreat and heal. In addition, he can also make the Patriarch cancel his projectile attacks by engaging the Patriarch in melee. However, the Berserker should be careful when approaching the Patriarch, as having 3 or more players in close proximity to the Patriarch will make him trigger his highly damaging roundhouse spin attack.
  • Teamplay is important when playing with this perk. A high level Berserker can solo most of the specimen on early waves, but at later waves, he will struggle to stay alive without any help from other Berserkers or Medic. A high level Berserker can run-and-gun pretty well alone on the first few waves depending on the difficulty, on the later waves its advised to keep a Field Medic and essentially another Berserker or Firebug close by as your run-and-gun teammates.
  • To get a successful headshot in melee, always swing at the moment (before) the specimens can hit you. Larger specimens such as Husk, Fleshpounds, Scrakes, and Patriarch, are very uneffected by the Knife and Machete. Use a sidegun to counter this.

Leveling tactics[edit]

  • Leveling Berserker can be done quite effectively alongside players leveling Field Medic, due to the nature of the perks. Having a Field Medic teammate at hand for healing is quite handy for leveling Berserker.
  • Backstabs by melee weapons deal double damage against any specimen. At a cross road ahead of team's current hold spot, by positioning across the path. When they're distracted and moving towards the gun fire noise and direct sightline Berserker will have a small frame of opportunity to deal high amounts of damage before zeds notice Berserker running at them.
  • Bloats and Scrakes are both juicy targets with lots of health. Don't let them go to waste. It's best to inform your team that you are trying to level up and if possible spare those specimen for you to engage at them. Both specimens move at a slow pace, and possess a large frame that makes them particularly susceptible to Pipe Bombs and friendly Sharpshooters.
  • The DOOMed map is great for power-levelling Berserker on solo, as it has a chainsaw spawn very close to the player spawn. Another great map can be Icebreaker with its Katana spawn at lower decks of the ship. High difficulty setting bearable enough, such as Suicidal combined with the Faked Players mutator, can yield hundreds of thousands of damage points in a very short space of time.

Helping the Berserker[edit]

If the Berserker is in combat with a Scrake, don’t fire! The Berserker can repeatedly stun the scrake with his melee attacks, and kill it without taking any damage – unless somebody enrages the scrake with gunfire. Concentrate on putting down any Clots and Crawlers that are flanking the Berserker, but don’t automatically shoot a Scrake that’s in melee combat.

Try to avoid killing specimens that the Berserker is about to engage; there is nothing more frustrating than charging all over the map with your prey being killed just before you make contact.

Don't stand directly behind a Berserker unless you are healing them. A lot of Berserker combat can involve trying to move back and forth in an attempt to dodge attacks, and it is bad team play to end up getting your Berserker killed by not letting him back away.

If you can, let the Berserker take out the Bloats and Scrakes which are at close quarters. It would be a nice way to manage ammo count for Sharpshooter as well.

Perk ladder[edit]

Rank Melee damage points required Melee Damage resistance Weapon discount ↑ Spawn with Special Zed-time extensions
Damage ↑ Attack speed ↑ Movement speed ↑ Bloat bile ↑ All damage ↑
10% 5% 10% 10% Can't be grabbed by Clots
1 25,000 20% 5% 10% 25% 5% 20%
2 100,000 40% 10% 15% 35% 10% 30% 2
3 500,000 60% 20% 50% 15% 40%
4 1,500,000 80% 15% 65% 20% 50% 3
5 3,500,000 100% 20% 75% 30% 60% Machete 4
6 5,500,000 25% 30% 80% 40% 70% Fire axe
Combat armour
‡ Does not apply to Suicidal or Hell on Earth difficulty.
Note that the following ranks may be out of date as of update 1016 and are awaiting verification: 2
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