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The Ninjutsu skill tree appears to be the be the tree that contains all the stealth-related perks. It also has a number of perks related to throwing knives.

As a stealth-focused character, the main things I look for in a weapon (until I get noticed) are that it 1) is silent, and 2) does as much damage in a single headshot as possible. That maximizes the chance that I will be able to silently eliminate a target without other enemies noticing.

The stealth perks in Ninjutsu make me think that maybe the game expects the best weapon for that purpose to be throwing knives. However, when I periodically compare the best knife I've found to the best single-shot pistol I can silence, the pistol wins every time (in terms of the damage dealt by a single headshot). Additionally, pistols reload faster and can get multiple shots off compared to the time to regain a thrown knife.

Is there some other reason I would throw knives that I'm missing? Either as a stealth-focused character or otherwise?

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  • How do your perks compare? Skill levels? Are the pistol and knife the same level? What mods do you have on them? If you've been building around pistols then of course pistols are going to do better. Commented Apr 9, 2023 at 2:55

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There are perks that give knives: 100% poison chance, grant 100% crit chance after hitting a poisoned enemy, and knife instantly returns on kill or crit. Among others. As such the cooldown to get your knife back is, in the long run, largely irrelevant. With a sandevistan you can pretty easily wade into a horde of level-appropriate enemies and headshot kill them all before they can attack back. Boss fights are your biggest problem, and a knife build will typically crank out its crit and melee damage in some combination to deal with those (body 8+ as the 4th stat seems common). And in general, knives and pistols are using different stats, skills, and perks. If you've built in a way that favors pistols then you're definitely going to see pistols as superior.

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  • I did a playthrough with a melee-only character and melee seemed to have been added to the game as an afterthought. I used katanas and the melee implants only but still I could just rush blindly into any encounter, button-mashing left mouse button, no player skill or brain activity required. Including the final boss fight. Overall it was much easier than a sniper/netrunner build relying on stealth and planning...
    – Amarth
    Commented Apr 9, 2023 at 16:23

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