Analysis of Infusion and Tempest skill impact on damage

Of all Amara’s and Zane’s skills we saw at gameplay reveal there’s one that really caught my attention and it’s Infusion which is a tier 1 skill Amara’s Fist of the Elements skill tree. In this topic I would like to share my examination of this skill.

The description of the skill says “convert a portion of damage dealt by Amara’s weapons into her Action Skill Element. Converted damage: 4 % per rank (up to 5 ranks)”. So what’s special about it? It’s not additional damage. It does exactly what it says (I confirmed it by finding a streamer who used it) - it decreases the damage of the weapon but adds the same amount in the element of the action skill (which can be shock, corrosive or fire)

This leads to some very unique interactions between the weapon element, the action skill and the enemies. Sometimes this skill will increase damage, sometimes it will make no difference and sometimes it will even decrease it. For example, converting damage to shock will not change shock weapons in any way, it will increase damage against shields for other elements and it will decrease the damage of fire weapons against flesh targets. But how will it affect fire weapons against shielded enemies? You will deal more damage against the shield but lower against the health. How will the total damage output change?

It gets more interesting when you take into consideration Tempest skill, the tier 2 skill in Fist of the Elements tree. This skill is said to increase all elemental damage with shock damage increasing more than other elements.

There are two questions that I wanted to find an answer to:

  1. When does Infusion give an increase in damage and when does it decrease it?

  2. How much does Infusion affect damage and when is it worth putting 5/5 points?

To answer these questions I calculated how much damage you need to deal to kill an enemy and compared the damage output with and without 5/5 points in Infusion.
I calculated it for the following factors:

  1. Physical, shock and fire elements.
    I didn’t make corrosive because it is very similar to fire but used against armour so you can just replace fire with corrosive for the same results (the only exception being converting to corrosive having better effects on physical weapons than converting to fire because physical element has a penalty against armour)

  2. Against flesh-only enemies and shielded enemies assuming their shield capacity is equal to their amount of health

  3. Multipliers for elemental damage from Borderlands 2 Normal Vault Hunter Mode and True Vault Hunter Mode.
    I used them because I found them to be nigh identical in Borderlands 3 from what I saw in the gameplay footage. Even if they’re not correct it’s not important because my goal is not to make some kind of guide on Infusion but to get a general idea of what this skill can potentially do

  4. 0/5 in Infusion, 5/5 with Shock action skill element and 5/5 with Fire action skill element

  5. 0/5 in Tempest and 5/5 Tempest

I’ve comprised all the results in one picture to make it easy see to them all.


We can get following conclusions from the results:

  1. The effects of Infusion are much stronger with the TVHM multipliers

  2. The effects of Infusion are much stronger with 5/5 in Tempest

  3. Converting to fire/corrosive gives good boost against flesh/armour -only enemies

  4. Converting to shock gives a very strong boost against shielded enemies

  5. The biggest decrease in damage (-8%) is seen when converting fire to shock against flesh-only enemies in TVHM

  6. The biggest increase in damage (+91%, huge) is seen when converting fire to shock against shielded enemies in TVHM with 5/5 in Tempest

  7. Using pure element weapon against appropriate enemy type gives better results than using a different element with Infusion

  8. Physical guns seem to be very underwhelming when specced into Tempest

Also a thing to note is that the converted damage can inflict Elemental effect though the damage over time seems to be proportional to the damage inflicted. This gives you additional Rush stack when specced into Violent Tapestry. So if your build uses skills that rely on Rush stack mechanic (Do Harm, Violent Tapestry, Alacrity) you benefit from just 1/5 in Infusion so that you can get these additional Elemental effects.

There some other questions about Infusion that I wonder about:

  1. Are there any bugs similar to Immolate and Electrical Burn in Borderlands 2 where the damage multipliers apply twice to the converted damage?

  2. How does it affect Elemental effect damage? Does Infusion decrease damage over time of the main weapon element? How does it work with Elemental effect related skills like Conflux and Catharsis?

  3. How good are Jakobs guns with converted damage?

Naturally when the game releases and all the elemental damage details and mechanics will be known a complete guide on Infusion will be possible.

I hope you found this topic interesting, thanks for reading.


Holy crap, nice write-up. It’s actually an interesting concern, but as far as I can see, the skill is beneficial in nearly every case, and the drawback is small even when it isn’t. That’s very useful to know.

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Bravo, that’s a really good write-up. It’s nice to see what the passion for the franchise brings forth.

On topic:
Infusion is one of those skills that rewards mixing up the loadout so that you get the extra damage. The DoT might be the most notable thing for now as that is basically additional damage as long as the enemy isn’t immune. It will be interesting to see how the chances for proccing the DoT are and how strong the DoT is compared to the gun you’re holding.

And while we’re talking about immunity: Infusion can backfire when we get to enemies that are completely immune to your Action Skill Element (ASE), but even then, that’s just a 20% decrease which isn’t horrible.

What I’d like to know is if the converted damage is treated as splash. Amara can increase her splash damage, so that would be nice.

One thing to consider is that Infusion might be a Tier 1 skill, but you get the most out of it in later levels when you have access to all ASE’s, so it might not be ideal to use it early on (although Amara’s default ASE is shock which has had the least amount of notable enemies that resisted it so far).

Anyway, I love the way Gearbox build multiples layers of synergies with Infusion. As mentioned Infusion gets much better when coupled with Tempest. I mean we’re talking about a 40% damage increase on all weapons when using the default Shock ASE which will be a godsend, especially against the early bosses and bosses like Deadlift that are basically all shield and have barely any HP.

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super cool work, i was just thinking about these machanics and was not sure on how they worked, but now i can imagine if we get like a duel element gun like the Florentine with out haveing to switch mode mechanic, with the bonus 11% elemental damage from forced expression as well. having a potential of at least 3 elements at once sounds pretty cool.

Very interesting topic, nice work!

I think it would’ve been important to include armored enemies to see the how much damage is lost in the case of a fire infusion with a shock or corrosive weapon against armor only and armor + shield type enemies.

I think the bonus damage is not worth a 5 skill point investment, especially if you account for the lost damage potential in the case of a “wrong enemy” particularly if infusing for fire or corrosive.
It might be worthwhile to put one point into Infusion only for the synergy with other skills.
Tho the capstone does the same thing, but better, so if you’re going Fist of the Elements all the way I don’t think there is a reason to grab Infusion.

I didn’t add them because it’s obvious that using fire against armour and vice-versa is going to severely decrease the damage. But let’s calculate it out of curiosity.

Corrosive against armour is going to deal 100% * 1.75 = 175%
Corrosive + fire infusion is 80% * 1.75 + 20% * 0.4 = 140% + 8% = 148%
148/175 = 85%
-15% damage decrease for fire infusion on corrosive weapons against armoured enemies.

As for armour + shield enemies the calculation is different because the damage modifiers change as soon as the shield breaks so we need to compare damage reguired to kill.

Corrosive against armour + shield is 100%/(1 * 0.4) + 100%/(1 * 1.75) = 250% + 57% = 307%
Corr. + fire inf. is 100%/(0.8 * 0.4 + 0.2 * 0.4) + 100%/(0.8 * 1.75 + 0.2 * 0.4) = 250% + 67% = 317%
307/317 = 97%
-3% decrease for fire infusion on corrossive weapons against armour + shield.

Shock against armour + shield is 100%/(1 * 2.5) + 100%/(1 * 1) = 40% + 100% = 140%
Shock + fire inf. is 100%/(0.8 * 2.5 + 0.2 * 0.4) + 100%/(0.8 * 1 + 0.2 * 0.4) = 48% + 114% = 162%
140/162 = 86%
14 % decrease for fire infusion on shock weapons against armour + shield.

So as expected you lose a big chunk of damage when converting to fire against armoured enemies.

But it IS worth it. Infusing physical weapon with fire gives you 15% more damage against flesh-only enemies. I don’t know about you but to me a multiplicative 15% bonus looks very good.
It looks even better if you consider that Amara doesn’t have any alternative skills to improve physical damage after completing Mystical assault tree other than Personal space.
As for the “wrong enemy” situation it’s a matter of picking Infusion with the right action skill element for the right gun for the right enemy. And it is exactly what is so interesting about this skill.

But it doesn’t. The capstone literally says “Amara’s guns deal bonus elemental damage. 11% of damage dealt”. It is bonus damage, not a conversion.
I would imagine it makes your gun deal 111% damage where 11% is the action skill element. It should work with Infusion giving you 111% where 31% is the action skill element.
Come to think about it, it says “11% of damage dealt” so maybe the bonus damage of the capstone is calculated after all the other bonuses are applied including elemental and critical multiplier. Which should make Infusion bonus even better. I would really like it if someone finds some gameplay footage with the capstone on.

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Something really cool that might go under the radar is the fact of Shock being the general “neutral” element while being effective against shielded enemies. If you just keep the normal Action Skill Element you will have less to worry about switching guns which leads to an overall better flow of combat. And as it looks like there are more enemies with shields, you will benefit more often from that choice.

But, to be clear, you will lose out on huge damage bursts at times, as you won’t always fight against shielded enemies and wildlife in general has been pretty poor in the shield department. But, if one wanted to, it is very possible to just go with shock and barely switch your Action Skill Element at all.

I should have explained my thoughts a bit more.
I was just talking about the synergy with all those skills, which rely on elemental effects or just flat out boost them, like Violent Tapestry, Anima etc.
I know the skills are not the same thing, but the benefit of getting additional elemental effects going is exactly the same as far as I can tell.

You can swap the element of your actoin skill on the go, huh?
I thought you would have to reset your skill points in order to do so - my bad.
And this is also why you did not include armored enemies, I get it now.
Which means the “wrong enemy” situation is way more manageable than I thought.

Is it really beneficial to use physical weapons as Amara?
Why not use a fire weapon against a flesh-only enemy and a corrosive weapon against an armored enemy instead of a physical weapon with a +15% bonus?

The Mystical Assault tree gives you a lot of reasons to use elemental weapons and inflict elemental effects on your enemies, so why would’nt you want to use say a Maliwan weapon with a shock and fire element against a fleshy enemy with a shield?
After you stripped the shield of the enemy with the shock element of your weapon you just swap the mode to fire and deal increased damage to his fleshy health bar, while potentially also inflicting different elemental effects.

Having a physical weapon deal more damage to a fleshy, armored or shielded target is great and all, but as Amara I think I want my elemental weapons and try to spread as many elemental effects as possible, to get the most out of my skills.

There’s something I’ve noticed after watching a few gameplay clips regarding elements, specifically how many stars per damage type each one is rated by. It appears that things are a little different from BL2 and TPS which is why I’m mentioning it here. As I list them, the numbers will go in order of Health-Shield-Armour, and I will also list how long elemental DoTs last for according to what was stated in-game. This is what I have observed so far:

Physical: 2-2-2

Incendiary: 3-1-1 (Fire DoTs last for 5 seconds)

Shock: 1-3-1 (Shock DoTs last for 2 seconds)

Corrosive: 2-1-3 (Corrosive DoTs last for 5 seconds)

The first thing I notice from this is that if physical (non-elemental) damage truly is the ‘neutral’ element of BL3, then shock damage has both been usurped in that mantle and additionally nerfed judging by the star ratings in-game.

Another thing worthy of mention is that corrosive damage has a 2-star rating against health damage, which would imply that with shields down, it could be the more consistent element to use with Amara for her action skill and her skills which utilise the element.

Of course, we don’t know the exact multipliers yet and pretty much all gameplay footage so far has been on the first playthrough so perhaps the multipliers will change for further playthroughs just like in BL2. Perhaps Tempest serves the purpose of boosting shock damage to the point where it gets 2 stars for both health and armour, who knows.

But if the in-game star ratings are anything to go by then theoretically, I think I would be inclined to put just 1 point into Infusion for the chance of extra DoTs, most likely the corrosive element. However, I’d like to see how 5/5 Infusion works not just with the 3 main elements but also with explosive, cryo and radioactive guns before jumping to any conclusion that it might be of better service as a one-point wonder skill.


These stars mean very little, they must be there just to give a general idea about elements to people who’ve never played any BL games.

Look at the damage numbers in any gameplay footage. Shock doesn’t have a penalty against flesh as big as fire against shield despite the stars suggesting it (though unlike BL2 it seems to have a little penalty of around 10% in BL3, Zane’s Vladof rifle with the base damage of 12 deals 11 damage to flesh) and neither do the stars show that physical has a penalty against armour (around 20%, just like in BL2).

Also keep in mind the facts that Tempest gives a higher boost to Shock than it does other elements, so it will give a much greater Infusion boost versus shields compared to health or armor with Fire and Corrosive. And as the OP stated, appropriate elemental guns do drastically better damage than using Infusion, period. To say nothing of the fact that one of Borderlands’ biggest appeal factors is having elemental damage types on guns for variety gameplay.

Honestly it feels more like Infusion is a early-game skill to spec into when you’re at that point where you have a hard time finding consistently good guns in all needed elements due to RNG or simply out-leveling them at a consistent pace. Chances are better that you’d end up getting ahold of more non-elemental guns a good chunk of the time, so converting a 20% Fire/Shock/Corrosive effect would be of more benefit there than in the mid-to-endgame sections. Tempest would help considerably there, but again, it seems more of an early game issue to be re-specced out of later on.

Though obviously Tempest itself is a full-game length benefit, even early on it gives Amara’s Action Skills a 40% damage boost since they have a base element of Shock.