[Build] Death from above


This build utilizes protuberance rare/purple shotguns to deliver all the damage, save for a few special cases. You will deliver all the damage while airborne, thus the name. It can clear m4 slaughter shaft, but it needs decent gear. It can also complete m4 takedown solo, but not as fast as some meta builds out there. That being said, you don’t need perfect gear for anything (I am missing a good prefix on artifact, a perfect rolled class mod and still can kill m4 wotan when it was scaled to 4 players and solo ss easily).

This guide utilizes DLC items, so if you don’t have the dlc purchased you will not be able to pull this off (in this case, jump to unsafe/untested section).


  • consistent damage

  • huge aoe damage

  • great survivability

  • versatile

  • high skill cap


  • very gear dependent

  • good protuberance shotguns are extremely rare

  • requires gun swap for different health bar types if not maxed out

  • runs out of ammo quicker than smg builds

  • you can kill yourself easily with your gun

  • you can kill yourself easily by jumping off the playing arena

  • can’t kill flying enemies with protuberance

  • high skill cap


1. Safe/tested playstyle

We want to stack as much movement speed as possible to boost our violent momentum damage bonus since we can actually shoot while sprinting (we maintain sprint speed while we are in the air, so we sprint, jump and shoot. More details on a later section). The secondary projectiles of protuberance inherit the speed bonus you had when the first projectile landed, not when the secondary projectiles themselves landed, so you only need to have maximum movement speed when the first projectile hits the ground, not when the secondary projectiles land on the ground. This is absolutely fantastic.


The single most important gun is your protuberance shotgun(s), ideally in radiation element. A perfect protuberance would a radiation one with 100% cryo damage while SNTNL is active with ~3.5k+ damage. The reason for using radiation protuberance is because it is the best element in the game due to being the most versatile. Radiation takes care of the shields and health bars, while the cryo anointment deals with the armor part of enemies. A corrosive protuberance is pretty mandatory for the bottom half of wotan, even one without anointment.

Another great anointment is damage while airborne. The damage provided by this is V2 multiplicative, so it’s much better than you may think.

Protuberances can also spawn with DP and can reach as much as 2k+ x 2 damage. However, playing dirty only adds one additional projectile (rather than doubling all of them), so you end up doing 2k x3 damage with a DP one which is 6k total damage, in comparison to one that has 3k damage x2 (from playing dirty) still 6k damage. The difference is that you consume more ammo with a DP one and you can only shoot twice with it instead of three times per magazine. I don’t recommend DP protuberances unless you happen to find one with 3k+ damage, which I don’t think they exist.

Other guns you want to have:

  • annexed ION CANNON, preferably one with corrosive for resilient targets (this will come in handy against wotan’s upper half because you can’t hit him with protuberances)
  • corrosive quickie - this may prove even better than ion cannons after the ion cannon nerf and if combined with a snowdrift relic, you can output some ridiculous damage (shoot enemies with sticky projectiles, then slide while they explode for maximum damage bonus from violent momentum). It is also not that hard to find and consumes significantly less ammo
  • redistributor - yes, this is not a smg guide, but this gun will help you tremendously to keep up your action skills if you hit multiple enemies and it also has huge damage output against wotan when both the halves are near each other (right when they split). I usually end up killing the upper half in one magazine with this gun, so it’s something good to have.

Class mod

Seein’ dead is the best choice since we can’t consistently crit with our protuberances in order to maintain our action skills through cool, calm and collected. Going ccc would mean losing donnybrook, which is a huge damage boost to our build so that’s a big no either way. Because protuberance shotguns don’t have great splash damage radius themselves, we need a splash damage radius mod on our com along with weapon damage and shotgun damage, ideally. We can’t reliably crit with protuberances, so we don’t need critical damage on com. With seein’ dead com and death follows close skill, playing dirty will grant 15% chance to fire an additional projectile. Because protuberances come with one projectile (or two, if DP), this is effectively a double damage multiplier to everything we have, so you want to have it at 100%. You will reach 105% with 7 points in it, so you may want to trade synchronicity for points in playing dirty if your com doesn’t provide enough points. Also, you need at least two points in the skill to reach good misfortune with the current setup, so getting a com with +5 in playing dirty doesn’t waste our points.


The best shield is a version 0.m with 15% movement speed while sntnl is active. It can only drop from Wotan and valkyries, so it’s pretty hard to get. A good alternative is a re-router with the same anointment. More defensive options include transformer, but you shouldn’t worry about that if you have your barrier up all the time. We also use ready for action skill to get the shield back more quickly for the re-router effect, so we have the amp bonus up faster.

Transformer may prove to be mandatory against valkyries because the one called Sigfrieda will shoot lightning projectiles at you that penetrate your barrier and deal insane damage. Transformer reduces that damage to about 30% of your shield, rather than one shots.


We won’t use grenade ourselves, but our sntnl will occasionally drop one with the help of drone delivery. Combined with the anointment that provides 25% weapon damage for 6 seconds after grenade thrown, it’s an occasional damage boost. The best grenade mod is probably It’s piss because it also debuffs enemies for 20% damage increase, but a corrosive recurring hex could help us melt armored enemies faster. Whatever you find is ok, as long as it has the 25% damage anointment. You can even get one from marcus’ vending machines.


The absolute best artifact is a victory rush, no questions asked. It provides 18% damage, but more importantly 18% movement speed which is an even better damage boost. Having one with area of effect damage as a secondary stat is a must since the bonus it provides is quite big (~35%). Ideally, you want one with area of effect damage, movement speed and shotgun damage or something else that you may find useful, but you want to prioritize the aoe dmg and ms. For prefix, there’s no best in slot here. Snowdrift is not that useful for protuberances themselves since we want to shoot at enemies’ feet and doing that while sliding at insane speed is almost impossible and very unpractical, though it is good combined with quickie and is a good mobility option in general. It can be useful for wotan fight since you have a lot of room to move around and the boss is quite big, but for mobbing, snowdrift is not ideal. Good prefixes include atom balm which goes well with a radiation protuberance, ice breaker which goes well with a cryo protuberance (you may be able to freeze enemies with a cryo protuberance if you also have 100% cryo damage while sntnl is up and the damage boost of ice breaker is huge) or berserker which provides 13% movement speed for 10 seconds after melee ing an enemy. The 13% movement speed for 10 seconds is totally worth stopping to melee an enemy, if possible.

2. Unsafe/not tested playstyle - not recommended

I am theorycrafting another way to play this build, though it is much more fragile because we can’t have action skills active at all times, but we have significantly more damage.

The idea behind this is to use an infiltrator class mod with rough rider. Because rough rider is considered empty, you’ll get full bonuses from infiltrator. Ideally, you want an infiltrator that grants +5 to violent momentum, effectively doubling the damage you receive while running, which is absolutely huge because the bonus damage already scales exponentially. Alternatively, we can also use an anti freeze com and benefit fully from the 40% damage boost, which is multiplicative with most passives you have (you may want to watch https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=60rRl0frkKk to know the difference between v1 and v2 damage skills). Basically, everything that grants specific damage bonuses (such as gun damage, shotgun damage etc.) is v1 and such mods are additive with each other, while skills that grant % damage or add bonus damage on top of your total damage (such as cold bore) are multiplicative with v1 damage boosts and additive with each other as well (except cold bore, which is multiplicative with everything you have, though I’m not sure about this). If you use antifreeze, you can afford to slow yourself with cryo damage and still have enough movement speed, though I’m not sure of a safe way to chill yourself. You may want to pair this with an elemental projector victory rush for absurd damage bonus.

Because we won’t have action skills active at all times, we can opt for a protuberance that has 130% weapon damage after swapping places with the clone and utilize clone instead of sntnl. In consequence, you will get a rough rider that boosts your elemental damage by 50% on action skill end as well as a grenade mod with such anointment. Because we won’t have barrier active at all times, we will rely on salvation to heal back up, maintaining us above health gate. However, this is a mobbing build since we can’t keep our kill skills up while fighting bosses. However, we can actually get seein’ red hitman capstone to help us with that.


The gameplay is not that hard and is extremely fun since we deliver our damage while airborne. Because we use cold bore, we want to swap weapons before every time we shoot with our gun. Cold bore buff is granted when we start to swap weapons, not after we have another weapon in our hand, so we just need to ‘fake’ swap to get the bonus (for example, if you have your protuberance shotgun on 1, you just want to press 2 - 1 quickly and you still get the bonus). This is very important, since it’s a pretty significant damage boost.

Because we use violent momentum, we want to maximize the movement speed when we shoot our gun. Because we maintain the sprint speed while shooting while in the air, we always want to shoot while we are airborne.

Action skills

We are using sntnl for movement speed bonus from shield anointment and cryo damage bonus from gun anointment. The bad dose buff is pretty good as well. Secondary improvement is arbitrary, but I prefer static field for even faster shield recharge for the shield amp bonus.

The dome augment for barrier is mandatory. The second augment is irrelevant since the augments on the left only grant bonuses while the shield is down and we’ll be picking it up anyway. We don’t have enough points to reach deterrence field or retaliation.

Passive skills

  • violent momentum (5/5)
  • violent speed (5/5)
  • cold bore (5/5)
  • salvation (1/5) - one point is enough here. it will heal us back to full or at least above health gate with each successful shot of protuberance
  • drone delivery (1/1)
  • death follows close (1/1)
  • playing dirty (7/5) - you need to get this to at least 7/5 with the help of the class mod. Anything over that is overkill. Ideally, you want a com with at least +2 in playing dirty and everything else into donnybrook
  • good misfortune (3/3) - extremely important to maintain our action skills
  • adrenaline (5/5) - useful if any action skill ends prematurely
  • ready for action (5/5) - a small bonus to get our shield back up as fast as possible to benefit from the amp bonus
  • confident competence (1/1)
  • borrowed time (5/5) - we are using guns with slow fire rate, so we want to extend our action skill duration as much as possible. This skill makes our life significantly easier, trust me
  • donnybrook (5/5) - this is slightly better than synchronicity because it grants slightly more damage, but also some health regen.
  • synchronicity (x/5) - remaining points go here, but we should have 1/5 here at the end of allocating points

You can rate this build and read it in a better format here: https://bl3zone.com/build/858/zane/death-from-above-up-to-date

I might post some gameplay video in the future, but the game freezes occasionally for me.

1 Like

That and 25 pellet stagecoaches almost are none existent once you stop leveling…

I like the build but since it’s based around “death from above” have you tried it with an antifreeze mod?

I don’t know if you knew electric slide triggers kill skills with the slide, just like the banjo and redistributor so that can be a nice little buffer.

Got a vid? Am interested.

Working on it. Takedown is extremely easy now that it was scaled down and it was doable before. If it gets rescaled, I might need to get a corrosive quickie with sntnl cryo to deal with wotan’s upper half. I got my hands on an anointed protuberance with sntnl cryo, so that makes shaft significantly easier because I kill armored enemies much faster.

I haven’t tried yet due to lacking a good antifreeze mod, but it is extremely strong indeed because the damage bonus is v2 multiplicative. It also boosts violent momentum, which is huge. The problem is that you can’t maintain kill skills reliably without seein dead.

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Getting swarmed by badasses gets pretty tedious without that mod, skill points would have to be tweaked for shizzle.

And with the 25% Bonus to KillSkills from Seein Dead, the 40% damagebonus from antifreeze is probably neglegible.