[Build] Metal Gear Bear - Mayhem 11 Iron Bear Build


It’s only when I’m cheating death on the battlefield. The only time I feel truly alive.


This build has been updated for Mayhem 11 at level 65. It can handle all content so well that it absolutely trivialises true takedown difficulty both at the Maliwan Blacksite and the Guardian Breach. Seriously, you could speed-run either with almost zero effort.

So what does it mean to make a build revolving around Iron Bear? Well the first order of business to conduct is to reveal the Metal Gear Bear skill build in its raw form. The first obvious omission you’ll notice are that there are no capstones to be seen: none of them provide any benefit to Bear, thus it’s a waste of skill points trying to reach either of them. Short Fuse is very much worthwhile in hybrid builds but not so much in a full-on pilot build such as this one.

With the gear we’re using, there is no need to stack anything remotely resembling consecutive hits, therefore Fire in the Skag Den can be completely ignored and plus it doesn’t receive the insane Mayhem scaling that Moze enjoys with it. The one omission that you might question is Means of Destruction but that’s because Iron Bear’s grenade usage does not consume any from Moze’s stockpile. The more time spent piloting Bear, the less this skill is required. And this skill as well as Pull the Holy Pin are omitted because the best type of grenade for this build does not require these skills, nor will we run short of them.

Now that the cap has reached level 65, we can claim all the best Iron Bear skills in the first four tiers of each of Moze’s original skill trees, and have enough points left over to max out Phalanx Doctrine which is Bear’s best tier 5 skill. Our choice of gear is also part of the reason why we’ve specifically chosen to invest in these particular skills.


Bear Trooper is the class mod of choice which might come as a surprise to some. The fundamental reasoning behind this is because the special effects are totally unconditional and combine to maximise fuel-efficiency in a way that no other class mod can match, not even Raging Bear which is deemed to be the meta mod for Bear-focused builds.

Because the fuel-efficiency is so high, the fuel metre depletes at a noticeably slower rate and subsequently, this leads to much shorter cooldown periods on average. Increasing fuel efficiency and decreasing cooldown duration are the two absolute best ways to enjoy more Bear uptime; killing two birds with one stone. And thanks to the extra 50% Iron Bear duration, this indirectly buffs Deadlines because the fuel refunds will have more of a pronounced effect on the fuel metre.

For skills, a really good version of this class mod begins with zero bonus points for Explosive Punctuation, with the more points in Stainless Steel Bear, the better. The best version would of course be +5 because that boosts the fuel tank capacity to its max limit. But do not lament if there are any points for Grizzled as it’s Moze’s best tier 1 skill and even a bonus of +1 or 2 in this build will make the cooldown feel almost non-existent. For passive bonuses, the trifecta would be action skill damage, splash damage and max health. Action skill cooldown rate is also a worthwhile passive bonus to have in case of an emergency.

Raging Bear is still an option for the main class mod if you really must insist upon it. However, it’s a jack-of-all-trades, master-of-none class mod at its core, and it’s so reliant on kills in order to increase its fuel-efficiency. It places a little too much emphasis on reducing fuel drain which yields diminishing returns: if you invested 3/3 in Deadlines then you would get -30% fuel drain, but invest 6/3 and you only get -42%. What’s more is that even though you can get up to 12% fuel refund per kill, it’s very easy to land multiple kills in succession and lose out on significant amounts of those fuel returns as they diminish, so this bonus skill is not quite foolproof as one would expect.

The bonus damage from the class mod’s special effect is Type A damage in Bear’s formula, and it eventually caps at 50%. The biggest DPS spike from this class mod that allows it to keep up with the heavier DPS mods, stems from Stoke the Embers boosting the incendiary damage skills and augments against fleshy targets. But overall, the more consistent and reliable choice of bonus skill is of course Stainless Steel Bear and so the more points for that, the better.

Flare is the new Bear class mod from DLC4 which is on the opposite end of the scale from Bear Trooper in that it totally focuses on bonus damage with nothing to offer in terms of fuel-efficiency. The damage is such overkill that it would be meaningless to rock this COM for mobbing; it’s better used for bossing and in brief hybrid-esque bursts so as not to give yourself longer cooldown to endure. Compared to the other class mods, Stainless Steel Bear is the only good bonus skill for total pilot builds such as this one.

Deathless is chosen here largely in part so that Bear (and Moze) can get the full benefit of Desperate Measures without butchering Bear’s max armour. Normally, it’s not such a wise idea to remove Moze’s health gate seeing as there are enemies in end game who can destroy or bypass your entire shield with one hit. But in a pilot build with emphasis on max fuel-efficiency and reduced cooldown duration, the risks to Moze’s 1 hp are reduced substantially.

The prefix doesn’t matter much in this context seeing as Moze is invulnerable while in the cockpit. But outside of it, the Snowdrift prefix makes a tremendous difference for her survivability which you can see for yourself during any of the Takedowns, by allowing her enough movement speed to dodge almost any attack that comes her way. Passive bonuses should at the very least be AOE damage and max health. The final slot can be anything else that is relevant to Bear, but I would recommend either action skill cooldown rate or a weapon type damage for Moze.

Plus Ultra made its debut in DLC4 and it instantly became the new best shield for Iron Bear and not just because of a 25% chance to absorb bullets with 30% action skill cooldown rate for a few seconds. The card doesn’t state it, but an unlisted bonus is that it gives the owner +100% max health, which gives Iron Bear GARGANTUAN armour capacity! And because it’s a Pangolin shield, you can get the Multivitamin prefix (x2 HEALTH parts) for an additional 25% max health on top of the hidden double bonus. Combine all this with the anointment where each kill grants Moze +30% CDR per kill for 10 seconds, and you’ve got the perfect shield for Iron Bear.

It’s Piss isn’t a compulsory pick here but is arguably the best legendary grenade you can choose for this particular build. I’m of the opinion that because Bear’s DPS and sustain from grenades are 100% contingent on the 20% chance granted by the anointment, it’s significantly lower than the DPS and reliable sustain Bear can muster with his own arsenal. Combine that with the fact that Moze’s max health is 1 and she can’t use Vampyr for herself in this build, you may as well go for an option that debuffs enemies and makes your strongest weapons hit even harder. The 20% debuff occupies its own slot in the damage formula and with the Railguns in action, the bonus damage itself can potentially be millions and millions if you match the right elements!

Unforgiven is really the only specific weapon worth mentioning for this type of build, and that’s because it can be used with Dakka Bear to buff the critical shots from the turret so long as Moze is holding onto it when either she or a friend hops onboard. Furthermore, the Urad anointment works by applying radiation damage to the turret rounds, allowing for the turret to easily deal a few million damage per critical shot!

For weapon anointments though, there’s only one worth talking about for this build and that’s 100% bonus Railgun damage while Iron Bear is active. This occupies its own slot in the damage formula so Bear’s hardpoints are literally doubling all the damage they already inflicted before DLC5 touched down. You can literally buy a crappy white-rarity gun with this anointment from a vendor, and you’re ready to make true takedown difficulty an utter joke!


Because this build is primarily rocking Railguns, you want to switch the augments when the scenario calls for it. For example, fleshy bosses? Double up on Hell on Rails. Fighting a boss with heavy armour such as Wotan or Scourge? Get Corrosive Sabot Round on both hardpoints!

But for general use, Capacitive Armature is so good for mobbing that you want it on Bear’s right hardpoint. And having Corrosive Sabot Round (with its mag size of 3 rounds) on the left hardpoint makes the most sense because it’s the side that can utilise the fire rate bonus from Scorching RPMs, gets the Type B damage bonus from Phalanx Doctrine and thus extract more from the splash/AOE passive bonuses that come with the gear. This combo is arguably the best for negotiating the crystal phases in the Guardian Takedown.

I play with my Guardian Rank disabled so I know that this build works and is effective enough in performance without the bonus perks. But if you’re not of the same inclination, then Topped Off is just going to make life even easier for you as a pilot. Better yet, if your artefact has the Snowdrift prefix, you can simply dodge enemy attacks by sliding all over the place.

Even though Gearbox gave Iron Bear a massive helping hand in Mayhem levels with the damage-scaling, the fundamental thing to remember with Iron Bear is that increased fuel-efficiency is key above all else when it comes to prolonging your Iron Bear duration and getting the most performance out of him. This is something that is explored in further detail in this guide for beginners or for those who don’t understand Iron Bear that well. But there’s never been a better time to be a pilot than right now. Bear Troopers, assemble!


Thanks for the share. I would prefer though if there is an easy quick glance cheat sheet or images or list for those people who don’t want to read every detail.

I haven’t read every detail by the way.


Fully endorse doing the Band of Sitorak. If you really wanted to push IB damage, you could pull the points out of PTHP and Vampyr (relying only on the points you get from the COM) and go full Deathless/DM — something like this.

I’d always like more IB damage, but the Deathless relic combined with the Band of Sitorak is one of the most ill-advised gear combos out there. Moze will have no survivability outside of Iron Bear - super-low shield capacity plus max 1 hp in a non-Bloodletter build, so Vampyr wouldn’t be able to do anything for Moze either in that case.

Besides, Desperate Measures wouldn’t do as much in a build like this as you seem to think. Because of the way the damage formula works, DM is Type A so it offers only additive damage on top of SRPMs and SSB. And because of 2/3 TRL, Bear would only get 20% damage because it’s based on Moze’s missing health, not Bear’s. On that basis, I’m not so convinced that DM is worth taking away points from Vampyr.

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it also forgoes a ton of sustain. there’s also the interaction between SSB and Short Fuse that’s providing damage outside of IB.

i tried an SoR bloodletter/deathless skill setup with moderate investment in DW (my COMs and artifacts are very similar so the comparison is pretty pure). it was better raw damage in IB, but it chugged fuel so fast you’d think it wasn’t an IB build and i was just wasting the CD. additionally, it was so much more difficult to sustain outside of IB. even if it cooled down a bit faster due to a bit faster kills the lack of vampyr and to the last made it far too squishy.

raging bear with full investment into DW was slightly less damage in IB, but IB lasted so much longer, and having full access to the DW meant that outside of IB, i could sustain myself and get kills to accelerate the cooldown.

Having a shield with 1 second recharge delay is its own form of sustain, plus ninja rules apply :wink:

Seriously though, I spent some time casually investigating the actual delta between the three main damage COMs (Bloodletter/Deathless with 3/3 DM, Raging, and Best Master) while farming the Unstoppable (skill layout). The Best Master’s damage was the best (~17k per Vanquisher rocket), followed by the Bloodletter (15k), and the Raging Bear (13k). Each BM and BL kill left you about half a tank of fuel, but the Raging Bear surprisingly had less than half a tank (though that might be due that weird issue where you spawn with a gauge that isn’t full).

Wanna see Corrosive Sabot Rounds do 12k impact and 59k explosions on flesh crits?

21k non crits?

I’m super stoked that we both posted Bear centric concepts around the same time…Bear needs the love and respect!


Oh, I’m a believer in the Church of Sabot – I was just using rocket pods because it is easier to spot and compare damage values.

That’s what happens when Gearbox thinks it’s a genius idea for a COM to focus on continuously boosting a stat that only comes back in diminishing returns…

Bear absolutely needs all the hugs he can get right now! I might be one of those who will be glad when Maliwan Takedown does go back up to 4-player scaling by default, but what I will say is that the current scaling feels kind of right for Bear and a build focused around him, and that’s the only thing about it I’ll miss. I had a lot of fun toying around with IB-builds the past few weeks, but I still think Gearbox needs to do more for Bear.

Considering I had to break every possible interaction to create what I did, I couldn’t agree more.

After using the Jack dummy on Sanctuary to conduct some testing, I’ve learnt that the Band of Sitorak’s bonus weapon damage conclusively does NOT stack upon each instance of the shield breaking. I reset all my skill points to be extra sure of no other interactions going on. I broke my shield 5 times and I tested the damage when it was empty and after it had fully recharged. It does what it states on its card - 22% bonus weapon damage when empty, and no bonus damage when the shield starts recharging.

Perhaps the Band of Sitorak did glitch out in the past and perhaps was stealth-fixed. Or whoever originally claimed that it did stack weapon bonuses perhaps got mistaken by some other interaction going on and claimed the shield was responsible. So I have deleted the text from the OP stating that the Band of Sitorak can be exploited by stacking its bonus weapon damage.

It’s a hefty boost, and often procs. Maybe it sits in its own multiplier in the math, because it x crit x short fuse is pretty meaty.

There was no mistake. A few of us had “bonus movement speed on deplete” BoS shields and at the end of certain encounters were suddenly super fast. If it’s fixed, awesome, but most Deplete Based Shields had/have the risk of behaving weird.

@Spacerobots demonstrated with a Brawler Ward last week

Hmm perhaps it’s just the movement speed bonus alone that behaves strangely. I didn’t even hear about the bonuses stacking until recently when Moxsy said in one of his videos why people should farm for the Band of Sitorak, and he specifically said that the bonus weapon damage stacks as well as every other passive. But I found that weird because I didn’t notice anything of the sort when using the Band of Sitorak in this build or in any other test build I was running, so that’s why I tested it out.

There was no mistake and you don’t need to be condescending.

I’m not the only one who’s made a video showing it but I was the first.

I’m in the same boat as you. As a matter of fact it was either @kabflash or @sammantixbb that brought the stacking to my attention and I take their word as gold … but … when I tried it it wouldn’t stack! :unamused:

But that’s Borderlands for ya! :grin:

Well you had my hopes up that it got stealth fixed so I recorded a new test.

Alas, nope it’s still broke af.

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It definitely still stacks damage. But, I’ve noticed it doesn’t always do it. I’m hoping it does get fixed because it’s my favourite shield.

The BBB is the alternative I use when I want to prove a build works for cooldown. A BBB with the Cooldown on kill anointment is almost as good as the BoS mentioned in the OP. I say almost because I don’t have and have never seen someone have that god roll. I’ve been farming for it since the last loot boost event.

@kabflash have you tried it with any shield boosts relics/skills/coms? Does it make a difference with stacking? I’d like to figure out what can cause it not to stack.

@DoctorDragon did you find a sitorak with 30% cooldown?

When I use a BBB with it and an early exit build I’m able to get IB back by the time Some for the Road is over (basically, like 1 or 2 seconds after).

We did more testing in here

Best I can guess is Shield Reboot is causing the stack behavior. but it’s just a guess.

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