[Build] Siberian Nuclear Winter - Mayhem 11 Shotgun Build


Nuclear winter is coming.


This was my first build back when the game was released and Mayhem 3 at level 50 was the limit. A lot has changed since then and so too has this build. Although the nuclear winter theme has still been retained, its evolution from levels 50 to 65 and now at 72 has radically transformed over time into a shotgun build that is viable at Mayhem 11 and a lot of fun to play with! So what exactly does this look like?

Siberian Nuclear Winter always used to be invested in the Shield of Retribution skill tree ever since its earliest form until now. We’ve removed all the skill points that were previously in the red skill tree and balanced them almost completely evenly between the other three skill trees. Demolition Woman from tier 1 to the capstone is pretty much meta except that we’re using Vanquisher Rocket Pods + Hammerdown Protocol as a means for Auto Bear to inflict radiation splash damage as part of the nuclear winter theme. We now go further down Bottomless Mags, again in a meta layout until reaching Some for the Road.

In experimenting with this build at level 72, I actually found out that reinvesting the remaining skill points into the Bear Mother tree paid off better than I expected. Just a quick disclaimer: Auto Bear does not receive the damage bonuses from the Bear-focused skills in the purple tree, hence why they’re being ignored. I was able to clear all content with this build despite cryo-locking my choice of splash shotguns for the sake of Harmonious Havoc getting the max 60% gun damage bonus. The bonus cooldown rate from Nitrotrinadium Engines + Limit Break helps us immensely with the build’s playstyle and if that wasn’t enough, five stacks of Superior Firepower appears to double the amount of cryo damage we dish out. Now for the gear.


Blast Master is honestly the best overall choice in terms of what we’re aiming for. Because we can have 2/1 Redistribution which is going to give us 10% ammo regen per second, we in theory should never have to reload unless we’re spamming shots like mad. The bonus points in both Vampyr and Pull the Holy Pin don’t matter a great deal; it’s more important to have +1 Redistribution and the right passives, such as shotgun damage being of primary concern. The next best ones to aim for are splash damage and weapon damage.

Victory Rush is the best artefact here, unless you’re content with using Company Man and restricting your weapons to just Maliwan or Torgue. The two prefixes to aim for are either Ice Breaker or Atom Balm, the former giving us more V2 damage on frozen targets while the latter will allow radiation to spread across the battlefield more easily. The best three passive bonuses are cryo damage, AOE damage and magazine size.

Frozen Snowshoe (or the Frozen Heart if you have it) is the shield of choice for this build, along with the anointment where novas are triggered each time Moze enters and exits Iron Bear. Even the anointed novas are the same powerful cryo ones from the shield itself which insta-freeze about 90-95% of all enemies in the game. Because we’re using this anointment instead of the extra cooldown rate per kill, that’s why we’ve acquired the bonus cooldown rate skills in the purple tree.

Hex is not exactly the strongest grenade in the game like it was back when level 50 was the cap but we want it in this build, specifically in cryo for extra gun damage and with either the 25% OGT anointment or the one that gives 50% bonus radiation damage for 10 seconds after ASE. In testing various cryo grenades which included the Lightspeed as well as the Mitosis Hunter-Seeker, I ended up sticking with the Atlas grenade because of its utility: in situations where critical hits with your shotguns are scarce/impossible, it frequently and reliably triggers Pull the Holy Pin and therefore also triggers Redistribution by extension.

Trevonator is the only gun on this list that was also part of the original level 50 build. Despite the base damage on the card suggesting that it’s noticeably weaker than other shotguns out there, its firing pattern actually has incredible synergy with Short Fuse and the higher the Mayhem level, the more damaging the capstone skill becomes. The shotgun named after Trevor Eastman rides that wave of Mayhem-scaling power and still has quite a kick to it. Because of its versatility and being a dual-element Maliwan weapon, this is the best shotgun on the list for mobbing and it shows in the most extreme mobbing scenarios such as the crystal phases of True Guardian Takedown.

Redline is the absolute strongest bossing shotgun in the game without question, at least in sticky mode when supported by this build. You can fully exploit this weapon with Some for the Road to lay down tons of stickies for ludicrous chain explosions. Just remember to switch modes when you want to detonate the stickies instead of reloading and losing the bonus splash damage.

Anarchy is a particular shotgun that I’ve been pondering whether or not to keep on the list because of it not being a synergistic fit with the Blast Master COM. Out of all the shotguns featured on this list, it has the lowest base damage. But if you can get the max stacks via only kills while maintaining the bonus splash damage by not reloading at all, then the stacks alone result in a damage bonus of just fractionally under +1,380%! The two major downsides to this Tediore shotgun are that an ill-timed automatic reload while Redistribution is active can result in you losing your stacks as well as the splash damage, and its shots do not proc Means of Destruction. But if you can get some momentum going with this thing, it most certainly has the power to handle all content.

Boom Sickle is the oddity of this list. Its item card denotes that it’s an assault rifle and it evidently fires AR bullets, so why is it on a designated list for shotguns? Well that’s because the game technically perceives it to be a shotgun: it benefits from shotgun damage that you find on COMs and artefacts. With this Vladof weapon as part of your arsenal, your entire AR ammo stockpile effectively provides you with 1600+ shotgun shells and assuming that all weapons have their parts for the most DPS, this AR/shotgun hybrid also has the largest magazine size of all on the list.

Fearmonger makes an entry on this list seeing as it’s now available all year-round and received a staggering +355% damage bonus when it was last buffed! Besides, it’s about time Hyperion produced a worthy, conventional splash shotgun. Even without Terror anointments and intentionally cryo-locking yourself , it can still do some serious work and is sufficient enough for True Maliwan Takedown within this build. But if you want to get the most out of this spooky shotgun, then I’d recommend getting your grenade anointed so that on ASE, you generate Terror every 3 seconds for 18 seconds.

Tiggs’ Boom unfortunately is the weakest weapon on this list, but is a really fun Torgue shotgun and can still dish out respectable DPS. One major weakness is that it has the smallest mag size of all the listed shotguns without the raw base damage to justify it, which is why it might be better for this build if you look for one with a mag size of 5 if you want one with the Double-Penetrating prefix. But I’ve experimented with one that lists x9 projectiles on its card despite a mag size of 3 and you can still get by without reloading. This shotgun can work if you’re really fond of it - I’ve beaten True Maliwan Takedown and slaughtered Hemovorous with it. The crystal phases on True Guardian Takedown is where this weapon can backfire on you however. To mitigate the risks should you endeavour to persist with this Torgue shotgun, I would recommend getting it anointed with 160% splash so that Bear’s nukes have a lot more potency and give Moze extra DPS support while you focus primarily on stripping the guardians’ armour.


The list of featured weapons have to tick two boxes: inherently deal splash damage and be able to drop in cryo. The Insider is another good splash shotgun but it doesn’t really add anything that makes it both stand out and be worthwhile compared to the other shotguns. On top of that, depending on the parts it has, it can also be quite ammo-intensive. The Nothingness is too dangerous for Moze: the projectiles don’t travel that far in distance and can frequently blow up in your face. The Projectile Recursion still remains an empty shell of its former self. The Lob is certainly powerful enough with great base damage, has decent synergy with Short Fuse and can do some real work. However, it’s not a gun that’s inherently splash in full as the orb itself is just gun damage; it doesn’t deal splash unless the orb collides with an object or surface, thus Means of Destruction will hardly get used when this weapon is in action.

For those who might question it, I did in fact test this build with a Urad setup (before the anointment got nerfed) but it greatly decreased survivability and did not yield enough DPS to justify going down so much. The thing about Urad is that even though it is its own multiplier in the damage formula, it doesn’t actually account for bonus elements or splash damage, the latter being a big part of Moze’s meta and a huge part in this build. It made more sense for both DPS and survivability to regain health gate and switch to consecutive hits and/or splash anointments. Speaking of which, consecutive hits is a classic choice but has also been nerfed. Moze’s unique anointment where she gets 160% bonus splash damage for 18 seconds after ASE, also applies to the nukes that Bear’s AI will be launching.

Interesting fact about dual-element Maliwan weapons or in this build’s case, the Trevonator which I found out in testing: both elements on the Maliwan gun can enjoy bonus gun damage from Harmonious Havoc as long as the gun’s primary element matches with all other gear. Mine is cryo and radiation but because the former is the primary element, I can switch to radiation and the skill’s icon with x6 is still present and providing the bonus gun damage. This is especially useful in scenarios where enemies are resistant to cryo damage.

When it came to more challenging pieces of content during testing, I found that the Trevonator was excellent for mobbing but when you need to kill bosses fast, switch to the Redline and start planting as many stickies as you can before hitting the detonator and stopping Moze from reloading. So my recommendation is to prioritise these two weapons first and foremost if you want to keep things simple both in farming and general gameplay.

If you appreciate the nuclear winter aspect of the build but are not particularly fond of shotguns, then there are other suitable cryo splash guns from other weapon types that can get the job done. I’ve narrowed the list down to the four best options that are neither shotguns nor heavy weapons: if you want the option of either consecutive hits or 160% splash, there is the Unkempt Harold and also the Flipper with its Maliwan dual-element trait. Both the Sand Hawk and the Faisor (with its under-barrel shotgun being pure splash) can’t be anointed with 160% splash but can clear all content regardless. The 160% splash anointment is fantastic if you want to use heavy weapons - both the Kickcharger and the Plaguebearer can drop in cryo, if it pleases you.


Managed to record a video and added it to the main post, unfortunately the game crashed on me when halfway through Slaughter Shaft :frowning:

This is great to see. I’ve been working on a build that revolves around the Shredifier and I’m specing into a lot of the skills you are.

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I won’t lie, the Shredifier is a lot of fun; my Moze has a radioactive one with double chainbarrels which I like to break out on occasion. Although it doesn’t do splash damage and is thus not the most ideal pick for a build that uses a Master Blaster COM, it’s still fun and the mag will never run out of bullets as long as you’ve got 2/1 Redistribution and keep landing crit hits with bullets and grenades.

I sampled a lot of assault rifles for this build to be extra sure, including the Shredifier, an incendiary Faisor, an Ogre anointed with bonus radioactive damage, Lucian’s Calls in all the elements they come in, the Amber Management (which is a sidequest reward in Nekrotafeyo) is also really good in this build if you’re struggling to find your desired gear via world drops.

But after sampling all of them, I always came back to the incendiary Laser Sploder - you can see in the demonstration video above that it incinerates enemies fast even with a -50% assault rifle damage modifier trying in vain to restrain it!

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Didn’t someone test Deathless artifacts not working with Tenacious Defense and you just outright die? Or has this been changed?

RNG’s a b*tch. I have yet to see a Faisor, Flakker or Laser Sploder actually drop, but I could fill a room with ASMDs, Black Holes and Gatling Guns.

Its basically the same build as any other moze user tho, not hating it, its just that i have nothing to say about it.

Just 1 tip, Tenacious defense wont proc, ever, because you have no health gate, there is only 1 scenario when it can proc and that involves an enemy hitting you for EXACTLY the same amount of shield you have left, like for example you have 12049 shields left, then someone comes and hits you for 12049, if its 12050 you are dead and if its 12048 you dont proc it.

You’re half-correct, in the sense that the shield restoration will never happen as long as the Deathless relic is being used. But Tenacious Defense still procs regardless of that - you still gain the damage bonus when you go down into FFYL. In the demonstration video I posted above, you can see the TD icon present literally each time I get out of FFYL.

I give you that, but going to ffyl to proc dmg is kinda silly for a capstone

Updated the OP with a demonstration video of using Cloud of Lead to massively decrease rocket consumption and increase overall DPS with low-mag, ammo-hungry heavy weapons . You don’t need any specific gear to do this and there’s not a single point in Means of Destruction either. Just 5/5 Cloud of Lead, and this can be boosted even further with the bonus splash damage from the Blast Master COM as you never have to reload.

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I will eventually add a list of non-legendary weapons and gear to the OP that would do well in this build if getting hands on any of the main gear is proving too difficult for some folks. I’ve been looking at other weapons to make the build less gear-dependent. I’m adding video demonstrations of three particular weapons: Amber Management, Zooka and Proton Rifle.

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I love what you’re going for with the build, I may adopt parts of this into my own.

Other people have raised this and I have to agree, going Deathless with this capstone seems a little ridiculous. You’d be better off with that +1 in Fire in the Skag Den, to be honest. Or Rushin’ Offensive.

My personal opinion is this - take away deathless and take away 1 point in Thin Red Line, then you get to health gate and proc your capstone reliably. Plus with your boosters from the Big Boom Blaster, you’ll get back to full shields and be able to proc the capstone again very quickly (assuming the battlefield is a shitshow that would require such things). This also makes your +2 in Vampyr relevant as you can quickly heal back up to health-gate. I do this quite a lot and I feel like I never die. It’s incredible.

Hope this helps! Also I love you hunting for non-unique weapons that fit the build well. I’m trying the proton rifle at the moment and I quite like it!

EDIT: Had a good play about with the proton rifle - oh my god dang goodness, what a powerhouse! Getting 2M overkill crits while mobbing, this is ridiculous. I’d say it suffers a little bit against bosses. It’s still good, but I’ve found my marksman Lyuda build is much more efficient at bossing. Great weapon though!


I’ve already played around with that one last skill point and tbh, nothing more in the Bottomless Mags is worth it. We’re talking minuscule buffs that only get 2-7% increase. As for Rushin’ Offensive, I probably would’ve taken it if it had something extra to it like Wilhelm’s cyborg legs in the Presequel. Fire in the Skag Den might be the next best place for that last point, but it’s only 3% extra splash damage. I’d rather err on the side of caution and have something that gives me a much more noticeable boost in case I do go down into FFYL.

I appreciate the input and might give this a go on a random occasion to test it nonetheless and it might just keep my Moze on her feet for longer, but making this change would kind of strip the build of its identity a little and defeat part of the point. Say if I did remove the Deathless relic and 1 point from TRL, yes I’ve got health gate back, the capstone serves its entire purpose and Vampyr would do something. Hell, I might even be forced to do that depending on what Wotan the Invincible and future raid bosses are like to fight!

But in making those changes, I’d also be diminishing the effectiveness of Desperate Measures. I’d be drastically cutting down on max shield capacity when the Big Boom Blaster usually has less than half the base capacity of shields like the Transformer to begin with, which would subsequently reduce the effectiveness of the boosters it drops in terms of shield restoration. And while Vampyr would serve a purpose, one could also argue that it becoming functional and something of a requirement when all shields are down, might not be so ideal.

If I had to say what’s perhaps the most key thing in the entire build, it’s pretty much the Big Boom Blaster Shield and the Deathless relic in conjunction. Why? Because that’s primarily what allows Moze to be a jill of all trades in the first place. The shield and its boosters are like the SoR and DW skill trees joining forces and the more shield capacity you put towards it, the more you’ll get out of your boosters.

The Blast Master COM obviously helps a lot as a total package in itself, but 2/1 Redistribution is the biggest reason for picking it which you can also replicate with a Baby Boomer or Marskman COM. Because of that, it only costs 6 skill points instead of 26 to simulate +1 Redistribution and +1 Forge, further enhancing the build’s namesake. With just 3 pieces of gear, we’ve got greater shield capacity, boosters that restore those shields (plus grenades and rockets) sufficiently and 10% ammo regen for the current magazine.

When you add all of that together, it does one very noticeable and unconventional thing that the vast majority of Moze builds out there do not do: it negates the absence of Means of Destruction and Vampyr. At least on these forums, they’re arguably the two most discussed skills not just in basic discourse and analysis but also in light of recent ‘hotfixes’ that have stirred quite a bit of commotion.

I only put +2 Vampyr in the OP purely to reflect the current COM I have on my Moze. If I found one with just +1 Redistribution and +3 Pull the Holy Pin with better passives, then I’d definitely swap to that. While Vampyr is indeed one of her best skills on top of being her only health regen skill, part of this build’s identity is in showing that actually it’s not the end of the world if you don’t have enough points for Vampyr as Moze can be tanky as hell without it.

I think I’ve already exhausted all splash damage weapons that spring to mind, but I might test other weapons without splash seeing as the Blast Master COM is a legendary and not 100% required for this type of build to function. If I’m super bored, I might go on an extensive hunt for which weapons seem like the best out of their non-unique categories. Example: I tested Dahl pistols a while back and took a liking to the Falcon; it does noticeably more damage per bullet than the Raptor or Shrike.

As for the Proton Rifle, without a doubt it’s my favourite non-unique weapon in the game and that’s coming from someone who was a Cost Effective Q-system hoarder whenever I was levelling up characters in normal mode! Mine isn’t even optimal because the mag size of 14 significantly lowers the damage potential, and yet it still wrecks mobs.

For me, the dream Proton Rifle is a fire + corrosive one (preferably with an anointed bonus of shock/radiation damage in the next two mags after ASE) with a mag size of 10 - it’s only 100-200 damage less on the card than the heaviest hitting variant, but you still get 1 bullet regen per second with 2/1 Redistribution. Please RNGesus, let such a thing exist!

It’s been a WIP for quite a while now but after copious amounts of theorycrafting and testing down to the finest details, I’ve finally updated my old JotA build in order to tackle all content on Mayhem 4. Without further ado, I present Siberian Nuclear Winter! Here are the list of changes compared to the previous version of the build:

  • Changed build title from Jill of all Trades to Siberian Nuclear Winter
  • Included red text for the build - Nuclear winter is coming.
  • Included a Primary Loadout section
  • Included an Extra Gear section
  • Replaced the Laser Sploder with the Lucky 7
  • Replaced the Proton Rifle with the ION CANNON
  • Replaced the Hex with the Tracker
  • Replaced the Deathless with the Last Stand Victory Rush
  • Replaced Corrosive Sabot Round with Capacitive Armature for Action Skill Augment #1
  • Replaced Minigun with Railgun + Corrosive Sabot Round for Action Skill Augment #2
  • Removed -5 skill points from Scorching RPMs
  • Removed -1 skill point from Thin Red Line
  • Removed -3 skill points from Vladof Ingenuity
  • Added +1 skill point to Full Can of Whoop-Ass
  • Added +1 skill point to Fire in the Skag Den
  • Added +3 skill points to Grizzled
  • Added +3 skill points to Means of Destruction
  • Added +1 skill point to Auto Bear

Because of the holidays, it might be weeks before I’m able to get the spare time to focus on recording some videos of this build in action, and I’m still looking for one or two better versions of listed gear as I’d prefer to get them first before recording any demonstrations (any Moze players who have the gear I’m looking for, I’m willing to trade btw because RNG is not being kind at all!)

I love the detailed write up and explanation!

Let me know which gear specifically you want and I’ll check what I have.


Fl4k can got all day on one clip if you get amped sevens, I was wonder how long it would take to see Moze builds capitalize on that gun.

I don’t think you lose the buff in ffyl though.

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This OP is under rated. Thanks for the write-up! I’ve been trying a variation of a maliwan allegiance build suggested by @Prismatic and it’s been wonderful in the DLC, but this adds IB back to my kit, something I’ve missed. Now I don’t know which to do!

Btw, dropping the deathless, I found a really interesting way to get hp back is if you use a bloodletter that has health Regen and a relic that does -75% hp. Paired with the BBB, you can get your base HP down to around 500 health and the shield up to 12-15k before phalanx doctrine. With the playstyle in that build, you’re also afforded a health gate. If you do get gated, you can pop IB to refill, and your max health will be back over gate by the time you exit.

Dude, this is the exact weapon loadout im running now hahahaha (even the anoinments) what are the odds??? as for skills, i’m using a mind sweeper as test class mod (but no SOR tree skills), so far, so good for me (paired with a x2 quickie for bossing). Im going to take a deep look in your build, looks rock solid!

I saw title and got sad that I must have copied the Nuclear Winter name for my Zane build. Then realized you just changed the name. Happy again

I’ll PM you specifics when I’m back in a couple of days. I’m only after two items.

What happens is that the roll always seems to turn into a critical one when you’re in FFYL, but you lose anything you had before that. I always roll mine for a 7 and splash damage minimum, and I seemingly lose them every single time I fall into FFYL.

My previous build didn’t really use Iron Bear much at all, it was more focused on making Moze self-sufficient. But Auto Bear is such a godsend for simultaneously getting Iron Bear more involved (and added DPS for having IB out alongside Moze) and getting greatly-reduced cooldown for more uptime on anointment bonuses.

After giving up on farming for it, I found a Knifedrain Loaded Dice a couple of days ago which would be great with the Facepuncher for a build such as the one you’ve got, but I prefer a relic with Last Stand compared to the stop gap shield and/or bloodletter as it requires far less maintenance.

In terms of raw DPS, splash damage, mag size and ammo regen mixed with the bonus splash damage from the class mod, these are quite possibly the 4 best weapons for their respective categories. The anointment bonuses are my personal recommendations though, that’s not to say my exact gear is like that right now. For example, I’ve had a few drops for Kyb’s Worth so far but none of mine are anointed unfortunately.

I changed the name a while back, I had no idea that you had a Zane build of the same name. Zane’s the only VH I’ve yet to play, waiting on a friend to pick up BL3 so I can play as him in coop. So apart from the odd recommended youtube video or the occasional glance at one or two Zane threads from the main forum page, I’ve not really played or looked at Zane in great detail yet. Having said that, I already know what I want to do with him when I get him to lvl 50!