[Build] Winter is Coming | TVHM | Slaughter Shaft | MH3

• Zane “Winter is coming” Cryo Build •

Viable for all content currently in the game. Capable of solo Slaughter Shaft (video below).

I’ve put around 200 hours into Borderlands 3 mostly playing Zane with many different build versions and here is a full guide on my most succesful build so far.
If you’re looking for a strong Cryo version that is focusing around Barrier & Drone than you’re at the right place.

Solo Slaughter Shaft

• Playstyle •

This build is going to focus on fast gameplay that combines high damage with a lot of defense thanks to Barrier uptime. You’re going to be able to melt everything even with bad mayhem modifiers.

You can easily do all bosses in the game, however if you’re only looking for a boss-killer build then there are better zane builds out there. This build is mostly build around Circle of Slaughter & Proving Grounds.

• Equipment •


1. Crossroad: Overall the best SMG currently in the game. Very high rate of fire and a ton of damage. It’s going to immediately proc “Brain freeze” and has crazy burst damage when combined with “re-router” (shield).

2. Cutsman: Probably the best all around Boss-killer weapon for Zane thanks to our “Playing Dirty” talent. Not that great for normal enemies because the travel time is high but make sure to use this gun for Anointed enemies & bosses.

3. Optional: Personal preference

3. Optional: Personal preference


1. MIRV Hex: Great synergy since we’re focusing on Cryo/freezing enemies. Any MIRV nade is good but a cryo version is going to help freezing multiple targets at once.

2. Storm Front: If you’re having a hard time with shielded enemies make sure to use one of these. The delay is a bit annoying but it’s going to melt shields.

3. Epicenter: If you feel like you don’t need a cryo MIRV nade make sure to use one of these the damage is really good and it looks cool :wink:

Shield & Class mod

1. Re-Router: Big damage boost for the Crossroad as you can see in video above it instantly destroys shields and sometimes even 2 bars at once. In theory you can use any shield you want but “Re-Router” is probably the biggest damage boost you can get out of a shield.

We don’t care about -50% shield because our goal should always be to A: maintain Barrier uptime with “Good Misfortune” or B: trust “Salvation”.

2. Executor: Highest damage unique effect. Make sure to get at least +2 for “Good Misfortune” or best case scenario 3.

In terms of stats, best in slot would be +SMG damage // +Cryo damage // +reload speed or weapon damage in general.


Slide speed is cool & all but in terms of damage this is the best artifact you can get. Use a slide speed artifact for bosses if you want.

Unique effect: Best in slot would be 60 second damage and movement speed after killing a Badass (not sure if it’s even possible to get on this Artifact).

You do not have to use the same unique effect that i am using. It’s very risky to use the same one because you’re very vulnerable if your shield isn’t up.

In terms of stats look for pure damage. +SMG damage & Cryo Damage or movement speed.

Talent tree

link: https://tinyurl.com/y4xet5qn

• Most important talents •

• Brain Freeze: 3 Points are enough, there is no point in spending 5 points.

• Best Served Cold: Damage is “meh” but it helps freezing multiple targets at once way faster and leaves a cryo field on the ground.

• Calm, Cool, Collected: Helps with overall survivability and cooldowns.

• Nanites Or Some S h ite: Mostly for reload speed and shield delay. Do not pick 10% gun damage instead. It’s not worth it.

• All-Rounder: Keeps you alive.

• Salvation: Keeps you alive. You can also spend additional 2 points here if you don’t want 1 point each in “Cold Bore” / “Violent Speed”.

• Playing Dirty: Always at least 5 points. One of the best damage source on the entire talent tree. Especially while using the Cutsman SMG.

• Good Misfortune: Keeps you alive. The faster you kill the longer your Barrier/Drone are going to be up. If you’re doing proving grounds and you have 6 points total in “Good Misfortune” the Barrier should last until you clear an entire room (unless you kill too slow).

• Bad Dose: Best drone perk thanks to Radiation damage and overall buffs for Zane.

Mayhem Modifiers

There isn’t much you have to worry about. The only thing i would not recommend would be to run crazy - damage modifiers but that should be common sense.

You can run -50% cryo efficency, you can run projectile reflect and any kind of -shield/health.

Overall this feels great even without good Anointed mods or crazy good stats on all items. As long as you have a Cryo Crossroad and a Cutsman you should be fine.

You can also use this build using Sniper rifles. I’d recommend Maliwan Alien barrel sniper rifles. fast reload time / high fire rate.

If there is any kind of problem with the links or pictures above or anything else let me know. :stuck_out_tongue:



lol and some people were telling me zane can not do slaughter shaft m3 :smiley:

god i love time proving people wrong.

i have few questions like why take violent speed instead of mag size? and why spend 3 points in best served cold it does not do dmg anyway, is not 1 enough? why not take 2 points from there and 2 points from violent speed and put those in ready for action? it helps rerouter big time.

@ Hexxusz0r I’ve been playing speed builds for too long to not put any points in movement speed :rofl: it feels weird to be slower than what i’m used to but yeah in theory 2-3 points from Hitman tree could go into mag size. But then again i usually have 2 Crossroad equipped and swap between them all the time so i would probably put them in Cold Bore instead^^.

Best served cold is at rank 3 because i mostly run Trial of Instincts which has a lot of little enemies that are annoying to aim at. While it does not do much damage against most enemies it does in fact wipe out the smaller mobs and helps with clear speed a little bit. Doesn’t do anything in Arena tho.

fair enough =))

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Very timely, given Hexxus response in my previous post (thanks!).

Where can I find a Crossroad? I don’t think I’ve ever seen it drop with my previous characters (TVHM, M3 or otherwise). Is it just a world drop, or does it come from a particular boss?

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it is a world drop


It’s a World Drop so you have to be lucky to get the right element. Cryo version is much stronger than other elements.

Great. I’m looking forward to giving this build a try tonight. I’ve got everything but the Crossroad. Will make a point to farm for it this evening. Thanks!

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The plus 70% elemental kind of negates a lot of his issues and dmg skills being broken. Granted I agree with this build as it’s 95% similar to mine (clone tree feels like a trap) and cyro crossroads is almost a requirement. Not sure I’d skip putting a point in the extra life steal on freeze vs dropping a point out of best served cold.

Nice Build. I want a cryo crossroads…

Quick question. Since you are using a re-router shield, Do you ever get the heal or action skill reset from “calm, cool, collected”?

Just tried the skilltree without pretty much any gear required, idk how is it in trials or slaughterhouse, but general tvhm m3 easy peasy ooh so breezy. For freezing I’m using Cryo Trevonator, to proc CCC a bit, mostly im using fire crossroads, and AAA for shields.

If I don’t have a cryo Crossroad, which gun would you suggest as my main weapon?

  • Cryo Night Hawkin
  • Cryo Ten Gallon
  • Cryo Lucian’s Call

Crossroads in general work well no matter the element as long as you hit crits. Cryo just is best in slot. Cryo Butcher or any of the legendary assaults are good, like Lucians and another that has a shotgun under barrel. Night Hawkin is good but way outclassed by the Crossroads. Jacobs pistols or shotguns can work well too if hitting crits.

@PrimeOP Thanks for this! I’ve been searching for a good cryo build. Now I just need to get an ice breaker artifact and a better hex grenade to drop…


Yes but you only benefit from the duration reset while doing proving grounds or open world. It only works if your damage over time effects or “best served cold” kill enemies which doesn’t happen in Slaughter Shaft because enemies are too tanky.

@ bigbearbro

Once you get your hands on a cryo Crossroad it’s gonna be even better :stuck_out_tongue:

@ patrickscahill1

Burst Night Hawkin. Full-auto works too but does less DPS and takes longer to proc “brain freeze” than a burst version.

@ chris.deiotte

Yeah all elements are fine, cryo is just way stronger than the other elements against frozen targets and does way more damage thanks to cryo benefits. Alien-barrel Maliwan cryo sniper rifles also work really well outside of Slaughter Shaft thanks to “playing dirty”.

@ 3llaC0rg1

You’re welcome. Cryo Crossroad is the most important part here. While the Artifact is really good you can easily do it without it. Same with the hex grenade.

The main benefit of combining all items is the fact that you can run bad modifiers. I’ve done Slaughter Shaft without any +damage modifiers and -50% cryo efficiency on top. May take 3-5 minutes longer per round but you don’t feel like you do 0 damage compared to most other build/gun combinations for zane right now.

@ chris.deiotte

The reason why i only have 1 point in “Salvation” is because i’m running a -75% health artifact. If 2% life steal doesn’t save me 4% wont either. However without the -75% it would probably be smarter to remove 2 points from “violent speed” and “cold bore” and use them for “Salvation” instead.

I’ll give it a try, like to try Barrier.

@PrimeOP got the artifact to drop and while the build was great without it it is amazing with it! Question about the barrier, do you leave it down or pick it up usually? It really is all about trusting the barrier. Just did a tvhm m3 cos and I only died once because of visual lag. I need to find a cryo mirv. I’m using a recurring hex radiation right now and those beams lag me out hard.

I was able to find a cryo butcher that only consumes 1 ammo. It works almost as well as the crossroads.

@ 3llaC0rg1

Against bosses you do not want to pick up the barrier but in Slaughter Shaft and Proving Grounds you have to pick it up and play aggressive to get the most benefit from “Good Misfortune” otherwise it’s a waste to spend points there. It’s not as good in Slaughter Shaft but you’ll notice it in Proving Grounds if you play aggressive the Barrier/Drone is going to last a very long time (usually an entire room).

Another benefit of playing aggressive while the Barrier is up is the fact that the Crossroad SMG is similar to a shotgun. The further away you are the less projectiles are going to hit the weak spot.

Just make sure to keep an eye on the Barrier duration in Slaughter Shaft else you might end up in a bad position.