Confusion about Anointments & Builds

I think there’s some confusion here. I’m not stipulating there’s a “correct” way to play. If it sounds like I am, it’s my mistake.

I know what my goal is and I know how much free time I have. I’m trying to avoid wasting time doing things randomly, as I’ve done in previous BL games.

One point I’ve grasped spending countless hours with all of these games is that it’s good to know essentials ahead of time (like, say, not leveling past 50 too much before starting UVHM in BL2; or not farming Sandhawks before max level unless you want to repeat the whole DLC until that point; etc.). If other people like to discover such things randomly, more power to them. They’re not incorrect. It’s just not something I have either the will or the time for.

My m.o. is to learn what I need to know ahead of time so as to have a rough roadmap of what to do, what to avoid, and what to look for in gear, so as to get to what I really enjoy in these games - full builds at max level - as fast as possible.

There is no way I’d be able to randomly mess around with anointments, a billion legendaries, a thousand builds, all while leveling up and trying to absorb where to get what, when, and why, without retiring and sending my family on a long vacation. Not to put too fine a point on it.

Ah, ok. I think I know what you’re referring to - Proving Grounds, right? I’m in the process of discovering them all. I did Arms Race yesterday just to see what it was all about (you level up pretty fast there, surprisingly). Might give the trials a go this weekend.

Well said.

@Sejanus If you don’t have the Hollow Point or Overkill Guardian Rank perks, those two specifically are extraordinarily powerful. It’s my personal opinion that GBX designed BL3’s skill trees around the GR perks, because you can see how synergistically they work with all 4 VH’s skill trees. Make sure you play enough to grab those, at the very least.


I’m not a build expert and typically don’t follow Meta/streamers/… - I think I first maxed out a damage-focused GR tree (left one?) or at least grabbed things that looked ‘important’.

I wish they added more stuff to GR - these are pretty nice IMHO, a nice separate progression tree.

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People take it for granted, but this skill is the cornerstone of so many builds that no one mentions. The whole meta for nearly every build on every char revolves around this skill. It gives you 200% cool down rate while your shield is full, effectively making almost any action skill a sub-10 second cool down. Especially for Amara, who has long cool downs on Phasecast and Slam, it is so important to get this perk for QOL.


Thanks for the advice. Would never have known that otherwise. I just assumed GR was less integral to builds, like BAR. Had no idea about the function they serve for many players.

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Got it. Will begin working toward Topped Off, along with Hollow Point and the other one mentioned above. And yes, I HATE the cooldown on her AS. It drives me crazy.

Ok, so here’s where I am.

In the process of cleaning up some trophies yesterday, I did all of the Proving Grounds and one of the Takedowns. I failed the second Takedown a few times and got annoyed with having to start at the beginning, and rage quit.

But I leveled up very fast doing all of that, and I’m now at level 68. I anticipate getting to 72 tonight, and in anticipation of that, I want to ask some specific questions, to see if you have any advice.

  1. I have noticed that 99% of the COMs I get look like trash. Even the legendary ones. This is probably a sign that I don’t understand the power of certain skills when they’re boosted. Earlier in the game I found a legendary Nimbus COM that I’ve never seen again (the prefix) which boosted the red tree, including Conflux. Now I’m running a purple COM which boosts three skills in the Rush tree and has passives I really like.

I’m looking for something better but even from the Proving Grounds haven’t been able to find anything that looks acceptable.

What do you recommend I keep an eye out for, whether as a good all-purpose COM or one specifically for Hellzerker? What skills should I prioritze boosting?

  1. Relics I don’t know either. One question I have is whether the ones that boost elemental damage overall are better or as good as ones that boost specific elements. I’m running a legendary Otto Idol, I think, which boosts Radiation and has some good passives.

Should I just run with a Pearl when I get one? If so, what passives should I look for?

  1. With respect to anointments, I saw some people saying they run with the same anoints on all their weapons. Given what I’m going for - Hellzerker - is that a good or bad idea?

As of now, I’m running with ASE Radiation on my shield and ASE Cryo on my grenade. Then, taking advice from others here, I made sure to get guns with some form of gun damage boost - consecutive hits, ASA damage +100% (or whatever it is), stuff like that.

  1. Guardian Ranks are very slow going. I’m not sure how long I’ll have to play until I can even get three of the skills recommended to me here, much less filling it out as others seem to do.

Is there any way to speed up the GR process? I don’t care if it’s cheese. I like cheese.

  1. I don’t quite understand how Vault Cards work, since I haven’t opened any chests yet (I want to wait till max level). I have an idea of things I’d like to buy - Shlooter, Troubleshooter, Guardian Angel, etc. - but how exactly do I get keys? Does opening a chest automatically give you a key, or do they give you items as well?

(Anyone can chime in on any of this if you have something to add.)

That is unfortunately very normal. 99.9% of the COMs and artifacts you find will be pretty trashy.

In general, unless it is a phasezerker for most builds (Muse/Kensei/Driver for others) you care far more about the passives on the COM than the skills. A Breaker COM with weapon damage, SMG, and crit will be much better than a Stone with Tediore Fire Rate, reload speed, and shield recharge.

Some COMs, like Phasezerker and Driver, get their power from the legendary effect, in which case you can get away with worse passives than other COMs. The skills on a Phasezerker don’t really matter, but Driver needs +3 in Mindfullness or as many as you can get.

Elemental damage can only roll as single element boosting passive bonuses, unless you mean Atom Balm or Elemental Projector prefixes, in which case those being worthwhile will depend on your build. They definitely aren’t bad though, they’re pretty good most of the time.

Yes, for the most part Pearl is easy damage even without good passive. Mag size and fire rate are good ones for it.

Nothing wrong with it. Some weapons do much better with some anoints in specific situations (you wouldn’t use a 150/90 hellwalker for mobbing or a Kill stack Kickcharger for bossing).

Scraptrap, Ruiner, and circles of Slaughter are generally decent ways to farm GR.

Opening chests give you keys. You can open chests by completing the daily and weekly challenges.

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Well, at least my BL spidey senses aren’t totally off for this game. But you telling me passives are, generally speaking, more important than skill boosts on COMs is a freaking revelation to me. You can probably see why my old school BL brain is having trouble processing that.

I’m extremely relieved someone told me that. It’s news to me.

Yeah, that’s what I meant. I just don’t know the names yet. I have one legendary relic that gives all these boosts to radiation, and another purple one that just says something like “Elemental bonus: 92%” I was just wondering if there was a consensus on which is to be preferred, though I couls guess it would depend on what you’re going for build-wise.

Good to know. I don’t mean to press you for info. too hard, but out of curiosity, do people farm quest rewards like the Pearl in this game, or is it not possible?

Gotcha. Makes sense. I’m just starting to absorb the damage formula, but there’s still a lot flying far over my head. I have a feeling if I just keep forcing myself to deal with it, I’ll understand it better just due to familiarity.

Thanks for that. Wasn’t sure if keys were the standard content of chests.

You can farm quest rewards with read only farming or by sav quitting if you are on console. If you have previous gen console load times though, it can be a tremendous pain.

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I’m on PS4, and I already feel like I’ve spent more time on loading screens than actually playing the game. It usually takes between 3-5 minutes just to get from opening the game to beginning to control her in-game. I haven’t counted the number of times Claptrap dances across the screen, but I’ve got to think it’s around 10.

I’m sure it will be a tremendous pain. I might try a handful of times and see if I get lucky, nonetheless. My tolerance will undoubtedly be low.

@boombumr You cannot farm quest rewards in BL3 on console, unless it’s by some method I don’t know. It doesn’t work like BL2 - you can’t look at the quest reward and then dashboard. If you have a mailed quest reward, you can accept it multiple times using the mail glitch, but you can’t dashboard farm mission completion quest rewards in BL3 on console otherwise.

I think you can somehow farm quest rewards if you upload your save to cloud first? But it doesn’t work like in BL2.

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Thanks for the heads up. I was worried about that and it’s good to know ahead of time.

Sorry didn’t check in yesterday, but Boom and Tyson have you covered pretty well it seems.
Re: XP, the Borderlands Science machine has an XP booster, and there are Moxxi’s Endowment relics should you luck out on good passives on one. Someone can correct me if I’m wrong but I would expect them to apply to GR and Vault Card XP. I like having the cartels event on, even if I’m not doing the mission, because the extra spawns mean more XP (including badasses and occasional minibosses).
On Amara the annointments I’d look out for in no particular order are:
–Consecutive Hits (this one is a bit misleading since any damage counts, not just hitting shots, so it stacks quite quickly)
–Next 2 Mags 100% bonus element
–“Kill Stack” (kills stack gun damage and reload speed)
–“Urad” (100% radiation damage under 50% health) this is a good one for FFYL guns

Otto idol is a good relic, worth hanging onto until you find one more damage focused.
ASE radiation is a great annointment for shield/grenade. It’s helpful to have options opposite radiation that you can cater to your opponents (for example Wotan, the final boss for the Maliwan Takedown, resists cryo, so a corrosive annointment is going to get you further).

Good luck getting to max level and the filling out your gear when you get there. This is my favorite entry in the BL series and I’m happy to help others try and find the enjoyment I’ve gotten from it.

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Excellent. I prefer to have advocates for the game help me out; you’ll have more things to inform me of, and more stuff to let me know I might enjoy.

I got to 72 last night and immediately began farming up some basic Mayhem 10 gear in preparation for doing the DLC. I’m hoping I can get away with an approximation of Lazy’s Hellzerker build. First things first, though, I need to farm up a ton of eridium so I can reroll some anointments. I ran out of eridium rerolling my Hellwalker and ended up with a “Next two mags - 100% radiation” anoint, which seems pretty dumb on a Hellwalker (it basically means “next two shots” on that gun).

I managed to finish the Guardian Takedown, but it was not an encouraging victory. I was using Mayhem 10 weapons on level 72 non-Mayhem enemies, and I still found it hard as hell. Not so much killing things, but staying alive. I gather that my shield was too underleveled (lv 69 or so). Or maybe that’s just the way it is.

Either way, I couldn’t imagine doing that on Mayhem 11 without the meta of the meta gear.

But yeah, that’s been by far the hardest thing I’ve done in this game. Actually, no - I’m wrong. The hardest thing I’ve done was getting a perfect score on normal mode on the shooting range. Guardian Takedown was second hardest. I found it easier to solo Voracidous with Maya than I did to get a perfect score at the shooting range.

Aiming precisely and rapidly on PS4 is the ultimate challenge, apparently.

Hopefully, anyway, I’ll be able to manage in Mayhem 11 throughout the DLCs, get myself some good gear (I need Lightshows and a Pearl, at least), and some major XP. That’s my next order of business. Once I get all the content done and see the sights, I’ll get more focused on farming and learning bossing and all of that. Still in the early going of learning what the hell I’m doing for now.

But you and others here have been a massive help.

–Ah, one question. Would you modify anything in Lazy Data’s build? I’m worried about survivability, so what I’m running with now goes very deep into the green tree (all the way down to Mindfulness). I skimped on the purple tree entirely; Lazy takes the splash/projectile speed skill. I’ve got nothing in Conflux and only one poin apiece in Anima and Infusion. I’ve also got nothing in Wildfire.

I was just trying to follow the ratings of skills on the analysis post here in the Forums, but what I ended up with wasn’t too close to Hellzerker. I’m pretty sure it’s gonna crash and burn at Mayhem 11, so I’m looking for advice, a build you run, a skill I must never pass up that I might overlook, whatever.

I wouldn’t. Lazy is next level when it comes to Amara. IIRC, he discusses in his videos where you can do some give/take, but it’s a build that he’s used since release and it really hasn’t changed significantly through balance changes and a new tree.

Since you’re main damage is Ties and guns, green and purple don’t do much.
Red has some key skills (Indiscriminate, Sustainment, capstone) but a lot of “dead” points that aren’t adding much but get you down the tree.
Blue almost has too much good stuff, over-speccing a tree can be seen as a bad thing in other BLs (and even for others in BL3) but it’s worth it for Amara given what you get.

Amara builds I run that use guns almost inevitably end up looking like Hellzerker. I’ve also tried to mimic a few in the build doc. Hard to find one with the gear diversity of Hellzerker.

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And that is why I gravitated toward Hellzerker. Don’t know if you’d saw the TPS threads I created the past six months or so, but I’m all about gear diversity.

On your vouching for LD, I’ll just go ahead an imitate his build exactly (skill points-wise, anyway; I don’t have much gear now, as noted). I’ll see if I feel I need to trade a little of this for a little of that. Sometimes for a given play style/ability ceiling the strangest things can make all the difference.

Off we go.

I hope I’m not annoying you by asking questions like a five year old. Once I get a little firmer grasp on things I’ll stop pestering you - promise.

So my issue here is probably fairly complicated, which is why I need to ask someone who can really look at the guts of what I’m running with and tell me how to improve it.

Context: running Handsome Jackpot in Mayhem 11, Hellzerker Amara.

Here’s what I’ve got equipped. Bear in mind I don’t have a lot of gear, so if you’re wondering “Why not just use x?”, the answer is probably, “I don’t have one.”


Skullmasher N2M Radiation
Hellwalker N2M Cryo
Free Radical ASE 100%
Plasma Coil N2M Radiaion


Fast-Acting Stop-Gap, ASS trigger shield effects


Cloning Hex ASE Corrosive


Punishing Lasting Dragon w/ Weapon Crit, Jakobs Crit, and Mag Size


Dead Eye Atom Balm w/ Pistol Damage, Cryo Damage, and Reload Speed.

I was running with a different grenade and anointment, for the record, but the loaders in the Handsome Jackpot necessitated corrosion, and I don’t have any corrosive weapons outside of a Reflux.

Now, the problem.

For general mobbing, I do fine. Free Radical is by far the best; Hellwalker works situationally against fleshy enemies; Plasma Coil is effective but slow. Skullmasher rarely does much - I just don’t have anything better to put there.

The weird thing is that as soon as I encounter a level 73 enemy - be it a Goliath or some other Badass - my damage absolutely craters. Whereas an ordinary enemy would take me 2-5 seconds to kill, a Badass will take 20-30 seconds. I’ve spammed upwards of 80-100 Hellwalker rounds in some of them (even landing crits half the time). The only weapon I can kill them with reliably is the Free Radical.

I’m not having difficulty surviving since Sustainment basically allows me to face tank enemies for as long as I need. It’s the damage. I’m not getting enough, apparently.

This worries me because I have the sense that if I can’t handle Badasses very well, bosses, I fear, are going to destroy me.

Another weird thing I have to mention. The Reflux is supposed to be a good weapon but here it does nothing. Free Radical, despite not being corrosive, vastly outperforms it every time against armored enemies. I don’t understand that. A powerful corrosive shotgun with a corrosive bonus from my grenade anoint should do better, shouldn’t it?

Weird stuff like that is what makes me think I’m doing something wrong.

A final piece of info. is that I’d normally run with your standard Re-Volter set up, but I ran out eridium before I could get the proper anointment on mine. So I chose to go with the Stop-Gap making me essentially invincible during my Phasegrasp and afterwards when my shield breaks. I gather I’m probably losing a good deal of damage there.

I suspect as well that my COM isn’t good. I chose it because of the passives. Here are the other ones I have:

Aware Golden Rule w/ weapon fire rate, Maliwan accuracy, and Maliwan fire rate

Primordial Spectral Phasezerker w/ splash damage radius, Maliwan accuracy, and pistol damage

Rope-a-Dope Solitary Breaker w/ Jakobs crit, SMG damage, and max health

Torturous Vestigial Dragon w/ pistol damage, melee damage, and Jakobs crit

I go into this level of detail so you can have a look and tell me if you think I’ve made the right choice in running with my Punishing Lasting Dragon and its passives (weapon crit, Jakobs crit, and mag size).

I’m looking at the interactions here, and I don’t see much that should be causing problems. I thought I had my bases pretty well covered. Seems I’ve miscalculated.

Ignoring reload speed and mag size buffs, here’s the lay of the land as far as bonuses/anoints go:

Skullmasher gets N2M radiation, ASE corrosive, Jakobs crit, and weapon crit

Hellwalker gets N2M cryo, +28% cryo from the relic, ASE corrosive, Jakobs crit, and weapon crit.

Free Radical gets ASE +100%, weapon crit, pistol damage, and ASE corrosive

Plasma Coil gets N2M radiation, radiation bonuses from the Atom Balm, weapon crit, and ASE corrosive

It’s a mystery to me why my Jakobs weapons are so weak. Sometimes, sporadically, they can do some damage, but they’re not reliable enough to be…well, relied upon.

The Plasma Coil is a mystery to me as well. The rad bonuses plus the extra corrosion should make it beastly, but it’s clearly a tier below the Free Radical.

Whew. I know I’ve dumped a lot on your plate here, but I trust you understand why I did so. I need to understand precisely where I’m messing up and what I’m not understanding. Clearly some of my assumptions are wrong.

As soon I see badasses taking less than 20-30 seconds to kill, I’ll know I’ve finally begun to Know Some Things.

(As usual, anyone can feel free to chime in with advice.)

No worries on the questions. Happy to help.

I’d try switching to the phasezerker to see if that feels better. the red text effect gives you gun damage and cool down, which will probably overcome the shortcomings in passives.

That said the passives you have aren’t bad on the zerker, especially for that radical. Splash radius will boost radsplosions which will help spread damage. Switching to the revolver will help a lot too once the AS start annointment is in place.

I’d also switch to ASE rad on you grenade. It will be the best source of radiation dots for the radsplosions, which will be boosted by atom balm and splash radius. Use Amaras AS element switching to get corrosive/shock/fire in there too.

As for the guns, Jakobs really need the crits to shine. Snipers benefit a lot from the overkill gr perk too. Reflux can be challenging with amara because it’s hard to get all those pellets to crit, and Amara works best when she can crit. Free Radical will outdamage almost everything because it’s that powerful.

It sounds like you are close to getting there, though. Lots of progress in a week or so.

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