Fl4k's 4th Skill Tree Thoughts

Amen @Ratore

I was clinging onto hope with the 4th tree that they might actually make something that really helped our pets. But after seeing the amount of though invested in yet another “Supremely Powerful” COM I think it’s about time I take a recess from this game.


As always on point, @Ratore
But bad. Very, very bad and an inmeasurable loss for the community of Fl4k.
Now Fl4 bad for real.


Forgive me quoting out of turn here.

@Noelle_GBX I think the above summarizes (at least those of us in this thread, but you’ll see a similar sentiment around Reddit and Youtube as well) how we feel about the new tree.

I’m so glad I’ll finally be able to run a pet build for endgame content, but the cost of that is so great for seemingly no reason. Moze and Zane have access to powerful summons AND get to keep their damage, while FL4K needs to give up most of their damage for a pet that may just equal Clone/AutoBear, while FL4K themselves lose massively in terms of damage and survivability to those VHs.

FL4K’s skill trees up to this point suggested that you and the pet grew stronger together, and the pet gained damage from many of the same skills you did. The pitfall of pet builds up to this point was that meant you essentially had to play FL4K as normal to get pet damage bonuses, and then manage the pet on top for max damage. It was a lot of work for little reward.

As much as I love the pet power from the new tree, it gives us that power at the expense of making FL4K themselves boring and weak. As much as I hate to bring up this dreaded conversation, we’ve basically been given an AFK pet build that guts our personal damage, which seemingly goes against the previous (admittedly speculative) intention of the skills.

If the tree had just one or two more damage skills (I’d strongly suggest making Keep Them Safe a damage skill instead of a shield restore) to help align it with the other trees I think that would go a long way.


Yup. That was worst com I’ve ever seen. J thought the con would be great for the 200% fire buff terror anoint that’s out right now. But with skills like that, its worthless


If it boosted Gotta Go Fast, Success Imminent and Monkey Do it would have some potential for pet builds. The QoL offered by automatic AC will be most welcome for pet builds, however PETS. NEED. MORE. DAMAGE. for this to ever work.


To have this on hand for future reference, I’ll refer back to this post breaking down attack command damage over their 16 second cool down compared to basic attack damage.

Essentially, 75% of the pet’s attack commands are horribly outdamaged by basic attacks.

Taking melee attack commands for Horned skag for instance (which were largely nerfed in the 7/23 patch):

Basic attacks deal about 5000 damage and go off once per second. 6 seconds of basics would deal 30,000 damage.
Now add in the attack command, which deals 10,000 damage. You would tack on an extra 5k to get 35,000 damage. Even if we include Sic Em to bring it up to 13,000 damage for a total of 38,000 damage, you gain a whopping 27% total pet damage by being able to spam attack commands every 6 seconds at the cost of no other damage skills being boosted for you and the pet.


I encourage people to post their edits of the new skill tree with changes they think would improve them. Drop a like for the edits you find spiffy. I’ll start with my changes. Skill by Skill.

Gotta Go Fast: Both Fl4k and their pet gain movement speed. Additionally when Fl4k’s pet scores a critical hit, both Fl4k and their pet gain additional movement speed and damage.
Movement speed:+2%
Movement Speed after Crit: +2%
Fl4k and Pet damage after Crit: +10%
Crit bonuses can stack up to 5 times.

Success Imminent: Fine as is.

Agility Training: Fl4k and their pet gain increased Reload Speed.
Additionally the first shot after reloading will automatically be a Crit dealing reduced damage.
Reload Speed:+8%
Crit damage after Reload:-50%

Better Toys: Fine as is.

Combat Vet-> (MONKEY SEE!): When Fl4k damages the same enemy their pet is attacking, the pet’s next attack will deal bonus damage based on the damage dealt by Fl4k. Additionally Fl4k’s pet will gain a portion of the damage dealt as shields.
Bonus Damage: 20% of Fl4k’s damage
Bonus Shields: 5% of damage dealt
Cooldown: 1 second

Thraotripper Fine as is. I’d probably move it to tier 1 as it is important for the functionality of the entire tree. Maybe switch it with Agility training since there’s already a reload buffing skill in a tier 1 position (second intentions).

LETHAL FORCE AUTHORIZED: If it must exist, it’s fine as is.

Take This: Fine as is.

Monkey Do!: Fine as is

Wooly Armor: While Fl4k’s shields are full, Fl4k’s pet gains Damage Reduction. While Fl4k’s pet’s shields are full, Fl4k gains increased Critical Hit damage. Additionally, while both Fl4k and their pet’s shields are active, Fl4k’s and their pets’ shields have a chance to reflect enemy bullets.
Damage Reduction: +75%
Bonus Critical Hit damage: +50%
Reflect Chance while shields are active: +10%

Not Even a Challenge: Fine as is

Fuzzy Math: Fine as is.

Keep them safe: Completely replace this. Unneeded and redundant and infuriating. The fact that THIS skill above all others was put on the mod is a bit annoying. What would I replace it with? I’d replace it with…

Clay Pigeons (or something): Fl4k and their pet gain increased damage and fire rate when attacking an airborne enemy.
Enemies killed by a critical hit while Airborne will explode dealing damage to nearby enemies.
Bonus Damage: +20%
Bonus Fire rate: +7%
Explosion damage Level 1
5 point skill. This is to tie the skill with the Action Skill (Gravity Trap) which knocks up enemies. It’s also generic enough to be used without the Gravity Trap, yet the trap would allow for it to be used more effectively.

Capacitance: REPLACE THIS. Unneeded and a disgustingly tone-death capstone (w.e that means). I’d replace it with…
Death Cometh: While Fl4k’s shields are depleted, when they or their pet scores a Critical Hit, a portion of the damage bypasses enemy Shields and Armor.
If Fl4k or their pet attacks a non-shielded/armored enemy, they’ll deal bonus Critical Hit damage.
Crit Damage that bypasses shields/armor: 50%
Bonus Crit damage on unshielded/armored enemies: +20%

Capstone is pure damage BUT it still deals with shield management and Critical Hit damage.

Class Mod:
Effect: After Fl4k or their Pet kills an enemy with a Critical Hit, Their Critical Hits will deal bonus Radiation damage for a short time.
Bonus damage as Radiation Damage: 20%
Duration: 10secs

That’s my rework. Might not be perfect buuuuut

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I’d just suggest some minor changes to some of the present skills. Not everything needs to be amazing, I get that, but we can do much better even with what is here.

  1. Gotta Go Fast - apply the movement speed to FL4K
  2. Not Even a Challenge - add crit or gun damage to the skill as well. Something like 8% crit per stack.
  3. Keep Them Safe - Replace the shield restore with a 12 second gun damage buff.

Just adding a bit of FL4K damage to this tree in the lower half would make it a much better option for deep investment.


Gearbox is probably not going to make any major changes to the skill tree, at least in the mechanical way each skill functions. It takes more effort and we really haven’t seen them do any major overhauls of skills. Balancing has mostly been about adjusting values.
Small adjustments may only band-aid this tree together, but it would probably make it good enough. It really only needs to squeeze in a bit more damage for Fl4k to balance out how much they lose by investing in this tree. Most of the skills in the tree are fine individually anyways, they just don’t quite come together for Fl4k themself.

Change the stats boosted by Better Toys maybe a small V1 Damage bonus and some Shock+Rad resistance to keep the shield focus.
Throw in some small bonuses for Fl4k on Lethal Force and Wooly Armor.
And make Keep Them Safe something other than a shield fill and remove the under half shield condition.


Well 10 days left. I’m a bit nervous. Part of me is hoping the devs have seen this thread and thought of something, but part of me is laughing at the other part. Lol


Even if GB adds alot of damage, it will just seem out of place and not be integrated to the fundamental design of the skilltree. But I guess that’s the best we can hope for at this point.

I think the most organic changes would be:

  • Gotta Go Fast: Add Fl4k damage and movement speed
  • Throatripper: Give Fl4k 6% Crit damage per level
  • Combat Vet: Give Fl4k at 30% flat damage boost if he is attacking the same enemy
  • Not Even A Challenge: Allow for both Fl4k and pet kills to proc this. Increase duration to 20s. Add 7% damage per stack
  • Monkey Do: Increase it to 30% per level - I assume this will be additive gun damage, so it needs to be way stronger for a single shot.
  • Keep Them Safe: Remove the cooldown.
  • Capacitance: Add a 30% universal damage boost for Fl4k and pets. This would make the new COM a little more desirable. And reduce the cooldown to 8s.

Thiccfila was saying it may be some kind of post add amp bonus, like the Shield Break Amp anointment.

That is effectively additive gun damage. Way that anointment works is that it takes your shield capacity and divides by your base weapon damage and adds it to the gun damage formula.

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But it doesn’t add directly into the damage formula with other additive boosts, does it? I’ve never been very confident on how any of these post add bonuses work…

and her skill tree is the only one that’s good from bottom to top, and all the skills are in places that make sense/offer the most benefit to the player.

at no point do you “need” to take bad or useless skills just to get to the actual good stuff.
Plus while everyone else has mostly cooldown rate etc. she has meaningful damage.
Not just stacking the same type of bonuses already done better in other trees.

I feel this is needed: @Noelle_GBX

I had to come back to this. It keeps growing on me and I have very strong feelings about @Ratore leaving Borderlands 3 behind. And it’s not the good kind of feelings.

What Ratore wrote was some kind of goodbye letter. A sad one at that. And also a deep and not so obvious love letter to Fl4k:

You’re goddam right: This is Fl4k, and I fell in love with that freakish robot the minute I discovered them! And you, Ratore, seem to share that same strange love/interest. Maybe that’s why I always felt connected to you, man! One might call me a fanboy of yours. I don’t care!

What I do care about: I cannot believe Gearbox did really manage to drive away @Ratore from the game.
I might not be able to verbalise adequately why this is so terribly inconceivable! This is madness to me, to say the least!
Somehow Gbx did not only apply a double standard to the new skill trees and new coms that inevitably forces Fl4k into an unnatural bottom-of-the-list-position but they also did this (or are about to do so) in a way that shows Gbx does not truly “feel” Fl4k nor does it know what Fl4k and their community is all about. They seemingly just tried to fix issues that cannot be fixed in the way they did it. And they don’t seem to even comprehend the actual issues Fl4k have.

But Ratore said it way better than me. And this post is about the fact that all this drove away @Ratore.

For the uninitiated a quick sum-up of who Ratore is and what he means to Borderlands:

He is thee person to drive Fl4k theorycrafting all around the community (forums, discord etc) as well as the most knowledgeable person on all things Fl4k. And he doesn’t keep this knowledge to himself. By the way, I don’t mean to diminish the work of people like @nodreamsonlygoals, @Lazydata or the numerous people he worked with!

Ratore did not only (co-)create the most defining builds with the Gunboy build (Dakquans thread), the 3-Shot-Fade Away build (w/ Dakquan), the Flauncher build, Punchbot (with Lazy), Rakk Stab (w/ Quag) and various Rakk Attack builds but he’s also one of two people (together with Quag) to maintain the Fl4k endgame builds resource. And he does all this time-consuming work for us. And for Gearbox’s game! … he did do this until the purple mess arrived!

To give alittle more context on how he pointed out flawed interactions while also giving informed tips on how they could be improved:

Fl4k skills, pets, class mods: what could change
Fl4k’s predetermined skills
Fade-Away, Hidden Machine, Enemy targeting

Or the mighty damage formula thread:
Fl4k damage formula

So, he does (did) it all: Finding stuff out, testing it thoroughly and spreading the word. Fl4k players all around the world are playing on premises that he (co-)discovered!

Let’s all hope that Gbx manages to spark his interest in this game as soon as possible by going in the right direction. We as a community pointed at the right direction in various threads.
The game, at least to me, will be more stale than before without Ratore! I always felt like @Ratore got my back when playing the game, when finding bugs that almost killed the game for me or when just being frustrated by coms, skills, hotfixes …

And now even his kinda funny profile claim sadly comes true in a not so funny way: “I don’t really play this game” …
As I already said: Fl4 bad. From now on they sure are!


Wait did I miss something? Was Fuzzy Math nerfed?

When Fl4k’s tree was partially shown at the Pax showcase, Fuzzy Math was 6% per level while it is 3% now.


+27% Pet Damage is the payout for a DLC COM. Let’s do a quick check, Deadeye offers a multiplicative 35% bonus to all sources and boosts Go For The Eyes. While GFTE is a PITA to try to capitalize on, it is one of the highest bonuses available for pets.

A well rolled T4mer offers better payout than this new COM.


This thread in general is just sad. Maybe there will be some interaction we hadn’t anticipated or something. But I am not holding out hope. Not encouraged by what I have seen from the new skill tree.