Fl4k's 4th Skill Tree Thoughts

I have failed for the last time (I’m faster to the draw with Prequel memes :yum:).

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Amara gets a COM that probably gives her at least +600% multiplicative damage on a consistent basis (even ignoring artifact shenanigans). Meanwhile Fl4k gets a COM that gives him a 20% chance to activate Attack Command.

Yeah, I mean clearly GB aren’t playing favorites.


It would seem like any semblance of balance, including overly nonsensical tradeoffs balance, has only been applied to FL4K and, ironically enough, Moze’s new trees/mods. For some reason we have to give up a ridiculous amount of things to get a big shield because apparently that means some kind of overpowered survival.

A quick reality check: in what way does a shield win for survivability when up against massive health regen or lifesteal that justifies gutting our damage for it? Why is that logic only applied to FL4K? What happened to the excellent hunter-robot themed design of the other trees that gave us some of the most interesting synergies in any borderlands game? What happened to the not so obvious but kinda obvious health regen self-repairing robot theme? Why so many recycled skills? Why are all these things also player requested suggestions for a year that would have actually completed blue tree as a very nice pet + FL4K centered theme? Can someone look at Throatripper and just accept Go For The Eyes existed like that for all this time?

I was expecting bandaid solutions for Zane and Amara: they have the most flawed design in this game and something was definitely going to be addressed through these trees. But it is ridiculous, they were just skyrocketed into representing everything that is wrong with endgame balance. They got everything and much more.

The core design of FL4K remains the undisputed best of this game, and I easily state this as fact with 0 worries. There was always variety, choices and tradeoffs, even if Megavore is just assumed (and even no Megavore is something we have successfuly incorporated into meta setups already, with actual damage advantages to them), and it remains so. With that came a great damage formula spread and decent enough survivability. But it slowly grows pointless from an optimization standpoint to stay on FL4K, at least for a partial amount of setups. In a way it just makes it better, because by now FL4K has just shown us how actual good design lasts and triumphs through all the problems this game faces.

Yet that doesn’t really cancel out the problem with current things: not only has the mayhem scaling problem on certain skills/items been made worse, we’ve managed to surpass it through sheer busted skill tree shenanigans on the new trees. What this means for me is that FL4K is the only actually interesting character remaining to theorycraft on, but at the same time it all just kills any actual interest because the game balance is completely out of its own already broken reality, and all the hopes I had for new theorycrafting were crushed into a purple mess where we just abuse mayhem scaled shields on a pet with bad AI, and I say that as someone who, like many others, started on FL4K last year with a pet build for their end goal, but quickly had their dreams ruined.

In short, it just means I’m finally done with the game way sooner than I expected, and have no intention of coming back to it until a good amount of time has passed for my interest to spark again. I wish good luck for anyone trying to make the best out the new stuff, and I’m sure there’s cool things to be found even when it all looks so meh, since after all this is still FL4K.


I feel Gearbox is just punishing Fl4k players for even playing this particular class at this point. The difference in ability given to Amara/Zane and Fl4k is so obvious and baffling it feels like spite.

Fl4k’s the only class which could be argued to be relatively weaker now than when the game was first released.


“Why is that logic only applied to FL4K?” basically sums up the absurd double standards in balance decisions (buffs and nerfs) made over the past year.


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.