[Guide/Build] Kodiak - The Comprehensive Iron Bear Guide

Moze’s Action Skill. At the launch of the game, it started out strong but quickly petered off
in effectiveness as you delved into the higher levels. Nowadays it is a pretty solid Action Skill instead of just a means to activating anointments or getting out of a sticky situation. But Iron Bear has many nuances you can make use of to make the mech utterly terrifying to your foes.

Tables of Contents


Armor

“Putting the ‘Iron’ in Iron Bear.”

Iron Bear can take some punishment, but Mayhem Mode can still chew through Bear’s armor rather quickly at times. At level 65 on Mayhem 10, Iron Bear’s armor is roughly 863 thousand points. So, just how far can we push the big guy’s armor? Over 6 million:


Iron Bear’s armor is largely based off of your maximum health at the time of activating your Action Skill. Things like the Deathless relic and Thin Red Line don’t affect this, but things like the “Turtle” parts on shields do as they lower your total maximum health. Any health boosts to you apply to Iron Bear as well:

  • Iron Bear’s default armor at level 65 Mayhem 10 is 863,404.
  • With one health boost from a level 65 class mod or relic - 1,079,255.
  • With five points in Stainless Steel Bear - 1,122,425.
  • With two health boosts from class mod and relic - 1,295,106.
  • With two health boosts from class mod and relic and five points in Stainless Steel Bear - 1,683,638.

We’ve effectively doubled our armor already, but that’s still a long way off from 5 million. So, now we move onto shields. Normal shields can add extra health depending on the parts, but there are a few shields that can go further:

  • The absolute best shield for boosting Bear’s armor is the legendary version of the Plus Ultra shield added in the Fustercluck DLC. Not displayed on the card, the Plus Ultra doubles your health. And it can even spawn with extra Health parts for maximum tanking.
  • An easy to obtain shield for bolstering Bear’s armor is Mendel’s Multivitamin Shield, with a solid 50% boost to health. It’s obtained as an mission reward for the “Holy Spirits” side mission. It is only obtainable once per playthrough, but it comes with fixed parts (other than possible anointments).
  • The Band of Sitorak (obtained from “The Unstoppable” enemy in the Ambermire) normally boosts health by 25%, but it can reach 50% if you get double Health parts on it. It is farmable, unlike Mendel’s Shield. It has a lot less capacity than the Mendel Shield, but the stat distribution makes it a champion for keeping the “Topped Off” Guardian Perk active.
  • The T.H.I.C.C Shield is a purple shield that spawns with three Health parts attached. The stats vary depending on which manufacturer it came from, but Hyperion variants have the most capacity out of any +50% health shield while Pangolin variants can recharge fast. Your best bet to get one would be to farm Dr. Zed vending machines.
  • Added with the “Guns, Love, and Tentacles” DLC, the Old God shield combines high capacity and elemental resistance with a passive damage boost to whatever element the shield comes with. It is able to spawn with three Health parts if you’re looking for a good shield that packs offense and defense together.

Now, some more Iron Bear armor calculations with Plus Ultra added in:

  • With Plus Ultra - 1,726,808
  • Plus Ultra with two health parts - 2,158,511.
  • With two health boosts, Plus Ultra with two health parts, and ten total points in Stainless Steel Bear - 4,144,340

4.1 million armor is impressive, but that still isn’t the titanic 6 million from earlier. There is one more way to crank Bear’s armor up, and that is reliant on an anointment. The “After exiting Iron Bear, gain 75% increased shields and health for 25 seconds.” anointment to be precise, which most shields in the game can spawn with. Remember how I said Iron Bear’s armor is based off of your max health at the time of activation? That includes the 75% health boost from this anointment, and it doesn’t wear off while using Iron Bear. You’ll want every method you can get to lower your action skill cooldown so you can hop in Iron Bear before the anointment wears off (especially the Guardian skill “Topped Off”, but I will cover that specifically later).

  • With two health boosts, Plus Ultra with two health parts, and ten total points in Stainless Steel Bear while the 75% anointment is active - 6,216,511

With 6 million armor and Bubble Bear adding 60% of your armor as a rechargeable shield, you should be able to take on damn near anything in the face and still be smiling.


Weapons

“Big. Grizzly. Claws!”

Before the Maliwan Takedown hit, Iron Bear was seldom more than an annoyance without heavily building around it. Iron Bear can dole out some considerable pain, but not all armaments are created equally. In this section I’ll breakdown Iron Bear’s weapons based on a few criteria. The rating will be out of ten :star:'s.

Damage - How much damage per individual bullet, projectile, or attack deals at level 65 on a flesh target without damage boosts from skills or gear. Expect increased incendiary damage and reduced shock/corrosive damage.
Fire Rate - How often the weapon attacks in a second without any fire rate boosts.
Magazine/Heat Rate - How often you can use the weapon before you need to reload or cool off the weapon without any boosts to ammo consumption or heat gain.
Fuel Efficiency - How much you can use the weapon before your Action Skill ends, with no boosts to total fuel or fuel consumption.
Practicality - How useful is it actually in combat.

  • Making a Splash - The Iron Bear's Damage Formula thread shows that most splash damage bonuses actually do apply while in Iron Bear (Class Mod, Artifact, Skill Bonuses). The Iron Bear weapons that can deal splash damage include all armaments in the Demolition Woman tree, as well as the Exploding Minigun, Molten Roar Salamander, Corrosive Sabot Railgun, and Wild Swing Bear Fist. If you’ve got the appropriate gear for it, you can get quite a bit more milage out of these weapons compared to their non-splash counterparts. However, increasing the splash damage of Iron Bear also increases self-damage with splash weapons (excluding the Corrosive Sabots, Hammerdown Protocol, or Wild Swing), which at Mayhem 10 can outright kill Iron Bear in a single shot.

  • On Mayhem and Bears - Since the Bounty of Blood DLC released, Iron Bear now gains increased damage the higher the Mayhem Level is set to. On the higher Mayhem levels in particular, provided you invested decently into Iron Bear’s offensive capabilities, most weapons can work to some degree. It may be worth choosing a less-damaging but more practical option in said cases.

MINIGUNS

Minigun
Damage - :star::star::star::star::star:
—149k damage per bullet.
Fire Rate - :star::star::star::star::star::star::star::star::star::star:
—16 rounds per second at maximum rotation speed.
Magazine/Heat Rate - :star::star::star::star:
—7.5 seconds of continuous fire before needing to cool off.
Fuel Efficiency - :star::star::star::star:
—17.5 seconds of total firing time.
Practicality - :star::star::star::star::star:
—No particular advantages or disadvantages. Suitable for most combat situations, other than long range.
Overall - :star::star::star::star::star::star:
—About what one would expect from the first weapon in a skill tree. DPS is decent, but it isn’t very friendly on fuel.


“Let Off Some Steam” Minigun
Damage - :star::star::star::star::star::star::star:
—267k damage per bullet at maximum heat.
Fire Rate - :star::star::star::star::star::star::star::star::star::star:
—16 rounds per second at maximum rotation speed.
Magazine/Heat Rate - :star::star::star::star::star::star:
—9.5 seconds of continuous fire before needing to cool off.
Fuel Efficiency - :star::star::star::star:
—17.5 seconds of total firing time.
Practicality - :star::star::star::star::star:
—Same usability as the standard minigun. Fairs well at close to mid range.
Overall - :star::star::star::star::star::star:
—A flat upgrade from the standard minigun. More damage and better fuel efficiency. Use this one if you aren’t a fan of the Explosive Minigun or don’t want to use the Cryo Minigun in an area with many shielded targets.


“General Winter” Minigun
Damage - :star::star::star::star::star:
—149k damage per bullet. (Says it has less damage on the skill card, but shooting the target dummy without any boosts suggests otherwise.)
Fire Rate - :star::star::star::star::star::star::star::star::star::star:
—16 rounds per second at maximum rotation speed.
Magazine/Heat Rate - :star::star::star::star::star:
—8 seconds of continuous fire before needing to cool off.
Fuel Efficiency - :star::star::star::star::star::star:
—25.5 seconds of total firing time.
Practicality - :star::star::star::star::star::star:
—Works well at close to mid range. Cryo comes in handy for freezing enemies and dealing extra damage on armored targets. Suffers against shields however.
Overall - :star::star::star::star::star::star:
—This weapon would be rated a star higher if there weren’t so many shielded enemies in most areas of the game. Being able to freeze a Badass in place is very handy. Can still function quite well if you use it alongside another weapon to get around shields.


“Exploding. Bullets.” Minigun
Damage - :star::star::star::star::star::star::star::star:
—496k damage per bullet.
Fire Rate - :star::star::star::star::star:
—4 rounds per second at maximum rotation speed.
Magazine/Heat Rate - :star::star::star::star::star:
—8.5 seconds of continuous fire before needing to cool off.
Fuel Efficiency - :star::star::star::star::star::star::star:
—37.5 seconds of total firing time.
Practicality - :star::star::star::star::star::star::star:
—Works well at most ranges due to the large splash radius, but be careful not to hit yourself. Isn’t a hog when it comes to fuel consumption. The large splash radius also takes out groups of baddies well.
Overall - :star::star::star::star::star::star::star::star:
—Solid all-around weapon. Can easily become an 10-star weapon if you’ve got the right skills and some gear with splash/area-of-effect damage buffs. Not the best for a playstyle revolving around quick bursts of Iron Bear, but excellent for extended encounters in the mech.


FLAMETHROWERS

Salamander
Damage - :star::star::star::star::star:
—140k per tick.
Fire Rate - :star::star::star::star::star:
—4 ticks per second.
Fuel Efficiency - :star::star::star::star::star::star:
—31 seconds of total firing time.
Practicality - :star::star::star::star::star:
—Works well at close to medium range. Hampered heavily by shields.
Overall - :star::star::star::star::star:
—Not a stand-out by any means, but not terrible. Stoke the Embers can give it a nice boost, but the presence of shields on most enemies really cuts down on the usefulness of this weapon.


“Fuel Economy” Salamander
Damage - :star::star::star::star::star:
—140k per tick.
Fire Rate - :star::star::star::star::star:
—4 ticks per second.
Fuel Efficiency - :star::star::star::star::star::star::star::star:
—42 seconds of total firing time.
Practicality - :star::star::star::star::star:
—Works well at close to medium range, and the speed boost can help close the distance. Hampered heavily by shields.
Overall - :star::star::star::star::star::star:
—Slightly better than the standard Salamander, but still suffers from the same issues. Low base damage, high shield presence.


“Chemical Warfare” Salamander
Damage - :star::star::star::star:
—52k per tick.
Fire Rate - :star::star::star::star::star:
—4 ticks per second.
Fuel Efficiency - :star::star::star::star::star::star:
—31 seconds of total firing time.
Practicality - :star::star:
—Works well at close to medium range. Most enemies in the game are resistant to Corrosive damage.
Overall - :star::star::star::star:
— This is a corrosive variant of an average weapon, with 95% of enemies resisting Corrosive in some form. Pass up on this weapon unless you’re in an area with tons of armor (such as the Handsome Jackpot DLC) and don’t want to use miniguns or railguns.

“Molten Roar” Salamander
Damage - :star::star::star::star::star::star:
—281k per projectile. 128k per tick in the lava pool.
Fire Rate - :star::star::star::star:
—2.55 mortars per second.
Magazine/Heat Rate - :star::star::star::star:
—Able to launch 10 volleys continuously before it needs to pause for a few seconds.
Fuel Efficiency - :star::star::star::star::star::star:
—27 volleys of 3 projectiles each.
Practicality - :star::star::star::star::star:
—Works well at most ranges. Hampered heavily by shields.
Overall - :star::star::star::star::star::star:
— The best of the flamethrower weapons. With investment in Stoke the Embers and some splash-oriented skills and gear boosts, it can become do rather well…


GRENADE LAUNCHERS

V-35 Grenade Launcher
Damage - :star::star::star::star::star::star:
—574k per grenade.
Fire Rate - :star::star::star:
—1.66 grenades per second.
Magazine/Heat Rate - :star::star::star::star::star::star:
—15 grenades.
Fuel Efficiency - :star::star::star::star::star::star:
—36 grenades able to be fired.
Practicality - :star::star::star::star::star:
—Works well at close to mid range. Has some arc to it, and doesn’t immediately detonate if it doesn’t hit an enemy. Can be difficult to hit airborne enemies sometimes.
Overall - :star::star::star::star::star:
— Decent enough to start off a skill tree with. Can have some issues hitting mobile targets since it doesn’t immediately detonate unless it hits an enemy.


“Direct Hit” V-35 Grenade Launcher
Damage - :star::star::star::star::star::star::star::star:
—775k per grenade.
Fire Rate - :star::star::star:
—1.66 grenades per second.
Magazine/Heat Rate - :star::star::star::star::star::star:
—15 grenades.
Fuel Efficiency - :star::star::star::star::star::star:
—36 grenades able to be fired.
Practicality - :star::star::star::star::star:
—Works well at close to mid range. Has some arc to it, and doesn’t immediately detonate if it doesn’t hit an enemy. Can be difficult to hit airborne enemies sometimes.
Overall - :star::star::star::star::star::star:
— It’s the V-35, but with a 35% damage boost on decently-aimed shots. No complaints here.


“Musical Chairs” V-35 Grenade Launcher
Damage - :star::star::star::star::star::star:
—574k per grenade. 324k on singularity detonation.
Fire Rate - :star::star::star:
—1.66 grenades per second.
Magazine/Heat Rate - :star::star::star::star::star::star:
—15 grenades.
Fuel Efficiency - :star::star::star::star::star::star:
—36 grenades able to be fired.
Practicality - :star::star::star::star::star::star:
—Works well at close to mid range. Has some arc to it, and doesn’t immediately detonate if it doesn’t hit an enemy. Can be difficult to hit airborne enemies sometimes.
Overall - :star::star::star::star::star::star:
—Singularities are handy in bunching up groups of enemies for you to blow them all up at once. Not a game changer, but can be nice as a support arm for something beefier.


“Lock and Speedload” V-35 Grenade Launcher
Damage - :star::star::star::star::star:
—468k per grenade.
Fire Rate - :star::star::star::star::star::star::star:
—5 grenades per second.
Magazine/Heat Rate - :star::star::star::star::star:
—15 grenades.
Fuel Efficiency - :star::star::star::star::star::star::star::star::star:
—91 grenades able to be fired.
Practicality - :star::star::star::star::star::star:
—Works well at close to mid range. Has some arc to it, and doesn’t immediately detonate if it doesn’t hit an enemy. Can be difficult to hit airborne enemies sometimes. Requires reloading often.
Overall - :star::star::star::star::star::star::star:
— Best of the grenade launchers. Fire rate and fuel efficiency go way up, though you will spend some time reloading due to how fast you burn through your grenade stocks.


MISSILE LAUNCHERS

Vanquisher Rocket Pods
Damage - :star::star::star::star::star::star:
—505k per individual rocket.
Fire Rate - :star::star::star::star::star::star::star:
—7.2 rockets per second.
Magazine/Heat Rate - :star::star::star::star::star::star::star::star:
—36 rockets.
Fuel Efficiency - :star::star::star::star::star::star::star::star::star::star:
—117 rockets able to be fired.
Practicality - :star::star::star::star::star::star::star:
—Works well at most ranges. Projectiles move at a moderate speed.
Overall - :star::star::star::star::star::star::star::star:
— Honestly, these are probably Iron Bear’s best weapons (though the Explosive Miniguns and Corrosive Sabots give it a run for its money). Above-average damage, high fire rate, big ammo capacity, and fantastic fuel efficiency. And if you slap some splash damage/area-of-effect damage boosts from gear as well as Moze’s splash-focused skills, this easily becomes a 10/10 weapon. Very well-suited to unloading some serious boom on enemies and hopping out of the mech, and fares well in extended combat.


“Active Tracking” Vanquisher Rocket Pods
Damage - :star::star::star::star::star::star:
—505k per individual rocket.
Fire Rate - :star::star::star::star::star::star::star::star::star::star:
—12 rockets per second after locking on.
Magazine/Heat Rate - :star::star::star::star::star:
—18 rockets.
Fuel Efficiency - :star::star::star::star::star::star::star::star::star::star:
—110 rockets able to be fired.
Practicality - :star::star::star::star::star:
—Works well at just about any range, but it might not fair quite as well in close range as some of the other “fire-and-forget” options. Can hardly miss a locked-on target, but requires frequent reloading due to emptying out your entire stockpile often. Due to the homing, it becomes difficult to land critical hits sometimes.
Overall - :star::star::star::star::star::star::star:
— Trade roughly half of the Vanquisher Rocket’s ammo capacity for almost double the fire rate (with a lock-on requirement for firing) and homing capabilities. Can make hitting critical hits easier or harder depending on the enemy since the rockets tend to strike from above, but Splash weapons are usually fairly easy to hit your enemies with anyway. Still, excellent for chasing particularly mobile or airborne enemies.


“Target Softening” Vanquisher Rocket Pods
Damage - :star::star::star:
—113k per individual rocket.
Fire Rate - :star::star::star::star::star::star:
—6 rockets per second. Fires six rockets for the cost of three.
Magazine/Heat Rate - :star::star::star::star::star:
—18 rockets.
Fuel Efficiency - :star::star::star::star::star::star::star:
—48 clusters able to be fired.
Practicality - :star::star::star::star::star:
—Works well at close range, starts to drop in effectiveness at mid-range. 15% extra damage from all sources is a decent boost.
Overall - :star::star::star::star::star::star:
—The raw stats are lesser than the unaugmented Vanquisher pods, but if you want something to make your other weapons a bit stronger, this isn’t a bad choice.


“Hammerdown Protocol” Vanquisher Rocket Pods
Damage - :star::star::star::star::star::star::star::star::star::star:
—3.03 million per rocket.
Fire Rate - :star::star::star:
—1 rocket every 3.5.
Magazine/Heat Rate - :star:
—1 rocket.
Fuel Efficiency - :star::star:
—7 rockets able to be fired (barely).
Practicality - :star::star::star::star::star:
—Works at most ranges due to the massive splash radius. Projectiles pause briefly before swiftly accelerating. Does not damage the user. Radiation works well against most foes.
Overall - :star::star::star::star::star::star:
—While it does have six times the damage of the Vanquisher rockets, it is unable to deal critical hits (normally). It’ll almost assuredly hit more than one enemy per rocket though, so it can pull some weight when it comes to groups of foes. Crank your damage up high enough and gibs will rain.


RAILGUNS

Railgun
Damage - :star::star::star::star::star::star::star::star::star::star:
—1.82 million per laser.
Fire Rate - :star::star::star:
—Once every three seconds.
Magazine/Heat Rate - :star::star::star:
—1 round.
Fuel Efficiency - :star::star::star::star:
—11 rounds able to be fired.
Practicality - :star::star::star::star::star:
—Excels at sniping. Maims shields. Somewhat difficult to use in close-quarters.
Overall - :star::star::star::star::star:
— If you’re aiming to pick off enemies at range or nail heads, Railguns are a solid choice. For other playstyles, you would be better off going for other armament types.


“Hell on Rails” Railgun
Damage - :star::star::star::star::star::star::star::star::star::star:
—4.9 million per laser.
Fire Rate - :star::star::star:
—Once every three seconds.
Magazine/Heat Rate - :star::star::star:
—1 round.
Fuel Efficiency - :star::star::star::star:
—11 rounds able to be fired (Skill card says it has worse efficiency, but testing suggests otherwise.)
Practicality - :star::star::star::star:
—Excels at sniping. Wrecks flesh enemies, but more often than not said enemies have shields. Somewhat difficult to use in close-quarters.
Overall - :star::star::star::star::star:
— By itself, it struggles with shielded enemies. If you pair it with a Shock railgun though, you get a nice one-two combo that can put the pain on enemies from afar. It also gains a nice damage boost from Stoke the Embers.


“Capacitive Armature” Railgun
Damage - :star::star::star::star::star::star::star::star::star::star:
—1.82 million per laser. 1.36 million per splinter-laser.
Fire Rate - :star::star::star:
—Once every three seconds.
Magazine/Heat Rate - :star::star::star:
—1 round.
Fuel Efficiency - :star::star::star::star:
—11 rounds able to be fired.
Practicality - :star::star::star::star::star::star::star::star:
—Excels at sniping. Utterly destroys groups of shields. Somewhat difficult to use in close-quarters.
Overall - :star::star::star::star::star::star::star::star::star:
— It’s the standard railgun, but with an ability to damage nearby enemies as well. It’ll strip a crowd of their shields faster than just about anything. The lightning chains four times (including off of yourself for no damage), so it ends up doing considerable damage. The only thing it lacks is splash damage for healing Iron Bear.


“Corrosive Sabot Round” Railgun
Damage - :star::star::star::star::star::star::star::star:
—243k on initial laser hit, 1.215 million on detonation.
Fire Rate - :star::star::star::star::star:
—Twice a second.
Magazine/Heat Rate - :star::star::star::star::star:
—3 rounds.
Fuel Efficiency - :star::star::star::star::star:
—Able to fire 3-round volleys a total of 8 times.
Practicality - :star::star::star::star::star::star:
—Despite the penalty on flesh, it is still able to deal decent damage. The fact that it has 3 rounds instead of 1 is considerably more useful.
Overall - :star::star::star::star::star::star::star:
— Like the incendiary Railgun, it struggles with shielded enemies. Pair it with a shock railgun to fix that issue. As for the Sabot railer itself, it is more forgiving to use since it has more than one shot to spare. It’s also the only railgun to get splash damage boosts, meaning you can crank the damage considerably higher.


BEAR FISTS

Bear Fist
Damage - :star::star::star::star::star::star::star::star:
—1.37 million per punch.
Fire Rate - :star::star::star:
—Once every two seconds.
Fuel Efficiency - :star::star::star::star:
—13 punches able to be fired.
Practicality - :star::star:
—Close-Quarters only. Expect to receive lots of damage in the process.
Overall - :star::star::star::star:
— There are far better options that you could use for a close range build. Bear Fist weapons /augments can’t crit in most cases, so you aren’t even getting better damage overall usually. If you’re insistent on Punch-Bear, go with one of the Bear Fist augments.


“Wild Swing” Bear Fist
Damage - :star::star::star::star::star::star::star::star::star:
—1.37 million per punch. With a neutral element, the explosion deals 482k damage.
Fire Rate - :star::star::star:
—Once every two seconds.
Fuel Efficiency - :star::star::star::star:
—15 punches able to be fired.
Practicality - :star::star::star:
—Still close-quarters only, but depending on your luck you can deal a lot more damage per punch, or minimally more.
Overall - :star::star::star::star::star:
— This is one of the better options for Punch Bear, since the splash effect can be boosted by skills and gear. Beyond that though, it still has the drawbacks of lacking in all areas other than damage.


“Close the Distance” Bear Fist
Damage - :star::star::star::star::star::star:
—896k per punch.
Fire Rate - :star:
—Once every four seconds.
Fuel Efficiency - :star::star:
—6 punches able to be fired.
Practicality - :star::star::star:
—It addresses the issue of having no range, but it is costly and slow.
Overall - :star::star::star:
— You can grab foes from quite a range and drag them to you, but you trade basically every other stat in order to do that. Probably not worth grabbing this one currently.


“Shockhammer” Bear Fist
Damage - :star::star::star::star::star::star::star:
—827k per punch. Bonus shock damage deals 322k damage.
Fire Rate - :star::star::star::star::star:
—2.6 times per second.
Fuel Efficiency - :star::star::star::star:
—14 seconds of continuous punching.
Practicality - :star::star::star::star:
—You finally get a DPS that is more than once every two seconds. The shock damage also helps take out shields.
Overall - :star::star::star::star::star:
— Best fist in terms of damage-per-second. Wild Swing has better synergy with skill and gear splash boosts though.


OTHER DAMAGE SOURCES
Iron Bear Melee Stomp - 470k
Iron Bear’s Self-Destruction - 881k
Dakka Bear - 215k per bullet.


Cooldown

“No time for hibernating.”

Maximum unboosted duration without firing weapons: 100 seconds.
Maximum unboosted Action Skill cooldown duration: 100 seconds.

Covered by HurdyGurdy’s “Efficiently Increasing Moze’s Cooldown Rate” thread. It goes in-depth on basically everything you would want to know about getting back into Iron Bear as fast as possible.

On a different note, the “Topped Off” Guardian Perk can chop that cooldown from 100 seconds to 33 seconds, and it makes it possible to use the “After exiting Iron Bear, gain 75% increased shields and health for 25 seconds.” anointment for boosting Iron Bear’s armor. Enter Iron Bear, immediately exit, keep your shield full for around 12 ~ 15 seconds, and then you can hop back in Iron Bear with a lot more armor to work with. If you’re against using Guardian Ranks, you can minimize the impact it has on you by investing tokens into Luck instead of stats related to combat.

  • Glitch Corner - If you aren’t against using glitches, there is a way to dramatically lower your action skill cooldown rate. While “Topped Off” is in effect, go to a Quick Change Station and respec. You’ll get boosted cooldown rate, and you can repeat this over and over. Expect this to get patched in the future.

Tactics

“Smarter than the average bear.”

There’s a few pointers to keep in mind while in Iron Bear. We’ll cover them one by one.

Offense - Most of Iron Bear’s weapons should be used in close to mid range in order to increase your odds of hitting criticals. If your enemy does not have a crit zone that can be easily reached, it isn’t a bad idea to pelt them from further away, as Iron Bear’s weapons are usually fairly accurate. You can also use Auto Bear as a distraction while you run around and hurt enemies from behind.

Defense - It depends on how you’ve built Iron Bear. If you’ve gone super tanky with Iron Bear or don’t plan on using it long, you can ignore weaker attacks and close the distance for most armaments. Otherwise, you can consider pulling out of combat for a few seconds to let the Bubble shield recharge. Try to keep an eye out for cover to prevent getting focus-fired down by crowds if you can, Iron Bear is a big target after all. While out of Iron Bear, you can hop into Iron Bear as a means to escape if you’re in a rough situation, since Iron Bear does not take damage for the first few seconds after activating it. You can also hop in and back out to have a nice meat shield (or Iron shield in this case) if you’ve got Auto Bear. While the Bubble Shield is up, you’re pretty much safe inside the shield from most sources of damage. Be warned that Iron bear’s splash weapons can damage itself and the Bubble Shield if they explode too close, so keep enemies a bit further outside the range of the Bubble shield if you’re using splash weapons to help preserve your safety bubble.

Movement - Iron Bear moves fastest when jumping. Unless there is a ceiling blocking you, or you need to be more precise with your shots, always jump around. If you press jump while in the air while in Iron Bear, you instantly accelerate to top speed. You can even change directions mid-air if you jump off the ground in one direction and then press your jump button while holding a different direction. This can be handy for throwing off the aim of enemies. Lastly, activating Iron Bear in the air is roughly twice as fast as activating it on the ground.


Gear

“Bear games on unicycles!”

Weapons - There aren’t really any weapons you can equip that can directly benefit you while piloting Iron Bear. Zheitsev’s Eruption or the S3RV-80S-EXECUTE could be used to debuff an enemy before hopping in, Stauros’ Burn’s self-burning can be removed by hopping into Iron Bear and the positive effects remain after exiting Iron Bear (not during Bear piloting), and the Lucky 7 has some interesting interactions with Dakka Bear. So instead I’ll cover some anointments (be sure to have said weapon with the anointment in your hands before you activate Iron Bear).

Good weapon anointments for use while piloting Iron Bear

  • Element crit hits can cause status effects of that element to explode, creating a nova that deals 500% of the Status effect’s damage.

Good weapon anointments for use after exiting Iron Bear

  • After exiting Iron Bear, the next 2 magazines will have 125% bonus incendiary damage.
  • After exiting Iron Bear, gain 160% increased Splash damage for 18 seconds.
  • On Action Skill End, The next 2 magazines will have 100% additional bonus (Element) damage.
  • On Action Skill End, Splash Damage is increased by 200% for a short time.
  • After exiting Iron Bear, do not consume ammo for 5 seconds (only if you do not have the skill “Some For The Road”.)
  • While Auto Bear is active, deals 130% bonus incendiary damage (Only if using the “Rocketeer” Class Mod for greatly increased Auto Bear duration.)
  • While Auto Bear is active, constantly regenerate 8% of magazine size per second (Only if using the “Rocketeer” Class Mod for greatly increased Auto Bear duration.)

Shields - There are a few shields that mesh well with Iron Bear. It depends largely on how you plan on using Iron Bear.

  • Increase Iron Bear’s Armor - I’ve already mentioned it in the “Health” section earlier, but whatever boosts your maximum health and has the “After exiting Iron Bear, gain 75% increased shields and health for 25 seconds.” anointment is preferable if you plan on soaking up obscene amounts of damage with Iron Bear. The legendary version of Plus Ultra is the king of armor (as well as boasting a chance to absorb ammo and increase action skill cooldown rate and good stats for keeping “Topped Off” in effect), but Mendel’s Shield, Band of Sitorak, a T.H.I.C.C Shield or whatever you can find with the most health boosts you can get can suffice. The only shields I would not recommend are the Rough Rider and Initiative, as they do not work with the “Topped Off” Guardian skill. Even if you forcibly give the Rough Rider some capacity, it doesn’t have any practical means of recharging beyond investing heavily into the Shield of Retribution tree. Also be wary of shields with the “Turtle” part, as it’ll eat into your maximum health and Iron Bear’s by extension.

  • Anointment Proccing - If you don’t plan on using Iron Bear for long periods of time and instead want to use it to trigger anointments, you might consider looking at the Frozen Heart or Snowshoe shields. If you find one of those two shields with the “When entering and exiting Iron Bear, create a nova that deals damage” anointment, the Iron Bear novas inherit the Frozen Heart’s nova properties. You can hop in Iron Bear, freeze some nearby enemies, go find another cluster of enemies, exit, and then proceed to tear them up.

  • Other - Other shields with effects that work while in Iron Bear include the Messy Breakup, Red Suit, and Ember’s Blaze. Messy Breakup’s floating drone remains active and can provide some minor fire support. Ember’s Blaze and the Red Suit’s elemental auras works while in Iron Bear, could be useful in areas with lots of small, weak enemies like Ratch that tend to cluster around you. The “After exiting Iron Bear, kills increase Iron Bear’s cooldown rate by 30%.” anointment is a good choice if you don’t think you’ll need the 75% extra health/shields provided by Moze’s other shield anointment. It’ll help you hop into Iron Bear faster.

Grenades - First of all, you’re going to want to find a grenade with the “While Iron Bear is active, taking damage has 20% chance to spawn a grenade.” anointment. Being able to use grenade mods while in Iron Bear is quite handy. As for recommended grenades, I personally prefer grenades that support you. The Hex, Whispering Ice, and grenades with the “chiller” effect are good at freezing baddies (and useful for dealing with armored targets when you’re not using a Iron Bear weapon that is effective against armor.) The Quasar and singularity grenades are useful for disturbing a crowd and catching a quick breather. It’s Piss can help you deal some extra damage to foes.

  • Bug - The anointment for spawning grenades while in Iron Bear is bugged and only works properly the first time you use Iron bear in a session of gameplay. Re-equip the grenade to “refresh” it.

Artifacts - The effect of the artifact yourself is whatever you prefer, we’re more concerned about the passive bonuses. Splash Damage/Area-of-Effect Damage, Max Health, Action Skill Damage, and Action Skill Cooldown are the passive bonuses you want to keep an eye out for. If you need something to hold you over until you can get your ideal relic with those passives, the Grave is a decent choice. The splash bonus at <5% hp works while in Iron Bear (consider using a class mod with at least +2 in Thin Red Line or a Front Loader to help maintain a constant 1% health), and it can semi-reliably spawn with Action Skill Cooldown and Max Health passives. Another niche option is the White Elephant, as the grenades can drop with Iron Bear’s stomp. The only relic you shouldn’t try to use with Iron Bear is the Loaded Dice relic, as it lowers your total maximum health (and by extension, Iron Bear’s health.)

Class Mods - There are several choices of class mod for using with Iron Bear. It depends largely on how you plan on using Iron Bear.

  • Extended Iron Bear Usage - For maximizing Iron Bear’s duration and usage, the Bear Trooper is an obvious choice. 50% less fuel consumption and 50% longer duration coupled with Iron Bear-focused skills ensure Iron Bear can stick around as long as possible. If you are unable to obtain this class mod, the next best option is the Tank Gal class mod.

  • "Bear-serker" - An alternative to the Bear Trooper, the Raging Bear encourages a berserker style. Keep killing enemies to diminish fuel cost (up to 50% less fuel cost), and keep taking damage to boost your own damage (up to 50% more damage, 1% per hit received). Raging Bear is more suited to a mobbing scenario where you can kill many enemies for fuel with Deadlines, while Bear Trooper may be better for an encounter with few, stronger enemies. Another decent option is the Commander class mod, as it boosts Vampyr and Deadlines while also giving you access to Some for the Road to raise hell after you get out of Iron Bear.

  • Big Booms - The Blast Master is a solid choice for splash-focused builds. The special effect of boosting splash damage works while in Iron Bear, so you can hop in Iron Bear, let loose a barrage, then hop out and proceed to pummel enemies further with splash-anointed weapons. It also boosts Vampyr, a nice touch to increasing Iron Bear’s ability to survive.

  • Mean and Green - The Green Monster’s corrosive gimmick doesn’t work while in Iron Bear, but it does have a strange innate effect of boosting Splash Damage not unlike the Blast Master. Shoot your gun once and enter Iron Bear to start gaining up to 100% splash damage over the next fifty seconds. It also boosts Scorching RPM’s, meaning this class mod has some of the highest potential for Iron Bear damage.

  • High Damage with Desperate Measures - For raw damage and Shield of Retribution builds in general, the Bloodletter is a solid choice. Desperate Measures can boost Iron Bear’s damage by a considerable amount, while Thin Red Line sets the stage for Desperate Measures, as well as turning any health boosts you have into shield boosts for Moze. The Low Life class mod also boosts these skills, if you can’t get a Bloodletter or don’t want the penalties attached to it.

  • "Iron Turret" - The Rocketeer enables Auto-Bear to last the entirety of your Action Skill duration. Remember how I said Iron Bear’s armor is determined by your maximum health at the time of activating Iron Bear? It doesn’t change even if you swap gear while in Iron Bear. You can use something like the Bear Trooper and Mendel’s Shield to increase bear’s armor, then switch for the Rocketeer and your shield of choice to have a bulkier “Bear Turret”. With a good splash armament and Vampyr so that Iron Bear can heal itself, you can use Iron Bear as a nice source of extra damage while you tear into enemies yourself. Either use Iron Bear as a shield to shoot from behind, or use it as a distraction while you hit enemies from another angle. Several armaments gain some extra use for Bear Turret, particularly the Hammerdown Protocol nukes and Railguns. Auto Bear has no fuel or slow reload-speed issues meaning that it can spam nukes. Auto Bear is a crack-shot with Railguns, so load it up with twin railguns of choice to give Bear some range. Support options include the Target Softening rockets and Musical Chairs grenades for extra damage or crowd control respectively.

    • Update - As of June 11th, 2020, the anointment for bonus incendiary damage while Auto Bear is active has been increased to 130%. Given how Rocketeer can allow Auto Bear to potentially last for a minute or longer, this is now a primo anointment to use with this Class Mod.
  • "In-n’-Out"/Maximum Damage - The Flare class mod added with the Fustercluck DLC works well for Gunners who just want to dish out a few big blows, or want to maximize their Iron Bear damage output. When your fuel is full. it eeks past the Green Monster in terms of Iron Bear damage, and even when it isn’t full it can still boost Stainless Steel Bear.

  • Other - The Mind Sweeper’s mini-grenades can proc while in Iron Bear if you crit. It isn’t the Blast Master in terms of immediate power, but it is something you can keep in mind if you aren’t thrilled at the idea of managing your reloads for the Blast Master boost and still want a boost to Redistribution.


Builds

Shield of Retribution Example Build

Pros - High shield capacity for Moze, high base damage for Moze/Iron Bear. Easy to fit into a 1 HP build.
Cons - Misses out on several useful skills in Bottomless Mags, as well as the best augments in that tree.

Bottomless Mags Example Build

Pros - High ammo regen for Moze, decent damage for Iron Bear. Access to all augments in the Bottomless Mags tree.
Cons - Misses out on raw damage and shield capacity from the Shield of Retribution tree for Moze.

Demolition Woman Example Build

Pros - Capitalizes on Moze and Iron Bear’s splash capabilities while gaining useful boosts from Bottomless Mags and Shield of Retribution.
Cons - Misses out on Forge, Click Click, Desperate Measures, and Phalanx Doctrine.


SKILLS

“Bear Necessities.”

Regardless of which side you go after, you always want investment in the middle tree for Iron Bear. There are too many good skills in there to pass up on, so adjust your skills based on your class mods and needs. In general though, you’ll want to get Vampyr and Specialist Bear (or Desperate Measures) for survival and damage respectively.

  • Bugs - Scorching RPM’s fire rate boost only applies to the left arm as well. Damage boosts from skills do not work on the Bear Fist weapons at all. Explosive Punctuation also seems to have some issues with cooldown, so be wary of it for now.

Deadlines - Obvious choice for extending Iron Bear’s duration.

Grizzled - It’s worth grabbing if you’re going to put four or more points in it. It plays better with the “Topped Off” Guardian Perk than most sources of cooldown do.

Fire in the Skag Den - Extra damage from splash never hurts. If you aren’t going to use Pull the Holy Pin, add more points in here or another skill. This skill gets a considerable bonus in Mayhem Mode, making it more valuable the higher the Mayhem level you’re playing in.

Means of Destruction - A must have on any splash-focused build. Extend the time you’re blowing crap up and not reloading.

Torgue Cross-Promotion - Extra splash damage helps bring the hurt…to both your foes and yourself. If you’re primarily going to be firing from mid-range, consider grabbing this skill, but you’ll be prone to killing yourself at close range.

Stainless Steel Bear - More armor, more fuel, more, damage, more Bear. You want as many points as you can afford to cram into this skill for an Iron Bear-centric build.

Pull the Holy Pin - It mostly boosts Moze, but it can boost anointed grenades from Iron Bear as well, assuming you have the anointment that gives Iron Bear a chance to launch grenades when struck.

Auto Bear - An easy one point investment. Iron Bear is great for taking fire from enemies while you pepper them with lead.

Vampyr - Moze’s only skill for survivability outside of the Shield of Retribution tree, and Iron Bear’s only source of recovery. An absolute must-have skill as long as you’re going down the Demolition Woman tree.

Short Fuse - Solid all-around skill. It used to be boosted by anything that boosts Iron Bear damage, but now it just gets boosted in Mayhem Mode.

Cloud of Lead - Bonus damage and 25% more shots before reloading for both Moze and Iron Bear. Easy choice.

Stoke the Embers - Boost the strength of Cloud of Lead and Fire in the Skag Den. It can also boost Molten Roar Salamanders and Wild Swing Bear Fists, if you’re feeling saucy.

Redistribution - One of Moze’s best skills easily. One point here gives so many benefits.

Scrappy (or Matched Set/Dakka Bear) - Handy for taming guns with higher recoil while on the go or switching between firing modes. The damage bonus doesn’t hurt (us) either.

Scorching RPM’s - Increases Moze’s Fire Rate, Iron Bear’s Damage, and critical hit damage for both of them.

Rushin’ Offensive - Not bad for a one point investment. Otherwise, use this point elsewhere.

Specialist Bear - Directly increases Iron Bear’s damage as long as you’re using two weapons of the same type. Two miniguns, two grenade launchers, two missile launchers, two flamethrowers, two railguns, or two fists. If you need more skill points for other skills, set this as the last skill you invest in for the Bottomless Mags tree.

Iron Bank - We need four more points to hit “Some For The Road”, and Moze’s ammo regeneration appreciates bigger magazines.

Some For The Road - Five seconds of infinite ammo can go quite the distance if you’re using it with a good Heavy weapon or other select weapons. Especially potent if you’re going to hop in and out of Iron Bear often.

Forge - If we’re this far down the tree, you may as well grab it. It doesn’t benefit Iron Bear, but it is a cornerstone of Bottomless Mags builds.

Bubble Bear - It’s a one point investment for 60% more tankability for Iron Bear. A 60% boost that can recharge itself if you hop out of the fray for a few seconds and let it recharge. It rises in usefulness proportionately to your maximum armor.

Armored Infantry - More usable than Selfless Vengeance for most Moze builds. Doesn’t affect Iron Bear though.

Thin Red Line - This turns health-heavy shields like Mendel’s Shield and any other health boosts you may have into something quite palpable for the Shield of Retribution tree. This does not affect Iron Bear’s total health.

Drowning in Brass - Despite not saying it on the card, Drowning in Brass apparently works while in Iron Bear too. A solid skill to pick up, but if you really need some extra survivability you might consider points in Vladof Ingenuity.

Desperate Measures - One of the largest reasons we want to go this far down the Shield of Retribution tree (the other being Corrosive Sabots.) With the right class mod, you can gain up to 100% damage for both Moze and Iron Bear. Well suited to using the Deathless relic to always have maximum damage, if you don’t have five points in Thin Red Line. If you need some extra skill points to use in other skill trees, set this skill as the last one you invest in for the Shield of Retribution tree.


If you think you can contribute towards “Build-a-(Better) Bear”, feel free to speak up or otherwise brainstorm ideas. We can always look for more ways to improve Iron Bear.

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I’ll have to try this out to tide me over till they fix the big guy. I’ll report back in and let you know what I think!

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I’d be curious to see some gameplay from a IB build, especially the damage output of fully buffed rocket pods. 100% extra from the BM class mod and 120% from a weapon anointed effect is pretty easy to put together.

Very cool perspective, like to see stuff like this, instead is constant bitching about how terrible Moze is.

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Torgue cross promotion would be nice on this build. It’s better than it looks.

I’d be slightly inclined to make a video if I didn’t have to run the game at potato-quality to get a consistent-ish 60 FPS on PC. If anyone feels like making a video, be my guest.

Twitchs creator package is low impact , but I don’t know your rig. I don’t have the gear yet or else I’d do a YouTube/twitch session on it.

I didn’t see it mentioned here, but Iron Bear weapon crits can proc the Micro-grenades from the Mind Sweeper class mod. It works quite well with the Miniguns.

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Good to know, will add that tidbit in.

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Awesome thread man. Thank you SO much. I can tell you know what you are talking about because you correctly stated that the standard Vanquisher rocket pods are far and away Iron Bears beat weapons damage wise. A lot of people dont know this .

Also its awesome to know with finality what skills actually apply to IB. Gearbox did a terrible job with annotating in each skills what works with IB or just Moze. Its extremely sloppy work.

Few things I want to point out:

  1. the 20% change for IB to drop grenade when hit is bugged. It only works first time you equip and jump into IB , then next time wont work. You have to unequip and equip it each time before getting in IB . Me and another guy on here submitted tickets to 2k support on this .

  2. i dont know If Means of Destructuon applies to Iron bear , or at least I’ve never seen evidence of rockets being returned for IB . Would be great if I’m wrong

On a personal note , aside from a flat damage buff for mayhem modes , I’m hoping GBX allows IB to use mozes equipped grenades and have more of mozes skills , especially phalanx doctrine, also apply to IB. People also want a way to deploy IB as turret without getting in. I’m thinking if you get auto bear you can HOLD button to summon IB and not get in. I’m always trying to think of the simplest and therefore most realistic ways GBX can improve IB.

But you seem to know way more about IB that most. What in your option should GBX do (realistically) to make IB better in mayhem mode?

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Also goes without saying: thank you so much for putting so much time and effort compiling all this. Us Iron Bear fans are few and far it seems

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I actually made a topic on what I thought could be done to improve IB a month ago. It mostly boiled down to allowing more skills to work on Iron Bear.

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I’d like to see iron bear get more weapons. Maybe shoulder mounted options that let us use 4 of his different weapons. Sort of like wilhelms shoulder mounted laser in TPS

What if dakka bear were automated turret that shot either shock or corrosive to help IB vs shielded or armored targets?

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Wonderful. I’m glad that Mechwarrior is possible, and that there are guides out there for people who are tired of Bloodletter. Been too busy with work to make videos and effortposts

For those who are willing to play alongside the robot instead of piloting it, you can simply take the OP’s build and move some points into Bottomless Mags to achieve Some for the Road. Like this

Get a good heavy weapon and a Ghost Call and farm Shaft Mayhem 3 easy.

And because of anointed or other +splash gear, Autobot will actually contribute some damage as well. I recommend Exploding Bullets + Nuke for most circumstances, even if you have Specialist Bear talent. The exploding minigun will suppress enemies; they will hide and sometimes be staggered by it, and the Nuke can knock enemies over

It never occurred to me, but using TRL really screws Iron Bear.

It actually doesn’t.

“Max Health” isn’t affected by things like Deathless, Thin Red Line or a Front Loader. These effects only cap the maximum amount of health you can regen. A Bloodletter 1HP build still technically has a max health of 6k+.

This difference between max health and how much Moze can have is also why Desperate Measures is amazing in 1 hp builds.

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Phew. Good to know. Thanks.

Added a Table of Contents and some bits of info from the discussions.

Btw I’m not convinced the Action Skill cooldown boost from the Respec stations isn’t working as intended.

It’s good for potentially seeing the results of respec without having to log. There generally won’t be combat near them