Greetings Fellow Vault Hunters!
I’ve been meaning to get around to this for a while, but it’s been a rocky road with FL4K’s pets. For a long time they were probably the most half-baked additions to a character’s kit in the franchise. There’s no need to rehash all the low points again, but it was rough. However, after the Phase 2 scaling patch in June, and more importantly the July 23 patch which further buffed pet damage and the following hotfixes addressing FL4K’s bugs, the pets are in a really good spot now. We actually have viable paths for pet damage builds now, which means there is finally a use for this kind of thread!
The goal of this pet compendium is to take a deep dive into all of the damage mechanics involving pets: damage formulas, beneficial stats for them, mayhem modifiers, skill synergies, and play style tips to get the most damage out of your companions. By the end of this thread, you should have all the knowledge you need to deal the highest possible damage with your killer critters.
- Pet Damage Formula
- Level 65 Pet Damage Values
- Building for Pet Damage
- Pet Specific Mechanics
- Modifiers for Pets
- Miscellaneous Info for Pets
FL4K’s pet damage formula is as follows :
Final Damage Output = Base Damage x Mayhem Scaling x Pet Damage x Gotta Go Fast x Sic’ Em x V2 x Crit x Splash x Roid/Amp x Elemental Multiplier x Harmageddon
Base Damage = (BaseHit + 75%GammaBurstRad/ 200%TerrorFire/22.5%HiveMindKinetic)
*Same as bonus elements on guns, Terror and Gamma Burst don’t scale with splash. Unlike guns however, bonus elements on pets do NOT scale with crit damage!
- Note that Hive Mind is capable of critting independently of the attack that procced it, even without Throatripper.
Pet Damage = (1 + FuriousAttack + LickTheWounds + Furryous + PowerInside + Ferocity + Frenzy + PsychoHead + Endurance + PackTactics + IntStalker + DangerousGame + GrimHarvest + Friendbot)
- Pet Damage present in Hunter Skills Furious Attack and Most Dangerous Game does not get boosted by Big Game/Hunt Power sources.
Gotta Go Fast = (1 + .35)
- This skill is fully multiplicative with every other pet bonus and applies to every pet attack
Sic’ Em = (1 + SicEm). (1 + 0.30) at 3/3, up to (1 + 0.60) at 6/3
- Sic’ Em applies to Attack Commands only.
V2 = (1 + DE4DEYE + On Grenade Throw anointment). The 35% damage bonus against targets above 75% health. So, (1 + 0.35)
Crit = [2 x [(1 + Monkey Do) ] + (Go for the Eyes)
Go For The Eyes doesn’t apply to the extra Radiation Damage from Gamma Burst, the fire damage from terror, or the kinetic damage from Hive Mind
Throatripper and Monkey Do can stack on top of Go for the Eyes crits, but the reverse cannot happen. Think of these skills like Megavor (Throatripper) and Fade Away (Go for the Eyes). You can Megavor crit on a Fade Away body shot, but you cannot ever get Fade Away damage on a megavor crit outside of Fade Away.
Splash = (1 + ClassModSplashDmg + ArtifactAreaDmg + SplashDamageAnoint)
Splash is a multiplier that applies to a variety of pet attacks. It is most easily accessible to several pets on their attack commands only. Those pets are: Spiderant Countess, Eridian Skag, Gunslinger Jabber, and War Loader. Melee pets with ranged attacks, such as the acid ball of spiderants and skags, will also scale with splash damage. Other attacks that scale with this stat are Atomic Aroma, nova shields when using Take This, the stomp attack Spiderant Scorcher does as part of her lava pool attack.
Roid/Amp = [(1 + Roid/Amp bonus)]
- Usual amp mechanics apply. A one shotter shield/Madcap with 3 amp parts will increase the damage of all pellets in a multi-projectile weapon, while legendary amp shields like Rerouter and 0.M will only boost one pellet.
Elemental Multiplier = [ElementalDamageMultiplier x (1 + Old God + ScorcherAnt)]
Harmageddon = [(1 + 0.05)], up to [(1 + 0.20)]
Each unique status instance is an additional + 0.05, which goes up to 0.20 for a x1.20 multiplier.
Final Damage Output = Base Damage x Mayhem Scaling x Pet Damage x Gotta Go Fast x V2 x Crit x Splash x Elemental Multiplier x Harmageddon
- Atomic Aroma does damage in ticks of 2 per second. To calculate it’s DPS, simply do the above formula and multiply the result by 2.
Basic melee - 4939
Sidekick Jabber shot - 2728
Beefcake Jabber shot - 8669 from melee range
Gunslinger Jabber shot - 644 per bullet, seems to do a burst of 40 over 2 seconds before it needs to reload.
Attack Command Damage (not accounting for elemental multipliers)
Guard Skag - 4939 for 4 ticks
Horned Skag - 9877
Eridian Skag - 4939 melee + 13828 splash attack
Centurion - 11853
Scorcher - 11853
Countess - 29632
Sidekick Jabber - 19755
Beefcake Jabber - 19755
Gunslinger Jabber - 38522 per rocket
To calculate the mayhem scaled damage of your pet, take the increased enemy health and multiply it by .5 (as of July 23). That is the multiplier your pets will receive to their damage.
Now that the formulas have been laid out and we know the numbers we’re working with, the next step is to leverage that knowledge to put together builds. From this point on, I’m going to assume you have the Trapper skill tree from DLC 5 because it so drastically changes how you build pets from the base game and is pretty much the only reason why pet builds can clear high level content now.
In general, there are two build paths for pets. The first is what I refer to as Gamma Melee, which just relies on the pet’s melee attacks boosted by Gamma Burst to do damage. This is likely what most people think of when a “pet build” comes to mind. A subset of this play style is Splash Command, which focuses on utilizing attack commands that scale with splash damage. The other is to build around shield damage effects using Take This and Fuzzy Math to rapidly deploy novas, drones, and other attacks.
To clarify, both builds rely heavily on shields to do damage, but the shield damage build requires a different spec and focus to work optimally than Gamma Melee.
As was mentioned earlier, both of these function similarly to bonus elements on weapons. There are some caveats as to how pet bonus elements scale compared to normal ones.
- Pet bonus elements do not receive crit damage from Throatripper, Monkey Do, or Go for the Eyes.
- They do not scale with splash damage.
- Loaders are the only pets that do not resort to full melee while in Gamma Burst. They continue to use their guns, which receive the full 75% bonus radiation damage that melee gets.
I’ve retested how bonus pet elements interact with other pet multipliers, and found that the only issue was them not scaling with Go for the Eyes. While there may occasionally be inconsistency in bonus elements spawning from attack commands in Sanctuary, there is rarely an issue in actual combat. There is no perceivable issue with Sic Em’ not scaling with bonus elements.
As mentioned above, there are 2 playstyles for pet builds: one focusing on melee damage in Gamma Burst and the other focusing on shield damage effects. Each playstyle comes with it’s own inherent strengths and weaknesses. It is up to your to gear and around these weaknesses to the best of your ability.
The only shield requirement for this build is a roid shield. Roid is the most consistent and high value damage bonus that you can get for any pet. So long as you can keep the pet’s shield depleted, you can maintain a permanent 300% damage buff on all melee attacks. Combined with Go for the Eyes, these attacks can deal over 20 million damage.
The best shield for this build is a Brawler Ward, but even a 180% or 80% roid can work depending on what content you’re doing. A high roid percentage is great, but if you find a lower roid shield with the Attack Command terror anointment, take that instead. The anointment combined with a lower roid amount will overtake a larger roid bonus.
One of the advantages of this setup is that you only need to get Take This for it to work. Speccing further down the purple tree isn’t needed, so you can spend more points on FL4K’s damage than with a shield damage build. Your pet will also be dealing more damage with its own attacks since shield damage builds have lower pet damage bonus. If you like to see your pet dealing damage with its own attacks, and like working alongside your pet to deal damage this variant of pet build will probably suit your fancy.
The downside is that you lose a large portion of your damage against any enemy the pet cannot hit with a melee attack. While you don’t sacrifice as much damage as Shield Damage, you are still giving up a shield and class mod slot. Graveward, Psychoreaver, and Wotan top half are all challenging fights with this setup. You’ll need to use very powered weapons to deal with those bosses.
Shield damage builds have tons of choices that are all serviceable, but the best of the best can be boiled down to three shields: The Messy Breakup, Faulty Star, and Void Rift. Shields (and other non-melee damage sources) were recently granted the ability to gain Gamma Burst’s rad damage The Messy Breakup is going to be better for any high level content where you can build up a drone army, but if enemies are too weak to build that army up the Faulty Star will pull ahead. The Void Rift has the best CC and Burst damage capabilities and will 1 shot GTD Nekrobugs with ease while still maintaining solid DPS with the cryo spikes as well.
The advantage of this setup is that your pet damage overall is much higher than Gamma Melee. The individual attacks are weak, but you do dozens of them every second, proccing a massive amount of Throatripper crits for Leave No Trace, Monkey Do, and Fuzzy Math. It is also far more passive, much closer to an AFK style of play than Gamma Melee.
Where this build falls short is that it pays for the increased pet damage with drastically reduced FL4K damage. Monkey Do, the skill that gives increased pet critical hit damage, is bugged. It is legendary (non distributed) amp that forces your entire shot to be non elemental. The amp does not scale with point investment, only the pet crit damage does. This means that using this skill (especially with multipellet weapons) will lead to less damage than the base in many situations. These shield effects also don’t stack Frenzy, so if you are using the Loader you will need to use a Red Fang (or the only attach that will be able to stack it will be with attack commands).
To work around Monkey Do, you need to build around single pellet, non-elemental or cryo weapons.
There are 3 anointments that work for pet builds.
- Terror Anointment – This anointment is the only one in the game that effects the normal attacks of pets, and after the buff it is a very powerful bonus. The strength of this bonus will depend on the health type of the enemy you’re facing. It will be a 100% bonus vs shields and armor, and 350% vs flesh. Since Gamma builds typically don’t have as much use for the shield and grenade ASE slots, you can use the shield for the Attack Command terror anointment and a facepuncher with generate terror on melee.
- 25% On Grenade Throw - this anoint was changed to effect pet damage, so this is now a pet V2 bonus additive with the Deadeye class mod’s red text effect.
- Ele-crit-nova - pets can proc this anoint through Throatripper and Go for the Eyes, although the damage is insignificant unless they detonate an Unleash the Dragon DOT.
- 300/90 - This anoint doesn’t buff your pet’s damage directly, but it can effect the hollowpoint nova they create on crits since those scale off of your damage. Most of the time this is ridiculous overkill damage that is wholly unnecessary, but it does deserve mentioning.
- URad/Terror Cryo - Both of these anoints apply to any source of damage FL4K outputs: guns, grenades, actions skill, and for our purposes hollowpoint novas. Since hollowpoint scales with FL4K’s damage even when procced from the pet, these anoints can further scale the damage.
Due to several recent changes to the pet damage formula, and the removal of Jabber pet’s mayhem scaling guns, the distinction between Gamma melee builds and splash commands has diminished greatly. Whereas before it was more beneficial to run splash command or Gamma melee exclusively, it’s now more beneficial to combine them together.
You want as much raw pet damage as you can muster to scale all the different bonus elements. The Red Fang COM is the BIS COM not only for its boosts Ferocity, but because the taunt effect guarantees your pet’s shield is always depleted. You will notice there are periods where your pet is dealing noticeably less damage without this COM simply because enemies aren’t attacking it enough to keep it’s shield stripped.
With Take This and the centrality of roid in Gamma Melee builds, many non-melee attacks are now relegated to utility.
- Atomic Aroma – Adds extra chances for Throatripper crits for Leave No Trace, Monkey Do, and Fuzzy Math.
- He Bites – This skill isn’t as great for damage against trash mobs since mayhem enemy damage was fixed. However, this skill is central to dealing with several raid bosses and adds extra chances for Throatripper crits for Leave No Trace, Monkey Do, and Fuzzy Math.
- Lava Pool – this attack is exclusive to Spiderant Scorcher, but like Atomic Aroma it adds extra chances for Throatripper crits for Leave No Trace, Monkey Do, and Fuzzy Math.
Splash Command is a play style that relies on spamming attack commands for pet damage. By building up pet damage to the point where they can consistently 1 hit kill enemies, you can frequently reset the attack command cool down with Eager to Impress. When you manage to string kills back to back, you can get much higher consistent damage than basic attacks alone in Gamma Melee. The pets best suited to this are Spiderant Countess, WAR Loader, and Gunslinger Jabber because their attack commands have a better damage formula due to scaling with splash.
While bonus elements don’t scale off of splash, they now apply to non-melee damage sources. This means that War Loader and Gunslinger Jabber attack commands will benefit from Gamma Burst now. Although Gunslinger puts his gun away, being able to melee with Roid damage means he will actually deal more DPS in Gamma Burst than outside of it. Every pet now benefits more from going Gamma than using the 200% ASE Splash anoint.
All you need to run splash command are splash and AOE rolls on COM and artifact, 3/3 in Sic Em’, 1 point in Eager to Impress, and a pet whose attack command scales with splash (Countess, Gunslinger, War Loader)
The AOE for Hollowpoint varies depending on how much splash radius/Area of Effect you have. The screenshot below shows Hollowpoint with 33% splash radius and 43% Area of Effect.
- Any melee pet can proc Hollowpoint, and Beefcake Jabber is effective with it as well, but none can hit close to the numbers Countess hits.
This section will go over the mechanics specific pets possess that drastically effect their damage output.
As a general rule of thumb, skags will attack about once per/second and spiderants every 1.5 seconds. Jabbers vary a bit. Loaders shoot about as often as Beefcake Jabber.
Base Melee Damage = 7.5 x (1.105)^level
Base Attack Command Damage = 18 x (1.105)^level (This damage was nerfed in the 7/23 patch and is dealing 40% of the damage it should be. Normally base damage would be 30.)
Base Lava Pool tick damage = 2.75 x (1.105)^level
Spiderant Scorcher deals incendiary damage on all her attacks. She can proc fire DOTs on her attacks. These DOTs stack CH and Pearl and can crit with Throatripper, but they are not viable as a damage source.
Bonus elements scale off the base damage Scorcher does, meaning they doesn’t take her elemental strength into their calculation. This works in her favor against shields, where Gamma’s radiation damage provides her with more than if it scaled off of her fire damage. However, it reduces her damage against flesh targets which should take an additional 75% damage from her attacks. Against armor, this reduction in damage is at it’s worst since both fire and radiation deal 50% damage vs armor.
Scorcher is the only pet that has an alternate attack in her rotation. Occasionally, she will stomp the ground, emitting a lava pool that deals fire damage over time. If she does this stomp on water while in Mayhem levels, environmental scaling will also effect the attacks damage and add a large instance of bonus Kinetic damage.
Tick Damage Output = Base Damage x Mayhem Scaling x Pet Damage x Gotta Go Fast x V2 x Crit x Elemental Multiplier x Harmageddon
Multiple pools don’t stack with each other. The pool ticks twice a second for 3.5-4 seconds. The actual pool isn’t effected by splash or AOE, but the stomp that creates them is. The pool is completely unaffected by Gamma Burst and extends in a 180* angle in front of Scorcher. It’s size is unaffected by splash radius or AOE. Scorcher seems to attempt to use the attack in a way that enemies will run into it. With melee units, I often saw her turn around to cast the attack since the enemies would chase her through it. Each second in the pool increases Scorcher’s DPS by 75%. This is basically Atomic Aroma with better base damage and no splash scaling.
Base Melee Damage = 7.5 x (1.105)^level
Base Attack Command Damage = 45 x (1.105)^level
Spiderant Countess deals corrosive damage on all her attacks. She can proc acid DOTs on her attacks. These DOTs stack CH and Pearl and can crit with Throatripper, but they are not viable as a damage source.
Bonus elements scale off the base damage Countess does, meaning it doesn’t take her elemental strength into its calculation. This works in her favor against all health types. Against flesh when she is dealing 50% damage, Gamma will be dealing full damage. On shields, which also resist corrosion by 50%, Gamma will get a damage boost. Against armor, when Gamma is dealing 50% less damage, she will be dealing full melee damage.
Countess is the only pet with an attack command that scales off both melee and splash damage bonuses. Her attack command scales off AOE and splash damage radius increases.
Countess’ attack command is a teleport. This means that she can make exceptional use out of Go for the Eyes since can instantly travel to whichever enemy she is attacking
She can stack Flesh Melter, Overkill, and Groundbreaker but she doesn’t benefit from it.
Countess can be instantly killed by Diadems, Anathema, and Scourge in the Guardian Takedown. If you are using her in a build for that content, switch her out when you get these bosses.
Base Gun Damage = 1.09 x (1.105)^level
Base Attack Command Damage = 58.5 x (1.105)^level
Gunslinger deals damage in bursts. He shoots a burst of 12-15-12 before reloading his weapon, which takes about a second. All in all he performs about 40 shots over the course of 2 seconds.
Gunslinger cannot naturally crit with his SMG
Gunslinger has excellent aim vs airborne targets, even with his attack command
Gunslinger’s attack command deals self harm to you and him. To avoid unnecessary deaths, be sure to the best of your ability that he only uses his launcher in clear, open spaces far away from enemies. Otherwise, he will frequently kill himself.
Base Shotgun Damage = 2.4 x (1.105)^level
Base Attack Command Damage = 32 x (1.105)^level
One of War Loader’s attacks allows him to throw your grenade. The grenade War Loader throws can proc the On Grenade Throw anointment, but will not be buffed by any ASE or ASA effects (so no bonus elements or extra grenade damage). The grenade will receive pet damage scaling, meaning it will scale according to formula listed here Pet Damage Formula. The grenade will not receive any additional mayhem scaling aside from pet scaling (x51 on M10/11), so they will not gain the x34 grenade bonus (or in the case of the Fishslap the x16 melee damage bonus).
War Loader’s shotgun is capable of hitting critical hits without Throatripper. Each pellet will deal critical hit damage if it hits a crit spot, but not all pellets will hit a crit or even hit the target. Because of this, War Loader’s damage can vary greatly from shot to shot and is difficult to pin down with certainty. Throatripper further compounds this: I’ve seen War Loader’s damage hit from 20k to over 100k.
War Loader deals incendiary damage on all his attacks. He can proc fire DOTs on his attacks. These DOTs stack CH and Pearl and can crit with Throatripper, but they are not viable as a damage source.
War Loader’s attack command does not deal self damage even though it receives splash damage buffs.
War Loader can be instantly killed by Diadems, Anathema, and Scourge in the Guardian Takedown. If you are using War Loader in a build for that content, switch him out when you get these bosses.
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- Mob Mentality
- Not the Face and Holy Crit - Go for the Eyes is a post-add crit like Fade Away, so it comes with the same pitfalls. It doesn’t receive increased critical hit damage from Holy Crit because it isn’t really a crit, but it also doesn’t count towards Not the Face because it isn’t really a crit, so both of these modifiers will tank your pet damage.
Speed Demon - With set ups relying on Go for the Eyes (mainly splash command set ups with Countess) Speed Demon will make your pet move so fast that it will reach enemies before you can mark them with an attack command. Avoid this if playing melee based splash command builds.
More than OK Boomer - the live grenade dropped by enemies downs the pet a lot. If using melee pets, be very careful with this modifier.
Big Kick Energy - This modifier increases the damage Jabbers and Loaders do with their weapons.
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- Great Horned Skag’s attack command can knock up the annointed militants in the air to stop their immune phase. Courtesy of @Chaos1091
- Pets can stack Flesh Melter, Pearl, Consecutive Hits, and Overkill, but do not personally benefit from any of those things.
- When you change elevations, most pets will automatically teleport to you. Spiderants will use their attack command and perform Countess’ burrowing attack to teleport to you. This can kill you if you are near barrels and uses up the attack command.
- If a pet is moving too slowly or is attacking enemies you left behind, go into your menu and select another pet. Once it despawns and the time shows up on the bottom of the screen, go into your menu again and select your wanted pet. You can use this to revive a downed pet as well.
- You can’t change pets while their attack commands are on cool down.
- If you enter FFYL or activate Not My Circus while spiderant Countess is performing her attack command, she will get stuck under the map. She can still revive you once, but she will not resurface from this state and cannot change elevations. You will need to select another pet from the menu and then reselect Countess before it spawns in.
- Eridian Skag’s Singularity attack command goes through walls, but the explosion at the end does not.
- Spiderant Centurion, Scorcher, and Horned Skag had their attack command damage nerfed by 50% in the July 23rd patch. Don’t expect them to do much damage until this is fixed.
- Jabbers and Loaders will receive amp damage from Zane’s barrier when shooting through it. This also works with amp shields through Distributed Denial with Gunslinger’s attack command, but only once per activation. Thank you @sammantixbb for the tip.
- Pet melee damage does not scale with cryo or Ice Breaker artifacts, but do scale with roid
- The pet damage bonus on the Friendbot COM is additive with all other pet damage. You can potentially get 72% pet damage from this COM (2/1 Psycho Head + 3 Big Game and 20% on the COM), but several other COMs give just as much pet damage with more beneficial effects. Since pets rarely die in higher Mayhems, I’d only suggest using this for BY.
- You can occasionally get a second wind for the pet without a Friendbot COM by killing the enemy that downed it. This is inconsistent though.
- The only Hunt skills that do not scale pet damage with Big Game are Furious Attack and Most Dangerous Game.
- As of August 6th hotfix, Interplanetary Stalker’s pet damage does scale with Big Game. However, it does not scale for the full value of the bonus. 5/5 IPS and 3/3 Big Game will give about 10% extra pet damage rather than 15%, and 7/5 IPS with 85% skill effectiveness from a Cosmic Stalker COM will give 54% rather than 72%.
A big shoutout to everyone who’s helped test pets over these past few months! @Ratore @vCarpeDiemv @janejana @plenipotence our lord and savaior @Prismatic since he’s my go to guy for FL4K math when doesn’t even main this class.
This is going to be a living document. If/when 4th skill trees do come, we’re definitely testing the ■■■■ out of whatever new pets we get. And I still have some things to test here (cough cough drone ranger/ buddy system for Hollowpoint cough cough).
As per usual, please feel free to drop any of your findings in this thread as well!