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 Sic’ Em x DE4DEYE x Go For The Eyes x Splash x Elemental Multiplier x Harmageddon
Base Damage = (BaseHit + 75%GammaBurstRad/ 50%TerrorFire)
*Same as bonus elements on guns, Terror and Gamma Burst don’t scale with splash
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.
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.
DE4DEYE = (1 + DE4DEYE). The 35% damage bonus against targets above 75% health. So, (1 + 0.35)
Go For The Eyes = (1 + GFTE). (1 + 0.75) at 5/5, up to (1 + 1.50) at 10/5
- Go For The Eyes doesn’t seem to apply to the extra Radiation Damage from Gamma Burst or the fire damage from terror
Splash = (1 + ClassModSplashDmg + ArtifactAreaDmg + SplashDamageAnoint)
- Splash applies to Attack Commands only.
Elemental Multiplier = (ElementalDamageMultiplier)
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.
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, Sidekick Jabber, and Gunslinger Jabber. 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 and the stomp attack Spiderant Scorcher does as part of her lava pool attack.
Final Damage Output = Base Damage x Mayhem Scaling x Pet Damage x DE4DEYE 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.
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 basic attack boosted by Gamma Burst to do damage. This is likely what most people think of when a “pet build” comes to mind. The second way is to build around attack commands. I tend to call this play style Splash Command since it works best when utilizing attack commands that scale with splash damage.
For maximum effectiveness, the two play styles will be mutually exclusive. Below I will explain why this is the case, and how to build both play styles so that they are as effective as they can be.
As was mentioned earlier, both of these function similarly to bonus elements on weapons, meaning they do not scale with splash damage.
An important note is that the detrimental effects of Gamma are not only present while the skill is active. Just by being equipped as your action skill, Gamma Burst will lower the splash damage of your attack commands even when it is not active.
Gamma Burst and Terror have several strange interactions with other multipliers in the formula. The following issues occur ONLY when using the Deadeye class mod.
- Gamma Burst and Terror inconsistently scale with both Go for the Eyes and Sic Em’. Gamma w/ GftE, Terror w/ GftE
- Gamma Burst will occasionally lower the damage of your pet’s critical hits through Go for the Eyes
- Gamma Burst and Terror will inconsistently apply Go for the Eyes and Sic Em’ to their own scaling.
The takeaway from these interactions is that bonus elements on pets do not play well with the other multipliers to pet damage. If you stack too many, Gamma Burst and Terror will essentially begin ignoring some of your skills. If going for a Gamma Melee build, your best bet will be to add additional sources of damage rather than multiplying melee damage. More on this later.
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. This is run as an ASE build, utilizing the 200% Splash damage on action skill end anointment to supercharge the attack damage
This set up relies heavily on burst damage: missing a kill means you don’t reset your cool down, and your pet deals much lower damage until the attack command becomes available again. The flip side is that, when you manage to string kills back to back, you can get much higher consistent damage than Gamma Melee.
Due to the extreme reliance this set up has on 1 hit kills, you need to use attack commands that have the best chance of killing enemies in a single hit. The pets best suited to this are Spiderant Countess and Gunslinger Jabber because both of their attack commands deal double the damage of the other pets and scale with splash. Other pets such as Beefcake Jabber and Great Horned Skag do not deal enough damage with their attack commands to guarantee consistent 1 hit kills.
As mentioned above, Gamma Burst and terror have several negative interactions with splash damage that impede the effectiveness of this build. The most damning is Gamma lowering the splash damage of pets simply by being the selected action skill. Depending on the pet this can be mitigated to an extent. Gamma Burst provides favorable damage increases to Countess for example, and the splash damage you’d be stacking for attack commands would also apply to Atomic Aroma.
Where these issues become unavoidable and detrimental to an obscene degree is with Gunslinger Jabber. Gunslinger’s SMG does far more damage than Gamma boosted melee attacks, especially as you go higher in Mayhem levels. Being forced into melee is a massive damage downgrade for him. On top of that, Gunslinger’s attack command doesn’t scale with Gamma at all, while also being cut off from splash bonuses. Overall, Gamma Burst lowers Gunslinger’s damage to 25-30% of what it would otherwise be. Terror is not as harmful since he can still use his SMG, but the same issue with splash will persist when using this anointment.
Overall, between the ASE dependent nature of this set up, and the various issues with bonus elements and splash, I don’t advise running hybrid set ups. Committing to one or the other will net the highest consistent damage and streamline gearing.
To make the most out of Gamma, you’ll want to avoid stacking other skill based multipliers. The interactions between bonus elements and Go for the Eyes/Sic Em disincentivize stacking both of these skills together. To utilize the terror anointment as often as possible, you will need 3/3 in Sic Em for the 30% attack command cool down.
You want as much raw pet damage as you can muster to scale all the different sources of damage you’ll be adding to Gamma. The Red Fang COM is a great COM since it boosts Ferocity, but the best in slot for pet damage will be a Cosmic Stalker, since that COM boosts your pet damage by 57% and increases the duration of your Frenzy stacks.
You have several avenues to achieve this.
- Atomic Aroma – With perfect splash rolls on COM and artifact (+76% splash damage) this augment will add about 70% of your pet’s melee DPS as a passive radiation AOE.
- Terror Anointment – this will be more relevant once Bloody Harvest makes its return in October, but this anointment is the only one in the game that effects the normal attacks of pets. The strength of this bonus will depend on the health type of the enemy you’re facing. It will be a 25% bonus vs shields and armor, and 88% vs flesh. Since Gamma builds typically don’t have as much use for the shield and grenade ASE slots, you can use one of those (preferably the grenade) for the terror anointment and a facepuncher with generate terror on melee.
- He Bites – This skill serves as a fair source of extra damage while enemy guns are scaling with Mayhem. The reflected damage receives pet mayhem scaling, so M10 enemies reflecting their own damage at x51 strength can add some more passive DPS to your melee pets.
- Lava Pool – this attack is exclusive to Spiderant Scorcher, but like Atomic Aroma it adds about 70% melee DPS per second to Scorcher. The catch is that this attack lasts for 4 seconds. Each second an enemy spends in the pool increases Scorcher’s DPS by 70%, and when combining this with her melee attacks, she can deal more damage to shields and armor than the Skag can.
The splash command build varies depending on whether you are running Countess or Gunslinger. Each pet has different strengths and qualities that lead to different skill specs. While you can run both of them in the same set up, one or the other will end up being hurt by a hybrid set up, so I would suggest focusing your build towards the one you prefer to use.
Gunslinger Jabber shoots a volley of 3 non-elemental rockets for his attack command. These rockets are incapable of hitting crits. However, they have a fair splash radius and can track enemy movement well. As long as one rocket in the volley kills an enemy, the attack command cool down will reset.
Because Gunslinger Jabber does not use melee attacks, and thus cannot naturally hit crits, Go for the Eyes is useless for him. He also loses an immense amount of damage going with Gamma Burst.
Due to these qualities, I like to run Gunslinger in a Red/Green set up with minimal Blue tree investment.
With level 65, we can use a Bounty Hunter COM with points in Frenzy,and your Gunslinger Jabber with a point in He Bites will be able to easily maintain this bonus. More importantly, you will be able activate your Hunter kill skills by shooting enemies, keeping your pet damage completely maxed out at all times. Your Jabber will not be dependent on maintaining kill skills to sustain its damage output. For single target enemies, you’ll always have your pet at full power every time you fire off an attack command. Lastly, this is only a slight deviation of a few points from the meta Fade Away build.
Countess’ attack command deals an explosion of melee corrosive damage at the enemy’s location. The element lock on this attack means it will nearly always be dealing 50% damage since most enemies are comprised of shield and/or flesh. To counteract this damage loss, you need to take Go for the Eyes. This skill gives Countess an extra 75% multiplicative damage on her first melee attack to an enemy. You’ll want to have 7 points in this skill to get Countess to 105% increased damage, effectively cancelling out the elemental debuff. With this skill, her attack command will deal damage equal to 1 of Gunslinger’s rockets.
Countess’ reliance on Go for the Eyes for attack command damage opens up the possibility of using Hollowpoint to aid in her AOE clear potential. Hollowpoint is a Guardian Rank perk that, on critical kills, creates an explosion whose damage is equal to your overkill. This damage scales with pet mayhem scaling. To make the most out of Countess, you’ll want to send her into groups of enemies (preferably with a beefier enemy like a badass mixed in) to kill them all with a critical hit and overlap Hollowpoint explosions to kill whatever is still alive.
Countess’ attack command on it’s own has enough damage kill 80% of enemies in the game fully buffed, and hollowpoint will be your method for dealing with beefier targets, so the additional skill points at 65 cap go towards keeping Countess alive. 1 extra point in All My BFFs and Who Rescued Who will go a long way to keeping her alive.
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 a bit slower (about 1.25 to 1.5). Jabbers vary a bit.
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, but they are not viable as a damage source.
Gamma Burst scales off the base damage Scorcher does, meaning it doesn’t take her elemental strength into its 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.
Tick Damage Output = Base Damage x Mayhem Scaling x Pet Damage x DE4DEYE 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 Gun Damage = 10.2 x (1.105)^level
Base Attack Command Damage = 30 x (1.105)^level
The guns that Jabbers use gain universal multipliers from the game. Pre-Mayhem 2.0, this meant they would get bonuses from modifiers such as Normal Bullet damage. Recently, Beefcake (and Sidekick Jabber) received the manufacturer buffs to certain weapons. Beefcake inherited the 44% Jakobs shotgun buff, and deals higher damage than the pet damage formula would indicate.
Due to the Jakob’s shotgun buff, Beefcake Jabber deals about 10% more base damage with his shotgun in melee range than he would with Gamma melee. As such, he can be used equally well inside and outside of Gamma Burst.
Beefcake Jabber is the only pet that has perfect control over when he crits. Because his normal attacks use a shotgun and his attack command is melee, his attack command is guaranteed to crit every time you use it if you have Go for the Eyes specced. You can use this to set up Hollowpoint chains that will clear out mobs. Although Beefcake does not have as much damage potential with this strategy as Countess, he can still hit for impressive numbers.
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, but they are not viable as a damage source.
Gamma Burst scales 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.
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
Her attack command scales off AOE and splash damage radius increases
She can stack Flesh Melter, but she doesn’t benefit from it.
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.
- Mob Mentality
- Not the Face and Holy Crit - Go for the Eyes is a psuedo 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.
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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 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.
- The Jabbers 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.
- 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!