[Guide] How to survive as FL4K

Struggling to stay alive as FL4K? Annoyed by their lack of life steal? Intrigued by all the “Fl4 bad” memes making fun of these sentiments? Here’s some tips for how to make the most out of FL4K’s kit to survive and keep the Hunt going.

General tips for FL4K

  • The meat of your survivability lies in your Action Skill. Regardless of which one you pick, the more you use it the less you’ll go down. The skill Head Count and the Guardian Reward Topped Off are your best tools for cooldown reduction.

    • To make the most out of Head Count, pair it with a gun that can inflict several hits in quick succession, such as a shotgun or a Vladof assault rifle. You’ll also want Megavore so you can proc Head Count far more often.

    • To make the most out of Topped Off, wear a shield with a fast recharge and avoid taking damage as much as possible.

    • It should be noted that you don’t necessarily have to meet both of these gear criteria to make FL4K work. Really just find what works best for you.

  • FL4K as a whole is not meant to a facetank character and you shouldn’t be afraid to play less aggressively with them. Take cover, run away, use terrain to your advantage, don’t let yourself be surrounded by enemies etc.

  • Lick the Wounds is arguably the best FFYL skill in the game and one of the best in the entire franchise. Obviously you want to go down as little as possible but even if you’re a master at playing FL4K it’s still easy to slip up every now and then. Seriously, just take this skill.

  • FL4K has numerous healing skills, none of which are particularly powerful aside from the unreliable Burst Aid but are more than enough for a quick recovery following a retreat and in some cases can even allow FL4K to tank for a bit. You don’t have to take all of them but it’s still good to at least have some of them.

  • Make use of your pet. Their presence alone prevents the situation of every enemy on the field targeting you which itself is a huge help for FL4K. Add in their Action Command, the skill Galactic Shadow and especially taunting effects to make your pet an effective aggro sink.

    • Keep your pet healthy too; if they go down you’re much more vulnerable. Investing in pet defense isn’t as important as it used to be due to pets receiving Mayhem health scaling but it’s still good to do so at least a little bit.
  • While FL4K is generally designed to fight from a distance; it’s still possible to make them work well at close range. As a general rule, it’s best not to engage an enemy up close unless you’re sure that you won’t incur heavy damage (e.g. you’re in Fade Away).

Tips for Fade Away

  • Take your time to recover and reposition yourself if you need to; in most cases you have more than plenty of time to do so (especially if you’ve maxed out Persistence Hunter). Using your three shots right away in order to activate your Action Skill End anointments ASAP isn’t always the best option.

  • While Fade Away is active, the game treats your location (i.e. where enemies will attack) as wherever you activated Fade Away. Do not stay in that location, nor should you run straight from that location towards an enemy (they’ll likely end up shooting you anyway).

  • Fade Away is somewhat unusual as an Action Skill because it has a long cooldown but works best when spammed. This makes Head Count and Topped Off especially important for Fade Away builds.

  • Not My Circus makes your pet taunt once Fade Away ends and is thus amazing because in addition to (briefly) maintaining the effect of enemies not targeting you, it also gives your shield more time to be at full capacity and thus let you make more out of Topped Off.

    • Your pet needs to be close to an enemy in order to taunt- if Fade Away ends while there aren’t any enemies near them, they will travel to a nearby enemy before taunting (which may or may not take a very long time). You especially want to avoid this when ending Fade Away close to a bunch of enemies.

      • One way to circumvent this is to direct your pet towards an enemy nearby you while Fade Away is still active so that they’ll taunt as soon as possible. The Spiderant Countess’s Attack Command in particular is helpful for this because of its speed.
    • Your pet will always prioritize Not My Circus over Lick the Wounds. Be very careful with where/how you end Fade Away especially if your pet isn’t close to any enemies.

  • Avoid Guerrillas in the Mist for general play. The reduction to Fade Away’s duration gives you far less time to heal and position yourself and is a huge detriment to your survivability.

Tips for Rakk Attack!

  • Pairing a shield with an effect that activates on shield break or fill with the anointment that activates said effect on Action Skill Start works extremely well with Rakk Attack and its ability to be used multiple times in quick succesion. The Stop-Gap and Frozen Heart are the most popular shields to use with this combo due to their great defensive effects.

    • However, it’s still risky to just facetank everything and you should still play less aggressively.
  • Falconer’s Feast while not health gate material is a decent healing skill and a good augment to take if you aren’t using any healing gear; be sure to back it up with other survival tools though.

  • Rakk Attack! is the only FL4K Action Skill not to come with the ability to make your pet taunt. To compensate for this, make more use out of your pet’s Attack Command to draw aggro (oh and take Galactic Shadow too).

Tips for Gamma Burst

  • The Red Fang class mod causes your pet to taunt constantly while Gamma Burst is active and is often seen as a requirement for endgame Gamma Burst builds.

    • Be careful where you are in relation to your pet and your enemies when Gamma Burst ends- enemies will stop targeting your pet en masse and you’ll be more vulnerable.
  • While Burst Aid is very powerful, it’s hard to make use of it in combat because the Rift is stationary whereas you typically aren’t. Furthermore, with a Red Fang you’re typically dropping your pet (and thus the Rift) in the middle of enemies and far away from yourself for maximum aggro efficiency which further complicates your ability to stay close to the Rift.


  • If you’re still itching for some life steal, consider pairing a Knife Drain artifact with something that can deal melee damage, such as a Face-puncher.

  • Don’t bother with the Action Command life steal anointment. The time it takes to activate an Action Command is too long to be useful in tough situations.


Got sick of all the “FL4K is too squishy” complaints so I figured we could put our heads together and make a resource for new FL4K players on how to stay alive

I pretty much only use Fade Away so any help on Rakk, Gamma etc. would be greatly appreciated


Well for rakk attack that is pretty much all you need to be more specific ASS frozen heart or stop-gap are a must if you want to not die so when using that action skill. Transformer (anoint doesn’t matter) can also make a great sub until you get 1 of those shields. Also never get Rakkcelerate and head count is a must so you cxan spam rakk attack and keep up your anoint.

For gamma burst yea pretty much maybe add if you go blue red trees galactic shadows helps keep heat off you and onto your pet.

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Obviously skills and gear are important but for this guide I want to focus more on how to properly utilize them in combat since that seems to be what trips a lot of players up. So stuff like how to move around the field, how to make the most out of pet taunts, when to use a rakk charge etc.

For Rakk, you need to actually use cover. Stand behind walls, use terrain, avoid being surrounded by enemies.

You really need to use their pets to survive with Rakk. With the buffed Galactic Shadow, they can actually hold aggro decently, so directing them onto threatening enemies with the attack command is a good strat.


Fl4k is best as a mid to long range character. Any terrain with cover should be used for surviving threats. I wish the AC was more responsive as it can save lives by having pets take aggro. Gamma Burst has Red Fang. Fade Away has well fade away, it’s in the name. Rakks have to play a bit more patience and cautious.

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Updated with better formatting and more Rakk stuff. Thanks for the help so far!

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You know, I have come to the conclusion that the wording “the worst” or “too squishy” are quite subjective. All characters are powerful and can do damage/heal/whatever.

It’s how much effort you need to put while you play. You can survive with any character, it just means with the one you will be constantly 180-noscoping because you can’t allow yourself to miss an enemy, and with another, it will be a cakewalk.

Sure someone like Joltz can make any character survive or work. It’s the average players that can’t.

I feel like FL4K is better suited for a more hardcore audience because you need to play harder (or grind harder) to get to the same level as with other characters.

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Guide’s more or less finished (for now). I filled out the Gamma Burst section but I’m definitely still open to suggestions.

I realize that this guide will likely be irrelevant in the near future due to FL4K getting a shield tree that looks very promising (especially Fuzzy Math, holy ■■■■) but until then (as well as for anyone who elects not to go into Trapper) I hope it can help at least some people with playing as everyone’s favorite nonbinary animal-loving robot.

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@pestopartyy It is tough to keep guides like this updated because, at least at the present time and possibly for quite some time going forward, the game is being updated with new gear each DLC, buffs/nerfs to gear and playstyles almost weekly, and discoveries of new interactions. Unfortunately that problem is much more pronounced with BL3 than it was with any of the other series entries because GBX is taking more of a “live service” approach to BL3 (not in the MTX sense, but in the sense that the devs are constantly tinkering with the game).

As far as playing tips, if you are playing a Rakk build I would suggest the following:

  1. Use an Otto Idol. The Last Stand, Snowdrift, Ice Breaker, or Atom Balm prefixes are best IMO.

  2. You really want to take advantage of all the movement speed you can get. This will allow you to get out of trouble more quickly, because you will get yourself in a bad spot on the battlefield due to simply poor positioning, unpredictable enemy spawns, and charging enemies. Fl4k is almost always the center of attention with the Rakk build because the only aggro relief you have is the pet and Galactic Shadow (which is a must-have skill for the Rakk build). Always take FAF, try to get movement speed on your artifact, and consider whether you can use the Jabber to add a little more movement speed on top. Finally, consider equipping a Crader’s EM-P5 not for damage, but for the sheer movement speed. You will also want to consider using the Speed Demon modifier, as it really helps as well.

  3. Develop techniques that contribute to unpredictable movement patterns. You can’t face-tank much when playing a Rakk build.

  4. You really want a Reflux (or other consistent DPS weapon - it doesn’t even have to be a high DPS weapon, as long as it can be spammed after you cast Rakks) with ASE Life Steal. This will allow you to face-tank when you become unexpectedly surrounded.

  5. Consider using a Power Siphon Tran-Fusion (I prefer the homing, or “Tracker” version and shock element tends to work best in my experience) and don’t forget to use them often during encounters, especially right at the start of an engagement. This will give you lots of healing and can help prevent you from getting overwhelmed when you get yourself in trouble.

Hope this is helpful!

It’s worth mentioning that activating the Stop Gap effect while it is active will break the immunity.

A little bit of patience works best, wait until you either take damage again or see the blue hex pattern leave the top of your screen.

To add to what @vCarpeDiemv said (because he reminded me of it) - the same trick that works with the ASS Stop Gap also works with the ASS Re-Charger, except instead of immunity you get full shields returned.

Probably not as useful as an ASS Stop Gap, but it still works in a pinch and can be a good substitute for an ASS Stop Gap. There is no cooldown on the number of times you can do this - as far as I can tell, the 20s cooldown does not apply to the ASS effect of the shield.

In my opinion, now that HC is working properly with Rakks, the ASS Re-Charger offers a more competitive alternative option to the ASS Stop Gap, at least for Rakk builds.

I was about to say these. If you don’t have any other particular artifact in mind that you need for your build, Otto Idol is solid for recovering health and the artifact prefix can help a lot too.

I recently started running purple Transfusions because my Hunter Seeker just isn’t seeing much use. They’re not necessarily great but I’ve avoided a couple of potential FFYL’s with them. Purples can come with more varied effects than Tran-Fusion legendary but the legendary offers shield regen possibilities and higher life recovery for it’s single explosion (a purple single explosion will get you above health gate easy on M10). Tran-Fusion is most likely the best one in this category, I’m just going with a purple because I’ve not got the power siphon + right anointment yet. Something to consider if you don’t need a specific grenade for your build to work.

While it’s kind of obvious if someone finds themselves taking too much damage and going down a lot then looking the shield slot is not a bad idea. Some shields have great utility for survival and damage such as Frozen Heart for example.
Since BL2 I’ve been a fan of just getting a fast delay, high recharge shield with higher end capacity (so all around good stats) on my glass cannons and it seems to work just fine here too. Double Downer is IMO one of the best shields you can get for Fl4k as it has overall great stats and the red text effect can be straight up abused with Lick the Wounds. It’s good for staying up and makes it really hard to actually die if you do go down.
I’m huge fan of -25 % delay additional effect on shield for Fl4k, although it does slow your recharge a little bit. Adaptive on Hyperion shields is awesome as it gives you more health, damage resistance AND gives your shield and overall boost in all stats.