[Guide] Moze & Iron Bear Skills - Analysis & Rating

I’m not sure where I fall on PD’s rating (for BM/SoR builds).
At the moment I prefer running Forge and maintaining the Green Monster bonus, which if I am not mistaken is slightly better than six stacks of PD with five points in the skill (and even better against armor). On higher Mayhems it’s much easier to maintain the Green Monster bonus than PD stacks - there are very few areas where I can get more than eight stacks consistently.
The only scenario where it seems worthwhile is in Circles of Slaughters with coms that have at least three points in PD (ideally five). You’d lose mag-size in Iron Bank and regen from Forge to try to get 10 in PD, but that problem can be compensated for by using a weapon with a low fire-rate, like a Q-System.

Just out of curiosity are you saying PD should be lowered further to a 3 star?

I’d agree. For M4 play, PD is too much investment for inconsistent returns. It’s great on paper, but with skills in the other trees I get damage equivalent to 6 or more stacks without needing kill skills, and the shield bonus makes it harder to proc topped off consistently. It’s highly build dependent, and slow to get moving at high level play.

@xirmi @cailte

I’m not at all an advocate of PD, I actually have never liked the skill even a little bit personally. I don’t like how it adds shields and I’ve always found DiB much better.

But, just to offer the other side of the argument, I think the arguments here are a little too biased against SoR builds. In a SoR build PD can be fantastic.

I don’t think a build around Green Monster warrants a rating drop for a skill. Green Monster has some weird interactions with richochets but Blast Master is still leagues better and more versatile. PD has synergy with Blast Master. So narrowing it down to one specific build isn’t really what the skill rating is about. Or else anything that isn’t the perfect Blast Master build is bad.

Which are we talking about that gets 6 stacks worth exactly? Multiple skills? Can’t we say PD + DiB + DM & TRL + TD + Blast Master will again, be higher damage output than the other skills are even close to matching. SoR has more synergy with Blast Master than the other 2 trees (other than keeping ammo up with 6 points in the Bottomless Mags). Bottlenecking skill ratings into only specific builds doesn’t really work.

There’s 6 gun damage boosting skills across 3 trees. 1 (one of the worst out of the 6) is high in Bottomless Mags. The other FIVE are in SoR, so saying skip SoR tree in favour of the other 2 trees isn’t the best idea for all builds. PD is in my opinion not as good as DiB due to the amount of stacks needed, the positioning in the tree is also less desirable, and the shield half of the skill isn’t always the best.

But, if you take her best one (DiB) I’d say PD is going to be better than DM because you’re already relying on kill skills.

But again, that’s just the counter argument. I don’t even like the skill much, so maybe my argument is invalid.

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That’s a fair counter argument. It’s great in an SoR build, with a deathless. Limited use without vampyr, and there’s a lot of sacrifice to take both. Probably best with a BBB shield. Still a bit niche, hard to spec into and difficult to maintain on higher difficulties or bosses without trash mobs. This conversation has been had though. I’d give it 3.5 stars.

Edit: to quickly answer, yes it’s a combination of skills in blue and green that it takes to match it, but the investment it takes to get there is not worth the 20 or so points. Especially when DiB is a much cheaper option.

@xirmi @twoPIZZA @cailte

I don’t thinks it’s at all fair to criticize Phalanx for adding shields. Half the tree is about giving you massive shields, if you’re attempting to use Topped off I don’t see why you are this far down SoR. If you are using Topped off I don’t see why you’d invest more than 12 points into SoR at max.

The tree is built around massive shields. Tenacious Defense, Thin Red Line, Vladof Ingenuity and Armored Infantry all encourage bigger shields, Phalanx is the skill that combines the massive shields with gun damage. Bigger shields are also definitely not a Deathless only thing, the Recharger doesn’t get enough credit for how well it does with Phalanx and TRL.

Furthermore this guide is not only slanted at endgame, it’s arguably least relevant to endgame players as they’ve in all likelihood already formed their own opinions on skills. This guide is naturally biased towards end game as that is where myself and most contributors play. However I don’t believe a skill should be rated purely on end game usage. When leveling you’re unlikely to have a build that has more than a few half synergies. Without Blast Master and a Splash anoint there are no skills in the other 2 trees that can consistently match the damage offered by Phalanx Doctrine. Phalanx is not hard to maintain pre mayhem 4, and once you reach MH4 a synergized build is expected. In a build that has gear working together maintaining Phalanx is also not a herculean task.

The meta that has developed around not going past Experimental Munitions has nothing to do with Phalanx not being worth it, the wasted points are the ones required to get past tiers 3 and 4. They’re the tiers where SoR is least versatile and will lose value to many builds. There are not better options than Phalanx Doctrine to move further down the tree. I see Phalanx as one of the most secure 4 star ratings.

While I’m here and there’s discussion going I’m thinking of making a few adjustments to Demolition Women. Grizzled I’m going to be upping to 3 stars now that I can justify it’s impact in comparison to CDR boosts, I’m tempted to make it a 4 star skill as I think it’s by far the most versatile of DW’s tiers 1’s.

Deadlines I’m considering making 3 stars, it’s only being used in dedicated Iron Bear builds and is ignored by early exiters and those who use IB to burst a badass before exiting.

Explosive Punctuation I’ll change the description to be far more harsh on but I think it still remains better than a 1 star skill just.

Short Fuse I want to make a 4 star skill, the 160% splash anoint really helps its case and the IB damage modifiers are huge for it.


I’m going to say Grizzled is a 4 star skill. In my opinion it’s a must have in any Iron Bear focused build. If we take Topped off out of the equation (nobody should assume guardian ranks), it’s in the top 3 of ways to get CD reduction for Moze (Grizzled, 30% anoint, 33% class mod). All 3 of those things combine well together also. I’ve even taken to using Grizzled in my SFR based enter/exit Scourge build and seen massive improvements in the way it plays. Definitely a very strong skill, most especially as a T1 skill.


To be fair on my end, the Topped Off thing is a general statement about shield stacking not always being great. But in my individual case, I hate the bug that’s still present because I want to use a band of sitorak with a TD build, and the damage boost while shield is depleted bugs with PD and stacks over and over. I assume there’s other shields with this issue but that’s what I’ve ran into.

It’s really not even that bad with Topped Off unless you’re using a slow shield and going for near perfect cooldown looping. Which, as you said why are you this far in SoR then?

I agree it should maybe be a 4 star skill, not as the main CDR though. It’s largest benefit over other CDR increases is that it works so well comparatively while Topped Off is proccing.

Without Topped Off its definitely good, but even though it still suffers from diminishing returns with Topped Off it’s not even close to the other CDR skills/gear. On top of that, it’s the easiest investment to push you below a 30s cooldown combined with few other CDR.

Using it with a quick recharge shield and every time you kill an enemy your shield is back to full and you gain the benefit of Topped Off again.

However there might still be a weird interaction with SSB or RPM or something but I think it still deserves to be minimum 3 stars, and my opinion 4 stars. It’s almost always better than FitSD in my opinion. It’s actually nice not setting myself on fire all the time.

I don’t know, I use deadlines because it allows me the versatility between exiting early or staying in IB longer. For 3 points it let’s me choose on the fly how long I want to be in the Mech. I don’t have a strong opinion, but I have found the best way to get to Vampyr is by taking 3/3 DL, 5/5 Grizzled, 3/3 MoD, 3/3 PtHP, and 1/1 Auto bear.

Maybe I just play weird but I always try and take deadlines. On any build where you fire a few shots it keeps your CDT down after jumping out, and if you plan to use half fuel you can squeeze a lot more shots out with DL.

SF, with the SSB and RPM boost I think is amazing with a mind sweeper build. I’m still tweaking my build but it’s allowing me to solo takedown much easier than without it, with just regular smgs and assault rifles. I can’t put my finger on why it’s working so well with mind sweeper but I think it’s just the increase in damage when you aren’t dropping micros.

EP I have no new opinion on. It’s 1 star to me but I’m biased against it because I’ve spent so much time slamming it. I think it’s only that bad in comparison to Grizzled. If Grizzled is 4 stars, EP is probably fine at 2 stars.

Sorry to anyone that read that, way too long.

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That’s a fair defense of PD. Explosive punctuation is a waste of time and points. Grizzled is excellent, although I get enough value from a fast recharge and topped off to ignore it and take skag den because it works so well with stoke the Embers and short fuse. For an IB focussed build not using incendiary or splash it’s a solid cdr option. Short fuse is a big investment, and if the boosts from IB skills remain as a feature, not a bug, then it’s definitely a four star skill. I’d be hesitant to grant it that if that were to change. But as you showed me with that damage formula @Prismatic it can do some wild things. Deadlines is a skill I don’t take often, unless I’m building specifically for IB but I feel like it increases auto bear duration for rocketeer builds. I’ll need to test that though, because I may have been experiencing the respec bug.

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I also think Grizzled should go up to 4 stars. Whether Bear’s time is 100% Auto Bear or a full-on IB-build, it fits the 4-star description of being best taken when you’re at that stage of the skill tree. If Deadlines is going to be 3 stars when it’s only of use when piloting Bear, then Grizzled should definitely be rated one star higher than that.

It clearly does way more than what is advertised on its card. I would say the fact that it can proc on each instance of gun damage, splash damage and multiple projectiles in a single shot, should be enough to bump it up to 4 stars. Add in buffs to SF damage from Scorching RPMs and Stainless Steel Bear, plus the 160% bonus splash anointment putting it into overdrive, it’s undeniably a 4-star skill. Hell, now I’m having thoughts of making a Torgue allegiance build around Short Fuse!

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I’m running a Torgue allegiance around short fuse and it shreds. It’s centrepiece is a 160 splash annointment Juliet’s Dazzle with 22mag and ~1500 damage. Give it a try. I’m farming for a 125 incendiary version to see if I can squeeze a little bit more out of it that way.

@Prismatic I would realy like to see this guide updated to reflect the Moze/IB Nerfs/Buffs patched in over the past few weeks. Please update this amazing guide.

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Updated :smile:

The major overhauls were to Iron Bear so this guide hasn’t seen much change.

I’ve dropped TRL to 2 stars as the smaller health gate buffer runs into trouble against high dps mobs.

Click Click also had a description overhaul. I’ll be watching this one closely, I’m not entirely sure how much impact it will truly have in a meta dominated by Consecutive hits and the Pearl. For now it remains a 2 star skill with stated potential to be strong if built around.

Specialist Bear I’ve added the extra info that it applies to Auto Bear which I think is important to know. However I still see it as an excellent skill but not totally playstyle defining. Iron Bear (and Auto Bear) are strong enough that you don’t miss specialist bear in builds that aren’t relying on Iron Bear to carry them for damage. I’ll keep an eye on this as its very much a contender for 5 stars. However I’m being stingy with my 5 star ratings and specialist Bear has little impact on instant exit builds which are currently a large part of the meta.

The other buffed skills I’ve updated descriptions for but I still believe fall victim to all the same flaws.

As always everyone, I’m happy to hear feedback and reasoning on why my current ratings could be updated. So please, if you have feedback lets hear it!


I think the rating description for 3 stars should be fleshed out a little more. Whereas 2-star ratings are for below average skills and niche skills that require builds focused around them to be made somewhat useful, perhaps 3-star ratings could also be for skills that although they are more for niche builds, they carry themselves or serve their purpose well without requiring extra focus or being the centrepiece of that particular niche build.

Prime example of the point I’m trying to make: Deadlines. It’s currently rated at 2 stars which according to the rating system, is labelled as a ‘below average’ skill. But I for one don’t really see it as ‘below average’ in the slightest because it serves an important function in Iron Bear builds and even hybrid ones, in that it’s the only skill in which you can refill the fuel tank.

I agree that the higher DPS from mobs takes the shine off of this skill a little, but I would probably drop it down to 3 stars simply because the missing max health has synergy not just with Desperate Measures but also Vampyr so despite the smaller health gate buffer, each Vampyr proc is going to help you get back up to that max 60% more easily and consistently, something that’s enormously helpful in places such as Slaughter Shaft and Maliwan Takedown.

Also, Vladof Ingenuity being currently rated as 3-stars too, I think TRL should definitely be rated the same. TRL can be better for lower capacity shields such as Pangolin, but VI will usually get more out of higher capacity Hyperion shields.

If in the future Gearbox releases a new class mod for Moze that is more focused on Iron Bear and happens to have Specialist Bear as one of its chosen bonus skills, then I’d say that it would merit a 5-star rating at that point because that’s a x2.2 multiplier occupying its own slot in Bear’s damage formula which is huge and could potentially be the centrepiece skill of a build using that class mod. If SB is the only bonus damage skill that functions during Auto Bear, it really makes me lament the missed opportunity on Gearbox’s part to place Specialist Bear as one of the bonus skills for the Rocketeer COM.

One last thing that I think should be changed is Fire in the Skag Den, down to 2 stars. The damage is quite lacklustre, so much so that if that’s all it did then it could be a 1-star skill. But nowadays, it serves more as a one-point wonder seeing as it can proc on Short Fuse and can also proc fire DOTs to help towards the consecutive hit anointment.


I fully agree with what you’ve said. Thanks!

I’ll update everything to reflect it when I get a chance.

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I’ve always felt To The Last is Way better than 2 stars and certainly wouldn’t agree that it is “seldom going to be a life saver when you go down”. I use it all the time for second winds with homing grenades (maybe I shouldn’t be going down so much though)…

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It’s also amazing now because of the guardian rank skill that refills the ffyl bar as long as you deal damage. Perfect for homing grenades while in FFYL

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I’ll bump it to 3 stars when I do the changes DoctorDragon recommended.

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Over the past few weeks I’ve been finding that TRL shines at 1/3, and 2/3 causes a lot of questionable downs. Dot’s are also really hard to keep your health above 50% but below 60%. The only way Vampyr truly has synergy with TRL is at 80% because that last 20 often never gets filled completely. 60% and Vampyr starts over-healing (guess you could be one of those MONSTERS that only specs 2 or 3 points in it). I don’t think it’s worth even speccing 2/3 TRL these days because DM is very hardly worth it unless you’re taking the plunge into a 1hp build.

All of that is to say, if TRL is bumped up to 3 stars I think it should be stated that 1/3 is far more sustainable than 2/3+, however 1/3 is nearly useless for DM.

I wish we could spec Click Click, DiB and SF.


TRL 5/3 or go home :v

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