[Guide] Some Mindsweeper Math and Gear Application

A few months ago, @Prismatic gave a basic overview on Mindsweeper’s potential. Since then, we’ve learned a lot more about how to get the most out of moze’s damage and the best ways to spread out damage bonuses to optimize output. Blast master and green monster have gotten the most attention from this, but Mindsweeper has a lot to offer, even when considering overall damage output and not just peak spikes. Mindsweeper is often regarded as not worth it because its effect chance is “RNG” but that really comes down to probability and how we game it, which means what weapons will most effectively utilize it. I’ll explain why the weapon matters at the end of this post.



All of the following hinges a lot on player and weapon accuracy. The more accurate you are in Borderlands, the more damage you’re rewarded with. With any given weapon build, having crits account for 66% of your damage at 50% crit accuracy, before accounting for additional crit damage bonuses. Any build that hinges on crit bonuses has a performance curve relative to your crit accuracy. Mindsweeper is no different than any such build, and any damage output numbers must keep that in mind. However, this translates into other builds as well. COMs like Blast Master and Green Monster will punish players less than Mindsweeper for being inaccurate, but accuracy is still a big part in effective damage output.


This is the damage formula for Mindsweeper grenades from @Prismatic ’s Gearology thread:

MS Grenade Damage = [Triggering Crit Damage] x Splash x Grenade x V1 x V2 x Elemental Multiplier

This looks like a small calculation, but there are a lot of different bonuses that we can pull from to improve the overall output.

Artifact bonuses:

31% grenade damage

40% AoE Damage

COM bonuses:

34% grenade damage

32% splash bonus


25% global on throw (v2)

300% above 90% health (v2)

160% splash ASE

125% splash ASE

Guardian ranks:

X% Grenade Damage

Elemental Multipliers:

90% projector elemental damage

30% Stoke the Embers


30% Pull the Holy Pin (for the sake of the damage calc, you want to think of it as 30% chance of 100% increased damage, or a 30% damage increase)

So, as an example, if you had a weapon with the 160 splash anointment, grenade and area damage on both your COM and Artifact, and the 25% on grenade throw anointment, the calculation would look like this:

Weapon Crit x PtHP%[(splash bonus) x (grenade bonus) x v2]

1.3[(1 + 1.6 + 0.32 + 0.4) x (1 + 0.31 + 0.34 + 0.1) x 1.25]


Weapon crit x 9.44

When you factor in the 25% chance to proc, That’s a 236% increase to critical output damage relative to base gun output.

If you’re using the pearl to increase your base hit value instead, the calculation looks like this:

Weapon crit x 1.3[(1 + 1.6 + 0.32) x (1 + 0.34 + 0.1) x 1.25]


Weapon crit x 6.83

This is still a 171% increase in output, and it takes half of the damage rolls from COMs and artifacts out of the equation (ie. This value represents how much additional damage Mindsweeper is doing just based off of very basic, easy to obtain bonuses, or “regular” non-godroll items).

For a weapon that cannot receive the 160 splash anoint, the effect of the COM looks diminished, but keep in mind that these weapons are still capable of high base damage values with a consecutive hits anointment, especially when choosing the correct weapon. These weapons also don’t benefit from blast master, so your only benefit from blast master is to your short fuse output.

Weapon crit x 1.3[(1 + 0.4 + 0.32) x (1 + 0.31 + 0.34 + 0.1) x 1.25]


Weapon crit x 4.891

Which is still roughly a 123% output increase.

These values are representative of what you can expect to get out of Mindsweeper while mobbing. We’re at the point in our understanding of the character and her skills that any more damage than this won’t have an effective impact on her mobbing capability.

As such, this is also only accounting for a single grenade proc off of a crit. Each Mindsweeper grenade has a 7.5% successive chance of proccing another grenade, in which each of these values is compounded.

So, if we account for a 2nd mircro-grenade off of Mindsweeper, the formula for a full 160 splash setup should look like this:

.075{[Weapon crit x (splash x grenade x v2 x 2)] x splash x grenade x v2 x 1.3}

The reason we account for a full crit on the initial grenade is because grenade N in the chain assumes that all grenades before it crit, as they have to in order to chain, and then the 1.3 value accounts for the current grenade in the chain’s chance to crit. The .075 value is the 7.5% chance that grenade 2 occurs once grenade 1 occurs.

@Prismatic generated a simplified version of this formula that can be applied to any grenade in the chain where n = the chain value.

Triggering crit x (v2 x splash x grenade)n x 2 n-1 x 1.3

So now that we have a general formula for determining damage for a particular grenade within a chain, we can account for a 3-chain grenade and generate the DPS value for it. Statistically, MS grenades are relevant to damage to the 6th value (before the chance gets so small that it stops increasing damage output. Most mobs, bosses included, will either be deleted or instantly phased/health gated (yes some have it in very niche situations) by any chain greater than 2, so there’s no need to account past an n value of 3.


0.25[grenade1 + (0.075 x grenade2) + (0.005625 x grenade3)]


0.25G1 + 0.01875G2 + 0.001406G3

We should be able to accurately account for Mindsweeper’s output increase for any relevant health pool in the game with a given set of bonuses. For this I’m going to use our second example of 160 splash with the pearl, with splash and grenade bonuses on COM and the 25% global anointment on our grenade. This is a very simple set to piece together, and while it’s a good COM roll, it doesn’t quite represent a god roll, and there are many with these bonuses available

So, we already have the value for g1: 0.25 x 6.83 X ( X = weapon crit value)

G1 = 1.7075X

Applying our formula to g2 (1.875% chance to occur):

G2 = 0.01875{[(1 + 1.6 + 0.32) x (1 + 0.34 + 0.1) x 1.25]2 x 2 x 1.3}


G2 = 0.01875[(5.2562) x 2 x 1.3 = 1.3475 X

And for g3 (0.14%):

G3 = 0.001406[(5.256)3 x 22 x 1.3] = 1.0625 X

The total value = Weapon Crit x 4.1175

That’s a 412% increase in damage output relevant to gun crit values. There are several potential bonuses that are easy to account for that aren’t even considered here, such as another 18% v1 for a Victory Rush, elemental type effectiveness, Elemental damage bonuses (Stoke the Embers, Elemental Projector) etc. This example is representative of simple, basic to achieve bonuses that can be further amplified by other bonuses from skills or other equipment.

Keep in mind that this increase is relevant specifically to weapon output. Short Fuse and bonus elements still factor into output damage as well, and Short Fuse isn’t irrelevant even with Blast Master or Green Monster out of the picture. With the same bonuses used above, Short Fuse represents ~79% increase of its own:

0.2Trigger x 0.75 x 1.45 x 1.25 x 2.92 = 0.794 x Trigger

However, this does show just how much of an overall increase Mindsweeper represents.


“But I tried Mindsweeper and it’s too inconsistent!”

This issue comes down to 2 problems: Crit availability and weapon choice.

The first one is either a skill cap or a target problem. Mindsweeper isn’t the type of COM that you can just pick up and expect to be able to have it perform the way you want it to. You don’t really realize how many crits you miss until you try and use the COM. Unfortunately, the only answer to this is time. Mindsweeper takes a decent time investment for understanding what the splash range of a micro grenade is so that you don’t down yourself constantly and hitting crit spots consistently so that the COM is applying its damage effectively across your usage.

There are a few targets that have inaccessible crit spots for most or all of their fight. Wotan is a big one where you can’t really access a crit spot for the second and third phases of the fight. There are solutions to this problem though. Chucked grenades can also proc MS and can be incredibly potent with it due to their inherently high base damage compared to pellets when using the correct grenade. Spring Epicenter’s do a wonderful job at this, as do CMTs. One way @Prismatic overcame the issue was using a Zheitsev’s Eruption to constantly output debuffs during the Wotan fight, and then just chucked CMTs until they chain proc’d MS.

Another simple solution is carrying a relevant blast master with you. As you should be spec’d into short fuse, blast master (or green monster if you can handle the uptime), will still have relevant output with your build. Part of using Mindsweeper is acknowledging where it doesn’t perform and utilizing a tool that does in that situation. During the parts of the Wotan fight where Mindsweeper really isn’t doing anything, it can be more effective to slide on a blast master and then change back for the final phase.

The other problem is a weapon issue. Because Mindsweeper is a true 25% chance to proc and not a binary string like Short Fuse, it can appear to be inconsistent. What this generally means is that the weapon you’re using has too high of a standard deviation on Mindsweeper proc chance within a given sample of shots fired. With any given sample, you can effectively decrease the standard deviation by increasing the sample size. Or in other words, utilize a weapon that fires more pellets within the same window without reducing the overall damage output or accuracy within that window.


“Then why does my Super Shredifier still suck!?”

Because it’s too inaccurate and has way too low of a base damage. With a fire rate of 16 shots/s, the damage value of a common Kot, and an accuracy rating akin to a bl2 bandit shotgun, you’ll never consistently hit enough crits to utilize Mindsweeper. Even with a standard Shredifier without a pellet multiplier to keep the accuracy usable, the weapon still greatly under performs compared to a particular weapon with half the fire rate.

The fixed firing pattern of the Kyb’s Worth makes criting with the weapon a very simple task once you’re used to the weapon. It has a relatively high base damage for its fire rate, and when you factor in its double pellet value, it has a similar fire rate to a shredifier or other extremely high fire rate weapons. It can also spawn with the 160 splash anointment due to it being a legendary Nebula, further increasing its potential. Another star here is the x3 pellet kybs. Because we’re not concerned with reloading while wearing a Mindsweeper, the ammo consumption and base magazine size is less of a problem. The x3 kybs is deadly accurate on crits due to the pattern of the center pellet, and makes short work of anything with an accessible crit spot.

“But Kyb’s only drops from the Takedown!!”

Kyb’s is just an example of what makes for an excellent Mindsweeper weapon. There are a ton of weapons out there that have amazing synergy with what Mindsweeper is trying to do. The Hellshock is an extremely easy to farm weapon (Gigamind) that can spawn with either the Consecutive Hits anointment, or the 160 splash anointment due to being a legendary Blaster. The Clairvoyance is an extremely high damage Jakob’s AR (can get over 5k card damage with a gatlin’ prefix), that when you crit generates a non-splash sticky that later explodes and crits again, meaning that you’re getting a double pellet crit value guaranteed for every crit you land. If you have DLC2, this is an incredibly easy farm to grab, as it’s right next to a checkpoint and is a guaranteed spawn. The Good Juju is another weapon that scales really well with Mindsweeper. With its buffed effect, it gets up to +500% crit when used properly. Paired with a consecutive hits anointment, this weapon is a powerhouse and doesn’t need a lot to achieve an egregious output with Mindsweeper.

Another weapon category that has really good bang-for-buck performance with Mindsweeper is laser-type weapons. These weapons output their damage a bit differently than standard weapons. Their card values generally represent the damage per tick, not damage per ammo consumed like you’d expect from any weapon. Because a laser is meant to do continuous damage, a laser will apply damage multiple times per pellet consumed, which means the damage per ammo consumed is often twice or more what the card damage tells you. It’s also very easy to tell if you’re being accurate with your weapon due to the visual representation of where your beam is contacting. Being able to spawn with the 160 splash anointment makes the Lasersploder a very effective weapon with mindsweeper, as it will apply its full pellet damage multiple times per round, and the rapid pace at which it does allows for extremely consistent mindsweeper procs.

The Ion laser is another fantastic weapon with mindsweeper. This weapon has some ridiculous mechanics built into it. Firstly, it has the laser effect where the damage increases the longer you hold down the trigger. This is capped at a 300% increase, and with very minor ammo conservation, can be achieved less than halfway through a mag. This effect does stack with the pearl as well. With nothing more than a mag buff on your artifact and 5/5 CoL, you can fire this weapon effectively forever, so long as you maintain semi consistent redistribution regen. Also, the weapon card’s base damage is a flat lie. A cryo version with a card damage value of 469 will hit for 1172 base damage against flesh. That’s with no skill points, COM, artifact or guardian ranks. It should hit 469, but it doesn’t. All of these factors together make it a formidable Mindsweeper weapon that will have an incredibly consistent output. To top it off, it’s an extremely easy farm to go for.

So that’s it. Mindsweeper has can have an obscene effect on output damage. It has some variation in its ability to output that kind of damage but mitigating that relates heavily to weapon choice or utilization.


A huge thanks to @Prismatic for checking my math and dealing with my insufferably poor representation in the equations I brought to them.

Another huge thanks to @HurdyGurdy and Pris for proofing the post for tone, presentation and errors.


I’ve found the Soulrender and most Dahl guns to pretty good with Mind Sweeper. Decently high base damage, 8-14 RoF, and some Dahl guns always come with increased Crit. Soulrender is also strong enough to handle hard to crit and airborne enemies.


Soulrender is an awesome MS gun. It’s really easy to crit with and the splash skulls can crit as well.

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yeah, i love the soulrender. it just has really high variability in base damage.

How does aiming vary between console ie Xbox vs PC with a mouse. In every shooter games I play my aiming is almost near elite with a mouse but with a controller like Xbox, my aiming is always subpar or call it average joe. I’d easily pawn my Xbox persona a hundred times if I was playing my PC persona.

Does MS perform better in PC due to this or is it really a matter of getting used to a console. Every gamer I know in person always states their aiming is much much better with a mouse.

Preference. Technically a mouse will always be more accurate, but this isn’t PvP and we aren’t shooting at another player that is simultaneously shooting and dodging.


yeah, and with proper sensitivity settings and learning npc behaviours you can be just as accurate. a mouse will find a target faster, always, but holding onto a target is pretty similar.

I have the game on pc and ps4. I use controller on both because I hate shooters with mouse. I have zero issues in this game being very accurate. The aim assist is crazy strong.

In PvP games mouse has a little bit of an advantage, but the gap is mostly narrowed by aim assist. In pve, including bl3, there’s really not a big difference.

Mouse is a bit better for aiming, while controller is a bit better for strafing/dodging.


Can confirm: if you haven’t tried a Burzum yet with the Mindsweeper COM, it will rain micro-grenades once you get a bead on their crit spot. I’m not in this to maximize damage, more to maximize using the random fun weapon effects, and this is my go-to for the Mind Sweeper.

For the uninitiated, this alien-barrel Vladof AR will do a sort of loose lock on whatever part of the enemy you hit first; hit the head, and you’re good to go, and it will just rattle off rapid, consecutive crits. Combine this with some points in the Bottomless Mags tree, and if the enemy has enough health to tank it, you can enjoy a little fountain of grenades.

Dahl makes a cryo one that’s pretty good for this too, because while it doesn’t have a lock like the Vladof, it doesn’t squirm around like the others: once they’re frozen, it’s super simple to spam tons of crits.


Excellent post with good details, thank you!

I do love the Oldridian with Mindsweeper. The gun is pointpoint accurate after 2 seconds and usually rolls with increased critical damage.

What this post doesn’t even touch on is the ability Mindsweeper has to maintain sustain with vampyr.

Every one of those MS micros will proc Vampyr, and as mentioned above beam weapons proc 100’s of them.

I strongly suggest getting one’s hands on a Cryo Recurring Hex. It’s an extremely good healing and DPS for a Mindsweeper build. Up there with a CMT, maybe better.

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i’ve tried recurring hex’s numerous times (cryo and rad) and they’ve still just never felt as good as a CMT. It was the closest thing, but they just don’t persist long enough to get enough crits out of the beams every time i tried.

Even with pull the holy pin?

You know, it may just be that the extra vampyr micros proc MoD enough time keep them in the air at all times, which as a PS4 player, is something I can’t do with a CMT.

Still, that extra vampyr healing is undeniable, and a Cryo hex with one point in FitSD will often proc DoTs up to 10k-13k.

I wouldn’t use a hex without Mindsweeper, and without one point in Fire in the Skag Den.

thats likely it. with all the grenade damage bonuses plus the MoD benefits, as well as having significant base damage, a CMT does considerable damage, and you’re averaging 6 MS procs per CMT thrown as well. cryo hexes can be good for CCing mobs, by dense groups just die quick anyway.

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Probably. Have a look at these DoT numbers on the second guy.

That’s Hex plus 1 point in FiTSD. And the micros are keeping me alive no sweat.

yeh i watched your vid the other day in the bear workshop thread. I tried it again, and a level 57 cryo recurring hex was still worse than my lvl 53 CMT that i haven’t upgraded yet.

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Fair enough. Gee I wish they’d fix MoD. It better happen in this patch. My entire build has become a workaround for MoD on PS4.

if its working, its working, right? the extra cryo is definitely a good thing. i’m just so accustomed to CMT’s damage and utility that it didn’t impress me.

True. I’ve doubled down on elemental ASE because it does work, and getting the debuff stacking for each type is pretty powerful, especially combined with target softening.

There’s probably better ways to build, but it’s working.