Master+Hunter Builds Just Got Gud

So, as disappointed as I am in the lack of pet damage buffs in this hotfix (I know it will happen eventually, I just want to play them now) something really interesting came out of today’s hotfix that I don’t think a lot of people are really taking under consideration.

Prior to this hotfix, FL4K (IMO) only had 2 Synergistic builds: Hunter + Stalker (crit build) and Master + Stalker (Pet build). Master + Hunter combinations were non-existent in pre release build theorycrafts, and only 1 or two were listing in the post release “What Fl4k Build Are You Running Thread”. I take this to mean that most people had no interest in running Master Hunter builds.

The reason is fairly understandable. The two trees have little to no naturally synergy. Although Head Count is crucial to lowering Gamma Burst’s cooldown, the Hunter tree offers no other benefits to pets. Aside from Galactic Shadow, it has no survivability at all outside of Rakk Attack augments. Play style wise, it didn’t offer anything Stalker builds didn’t. You could stand still and snipe using the pet as a tank with either combination, but Stalker offered more survivability and pet utility + damage.

However, now with the buff to Barbaric Yawp, things are changing quite a lot. The spiderant countess gives 5% damage reduction at base. With the new Barbaric Yawp providing a 200% bonus, that now becomes 15%. Combine that with Hive Mind (15% damage redirection), and FL4K has a passive TRUE 30% damage reduction with no additional investment. Combining that with who rescued who and Burst Aid, FL4K’s ability to take damage will certainly rival that of Stalker.

It also has great implications for damage. The best way to increase damage is to build a solid base damage and then stack as many multipliers as you can. Flak already has a tremendous amount of Bonus Damage and Crit damage. Now you can add in a PASSIVE, NON-CONDITIONAL 30% elemental damage. That is almost as much as a Bone of the Ancients!! And unlike the other characters, this applies to ALL elemental damage. You can take a Hunter Build, with all its damage, and combine it much more effectively with perks in the Master tree to increase survivability. You’d already have 3% health regen per second just for having Scorcher equipped. Every time Scorcher damages an enemy, that would go up to 5%.

Lastly, in an offhanded way, this buff also effects pet damage. As long as the Skag’s 5% bonus damage and Scorcher’s 10% elemental damage apply to themselves, this hotfix buffed their damage by 10% and 20% respectively.

All in all, I think this fix has some serious potential for builds. It doesn’t fix the hot mess that Gamma Burst is currently, but it makes the Master tree itself a far better option for mix-and-match with both of the other trees.


They are sure unpopular. I always thought it was worth going into Hunter tree to get Big Game though, since it boosts Frenzy. And thanks to Who Rescued Who, pet’s survivability directly increases with amout of damage you deal as well, and Hunter has the best collection of damage skills.

The problem is that we don’t know if the buffs apply to pets. It’s alao
Been bugged on most pets, so I don’t want to waste 5 Points on it yet.

Get it as +5 on a friend-bot and those bonuses really start to get huge. 25% damage reduction, 50% elemental damage, 5% constant health regen. The Eridian Skag’s fire rate is a stat Fl4k doesn’t get outside of stalker so 15-25% is actually pretty worthwhile.

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True, but Big Game does only boost Frenzy by about 10%, at that point you could get the Power Inside and have way more survivability.

Fair point, but the healing the pet gives you doesn’t scale as well since you don’t have as much health.

I just think that Barbaric Yawp will tie everything together much better now.

I’m interested in what do you think of Cosmic Stalker COM? It buffs Big Game and also buffs hunter skills passively.

With a few Cutsman and a Night Hawkin I’ve been able to clear both slaughter3k and slaughter shaft solo on mayhem 3 using a mostly Master build, dipping just slightly into hunter/stalker.

I use the Friend Bot mod that gives me +3 to Bar Yaulp, +1 Head on a Stick, +1 BFFs with Spiderant, giving me what the panel says is a 42% elemental damage increase.

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One of my top choices for a pet build just for buffing Frenzy and Psycho Head. I have one now, but with melee pet damage being as anmic as it is, I choose a T4mer mod to focus on He Bites. Hopefully, once pet damage gets adjusted, I’ll switch to the stalker in a heartbeat unless I really juve with other pet COMs by then.

I’ve been running a Master+Hunter build since before the first Fl4k nerf :sunglasses:

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What were you running?

Thank you for your insight.

I’m not actualy playing Fl4k but I’m still interested in all pet threads since I theorycraft for myself a lot.
I will play Fl4k as my second, and even if by that time pets wont be buffed, although I honestly believe they will, I will still be playing with pets.

Nice seeing Gearbox actualy caring about balancing the game.

I thought barbaric yawp only effects bonuses given to fl4k not his pet.

Yes. I think people get so hung up on what Gearbox tones down that they don’t see or try to find fault with positive changes. Barbaric Yawp is genuinely useful for builds now. That is a damn fine change!

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It does, but those multipliers should hopefully apply to the pet. I haven’t had the chance to test it out yet, but…

Bonus damage effects all forms of damage (gun, melee, grenade). Pets seem to be effected on some level by gun and melee modifiers in Mayhem mode, so I’m ASSuming that Bonus damage increases should effect them too, hence the skag should be able to buff itself by at least 5%.

I’m also ASSuming that elemental damage, by the same token, should apply to the spiderant as well.

Could very well be wrong. Hope I’m not.

Idk just the way the skill reads it says for fl4k and not fl4k and their pet. Unless another skill synergizes off with barb yawp and does x% amount of (buff) that goes to fl4k also goes to pet?

Like I said, I haven’t been able to test it yet. And testing FL4K’s pets is a bit of a pain while leveling, so I’ll see what I can get tmw.

Same. The moment Gearbox made the skill trees avaialble online I was like…yep these synergise nicely. The moment you max the pet skills by the time barbaric whatyoucallit comes around fl4k is doing crazy dmg, then max that and it’s like lol what nerf?

Just want a build where my pet clears rooms left and right while I can be afk doin things like dishes.

It is not unconditional. The pet must be alive, which in hm3 is hard.