Moze Build - The Blackthorn

“A good fight was about momentum . Don’t stop. Don’t think. Drive forward and convince your enemies that they’re as good as dead already. That way, they’ll fight you less as you send them to their pyres.”

  • Dalinar Kholin (Oathbringer)

Ever since M4 came out, I’ve been searching for a Moze build that felt right . I’ve tried builds by Moxsy, K6, and Joltzdude, as well as more than a few (much to my co-op’s amusement) of my own. But either the play style just hasn’t felt right to me, or I’ve been wanting for damage or sustain.

The idea for this build got planted in reading a great thread by Prismatic on optimizing Moze’s damage, which you can read for yourself HERE. I’ve come to think the two big reasons why Moze has somewhat fallen by the wayside is 1) She has big damage potential but it is much harder to unlock than Zane or (especially) Amara. 2) She should be a tank, but has relatively few options for sustain.

Obviously there are things I had to leave out. Moze’s skill trees are full of hard decisions. I’m not sure if that’s good or bad character design, but it DOES force you to really consider your choice and do a cost/benefit analysis. I’d love to have access to Cloud of Lead, Stoke The Embers, Redistribution, Scorching RPMs, Iron Bank, and Some For The Road… But those aren’t the choices I made.

With this build I am, in part, looking back to the Momentum Axton builds from BL2. I’m also trying to capitalize on as many of Moze’s synergies as possible while also making a relatively flexible build.

Gear

Class Mods, Shields, and Artifacts This build is viable with both Bloodletter and Blast Master COMs, but each one needs a slightly different load out. I’ll group them together based on COM.

Bloodletter - Phalanx Doctrine/Desperate Measures - Don’t bother with a COM that has any points in Thin Red Line. We’re looking for gun damage with this class mod. That being said, this is also our tankier option. Since we’re spec’d 5/5 in Vampyre, we’re getting sustain. That is further boosted by Force Feedback. If you’re using this COM, look for anointments that boost splash damage to optimize damage output. The SoR tree has a ton of gun damage boosts, and splash anoints will be multiplicitive to those. THAT

  • Deathless artifact - 1hp to get the most out of Desperate Measures and a minimum of +83% gun damage all the time is a huge number (in addition to the +15% from Armored Infantry). It helps make Short Fuse a huge damage boost and makes splash damage that much more effective.

You can get your prefix of choice. Personally I’m rolling with an Atom Balm since I find radiation to be a very effective element on Moze as she needs the help stripping shields and also lets you spread damage around. A snowdrift would help movement speed between mobbing areas to keep momentum going, but I’m partial to the Atom Balm.

  • The Transformer - Sustain from enemy shock damage and added ammo mitigation, what’s not to love? Mine has a +50% Shock on ASE anoint. I haven’t found a +75% shield on ASE Transformer yet, so I can’t speak to that. However, the +element has added synergy later on in the build.

Blast Master - Personally, I’m partial to the simplicity of the 1hp builds, but this is also very viable. Not only do you get added ammo mitigation from access to Redistribution, but added Pull The Holy Pin give you more damage output and more Vampyre helps with sustain (and this is a fine line to walk with this COM). If you go this path, pick + elemental (particularly the +125%) or + weapon damage anoints. After 50 seconds the COM already boosts your splash damage by 100%, so getting another 160% on top of that doesn’t have as much impact as giving the splash more base damage to multiply.

  • Front Loader - We’re still spec’d 3/3 into Desperate Measures, so it would be a shame to not use it all the time. The Front Loader keeps us at 40% health to get the gun damage boost, and a nice chunk of shield. For anointments, I have a +50% shock (the best I’ve found). You could also try a +75% shield on ASE.

Note: If you want more flexibility in shields and want to run the Blast Master full time, go 2/3 in Thin Red Line, 2/5 in Vladoff Ingenuity, 1/5 in Phalanx, and 1/1 in Force Feedback. That way you still get access to Desperate Measures, but can also run a Transformer, Stop Gap, Back Ham, or a Rico.

Regardless, you want to aim for crits to proc Force Feedback and keep your shield regening as part of your sustain.

Otto Idol or Victory Rush - I’m running an Otto Idol, mostly because that has the best roll I’ve found so far. A Victory Rush would give more damage, but the Idol helps with healing - and since we’re working with a limited HP pool under the shield, every little bit helps.

Guns:

  • Kyb’s Worth - Utility gun - Accurate enough to routinely hit crits, good damage in 2x or 3x, high fire rate, deep mag. Red Text effect helps with sustain
  • Binary Westergun - Utility gun - Accurate, high fire rate, and no charge time helps you keep up your momentum. Deep mag, good damage, and easily farmed for multiple elemental combinations. I like Shock/Corrode and Nuke/Cryo combinations. For anointments, I like +125% incendiary on ASE, +160% splash, or +100% weapon damage. No ammo consumed for 5 seconds is solid as well. The Westergun is a good option if you haven’t been able to farm a Kyb’s Worth yet.
  • The Carrier - Main Gun - Honestly, the Carrier might be my favorite gun in the game and it has a bunch of synergies with Moze. It has the same ricochet mechanics as the “Call” guns and Projectile Recursion, so you can stack + element on ASE anointments and get a TON of extra pellets which seek out enemies for mobbing or return to melt single enemies. The initial shot can proc Short Fuse, which is a nice burst of damage, but the additional ricochets can all proc short fuse as well. Not only does that give you a lot of burst damage, but also lots of additional splash for ammo mitigation and grenade spam.
  • Projectile Recursion - The Primer - The key to this is the kill skills, Drowning In Brass and Phalanx Doctrine. You need kills to maximize your base damage for your splash damage to multiply, and the Recursion is probably the best gun in the game for kicking things off. Hop into Iron Bear to get your anoints running, then target a weak enemy to start the chain reaction. That should get you 3 stacks of Drowning In Brass (+60% gun damage on top of IF and DM) and More than a few stacks of Phalanx Doctrine for additional shield and gun damage. From there all you switch to your utility gun to match elements or Carrier, and go to work.

Other Guns

  • Ion Laser - Very ammo efficient, able to match elements, easy to farm.
  • Ion Cannon - Well… Yeah.
  • Redistributor - Honestly, I haven’t gotten one of these yet, but I know they’re awesome.
  • Double Penetrating LaserSploder - All elements, does a ton of damage, and added splash.
  • Star Helix - Ammo efficient, good ROF, deep-enough mag, and big damage potential if you can get the sweet spot. Also, 3x bullets to proc Short Fuse.
  • The Butcher - Natural ammo mitication, good DPS, and lots of pellets for Short Fuse to proc. Also available in multiple elements
  • The Heartbreaker - Similar to the Butcher but with sustain in place of ammo mitigation.
  • Rowan and Lucian’s Call - Doesn’t have the DPS potential of some of the other guns, but the natural ammo efficiency and slight healing are nice.

Grenade Mods

  • Purple Tracker - Obviously since this is Moze you want a Recurring or Cloning Maddening Tracker. Lots of explosions for MoD and Vampyre.
  • Recurring Hex - Might not be broken anymore, but still a damn good mod. Shock or Radiation are useful for stripping shields and you still get enough some explosions for Vampyre to be effective

Note: If you’re using the Blast Master COM, look for +25% damage on grenade throw. More weapon damage for the splash to multiply. If you’re using the Carrier as a main gun, look for +element on ASE anointments. To maximize, look for different elements than your shield and on the gun itself. The game treats each element as an unlisted projectile, so the more different ones you stack, the more ricochets spawn.

Iron Bear

I didn’t realize this until reading Prismatic’s thread, but Short Fuse actually takes Iron Bear’s damage into account when calculating the secondary explosion damage – BECAUSE REASONS! <Mr. Torgue HighFive Flexington voice> . To maximize that I suppose you could double down on the Hammerdown Protocol. Personally I like to keep Capacitive Armature on one arm for shield stripping purposes. You can also go for Target Softening for the debuf.

Finally, Explosive Punctuation and Grizzled help get Iron Bear back as quickly as possible and having it as a panic button and Auto Bear as a de-aggro helps with surviveability.

This might not be the most optimized build, but it does work on M4 and I find the play style fun. I’ll switch back and forth between Bloodletter and Blast Master pretty freely and have had success with both.

If people give it a try I’m interested in any constructive feedback.

1 question, and a few tips from experience with a highly simular build;
Do you have the guardian perk “shield reboot”? If so theres no need for force feedback as the perk is a better version
2; the cooldown reduction of explosive punctuation is usually hardly noticeable (with topped off perk), i would reccomend filling grizzled, and investing other points into SSB to further raise the damage potential of shortfuze

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Thanks. Honestly, I hadn’t considered guardian perks at all (partly an oversight on my end, but also worth considering if GBX ever decides to make those switchable like BAR in BL2).

I’d probably put the extra points into either Cloud of Lead (free shots and incendiary damage) or Selfless Vengeance (particularly if running a Bloodletter, since it has no downside for a 1hp build and I believe it’s multiplicative).

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Short Fuse gets a buff from the points you put in Stainless Steel Bear (roughly 20% if you go 5/5).

Elemental gun damage anointments will stack with Moze’s incendiary damage skills (Experimental Munitions and Cloud of Lead), so if you want to max out the number of bullets/ricochets, make sure you go for one other than incendiary.

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Journey before Destination

I’ll echo the call to drop Explosive Punctuation, 5/5 Grizzled is a better investment. [Guide] Efficiently Increasing Moze's Cooldown Rate goes into detail on why.

Stainless Steel Bear is another skill that should be taken. It’s really big for Short Fuse, I’d take points from Explosive Punctuation and Skag Den to get 5/5 Stainless Steel Bear.

If you’re going to go 1hp then I really would encourage you to invest into Thin Red Line. You get massive return on investment with a Deathless artifact. Unlike the Front loader the converted health of TRL is boosted by things like the Deathless.

You’ve misunderstood me here. Short Fuse benefits only from the Iron Bear damage offered by Stainless steel bear and Scorching Rpm’s.

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I don’t use the frontloader on a 1hp build, that gets the Deathless and a Transformer. I mostly use the Frontloader to be able to switch COMs on the fly without having to respec for points in Total Request Live… I mean Thin Red Line.

But I will definitely try using Stainless Steel Bear and optimizing for each COM to see which I like better specifically. Perhaps taking 2 out of VI for TRL (and taking the point out of Force Feedback and putting two in Phalanx). Then I could just go with a Stop Gap or sticking with the Transformer for the Blast Master.

Strength Before Weakness

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Any reason you chose the ammo hogging lower damage Double Pen version of the laaersploder?