Need help with builds, please. I thought I was playing well

…I was horribly, horribly mistaken.

A good 15-20 rounds of 2-minute Mayhem 3 Graveward kills solo with Zane, i thought I would be fine moving on to M4.

Now I’m getting facerolled by grogs that laugh through 47k damage per shot from my Star Helix and my partner can’t even see white on the enemy health bars because we apparently have no idea what we’re doing.

I’m maining Zane, I LIKE digi + shield with CCC. I’m not a fan of the SNTNL. (I don’t really know why.)

She mains Fl4k, and has Amara at 53. We have a good stock of legendaries (quantity, not quality) and we’re around 120 GR.

And I’m telling you, we’re getting absolutely thrashed out there. Recommendations or any help at all is sincerely appreciated.

Please post your skill tree build. Use one of the following and post a link on this topic with your build.

If you would also post some video footage of your game play so I can see your play style that will help me advise you on how to optimize your build based on your play style. It’s not required though.

Based on what you’ve said thus far I can tell you the following off the top of my head. For M4 if you have weapons with the SNTL/cryo anointment but don’t have the equivalent gun with barrier/crit or clone/swap then you are crippling your DPS for no good reason. In M4 liking or disliking the drone is irrelevant when you don’t have clone/swap or barrier/crit but do have SNTL/cryo.

If you are concerned about my credibility to provide Zane build advice you can check out the following …


I’m not concerned about your credibility, lol. The fact that you took the time to post such an extensive reply is credence to your personal ability. Ah… Give me a little time to get together the things you’ve suggested.

I don’t have a LOT of SNTNL annoints that are worthwhile. As a matter of fact, I’m not getting many decent annoints for Zane at all, generally status effect chance on weapons without elemental damage, which would be cool if I didn’t already freeze enemies rather quickly.

Is the SNTNL really that much stronger than the clone? I could be totally wrong but I feel like any time I use my clone (no particular annoints for either AS) I’m not only dealing more damage, but I’m proccing CCC more often and surviving much better.

Though I haven’t tried switching my SNTNL to all cryo yet, maybe that could help. I thought I had enough cryo stuff going on already to be able to use both the shock and radiation abilities on my SNTNL. :man_shrugging:t2:

I will post my builds, etc in a little while. I don’t have it at the moment though.

Thank you again for taking the time to help!

Though, truth be told, I’m really looking to help out my partner the most. She’s getting frustrated, as there’s a huge gap in our damage and survivability.

She’s also a little stubborn so it’s hard to critique her play style. So be gentle. :sweat_smile:


The SNTL is not stronger than the clone in terms of its ability to do damage to enemies. Where the SNTL strength lays is the following.

  • Easy of use.
    • The SNTL does not require the level of micro management the clone requires.
    • The SNTL cannot be killed therefore it exists for the full duration of its timer, meaning, any skills that benefit from the action skills being active (e.g., Synchronicity, Borrowed Time, etc) benefit longer.
  • Access to the SNTL/cryo anointment. For the most part you can think of SNTL/cryo as a flat doubling of gun damage for guns with that anointment; and the only thing required is that the SNTL is active (see above).

I’m not the FL4K expert but I know a couple folks who are and one of them (@sammantixbb) plays a lot of co-op and has good insights into the synergies between Zane and FL4K.

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If she’s playing Fl4k a gammaburst build will help with survivability alot, spec all the way down the red tree for Megavore getting head count on the way and she can use a shotgun or Maggie to get her skill back quickly. Fadeaway can get some amazing damage and by using Megavore and headcount can keep her action skill up alot. She should stay away from stackbot until it’s fixed or she understands the mechanics of the game better. I personally like rakk attack, it revolves around activating ase aniontments it can be a glass cannon or solid all the way around depending if you go red/blue or red/green.

If you’re wanting to play sometime my username is megadethwm I can give you guys some gear and run some endgame activities with you to give some pointers, I know a few people with pretty good Zane’s that can jump in too.


When you venture into M4 territory, your anointments will really come into play.
I run my Zane with Barrier and Clone. My good weapons all have the 130% damage when swap with clone anointment. It makes a large difference in his DPS output.
Also what COM are you running? That will make a large difference, especially on Zane.

Going from M3 to M4 is a very large leap in the amount of DPS you need to do to enemies. In M4, using the right elements is critical.
Another thing to consider. Taking down a boss quickly in M3 does not necessarily you are ready for M4. You really need to be good at mobbing. M4 brings out alot more enemies at once, and those enemies have a much larger health pool than M3.

Your weapons will also make a large difference. With my Zane I make good use of Scourge rockets. Even if I never fire one, my Clone is blasting away with the rockets while I am stripping shields and using the needed element.
Brainstormer is a good shotgun. Star Helix is now a good AR, but you need to be using the right element.

As far as FL4K goes, what build type does your partner use?
My Rakk FL4K is too squishy for M4, but my Critical FL4K is now able to hold his own.

M4 is a large leap and things you could get away with in M1 - M3 may not work. Your build and equipment play a major part in surviving.


This is the build I currently run. But, to be fair, I literally change my build several times a playthrough trying to tweak it.

I’m using a non-anointed Arctic Star Helix (Level 53, Cryo) as my main, but I have been playing with a cryo Kaos for even more cryo explosions as well. I have a non-anointed Dastardly Maggie as my hard-hitter for crits, and my other two slots are usually swapped out a lot. I like my Breath of the Dying and I have a Shock Cutsman and a Corrosive Cutsman, neither with anything noteworthy. Useful in takedown or just against shields/armor in general.

My COM is a Cheap Shot Seein’ Dead, +3 donnybrook, +1 to the other two. 45% Jakobs critical, 45% Dahl critical, and 25% Jakobs reload.

I’m using an Ice Breaker Cosmic Crater with 18% radiation (I wanted cryo but…), 36% AOE, and 44% Mag Size.

I’m using the Whispering Ice grenade with 50% ASE cryo.

Transformer shield.

This is the set up I was using before:

With it I had nearly 100% up time with my AS, and I dropped my clone inside my shield to shoot enemies through it while they targeted him. Great sustain, decent damage… But not enough. Sad too, because it was really fun to play.

I’ll definitely try to get my wife to play some of those ideas! Thank you so much. She’s not as into it as I am, she’s much more casual and it’s just for fun for us.

I just want the game to be fun and challenging without, you know, taking 45 minutes to tackle stuff that should take 4-5, or dying every time we walk into a mob.

We do play a lot. Daily, actually. So some in game tips would be AMAZING. Thank you, megadethwm. :grin:

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I wanna know a bit more about how your wife plays. The best way to help a team is to know what both members enjoy, and working from there.

Because I’m gonna try to come up with some ideas that aren’t “you should switch to STNL” :slight_smile: but I can’t do that until I have an idea of what the team is like :slight_smile:

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Not sure if this is helpful but a Chain Zane build with a Redistributer paired with an Electric Banjo can really help out when you’re getting mobbed.

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Some advice for your clone dome build that you were using:

Seein Dead turns the Best Served Cold nova into a nova around you. The damage also isn’t super useful so if you like the nova around you, consider moving to one point there.

Your only heal skill is Donny Brook. I Don’t know if this is a problem or not. On CCC builds I like a point in refreshment. But that’s just what I like. You might have this accounted for between you and your wife.

You had split 4 points between Violent Momentum and Violent Speed. I think all 4 should go to Momentum. That’s more damage at less speed, and you can gain a little more speed at my next suggestion.

Here’s a cluster of skills that I saw, along with your grenade choice. Whispering Ice (I love it. If you can find it On Throw instead of ASE, you’re gonna love this next bit) is fun. But it’s also really reckless. Duct Tape nades hurt you. Clone nades don’t. You also have no Pocketful of Grenade points, but have boom enhance. I accidentally made a clone video without Pocketful and when I saw my clone riding strugglebus on a reload, it hit me like a brick.

Seeing Dead is gonna do a lot of things here: it will proc Fractal Frags. A lot. That clone will spam grenades more than duct tape mod ever could. I suggest moving points from Duct Tape. Put one in Pocketful. Seeing Dead will keep Pocketful constantly regenning so you can keep making good clones. Fill up Supersonic Man. Consider whether you want to keep any points in Duct Tape or not. I know it’s a fun skill, but you even invested in mag size, which makes it further between top of clip shots. If you decide you’re done with duct tape, you can finish Trick of The Light (which is better in co-op than it is solo, so I feel no guilt suggesting it. It’s my favorite skill) or some other skills.

Clone weapons depend on if you need the clone to do brain freeze or not. Good clone brain freeze weapons are things like a Crossroads. But if you want the clone to brute force some stuff. A shock Lob might be your new best friend for him currently. Of course, the Scourge is a top tier choice. But I personally like giving the clone good close quarters weapons and doing a lot of swapping. Or giving him a good long range and we both kinda snipe from the bubble. Speaking of sniping. He’s really good with a Storm Sniper Rifle by Maliwan now.

That’s just the advice I have for if you wanted to keep your old ideas but update them a bit. I look forward to finding out how your wife plays Fl4k!

Added note: Clone Dome Zane isn’t gonna win any speed records. He doesn’t clear stuff fast. He’s more a precise force, slowly burning his way through an area. Barrier and clone are more about survival than damage. So don’t be too upset if kill speed is low. I think someone on here once said “you can’t kill stuff if you’re dead”, so being a survivor is just as important as being a killer.


Hello there !

I’m playing Zane as my main character, so here are my advices :

Ok so with a build like this, I can’t see you playing Clone, just because you don’t go for Boom Enhanced and Double Barrel, which are both “Must have” in a M4 Clone build.
I recommend if you stick with that build to go for Drone instead ^^’
Regarding Duct Tape Mod, it’s only very usefull with Homing nades, because others will simply miss your current target if you’re not at the right distance from it when it procs.
Regarding Hearty Stock, it’s not working well with CCC, because you need your Shield to be full to have CCC proc Health Regen/AS reset, so the faster your shield is up, the better. Go for Ready for Action instead :wink:

Seein’Dead is all about proccing your Kill Skills as often as possible (the Maggie is the best tool for that), so you want to have such skills as maxed as possible.
If you manage to have Good Misfortune in your build, you will have perma AS and perma Kill Skills as long as your shooting some target…
Go for more reliable sustainment too, Rise the Occasion won’t save you at all, Refreshment and Salvation are the heal skills to go.

I’ll wait to know your wife’s gameplay too before speaking Fl4k’s stuff (I play him too, but he’s only my third char)


That build was the new build they’re using since trying drone. Halfway down their post is the link to their old clone build :slight_smile:


Before I get going I just want to clarify this point.

The above is NOT a recommendation that you abandon your clone/dome preference and switch to SNTL. It is a caution against dismissing the SNTL and applies ONLY if you have a lot of gear with the SNTL/cryo anointment BUT do not have the same or equivalent gear with clone/swap or barrier/crit anointments. Now that that’s cleared up let’s continue :grin:

Before I get into specifics here are some general rule of thumb for M4.

  • Exploit elemental matching when possible.1
  • Don’t hesitate to respec based on the content you are about to engage with. For example, you story/side mission build doesn’t have to look like your Trial of Instinct or Trial of Fervor or Slaughter Shaft or Cistern of Slaughter or Maliwan Takedown builds, etc.
  • Bookmark The Top Gear for Zane Guide and refer to it often as you find, farm, or trade for gear.

The following advice is specific to the gear you have and could change if/when you get more gear.

As a general rule, until and unless you’ve stripped an enemy’s shield, you should not begin your engagement with a cryo weapon due to elemental mismatch.

This is an amazing gun to begin engagements with because it suffers no damage reduction against shields or flesh and because it is excellent at activating Brain Freeze and thus triggering CCC.

Use it to melt armor on normal and badass enemies.

These are your large enemies and boss killers. For these guns anointments are nice but not required to make them truly effective in M4.

Now on to your skill points. Please note that this is a first pass based on the info you have provided thus far but it may change based on any game play footage you provide.

[Under Cover]
Take the 2 points out of Hearty Stock and add it to the 1 point in Stiff Upper Lip because your Transformer shield doesn’t need more shield capacity due to the following (I’ll get back to why we moved the points into Stiff Upper Lip when I get to the tier 4 skills.):

  • It’s already a beefy shield so it takes a while to refill and adding more capacity will cause it to take longer. This has a negative impact on your ability to trigger CCC because CCC requires that both your health and your shield are full before it will reset your action skills.
  • Its legendary effect is to absorb bullets. You can think of its 40% absorb chance as giving you 40% more shield capacity without actually increasing the size of the shield and the negative impact that has on CCC.

Please note that the advice given in the above bullet points are ONLY valid for Zane and ONLY for CCC builds. For EVERYBODY else and non CCC Zane builds cranking up the size of this shield is generally a good idea.

The following advice assumes that you have the Topped Off GR perk unlocked. Move the 5 points in Adrenaline into Ready for Action (RfA) for the following reasons:

  • Once Topped Off has been unlocked then RfA provides SIGNIFICANTLY diminished ROI for cooldown. Basically, for 5 points you get ~1 to 1.5 seconds of cool down because of Topped Off. Now, if you don’t have Topped Off unlocked yet then it is a good investment but not the best investment given that your shield is the Transformer and this is a CCC build. RfA is the better option because it helps in activating CCC action skill resets thus negating the need for more cooldown.

Since you are being serious about M4 take the 5 points out of Best Served Cold (BSC) and distribute them to the following:

  • Futility Belt (FB) - In conjunction with Stiff Upper Lip FB provides 30% damage reduction and FB on its own sometimes make you immune to DoT effects. This occurs when its kill skill behavior is activated.
  • Really Expensive Jacket (REJ) - Choose this skill when you have no intention of using an Elemental Projector artifact and when you do choose it then spend 1 less point in what comes next.
  • Spend 3 or 4 points in Rise to the Occasion.

For now I’ll end here and wait until you’ve posted some footage to tackle the other skill trees because my advice in those trees, and in particular the Hitman tree, is dependent on your playstyle (e.g, fast moving, sliding, jumping hip firing vs mostly aiming down sites, etc). Plus this comment is already a GIANT wall of text. You probably need the break too :grin:.


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My bad, I didn’t notice when he mentioned he swapped for a Drone/Dome build :sweat_smile:


Okay, so after reading (I would reply to everyone individually but being on mobile that would take me several hours :sweat_smile:) here is the SNTNL/Shield CCC I have right now:

There are 5 extra points, from my class mod. Just to make it easier to see what I actually have to work with.
Seein’ Dead COM

  • Doubled Agent -
    I actually came to this tree last for this build, so I only had 6 points to use here. With Good Misfortune from the Hitman tree, I figured I would still want a little extra AS time just in case I miss a proc somewhere, so I gave up one point in Synchronicity for 24% extra AST instead of 12%. I figure the extra time will more than make up for the 8% damage. I could be wrong. >.> Donnybrook points are from my COM.

  • Under Cover -
    4 points in Adrenaline - Necessary for tree progression, and I’m 15 points from topped off for now. Otherwise, the only two skills I have to put points in for the tree progression are Hearty Stock, which in this particular case is a bad skill, and Rise to the Occasion, which just seems like a waste of points with two lifesteal skills and Donnybrook. I could be wrong though, again. 3 of those points could go into Best Served Cold, but… I tend to agree that it isn’t particularly useful, because most mobs (at least in my game) don’t stick close enough to me or each other for it to be useful. So I went with Adrenaline.

  • Hitman -
    I’m lost on this tree. I feel like Supersonic Man should be here instead of the DA tree.
    I don’t change weapons enough for Cold Bore to be effective, even so it only affects a single shot.
    I feel like any more than one point into Salvation (lifesteal) is overkill with the point in Refreshment and 3 in Donnybrook.
    Cool Hand’s extra reload speed is really nice, but point conservation lead to the 2 points here.
    Is the grenade every 15 seconds a good idea? (For now, my Whispering Ice is my only Cryo grenade, but I also have a purple MIRV with the On Grenade Throw anoint. I change them out sometimes if I need a little damage boost over extra cryo chance.) It at least gives me the ability to use grenades with this build, albeit not often.
    Violent Violence vs Playing Dirty?

@studdugie I’m working on the gameplay video. What would you like to see?

My next post is going to be about my wife’s playstyle, but this is long so I’m going to go ahead and post it. :sweat_smile:

My wife’s Fl4k:

She doesn’t want to have to change her gear/build every time we play. She wants to find a nice happy place with her skag friend Beast and her pocket rakks.

Her Amara build…

She doesn’t like to melee and the only action skill she likes is the phasegrasp. She uh… She misses playing 2. She was very upset with Amara at first. :joy:

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Rise to the Occasion (RttO) is about DoTs and reloads because the life steal skills don’t help you while you currently taking damage and reloading. And if you find yourself in the unfortunate (though rare thanks to Seein’ Dead) situation where your kill skills aren’t active thus no Donnybrook nor Salvation or nothing is frozen thus no Refreshment AND/OR you are spending precious seconds reloading then RttO and your damage reduction (DR) investments are the only thing keeping you up. Granted, that’s not normally what happens. But eventually it will and when you find yourself fighting Wotan and his horde and you are a hare’s breath from death and realize that the ONLY reason you didn’t go into FFYL was because of RttO and DR you’ll find RttO religion :laughing:. All that said, for most content it’s not necessary because death has no real consequence which is why I specifically used the Wotan fight as my example, because it’s the one place in the game where dying costs you.

Any of the circle of slaughter arenas would be good. If your partner is up to in then Slaughter Shaft would be best because its the hardest one so any lessons learned there can be applied to the others.

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For Fl4k I can say the points in skills that improve the pet are a bit wasted. Not even builds that go fully into the blue tree build for pet damage. Which class mod does she use?

Here are some ideas:

  • blue tree
  • Remove 3 points from ferocity and 1 from psycho head on a stick.
  • put one point into he bites. That’s a little trick because everytime the pet reflects damage it counts as dealing damage for Frenzy.
  • because she uses rakk attack, which doesn’t get a lot out of persistence hunter, I’d go as far as to say she should pull out of the blue tree completely, but that might be a bit too much for her, so it’s fine.
  • green tree
  • Remove the point from sic em, unless your wife really actively uses the attack command, and insists on keeping it.
  • One point in Eager to impress also doesn’t do much. The Rakk attack cooldown is really short. I’d just be on the lookout for classmods and artifacts that come with a bonus to action skill cooldown rate.
  • If she feels like she needs more defense, have her put points into self repairing systems and turn tail and run. All my BFFs is also good, but I don’t think there are enough points left, and it makes more sense to take this after maxing out the other two.
  • red tree
  • This is actually pretty good. If she didn’t put points into more green skills, definitely put more into Galactic Shadow, Two Fang, and The Most Dangerous Game
  • Just a side note, a lot of people take Big Game when it doesn’t make sense, thinking it affects all skills in the Hunter tree, but it only affects those that are marked as “Hunter Skill” or “Hunter Kill Skill” in the description. This is no issue in this case.
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I’m playing by myself right now, so I’ll run through Slaughter shaft and link the vid! Gotta make the kiddos breakfast first.

I did Wotan solo on normal, no mayhem… And it was AWFUL. So I see exactly what you mean by that. :joy: That was with my old clone/shield build.

Thanks for the tips! When she wakes up I’ll ask her to try that out! :grin:

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Eager to impress is most likely for the attack command.

This one’s Going to take some thought in order to keep her play intact while bringing it into m4.

I’ll look into this when I’m done work