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 …
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.
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 .