Now more than ever, the Under Cover tree needs to be redone

We just got a new mod that, once fixed, could be a decent alternative. Unfortunately, apart from problems with the mod itself, the UC tree’s skills are so bad that you actively lose DPS the more you invest into it past tier 3.
I’m going to go through the skills and suggest changes for each of the skills to make them worthwhile.

Barrier: remove the penalty for picking up the barrier. Zane is not a character that benefits from being in one small space.

Hearty Stock: increase the numbers. Take it up to 50.

Ready for Action: same as above, especially the recharge rate. Delay is less of an issue with certain Guardian skills and CCC.

Stiff Upper Lip: Just make it a straight up resistance. No condition like ‘gains resistance’ or ‘when he takes damage’: just give him a flat resistance to damage. Characters are too spongy for there to be delays in skills activating.

Rise to the occasion: make it a consistent rate independent of shield capacity. In particular, CCC conflicts with this due to filling shields first. Maybe increase the rate too, but at least fix that part.

Confident Competence: rather than an accuracy boost, give a crit boost. Would work well with amp shields, and accuracy is useless on certain guns, anyway. Overall good, though, as more damage with fuller shields syncs well.

Really Expensive Jacket: Maybe decrease the DoT for elements as well? Or add some elemental resistance? Something. Most elemental effects don’t really last that long in the first place.

Best Served Cold: remove the cooldown, and either centre it on the killed enemy or increase the radius a lot. Possibly damage buff, not sure if it’s been buffed through scaling or not.

Futility Belt: make it a flat resistance to all damage. Change the Kill Skill to either shield recharge rate, ‘shields start recharging’, or crit damage.

Refreshment: Add gun damage buff against frozen enemies, or per frozen enemy. Life Steal is good, but gun damage would give a reason to invest more than one point. Plus, the tree really needs some way of increasing damage as a reward for freezing enemies, as we already have life steal from salvation, and CCC is outclassed by a mod.

Cool, Calm, and Collected: Increase the health regen rate a lot.

Nerves of Steel: Buff it slightly and make it a 1 point skill. You only need one, anyway.

Distributed Denial: give Zane the same boost as everyone else, make it not lose the boost when the shield is picked up, make the skill work with all shields (or at least more of them), and either double the shield bonuses or add some additional ones, or both.

Zane needs a lot of work. The latest class mod has kind of cemented this.


The main thing this tree needs is damage: crit damage, damage against frozen/slowed targets. It has good benefits for running cryo but these benefits do not directly lead to increased damage. Also make all augments work whether Barrier is held or on the ground. Finally, make it possible to deploy Barrier straight into the held position by holding the button longer.



Additionally, it would be good if freezing enemies did one of the following:

  1. Give Zane a speed boost per freeze. Can stack.
  2. Activate his kill skills when he freezes an enemy.

There are many ways they can not only make the tree better, but make it sync well with the other two trees. I’m reminded of Zer0s sniping tree in BL2, but that at least had B0re.

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I would definitely be interested in freezing proccing kill skills. That would be a major boost.

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No offense, but at this point anything that would require programming or substantial rework is probably out. Dlc4 seems anemic compared with the other three suggesting both funds and resources are not being invested in Bl3 or significant Covid impact, maybe both.

Also seeing dead exists. It’s more likely that gearbox will try to fix it through the fourth skill tree which will be paid content rather than going back and revisiting the existing skill trees.


The new action skill will solve a lot of kill skill problems.
It should be able to reliably proc Seein’ Red more often and I imagine it does a lot of single target damage to proc kill skills without Seein’ Red. Not to mention we haven’t seen the new skill tree yet.

I think just changing some green skills to not contradict and clash with other skills would be a good start, Distributed Denial is pretty wonky which could do with a rework. Barrier augments should work when the barrier is held too.

Nerves of Steel isn’t worth the skill points right now, adding crit damage to it would make it a worth while pick/investment considering most of his skills are additive with each other

Adrenaline becomes redundant once Topped Off is available. Cryo damage or movement speed would be a good alternative.

Rise to the Occasion grants up to 5% of max health regeneration based on how low his shields are.
This doesn’t really make sense, Zane has various ways to keep shields up:

  • “Nanites or some ■■■■■”
  • “Ready for Action”
  • “Static Field”
  • “Schadenfreude”
  • “Quick Breather”

Not to mention he has access to a barrier and his clone can partially take aggro.
Health regen the fuller his shield would make more sense and offer greater synergy with Calm, Cool, Collected.

Best Served Cold could benefit from overkill damage similar to Remnant and possibly a bigger radius. The nova triggering on Zane is just a weird interaction with Seein’ Dead.

Futility Belt, Really Expensive Jacket and Stiff Upper Lip, damage reduction is nice but Zane has access to pretty solid life steal that he can just constantly health gate and not worry about damage reduction as much.

Hearty Stock isn’t terrible but extra shield capacity can do more harm for certain shields, particularly amp shields. If Zane had a skill to directly replenish a % of his shield then maybe it would be a worthwhile pick, for example:

Refreshment: “Whenever Zane damages a frozen enemy with his weapon, a portion of Zane’s shields are restored.” - 5% per point (Stacks up to 3 times, 15%)

Distributed Denial is a pretty wonky skill and works poorly with a lot of shields. Nova shield effects only trigger twice per barrier (On deploy/end) Zane’s extremely high action skill up-time just adds salt to the wound. Adding an additional effect such as “Freezing an enemy triggers any shield effects” would make more shields viable and make Distributed Denial a worthwhile capstone.

Anyway, very excited for the new skill tree and here’s hoping they go back and touch up some of the old skill trees too.

I think this is probably my biggest gripe with the barrier and why I hardly use it these days. Zane relies waaaay too much on moving and speed for his damage potential to be penalized for picking the barrier up and moving around which is the absolute core of his playstyle as a run-n-gunner. As for the cryo thing, well, its baffled me since launch why cryo works differently here than it did in TPS. Hell, at the very least boost crit damage against frozen enemies (even this would only be useful for mobbing so this, in my opinion, is beyond a reasonable thing to have).

You know, Ive had a sinking feeling about this for awhile. Youre probably right. It just sucks to see other vault hunters (i.e Amara) have more options for build and playstyle diversity while Zane is soft locked to a build for Seein Dead. To anyone that was playing other vault hunters and decide to switch to Zane, realizing that theres really only 1 or 2 ways to build him effective for M10 , would probably be a turnoff for most people.

I would add a lot of damage to the Under Cover tree and on some of the skills it’s pretty heavily needed.
Hearty Stock has a good bonus in a vacuum, but all Green-centric builds will ignore it as the shield capacity basically doesn’t matter at all. At least add 3% gun damage per point to it to make it a basic entry-level boost.

  • Adrenaline I would add to it a 5% gun damage bonus per point that lasts while any Action Skill is ready. That would synergize really well with Zane’s shoulder cannon that’s coming with the 4th skill tree.
  • Futility Belt could be made amazing very easily by just adding 10% non-elemental damage to all gun damage Zane does for the kill skills duration.
  • For Best served Cold I don’t even know if the nova at least gets Mayhem Scaling, but even if it does it’s base damage is horrible. However it could be made worthwhile easily just by adding 5% additional weapon damage as cryo damage per point for 8 seconds.
  • Nerves of Steel is a useless piece of ■■■■ at the moment, so why not at least add 3,3% critical hit damage to it (per point, ending up as 10% per stack).
  • Refreshment give it an inherent Icebreaker effect that let’s Zane deal 8,33% (per point for a total of 25% at 3/3) more damage to frozen targets.

All those changes combined would still not salvage that skill tree in my opinion, but it would at least not make me feel like an idiot whenever I want to use CCC. But even then the left-sided augments all need to work with a held barrier in my opinion. Also Redistribution should give us more damage and critical hit damage as well. +30% gun damage and +35% critical hit damage would make that augment way more appealing, especially if we could use it while holding the Barrier.

Overall I don’t think that we will get any changes to that skill tree, especially now that the focus has shifted to the 4th skill trees, but still, a purely defensive skill tree just isn’t worth it when the enemies are as spongy as they are.

Lots of good ideas here, it’s always seemed a bit silly that the tree offers almost nothing but survivability when just equipping the barrier in the first place makes you near invulnerable and he has significant life steal (in another tree) to top up the odd thing that gets through.

I like the idea of more interactions with cryo damage and maybe offering ways to activate kill skills via freezing or damaging frozen foes. I much prefer this to the ‘I win button’ of seein dead where any hit just gives you your kill skills without having to work for them at all.

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I think that there are four major problems with Zane atm due to how his skills are set up.

  1. Kill skills don’t last long enough to keep them up in mobs without Seein Dead.
  2. The ‘survivability’ is, frankly, kinda crap. Damage is dealt too quickly for meagre offerings like that to work, and you pretty much need to rely on life steal.
  3. Zane has difficulty dealing damage when his kill skills aren’t active, and;
  4. A lot of his skills work against each other. Seein Red supports an ASE build as it allows one to repeatedly activate kill skills by cycling action skills, yet Zane has plenty of skill that favour ASA extension/uptime. Several skills in the green tree contradict each other, and even contradict some of his coms (i.e. Infiltrator).

Solution for 1. and 3. would be making the first “stack” of the kill skills permanent effects, which then get doubled as a kill skill.

With 2. I disagree

The 4. Is true, CCC and the SNTNL augment kill should count as an action skill start (and maybe also end)

Zane can increase kill skill duration to 14 seconds, it sounds unlikely that you can’t get another mobbing kill within 14 seconds at least in a solo environment.

I can imagine it still being problematic in multiplayer without a Seein’ Dead.
Personally, I want more cryo synergy in the under cover tree and some crit stuff to build upon brain freeze, along with a DD rework.

Can’t exactly make big suggestions without knowing more about the 4th tree.

Part of the problem is that any kill skills, as well as Zane’s barrier, deactivate once you enter FFYL.

So, in a heavy firefight against multiple badasses/anointed, it can be difficult.

Zane needs more sources of Cryo. The shield should provide Infusion but for Cryo.
Also my idea for Refreshment is to give Shield Steal as well as Life Steal to frozen enemies

Ngl, I think he has enough ways to cause cryo. SNTNL, kill skill novas, chance on crit, and clone swap novas.

Trouble is that not all of these skills are equal.

People kinda label Zane as the “Cryo” vault hunter but Amara and Fl4k both have better cryo builds using short cooldown action skills, frozen heart/snowshoe and the shield break annoint.

Not to mention they can both make better use out of the 3x melee damage against frozen enemies.

Though Zane will be able to do the same thing once MNTIS comes out.

Zane got Brainfreeze and SNTNL Cryo, the Cryo doesn’t give you just Melee damage, it gives you Crowd Control, it gives you damage against health and armor, it gives you Calm Cool Collected. There’s also Trick of the Light.
While Amara needs to wait for Cooldowns, Zane can freeze things (effectively) by just shooting them.
I do agree that Zane as a Cryo character could get more out of Cryo but still…
but otherwise, yes, Amara is a better Elementalist (Though the COM sucks). FL4K is not a Cryo character except for the fact for how his action skills work and while he has a Cryo augment on Rakks, that’s not a very good one.