Shield of Retribution Tree: Too Strong?

I was shakily settled on the Bottomless Mags skill tree, before playing around and peeking deeper into the Shield of Retribution tree. I initially took it as a survivability tree, as the commandos before had, but I now see the insane damage boosters of which several apply to the group as well.

I expect that I’ll do some back-and-forth respec between the trees. I like the flavor of BM, especially because high mag, high rate of fire guns in Borderlands tend to be ineffective ammo hogs and I’d like to see this Vladof soldier put them to work. However, the SoR tree seems so strong, it will always be in the back of my mind I’m deliberately gimping myself for flavor.

I suppose no final verdict can be made until Friday the 13th of Mayhem, but what does everyone think? Is the strength of the SoR tree too fantastic even for absolute Mayhem?

So when I think about something being OP… I dont call things OP if it’s too powerful…I call it OP if it doesnt have a weakness or tradeoff.

I think Fl4k’s hunter tree… Powerful not OP.
Fist of the Elements…Powerful not OP.

I think Moze’s Shield of Retribution offers both offensive and defensive boosts. I cannot think of a single weakness in it or think of a single reason not to use it

Verdict: OP


The weakness of a shield focused spec is very clear: shock. Especially when you sacrifice 60% of your max health to get shield and gun damage.

It is strong and have even an emergency button through the AS but there are drawbacks imo.

Also, from the footage, the Bottomless Mags seems stronger for both Moze and Iron Bear imo. At least with the Butcher in the loadout.


Vladof Ingenuity gives you 47% shock resistance…get a +5 or 6 class mod to increase it even further.

Plus Phalanx Doctrine alone makes Moze Top Tier in Proving grounds solo.


I dont think there are going to be COM that allows you near 100% shock resist to be honest.

Also, Phalanx Doctrine needs to be stacked while BM gives your boost right off the bat. It is going to excell in time trials imo, especially with Vladof endgame guns as you got the sustain to take them from good to awesome.

Not saying that SoR wont be good, but it is not going to be this much better than the other trees.

We havent seem yet a top tier grenade mod to really show off Demolition Woman also.

The shield tree stands out because it’s a complete package. You can dump all your skill points into it and get a significant amount of both damage and survivability, nothing feels out of place and all of the skills work well together. The other two trees aren’t necessarily weaker, but they are less cohesive. A good demolition woman build for example doesn’t want every skill in the tree, it has to pick and choose what to pick up based on the strategy you’re trying to enable.

Ultimately I feel that all three of her skill trees have plenty of great stuff to offer. The only real advantage the shield tree has is that it’s very flexible in terms of item requirements. That means it’s likely hands down the best tree to level with, but I don’t expect it to be overly dominant in the long term.


I will take all the resistance I can get…doesnt have to be 100%. I’m not saying the other 2 trees suck but if you couldnt spec into other trees Bottonless mag and Demo woman would have seriously survivability issues. Not only does SOR tree fix that…it gives you a ton of gun and bonus incidiary damage. You literally dont need anything else to be successful. That’s why its stronger overall than the other 2 trees.


I don’t think the shield tree is much better than the other 2 skill trees. But it is Moze central skill tree. The SoR tree can pretty much sustain Moze on its own, but Demowoman and Endless mags need SoR to truly work because they independently lack the dps and survivability which SoR provides.

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I’m definitely appreciating the fact that you’re not locked to one skill tree more now. I’ll have to compare a deep SoR with other builds that incorporate SoR talents. You can still pick up Drowning in Brass and Thin Red Line with Desperate measures (plus Vladof Ingenuity if shock is truly a threat) from SoR, by max level.

Still the point remains, the pull of SoR is so strong I seriously question the value of the other two trees and whether any build will go without sizable SoR investment.

Here’s the thing. While Shield of Retribution will be amazing for general mobbing and questing thanks to the defensive skills and the offensive skills, 2 of it’s main offensive skills won’t help all that much on boss fights. Phalanx Doctrine and Drowning in Brass both rely on stacks to be effective, and during a boss fight you might get 1 weak add to kill every 7-10 seconds on average, so you are not going to have a lot stacks during a boss fight.

So while Shield of Retribution is going to be fantastic for mobbing/questing, I think that Bottomless Mags will be better for boss fights, because you’ll be able to absolutely shred bosses with Vladof sniper rifles, particularly the Lyuda, or high fire rate, large capacity magazine shotguns. The ability to pretty much continuously fire with the damage and fire rate boosts in that tree mean that you will have consistently strong DPS that isn’t interrupted by reloading.

I’m not really sure on Demolition Woman right now, that tree seems more focused on buffing Iron Bear than Moze, and since Iron Bear is underwhelming currently I’m not sure if it will be great at mobbing or boss fights, we’ll have to wait and see.


Is there evidence that there will be few weak fodder in boss fights? The only hard evidence I can point to in recent memory is that The Warrior had appreciable amounts of rakk and crystal beasts in the encounter.

Brass and Phalanx have 15 and 30 second timers, respectfully. I’m not too familiar with mechanics or precedent, but Phalanx wording does seem to suggest each stack is independent rather than refreshing. If refreshing, those timers seem healthy enough to keep rolling.

Also granted is the idea that SoR is more solo-oriented, while other trees rely less on kill skills. Perhaps that explains why, under ideal conditions, SoR seems more powerful. Still, the passive bonuses in SoR are nothing to scoff at.

Both have independent stacks as shown in Gamescom gameplay, they don’t refresh. So yeah, I’m not expecting SoR to be as good as BM for boss fights, though it will still be very good. I am definitely maining SoR while leveling since I’m a solo player and a tree with both good defense and offense will be great for solo play, though I will probably switch to using BM as my primary tree when doing the harder raid bosses since BM will be able to kill them much faster most likely, thanks to being able to infinitely fire some of the most powerful weapons in the game.

Here’s why Bottomless Mag isnt good for boss
fights…you cant deal damage if you’re dead.

Bottomless mag… 0 defensive and sustain skills
Demo Woman… 1 sustain skill, 0 defensive skills.

Bottomless Mag and Demo Woman need SOR… not the other way around.

You’re pretty much forced into getting SOR whether you’re BM or DW…and that’s why it’s better than the other trees.

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I agree that SoR is the better tree overallI, and that you need to use SoR as your secondary tree, if you pick BM or DW as your primary tree. I still think that picking the green tree will be better
for bosses.

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IMO Bottomless Mag is kinda overrated. I really cant see anything past tier 3 worth getting. Me…I would make SOR the primary and use the a +2 capstone class mod to get either short fuse or forge…mostly likely Short Fuse since there a other ways to get ammo regen that doesnt require that much point investment.

That’s just me.

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I’ve seen some pretty good arguments about why Bottomless Mags will be one of the best boss fight skill trees in the game, up there with the Red and Green trees for FL4K.

With the right build and gear, you can fire infinitely with some of the most powerful legendaries in the game. You can go the all Vladof route, with 4 Vladof guns and a Vladof shield, with 5 points in Matched Set for 50% increased magazine size and another 35% magazine size from The Iron Bank, for 85% increased magazine size total. The larger your magazine, the more ammo you regen per second from Forge and Redistribution’s combined 10% ammo regen per second. You want to get Cloud of Lead for lower ammo usage and bonus fire damage, Stoke the Embers for increased fire damage (and eventually Experimental Munitions from SoR for even more fire damage), Scorchin’ RPM’s and Click, Click for the greatly increased DPS. Then gear wise make sure you have a fire Vladof sniper, particularly a fire Lyuda, and you will absolutely shred any boss that is weak to fire (any boss with a red health bar that isn’t fire type themselves), and carry a shock and corrosive weapon as well for dealing with enemies that aren’t weak to fire.

Another really strong option is to go the Torgue route instead of the Vladof route. Torgue guns have alternate sticky fire mode in Borderlands 3, and you get a stacking damage bonus for each sticky on an enemy when they detonate. Normally you can’t get that many stickies in each target before your reload, which detonates them, but with BM Moze you’ll have larger magazine size and ammo regen for your current magazine, which will allow you to stack dozens of stickies on a boss, which will blow up for massive stacking bonus damage when you do reload.

BM does lack defensive options, though you can mitigate that problem with the skill that lets you sprint and shoot (enemies have a harder time hitting a sprinting target and you can sprint to cover when your shields are low), by putting leftover points into SoR, and by getting a legendary class mod that gives you 2 points into SoR’s capstone.

I personally thank that a build like this combined with a class mod that gives bonus points to SoR’s Tenacious Defense Capstone will be fantastic for endgame boss fights, especially against bosses that are weak to fire:



Truth be told, BM needs only the three defensive options that we have in SoR: Armored Infantry, Vladof Ingenuity and Behind the Iron Curtain. None of them are gamebreaking defensive skills.
You can also get to Force Feedback as you have enough points, and this is nice.

The way it is being said, seems like BM still needs the core Phalanx Doctrine, Thin Red Line and Desperate Measures. And it doesnt really need.
In fact, I think that Experimental Munitions is going to do a lore more DPS wise, especially when we account Stoke the Embers and Cloud of Lead.

In my opinion, something like this is going to be the boss basher spec for Moze.

SoR is going to be a really good option for mobbing, but if you cant stack Phalanx Doctrine it lacks both damage and survivability. Especially because the stacks have a timer.

If Selfless Vengeance applies, it is going to be crazy. Especially with Fire in the Skag Den.

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That’s the craziness of the +2 short Fuse route…you dont need a Torgue gun. It turns everything into an explosive weapon AOE weapon…including the shredifier.

Which procs all of the incendiary skills including fire in the skag den. And if you hit crit spots you don’t even need the ammo regen of BM.

And for Phalanx Doctrine…30 seconds is an eternity for any kill skill. We have to keep in mind that the higher the gun damage…the more powerful short fuse becomes since its 75% of all gun damage dealt. Imagine walking into a boss with 10, 20, 30 or stacks of Phalanx Doctrine and have 30 seconds for 300% gun damage and 225% short fuse bonus damage. And we are even calculating the bonus incendiary.

So it’s just a choice of do you want to shoot more bullets with BM or do you want your bullets to hit harder.

Are we not doing phrasing anymore?

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Haha, good catch but we’re talking about Moserah not Veronica Moser.

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