While it might not be the only build you’ll ever want, if you’re looking to one/two shot all phases of Scourage and Wotan at the hardest difficulty, then this is the build you’ll want. With Zane’s added 4th skill tree, he has made a vast amount of gear more than just viable, and already broken gear look even more absurd. This build aims to take a “one size fits all approach” and make 1 spec work with as little gear required as possible. I’ll first cover how to spend your skill points, then what gear is necessary, and how to best utilize and synergize your gear, skills, and action skills.
This build uses a fairly standard Zane spec while using the Spy class mod, a non-elemental anarchy, a cutpurse artifact, and stinger shield with an on Action Skill Start, trigger any shield effects that trigger on shield break of fill. The primary playstyle of this is pre-stack the Anarchy before combat, then when in combat chuck the anarchy at whatever you want dead, then shooting your MNTIS Cannon to trigger the Stinger nova. This setup will deal massive damage while also never running out of ammo due to the Stinger nova returning ammo whenever it hits an enemy. Two important things to note though, do NOT spam the MNTIS Cannon too fast or you will ‘break’ the action skill, preventing you from using it despite it not being on cooldown and much more importantly, SHOOT BARRELS BEFORE YOU GET CLOSE TO THEM, if you blow up a barrel with the stinger or anarchy while too close to it, you will instantly go down as barrels do NOT healthgate you and they DO go right through your barrier.
Now if you want a more in-depth overview of this build, continue reading.
First, if you’re looking for a visual of the skill trees, then here you go. Second, the two most impactful skills for Zane at the time of this post are Commitment and Violent Momentum. With these two skills, you will receive upwards of a 2500% gun damage boost when combined with the Spy or Seein’ Dead class mods. This is what has made Zane so powerful and are two skills that should not be skipped by anyone who has purchased DLC 5. Now, I’ll be covering all the individual skills, discussing the thought process behind why I spent my skill points there and how necessary they are to the build, starting with the The Professional tree, Hitman tree, Doubled Agent tree, and ending with the Under Cover tree.
The Shoulder Cannon is an action skill with multiple charges that allows you to fire a beam directly at where your crosshair is aiming, assuming what you’re aiming at is within range. This action skill is an absolute necessity for this build as it is pretty much the only way you’ll be able to make use of action skill end/start anointments, a key component of this build.
No Way Out is an action skill augment for the MNTIS Canon that pulls enemies to you when they are hit by the MNTIS Canon. This action skill is great utility for dealing with flying enemies and to help group enemies together for faster kills. It’s really the only good augment Zane has, asides from the other Augment we’re already using.
This action skill augment gives Zane’s MNTIS Canon an additional 2 extra charges, increasing the amount to 5. It also gives the MNTIS Canon a 20% damage boost per charge available. This augment enables Zane to spam the MNTIS Canon more frequently, resulting in more DPS.
- Man of Focus - 5 Skill Points
As the skill reads, activating an action skill will give him a stack of Man of Focus, granting Zane increased Accuracy and Handling for 12 seconds, stacking up to 10 times. Amongst his purple tier 1 skills, this skill is the most useful as we’re almost always chucking with this build, rendering Deja Vu’s ammo return nearly useless. You could put 3 of these skill points into Renegade for passive healing, although the passive healing percentage is very low at only 1.5% per second so it won’t be felt that much.
- Commitment - 5 Skill Points
As said in the introduction, Commitment is one of the two most important skills for Zane to have, as with both you can achieve upwards of 2500% increased gun damage when combined with the Spy or Seein’ Dead class mods. At 5/5 points, this skill will grant 30% increased damage and cooldown rate per stack. Commitment is super effective because there is no limit to the amount of stacks you can have. With the Spy class mod, you can easily maintain 25-45 stacks while in combat, and with the Seein’ Dead you can maintain 60-100 stacks of Commitment while in combat. The Spy class mod does boost this skill, allowing up to 60% bonus gun damage and cooldown rate per stack, making it my preferred class mod to use with this skill.
- Fugitive - 1 Skill Point
With this skill, Zane can now shoot while sprinting, enabling you to make better use of the gun damage boost awarded by Violent Momentum.
- Headsman’s Hand - 4 Skill Points
This is a kill skill that increases critical hit damage by 24% at 4 out of 5 stacks. This skill is picked up since we needed to get down to the next tier and none of the other skills would provide much of a noticeable benefit.
- Domino Effect - 5 Skill Points
This skill rewards a decent fire rate and reload buff upon scoring a critical hit, and doubles it when a critical hit is scored with his action skill(s). I have not tested it, but based on how its worded, both the drone and clone would also be able to activate this skill, although that isn’t relevant to this build. I feel this skill is fairly underrated, as at 5/5, when the effect is doubled you’re getting a 40% faster reload speed and 30% faster fire rate, making the effects of skills in his blue tree that buff the same things more substantial.
- Eraser - 1 Skill Point
Eraser can be incredibly powerful made use of, enabling penetration upon scoring a critical hit, and amplifying the damage of the bullet(s) that penetrated by 120% at 3/3 skill points. I’ve put one point here as we end up with 1 point left over at the end of this all.
- Our Man Flynt - 0 Skill Points
Our Man Flynt gives you a 25% multiplicative damage boost while aiming down sights as well as automatically apply status effects upon scoring a critical hit. While we have no points here, the Spy class mod can give you 1 point in this skill, which I recommend having as it does make an impact on your damage output when you need to actually shoot your weapons.
- Violent Momentum - 5 Skill Points
Arguably Zane’s second best skill currently, this skill grants bonus damage based on how fast you are moving. At just normal walking speed without any movement speed bonuses, you’ll receive a bonus of a few hundred percent, ramping up as you start getting bonus from Violent Speed, Movement Speed bonus on artifacts, etc. This is a must have skill in all serious Zane builds.
- Violent Speed - 5 Skill Points
Violent Speed is a kill skill that grants 60% bonus movement speed at 2 stacks, significantly increasing the gun damage bonus received from Violent Momentum. This is another must have skill for any serious Zane build.
- Salvation - 1 Skill Point
Salvation is a kill skill that grants life steal once activated, with just one point in the skill, you will receive 6% of the damage you deal back as health when you have 2 stacks of Salvation. This skill pretty much grants all the healing you really need and is pretty much always on when combined with a Spy or Seein’ Dead class mod.
- Cool Hand - 5 Skill Points
With 5 points in this skill and at 2 stacks, Cool Hand will provide you a 60% faster reload speed after a kill, substantially increasing your DPS and helping out tremendously when chucking with tediore weapons.
- Seein’ Red - 1 Skill Point
When combined with the MNTIS Shoulder Canon and commitment, the Seein’ Red skill allows you to almost maintain 100% up-time on all of your kill skills as Seein’ Red’s effect is that when activating an action skill you will proc all of your kill skills. This is a must have skill as Zane is both very weak and very frail without any of his kill skills up, and this allows you to have them before even starting combat.
- Violent Violence - 5 Skill Points
While not that necessary with this build since we’re mostly chucking, the massive 46% fire rate buff you receive from this is much more impactful on weapons you’ll actually want to shoot than the effect of Playin’ Dirty and we needed to spend more points to get down to Good Misfortune and Death Follows Close, so 5 of our points end up going here.
- Good Misfortune - 3 Skill Points
Bit of a spoiler, but since we’re not using a Seein’ Dead class mod with this build you’ll want to have 3 out of 3 points in this skill to ensure that whenever we use our MNTIS Canon we’re getting the most action skill duration back to keep our other action skill up, which in this build is the barrier.
- Death Follows Close - 1 Skill Point
Death Follows Close grants a 25% boost in effectiveness of all kill skills and adds 7 seconds to the duration of all kill skills as well. This skill is a definite must have as boosting the effectiveness of all your kill skills makes both Commitment and Violent Momentum, your two largest sources of damage, more effective, while also enabling you to keep up your stacks of commitment for longer.
- Praemunitus - 3 Skill Points
This skill increases your mag size by 25% with 3/3 points, which I personally feel is more impactful than the increased action skill duration time awarded by Borrowed time and the relatively small damage boost awarded by Synchronicity.
- Borrowed Time - 2 Skill Points
We still needed to put 2 points somewhere to get to Duct Tape Mod, the only reason why we’re investing into the red skill tree, so I’ve put them here to boost the benefits of Good Misfortune.
- Duct Tape Mod - 1 Skill Point
This skill is a definite must have for this build as it makes us immune to our own splash damage. This skill does not protect us from DOTs applied to us by splash damage, but we can eliminate the risk of that by using non-elemental weapons. The infrequent grenades this skill puts out aren’t a downside either.
While not the action skill you absolutely need to use, of the 3 remaining action skills it’s definitely the most useful as it makes up for the overall lack of survivability we have when using a Stinger shield and our only source of healing being in Salvation. This will protect you against most things, but do be extra careful of barrels as the barrier does not protect you from them and they do not healthgate you, meaning that you’ll either go down instantly or die if you take a DOT from a barrel.
This action skill augment turns the barrier into a bubble that surrounds you on all sides, preventing enemy projectiles from hitting you at any angle. Some heavy weapons can still damage you through this, as well as melee hits, so still be wary of those. And still be extra careful of barrels as the barrier does not protect you from them.
This action skill augment is literally useless, along with the only other option being useless as both Charged Relay and Nanites or Some ■■■■■ only work when the barrier is left on the ground, they provide no benefit when picked up. This is something gearbox really should change, as the only useful augment in this tree is Static Field and almost nobody goes deep enough into this tree to unlock it, so you’re always stuck with one augment that is just dead weight.
- Ready for Action - 5 Skill Points
Ready for Action provides solid shield buffs in the form of 30% faster recharge rate and decreases the recharge delay by 29%. We spend 5 points here and in the next skill, Brain Freeze, to get the All-rounder Barrier Augment.
- Brain Freeze - 5 Skill Points
You still needed to put 5 points into this tree to get unlock the All-rounder augment, so you might as well put it into Brain Freeze, the best skill in the green tree. Every critical hit will have a chance to apply cryo to the enemy until they are frozen. This skill is a powerful crowd control skill and is super beneficial when actually shooting and not chucking.
For your class mod, you’re going to want to go with the Spy over the Seein’ Dead. This is because the Spy is able to boost Commitment with up to an additional 5 skill points, giving it an extra 30% gun damage and cooldown rate per stack. On top of this, it also adds 8 seconds onto the kill skill duration of all your kill skills, which stacks with Death Follows Close, giving your kill skills 23 seconds of duration, more than triple the typical 8 seconds of kill skill duration. At least for me, I get way better results out of using the Spy over the Seein’ Red, assuming I have commitment boosted with 3 or more extra skill points. For my Spy, I like to have 1 point into Our Man Flynt so that I get the benefits of that skill when I actually want to shoot my Anarchy/other weapons instead of chucking and then have the other 4 points into Commitment. For bonus rolls, Splash damage and shotgun boosts are going to be the 2 most impactful rolls to get and they should be what you’re looking for. Having at least one or the other will make a big difference to your damage output.
The Stinger shield has quickly become one of the most individually broken pieces of gear in the game due to the Mayhem scaling boost on melee damage. The novas the Stinger puts out count as melee damage, which not only gets the mayhem melee scaling, but also benefits from having a cutpurse artifact, returning ammo to the ammo pool of whatever weapon you’re holding whenever it hits an enemy. This effect, combined the “On Action Skill Start, activate any effect that triggers on shield break or fill” Anointment and spamming the MNTIS Canon, will enable you to hit enemies for billions of damage while ensuring that you’ll never run out of ammo. To also note, for tediore weapons with the “Shoot Me” style of reload, the stinger shield can blow up those reloads in mid-air, enabling you to have even more damage be put out for each nova. It’s best to have a Stinger in each element to ensure you can use the best element on each map, but if you were to only have one then make it one in radiation as that will be the most effective across all enemy types.
To preface this; ONLY USE A NON-ELEMENTAL ANARCHY OR YOU WILL DOWN YOURSELF WITH IT. The Anarchy is a tediore shotgun that upon reload or kill, you gain a stack of Anarchy, increasing your damage by 30% while lowering your accuracy, with a max of 10 stacks. These stacks do not go away until you either go into Fight For Your Life or you swap weapons. At max stacks, you will be doing 300% increased damage which makes the Anarchy not only one of the hardest hitting shotguns, but also the single best shotgun to chuck with. It competes for being one of the best chucking weapons, and in this build it easily takes out anything that’s within chucking distance. In this build, it is much more effective to chuck and then fire the MNTIS cannon, repeating this over and over again until everything is dead.
The secondary effect of the Cutpurse doesn’t matter too much, as long as it’s a Cutpurse with beneficial card rolls such as shotgun damage, area-of-effect damage, grenade damage, etc. you’ll be good to go. This artifact will return ammo to you upon dealing melee damage, which the Stinger novas deal, making it so that you can never run out of ammo as long as you keep sending out Stinger novas.
It really doesn’t matter what grenade you have, so long as it won’t apply a DOT to you when fired off by Duct Tape Mod. As long as it has an “While an Action Skill is Active, Grenade Damage is Increased by 150%” anointment you’re fine to use it.
Playstyle and Tips
As said throughout the post already, the main goal of this build is to pre-stack the Anarchy before entering combat, then running into a group of enemies, taking a single shot, reloading/throwing the Anarchy towards, and immediately firing your MNTIS Cannon to trigger a Stinger nova and to explode the Anarchy reload on as many enemies as possible and repeating this process. As also mentioned, BE EXTRA CAREFUL OF BARRELS. Barrels are a death sentence if you explode them while next to them, shoot them to get rid of them before getting near them. This build might not give you the actual fastest times to complete the takedowns, but it is a build that is supremely overpowered against the takedowns and all other content in the game. It pretty much puts the game on easy mode. You can experiment with using different Tediore weapons or launchers to get better chucks/faster clear speed but for a base setup, this will get you started on further optimizing your Tediore chucking and Zane gameplay.
If you have any questions/suggestions feel free to reply to this thread them, and thank you for reading all the way to end.