The Secretest Secrets of The Nth Degree

Original thread on old forums:

In response to this: This thread was created to illustrate the pros and cons of Gaige’s skill, The Nth Degree, as well as to explain how this skill works and how it interacts in odd cases. This guide aims to be as in-depth as possible.

What is The Nth Degree?

The Nth Degree is Gaige’s Tier 5 skill in the Ordered Chaos Tree.

“Every Nth bullet that hits an enemy will ricochet toward another nearby enemy”

How does it work?

With one point in this skill every bullet that hits an enemy will give part of a Nth Degree “stack”, this stack is invisible until it is full. When the stack is full, it will be shown above the Xp bar with the other skills. When the stack is shown, the next shot that hits an enemy will bounce off and hit an additional enemy clearing the stack. This does not reduce damage to the first target in anyway.

How much Damage does this skill add?

Theoretical Extra Group Damage:
Rank 1: 12.5%
Rank 2: 14.3%
Rank 3: 16.7%
Rank 4: 20.0%
Rank 5: 25.0% [/QUOTE]

This skill suffers from diminishing returns, meaning you should either put 1 point in, or 5 in. Rank 1 gives you 12.5% more damage, but Rank 2 only gives you 1.8% more damage, Rank 3 only gives you 2.5% more damage, Rank 4 gives 3.3% more damage, and Rank 5 gives 5% more damage. Rank 1 accounts for half the damage and ranks 2-5 account for the other half. One thing that is usually overlooked, and cannot be accounted for is Splash damage. The splash can hit multiple targets, and even the initial targets, this skews the damage in favor of putting more points in this skill.

What determines the Target?

After extensive testing I believe that the target is selected at random. But, the target also needs to be in range of the initial hit to be selected. The range itself is fairly small, but is usually good enough for most cases.

What determines the attributes of the Nth projectile?

The Nth projectile inherits most attributes from its parent. This includes:

The Nth Projectile doesn’t inherit:

This means that the player can use the Nth bullet to spread DoT, Red-Text effects, and use unique firing patterns to their advantage, while having the Nth bullet hit consistently, due to the perfect accuracy.(Enemies can still dodge or something can block the way)

How does the Nth bullet ricochet?

A new projectile is cloned from the initial bullet copying the properties stated above, and given a new trajectory.

Multi Pellet Weapons

Multi-Pellet weapons should be thought of less as a group of pellets hitting at the same time, and more of an extremely rapid fire burst. Though to us, we see a group hitting at the see time, the computer sees Bullet 01, Bullet 02, Bullet 03, ect. Assume we have Nth at 5/5, then Bullets 01-04 will count towards building the stack, and Bullet 05 will ricochet. If there are more bullets, then it will happen again with Bullet 06, and 07, and 08, ect.

Summary: Multi Pellet Weapons really aren’t different from single pellet weapons, there is always a first and second and third bullet.

Can the Nth bullet Crit?

The Nth bullet can crit, but it makes no attempt to do so.

What does and doesn’t it work with?

Doesn’t work with:

Slow Hand
Information for these will be posted in the special cases section below.

Interactions with Close Enough

After extensive testing here is what I have found in terms of interaction between The Nth Degree, and Close Enough.
First of all, bullets shot at the ground, then bounced of with Close Enough count towards the Nth bullet.
Secondly, a Nth degree bullet that came from Close Enough will inherit the Close Enough damage penalty
Third, the Nth bullet does not express Close Enough in any way, meaning if the Nth bullet misses and hits a wall or object, then it will not bounce towards another enemy.


Videos of the Nth Degree in action go here, if you have any please post them.

Special Cases

The Nth Degree may interact differently or in a unique way than other guns. This is where I will illustrate those differences. If you have any requests please post them.


The Pimpernel is extremely good with the Nth Degree. Each of the orbs can build a stack, and in some occasions, this can lead to three or more full sets of Pimp orbs. Because of this, the Pimpernel will have a mini-Bore effect verses multi-entited enemies, such as Spider Tanks.


With the penetration, swirling projectiles, and lots of pellets, the Twister is amazing with the Nth Degree, however, the projectiles do travel slowly, allowing enemy to move out of the way. Also note that you can easily identify the Nth bullet(s) because they travel in a straight line and do not swirl around.

The Storm

The Storm can be used great effect when combined with a DOT build and The Nth Degree. Every time Nth triggers, a second set of Storm orbs can be created. Those orbs get Electrical Burn and then chaos ensues.


The Cobra can be used to good effect with The Nth Degree. The Nth bullet gets the explosion of the main bullet, allowing for two explosions.

If you look at the second picture closely, you can see the Nth bullet before it detonates.

The Cobra also has special splash damage. It can generate a Nth stack, but if it triggers the Nth bullet, then nothing will happen. If the main projectile hits, then the explosion can generate a second stack, speeding up the time to get to the Nth bullet.

Slow Hand

The Slow Hand’s splash damage works much like he Cobra’s, building and depleting stacks without making an Nth Bullet. However, unlike the Cobra, the main projectile cannot become an Nth bullet. Basically, it can only build and deplete stacks and never actually use them.


Despite not shooting bullets, the Nth Degree works perfectly with the Swordsplosion, but a Casual version is preferred. The Nth sword retains the “explode into more swords” effect of the original. Also note that the mini-swords count as grenades, and do not count towards the Nth Degree. Unlike most shotguns where the damage comes from high-count, low damage pellets, the Swordsplosion has low-count pellets with high damage. This means that while the Nth Degree won’t be proccing every shot, the Nth Sword will hit hard, whereas a pellet from a normal shotgun won’t. This high damage pellet is also great for taking out surveyors.

Notable Weapons

This section is for weapons that don’t really interact in a different way, but are still good with this skill.

: This SMG interacts very well with the Nth Degree due to its high pellet count and high slag chance.

Fibber: You know the one, as there are 9 pellets per shot, you are guaranteed at least 1 Nth bullet per shot at rank one. Its also a very good Gaige weapon. Especially good with the Redundant prefix.

: More pellets, more Nth Degree, more damage.

Unkept Harold: Lots of pellets in one shot.

Flakker: The Nth Bullet inherits the Flack effect of the original. Basically means more explosions.


  • The Nth Degree Stack stays between level transitions
  • If your Deathtrap has Make it Sparkle, shooting him will not build or use Nth stacks.

This is quickly becoming my favorite skill of Gaige. I can’t believe how great it is for healing. I empty a clip of a Fibber or a few shots of Twister, and because of the little bit of added time it takes the cloned bullets to find a target, it gives me the time to switch to the Grog Nozzle… In turn converting the damage from the Nth Degree bullets into health. With decent stacks, it heals me full every time.

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Holy crap! I think I will continue with Gaige instead of Maya after these vids. Looks way awesome and useful.

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“Enemy Bullets Reflected off of the Antangonist and gemstone guns”

I knew about the Antagonist, but how do the gemstone guns reflect bulllets? Or am I reading it wrong?

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You’re reading right, but I haven’t seen a thorough breakdown of which game scripts are likely used or how often it procs.

In theory it shouldn’t be hard to test, just very, very boring - as well as taxing on HD space for video verification.
That said, someone has probably done it and I just missed it :acmwink:

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According to rudimentary testing we made when the DLC was released, having a gemstone gun equipped will make about 15% of bullets reflect.

@Derch, correct me if I’m wrong on the figure

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I never really saw a great number on that it’s pretty hard to test