Thoughts On Shock (Guns) - Adventures in "Simple" Math!


There was a thread a while back, on the old forums I think, about which damage type was the most useful.

A lot of people said Shock, because it’s strong against shields (which Fire/Corrosive are weak against) and neutral against Flesh/Armor, meaning that most of the time you’ll be doing damage against anything. Plus, I think we can all agree that shielded enemies are jerks when you’re using Fire/Corrosive, because you only do 40% damage (TVHM/UVHM).

On its own, I would tend to agree, but allow me to build a case that Shock might not be an element for your guns, despite being a good overall element.

Instead, please consider Explosive as the most useful element for your guns. There are two big factors in play here that must be considered:

  • Splash Damage. Torgue guns have lots.
  • Freeze DOT. Boosts Explosive by 3x.

So, while on its own Explosive does 80% damage to Shields and 100% to Flesh/Armor… It does triple damage against Frozen enemies.

3 * 80% = 240% or 2.4x

That’s actually pretty close to the 2.75x for Shock against Shield in UVHM (it’s 2.5x in TVHM). This is where the Splash Damage comes in.

Let’s compare the (level 50) DPS of two of my favorite Shotguns: Torguemada and Bullpup.

  • Casual Torguemada (Just Pellets)
  • Basic DPS: 39774
    • Critical: 59661
  • DPS+Reload: 24252
    • Critical: 36379
  • Casual Torguemada (Above, plus 15 Flaks)
  • Basic DPS: 99435
    • Critical: 119322
  • DPS+Reload: 60631
    • Critical: 72757
  • Enforceable Bullpup
  • Basic DPS: 33312
    • Critical: 66624
  • DPS+Reload: 22365
    • Critical: 44730

As you can see, they actually have pretty similar basic and Critical DPS if you don’t account for the Flaks that Torguemada has. Meaning against non-shielded enemies that don’t specifically resist either one, they will perform similarly, with Bullpup having the advantage on Criticals (if you ignore the Flaks) because Torguemada’s 100% on-pellet Splash (and 100% Splash each Flak) doesn’t normally Crit.

But suppose we add in the 2.75 multiplier for Bullpup against Shield, and the .8 for Torguemada against shield.

  • Casual Torguemada (Just Pellets)
  • Basic DPS: 31819.2
    • Critical: 47728.8
  • DPS+Reload: 19401.6
    • Critical: 29103.2
  • Casual Torguemada (Above, plus 15 Flaks)
  • Basic DPS: 79548
    • Critical: 95457.6
  • DPS+Reload: 48504.8
    • Critical: 58205.6
  • Enforceable Bullpup
  • Basic DPS: 91608
    • Critical: 183216
  • DPS+Reload: 61503.75
    • Critical: 123007.5

So it certainly looks like, against a shield, Torguemada is at a serious disadvantage. That’s certainly to be expected, since the point of Shock is to bust shields and Explosive is specifically less effective against them. But look what happens if you freeze that enemy… For this calculation, I’ll be using no other Critical Damage boosts, just the 200% Type A from Freezing.

  • Casual Torguemada (Just Pellets)
  • Basic DPS: 95457.6
    • Critical: 334101.6
  • DPS+Reload: 58204.8
    • Critical: 203721.6
  • Casual Torguemada (Above, plus 15 Flaks)
  • Basic DPS: 238644
    • Critical: 477288
  • DPS+Reload: 145514.4
    • Critical: 291028.8
  • Enforceable Bullpup
  • Basic DPS: 91608
    • Critical: 549648
  • DPS+Reload: 61503.75
    • Critical: 369022.5

Funnily enough, the noncritical DPS of Torguemada is actually better against a Frozen shield than Enforceable Bullpup! And by a large margin if you account for the Flaks. However, Bullpup still wins in Critical simply because all of its DPS can benefit from the Critical Bonus, while the huge chunk of Splash on Torguemada doesn’t.

I realize this is merely a comparison of two weapons, but I think basically my point is this:

###Don’t underestimate Explosive against Shielded enemies that you can Freeze.

There’s also the concern that Torgue guns have slower projectile speed, but fortunately, Frozen enemies don’t move… I think the devs knew what they were doing when they made Freeze give the bonuses it does.

Shock is still excellent at what it does. But I hope this little post will help people realize there’s more than one way to strip a shield. :smile:

And once that shield is down… Explosive against a Frozen enemy is even stronger than Fire/Corrosive on Flesh/Armor, and you don’t have to swap! Freeze a shielded enemy with a Cryo grenade and just casually blast it to death.

The interplay between Cryo and Explosive is phenominal. The payoff for cultivating such a strategy can be larger than using the “right element,” at the cost of requiring actually Freezing the enemy.

So if you ever wondered why my two endgame builds are both Cryo/Explosive… That’s why.

Please discuss. I’m interested in the community’s thoughts on this.


OK, here’s a consideration: weapon swapping time. In principle I understand that frozen X explosive is very powerful; in practice I’ll often just keep shooting with my shock or cryo blasters since they seem to be doing fine (especially with the continuous damage bonus lasers).

That’s what Cryo grenades are for. :wink:

You get your freeze, and your splode, without ever swapping weapons.

Even better with a Bomber Oz Kit, because the Grenade Damage boost works for the Grenades and most Explosive Splash. And free Freezes!

So basically, there are two setups I see being most effective generally:

  • Fire main gun
  • Explosive/Shock/Corrosive off-gun for Armor
  • Shock grenade for Shields


  • Explosive main gun
  • Cryo grenade

The first loadout is easier since you don’t need to freeze enemies and THEN shoot them to bust their shields. In a lot of cases, you won’t even need a Shock gun because you can simply toss the Shock grenade. But I would still carry one in case that’s not enough.

But the second loadout has higher potential and more Torgue, IF you can Freeze the enemy, and you can actually backpack your Shock guns and only bring them out when you meet a boss with a shield or that you can’t reliably Freeze. Badasses and mooks will fall fast enough just by being Frozen, even if they’re shielded (which was the point of the OP).

Nice work Sljm, I love these kinds of breakdowns :slight_smile:

Another “combo” worth considering, is Cryo + element matching:

frozen targets take additional damage from explosive, but also from crits, and it’s much easier to crit a target that’s standing still. :smile: If you crit AND match element on a frozen target, you get very good results too.

Of course, you can also crit with explosive, but since a good portion of Torgue guns DPS comes from splash, they are not as good in that department.

I’d love to see that thread added to lootology.

What are some of the better cryo grenades you’ve found? I’ll give this a try if I find a good one.

Vladof Cryo grenades are the best at actually Freezing, with Cryo Transfusions being almost as good with healing besides.

Vladof cryos
Torgue or Scav cryo Mirvs
Cryo transfusions

all of these give you multiple chances to freeze in one grenade.

Edit: Ninja’d

Can the kiss of death come in Cryo too ?


That does work. Simply look at the numbers for Bullpup and multiply them by (2 / 2.75).

  • Enforceable Bullpup (Fire vs Frozen Flesh)
  • Basic DPS: 66624
    • Critical: 399744
  • DPS+Reload: 44730
    • Critical: 268380
1 Like

I very rarely use Torgue/explosive guns because the slow bullet speed drives me nuts.

That’s one of the nice things about this combo: frozen targets don’t move around much, so bullet speed, less of an issue.

I still go back to saying I’ve barely needed to freeze & 'splode since cryo alone will often do fine alone – against mobs. Occasionally, on badass types, I’ll switch from cryo to a Torgue something. I’ve wondered, though, about using cryo on boss types (e.g., Iwajira, Felicity, Zarpedon) – they’ll never actually freeze but would the explosive buff still be there if I lay into them with something like a cryo laser, then switch to explosive? My experience says no.

Re: cryo grenades, I don’t seem to have much success with these, rarely seen any enemies actually freeze. It may be because my attempts are sort of half-hearted (love my Quasar too much).

Enemies don’t need to freeze solid, just need to be taking cryo DoT to get explosive buff. For bosses, I asked that before, but don’t think a complete list was ever made. Iwajira can take cryo DoTs, Felicity doesn’t seem to, second part of Sentinel can (first part can’t), Stalker can (boss?), Belly can (don’t think Red by himself or RedBelly together can), not sure about Zarpedon, RK5, Bosun, Deadlift, Flame Knuckle (either form). But, some of these are just difficult to see cryo DoT or not, especially if throwing AoE grenades. Also, any corrections would be great.

Back to the OP… it’s also why I use cryo + explosives on almost every build I have. The only partial exception is Nisha, who can do enough damage without the buffs (but she can make good use of the combo if desired).

I do have a question though… are unshielded enemies easier to freeze? They seem to be significantly easier once the shields are down. I know there’s reduced damage to cryo for shielded enemies, just not sure of freeze chance. It’s why on my Jack (with exploding DJs), I use Storm Front + Bomber Kit and jump around throwing grenades while shooting Too Scoops (a.k.a. cryo AoE grenade) while my exploding DJs do all the damage (boosted to 300k+ on frozen targets… or even more if using explosive nova shield).

I was getting so tired of Wilhelm and Lasers…

Then, I went to exactly what you are talking about…and WOW

Everything I do now is Explosive/Cryo

And Wilhelm’s Chronicler of Elpis mod is superb for Cryo

One addition I would add,.

Don’t forget the IFV

It just DESTROYS frozen targets…even better than the Torgumada

Best freezing weapon I have found is the Frigidia…2nd best is a fast firing Cryo T4s-R

Weapon slots:
Cryo T4s-R or Frigidia…I like the T4s-R as it saves SMG ammo for the IFV
Casual Torguemada
Purple spitter for long range engagements
IFV for the big boys

Arctic Bomber Oz Kit
Purple Adaptive Shield
Chronicleer of Elpis Mod
Cyro or Explosive Kiss of Death


May I suggest you also try Dahl railers.

At about 45% freeze chance per shot, a 5-round burst is an almost guaranteed popsicle.

This I did not know.

I have a Cryo Invader that puts out a pretty tight burst…works pretty good…but If I see a railer I will pick it up.

Run with an explosive gun and a shock grenade. Everybody wins, except for the hundreds of dead bodies you leave behind.

Aurelia can outperform the cryo / explosive bonus with the right setup. Depending on com, she can get a multiplier of up to 4.18 for cryo guns on unshielded targets and 2.74 on shields, or 3.57 and 2.84 respectively.

I have seen this in action…she is VERY powerful…very…

Survivability…especially with a raid…is the problem with her I think.

But MAN she kills em’ quick in the Hollodome!

To bad NE isnt that effective