Zane UnderCover Tree Nerfed: The State Of Zane

So Ive been keeping this thread under wraps for awhile because i wanted to see what reworks(if any) they would do to zane along side the release of DLC 5.

Disclaimer Zane’s reliance on the See’ing dead mod was reduced with this patch no doubt. The changes to the Hitman tree were needed and I have no issues with what took place even if it highkey nuked my build.

The Nerf

Zane’s undercover tree took a MASSIVE nerf that came out of nowhere in the patch. This is widely regarded as Zane’s Weakest tree and the new change is not what it needed in the slightest. For the past year, the zane nation has asked for buffs to this tree. These buffs were mainly focused around having the tree synergize with crit damage. Previously zane did not have a single crit buff in all 3 of his trees, yet he had many accuracy buffs in his undercover one. Now that they have swapped competent confidence to the capstone in place of distributed denial, Zane no longer gets ANY damage buff in this tree unless you spend the full amount of points. You heard that right. Not a single skill in this tree buffs damage until the end, and then the capstone ONLY buffs gun damage. It is a laughable. The tree went from bad but manageable due to low skillpoint investment, to TERRIBLE because now you have to spend points in bad or redundant skills to get a semi-ok capstone(Gun Damage is not the buff zane needs). This tree has Zanes worst lifesteal skill(he has 3 others that are objectively better), it has no multiplicative damage. It’s few good skills are outclassed by either the 4th skill tree or the other trees.

Stolen Potential

They took a away undercover trees potential and gave it to his 4th skill tree. and I mean this figuratively. In a lot of the communities rework ideas, the undercover tree was supposed to be designed as the crit damage, accuracy and freeze tree. The tree had all this accuracy and didn’t capitalize on it in a meaningful way outside of ice breaker. This tree could freeze baddies with no way to capitalize on it in a damage capacity outside icebreaker. Crit damage was the nucleus that would have pulled this tree together.

But they literally put all of the crit damage into the new 4th tree and left this tree bare with no improvements. This is the only skill tree in the game with only one skill that buffs damage… and now its the capstone which means more investment… and its only gun damage which the 4th skill offers a boat load more of… and its conditional which is unlike all other capstones in the game.

If the 4th skill tree is the crit damage tree, what does that leave to the undercover tree? The 4th skill tree even does accuracy better than the undercover tree! So freezing is all this tree has left? And it does that in just one skill. No others needed!

The tree doesn’t even have a class mod that is designated for it. The hustler class mod that we all thought was made with this tree in mind is actually better with the new 4th skill tree, and is terrible with this tree. The Techspert has mutilpe skills from this tree and its COM effect doesn’t even do anything for this tree. The Cold Warrior is the most laughable COM in the game.

The Future

This Undercover tree has not only been nerfed but had its rework stolen from it. I think this tree needs renewed focus on Cryo Damage and interaction based off of successfully freezing baddies. Freezing enemies needs to be properly rewarded within the tree and not just with the icebreaker artifact. Zane has enough crit damage he has enough accuracy buffs. he has enough gun damage. he has enough survivability. he needs to rewarded. he needs to be not reliant on a class mod and DLC5 additions(approaching pay to win terriority)


Seems like they gave up on Green tree… Distributed denial is such a good skill in theory until you realize it on works with booster shields, it needs a complete rework but that’s too much time or effort so they flip it for the decent skill in the tree and call it a day

I’m a bit suspicious that the skill swaps have more to do with keeping purple tree in check than addressing long-standing Zane issues. Which especially screws non-dlc owners.


My biggest issue is that instead of buffing DD into a worthy capstone and fixing its issues, they clearly threw in the white flag of surrender and swapped it with confident competence for less effort. The issue is that GUN DAMAGE is not worthy of being a capstone. Its not impact enough. Their is literally tier 1 skills that will give more gun damage…

The green tree is now the 2nd worst tree on the game. Only flaks purple tree even comes close

The purple tree literally has everything we asked for. Run and shooting. Multiplicative damage. Freeze synergy. Its very sus


Honestly I don’t get this change at all but I hope that Gearbox at least fixed the Distributed Denial.

From my perspective they’ve locked one of very few weapon damage boosting skills (which doesn’t require you to run around while shooting) behind huge point investment and replaced it with the bugged and pretty much useless skill.

By this change they also created probabaly the most boring cap stone only conditionally boosting Zane’s damage instead of granting some interesting and fun mechanical change.

They didn’t address issue with anti-synergetic skills in the Under Cover tree at all. On one hand there are skills which grants you bonus when you have a full shield on the other hand there are skills which best works when you don’t have a shield but to get to these skills you have to waste points into ‘full shield’ skills. Not to mention that if you’re using the Barrier you don’t really need to invest into defensive options all that much.

I believe there should be complete redesign of this tree and maybe even Barrier action skill itself. It would be nice to give players more incentive to actually deploy Barrier instead of carrying it all the time while running. This way you don’t even care what augments you pick except for All-rounder of course.

I feel like they’ve made this change just to quickly touch the Under Cover tree to satisfy people’s concerns. To simply confirm that they are aware of these issues and will address them in future updates would be enough for me to be happy. But this…


I think you’re being too generous. This change is apparently based on community feedback - a year of it. So it’s not in error or misinterpreted it’s by explicit design.

As far as I’m concerned Zane has a blue and red skill tree and occasionally I’ll waste 5 points in tier one of the green tree to get a decent freeze skill and a kinda meh small damage boost from the tier 3. No need anymore can take those points back from the green tree.

But … wherever shall I put them? Got too many points for just 2 trees which still have a bunch of poorly designed and disappointing skills and no one needs 5/5 vampire skill (can’t even be bothered to look up the name I’ve forgotten).

I know! I’ll buy the new OP shiny skill tree I’ve been gifted in place of dlc vault hunters and decent dlc story content and that does what we’ve been asking for the green tree to do for a year! Phew, thank god GBX is here to do my thinking for me. If I pay them £50 instead do you think they’ll throw in some magic beans?


If I don’t buy the new dlc, I won’t have the new skill tree. Would that mean that I wouldn’t be affected by the changes in my Seein Dead com and Seein Red perk?

You will still be affected. Hell you were probably nerfed over all

1 Like

I do not have the new content but the changes are there.

It doesn’t make much sense. Yes, players can now spend some points in the blue tree and get 60% of the Seein’ Dead benefit (15% damage increase instead of 25%) without the Seein’ Dead mod, but this does not address the fundamental problem that the other mods stink. Before DLC 1, Zane was by far the weakest character, in large part b/c his mods sucked. This patch does not change that. Players aren’t suddenly going to start using Techspert, Cold Warrior, etc. They may play around with them a bit, but ultimately 95% will still just use Seein’ Dead. The Executor mod may be useable as that’s the closest thing to Seein’ Dead, but if I was going to use that, why not just use Seein’ Dead.

They should have left Seein’ Dead alone and reworked/buffed the other mods.


They failed us Zane Mains.

  1. Other class mods still weak/useless
  2. Under Cover tree received no love, still defies build flow and logic with no synergy
  3. DD still broken, moving it down does not make it any less glitchy
  4. Still the same build diversity… 2 viable builds
    A) Full Blue and full red drone/clone (green tree will be ignored for more points in blue with confident competence moved) and use seeing dead
    B) Full Blue, red tree to get speed, green tree to get all rounder dome/drone and use seeing dead.
  5. Hid all chance of different builds behind paywall instead of fixing green tree. I’m guessing with new tree and action skill… Green tree will be viewed as completely obsolete when it comes to top builds. The only reason green tree was used was for all rounder/confident competence or for playing gimmick builds that were not viable.

This was supposed to fix Zane’s worst tree… all they did was make it so Zane has 3 skill trees versus other VH get 4.

The way they failed updating Zanes green skill tree… Zane’s craptastic base game class mods, along with the 14 new annoints that will flood the loot pool without removing the useless ones…
This patch confirmed BL3 will be sitting on the shelf for me until they get their ■■■■ together and the full release of the game comes out… not this beta testing bullsh!t


Much has already been said but I feel it also needs pointing out how measly the buff to Confident Competence is. An extra 5% is basically nothing on its own, let alone as a compensation for being shoved to the bottom of the tree.


A couple of things, off the top of my head:

  1. Green Tree skill switch. Lazy change that doesn’t make a lot of sense, unless they are planning to redesign the capstone entirely. Right now, you would need a crazy good incentive to spec all the way down. Something shield-themed would be nice, like: Amp shields drain no shields anymore, or a shield-steal instead of lifesteal.

I’d rather see old DD fixed, working with different effects and working while carrying the barrier.

  1. The new Spy Class mod (last MNTIS charge activates KS, +KS duration +KS efficiency). It simply looks like it was made before the DFC/SR switch. I suppose the point was to allow semi-Seein’Red effect without going full blue. Now that Seein’ Red is tier 3, it doesn’t make a lot of sense. I can’t really see why use this COM, it does buff crit dmg through one of the skills, but Executor will do it better.

  2. Techspert, Shockerator and Cold Warrior still suck.

  3. There are 4 trees and enough skill points to spec into 2,5. Theoretically, there are many possibilities, but in fact I suspect Full Purple/Full Blue/Half Green, MNTIS+Barrier to be dominant. And while Seein’ Dead is no longer mandatory, I believe it will be still the most powerful COM for this build, due to Commitment. If Commitment is nerfed, maybe Executor or Hustler will take over(My money is on Executor here, and yes, I’ve seen Ricochet Wizard).

Apart from that, a few Clone builds for Clone enthusiasts (really curious if there will be something new, Clone+MNTIS? Like a Ghost viable semi-viable now?).

In other words:

  • no point in taking Clone, unless you go full red tree
  • no point in taking Drone now (do we miss a Grenadier Build Here? Drone+Clone?)
  • no point in investing more than 10-11 point in green tree

if u pick mantis for ase it is pretty much between executor and seein dead

i was planning to maybe go full hardcore skill based and do barrier crit executor for m11 but it will be so much off meta it is hilarious since seein dead easily wins

Am I the only weirdo who likes running Techspert with all the Health Regen skills and the Initiative/Rough Rider shield with a Green/Red build? I’ve done a few MTD with it and the only problem is ammo halfway through bridge (Which is just a problem in general I believe). Granted, it didn’t work as well in M10…until today when they fixed the M10 enemy damage bug, then it worked the same as the other Mayhem levels.

Me talking about my build aside, yeah the Green Tree changes are nonsensical. Confident Competence might as well be a nerf since nobody is going down the unfocused green tree. I say unfocused cause now its capstone focuses on keeping your shield up and yet its probably the only (effective) skill in this tree that benefits from a full shield.

  • The Tier 1 skills are all bad and are filler to get to Brainfreeze (Considering Topped Off exists and further down the tree there are skills that nullify them). The other Tier 2 skills are better when you DON’T have a shield.
  • Distributed Denial effectively only works with Boosters Shields.
  • Tier 4 has utility skills: one which is detrimental by having a shield (Futility Belt), one that is pretty to see but might help to freeze (Best Served Cold) and one to not die of dots after fight, something Futility Belt just denies (Really Expensive Jacket). Honestly, the addition to Duct Tape Mod should have gone to REJ.
  • Tier 5 has an unreliable, yet decent, life steal skill compared to a tier 2 skill in another tree (Refreshment) and CCC. Nerves of Steel isn’t a skill. CCC might as well be considered the capstone, seeing how it has never been worth going down to the capstone and it still is the case with the change.

Green Tree tries to focus on Cryo (Mostly CCC with Brainfreeze and Refreshment), No Shield (Like 3-4 skills), Full Shields (poorly) and some other random stuff here and there. Its like they tried to make a “Jack of All Trades, Master of None” kind of thing, but didn’t do much with the trades and just ended up with none.


Agreed. The problem still remains that Zane is still stuck using See’in Dead as his only viable mod.

He still has the same issue. Being a character based entirely on kill skills and having to use a mod to trigger them.

Glad they fixed the Hitman tree but they missed the fundamental flaw with the character and that tree as a whole. It’s like they knew what the problem was but completely missed the mark. IT’S SEE’IN DEAD, the freaking crutch mod.

Change the sucky class mods to act like seeing dead from different aspects

Techspert: Drone on hit has a chance to trigger kill skills

Cold warrior: Triggering brainfreeze has a chance to trigger all kill skills

Shockerator: clone swap has chance to trigger all kill skills

Add these effects to the class mods as is and I bet people would actually experiment with builds with all these class mods.

I believe that even with that, Seein Dead would still be chosen regardless. It is triggered by any damage, nothing can compete with that.

1 Like

@FL4KK3R possibly for min maxers… But let’s face it… It’s overkill activation… The choices above would still allow kill skill activation but with different mechanics. Gives the kill skill effects with more variation. Especially if you increase the chance on slower activators like brain freeze or clone swap. Other options are available for potentially fun and powerful playstyles

Perhaps. But I fear that that could somehow reduce build diversity somehow. After all, there aren’t any kill skills in Green Tree that buff DPS for example. The Shockerator sounds promising ngl (as someone who loves to swap with clone), but maybe with a small cooldown rather than a chance.