Borderlands 3 – Zane’s Damage Guide (How to Do)

This guide will help you on how to do damage with Zane in Borderlands 3.

Zane’s Damage Guide (How to Do)

Zane’s Damage

Zane Formula

[(Gun Card Damage) * (1 + Confident Competence + Violent Momentum Base + Violent Momentum Scaled + Donnybrook + Synchronicity + Double Barrel + Infiltrator Mod + Antifreeze Mod + Retaliation + Com Generic Wep Boost + GunDmgAnoint) * (1 + C-C-Combo Bonus + Victory Rush) * (1 + Barrier Amp) * (1 + Icebreaker + Artifact Type Boost + COM Type Boost) * (1 + Class Mod Splash Damage + Artifact AOE Damage + Splash Damage Anointment * (1 + While-Sliding Damage Anoint + While-Airborne Damage Anoint) * (1 + Artifact Elemental)] * 2 * [(1 + SniperBonus) * (1 + WeaponCritBonus) * (1 + ManufacturerBonus) * (1 + Executor Mod + ClassMod + GuardRank + Anointment)] * [(1 + Guardian Rank Gun Damage)]

Zane Bonus Element (do this for each bonus element)

[(%BonusElement) * (1 + Confident Competence + Violent Momentum Base + Violent Momentum Scaled + Donnybrook + Synchronicity + Double Barrel + Infiltrator Mod + Antifreeze Mod + Retaliation + Com Generic Wep Boost + GunDmgAnoint) * (1 + C-C-Combo Bonus + Victory Rush) * (1 + Barrier Amp) * (1 + Icebreaker) * (1 + While-Sliding Damage Anoint + While-Airborne Damage Anoint) * (1 + Artifact Elemental)] * 2 * [(1 + SniperBonus) * (1 + WeaponCritBonus) * (1 + ManufacturerBonus) * (1 + Executor Mod + ClassMod + GuardRank + Anointment)] * [(1 + Guardian Rank Gun Damage)]

Look at this formula and tell me what you think it means. Go on I’m waiting… Just kidding lol. Let me break down for you exactly what this means! If I could color code this it would be much better, but just stick with me! So our basic damage formula looks something like:

Gun Damage * v1 * v2 * splash * elemental * crit * special multipliers

The best way to maximize damage is to evenly distribute as many bonuses as you can. A rule of thumb is to always apply the buff to your lowest buffed category. Well, there’s one problem with how Zane’s damage is setup. If you look through the formula you realize that nearly every single damaging skill is pure gun damage. The only two skills that are not gun damage are, Cold Bore and Trick of the Light. But both of those skills are rarely used, they are restrictive and don’t have huge pay offs.

Zane’s formula with no gear is very lopsided, In an average lvl 53 setup with decent gear you will have upwards of 350% pure gun damage just from your skill trees while mobbing. And that’s the first point in this guide I’m making! Anytime you use gear, anointments, class mods, for buffing Zane’s damage. You want to choose buffs that are not gun damage.

Weapon specific bonuses (assault rifle, pistol, shotgun, etc. damage on class mods and artifacts), Splash Damage Bonuses, Bonus elements or elemental boosts, crit damage.

Zane is kind of the Jack of all trades, he has a lot of generic damage for a lot of different things. The best way to boost your damage is using specific bonuses to the exact guns you’re holding, and to keep different class mods or artifacts in your bag to swap around. A gun may seem bad on zane, but once you put on the weapon specific bonus class mods it will shine!

Zane’s Best Skills

While Zane has some good damaging skills, there are a few that stand out. And one other that deserves mentioning because it is a route to a chunk of v2 damage.

Violent Momentum, Playing Dirty, Brain Freeze, and Doppelbanger. These are Zane’s best skills and it might not even be close.

Violent Momentum

Speed Formula

[ (1+Run Speed/Slide Speed) x (1+Artifact Speed) x (1+Violent Speed + Supersonic Man + Berserker) x ( 1+Victory Rush) x (1 + SNTL MS) ] – 1

Snowdrift testing is very inconsistent.

VM Scaling at 5/5 Baseline: 0.8

VM Scaling at 5/5 with DFC: 1.0

VM Scaling at 5/5 with DFC and with Seein’ Dead: 1.20

Scaling means for every 1.0% of Movement Speed Zane gets

He gets that % in Gun Damage (0.8 at 5/5 Baseline)

This Damage is Applied on Shot

However, for stickies when you are reloading to proc, slide beforehand.

Now there’s a couple of things to take in here. The simple explanation is:

First we calculate our speed, then we calculate our scaling, then we practice our playstyle and speed shooting to implement this! And don’t forget that cool sticky trick written above.

The speed formula above is a more recent discovery, so it is possible there could be some changes in the future. The snowdrift adds a LOT of speed and damage, but is very inconsistent to test. Sliding in general is inconsistent, so it’s hard to say, but you can reach faster speeds at certain points in your slide than listed.

Once we figure out our speed (hint just stack as much movement speed as possible… lol) we need to know our scaling! For some reason DFC and SD class mod treats VM like a kill skill, so they boost the scaling.

Now lets do some quick maths on your average Zane build to show high this can go!

Seein Dead Class mod = 1.2 Scaling

5/5 Violent Speed 50%, Snowdrift Victory Rush 102% / 18%, sntnl movement speed 15%, base walking speed 20%, base slide speed 68.75%, base run speed 53.2%

If we get off a nice slide shot our gun damage bonus is upwards of 440% gun damage from VM alone

This is also without supersonic man.

If you are mobbing and just running and bunnyhopping while shooting you will have gun damage bonuses upwards of 250% gun damage from VM alone.

Now this is from constant running, jumping, and hitting your shots. This is easier said than done, but this is some good damage.

Finally lets quickly go over torgue stickies. I show exactly how this works here. Basically, you can apply Violent Momentum to an entire clip from a sticky weapon, if you slide while detonating. That means stand completely still, stick your enemy up full of bullets, slide + reload or swap or whatever at the same time, profit.

Playing Dirty

This is a very good skill. This is Zane’s second best damaging skill, but it doesn’t list any gun damage, so how do we calculate it? It’s pretty simple, it adds a fully multiplicative bonus based on the number of pellets a weapon has. Basically Playing Dirty adds one pellet to whatever gun you’re shooting. Meaning the more pellets a gun has, the less damage playing dirty adds. It turns a 1000 damage pistol into a 1000×2 damage pistol. Or it turns a 500×6 maggie, into a 500×7 maggie. So you can see it’s not adding much to the maggie, but it doubles the damage of the first weapon.

This bonus can be multiplied on certain weapons when you gain extra projectiles from elements as well. If you don’t know yet there are certain guns in this game that give you an extra projectiles when you apply bonus elements. The King’s Call is a great example. When you crit with a king’s call you ricochet 3 times back on the same enemy. With a bonus element applied, you will visibly see 6 ricochet’s going in on that enemy. With Playing Dirty and a bonus element applied you will get 12 ricochet’s total. This can be done with all call weapons, recursion, redistributor and brainstormer chains, carrier, and more.

Now this skill is usually good with high damage and single pellet weapons. But with the release of seein dead, you can now trigger this without getting kills. The best use of seein dead + playing dirty is by far with the redistributor, first used in my Banjo God King build guide. But there are other cool things you can do with this skill and other weapons. All forms of damage including grenades and DoT can proc seein dead. Meaning you can use hex grenades to force extra triggers on playing dirty, and for infinite uptime on other fast firing non chaining weapons. The cutsman is a very good weapon to do this with as well.

Brain Freeze

This is the 3rd of the skills that adds some of the best damage to Zane. It’s pretty simple, for every projectile, Zane slows an enemy until they freeze. Keyword, projectile. Meaning a x6 maggie has 6 chances at slowing and freezing an enemy. You can freeze an enemy with one shot if you’re lucky enough, but it only takes a couple total either way. The reason why this skill is so notable is because of the ice breaker artifact. Now this artifact provides 35% V2 damage, which like I mentioned, Zane has none of in his skill trees. This is a very good notable bonus and makes a lot of weapons work extremely well on Zane that seem like they shouldn’t in theory. See dictator in bipod mode.


The damage this adds has nothing to do with the explosion. It’s all about action skill end anointments. This will easily trigger 100% of two bonus elements on shield and nade, and that sweet 125% splash anointment on your weapon. Don’t underestimate this skill. My SAK Zane build is based off the meta everyone has ended up building, but making sure to spend enough points in clone tree to get to doppelbanger. It’s that good of an augment.


I just wanted to take a brief moment to talk about Zane’s 3 damaging anointments.

100% bonus cryo damage while SNTNL is active

70% Bonus Crit damage while barrier is active

130% Gun damage after digi clone swapping

Now, if you’ve been reading this damage guide so far, you’d know that the first 2 anointments outclass digiswap by long shots. If you’re a little keener on the damage formula, you’d know that bonus elements don’t get splash bonuses. So on certain splash weapons (that can easily crit), 70% barrier crit will actually outclass the 100% sntnl cryo anointment, but that’s only true if you have splash damage bonuses on your class mod or AOE on artifact. Generally speaking sntnl cryo is the best anointment for Zane. Not only because it’s the largest bonus to an element (not gun damage), but you also get bonus ricochet’s and chains with the right weapons. With how powerful having multielement weapons are in borderlands 3, this is usually your best option.

The best options that aren’t Zane specific are:

125% Bonus Splash damage on ASE

Consecutive Hits anointment (see this video for explanation on why this anointment is good)

50% next 2 magazine elemental anointments

40% Slide damage (this is actually in it’s own category of damage multiplier)

125% Badass and Boss on ASE (this actually bonuses kinetic damage that acts as a bonus element)

by thiccfila

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