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Borderlands 3: FL4K Beastmaster Guide: breaking down skill trees and builds
Gearbox’s action-RPG inspired looter shooter is back and we’ve put in the hours to bring you this guide for unleashing your inner Beastmaster as FL4K
Since their debut earlier this month in Borderlands 3, the Beastmaster class has been the most popular of the new Vault Hunters to hit the sandy dunes of Pandora and launch into the stars aboard the Sanctuary III. And it’s not hard to see why, as the titular commander of beasts FL4K is a funky looking robot that can command either a Skag, Spiderant or Jabber companion to help when the action heats up. And to interact with in a more playful fashion when it dies down.
As a series Borderlands has always drawn from classic action-RPGs for inspiration, especially when creating playable characters and classes. The Beastmaster is no different, and FL4K has the air of a traditional commander of pets – think Witch Doctor in Diablo III, for example. Albeit one that can also wield all manner of elemental guns. With three skill trees and three beast companions to choose from FL4K, like with other Vault Hunters in Borderlands 3, offers various diverse builds to suit a number of different playstyles.
Let’s break it down.
The Stalker - Stay Alive for Longer with Your Own Personal Attack Monkey
In the wider Borderlands-verse the Jabber is a large simian or monkey-like creature that is often as dangerous up close as it is prone to hurl barrels of corrosive or shock damage at you from a distance. The Stalker Beastmaster skill tree is all about survivability, maximising health-regen and using your pet to revive FL4K when they’re downed. Plus, deal out some sizable ranged damage with either the pistol, shotgun, or SMG Jabber-variant equipped.
Of the three options the Beefcake Jabber, who wields a shotgun and sports a very funny pompadour hairstyle proves to be the most valuable as it offers FL4K a boost to max health. The health-boost, health-regen, and overall recovery capabilities of a Stalker build makes certain skills essential and necessary to stack in order to get the most survivability. Which, again, is all about survival.
Self-Repairing System, Turn Tail and Run, Lick the Wounds and Rage and Recover are all skills that compliment and work together well in a Stalker build. The Fade Away action skill with the Guerrillas in the Mist augment results in being able to survive longer when things get hairy. Adding the Unblinking Eye augment on top of this adds considerable damage output to FL4K’s guns, which when combined with The Fast and the Furryous skill becomes the secret sauce for a Stalker build that can dish it out as good as they take it.
Guns to Focus On: Pistols, SMGs, and Shotguns with a high fire-rate.
The Hunter – For the Gun Enthusiast with Added Aerial Support
Long-range builds in Borderlands 3 can become quite powerful very early on – case in point, The Hunter variant of FL4K. With a pet Spiderant in tow, and the ability to call down a regular Rakk Attack! from the sky, keeping your distance and arming yourself accordingly is order of the day. The Ambush Predator skill is testament to this as once it’s fully leveled it adds considerable Weapon Handling and Crit Damage to FL4K -- two key stats to look for in creating the right Hunter build. At a glance The Hunter is the most difficult or intricate build to comprehend, as a successful Hunter only really becomes powerful once you’ve leveled up – say, greater than 30 or so.
This is due to how Hunter skills complement each other, with Crit Chance and Crit Damage-focused skills like The Most Dangerous Game, Galactic Shadow, and Megavore all adding exponentially to the damage possibilities you get. This in turn plays into the types of weapons you’d want to equip, as single-shot and burst-fire firearms will work a lot better than an SMG with an insane fire-rate and low accuracy. Of the three pet builds, the Rakk Attack! action skill is one that you’ll keep using over and over as alternating between aerial strikes and ranged shots is great for dealing non-stop damage as FL4K – especially with the Head Count skill that adds Cooldown Reduction.
Guns to Focus On: Assault Rifles, Pistols, and Sniper Rifles with a high single-shot or burst-fire damage.
The Master – Nuclear Powered Crowd Control
Being able to command a Skag to teleport into the fray and explode in a radiation-filled Gamma Burst of damage adds a sizable dose of spectacle to The Master skill-tree and potential FL4K builds. The reason why this skill-tree is called Master probably down to how it places a focus on using your pet Skag to deal out massive amounts of damage, buff FL4K, who then heads straight into the action.
With your trusty Great Horned Skag in tow, striking the right balance of pet area-of-effect crowd control and damage buffs results in most of the early Master skills becoming essential even at the highest levels. Ferocity and Go For the Eyes! increase your pet’s damage output so they’re a must, with Who Rescued Who? and Frenzy adding more damage to FL4K’s weaponry the more their trusty Skag attacks enemies. These then play into the Empathic Rage and Endurance augments being the best choices as they increase Gamma Burst duration, pet damage, and FL4K’s damage.
Going for a Master build can be difficult though, in that the result is always a lot of area-of-effect damage that with both a squishy FL4K and pet Skag. This means that certain damage mitigation skills found in The Master skill-tree are a bit too weak or inefficient to bother with, so you’re better off stacking skills from The Hunter skill tree to add even more damage. And go for that epic glass cannon build, pure damage with some Heal grenades if need be.
Guns to Focus On: Shotguns, Elemental SMGs, and Rocket Launchers with splash damage.
The Master – Nuclear Powered Crowd Control
As Borderlands 3 can be played solo or as part of a group this in turn will affect how you should approach potential Beastmaster builds. The Master and The Hunter combo where you put all points into damage is great for co-op, as that put’s FL4K’s role in the team as one that can damage big groups of enemies relentlessly whilst relying on team-mates to revive them whenever they’re downed.
Which will be a lot.
Solo builds present a different approach, where survivability becomes key as you reach the end-game. Damage should also be the focus but when you get to say Level 40 or so, putting enough skill points into The Stalker tree to unlock Lick the Wounds – which means FL4K’s pet can revive them – adds considerable survivability. And becomes an almost secret weapon so you can still go full Master or Hunter, with a handy life insurance policy.