Borderlands 3’s four new character classes – Moze, Zane, Amara, and Fl4k – each have their own skills, quirks and attributes that lend themselves to different playstyles. We examine each of the four Vault Hunters, how their skill-sets work in both solo play and when you’re fighting as part of a team.
There’s no ‘best’ character or build, just different options which lend themselves better to different players. As you progress with Borderlands 3 and become more familiar with your favourite Vault Hunter, you can experiment with a new build, or even switch things up with a new class altogether.
Borderlands 3 Action Skills – How to use them
Borderlands 3’s new characters have three distinct Skill Trees for you to progress through.
The Skill Trees let you lean on certain aspects of each character class, delivering higher ranges and melee damage, health regeneration, defences, Elemental damage, or summonable support units like Moze’s Iron Bear or FL4K’s Jabbers.
Starting on a new Skill Tree grants you an Action Skill, a special cooldown ability that’s triggered by L1 (PlayStation 4) or LB (Xbox One).
Spending Skill Points on each tree sees you unlock additional Action Skills, as well as a number of Kill Skills – temporary bonuses which activate when you take out an opponent – Passive Skills, which boost things like health regeneration and damage, or the stats and abilities of your summon units.
There are also Action Skill Augments available, which enhance the effects of your Action Skills.
Amara the Siren unlocks Action Skill Elements – which add Elemental Damage to her Action Skills – and Action Skill Effects, which are functionally the same as Action Skill Augments, they just have a different name.
All of the abilities, active and passive, stack to varying degrees, and learning how everything works is key to creating the best builds in Borderlands 3.
Moze the Gunner – best new Borderlands 3 class for beginners
Moze the Gunner is an ideal choice for beginners – if Borderlands 3 is the first in the series you’ve played, pick Moze.
Moze is tanky, but she does bring a lot of firepower to the party, and is best suited to those who prefer an overtly offensive playstyle. The Bottomless Mags skill tree, for example, increases the size of your weapon clips as well as letting you fire weapons like the minigun for longer without them overheating, so if you’re still getting used to aiming, that’s fine, just lead ‘em some more.
In a similar style to Overwatch’s D.Va, Moze can also summon a giant mech called the Iron Bear, which can be ridden by other players as well as you, which means Moze brings an extra level of tactical choice to team play.
As you unlock Moze’s skill trees, the Iron Bear gets kitted out with extra weapons, including a grenade launcher, an extra turret, as well as buffs which see both Moze and the Iron Bear’s shots deal more damage.
Players can also delve into the defensive Shield of Retribution skill tree, if a tank build is more your kind of thing.
As Moze can also have two different Action Skills equipped at any one time, there’s scope for experimentation here.
Zane the Operative – best new Borderlands 3 character for snipers
Zane is another good choice for Borderlands newbies, as he’s a sniper, so if you’re used to camping and capping, you may already feel right at home here, especially if you were already pretty handy with Zero from Borderlands 2. Like Moze, you can have two Action Skills equipped at once.
But, as this Vault Hunter is more about stealth and precise shots, he’s not quite as flexible when compared to Moze, so absolute beginners should not start here.
As well as delivering high damage shots from afar, unlocking perks on the Hitman skill tree sees Zane able to distract enemy teams by way of a SNTNL, a drone which will pepper enemies with machine gun fire and, later on, use energy beams to decrease enemy movement and attack speed while increasing yours, giving you even more time to line up that perfect kill shot.
Then there’s the Under Cover skill tree, which focuses on damage mitigation and health regeneration, which can also be extended to your allies. In the right hands, Zane has the potential to act as a kind of support sniper.
By far the most impressive skill tree available to Zane players is Digi-Clone – as the name suggests, this creates a fake holographic version of Zane which stands still and fires at foes, allowing you to sow confusion while not getting killed yourself. The Schadenfreude ability, for example, means that any damage taken by the clone will restore a portion of Zane’s shield.
These perks will take time to get to grips with, so you’re better off starting on a Zane build once you’re a little more confident with Borderlands 3.FL4K the Beastmaster – best new Borderlands 3 character for expert players
FL4K the Beastmaster – best new Borderlands 3 character for expert players
FL4K is a flexible class who will benefit snipers and support-type players.
The Fade Away Action Skill in the Stalker tree, for example, see you turning invisible, allowing you to either sneak up to enemy lines or disappear moments after you’ve begun your assault. You can also benefit from increased speed and regeneration when Faded Away, making the Stalker tree a good one to invest in if you’re a stealthy sniper.
The Hunter skill tree places more emphasis on dealing high Critical Hit damage – less sneaky-sneaky, more shooty-shooty. Passive buffs are geared towards reducing ammo cost, reload and Action Skill cooldown times, while the Ambush Predator perk nicely increases your critical damage when no enemies are nearby.
Finally, the Master skill tree places an emphasis on your Beastmaster title, and your ability to summon hound-like horned Skags, which you can sic on your foes. Bonuses unlocked here see more perks given to your pet than yourself, though the neat Gamma Burst Action Skill sees you basically turning your poor Skag into a radioactive bomb dog.
You only get one Action Skill to use with FL4K, but as a Beastmaster, you get a choice of pets with each of the three Skill Trees. These pets offer powerful passive abilities, giving you perks like stat buffs, covering fire, or the ability to just be sent off to taunt and harass enemies.
The Jabber pet, which you get with the Stalker Skill Tree can attempt to revive you when the Lick The Wounds perk is unlocked. The simian Jabber starts out with a pistol but can be upgraded to carry a shotgun or a machine gun. The Hunter skill tree sees you able to command Spiderants, which can loyally regenerate your health or be sent off to attack enemies, while Rakk Attack! – an Action Skill, not a pet – sees you sending a pair of bat-like Rakks off to smoke out entrenched foes.Amara the Siren – best new Borderlands 3 character for brawlers and support players
Amara the Siren – best new Borderlands 3 character for brawlers and support players
Amara the Siren is an interesting character, as you have the choice of creating a build which focuses on powerful stackable attacks, or one based on support, where elemental augmentations deal extra damage, or one which emphasises fast-paced melee attacks.
The majority of skills available to you on the Mystical Assault tree are passive, which give you boots to your accuracy, critical hits, and reload times, and a cooldown to your Action Skill rate – skills available centre around a number of different Astral Projections, which all generally see high amounts of damage dealt to whatever’s directly in front of you.
Most of the Action Skills from Fist of the Elements tree see a giant psychic fist lock enemies in place, making them sitting ducks for your allies, but elemental buffs can see your ranged and melee attacks deliver added electrical or fire damage to foes as well.
The Brawl tree, as the name implies is all about brawling. Passive buffs steer you towards close confrontations, letting you deal extra Action Skill damage, and gain temporary speed boosts for yourself and your team whenever you take an enemy out with an Active Skill like Phaseslam, which sees you leap up into the air and send shockwaves spreading across the floor when you land.
You don’t however get a lot of flexibility with Amara though, as you can only equip on Action Skill, one Action Skill Element, and one Action Skill Effect. It’s best if you know in advance what sort of Amara you’re going to build, and if you’re well acquainted with the physics and dynamics of Borderlands 3.