Death from above

Zane build by demon-storm updated 6 days ago
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This build utilizes protuberance rare/purple shotguns to deliver all the damage, save for a few special cases. You will deliver all the damage while airborne, thus the name. It can clear m4 slaughter shaft, but it needs decent gear. It can also complete m4 takedown solo, but not as fast as some meta builds out there. That being said, you don't need perfect gear for anything (I am missing a good prefix on artifact, anointment on gun which is huge, anointed improved version 0.m, a perfect rolled class mod and still can kill m4 wotan and solo ss easily).

This guide utilizes DLC items, so if you don't have the dlc purchased you will not be able to pull this off (in this case, jump to unsafe/untested section).


-consistent damage

-good aoe damage

-great survivability


-high skill cap


-very gear dependent

-good protuberance shotguns are extremely rare

-requires gun swap for different health bar types if not maxed out

-runs out of ammo quickly

-you can kill yourself easily

-high skill cap


1. Safe/tested playstyle

We want to stack as much movement speed as possible to boost our violent momentum damage bonus since we can actually shoot while sprinting (we maintain sprint speed while we are in the air, so we sprint, jump and shoot. More details on a latter section). The secondary projectiles of protuberance inherit the speed bonus you had while you shot the weapon, not when they landed, so you only need to have maximum movement speed while you shoot the protuberance, not while the secondary projectiles land on the ground. This is absolutely fantastic.


The single most important gun is your protuberance shotgun(s), ideally in radiation element. A perfect protuberance would a radiation one with 50% cryo damage while SNTNL is active with ~3.5k+ damage (I still don't have one with this anointment myself). The reason for using radiation protuberance is because we will use a seein' dead class mod that drops in moxxi's DLC to maintain our action skills through good misfortune skill. Because dots proc the passive com bonus, we use a radiation one for both the versatility against most health bar types, but also to maintain our action skills consistently. Radiation melts shields and is decent against health bars, but you will need to swap to a corrosive or cryo protuberance to get rid of armor bars or utilize something like an ION CANNON to get rid of persistent badasses such as armored badass tinks and badass zealots, though it's not necessary. A corrosive protuberance offers great consistent dps against stationary targets as Wotan, so you'll need one if you attempt maliwan takedown.

Other great anointments are: damage while airborne, weapon damage and reload speed on kill, while Barrier is active, Status Effect Chance is increased by 50% (this is useful for a cryo protuberance and will help you to freeze enemies easier, so an ice breaker victory rush will provide more damage).

Protuberances can also spawn with DP and can reach as much as 2k+ x 2 damage. However, playing dirty only adds one additional projectile, so you end up doing 2k x3 damage with a DP one which is 6k total damage, in comparison to one that has 3k damage x2 (from playing dirty) still 6k damage. The difference is that you consume more ammo with a DP one and you can only shoot twice with it instead of three times per magazine. I don't recommend DP protuberances unless you happen to find one with 3k+ damage, which I don't think is possible.

Other guns you want to have is an annexed ION CANNON, preferably one with corrosive for resilient targets (this will come in handy against wotan's upper half because you can't hit him with protuberances and wotan himself if your shotgun ammo runs out). Another good option is a corrosive quickie, though if you follow this guide you should have access to ION CANNON, which is better. Due to protuberances high damage and low fire rate, you may struggle to maintain your action skills with them alone, so you may need something that has huge fire rate or high pellet count to get your duration up. An extremely good gun to have is redistributor. This is not a redistributor guide, but it has a lot in common. What this build lacks for a redistributor is violent violence instead of cold bore and specific bonuses for smg from class mod and artifact, but the gun still performs extremely well, especially against clumped up enemies. It will refresh your action skills to maximum duration almost instantly if you use it against more than two enemies due to how many times the amped shot chains.

Class mod

Seein' dead is the best choice since we can't consistently crit with our protuberances in order to maintain our action skills through cool, calm and collected. Going ccc would mean losing donnybrook, which is a huge damage boost to our build so that's a big no either way. Because protuberance shotguns don't have great splash damage themselves, we need a splash damage radius mod on our com along with weapon damage and shotgun damage, ideally. We can't reliably crit with protuberances, so we don't need critical damage on com. With seein' dead com and death follows close skill, playing dirty will grant 15% chance to fire an additional projectile. Because protuberances come with one projectile (or two, if DP), this is effectively a double damage multiplier to everything we have, so you want to have it at 100%. You will reach 105% with 7 points in it, so you may want to trade borrowed time for points in playing dirty if your com doesn't provide enough points. Also, you need at least two points in the skill to reach good misfortune with the current setup, so getting a com with +5 isn't that bad.


The best shield is an improved version 0.m with 15% movement speed while sntnl is active. It only drops from Wotan, so it's very hard to get. A good alternative is a re-router with the same anointment. More defensive options include transformer, but you shouldn't worry about that if you have your barrier up all the time. We also use ready for action skill to get the shield back more quickly.


We won't use grenade ourselves, but our sntnl will occasionally drop one with the help of drone delivery. Combined with the anointment that provides 25% weapon damage for 6 seconds after grenade thrown, it's an occasional damage boost. The best grenade mod is probably It's piss because it also debuffs enemies for 20% damage increase, but a corrosive recurring hex could help us melt armored enemies faster. Whatever you find is ok, as long as it has the 25% damage anointment. You can even get one from marcus' vending machines.


The absolute best artifact is a victory rush, no questions asked. It provides 18% damage, but more importantly 18% movement speed which is an even better damage boost. Having one with area of effect damage as a secondary stat is a must since the bonus it provides is quite big (~35%). Ideally, you want one with area of effect damage, movement speed and shotgun damage or something else that you may find useful, but you want to prioritize the aoe dmg and ms. For prefix, there's no best in slot here. Snowdrift is not that useful since we want to shoot at enemies' feet and doing that while sliding at insane speed is almost impossible and very unpractical. It can be useful for wotan fight since you have a lot of room to move around and the boss is quite big, but for mobbing snowdrift is not ideal. Good prefixes include atom balm which goes well with a radiation protuberance, ice breaker which goes well with a cryo protuberance (you may be able to freeze enemies with any element if you have 50% cryo damage while sntnl is up, but I'm not sure about that since I don't have that anointment) or berserker which provides 13% movement speed for 10 seconds after melee ing an enemy. The 13% movement speed for 10 seconds is totally worth stopping to melee an enemy, if possible.

2. Unsafe/not tested playstyle

I am theorycrafting another way to play this build, though it is much more fragile because we can't have action skills active at all times, but we have significantly more damage.

The idea behind this is to use an infiltrator class mod with rough rider. Because rough rider is considered empty, you'll get full bonuses from infiltrator. Ideally, you want an infiltrator that grants +5 to violent momentum, effectively doubling the damage you receive while running, which is absolutely huge because the bonus damage already scales exponentially. Alternatively, we can also use an anti freeze com and benefit fully from the 40% damage boost, which is multiplicative with most passives you have (you may want to watch to know the difference between v1 and v2 damage skills). Basically, everything that grants specific damage bonuses (such as gun damage, shotgun damage etc.) is v1 and such mods are additive with each other, while skills that grant % damage or add bonus damage on top of your total damage (such as cold bore) are multiplicative with v1 damage boosts and additive with each other as well (except cold bore, which is multiplicative with everything you have, though I'm not sure about this). If you use antifreeze, you can afford to slow yourself with cryo damage and still have enough movement speed. You may want to pair this with an elemental projector victory rush for absurd damage bonus.

Because we won't have action skills active at all times, we can opt for a protuberance that has 130% weapon damage after swapping places with the clone and utilize clone instead of sntnl. In consequence, you will get a rough rider that boosts your elemental damage by 50% on action skill end as well as a grenade mod with such anointment. Because we won't have barrier active at all times, we will rely on salvation to heal back up, maintaining us above health gate. However, this is a mobbing build since we can't keep our kill skills up while fighting bosses. However, we can actually get seein' red hitman capstone to help us with that.


The gameplay is not that hard and is extremely fun since we deliver our damage while airborne. Because we use cold bore, we want to swap weapons before every time we shoot with our gun. Cold bore buff is granted when we start to swap weapons, not after we have another weapon in our hand, so we just need to 'fake' swap to get the bonus (for example, if you have your protuberance shotgun on 1, you just want to press 2 - 1 quickly and you still get the bonus). This is very important, since it's a pretty significant damage boost.

Because we use violent momentum, we want to maximize the movement speed when we shoot our gun. Because we maintain the sprint speed while shooting while in the air, we always want to shoot while we are airborne.

If there aren't enough enemies to maintain your action skills by protuberance alone, you may want to swap to a dictator to get them back up to full duration.


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