Other Borderlands 3 Guides:
- Borderlands 3 Shift Codes!
- Borderlands 3 Tips and Tricks.
- Borderlands 3 Achievements Guide.
- Borderlands 3 Easter Eggs and References.
The Ultimate Zane Leveling Guide. Play any of the 3 trees with any other supporting tree. Learn what makes each tree good. Along with each action skill.
Ultimate Guide to Zane Leveling
Which Skill Tree Is Your Favorite
When starting your game as Zane you have 3 choices to make. Which action skill and skill tree is your favorite. From levels 1-30 you can basically play however you want and you'll get through the story fine meaning you can play however you want and find out what you like the best. Whichever route you choose to take, I've written a guide for it.
The best thing to do for Zane for the story is to go the the Handsome Jackpot DLC ASAP, get a seein dead class mod, then continue the story. However a lot of people don't have DLC, or want to play the base game first.
This leveling guide is devoted to the base game. All of these builds will only work while leveling, you need to get good gear and hone your playstyle to make it once you turn on mayhem. This guide should be good up through mayhem 3 depending on what difficulty you can handle.
We have 3 Skill tree choices you get to make:
- Hitman: Control a drone named SNTNL. Does lots of damage throughout the first play through but doesn't offer much utility. The run and gun glass cannon kind of play style. Get some of the best damage Zane has to offer, but at the cost of some survivability.
- Double Agent: Use Zane's Clone. The most versatile action skill in his kit. You can use this to recharge shields, come back to life, and don't forget the tricks you can pull with this action skill. The Soldier type Zane playstyle. Get some straight up damage, along with some tricks to be able to stay alive. Good damage, and good survivability backup plans.
- Undercover: Take cover behind your Barrier, but make up the extra damage with the bonus AMP Zane's Barrier gives him. The tankiest of builds. Damage won't matter if you never die. Control the battlefield freezing enemies.
It's good to focus around your 2 favorite action skills, but a very cool trick is pulling out your 3rd action skill while the other two are on cool down. Keep in mind Zane is very versatile, you can easily use all 3 action skills while playing if you so choose. And sometimes that 3rd action skill can get you out of a sticky situation.
- Clone/Barrier - position yourself and clone somewhere behind your barrier and let it sit on the ground to amp yours and your clones bullets, and stay undercover.
- Clone/Drone - stay on the move, use the drone to deal damage, and the clone to keep yourself from dying. You are basically a rogue, stay fast and stay moving.
- Drone/Barrier - everytime you throw your barrier, pick it up. Stay on the move, run and gun, and get kills back to back. Your barrier is good defense meaning you can tank at times.
For all these leveling guides, we will breakdown each 5 levels until your first capstone, and then we have alternate skill trees for going into either other tree. So basically we will show the best skills in each tree, and which order to level. If you want to learn about all 3 of Zane's trees then read each section. Each build is unique and offers a usable playstyle throughout the base game. There are some very fun interactions that you can do with Zane's kit. So good luck and happy hunting :)!
Best Augments: Bad Dose, Boomsday
Static Field can be very good if you don't find infiltrator class mod.
- 1-5: (5 Violent Momentum).
- 6-10: (3 Violent Speed) (2 Salvation).
- 11-15: (1 Death Follows Close) (2 Violent Speed) (1 Salvation) (1 Cool Hand).
- 16-20: (1 Drone Delivery good with tracking nades) (2 Cool Hand) (2 Violent Violence).
- 20-25: (3 Good Misfortune) (1 Violent Violence) (1 Salvation).
- 26: Seein Red.
With this tree and playstyle, you want to practice your jump shooting, your slide shooting, etc. Just move very fast and kill enemies. The best class mod you could find would be the infiltrator. This is definitely the playstyle where you sometimes pull out the 3rd action skill. This playstyle is very on the go, and you need to make decisions fast. But it's very fun for this reason.
For lvl 53 you can go with two variations depending on if you want to run the clone or the barrier.
Pick up your barrier and go! Stay undercover and get kills back to back to keep your action skills up using good misfortune! If they occasionally go down, make sure to switch into clone occasionally if you need it.
Your Drone and Badass Clone will get half the job done for you! Pair this skill tree with Nova Shields and the clone to kill almost anything through out the story! This skill tree will be very fun for you to play and is probably my choice for running and gunning through the story.
Best Augments: Which one is real?, Shadenfreude, Doppelbanger
- 1-5: 5 Synchronicity.
- 6-10: 5 Donnybrook.
- 11-15: (3 Borrowed Time) (1 Fractal Frags) (1 Quickbreather).
- 16-20: (1 Old-U) (3 Supersonic Man) (1 Praemunitus).
- 21-25: (1 Boom Enhance) (2 Praemunitus) (2 Pocket Full of Grenades).
- 26: Double Barrel.
With this tree and playstyle you want to pair your clones with the craziest shields you find while leveling. A nove berner is basically the ultimate shield you can pair with clone, everytime you summon him he's destined to set off 2 novas and can do insane things while leveling. You can actually farm this from the power troopers in promethea before fighting katagwa jr. When you get double barrel, you want to give clone the largest most powerful weapons. COV launchers like the shredda and chucka are some of the best options early on. Clone should also do well with single shot weapons, as in shoot once and reload. Just mess around with clone guns and give him the largest stupidest explosives.
The best class mod for this build is a Rabble Rouser or something that gives you lots of donnybrook. You can also use class mods with violent momentum, once you unlock super sonic man.
For lvl 53 we can go with two variations depending on what other action skill you want to play.
Position yourself and use your clone for damage! Doppelbanger isn't just an explosives skill, it's a very good skill for activating action skill end anointments as well. Give your clones big stupid rocket launchers and let him kill a bunch of stuff.
This is a very fun build to play with no mayhem on. You want to give clone guns like the skeksil or carbuncle. He is very accurate with precision weapons and will actually freeze enemies for you. I do have to mention this build is very bad in the endgame. You lack Zane's best skills and anointments unfortunately. But this build will 100% work for base game, or dlc story content. And it's possibly one of the most unique/fun builds.
Best Augments: All Rounder, Deterrence Field - None of the left side augments work when you pick up the barrier. The third best option is Nanite or Some ♥♥♥. The other two aren't extremely worth imo.
Note: For leveling, use 5 in Adrenaline and 3 in Ready for action. Once you are fully leveled, then do the opposite.
- 1-5: 5 Adrenaline (make sure you wear small quick recharge shields).
- 6-10: 5 Brain Freeze (use multipellet weapons such as shotguns. weapons you see with x6 or x9, etc in damage).
- 11-15: (1 Confident Competence) (4 Rise to the Occasion).
- 16-20: (1 Really Expensive Jacket) (1 Rise to the Occasion) (3 Ready for Action).
- 21-22: (1 Calm Cool and Collected) (1 Refreshments).
The beginning part of this leveling guide stops here. Calm Cool and Collected is the true capstone of this tree. Distributed Denial is pretty fun, and cool, and actually does lead to one end game build I will post below. But it's basically a more gear dependent version Double Barrel. Best shields I've found to pair with it are booster shields and the stop gap.
The best class mod for this tree is probably the executor. This is your defensive crowd control build. This is a very good and fun playstyle, and one of Zane's best endgame builds is Calm Cool and Collected. It is one of Zane's most powerful skills in the base game after Brain Freeze. You basically just want the all rounder, and then you'll be good to go. Use your detainment field to infinite stagger anointed enemies and they won't be able to attack while you kill them. Also keep in mind brain freeze can proc calm cool and collected even if the enemy doesn't freeze every time. Also always use multipellet weapons, that gives brain freeze the most chances to trigger.
For lvl 53, you basically just build calm cool and collected with your choice of second action skill.
Calm Cool and Explosions
Now this is actually an endgame build that will come together once you have very good anointments. Basically you use doppelbanger to activate all your action skill end anointments, then freeze an enemy to bring your clone back. This is a very strong loop that can pump out a ton of damage. You are normally good at mobbing because of the nature of CCC, this extra damage will help you boss.
Stop Gap CCC
Now this is called stop gap ccc for a reason. I mentioned before distributed denial is good with stop gap. Well it's very good with stop gap. This is one of the first builds I used to defeat the Maliwan Takedown on Mayhem 4 (and I think guardian rank was bugged and disabled at that time as well). Everytime your barrier goes down you have 5 seconds of immunity, meaning if you freeze an enemy in that 5 seconds you get your barrier back. It's very consistent. Dictator, Maggie, Brainstormer. These are the best mobbing weapons. The hellshock was buffed recently and seems pretty good now too.