Borderlands 3 Zane Builds Guide – Recommended Skills, Augmentations, How to Play

Let us dive into the skills of the resident geriatric, the Operative Zane! Zane in Borderlands 3 is no stranger when it comes to danger, as a semi-retired corporate hitman, he’s a man that’s been around the block, seen and done some things that would make even the most jaded killer shudder. Our guide includes different builds for you to try out in Borderlands 3 when playing as Zane the Operative.

  1. FL4K the Beastmaster
  2. Amara the Siren
  3. Moze the Gunner

 

Borderlands 3 Zane Builds

Born into the Flynt family, one of Pandora’s most notorious and infamous families, Zane has an interesting background.

Coupled with his vocation, there’s a lot to this character, even more so when you take a look at all the skills he has available to him; including his SNTNL drone, a Digi-clone, and a Barrier Shield.

One of the biggest advantages to Zane is that he can have two Action Skills equipped at once like Moze, but unlike her, he can have 2 augmentations attached to each one!

1. Cornered Rat is the Most Dangerous

This particular build utilizes Zane’s skills as a Hitman and an Under Cover agent, making this an almost Hitman build, and an almost Undercover build. All the skills from the Hitman skill tree provide Zane with increased Gun Damage, Reload Speed, Movement Speed, and various Kill Skills, all of which are supplemented by the Seein’ Red ability. Top it off with a SNTNL that rains down missiles on a certain area, you’ve got yourself one angry geezer.

But that’s not all! Seeing as you are a decrepit old man, you need a bit of support to stay upright, this is where the Undercover skills come into play; an all-encompassing Barrier that’s good for both defense and offense, and various other skills that give you Health Regeneration, increases your Shield Recharge Rate, and a resistance to Non-Elemental Attacks – heck, he gets Damage Resistance as well. Suffice it to say, this is one old man who won’t be easy to put down. It’s a fun build, if I do say so myself.

Get an SNTNL (augmented with Almighty Ordnance) to help out.

UNDERCOVER SKILL TREE: (Barrier with All-Rounder and Deterrence Field)

  • Adrenaline (5)
  • Ready for Action (5)
  • Stiff Upper Lip (3)
  • Rise to the Occasion (3)
  • Confident Competence (1)
  • Really Expensive Jacket (1)
  • Best Served Cold (1)
  • Futility Belt (1)
  • Calm, Cool, Collected (1)
  • Nerves of Steel (1)

HITMAN SKILL TREE: (SNTNL with Almighty Ordnance)

  • Violent Speed (5)
  • Violent Momentum (5)
  • Salvation (5)
  • Violent Violence (5)
  • Seein’ Red (1)
  • Cool Hand (4)
  • Death Follows Close (1)

A Maliwan would be the best pick as your main weapon. It’s got elemental damage properties, which compliments many of the abilities present in this build.

2. A Skilled Hitman

This build’s all about maximizing your Kill Skills – the number, duration, and effectiveness of, that is. And these skills are further accentuated with the presence of your Digi-clone, who has its own unique traits that will help you tremendously during combat! This is an insanely strong build, one I think many would want to pick up if they like the idea of having a strong ally with them. Don’t forget to pick the SNTNL and augment it with Winter’s Drone and Almighty Ordnance. The same goes for the Digi-Clone – augment it with Schadenfreude and Which One’s Real.

You and your clone get several buffs through all the abilities in the Doubled Agent Skill Tree but Zane is supplemented further by all the abilities in the Hitman Skill Tree. A Hitman build AND a Doubled Agent build, why wouldn’t anyone want this?

DOUBLED AGENT SKILL TREE: (Digi-clone with Schadenfreude and Which One’s Real?)

  • Borrowed Time (5)
  • Donnybrook (5)
  • Duct Tape Mod (5)
  • Fractal Frags (1)
  • Quick Breather (1)
  • Old-U (1)
  • Pocket Full of Grenades (3)
  • Like a Ghost (3)
  • BOOM.ENHANCE (1)
  • Double Barrel (1)

HITMAN SKILL TREE: (SNTNL with Winter’s Drone and Almighty Ordnance)

  • Violent Momentum (5)
  • Salvation (5)
  • Drone Delivery (1)
  • Cool Hand (3)
  • Playing Dirty (5)
  • Good Misfortune (2)
  • Death Follows Close (1)

A Torgue would be the weapon of choice for this build, because of the Double Barrel ability, this weapon lets you stick bombs to the enemy – imagine two people doing this!

With all the various Kill Skills at your disposal, you’re a shoe-in to be the most versatile combatant on the battlefield – you AND your clone. So utilize those skills and the fact you have an ally out there, don’t be a stranger when it comes to this build.

3. Me and My Buddy Here Got a Present For ya

This build’s 100% about making full use of the fact that you have a digital clone out there with you! Okay, 100% is a bit of hyperbole, you actually use a lot of your Under Cover skills; they’re there to give you certain elemental advantages simultaneously buffing up your Barrier (Hearty Stock and Ready for Action) making you a tough SOB. Remember to augment your Action Skills. For Barrier, Charged Relay and Nanites or Some Shite will do; and for the Digi-Clone, I’d recommend picking Schadenfreude and Which One’s Real?

But the real fun lies in the abilities you gain in conjunction with your clone: An extra ammo mag, increased Health Regeneration and Gun Damage, and certain abilities that make your Clone your salvation in life and death situations. So don’t fret, good buddy, as long as you got a pal that’s got your back, you oughta get through all of the gunfire, napalm, and warfare trauma unscathed.

UNDERCOVER SKILL TREE: (Barrier with Charged Relay and Nanites or Some Shite)

  • Adrenaline (1)
  • Rise to the Occasion (1)
  • Confident Competence (1)
  • Brain Freeze (5)
  • Hearty Stock (2)
  • Ready for Action (2)
  • Stiff Upper Lip (3)
  • Best Served Cold (4)
  • Really Expensive Jacket (1)
  • Futility Belt (1)
  • Calm, Cool, Collected (1)

DOUBLED AGENT SKILL TREE: (Digi-clone with Schadenfreude and Which One’s Real?)

  • Synchronicity (5)
  • Donnybrook (5)
  • Praemunitus (3)
  • Pocket Full of Grenades (3)
  • Supersonic Man (3)
  • Borrowed Time (1)
  • Quick Breather (1)
  • Old-U (1)
  • BOOM.ENHANCE (1)
  • Trick of the Light (2)
  • Double Barrel (1)

I would say this is more of a Doubled Agent build than an Undercover build, but regardless, you’ll need a weapon that works best with it and I honestly recommend the same gun I did for the previous build for the exact same reasons – a Torgue!

4. That’s a Lot of Bullets

All right, as a Hitman, you know your way around a gun. You know how people say, “I know this like the back of my hand”? Well, Zane often replaces the word hand with gun; having a build that maximizes Gun Damage (basically a DPS build), let’s you literally Ignore Bullets, and even give you a few extra grenades was an absolute necessity.

This is primarily a Doubled Agent build but we get the Action Skills from the other 2 skill trees. A Barrier from the Undercover tree (augmented with Charged Relay), and a SNTNL from the Hitman Tree (augmented with Winter’s Drone and Static Field).

For good measure, we threw in a couple of Kill Skills, a SNTNL that seems to have certain elemental prowess, and, hey, a Shield because we don’t want you completely defenseless out there; it’s a warzone, don’t you know? The Kill Skills include Salvation and Cool Hand, bolstered then by Seein’ Red.

UNDERCOVER SKILL TREE: (Barrier with Charged Relay)

  • Ready for Action (5)

HITMAN SKILL TREE: (SNTNL with Winter’s Drone and Static Field)

  • Violent Momentum (5)
  • Salvation (5)
  • Drone Delivery (1)
  • Cool Hand (5)
  • Seein’ Red (1)

DOUBLED AGENT SKILL TREE:

  • Synchronicity (5)
  • Donnybrook (5)
  • Duct Tape Mod (5)
  • Fractal Frags (1)
  • Quick Breather (1)
  • Old-U (1)
  • Borrowed Time (2)
  • Like a Ghost (3)
  • Trick of the Light (1)
  • BOOM.ENHANCE (1)
  • Double Barrel (1)

I think that if you have a Digi-Clone and have the Double Barrel ability, then the Torgue really is the best option, but if you’re looking for an alternative, why not go for an Atlas?

5. Mr. Has-It-All

Jeez, talk about an overpowered build! What we have here is a man with a LOT to him! This particular build gives you increased Movement Speed, Increased Gun Damage (supplemented by Movement Speed), a Life Steal Kill Skill (supplemented by another skill), Elemental advantages and Resistance, Health Regeneration, Damage Resistance, Grenade buffs, and increased Accuracy. Ooh boy, this is one old man you don’t wanna mess with – think Clint Eastwood but with his eyes wide open. Yeah, scary…

UNDERCOVER SKILL TREE:

  • Adrenaline (5)
  • Brain Freeze (5)
  • Stiff Upper Lip (3)
  • Rise to the Occasion (3)
  • Confident Competence (1)
  • Best Served Cold (1)
  • Really Expensive Jacket (1)
  • Refreshment (1)
  • Calm, Cool, Collected (1)

DOUBLED AGENT SKILL TREE: (Digi-Clone with Binary System and Which One’s Real?)

  • Synchronicity (5)
  • Fractal Frag (1)
  • Duct Tape Mod (4)
  • Quick Breather (1)

HITMAN SKILL TREE: (SNTNL with Boomsday and Almighty Ordnance)

  • Violent Speed (5)
  • Violent Momentum (5)
  • Salvation (4)
  • Seein’ Red (1)

A build with such diversity would require a weapon with the same amount of diversity; cue the Dahl. A versatile weapon that’s befitting of this OP build.

6. On Life Support

This one goes out to all those caring individuals who don’t want to see an old man get hurt. This build gives Zane several Shield and Health buffs. Yeah, you’re foregoing some firepower but think of it like this: with this buff, in case of a nuclear war, only the cockroaches and Zane will remain standing! Ok, fine, I get it, it is a warzone and you need some firepower, so how about some Elemental buffs to go along with the rest? Yeah, that ought to do.

This is, for all intents and purposes, an Undercover build, with a dash of some Doubled Barrel. It’s got most everything from the Undercover skill tree and to top it off, you also have a Barrier augmented with All-Rounder and Deterrence Field! Not a Damage build, no, but it most definitely is a fun build!

UNDERCOVER SKILL TREE: (Barrier with All-Rounder and Deterrence Field)Adrenaline (5)

  • Ready for Action (5)
  • Rise to the Occasion (5)
  • Stiff Upper Lip (3)
  • Hearty Stock (3)
  • Brain Freeze (4)
  • Best Served Cold (5)
  • Calm, Cool, Collected (1)
  • Distributed Denial (1)
  • Refreshment (3)

DOUBLED AGENT SKILL TREE: (Digi-Clone with Binary System and Schadenfreude)

  • Borrowed Time (5)
  • Donnybrook (5)
  • Fractal Frag (1)
  • Quick Breather (1)
  • Praemunitus (1)

I think for this one, Atlas is the best weapon you can have.

7. A Bit More Firepower Never Hurt Anybody

This Doubled Agent build – can also be regarded as an Undercover build – is meant to maximize gun damage (and also increase clip size). This will be augmented with the Confident Competence ability as it increases gun damage by 10%, useful since it’ll be above average to begin with.

The remaining abilities, mostly from the Undercover skill tree, are to give you increased health regeneration, a quicker cooldown for shields, and even reduce damage taken from non-elemental attacks. This build can also be referred to as ‘Old Man Winter’ if you’re so inclined.

The Digi-Clone will be especially useful in this build due to the double-barrel ability, the damage output for both you and your clone will be astronomical; all the while your barrier will protect you from any attack – even a stray bullet won’t be able to touch you.

A Vladof has the disadvantage of running out of ammo quick, but with Praemunitus, that won’t be much of a problem.

DOUBLED AGENT SKILL TREE: (Digi-Clone with Schadenfreude and Which One’s Real?)

  • Synchronicity (5)
  • Praemunitus (3)
  • Borrowed Time (5)
  • Donnybrook (5)
  • Quick Breather (1)
  • Pocket Full of Grenades (3)
  • Old-U (1)
  • Supersonic Man (3)
  • BOOM.ENHANCE (1)
  • Double Barrel (1)

UNDERCOVER SKILLED TREE: (Barrier with Charged Relay and Nanites or Some Shite)

  • Adrenaline (1)
  • Hearty Stock (2)
  • Ready For Action (2)
  • Brain Freeze (5)
  • Stiff Upper Lip (3)
  • Rise to the Occasion (1)
  • Confident Competence (1)
  • Really Expensive Jacket (1)
  • Best Served Cold (3)
  • Futility Belt (1)

8. A Man And His Gun

This one, primarily a Hitman build, is set up to give Zane as many advantages a soldier could ever want: Increased Reload Speed, Movement Speed, Weapon Swap Speed, Gun Damage, extra grenades; on top of all that, you’ll have your SNTNL that can fire missiles and rid your enemies of their cumbersome shields while giving yours some much needed juice.

On the other side, the Undercover abilities do much the same as they did in the previous build – reduce damage and increase the power of his shields. We also have a bit of Doubled Agent in the mix, just a dash of Synchronicity for that extra gun damage, contingent with your action skills, skills that you have due to the Hitman Skill Tree.

A Torgue would be the best option, due to the increased gun damage and your shields (including your barrier) giving you ample cover to make full use of it.

HITMAN SKILL TREE: (SNTNL with Static Field and Almighty Ordnance)

  • Cold Bore (5)
  • Violent Violence (5)
  • Violent Momentum (5)
  • Cool Hand (5)
  • Fractal Frag (1)
  • Death Follows Close (1)
  • Good Misfortune (3)
  • Seein’ Red (1)

UNDERCOVER SKILL TREE: (Barrier with Nanites or Some Shite and All-Rounder)

  • Adrenaline (5)
  • Ready for Action (5)
  • Hearty Stock (3)
  • Stiff Upper Lip (3)
  • Competent Confidence (1)
  • Really Expensive Jacket (1)
  • Futility Belt (1)

DOUBLED AGENT SKILL TREE:

  • Synchronicity (3)

9. The Cold Never Bothered Me Anyway

Letting go of the fact I just shamelessly referenced Frozen, this build is designed to maximize health regeneration while simultaneously lowering elemental damage sustained as much as possible. This is done entirely through the Undercover Skill Tree. Although a tank build, it does have many offensive capabilities due to some of the abilities taken from the Hitman and Doubled Agent Skill Trees.

With Hearty Stock and Ready for Action, you won’t have to worry about your shield going down anytime soon, whereas Rise to the Occasion, Stiff Upper Lip, Refreshment, and Calm, Cool, Collected are all there to give you as much health as your old heart can take.

Really Expensive Jacket, Best Served Cold, and Futility Belt will give you certain elemental benefits, either buffing up your own elemental prowess or reducing your enemies’.

The best weapon to take advantage of this would be the Maliwan as it does increase elemental effects, something you already have and that will serve you nicely.

UNDERCOVER SKILL TREE:

  • Ready for Action (5)
  • Rise to the Occasion (5)
  • Hearty Stock (3)
  • Stiff Upper Lip (3)
  • Best Served Cold (5)
  • Refreshment (3)
  • Really Expensive Jacket (1)
  • Calm, Cool, Collected (1)
  • Futility Belt (1)

DOUBLED AGENT SKILL TREE: (Digi-Clone with Binary System and Schadenfreude)

  • Synchronicity (3)
  • Borrowed Time (3)
  • Donnybrook (4)

HITMAN SKILL TREE: (SNTNL with Winter’s Drone and Static Field)

  • Cold Bore (5)
  • Salvation (5)

10. I Got Your Back

You have a clone in the battlefield and a deployable barrier, really, you pretty much have all your bases covered! Indeed you do, this fun build makes use of most of your abilities in the Doubled Agent Tree and the Undercover Tree; buffing up your clone with Donnybrook, Old-U, and BOOM.ENHANCE. Of course, that’s not all, you also get GRENADES!

As much as the Undercover build is there to give you upped shields and a higher cap for your health, it’s also there to give you elemental advantages that’ll freeze your enemies in place, slow them down, and even create a Cryo Nova so you can actually hurt more than one enemy with far less.

Couple this with a Clone that’ll draw fire and replenish your shield, and a Barrier that covers you from all sides and increases Gun Damage, it’s the perfect middle ground that covers every single crack.

As for weapons, since you’re so reliant on elemental damage, a Maliwan will be the best one for you for this particular build.

DOUBLED AGENT SKILL TREE: (Digi-Clone with Schadenfreude and Which One’s Real?)

  • Borrowed Time (5)
  • Donnybrook (5)
  • Duct Tape Mod (5)
  • Fractal Frag (1)
  • Quick Breather (1)
  • Old-U (1)
  • Pocket Full of Grenades (3)
  • BOOM.ENHANCE (1)

UNDERCOVER SKILL TREE: (Barrier with All-Rounder and Redistribution)

  • Hearty Stock (3)
  • Ready for Action (3)
  • Adrenaline (4)
  • Stiff Upper Lip (3)
  • Brain Freeze (5)
  • Confident Competence (1)
  • Best Served Cold (4)
  • Futility Belt (1)
  • Calm, Cool, Collected (1)

11. Just A Blur

Let’s get this out of the way and say that the Undercover part of this build is pretty much the same as the previous few; it increases shield regeneration and max health, and gives you some elemental buffs. However, what makes this build stand out is how these abilities work in conjunction with the ones you have equipped from the Hitman Tree. Brainfreeze is especially worthwhile here.

Even though you take heavily from the Undercover Tree, this is a Hitman build, meant to maximize speed and fire rate. With Violent Speed, you’ll be as swift as the wind, with Violent Violence you’ll be firing more rounds per second, and with Cool Hand, you’ll be able to reload faster and get back in the fray as expeditiously as possible. Hence why Brainfreeze, which slows down your enemies will be so effective.

The SNTNL’s Boomsday will up your Movement Speed even further, the Barrier with the Charged Relay and Nanites or Some Shite augments will precipitate your victory even further, so you best be ready for a whole lot of running.

A Vladof will work nicely as it’s rapid fire, and the downside of you needing to reload is rectified.

HITMAN SKILL TREE: (SNTNL with Bad Dose and Boomsday)

  • Violent Speed (5)
  • Cool Hand (5)
  • Salvation (5)
  • Violent Violence (5)
  • Good Misfortune (3)
  • Drone Delivery (1)
  • Death Follows Close (1)
  • Seein’ Red (1)

UNDERCOVER SKILL TREE: (Barrier with Charged Relay and Nanites or Some Shite)

  • Hearty Stock (3)
  • Ready for Action (3)
  • Brainfreeze (5)
  • Stiff Upper Lip (3)
  • Confident Competence (1)
  • Futility Belt (1)
  • Best Served Cold (4)
  • Refreshment (1)
  • Calm, Cool, Collected (1)

12. Stay For As Long As You Want To

The final build is a damage build; it utilizes your clone to the fullest degree as, with the aid of several abilities from the Doubled Agent and Undercover Tree, your action skills will remain active for much longer and will have a much shorter cooldown. The Clone is indispensable in this build, with increased Gun Damage, the ability to swap places with you and save you in a Fight For Your Life situation, and even wield the same weapon as you; it’s an op build that’s constructed to make your clone and you a powerful duo.

Your Undercover skills mostly consist of increasing your Max Health, buff your Shields and give you and your clone some elemental advantages. As far as weapons go, however, you’ll need some serious firepower; with Double Barrel, your Clone will have the same exact primary weapon as you, therefore you have to pick one carefully. A Torgue, Maliwan and Atlas are all viable candidates, so it’s really up to you to decide what’s best.

DOUBLED AGENT: (Digi-Clone with Binary System and Schadenfreude)

  • Borrowed Time (5)
  • Synchronicity (5)
  • Fractal Frag (1)
  • Donnybrook (5)
  • Praemunitus (3)
  • Pocket Full of Grenades (3)
  • Old-U (1)
  • BOOM.ENHANCE (1)
  • Double Barrel (1)

UNDERCOVER SKILL TREE: (Barrier with Redistribution and Nanites or Some Shite)

  • Adrenaline (5)
  • Ready for Action (5)
  • Brainfreeze (5)
  • Confident Competence (1)
  • Futility Belt (1)
  • Really Expensive Jacket (1)
  • Nerves of Steel (1)
  • Calm, Cool, Collected (1)
  • Best Served Cold (2)