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Surviving the Borderlands 3 Nerfpocalypse

Michael Bitton Posted:
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Gearbox has been on a tear lately, updating Borderlands 3 just about every week with balance hot fixes intended to level the playing field between some of the more outlier builds and items. While the community is often split on these changes, I’m glad to see Gearbox taking an active role in trying to balance things out this time around.

That said, the latest BL3 hotfix deployed yesterday and boy was it a doozy. The Nerfpocalypse, as I call it, is definitely real, but there are tons of new opportunities for fun (or even OP) builds to come out of the new update.

Stormfront Still Lives

Well, at least for now. While Hex and Firestorm were nerfed heavily in this update, it’s still possible to run the Storm Front grenade and Transformer to be effectively invincible as long as you can resupply grenades.

Big Boom Blaster Moze & Other Shield Shenanigans

A small note at the very bottom of the patch notes actually has huge implications for potentially OP builds. Shields that dropped shield boosters were previously considered fairly useless due to the fact you’d need to interact with the boosters to pick them up, but now that shield boosters are autopickup, these shields are likely not only viable, but potentially OP.

Big Boom Blaster, a Legendary shield that has a 60% chance to drop a booster that restores 60% of your shields (along with a grenade and heavy ammo) is particularly nasty on Moze, who can lean on her Shield of Retribution tree and items like Deathless to balloon her total shield amount and benefit greatly from huge % scaling shield boosters. The extra grenades and heavy ammo are icing on the cake for those who dip into the Demolition Woman tree as well. I’m sure people are going to come up with infinite grenade/explosive builds using this shield for all of the Vault Hunters.

Pain is Power, a Legendary COV assault rifle that got a nice 25% damage buff in the hot fix, may go well with an Elemental Projector and booster dropping shields as well. I’ve not tried this particular combination, but it sounds like a lot of fun.


OK, so this isn’t directly related to items, but while Gearbox is working on some more comprehensive fixes for pet scaling in BL3 the latest hot fix included some band aid changes, buffing pet and Digi-Clone health across the board by 50-100%. I don’t think this will have a huge impact on FL4K, since his pets have a bunch more issues than going down constantly, but Iron Bear may be a bit more viable post update since it can actually deal some decent damage with Vanquisher Rocket Pods. The Digi-Clone health boost is just a straight up buff for Zane, who has been getting some much needed love over the last few weeks.

The Return of Maggie?

Mashers, the shotgun-like revolvers in the original Borderlands, were nowhere to be found in the sequels. However, Borderlands 2 did feature the legendary revolver “Maggie” which was effectively a Masher in all but name. Both Mashers and Maggie are back in BL3, but unfortunately Maggie just hasn’t been worth using up to this point. The new hot fix ups its damage by 35%, which should help, but I’ve not been able to test it yet myself since I leave all the Maggies on the floor due to the game’s incredibly limited bank space.

How are you surviving the Nerfpocalypse? Share your thoughts and tips with us in the comments below!


Michael Bitton

Michael Bitton / Michael began his career at the WarCry Network in 2005 as the site manager for several different WarCry fansite portals. In 2008, Michael worked for the startup magazine Massive Gamer as a columnist and online news editor. In June of 2009, Michael joined MMORPG.com as the site's Community Manager. Follow him on Twitter @eMikeB