Borderlands 3: Complete Zane Guide – Skill Tree, Action Skills, Perks & Abilities

Borderland 3 is all about tuning your character with the help of skills. After the November 2020 game update, there are not just three but four full-fledged skill trees to suit your unique playstyle. These skill trees are further subdivided by tiers, action skills and passive skills. All in all, it gets pretty complex once you start deciding what skills to invest in.

Borderlands 3: Complete Zane Guide – Skill Tree, Action Skills, Perks & Abilities

If you choose Zane you're in for a treat because Zane can actually equip up to two action skills at any time, although you lose the ability to throw grenades. But what type of action skills are in stock for Zane? Or are they different? All that and every other question that pops in your head will be cleared once you go through this guide.

Before we start, though, you should also know how skill trees break down in Borderlands 3. You have four total skill trees to choose from per character class/ character. You then pump skill points into each ability to buff them, unlocking further tiers along the tree. Generally speaking, the higher the tier, the flashier the ability. So it pays to see what each tree has going for it further down the line! Hence, it's also often recommended to stick to just one class throughout.

Hitman Skill Tree

Hitman Skill Tree
Overview of the Hitman Skill Tree

SNTNL (Action Skill)

An SNTNL drone will through the map and attack enemies with its machine guns. You can also command the drone to attack the enemy Zane's is currently aiming at if any.

Machine Gun Damage: 10
Duration: 24 seconds
Cooldown: 36 seconds

Action Skill Augments

Winter’s Drone (Tier 2) 

Converts SNTNL drone's primary weapons to cryo damage.

Bad Dose (Tier 3)

There is a chance that SNTNL will shoot out a beam of radiation that weakens enemies and buffs Zane. Every time an enemy is weakened, Zane's movement speed and fire rate are increased while the weakened enemy's movement speed and attack speed is decreased.

Rate of Fire: +3% per enemy
Movement Speed: +6% per enemy
Damage: 2
Duration: 12 seconds
Cooldown: 8 seconds

Static Field (Tier 3)

SNTNL emits a static field that sends a shock beam that affects nearby enemies, draining their shields and replenishing Zane’s.

Shield Damage: 2 per second
Cooldown: 2 seconds

Boomsday (Tier 4)

SNTNL adds a rocket pod to its primary weapons, allowing it to shoot rockets along with machine guns.

Rocket Damage: 50

Almighty Ordnance (Tier 4)

Zane can draw a target area while SNTNL drone is deployed. SNTNL drone then fires a missile barrage at the highlighted area. If an enemy is killed by the missiles, the duration of Almighty Ordnance is reset. This can only be used once per action skill use.

Missile Damage: 25
Missiles per Barrage: 5

Passive Abilities

Tier 1

Violent Speed (0/5)

After killing an enemy, Zane gains increased Movement Speed for a few seconds.

Movement Speed: +4%
Duration: 8 seconds

Cold Bore (0/5)

Zane gains increased weapon swap speed. Moreover, the subsequent shot fired after swapping weapons deals bonus cryo damage.

Weapon Swap Speed: +15%
Bonus Cryo Damage: 6%

Violent Momentum (0/5)

Zane’s gun damage is buffed while moving. The quicker he moves, the more the gun damage bonus.

Gun Damage: +6% at default walk speed

Tier 2

Cool Hand (0/5)

Zane gains increased reload speed. If he reloads after killing an enemy, Zane’s reload speed is further increased for a few seconds.

Reload Speed: +2%
Reload Speed After Kill: +3%
Duration: 8 Seconds

Drone Delivery (0/1)

SNTRY drone will occasionally drop a free grenade based on your current grenade mod while attacking enemies.

Cooldown: 15 seconds

Salvation (0/5)

After killing an enemy, Zane’s weapons gain Life Steal ability for a few seconds.

Life Steal: 4% of damage dealt
Duration: 8 seconds

Tier 3

Seein’ Red (0/1)

Activating an action skill automatically activates all of Zane’s kill skills.

Tier 4

Violent Violence (0/5)

After killing an enemy, Zane gains increased fire rate for a few seconds.

Fire Rate: +4%
Duration: 8 seconds

Playing Dirty (0/5)

After killing an enemy, Zane’s next five shots have a chance to fire an additional projectile.

Extra Shot Chance: 10%

Tier 5

Good Misfortune (0/3)

Killing an enemy increases Zane’s action skill duration. This skill has diminishing returns.

Duration Return: Up to 5% max duration

Tier 6

Death Follows Close (0/1)

All of Zane’s kill skills are buffed in terms of effect and duration.

Kill Skill Bonus: 40%
Kill Skill Duration: +4 seconds

Doubled Agent Skill Tree

Overview of the Double Agent Skill Tree
Overview of the Doubled Agent Skill Tree

Digi-Clone (Action Skill)

A Digi-Clone of Zane is spawned on the battlefield. The Digi-Clone not only distracts enemies but also fires at them. If you press LB or RB/ F or G/ L1 or R1 while the clone is active, Zane will switch places with the clone.

Duration: 18 seconds
Cooldown: 26 seconds

Action Skill Augments

Binary System (Tier 2) 

Whenever Zane swaps places with his clone, a cryo nova is triggered around Zane and his clone which deals damage to nearby enemies.

Nova Damage: 66

Schadenfreude (Tier 3)

When the Digi-Clone takes damage, Zane’s shield is restored by a portion of that damage.

Shields Restored: +11% of Digi-Clone damage

Which One’s Real? (Tier 3)

Enemies will target their attacks at the cone for a few seconds after it’s summoned and after swapping places.

Duration: 2 seconds

Doppelganger (Tier 4)

Hold down LB or RB/ F or G/ L1 or R1 to end the action skill early which causes the clone to explode, dealing fire damage to all nearby enemies. The more action skill time remaining, the greater the damage.

Damage: Up to 1326

Digital Distribution (Tier 4)

If Zane takes health damage while the clone is active, a portion of that damage is inflicted on clone instead.

Shared Health Damage: +75%

Passive Abilities

Tier 1

Synchronicity (0/5)

When one or more of Zane’s action skills are active, he gains increased gun damage for each active action skill.

Gun Damage: +2% per active action skills

Praemunitus (0/3)

Zane and his Digi-Clone gain increased magazine size.

Magazine Size: +4%

Borrowed Time (0/5)

Zane gains increased action skill duration for every active action skill.

Active Skill Duration: +4% per active action skill

Tier 2

Donnybrook (0/5)

When Zane kills an enemy, the gun damage and health generation are buffed for a few seconds. This also applies to the clone, if active.

Gun Damage: +2%
Health Regeneration: +0.5% of missing health per second
Duration: 8 Seconds

Fractal Frags (0/1)

The Digi-Clone throws a copy of Zane’s current grenade mod when it is first activated. If the Digi-Clone is killed, it drops a free grenade. Killing an enemy while the Digi-Clone is active gives the clone a chance to throw a grenade.

Grenade Chance: 30%

Duct Tape Mod (0/5)

The first shot fired from Zane’s gun has a chance to be a grenade. The more grenades in his capacity, the higher the chance.

Grenade Chance: Up to 5%

Tier 3

Quick Breather (0/1)

Whenever Zane swaps places with his clone, his shield begins recharging immediately.

Tier 4

Pocket Full of Grenades (0/3)

After killing an enemy, Zane gains grenade regeneration for a few seconds.

Grenade Regeneration: +5%
Duration: 8 seconds

Old-U (0/1) 

Press LB or RB/ F or G/ L1 or R1 during when you're low on health. If the Digi-Clone is active, the clone will be destroyed and Zane will immediately gain a second wind with full health.

Supersonic Man (0/3)

Whenever one or more of Zane’s action skills are active, he gains increased movement speed for each active skill.

Movement Speed: +4% per active action skill

Tier 5

Like a Ghost (0/3)

Zane and his Digi-Clone gain a chance to be invulnerable to bullets. This chance is increased for a few seconds after activating an action skill. This effect stacks.

Ignore Bullet Chance: +4%
Additional Ignore Bullet Chance: +1%
Duration: 8 seconds

Boom. Enhance. (0/3)

Whenever Zane summons his Digi-Clone, it consumes up to 3 grenades. For every grenade consumed, the Digi-Clone gains increased gun damage, max health, fire rate, and reload speed.

Gun Damage: +11% per grenade
Max Health: +17% per grenade
Fire Rate: +17% per grenade
Reload Speed: +12% per grenade

Trick of the Light (0/3)

Zane deals bonus shock damage to enemies that aren’t targeting him.

Bonus Damage: 6% of damage dealt

Tier 6

Double Barrel (0/1)

The clone is equipped with a copy of Zane’s current weapon activated. Swapping places with the clone causes Zane and his clone to gain increased gun damage.

Gun Damage: +10%
Item Duping: +100%

Under Cover Skill Tree

Overview of the Under Cover Skill Tree
Overview of the Under Cover Skill Tree

Barrier (Action Skill)

An impenetrable barrier is deployed that blocks all incoming projectiles. When Zane and his allies shoot through the barrier, they gain increased gun damage. Pressing LB or RB/ F or G/ R1 or L1 while the barrier is active to pick it up and walk around. However, when the barrier is picked up, its size and bonuses shrink.

Duration: 9 seconds
Cooldown: 18 seconds
Damage Amp: +20%

Action Skill Augments

Charged Relay (Tier 2) 

Zane and his allies gain increased movement speed and fire rate for a few seconds when he touches the barrier.

Fire Rate: +13%
Movement Speed: +11%
Duration: 8 seconds after moving away from barrier.

Nanites or Some Shite (Tier 3)

Zane and his allies gain health regeneration, increased reload speed, and greatly improved shield recharge delay while near his barrier. The lower their health, the more health is regenerated.

Health Regeneration: Up to 4% of max health per second while near barrier
Shield Recharge Delay: -33%
Reload Speed: +11%

All-rounder (Tier 3)

Zane’s barrier becomes a dome, protecting from attacks incoming from all the sides.

Cooldown: +20%

Redistribution (Tier 4)

When Zane and allies near the barrier, they gain increased gun damage for a few seconds after the barrier takes damage.

Gun Damage: +9%
Duration: 3 seconds

Deterrence Field (Tier 4)

Enemies that touch the barrier take shock damage and are staggered.

Shock Damage: 18

Passive Abilities

Tier 1

Adrenaline (0/5)

Zane gains increased action skill cooldown rate. This bonus is based on the amount of shields he has. The more shields he has, the greater the bonus.

Action Skill Cooldown Rate: Up to +4%

Hearty Stock (0/3)

Zane gains increased maximum shield capacity.

Max Shields: +6%

Ready for Action (0/5)

Zane gains improved shield recharge rate and shield recharge delay.

Shield Recharge Rate: +6%
Shield Recharge Delay: -8%

Tier 2

Brainfreeze (0/5)

Whenever Zane scores a critical hit on an enemy, there’s a chance they will be slowed.

Slow Chance: +2.5%

Stiff Upper Lip (0/3)

Whenever Zane is damaged, he gains damage resistance against that specific damage type.

Damage Resistance: +5%

Rise to the Occasion (0/5)

Zane gains health regeneration. The lower his shield is, the higher the bonus. If Zane’s shields are full, he does not receive any health regeneration.

Health Regeneration: Up to +1% of Max Health per second.

Tier 3

Confident Competence (0/1)

While Zane’s shields are active, he gains increased gun damage and accuracy. This bonus is based on the amount of shields he has. The more percent full, the greater the bonus.

Gun Damage: Up to +10%
Accuracy: Up to +22%

Tier 4

Really Expensive Jacket (0/1)

Elemental damage over time effects applied to Zane has reduced duration.

Elemental Effect Duration: -50%

Best Served Cold (0/5) 

Enemies killed by Zane create a cryo nova, dealing damage to all nearby enemies.

Damage: 3
Cooldown: 3 seconds

Futility Belt (0/1)

Zane gains resistance to non-elemental damage. All elemental damage Zane takes is converted to non-elemental damage for a short duration after a kill.

Damage Reduction: +22%
Duration: 8 seconds

Tier 5

Refreshment (0/3)

Whenever Zane damages a frozen enemy with his weapon, he regains a per cent of that damage as health.

Life Steal: 8% of damage dealt

Calm, Cool, Collected (0/1)

Whenever Zane freezes an enemy, his shield instantly begins recharging. If Zane’s shields are already full, he regenerates health for a few seconds. If Zane’s health is already full, his action skill cooldowns and durations are immediately reset.

Health Regeneration: Up to 4% max health per second
Regeneration Duration: 3 seconds

Nerves of Steel (0/3)

Zane gains increasing accuracy and handling. The longer his shield is full, the greater the bonus.

Accuracy: +2% per second
Handling: +2.5% per second
Max Stacks: 99

Tier 6

Distributed Denial (0/1)

Zane’s barrier gains the effects of his currently equipped shield mod. Additionally, shield effects are applied to all allies near the barrier. The more the allies, the fewer bonuses Zane will receive.

The Professional Skill Tree

Overview of The Professional Skill Tree
Overview of The Professional Skill Tree

Mantis Shoulder Canon (Action Skill)

Zane equips a shoulder-mounted cannon. Pressing LB or RB/ F or G/ L1 or R1 causes Zane to shoot his cannon and consume one charge.

Max Charges: 3
Cooldown: 12 seconds
Damage: 46

Action Skill Augments

Colder Shoulder  (Tier 2) 

Converts Zane's MNTIS shoulder cannon damage to cryo damage but deals reduced damage. Additionally, Zane gains increased cryo freeze rate.

Cannon Damage: -10%
Freeze Rate: +20%

Wetwork (Tier 3)

Whenever Zane kills an enemy with his shoulder cannon, that enemy explodes into an elemental puddle.

Explosion Damage: 32
Puddle Damage: 18 per second

Brain Drain (Tier 3)

Whenever Zane kills an enemy with a critical hit from his shoulder cannon, two charges are returned immediately.

No Way Out (Tier 4)

Enemies hit by the shoulder cannon are pulled toward Zane and they receive increased damage for a short time. Additionally, Zane's MNTIS shoulder cannon cooldown time is increased.

Cooldown: +20%
Damage Increase: +25%
Duration: 6 seconds

Proliferation (Tier 5)

Zane's MNTIS shoulder cannon gains additional charges and deals increased damage based on the number of charges remaining.

Additional Charges: +2
Cannon Damage: +20% per charge

Passive Abilities

Tier 1

Man of Focus (0/5)

Activating an Action Skill grants Zan increased Accuracy and Handling for a short time. This effect stacks.

Accuracy: +7%
Handling: +7.4%

Renegade (0/3)

After scoring a critical hit, Zane regenerates health for a short time.

Health Boost: Up to 0.5% Max Health / second for 12 seconds

Déjà vu (0/5)

Whenever Zane kills an enemy with Critical hit, there is a chance for 1 ammo to be added back to his magazine.

Ammo Chance: 9%

Tier 2

Headsman's Hand (0/5)

Kill skill. Zane gains increased critical hit damage. This effects stacks twice.

Critical Hit Damage: +4%
Duration: 8 seconds

Tunnel Vision (0/3)

While moving, Zane gains increased Accuracy and handling. The quicker  Zane moves, the greater the bonus.

Accuracy: Up to 10% while walking
Handling: Up to 11% while walking

Commitment (0/5)

Kill skill. Zane gains increased gun damage(Base: 4%) and action skill cooldown rate (Base: +4%)

Gun Damage: 4%
Action Skill Cooldown Rate: 4%

Tier 3

Fugitive (0/1)

Zane can sprint and shoot at the same time.

Tier 4

Domino Effect (0/5)

Whenever Zane scores a critical hit, he gains increased fire rate and reload speed for a short time. If he scores a critical hit with his action skill, this effect is doubled.

Reload Speed: +4%
Fire Rate: +3%
Duration: 8 seconds

The Art of War (0/5) 

After activating an action skill or action skill ability, Zane's next shot fired from his weapon deals increased dagame. This effect stacks.

Gun Damage: +3%
Max Stacks: 10

Tier 5

Sheer Will (0/3)

Zane gains increased action skill cooldown rate. Scoring a critical hit increases this effect. This effect stacks.

Cooldown Rate: +5%
Cooldown Rate: +2.5% after critical hit
Duration: 8 seconds
Max Stacks: 15

Eraser (0/1)

Zane's critical hit pierce through enemies for all weapons, dealing increased damage for every enemy pierced.

Pierced Shot Damage: +40% per enemy pierced

Tier 6

Our Man Flynt (0/1)

While aiming down sights, Zane's weapons deal bonus damage and automatically apply their status effect when he scores a critical hit.

Bonus Damage: 25% of the damage dealt


Choosing the best abilities for your playstyle can be a hectic process. Especially when you factor in how many skill points are required for each skill at each level. Fortunately, Borderland 3's official website allows you to browse through all the skill trees and abilities of Zane (or any of the other classes). It features a handy tool that allows you to pre-configure your skill tree before you jump into the game.

Sarthak Khurana
Tech and gaming enthusiast with a keen interest in stories. Believes that Witcher 3 is the only RPG that comes close to Fable 2, the best RPG ever made!
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