Stalker, Hunter, or Master?
In Borderlands 3, there are four Vault Hunters to choose from--Zane the operative, Moze the gunner, Amara the Siren, and FL4K the beastmaster. If hunting the bandits of Pandora with a trusty pet by your side sounds like your ideal playstyle, then look no further than FL4K.
FL4K is the lone wolf among Borderlands 3's Vault Hunters, with his skill trees combining perks from Borderlands' Mordecai and Borderlands 2's Zer0 to focus on long-ranged combat and self-sustainability. If you're going to play Borderlands 3 on your own, you'll probably have the easiest time with FL4K as all three skill trees contribute to solo play. Plus, who needs real friends when you can rely on the aid of your in-game monkey, dog, and spider companions, amiright? Below, we've detailed the pros and cons of this character's three skill trees so you know which abilities to unlock.
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You'll notice a few Zer0-inspired skills in FL4K's Stalker tree, the one that's specifically tied to his monkey-like Jabber companion. The action skill associated to Stalker is Fade Away, which allows FL4K to temporarily turn invisible.
In this tree, try putting points into Self-Repairing System early so you can regenerate your health and cut out the cost of health packs. You want to invest five points into this tree and get to the second tier as quickly as possible to unlock the Guerillas in the Mist perk, which allows FL4K to attack multiple times during Fade Away instead of just once. Eager to Impress--which lowers the cool down time on FL4K's action skill whenever they or their pet kill someone--is also a good second tier ability to have.
Things start getting really good at the third tier. Lick the Wounds allows your pet to revive you, Not My Circus has your pet draw enemy fire after you use Fade Away, and your Jabber evolves into a Beefcake--making it a lot stronger. At this point, it might be worth investing in FL4K's other trees, but you should certainly come back to this tree in the late game. Hidden Machine is great once you have a powerful sniper rifle or assault rifle with a long-range scope. The ability increases FL4K's attack damage against enemies that haven't noticed them--a phenomenal skill to pair with the Hunter tree's Ambush Predator skill.
Speaking of the Hunter tree, this is the one you want to invest points into if Mordecai was your favorite Vault Hunter back in the day. This tree is all about getting critical hits, as well as increasing the power of FL4K's spider-like Spiderant companion and the character's Rakk Attack--an action skill that's basically an elemental version of Mordecai's Bloodwing action skill. If you invest in this tree, start looting and buying Jakobs guns. Soon you'll be one-shotting foes before your teammates even have a chance to notice that there are enemies to kill.
Right off the bat, you want to invest in Interplanetary Stalker, which increases the damage FL4K does after every enemy they kill. Leave No Trace--which has a chance of adding a bullet back into FL4K's gun whenever they score a critical hit--is a pretty good choice too, especially if you're carrying a Jakobs shotgun or sniper rifle as both are typically single-shot weapons. With Leave No Trace, you'll get a chance to sometimes fire off two shots instead of one, making it easier to get the kill and activate Interplanetary Stalker's effects.
In the second tier, start putting all your points into Ambush Predator, an ability that makes FL4K stronger the further they are from enemies. Once you do, and once you secure a Jakobs gun with a decent scope, FL4K becomes a sharpshooter of no equal on the battlefield. The remaining perks in this tree are mostly devoted to upgrading your Spiderant, which eventually evolves first into a fire-breathing Scorcher and then a corrosive-splashing Countess. As a side note, if you invest in this tree, you'll be far richer than all your friends as the fourth tier ability The Most Dangerous Game nets FL4K a generous cash reward for killing badass level foes. Considering you'll be a sniping god at this point, you'll probably be able to down most badass enemies before your friends can even reach them.
FL4K's Master tree is probably the one you want to invest in if you really just don't want to be a sniper. The Master tree doesn't have the sneaking potential of the Stalker tree nor the critical hit damage power-up of the Hunter tree. Instead, the Master tree focus on FL4K's pet, increasing the power of what they can do so they can protect FL4K as they fight side by side at mid- to close-range. The pet associated to this tree is the dog-like Skag and the action skill is Gamma Burst, an ability that teleports FL4K's pet to a location through a radiative portal that mutates the pet into a more powerful form.
Considering how much this tree focuses on FL4K's pet, start putting points into the skills that will ensure they can be the most help to you. In the first tier, Ferocity (which increases your pet's attack power) and Go For The Eyes (which makes your pet's first attack a critical hit) are your best choices. From there you'll reach the second tier of the tree and, honestly, from this point on almost every skill just makes your pet stronger and stronger. You can't go wrong with where you invest. You basically just want to keep putting points into the tree until you reach the final tier and can unlock Dominance, a skill that allows FL4K to take control of enemies with a melee attack.
Like Amara's Mystical Assault tree, FL4K's Master tree is probably the last one you want to invest in or at least the one you want to save until after you've left Pandora. FL4K's pets are actually pretty durable and deadly early on, so increasing their health and attack power isn't an immediate priority. You will at some point, especially for the challenging endgame, but increasing FL4K's own abilities should be your priority first, and that's easier to do in the other two trees. If you're not a fan of long-range combat, then this is probably the tree you want to focus on. But at the same time, if you're so against sniping, then why are you playing as FL4K in the first place?