Borderlands 3: Your guide to Amara, the phase blasting, face-punching, bonafide badass
Every character has an infinitude of skill tree possibilities. Is this how you’re going to build your Amara?
Borderlands 3 is out now and it’s an enormous game. We here at KnowTechie want to make your trip to Pandora (and beyond) easier, so we’re going to be coming out with a series of guides on the four new characters (Amara, Zane, Moze, and FL4K), including an overview of their skill trees and potential build ideas. Ready to get started?
Up first is Amara, the Siren.
I have to admit, at first glance Amara in Borderlands 3 is definitely my favorite. I have always played the Siren characters first and I’m absolutely certain Amara will be the same for me with Borderlands 3. Amara can do quite a bit, even as a solo powerhouse, and her skill trees give her a great deal of utility with status effects, elemental damage, and survivability. Let’s take a closer look.
Oh, and if you’re new to Borderlands 3, you should definitely start here first here.
First up is the Mystical Assault tree, which is largely about foregoing gun damage in favor of raw action skill damage. In the Mystical Assault tree, you build up Rush stacks, a buff that counts up to 10 and boosts action skill damage for each stack you have, consuming those stacks when you cast your action skill. There are a few vanilla passives, plus lots that make Rush stacks better, give you Rush stacks in new ways, let you use your action skill more often, and so on.
Here are a few highlights:
- Phasecast: Your base action skill for this tree. Launches an astral projection forward.
- Violent Tapestry (Tier 1, up to 5 points): Adds a Rush stack every time you apply a status effect to an enemy. When you consume your Rush stacks with your action skill, your chance to apply status effects goes up.
- Deliverance (Tier 3, action skill): Your astral projection now launches multiple homing, elemental attacks on impact.
- Soul Sap (Tier 2, augment): Your action skill now steals 30% of the damage it deals and recovers your health for that amount.
- Ascendant (Tier 3, 1 point): All of your augments are more powerful (e.g. Soul Sap now steals 50% damage instead of 30%).
- Avatar (Tier 6, 1 point): You can activate your action skill a second time, while it’s on cooldown. Your max Rush stack is now 20 and you get half of them back if your action skill kills an enemy.
Fist of the Elements
The Fist of the Elements tree is all about locking down enemies and blasting them with an array of elemental damage. It unlocks the incendiary damage type at tier two. It’s the tree of choice for support, making sure to keep enemies status-afflicted, frozen in place, and vulnerable to whatever your team throws at them.
Here are some highlights:
- Phasegrab: Your base action skill for this tree. Locks down a target for 7 seconds, holding them in place with a big energy fist. 16-second cooldown, which is very short for an action skill.
- Fist Over Matter (Tier 5, action skill): Lengthens the cooldown for your action skill, but now deals damage in the area around the locked down target.
- Wildfire (Tier 2, up to 5 points): Status effects now have a chance to spread to other targets.
- Illuminated Fist (Tier 2, 1 point): 75% increased melee damage, plus melee damage gains your equipped elemental damage.
- Allure (Tier 3, augment): Your action skill deals reduced damage, but pulls in all nearby targets like a vortex.
- Forceful Expression (Tier 6, 1 point : Your guns deal bonus elemental damage of your equipped elemental damage type.
Amara’s last skill tree is Brawl, which is exactly what it sounds like: Punching lots of things and living to tell the tale. Brawl is by far Amara’s most survivable tree and it will feel familiar to anyone who’s played a Titan in Destiny or Destiny 2. The Brawl tree boosts melee damage, can increase gun damage at close range, and even adds passive health regeneration and a free Second Wind once every two minutes. The Brawl tree also unlocks Corrosive damage. If you want to both get up close and personal and never die, Brawl is for you.
Here are a few of the skills:
- Phaseslam: Your base action skill for this tree. Jump into the air and slam the ground, damaging all nearby enemies and knocking them into the air.
- Personal Space (Tier 1, up to 3 points): Guns deal more damage the closer you are to a target.
- Samsara (Tier 2, up to 3 points): Gain Samsara stacks when you deal damage with your action skill. Stacks increase idle health regeneration and gun damage.
- Downfall (Tier 4, action skill): Jump into the air, shoot an energy laser at the ground for several seconds, then slam the ground.
- Revelation (Tier 3, augment): Action skills deal 15% less damage, but gain a supernova at the point of impact, damaging nearby enemies.
- Blitz (Tier 6, 1 point): Your melee attack becomes a Blitz, causing you to dash towards enemies before striking (with an 8-second cooldown). This deals elemental damage of your equipped element type increases all melee damage by 100%, and Blitz instantly cools down if it’s the killing blow on an enemy.
A proposed build – Elemental Chaos
Now, all of Amara’s trees sound great. Action skills about launching astral projections and homing blasts? Yes, please. Elemental damage and tons of status effects? I’ve played Borderlands before and I know how great status effects are. Brute melee damage and peak survivability? I want it.
You can’t have everything, however, so the build I came up with is a hybrid of Mystical Assault (26 points) and Fist of the Elements (22 points).
What does it do?
The point of this build is to deal as much elemental damage as possible to as many enemies as possible, keeping status effects rolling on everyone at all times. Got a gun that deals incendiary damage and burns enemies? Good, we’re going to maximize the power and duration of that fire, boost our own power with it, and make sure everyone is on fire.
For our active skill we’re going to use Deliverance, which shoots an astral projection forwards, deals high damage, and launches three elemental, homing projectiles for every enemy hit (each of which, if I’m not mistaken, having a chance to apply a status effect).
For our augment, we’ll take Soul Sap, which will steal 50% of all action skill damage dealt – which should be a lot – thanks to the tier 3 ability, Ascendant. More importantly, however, it’s the only augment in this build that neither lengthens our action skill cooldown nor decreases its damage. We want maximum action skill damage as often as possible, furthered by 5 points in Do Harm and 5 points in Restless, so Soul Sap is the way to go.
Our elemental passive will be Shockra, Amara’s default that gives us shock damage, because not only does Tempest increase all of our elemental damage by 30%, it increases shock damage specifically by an additional 20%. This means we should have at least one shock-based weapon equipped, preferably something nice by Maliwan, as our bread and butter gun damage. We’ll also get 20% larger magazines for elemental weapons thanks to Deep Well.
All of our status effects can spread to other targets thanks to 5 points in Wildfire, they last longer and deal more damage thanks to 5 points in Anima, they can cause other, unrelated status effects thanks to two points in Conflux, and they build Rush stacks thanks to 5 points in Violent Tapestry. We love our status effects in this house.
Moving a point from Conflux to Remnant is a possible consideration, depending on exactly how status effect damage vs elemental damage shakes out. That’s a “try it and see” thing. We have two points in Remnant already. Moving a point from Awakening is an option, but my gut tells me Awakening is better since we need action skill damage to get those kills in the first place.
This build skips over most vanilla passive skills, with some rare exceptions, in favor of anything that supports the triad of focus: Action skill damage, elemental damage, and status effects. One exception is a single point in Alacrity, which increases reload speed based on Rush stacks. We’re going to have so many Rush stacks and they’re extra effective thanks to 3 points in Awakening (up to a 27% increase in action skill damage at max Rush stacks), so even a single point in Alacrity should go a long way.
We’re also skipping three points in Laid Bare and putting them into Wrath instead. Laid Bare is arguably better for two players and almost certainly better for three or four, while Wrath is likely going to be superior in all solo play. I like to play alone, so I went with Wrath, but if you play a lot of multiplayer you should definitely take Laid Bare instead.
What do you think?
Every character has an infinitude of skill tree possibilities. Is this how you’re going to build your Amara? What might you do differently? Let us know down below in the comments or carry the discussion over to our Twitter or Facebook.
Interested in the other characters? We’ve got guides for those, too.
- Your guide to Moze, the gunner with a mech, bringer of explosions and heavy firepower
- Your guide to FL4K, masters of pets, invisible hunter, and solo specialist
- Your guide to Zane – trickster spirit, roguish assassin, and Pandora’s Han Solo