Zane, The Operative Guide: Skill Trees, Active Skills…

Borderlands 3 Zane Guide

The Operative Zane uses his skill, trickery and gadgets to manipulate the battle and take down his enemies with strategy and agility.

He is capable of using his drone which flies around firing at enemies, a barrier that blocks projectiles and increases the damage of his and his allies and even summon a clone that distracts enemies which he can also swap places with.

Active Skills

1) Barrier


Zane deploys a barrier that blocks incoming projectiles from passing through, shielding him and any allies behind the barrier.

The barrier initially lasts 14 seconds until it disappears and will have a cooldown of 24 seconds after the ability has ended.

Barrier Augments:

  • Charged Relay – Zane and his allies will be granted additional reload and movement speed when they come in contact with the barrier.
  • Nanites Or Some Shite– Health regeneration is provided for Zane and allies that are near the barrier along with improved reload speed and a decreased shield recharge delay.
  • Retaliation– Upon taking damage, the barrier will grant those nearby to gain additional gun damage for a small amount of time.
  • All Rounder– Modifies the barrier and makes it a dome, providing protection from all sides in an area.
  • Deterrence Field – Enemies that come into contact with the shield are shocked and staggered.


Upon activating the skills, Zane will immediately toss the barrier device in front of him which will then activate after a few seconds.


Projectiles fired from enemies will hit the shield and no damage will be taken by those who are protected which also works with area of effect projectiles.

As long as the shield is active, firing your guns will increase the damage done when your projectiles pass through the shield and hit enemies.


Activating the skill while near the barrier will allow you to pick up the shield, making it stay in front of you at all times and giving good protection from your front.

Picking up the barrier will allow you to move around with it but will also decrease the size and the bonuses that come with it.


This skill become very effective when you are either in a tight spot or when you are fighting enemies head on as you can always protect your front or use the barrier while advancing.

Making use of the barrier most of the time will be a huge benefit in many situations as well as the other effects that may be added through the skill tree.

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2) Digi-Clone


Creates a holograph-like clone of Zane which stands in one spot and continuously attacks enemies that are in its line of sight.

Zane can immediately switch places with the clone anytime he wants when you activate the skill again while it is currently active.

The skill lasts for 15 seconds and will have a cooldown of 28 seconds when it ends.

Digi-Clone Augments:

  • Binary System– Swapping places with the clone will cause a Cryo Nova to be emitted, dealing cryo damage in an area.
  • Schadenfreude– Zane regenerates his shields based on the amount of damage enemies due to the clone.
  • Dopplebanger– An explosion will occur when the skill ends which can also be forced by holding down the skill while its active. (The longer the amount of time remaining when the skill is forced to end will increase the damage of the explosion)
  • Which One’s Real– Upon being summoned or swapping places with the clone will cause enemies more likely to target the clone.
  • Digital Distribution – When Zane takes damage, a portion of the damage is received by the clone which reduces the amount of damage Zane receives.


Upon activation, the clone will be spawned a few meters in front of Zane and it will immediately begin to fight enemies.


Enemies will target the clone when they see it which will allow you to fight while taking less or even no damage as enemies can be distracted by the clone, giving you a large window of opportunity.


As the clone remains active, enemies will fire at it but there is still chance that Zane may be targeted so its best to keep some distance if you are trying to avoid contact with the enemies.


You can switch places with the clone which can travel you great distance or help you get out of trouble, making this a very strategic skill to use.


Swapping places with the clone will happen instantly when you activate the skill so be ready if you plan to use it offensively.

This can be effective if you plan to rush in to a fight where you can leave the clone, rush in and go guns blazing then swap yourself out to when needed.

Using this ability can help you get around enemies in fights and help you better position yourself during a battle.



Summons a drone to fight alongside you for a period of time which is initially equipped with a machine gun and can later on be equipped with additional weapons.

The drone will last for 24 seconds and will continuously seek out and fight enemies that are nearby and will have 60 second cooldown after its time is up.

You may choose what it will target by pressing the skill button again while targeting an enemy to have it focus it’s attacks on that target.

SNTNL Augments:

  • Winter’s Drone – Changes the damage that your drone deals to cryo damage which can freeze enemies and helps with some of your passives.
  • Bad Dose – Cause the drone to shoot out a beam that decreases enemy movement and attack speed which also increases Zane’s fire rate and movement speed.
  • Boomsday – Adds a rocket attack to the drone’s primary weapons allowing it to fire both its machine guns and rockets at enemies.
  • Static Field – Creates a static field that fires a shock beam at enemies which replenishes Zane’s shields while draining the shields of your enemies.
  • Almighty Ordnance – Allows you to command the drone by holding the skill down to fire a barrage of missiles at a location which will reset the duration of the SNTNL.


Activating the skill will cause a short animation where you release the drone form your left arm side and it will fly off and hover around you and seek out enemies if there are any nearby.


Enemies will not be able to destroy your drone but your drone will freely deal damage to them by firing at them from afar or even going near them and firing at a close range.


Later on, the drone may be upgraded with augments which furthermore increase the damage it does and gives it access to deadlier attacks or even special functions for you to use.

This is a great way of helping you deal damage to enemies as well as a good way to initially attack enemies that may be near you and even those you can’t reach.

At higher levels the drone is capable of dealing a large amount of damage and can help you clear out enemies.

During Fight For Your life, your drone may kill enemies which can help you get back up without the need for anyone to revive you.

Skill Tree Passives


Under Cover

  • Adrenaline – Zane gains an additional action skill cooldown rate based on the amounts of shields he has which gives up to (7/14/21/28/35) percent cooldown rate.
  • Hearty Stock ­– Permanently increases shield capacity by (10/20/30/40/50) percent.
  • Ready For Action – Increases shield recharge rate by (6/12/18/24/30) percent and reduces shield charge delay by (7/14/19/24/29) percent.
  • Brain Freeze – Gain a (4/8/12/16/20) percent chance to slow enemies and eventually freeze them when dealing critical hits.
  • Stiff Upper Lip – Upon taking damage, Zane gains (6/12/16) percent damage reduction against that type of damage.
  • Rise To The Occasion – Depending on the amount of shield Zane has, (1/2/3/4/5) percent of max health regeneration is granted.
  • Confident Competence – Zane gains up to 20 percent gun damage and 33 percent accuracy based on how full his shields are.
  • Really Expensive Jacket – Reduces status effect duration affecting Zane by 50 percent.
  • Best Served Cold – Causes a cryo nova to emit from enemies that Zane kills which damages and slows enemies nearby.
  • Futility Belt – Reduces physical damage by 15 percent and [KILL SKILL] Causes elemental damage that Zane takes to become physical damage.
  • Refreshment – Attacking enemies that are frozen will grant (8/16/24) life steal.
  • Calm, Cool, Collected – When freezing an enemy, Zane’s shields begin to regenerate, if shields are full health will regenerate and if health is full, action skill cooldowns and durations become reset immediately.
  • Nerves Of Steel – Gain stacks up to 15 when Zane’s shields remain at full capacity whereas each stack grants (2/4/6) percent accuracy and (2.4/4.8/7) percent handling.
  • Distributed Denial – Barrier will gain the effects that are given by Zane’s shield mod, affecting allies with the shield properties.


  • Violent Speed – [KILL SKILL] Killing an enemy will temporarily increase Zane’s movement speed by (4/8/12/16/20) percent for 8 seconds.
  • Cold Bore – Permanently increases weapons swap speed by (13/23/31/38/43) percent and causes the next shot fired after swapping to deal (6/12/18/24/30) percent bonus cryo damage.
  • Violent Momentum – Increases gun damage by (4/8/12/16/20) percent based on how fast Zane is moving.
  • Cool Hand – Increases reload speed by (2.9/5.7/8.3/10.7/13) percent and further increases it by (4/7.0/11/14/17) percent after a kill.
  • Drone Delivery – Causes SNTNL to occasionally drop a grenade for Zane which has a cooldown of 15 seconds.
  • Salvation – [KILL SKILL] Killing an enemy will grant Zane’s weapons with (2/4/6/8/10) percent life steal for 8 seconds.
  • Death Follows Close – Increases kill skill duration by 7 seconds and bonuses by 25 percent.
  • Violent Violence – Increases fire rate by (4/8/12/16/20) percent for 8 seconds after killing an enemy.
  • Playing Dirty – Gives a (10/20/30/40/50) percent chance that a kill will grant Zane with 5 shots that fire additional projectiles.
  • Good Misfortune – [KILL SKILL] Duration of action skills are increased by (4/8/12) percent when you kill an enemy
  • Seein’ Red – All of Zane’s kill skills are activated when he uses his active skill.

Doubled Agent

  • Synchronicity – Zane gains (4/8/12/16/20) percent more gun damage for each action skill that is active.
  • Praemunitus – Permanently increases magazine size by (8.3/16.7/25) percent for Zane and his clone.
  • Borrowed Time – Increases action skill duration for each action skill that is active by (3/6/9/12/15) percent.
  • Donnybrook – When Zane kills an enemy, he and his clone gain (3/6/9/12/15) percent increased gun damage and regenerate (0.5/1/1.5/2/2.5) percent of missing health.
  • Fractal Frags – Zane’s Digi-Clone will throw a grenade based on Zane’s grenade as well as drop one if killed and [KILL SKILL] will have a 30 percent throw a grenade when Zane kills an enemy.
  • Duct Tape Mod – First shots fired from Zane’s gun have a (4/8/12/16/20) percent chance to fire a grenade along with. Has cooldown of 8 seconds.
  • Quick Breather – Zane’s shields begin to recharge immediately after swapping places with his clone.
  • Pocket Full Of Grenades – [KILL SKILL] Killing an enemy will grant (7/13/20) percent grenade regeneration for 8 seconds.
  • Old-U ­– Activating the Digi-Clone skill during Fight For Your life will instantly destroy your clone and revive you with 100% max health.
  • Supersonic Man – Zane gains (4/8/12) percent movement speed for each action skill that is active.
  • Like A Ghost – Zane and his clone have a (2/4/6) percent chance to ignore bullets with a (3/6/9) percent chance for 8 seconds added when an action skill is activated.
  • Enhance. – Activating Digi-Clone will consume up to 3 grenades where each grenade will grant 20 percent gun damage, 81 percent max health, 5 percent fire rate, 31 percent reload speed and 25 percent Digi-Clone duration.
  • Trick Of The Light ­– Causes Zane to deal (6/12/18) percent bonus shock damage to enemies that are not targeting him.
  • Double Barrel – Modifies the clone to be equipped with a copy of Zane’s weapon and gives bonus damage when swapping with the clone.



Zane is capable of having 2 active skills equipped, allowing a very adjustable type of playstyle for those who want to use more than one of his abilities.

This cane be strategically combined to come up with playstyles and plans when engaging enemies and making use of the skill tree passives to modify both Zane and his abilities can make him a very talented character to use.

Making use of his different gadgets he can easily change the outcome of fights and have different approaches when it comes to fighting his enemies, giving him offense and defense depending on how his skills are used.

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Michael James

Michael James has been an avid gamer since he was young. He loves to play video games and enjoys writing about it to share his experience and ideas with others. Aside from playing, he also enjoys helping other gamers both ingame and on-site.

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