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Zer0 Skill Guide

Table of Contents

This thread is a part of
Doctor Dumbass: A guide to min/maxing 1.2k

Here is the scale

⭐ Terrible: These are the skills that are generally bad and its really hard to make them worthwhile.

⭐⭐ Sub-par: These skills either are just bad or did not scale well. You might be able to make them some what useable combined with other skills or gear making them an ok choice to pick if nothing better is available.

⭐⭐⭐ Average: Can help, not bad choices for going down trees.

⭐⭐⭐⭐ Great: These skills will make the game much easier and should always be taken if you are at the point in the tree they are located in.

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Outstanding: Skills of this rating will be game changers that you may want base your build and play style around.

The scores are on a 5/5 rating, if you have to boost them to 10-11/5 to make them great then they are just average.


Required first skill.

Lasts exactly 6 seconds, 15 seconds cool-down. One second is spent, if you do not use ADS, if you do ADS then no frame cool-down is spent. (ADS – aim down sites)

Max cooldown at OP8 with a Bone of the Ancients, OP8, max stats (47%) is 10.2 seconds.

Max cooldown at OP8 with a Bone of the Ancients and a Legendary Hunter (class mod) is 7.7 seconds.

You are given an additional minimum of 230%, to 650% melee damage. It has an additional minimum of 40% to 200% gun damage (based as overall weapon damage). It does not give a crit bonus, despite the card. It gives extra accuracy, stability, and a crosshair to any weapon lacking it.

Zer0’s support tree, and basic abilities. The cunning tree is an integral tree to any Zer0 load-out, and with skills that cannot be skipped or forgotten. Cunning spec contains key team skills and utility for all styles of play.

Counter Strike:

Activated by chance, from any none DOT attack. It can also be activated by ground tremors or non-damaging enemy attacks. It is a melee boost that can grant massive damage when proc’d for an Execute. For more information, check
here. 704

Base: 50%, 5/5 – 250%, 10/5 – 500%

Melee Zer0: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Gun Zer0: ⭐⭐⭐(for a hybrid build)


Fast Hands:

Gun swap and reload speed, a very good and welcome DPS skill.

Base: 5% reload – 10% swap, 5/5 is 25% reload – 50% swap, 10/5 is 50% reload – 100% swap.

All Zer0s: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐



Skill gives a fire rate and gun damage boost based on how much your shield being damaged. This skill is active in FFYL.

Though it gives an additional boost to gun damage this skill is Extremely Situational as it requires a Rough Rider for constant activation.

Base: 5% fire rate – 3% gun damage, 5/5 – 25% fire rate – 15% gun damage,
11/5 – 55% fire rate – 33% gun damage.

Melee Zer0: ⭐⭐⭐
Gun Zer0: ⭐⭐⭐



Active multiplier skill that adds damage to your attacks while you are in Deception, nearly a passive skill while in co-op. Sometimes very conditional based on the fight.

Base: 4% damage, 5/5 – 20%, 11/5 – 44%.

All Zer0s: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐


Rising Shot:

Gives additional gun and melee damage based on successive attacks. (from gun or melee)

Stack decay is based on fire rate. Fast fire rates cause quick decay and low fire rates cause long decay time. Excellent skill overall, high damage boost for any gun used outside of the following exception: (Jakobs fire rate, does not stack when using Jakobs)

Base: 2% gun damage – 1.8% melee damage, 5/5

10% gun damage – 9% melee damage, 11/5 – 22% gun damage – 19.8% melee

Melee Zer0: ⭐⭐⭐

Gun Zer0: ⭐⭐⭐⭐



Highly contested skill based on level used, rank-based. More viable in UVHM than Helios or other rank based skills. It can created multiple times through Many Must Fall chains.

Base ranks from 1-11

Melee Zer0: ⭐ (after level 61)
Gun Zer0: ⭐
Can be ⭐⭐ (based on level given)



Multiplier skill, one of Zer0’s best co-op skills. Has a base 20% debuff to single enemy from all players for 8 seconds.

This has 20% base debuff when used alone, skill applies to an 80% debuff when used in Death Blossom (kunai thrown) Skill grants 20% when used as melee attacks.

All Zer0s: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
(Requires Death Blossom for full effect)
All Zer0s: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
(When used as a combination of Deathmark – Death Blossom)



One of the best Deception skills, gives an additional gun bonus, large movement speed during Deception and health regen.

Base: 2% gun damage – 7% movement speed –
.8% health regen, 5/5 – 10% gun damage – 35% movement speed – 4% health

All Zer0s: ⭐⭐⭐⭐


Two Fang:

Gives a chance to fire twice, costs ammo for the extra bullet, and does not stack CA. It stacks with the Shadow of the Seraphs allowing for a near 100% chance to fire a second shot.

More information can be found here. 409

Base: 6% chance, 5/5 – 30% chance, 11/5 – 66% chance.

Melee Zer0: ⭐⭐⭐to ⭐⭐ (based on play style and weapons used)
Gun Zer0: ⭐⭐⭐⭐(with low ROF/recoil weapons),
⭐⭐ (with high ROF/recoil weapons)
Sniper Zer0: ⭐(can not stack CA, but can be a good situational skill)
(multiplier to fire rate bonus)


Death Blossom:

Kunai that can apply Deathmark during Deception by pressing the action skill button or key, up to 4 (four kunai per throw, five throws total) times within a single throw.

This can be applied to multiple enemies but is removed from all of them to a single enemy when one is melee’d. They have random effects, including explosives and slag.

This is refreshed whenever you use (Many Must Fall skill). Deathmark is applied using kunai hits, rather than splash damage. Applies an 80% debuff to enemies if applied directly. This damage is augmented by roid.

More information can be found
here. 284

All Zer0s: ⭐⭐⭐⭐ (Requires Deathmark for full effect)
All Zer0s: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ (When used as a combination of Deathmark -Death Blossom)

Most skills past (beyond it on the tree) B0re besides Velocity as a Melee Zer0 are not worth grabbing, and thus will not be given melee Zer0 ratings.


Critical damage bonus. Additional damage for free, given the placement at Tier 1 in the tree. In comparison to Optics, this is excellent for mobbing.

Base: 4%, 5/5 – 20%, 11/5 – 44%.

Melee Zer0: ⭐ ⭐ 
Gun Zer0: ⭐ ⭐ ⭐



is a rundown of Optics and how it affects Hyperion snipers. Optics works with every gun, it’s exceptional when using ADS type guns against enemies that have alot of effects and animations (for instance, the Ancient Dragons). It is based on the zoom of the scope used. Excellent raiding skill.

Base: 3% zoom – 12% sway reduction, 5/5 – 15% zoom – 60% sway, 11/5 – 33% zoom – 132% sway reduction

Melee Zer0: ⭐ ⭐ 
Gun Zer0: ⭐ ⭐ ⭐  Great (if you’re not used to being hit while taking a shot)



Kill skill, gives an additional critical bonus and reload bonus. It’s very useful for chaining kills, gives potentially the fastest reload of every character in the game.
Good indication that a kill was obtained, great mobbing skill.

Base: 10% critical damage – 15% reload
speed, 5/5 – 50% critical damage – 75% reload speed, 11/5 – 110%
critical damage – 165% reload speed.

Melee Zer0: ⭐ ⭐ ⭐  (but essential when grabbing B0re past 61. Reload speed feels wonderful.)
Gun Zer0: ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐



It affects your hip – aimed accuracy, your center speed, crosshair bloom, time from sprinting to crosshair up, and a few other things.

Base: +5% accuracy, 5/5 – 25% accuracy, 11/5 – 55% accuracy.

Melee Zer0: ⭐ ⭐ 
Gun Zer0: ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ , ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ (if using spread weapons)
Sniper Zer0: ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ (is one of the main 4 sniper Zer0 skills)


One Shot One Kill:

Additional bonus to the first shot in the magazine. Does not add to Amp damage.

Base is 12% damage, 5/5 is 60%, 11/5 is 132%.

Gun Zer0: ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ (best used with specific weapons such as snipers or quad shotguns)

Quick note on Synergy: OSOK works wonderfully with Killer. Although the bonus from OSOK is additional, it is still at 60%, and 132% at 11/5 which is great. Furthermore OSOK is a great opener coming out of deception to kick start Zer0’s momentum in battle.

Zer0 has Killer with a big reload speed bonus of 75% at 5/5. But a Zer0 player needs to create the synergies between these two skills, shoot-reload, shoot-reload.
However, Zer0 must make sure his enemies are dying at a consistent pace
as well.

Killer is a Kill Skill, and he needs to keep it active. OSOK is an appropriate skill on the sniper tree as this works best on snipers, shotgun is a close second.

I would not recommend it with Jacob’s revolvers such as the (Maggie – Greed), but you might make something out of it with the (Unforgiven – Rex), high damage
single shot weapons.



Situational based on choice of weapons, but most weapons work great with it. Allows less enemy tracking. Increases bullet speed, while most bullet effects are time based rather than distance based. Can severely impact guns like the Pimpernel. this 1.0k explains how guns are affected by this type of boost.

Base: 20% bullet speed – 1.5% gun damage – 1% crit damage, 5/5 – 100% bullet speed – 7.5% gun damage – 5% crit

Gun Zer0:⭐ ⭐ ⭐



Multiplied gun damage bonus that occurs upon piercing an enemy. Creates an additional set of child projectiles when B0re procs. B0re makes weapons with child projectiles deal massive amounts more damage than listed on the gun card (I.E. Pimperel, twister, DPUH, blockhead, etc).

B0re is something that requires consistent setup, so while it is an incredibly powerful skill player’s still are required to work towards maximizing B0re.

Melee Zer0: ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐  (at 72) (Adds versatility to killing enemies that is
otherwise not present)
Gun Zer0:⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ (if not skilled then you are definitely wearing pants.)


Kill Confirmed:

ADS critical bonus, takes 2.7 seconds to gain the full bonus (which can be reduced by ADSing over and over again quickly). Requires dedication to make full use of the bonus.

Base: 8% critical bonus, 5/5 – 40%, 11/5% – 88%.

Gun Zer0: ⭐ ⭐ (if more active), ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ (if willing to be more passive about kills)


At One With the Gun:

Hipfire Accuracy, Reload speed, and Magazine size bonus, specifically for sniper rifles. Massive bonus to hipfire accuracy, very useful for FFYL.

Base: 25% hipfire accuracy – 10% reload speed – +1 magazine size, 5/5 – 105% hipfire accuracy – 50% reload speed +5 magazine size.

Gun Zer0: ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ (if using snipers)

Sniper Zer0: ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐


Critical Ascension:

Each critical hit with a sniper rifle increases the critical hit damage and weapon damage with sniper rifles by 6% and 5%, respectively. The bonuses are considered additional and the effect can stack up to 999 times.

The stacks start to fade away after 6 seconds, at the rate of 1 stack per second. Scoring another critical hit with a sniper rifle will stop that process. The lifespan of any given stack is 5 minutes, after that it disappears.

Accessing the inventory, using the vending machines, climbing up the ladders, switching to another type of weapon will rapidly decay all the stacks. Using grenades or a melee attack will not affect the stacks. The sniper rifles with unlisted additional projectiles will receive the full bonus for each projectile.

This is most powerful of Zer0’s skills, and the most powerful skill in the game, Critical Ascensi0n allows a sniper Zer0 to quickly clear away an area, or kill a raid-boss solo, where critical hits are easily achievable.

The method called “The pre-stacking with a critical machine”  allows killing even the Overpower 8 Raid-Bosses in a matter of seconds.

Due to the fact that a stack “lives” for 5 minutes, it’s practically impossible for a solo player to reach 999 stacks, around 450-550 is the maximum possible. However, in multiplayer it’s possible.

Gun Zer0: ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ (if using snipers)
Sniper Zer0: ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ 

Most skills past tier 3 are not worth grabbing for a gun Zer0. Thus they will not be given gun Zer0 ratings.

Killing Blow:

Easily the third best teamplay skill in the game (Res – 1, Deathmark – 2) Multiplies melee damage by insane factors when enemy is at 30% health. One of the essential Zer0 skills, allows him to melee virtually everything with a given ‘win health’ at which he can Execute and kill the enemy. It is strong enough
to not need a roid shield against mobs.

Base: 100% melee damage, 5/5 – 500% melee damage, 11/5 – 1100% melee damage.

Melee Zer0: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Gun Zer0: ⭐⭐⭐⭐ (can be useful when mobbing)


Iron Hand:

Bonus health is detrimental or useful based on how you use it. Additive, straightforward, pretty terrible. Good for tweaking health values with health gate builds.

Base: 3% melee damage – 3% health, 5/5 – 15% melee damage – 15% health, 11/5 – 33% melee damage – 33% health.

Melee Zer0: ⭐⭐
Gun Zer0: ⭐⭐



Both a hated and loved skill. Never pick this up as a melee build, but if you play anything else this can be wonderful. The cooldown reduction (at most) can give half a second back, but the shield regen is why this skill is used.

It is a kill skill that allows a bit of defensive help, and also helps with DOT negation when under heavy fire. Shield delay is independent of Grim: The shield will recharge as long as the kill skill is active, and begin to recharge when the natural delay is over.

Base: .7% shield regen – 1.5% cooldown reduction, 5/5 – 3.5% shield regen – 7.5% cooldown reduction.

Melee Zer0: ⭐ (once a roid shield is obtained)
Gun Zer0: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

In melee builds, it is good as a form of tanking through your shield, but the moment you begin to use a roid shield it becomes a hindrance to using melee shields properly.

While it may be good in your first 10-20 levels, it quickly falls off as a defensive skill and does not teach a player how to use shield timings and delay effectively. This is more of a skill to use while picking up Execute and Backstab prior to Many Must Fall (and/or roid shields), which speaks to the fact that it cannot deserve more than a ‘Terrible’ rating.


Be Like Water:

An additional boost to melee and gun damage, based on alternating melee and gun attacks. Can be useful in lower levels, falls off later because of the micromanagement needed and tiny bonus given for effort.

Base: 6% melee damage – 4% gun damage, 5/5 –
30% melee damage – 20% gun damage, 11/5 – 66% melee damage – 44% gun

Melee Zer0:⭐⭐
Gun Zer0: ⭐⭐ (not worth building play-style around)



This gives additional gun and melee bonuses after a kill, but is mainly used for the very fun high on-kill movement speed. Good marker that a kill was obtained.

Base: 8% movement speed – 6% gun damage – 8% melee damage, 5/5 – 40% movement speed – 30% gun damage – 40% melee damage, 10/5 – 80% movement speed – 60% gun damage – 40% melee damage.

Melee Zer0: ⭐⭐⭐⭐/⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ (after grabbing Many Must Fall)
Gun Zer0: ⭐⭐⭐⭐(can be disorienting)



While in Deception, the player rushes forward a short distance extremely quickly. This is multidirectional and not bound by gravity. There is no cooldown, Deception nor Execute is affected by melee override cooldown relics.

This can have the same effect as Sal’s Fistful of Hurt (without roid). It provides a large knockback allowing you to knock and move enemies around (such as Gee or
Mad Mike). Roided, and used in melee, this is the skill that enables every Zer0 to deal massive damage.

Execute adds a multiplier of x2 at the end of the melee formula. Allows recovery from knockback and can stun enemies. Allows player to fly by executing after flying enemies. Execute is highly dependent on how an enemy moves and FOV for ensuring that the target is hit.

While it may not be directly useful for gun Zer0s, it gives a high maneuverability while in Deception and a chance to close distance much faster than running, giving high utility use to anyone able to spec it.

Melee Zer0: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Gun Zer0: ⭐⭐⭐⭐



Conditional multiplier melee skill based around meleeing enemies in the back. One of the best Zer0 melee skills.

Base: 8% melee bonus, 5/5 – 40% melee bonus, 11/5 – 88% melee bonus.

Melee Zer0: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ (Essential once able to obtain the skill)
Gun Zer0: ⭐⭐⭐ (Only useful for hybrid builds)



This is a very strange skill, and very interesting to use. It is virtually useless previous to obtaining MMF, and found more use with a Rapier than it does much else. While it can be good, the points that are used for it are a choice between it and other additional skills.

Realistically this is the best option of Zer0’s additional melee skill points when trying to reach MMF. It returns health based on how low your own health is (and the death of an enemy), but carries no guarantee of possibly health gating
you unless you are near death. This is a kill skill.

Base: 4% health return, 5/5 – 20% health return, 11/5 – 44% health return.

Melee Zer0: ⭐⭐ (previous to MMF), ⭐⭐⭐(after as kills can be more easily obtained)


Like the Wind:

Additional melee and gun damage boost based on your movement keys being held for use of the skill. Movement keys (or buttons) have to be held for it to work during Executes. Realistically this is tradable with Iron hand because the
melee boost is the same, but the two skills give different buffs to either gun damage or health.

Base: 3% gun damage – 3% melee damage, 5/5 – 15% gun damage – 15% melee damage, 11/5 – 33% gun damage – 33% melee damage.

Melee Zer0: ⭐⭐


Many Must Fall:

One of the best Zer0 melee mobbing skills. Refreshes Deception, Death Blossom, and Unforeseen after a melee kills in Deception.

Melee Zer0: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ (for mobbing, not bosses).

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