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A critical hit is an attack that hits an enemy's weak spot, dealing increased damage.

Overview

Almost all enemies in Borderlands 3 have at least one weak spot – a "crit spot" – which can be hit for increased damage; in most cases this is the enemy's head. On a successful critical hit (a "crit"), the word "Critical!" pops up close to the damage number.

In Borderlands 3, melee strikes and grenades can't do critical hits (except if Moze's Pull the Holy Pin skill is used).

Vault Hunters don't have a crit spot, so enemies can't do critical hits on players.

Damage calculation

Fundamentally, a critical hit multiplies the damage dealt by 2 – but there are many bonuses that will further increase damage. There are two general types of bonuses: additive and multiplicative. This determines how each bonus is included in the formula to calculate damage, with a multiplicative bonus having a greater impact than an additive one with the same value.

CritDMG = NormalDMG × 2 × (100% + Add1 + Add2 + ...) × (100% + Mult1) × (100% + Mult2) × ...

Where NormalDMG is the damage the hit would deal if it didn't hit the crit spot.

Additive bonuses

  • Player skills: Skills such as Moze's Scorching RPM's or Amara's Transcend. FL4K has several critical damage skills which are added together in the formula. However, FL4K's Fade Away action skill follows different rules and is not included in this formula.
  • Class mod bonus: Class mods sometimes have a critical hit bonus, in most cases restricted to one weapon manufacturer.
  • Guardian Rank: The critical damage Guardian rank (accessible after the first playthrough).
  • Anointed bonus: Some anointed gear comes with a critical hit bonus that applies under certain circumstances.

Multiplicative bonuses

  • Sniper rifle bonus: Sniper rifles from all manufacturers receive a +20% bonus.
  • Weapon critical bonus: Many weapons come with a critical damage bonus which is listed on the item card.
  • Manufacturer bonus: Jakobs weapons have a +10%, Hyperion weapons a +5% bonus. Other manufacturers have no bonus.

Example

Hyperion sniper rifle, 1000 gun damage, +21% weapon crit bonus, +6.35% Guardian rank, +12% from a skill:

1000 × 2 × (100% + 12% + 6.35%) × (100% + 20%) × (100% + 21%) × (100% + 5%)
= 2000 × 118.35% × 120% × 121% × 105%
= 3609

Vehicles

All vehicle weapons can do critical hits, even Flame Thrower and Sticky Bombs. On critical hits, damage is generally multiplied by 2 – no other bonus applies, so unlike in Borderlands 2 there is no way to increase a vehicle's critical damage.

Notes

  • Unlike in Borderlands 2, rocket launchers can do critical hits like any other weapon. Critical damage calculation for explosive/splash damage weapons is simplified in Borderlands 3, it works the same way as other weapons.
  • If the Overkill Guardian perk is used, excess damage added to the next shot will also be multiplied on critical hits, greatly increasing Overkill damage potential.
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