Borderlands 3 Damage Types Guide – Elemental Damage & Weaknesses

Sleep now in the fire... and electricity, and acid, and other stuff.

Elemental damage in Borderlands 3 could be a whole lot clearer. The various ways of shocking, burning, and melting your overzealous foes tend to look very similar. And, while you can look up the effects yourself, they’re buried behind menus and tied to specific guns. That’s why we’ve gone ahead and put details on all the different kinds of elemental damage in Borderlands 3 together in one place. Now let’s take a moment to go over everything in our elemental damage guide to Borderlands 3.

You May Also Like:

The different types of damage in Borderlands 3 break down into six categories: physical, shock, incendiary, corrosive, radiation, and cryo. You can probably take a wild guess as to what a few of them basically do. Cryo damage naturally freezes enemies, for instance, while incendiary deals damage over time. Except… several different elements also deal damage over time. What’s up with that? Well, let’s break it all down, element by element.

Cryo Damage – Borderlands 3 Elemental Damage Guide

As mentioned above, this is your basic sort of ice damage. The fun doesn’t just stop at freezing, but it is a big part of it. Firing enough cryo rounds into a bad guy will slow them and eventually cause them to freeze in place. You can tell when an enemy is frozen very easily: They will turn white and become covered in ice. That’s actually your cue to hit them with a melee attack.

While frozen, enemies take three times the normal damage from melee strikes. Combine that with a weapon that deals increases melee damage and you’ve got yourself a recipe for success. In addition, cryo damage does increased damage against armored (yellow health) enemies. Although it does reduced damage against shields (blue health).

Shock Damage – Borderlands 3 Elemental Damage Guide

Shock damage gets the short end of the stick against most health types. It does reduced damage to both armor and flesh (red health bars). However, it does more damage to shields than any other damage type in Borderlands 3 — a 200 percent increase on normal difficulty. Shock also stuns foes in place, just like cryo, but doesn’t last as long or boost your melee prowess. Instead it deals intense damage over time for two seconds. That’s assuming it triggers, of course.

Incendiary Damage – Borderlands 3 Elemental Damage Guide

This is fire damage, and very likely one of the most common damage types you’ll find in Borderlands 3 early on. Like shock damage, it has reduced potency against two health types: armor and shields. Also like shock, it deals damage over time. However, incendiary damage trades the stun for a much longer burn duration. The damage over time lasts for five seconds instead of just two. And since flesh is one of the most common health types in the game (even enemies with shields usually have a red health bar, too) fire damage is arguably one of the most valuable for raw impact.

Borderlands 3 Damage Types

Corrosive Damage – Borderlands 3 Elemental Damage Guide

This is the third pillar of the rock-paper-scissors game shared with incendiary and shock damage. Corrosive damage in Borderlands 3 is most effective against armor. By that same token, it’s weak against shields and flesh. If you want to take down a robot, though, this is your number one selection! Otherwise corrosive damage works pretty much the same as incendiary. It deals high damage over time for five seconds by causing enemies to melt.

Radiation Damage – Borderlands 3 Elemental Damage Guide

Finally we have radiation damage. Like cryo, this is an especially unique sort of damage with properties that go beyond damage over time. Although radiation damage does deal damage over time, too. In fact, if it triggers, it will cause the targeted enemy to emit radiation damage to its nearby friends for eight seconds. If an enemy dies while under this effect, they will explode. And any enemies caught in the explosion also have a chance to become irradiated. The cycle goes on and on like that until you get unlucky or run out of meat for the grinder. Radiation doesn’t get a damage bonus against any health type on normal difficulty, however, and still has reduced potency against armored foes.

Normal Damage – Borderlands 3 Elemental Damage Guide

Normal — a.k.a. physical, a.k.a. kinetic — damage has no special advantages. It has reduced effectiveness against armor. That’s it! On the upside, it has slightly less of a disadvantage against armor than incendiary, shock, and radiation in Borderlands 3. It’s also the most common type of damage, so you’ll probably wind up using it a lot early on. Eventually, of course, you’ll gather enough loot and unlock enough inventory slots that you probably want to have a gun for every occasion. Until then, this is your best all-purpose bet in the field.

And that about sums it up! This is more-or-less everything you need to know about elemental damage in Borderlands 3. Thanks for taking the time to check out our info. Best of luck out there as you build your arsenal and take on the Children of the Vault the best way you can.


Steven Strom

Senior Managing Editor of Fanbyte. Everyone else at the site should listen to their recommendations sooner, honestly.

Related Articles