Magic Bullet, How it works

Magic Bullet Stacking Formula

This is essentially a clean detailing of my findings as little as I can explain it without having extra confusion so bare with me as I try to explain how I found out how Magic Bullet properly stacks.

So currently I have MB at lvl 2 which is a 25% stack per critical hit. When I run a build with just magic bullet I along with many others noticed we get a different number per shot. In MB lvl 2’s case its 40%. Mind you this is without the precision rifle damage card. Were just only using Magic Bullet. So where are we getting this number from?

Sniper Passive?

Turns out theirs a hidden number we never knew about with snipers. I strongly believe snipers have an innate 15% damage bonus with snipers. Why you may ask? because when you do the math it starts to add up but not in the way you think.

The Math behind it

If we were to take the 15% and times it by 25% we end up getting 18.75. Obviously that is no where close to the 40% we see in game.

So after looking at the equation for a while I had this random idea of putting a decimal turning the 25% into 2.5 instead. When we run the calculations with this new number 15 x 2.5 = 37.5. Were close, very close to that 40%. What I then did was start rounding and came to the conclusion that you need to round 2 different times. You must first round the 37.5 into a 38. Then from there we round 38 to 40.

If we follow this method with each level of magic bullet, every version will calculate perfectly to the numbers we see on screen (again without using damage boosting cards, just magic bullet.)

Heres a quick sheet if just the first shot of each level of magic bullet and the calculations:

  • MB lvl 1 15% stack: 15 x 1.5 = 22.5, Rounds to 23, then rounds to 25% on the first shot

  • MB lvl 2 25% stack: 15 x 2.5 = 37.5, Rounds to 38, then rounds to 40% on the first shot

  • MB lvl 3 35% stack: 15 x 3.5 = 52.5, Rounds to 53, then rounds to 55% on the first shot

  • MB lvl 4 45% stack: 15 x 4.5 = 67.5, Rounds to 68, then rounds to 70% on the first shot

  • MB lvl 5 55% stack: 15 x 5.5 = 82.5, Rounds to 83, then rounds to 85% on the first shot

  • MB lvl 6 65% stack: 15 x 6.5 = 97.5, Rounds to 98, then rounds to 100% on the first shot

(also if you notice the end results, each level was increased by 15% respectively)

Why 2 step rounding?

Look at MB lvl 2, if we just took the 37.5 and just simply rounded up without, rounding out the decimal first. That formula wont work for MB lvl 1, 3, and 5 as they would all be rounded down and would give us a different number than what the game shows us. So its important you round up with the decimal then round up again on the whole number to give us the accurate result.

Adding Precision Rifle Damage cards

If you want to throw in your precision rifle damage card into the mix too its very easy to calculate. Just add the additional number on top of the first shot calculated.

Example: You have a 60% Precision rifle damage and a lvl 3 magic bullet. The first shot wouldove been 55% alone but when you add the 60 it becomes 115% on the first shot. Try it out and see if im correct.

The Stacks

When it comes to the stacks, the magic bullet card alone is whats doing the stacking before your precision rifle damage card. No matter what my Lvl 2 MB card will only give me an additional 40% per stack. It doesnt take my precision rifle damage card and stack along side it but instead additvily at the end. That is why my first shot with this particular set will put me at 80% total on the first shot.

Labeling Error?

However with this new set of numbers (the 25% per stack becoming 2.5 instead) that would suggest we would get a 250% stack if it were reworded but as you may already know that would further confuse people as they wouldnt see this massive number being stacked. And even if they made the card say x2.5 again people would be really confused believing that MB lvl 2 is doubling each shot.

Hidden 15% number

The main component to the confusion is this hidden 15% Magic Bullet is calculating and stacking from. This 15% isnt apparent to the player nor is it mentioned in any post on any official gears forums and such. Passives arnt a new concept as currently the scout has a passive with the double energy pickup during combat. I did find one guy mentioning the possibility of this innate 15% sniper buff but cannot find the post anymore but remember people questioning the whole thing and not drawing any clear conclusion to such a thing. But I think with the introduction of Magic Bullet and this formula it very well possible snipers DO have a passive. Of course we wont truly know until either its data mined or confirmed by the devs.

Is this the formula?

Its entirely possible its a different formula all together at play but I happen to find an alternate one that just so happened to accurately predict each calculation. Hopefully I explained it as well as I could. If you still doubt the formula I urge you to give me the current levels of your magic bullet and precision rifle damage cards and I can accurately predict your first, second, and third shot with this formula. I need to know if I figured out how Magic Bullet works and put my formula under tests and peer review.

The formula goes as follows:

15 x (MB percentage increase but with a decimal between the numbers) = xx.5, Round the decimal out to get a whole number, then round up once more to get your true number per stack.


Feel free to ask any questions. I did make a video detailing everything, it long but it shows you how the hell I figured out this whole thing as it was a wild goose chase but in the end payed off. Dont wanna post it here tho as i dont know teh rules for these forums exactly so ill play it safe for now. As much as it made me bang my head against the wall trying to figure it out, the game itself gave me clues as to how it calutlates its numbers and was really fun discovering this previously unknown entity called Magic Bullet Stacking. I already posted this in the gears reddit so dont be surprised to see it here as i wanna get this topic some exposure and find out if we finally figured out Magic Bullet’s Calculations and possibly if snipers have a damage passive we never knew about… Any feedback is appreciated.


Magic Bullet just appears to have a mislabeled card. The in-game buff (level 6 is +100% up to 3 times) seems to be spot on.

No, what’s messed up is Called Shot. As far as I can tell, it’s a separate multiplier not an additive one, but from some of my calculations, a 1.4x multiplier at level 6 still seems a bit off. It definitely isn’t a simple 40% buff, that much is certain. It would be nice if TC would label cards correctly and stay away from damage obfuscation.

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right i always wounder how the headshot damage and called shot damage stack together are they additive or multiplicative? but theirs almost no way to tell. It would be ALOT better if magic bullet just said flat out level 2 increases by 40% per stack. over this obscure roundabout formula that i had to come up with to accurately predict every single shot with every single build possible.

thing about drop shot is that if you dont land it on the body itll take a alot of shots to kill a carrier and such i think the fact of it landing on the thing is doing extra damage on top of the explosion thats my only explanation because i know the boom shot and drop shot have slightly different damage values but of course drop shot can 1 to 2 shot these bosses where the boomshot can take almost the whole clip even if it was a direct hit. Also teh salvo is suppose to be the big boy rocketeer and even that almost takes a full salvo (even with maxed out extra ammo card) to drop a boss. but drop shot? nah bruh 2 direct hits.

The real question is, which Class would deal the strongest Damage in single shot?
Sniper with Called Shot and 3x Magic Bullet Stack, or Heavy while Called Shot on Boss?
I mean both of 'em using Dropshot.

Both engines are considered as headshots, when shooting Markza at them.
So if it was a direct hit with Dropshot, it should tumble down and explode.
I think Sniper would have only one opportunity for that super-massive Damage with Dropshot, but Heavy would have slightly lower Damage but consistent firepower, rounds after rounds.
I still haven’t got Magic Bullet and would have tested it myself, there was a reason I went with EMBAR + Dropshot when playing Wings 2 Sniper.

With magic bullet even at lvl 2, i rarely need to use called shot on anything aside from bosses since the stacks are a huge buff. Any weakspot is considerd a critical hit. the punchers, snatchers and carriers, their glowy bits count as critical hits so if your not too sure about a head shot then hit the belly and you keep your stacks. same goes with the swarmack and its boils, however usually its facing me and after i blow off all the boils i can see in the front. i just go for headshots and yes you can headshot explode a swarmak, ive done it a few times with the stacks.

Kestrel engines as mentioned are critical points too however i definatly see a performance difference using the longshot vs the embar on the kestral. same can be said on other enemy tyoes. for some odd reason the embar seems to be really good against garudians as most of the time 2 body shots or one headshot would down it. but when i use a longshot it takes more bullets and worse of all even tho i shoot it square in the face it sometimes doesnt register as a headshot where as with embar always does.

Another thing to consider is that the longshot does have a extra damage boost on headshots compared to the embar maybe thats why when i headshot swarmaks most of the time it was done with a longshot over a embar but that is IF you aiming at the head. but considering the boss itself its questionable if thats a viable strat with the proper cards. over trying to shoot every boil possible.

hell ive always headshot any boss that approches, snather flinches alot when you do that and since longshot has a massive headshot boost maybe thats viable? same goes for carrier, when the stomach isnt opend i shoot the face and keep my stacks however no matter how hard i try, heaadshot explosion is not possible on carrier and yes i did shoot it in the face and kept my stacks so it was a headshot but it only registers as a lonsghot kill etc.

would love to do some more in the field testing with Magic bullet and really see its capabilites because so far in terms of damage TC did a damn good job giving snipers this card as it made em bad ■■■■■ with damage and accuracy. And im happy with it being at lvl 2 that gives me 40% stacks. i cant imagine how godly it is at level 6 with 100% per stack!

Oh btw did you know Boltok is considerd a precission rifle? it benifits from reload speed, ammo capacity, damage and yes Magic Bullet too. man its so satisfying popping everything with 1 shot.

Love all the effort put in here. This is the kind of theorycrafting I would normally see in the Diablo forums.

Just to check, is the 15% “sniper buff” only applicable when magic bullet is put into play? If it works for snipers all the time, does the same weapon (for example embar, longshot, markza) do the same damage for head or bodyshots as when any other class is using them? (Ie is the extra damage only applicable for headshots/critical hits.

Im keen to know if snipers get a buff to their weapons all the time, or just when MB is active, or whether the whole thing is simply that a headshot bonus “stacks” with MB.

That is something i want to test. id say load up diffferent difficulties and waves and try to pop a head as a sniper and non sniper and see. because on certain difficulties you cant insta kill headshot certain mobs.

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Can I also add two key things?

(1) A sniper using a repair tool will lose any Magic Bullet bonus stacked. The repair tool counts as a weapon so when it’s used to fix things, it counts as a weapon being fired.

(2) Grenade plants also count and void the Magic Bullet bonus that is stacked. As soon as the grenade plants goes off , any stacked bonus disappears. FYI - I can’t remember if a thrown grenade counts (presumably it does but I’m not totally sure). Anyone confirm?


Can confirm. It seems to be anything that does damage or can do damage (the repair tool can damage and kill enemies).

nice thread, interesting analysis, you and some commenters did some math. appreciate, id like to see breakdowns like these on every special card

What about melee, does that count and loses the Magic Bullet stack?

Agreed, I have scored 4000-4500 points off carriers many times with the Dropshot as Scout. :smile:

where can you find out the max health of mobs? obviously without poision modifyers.

I knew it was somewhere in there. I was generalizing. I could have sworn I hit a boss or two for 43xx points but it could have been assist on another simultaneously or splash damage on another mob close by. :laughing:

Now that i know the maths behind it, will that make it more effective or have no influence at all?

It wont make it “more” effective but when you theory craft your card combinations at the very least you will know how much damage youd pump out per shot. Ive seen old math done on certain car sets and people come out with a much lower damage output then what its suppose to be.

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That very well could be it. As Scout I try to make it fun and kill the boss before heavy. Have killed many bosses. The only one that gives me trouble with Dropshot is the damn Kestrel.

Both players shooting at the boss was unintended teamwork?