Thermal Sunder Is More Broken Than You Know

by last updated 5 months ago


Take charge with the Saint of Altra. Gauss is fast, deals high damage, and has strong survivability. Movement charges his powerful battery, so never stop moving.




60 / 60


Damage Reduction
Gauss builds
Builds by CollateralKaos.

Thermal Sunder Is More Broken Than You Know
For the [Gauss Prime] version of this Guide ^

Thermal sunder is often overlooked for [Gauss]' 4th ability, or simply built how normal nukes would like. This ability is actually a lot stronger than it seems and has more going on under the hood than it seems at first glance.

This is mainly a Guide to help you understand thermal sunder better, how to nuke with it traditionally, and help you figure out what can be done to make this build your own, or even make an entirely different build! Hopefully after this you will understand the ability well enough to apply it's effects to any situation as you like, prefer, or as is needed.

Some notes:
My build is a place holder, it's what I use, it's what I like, it's been changed a few times and not set in stone, so ignore it, copy it, or tinker with it!
Anything you think might be silly, stupid, or wrong will likely be addressed in the guide, so check it out before asking, and if not please ask or suggest instead of getting heated and insulting or the sort, this is here to help and teach, not be a negativity dump!


Thermal sunder has its 2 modes, heat and cold, and with each cast of them, the procs will interact with each other, and other existing procs, whether sunder in origin or not. It changes depending on what proc they have when you cast, and which one you have, all orders will react violently, and can be very useful:

Cold cast on Cold:
This will freeze enemies solid for a fair duration. This can be a harsh CC for enemies without overguard, and as cold will slow them down as well, you have a very powerful survivability and objective protection tool. During redline the frozen effect only takes 1 cast!

Heat cast on Heat:
This one is tricky, it takes the damage of the heat proc already on the enemy, boosts it's own damage off of that, and applies a proc based off that total. Normally it takes 0.5x the existing damage, redline will make it 1x the existing damage, and [Archon Vitality] will make it 2x, and this gets applied on top of the preexisting one, essentially doubling or tripling all heat ticks.

If recast in quick succession, this will feed off the last cast as well, creating an infinite feed back loop scaling up the heat proc damage exponentially until you can kill even level cap enemies.

Heat cast on Cold:
This will remove the cold proc, apply blast, and push enemies away from the center. It will also armor strip enemies based on your battery while above the redline threshold, not outside of redline. This can't be a 100% strip until redline is fully charged, but can be supplemented with [Corrosive Projection] to strip prior to full charge if you desire.

Cold cast on heat:
This is the big one, opposite of the previous it will pull enemies in, same as the previous it will armor strip with redline, and most of all, it will remove ALL heat procs and condense all they damage they would deal over their life time into a single big wallop, much like expedite suffering! If you paid attention with the heat casts, you would know you can stack up as much heat damage as you like, exponentially at that.

Simple simulacrum showcase:
Steel path enemy/modifier showcase:
Steel path circuit showcase:

Casting 1 heat and 1 cold with my build will deal in the range of 45k damage, casting 2 heat and 1 cold will deal a total of about 200k damage (1 sunder + sunder base damage + 2x existing heat ticks x status duration). This damage also essentially ignores armor since it gets stripped prior to the damage, and can be added too with outside heat procs!

PLEASE NOTE: overguard prevents the heat stacking from working correctly! You will have to brute force it down, but your weapons, and the buffs redline provides, can help with this! The expedite effect as well as armor strip will also still work, just not the heat multiplying.

Your sunder will scale extremely well with heat inherit primers and roar, this is entirely unneeded for all content you will normally face, but can help deal with eximus and make you hit funny numbers as we all enjoy. Well built ones will make less casts for you, but you most certainly can choose to indulge in them, or avoid them to make use of the gun buffs alongside the nuke!


I currently run a shard set to fix issues on ALL my [Gauss] builds that I would otherwise need mods for, a universal set if you will:
1 casting speed, very nice
2 energy orb effectiveness, even better than energize when tau, even more so with zenurik
2 energy max, this removes the need for [Flow], but these are flexible, especially if you sub in [Flow].

Please note, subsumes are entirely viable, and possibly very helpful, but your 1 is extremely useful for battery [Regen], good to help get your nuke moving for chasing down KPM, and (don't underestimate) very fun. Putting them over your 2 is also possible, but this makes you almost entirely reliant on CC and difficult to use shield gating, but these are just the drawbacks, try and see if the benefits of the one in mind balance them out for you!

For my build in particular I have a few interchangeables:

Arcane Aegis: use anything, this helps immensely with survivability, but its a bit overkill
[Augur Reach], [Streamline], [Cunning Drift]: these are Flex slots for whatever you may need
[Brief Respite]: [Corrosive Projection] would go here, or whatever you like, I just don't care for the armor strip ahead of time. I bide my time with enjoying my weapons.

Typical fixes:

Strength back to 100% without augmented, this can be done by swapping in Flex slots with [Umbral Intensify] and [Augur Secrets], [Growing Power], [Power Drift], etc. I don't personally because his 3 and passive are enough survivability for most content, by the time it matters his 2 will be back to 100% from augmented, and it only resets when you fully die

Other energy sources, [Flow], etc
Again, Flex slots for the latter, and the former I namely recommend energize as it fits in the somewhat blank space, companions can also solve these issues very well.

Lastly, feel free to look into interesting ways to abuse the multiple effects this ability has! Aznvasions made a fantastic melee influence version of TS nuking for instance, many others have made extremely comfortable versions, and I even made one that is for demolyst busting, hits damage cap even. It's a very versatile build, so explore stuff!

My suggested overall stats:
150%+ Duration
100%+ Efficiency
150%+ Range
100% Strength


Keep in mind, this build is a lot of casting! Although thermal sunder is the strongest way to run [Gauss] by far you can always build him numerous ways and use him however you want, especially if you have trouble with being this active and this much casting. He is very flexible... but keeping this infirmation in mind can be very useful for harder missions, especially with the existence of circuit not always giving you perfect weapon options. Use this specific build or mix the stat preferences stated before in your own way!

For weapons to use alongside this build here is my main recommendation:
Here is my take on the duration build for those interested:
And here is the speed build that has been asked for:

For weapons to use alongside this build here is my main recommendation:
Here is my take on the duration build for those interested:
And here is the speed build that has been asked for:

All those reading, thank you so much for making this build 2nd place here on Overframe! I will release a video on this way of playing [Gauss] when his prime drops, again, thank you for the support!