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Borderlands 2 Axton Build Guide

I have revised this build as of 10/2 to reflect new knowledge and experiences gained since release. Most notably, I have shifted back toward Gunpowder; you should not depend too much on the turret if you're going to boss farm. To be consistent, I am now recommending a +6 Battlefront, +5 Preparation class mod.

Anyhow, to those of you new to this thread, this is my jack-of-all-trades build. It focuses on maximizing sustainability and durability in each encounter through robust shield recharge and health regeneration, as well as consistent damage from the full utilization of both turrets and firearms. It is my opinion that a turret-focused build isn't viable in the late game, and a gun-focused build forfeits a versatile tool that can be used in a variety of situations. This build seeks to strike a balance between these two extremes.

Sentry (5/5) - This is pretty much a mandatory skill for anyone who uses a turret at all.
Willing (5/5) - Helps keep your shields at full. This skill is very important for this build. The bonus to shield recharge rate is unnecessary, but the reduction of shield recharge delay definitely is.
Able (5/5) - Ridiculously powerful; at level 50, your base HP is 36058; with HP bonuses, it's 50301; 2% of this is 1006.
Scorched Earth (1/1) - One-point wonder. A huge damage increase for your turrets.

Impact (5/5) - Increases damage. This is a lot more valuable than Expertise.
Overload (5/5) - 50% more ammo per magazine is ridiculously good. And yes, you should be using an AR; I prefer a Vladof AR with a "Resolute" prefix.
*Metal Storm (5/5) - If you are not using an AR, get this instead.
Longbow Turret (1/1) - One-point wonder. Greatly improves the durability of your turret.
Battlefront (4/5) - Further increases damage. Also affects grenades. Benefits from your class mod.
Duty's Call (5/5) - Further increases damage.
Do or Die (1/5) - A real game changer. Grenades and rockets really save you while downed.

Healthy (5/5) - Aside from the obvious benefits, there is also synergy in that Able and Preparation scale with maximum HP.
Preparation (3/5) - Because you can recharge your shields quickly, you will be recovering a lot of HP, even in combat. Just duck behind cover and watch the HP climb. Benefits from your class mod.

If they increase the level cap to 60, I would probably go Guerrilla (4 Ready, 5 Onslaught, 1 Double Up). It is a HUGE increase in damage output; reload speed seems to be the greatest limiting factor of DPS in this game, Onslaught is a solid steroid, and slag turrets greatly increase your damage output.



Front Line Tactician
+Team Shield Recharge Rate
-Team Shield Recharge Delay
+6 Battlefront
+5 Preparation

Vitality Relic
+Maximum HP

This is my personal favorite and the namesake of the build. I am one of those people who use The Bee, which offers a huge increase in damage at the cost of durability; having as high a maximum HP and low a shield recharge delay as possible is essential for making the most of the shield. The skill buffs are very useful as well. Battlefront is a solid increase to gun and grenade damage and Preparation allows you to heal a ridiculous 3.6% of maximum HP per second while shields are full; which is virtually all of the time with this setup.

Legendary Soldier
+Gun Damage
+Fire Rate
+Action Skill Recharge Rate
+5 Sentry
+5 Ready
+5 Impact
+5 Expertise
+5 Healthy
+5 Preparation

Vitality Relic
+Maximum HP

I had only recently become aware of a legendary class mod. In essence, it enhances the three traits that all Commandos desire above all others, and it places 5 points into every tier 1 skill. It fits into this build almost perfectly, requiring only a few small modifications, as seen here. In essence, we are redirecting a single point from Sentry and Impact into Ready and Expertise for the class mod skill bonus. We are also dropping everything from the Survival tree aside from Healthy and Preparation, and we are putting these points into Battlefront to pick up Duty Calls and Do or Die; a single point from Healthy and Preparation go into Duty's Call.


This build necessitates the use of a shield with a high recharge rate. The idea is to take advantage of Axton's BEASTLY shield recharge rate bonuses and quickly recharge your shields behind cover.

The precise ratio between shield capacity and shield recharge rate (assuming maximum badass ranks) ought to be:

[1+.15+.095+(.03)*CMOD_PREPARATION] / [1+.75+.095+CMOD_RECHARGE]

So if your class mod gives +3 Preparation and +20% shield recharge rate and your relic another +15% shield recharge rate, then your overall recharge rate needs to be around 1.335/2.195 = 60% of your shield capacity to have instant recharge. Obviously, not everyone will have such exact figures for their shields. If you're wondering about shield choice, you really have two options: 1) An Anshin shield that provides strong HP, HP regeneration, and elemental resistances. 2) The Bee (dropped by Hunter Hellgeist in Arid Nexus Boneyard; first encountered in the quest "This Just in..."), which is the bastard offspring of an express-type shield and an amplify-type shield.

Another point that I must note: A reduction in shield recharge delay is actually an increase in the rate at which the delay period is completed. Therefore, you get diminishing returns from additional shield recharge delay. The formula to determine your shield recharge delay is thus:

[SHIELD_DELAY] / [1+.60+.095+CMOD_DELAY]

As you can easily demonstrate, stacking high amounts of shield recharge delay for The Bee may not be as worthwhile as increasing damage output or maximum HP.

Furthermore, note that all shields have a base rate and a bonus from the "type" of shield that it is. Therefore, a turtle-type shield might not be getting a larger bonus from Preparation than an express-type shield or an absorb-type shield. I am unsure of the exact type bonuses, but I know that there is no such bonus for express-type shields like The Bee.


1 Preparation
5 Sentry
5 Willing
1 Scorched Earth
5 Able
5 Impact
5 Overload
1 Longbow Turret
1 Battlefront
2 Preparation
5 Healthy
3 Battlefront
1 Do or Die
5 Duty Calls

The first skill every player wants to get is Preparation, which goes a long way in sustaining you through the early game. You then want to take advantage of the overpowered early game turret, so invest in the Guerrilla tree; while you're in this tree, pick up Able. After that, you ought to be finding decent ARs, so take points in Gunpowder so that you can fight worth a damn, as well as a single point in Battlefront (the class mod above enhances Battlefront). At this point, your build will become highly equipment specific, but I recommend that you round out your durability before investing in more damage.

I recommend that you use a Sentry Engineer class mod and a relic with action skill recharge rate for the first playthrough. Your turret pretty stomps everything then. Past that, Front Line Tactician works well until you find that Legendary Soldier class mod.

Oh, and if you find The Bee at level 28, you can start allocating skill points into Survival to enhance your durability. To maximize the damage output of the Bee, focus on accuracy/stability and rate of fire (Vladof guns are good for this), as well as raw bullet count (Dahl burst-fire sniper rifles and Jacobs quad-style shotguns fit this bill).

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