Borderlands 2 – Dire Straits: Level 80 Axton Build

Borderlands 2 - Dire Straits: Level 80 Axton Build
Borderlands 2 - Dire Straits: Level 80 Axton Build

My Thoughts on the Character

Axton holds a special place in my old(?) heart. He was my first ever Borderlands character, for starters. Early on people were talking about how Axton was the weakest and generally worst character in the game, which gave him this underdog vibe in my eyes. He may not as OP as Sal or Krieg, but he knows all the chords (mind, it’s strictly rhythm at times, he doesn’t wanna make it cry or sing). He doesn’t really mind if he doesn’t make the scene- he’s got a daytime job. He’s doing alright.

Axton IS good and strong, but it takes more to get him to work than just pressing F, holding W and spam-clicking. That ain’t what he calls Rock n’ Roll. This does however put him somewhat under the rest of his Vault-hunting team. And hey, maybe that’s why he’s still my Number 1.

All in all, he’s fun to play, with a good voice actor and personality, he’s just a little less colourful as a character and not as broken in gameplay than the others (at least in my experience).

Guerrilla: Pimp My Turret

I generally consider this to be the tree that’s focused on upgrading your turret. The other trees also have turret-based skills, but if I had to pick a tree that’s the “turret-tree”, this is it. So if you wish to kit your turret out, this is the tree to go to!

* Sentry (5 points): Not only does your turret fire more shots per burst, but it stays out for longer. With the class mod we’ll be using, that’s an extra 20 seconds. Yummy.

* Ready (1 point): More reload speed is always welcome. 1 point may seem like little, but our class mod boosts this to 6 points, giving us a +48% increase for a single point, so it’s worth it in my book.

* Willing (5 points): Our shield recharge rate gets a +75% boost, and the delay goes down by -60%, even without a point boost! We all love shields after all (unless you’re Krieg, in which case I completly understand), so we’ll take it.

We skip out on Laser Sight. While Accuracy is nice, it also means your turret will actually take longer to fire, meaning it’ll shoot less and waste plenty of duration. Besides, it’s accurate enough as is, so no thanks, we’ll do without.

* Onslaught (5 points): Killing an enemy makes us deal +30% more damage and move +60% faster. Gun damage is always good to have, and I can’t say no to moving faster than a popular internet figure looses their career, either.

* Able (5 points): Who doesn’t like healing? Dealing damage to any enemy in any way regenerates +2% of your HP for 3 seconds. While the effect doesn’t stack, it’s always helpful to have since you’ll always be dealing damage in a fight, and it can be useful to regenerate health even when your shields are up. Just shoot some guns, and you’ll feel alright (when you hear the music ring).

* Rocket Pods (1 point): Because, you know. Rockets.

We’re skipping out on Grenadier. More grenades is always nice, but running out won’t be much of a problem with the grenade mod we’ll be using, so no need to spend extra points here. More on that when we get to the gear though.

* Crisis Management (5 points): When we run out of shields, our gun damage goes up by +35%. We get a melee boost of +30% as well, but melee is still not Axton’s strong suit. But hey, on UVHM, you run out of shields sometimes, and having the brawn to survive that is always useful.

* Double Up (1 point): The Sabre Turret now shoots slag bullets, and has a second gun on it. The turret goes from a regular gun to more of a backup from here on out, being less about dealing damage, and more about weakening your enemies so you can hurt them more. This and another piece of gear means that we have slag pretty much covered, and are free to have our guns be of some other element (or no element at all). Yay, options!

Gunpowder: Pimp My Guns

Gunpowder is the tree that in my eyes is all about guns and all else that goes “boom”. This is the tree we spec the least into, mainly due to a lack of more skill points and other skills taking priority. But there are some goodies in here still, so let’s shoot us some guns, eh?

* Impact (5 points): A raw increase to gun damage and melee damage. With the class mod we’re using, that’s a +40% boost! And we’re only on the first tier of the tree at this point!

* Expertise (1 point): Similar to Ready, we’re putting a point in here to reap the benefits of the 5 point that comes with the class mod. We get ourselves a +84% increase to aim speed AND weapon swap speed, meaning we can easily swap weapons in a millisecond. We also get an extra +42% movement speed when aiming as an added bonus.

* Metal Storm (5 points): Killing an enemy gives us an extra +60% fire rate and +75% recoil reduction with our guns. We’re of course here for the boost to fire rate. And like Willing, that amount isn’t even with a class mod! We’re almost firing at twice the speed for just five points and a single kill.

We choose to ignore Overload. Mag size is good, and had it been with all guns I would be all over it, but even if we are using an assault rifle, it’s not really worth the points.

* Steady (5 points): I’m gonna be honest, this is the one skill where if you want to spend it on anything else, go right ahead. We get +40% recoil reduction, +25 grenade damage and +20% launcher damage. The Launcher damage is pretty much all we’ll be using with this gear loadout, since our grenades aren’t for damaging (at least not directly). At this point I had actually ran out of skills to really invest in, so this skill is pretty much a throwaway.

* Battlefront (5 points): Whenever our Turret is out, all out damage types get a +30% boost. Guns, melee, grenades… all of em’. I mean, we’ll be tossin’ out our turret anyway, so why not get more benefits from it in the process?

We do not pick up Longbow. I just don’t see much of a use for it- throw it too far away and it might get destroyed, or hit a wall and fall to the ground, wasting more of it’s duration. throw it closer to you, and you might as well just not use the skill. Maybe with the right skills it’s useful, like Mag-lock, Gemini and Nuke, but we’re not using either of those, so I see no point in getting it.

Nor do I see a point in getting Duty Calls. Most of the guns we’re using (if not all based on what element of a certain weapon you use) are elemental, so the skill’s buff to non-elemental guns is kinda pointless.

* Do or Die (1 point): This is the last skill in this tree we pick up. it boosts out Grenade damage and launcher damage by +10%, but more importantly, it lets you throw grenades in Fight For Your Life mode. With the grenade mod we’re using, that’s incredibly useful if we ever get knocked down.

Ranger is nice in concept, but the buffs are so weak (+5%) that I can’t really see the point in investing in it. Meanwhile at the final tier, Nuke sounds bada$$, but we don’t have enough points to spare to afford it. Would that I could use my turret as a small nuclear bomb, but I can’t without loosing out on some other really useful skills.

Survival: Pimp My Self

Survival is all about making you better. We already have improved guns and a better turret, so now it’s OUR turn to get some upgrades.

* Preparation (5 points): We now have a +30% increase to our shield capacity, and whenever our shields are full, we regain +4% of our max health per second.

Despite the buff from our class mod, we do not get Healthy. On UVHM, on the higher levels, one or two shots without a shield is going to knock you down either way, so I don’t see this health buff that necessary.

* Pressure (5 points): The lower our health is, the faster we reload and the faster out shields recharge, up to +70% reload speed and a -60% shorter recharge delay. Again with the second-tier skills giving stupid-good buffs (or not being good at all. Speaking of)…

We do not get Last Ditch Effort. Damage and move speed in FFYL is nice and all, but with Do or Die and the gear we have, we can get ourselves out of FFYL relatively well- especially if the enemy is weak to fire and has no shield. So I see no use in getting it personally.

* Quick Charge (5 points): Killing an enemy quickly regenerates +5% of our shields every second. Useful for when getting out of FFYL, or just when low on shields in general.

Forbearance shortens the duration of status effects like fire or slag, as well as boosts max health by +1% per point spent into it. I just don’t see the worth in it. Nor do I see the worth in Phalanx Shield- holy hell do I not see the worth in this. Enemies can still enter the shield dome, and the shield itself dies WAY too fast. So never, EVER pick this, it’s just plain bad.

Same goes for Mag-Lock. It’s neat, and might work okay with longbow, but as it is it’s not worth the point to have your turret stick to the back of cover because you weren’t thinking of where you were aiming the turret and now it can’t shoot anything. Good concept, but kinda bad overall.

* Resourceful (5 points): +25% to your turret’s cooldown rate. There isn’t much more to it, we just get our turret back faster.

* Grit (5 points): We get a 20% change to just NOT DIE. To elaborate, shots that would normally kill us not only doesn’t deal damage to us, but regenerates half of our max HP as well. 20% may seem small, but I’ve had Grit go off in rapid succession, and it’s kept me alive so many times. Some might argue that “with Do or Die and the gear we have, we can get ourselves out of FFYL relatively well- especially if the enemy is weak to fire and has no shield. So I see no use in getting it personally”, but I think Grit is worth it. If you don’t, go ahead and leave it, spend it on something else instead.

We do not get Gemini. Having two turrets sounds great on paper, but with the slag shots, it doesn’t really do much for us. Maybe with another build it’s useful, but not here. One is enough more times than it isn’t.

The Weapons: Pimp my Arsenal

Of course, no Vault Hunter is complete without some guns to shoot! I mean, except for Krieg, he’d probably be alright without guns… But whatever, my point still stands. All we can afford may just be a standard old Guitar gun, but with some grinding we’ll get up under the lights to play our thing with a set of shiny unique weapons!

Weapon 1: Unkempt Harold – Dropped by Savage Lee in Three Horns Divide

Torgue weapons are really good with Axton in general, as every skill that increases Grenade Damage also increases the damage of Torgue projectiles. While we won’t be using that many skills that buff ‘Nade Damage in this particular build, the Harold is still a solid pick for a pistol.

Weapon 2: Toothpick – 1% chance to drop from Sandworms in the Commander Lilith DLC

A new challenger appears! Indeed, this shiny sumb!tch may seem okay at first, but when paired with a unique relic, a relic we’ll be using, you’ll find it’s actually really strong. As long as it isn’t resistant to fire damage, Toothpick (with Relic) can take down most enemies very fast, making this baby worth the grind.

Weapon 3: Free slot, preferably a shotgun

There are a number of shotguns that work well with Axton. The Omen, Swordsplosion, Flakker or even just a regular Torgue Ravager are three I see a lot. Now personally, I’m not that much a fan of any of those weapons, so I will be substituting this with a Conference Call. Because, well, I just like Hyperion shotguns. I like em’ a lot. Experiment a little and see what you think fits the best. I won’t judge whatever it is you pick. Unless it’s the Bane. In which case I’ll judge you a totally rad person who deserves a high-five.

Weapon 4: World Burn – Dropped by Lt. Bolson in the Dahl Abandon

You heard me right, that’s TWO of the new weapons added in the Lilith DLC that we’ll be using! The World Burn is very much like the Nukem, except it’s sparkly, always deals Fire Damage and uses way less rockets. It’s really useful for getting out of FFYL if need be.

The Gear: Pimp My… Accessories? IDK

Ah yes, the gear. If the weapons are the song, the other gear is the bass. I think. Anyway, here’s whatchu want for Axton

Shield: Free slot… again. Yeah.

Ok, look, I really don’t know if there’s any particular shield that works really well with Axton and/or any of his skills. I know it’s lazy of me to just say “do whatever”, this guide has been haunting me since the Lilith DLC came out, and I really need to finish this guide before my OCD tries to strangle me in my sleep. If you have any idea for a good Axton shield, let me know and I’ll give it a shot. In the meantime, go with whatever you think works.

Grenade Mod: Purple Magic Missile – Dropped from Badass Wizards.

This is why we won’t worry too much about Grenade Damage. This mod fires several slag projectiles that home in on the nearest-ish target and upon impact explodes in a cloud of slag. Now, there are a few things to know about this mod: Firstly, there are two versions. The blue one creates two projectiles while the purple one creates four. We want the Purple one. Secondly, Grenade capacity won’t be a problem, since the grenades actually slowly regenerate. Thirdly, the ‘nades take a second once thrown to home in on a target. To work around this, throw it at the ground. They’ll bounce off the ground and pretty much immediately home in on a target.

Relic: Mouthwash – Reward for beating the Lilith DLC story.

Mouthwash is a simple relic- it buffs the damage done by Toothpick, the rifle I mentioned earlier. And the difference between not having Mouthwash and having Mouthwash is pretty significant. It’s like the difference between 144p and 1080p. So if you’re taking my advice to use Toothpick, use Mouthwash too.

Class Mod: Legendary Soldier – Dropped by Verm, Vora or Pete the Invincible.

This class mod is rad. unlike other legendary mods, this will increase 6 of your skills by +5 points at max level, these skills being both the starter skills on all three skill trees. Additionally, it also increases Cooldown Rate, Fire Rate, and Gun Damage up to 51%, 24% and 42% respectively, depending on the mod itself. As the red text says: “It’s like Christmas.”

The Skills:

Borderlands 2 - Dire Straits: Level 80 Axton Build


Thanks for giving this read! I plan on making guides like these for all the characters in BL2 and the Pre-Sequel- you know, unless Gearbox release Michael Mamarill and the return of Dr. Ned in a year, raising the level cap to 100, thus basically outdating all of my guides again. Anyway, doing this takes time, and Borderlands isn’t the only game I play- That and I have other stuff to waste my life doing as well. And, you know, the usual depression stuff that everyone seems to have these days. Haha, fun.

As of right now, I don’t have a screenshot of the gear available and the guide picture is kinda sh!t. I’ll fix both of those as soon as I can, don’t worry. I’m still looking for a good shield as well so as to not have too many free spaces in the guide. Check back later, and maybe I’ll have everything sorted out by then!

Anyway, thanks again, and enjoy(?) this Q&A-thingy to close this guide off:

Q: Adam, I don’t know how you do it, but that’s one handsome Axton. Care to tell what head and skin you’re using?

A: Absolutely, disembodied question-asker! The head is called Chopper Topper, and is bought for Torgue Tokens in the Campaign of Carnage DLC. The skin is called Axton P.I, and is dropped from the Son of Crawmerax in the Son of Crawmerax Headhunter pack.

Q: Can you dupe some of this stuff with me?

A: Nope. What fun is there in loot if you didn’t earn it, after all?

Q: Will you have a video showing this stuff off?

A: No, I don’t think I will. I don’t have the means to edit one together, nor record one. Besides, it’s easy to just read this, look at the pretty pictures, and emulate that. As for it’s effectiveness, you’ll just have to trust me.

Q: Why the dumb music references all of a sudden?

A: I watched JoJo. Oops.

Helena Stamatina
About Helena Stamatina 2715 Articles
My first game was Naughty Dog’s Crash Bandicoot (PlayStation) back in 1996. And since then gaming has been my main hobby. I turned my passion for gaming into a job by starting my first geek blog in 2009. When I’m not working on the site, I play mostly on my PlayStation. But I also love outdoor activities and especially skiing.

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