Oorah! Do you want BIG EXPLOSIONS but don’t feel like playing Brick? The Marine COM has got you covered! It’s basically what would happen if Roland became a Mr. Torgue fanboy, focussing heavily on Rocket Launchers and Grenades. The buffs are identical to Brick’s Bombardier COM at first glance, but Roland’s skill tree puts its own twist on it.
- Big buffs to Rocket Launchers and to a lesser extend Carnage Shotguns.
- Not as reliant on the Mat 3 version as Brick, since Roland has access to Supply Drop.
- Infinite Grenades!
- Overload boosts magazine capacity on ALL weapons instead of just Rocket Launchers, giving you more flexibility in your weapon choices.
- Not as strong with Rocket Launchers as Bombardier Brick.
- Boost to Cauterize is useless in solo-play and underwhelming in coop.
- Rockets and Grenades can’t crit, making them less than ideal against certain enemies.
The Marine COM
+45% Launcher Reload Speed
+56% Launcher Fire Rate (mat2)
+23 Launcher Ammo Regeneration (mat3)
As for which skill to get +4 in; I’d always pick Overload given the choice. Cauterize is obviously not worth it, but Grenadier might seem enticing. Having 9/5 in Overload brings us just over 100% increased Magazine size, providing at least 1 extra shot for every gun! The reduction in reload rate will almost always beat out the 3% increased damage dps-wise and on top of that it’s permanently active (not on-kill).
Mat2 vs. mat3 comes down to your weapon preference and playstyle. Roland does not have the on-kill rocket regen Brick has with Master Blaster, but has Supply Drop, which replenishes up to 60% of all ammo types and is only limited by his turret cooldown. Having access to a reliable source of rockets allows us the use the mat2 (which is technically the best) version more freely. Still, certain Rocket Launchers are so ammo-hungry that only the mat3 version can support continuous use.
The Skill tree
The Marine COM is quite rare and can only drop in the third (Knoxx) DLC. Badass Devastators and Crawmerax seem to be to most reliable sources for it. Unless you trade one with a friend or spawn one in, you will likely not be levelling with this COM. Therefore I did not include a detailed levelling guide.
Where to spend the remaining 17 points depends on which version of the COM you’re using, personal preference and whether or not you play coop:
- When running the mat2 version of the COM I strongly recommend taking 5/5 Supply Drop and 5/5 Deploy to ensure you stay topped-up on ammo. Since we have to stay relatively close to our turret anyway (for the ammo), we might as well take 5/5 Aid Station. Out of the remaining 3 points you could put 1 in Cauterize for coop and maybe a couple in Stockpile for a bit more ammo or Guided Missile for the occasional stun.
- When running the mat3 version of the COM you have a lot more freedom and can basically pick whatever you’d like.
For the elemental Scorpio artefact I recommend either Shock or Corrosive. Shock to strip away enemy shields or Corrosive to increase the damage enemies will take from other sources.
Does NOT increase the damage of our Rocket Launchers, Carnage Shotguns or Grenades. Really just a stepping-stone to Metal Storm that’s better than Sentry.
Metal Storm 5/5
Grants 55% increased fire rate (11% per point instead of the advertised 6%) and 75% recoil reduction for 7 seconds on kill. Rocket Launcher fire rate goes up to 111% with the mat2 version of the COM! One of Roland’s best all-round dps skills.
Increases the damage and accuracy of our Carnage Shotguns as well as normal Shotguns, should we decide to use them.
We have to get to Quick Charge and this is better than Stockpile.
Quick Charge 5/5
Together with Stat, this is one of Roland’s premier survival skills, regenerating 7% of our shield per second over 7 seconds on kill (so 49% total). The effect stays active when at full shield, allowing for a more aggressive playstyle as long as we rack up the kills.
Increases the damage of our Grenades as well as that of our Rocket Launchers and Carnage Shotguns by 24% for 7 seconds on kill (they all share the same damage variable grenade_damage). The damage boost stacks multiplicatively with the one from our weapon proficiencies (up to +48% at level 50), making it a really good skill for our Launchers (which, unlike Carnages, also benefit from the COM). On top of that, this skill regenerates our Grenades, ensuring we can throw some at the start of every encounter.
Decreases the cooldown of our turret, which helps us get more frequent Supply Drops, which in turn prevents us from running out of ammo when using the mat2 version of the COM. Combines well with Aid Station for more frequent healing. Since Refire doesn’t work with Rocket Launchers and Grenades, this is the only real way to reduce our turret’s cooldown time.
Supply Drop x/5
Having at least 1 point in this skill goes a long way, since it will replenish 30% of ALL our ammo pools (including Grenades) every time we put our turret down. When running the mat2 version of the COM (and/or when playing coop) it might be worth bumping it up to 3-5 points (2 points provides no additional benefit) as well as taking Deploy for increased uptime.
25% more health increases the healing from Stat and Aid Station and makes us a bit more tanky.
Aid Station x/5
Helps us (and allies) get some health back when we don’t manage to score a kill for Stat and generally makes us harder to kill while near our turret. Goes well with Deploy for increased healing uptime.
One of the best skills on Roland’s tree, granting +102% increased magazine size for ALL weapons with our +4 COM boost. Getting twice the amount of shots before needing to reload improves every weapon’s effectiveness but especially that of Rocket Launchers, as they tend to have small magazines and long reload times.
A weird one; completely useless in solo-play and situational in coop. The idea is that we hit enemies with our Rockets Launchers while a teammate is close to them so the blast radius allows us to deal damage and heal at the same time. In practice this is unreliable, as neither target is usually stationary, your teammate can body-block rockets and the explosions can ‘blind’ your teammates. I found it is best used to top-off teammates in between fights and for that you’ll only ever need to invest 1 point (which automatically becomes 4 with the COM).
Offer 15% bullet resistance that applies to both health and shields, making us a bit more tanky. The best option to get to Stat if you choose not to run Aid Station, but still a good option if you do get it.
Together with Quick Charge, this is one of Roland’s premier survival skills, regenerating 5% of our health (and that of allies) per second over 7 seconds on kill (so 35% total). The effect stays active when at full Health, allowing for a more aggressive playstyle as long as we rack up the kills. Work well with Aid Station, since it helps us sustain until we get a kill and then increases the Health regen to 10% per second.
Before we dive into the assortment of awesome weapons at our disposal, some quick notes about Rocket Launchers in general:
- They don’t get a direct damage penalty from being elemental (like most other weapons do), but indirectly lose some damage/utility since the elemental part takes up the accessory.
- They always proc at x4 radius with ALL damage being elemental, but get no damage added to the initial hit (DoTs still apply).
- Part-wise; body5 and stock5 are premium, the barrel determines the type of Rocket Launcher and the scope is up to preference. The only parts that have a debatable ‘best’ option are the magazine and the accessory.
- The two ‘best’ magazines are mag4 and mag5. Mag4 grants a 15% damage boost but a penalty to reload speed, while mag5 has a faster reload and slightly increases the magazine size of some Rocket Launchers.
- Non-elemental Launchers have three possible ‘best’ accessories; Recoilless, Evil and Devastating. Recoilless greatly improves accuracy and all but removes recoil, Evil increases the velocity (+50%) and fire rate (+30%) of your rockets and Devastating increases damage (+35%) and blast radius.
The only Pearlescent Rocket Launcher improves on the 2-shot Rocket Launcher by increasing the magazine size as well as buffing damage and fire rate. While maybe not the ‘best’ in any particular category, it is still a strong and reliable all-round option and often my go-to Launcher.
For this Launcher I prefer mag4 over mag5 as the magazine is already large enough (16 rockets with our buffs!) that you hardly have to reload. While an elemental version is not necessarily bad, I would much rather have a Recoilless, Evil or Devastating accessory. With the Recoilless accessory it becomes the best option for ‘sniping’ enemies from a distance. The Evil accessory helps you hit fast-moving targets and slightly increases the fire rate. Trying to airshot Rocketeers with an Evil version is some of the most fun I’ve had! Finally the Devastating accessory increases its already sizable damage to an extend that I found myself noticeably needing fewer rockets to clear packs of enemies.
Gearbox Hive Mind
One of the newest additions to our arsenal! The Hive Mind is based on the triple-burst Rocket Launcher but has double the magazine size, more damage and a faster reload speed. It has incredible standalone damage potential (5.7k per rocket!) but low accuracy. While you can cancel the burst-fire with a melee, I found that it still often leads to accidental self-damage (which is likely fatal with its damage output). I am normally not a fan of burst-fire Launchers, but the Hive Mind is hard to ignore. Its ridiculous damage and fire rate has quickly made it my favourite Rocket Launcher to pull out in FFYL scenarios, where self-damage doesn’t matter.
This Launcher always spawns with the exact same parts and is very easy to obtain from the central Vault chest or Crawmerax. It also scales with your character level, so ‘perfect’ lvl 69 versions are not hard to come by. The Hive Mind seems to be bugged in that it DOES NOT benefit from our COM-boosts (reload speed, fire rate, ammo regen), but does benefit from skills like Metal Storm and Grenadier. Because of this bug it becomes comparatively better with the mat3 version of the COM, as it won’t miss out on the increased fire rate.
An absolute beast of a Rocket Launcher. The Niddhog has double the damage of the standard 2-shot Launcher it is based on and reloads almost twice as quickly. After travelling a relatively short distance, the main rocket explodes into smaller rockets which rain down at 90 degree angles. The mortar-like explosion can be difficult to get used to, but is very satisfying to use, since both the main rocket and the secondary rockets inflict the advertised damage. With some skilful distance-gauging, you can hit an enemy with both the initial explosion as well as some of the smaller rockets for massive damage.
Given the already insanely fast reload speed of this Rocket Launcher, mag4 is the best option. Accessory-wise, Recoilless is next to useless as the initial rocket is already accurate enough. The Evil accessory makes the main rocket travel further before splitting (may or may not be beneficial to you) and increases the fire rate, which combines well with Hyperion grade 2 material. Devastating is definitely the best accessory here, since the increased blast radius makes it easier to hit enemies even if you misjudge the distance.
This Rocket Launcher is always elemental and as such, never explosive. The Rhino’s rockets explode at regular intervals while travelling, making them highly effective at spreading elemental DoTs across large groups of enemies and this also allows you to hit flying targets. With some careful distance-gauging (similar to the Nidhogg) you can hit a target with one of the ‘airbursts’ right before the rocket itself hits, doubling your damage. All things considered the Rhino is one of the best elemental Rocket Launchers available.
Mag 4 helps up the Rhino’s otherwise lower-end damage (and with it the DoT), but Mag 5 can be preferred for the faster reload speed (it doesn’t get a 5th rocket due to the way magazine size is calculated). I prefer Mag 4, since I often only fire a couple of rockets to spread DoTs around before swapping to another Rocket Launcher for the clean-up.
M-M-M-Monster Kill! The Redemption has the highest single-shot damage (6.5k+) out of all Rocket Launchers and comes with a huge blast radius. To make up for this damage it consumes 4 rockets per shot (making it very ammo-hungry), as well as having low rocket velocity. This Launcher is great at evaporating small groups of enemies, but feels really bad when it takes more than 1 shot to kill something. If you want to use it, the mat3 version of the COM is highly recommended to sustain your ammo pool. Keep in mind that even though it has incredible damage per shot, it is beaten by several other Rocket Launchers in dps.
The Redemption benefits greatly from mag5, since it will get 3 shots as opposed to 2 (while the magazine only hold 10 rockets, the third shot will simply consume 2 additional rockets from your inventory) and helps mitigate its slow reload speed. Mag4 allows for absolute maximum damage. Both the Evil (Redemption rockets are slow!) or Devastating (even more damage and blast radius) accessories are great.
A mix between the Nidhogg and the Rhino; at regular intervals the Mongol’s rockets release a smaller rocket at a downward angle. It is very loosely based on the standard 3-shot Launcher, but consumes 3 ammo per shot (ammo-hungry!) while having +6 magazine size at the cost of reduced damage. As with the Redemption, using the mat3 version of the COM is strongly recommended for this Launcher. While it is possible to hit an enemy with both the main rocket and smaller rockets (aim for a horizontal trajectory right above their heads), this is a lot harder to do than with the Nidhogg or Rhino, because of the random angle the rocket will fly out at. Looking at direct damage, the Mongol gets overshadowed by even non-legendary Launchers. Elemental versions could have a niche, but have to compete with the Rhino. The Mongol has the potential to stack DoTs across a much wider area, but the random nature of the ‘carpet bombing’ makes it very unreliable. I found it to be most effective in narrow spaces (with long sightlines) where the smaller rockets immediately hit a wall and explode, but at that point you might as well just use a Rhino instead.
With mag4 the Mongol almost makes up for its lower damage, while mag5 provides 2 extra shots before needing to reload. Honestly up to preference. I would generally not recommend using non-elemental versions of the Mongol. However, if you do; the Recoilless and Devastating accessories can be decent for lining up shots better, or trying to make up for the mediocre damage. Don’t use one with the Evil accessory, as it increases the distance between splits (which is very counter-productive).
What… a non-legendary? Yes! The standard Helix Launchers are actually quite good. At the cost of only 1 ammo, Helix Launchers shoot 3 smaller rockets that circle around each other until they hit their target. While not that strong individually, the smaller rockets can dish out a lot of damage if you manage to land 2-3 of them on the same target (somewhat difficult because of the small blast radius). Elemental versions apply their effects on an enemy for each rocket that manages to hit. Compared to the Rhino; this makes Helix Launchers preferable for stacking DoTs against single targets, but worse against larger groups of enemies. They are also very easy to use whereas the Rhino can take some practice.
Mag5 doesn’t give us extra shots (but we already get 6), so I would prefer mag4. Non-elemental versions benefit massively from the Devastating accessory; it makes up for the smaller blast radius and lets them put out a lot more damage (3k+ per rocket). The manufacturer also matters here; Torgue for the highest damage and slightly increased fire rate, Vladof for the highest fire rate and Hyperion for accuracy. Maliwan is not recommended as the tech boost they provide is useless to Rocket Launchers, since they are already x4 and always proc.
Some notes on Carnage Shotguns:
- While they use shotgun ammo, they still fire proper rockets. This means they benefit from the Grenadier and Overload skills as well as Scattershot, but NOT from Impact.
- Like Rocket Launchers; every shot procs when they are elemental. Unlike Rocket Launchers though, their base-damage DOES get reduced by them being elemental. They also have a much lower blast radius than normal rockets, which all-in-all makes them less suited as elemental weapons.
- Part-wise; body5 and stock3 are premium. Carnages always have the same barrel and the scope is up to preference.
- Carnages only get a very small damage buff from mag5 and the Terrible accessory (additive with the +500% boost from being a Carnage, instead of multiplicative like normal Shotguns). Therefore the best versions are those with mag2 (normally a 12-shot magazine but it becomes 24 for us) coupled with the Frenzied accessory for +40% increased fire rate.
Rockets fired by the Jackal are affected by gravity, making it the only real Grenade Launcher in the game. Sadly they don’t bounce of walls like most normal grenades do, but they can allow you to sometimes hit enemies behind cover which you normally couldn’t. Compared to normal Carnage Shotguns the Jackal has higher damage and accuracy, but is arguably more difficult to aim and use in general.
A mag2 + Frenzied variant would be best, but since it’s very rare; use whatever you find!
As a Carnage, the Hydra loses its namesake spread-pattern and instead fires a single rocket. Legendary shotguns with a set spread-pattern used to get perfect accuracy when they spawn with the carnage-barrel, but this is no longer the case and they now use the displayed accuracy value. This change gives the Hydra a niche, since it benefits from increased damage and greatly increased accuracy compared to other Carnage Shotguns. So much in fact, that it can spawn with the ‘Hunter’s’ prefix, giving it the highest accuracy out of all Carnage shotguns. Combined with our spread reduction from Scattershot, the Hydra is the closest thing you’ll get to a long-range Carnage Shotgun. That being said, the low rocket velocity still makes it difficult to ‘snipe’ with.
With the Hydra I would prefer the highest possible single-shot damage (which means mag5), but it doesn’t matter too much. The Hydra’s accessory is what makes it legendary, so no room for customisation there.
This dog comes in many varieties across many different builds and is almost always solid. The Carnage version of the Bulldog is no different! The Bulldog offers a huge magazine size (40 with our Overload buffs!), increased fire rate and faster reload speed to boot. At high weapon proficiency and with Metal Storm active it spews rockets at an incredible rate, outperforming every other Carnage Shotgun on the dps front.
Since the Bulldog is already locked to its own version of mag2, the Frenzied accessory complements it nicely for faster rocket spam.
Huh? You want to use weapons that don’t go BOOM? sigh Alright then. Most weapons will be better than their baseline, because we get double the magazine size with Overload and increase their damage and fire rate with Impact and Metal Storm. Normal Shotguns (especially Matadors) are good, safe (no self-damage) close-range options that benefit from Scattershot. If you really want to use an Ogre or something, you could spec into Assault, but keep in mind that we don’t double-dip into explosive elemental damage like Brick, so it won’t be perfect.
Consistent access to Grenades is one of the main selling-points of this build. Grenadier ensures that we will always be able to toss a few Grenades at every group of enemies we encounter. If you also fully spec into Supply Drop and Deploy (recommended for the mat2 version of the COM), you will have an almost infinite supply. Grenades are a great way to soften enemies up and/or force them out of cover. They deal above-average damage with our buffs, but the true extend of their utility comes down which Mod you choose. Listed below are the ones I like to use most, but you can really use anything you want! Make sure you adjust the element of your Grenades based on the type of enemies you are fighting to maximise their effectiveness.
Bouncing Betty & MIRV
These grenade Mods are similar in that they all cause your Grenades to split up into multiple smaller ones that cover a wider area. This makes them all great at applying elemental DoTs. The difference between them lies in how they split:
Betties have a 2-second fuse before they bounce up to around head height and split into smaller grenades, which then spread out in a circle (keeping their height) and explode after a short distance. This airborne circle of death is very handy for hitting enemies behind cover. Somewhat awkwardly though, Betties tend to do the least damage at the location you throw them.
MIRVs have the same fuse-time, but since they don’t first bounce up into the air, the grenades tend to end up a lot closer to the initial explosion. This makes the thing you aim at actually take the most damage. They can also be thrown into the air, which will cause the grenades to rain down across a much larger area.
Longbow & Proximity Mine
If you want to focus more on single targets with your Grenades, go for one of these Mods:
Longbow Grenades teleport directly to the spot you aim them at, and have a 2-second before they explode. These enable you to place a Grenade wherever you want and provide a long-range option to supplement your otherwise mid- to short-range weapons.
Proximity Mines stick to whatever surface they first hit when you throw them and arm themselves. If an enemy gets close to them, they explode. I found these to be pretty versatile, since you can place them at chokepoints as traps or use them like normal Grenades with a non-existent fuse.
Transfusion Grenades explode into strings of vampyric ‘plusses’ that actively seek out enemies, sap health from them and return it back to you (or an ally if they are closer). These Grenades do not technically explode, so they can’t cause self-damage. If you don’t pick Aid Station and have trouble triggering Stat, these Grenades are a great way to keep your health topped-up.
Roland’s Quick Charge skill recharges up to 7% of our maximum shield capacity on kill, meaning that the stronger our shield, the higher the flat amount of shield we regenerate per second. The same applies to Stat and Aid Station, which regenerate 10% of our total health pool per second when combined. Since we regenerate both shield and health on-kill; we can specialise in both directions:
Torgue Macho Shield
These shields have a build-in health boost (up to 60%!) which is additive with our increased health from Fitness. Having more health makes us less weak against enemies that deal Shock damage. Depending on which body you choose; this will give Roland 2k health as well as around 2.2k shield. Our effective health pool thus amounts to 4.2k, which isn’t all that impressive, but Roland’s main strength lies in his sustainability. As soon as we get a kill, the combined shield regeneration from Quick Charge (154) and health regeneration from Stat and Aid Station (220) is 374 per second. These effects stay active for 7 seconds, meaning we restore a large part of our total health pool with a single kill (1.5k health and 1k shield). Compared to Tediore’s Panacea Shields (which grant 16 flat health regeneration), the 60% health boost from Torgue is a lot better. With either Stat or Aid Station, that’s already 30 (5% of 600 extra health) health per second, or 60 if you have both.
Pangolin Fortified Shield
For the highest possible shield capacity, you’re going to want a Pangolin. This capacity comes at a cost though, as Pangolin shields get a pretty severe penalty to their recharge delay. This means you’ll be waiting forever (up to 10 seconds) for your Shield to naturally recharge if you can’t manage to secure a kill. Depending on which body you choose; this will give Roland 1.4k health and around 3.2k shield. Our effective health pool thus amount to around 4.6k, but with a higher portion being shields. As soon as we get a kill, the combined shield regeneration from Quick Charge (224) and health regeneration from Stat and Aid Station (140) is 364 per second. These effects stay active for 7 seconds, meaning we restore a large part of our total health pool with a single kill (1k health and 1.5k shield).
Shield parts are pretty straightforward; with leftside4 and rightside4 being the best. The body is where it gets interesting, as you have to make a trade-off between capacity and recharge delay. Recharge delay is not mentioned on the item card in-game, but determines how long it takes for your shield to naturally start recharging. Body4 (AWE) has the shortest recharge delay, body3b_power (XC) has the highest capacity (and highest recharge delay) and body1_balanced (OS) gives you a bit of both. Other bodies are strictly worse than these, but pick whichever one you prefer out of these main three.
General tips and playstyle
- With rockets it’s best to aim for your target’s feet, rather than centre of mass. That way you lower the chance of missing altogether.
- Try sticking to high grounds and elevations (or jump before you shoot) as much as possible. Being higher up makes it a lot easier to aim at your target’s feet and makes it less likely for you to get caught in your own explosions.
- While the Nidhogg and Mongol are sometimes used to hit the spot on Crawmerax’ back, this is not a great Crawmerax build (can’t crit him or his minions).
When testing the different weapons I found myself using two main playstyles, depending on which version of the COM I was using. With mat2 I liked to start fights by throwing a few area-of-effect Grenades (Corrosive in my case). While those were travelling I would swap to an elemental Rocket Launcher (Incendiary) and fire one or two shots (hopefully netting a kill to make other weapons do more damage). At that point the enemies usually notice you, so I‘d put down the Scorpio to draw some aggro and then fire away with a high-damage Launcher until it’s clear.
With the mat3 version I was a lot less tactical, instead going for al more all-in approach. A couple of Transfusions to help with the sustain, but otherwise firing away with whatever Rocket Launcher I would fancy at that particular moment. Without the extra fire rate, Launchers feel a lot worse. This is where the Hive Mind came in, naturally having a high fire rate and not benefiting from the COM anyway. It became my go-to Launcher until I triggered Metal Storm. When in risk of taking a knee, I would finally drop the Scorpio and hide while spamming Grenades to get back into the fight ASAP.
I had some fun with Carnage Shotguns (especially the Jackal once I finally found one), but in the end Rocket Launchers are my preferred weapon of choice. While the Jackal and Bulldog can definitely deal some decent damage, I had to force myself to bring them out. If only they fired proper Grenades that would benefit from our Grenade Mods… but alas.
Thank you for reading this guide. I hope it was useful to you and that you have a blast (haha) playing the build! Feel free to leave questions/suggestions down below.
Special thanks to @Frightning for rekindling my interest in this 10-year old game through his guides and inspiring me to write a guide myself.