So we’ve all done the Hellborn Mania build before, nothing new right? Well much as I’ve wanted to enjoy Krieg as much as the other Vault Hunters the gap between his melee and gun gameplay has always just kind of rubbed me the wrong way and despite all the people raving over Blood Mania for Bloodsplosion chain-kills and obscene levels of explosive damage with Bombardier and other skills working together, I still kept dying more often than not and I still felt like all I was doing was waiting to keep going into Release the Beast every two minutes to get anywhere and made getting any proper guns for him kinda pointless.
So I tried the Hell Blood route and limited how much I used BXR in combat and it still kept coming up short. But if I don’t like using him high damage in all melee but all guns he kinda sucks, the obvious route is to try and balance it, and the best I found are two builds, one for slow, high survivability damage, and one for high output elemental chaos. This is the first such build, the high output ElemenTitan build.
The Hellborn Mania build pretty much is flushed out as it can be, but what looped me back around to it was the extent of tinkering and experimenting I did with gear combinations and started to see that proper used, Krieg had the capacity to rival Maya for expedient effectiveness with elemental damage. Some might say that’s already implied with the Hellborn tree but I looped it back around to how it could interact with the Mania tree in terms of applicable gear with the skills and a bit of experimenting yielded some interesting results I hadn’t seen any inkling of when using the Hell Mania build previously.
Everyone should know by now this tree pretty much exists just to supplement Krieg’s melee and cap with Release the Beast, occasionally tinkering with stuff for his Fight for Your Life ability and co-op play. Here you want to buff his melee ability as straightforwardly as you could already mostly guess at for skills.
Empty the Rage: Basic boost to melee damage, a solid 20% boost at 5/5 that adds an additional 50% when magazine is emptied or shields are down, thus typically used with the Rough Rider shield but can also boost an already impressive use of the Rapier machine rifle when the magazine is left empty.
Feed the Meat: 50% boost to total health and an additional 2.5 seconds to shield recharge delay at 5/5, making Krieg healthier for longer and keeping his shields down longer for skill/roid activation. Your basic stat supplementing.
Embrace the Pain: Another shield delaying skill that boosts fire rate when shields are depleted, but only up to 35% and an additional 5 seconds of delay at 5/5. Another one typically used with the Rough Rider to give all weapons better output.
Thrill of the Kill: Krieg’s one healing skill, most people tend to pass it by due to the usage of BXR for healing along with Moxxi weapons, but in a pinch this can save his hide during extensive firefights. Grants up to 50% of overkill damage as health depending on how low his health is, and just at 1/5, making it one of those skills that can be highly effective even with just minimal investment.
Strip The Flesh: A 15% boost to Explosive damage at 5/5, with another 15% added during fight for your life, rounding out utility for use of Explosive weapons.
Salt the Wound: Another skill activated upon shield depletion, this adds a damage boost stack for all incoming damage to health of 7.5% for melee damage and 5% for shotgun damage, up to 20 stacks total at 5/5. With Rough Rider this is also always active, and without can allow for huge jumps in close range melee and shotgun damage to enemies.
Silence the Voices: A massive 250% boost to melee damage at 5/5, but with a 12% chance to attack yourself with every melee attack. Helpfully still applies to thrown buzz axes during BXR without any chance of inflicting self-harm.
Release the Beast: Considered Krieg’s biggest game changer skill, it empowers BXR to turn him into a Badass Mutant Pyscho with an additional 100% melee damage boost and 50% damage reduction when activated at 33% or less of health (the “!” warning level indicator is active) and grants a full heal and temporary invulnerability during the transformation and fully recharges BXR after it ends. Pretty much all melee bonuses from skills still apply during Release the Beast and can utilize roid bonuses, but not melee damage boosts from bladed weapons.
The skill tree revolves around fire elemental damage to trigger effects and deal damage, but it actually has uses that apply to all elemental effects including slag, but excluding explosive damage. Certain skills that boost fire rate, weapon damage and magazine size and such still benefit explosive weapons however.
Burn, Baby, Burn Grants a 35% increase to burn damage, boosted to 75% when Krieg is on fire, and has a 35% chance to set him on fire for every fire attack used. Makes all fire attacks more effective by route, though even with Delusional Damage it doesn’t affect shock, corrosive or slag damage at all.
Fuel the Fire: The key skill to Krieg’s effectiveness with all elemental damage types, this kill skill gives an additional 200% to elemental effect activation chance on top of normal percentage capacity, whether it’s fire, shock, corrosive or slag damage, in addition to another 35% chance to set himself on fire per fire attack.
Numbed Nerves: This skill gives Krieg a flat 50% damage reduction when he’s on fire, making the fire DoT less damaging to him and reducing all other incoming damage for the burn duration. This skill does still apply when in BXR and Release the Beast, making him even tankier as a result.
Pain is Power: This skill grants a 25% boost to all melee and weapon damage except for sniper rifles at the cost of a 25% reduction to critical hit damage, making Krieg focus more on body shots than critical blows as a result. Damage boost is increased to 50% when Krieg is on fire.
Delusional Damage: This mid-tier game changer makes all elemental effects capable of setting Krieg on fire, taking from Burn,Baby,Burn and Fuel the Fire for combined activation percentage chance for all element types. Thus allowing Krieg to use and maintain his skill bonuses even when facing enemies who require other elements to damage them.
Elemental Elation: Upon dealing elemental status effects to enemies, Krieg gains stacks of fire rate and magazine size of 5% at 5/5, to a total of 20 stacks. Stacks do not decay while on fire, and can be continuously reapplied to keep the boost going.
Fire Fiend: This skill grants a burn effect chance to all of Krieg’s melee attacks, up to 50% at 5/5 with a 50% increase to weapon accuracy and a 35% increase to reload speed when Krieg is on fire. Allows Krieg to ignite enemies at melee range and when throwing buzz axes during BXR and Release the Beast with a chance to ignite them and thus himself during the duration.
Flame Flare: Adds and additional 100% burn duration time to Krieg at 5/5 whenever he ignites himself, with a 15% chance to apply another self-ignition upon the end of the duration. Allows Krieg to keep his boosted skills up for longer with a chance to reactivate them without needing to affect another enemy first.
Elemental Empathy: Converts 25% of burn damage from burn status effects to health at 5/5, applies to damage Krieg deals to enemies and his own self-ignition damage, reducing it even further and synergizing with Numbed Nerves and Moxxi weapons for self-healing. Does not heal from shock or corrosive DoT effects.
Raving Retribution: Krieg’s Hellborn capstone skill allows him to spawn and fire off homing fireballs when on fire and taking damage from enemies, at a rate of one fireball per second. Acts as instant bonus fire damage and constantly allows for dealing fire DoTs to enemies and thus Krieg himself to keep constantly re-igniting himself and continuing to spawn fireballs. Fireballs spawn from all forms of damage, bullets, melee, thrown projectiles, etc, and allows Krieg another means to ignite himself and use ignition skill bonuses during BXR and Release the Beast.
Krieg’s tendency towards melee damage reflects onto his gunplay, making short to mid range weapons his best options. Shotguns and pistols have high damage and elemental effect chances, while SMGs can put out significant damage and elemental DoTs on multiple enemies to stack damage and Krieg’s self-ignition skills. Rocket launchers tend to be more for FFYL situations but he still does rather well with them, and he’s one of the few Vault Hunters who does get some significant use out of assault rifles, though not so much out of sniper rifles overall.
Krieg does best with shotguns overall due to the high damage output and the increased elemental effect chances of all the pellets put out, and his Salt the Wound skill greatly increases damage for them when he takes direct health damage. Embrace the Pain and Elemental Elation greatly boost their fire rates and grant larger magazine sizes for him to work with to get as much prolonged use out of them as possible.
The Slow Hand: Krieg gets some of the best use out of one of the rarer Moxxi guns and the only E-Tech gun amongst them, a variant Splatgun that has no projectile arc but fires straight like a normal weapon at reduced projectile speed. Most versions are weaker than other typical shotguns, but the sheer power of each projectile at full listed damage and when tripled in number by the Practicable prefix make it more powerful than almost all other shotguns in the game. With the high effect chances and a heal of 3.5% of all outgoing damage dealt, it’s one of the perfect weapons for Krieg in all elements and one of the better guns for slagging enemies.
The Conference Call: A more notable shotgun for its mobbing abilities, elemental versions of this gun with the Practicable prefix allow Krieg to deal elemental DoTs to multiple enemies at once and keep his ignition skills running for longer and stacking high the whole time. The damage output is less than the Slow Hand for solo targets, but even with its splash damage radius the Slow Hand can’t match the multi-target range of the Conference Call.
The Interfacer: Considered one of the best shotguns in the game, this one is actually optional on Krieg for this build if you can believe it. While the increased pellet damage, pellet count and unlisted pellets and focused spread can make it one of the strongest weapons in the game even compared to the Conference Call and better for solo enemies, Krieg is often either too far or too close to make optimal use of the fixed spread pattern’s convergence, especially with the way this build works. However it is still a viable choice if the player can manage it, and the massive critical damage bonus helps mitigate the loss from the Pain is Power critical damage reduction, as well as keep Krieg moving at full speed even when sighting the gun.
The Omen: A Tediore Seraph that is a bit of a rare beast due to it only dropping from the Ancient Dragons of Destruction, it fires nine E-Tech projectiles, eight in a circle pattern with one projectile in the center that converges and expands as it travels, making for an unusually firing but fairly powerful shotgun with the trademark Tediore thrown reload that explodes on impact. Also one of the few higher tier shotguns that only uses one round of ammo per shot, even for an E-Tech. The elemental varieties can be effective for Krieg on this build, but given how tough a challenge it is to farm the Dragons this one is highly optional as a choice.
The SWORDSPLOSION!!!: The only E-Tech Torgue gun in the game, it fires off a spinning sword shaped projectile at reduced speed that explodes and throws off smaller sword shaped grenades upon impact, up to three projectiles and six grenades with the Casual prefix making it technically the strongest explosive shotgun in the game. Most people playing Krieg find it a big risk due to how the explosions can damage him as well, but on this build having a reliable means of explosive damage is still a solid fallback for this build for any situation, and this gun fills that niche for shotguns.
The Twister: The only shock element Jakobs weapon in the game and one of the strongest shotguns in terms of pellet damage with a slow moving tornado shaped spread with a psuedo-B0re effect like the skill Zer0 has, it can be devastating at close range, ie melee range which is where Krieg excels. This is one of the best guns for him to use at melee range for shield stripping and shock damage/DoTs, though the slow projectile speed makes it tough to use on faster moving enemies. Harder to get due to being a rare drop from a single overpowered enemy, but if you can get it, preferably with the Rustler’s prefix, it is a massive boon to the build.
The Butcher: The last of the special Hyperion shotguns, whereas the others focus on high unlisted pellet counts and unique spread patterns, the Butcher uses insane fire rates to dish out high DPS on solo targets at the expense of lower pellet damage and lowered pellet count, 3 for most versions and 5 for the Practicable version. Like the Bitch and the Lady Fist it has an even faster jump to max accuracy than other Hyperion shotguns, which with its other traits make it the shotgun equivalent to an assault rifle. All this is dramatically aided by the indirect ammo regeneration via the random magazine refilling, giving it a hugely varied magazine size and in some cases mitigating ammo loss completely, though randomized for activation so it’s more of a lucky happenstance than a reliable effect at times. Paired with Krieg’s boosts to fire rate and magazine size and to base shotgun damage it maximizes the strengths of the gun and reduces the weaknesses greatly, with elemental versions being able to hose enemies to stack DoTs and keep his abilities high. The Practicable version is a solid requirement for this one to boost the gun’s damage as much as possible, and making the already low chance farming for it all the lower so this is definitely optional to the build, but a boon in all elements.
Krieg does pretty well with pistols at close range, his skills that boost fire rate can help him empty out whole magazines into enemies and elemental pistols all have typically high effect chances for his ignition skills.
The Hornet: One of the first legendaries you can get in the game, the Dahl Hornet is considered by many to be the best corrosive gun the game has to offer, with high splash damage for projectiles and a high burst count when zoomed, even for a Dahl pistol. It’s strong enough to chew through a fair number of enemies who aren’t typically vulnerable to corrosive damage due to the high bullet output, especially the Twin prefix version.
Gwen’s Head: Another Dahl gun, rarer to find due to it being more of a scavenger hunt than farming for it, it pops up in one of several set locations around the Dust every time a player enters it. With high fire rate, good damage and another with higher than average bullets for the burst count along with a solid critical damage boost, this gun works well in almost any prefix or element, and is one of the few non-elemental guns that works well with Krieg even on this build. The elemental chances are a bit lower, but the sheer bullet output can make them some of the better ones for DoTs and elemental damage, again another option to offset Krieg’s reduced critical damage from Pain is Power. Not required but another boon if used.
The Unkempt Harold: Double Penetrating prefix, this is Krieg’s explosive go-to since unlike the SWORDSPLOSION!!! it doesn’t damage him from the splash damage and the spead at close range and against clustered enemies is good enough that even in an elemental build like this one it still does the job well with Krieg’s boosts to fire rate having bullets pouring out of it like a fire hose.
The Grog Nozzle: The best Moxxi weapon for healing at 65% of all types of damage dealt and the best utility weapon in the game, it slags excellently and has a massive 200% multiplicative critical bonus as well as a random drunk effect that multiples fired projectiles at no extra ammo cost and at reduced accuracy, an effect that can be spread to other weapons. This you really shouldn’t need to use to spam-heal too often honestly, but it’s utility as a slagging and damage boosting tool still keeps it in frequent use.
The Rubi: The other Moxxi handgun is optional, you’ll want this one in Binary prefix for all elements except slag of course. The 12% is the second highest healing and it really offers nothing else, but they are a good option to choose if looking to have handguns in all elements and possibly desiring other means to heal besides the Grog.
Good for mid-range damage dealing and inflicting DoTs, they are a reliable fallback for Krieg when needing to hose down enemies at a faster pace than shotguns can keep up with. Only two on this list, but they fit the niche for Krieg perfectly.
The Sandhawk: Considered one of the best SMGs in the game and best for raw damage output at 8 bullets per 3 ammo consumed for each shot, the Flying prefix is king here to make up for the slow speed of the bird shaped bullet spread. The unlisted bullets make it essentially a longer range, tighter spread shotgun, which for Krieg works excellently. The bullet spread and damage output doesn’t work too well for critical damage, but for raw damage potential it does the job. Here you’ll want all elements but slag, though shock is optional for this one.
The Florentine: Another Seraph E-Tech, this one the dual element slag/shock SMG and the much preferable one to the Chulainn. Having the capacity to deal slag and shock simultaneously works very well for Krieg in this build, as it lets him weaken enemies as well as inflict DoTs and set himself ablaze all at the same time. With Raving Retribution active it allows him to deal fire damage at the same time as well, and if using an Impaler shield it lets him deal corrosive damage on top of it to deal out all four elements at once.
Krieg actually makes decent use of assault rifles due to how frequently he’s in close to medium range of enemies compared to other Vault Hunters, and his increases to damage and fire rates help him hose out bullets insanely fast, with Fuel the Fire making up for the atrociously low elemental effect chances they possess.
The Ogre: Krieg’s last explosive fallback weapon is one of the few good assault rifles in the game, a Torgue gun with a splitter gatling barrel that fires the gyojets at much faster speeds than other explosive weapons typically do, with a chance to fire multiple projectiles, increase reload speed and fire rate, and make the projectiles ricochet. Add the Nasty prefix for higher base damage and it makes for one of the better weapons in the game. Difficult to obtain however, only as a viable drop from a high tier enemy in the last round of arena fights in the Tiny Tina DLC.
The Kitten: One of two Moxxi assault rifles, the one typially seen as stronger and with a more easily controlled firing pattern. A Vladof assault rifle with a splitter gatling barrel, it fires three projectiles per shot in a fixed smiley face pattern that typically is terrible for dealing crit damage, but for Krieg that’s hardly an issue and thus the Ferocious prefix for higher damage is the one you want here, especially with the 2% heal. All elements but slag.
The Bekah: This is another optional one, but its the Bekah and even on an elemental build its a gun with having if you can get it, firing one bullet followed by a second slower bullet that splits into three, all unlisted with full damage for a total of four. Add the Boss prefix for higher base damage and even as non-elemental it can kill most enemies. As a Pearlescent however it can be very hard to obtain one, so its all to luck and chance there.
The Rapier: This one is again optional but given how much time Krieg will be in melee range even when not in BXR with this build, using it would be a viable option. Slag element, with the Fuel the Fire skill making it effective for a slag and stab approach to enemies thanks to it’s 200% melee damage boost. It does however make Krieg more vulnerable to melee damage in turn. Another use with it is the aforementioned synergy with Empty the Rage, which adds an additional 50% melee damage on top of the base 20% for the skill when the weapon’s magazine is empty, so even at full shields Krieg could be dealing an additional 270% melee damage with the weapon.
These are Krieg’s panic button for FFYL and for getting past those last stubborn enemies or last bit of bit health on a boss. The damage output is already excellent, but it’s Krieg’s boosts to fire rates that can make better use of them, layering a bombardment of damage onto a slew of enemies as quickly as possible.
The Norfleet: Another typical one, the best rocket launcher in the game for damage and FFYL against mobs. All elements work but shock and possibly slag work best for their viability against all enemy types, and the sheer damage of the weapon offsets the reductions to slg damage in UVHM and OP8. Hard to get but worth it.
The Baddaboom: A solid alternative to the Norfleet or to have for other elements, the Baddaboom comes in all elements as well as being the best straightforward explosive rocket launcher with the highest damage, next to the nigh unusable Ahab. Not needed in explosive for this build but nice to have even so, usable for all elements except slag.
No Sniper Rifles for this Build
The ElemenTitan build deals with balancing elemental damage output with melee damage dealing, and while the melee side tends to follow the traditional “anti-shield” structure typical of Krieg builds, the elemental focus allows for the use of certain shields to great effectiveness, as well as how they synergize with his class COMs, grenades and relics.
Krieg in this build allows for some rather flexible shield use despite his boosts to recharge delay for certain skills, putting a focus on close range for depleted shield melee/shotgun use and medium range handgun/SMG use with the shields more active.
The Impaler: A variant spiker shield with a solid capacity, it reacts to enemy melee attacks with corrosive melee spikes, while it reacts to bullet attacks with homing corrosive projectiles. Combined with Raving Retribution it gives Krieg both major forms of elemental damage to any variety of enemy, and with the Florentine for slag/shock damage it lets him deal all four elements to enemies at once. This makes it ideal for the builds flow between melee and ranged elemental damage, though it only fires projectiles to react to bullet attacks, not thrown projectiles or other such attacks.
The Antagonist: One of the best shields in the game with a slew of potent abilities. It grants up to a 49% all around damage reduction on top of a sizable shield capacity, recharge rate and delay, and has a 50% chance to utilize a bullet deflection ability similar to Maya’s Kinetic Reflection kill skill, only it’s active all the time, even when the shield is depleted. Deflected bullets hit for up to 880% additional damage, while still retaining elemental effects and trigger all of Krieg’s associated elemental skills. To round it off, while charged the shield fires off homing slag projectiles, freeing Krieg up to use another elemental weapon and granting him slagging capability during BXR and Release the Beast, a crucial bit of support that makes up for what is usually a huge disadvantage to the action skill.
The Hide of Terramorphous: A high capacity, high recharge and lengthy delay roid shield that also has a nova effect and melee spikes, all fire elemental. This shield was made for melee range combat and with this build it supplements all of Krieg’s Hellborn skills to the T. Preferably Grounded prefix to negate shock damage if possible, but any version works wonders on this build, with roid damage to boost melee and make the most of his shield depletion skills on top of every form of fire damage in melee range to ignite enemies and himself.
The Rough Rider: The only Jakobs shield, has zero capacity but a huge boost to health and a 20% flat damage reduction ability. This makes the most of Krieg’s shield depletion skills, however it rarely has call with the constant switching between melee and ranged for this build. Optional, but if more inclined for melee and higher fire rates, this shield would work well for that.
The Blockade: A massive capacity shield with a bugged, constantly active 32% all around damage reduction for when you need to tank your way through anything. For this build, the Antagonist is a better option with it’s supplementation to damage dealing thanks to slagging and overpowered bullet reflection, but this shield is excellent for dealing with bosses and powerful melee oriented enemies, so it’s definitely viable for this build.
Krieg has a few good options with this build, a few are still more universal however.
Meteor Shower: A Seraph MIRV grenade that throws out ludicrous numbers of child grenades to trap enemies in a minefield at the drop of a hat, a good reliable source of explosive damage to round out Krieg’s other elemental focused weapons.
Magic Missile: Slow grenade regeneration and high damage with two (blue variant) or four (purple variant, preferred) high speed homing projectiles that can kill some enemies outright, though also can damage Krieg at the same time if too close.
Chain Lightning:: An auto aiming, slow grenade regenerating lightning bolt that arcs out to hit multiple enemies, it works well to strip shields but is a bit under-powered as a grenade itself.
Fire Storm: Another that regenerates grenade ammo, it fires off a massive fireball forward towards enemies and calls down four smaller ones around it upon impact. Typically slower despite high damaging to fleshy enemies, it works well for Krieg to set himself on fire at the same time.
Storm Front: Great for controlling enemy flow, it casts out child grenades in a huge area like a MIRV grenade, but constantly sends out Tesla shocks to all enemies within the damage zone for a decent period, dealing good damage and stripping shields. Works well for inflicting DoTs for Krieg’s Hellborn skills and Moxxi weapon healing.
Quaser: A more crowd control focused grenade, it acts as a Singularity grenade and Tesla in one, dragging enemies together and shocking them all for a small period. Good for shield stripping but not as good for DoT infliction.
Fastball: Some of the highest grenade damage in the game restricted to a small area and only within throwing distance, these grenades are perfect for Krieg in melee to medium range, able to kill enemies outright by themselves with one or two tosses. All elements including explosive, but excluding slag thanks to the already high damage.
Krieg’s focus in this build is melee and elemental damage, and the class mods for him, especially the Legendary ones, cover about all he needs to excel at each when needed.
Legendary Psycho: The most balanced of the two, boosting burn damage and magazine size by up to 37% and adding 1.5 seconds to shield recharge delay, on top of adding 5 points to all six of his first tier skills, in the case of this build Empty the Rage, Feed the Meat, Burn,Baby,Burn, and Fuel the Fire being the significant ones, adding major boosts to health and melee damage with further delayed shield recharges and increasing burn damage and self-ignition chance to astounding levels, along with an absurd 400% elemental activation chance to enemies.
Legendary Torch: The elemental focused COM increases burn damage up to 57% and adds 5 points to Burn, Baby, Burn, Fuel the Fire, Flame Flare, Elemental Elation, and Embrace the Pain, all maxing out his self-ignition chances and elemental effect chances along with fire rates and a triple increased burn duration, all while dealing greater melee and weapon damage. Against flesh enemies, this will turn him into a true hell-beast.
Salt Meat: A purple Meat COM that increases Salt the Wound by 5 and Embrace the Pain and Empty the Rage by 4 and adds a flat amount of health regen at up to 1512.8 per second as well as increased shield delay of up to 1.5 seconds. Used when focusing on shield depletion skills in tandem with use of the Rough Rider shield. More of a situational COM compared to the other two, and for some a blue Salt Meat may be preferable to anyone more inclined to melee or fire rate for shotguns over a balance of both.
Krieg in this build only uses a few relics, but all for express purposes in given scenarios.
Blood of the Seraphs: A health boost and regeneration relic granting 1% regeneration and up to an additional 39% to total health, this is Krieg’s only form of base regeneration, typically with use the Rough Rider or Blockade shield for the truly overwhelming battles that require excessive use of his shield depletion skills and roid melee damage.
Heart of the Ancients: An E-tech relic that boosts heath and Fight for Your Life Duration plus boosts damage for one weapon type, shotguns in the case of this build as they are Krieg’s most used weapon type.
Stockpile Relic: Three types for this build, Assault Rifle, Shotgun and Pistol ammo respectively.