[Build] No turret? No problem!

Axton players tend to rely on his Action Skill (“the Turret”) quite a bit. This is all well and good, but I’ve always wondered whether and to what extent Axton could be considered viable in circumstances where all of his skills that relate to the Turret are entirely ignored. This build is an attempt to answer that question with confidence.

The Build

Given the structure of Axton’s skill trees, I would opine that this build is required. You can of course alter the number of skill points that are allocated into each skill, but the skills that aren’t chosen either relate to the Turret, or more notably, are not desirable for Axton’s damage output or survival (e.g. Overload, Healthy, etc.)

For the avoidance of doubt, this build is intended to function strictly for mobbing, and also with the Legendary Ranger class mod. If there is any one class mod that lends itself to a turret - less style of play, it is this one.


  • Ready [5/5]
    Minimizes the interruptions to Axton’s offensive pressure while in combat. Unfortunately, 40% is not 80% (if you know what I mean). Thus, making use of weapons whose grip matches their brand is recommended.

  • Willing [5/5]
    Improvements to shield recharge rate and shield recharge delay help to maintain Axton’s defensive prowess while in combat, and can often mean the difference between staying alive and being downed.

  • Onslaught [10/5]
    More gun damage translates to more dead enemies. Of greater import is the even bigger improvement to movement speed, which allows for better use of cover and shot placement with inaccurate weapons.

  • Able [4/5]
    One of the two means by which I recover health, as I do not use Moxxi weapons with Axton. Originally I had 5 skill points here, but on revision one was taken from this skill and then diverted to “Crisis Management”.

  • Grenadier [4/5]
    Spamming grenades against clusters of enemies is actually rather fun and effective, and so I need more grenades to accommodate that. Originally I had 5 skill points invested in this skill as well, but… see above.

  • Crisis Management [3/5]
    Extra gun damage on shield depletion is always nice when I’m in the thick of it and shield recharge delay is being constantly reset. A loss of 0.4% health regeneration per second, and one grenade, is worth it here.


  • Impact [5/5]
    Free gun damage is always good. Not much else to say.

  • Expertise [5/5]
    For switching quickly between a slag weapon, and the weapon that will kill the slagged enemy. The Turret is not available for Slag, and Axton is a little more dependent on slag than the remainder of the characters.

  • Metal Storm [10/5]
    With Fire Rate being directly linked to DPS, this skill complements Onslaught nicely. The significantly reduced recoil helps with shot placement on inaccurate, high - recoil weapons (of which there are many).

  • Steady [5/5]
    Probably Axton’s best skill, and the reason why there is an entire topic on which weapons deal grenade damage and which do not. You get a damage increase for the highest damaging weapons in the game, too.

  • Do or Die [1/1]
    A 10% increase in grenade and rocket launcher damage is worth a skill point, I think.

  • Ranger [10/5]
    I am well aware that this skill scales poorly at OP8, but my skill point investment therein takes the increases to accuracy and reload speed across all weapons into consideration. Every little bit will assist this build.


  • Preparation [5/5]
    My other means of recovering health. The shield capacity increase translates into a shield tanking more bullets (literally one or two at OP8) prior to its depletion. The health recovery tends to kick in after combat.

  • Pressure [5/5]
    Essentially allows you to regroup if you have been health - gated while in combat (basically what happens if one shock bullet from a Maliwan SMG manages to hit you). I cannot conceive an Axton build without this.

  • Quick Charge [10/5]
    Bypasses shield recharge delay, for the entirety of its duration. When paired with the improved SRR and SRD from the Legendary Ranger class mod, you can achieve Bee - like recharges rates with many shields.

My Endgame Setup

[UPDATED AS AT 2015.12.04]

Every type of enemy in Borderlands 2 should now be accounted for with this combination of weapons and gear. As such, I think I’ve done away with the need to load out (i.e. swapping out weapons / gear while mobbing).


Slag 'em and smack 'em. Patience is key. Maintaining proper distance from your enemy is crucial. Unlike characters such as Salvador and Krieg, Axton absolutely cannot rush in on the offensive, especially against multiple enemies. When you earn a kill, put your three kill skills to good use – do not let them go to waste.

Proof of Build Viability :

In this video, I briefly take the build through certain parts of the Sawtooth Cauldron and Opportunity.

Sounds interesting. The bekah is a very powerful weapon, and for some reason I’ve never thought of using it on Axton, even though Axton has some great synergy with assault rifles, and the bekah is in my opinion the best AR in the game. But the prefix, I would recommend boss, you really don’t need the extra accuracy from horse if you have the dahl stock. Check out Derch’s Derchlands on Derchtube, he has an ultimate bekah guide.

Thank you for your comment.

I hear you with respect to the Bekah and the “Boss” prefix, but personally even with the Dahl stock there is some measure of sway that makes it difficult to score critical hits against flesh enemies. I’ll give it a try, though.

Have you considered using the Florentine over your Plasma Caster? Or maybe a slag Pimpernel?

The Florentine is a good option because of its splash damage.

I didn’t use it in the video, and I normally wouldn’t use it with this build, because its projectiles move a little slowly for my liking (even with the “Impetuous” prefix).

I’ve since updated the combination of weapons and gear that are used in this video but will have to consider a slag Pimpernel. I imagine a Maliwan grip with a Dahl stock and Hyperion sight might be best in terms of parts.

I like to ADS from mid range and I find that the Hyperion sight zooms in a bit too much. I prefer Dahl but I like Hyp if I’m doing solely long range.

When I’ve done no-turret stuff, I’ve found the Legendary Soldier to work better than the Legendary Ranger. I was disappointed to find this, since I had originally set out to make a build specifically using the LR. When it comes down to it, the passives and skill boosts (even ignoring Sentry) are simply that good. When you’re not getting slag from a turret, you’re either using grenades or a gun to do it, so weapon swap speed becomes a very big deal, just as reload speed does when your dps is all coming from the gun.

Fair enough. I find that the Maliwan sight is between Dahl and Hyperion.

I’ve never tried the Vladof or Jakobs sight.

What the Legendary Soldier class mod has over the Legendary Ranger class mod is… 5 extra skill points in Ready, Healthy, Expertise and Preparation.

In my main build (which uses the Legendary Soldier class mod), I only place one skill point in Expertise anyway. 10 skill points in Expertise just isn’t necessary (not for myself at least).

Healthy doesn’t get skill points, because Axton’s health being as low as possible is ideal for him overall.

That leaves Preparation and Ready, which admittedly are better skills than Ranger. However, Axton’s kill skills are very potent. Onslaught + Metal Storm puts his DPS to formidable levels, for example.

Why would you say that Axton having low max health is good? For mobbing, I don’t see a reason to heath-gate your way through, I would agree for raid bosses, but not overall like you stated. Would you please tell me your reasoning?

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I second what @Jac856 said, all your healing is percent-based so lowering max health doesn’t do you any favors in this case.

Granted, there are still better alternatives than Healthy, but Axton isn’t generally a character who benefits from less health.

At the time this topic was posted I did not fully comprehend percentage - based healing versus healing via a specific number of health points, so I apologize for that error.

In any event, Healthy is not a good option with Axton, in my opinion, given how much ground he has to cover with his skill points.

Please see my response to @Jac856.

I don’t think my emphasis was on lowering max health, so much as it was on not raising it by the default amount. While keeping Axton’s health low may not be of assistance to him as I originally assumed, taking 5 skill points to raise it by what is, all things considered a paltry amount, does not aid him in the long term either.

Nice build, @JovaBrow. This video makes me really miss playing Axton.

The net difference in gun damage actually favors the L Soldier, and the relative ranges of fire rate boosting are +25% to +85% vs +0% to +120%. In my time trying them out, that 0% vs 25% was felt a lot more than the +85% vs +120% difference.

It’s your call, of course. I know you have a good grasp of how to run the class. You don’t need to make any changes in order to be successful.

Sorry for my delayed response, I haven’t been here in a while. I personally do like Healthy, as well as health stacking. I also feel that the other skills offered in the tier 2 are not very good. Last Ditch Effort is only used in FFYL, and I have 10/5 in Ready, so Pressure is not needed for me, I also keep my health topped off via a transfusion grenade. And also reading your reply to bilsintheta (which I read while typing this up), I see that I was mistaken about what you said, I thought that you were talking Turtle Shields and Health Gating. Sorry about that.