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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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”.
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.
Free gun damage is always good. Not much else to say.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.