The standard axton builds boil down to:
Gemini Slag and Explosive(I much prefer to call this splash as most of the best weapons for this aren’t explosive).
This guide is on how to build them while leveling.
Note: I do not like 5/5 onslaught as I’ve never thought +6% additive gun damaged and the movement speed which I always found to be over rated could beat the survivability which will holds true for raid bosses.
DO NOT PUT POINTS INTO LASER SIGHT.
It doesn’t matter if it looks cool, a single point actually makes the turret less accurate as it aims higher and tracks slower.
If you don’t mind this knock your socks off.
This thread here shows the effects of laser sight
Why are these builds the standard go to for Axton players?
Both are good enough to move from mobbing to raiding with little to no change of build.
How to spec while leveling for the these builds:
This comes down to what you need for your style, normal mode you don’t need to focus on your build just yet.
The recommendation is normally to start off with 5/5 preparation then spec into impact or sentry.
So by level 20 the build will most commonly look like this, mixing sentry with survivability and personal damage is the ideal set up here as you cover the bases you will need for the majority.
You can how ever spec into healthy for the boost but preparation is a valued skill as it gives you a very good health regen making you have a higher survival rating.
Now specing like this Can also be good but keep in mind able will only be active for a few seconds and can only activate after you dealt damage to something, which also include skag piles.
For normal and true vault slag isn’t needed and really not very good unless you are raiding, even then it is not required.
Double up is not the greatest of skills to pick up then leveling, while it is helpful Gemini is a better cap stone for you to pick up while just starting to make the standard cookie cutter.
For explosive there are way too many skills you need so if you want an end cap, you’ll be forced into nuke before you hit level 53 at the earliest as you see here with the basis of the explosive build.
So lets assume you are going to make a Gemini slag build and you went with this.
With the points being evenly distributed we can start working on any section now to hit your needs.
With the majority of the gear you are using are very likely to have non-perfect parts the recommendation for 25 is to put 5 points into ready as the reload speed is going to make sure you can get out of tight spots more than you would think. While you can chose to not max this out it’s not the best move most of the time
At level 26 getting scorched earth is a huge benefit for you as it deals a lot of damage and provides AoE(area of effect) stun aiding in the survival of yourself.
Now for the next stages of levels we need to decide what you need or are having issues with at this stage.
This stage we can either start with metal storm, able or willing as the top picks but lets assume metal storm for the recoil reduction and fire rate because lower rarity weapons tend to have higher recoil.
Now at level 30 your build is going to look like this. Personally I would have the build look like this, sacrificing a point in metal storm and putting it into able.
Now we are at level 30 and we are closing in on the end of normal mode and the final boss.
By the end of normal you will most likely be around level 33, so any points you get past 30 you should put it into able as the end boss can be tricky and has a lot of DoT(Damage over Time) where able can help negate.
Now the remaining two points can go into able(bring it up to 5/5) onslaught or willing. If you have a nice transfusion grenade(I.e a leech), grenadier is also a good pick.
Since we now assume you will want extra damage you are going with onslaught, making your build look like this.
Editors note: My first build at level 35 looked like this. We all started off without much game knowledge but since you are reading this you need the help and now that you are starting TVHM with Axton the least I can to is provide my 4000+ hours of experience to you to help you succeed.
Now we are starting true vault hunter mode and this is where you will be first tested, normal was a cake walk compared to this.
So this is where it gets tricky as tis is were RNG can be good or bad.
If it was bad opt for higher survivability like so: CLICK
If it was, I would highly suggest explosive: Click
From here on out you should be on your own because you need to experiment and gain some experience for yourself, because now comes UVHM.
For UVHM spec around this base.(onslaught is a removable skill, able is something you will probably need. You can take it off and try it out. If you can survive without it and need grenades then do that)
For raiding with Axton use this guide.
For the general run down of axton click here.
If you need advice feel free to ask, don’t feel embarrassed if you need the help. Everyone at some point can use it.
The generality of the cookie cutters and why they are the standard:
This set up have the most utility and versatility.
You mix some of his best utility skills like Double up with his survivability skills like grit and to a lower extent Phalanx.
Double up is one of if not the best and most reliable sources of slag which is why it’s also taken with explosive axton most of the time.
the differences between these are you trade theoretical DPS for survivability.
Theoretical DPS of the explosive is gear dependent, this requires you to have very specific gear and isn’t as diverse as gemslag.
If you are using a Sawbar, bitch, pimpernel, or any weapon other that doesn’t get grenade bonuses(click here for the list) with explosive you’ll be getting better ratios from gemslag because you are now gimping your ability.
With this you’ll also have to remember explosive weaponry gets a .8 damage modifier on shields which isn’t a big deal for higher tier weapons but the lower the tier the more issues they will have.
While with explosive you have the ability to use weapons that don’t get this ability it’s lowering your efficiency.
Using a weapon like the Florentine with explosive adds to it’s utility factors as it A) gets grenade bonuses B) Slags C) Strips shields making this weapon one of the best picks for a utility gun on Axton period.
Gemslag you’ll get a more diverse field of gear over explosive, the ammo efficiency of both are negligible arguments as some of the most powerful weapons that get used on both will kill in one or two shots with it without grenade bonuses(I.e. DPUH, Twister, Blockhead).
With the induction of the torgue machine in DLC2 explosive is a lot easier to maintain and use while leveling and going through OP levels, not to mention explosive allows for more variations of the build over gemslag with only allows for a few points to be switched around.
5/5 able vs 5/5 Onslaught
This is opinion based.
Able provides better survivability and Onslaught provides better theoretical DPS.
Why is onslaught theoretical? Because it’s an active not a passive.
Able is also an active but it’s requirements are far lower than onslaught.
In raiding Able tends to be a better selection as you shouldn’t be relying on killskills in raids.
How to level up as explosive: