The first line says it all: Shotguns, shotguns, AND shotguns! That’s what the Commando com is all about, wrecking all the things with Shotguns, and it does it’s job VERY well. Boast buffs to Shotgun Fire Rate, increased Damage and reduced Spread with Scattershot, and either more Shotgun Damage or Shotgun Ammo Regeneration depending on mat2 or mat3 version respective. To complement these formidable offensive buffs, the com also buffs Defense and Quick Charge, making it easy to stay in fighting shape the whole time. This class mod is a (rightfully) popular choice for Roland.
-Insane DPS with Shotguns
-Good Defensive buffs (especially dat Quick Charge buff!)
-Can get Ammo Regen with mat3 version of com, ensuring you never run out of ammo
-There are better com choices for other weapons.
-Shotguns aren’t all that accurate even the most accurate versions barely break 80.
-Shotguns are only decent elemental weapons (except the Hammer and both Crux’s, which are good or even excellent).
You will notice that the build has 18 unassigned points, that’s because the last 18 points can be put pretty much wherever you want, although there are some notable choices:
-Refire and Deploy: One or even both of these can be a good idea to allow for frequent turret use, which can go especially well with Aid Station (if you don’t mind staying near your turret in spite of shotgun’s short range) and Supply Drop (which can help take the edge off of ammo use particularly when running mat2 versions of the com).
-Assault: If you want a build that can allow for swapping into Heavy Gunner and/or even Rifleman with no need for a respec, pick this up so that your Assault Rifles are also getting all their offensive buffs.
-Sentry and Guided Missile: These are good if you want the turret to help dish out some punishment.
-Supply Drop: This is highly recommended to be at atleast 3/5, this will keep your Shotgun ammo from running out, and can also resupply you if you suddenly find yourself out at a bad time.
-Aid Station: This can work great with the more accurate shotguns, and against enemies that will bum rush you, the health regen is quite potent, and stacks with Stat’s regen so you can end up regenerating 10% of max hp per second, that on top of Quick Charge can make it VERY hard for the enemy to put you into FFYL.
-Cauterize and Revive: These are useless to the solo player, but are quite handy in coop.
Main skills: The Why:
Infantry Tree: 15 points
-Impact: More damage, 'nuff said.
-Scattershot: Buffed by the com, and buffs our Shotguns. Yes please!
-Metal Storm: While we already have up to +182% to Fire Rate between 50 Shotgun proficiency giving +102% and the com giving +80%, that does not mean that more Fire Rate is not welcome. This skill adds 11%/pt. weapon fire on kill for 7 seconds, as well as some pretty solid recoil reduction, which is rather nice for some of the less stable shotguns, all in all, we’re looking at a maximum of +237% Fire Rate, insane!
Support Tree: 15 points
-Defense: It’s buffed by the com, and it increases the Recharge Rate of our shield, most welcome. Note that this does NOT affect Shield Regeneration from sources other than the shield’s own recharge effect, namely, Quick Charge’s regeneration is unaffected by this.
-Quick Charge: It’s also buffed by the com, and synergizes VERY well with the close quarters combat style that Shotguns are naturally suited to.
-Grenadier: More grenades is always nice, and on-kill damage buff for them is also nice, but there is another reason to have this skill. Carnage shotguns fire rockets, which the damage buff from this skill ALSO affects, and, like Impact’s bullet damage, this stacks multiplicatively with all of our other damage buffs (which are all weapon damage).
Medic Tree: 20 points
-Fitness: More health? Yes please!
-Overload: Bigger mag, more shooting; more shooting, more killing; more killing, well, you get the idea.
-Grit: This skill is honestly not that strong (15% increase in effective health and shields for 5 skill points isn’t much), but we need 5 more points to get to Stat, and this will make the effects of Quick Charge and Stat better against bullet firing enemies.
-Stat: This works a lot like Quick Charge but for health and it affects nearby allies (your coop buddies will appreciate the health!). This on top of com-buffed Quick Charge makes your ability to sustain tank pretty amazing.
The obvious choice here is: SHOTGUNS!!!
But just what sort of shotguns are there, and what are their uses? There are some Legendary Shotguns and a Pearl Shotgun that offer some fairly unique effects:
The Jackal is a Pearl rarity shotgun manufactured by Dahl, it fires a ‘rocket’ that is more like the grenade from a grenade launcher (if BL had those), this benefits from Grenadier’s damage buff, and is generally a very good explosive carnage. The arcing path of the projectile also allows you to shoot enemies over cliffs and walls and the like, with some careful positioning.
Each manufacturer that makes Shotguns has a legendary shotgun, these are:
-Atlas Hydra: This combat shotgun fires all of its projectiles in a horizontal line, and usually has 12 of them (10 in Hunter’s varieties), it can spawn w/ the Carnage barrel, which will result in an effective 100 accuracy (but were still talking about a Rocket here, so good luck sniping w/ it), as a pattern shotgun, its spread is completely unaffected by it’s accuracy rating.
-Dahl Bulldog: A favorite of many Commando’s, this combat shotgun boasts a 20-round magazine which gives it unmatched magazine capacity. It’s otherwise a typical combat shotgun and can spawn with the Carnage barrel as usual.
-Hyperion Butcher: This shotgun has an unusually low pellet count of 3, fires rapid bursts of 5 rounds, and its barrel is a special version of barrel4 which gives it the unique effects. It’s otherwise a typical Assault Shotgun. It’s rapid fire and low pellent count (and thus low damage per shot) mean that it’s a very ammo hungry shotgun to use.
-Jakobs Striker: This combat shotgun has an increase to critical hit damage (30%), which is granted by the special version of barrel5 that makes it a Striker. It is otherwise a typical Jakobs combat shotgun, and because it is a Jakobs can never spawn with an elemental accessory.
-Maliwan Crux: Also known as the Maliwan Plague, this assault shotgun is always Corrosive (the accessory being the legendary part) and is a superior corrosive Assault Shotgun. Another favorite of many Commando’s and the bane of (non-chemical) lancemen across pandora.
-S&S Crux: This assault shotgun is always explosive (the accessory being the legendary part), and fires projectiles in a + pattern. It has a larger than normal (even for S&S) magazine size (16-18, depending on materials) beaten only slightly by the Dahl Bulldog.
-Tediore Defender: Sporting its unique DEF body, this shotgun regenerates Shotgun ammo, which can be very nice to have around when you’re running mat2 versions of the Commando com, the DEF body is an improved version of body3, which still lacks the fire rate of ZPR (body5), overall Defenders are decent shotguns, and can spawn w/ Carnage barrel like most combat shotguns.
-Torgue Friendly Fire: This shotgun also has a unique accessory, which makes it incendiary, it fires projectiles in a smiley-face pattern, it can spawn with a carnage barrel, which makes it have an effective acc of 100 and, somewhat surprisingly, fires explosive rockets, not incendiary rockets.
-Vladof Hammer: This assault shotgun is always explosive, and fire projectiles in the shape of a Hammer, it is otherwise a typical assault shotgun.
Beyond the Pearl and Legendary varieties, standard Purple shotguns also offer a fair amount of choice:
Combat Shotguns: These all feature a drum like magazine of 2, 6, or 12 rounds (13 for Atlas shotguns), and are loaded by a speed-loader from behind, the are made by Atlas, Dahl, Jakobs, Tediore, and Torgue, and come in several varieties:
-Matadors: These require the Matador title, which in turn requires low accuracy, but it pushes the pellet count to 12, the highest among all shotguns, and increases fire rate slightly. These make excellent Close Quarters shotguns for use at point-blank and short ranges. Barrel2 versions are typically the best, as the damage gained makes up for the small loss in accuracy relative to Barrel1 versions (and some manufacturer and materials combinations only allow for Barrel2 versions). Jakobs ZZ materials are always too accurate, however, the Barrel2_Shedder forces a pellet count of 11 and can spawn on ZZ shotguns, hence ZZ Shredders are the best low acc Jakobs mat2 shotguns. Jakobs XX materials have low enough accuracy that Barrel4 XX Matadors can exist, these are highly sought after for their massive damage potential.
-Carnages: These shotguns fire rockets which do explosive damage by default (even Jakobs versions), but this can be overridden by an elemental accessory (Jakobs versions never spawn with elemental accessories, so their’s are always explosive) . They always have a special version of Barrel3 called Barrel3_Carnage which gives them the rocket firing effect. Shock, Fire, and Corrosive versions can be very effective DoT stackers.
-Barrel4: These are more accurate than matadors, but less so than Barrel5 varieties, and have a pellet count of 9 with the exception of the Jakobs ZZ materials versions, because they are not accurate enough to get the Hunter’s prefix, which is why they still have 9 pellets and more total damage per shot (as well as Barrel4 having more damage than any other barrel). Outclassed at point blank range by Matadors, and at medium ranges and beyond by Barrel5’s these are best used for short range work, and are also rarer than the other variants.
-Barrel5: These are the most accurate Combat Shotguns, all except the Jakobs XX versions are accurate enough to get the Hunter’s title and thus have 7 pellets, but the materials 3 versions of Dahl and Torgue manufacture have a materials-related prefix (Desert and Steel respectively) that has higher priority and thus overwrites the Hunter’s prefix, so those version, and the Jakobs XX all have 9 pellets instead.
Assault Shotguns: These are made by Hyperion, Maliwan, S&S, and Vladof, and feature a box magazine (of 5 or 7 rounds, 9 or 10 for S&S, the latter being for mat3 only) loaded into the bottom of the weapon ahead of the trigger, they can never spawn w/ an incendiary accessory, but Blast, Shock, and Corrosive versions exist. They also can’t spawn with Barrel3_Carnage and thus there are no Assault Shotgun Carnages. They have higher fire rates than Combat Shotguns, but lower pellet counts 7 (8 for Sweeper titled versions, but to get that title, they must have low accuracy, which preclude the best barrels, and is thus not worth the extra pellet). There is also no Matador title, nor Hunter’s prefix for Assault Shotguns, and thus the only ideal versions are Barrel4 and Barrel5. The Barrel4’s are less accurate, but deal more damage than the Barrel5’s. The Barrel5 mat3 Hyperions sport the highest accuracy of any (purple) shotgun at 82.3.
In general, with the exception of Tediore Defenders DEF body, the ZPR body is the best for Shotguns, it is always preferable to have an accessory, particularly the Terrible (dmg acc), and Frenzied (fire rate and reload speed acc), or elemental acc (The blast acc should be avoided on Carnages though as it lowers damage for no benefit). Assault Shotguns that aren’t S&S should be 7-shot (better mag than 5-shot, S&S versions automatically get the better mag).
With 8/5 (or even 9/5) in Quick Charge, a great deal of our survivability comes from the shield regeneration of this skill, which scales with maximum shield capacity. Hence, the higher the capacity, the better. Thus the ideal general purpose shield would be a perfect level 68 Pangolin Ironclad which has 3547 capacity, the next best would be a level 69 purple Pangolin 550XC Impenetrable Fortified Shield with 3413 capacity. An identical parts Torgue Muscleman would work well against enemies that can remove your shields almost instantly, as the increased Health would work with Stat much the same as increased Shield capacity works w/ Quick Charge. If you know that the enemies you are fighting will deal mostly damage of a specific element, than a same parts Atlas Cationic, Hyperion Endothermic, or Dahl Hazmat shield as appropriate to the element would be advisable as an alternative.
This is ultimately up to user preference, we will have no shortage of Grenades with 5/5 in Grenadier, so don’t be afraid to spam dem nades!
Mat2 or Mat3?:
The mat2 version boasts an impressive +42% Shotgun Damage effect on it’s 5th line, whereas the mat3 version boasts +23 Shotgun Ammo Regeneration. Provided you aren’t running out of ammo, the mat2 version is preferable. Ideally having the mat3 version on hand to equip as needed would be the way to go, using the mat2 version otherwise.
General tips and other information:
Shotgun are the least accurate weapon type in the game, and as such are ill-suited to sniping, though the more accurate shotguns are effect even at mid-range. This means you’re going to be getting close and personal with your enemies, but with Quick Charge and Stat, you should be able to shrug off most of the damage they can throw at you. Get the lead out and keep killing and healing from killing things, the turret can make a good distraction if you need to time to reload/heal.
Just to give you an idea how much DPS this build actually gives you, you will, with mat2 version, +4 in Scattershot, and your on-kills active:
Deal 270.25% of Guncard damage
Fire at 337% of Guncard fire rate
Have a magazine capacity 160% of the Guncard value
And reload at 202% of the speed that the given gun ordinarily reload at (i.e. just under half time to reload)