The first line effect says it all: Combat Rifles. Whether they’re burst fire rifles or full-on machine guns, this build will substantially buff their DPS, with buffs to Damage, Fire Rate, Magazine Size, and Recoil Reduction. Available 5th line effects include massive recoil reduction or ammo regeneration.
-Substantial DPS buffs with Combat Rifles.
-Superb Recoil Reduction ensures all your Rifles shoot nice and steady.
-Combat Rifle ammo regeneration: Never run out of ammo for your favorite rifle again!
-DPS with Combat Rifles is comparable to Heavy Gunner but much lower with other weapons types.
-Specialized: Exclusivity to combat rifles limits gear choices.
-Combat Rifles are poor DoT stackers, hence this build is less effective against enemies that are primarily vulnerable to elemental DoT.
Infantry Tree: 20 points
-Impact: Buffed by the com and increases our bullet damage, of course we’re running this.
-Metal Storm: On-kill Fire Rate and Recoil Reduction buff? Yes please!
-Refire: This actually optional, I chose to spend the last 10 points on this and Deploy, to minimize our Scorpio turret’s cooldown which allows us to get more aggro draw from it as well as more ammo via 3/5 Supply Drop, there alternatives for these final 10 points depending on what you want them to do for you.
-Assault: Also buffed by the com, this skill increases our magazine size and recoil reduction with Combat Rifles…must have.
Support Tree: 23 points
-Defense: Increases Shield Recharge rate…nice, but the main reason for taking this is that it’s better than Stockpile and gets us to Quick Charge.
-Quick Charge: This is one Roland’s best skills, and is where we will get a major chunk of our survivability from, the on-kill (% of maximum) shield regeneration is very powerful and lasts 7 seconds.
-Grenadier: Grenades are very useful things, it’s always nice to have more of them to toss at our enemies, and this also increases their damage a bit (note that this is an on-kill skill, so we only regenerate grenade ammo and get increased grenade and rocket damage for 7 seconds after scoring a kill).
-Deploy: As I mentioned when talking about Refire in the Infantry Tree, this skill is actually optional, but I took it in an effort to minimize our turret cooldown so as to get more out of it.
-Supply Drop: This skill makes a great 3/5 skill. The ammo resupply units our turret launches regenerate ALL ammo types. (Even grenades!)
Medic Tree: 20 points
-Fitness: More health? Sure. This also synergizes with Stat.
-Overload: It’s buffed by the com, and increases our magazine size by a lot. Obvious must have.
-Grit: Nice bit of damage reduction, but it’s not really all the strong of an effect. A major reason for taking it however, is that it gets us to Stat.
-Stat: This skill is amazing: On-kill % maximum health regeneration that affects you AND your nearby allies? Win.
Obviously, we want Combat Rifles. But what kinds of Combat Rifles are out there and what are their uses?
-Tediore Avenger: This Assault Rifle fires in semi-auto, features an increased magazine size and high fire rate (same it’s burst fire counterparts), it also has +50% weapon critical hit damage and regenerates ammo like Tediore legendaries do. Always features a high zoom scope (special version of scope5).
-S&S Serpens: This Machine Gun is always Corrosive and fires bullets that travel in a horizontal wave pattern. These bullets have vastly superior proc rates compared to other Combat Rifles and Machine Guns, making the Serpens a superb DoT stacker and generally excellent all-round elemental weapon. It also features increased magazine size, reduced spread (more accurate) and lacks the damage penalty it’s purple counterparts would have for being elemental.
-Atlas Ogre: This machine gun is always explosive, has a superior proc rate, and lacks the damage penalty for being elemental that it’s purple counterparts would have. This makes the Ogre a superb explosive machine gun and it is highly sought after, particular for its famously powerful synergy with Brick’s Blast Master build, though it is also a stellar performer with the present Rifleman build.
-Dahl Raven: This Assault Rifle fires 5-round bursts, and features an increased magazine size (special version of mag3). It’s otherwise a fairly standard burst-fire Dahl Assault Rifle though it’s title is always Raven, so it cannot gain the damage boost that barrel3 and barrel4 purple Dahl Assault Rifles get from the Stomper title.
-Hyperion Destroyer: This Assault Rifle has a special version of barrel5 which causes it to fire the entire magazine as a long burst when fired while aiming down the sight. It’s otherwise a standard Hyperion Assault Rifle.
-S&S Draco: This gun is bugged such that the title and associated rarity increase that would cause it to appear Yellow-Orange-Dark Orange rarity are absent. Hence the only way to identify a Draco is to look for a popcan shaped accessory under the barrel. If the S&S machine gun is also an incendiary weapon, then it is a Draco (the Draco is always incendiary, but the accessory, which makes an S&S machine gun a Draco looks just like the Deathly accessory that can spawn on non-elemental machine guns and combat rifles). The Draco is a superior incendiary machine gun, sporting increased accuracy and magazine size, and it lacks the damage penalty that comparable purple incendiary machine guns have. It also has a better proc rate, and hence is a better DoT stacker than comparable machine guns.
-Tediore Guardian: This Assault Rifle has a unique body (GRD, a special version of the HLK body) which does more damage and gives Combat Rifle ammo regeneration. The special body has a much lower fire rate than the best body (AR) for regular purple Combat Rifles, hence the Guardian’s DPS is rather unremarkable, however the ammo regeneration can be extremely useful, particular if you do not have a mat3 Rifleman com handy. It is otherwise a fairly standard Tediore Combat Rifle (both burst-fire and single-shot varieties exist), but since it always has the Guardian title, barrel3 and barrel4 versions cannot get the damage boost that it’s purple counterparts can get from the Stomper title.
-Torgue Bastard: This Machine Gun has a special version of barrel4 that has lower accuracy in exchange for even more damage than the standard barrel4. High damage examples can match Punishing Stompers (600+ damage is possible). It is otherwise a fairly standard Torgue Machine Gun.
-Vladof Revolution: This Machine Gun has a special version of mag5 which reduces fire rate but has an even higher magazine size than the standard mag5 (104 versus 72 max on purple Vladof Glorious Havocs or 96 max on S&S mat3 Glorious Havocs). It is otherwise a fairly standard Vladof machine gun, though the fire rate decrease lowers its DPS by a modest but noticeable amount (partially offset by the significantly increased magazine lifetime).
Purple Combat Rifles come in two main types: Assault Rifles, and Machine Guns. Assault Rifles have small magazines and are either single-shot or fire 3-round bursts, they are more accurate than Machine Guns with the same barrel with barrel5 mat3 Hyperion Assault Rifles reaching 96.7 acc. Machine Guns are fully automatic and have larger magazine sizes (can be anywhere from 24 to 96 depending on mag and manufacturer), but are somewhat less accurate than Assault Rifles, reaching a maximum of 91.3 acc.
-Assault Rifles are made by Dahl, Hyperion, and Tediore; and have two notable variants: single-shot Pounder types, and 3-round burst variants. The Pounder variants have a vastly lower fire rate (about 1/3 that of 3-round burst types) and a 6-round magazine, but deal more damage per shot. Overall DPS is still far lower than burst fire variants, whether they have a mag size of 12 or 18 (larger mag is slower to reload by enough of a margin that DPS remains similar between the two mags). Important parts are Body, which should be AR (except Tediore Guardian), barrel (which should be 3/4/5, barrel3 only if it is a stomper, barrel4/5 are ideal in all cases), and accessory (either intense, deathly, or elemental)
-Machine Guns are made by Atlas, S&S, Torgue, and Vladof. The best body is body5 (AR), the best barrels are barrel4/5, each mag offers trade-offs (smaller mags also have lower damage, but this is offset by faster reload speed, overall mag5 offers best DPS, but the difference is rather small), the accessory and prefix situation is fairly complex: the deathly (increased damage) accessory is outclassed by the shattering (better damage buff) accessory, which looks identical to the frantic accessory (fire rate buff), and elemental accessory is necessary for elemental versions. The way to tell the shattering and frantic accessories apart is to look at the fire rate, keeping in mind the manufacturer and body. There are two desirable prefixes that machine guns can get: Glorious (mag size and recoil reduction), and Shattering (damage boost). The latter is generally preferred, but it is often overwritten by the former due to high quality stocks giving enough recoil reduction to make the gun eligible for the Glorious prefix, stock3 or lower is usually required for the shattering prefix to appear. The Mauler title is also hard to get (weapon cannot be scoped, and needs high enough damage, and cannot qualify for the Havoc or Massacre titles, which will overwrite Mauler title).
Since Quick Charge regenerates a percentage of our maximum shield capacity per second. We have a strong reason to prefer shields of the highest capacity we can find, the highest capacity shields being those of Pangolin manufacture. In the event that you are taking mostly damage of a single elemental type, an Extreme Resistance shield of the matching element may prove more effective. If you opt to move points from Refire and/or Deploy into Aid Station, than a Torgue Muscleman shield may prove very effective since Stat and Aid Station regenerate a percentage of our maximum health per second.
We have no particular reasons to choose particular grenade mods over others, hence this choice is most up to playstyle and user preference. Do note that we will have plenty of nades to throw thanks to 5/5 Grenadier and 3/5 Supply Drop.
Mat2 of Mat3?:
The mat2 version boast an impressive +195% Combat Rifle Recoil Reduction, while the mat3 version provides +23 Combat Rifle Ammo Regeneration. As long as you are not running out of ammunition, the mat2 version is the better choice, though may be wise to carry the mat3 version in your backpack at least so you can swap it in if you find yourself needing the ammo regen.
General tips and other information:
Assault Rifles make surprisingly good sharpshooting weapons, especially barrel5 Hyperion examples and generally outperform machine guns beyond medium range thanks to their higher accuracy. Punishing Stompers get massive damage increases thanks to both prefix and title buffing damage, and can have comparable DPS to Machine Guns despite their small magazine size and associated frequent reloads. At medium range or closer, Machine Guns typically offer superior DPS, and the large magazine size (together with our mag size buffs) generally means that we won’t need to reload until after we’ve killed everything. Gameplay is pretty standard Roland play, using the turret to draw aggro, and killing things to sustain tank through everything, and of course nade spam because we can.