[Guide] Borderlands 2 Basics for New Players

I think I’ve only been able to kill them with Cloud Kill.

I believe they can be damaged by splash. I can still take them out with a swordsplosion and cloud kill after the last buff

Hey Gulf, the wiki entry for the White Death is fubarred - it redirects to an empty page for the Lyuda, which currently only seems to have a link to a non-existent page for the Lyumila. Can you take a look please?

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Probably why I’ve still been able to take their health bars down - both my shock and corrosive weapons had splash DoT.

Done. I’ve fixed that page and the White Death one so they’ll both redirect to the main Lyudmila page.

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@VaultHunter101:For comparing gun damage, the x2 RNG accessory can only spawn on Dahl ARs (with normal Vladof barrels) and pistols, and has the following effects:

  • individual bullet damage is decreased but total damage is increased, with the side effect that your ammo consumption is doubled:
  • x2 (normal Vladof barrel Dahl ARs and normal non-Maliwan pistols)
  • x4 (normal Maliwan pistols and non-Maliwan E-Tech pistols)
  • x6 (Maliwan E-Tech pistols)
  • accuracy suffers a slight reduction.
  • fire rate is drastically reduced.
  • reload speed may (or may not) be negatively affected.
  • magazine size is increased to compensate for the doubled ammo consumption.

For comparing grenades, grenade fuse time is delay before detonation. If you get one with a fuse time of 0.0 with a Lobbed/Longbow/Thrown prefix [=impact fuses], be warned that it’s gonna (start to) trigger against the very first thing it hits – walls/floors/ceilings, enemies/characters, vehicles/objects.
To better kill enemies while avoiding killing yourself with impact-prefixed grenades:

Grenade Safety (in general):

  • Fuse time indicates how long you have for the grenade to activate from it’s time of impact with something. I’ve been known for tossing about the term ‘impact fuse’ when it comes to these; if you’re curious what it means, it’s any grenade with a fuse time of 0.0, which means it will go off the instant it hits ANYTHING. And yes, this includes you fumbling any grenade with a Lobbed (or Thrown) prefix and dropping it at your feet.
  • regular grenades, MIRVs, and Singularities can be blocked by cover.
  • non-Tesla AOEs (Corrosive Cloud and Fire Burst) ignore all forms of cover within the grenade’s radius. This means that while you can hide behind walls and be safe from the detonation of regular/MIRV/Singularity grenades, hiding behind a wall will not protect you from damage if the Corrosive Cloud or Fire Burst can still touch you.
  • Bouncing Betty, Tesla, and Transfusion grenades can slightly damage you with the initial/final detonations, but are otherwise player-friendly.

Grenade Safety (for specific red-text grenades):

  • The Quasar is a combination Tesla/Singularity grenade, but ignoring the Tesla component would be best for your safety. At almost any level, an at-level Quasar’s detonation (at close enough range) will strip your shields and be able to put you into FFYL.
  • The Storm Front is a combination Tesla/MIRV. Like the Quasar, grenade safety mandates that you ignore the Tesla component and treat it like a MIRV. When the Storm Front detonates, the main grenade turns into a Tesla Field Generator, and it spawns multiple sub-TFGs. For the duration that it is active, the TFGs are player friendly; when they time out, however, all will detonate with a very large radius and strong damage, rendering even one TFG completely capable of stripping your shields and possibly putting you into FFYL.

Advice for “The Once and Future Slab” – try not to get FFYL’d when fighting your way out since Brick will kill everything in sight, leaving you almost nothing to 2W off of.

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Thanks. I think I’ll do a minor edit and just link to the post.

Oh does he ever…

I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again: If BL3 has you fighting with NPCs from BL1/TPS/BL2 at any point, their kills while any player is in FFYL should automatically count as a second wind. How about it, @JoeKGBX ? Does that seem like a reasonable tweak for the next game in the franchise?


@VaultHunter101 There’s also something I suggested where friendly NPCs transition from inflicting actual damage to cosmetic damage at a point, thus letting you get easier 2Ws. Either way would be fine with me.

On track, tho, the non-Tesla AOE grenades are an unpleasant surprise if you don’t know that.

Additionally, these can be passed back:

  • any enemies that can be yanked by Singularity/Quasar or Phaselock: Convergence are helpless while airborne. Throw a Longbow Singularity (or Quasar) at the ceiling to yank enemies airborne, then open up on 'em. If you have a Convergence-specced Siren present, she can play catch, which effectively adds to it.
  • if you need to trip your kill skills, spawn a vehicle and destroy it. Note that it won’t work for anyone else but the player that destroyed the vehicle.

Sorry about the late reply - I’ve been playing another game lately… :stuck_out_tongue:

For Part 6, it might be worth further emphasizing how awesome the Lady Fist is, especially against constructors with their nice big easy to hit crit spot.

I’ll also second Carlton_Slayer’s point about the Save the Turrets challenge.

I know nothing about the level scaling of The Dust and Lynchwood quests - I didn’t know they scaled at all until you mentioned it in this guide. :slight_smile:

For what to do after The Warrior, I see two good candidates. From a “having fun” perspective, Hammerlock is probably best because it will scale to 35, and I don’t think the enemies have unusually large health pools like Tina’s sometimes do (I remember a lot of Tina regular or badass enemies being oddly tough to put down when I did that in NVHM on my first character). Not to mention the Duke of Ork in Tina’s. On the other hand Jackenstein is a pain in the ass; not sure how troublesome he is in NVHM since I’ve only seen him in UVHM…

From a min-maxing perspective, the Torgue DLC wins hands down. You’ll want that open in NVHM at least as far as the bar for your future Torgue token farming needs, so go ahead and play through the whole thing in NVHM when it’s not too badly underleveled.

Ultimately people can just do what they want, we have room for exactly one DLC between NVHM and TVHM so whatever seems most interesting will work. I didn’t do either of the above myself - did Tina on my first character because I’ve been playing D&D for ~25 years now so how could I not do that first? :smiley: Then did Scarlett on my second character because that looked fun (and was). Both worked out fine.

I disagree with Carlton_Slayer’s advice about the slaughter domes. From what I’ve seen they do not change level. I did Fink’s when I was banging out some Steam achievements, and the reward was a level 24 Hail. Axton was level 51 slumming from UVHM, and had never accepted the quest before so if it could bump to 30 it should have for him. No big deal, I was there for the achievement and for something Krieg and/or Zero could use at some point, and that’s what I got.

Vault Hunting 101: Borderlands 2 Basics for New Players

Part 7 of your spoiler-free guide to characters, gear, loot, quests, and skills for your first play-through, completing the main game with the Vault of the Warrior.

Continuing the Normal Vault Hunter Mode (NVHM) play-through from parts 1-6 of this guide. As before, cyan headings denote missions, while other colours denote main sections, gear and weapons, or skills entries. If you find any errors, parts that are unclear, or just have a question, highlight the relevant bit and hit the “quote reply” button to post a message; I’ll try and respond to everything in a timely manner.

Special thanks to the following for comments and corrections: @khimerakiller


Vault of the Warrior

Follow the clear path and head down in the elevator. You’ll see a small building with a one-way Fast Travel beside it and some vending machines inside. Restock as needed, and check your equipment slots before continuing on to the final showdown. You’ll trigger a cut-scene, then it’s time to cut Handome Jack down to size.

This fight can be a bit hectic, for reasons that will soon become obvious. It took me quite a while the first few times; once you figure things out, though, it isn’t so bad. A couple of things to watch out for:

  • Shock weapons strip regular shields (blue health bar) so don’t waste time and ammo using a different element.
  • Whenever you see an orange shield, remember that it will reflect your bullet back at you In this case, you’ll see a tether back to the shield’s source: take that out as fast as possible.
  • Fire weapons are most efficient against flesh. Plus, if you get burn damage-over-time on your target, you’ll still be able to see it even when it is invisible (just like stalkers, and TPS explains why!)
  • There will be secondary enemies (rakk, crystalisks, turrets and loaders.) You should be able to ignore these for the most part, and use them for second winds, although the crystalisks can be a pain.

After another awesome cut-scene, you have to do the impossible. Don’t worry though - it’s totally possible for a badass such as you! If you check the Vault of the Warrior map, you’ll see that the main area for this battle is at the centre of a cross that runs north-south and east-west, surrounded by red hot lava. There are stone blocks, partial walls, and control panels around the central area you can use for cover. Make sure you listen for the NPC callouts during this battle, as they will give you valuable clues as to which phase of attack you are about to encounter. As usual, shoot for any point where you can see a glow (you’ll figure it out!) and the fight will go much faster.

It is possible to stick the entire fight out in the main area, hiding between the large stone blocks during the inevitable fiery area-of-effect attacks. In terms of your foe, explosive is a good choice, but shock, corrosive, slag, and non-elemental weapons can help get the job done. There are two Hyperion ammo stations on the east and west sides of this area should you start to get low. You have 99 seconds after triggering them to grab the ammo before they reset, so don’t feel you have to stand out in the open waiting - you can easily duck in and out of cover.

If you get really stuck and die too often (like I did the first time I ever did this mission), there are a couple of places you can take deeper refuge:

  1. After respawning and running back to the fight, stay right where you drop down at the southern end of the “cross”, close to the exit back to Eridium Blight. Your target can be hit with any decent weapon from here (scoped weapons are best) but you will be safe from all its attacks. BE VERY CAREFUL not to hit your “pick up” control (X on XBox) or you will travel out and have to fight all the way back through Heroes Pass :dukerage:
  2. Alternatively (and if you can make it), there is some scaffolding and/or blocks at the far east end of the “cross” you can climb up to which provide a similar advantage.

If you take either of these options, just keep an eye out for crystalisks spawning near you and try to avoid hitting the rakk that fly constantly over the area. If you take the first option, also watch out that you don’t accidentally creep too far forward, or you may find yourself paddling in the lava… Although it can take a while, you will eventually succeed in doing the impossible, and will be given a chance to deliver the coup de grace install with a shot from the Helios station’s mortar (the Moonshot cannon). Grab anything you want to grab before doing this, and make sure you’ve read the following before you hit that button!

Some players like to farm the moonshot, especially in subsequent play-throughs, since it’s a guaranteed legendary drop that can be one of a number of items (a favourite is the Conference Call shotgun, although you can also get the Volcano sniper, Impaler shield, etc.) If you want to farm, finish picking up any cash, eridium, etc. that you want to keep and then save and quit ***before calling the moonshot***. You will then spawn at the one-way Fast Travel and can simply run back the moonshot console. It’s possible to use the moonshot cannon without actually checking the mission objective in the process: see the video linked in @khimerakiller’s post below. You have a short period between the moonshot and the next story mission trigger in which to locate the legendary item and save-quit again. You’ll know you’re getting close to the critical point because you’ll see a purple nova form and trigger. If you miss the timing, you can either just go with what you’ve got or force-quit (dashboard on console) and try again; force-quitting will mean losing whatever you picked up between saves, however.

Once you’ve fired the moonshot and decided that you’re ready, you have a couple of ways to continue that will be indicated clearly via NPC dialogue. Make your choice, act on it, and enjoy the amazing finale. Once the credits have finished rolling (I let them roll because I love the soundtrack, but they are skippable) you can finish cleaning up; you should also see a message stating that you’ve unlocked the next play-though mode. There are two ways to get back to Sanctuary (or anywhere else you might want to go.)

  • The official way is back to the southern end of the “cross” and out via the map transition to Eridium Blight. You’ll have to fight your way through a bunch of bullymongs and other enemies to get to the Fast Travel at the Catch-A-Ride.
  • You can also save-quit and restart, which will out you at the one-way Fast Travel so you can easily travel anywhere you want.
  • The quickest way is to jump into the lava and die! After all the cash you just picked up you can afford it, so go ahead and spoil yourself!

When you return to Sanctury in NVHM, you’ll notice that Patricia Tannis has a new level 50 mission for you. Pay attention to the name of that mission; she isn’t joking!

Back to table of contents

So What Now?

At this point, certain maps will level up a final time to the maximum in NVHM, level 30. For these maps only, you can now take any side quests that you did not accept yet and obtain the reward at maximum level. All other maps and side quests in the main game remain stuck where they are, so it’s entirely up to you whether or not you complete them.

Quests that can scale to level 30 provided you don’t accept them until completing the main story are:

  • The Dust:
    • Too Close for Missiles (The Dust)
    • Positive Self Image (The Dust)
  • Sanctuary:
    • Cult Following - three parts
    • The Bane
  • Lynchwood:
    • 3:10 to Kaboom
    • Breaking the Bank
    • Showdown
    • Animal Rescue - three parts
  • Highlands/Overlook:
    • Hyperion Contract #873

It’s best to avoid gaining too many additional levels at this point, however, since it can make the beginning of the next story mode (TVHM) unsatisfyingly easy. If you don’t want to do side quests, but don’t want to replay the story just yet, here are some alternatives:

Main DLCs

There are four main DLCs set in different areas of Pandora, each with different enemies and unique weapons. Two of these scale up to a maximum level of 30, while two can go to 35. To start a DLC, simply find the initial location in the list at your nearest Fast Travel and go there. Note that the level of the starting map for each DLC falls within a set range as follows:

  1. Captain Scarlett and Her Pirate’s Booty: Oasis, initial level 15-24
  2. Mr. Toruge’s Campaign of Carnage: Badass Crate of Baddassitude, initial level 15-24
  3. Sir Hammerlock’s Big Game Hunt: Hunter’s Grotto, initial level 30-35
  4. Tiny Tina’s Assault on Dragon Keep: Unassuming Docks, initial level 30-35
  5. Commander Lilith and the Fight for Sanctuary: Fight for Sanctuary, initial level 30-38

For your first character on your first play-though, my personal recommendation would be to do either the first or second DLC only, in order to avoid over-levelling. If you’re not as concerned about over-levelling, and want something the same yet very different, do DLC 4.

Slaughter Domes

There are a number of slaughter domes in the main game, each of which consist of five separate “events” comprising multiple waves of increasingly difficult enemies, with a blue unique item as the final reward. These are Fink’s Slaughter House (lvl.24+) in The Fridge, the Creature Slaughter Dome in the Natural Selection Annex (accessed from the Wildlife Exploitation Preserve), and the Hyperion Circle of Slaughter (lvl.30) in the Ore Chasm (accessed from Erdium Blight. Note that none of these domes are repeatable within the same play-through. DLCs 2 and 4 have similar arena fights, but they (or their final round) are repeatable.

Headhunter Packs

These five additions to the game were added by Gearbox in response to the massive popularity of the game, long after all the promised expansions had been shipped. They each consist of a single map with a final, repeatable boss fight, and one side quest. The first was released in time for Halloween, with others celebrating US Thanksgiving, Christmas, Valentine’s Day, and summer. They are accessed the same way as the DLCs. My personal favourites are numbers 3 and 5. If for some bizarre and totally inexplicable reaosn you have still not played the original Borderlands, make sure you do so before attempting the final pack; the jokes and story mission will make so much more sense that way.

  1. TK Baha’s Bloody Harvest: Hallowed Hollow - initial level 15-24
  2. The Horrible Hunger of the Ravenous Wattle Gobbler: Gluttony Gulch - initial level 15-24
  3. How Marcus Saved Mercenary Day: Marcus’ Mercenary Shop - initial level 15-24
  4. Mad Moxxi and the Wedding Day massacre: Rotgut Distillery - initial level 15-24
  5. Sir Hammerlock vs. The Son of Crawmerax: Wam Bam Island - initial level 15-24

Back to table of contents

True Vault Hunter Mode (TVHM)

When you restart your game after defeating the final boss in the main story, you’ll have a new option at the character selection screen where you can play in either NVHM or TVHM. Note that you keep all your gear, skills, heads, skins, BAR stats, bank, and stash contents , as these are common to both modes. Your progress in each mode will, however, be kept separate. This means you can start the story in TVHM, go back and do a DLC in NVHM, then jump back to the story in TVHM, etc.

One thing to note is that your location is partially shared between the two modes: if you are in Sanctuary in TVHM, you will still be in Sanctuary if you switch back to NVHM. The exception is that you will only be in the same location if you have already discovered it in both play-throughs; if you have not yet discovered that location, you will be moved to the nearest discovered location (or the starting location for DLCs and HH packs) instead.

The story is the same for both modes, but it is worth saving more of the side quests having unique rewards until after completing the main story. This is because, unlike NVHM, ALL the main game maps and unaccepted quests will scale to 50 on completing the main story. (Quests that you have already accepted will have their rewards locked at the lower level, however.) @DeputyChuck has a list of quest rewards worth farming should you want to know what to skip until completing the story.

The other main differences are that enemy health and damage are increased compared to NVHM, and you will encounter badass variants more frequently. This means that you’ll need to upgrade gear more frequently, but you’ll be able to build out a good chunk of two skill trees for your character, giving you lots of opportunity to deal extra damage, gain additional healing, or maintain your shields more easily.

Go for it, you totally badass Vault Hunter you!

Comparative Quest Levels

The following tables provide a summary of the range of levels that each main story and side quest can be taken at. Note that, in TVHM, the map The Dust does not level up as you progress (unlike NVHM).

Main Story Missions:
Main Quest NVHM TVHM
My First Gun 1 31-33
Blindsided 1 31-33
Cleaning up the Berg 3 31-35
Best Minion Ever 5 31-35
The Road to Sanctuary 6-7 32-35
Plan B 7-9 32-35
Hunting the Firehawk 8-10 34-37
A Dam Fine Rescue 12-13 36-39
A Train to Catch 13-15 37-40
Rising Action 15-19 39-43
Bright Lights Flying City 16-18 40-42
Wildlife Preservation 19-20 42-44
Once and Future Slab 20 43-44
The Man Who Would Be Jack 21-23 44-46
Where Angels Fear to Tread 24-25 46-47
Where Angels Fear to Tread (Part 2) 24-25 46-47
Toil And Trouble 25 47
Data Mining 28-30 48-50
The Talon of God 30 50
Side Quest Levels:
Side Quest NVHM TVHM
This Town Ain’t Big Enough 3 31-35
Bad Hair Day 5-8 31-35
Shielded Favours 3 31-35
Symbiosis 5 31-35
Handsome Jack Here! 3 31-35
Claptrap’s Secret Stash 8-10 34-36
Do No Harm 8-10 34-39
Rock, Paper, Genocide (1-4) 8-9 34-37
Assassinate the Assassins 8-9 33-36
The Name Game 8-9 33-36
Medical Mystery (Parts 1 & 2) 8-9 33-36
No Vacancy 8-9 33-36
Neither Rain nor Sleet nor Skags 8-9 36
Cult Following: Eternal Flame (Part 1) 8-10 34-37
Cult Following: False Idols 8-10 34-37
Cult Following: Lighting the Match 8-10 34-37
Cult Following: The Enkindling 8-10 34-37
In Memoriam 11-13 35-38
Positive Self Image 9-31 35-37
Too Close for Missiles 10-31 35-37
You Are Cordially Invited (1-3) 13-15 37-40
The Pretty Good Train Robbery 13-15 37-40
Mighty Morphin’ 13-15 37-40
No Hard Feelings 13-15 37-40
Mine All Mine 13-15 37-40
Out of Body Experience 13-15 37-40
Splinter Group 13-15 37-40
The Good, the Bad, and the Mordecai 16-27 35-37
The Ice Man Cometh 15 38-41
Won’t Get Fooled Again 16 40-42
Claptrap’s Birthday Bash 16 40
Perfectly Peaceful 15-28 38-48
Safe and Sound 15-28 38-48
Clan War: Starting the War 8-18 40
Clan War: First Place 16-18 40
Clan War: Reach the Dead Drop 16-18
Clan War: End of the Rainbow 16-18
Clan War: Trailer Trashing 16-18
Clan War: Wakey Wakey 18
Clan War: Zafords vs. Hodunks 18
Doctor’s Orders 19-21 42-44
Hidden Journals 16 40
Torture Chairs 25 47
Arms Dealing 16-18 40
Swallowed Whole 17-24 41-44
The Cold Shoulder 17-24 41-44
The Overlooked (1-3) 16-18 40-42
Stalker of Stalkers 16-18 40-42
Best Mother’s Day Ever 18
Minecart Mischief 15-30 38-48
Rakkaholics Anonymous 19-20 42
Animal Rights 19-21 42
Note for Self Person 19-24 41
Rocko’s Modern Strife 20 43-44
Defend Slab Tower 20 43-44
Poetic Licence 20 43
Slap Happy 20 43
Shoot This Guy in the Face 20 43-44
Hell Hath No Fury 22-24 45
The Bane 24-30 38-44
Home Movies 21-23 44
Statuesque 21-23 44-46
Written by the Victor 21-23 44-46
Bearer of Bad News 25 47
BFFs 25 47-49
Capture the Flags 26-28 48-49
Customer Service 26-28 48-49
To Grandmother’s House We Go 26-28 48-50
Kill Yourself 27-29 49-50
A Real Boy (1-3) 27-29 49
The Great Escape 26-28 48-49
This Just In 28-30 48
3:10 to Kaboom 25-30 44
Breaking the Bank 24-30 44-48
Showdown 25-30 50
Hyperion Contract #873 25-30 40-44
The Lost Treasure 26-28 48-49
Monster Mash (Part 1) 26-28 48
Monster Mash (Part 2) 28-29 48
Monster Mash (Part 3) 28-30 50
Hungry Like the Skag 26-30 48
Uncle Teddy 28-30
Get to Know Jack 28-30 48
The Chosen One 25 47
Animal Rescue: Medicine 25-30 44
Animal Rescue: Food 25-30
Animal Rescue: Shelter 25-30
Demon Hunter 26-30
Bandit Slaughter Round 1 22 39-40
Bandit Slaughter Round 2 22 40
Bandit Slaughter Round 3 24
Bandit Slaughter Round 4 24
Bandit Slaughter Round 5 26
Creature Slaughter Round 1 22-25 41-42
Creature Slaughter Round 2 25-27 42
Creature Slaughter Round 3 28 43
Creature Slaughter Round 4 28 43
Creature Slaughter Round 5 30
Hyperion Slaughter Round 1 25-30 48
Hyperion Slaughter Round 2 25-30 48
Hyperion Slaughter Round 3 27-31
Hyperion Slaughter Round 4 27-31
Hyperion Slaughter Round 5 29-34
You. Will. Die. [Seriously.] 50 50
Dr. T and the Vault Hunters 35 50
A History of Simulated Violence 35 50

I believe they are up for 100 seconds, but I haven’t actually checked.

EDIT: Checked it, it is 100 seconds

A easier, faster, and much more rewarding method.

Or just save and quit, and reselect NVHM. Its cheaper :wink:


What khimerakiller said- and you can also continue to farm the Warrior for eridium as well to use at the Black Market. All in all, a nice bit of work!

I couldn’t remember if the display was 90 or 99 when writing up last night - thanks!

The only difficulty with that is that you have to grab the item and save-quit before the next story trigger. As the guy says in the video, you’ve got to be quick. I’ll link it in for reference though…

I do that when I’m farming eridium (as @Carlton_Slayer) but, when I’m done for the day, I just want to get home quickly. I’m lazy that way! Did that the other night after farming for ~300 eridium. A 360 doesn’t save-quit-restart as fast as a PC. Too bad you can’t retro-fit them with an SSD…

If it fails I assume you can just dashboard like you suggested in your original method. Plus you have until Jack’s bubble pops, so its a lot longer than you’d think. Thus making it like 1000% superior.

Hmm, not sure - I’d have to check to see if the game triggers an autosave during that sequence. I have a character who’s almost at that fight, so once I manage to get back on the box (daughter’s hosting a Harry Potter movie marathon atm) I should be able to test it.

Have fun watching 8 ~2 hour movies today:)

Did other things instead of movies; it was cool!

Just finished running through that mission and was going to dashboard after seeing the bubble collapse and the “call moonshot” objective slide out, but hit save-quit out of sheer habit. So I still don’t know if there’s an autosave when the mission advances. Oh well, I guess I can always start another character! (I will note that I didn’t see the vault symbol “saving” icon pop up though, so it may not save.) Time from moonshot to bubble bursting is what, 3 seconds? I think if you’d watched the video first and made a note of where to stand you’d be ok.

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I think from the time that the Warrior explodes to when the bubble pops is about ~14 seconds, so a really good time frame IMO. If I knew how to “create” play throughs so I could already be at “The End of the Line” I would test it, but I don’t. So this is the best I’ve got.

Hey bros, did a video with some funny moments from the game, so if you’re just starting out or have been playing a while, check it out! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BGj29xbUojQ

It would be awesome! I would actually like to stick with it :stuck_out_tongue:
They might both having splash i guess :slight_smile: