[Guide/Build] Generic Torguemando 101

Explosive Axton, also known as “Torguemando”, is one of the most popular Axton builds/playstyles/ways of life/etc. out there, and as an ardent fan of both single element builds and Axton, it was a natural fit for me. While my build isn’t completely generic (I use the KerBlaster and Legendary Engineer as opposed to the usual Ogre and Legendary Soldier, respectively), it does follow a lot of Torguemando conventions (iirc the exact skill point allocation is detailed in @Blutfatal’s Axton guide video).

Note that this info is nothing new to veterans; this is a guide meant to introduce new Axton players to the Torguemando phenomenon as well as provide an example of an endgame Torguemando build. I wrote this because I noticed the lack of a real Torguemando guide on the forums and I wanted to change that (this game may be nearly three years old as of now but that isn’t stopping me).


##The basics

What makes Torgue such a great company in general for Axton is because Axton has multiple ways to increase grenade damage, namely Steady, Battlefront, Do or Die, Grenadier COMs and Badass Rank, and the splash damage of most Torgue guns counts as grenade damage, meaning that their damage gets boosted pretty significantly by said skills (particularly Battlefront). Note that not all Torgue guns get grenade damage, and there are plenty of guns (most notably those made by Tediore) which also get grenade damage (full list here).

##My skill build

This skill build isn’t required, but it’s still pretty common, and most Torguemando/grenade damage builds generally end up looking something like it.


  • Sentry: More turret time and burst fire count means more Battlefront, more slag, more cooldown refunded and more time that your enemies are attacking your turret and not you.

  • Ready: This one’s a no-brainer. Especially good for Torgue guns since they typically have longer reloads than guns from other manufacturers.

  • Willing: Axton tanks through shields (and turrets), and this is one of the key skills for that.

  • Onslaught: Yes it’s additive but the damage boost is still good (the movement speed is sweet too). I max this out and not Able because Legendary Engineer boosts Able and there’s not too much of a difference between 4% and 3.6% healing imo.

  • Scorched Earth: It won’t make the turret able to kill for you in UVHM like it did in Normal but it’s still pretty good (it also looks totally badass which is a plus). As @DemoniteBL noted in his Axton guide video it’s also great for negating enemy health regen in UVHM. Plus it goes with the explosive theme, even if it isn’t affected by explosive relics.

  • Able: Very good skill that tends to get a lot of hate. By itself it isn’t that good but when you take into account the fact that damage dealt to Axton will usually either get blocked by his shield or a turret it’s a very good way to keep him healthy. I prefer it over Preparation’s healing because it’s more constant (although with Willing, Pressure, Quick Charge and the turret, Preparation’s healing will go off a lot), hence why I prefer Legendary Engineer over Legendary Soldier.

  • Double Up: It may not be as good as Maya’s Ruin but it’s still a really good slagger. Magic Missiles make it somewhat redundant but this slags faster, doesn’t use grenade ammo and won’t kill you at close range. I do think this is pretty overrated though; yeah it’s a really good skill and it’s definitely Axton’s best capstone but it isn’t mandatory like some people say it is.


  • Impact: An even bigger no-brainer than Ready. Who wouldn’t want free damage with no penalties at tier 1, additive or not?

  • Expertise: Its role here is mostly that of a filler skill but it’s still good. Between this, Overload, Duty Calls and Ranger I reasoned that this is the best choice out of the four even without Legendary Soldier.

  • Metal Storm: Yeah I know, fire rate caps and all that, but Torgue guns are slow so that really isn’t a problem here, hence the 5/5.

  • Steady: Most Torgue guns will benefit from this so this is a very good skill to take.

  • Longbow Turret: One of Axton’s best gamechangers. Heck, maybe even his best gamechanger. Really expands on how you can use the turret: more aggro, more slag, more stuns, more everything. Well, almost everything. Also it’s Longbow Turret, not Longbow.

  • Battlefront: The closest thing to an actual multiplicative damage boost that Axton has skill-wise. The gun damage is great for all guns, and the grenade damage is even better for guns that get it. This is the main source of damage for Leg. Engineer which can either be a good thing or a bad thing depending on how you look at it.

  • Do or Die: A Torguemando staple; this skill can be a lifesaver. Magic Missiles may not be the best grenades to use with this, but they definitely make slagging a lot easier in FFYL’s fading monochrome view, and I’ve even gotten second winds with them sometimes. The extra grenade and launcher damage is nice too.

  • Nuke: A lot of people think this is useless. I disagree. When you’re getting hounded by an army of rabids in the WEP (this has happened to me before), you’ll wish you had this skill. Whereas regular turrets take time to set up before they can start helping you, a nuke turret helps you straight from the get go by stunning, damaging and (hopefully) drawing the aggro of anyone who gets hit by it. You can also kill weaker enemies with it if you slag them first which is entertaining.


  • Preparation: Axton can get his shields to full really well so the healing goes off a lot (I still prefer Able though). The extra shield capacity isn’t the most helpful thing ever but it does have good synergy with Quick Charge.

  • Pressure: The delay decrease can be a lifesaver, and the extra reload speed is really great too especially with Torgue guns. No it doesn’t help much if you’re at full health, but then again if you’re at full health you don’t really need this skill’s bonuses.

  • Phalanx Shield: Not really needed but it definitely has its uses and one point away from Quick Charge won’t hurt (most of the time).

  • Quick Charge: Even though Willing and Pressure can get your delay down to nearly zero it’s still nice to have your delay be literally zero. Great for shrugging off DoTs and the like.

##Leveling tips

  • Since the emphasis here is Torgue, I recommend Gunpowder as the first tree to go down so you can get all that delicious grenade damage.
  • Contrary to popular belief, Duty Calls does NOT affect Torgue weapons. Explosive counts as an element (as most Athena players probably know), and since Torgue guns have the explosion symbol on their item cards they do not get Duty Calls (maybe the Ahab does since it’s weird; I’m not sure).
  • After Gunpowder you can either go down Survival (up to about tier 3 or 4) for more defense or Guerrilla for a little bit of everything. I suggest going down Survival eventually though unless you plan on relying on Moxxi healing a lot.
  • Note that my build does not incorporate Grenadier, so if you like using grenades a lot then you should probably go for that instead of Able or Onslaught.
  • Also contrary to popular belief, Double Up is not a necessity for UVHM. The difference between it and Ruin is that Maya typically uses Phaselock as often as possible and so Ruin saves her a lot of slag time, whereas the Sabre Turret has a longer duration and requires less player involvement, both of which give Axton more leniency. If Gaige, Krieg and Zer0 can all do well with using guns and grenades for slag, then so can Axton.


##Basic setup

This is a general loadout to use while leveling up as well as endgame. Note that Torgue guns and grenades are sold at Torgue vendors in the Torgue DLC, and Torgue Tokens can easily be acquired through doing the Bar Brawl missions repeatedly in Normal, making Torgue weapons great for leveling.


  • Torgue assault rifle: Your primary mobbing weapon. I recommend you avoid the Torpedo model (the one with the big fat Torgue barrel) since it doesn’t get grenade damage.

  • Torgue shotgun: For close range and/or when you really need to dish out the DPS.

  • Slag gun: This is more for UVHM, but for Normal and TVHM it can help especially if you want to get into the UVHM habit of slagging before shooting. If you’re feeling low on defense you might consider filling this slot with a slag Rubi so that you can use it both to heal and to slag at close range. Note that for Torguemandos the biggest weakness of slag guns is that they can’t be made by Torgue.

  • Torgue launcher: For all your FFYL, crowd control and super fast DPS needs. Bandit or Vladof might be more beneficial depending on your need but we’re sticking with Torgue here because Torgue.

  • Shield: Standard leveling shield conditions apply here: solid capacity, delay, rate, special effect power etc. Note that maylay shields are the type that Axton has the least synergy with, but if its stats (other than roid damage) are good and you can’t find a better shield then by all means use it. For Torgue loyalty I suggest an explosive nova shield in conjunction with an explosive relic; the spike ones are cool but suffer from scaling problems.

  • Grenadier: The standard Torguemando COM for leveling (it’s even made by Torgue). If you’re focusing primarily on guns stick with ones that boost Impact and Steady, but if you plan on using grenades a lot you should look for ones that boost Steady and Grenadier. Note that if you find a Legendary Soldier (and there’s a good chance that you will), then I suggest you switch to that instead. Or you could stay true to Torgue and stick with Grenadier.

  • Grenade mod: Axton’s the best overall grenade user in the game, and since you’ve most likely already boosted grenade damage to get more out of your Torgue guns you have a lot of options on what you can use. I suggest you use one with good killing power so that you can use it in conjunction with Do or Die for second winds. Torgue-made MIRVs will fit that bill nicely (as will they count towards your Torgue loyalty). Alternatively you could a slag grenade for slagging purposes: for the longest time I used a level 35 Magic Missile that I got from my very first Tina playthrough. A slag transfusion is another good option, especially if your skill build is lacking in defense and you don’t want to use Moxxi.

  • Elemental Relic ( :boom: ) / Allegiance Relic (Torgue): Both will help your Torgue DPS; take your pick. I prefer the explosive relic because it’s multiplicative and because it’s not limited to just guns. Also it has a nice elemental theme which I like.


  • Corrosive shotgun: Torgue guns are crap at killing buzzards (surveyors are more manageable though), and you will run into a lot of them both in the main game and in the Torgue DLC, so you’ll probably want one of these to deal with them. Hyperion is the best manufacturer for this purpose due to its high fire rate and reload speed compared to other manufacturers.
  • Incendiary gun: Not as useful for Torguemandos as the corrosive shotgun is but it can still help for flying fleshy enemies as well as the rare explosive enemy (during the main game this will be limited to Assassin Oney and Pimon). For flying flesh enemies (aka rakk and dragons) though Torgue shotguns can deal with them quickly.

##Endgame setup

This is what I use. It mostly follows the conventions established by the basic setup but there are some differences.


  • KerBlaster: This fills the Torgue assault rifle slot. Ogre’s stronger but this is better at crowd control. Works great with the turret: get as many enemies as you can to converge around the turret, and then hip fire this at the turret and watch all of them die. Mag size increases are nice for this gun but I don’t really care. Dangerous to use at close range however because it’s easy to kill yourself with it.

  • SWORDSPLOSION!!!: This fills the Torgue shotgun slot… mostly. Like the KerBlaster, it has high self-damage potential and is thus not a good choice for close range, so instead I primarily use this for killing big guys. Also works well at CC with the turret, although it does require more aiming than the KerBlaster does. Still a really fun weapon to use.

  • Grog Nozzle: The slag gun. Primarily for close range slag since using Magic Missiles up close usually results in FFYL. I will heal with it if I really feel like I need it, but usually Preparation, Able and the Creamer keep me covered.

  • Creamer: My Torgue launcher of choice. One of the best, if not the best, Torgue launchers. It may not be as flashy as the Nukem or Tunguska but the projectile split makes it really fun to use. The healing is nice as well.

  • Antagonist/Big Boom Blaster: I like these two equally, so these both get listed in the main section. Antagonist is better for defense but Big Boom Blaster is made by Torgue and can give me extra grenades and rockets. Neither are too helpful against creatures but Axton has more than enough skills to make them work.

  • Legendary Engineer: I use this over Grenadier and Legendary Soldier for four reasons: 1.) the boost to Able, which I prefer over Preparation, 2.) the damage per shot for grenade damage guns which are in between the two (except on crits in which it’s the highest), 3.) the cooldown rate bonus which is very negligibly higher than Leg. Soldier’s but still better than Grenadier’s nonexistent bonus, and finally 4.) hipster points. I don’t go for Resourceful though because I don’t feel like giving up Double Up or Nuke. Yeah I know, it’s made by Dahl and not Torgue, but whatever.

  • Magic Missile: For slagging enemies that haven’t already been slagged by the turret as well as the occasional Grog heal (although with Preparation, Able and the Creamer that isn’t too necessary). For close range slag I use the Grog or the turret instead because because I already have plenty of ways to put myself in FFYL and I don’t need another.

  • Elemental Relic ( :boom: ): As stated above, I prefer it over the Torgue allegiance relic since it gives a multiplicative damage boost, it isn’t limited to guns, and it has that cool elemental theme.


  • Unkempt Harold: It’s the Harold, no explanation needed. I usually swap this out with SWORDSPLOSION!!! for when I’m fighting up close and/or when I want to kill a big guy really fast.

  • Tunguska: For when I get bored with the Creamer. No it’s not as powerful as the Creamer or Nukem and yes it can kill you easily but it’s still pretty damn effective, and fun too. Works best as a midrange crowd control launcher, and a good FFYL companion to close range guns like the Harold and Ravager.

  • Flakker: Also for fun, although it’s way better than the Tunguska. No grenade or launcher damage but still really darn good on Axton (once you know how to use it, of course). I also have this in here because I’m afraid that Blut will murder me in my sleep or something if I don’t.

  • Ravager: For when I feel like doing a traditional shotgun playstyle a la Claptrap since the Harold isn’t a shotgun and SWORDSPLOSION!!! is more like a grenade launcher.

  • Hornet: This fills the corrosive shotgun slot from the basic setup. A Butcher or Conference Call would be better for this purpose but this has more synergy with Axton and thus I use it.

  • Blockhead: This fills the fire gun slot from the basic setup. I mostly use this for fleshy, explosive-resistant enemies; when it comes to rakk and most other flying flesh enemies Torgue guns can get the job done. Not as strong as the Omen but easier to use and far easier to acquire.

  • Big Boom Blaster/Antagonist: Whichever one I’m not wearing goes in here.

  • The Bee: Yep, I use this… sometimes. Usually when I run into a big beefy enemy with grenade damage resistance and I’m impatient. Other than that I don’t need it.

  • Impact Grenadier: For when I want to kill with grenades and/or want to max out my damage per shot. I prefer 6 to Impact and 5 to Steady; I don’t go for Grenadier because 1.) I’m not specced into it, 2.) I don’t use grenades often, and 3.) Magic Missiles and the Big Boom Blaster give me grenade regen.

  • Meteor Shower: For when I feel like killing with grenades. Also Torgue.

  • Fastball: Another grenade killer option. I prefer explosive because it goes with the explosive theme and also because I’m too lazy to switch elemental relics. Arguably easier to use than the Meteor Shower but on the flipside it’s not made by Torgue.

  • Bone of the Ancients ( :fire: / ): For when I’m using the Hornet or Blockhead and I remember to switch relics.

  • Allegiance Relic (Torgue): I use this sometimes for a change of pace. Also Torgue.

##Other options that I don’t use but you might consider using:

  • Ogre
  • Spitter
  • Carnage
  • Nukem
  • 12 Pounder
  • Deadly Bloom
  • Legendary Soldier
  • A Grenadier COM that boosts Steady and Grenadier
  • Bonus Package


Pretty standard Axton fare. Aggro enemies with turret, kill enemies as they are trying to kill your turret, pretty simple. Note that with my main endgame setup it’s very easy to kill yourself at close range, so the turret will be your best friend at keeping your enemies away from you (or you could just use a Harold/Ravager but whatever). Also note that most of this build’s damage comes from Battlefront, so turret management is somewhat more important with this build than it is with others.


Nice! I was going to post my Axton explosive build but I think it isnt needed anymore. Good job!

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Thanks for taking the time to make this guide !

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And Krieg players. :dukejk:

Nice build. I’m going to have to try it out sometime.

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Wouldn’t be the first time I’ve killed someone in their sleep for dissing the flakker.
Won’t be the last.


“I’m Torgue, and I’m here to ask you one question, and one question only. EXPLOSIONS?!!”



Oh wow. I might do a guide similar to this about Killskill Axton sometime. Anyway nice job!

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Book marked for future consideration. Thanks for taking the time, good job!

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Good Job!
I really like the idea of just one “element”. That’s why I ended up shocking everything with my Gaige instead of letting DT do all the work. What was the plan in the first place. He’s still doing pretty good, though!
Similar conflict here:
At first I wanted to go all turret, because I like to put emphasis on the action skill of a character.
But now, as I am starting to think about EXPLOSIONS!!!..

It’s hard to find a compromise between letting everything EXPLODE and having two bad*ss turrets shred through the enemies here.
My Axton is only level 12 anyways and time is my biggest enemy, so we’ll see! Eventually I’ll find a good balance.

Edit: What makes this even more tempting is the fact, that there’s no “ultra exclusive” gear involved, e.g. You don’t have to farm any raid bosses or something like this. Just bar-brawling your way to the deisred weapon.

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So, I’m level 40 now and having a f’cking BLAST (get it?)!
So far it works VERY well.
Got down the Gunpowder tree, picked Preparation and am now starting to invest in the Guerrilla tree.
Went with:
1 Spitter gun
2 Shotgun
3 Pistol
4 Launcher
as far as I was able to.
Must say that I didn’t really feel the SWORDSPLOSION!!! which is a shame… Found myself doing better with a Ravager.

Anyways, since a Legendary Engineer is already waiting, I thought maybe THIS BUILD would work too.
Yes, no Double Up. I’m planning on using the Magic Missile and/or the Slagga/Grog Nozzle for slagging (for throwing some Fastballs or other, preferably Torgue, grenades that I stumble upon once in a while).
In this case I can make use of the bonus from the COM, having more uptime for the turret (more damage!) and an additional one (love that!). Two nukes as well!

What do you think? Would that work out?
Would be a good compromise for me, since I wanted to emphasize on the turret, too.

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That build works fine too; it’s a good jack of all trades Axton kind of deal. Don’t worry about not having DU; you won’t need it if you’re willing to do all the slagging yourself. You also get more damage per turret since DU isn’t there to lower their bullet damage.

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Wait what having two turrets lowers there damage how did I not know this wtf.

Double Up lowers the bullet damage by a little bit in exchange for slag and a second gun.

Oh I thought u meant Gemini my bad

Thanks :wink:
Good thing is, I can always just respec into Double Up, if I want to.
It’ll take time to try it anyway till I’m able to test all this. It’s a long way to level 72.
At least for me it is.

I’ve been having problems getting to op3. I think I’ll try this build out next time I get a chance. Have some of the weapons, don’t have any of the shields tho. I’ll look into farming them first, if they are tough to get I’ll stay with my fabled tortoise or bee shield

May I suggest the Gunner COM for the other options? It boosts fire rate, recoil reduction and Steady so if you are going with the Ogre/Vladof spining barrel AR it is an amazing COM to use.

While the Gunner is a very good COM (and Torgue in general benefits from more RoF), Axton also has a lot of other COMs like Rifleman, Ranger etc. that are just as good for this build and Axton in general. If I included it I’d have to include all of them, and at that point it would be easier to just link the COM guide.

Also less importantly this guide is about how to be a generic Torguemando so I picked the COMs most commonly seen in generic Torguemando builds.

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I agree with virtually everything you have said and I run an “Explosive Axton” almost all the time.

You might want to consider adding the Blockade as a shield choice as it really fits with Axton’s defensive skills. Yes…it’s not a Torgue shield but that constant 38% resistance …oh my…

And it lets you get away with some “too close with the Swordsplosion” mistakes.