Guide to Making a Better Build

Not only here but in many places, reddit, youtube, twitch, I see a lot of sub par to bad builds and/or copied builds. This is not to poke fun at those build or anything like that. This is to help understand how to make their own builds and the process behind making a good build work.

Much like the Top Gear series I would love for this to be a community effort and I will be looking for a lot of input and feedback.


Above is a video guide but I wanted to do a more detailed guide here.

Step One: What is the focus of your build?

The start of every build you should have a focus and by that I don’t mean “I want to kill things” I mean what is your build based around. This can be many things

  • Guns
  • Shields
  • Skills
  • Class mods
  • Relic

Almost anything can be a focus, but you should have a focus as a starting point.

Now in the video my first example was Jack and Jakobs shotguns, this was my focus because when I saw his skill tree I saw a few skills that would be amazing with them. I used the term “Break Them” in the video. What I mean by that is guns are balanced around bonuses and drawbacks in the game and if you can overcome the drawbacks you make that weapon or item much more powerful.

Jakobs Shotguns are Balanced around the following postives

  • High Base Damage
  • High Fire Rate
  • Fast Reload Speed
  • Type B Crit Bonus


  • Small Magazine size
  • Non Elemental
  • High Recoil
  • A shotgun so not the most accurate but not bad for shotguns
  • Consumes a lot of ammo for either Jakobs, Bandit, or Torgue Barrels

So with Jack you have a few skills that can overcome the negatives

  • Absolute Advantage allows your guns to not consume ammo on a % chance on kill
  • Company Man and Believe increased accuracy
  • Just Compensation increases your Magazine Size
  • Believe, Accountability, and Commitment decrease reload time
  • Sponsored by… can help Mag Size, Accuracy, add Elements, Reduce Recoil, or Reduce Reload time

Then he has somethings that work really well with the positives

  • Company Man and Synergy adds a lot of critical hit damage that plays nice with Type B crit
  • His tanking skills combined with the Agro relief of his pets lets you get close

So you can see that Jack can both over come the drawbacks of Jakobs shotguns while also playing to their strengths. This is just one example of a focus and I used this because its one I’m very familiar with because it was my build so I don’t have to guess to motivations.

Now there are many classic examples of builds doing this

@Chuck80 Deputy Sal

With this build I don’t know his starting point but this build focusing on overcoming the weakness of Money Shot needing to be on the final shot and a minimum mag size by using a power off hand gun with 2 shots. Then he also focuses on Jakobs shotguns but in particular the Orphan Maker which has massive base damage and since its offhand the pentaly of it doesn’t happen. All that a a quick summary makes this one of it if not the most powerful Sal builds ever made.

@Exotek How to get the most out of Backdraft

This may not be an official build right now but its shows the focus as good as any build I can think of, just look at the title. This uses a shock slowhand and transformer to set off 3 Backdraft nova’s at a time to “carpet bomb” the map at will. Very few builds specialize as much as this one.

There are a lot more examples of this and I’ll add them if I get good suggestions, but for now I’ll keep moving.

The next few steps do not really have to happen in order so keep that in mind.

Filling out your Gear

This step can happen in many ways but there are many things you should be asking yourself. Now if you are starting with a gun or a shield or a skill you need to think about this differently but I’ll try to cover the questions you should be asking yourself.


To go into more details on this one I’m going to use my Twisted Pimp Build to go into more detail. Alot of the above is pretty strait forward but maybe not all of it and the point of this is to spell things out so sorry if this is obvious.

  • Do I need to be cautious of my ammo pools, if I focus on a shotgun I might not want more shotguns?
  • Since I focus on a sniper that does have a limited ammo pool I have a Bekah that can fill in if I get low on sniper ammo.
  • What is the weakness of my gun, again if I focus on a shotgun do I need a longer range gun?
  • The Pimpernel is a sniper that you want to shoot low on so its not the best on close range enemies so the Twister fills this gap very well. Some enemies are also hard to sweet spot and the Bekah fills that nicely.
  • Do I need to cover certain elemental weaknesses?
  • I have a fire and corrosive pimp so I have the main parts down, a quasar and twister for shock. So I have all this covered.
  • Do I have a way to debuff enemies?
  • No this is a Maya build with both Ruin and Slag
  • Do I need a moxxi gun or do my skills/grenade/shield cover that?
  • I have Lifetap, Sweet Release, Elated, and Sustenance for healing as well as Ward and Inertia for my shields.
  • How do these guns work with my skills?
  • All the guns have either a bullet split and/or penetration which have extra synergy wtih Chain Reaction
  • All guns have One Shot One Kill potential that works well with Reaper since it is only on 50% or more health
  • All guns are high powered and have either penetration or an AOE that can hurt enemies and heal teammates in one shot with restoration
  • How often do I go down, do I need a FFYL gun or are my guns good enough for that?
  • Not often and all my guns are very high powered that work great with immolate and scorn can be tossed in ffyl if I need slag.

I hope that is helpful and clear on how and why to choose your guns. It should be more than “x” gun is powerful. You only have 4 slots and unless you want to constantly go to your menu to swap you should think about each one and why you have it. Using skills like lifetap on maya so you don’t need a moxxi gun is a good example of this. Or using a moxxi gun on maya so you don’t need her healing skills is another way. Using a lot of her healing skills and moxxi guns can be a waste.


This is one where I see the most mistakes. With this you have far less questions

  • Does this fill in the gaps of my build?
  • Does this have synergy with my skills?

Thats really all I ask but I’ll share some examples on gaps

  • Krieg with a Roid vs Rough Rider
  • So when Krieg came out a lot of people played him just like melee zer0 and when OP levels came out a lot of people complained that he didn’t work. Then @Spunky117 showed the way with the Rough Rider. There were many issues with using a roid/rapier with Krieg. Rapier makes you take twice the melee damage form enemies, and a roid leaves you unprotected. While in RtB Krieg can only heal from killing but he doesn’t have deception like zer0 so he will take many hits closing the gap. So for him to survive you need to build up your health and damage reduction so you can take hits. Also if you hit yourself with StV while wearing a roid and holing the Rapier you take a lot more damage because of the roid damage and the double damage penalty from the rapier making StV very deadly. Krieg has enough melee where he didn’t need those 2 items but he needed more health to tank.
  • The Bee
  • I see people going pure DPS builds while wearing a bee and complain that they go down to almost every shot, don’t spec glass cannon and wear a glass cannon shield unless you have the skills to avoid the damage and keep it up. The Bee should be used on builds that play at a distance and have both shield capacity and shield recharge delay reduction.

Now some on Skills

  • Tediore shields on Claptrap
  • Claptrap loved quick low capacity shields for KillBot in TPS so that killing enemies hurt his shield but healed him, but since his shield would recharge so fast it didn’t matter that it took a hit.
  • Backdraft and Transformer
  • Like the above link I provided, shooting your feet with a shock slowhand empties and fills the Transformer in a blink of an eye releasing 3 nova’s from Backdraft.
  • Flame of the Firehawk and Krieg
  • This is the most obvious of all of them maybe, he has skills to Increase recharge delay so it keeps going off longer, He has a lot of fire skills and boosts for when his shield is down, He can heal off fire dots, etc…
  • Rough Rider
  • Sal’s Inconceivable works better the lower the shields
  • Maya’s Fleet is only on when a shield is down
  • Krieg as above has a ton of shield down buffs and loves health stacking/damage reduction


Grenades are often used as utilities but also sometimes used for strait killing.

  • Utility
  • Most common example is the Chain Lighting used for both Grog healing and Striping Roid Shields
  • Quasar for grouping up enemies, works great with maya’s converge as a second pull
  • Stormfront for Bloodlust stacks with Krieg or Stacking Maelstrom with Athena, also good with healing
  • Slag Transfusions for both slag and healing, Sniper Zer0 more than most loves this
  • Magic Missiles for just slagging as well as other like Bouncing Betties for Raid Slagging
  • Strait Killing
  • Fastball for single target killings
  • Bonus Package or other large AOE grenades to kill groups
  • There are many more options but that kinda covers the basis, single target and mob targets

So to chose what you need between damage or a certain utility really depends on what your build is missing between your gear and skills. Slag and Healing are very common but like I showed there are other options.

Relic/Oz Kit

This is much like the above Grenade section, utility vs damage. The most common choice for Bl2 is the Bone of the Ancients because it adds both, cooldown and damage. But its not always the right choice, melee Krieg for example loves Blood of the Ancients because of the health stacking. This more so than most categories is look at your build and what does it need.

In TPS the most common answer seems to be 3DD1.E because of its massive utility but you also have so many great Oz kits.

There are a lot of choices so I guess I would encourage people to look past BoA and 3DD1.e because there are many great options.

Class Mods (Coms)

Picking class mods is often one of the easier parts of the build. A lot of class mods are quite diverse from each other and many can be an obvious pick, but not always.

  • Legendary Com vs Regular Com

  • This is the big question for a lot of people. Do you take a com that can boost 5/6 skills at +5, or a Blue/Purple com that boosts 2/3 skills anywhere from 4 to 6 points. Many times a build can focus around a single point where getting that skill to 11/5 is a big deal. Chaotic Monks for Sal boosting Money Shot is an example of this, Trickster Com Boosting Chain Reaction for Maya, Absolute Advantage coms for Jack, etc… Now if your build is more general than a Legendary Com boosting more skills is better.

  • Picking the Right Com?

  • For this I’m going to use my Twisted Pimp build since I built it at first to match all 4 Legendary Maya Com’s and why I landed on the Legendary Siren.

  • Legendary Cat. This com boosted 5 DPS skills to +5 which is great and the passive buff was a huge damage buff but only to SMGs. So while I wasn’t running SMG’s I would waste the card bonus, but I also didn’t need all that damage so there were wasted points there.

  • Legendary Binder. This one with +5 to wreck and reaper had higher DPS than the Legendary Siren. +5 to Helios is a bit of a waste for my build, and Sweet Release is great but not needed more than 5 points. I could of moved 4 points from that to minds eye and gone with 6/5 SR. Then Suspension, while a great skill but without running Sub Sequence I really didn’t need the extra points in it. In the end, the cooldown and card boosts were not as good as the legendary com and the Binder was better for a SS build.

  • Legendary Nurse. This was always more, the fact I could put it on and nurse but my build ended up nursing pretty well so I rarely used it.

  • Legendary Siren. So this one had enough DPS, Good Survival, the Highest Cooldown. Thats why I went with it. Some argued with me on the release of these com’s it wasn’t as good of a choice because on paper the Binder and Cat beat it on DPS. But in reality that gap was much different. Wreck is boosted by both Binder and Cat, but that is only active with phaselock and with the Legendary Siren I get phaselock more often. Reaper is also boosted by both of those and while reaper is great with another 40% on it, maya has little in the way of additive damage to get boosted by it so the passive always on 40% boost from the Legendary Siren makes the difference of Reaper little and when you get to bosses or things that can’t be one shot the Legendary comes out strong there as well. So with close enough on paper DPS and in combat DPS getting a rise because of passive DPS and more active phaselock that was a not a deal breaker. Having Ward was a big deal really helping survival as well. So for all those reasons the Legendary Siren won the day. The points of this wall of text is that your choice should be on all the utility, not just DPS.

Selecting Skill Trees

  • work in progress

Selecting Skills

  • work in progress

Testing and Tweaking

  • work in progress

How to Best Ask for Help

  • Go to the Sub forum of the Character you are playing

  • Create a Topic asking for help

  • Describe your issues (damage, staying alive, etc…)

  • Post your Build using the below links
    Borderlands 2
    Borderlands The Pre Sequel

  • To use these sites select your character, fill out your skill tree and then copy the URL in the address bar. Paste that link in the thread you make.

  • Explain why you settled with your build the best you can and any focuses/goals you have with the build.

  • List your gear with the levels, under leveled gear is a common issue. This is guns, grenade, relic, com, and shield

  • If you can post a video of your game play do so. Even if you think its bad. We are here to help and often tactics are the larger issues than the build.

  • The more info you give, the more and better we can help.

  • Be open to feedback and suggestions.


Please give feedback on what you would like to see added, more topics, more detail within the topics, more examples, etc…

First off, I just want to say I enjoyed your video on this subject a couple weeks ago. Bringing attention to making smarter builds is apparently necessary 3 years after game release. And if you want feedback on this, I’d say just make it abundantly obvious to people, like you did in your skill video, that max dps is not always the best option. Because not everyone gets the message yet. For pete’s sake I still have a friend who runs the Infinity+Bee on Maya. In the Peak, while Raiding, everywhere. More volume is best volume.

So here’s my build, I’d like to know what you think:
With a Fire Pimpernel, Heartbreaker/Rubi, Harold and Shock Ladyfist
Gear is Antagonist, Bone of the Ancients, L. Binder and Chain Lightning.
I only raid in parties and when I do I’m mostly support, but this settup rocks at mobbing. What’s your opinion of it?

excellent video and explanation. too bad its a little late though. i feel that every viable build that can be created has been created at some point.
on another note, kind of reminds me about my systems purge build. just using that item and seeing how to maximize it. just kind of sucks that another guy posted a similar play style / spec before i did, but whatever.

We still see people coming here and other places with UVHM troubles and a lot of those troubles come from poor builds, this game is still attracting new players and not everyone is an expert. I’m hoping this can be a place we can send them to help them.

Better late than never I guess. Im going to post this place to reddit and all over, try to spread the good word.

1 Like

I am not sure if it is worth putting 1 point in Fleet, since you likely won’t notice the +10% movement speed when your shield is down. You are probably better off putting that 1 point into Inertia, for 4/5 Inertia. Even with the 10/29/2015 patch, Helios might be an all (or almost all) or nothing type of skill, meaning you probably want at least 9/5 Helios. I am not sure how much of a boost Backdraft got. It might be a good skill if it was boosted a decent amount and if your Build is melee focused, but then you would probably want to put more than 2 points into it especially if your Class mod doesn’t add any points. So, I’m not too sure about Backdraft. As it stands and considering your Class Mod (Legendary Binder) boosts Helios by +5, I would probably recommend taking the 2 points from Backdraft and putting them into Helios for 4/5 Helios (9/5 Helios with Legendary Binder). And yes my Binder Build is outdated, inaccurate and needs to be updated :blush:

Forum ID: Poisd2Strike
GT: Poisd2Strike
Gun Prefixes | Gun Parts | Max Stats
Maya OP8 | Banshee RR / NRR | Binder | Cat | Nurse | Siren | Trickster B / M

Oh, I throw on a RR and a +6 Fleet COM when I feel like passing through a map at the speed on Sonic. That’s the only reason I have a point delegated there. I will probably also end up moving the points from Backdraft to Helios, thanks for pointing that out. I just have them there from when all the skills sucked and I just needed to get to Ruin.

In that case, I would leave the 1 point in Fleet. :blush:

Forum ID: Poisd2Strike
GT: Poisd2Strike
Gun Prefixes | Gun Parts | Max Stats
Maya OP8 | Banshee RR / NRR | Binder | Cat | Nurse | Siren | Trickster B / M

Yeah that was my bad, I should have mentioned that when originally posting that.

*Just a reminder that StV’s self- damage isn’t affected by roid or bayonet melee mod and as far as I know it also isn’t affected by rapier’s damage res debuff. The only things that do affect it are slag and FtB (and I suppose Deathmark aswell).

*at the shield section, under “Krieg with Roid vs Rough Rider”