Help me start playing Salvador

I hear this guy scoffed as easy but I find him really tricky to get the hang of. I need some help starting out. :pensive:

– Outside the ‘top gear’ (I never farm until endgame), what kind of weapons, shields, and grenades should I be privileging? Are there any to avoid?

– Sounds dumb, but I’m a bit confused about how to swap weapons during Gunzerking. Are slots 1 and 2 a pair, and 3 and 4 a pair? How do I then switch to a gun from the other pair? :confused:

– Is it best to set up my loadout for guns that I will Gunzerk with? Or should I devote a slot to a non-zerking weapon like a sniper rifle?

Any other general tips?

Light the Deputy Signal @Chuck80


I promise I will have a Complete answer when I get home from work. :wink:


Hehe, no rush!

Anything you like, really. I personally like high fire rate/fast reload guns, so I’ll vary quite a bit. Sal has some great skills for boosting DPS. I like to use the highest capacity shield I can initially, since Gunzerking generally means close-quarters but until you get enough levels to unlock Down not Out, you want to stay up as long as possible. My latest NVHM Sal was a literal blast with dual Deliverances followed by Heartbreaker+Octo. A dual pistol or pistol+sniper can be great fun too.

Yes. Just hit your normal weapon swap button/key. One thing to note: of the pair, the weapon you had equipped when you invoked gunzerking will always be the RH one, even if it’s in slot 2. It still pairs slot 1 & 2, then 3 & 4. This information isn’t that important at the beginning or while levelling, but it does have an impact when you’re using specific builds due to transfer of weapon effects between the main and off hand. @Chuck80 should be able to clarify that.

It’s totally possible to 'zerk with a sniper, especially if said sniper is a Lyuda! The trick is to pair it with something that will keep firing while the sniper reloads and also provide you with tighter cross-hairs while shooting from the hip. Other snipers will work too, although personally I’d stick with Vladof & maybe Dahl rather than Jakobs just because a slow fire rate/reload is a waste of Gunzerking time (until you get into TVHM and can unlock higher tier skills.)

Edit: Now write another thesis page! (And I will write another paragraph for this article I’m working on…)

Thanks!! Really useful info. I think I’m going to start a Vladof allegiance Gunzerker as that will help me get used to him without having to cope with learning how he can use the entire range of Bl2 weapons.

Are Jakobs and Dahl still effective with him though? I would imagine the lack of automatic firing for Jakobs is a potential downside, as well as the inability to burst first with Dahl?[quote=“VaultHunter101, post:5, topic:1547439”]
Edit: Now write another thesis page!

:stuck_out_tongue: Just done my teaching prep for tomorrow, so a ‘quick’ break for some Borderlands 2 :smirk_cat:

Also, any comments on his skill trees? Are there benefits to going down any one first?

To elaborate on @VaultHunter101’s answer, yes weapons 1 & 2 are a pair and 3 & 4 are a pair. However, you can interchange between weapon 1 &3, and 2 & 4. So, say you have weapon 1 (top slot) in your hand and you initiate Gunzerk, you’ll wield weapon 2 (bottom slot) in your off-hand. If you use quick-switch (D-Pad on console, not sure about PC commands) to switch to weapon 3 (left slot), weapon 1 will be swapped. Likewise, quick-switching to weapon 4 will swap out weapon 2. If you accidentally start Gunzerking when you have the wrong weapon equipped, simply switch with the cycle button (triangle on PS4) to cycle your weapons back to their intended spots.

Sounds more complicated than it is and it’s a little tricky to get used to, but I hope you understand.


Jakobs pistols and shotguns, certainly. Snipers - depends on the parts. ARs are good, although I prefer Torgue spiniguns.

That said, just use the stuff that works best for you as your go, and keep track of the weapon types/manufacturers you like best so you know what to look out for. Finally, watch out for the reload glitch, where you empty a weapon while gunzerking but it doesn’t reload until you do it manually (which then causes both weapons to reload). I think it’s some kind of timing issue within the game’s event loop that causes it, because it does not appear to be solely build-dependent.

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That depepnds what you want. Do you want to Gunzerk for longer and more often? Middle tree. If you want to 'Zerk while in FFYL, there’s a skill in the left tree for that. Brawn’s not that important for early-game as you’re not usually taking heavy damage in normal mode and TVHM. Middle tree is probably the best starter tree overall, ammo efficiency and 'Zerking for days, but once you hit 31 and get our capstone start on left so you can 'Zerk in FFYL.


Not really. Depends on how you like to play. My latest Sal is going mostly Brawn, just because. Gunlust and Rampage are both good, but I like to mix and match through NVHM, then only really specialise in TVHM. As you know, most builds tend to converge somewhat once you start working through UVHM, but there are still some good choices for different play styles.

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Cool, thanks! I know there’s kind of a standard Grog-in-left-hand setup for UVHM Sal but I’m not too interested in default options like that. From what I’ve seen on this forum it is possible to do more creative things with him.

He’s by far the most versatile character, yet in public games he seems to be the most standardised. Chaotic Evil Monk COM, Grog and DPUH, all the friggin’ time. No reason why you can’t have fun with him, mix and match!


Absotively posolutely! I’ll admit to having one of Kitten/Rubi/Good Touch/Heartbreaker/Grog on my level 72 Sal, but I’ve also been avoiding the Grog/Harold Pimp/Ahab mindset. Actually, my favourite is a slag Kitten paired with a shock weapon, and then some other combo in slots 3&4. This means my grenades don’t have to do slag duty and can just blow stuff up. Double Your Fun with a Bonus Package equipped is totally awesome!


Yep! Maya has the same problem. Standard Bee + Flying Sand Hawk. There’s nothing wrong with that and it’s very effective, but there’s so much more to do! (The most adventurous Bl2 player I know has a melee only Siren). And I suspect Sal is the same. I rather like the idea of a sniping gunzerker… The Kitten also strikes me as an attractive weapon for him, as it’s not just about instant healing and can actually be a real damage asset on the field. (Also I love kittens).

I have one of those, so you must be talking about me :slight_smile:

Also it might be my best photoshop work ever


Ugh, that really annoys me. Effective yes, but not efficient. That, IMO, should be used only as a raiding spec. But that’s off-topic, so I wont get into it here :stuck_out_tongue:

You must tell me who this is? I have tried it once, I even have a mule just to carry a full set of Maya-specific melee gear, though it’s very rare that I use that particular spec. Something different though!

I’m not a cat person, but I did just recently post some of my wacky Sal loadouts in this thread - Bad Guns Made good

None of them will apply to you just yet, but maybe something to think about on your journey to level 72 and if you choose to go there, beyond!

I wasn’t, though I’m sure you’re adventurous too.

And best? Perhaps creepiest.

I do plenty of Maya melee with my bandit build but I’m put off pure melee characters because I really hate the prodding motion of the Rapier.

His Steam name is Assassin Raceclimb, with close to 9800 hours in Bl2 and god knows how many bizarre characters. He plays it a lot more like a tabletop RPG - they all have their own personalities and motivations. It’s rather brilliant actually.

Bookmarked for future reference! I like the idea of the Slow Hand with him too.

On the subject of combinations which you mentioned there… anyone have general guidelines for good combos? Do you go for different weapons in each hand? Should they have different or similar ranges / accuracies? (Of course it’s partly situational).

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Since you’ll be levelling up for a bit by playing through the story, just go with combos that work for the specific missions and enemy types you know you’ll be facing. There is the Divergent Likeness thing, but I don’t feel that’s terribly important in NVHM at least, and by TVHM you’ll be able to decide for yourself whether you do or don’t like it. The main thing I go for (since I’m a lowly console peasant) is how big the cross-hairs get. As long as you can keep close-quarters, you don’t really notice, but when the one kill you really need is furiously back-pedalling all the way into BL1, accuracy becomes very important.

Edit: also, the ability to land those crits while hip-firing. See: Lady Fist etc.


9800 hours WOW, I’m closing in on 4k and I thought that was a lot :open_mouth:

I think on Sal, to keep this as short as possible, accuracy is better than straight up damage, since you’re forced to always hip-fire. Vladof snipers are surprisingly useful on Sal as they combine high damage and accuracy, though they do run out fast. If you find a slag weapon that’s always a solid Gunzerking choice so you don’t have to slag-and-swap, though you could always just slag-and-swap in one hand and keep firing from the other and Sal has skills that benefit from swapping weapons. Divergent Likeness is a great skill either way, again accuracy vs damage, it’s not a mandatory skill and there are probably better options later but it’s a solid pick if you spec down the left tree early.

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