Question about elemental guns and UVHM

Just to preface this, this isn’t a “How do I UVHM” topic, there are many topics and youtube videos about that.

Been playing BL2 for awhile now and finally made it to UVHM. I went from putting down the Warrior without much difficulty to dying to the first set of Bullymongs you run into in the game. It wasn’t pretty. So I went around on the internet, found a bunch of tips and now I’m getting further into it. At 54 and struggling, but I’m making progress.

The main question I have here is this. Every guide, how to topic and video I’ve seen says to use elemental weaponry and to stop using non-elemental weaponry because elemental weaponry “scales better”, with little more explanation then that. I understand what that statement means in general, that the gap between elemental and non-elemental weaponry will get bigger and bigger as I get higher level and get higher level guns. What I don’t get is, even if elemental weaponry scales better, if I’m not actively spec’ing for increased elemental damage, is elemental weaponry still better then non-elemental?

Currently I’m fooling around as an OC/BFF Gaige, spec’d as such

In NVM and TVHM I mostly just ran around with Jakobs guns and blew everything’s head up with Anarchy stacked. Between the sheer damage and Blood Soaked Shields with a Turtle Shield, everything else died and I was basically invincible. Now that this isn’t working, so I’m trying to swap to using Elemental guns to see if that helps, but will that matter without going down Little Big Trouble far enough to get Wires Don’t Talk and other elemental damage boosting things? or is there some other mod that just makes elemental superior?


This may help you out. Although it is in TPS it is the same with Borderlands 2.


It’s not that elemental weaponry scales better, it’s that when you match elements to weaknesses there is a significant damage boost. Generally, red bars take more damage from incendiary, yellow bars take more damage from corrosive, and shock weapons decimate the blue shield bars (there are exceptions, but they are few enough that the generalization will serve you well). I’ve forgotten the actual numbers, but they are impressive. As for NE, I use lots of NE Jakobs weapons on my characters, but I also use slag nades (slag becomes somewhat necessary as UVHM goes on, whether you use nades or slag+swap is up to you) and aim for crits, something Gaige doesn’t do too well. Although, my Gaige uses a lot of Jakobs shotguns because they put out damage and their small mags build anarchy pretty quick.

And welcome to the forums. The friendliest place to learn how to turn your opponents into paste on the Whole Wide Web.

Edit: I find that 5/5 preshrunk cyberpunk is unnecessary (3/5 is what I spec for), and Discord is indispensable (heals, slowed anarchy loss, and accuracy all help immensely).


Regarding scaling : the only scaling differences are between modes ( NVHM, TVHM and UVHM ) and individual OP modes.

In your case, the difference between a level 50 non-elemental Anarchist (say) and an elemental one will essentially be the same difference at 61 and 72.

This gap becomes much more extreme as OP levels climb.

Non elemental is completely viable throughout UVHM, but elemental weapons can be boosted in so many different ways, they’ll always come out on top (so long as you’re not trying to kill a bot with a fire gun).

Edit : pseudo-ninja’d @paulothead :stuck_out_tongue:

Edit 2 : I recommend spec-ing Discord.


Ah alright, so “scales better” was really just a poor choice of terminology used in all those UVHM guides I looked at. Good to know, thanks for that.

I’ll take a look at those links and see if I can get anymore useful info out of those, feels like it’ll be helpful. Named mobs are incredibly difficult to kill, so mayhaps something in there will help.

Thanks for the welcome Paulo, this place has been really helpful. I only just made an account to ask this cause I couldn’t find anything specific on it, but I’ve looked around a lot. Quite a few helpful Gaige tips I’ve picked up.

I’ve mostly been doing the slag & swap thing, though I do carry around Slag Singularity grenades for a quick group slag if I need it. They’re quite helpful. You’re probably right about not needing 5/5 Preshrunk Cyberpunk, and ever since UVHM I haven’t lived long enough to stack to 400, but I’m not gonna lie, in NVHM and TVHM it was SO satisfying running up to something’s face at max stacks and applying the biggest Jakobs shotgun I have. I’m mostly trying to hurry down to 20% Cooler and Sharing is Caring so DT can tank better, I suppose I could cut back on Preshrunk a bit.

Discord I never used so I didn’t think very much about it. Between 5/5 Cooking Up Trouble and Blood Soaked Shields, I never really had a health problem. It could easily be much stronger then I give it credit for. I’ll have to play around with it I suppose. I always deemed it not worth it due to sacrificing Anarchy stacks, but I suppose considering how fast I get mowed down now it’s probably worth it.

Heh, I remember one guide I looked at said “Just because you’ve beaten NVHM and TVHM, doesn’t mean you’re not new.” Sure feels that way, but I’m enjoying it.


Discord is faster than Cooking up Trouble in terms of healing, so if you’re in a bind it can help get you out of it. I spec both, and you can see a difference when they’re both going. Discord looping is good for sniping because it boosts you accuracy past where your stacks gimp it. But the real bonus to discord is that it keeps you from losing all of your stacks when you accidentally reload. If, like me, you use a lot of one shot then reload Jakobs shotties (coach guns are good for this, but any Jakobs shottie with an appropriate mag size works) this is less of an issue, but it is very helpful when you pull out a larger magazine weapon. And you can cancel the anarchy loss by firing a shot and reloading again, so it’s not a big deal to lose a few in that scenario.

Edit: In case you’re curious. This is the build I run most often. You are levelling in roughly the same order I did. I use a Black Hole shield from the Foreman in Opportunity, bone of the ancients relics (usually shock, I element match if I’m in a situation where other elements are more helpful) because more elemental damage and cooldown is never a bad thing.


Now that you mention it, I do remember reading about the Discord Looping thing and disregarding it because throwing away Anarchy seemed silly at the time and I stopped using snipers due to the way Anarchy works. Now that I’m in UVHM, being able to snipe seems like it would help a lot. I should probably go reread that.

I trained myself pretty well to ignore that flashing Reload sign on the screen and to just fire off a few extra shots to reload without losing Anarchy, but man, I remember losing some 200+ stacks at times. Those made me so sad. The thought of tagging Discord just for this purpose did occur to me, and I did use it for awhile, but I didn’t think it was worth it so I got rid of it. I guess I’m getting it back now, hah.


That’s the nice thing with going 3/5 with Preshrunk : 300 stacks is more than you need, but it gives you the headroom to loop and maintain roughly 250 (which is my preferred).


Just adding my 2 cents if you don’t mind:
With BSS both Fancy Mathematics and Unstoppable Force are somewhat redundant. I know there are places where there will be few if any minions to kill which would make FM the better choice but for right now you can do w/o them (I’ve actually played Gaige up to level 72 w/o BSS by using the other 2 skills so it can work either way). The points in The Better Half are for AR usage mainly- put a Hail or Kitten on Gaige with some decent Anarchy stacks and watch things die quickly :smile:

Upshot Robot will help keep DT out longer and let him do more melee damage, which is always a good thing (and yes, even in UVHM DT is still more than just a bit useful- just help him out by keeping foes slagged). As far as slagging, my main choice is a Slagga- if you got one in TVHM or even normal use it- outside of slag sniper rifles it probably has the highest slag chance of any one gun, especially when you take in the multiple projectiles it can throw out (get one on level and it can even kill things straight up, such as surveyors). And even with the increased efficiency of elemental weapons if you have elemental shotguns a Deputy’s Badge would be a good choice as a relic if most of your weapons are shotguns, as it helps both elemental and n.e. shottys. Good luck and happy Vault hunting! :+1:


Fancy Mathematics isn’t really a skill I intended to cap out or keep once I hit the cap. I found a +5 FM Calculating Anarchist class mod I’m currently using, and I figured just 1 point in it to get 6/5 FM wasn’t going to hurt me that much. I wouldn’t have spent a point on it without that mod, always thought that once I hit level 72 and started actually trying to farm gear I’d get rid of it when I got a better one.

Unstoppable Force I thought was a good play mostly for the movement speed and, well, constant death was actually a problem for awhile there. Shield regen for that little bit more seemed like a good idea.

Haven’t fooled around any with The Better Half though. For whatever reason, the RNGesus saw fit to throw me the best Jakobs pistols over and over, and very few ARs, so it didn’t really seem worth it. I only just found a better Vladof AR I like. It’s carrying me rn tbh, hah. Might be useful.

For Upshot, I do have it. Hit 55 tonight awhile ago. It’s nice. Funny you mention the Slagga though. I had barely even turned on the game tonight, ran around Sanctuary and opened all the lockers and stuff. I almost died of shock when I saw an at-level Murdurin Slagga come out of one. I’m pretty set as far as Slag goes now. :grinning:

Thanks for the suggestions!


I am admittedly a Gaige novice by the standards of these forums, however I strongly vouch for Unstoppable Force.

The movement speed is absolutely necessary for gap closing on enemies like bandits. The shield regen isn’t as essential but you will be thankful for it when you catch a damage over time.

Late Edit: What I have said is mainly in the context of shotguns.


I agree with all of the points that were just made. BSS does make FM and UF a bit redundant, but like @Prismatic said, I spec UF for the movement speed. I do a lot of hit and run while DT is out, “float like a butterfly, sting like a science geek hopped up on anarchy” is my credo when I take Exit,GaigeLeft out to play. I’ve never used a Deputy Badge, but it is the premier shotgun relic.

Edit: you haven’t hunted the Firehawk yet, right? If not, and flashes of light don’t bother you too much, you might like doing the Cult Following missions to get the Flame of the Firehawk shield once you have Sharing is Caring. I would wait until you have a fire Bone of the ancients, but once you have all of those pieces in place it’s a fantastic combination for areas populated with a lot of fleshy enemies. Also, roid shields are always good once you have SiC because they turn DT into a wolverine with anger issues. And you can always switch to your preferred shield once he’s floating around.


Just wanted to add my voice about Discord. It’s the skill that make Anarchy work. Even if it was only for accidental reload. imo. I too have a max stacks of 300 with a soft spot for 250.
I’m surprised no one mentioned early UVHM to 65 is the hardest. With everything leveling with you. The added skill points really make a difference.
Borderlands Gearbox’s community. The friendliest place you’ll hear about nipple salad and burning all the babies!


Jacobs eh? Just swap em with Maliwans, Maliwan pistols were basically designed as similar to elemental Jacbos if they made them.

Maliwan pistols with round number mags (e.g. 8, 10, 12, etc.) are great with Gaige as her -1 mag nerf makes no difference!

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That whole bit about NE vs. elemental having a huge gap is precisely why I don’t intend to go into the OP levels (at least not yet, anyways). Heck, I haven’t even completed Talon of God with my Elemental Gaige.

To answer the OP though, to everyone else’s point, it’s not so much that NE weaponry doesn’t scale so much as is that elementals have one advantage NE does not; high effects. NE and Explosive damage are well-rounded, across-the-board damage types that aren’t spectacular, whereas element-matching (Incendiary vs. Flesh, Shock vs. Shields, Corrosive vs. Armor, Slag for non-Slag damage bonus), on top of getting the damage multiplier, also offers the chance to ignite, electrocute, or corrode.

Also on UF vs. FM vs. BSS, I literally just had this discussion days ago. I was bouncing back and forth between FM and BSS for most of Normal mode on my Roboteer Gaige, and went back into BSS after input. But I’m going back to FM once I hit L50 because that’s when I can equip my Blockade and my Chaotic Good Necromancer.


I’m actually at the mission A Train to Catch. I just finished that whole Cult Following chain last night before I went to bed, thinking I could really use the experience from it before pushing further into the main mission line. I know mobs get stronger as I do, but I figured that since Doc Mercy killed me more times then I want to admit(No, really, it was bad, hah), getting as many skill points as I could before getting towards the end of the main mission chain would be for the best. That and I figured that once I hit level 72 I’d want to restart the play through to pick up important, level 72 quest rewards anyway. Between those two things, I didn’t really give it much thought when I turned in that quest chain.

You’re right though, I need to start actually paying attention to shields that aren’t turtles since I’m getting close to getting Sharing is Caring. The roid idea sounds great, ever since I started putting points into MoSS, DT has been wrecking things so long as I slag the room. This really surprised me. I was doing Assassinate the Assassins, I got to Wot and took out a pistol to duel him for a little bit. I got him to about 15-20% HP or so when he stripped my shields and my HP got bottomed out. I summoned DT to tank a bit and dove behind a crate. DT ran over and used Robot Rampage, killing Wot in a single attack. I wtf’d when that happened, hah

As for switching to Maliwan weapons, I’ve started collecting Maliwan guns and have most of the gun type/element combos hanging around for when the need arises. I still do most of my work with that NE Vladof AR I found, but that Explosive Torque triple barrel shotgun is awesome! I should’ve gotten one of those ages ago, Nomads with shields are a lot easier now. It didn’t occur to me that the explosion would go through it. I’ve just been using DT/Singularity Grenades to turn them around and feed them lead from behind. That probably was a large part of why Doc Mercy seemed so hard. That and he hurt a lot.


If that’s the one with the mag size buff you may be able to use an Infinity pistol. With anarchy in play that’s a wicked way to mow down enemies.

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This is the Reload Speed (Good) /Fire Rate (Chaotic) one.
Could do nicely with my Bandit fixture… which now that I think about it I’m not keen on tying my Roboteer to one specific brand this time. I’m not sure what I Want to do yet and I’m halfway through TVHM. =|


Neutral is the mag size prefix


Yeah, I can never keep those Tiny Tina class mod prefixes straight. Thanks for setting me straight. Now let’s take bets on how long until I get this foot back in my mouth. :wink: