Starting a Zer0 play through, any tips?

Hello, so my friends recommended me to play as Zer0. Last time I played as him… didn’t go quite well… So any tips I should know for Zer0?
Thanks :))


I’ve got a question. How many of the BL2 DLCs do you have? (Not counting skins or Headhunter Packs.)

Also, do you prefer up close or at range?


This is a great place to start.


All of the dlcs, I have the handsome collection


unless you wanted to go melee all the way, you can try gun Zer0 for NVHM and melee Zer0 in TVHM when you have the points for the right tree, but the enemy levels are still very forgiving and you don’t have to shield strip every time on smaller enemies.


Alright. If you decide to run the Fight for Sanctuary DLC, there’s a sidequest after the main mission chain called “BFFFs”. The reward is a sniper rifle that’d be right up your alley for a sniper Zer0 build, the Amigo Sincero. It’s a Jakobs Legendary that completely ignores shields.

Anywho… Zer0 is, as you’ve likely found, rather squishy compared to other Vault Hunters.


That’s an odd build that doesn’t seem to make much sense on the surface…You have Many Must Fall, but how are you getting MMF chains with Grim and without Ambush and Backstab?


Truthfully, I’ve never played Zer0 myself… so the provided build is more of an example, than an all-out “Do this.” idea.


My first suggestion would be that if you haven’t played a character, suggesting an endgame build to another new player probably isn’t very productive for either of you…

Although I’m on the forums a bit, I don’t post much about Axton, Gaige or Salvador builds because I don’t play those characters at max level…

There’s a number of excellent Zer0 players on the forums and some of us like myself who have leveled both a melee and gun Zer0 and have some idea of the basic setups for these… The standard line for Zer0 at max level is the left and middle trees for gun Zer0 and the right and middle trees for melee Zer0, but posting a max level build probably isn’t helpful for the OP (or you if you are starting a Zer0) because it’s a long time before you get there and a lot changes along the way. You can of course play a mid range gun/melee hybrid involving the Leg Killer or the Spy COMs, but I’m not very familiar with those and they are often hard for new players in practice.

edit: no offense but you can see your lack of familiarity with Zer0 in your attempted take 2 build… the reason the UCP swaps Grim and Fearless is that although Grim is a great skill it doesn’t work with melee Zer0 as it doesn’t work with MMF. Therefore the UCP moved Grim out of the melee tree, swapping it with Fearless, which isn’t a great skill but works when your shields are down and melee Zer0 needs his shield down. You also have to know that Ambush and Backstab are multiplicative boosts and therefore essential to melee Zer0 while Be Like Water and Like the Wind are additive and don’t change much. There’s no way to know this stuff ahead of time unless you play with the character and study builds from experienced players that have already worked this out.


The thread jefe linked will have a lot of good tips and probably some overlap but, some general zero tips (some are obvious)

Zero is squishy, especially without moxxi guns, so you’ll want to be smart about your fights, don’t be afraid to back off around a corner for a bit and get some shield regen.

Deception is your best survival tool, you’ll want to get used to using it often. While you are invisible, you aren’t invincible, enemies will still shoot at your decoy, so you usually want to throw your decoy at an angle so you can escape/re position.

In the same vein, shield related relics are solid, cool down ones are even better imo, the more you’re in deception the better. Transfusion grenades can also be a godsend

It’s been a while since I leveled up a zero, and skills will depend on what playstyle you want to do, so I can’t speak to best way to build him in the early stages.

I know Altair hade a good melee zero leveling guide

Not sure if there’s something similar for other builds (sniper/general gun)


i think the OP would not complete uvhm with that build. (also that is UCP)

Going down Cunning Tree to get Death Blossom is in everyone’s Zero build. it is just either you go Bloodshed for melee builds (bore or boreless), or go Sniper Zero, or gun (pistol/shotgun) Zero with investments in Sniping and Cunning, or you can go hybrid like Kitten Zero build.


Oh… whoops. >_> My bad.


I assume you’re not planning on melee. Very few people do that when they’re green with Zer0. So guns or hybrid.

The standard line is : Cunning all the way to Death Blossom, then start on the left or right trees as CC mentioned. That’s always reliable : you get Innervate (his only practical healing skill) and kunai, which is a major game changer.

I like to mix it up and respec all over the place depending on what gear I have or if I feel like B0re-ing the Bunker in NVHM or whatever - but I’ve brought up many Zer0s.

Do not ever let anyone dissuade you from Unforseen. The forum folk here will all back me on it but it’s taken a while for Lammas, Chuck and me (amongst others) to convince people of its power.


I could see some value in starting bloodshed to grab grim quickly for survival, but I’m not sure where you would go from there, what do you think? Been a while since I leveled a zero.


KB is always my first skill. It’s the only tier one that actually does anything useful. (Cue the Iron Hand memes)

I tend to let the COM dictate my next batch of points. Finding a decent COM in NVHM can be tough, so I’m happy to build around the best one I have.

But, unless going melee, typically I’d respec and go Cunning (FH, Ambush, DM, Unforseen). My first Zer0 I actually hit all the game changers mid-tree first (Bore, DM, Execute) before fleshing out a capstone. That actually works quite well since kunai really is only necessary for bosses below UVHM (even then, just the Warrior).

Going for Grim is a great plan since it takes so long to get to Innervate. Honestly it never occurred to me to spec it after KB. Either I’m already going melee or I’m going guns and am focussed on the other trees.


I’ll try that with the next Zer0. As of now I am still playing my Sniper Zer0 (if I find the time). Going down the left tree and the middle tree after that took me through the first two playthroughs and the Lilith DLC in TVHM without too many problems. That way helped me get some practice in lining up Bore shots.
But mind y’all, that worked for me and is slightly off the common path.

The OP didn’t specify if it’s going to be melee or gun Zer0 and if you’d rather make that decision en route then @Jefe s advice of “middle tree first” is always sound.


I am a big fan of pistol zero, and use the build from this site.

The only negative is you can burn through the ammo quickly, but the Infinity can solve that problem.


Starting in middle for Fast Hands > Ambush > something OR left tree for Headshot > Killer > something are both solid options. Left one increases your damage very nicely while the middle one gives you faster reload and very solid tier 3 skills and Ambush bonus for the biggest gun to be shot out of deception.
To be honest I’ve never started with right tree without respeccing out of it pretty fast because it doesn’t quite come together until you get more points. Grim is solid though so it could be a consideration. The shield recharge was mentioned but it also gives you more AS cooldown.

I probably sound like a broken record but I generally favor reaching Death Blossom ASAP or at least respeccing the moment I hit level 31 to get it. It’s just that good. Also on NVHM and TVHM it kills stuff by itself which is kind of fun. Meanwhile critical ascension, while good, is way too specific before your build starts to come together unless you really, really want to go down that route. Death Blossom on the other hand is gets guaranteed mileage wherever you are and whatever you’re packing.

You can use pretty much whatever lands in your hands to clear NVHM and TVHM but try to carry a powerful shotgun or sniper in one of your weapon slots to capitalize on your deception gun damage bonus. Turtle shields with fast recharge and low delay are my favorite leveling shields. If you want to mix in some melee pick up a Rapier from Scarlet DLC (lvl 15 is okay) and combine that with execute skill, Ninja COM that boosts Backstab and at least 1 point in Backstab to be boosted and you have pretty good stabbing power from those alone at least until UVHM. For grenade just use whatever gets the job done for you although getting familiar with Transfusion usage is not a bad idea.