Supercell-- Tanking Build of the Elemental Persuasion

After seeing the video for slaying EOS in 3 minutes - totally need to try this build out.

Keep in mind that this is a defense first build that won’t achieve the same speed of stacking that you saw in @ItsmeJamesAJ record time. That requires Storm which is easily interchangeable with Defender. This is a tanking build first and foremost but you can still achieve max stacks with it.

Absolutely. A blue Storm COM is most definitely a “glass cannon” class mod. Great for DPS, not so great for survivability (hence, if you are to raid with Storm COM, it’s a great idea to have Shield of Ages for maximum survivability)

Also, dude, I just got 2:51 with no rockets…

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I dont know if anyone is still active here for the build but I had a few questions.

I’m level 42 right now and this is how i have built her so far: http://thepresequel.com/Athena/5055150000100000000000410510510000

before grabbing some of the dps skills I’m planning on grabbing 5/5 stalwart and 1/1 for clear to add survivability before uvhm then grabbing 5/5 unrelenting 5/5 elemental barrage then 5/5gathering tempest and lastly 1/1 for hades shackles with the idea being ill be tougher at the start of uvhm and become more powerful as it goes on. is this a viable way to build her?

also im having a lot of trouble finding a shock thinking would this still work using a eddie and lasers?(thunderfire, vibra pulse, rosie, light saber)

my biggest question though is i only play solo so I want to move the 5 points from prepare for glory to something that will increase dps whats the best for that between ephodus, return fire, and overload?

thanks for all the hard work on this build i was very suprised how tougher she is with the defender vs celestial I was expecting the loss of 5 seconds duration and 8/5 in vangaurd to hurt but with the shield of ages there not even getting through it and malestrom stack generation has almost doubled. awesome build man.

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@Derch @BookEmDano @ItsmeJamesAJ @khimerakiller
Person needs assistance :grin:

They should have some goodies for you.

Thanks man I appreciate it. This is my first time posting but from lurking for years on bl 2 content I gotta say the borderlands community is incredible

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Hopefully @BookEmDano is around as the Supercell has never been for me. Personally my go to way to level Athena is with her hybrid play style. So I’ll just answer some of the more general questions in regards to Athena and not try to change the build.

Stalwart is a pretty bad skill in regards to Athena. Half of it is worthless in solo and coop play. And while most Athenas don’t mind the extra health, you shouldn’t purposely try to integrate it into your build (especially the Supercell).

Ephodus is the best DPS out of the three, but Overload can be a very good utility skill if you build around it. Truly you should find a way to spec into ‘Gun Kata’ and eventually ‘Omega Senshu’, as it is a massive DPS increase to all of your damage.


While the Aspis can be a very good killing tool, I find it better used as a utility tool by keeping the enemies alive to use Zeus’ Rage to build Maelstrom stacks. So while Invictus isn’t a bad skill, you’re better off with skills like Ephodos, Gun Kata, Omega Senshu, Prepare for Glory, Mercurial (kinda), ect…

And if you’re ever interested in a hybrid build, raid build, or DPS based storm build feel free to ask.

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can I ask what build/com you use?

I just unlocked zeus rage at 37 but I was strongly considering this switch already because I noticed I would get around 300-400 stacks if I threw it to early.

bookemdano suggested to get stalwart to make up for the lost health from shield of ages do you think this is not needed?

is overload only good when boosted by a com or is 5/5 enough?

what you’re suggesting would be this build http://thepresequel.com/Athena/0555151000150050000000415515515011 and i really like the way it looks I was originally going to go with this when celestial mod was the plan but i really like what supercharged defender offers. I want to be a character that has high survivability with decent dps with that said what do you think the best com is for this build celestial? defender? or something else? I do really like how celestial boosts gun kata vangaurd and hold the like. the health regen is through the roof with that com but I also really like the 100% superconductor proc. thats probably why i have 3 characters in between 30 and 50. but athenas the only one that i like as a person if that makes sense(wilhelm and nisha are my other 2)

i meant because im too indecisive

Thanks for the kind words. I’m glad the build is still helpful. Keep in mind that you can modify anything in the build to suit your personal style and solo play. There are certain skills that fit the theme and some that don’t. I picked some over others to suit my style. You should do the same. But I’ll try explain my rationale on some of the more questionable skills taken:

-Invictus versus Ephodos

I love throwing the Aspis as the coup de grace. This is the best multiplier to its damage so I’m going to take it. You’ll get a feel for when you can throw it and finish enemies off. Keep in mind that the Aspis is Explosive in nature so freeze everything if you really want to stack damage. If I had Celestial then Ephodos would probably be the more logical skill to take due to the time that you can have the Gun Damage bonus. Because my duration is shorter then I just elected to take Invictus.

-Stalwart and Prepare for Glory

These are ideally co-op skills but fit the general theme of a tanking build, absorbing punishment, and turning defense into a counterattack. Stalwart does help with survivability but the friendly fire charge is wasted. If you like more health, take it, otherwise you can always choose more damage. Prepare for Glory is actually good in solo or coop. It’s great in arenas or areas with a lot of enemies shooting at you at once. It has more damage potential than Ephodos and it’s pretty easy to get at least 20% with two stacks and 5/5.

There are other ways to build around the core skills but this was the path I chose. Feel free to deviate and see what works for you :slight_smile:

I do want to point out another reason why I didn’t take all the popular DPS skills. I’m relying on Maelstrom both entirely for offense and defense. From my experience I found that I was able to stack better without all the gun damage bonuses as they become overkill on adds. It’s easier to build up your defense and Maelstrom when you aren’t shredding through enemies with Ephodos, Omega Senshu, and Tear all stacking on top of Maelstrom. They die too fast. The advantage of focusing on DPS through Maelstrom and the Storm Weaving+Unrelenting+Elemental Barrage is that you’ll have the capacity to easily wipe bosses without necessarily having all the gun damage bonuses.

There are plenty of good weapons to help your stacking that aren’t Thinkings. I recommend reviewing the Top Gear for Athena guide and see if there is something in there that you have and like to use. Lasers are definitely an alternative.

Just a recommendation on your build while leveling. Try to rely on your class mod for the points in the key skills. One to get the bonus and move those points over to other key skills. This is just an example assuming you have a purple Defender mod: http://thepresequel.com/Athena/5015111000000000000000415115215000/supdefender,auto

I hope this helps and let me know if you have any other questions.

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aw man dude you’re awesome. I wasnt expecting much of an answer because I came so late to the party. I’m actaully glad i started playing the pre sequel I love this game maybe even more then bl2 which was my favorite all time game before this and I logged easily over 2000 hours on it with maya as my main. the 2 things that i like more about this game is how all characters are viable for all content and the fact that survival skills are actually quite good in this game so you need to strike a balance between dps and survival skills.

I think I’m going to stick with you’re build just because i like how the defender com works you’re so much tougher with it then you are with celestial but I have a few more questions. I’m on handsome edition on ps4.

  1. I’m having a lot of trouble finding shock hyperion shotguns. I spent like 2 hours grinding blues into purple shotguns and dashboarding last night with no luck, im checking every vending machine ect. could lasers work with this build?

  2. I have read every athena build i can find and like this one best but none of them have suggested the 3ddie oz kit. why is this? it instantly recharges you’re shield and the cd is pretty short. it boosts shields and laser damage. is the reason it not being part of the builds is because once upon a time it was a lot harder to farm? or are the purples better for athena?

3)when to spec stalwart. I have two ideas about this before uvhm for the added toughness? or from 65-70 because its the least useful skill? but i kinda fell like if you take it last you dont really need it because you made it through 15 levels of uvhm without it. I really like you’re idea of the 42 build because I am looking forward to unrelenting and elemental barrage and I can try them now. would you mind letting me know howd you spec from 42 on, like when to take the other stuff.

thanks again man.

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I’m sorry I missed where you said lasers are viable

My Hybrid build

Oh and this one is much more focused around skill based survivability. So less “push to win” stuff, and more managing cooldowns, grenades, lifesteal (if needed), ect…

Personally with my DPS Storm build I never found I needed more survivability than

  • 5/5 Conduit
  • 5/5 Vanguard
  • Shield of Ages
  • What everyone seems to forget when it comes to Athena’s survivability, her Aspis. And why when it comes to overkill survivability I like the Protector. (Eventhough a lot view it as being overshadowed by the Celestial)
  • 5/5 Hold the Line
  • And 1/5 Mercurial (just because I like the pretty gold hexagon)

And if ■■■■ really does go down then ‘Clear!’ has my back. But really not even Eclipse can chew threw me at this point. The same way BookEm sees my DPS as overkill, I see his survivability as overkill. But that’s cool and it’s what makes Borderlands such an awesome game. That such different thought processes work so well at doing the same thing.

So I guess my philosophy is… “If something’s dead, it’s not killing you.” (ehh most of the time in Borderlands)


5/5 is enough, but you really notice the power surge at like 9 and above. Think of its viability increasing exponentially. I wouldn’t recommend it below 5/5 in my experience.

P.S. The one point in Flash Freeze is worthless unless you plan on using a com that boost it at some point.

If you reeeally want to go this route at least pick ‘Clarity of Purpose’ over Gun Kata on your way to Omega Senshu. That way you can pick up Prepare for Glory.

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Me too! I loved the complexity of the characters in TPS. So many viable ways of building them and it was more balanced.

If you need some ideas or inspiration for weapons check out the Top Gear for Athena. Thunderfire, Splitters, and Vibra-Pulse are great weapons to use.

3DDI.E is always a great option for the Oz kit. If you’re using lasers then it’s probably the best option. The reason why so my purples excel is because they allow you to specialize a bit more based on your weapons. My personal favorite was Strafing Run with Clear Skies and Ack Ack as alternatives against airborne targets. The reason why I liked Strafing run so much was because the fire rate boost worked very well to build Maelstrom stacks very quickly. Jumping and shooting became second nature. Try them all out and you’ll see how strong each one can be in the right circumstance.

Just some ideas on how to level assuming my original build is the end result:

Level 50 with Stalwart
Level 60 with max Superconductor

Then just fill in United Front and Conduit on the way to level 70. The point for Flash Freeze is strictly for flexibility when swapping to a purple Storm or Hologram class mod. With a purple class mod on it becomes a 5 second Flash Freeze which is much more practical for freezing stacks.

I hope that helps!

Dominator is probably my favorite class mod for a hybrid build. Your skill tree looks awesome for that run and gun playstyle. It’s also interchangeable with Femme Fatale which is pretty cool.

The point I put into Flash Freeze was purely for the bonus when using a purple Storm mod. I think I’ve experimented before with a different amount of time. 5/5 worked pretty well.

Everything looks good boomerang. Thanks for taking the time to help me out. I think this is the build I’m going to follow. Just hit 50 this morning. Man rk5 was a batch. Is pre sequel ugh as hard as I hear? I spent a lot of time stressing bl2s uvhm but when I finally started it w I th maya it was easier then normal mode in a lot of ways, bosses were harder mobbing was easier. Like I hear about a lot of people getting stuck on deadliest is it really that hard? I’m guessing 4 times more health with no slang would be pretty hard.

I was on my phone and autocorrect messed up my post sorry I couldn’t see the text.

You shouldn’t have any issues with UVHM at this point if you’re able to stack a fair amount of Maelstrom each engagement. Not much withstands 200-300 stacks for very long. That’s easy to achieve.

Any experience with doing 1/5 unprepared for glory and 5/5 in flash freeze. I’m picturing this build doing some work with an absolute zero or fatale with the flash freeze duration of 5 seconds at like 400 stacks. Do you get flash freeze on enemies like felicity sentinel and rk5 because you can still get cold dots on them or no?

Full on Maelstrom stacking for those two bosses. You could freeze when RK5 flies off to slow down the Maelstrom bleed out. I can’t think of a reason for Felicity. Look to kill an add to activate Unrelenting, swap to a shock weapon to activate Storm Weaving and Elemental Barrage, then light up the boss.

Give 5/5 Flash Freeze a try though and see if you can make it work.