Wilhelm the Pyro Terminator



As a counterpart to Ganza’s “Mister Freeze”, I decided to work on a build to maximize the Ol’ Painful from the Mercenary event. What I ended up with was a fun build which foregoes the (admittedly fun!) freezing-and-smashing-style-Wilhelm for massive incendiary damage & fire rate buffs, while still retaining good survivability.

Although conventional wisdom dictates that fire weapons only be used in atmosphere and never against shielded baddies – rest assured that’s not true! This build tears through normal shielded enemies easily and our damage in a vacuum is just as great (maybe even more so?) even without the DOTs and ignite chance. For very highly resistant enemies - i.e. fire kraggons, Dahl fire troops, & armor; we will use backup weapons to dispatch them.

Pyro Wilhelm uses a build with the Dreadnought & Cyber Commando capstones (Vengeance Cannon and Overcharge) as well as some support from Hunter Killer. It emphasizes high fire rates - we get buffed fire rate from a kill, upon launching Saint with Overcharge, and when our shield breaks. The Vengeance Cannon synergizes very well with this build, since the game treats it as an incendiary laser. COM is the Scorcher for the DPS skills increases and + incendiary damage, and we will choose our other gear to go with the theme.

Although the build emphasizes damage, there is some tankiness here too – some health buff skills, plus I use a purple adaptive shield, mainly so that even when the shield breaks there is some breathing room before you go in to FFYL.

I generally play solo and like to engage mid-range although I try to have long and short range weapon options too.

Build link is here.

Skills overview:

Hunter Killer
5/5 Afterburner
4/5 Fire Support (Buffed by Mod)
1/5 Suppression (Buffed by Mod)
1/1 Laser Guided
1/1 Kill Switch
1/1 Scramble

Cyber Commando
5/5 Laser Focus (Buffed by Mod)
5/5 Man And Machine
1/1 Power Fist
5/5 Emergency Response
5/5 Divert Power
1/1 Vengeance Cannon

5/5 Auxiliary Tanks
5/5 Energize
5/5 Fortify
1/1 Termination Protocol
5/5 Hazmat Containment
1/1 Overcharge


Class Mod
We will use the Scorcher for the incendiary damage increase and DPS skill buffs - use your choice of + Laser Focus, Suppression and Fire Support. I chose a blue +6 Suppression and +5 Fire Support to encourage using all types of weapons. The Celestial mod can work here also - it generally provides more survivability & utility but slightly less DPS, but I’ve been trying to use some different Coms and I think Scorcher fits this build theme best.

Too bad we don’t have the Flame of the Firehawk, which would be perfect for this build! I’m using a purple adaptive for the health & elemental resistance buffs and general survivability. If you wanted to use incendiary nova or spike shields you’ll get a damage increase from the Com.

Oz Kits:
Oxidizer is great if you have one for the increased ignite chance in atmosphere + the novas, and it definitely fits the theme. When in a vacuum I switch to a +43% damage duality Oz kit, which really pumps up our damage in vacuum to compensate for the fact that we’re no longer able to proc DOTs.

Fire bee, of course! This legendary Valdof area of effect grenade incinerates everything in its path. Don’t get too close - it’ll burn you also. Use a Valdof fire burst if you don’t have a Fire Bee to stick with the theme, or an incendiary Kiss of Death for some more health recovery.

Main Weapon(s):
Ol’ Painful really shines with this build, and is a lot of fun to use. I use a Resolute version with a stability accessory and a Dahl stock that I got on my very first Odji kill, so it’s extremely stable and accurate as well. Other very good choices are Firestarta, the ZX-1 (does less damage then other options, but has higher ROF and homing shots), Maliwan Fire Blaster, Hellfire, and of course the Fire Ole Rosie.

Sniper/Long Range:
Incendiary Vladof Droog. As someone said recently on the forum, the “Droog is the best Assault Rifle in Borderlands.” It’s already high fire rate is boosted, making it a very effective sniper-machine gun. Crits are especially devastating with this weapon. As a fast-firing sniper the downside is you’ll tear through your limited ammo ammo quickly, so it’s best reserved for select engagements/badasses and other tough enemies, although our ammo regen from Overcharge helps here. Other good choices would be the Magma, other fire snipers, or a launcher.

Alternate Main:
The Achilles heel of this build and all its incendiary goodness is what happens when you encounter highly fire-resistant enemies. This includes fire kraggons, armor, turrets, fighters, Dahl Fire troopers and enemies with very thick shields – ie Deadlift. (Normal enemies with shields are not a problem, and even fire-resistant Scavs go down quickly) But for these other enemies we need something else – I’ve been using a Purple Maliwan Corrosive Blaster with a 30% ignore shield luneshine. Shock would work well here also. You may also want to have an E-gun here or in your backpack, when non-elemental is useful.

Free Slot:
I put a short range “You die now” weapon here, like a Ravager Shotgun or a Rocket Launcher. Used for getting out of FFYL and taking out Ultimate Badasses or bosses.

Let me know what you guys think, or if you have your own experiences/tips as a Wilhelm incendiary specialist to share.

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Why use man and machine over targeting scope? You have scramble so wolf doesn’t need it and your using an adaptive shield which already boosts health, with all the skills you have in dreadnaught I don’t see it as better than a situational 50% crit bonus

I see quite a few builds foregoing targeting scope and first to fight for M&M, is there some reason for that?

That’s a good point, and I’ve used it both ways. I’ve settled on this because I like the shield bonus and this isn’t a crit-oriented build, but I agree targeting scope is a good skill and could certainly be an alternate way to go here.

Fair enough, I wasn’t criticizing, just curious is all.

Anyway, give or take a few skills and bits of gear and that is pretty similar to the build I use, biggest difference is mine is Torgue sponsored :smiley: and its an incredibly fun build to use, specially when the shields go down And you throw out W&S… Dem bonuses… Drool…

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