Borderlands 2 has long struck a chord in our hearts due to its exciting gameplay and the sheer amount of customizability and builds you can do with each class. However, when there’s choice, there’s bound to be a few classes that come out on top.
While each class has its merits, Salvadore the Gunzerker remains our top pick. He deals an absurd amount of DPS, regenerates lost health almost instantaneously, and is viable in all situations due to his action skill that helps him soak up damage.
However, there’s more to it than what meets the eye. From our playthrough, classes like the Commando, which generally are frowned upon in Ultra Vault Hunter still pulled their weight and were quite fun to play too! With that said, we’re going to be ranking every class in Borderlands 2 and providing you with a subjective view of how they stack up against each other.
Ranking Borderlands 2 Classes – Our Judging Criteria
In most cases, we’ve used the Ultra Vault Hunter Mode as a benchmark to assess each particular class. While some classes like the Commando, for example, do well in earlier difficulties, they lose their effectiveness later on.
Other than that, here are a few key metrics that we took into accord while basing our final rankings:
- Survivability: When playing solo / with a team, how effective or durable is a particular class. Moreover, we’ve also ensured that their skills which provide them with defense are also taken iinto consideration.
- Strength: Strength is an assesment of the class’s overal DPS / raw damage output. While it can vary for certain bosses due to elemental weaknesses, it usually is a good benchmark to identify a class’s overall effectiveness / impact in a team setting.
- Action Skill: The action skill of a particular class is not their most important trait. However, it does increase their overall impact and utility. For example, Maya is a great class but not because of her survivability or strength but because of her action skill, Phaselock.
So, without further ado, let’s get started!
Gaige the Mechromancer is an additional class that was added later into the game as a DLC. If there’s one DLC you can skip, it’s probably this one. While Gaige inherently isn’t the worst character in all of Borderlands, she definitely is the weakest in Borderlands 2 due to her innate reliance on her action skills and her weak survivability.
Action Skill: Deathtrap
Gaige’s action skill summons a Mechanized Robot that stays on the Battlefield for a total of 60 seconds and also has a base cooldown of 60 seconds. Deathtrap either fires a melee strike with its claw every 1.5 seconds or fires an electric bolt if the enemies are further away.
Deathtrap doesn’t deal a lot of damage in Normal, it isn’t too bad in Normal Vault Hunter mode but once you get to Ultimate Vault Hunter mode, Deathtrap truly turns into an accessory. In these cases, Gaige’s Action Skill seems somewhat pointless.
Gaige has a unique assortment of skill trees. Most skills have some sort of caveat present within them which in turn turns Gaige into one of the easiest and hardest classes to play in Borderlands 2.
Best Friends Forever
This skill tree primarily focuses on improving Gaige’s survivability and increasing her Action SKill, Deathtrap’s damage. This skill tree is perhaps the least useful in Gaige’s kit
Top Best Friends Forever Skills
- Sharing Is Caring: Grants Deathtrap your shield too
- 20% Cooler: Deathtrap cool down reduced by 20%
- Explosive Clap: Deathtrap now deals explosive damage to enemies infront of him
Little Big Trouble
If you are a fan of Shock damage, Little Big Trouble is where it’s at. Other than that, the tree adds various other elemental effects improving your DPS:
Best Little Big Trouble Skills
- Make It Sparkle: Shooting Deathtrap with an elemental weapon charges your mech with the same element
- Evil Enchantress: Killing an enemy increases your Burn, Electrocute and Corrode damage
Ordered Chaos is Gaige’s best Skill Tree and gives the character a fighting chance. It focuses on Anarchy which inherently amps up your damage but offers significant drawbacks to your overall accuracy
Best Ordered Chaos Skills
- With Claws: Whenever you have a stack of Anarchy, melee your enemies to swipe twice at an enemy with your claws dealing massive damage depending on your stacks of Anarchy
- Annoyed Android: Increases the movement of your mech
- Rational Anarchist: If you currently have 0 stacks of Anarchy, gain 25 stacks instead of gaining one the next time
Hear us out before you grab your pitchforks. Yes, Krieg can deal an exceptional amount of DPS if played appropriately. However, the fact that Anarchy inherently disrupts your accuracy coupled with the fact that playing Gaige isn’t everyone’s cup of tea definitely takes a whole lot off the class’s appeal.
In our opinion, Krieg suffers a lot when it comes to survivability as she doesn’t do well against most Raid Bosses. While she does have some decent skills that help with her DPS such as the Infinity Pistol and Sand Hawk alongside a Shotgun like the Striker to help with her Anarchy stacks.
Krieg the Psycho is one of the final classes to be added into the base game in Borderlands 2. Krieg’s primary ability lies in his high melee weapon damage that scales with his leveling up. While he is extremely fun to play, he isn’t quite easy to play against every boss / enemy as he is psuedo-locked into melee combat.
Action Skill: Buzz Axe Rampage
When activated, Krieg summons a buzz axe that increases his melee damage and movement speed. With each kill, you fully regenerate your health. Taking damage reduces Buzz Axe’s cool down with 1 second being shaved off for every 3.5% of health lost. The skill is perhaps the most fun in the Borderlands franchise and allows you to maul through anything with ease.
Most of Krieg’s Skill Trees focus on improving his damage and increasing his survivability. Therefore, if played appropriately, these skills can help Krieg come back from the brink of death with their insane regeneration!
Bloodlust aims to improve Krieg’s ranged combat and places a heavy emphasis on Bloodlust stacks as the name suggests.
Best Bloodlust Skills
- Fuel The Blood: Killing an enemy grants 2 stacks of Bloodlust while also increasing Grenade damage
- Nervous Blood: Killing an enemy increases reload speed by 0.3% for every Bloodlust stack
- Bloodsplosion: Killing an enemy with elemental damage causes them to explode with the same element.
The Mania skill tree offers great skills but with greater risk attached to them. You might end up absorbing tons of damage or focus on keeping your shield down for the ability to fully regenerate your health or have reduced cooldowns.
Best Mania Skills
- Release The Beast: If at 33% of your overall health, transform into a Psycho Mutant increasing your melee damage by 100% and reducing your damage taken by 50% recharging your Action Skill as soon as it ends. This is one of the strongest skills in the game.
- Silence The Voices: Increases melee damage and grants you a chance of attacking yourself
- Redeem The Soul: Revive your teammates instantly but down yourself in the process
The Hellborn tree allows you to use Elemental powers with the most potent being the chance of lighting your own self on fire.
Best Hellborn Skills
- Raving Retribution: When on fire, spawn fireballs that track enemy and explode on impact
- Numbed Nerves: Take less damage when on fire
- Burn, Baby, Burn: Increase burn damage and the chance to set yourself on fire
When it comes to Kreig’s survivability, he isn’t the best. However, he can still hold his own if you know what you are doing with him. In terms of his strength, he’s absolutely amazing. With Release the Beast, you gain full health after every kill with an almost instantaneous cooldown.
Other than that, the Buzz Axe Rampage feels absolutely fantastic on Krieg. While he isn’t really meant to be a team player, skills like Redeem the Soul can help your team out when they’re in a pickle. The only reason why he’s ranked so low on the list is that playing him can feel inconsistent especially against particular bosses where your melee might not be very effective.
Axton the Commando is perhaps the most basic class in Borderlands 2. However, that also makes him the most well-rounded and versatile. He’s great for beginners and his playstyle doesn’t need a lot of skill. However, as you move towards the late game, you’ll quickly start finding out many of his caveats that hinder him from being placed higher on this list.
Action Skill: Sabre Turret
Sabre Turret is a mounted gun that can be rotated 360 degrees and is upgraded through your skill trees. The gun itself lasts for 20 seconds and it has a 42-second cooldown without any inherent reductions.
As mentioned earlier, Axton’s skill trees are quite versatile. You’ll be able to improve your DPS, mobility, and action skill from them with relative ease. However, none of these upgrades are that substantial per se.
This tree primarily focuses on the Sabre Turret’s DPS and improving Axton’s ability. From our playthrough, it doesn’t really have a lot of decent skills as compared to the other trees.
Best Guerilla Skills
- Double Up: Adds a second gun to your turret and has your turret fire slag rounds instead.
- Laser Sight: Increases the accuracy of your laser sight.
- Grenadier: Increases grenade capaciity
The Gunpowder skill tree solely focuses on increasing Axton’s damage with his guns and improving the lethality and effectiveness of his grenades.
Best Gunpowder Skills
- Ranger: Increases your ovreall stats in virtually everything.
- Steady: Recoil reduction amongst all gun types
- Longbow Turret: Increases the health and range of your turret
This particular skill focuses on reducing the cooldown of your Turret by a considerable margin while also increasing Axton’s overall tankiness as well
Best Survival Skills
- Healthy: +6% maximum health per level
- Gemini: Deploy two Sabre Turrets
- Grit: 4% chance to ignore lethal damage and gain 50% of your health back
Axton can take advantage of good Assault Rifles such as the Hammer Buster due to the skills he can get from his Gunpowder skill tree. Other than that, you will need to use the Legendary Soldier Class Mod to play him effectively. It helps out with a lot of skills and increases his DPS.
The Sabre Turret works great in your first two playthroughs of the game. However, it acts as nothing but a shield and deals low DPS in Ultra Vault Hunter Mode. This is the biggest caveat of Axton and the reason why he isn’t ranked higher in the list.
But, if you are new to the game, the Commando still remains the best class to start with because the Turret deals tons of damage in Normal Difficulty and helps flatten out the learning curve.
Maya the Siren has one of the best action skills in Borderlands 2. Her ability to control the Battlefield through her action skill allows her to form up quite intricate combos with your co-op partner. In a nutshell, consider Maya as the healer or support for Borderlands 2. However, she’s no slouch when it comes to DPS, and her ability to trap enemies provides her with excellent utility.
Action Skill: Phaselock
Maya’s Action Skill is half of her gimmick. It is one of the best action skills in the entire game. You’ll be able to revive your teammates in seconds or completely stop enemies from shooting at you and stop their movement completely.
Phaselock has a cooldown of 13 seconds and can go down to 10 seconds by increasing points in Quicken, one of her skill trees.
Maya’s first skill tree solely focuses on her Phaselock. The second and third help increase her overall healing power, DPS, and also add elements like slag to her overall kit increasing her versatility and utility by a significant margin.
Motion increases Maya’s overall survivability and defense by improving her Phaselock and introducing unique new abilities such as the ability to brainwash enemies so they fight amongst themselves.
Best Motion Skills
- Quicken: Increases the cooldown rate of Phaselock
- Thoughtlock: Brainwashes enemies causing them to fight between themselves
- Sub-sequence: When an enemy dies while undergoing Phaselock, there’s a 20% chance it jumps to someone else.
Harmony primarily aids in increasing Maya’s overall DPS and also provides some healing to her team. It is one of the strongest skill trees due to its healing capabilities.
Best Harmony Skills
- Life Tap: Killing an enemy steals a percentage of their health for a short duration
- Sustenance: Regenerate 0.4% of your missing Health per second
- Elated: Regenerate 1% health per second when an enemy is phaselocked
Cataclysm helps in adding Elemental effects to Maya’s skills while also slightly improving Phaselock.
Best Cataclysm Skills
- Cloud Kill: Shooting an enemy creates an Acid Cloud which deals corrosive damage constantly for 5 seconds.
- Ruin: Phaselock now slags, corrodes and electrocutes all enemies neearby
- Reaper: Deal additional damage to enemies that have lower health
Maya has an extra high level of survivability due to her ability to Phaselock enemies and places them in stasis for a great period of time. One particular skill in her Tree, Cloud Kill, takes her DPS to a whole new level and is a must-have.
With Phaselock, you also gain the ability to slag enemies with the Ruin skill. Slag is quite necessary in Ultimate Vault Hunter mode and Maya therefore, is fantastic in those particular points too. When it comes to her weapons, the Sand Hawk stands out because of its ability to reliably dish out DPS at medium to close range which is where Maya thrives.
Zer0 the Assassin is one of the hardest but most rewarding classes to play in the game. He likes to play from a more safe distance and is more tactical as compared to classes like Salvador. While the class is inherently situational, he can dish out some massive damage.
Action Skill: Decepti0n
Decepti0n allows Zer0 to turn invisible for six seconds while also deploying a decoy that aggros all enemies towards it for the duration of the invisibility. The longer you remain cloaked with Zer0, the greater the damage you deal in your next attack. However, ending the Action Skill early also decreases its cooldown for the next time. Decepti0n has a maximum cooldown of 15 seconds.
Zer0’s first skill tree focuses on improving his critical chance and sniping, the second increases the overall effectiveness of Zer0’s active skill and the third focuses on his sword.
Aptly named, Sniping helps improve Zer0’s sniping and also includes one of the most powerful skills in the game, B0re.
Best Sniping Skills
- B0re: An absolute must have, shots pierce enemies and deal massive damage
- Critical Acensi0n: Scoring criticals leads to a stacking effect that increases your overall damage in the next shot.
- One Sh0t 0ne Kill: Your first shot deals extra damage
Cunning primarily focuses on improving Zer0’s active skill and affects both melee and ranged combat immensely.
Best Cunning Skills
- Tw0 Fang: Gain the chance to fire a gun twice
- Death Bl0ss0m: While your action skill is active, throw Kunais that explode with a random element type. The kunais do not end Decepti0n
- Innervate: Gain health regeneration, increased gun damage and movement speed when your action skill is active.
Bloodshed only focuses on your melee attacks / sword. If you go for a melee build on Zer0, focusing on this build is of utmost importance in terms of maximizing your DPS.
Best Bloodshed Skills
- Like The Wind: Deal increased melee and gun damage while moviing
- Ir0n Hand: Increase your Maximum health and Melee Damage
- Backstab: Hitting an enemy from the back deals increased melee damage
While not very tanky, Zer0 is extremely durable due to his Action Skill, Decepti0n allows him to go invisible when under heavy fire. In our opinion, Zer0’s Sniper Rifle build allows him to deal large amounts of DPS while also staying away from enemy fire.
As mentioned earlier, B0re is one of the strongest skills in the game as it pierces through enemies and deals increased damage. Being able to throw out a decoy, go invisible for 5 / 6 seconds, and then throwing out your kunais can end up killing normal enemies without you even being detected.
Salvador the Gunzerker is considered the most broken character in the game. With no buffs or nerfs being made to characters in Borderlands 2 for the past few years, it is obvious that a few classes have risen up to the higher echelons, and Salvador is one of them.
Action Skill: Gunzerking
Salvador’s action skill, Gunzerkring allows him to dual-wield any two guns in the entire game. He also will heal 50% of his HP back immediately, take reduced damage, and also regenerate health and ammo during the 20 seconds he’s able to use the skill. In terms of cooldown, the skill recharges for 42 seconds and can go down to a whopping 33.6 seconds without class mods. Needless to say, this is one of the most powerful Action Skills in the entire game.
Salvador’s Skill first two skill trees primarily amplify his dual-wielding duration, damage and amplify his capabilities with each weapon. However, the third Skill tree primarily increases Salvador’s overall survivability.
Gun Lust primarily focuses on improving your Gunzerking Action Skill in terms of improving your ability to swap and reload guns whilst also providing your guns with unique abilities.
Best Gun Lust Skills
- Locked and Loaded: Improves fire rate after reloading
- Down Not Out: Gunzerk even when you are crippled
- No Kill Like Overkill: Allows you to deal bonus damage to the next enemy depending on the enemy you’ve just killed. (Great against tanky foes.)
The Rampage skill tree is probably the most underwhelming out of all the trees. It helps give Salvadore some extra ammo and improves Gunzerking’s duration in different ways.
Best Rampage Skills
- Filled to the Brim: Increases the magazine size of all guns that you have (including carry capacity.)
- Last Longer: Increases the duration of Gunzerking
- Get Some: Shooting enemies decreases Gunzerking’s cooldown substantially.
As the name signifies, the Braum tree focuses on helping Salvadore increase his overall durability and survivability. It allows for health regeneration and increases his tankiness.
Best Braum Skills
- Incite: Taking damage increases your movement and reload speed
- Sexual Tryannosaurus: Taking damage gives you health regeneration for 5 seconsd.
- Come At Me: You can taunt an enemy during Gunzerking regaining full health and damage reduction for a bit.
In terms of survivability, Salvadore can soak up the most damage out of any other character in the game. Being able to Gunzerker a Grog Nozzle and a Conference Call will pretty much let you take out any enemy that comes at you.
In terms of his strengths, being able to rocket jump with two weapons is quite enjoyable. But, most of his advantages come in the form of his Skill Trees and Action Skill as we’ve already mentioned above. Being able to Gunzerk allows you to melt any weapon at any time given that you keep your distance.
From our experience, dual-wielding two pistols and using Money Shot over and over again led us to inflict massive amounts of DPS in a short while. However, do note that Salvadore still does require some skill as you are expected to be soaking up the most damage. Therefore, messing up your skills may lead to your inevitable death as you might end up over-estimating your survivability.
All in all, Borderlands 2 remains an ever-green game with each class having its own charm. Even though there clearly are some classes which are better than the other, we still recommend giving each class a try on your own before you make a decision.