[Guide] Borderlands 2 Best Characters - Who To Choose

Borderlands 2 has an awesome cast of characters, each so awesome it's difficult to say who's the best.

Having a tough time choosing who to play in Borderlands 2? This guide will match you with what best suits your play style. Now you can spend less time choosing your character and more time shooting and looting through Pandora!


#1. Zer0

Zer0 the Assassin specializes in either sniping or melee combat. He is also capable of stealth, with his action skill turning him invisible for a set period of time.

Players who enjoy melee combat will find Zer0 rewarding, as you backstab enemies with your katana and throw kunai, dealing heavy damage. Likewise, players who prefer sniping will find Zer0 offers builds that allow him to deal incredible amounts of damage, piercing enemies and nabbing headshots. He is a versatile character who grows especially strong in the late game.

Newer players should keep in mind that Zer0 can be difficult to play with his low health and demand for distance between himself and the enemy.  Zer0 players will appreciate playing with frontline allies.

What Zer0 does best:

Sniping: abilities B0re and Critical Ascensi0n let Zer0 pierce through enemies while stacking damage with critical hits. 

  • Melee Combat: The abilities Backstab and Like The Wind let Zer0 stealth behind enemies, hitting them from behind and doing more damage as he moves.
  • ​Stealth: Zer0’s action ability Decepti0n allows him to avoid damage for up to 1 seconds.
  • Massive Damage: When built correctly, Zer0 is able to hit fast and hard for big numbers of damage. 
  • Rewards Learning: While difficult to master, players who learn how to use Zer0 will have fun playing one of the strongest characters in the game. 

Choose Zer0 If You...

  • Like Melee Combat: If you like getting up close and personal with enemies, Zer0’s katana and melee abilities are perfect for you.
  • Like Sniping from Afar: Do you like hanging back and nailing headshots? Then Zer0’s sniper builds are perfect for you.
  • Are Up For A Challenge: Need a little more thrill? Zer0’s learning curve and low HP will push you to really learn the ins and outs of the character. 
  • Want A Unique Character: Zer0’s a masked enigma that uses a katana, named himself after a number, and speaks only in haiku. What else could you want?
  • Plan on Endgame Content: For both solo and team play, Zer0 is a great pick for difficult, endgame content. 


Zer0’s Ranking:

Zer0 scores a 90/100 in usefulness. He is great in solo play and in a team, and does well against mobs as well as bosses. He has one of the strongest skills in the game with B0re, and his other abilities make him a great pick for high damage seekers. 


#2: Salvador

Salvador the Gunzerker is often labeled the strongest character in the game, and for good reason. One look at his action skill tells you everything: Salvador can dual wield any two guns at the same time. 

He is all about maximizing damage, regaining ammo and health, and shooting as much as possible. Salvador is a pretty straightforward character to play, and you’ll find he’s both easy and a ton of fun to use. Gunzerking is an extremely powerful skill, as dual wielding weapons opens the door to so many high damage options.

While Salvador is tanky, you should keep in mind he’s not invincible. The only real drawback to being so powerful is that you may overestimate yourself, so make sure to still take note of your HP and surroundings while playing as Salvador.  

What Salvador does best:

  • Damage: Double the gun, double the damage. Mix and match your load out for ludicrously high DPS, and use abilities like Lay Waste to keep your DPS up .
  • Survivability: abilities like Sexual Tyrannosaurus and Come At Me give Salvador health regen, allowing him to soak up a lot of damage.
  • Versatility: Dual wielding with Gunzerking lets you choose any two guns to use, allowing you to make plenty of crazy combos. 
  • Ammo Efficiency: Abilities like Filled To The Brim increase your ammo capacity, while Double Your Fun lets you throw free grenades.
  • Being (Near) Invincible: Dual wielding guns that restore health with ones that deal big damage makes you nearly unkillable in a lot of situations. 


Choose Salvador If You...

  • Like Straight Forward Characters: It’s hard to build Salvador poorly - it’s even harder to not have fun playing him. He’s perfect for any player who just wants to get to the shooting. 
  • Want to do Big Damage: Salvador’s builds allow him to deal extremely high damage. If you want to mow down enemies fast, he’s your guy.
  • Want to be Tanky: If the idea of regening health and ammo appeals to you, Salvador gives you lots of options to do just that.
  • Plan on Endgame Content: For both solo and team play, Salvador is a great pick for difficult, endgame content. 
  • Want To Dual Wield Rocket Launchers: Have you ever had the power fantasy of dual wielding rocket launchers, blasting your enemies away? Well, now you do, and now you know how to fulfill it.  


Salvador’s Ranking:

Salvador easily scores a 100/100 in usefulness. His title as most broken Borderlands 2 character is well earned, and players who choose him will find him great in nearly every scenario. He is a great fit for players looking to have fun, with some of the highest potential in the game.

#3: Maya

Maya the Siren uses her Phaselock action ability to deal with mobs, locking them in place so you can shoot and maneuver as you please. She has a range of other abilities that make her a solid support character and especially nice for group play. 

The Siren is a great choice for newer players with her crowd control, quick action skill cooldown, and support options. Built in elemental damage with abilities like Flicker and Backdraft are fun to use on top of being effective. Players who enjoy having a range of effects at their disposal will find Maya satisfying. 

Do you want to tackle endgame content by yourself? If so, Maya may not be your first choice. While she performs well on her own, she really shines on a team with other characters. 


What Maya does best:

  • Crowd Control: Phaselock holds enemies in the air, allowing you to take care of other threats and get some easy shots in. 
  • Action Skill Spam: Abilities like Quicken give very small cooldown to Phaselock. If you’re trigger happy with abilities, she’s a great pick. 
  • Healing: Maya has several abilities that keep the team healthy, with Elated healing during Phaselock and Res letting Maya instantly revive a teammate. 
  • Elemental Damage: Abilities like Flicker let you deal elemental damage frequently, while Backdraft and Bligh Phoenix let Maya wreck havoc with Fire and Corrosive damage. 
  • Support: Stopping enemies in place, healing, and elemental effects are great support tools. 


Choose Maya If You...

  • Like Being A Team Player: Maya can easily be built for a support role, perfect for players who prefer helping out over doing a ton of DPS.
  • Want An Easy To Play Character: She is a beginner friendly character who will guide you through the main game with ease.
  • Don’t Plan On Solo Endgame: If tackling post game bosses on your own isn’t on your mind, Maya is a safe pick.
  • Enjoy “Mage” Characters: Do you like the feeling of lobbing spells and harnessing elemental powers? Maya is a good pick for you if you’ve ever enjoyed characters who do just that. 


Maya’s Ranking:

Maya scores a solid 85/100 in usefulness. While she is a weaker option for hard solo content, Maya pulls her weight as team support and a great way to great through the story mode. Phase Locking enemies is satisfying, and Maya’s arsenal gives her plenty of options for players looking for a fun experience. 


#4: Axton

Axton the Commando is a straight forward character, and a good pick for players looking for a simpler FPS experience. He specializes in medium range gun combat, and can deploy a turret. 

The Commando excels in being an all-arounder. He is arguably the least flashy of the characters, with his focus being mostly on good gun performance and survival. If you choose Axton, you will also enjoy the benefits of his Sabre Turret, which contributes good damage and defense.

Overall, Axton’s only real drawback is that he is not specialized. Players who want a more focused or unique play experience may look to other characters. 


What Axton does best:

  • Consistency: Axton is as close an all-rounder as you can get in Borderlands 2. He is reliable in just about every field.
  • Gun Handling: Axton has abilities to increase gun swap, reload, and shooting speeds, improving overall gun capabilities. 
  • Mid Range Combat: Abilities like Impact and Ranger enhance gun and melee damage, perfect for mid range combat. 
  • Defense: His Sabre Turret pulls enemies away from you, and his Survival skill tree is full of abilities to bolster your health. 
  • Versatility: Axton works well in a lot of situations, with his 3 skill trees giving you build options.

Choose Axton If You...

  • Are A First Timer: Axton’s straight forward ability tree is great for newcomers, as is the extra help from his Sabre Turret.
  • Like Simplicity: Do you appreciate the simple things in life? Axton’s a great pick if you’re not concerned with min-maxing.
  • Want Built In Support: The Sabre Turret is a great companion, drawing away aggro and adding to your DPS. Perfect for solo or team play. 
  • Want to Learn: Axton’s simplicity lets you learn the game with minimal interference, so you can really see how everything works. 
  • Value Gunplay: At the end of the day, Borderlands 2 is a FPS. If you value the feeling of shooting over using flashy abilities, Axton’s your guy. 


Axton’s Ranking:

Axton scores a 75/100 in usefulness. He has respectable DPS and has good survivability if you build him right. Throwing down turrets on top of quick gun swap and reload speeds feels good to use, making him a good pick for players not invested in flashy builds.


#5: Krieg


Krieg the Psycho is one of two DLC characters, and he brings a unique playstyle to the game. With his Buzzaxe action skill, Krieg leaves his guns behind, pulling out his buzz-axe so he can melee enemies for a whopping 500% melee damage, gaining health back with kills. Krieg is perfect for players who love close combat. 


The Psycho is as melee-focused as you can be in Borderlands 2. Players who like being in the heat of battle will enjoy Krieg, as he ramps up in power with skills like Blood Twitch or Empty The Rage. Krieg players can also enjoy mid-range combat, as his other skills improve his overall damage.


Krieg is best suited for players comfortable with the game and who want a high DPS option. For newer players, Krieg may be a bit hard to manage. He rewards going all out and soaking up damage, with his skill tree Hellborn rewarding you for literally being on fire or skills like Fuel the Rage encouraging you to get hit to reduce cooldown. 


What Krieg does best:

  • Melee: Krieg’s action ability turns you into a melee machine, dealing insane damage on top of regaining health. 
  • Taking Damage: This character likes to get hit: skills like Salt The Wound grant him increased damage when his shields are down, and Pull The Pin rewards you with a free grenade when you go down. 
  • Ramping Up: Krieg grows stronger whenever he downs an enemy, with skills like Fuel The Blood granting grenade damage on kills. 
  • Staying Alive: Ironically, Krieg has a lot in his kit that keeps him up. Thrill of The Kill for instance grants health back, while Light The Fuse upgrades his Fight For Your  Life.
  • Fire And Ignition: The Hellborn skill tree gives you options that boosts Krieg’s performance when he’s on fire, and allows him to set enemies on fire too. 

Choose Krieg If You...

  • Love Melee Combat: Krieg is built to reward melee lovers. If that suits your playstyle, he’s a great pick.
  • Want Big DPS: Krieg’s Buzzaxe action skill hits like a truck with a 500% melee damage bonus. Couple that with his other skills and you have a heavy hitter,
  • Want To Tank: While Krieg can potentially hurt himself, he just as easily soaks up damage and gains back health to make up for it.
  • Love CARNAGE: Krieg is a crazy character through and through. Choose him if you want to ax-wield and draw blood, all while getting stronger with every kill.


Krieg’s Ranking:

Overall Krieg scores a 95/100 in usefulness. He’s a high DPS character with a unique melee combat style, perfect for players who like to play aggressively. He captures the heart and soul of the game with his crazy one liners and constant need for violence. 


#6: Gaige

Gaige the Mechromancer rounds out the cast as the second DLC character, and brings a chaotic playstyle to the table. Her action skill Deathtrap is a killer robot that attacks enemies for you, and Gaige has an exclusive stackable effect called Anarchy that boosts her damage while sacrificing accuracy.


She is a wildcard of a character and is best suited for players looking for a unique play experience. Deathtrap offers a companion that deals respectable damage as well as being potentially tanky. Anarchy on the other hand turns Gaige into a DPS machine, with stacking attack damage that works nicely with her elemental damage skills.


While Anarchy stacking is loads of fun, keep in mind how much accuracy you lose. It’s also important to remember that prematurely reloading makes you lose all of your stacks. If missing shots sounds frustrating to you or you don’t want to micromanage your reloads, another build or character may be a better fit. 


What Gaige does best:

  • Stacking Buffs: Anarchy stacks cap out at 150 granting a whopping 265% bonus gun damage. She has other skills like Discord and Rational Anarchist to help you keep this number up. 
  • Elemental Damage: Gaige has a whole skill tree, Little Big Trouble, that grants you shock and explosive damage.
  • Crowd Control: Having a separate ally to deal damage and tank with Deathtrap helps with mobs.
  • Unique Gameplay: Between Deathtrap and Anarchy stacks, Gaige has a very different feel from the other characters.
  • DPS: As mentioned, Anarchy in particular can bring your damage to unreal heights.
  • Tanking: Deathtrap can soak up a lot of damage, alongside skills like Fancy Mathematics and Buck Up boosting your shields.


Choose Gaige If You...

  • Enjoy Chaos: Do explosions, robots, and anarchy entice you? Then let Gaige show you the way to sweet, sweet chaos. 
  • Like Difficulty: Managing Anarchy stacks and low accuracy puts an extra layer of difficulty on the game.
  • Like Having A Companion: Deathtrap is a great companion to have in battle, especially if you’re a player that feels more comfortable with an ally. 
  • Want a Unique Character: Gaige’s combination of Anarchy and Deathtrap make her an experience unlike any other character. 
  • Don’t Mind Low-Accuracy: If you’re patient, overcoming Gaige’s low accuracy will reward you with big damage.


Gaige’s Ranking:

Gaige scores an 80/100 in usefulness. She delivers a fresh and challenging way to play with stacking Anarchy, and her robot companion contributes plenty of DPS and damage cover. Players who value accuracy and a tamer play experience might want a different character, but those willing to try her out will find Gaige to be an exciting character. 


The Verdict


Borderlands 2 is cleverly designed to accommodate just about any play style with its cast of characters. Now that you know the ins and outs of all 6 choices, you can jump into your next playthrough with your best fit. Happy Vault Hunting! 

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Nothing fuels a creative career like diving into a good game. When in doubt, I pick up a controller and see what new experiences there are to uncover.
Gamer Since: 2000
Favorite Genre: RPG
Currently Playing: Hades
Top 3 Favorite Games:Borderlands 2, Left 4 Dead 2, Shovel Knight

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