The Best Friend’s Forever skill tree for the Borderlands 2 character Gaige the Mechromancer is a mix of good and bad. It is supposed to be the tree that is best for beginners, allowing Deathtrap to do the majority of fighting for you, but oddly it is filled with trap skills which don’t’ help in any meaningful way. On the other hand, there are a number of skills that Gaige simply can’t live without sprinkled liberally throughout the tree. Knowing which ones to choose and which to avoid is the difference between survival and premature death in Borderlands 2.
Close Enough (A / C-) – This skill will be a top tier skill for most players, but falls short for players who are particularly good at first person shooting. Whenever you miss an enemy and hit a wall, Close Enough has a chance of causing the bullet to hit anyway with reduced damage. If you are a sharpshooter, this will only help occasionally. If your aim is poor, max this skill out first thing.
Cooking Up Trouble (A+) – With even just one rank in this skill, you can fully regenerate your health between battles, as long as you have enough ammunition to completely fill the magazine of at least one gun. You absolutely must put one rank in here and extra ranks just mean less down time.
Fancy Mathematics (B-) – Fancy Mathematics decreases your shield recharge delay and increases your recharge rate on a sliding scale that increases when you have lower health. Since that is exactly when you want those benefits most, it is a good skill. It isn’t quite amazing only because it won’t help much until you’ve started to take damage.
Buck Up (A+) – Buck Up is one of those critical skills you must take as soon as you can. This skill lets Deathtrap completely recharge the shields of an ally, which most likely will be you.
The Better Half (C) – The Better Half increases your fire rate, but only when your clip is at least half empty. Between this skill and Cooking Up Trouble, this encourages you to use guns with very small clips and fast reload times. Good luck finding those. Because you want to be able to take advantage of Cooking Up Trouble, this skill won’t help as much as it should.
Potent as a Pony (B+) – Potent as a Pony increases your health by up to 20% and the health of Deathtrap by up to 10%. That latter is great and the reason you should get this skill, but the former actually makes Fancy Mathematics a little bit weaker.
Upshot Robot (A+) – This skill gives you two bonuses while Deathtrap is active and you or it kills an enemy. First, Deathtrap’s duration is increased by 5 seconds. Second, you and deathtrap gain additional melee damage. You couldn’t care less about your melee damage increase, but the rest of that is all gold. Invest in this skill as soon as you can.
Unstoppable Force (C-) – Unstoppable Force is a kill skill that increases your speed and briefly gives you shield regeneration. Kill skills aren’t so great for you because Deathtrap will get a lot of kills. Additionally shield regeneration isn’t particularly meaningful if you have either Fancy Mathematics or Potent as a Pony. There is nothing bad here, but also nothing worse investing skill ranks in until you have gotten everything better.
Explosive Clap (A+) – This skill gives a close range explosion ability to Deathtrap. Of course you want this.
Made of Sterner Stuff (A-) – Made of Sterner Stuff gives you and Deathtrap up to 5% damage reduction and increases Deathtrap’s melee damage by up to 15%. Both of these benefits are solid, but the percentages are low enough that they aren’t amazing. You will want to put all five ranks in it eventually, but other skills may take priority.
20% Coolor (A+) – Somebody can’t add. When you max out this skill, your cooldown rate for Deathtrap improves by 30%. This is critical. With this and Upshot Robot, you might be able to keep Deathtrap out all the time in some fights.
Sharing is Caring (A+) – Take this skill the moment you can. When you learn Sharing is Caring, Deathtrap gets an exact copy of your shield. This is like doubling his health.
Recommended Equipment – You eventually want a good shield with some sort of reactive damage when it is hit. Deathtrap will have this shield and it will be attacked a lot. For your gun, find a weapon with a small magazine and a fast reload. This will be hard to find, but totally worth it.
Strategy Tips – Until you get 20% Cooler and Sharing is Caring, this is a frustrating build because you lose the majority of your firepower when Deathtrap isn’t around. Your skills that don’t involve Deathtrap simply have no synergy or actually interfere with each other. You will probably just want to find a weapon you are comfortable with and fire like crazy when your robot is not around or simply take cover. Once you have completed the tree, you will pretty much spend most of your time watching Deathtrap kill enemies and only getting involved when one of them is getting dangerously close to killing your robot or you can get an easy kill.