Most Borderlands 2 players will focus on a specific skill tree, only taking skills from that tree, or possibly taking a single skill from another skill tree. The advantage of this is that you are assured to get the ultimate skill from that tree, which is usually a game changer in terms of power. Another option is to create a hybrid build that takes skills from two or even all three trees. With this option you are unlikely to get the ultimate skill in a tree, but you can combine synergistic skills more effectively to make incredibly focused builds. The following guide details some of the best hybrid character builds in Borderlands 2.
Axton – Sentinel – This hybrid build combines the Survival and Guerilla skill trees. The purpose of the Sentinel build is to make Axton nearly invincible to small arms fire and allow him to safely stand in one place while quickly killing enemies. The Sentinel has greatly improved shields, can regenerate health, and has a very fast reload speed. The key skills for this build are Ready, Willing, Able, Healthy, Preparation, Pressure, Forbearance, and Quick Charge. One you have all of these skills, Axton’s shields and health capacity will both be increased and his shield will recharge more quickly with a lower delay. Axton will also regenerate health when his shields are full or when damaging an enemy and will regenerate shields after killing an enemy. Effectively, he will always be regenerating unless he is at full health and shields. Finally, his incredibly fast reload time and the reduced duration he is affected by status effects will allow him to stand toe to toe with just about any non-boss enemy in the game.
Salvador – Pistol Master – The Pistol Master hybrid build takes skills from all three of Salvador’s skill trees. As the name suggests, the build is designed to make Salvador the unparalleled master of using a pistol. With a pistol in hand he will shoot fast, reload even faster, and his power will actually increase the longer a fight goes. The key skills for this build are Locked and Loaded, I’m Your Huckleberry, Money Shot, Lay Waste, Inconceivable, All in the Reflexes, Incite, I’m the Juggernaut, and All Out of Bubblegum. This set of skills will increase Salvador’s reload speed by 40% and by another 25% after he takes damage. He also has three different conditional fire rate increases, based on killing an enemy, reloading his weapon, and his shields being depleted. If all three are active, his fire rate doubles. You needn’t worry about running out of ammo while firing and reloading at this very high rate, because he has a high chance of not consuming ammo with every shot. Finally, his pistol damage is increased slightly and massively increased when he takes the final shot from a magazine. If this shot happens to not consume ammo, he can deal that massive damage multiple times in a row.
Siren – Queen of Pain – This unusual build completely ignores Maya’s shield improving skills. It can afford to do this by giving her massive health regeneration and dealing equally massive damage to enemies. Queen of Pain requires the following skills from the Harmony and Motion skill trees: Accelerate, Suspension, Kinetic Reflection, Quicken, Sub-Sequence, Sweet Release, Wreck, Elated, and Res. With all of these skills combined, Maya quickly regenerates whenever an enemy is affected by her Phaselock and when that enemy is killed. Additionally, the Phaselock immediately jumps to another enemy when the enemy it is affecting is killed. Maya deals increased gun damage which is even more greatly increased while an enemy is Phaselocked. Her damage output is further increased by dealing retributive damage to enemies when she takes health damage and after killing an enemy. While these two abilities are stacking, she will take half damage from enemy attacks and deal up to twice the unmodified damage of those attacks in return. Her health will fluctuate significantly with this build, but enemies will simply melt around her.
Zero – Guns are for Losers – This hybrid build focuses entirely on melee combat. Taking a specific selection of skills from the Bloodshed and Cunning skill trees, you can create a build where Zero’s damage with melee weapons far surpasses the melee damage of any other character in the game and even far surpasses the gun damage of most characters in Borderlands 2. The Guns are for Losers build has an obvious weakness against flying enemies, but they are rare enough that you can buy a gun specifically for dealing with that threat. The key skills for this build are Counter Strike, Ambush, Rising Shot, Death Mark, Killing Blow, Iron Hand, Followthrough, Backstab, Like the Wind, and Many Must Fall. This is a rather simple build to play. Kill enemies with melee damage. When possible, use Deception before attacking and attack from behind. You move quickly and deal more damage while moving, after killing an enemy, after getting hit by an enemy, and when on a kill streak. Turn invisible, kill an enemy, and repeat that process as fast as you can.
Gaige – Easy Going – The Easy Going hybrid build is designed for people who love pet classes. With you build, you literally activate Deathtrap and then sit back and watch that robot do all the work. You have good shields and a plethora of Deathtrap abilities and no other special skills. This build requires the following skills: Cooking Up Trouble, Fancy Mathematics, Buck Up, Potent as a Pony, Upshot Robot, Explosive Clap, Made of Sterner Stuff, 20% Cooler, Sharing is Caring, Myelin, Shock Storm, The Stare, and Strength of Five Gorillas. The only skills in this set that don’t improve Deathtrap, improve the quality of your shields or give you regeneration while your gun magazine is full. Additionally, Deathtrap gains an ability that lets it fully restore your shields. Deathtrap also gains a slew of offensive abilities and defensive abilities. Your best strategy is literally to do nothing when Deathtrap is active. Keep regenerating health and shield and watch as an indestructible Deathtrap tears up all enemies, including bosses, with incredible speed.
Krieg – Up Close and Personal – Krieg’s hybrid build is based on killing enemies with melee attacks and shotgun blasts. Using skills from the Mania and Bloodlust skill trees, he will rarely have shields in place and deal massive damage after suffering health damage. The required skills for this build are Blood Filled Guns, Taste of Blood, Blood Overdrive, Empty the Rage, Feed the Meat, Embrace the Pain, Fuel the Rampage, Thrill of the Kill, and Salt the Wound. With these skills, shields will take, on average, almost 10 seconds to start recharging. This is greatly ameliorated by the fact that Krieg has 50% more health and heals health damage whenever he deals overkill damage to an enemy. This overkill damage is incredibly likely given his greatly increased melee damage and fire rate while his shields are down and his increased melee and shotgun damage after taking health damage. To maximize this build, you want to kill enemies with a shotgun and then immediately enter a buzz axe rampage. When it runs out, return to the shotgun. The rampage will regenerate at a frighteningly fast pace, allowing this pattern to repeat for a very long time.