The Cataclysm skill tree for Maya the Siren in Borderlands 2 seems like one of those skill trees that are designed to be a support tree for the other two, rather than a primary tree. It has absolutely no synergy and many of the skill are pretty sub par. Still, you can take it as a primary skill tree and if you do, you will be dealing some rather high damage in favorable circumstances. Most of the tree focuses on granting various types of elemental damage to Maya’s attacks. Fire is most prevalent, but every type appears in one way or another. The biggest advantage of this tree is that it has four separate skills that deal area damage. With the Cataclysm skill tree you can make Maya the Siren one of the best area damage dealers in Borderlands 2.
Flicker (D+) – Flicker will increase your chance of activating a status effect when using an elemental weapon. Unfortunately, this tree grants you so much free elemental damage that there is no reason to use an elemental weapon and Flicker doesn’t synergize with any of the other powers. You’ll probably have at least one elemental weapon, just based on random drops, but don’t expect a lot of benefit from this skill.
Foresight (B-) – Foresight increases your magazine size and reload speed. The increase to magazine size basically makes the reload speed increase less useful unless you have a very small magazine weapon to start. One of these two benefits will always be useful, so it is a good skill, just not excellent.
Immolate (C-) – You deal significant additional fire damage while in Fight For Your Life. Any ability that boosts Fight For Your Life is questionable, because you should try not to die, but the increased damage is high enough that it will probably assure you survive at least once.
Helios (A-) – Helios deals fire damage to nearby enemies when you Phaselock an enemy. Since you should be using Phaselock regularly anyway, extra damage is just gravy. Make sure to aim your Phaselock well and you will essentially have unlimited free grenades.
Chain Reaction (A) – This skill is great. When you have an enemy Phaselocked, there is a chance that any bullet you fire will ricochet to an enemy. You already want to Phaselock enemies a lot, this just encourages it more.
Cloud Kill (A+) – You really are the queen of area damage. Once you have Cloud Kill, when you shoot an enemy, a cloud appears and damages nearby enemies. You can only have one cloud at a time, so be wise about your first shot. Between this and Helios you can seriously damage a group with just two button clicks.
Backdraft (C-) – Backdraft causes your melee attacks to deal extra fire damage and creates a small explosion when your shields are depleted. Too often your shields will be depleted when no enemies are nearby and you have absolutely no reason to enter melee range of enemies. If psychos didn’t exist, this skill would be almost worthless.
Reaper (B) – Reaper increases your gun damage against enemies that are at half health or higher. The match is complicated, but you will essentially gain a 15% – 20% damage increase when this skill is maxed out. That isn’t great, but it is worth investing in unless you have a better option.
Blight Phoenix (A-) – A lot of the time this skill will do absolutely nothing, but that is fine, because you want it for when it is useful. After you kill an enemy, you radiate damage for a short time. This is great for when enemies are charging you. You can kill one and the rest will die from your aura. Between that and Backdraft, if you have any ranks in it, you are very hard to kill in melee range.
Ruin (A+) – As if your fiery Phaselock wasn’t good enough. Now it also electrocutes, corrodes, and slags enemies as well. You essentially are walking around with a massive grenade in your hands at all times. This is both incredibly effective and a lot of fun to use.
Recommended Equipment – One of the advantages of this build is that it doesn’t really limit your equipment in any meaningful way. You will gain a slight bonus with elemental guns, but only if you invested points in the rather weak Flicker skill. Besides that, just use whatever you find and like.
Strategy Tips – There isn’t a lot of strategy here. Your entire build is based around making enemies go boom, preferably in groups. Swarms scare you less than just about any other character in the game. You can pretty safely wade into battles just dropping area affect attacks everywhere and not really concerning yourself much with strategy. You will have a lot of difficulty with boss fights because you aren’t that great at dealing damage to a single enemy, but at least Reaper will help speed those up a little. If you are finding boss fights particularly hard, invest a few points in Accelerate from the Motion skill tree. Hopefully that will give you the damage boost you need.