Borderlands 2

So you want to be a Commando, huh? Think you've got what it takes to join the ranks of Pandora's most efficient bunch of self-sufficient killing machines? When I'm done with you, you'll be more than ready, you panty-waste!

First things first, you need to know the basics: A Commando is a turret-wielding, assault rifle using master of all things painful, that also has the ability to support himself and his comrades with the use of the “Sabre Turret.” The “Sabre Turret” is a deployable, portable turret that will target any enemies within its range and tear them to shreds so small their comrades will only be able to refer to them as MIA. Depending on which way you decide to build your Commando you can go anywhere from a defender with quick-charging shields and a severe allergy to death to an all-out assault fighter who gets more powerful as he kills.

Comman-DOs and Command-DON'Ts

While the idea of having a turret sounds like a walk in the park while chasing rainbows, make no mistake: A lack of attention and poor turret placements MEANS DEATH! So here are a few tips for you wannabe vault-hunter wimps:

DON'T Throw you turret recklessly: The “Sabre Turret” can take care of you like the man at your side in a foxhole, but neglect it and it'll be sure to neglect you. Using the “Sabre Turret” is about precision and planning. Throwing it in a panic or just because you see enemies ahead will most likely leave your turret stuck behind an obstacle it can't fire past, effectively rendering it useless. With a 46-second cooldown, one bad throw is all it takes for you to find yourself crawling along the floor, praying to your mama for one poor creature to kill so that you can get your “Second Wind” and live to fight another day.

DO Plan your attacks: Find yourself a good choke point before throwing your turret out. Make sure your turret isn't impeded by anything and find yourself a spot to hide behind in the event that you take too much fire and need to recharge your shield. The turret will draw the attention of enemies while you sit back and pick them off one-by-one. Just make sure that you shoot to kill: take too long and your turret will run out of energy, leaving all of those angry bad guys who were grouped around your turret to come after you like an angry pack of Commando-devouring Tasmanian devils.

DO Pick up your turret when no enemies are around (or after a bad throw): As I said before, your “Sabre Turret” has a 46-second cooldown, which is significant when it comes to being hopelessly surrounding be legions of beasties and bandits with your demise as their number one priority. That's why it's important to make sure your turret is primed and ready when you head into battle and one of the easiest ways you can do this is by picking it up at the end of each skirmish—assuming it is still on the field, of course. When you pick up your turret you are actually refunded some of the leftover time on the turret's counter, meaning you can get back into battle faster and kill with less kindness.

DON'T Stick to one type of weapon: Weapon expertise has been removed and replaced with the “Badass Rank” system in Borderlands 2. The “Badass Rank” system is almost like a second set of experience and skill points that allows you the ability to upgrade general stats such as, an increase to your shield capacity, lowering your gun recoil, increasing elemental damage, etc... The way you earn the “Badass Rank” points necessary to upgrade these stats is by completing various challenges like “Get X-amount of kills with the assault rifle, shotgun, etc...” or “Kill this many of this type of enemy.” So with that in mind, it is not only a good idea to use different weapons, it may also make the difference between being a badass and struggling like a one-legged hobo in a three-legged race.

DO Use cover: Borderlands 2 is much tougher than its predecessor and as such, running-and-gunning is only going to get you killed; at least early on. Get behind cover, duck and pop out for your kills, when you run out of ammo, repeat the process. Charging mindlessly into a horde of enemies only to run out of ammo and have to reload is one of the easiest ways to die. Most enemies in the game will chase you down, so sitting still is often an effective strategy.

DON'T Spend your skill points recklessly: Leveling up seems to have slowed down pretty significantly in Borderlands 2, so skill points feel like something of a rare occurrence. Make sure you pick a tree and stick with it, at least during your first playthrough, otherwise you'll miss out on the opportunity to get the best skills a tree has to offer.

Your family (skill)tree

The Commando, like all of the classes in Borderlands 2, has three skill trees for you to choose from: “Guerilla,” “Gunpowder,” and “Defender.” All of the trees are viable and varied, leaving you with the ability to choose a tree based off of your own play-style for the maximum amount of carnage.

King of kong

The Commando's “Guerrilla” tree is tailor-made to make your turret as much of an ally as possible. If you plan on doing a lot of soloing or just don't trust the rest of your kind to save your behind in a tight situation, “Guerrilla” is for you. Building down this tree will undoubtedly leave your turret almost as helpful as having another soldier on the field of battle with you. But in order for this to happen you have to pick the proper skills to build into, so listen up and listen good!

To start, you're going to want to pick “Sentry,” which increases the number of shots your turret will fire per burst and also increase the duration of your turret, keeping it on the field longer and making it more deadly.

Next, put your points into “Laser Sight,” which increases your turret's accuracy. There's no point in having a turret that can stay out longer and do more damage if it can't even hit a bull's butt with a handful of rice.

Now that your turret can shoot to kill and stick around long enough to make your enemies weep, why not further break their spirits by tacking some rockets onto your turret with the “Scorched Earth” skill? Putting a skill point into this skill gives your turret the ability to fire rockets that break into 22 smaller rockets with every burst of bullets.

Make it rain!

And because letting your turret do all the work would just make you lazy sack of crap, you're going to put four points into “Onslaught” which increases your gun damage and movement speed whenever you kill any of those godless monsters out on the field of battle.

Your last five skill points be reaching the end of the “Guerrilla” tree should go into “Crisis Management” which will permanently increase your gun and melee damage. When you couple this skill with “Onslaught,” you're, well you're just being a jerk is what you're doing.

At long last, your training has brought you to the end of the line. “Double Up” puts two guns on your turret for double of everything you just set up and it also adds “Slag” bullets to the equation, which debuff your enemies, making every “Non-Slag” shot do extra damage. Good work, soldier!

Gunpowder? I hardly know her!

Now if you're the type who likes to get up close and personal—which is something I can respect--the Commando's “Gunpowder” skill tree is where you should be. While there are turret skills on this tree, most of the skills are based around making YOU the murder machine by amping up your damage and accuracy while lowering recoil; because you can never kill a baddie too dead.

Now, starting this tree leaves you with a tough decision right out the gate. Do you pick “Impact,” which increases gun and melee damage, or “Expertise,” which increases weapon swap speed, the speed it takes to aim down the sights and movement speed while aiming? The answer: Do both, petal plucker! Ammo can be scarce on Pandora, so making use of the ammo you have is absolutely necessary. Doing the maximum amount of damage with your assault rifle and then switching to a shotgun when ammo dries up, uses both “Expertise” and “Impact,” which will make you more deadly in the long run.

Next on your skill hit list should be “Metal Storm,” which increases your fire rate and reduces your recoil for a short time after killing an enemy. You've already got the damage and the ability to aim and swap weapons swiftly. Why not compound your skills by making all of your guns fire faster with less recoil? “Metal Storm” is the next step in becoming a master of murder.

From there, move onto putting five points each into both “Steady” and “Battlefront” for even more destructive power. “Steady” further reduces your recoil and also increases the damage of your grenades and rocket launcher shots. “Battlefront” increases the amount of damage you do with guns, grenades and melee attacks whenever your turret is out and attacking. Picking these two over either of the two on the lower tieris a sound decision. “Duty Calls” only increases non-elemental attack damage and you should be using any elemental guns that aren't a complete drop in attack power, because their damage output and tactical possibilities can give you a sharp edge over your soft, meaty enemies. And “Do or Die's” effectiveness is limited to your ability to get a grenade over to your enemy. Odds are, if you can get a grenade close enough to kill your enemy, you're probably close enough to shoot them dead without a fuse time. Plus, the point is to keep you from dying altogether, isn't it? We don't wuss out in the Commando Corps! We fight or we die: there is no in-between, soldier!

Finally, pump your skill points into “Ranger” for a boost in pretty much every stat and top it off with that oh-so-satisfying skill known as “Nuke.” Just in case you don't already know, “Nuke” creates a small nuclear explosion whenever you throw out your turret; as if doing bonus damage wasn't bad enough. If you feel like sacrificing a point in any of the other suggested skills, you could always opt into “Longbow Turret,” which teleports your turret to anywhere you can see with your eyes, so that you can give those Hyperion jokers a specially-delivered nuke, straight from your heart to their urine-soiled trousers.


The last tree in the Commando's repertoire is the “Survival” tree, wherein the Commando makes himself an unstoppable obstacle of shear...not...dying...ness! Inside the “Survival” tree is just about everything a Vault Hunter will ever need to avoid death, including faster regenerating shields, a shield for the “Sabre Turret” (which serves as portable cover) and reduced duration on all negative status effects you've undoubtedly been pegged with.

The first tier leaves you with some choices: Maximum health or increased shield capacity and a nice bit of health regeneration. Maggot, you'll choose “Preparation” for the shield capacity and health regeneration and you'll like it! With your shield even stronger and your health refilling when your shield is full, you will be more prepared at the beginning of each battle.

Because every fighting machine has an Achilles heel, we're going to pick “Pressure” to put steel plating on that heel. “Pressure” increases your reload speed and decreases your shield recharge delay based on how low your health is. When Handsome Jack thinks he has you surrounded and is smiling like dopey, mask-faced pansy, you'll knock him out of the park with your absolute refusal to die.

And just because we want to remove death as an option altogether, we're going to make you forget what it even means with the next two skills, “Forbearance” and “Phalanx Shield.” “Forbearance” reduces the length of all negative status effects, like burning, corrosive and slag attacks, making sure that the enemy's ace-in-the-hole is more like a joker-in-the-latrine. And when you really want to break the hearts of all of your opponents, “Phalanx Shield” will create a shield around your turret that will block enemy fire, but allow your shots to pass through and give those mask-wearing dandelions a permanent haircut.

With your next four points, you can give your turret the ability to stick to walls with “Mag-Lock” and truly get the tactical advantage. You can then put the other three points into “Quick Charge” which regenerates a percentage of your maximum shield while you're killing everything in sight. Or you can just put it all into “Quick Charge,” because completely breaking the collective spirits of your foes is never a bad thing

But you're not done there, no siree! Not when you can avoid death altogether with “Grit.” Now that we've emptied your head of death and dying, you're now too stupid to understand when you should or shouldn't die. “Grit” gives you a chance to ignore a killing shot and also allows you to regenerate half of your maximum health, you marvelous piece of skag dung!

Now that you're a walking factory of walls and bigger walls, let's give you a last bit of fun by doubling your turrets. That's right, “Gemini” gives you two turrets as a parting gift at the end of the “Survival” tree. Even though you and death have, and never will be acquainted, I've decided that you should have two shield -bearing turrets on the field for double portable-cover action is necessary; call it a gift from me to you.

Semper Die

Now that you know the basics of the Commando class, you're ready to give Handsome Jack a swift kick in his hind-quarters and a proper jab to the jaw. If your brain couldn't handle the raw power of the Commando Corps., stand at attention and await your orders for the other classes in Borderlands 2.


4 comments for this Borderlands 2 user guide

  • Comment by PaytonAllison

    I love this guide! It goes into detail about the skills and how they work together, and it's got a leg up in all other guides because it actually tells you how to go from level 5 and up! You see, most guides just give you a level 50 build, and force you to try and figure out where to put the points if you're not quite there yet. This guide? It walks through each tree and shows you which perks to pick when! This guide is definitely going in my bookmarks, and I can't wait to read your guides on the other classes!

    Oct. 22, 2013, 10:30 a.m.
  • Comment by GarittA.Rocha

    Well shoot, PaytonAllison, I appreciate your kind words. I'm glad you liked it and I hope you've taken a look at my other Borderlands 2 guides here on :)

    Oct. 22, 2013, 10:30 a.m.
  • Comment by Zanadama

    Awesome guide! I finally picked this game up during the steam sale and was wondering what to go with. You already answered all my questions! Semper Die!

    Dec. 31, 2013, 1:13 a.m.
  • Comment by Zanadama

    Also I read this guide with R Lee Ermey's voice.

    Dec. 31, 2013, 1:14 a.m.
Comment on this guide 4