Get out of my head!
Are you clinical? Are you certifiable? Are you an unstoppable basketcase of pure, unadulterated rage? You’re looking at the right character then. See that axe he’s holding? Yeah, you’re going to be in a love/hate relationship with that thing; you’re going to love it and everyone on the receiving end is going to hate it. Activating your Buzz Axe Rampage (your class ability) breaks it out for a short while, giving you huge melee damage thanks to it; this build aims to make the most of it through skill synergy to curb-stomp your enemies.
Let me be perfectly clear: Krieg is (literally) a fucking psycho, and to play him the way I do you’ve got to take a bite of the beast that is adrenaline-fueled madness yourself; step up or piss off
Heart of madness
Here’s the thing, he’s not a wuss starting out, but you’re not going to be a Sherman Tank from go; the wait will be well worth it. Literally do whatever you want leveling up: experiment with some of his skills in the HELLBORN tree if you like and get familiar with some of the skills in the BLOODLUST tree (you’ll be using them once you finish your build’s core), because once you hit 31 it’s “go” time. The MANIA tree will do the heavy lifting and the BLOODLUST tree will make you even more awesome. The HELLBORN tree is for Spawn-wannabes who like to under-perform and wish they were a master of elements; go play Maya already and wish she was as OP at the OG Siren. The problem is both of the starting skills cause you to light yourself on fire, which makes you less tanky. Combine that with the final skill (Raving Retribution) being pretty underwhelming given its 1 second cooldown and your ability to basically one-shot everything once you’re rolling with your badass self and you’ve got a recipe for mediocrity. Seriously though, don’t do it
- Weapons go away; buzz axe comes out to play
- 500% melee damage
- Increased movement speed
- Return to full health on kill while active
Krieg’s action skill, your enabler; this is everything you want and need to fulfill your most visceral pleasures. It has built-in sustain and everything about this build is making you even more unstoppable while it’s active and giving it an almost-100% up-time. While it’s going you won’t have access to any of your other guns, but trust me: you won’t need them.
- Bonus health
- Longer shield regen delay
Tanky tank tank! Also, that shield regen delay is gold until you’ve got the proper gear build.
- Bonus melee damage
- even more if your shield is blown (cough Feed the Meat cough)
Your action skill makes you go crazy and start swinging a giant buzz axe; this makes you do more damage with it
- Overkill damage restores your health
You are going to be taking damage; you are going to be taking a lot of damage. Buzz Axe Rampage already puts you to full health on kill; this helps sustain you through fights where something goes wrong and you end up putting your skill on cooldown (it will happen from time to time).
- Taking damage when your shield down increases melee and shotgun damage (stacks to a limit)
Your shield will be down all the time; thus, you will be at or very close to max stacks at all time.
- Bonus melee damage
- Chance to smash yourself in the head
Seeing a trend here? It’s all about that Buzz Axe Rampage. What’s that, wondering how you can make a build centered around it? It’s all thanks to…
- Activating Buzz Axe Rampage below 33% health:
- Turns into a badass psycho, dealing 100% more melee damage and gaining 50% damage reduction
- Instantly refills your health to full
- Instantly recharges your action skill when it ends
Take damage, hit your skill once you drop below 33%, kill everything, repeat. Seriously, once you learn to manage incoming damage and watch your cooldowns, you can literally be in rampage the entire fight, every fight.
How do I do the thing?
Fine. Do whatever you feel like when combat breaks out except activating Buzz Axe Rampage (personally, I dive into the fray like an asshole until I start taking a proper beating). When you drop below 33% health an will appear by your health bar; that’s your cue to go ham. Once Buzz Axe Rampage is running, let your inner psycho go nuts, killing everything and everyone you can. You’re going to do huge damage, so you’ll keep getting healed from killing stuff unless you’re:
- Not killing enough stuff (AKA doing it wrong)
- Standing around trying to look cool (there’s no way you can look cooler than running around massacring everything; don’t even bother)
Once your skill wears off, your health will go straight back to full. If you spent too much time doing 1 or 2 above, duck behind something until the duration ends and you’ll be fine.
If you hit the skill by accident or just mess up the timing, it’s a bit of a wait for it to come back off cooldown, but that time is decreased by taking damage; take a few calculated risks to help hurry it along so you can get back to being a meat-grinder
- Bonus magazine size with kills
Honestly, this is doing very little for you aside from giving you access to the skills you actually want in the tree. You could run Blood Twitch instead, I just prefer having more ammo in my shotguns (which already have some additional buffing from the MANIA tree and are the perfect weapon to have equipped when your Buzz Axe Rampage wears off in the middle of a fight) over weapon swap speed (which is almost moot since the bulk of each fight is spent in Blood Axe Rampage).
- Damage reduction in Buzz Axe Rampage
- +50 Bloodlust stacks per kill in Buzz Axe Rampage
More tanky tank tank! Also, it allows you to very quickly fill your Bloodlust stacks while showing you enemies what’s inside them.
- Bonus melee damage based on Bloodlust stacks
- Shorter grenade fuse based on Bloodlust stacks
More melee damage; enough said.
- Increases the time before Bloodlust stacks start decaying
Bloodlust stacks start decaying after a bit when you haven’t killed anything; this skill helps you stay topped out more easily (which is beneficial since several of your BLOODLUST skills are based on said stacks).
- Melee kills grant bonus grenade damage based on Bloodlust stacks
- +10 Bloodlust stacks on melee kill
More stacks based off melee kills as well as bonus grenade damage for the periods of time between Blood Axe Rampages. Even though this is higher up in the tree, it’s the least-useful of the skills you’re going to take but the slightly more useful than any of the other skills; because we want the final skill in BLOODLUST, we have to invest 25 points somewhere in the tree to get to it. This is almost a filler skill.
- Creates an explosion on kill that deals damage to nearby enemies
- Damage is increased by Bloodlust stacks and Overkill damage
Now we’re not only the tankiest DPS ever, we’re doing AoE damage
I mean, you’re basically Vladimir Putin at his point; pick whatever else you want. I strongly discourage using the HELLBORN tree because you’re not getting as much bang for your buck (I’m also not a fan of adding to the damage I’m taking as some of the bigger fights can get pretty damn intense) and do not take Blood Trance in the BLOODLUST tree (despite the seemingly-nice benefit of a longer Buzz Axe Rampage, you have to wait longer for your free full health from it ending, which can be problematic in tougher fights like boss battles where things aren’t dying every couple seconds), but, other than that, you do you from here on out. HELLBORN does become a legitimate option eventually, but make sure you have enough points that you’re actually doing something with the fact that you’ve set yourself on fire
I have shown you a decent into madness fit for Cthulhu; you must find your own way in R’lyeh.
Borderlands games have always been about the loot, and you’re going to want some awesomeness for yourself; here’s my recommended list of gear to hunt down:
Class Mod: Legendary Sickle
- Bonus melee damage
- +5 to Empty the Rage, Fuel the Blood, Silence the Voices, Taste of Blood, and Pain is Power
I mean, this thing is ridiculous! That said, it’s a tough item to acquire; until you get it, I encourage you to rock the best version of a Sickle you can find (or any mod that buffs Silence the Voices). The reason I favor this over any of the more tanky ones is simple: if you kill things while in in Rampage (which you’re in almost constantly), you go back to full health. Thus, the faster you kill things, the quicker you heal
Shield: The Rough Rider
- 0 shield
- 20% flat damage reduction
- Bonus health
This is your ideal shield; it drops from a boss called The Bulwark in Sir Hammerlock’s Big Game Hunt DLC (included in the Handsome collection). The damage reduction is awesome, the extra health is awesome, and some of our skills get better when our shield is broken. Combo all that with the ease of managing our health to hit that sweet <33% we’re after and you’ve got a winner. In the video I posted below, I show how to get yourself one; it’s super-easy
Relic: Blood of the Ancients
- Bonus health
- Bonus ammo carrying capacity
Honestly, this is another one you don’t have to have; any Vitality Relic will get the job done.
Grenade: Magic Missile
- Seeking projectiles
- Regenerates grenade ammo over time
Until you get to Tiny Tina’s Assault on Dragon Keep (mad plot spoilers to the main game, finish a playthrough before checking this DLC out) just find yourself something else that slags.
Weapon of Choice: Rapier
- +200% melee damage
- highest bonus on any weapon in BL2
This assault rifle is a quest reward, so it’s a sure get! The gun damage itself is typically lackluster, but if you get a slag variant it’s all you’ll ever want. Until you can get one, use whatever you’re comfortable with. I hardly ever fire mine, preferring instead to run around like a maniac stabbing people with the bayonet until I’ve taken enough damage to start the pain train.
Build Demo Video
Well, it took me a bit to finally sit down and finish this up, but it also motivated the shit outta me; I’m absolutely playing the Handsome Collection now, and I absolutely have a Psycho named “Butt-scratcher” on his way to being the meanest sumbitch around.
See you on Pandora, Strategists.