In addition to his other talents, Axton the Commando is the heavy weapon specialist of the hybrid role playing game / shooter Borderlands 2. By focusing on his Gunpowder skill tree, you can make Axton especially deadly with assault rifles, rocket launchers, and grenades. Between recoil reduction and increased damage, this skill tree offers benefits that negate most of the drawbacks of these otherwise powerful weapons. For anyone who enjoys using Axton the Commando to blow things up, the following Gunpowder skill tree guide will reveal how best to spend skill points to make things go boom.
Impact (A+) – Each rank of Impact increases your gun and melee damage. The melee damage improvement won’t mean much, but the gun damage increase makes this a must-buy skill.
Expertise (C-) – Expertise increases your weapon swap speed, aiming speed, and movement speed while aiming. The latter is actually reasonably useful for strafing tactics, but the first two benefits aren’t very useful. This skill is a rather poor value, but may be worth a few points at later levels for the strafing advantage.
Overload (A-) – Overload increases the magazine size of all assault rifles by 10% per rank you have in this skill. The only reason it isn’t a perfect skill is because you gain notably diminishing returns with the last few points. The main benefit of magazine size increase is reduced need to reload, but there is a good chance that later points won’t actually change how often you need to reload in any meaningful way.
Metal Storm (A) – Metal Storm increases your fire rate and decreases your recoil when you kill an enemy. Since you should be using almost all heavy recoil weapons with this build, the latter benefit is actually just as amazing as the former benefit. There is nothing quite as fun as chain firing rockets or your assault rifle at a large group of enemies.
Steady (A+) – Steady increases your rocket launcher and grenade damage, while also decreasing your recoil. If you aren’t using these types of weapons, you are investing in the wrong skill tree anyway. Thus, this is basically a perfect skill that you should max out as quickly as possible.
Longbow Turret (B+) – This skill lets you place your Sabre Turret just about anywhere that you can see and more than doubles the health of it. The latter benefit probably won’t keep it alive if you put it in the middle of a bunch of enemies, but it pretty much assures that your Sabre Turret lasts for the full duration most of the time. Usually you will want your Sabre Turret near you, so the main benefit of Longbow Turret will rarely be used.
Battlefront (A) – Battlefront increases the damage you deal with all weapons while your Sabre Turret is deployed. While this is a conditional damage boost, it is one you control and Longbow Turret just about assures that it will never run out early. The only reason not to invest skill points here is if you rarely use your Sabre Turret.
Duty Calls (A-) – Duty Calls increases the damage and fire rate of all non-elemental guns that you use. The obvious drawback of this ability is that it pretty much prevents you from using elemental weapons, with the exception of grenades. This makes it harder to find top tier weapons, but the damage increase from this skill will usually make this a worthwhile trade off.
Do or Die (A+) – Do or Die makes Fight for Your Life a lot easier by allowing you to use grenades while in that state. Additionally, your grenade and rocket launcher damage is improved with this skill. Both benefits are excellent for the expenditure of a single skill point. The only way this isn’t a perfect skill is if you are so good that you never enter Fight for Your Life. But, if that is the case, it doesn’t really matter what skills you get.
Ranger (B) – Ranger is both amazing and practically worthless at the same time. Each rank increases your accuracy, gun damage, fire rate, health, magazine size, reload speed, and critical hit damage by 1%. A 1% bonus is nearly negligible until you reach later levels and is probably completely meaningless for magazine size on any weapon other than an assault rifle. On the other hand, all of these bonuses are good no matter how your character is set up and maxed out the 5% improvement is actually noticeable for a number of these categories. If you prefer to specialize, skip this skill and put points into skills in either the Guerrilla or Survival tree. If you prefer to generalize, this is the skill for you.
Nuke (A) – With Nuke, when you place your Sabre Turret, it produces a localized explosion that deals massive damage. In conjunction with Longbow Turret, this is a great way to essentially throw a very long range grenade that doesn’t cost any ammunition.
Recommended Equipment – In addition to skill selection, equipment selection can help define your character. This Commando build just about relies on heavy recoil weapons. You will want an assault rifle as your main weapon and you will definitely want to pick up a rocket launcher as soon they are unlocked for you. Make sure both of your primary weapons are non-elemental. If you want some elemental damage, use a shield with a reactive elemental attack or elemental grenades. Also, in terms of grenades, you should try to get grenades with the biggest radius possible. Your grenade damage will be high due to skills, so you want to affect as many enemies as you can. Beyond that, you should consider a shotgun as a backup weapon because your recoil reduction and increased rate of fire will work well with it. Choose your equipment carefully and you can blow up nearly every enemy in Borderlands 2.