If you’re playing Borderlands 2, you’re going to want to know which of the main characters are the best to choose from. Obviously Borderlands 2 is both a single-player and a multiplayer looter shooter, but while I’m taking team synergy into account, for the most part the characters who are useful in single-player are exactly the same who are useful in multiplayer, and for pretty much the same reasons.
Also, characters are capable of many different builds that alter their effectiveness. We’re going to assume you’re using the best possible build in every situation. This is a ranking of character effectiveness, not build effectiveness. Finally, Borderlands 2 is a fairly well balanced game and the power gap between characters is not that vast. Some are definitely better than others, but any character can effectively go through the game.
S Tier – Borderlands 2 Characters
Salvatore is a bit of a one trick pony, but his tricky is ridiculous and it’s gamebreaking. Basically, his command ability is that he dual wield guns, but due to a glitch in the game, the offhand gun gets the secondary effects of the gun in his main hand. As a result, you can dual wield the Grog Nozzle and the Unkempt Harold to do ridiculous damage while also instantly recovering to full health with every shot. This allows him to take down encounters that other characters wouldn’t be able to tackle on their own. I don’t even particularly like Sal, but it’s hard to deny how ridiculous he is.
Maya was pretty weak for a while, since her elemental attacks didn’t scale well on harder difficulty levels, but that’s since been addressed. Now, she may be the single most approachable character for beginners while also remaining incredibly effective throughout all of the game’s difficulty scaling. For most of the game, you can simply rely on her Cloudkill talent to one-hit kill almost any enemy (and most bosses) you encounter regardless of what weapon you have available. Once you get the Bee shield and a Sandhawk, she really takes off.
A Tier – Borderlands 2 Characters
Krieg is capable of putting out intensely high damage numbers. The problem is he has a bit of a weak early game, and a bit of a weak late game on the highest difficulty levels. He also has a hard-to-master playstyle (much less intuitive than the others) that’s also very high risk. Expect to die with Krieg often until you get the hang of it. But if you’re comfortable with his devil-may-care playstyle and master it, he’s capable of dishing out the hurt in a way a lot of others characters are envious of.
Gaige, like Maya, has an action skill that allows you to go through the game without too much reliance on finding incredible weapons through drops. Like most of the other characters on this list, she’s capable of pumping out tons of damage, mostly through building up her Anarchy stacks. A very easy to use character who’s capable of high-end damage scaling.
B Tier – Borderlands 2 Characters
Zer0 is actually my favorite character and the first character I went through the game with, but he can be a little limited in terms of what he’s capable of compared to some of the other characters in the game. It’s not that Zer0’s not capable of putting out insane damage (he is), or taking down major threats, it just often feels like Zer0 has to work harder to do those things. Where Sal can just activate his action skill and go toe-to-toe with raid bosses, Zer0 has to spec b0re and carefully maneuver around the battlefield. Where Maya can just phaselock an enemy and watch every enemy in the vicinity melt from Cataclysm, Zer0 has to collect a Love Thumper and a specialized melee Rubi to run between enemies assassinating them one at a time. It’s a very gratifying playstyle and it’s not harder, but it definitely feels like more work.
C Tier – Borderlands 2 Characters
Axton just feels very underwhelming in general. His turrets are decent but they never feel that effective in the same way the any of the other characters’ action skills do. Additionally, his skill tree doesn’t overpower him in quite the same way. He can’t go toe-to-toe with raid bosses like Sal, he can’t do large AoE elemental damage on command like Maya, he can’t OHKO assassinate enemies like Zer0. He feels, I imagine, exactly how he’s supposed to feel: like a solid, Call of Duty soldier sort of character which, in a game full of zany nonsense, feels just milquetoast and lackluster.
The about covers it when it comes to the best Borderlands 2 Characters tier list. Be sure to check out the Games Section for more content like this.