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Borderlands 2 Assassin/Zero Skill Builds

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The Best Builds for Zero in Borderlands 2

Whether you're a newcomer to Borderlands 2, playing the assassin character, Zero, for the first time, or just looking for some better builds to get the most out of combat, this article will help. I've listed my four favorite builds for Zero, each focused on a particular skill. They are:

  1. Sniper: The best build for distance shooting and critical hit damage.
  2. Slice and Dice: The best build for melee action. The more enemies, the better!
  3. Close Range + Balanced: This build allows for both close and long-range combat.
  4. Shotgun: Combines Zero's snazzy assassin skills with epic shotgun abilities.

Build 1: Sniper

This is the most effective sniper build in Borderlands 2. It has easy critical hits, especially with Bore (TIER 3) revealing enemy critical spots. It also delivers plenty of critical hit damage bonus, resulting in lots of damage given and not much taken. The Critical Ascensi0n (TIER 6) skill also provides for ridiculous damage when facing bosses with big Crit spots.

Build 1: Sniper

Build 1: Sniper

Note: Skills in bold are more important in each build.

Tier 1

Headsh0t 5/5: Crit Hit Damage +20%

Ir0n Hand 5/5: Melee Damage +15%, Max Health +15%

Tier 2

Killer 5/5: Killing an enemy gives Crit Hit Damage +50% and Reload Speed +75% for a few seconds

Precisi0n 3/5: Accuracy +15%

Grim 5/5: Killing an enemy regenerates +3.5% of your shield per second as well as Deception Cool Rate +7.5% for a few seconds

Tier 3

B0re 1/1: Shots pierce through enemies and deal +100% damage, Enemy crit spots are shown when Deception is active

Vel0city 5/5: Bullet Speed +100%, Critical Hit Damage +15%, Gun Damage +10%

F0ll0wthr0ugh 5/5: Killing an enemy increases Movement Speed +40%, Gun Damage +30%, and Melee Damage +40% for a few seconds

Tier 4

Kill C0nfirmed 5/5: Aiming down sights grants up to Crit Hit Damage +40% the longer you aim

Tier 5

At One with the Gun 5/5: Sniper Hip-Shot Accuracy +125%, Sniper Reload Speed +50%, Sniper Mag Size +5

Critical Ascensi0n 1/1: Scoring a Crit Hit with a Sniper Rifle increases Crit Hit Damage +6% and Damage +5%, stacks up to 999 times and slowly decays.

Build 2: Slice and Dice

Fast and deadly, this build includes skills such as Execute (TIER 3), making Zero a much more exciting melee character compared to Borderland 1’s Berserker. Endless melee bonuses and Many Must Fall (TIER 6) make staying cloaked and killing many, many enemies easy.

Build 2: Slice and Dice

Build 2: Slice and Dice

Tier 1

C0unter Strike 5/5: Counter Strike Damage +250%

Ir0n Hand 5/5: Melee Damage +15%, Max Health +15%

Tier 2

Ambush 5/5: Backstab damage +20%

Grim 5/5: Killing an enemy regenerates +3.5% of your shield per second as well as Deception Cool Rate +7.5% for a few seconds

Tier 3

Death Mark 1/1: Melee Damage marks enemies for 8 seconds, which take Damage +20%

Unf0rseen 5/5: Rank 5 Shock Damage when coming out of Deception

F0ll0wthr0ugh 5/5: Killing an enemy increases Movement Speed +40%, Gun Damage +30%, and Melee Damage +40% for a few seconds

Execute 1/1: A lunge melee attack from within 3 meters that does massive damage

Tier 4

Innervate 2/5: When Deception is active, Gun Damage +4%, Regenerate Health +1.6% per second, Movement Speed +14%

Resurgence 5/5: Killing an enemy with a melee attack restores up to +20% of your health; lower health = more restoration

Tier 5

Like the Wind 5/5: When moving, Gun Damage +15%, Melee Damage +15%

Tier 6

Many Must Fall 1/1: Killing an enemy with a melee attack while in Deception causes you to re-stealth and add time to Deception’s duration

Build 3: Close Range + Balanced

This build is geared towards those who want to use Zero for close quarters combat, combining non-sniper gun damage with Deception and Execute (TIER 3). Velocity (TIER 3) and F0ll0wthr0ugh (TIER 3) both give very solid weapon DPS bonuses. If you want to use guns but don’t want to give up Zero’s snazzy skills, this build is for you.

Build 3: Close Ranged + Balanced

Build 3: Close Ranged + Balanced

Tier 1

Headsh0t 5/5: Crit Hit Damage +20%

Fast Hands 5/5: Reload Speed +25%, Weapon Swap Speed +50%

Ir0n Hand 5/5: Melee Damage +15%, Max Health +15%

Tier 2

Killer 5/5: Killing an enemy gives Crit Hit Damage +50% and Reload Speed +75% for a few seconds

Fearless 5/5: When your shield is depleted, Fire Rate +25%, Gun Damage +15%

Grim 5/5: Killing an enemy regenerates +3.5% of your shield per second as well as Deception Cool Rate +7.5% for a few seconds

Tier 3

B0re 1/1: Shots pierce through enemies and deal +100% damage, Enemy crit spots are shown when Deception is active

Vel0city 5/5: Bullet Speed +100%, Critical Hit Damage +15%, Gun Damage +10%

Rising Sh0t 3/5: Each attack gives you a Damage stack up to 5 total; Gun Damage per stack +6%, Melee Damage per stack +5.4%

F0ll0wthr0ugh 5/5: Killing an enemy increases Movement Speed +40%, Gun Damage +30%, and Melee Damage +40% for a few seconds

Execute 1/1- A lunge melee attack from within 3 meters that does massive damage

Build 4: The Zero Shotgun Build

This build is for players who don’t want to give up the aforementioned snazzy Assassin skills but still want to use shotguns. You’re going to be up close after using Death Bl0ss0m (TIER 6) and Execute (TIER 3) anyway, so why not use shotguns? Tw0 Fang (TIER 5) is particularly effective with shotguns; every 10 clip magazine basically shoots 13 bullets.


Build 4: Zero Shotgun. Assassinating has never been so loud

Build 4: Zero Shotgun. Assassinating has never been so loud

Tier 1

Headsh0t 2/5: Crit Hit Damage + 8%

Fast Hands 5/5: Reload Speed +25%, Weapon Swap Speed +50%

Killing Bl0w 1/5: Melee Damage +100% when an enemy is at low health

Ir0n Hand 5/5: Melee Damage +15%, Max Health +15%

Tier 2

Fearless 5/5: When your shield is depleted, Fire Rate +25%, Gun Damage +15%

Grim 5/5: Killing an enemy regenerates +3.5% of your shield per second as well as Deception Cool Rate +7.5% for a few seconds

Tier 3

Rising Sh0t 5/5: Each attack gives you a Damage stack up to 5 total; Gun Damage per stack +10%, Melee Damage per stack +9%

Unf0rseen 5/5: Rank 5 Shock Damage when coming out of Deception

F0ll0wthr0ugh 5/5: Killing an enemy increases Movement Speed +40%, Gun Damage +30%, and Melee Damage +40% for a few seconds

Execute 1/1: A lunge melee attack from within 3 meters that does massive damage

Tier 5

Tw0 Fang 5/5: Every time you fire a gun, you have a a +30% chance of firing twice

Tier 6

Death Bl0ss0m 1/1: When in Deception, throw a handful of kunai that will explode for random elemental damage. You can throw 5 kunai and it doesn’t bring you out of Deception.

Comments

Toby on November 18, 2018:

there's a bit of a problem grim isn't in the bloodshed tree its in the cunning tree

Anonymous on October 21, 2018:

Good

Eva on October 11, 2018:

very nice blog. thnk you for sharing.

Anonymous on November 10, 2017:

@Hyberion My friends chose Commando and Gunzerker and obv I chose Zer0..

I am level 20 and If you play Zer0 right no one wants to mock you...

I have a sniper and a semi melee build which makes their jaws drop when I am just Killin people with my slag pistol and sword and just dancing between the enmies.

Don't bash other classes.

Gunzerker can Gunzerk and if he uses a gattling gun with a Shock then may God have mercy on you.

And commando's can deploy turrets from which he can kill RAKK those birds flying which u can't even aim at and you can reclaim the sentry as well.

So Every class is overpowered if you play them right.

EXCEPT Mechromancer is really OVERPOWERED.lol

Big game hunt on October 15, 2017:

I love zero I have always played melee zero but I just tried out his sniping and I love it

Harry on March 25, 2017:

Where you have put two fang for the shotgun build you have said every 10 round magazine shoots 13 bullets, this is not how two fang works as it uses bullets when it shoots the second bullet, it does not grant a free shot im afraid

Xerxes on March 21, 2015:

I love zero he was my first character, but in real perspective melee is not enough at op 8 On my gunzerker and siren I reck enemies but with zero to kill things with melee you literally need to hold a grog nozzle and throw kunia to slag them to get enough damage to kill them

guest on October 24, 2014:

Tw0 Fang uses ammo for the second shot, it doesn't grant you a free double shot.

Sarah Forester from Australia on February 05, 2014:

I've always found this class difficult, every time I start I end up always feeling overpowered. Maybe I'll start a new one from scratch and try follow this guide.

Nauth on December 30, 2013:

Should there be an order in which I get the skills? Or shouldi just assume I start with all the their 1 skills then move to the next tier? Should I finish one tree then move on to another?

geoff on November 28, 2013:

Question for everyone using Zero (btw I have the extra levels so I have the extra 11 points to use): How do you guys feel about utilizing the "Be Like Water" per? Instead of "Ambush" using "Backstab" and getting more melee bonus for your buck. Then rather those points going towards "Ambush" I used them towards "Fearless" and being made of glass makes not having a shield a little more bearable. Using "Rising Shot" to increase my damage as I try stabbing my way out of big badass fights, which so far has been working well. I have been having some issues with fighting Juggernauts and now I can just shot them up, gain the +5 stack, then stab them. I haven't considered using the "Law and Order" combo rather than "Resurgence" but that's a really good idea. Because I was wondering how to finish off my character and am using the website to try different combos. I'm really excited to have "Death Blossom" along with "Many must fall", I'm hoping with "Death Mark" and "Rising Shot" the Kunai will make my melee attacks even more ridiculous while in Deception.

luke on November 21, 2013:

loving playing as zero with my friend who plays as gaige i like to snipe and

mele and use other guns which class should i choose

Popito on October 05, 2013:

A slice-and-dice build with a few modifications and the right gear is basically unstoppable by any crowd in the game. Instead of Resurgence, I use the Law and Order combination (bladed pistol and roid shield) which recovers health with every hit and has a +100% melee bonus. The points from Resurgence go to Killing Bl0w, so that almost anything goes down with a single blow, and what doesn't die with a blow or two, will recover your health very quickly (usually full health with each kill). Also, instead of Grim, I went full on Innervate, 1 on Headsh0t and 1 on Fast Hands (which paired with a Legendary Hunter mod, are awesome).

It's a pretty fun build because it forces you to be extremely aggressive, almost suicidal. Sure, you may die here and there, but it makes for a really fast paced and intense game.

Jimmy the hat on September 28, 2013:

@Hyperbion yup after reading your comment your probably an autistic 10 year old. There is no need to bash the other classes.

Z on July 27, 2013:

@Hyperbion

Hmm, so much for constructive criticism. A blatant troll post with a recommended skill attached to the bottom. Try harder next time, no need to bash other classes.

Xereau on April 18, 2013:

Personally if I'm sniping I always get up to two fang 5/5 with a +5 class mod making my gun shoot twice 60% of the Time if using the ammo glitch or using infinity pistol dmg is insane

Victor on April 17, 2013:

@Hyperbion

god, is so relieving to see i'm not alone in here :')

still im looking for builds since i did my own build sniper mostly a and a the rest on bloodshed, i totally forgot the cunning tree since i don't see anything useful there, now i can't kill badassosaurus.

anyway, respect to you, is nice to see that still there are some warriors out there :D

Hyperbion on April 03, 2013:

My friends mock me because I chose Zero, the 'underpowered' class. They say I should have chosen anything but him.

They, on the other hand, chose:

1) a siren who can phaselock once every 30 seconds, and gets another attempt at phaselocking an enemy if the first attempt failed,

2) a commando, who's turret plays the game for them.

There is little honor in playing these classes. Go for it, but don't ever criticize someone for choosing Zero when you play commando. Zero is not underpowered; he is difficult to play, strategic, and yes, perhaps not as overpowered as the other classes. At least he kills his enemies by himself rather than relying on a turret or robot to fight for him.

On a side note, the Killing BlOw + shotgun is ridiculously powerful. Just blast them in the face, then finish them off with a melee attack.

CombustiblSquid on March 27, 2013:

Just one question. Why not put points into Killing BlOw for the slice and dice build?

Jokbok on March 01, 2013:

Thanks for the guide! really helped me a lot!

113114 on February 01, 2013:

If you can't use Rising Shot with a sniper rifle, your bad at this game. I can keep stacks at 5 with no At One With The Gun and only 5 points of Fast Hands. It's not hard. Just don't suck.

Snippy on January 17, 2013:

the slice and dice build is really good

Xyalon on November 04, 2012:

@denroaspis A slight problem I find with this build is that Rising Sh0t and One Sh0t One Kill are somewhat mutually exclusive; I'm working with a +98.4% reload speed (5 in At One, 8 in Fast Hands from Mod, 8.4% from Badass rank) in sniper rifles and can only just manage to keep the stack at 5, but with my shotgun (3 ammo per shot/3 mag size - to benefit from OSOK), the first stack falls off just before my next attack. I assume that this is less of a problem with guns with a faster reload speed, but that makes this build a little more gear dependent, no?

shadowninja on October 30, 2012:

i get 1000k damages ... thanks for guide

longfellow101 on October 18, 2012:

@dendroaspis...thanks for the build...level 22 still alive..thanks again

Dendroaspis on October 15, 2012:

Here's a thought:

Zero Sniper-Shotgun build

5/5 Headshot (I don't see the point of Optics, really. the zoom is way too high for my liking already)

5/5 Precision

5/5 One Shot One Kill (this would work great for shotguns and snipers especially if you use those kind of low ammo shotguns)

5/5 Velocity

1/1 Bore

5/5 At One with the Gun (buff up that sniper rifle)

1/1 Critical Ascension (you don't say)

5/5 Fast Hands

5 points in total for tier 2 of cunning (ambush if you play co-op a lot or you use deception to flank, fearless if you like direct, headon battles)

5/5 rising shot (yeah, more damage for them sweet guns)

3/5 Innervate (you wanna escape those pesky enemies in case they get too tough, health regen and movement speed. useful for flanking too)

This build is basically a non-melee build for you folks who don't like melee. I don't. Snipe for longer ranges, shotgun the closer, Deception becomes a tool for flanking and escaping. Remember to aim for their critical spots, cos that's where the strengths of zer0 comes in

A Roman on September 23, 2012:

Good work, I just returned a copy of borderlands 2, I'm gonna' buy it really soon. I noticed that I was going for the balanced type since it was the best choice I could thought for starting, but I think I will change for the melee type.