We’re just a few days away from the release of Borderlands 2, and for those who use that time to get up to date with the original, there is the chance of getting yourself stuck somewhere along the way. No worries, though, we’re here to rescue you from the clutches of whatever colourful character has his hands on you! Note that these are only the mandatory bosses, needed to complete the main story. The references to Action Skills are only for those that have a particular use in the battle – sometimes, Berserk is just suicidal on a boss.
Nine-Toes – You really shouldn’t be stuck already, but generally it’s the best idea to take out Nine-Toes first, and then focus on his pet skags Pinky and Digit. You can do this quickly with the Berserk or Phasewalk action skills, followed by some good aim with your preferred weapon type. Soldiers should find a good place to set up their Scorpio Turret and stay out of close quarters, seeking cover when needed. Hunters will have just a little use for the Bloodwing at this point, but taking the high ground on the ridges around the lair gives you some breathing room for lack of constant support. The skags will roar at you, offering you chances at your precious Criticals. Nine-Toes will not normally chase after you, so grab a Sniper Rifle and go to town. Nine-Toes drops ‘The Clipper’, an incendiary Repeater pistol.
Bone Head – The most common reason to have trouble with this boss is simply the early availability of the quest that pits you against him. Consider going back to other areas and completing more sidequests, or checking to see if you collected all available quests in the first place. Bone Head makes his lair north of Fyrestone, and Hunters can have an easy fight by hopping the rock formation opposite Dr. Zed’s clinic. Grab a Sniper Rifle and pick off the enemies one by one. A more direct approach can be done through the narrow path north of the entrance to Fyrestone. Stick to the right flank and go up the walkway – this provides you with plenty of cover and an ammo crate further up. Soldiers should consider dropping a Scorpio in an open area to deal with the lesser bandits, while Sirens can Phasewalk around the camp without needing too much cover. Bloodwing usage is still of limited usefulness, and the Berserk skill generally should be resorted to only when in danger. Bone Head drops the ‘Bone Shredder’, an SMG that fires 2 bullets per shot and can be very useful to Sirens throughout the game as Bone Head respawns, letting you farm his gun at higher levels.
Roid Rage Psycho – If you don’t bring the right equipment, this could actually be your first real challenge. The Psycho is mostly a melee opponent, which proves hell on Hunters, and to make matters worse, he will have numerous Mutant Midget Psychos in support in the area you challenge him. In addition to that, the Boss has access to grenades, which will usually be of the MIRV or Bouncing Bettie mod-types, so it is absolutely key to keep moving at all times. Thinning the herd of Midgets can be done with the Scorpio Turret or a good run of Berserk, while the Boss himself is very susceptible to Incendiary or Corrosive elemental damage – this keeps his Health on a constant drain as you get to safety when needed. Recommended Grenade mods for this fight are either AoE types like the Bouncing Bettie, or the Proximity mod to counter the constant rushing. Soldiers will want to stick to Sweeper-type shotguns for their high damage output in close range, and obviously Hunters will want to use machine pistols with added melee damage.
Sledge – Much like the last boss, Sledge is very much a close quarters threat. His shotgun is in constant burst-fire mode, and his Hammer melee attack deals a great deal of damage and knocks you back. The difficulty in bringing Sledge down is his shield, which of course recharges constantly, but has a very high capacity. The best way to bring this down is with Shock effect type Grenade mods or Action Skills, and firing on him with Incendiary or Corrosive weapons to keep his health draining constantly. Sledge is joined by his henchmen, and they can be very annoying at times, but some can be left alive to provide opportunities for a Second Wind. A Shock-element on a Scorpio turret is extremely useful in this battle (as aid and a distraction for Sledge), as well as an Incendiary-element Berserk skill. Make sure to re-spec Brick to upgrade the Bash skill, which Dazes Sledge and eliminates his close-range threat a bit. The Siren’s Mind Games skill serves the same effect. Hunters will have a hard time with Sledge, as Criticals are only offered on hitting the visor of his mask, or the back of his head. Get your aim absolutely spot-on, because the Bloodwing is only really useful to deal with the henchmen, or with a Shock-artifact to whittle down Sledge’s shield. Sledge drops ‘Sledge’s Shotgun’, which is a very volatile but inaccurate burst-fire shotgun that comes in handy when rushed in close quarters. The Soldier’s Scattershot can make the weapon slightly more user-friendly.
Mad Mel – The conditions under which you face Mad Mel are different than what you’ve encountered up to this point; the boss and all of his henchmen will be driving vehicles, and you are encouraged to do the same. This means your weapons and skills will not be in use at least during the opening phase of the battle. To make your vehicle last as long as possible, you should lock on to each target with the machine gun type Runner, and circle around the arena. As you do this, keep the secondary fire of the Runner active to force the AI into the middle of the area. This makes them easier targets, and increases your overview of the situation. Mad Mel’s custom truck will appear after you destroy one or two vehicles, and will fire rockets at your Runner. In the event your vehicle is in danger, bail out to avoid instant death and whip out a Corrosive weapon type, preferably an accurate one with high rate of fire to increase your chances of the acid’s effect kicking in. Should you perish, you can resume the fight from the entrance ramp beyond the Catch-a-Ride – Soldiers can also drop a Corrosive Scorpio into the arena from that ramp, and Hunters can do the same with a Bloodwing.
Krom – No matter how you choose to fight this battle, just know you will need to reach the end of the canyon in order to collect the Vault Key Piece that’s up for grabs. Krom sits atop a Turret overlooking the canyon and will start to fire bullets and rockets at any chance he gets. Hunters with a highly accurate Sniper Rifle, a ‘Nailer’ type for instance, can find it easier to take pot shots from the entrance to score Criticals and eliminate Krom before venturing across the walkways. The other classes or less accurate Hunters will want to bring along close quarters weapons and sweep the camps along the ridges one at a time, making use of the elemental barrels along the way, and keeping cover from Krom’s Turret. Soldiers can drop Scorpios to distract Krom’s fire, Sirens can Phasewalk across walkways to completely avoid taking damage, and Berserkers will need to deal an ungodly amount of damage with their rocket launchers because they will get hit pretty badly. Always clear out those barrels I mentioned to kill the bandits, because Krom can ignite them to hit you even in cover. Krom is in plenty of cover, so think about sweeping through his bunker with a weapon with a high rate of fire and a large magazine to unload for as many Criticals as you can before going back into hiding to reload. Krom’s health will recharge, so do not dally.
Jaynis Kobb / Taylor Kobb – Jaynis is only officially a boss, but behaves no differently from a regular bandit. Get rid of him with Incendiary weapons and take ‘The Meat Grinder’, a Support Machine Gun with a massive magazine but terrible accuracy, that causes elemental damage. The Soldier’s Assault and Overload make this a death machine for crowds and it could be a mainstay for Rifleman class mod users.
Taylor is more of a threat than his brother in that he has two Bruisers and two turrets for support, but they are confined to a small area. The entrance is such that Soldiers can lock their foes in with a well-placed Scorpio Turret, and the Bloodwing actually becomes useful at this point if upgraded a bit, keeping things busy as the Hunter’s shield regenerates. You can use buildings to block Turret fire, and take them out from relative safety. Toss in Proximity Mine grenades to intercept the roaming Bruisers, as Taylor doesn’t move a lot. You could potentially use a Sniper or Combat Rifle to take him out from a larger distance. Taylor drops ‘The Roaster’, a unique Rocket Launcher with a x4 Incendiary charge, which is its only benefit. The Berserker may have a use for it, but it’s generally not as good as other weapons at that level.
Rakk Hive – Your first order of business battling this monstrosity to is remain on the ledge overlooking the field at all times. This completely negates the stomping attacks by the Hive and gives you a good overview of the swooping packs of Rakk. Action Skills aren’t quite useful here, but the Scorpio could potentially deal with incoming Rakk as you focus on the Hive. The Hive has 4 eyes that serve as Critical points, but they will burst when severely damaged. Scoped weapons will give you a better chance of scoring Criticals, but make sure to have a weapon with a good spread to take out the waves of Rakk. To make this battle exceptionally easy, all you need is a Hunter with a ‘Masher’-type Revolver and some points in Gunslinger, specifically Gun Crazy and Deadly.
Baron Flynt – The boss should not be targeted when possible. Instead, move forward off the elevator to face the first wave of regular enemies. When they are taken care of, Flynt’s bodyguards Hanz and Franz move onto Thor. Hanz acts much like the Roid Rage Psycho, and tactics for him are similar. Franz uses a Machine Gun, and his movement is much more static than Hanz’ so it’s possible to select a weapon with a high rate of fire and unload Criticals on him to make him flinch continually. Then it’s finally time to deal with Flynt and his cronies. It’s not recommended to meet him on the building, instead taking shots as he descends, and taking out any henchmen with a Scorpio or the Bloodwing. You can lob Proximity grenades onto the ramps to intercept enemies, or use mods with a nice spread in the confined areas above. His weapon’s fire is highly volatile at close range, so keep the engagement at a distance at all times. You can use the communications dishes on the shed to the side to your advantage by hopping onto it to use them for cover. You can duck away when Flynt unloads his clip, then move in for a string of Criticals. He drops the ‘Boom Stick’ shotgun, reminiscent of ‘Sledge’s Shotgun’, instead firing rockets. The Soldier’s Scattershot may make it more useful than it is, but there are better ‘Carnage’-type shotguns out there, namely the ‘Hydra’.
Master McCloud – You face the Lance officer at the end of the Backdoor, and he is the first enemy to wield an Eridian Weapon; a Cannon. He can also deploy a Scorpio, and is joined by two Lance Royal Guards. As all Crimson Lance units are, he is very susceptible to Corrosive damage, so think about dropping two or three Corrosive MIRV or Corrosive Rain grenades behind the boxes where they spawn as soon as the door opens. Similarly, use a Corrosive Scorpio or Bloodwing to keep the Guards at bay, while staying at a distance from the static McCloud, as the Cannon’s shots move very slowly. Upon death, McCloud drops the Eridian Cannon, which is quite useless compared to some of the other Eridian armaments available in the game.
The Destroyer – The final boss in Borderlands, and there are all manner of neat ways to blow a hole in it. Right off the bat, unload your grenades at its mouth – Bouncing Betties have your preference. Then, drop a Scorpio and search for cover to take aim at the purple tentacles at the Destroyer’s back – these lob spikes all over the place, and can hit you behind cover. Bad things, get rid of them. The purple orbs in their center score you Critical hits, so make use of that as well. The boss will attack with its tongue, and shots connecting to that ugly thing will also count as Criticals. When damaged enough, the boss will move in even closer and start shooting beams at your from its eye. Even though it will seem to pierce your cover, you’re very safe behind rock formations. You can see this attack coming by the aura that surrounds the eye beforehand. It will grow 4 more tentacles for you to take shots at and destroy, and once you’re done whittling down body parts, it’s time to take aim for the eye itself. Grab yourself a weapon with a high damage output – Soldiers, still have ‘The Meat Grinder’ at this point? – and start blasting away until it’s time to take cover from that eye beam again. Sniper Rifles work very nicely on that eye with their extra Critical damage, but the close range may impede the use of a powerful scope – ‘Whitting’s Elephant Gun’ is lovely here. Sirens will want to use an ‘Anarchy’-type SMG for maximum effect throughout the fight, but may find it hard to take out the entire boss without resupplies. After the battle, the game ends, and you’re free to enter Playthrough 2 – there is no massive reward other than satisfaction.
Written by Chris Bakker.