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Since the update I've attempted to play the new mode but am not doing so well. I have an assassin specialized mainly into the Cunning tree and partially into the Bloodshed side. With my current build I can't even get passed the W4R-DEN with leads me to believe co-op is almost a necessary requirement to beat this mode.

Am I right or do I just need better equipment to do this? Maybe other classes would also be better suited to beating this solo as well?

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I'm doing pretty well with my Siren, but then she's got great crowd control, unlike the assassin. –  z - May 2 '13 at 19:26
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I doubt it's impossible, Assassin just happens to be one of the worst classes in Solo play due to zero (heh) crowd control, limited ability to self-heal and no "buddy" (turret, deathtrap) –  Prinny Brocka May 2 '13 at 19:30
    
It's possible, but very hard. The new mode is tuned for co-op play, slag gives a higher damage boost and all enemies are scaled to the level of the highest player in the party, amongst other changes. –  Kevin May 2 '13 at 22:33
    
That sucks, Zer0 is my favorite and only lvl 50 xD –  Katustrawfic May 3 '13 at 16:12
    
Watch Goth's Ninja Antics video - Zer0 has no problems clearing UVHM if you are willing to melee. W4R-DEN is one of the many bosses that Zer0 can easily do within 10seconds. CC is irrelevant with Rubi/Rapier/Law+Order. @Ben - I believe everyone (at least the Zer0 players) has the opposite opinion about Zer0 because he's one of the easiest to solo with (similar to Lilith in BL1). Domenik - please include your build/weapons/mod/etc. –  nevets1219 May 3 '13 at 17:36
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6 Answers

up vote 11 down vote accepted

This is an Assassin equipment guide (with some skill pointers) for Ultimate Vault Hunter Mode. It's not the only right solution, nor do I claim this to be the best possible, but it is something that worked for me, making the UVHM easy to solo.

NOTE: This guide does not include any Legendary or E-tech weapons, mods or relics because getting them is based on very low drop rate and hours of farming on specific bosses. (e.g.: Conference Call requires you to farm The Warrior or Handsome Jack.) This guide also does not include any quest-specific items, since getting them requires you to complete those quests first. Telling you to use some equipment that you won't get until late into the game would be rather pointless - if you're already to the endgame, why would you be needing this?

Quick analysis:

What's Zer0 great at, and where is he not so great?

Zer0 is really good at everything. Depending on your choice of skills and equipment, he can do just about anything fairly well - even tanking. This guide is geared towards a solo game though, so there won't be a lot of coverage on such co-op strategies.

His primary strength is dealing damage, in one of two ways: Either massively painful single blows every 15-20 seconds, or a constant stream of high DPS through damage bonus modifiers. Both styles work out to about the same rate of damage in the end, so which way you play is really up to you.

Weapons:

Forget any non-elemental guns. While you may love Jakobs guns for their ridiculously high raw damage stats, they're really not so useful in UVHM. UVHM puts heavy weight on exploiting your enemy's elemental weaknesses (and, conversely, greatly beefs up the enemies' elemental resistances) and effective use of multiple weapons. Slag damage is also greatly boosted. This is why you should notice that your weapon swap speed is slightly increased in UVHM. If you're playing UVHM, you're sure to find a whole new appreciation for Maliwan!

Always keep at least one each of Slag, Fire, Corrosive, and Shock weaponry on hand.

Make sure your Slag weapon has a high chance to slag. The gun damage is trivial - it can even be a level 1 gun, so long as it has a very high Slag percentage. You're not using the gun to deal the bulk of your damage in the fight. You're using it to enhance the damage your other guns deal. You don't want to throw yourself into the fray with a gun that constantly fails to apply Slag.

Pro Tip: Have 2 Slag weapons - one for close range, one for long range.

For your Shock weapon, you can use a Sniper Rifle. Shock damage has no penalty on flesh or armor, but deals massive damage on Shields. This means that a high-powered Shock Sniper Rifle can take out enemy Shields even without Slag. Still, you may want to carry a rapid-firing Shock SMG just in case. (Even though most heavy troopers don't carry shields - I guess it's an ego thing.)

For Fire weapons, I really recommend an SMG. After you've applied Slag, you can take down even Badass-level enemies with a rapid-firing Fire SMG. Moxxi's Good touch is great for this. You can get the Good Touch during any part of the game as long as you have access to Sanctuary. Just go to Moxxi's bar and tip her enough money (somewhere between $20k-$75k - anecdotal evidence varies). Good Touch always scales to your level, is extremely powerful, and returns 2% of the damage dealt back to you as a health recharge! You can go back to Moxxi any time to tip her again for a new one, which again will be scaled to your current level, so don't worry about "out-growing" this gun.

For corrosive weapons: SMG, SMG, SMG! Alternately, Shotgun. Most of the armored enemies you'll encounter are fast-moving Psychos (though now we call them Lunatics) or Hyperion loaders. Most of these will have hard-to-hit Critical locations, and will either be in your face with Melee or swarming you with Machine Gun fire and Grenades. This is not a good place to be relying on a Sniper Rifle. Instead, Slag the Lunatics and unload that SMG or Shotgun in their face - like everyone is Face McShooty! Loaders are about the same - they can quickly close the gap. Those pesky Surveyors aren't going to just hang around waiting for you to Snipe their armored core. Instead, blast them to bits with a Shotgun while they try their flyby attacks.

Grenades:

Yes! Lots of Grenades! Your best choice here is for Singularity or MIRV with a huge radius. Activate Decepti0n and drop grenades everywhere (this does not break Decepti0n) while you run for cover! This is extremely useful when getting pestered by those Stalkers, especially since you can see them while in Decepti0n even when they're invisible.

Pro Tip (especially for Solo players only): Throw a Slag Singularity, pause the game, switch to an Explosive MIRV and throw it where you dropped the Singularity. Watch the meat fountain! Instant profit!

Shields:

Anshin adaptive Shields. Not only do they give you a nice damage resistance bonus (matching resistance to the last damage type received), they also increase your health. Zer0 is all about health, especially considering that he is the only class with no passive Shield bonuses but all kinds of ways to regenerate huge amounts of health in seconds! If you're lucky enough to find a Purple-grade Anshin Shield (which offers up to 60% damage resistance) you can pretty much just stand idle while a Bruiser shotguns you to the face!

If you're more of a slash-and-dash player, you might prefer to use a shield that adds Roid damage. However, these usually have very short recharge delays which make them fairly difficult to use effectively (since the shield has to stay discharged to give you the bonus). The best use for Melee with Zer0 is to deliver the Killing Bl0ws to quickly dispatch enemies with low health. You don't need Roid shields for that, and you can even get a bonus with Resurgence which recovers health on every Melee kill.

Pro Tip: Carry one "elemental immunity" Shield of each element type on your backpack, regardless the level or type of Shields. You never know when you'll bump into a pack of enemies that are using just one elemental type. You'll really want that Shock immunity when the Super Badass Shock Skag decides to fry your brains with electric barks, while his Shock-charged Pups gnaw on your legs!

Relics:

Health relics - buff that HP! If you're using Anshin Shields as recommended, your Shield capacity is going to be low. Compensate for that by getting your Health as high as you can!

Class Mods:

Use a Survivor Class Mod. They all give extra HP and HP regeneration, and many come with some nice skill bonuses. Regenerating 600 HP/s may seem a bit slow when you have over 300k HP, but you'll be really glad your HP is constantly recharging when you're ducking for cover under heavy Buzzard fire. It's also real nice to know that, when you're traveling about, you won't have to shell out at the nearest Zed's when you get to town - by the time you get there, your health will already be full again!

The 8k HP bonus might not look like much, when you consider your enemies are blowing away 50k at a time. But when you survive that crazy blaster master rocket bombardment with just a few hundred HP left - giving you a chance to pop Decepti0n and run for cover, while regaining health - you'll be really glad you chose a Survivor mod!

Other decent Class Mod choices are Infiltrator and Ninja, if they suit your play style and Skill setups better.

Skills:

A full build layout is too much to cover in this post, but I'll give a few pointers.

B0re, B0re, B0re, B0re, B0re! No matter what your play style, take this one skill! You'll learn to love it, once you get the hang of it's effective use. It may also give you a pleasant suprise in a fight against Bunker. ;)

Execute. Take it, take it, take it, take it, take it! Combined with Killing Bl0w, this one can win you a lot of losing battles.

Innervate. At level 5, this skill lets you recover up to 24% of your max HP (which should be fairly high, if you've followed the above recommendations) whenever you drop into Decepti0n. Who can really say no to a fresh 24% HP refill available every 15 seconds? And if you've followed my recommendations so far, 24% of your max HP should be a lot of HP!

Rising Sh0t. Using those elemental SMGs like I told you to? Then meet your new best friend! At level 5, Rising Sh0t makes your 5th consecutive hit (and every consecutive hit afterwards) have a 50% damage bonus. With a really nice Survivor mod, this can be boosted to 110%! You want that extra damage! Unload your SMG on those baddies! With a 30-bullet mag, 25 bullets could be doing double damage or better! It's like having a co-op partner, or your own special way of Gunzerking! Multiply the damage with Slag and proper elemental selection, and the bad guys just don't stand a chance!

Unf0rseen - forget it!

Level 5 deals about 300k Shock damage, level 10 via Class Mods can deal almost 1M. But this has a very short radius, so usually the enemies you'll use this against are Suicide Psychos (which are going to, well, suicide anyway) or other relatively trivial grunts that just like being up in your face. 300k to 1M damage every 15-20 seconds is a pittance against Bosses and Badasses. With Slag, followed by the right elemental weapon, and Rising Sh0t, you'll be dealing that 300k on every shot instead!

Personal Note: I've played the game through up to level 61 with three different Zer0s. I've soloed Raid Bosses like Terramorphous, Pete, Hyperious, and Master Gee even without Legendary equipment! (Though once I did obtain some "Dahlicious" Orange goodness, they became even less of a hassle to defeat! Those Legendaries make a huge difference in terms of power - but that's another story.)

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Hilarious AND informative! I also really like this answer since it isn't just a "use this specific build and win" kinda thing. I especially like the grenade tip, never thought of something like that. –  Katustrawfic Jun 24 '13 at 21:08
    
Thank you =P Regarding to the grenade tip, when playing solo and you are able to pause the game, you can do "Shield swap" very usefull with the bee shield; once you get your bee drained and you dont feel like waiting forever for it to recharge, pause the game and swap into super fast delay/rate tediore awesomeness, have your shields loaded in less than a second, switch back to bee--have full bee shield and continue like nothing ever happened x) very good tactic when soloing raid bosses. (note that the "charger shield must have greater capacity than the bee shield for this trick to work) –  Salpe86 Jun 24 '13 at 22:05
    
I knew about shield swapping for different resistances but this is even cooler. –  Katustrawfic Jun 24 '13 at 23:50
    
@Salpe - For those interested in more detailed build info, would you mind adding a comment with link to a recommended build on bl2skills.com ? –  Iszi Oct 19 '13 at 0:44
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The most standard way of playing melee Zer0 is to go all the way down the Bloodshed tree for Many Must Fall. Definitely skip Grim because it ruins how you will be playing and Resurgence is useless with the weapons you will be using. See this post for the complete melee formula (in short melee damage is based purely on your level and other modifiers, weapon damage is irrelevant unless it specifically says it does extra melee damage) - you can use this to min/max the skills. Many Must Fall is better than Death Bl0ss0m typically unless you are doing raid bosses so switch if you are farming raid bosses.

Your standard setup includes:

  • Rubi (preferably with Slag and Evisceration)
    • An alternative is to use Law with Order but I believe you will do less damage overall
    • This is how you are going to recover HP - ~12% damage you do with Rubi is gained as HP, you will often go from 1% to 100% HP in one hit
    • Any damage done while holding Rubi, not just damage done with Rubi is recovered as HP
  • Love Thumper (preferably with one of the immunities)
    • This is the better alternative to Order for the damage that it produces which means better HP recovery
    • The reason Love Thumper is better than Order is because you don't need to manage your shield and the higher Roid damage
    • Another alternative is Hide of Terramorphous but again you will need to manage your sheilds
  • Rapier (also preferably with Slag)
    • the 200% modifier is huge and if you look around you can find videos of Zer0 doing max damage in one melee swing
    • Swap and use this as necessary - DO NOT underestimate this weapon, this is a huge boost to your melee damage compared to Rubi
    • This requires Captain Scarlett and Her Pirate's Booty DLC which is pretty good overall
  • Proficiency Relic is the most common relic used
  • Class mod is up to your preference
  • Storm Front
    • Often used because it has consistent damage so paired with Rubi it has good HP recovery and the explosion can break your shield while the Tesla won't damage you
  • I usually keep a Rocket Launcher, Sniper Rifle, or Dahlminator in the remaining slots for FFYL, long distance, or flying enemies

Remember Roid damage is a big contributor to your overall damage so your shield should usually be depleted - this is why Grim is useless and detrimental in this build.

With Rubi in hand you can pretty much just trade blows with most things. If you are using something similar to this build, your damage output in UVHM will be "sufficient" as well as your sustainability.

If anyone tells you Zer0 is not viable, they are either not using something like this or do not know what they are talking about. As far as I know Salvador is the only one that comes closest/surpasses Zer0 in damage output. Gaige's Deathtrap and Axton's turret(s) don't come anywhere close to what melee Zer0 can dish out.

Yes, this does mean pretty much every gun you get is near useless and their damage is irrelevant (remember you still have 2 slots you need to fill). The only values that matter in term of damage is your level, melee modifier, and skills that modifies melee damage. As far as I know, nothing of value was added in UVHM for Zer0 players.

More info organized here.

Some interesting video:

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Yes, this does mean pretty much every gun you get is near useless and their damage is irrelevant. that kinda defeats the purpose of playing BL2 doesn't it :( –  z - May 3 '13 at 18:41
    
Well, somewhat. You still want the better versions of the weapons I listed. Most are quest rewards so farming it is rather dull. There's still two slots left that you need a good weapon so it's not entirely useless to find new guns. Gameplay wise it's still very involved. I'll add some links to video that showcases some of the interesting things you can do. –  nevets1219 May 3 '13 at 21:28
    
@spartacus guns are just one of the ways to increase your numbers in BL2, there are plenty of other ways to increase your numbers so that you have the biggest numbers. –  kotekzot May 4 '13 at 3:52
    
@spartacus I thought that too after reading this :S This is a great guide, just not my play style I guess. I'll still give a try though for fun. –  Katustrawfic May 4 '13 at 22:37
    
I've added another video that features another build. It seems fairly strong for raid bosses but I can't comment on how effective it is for clearing areas. Remember this is just one of the ways to play Zer0 (albeit IMO the best way). If you like shooting, then go that route but remember UVHM is pretty gear dependent. –  nevets1219 May 6 '13 at 17:06
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I am currently doing solo UVHM as Hybrid Zero, and it's been a breeze. Slag -> correct elemental weapon—even badasses and super badasses go down in few hits.

(I don't really buy that "getting killed in 1-2 hits. My Zer0 has 400k health and is perfectly capable of soaking damage.)

Although I do confess that the constant weapon swapping gets really tiring after a while, it's so routine and tedious:
shielded bandit -> slag -> shock -> fire -> reload all weapons -> next enemy-> rinse and repeat ad nauseam...

But I wouldn't say it's hard. Just use those elemental weapons and remember to slag the hell out of everything, and a few well placed shots are all you need to take down the baddies.

For melee builds, use slag singularity grenades before going for Many Must Fall, those executions deal insane amounts of damage on slagged enemies.
Kunai also benefits from any bonus for "melee damage" since it registers as a melee.

B0re can totally devastate groups of enemies. Just drag them together with singularity slag and fire away. If done right, everyone is dead before your magazine is empty.

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What guns would you recommend or did you use with Zer0? (both the 'slagger' and the 'damage-dealing' gun) Also, any recommended items (shields, relics, class mods, etc)? –  galacticninja Jun 24 '13 at 4:00
    
See my other answer "Assassin equipment guide" for reference to your question. –  Salpe86 Jun 24 '13 at 22:18
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If you have Tiny Tina's Dragon Keep DLC, then go find a Magic Missle grenade mod dropped by a wizard. Regardless of what level you find one at, they all do the same thing.

1) they regenerate your grenade ammo 2) they fire 2 homing nades that home in on opponents 3) the homing nades have an almost 100% chance to slag on explosion

Toss a Magic Missle. Let it slag some folks while you switch to the appropriate elemental sniper (fire for flesh, corrosive for armor (yellow health bar), shock for shields, or explosive for all-around decent damage on everything). Let the homing Magic Missles do their trick.

This ensures you always get slagged enemies, and then you pick them off. If you team it with something like the Pimpernal from Scarlett's Pirate Booty DLC you can do some major damage. Problem with UVHM is that levelling scales even more exponentially, so weapons that are 2-3 levels behind get useless very fast. It's better to just move on to a same-level white gun than to stick with a lower-level green, blue, etc.

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I have finished Borderlands 2 in UVHM with Zero. Its not impossible, you need the bee shield and Unkempt Harold. but you need the DLC Mr. Torques campaign of carnage to get the Harold. Slag every thing first and use the Harold to tear them to pieces.

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This answer has very little detail in comparison to what is needed to be truly effective, and the detail it does have requires specific Legendary-level equipment that would be very difficult - if not impossible - to farm for in UVHM without already having an effective character build and equipment mode (at which point this answer becomes irrelevant anyway). –  Iszi Oct 19 '13 at 0:13
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Truth is, Zer0 is pretty damn awesome but what he lacks in rising acti0n he lacks in health regen. If playing in a team with a nurse and/or a hoarder you're good to go. otherwise you need to make sure, regardless of which level you're in, that you've got good gear. By good gear, I mean correct guns, correct relics and of course, a nice damn build buffed by class mods.

I am a natural sniping lover, I ruled with Mordecai in BL1 and I reached 72 with zer0 in this, and I'll level with you, it's not easy. He is hard, maybe even harder than Gaige and all her ordered chaos build.

Last comparison I made was with a same The Bee, a same HawkEye, I was able to get 16M damage with one shot, full shield and on legendary sniper mod.

The weird thing was that with my Maya I can easy rack up to 32M with a single shot on those gears. (Something is obviously wrong with Zer0 and crowd control.) Just hope you're able to stay hidden long enough to get to 20x or more of rising acti0n and after it, everything falls with a single shot...if you're lucky.

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