Gaige the Mechromancer's main selling point was that she'd be easy to play, hard to master, an ideal class for people not familiar with shooting games. I was intrigued by this idea and wanted to see how she plays going for the "no aiming" skills.

However even as someone familiar with shooting games I've thus far found it very hard to make use of her "shoot bullets and don't bother aiming" playstyle; Anarchy notably seems to be very hard to make use of. I also find this playstyle runs me out of bullets extremely quickly.

How can I build Gaige to be playable without all that "aiming" and "accuracy"? Do I just have to put all my skill points into Deathtrap (who does help) or is there some way I can get that crazy gun damage without that crazy gun aiming?

  • From the Mechromancer release interview I watched, I got the impression that Ordered Chaos (which contains Anarchy) is the "hard to master" part, and the other two skill trees are the "no aiming" part.
    – Tacroy
    Commented Oct 10, 2012 at 15:45
  • @Tacroy that makes some sense; I was thinking more of Anarchy + the skill that ricochettes bullets into targets even if you miss personally. The middle tier really seems to be more of a Siren/Elemental playstyle than anything to do with being able to/not being able to aim
    – Zelda
    Commented Oct 10, 2012 at 15:48

7 Answers 7


Playing Gaige in a "no aiming" style requires a different mindset from the other Vault Hunters. The Ordered Chaos tree works better when using a weapon with a low Magazine Size but high Reload Rate. Generally, that means you're shifting away from automatic weapons such as SMGs and Assault Rifles that often have Magazine Sizes of 20-30+.

One other thing you'll need to force yourself to forget is reloading in between fights. Anarchy stacks based on emptying your magazine or killing an enemy, so the fewer shots you have your current magazine, the sooner you'll accumulate stacks of Anarchy.

Anarchy itself is an odd mechanic. Because it reduces Accuracy per stack, you'll actually want to use a weapon with a decent amount of Accuracy otherwise you'll be doing little damage even at close range (a la Sledge's Shotgun from the first Borderlands). Combined with the need for low Magazine Size and high Reload Rate, your best shot for a go-to weapon is anything from the pistol family. Be a revolver or a repeater, these guns have respectable Accuracy and Fire Rate, without having the relatively high Magazine Sizes you want to avoid.

With this mind, you can stack Anarchy as quickly as possible for use with your other skills. While this isn't so much a "no aiming" style, Gaige's Ordered Chaos tree puts a lower emphasis on aiming than other playstyles. What's making this hard to swallow isn't so much the skill build but the mindset involved. A lot of it run counters to what you learned in other FPSs.

P.S. If you really want tips for skill builds, I would recommend getting the Close Enough skill in the Best Friends Forever tree as soon as you invest a couple of points in the Ordered Chaos tree. With your decreased Accuracy from Anarchy stacks, the ricochet will definitely help. After more points in the Ordered Chaos tree, I would recommend coming back to the Best Friends Forever tree for The Better Half skill. As you want to empty your magazines as quickly as possible, any source of increased Fire Rate helps. In fact, The Better Half skill might actually make high Magazine Size weapons such as Assault Rifles, Machineguns, and SMGs more palatable to use.

  • Fancy mathematics: with 50% chance to ricochet a 50%-damage bullet, all you need is +300% damage - and you can shoot the floor and have a 100% effective auto-aim. This is 172 Anarchy stacks! Theoretically doable at character level 16.
    – Orc JMR
    Commented Oct 10, 2012 at 16:34
  • Actually you would need 400% damage - 50% ricochet chance with 50% damage bullet = 25% expected damage, assuming all bullets that don't ricochet miss. To boost that to 100% you need 400% bonus damage from Anarchy, which is 229 Anarchy stacks. That means you need to be at least level 17 (take 2 ranks in Preshrunk Cyberpunk).
    – Sadly Not
    Commented Oct 10, 2012 at 20:23
  • @toNyldaS I am sorry, but our calculations are flawed. Yes, to balance out two 50% penalties you need to do quadruple damage. But "quadruple damage" is "plus 300 percent". You're not trying to say that with zero Anarchy stacks the character does zero percent damage, do you? :)
    – Orc JMR
    Commented Oct 13, 2012 at 18:32
  • @OrcJMR Oh I didn't notice the +, and yeah that wouldn't make sense. Ok, carry on!
    – Sadly Not
    Commented Oct 14, 2012 at 3:06

I think I just found the perfect setup. There's two parts to this, getting the right gun(s) and getting the right skills.

  1. First of all the gun. Find a gun -- preferably one that you can have a lot of ammo for -- that has a "Dodge this." stat (this is key). With "Dodge this", your bullets will home in on an enemy, effectively giving you 100% accuracy. And with the reduced accuracy which makes Anarchy harder to use, these weapons effectively cancel the only negative. It doesn't matter what its base stats are, all you really want is the accuracy, the Anarchy damage will make up for it.

    A weapon with a reduced magazine size would be nice since it helps build up your Anarchy stacks quickly, you probably won't need that much bullets to kill your enemies anyway.

    Just to give you a taste of what damage I can do, a single bullet from this gun deals 3000 corrosive damage to loaders at around 130 Anarchy stacks (that doesn't count the additional elemental damage over time). With the potential to go up to 400 anarchy stacks, just imagine what the damage would be. And again, that is with a single bullet. I'm excited for when I find a stronger weapon with Dodge this that has a better ammo consumption rate.

    Twin Dahlminator

  2. Secondly, you want to be able to build up your Anarchy stacks as high as you can, as quick as possible without losing it too quickly. To build it up quickly, these skills are essential:

    • Preshrunk Cyberpunk - Because you need to raise your maximum as high as you can.
    • Discord - It's more forgiving if you accidentally reload too early or have to deal with the bug when playing multiplayer where reloading automatic weapons sometimes count as premature reloads. At least with this, you don't just lose all of it at once and you can always cancel it by prematurely reloading again.
    • Typecast Iconoclast - Helps reach your limit faster.
    • Rational Anarchist - Helps reach your limit faster.

The rest is up to you. You just need to stay alive long enough to reach your Anarchy cap. So you can invest in yourself and get healing/shield regenerating skills and equipment, or you can boost the Deathtrap's abilities.

I don't really have to aim, just point in the general direction of an enemy, the bullets will do the rest.

Update: Using this setup, it actually doesn't feel the best unfortunately. The thing about the Dahlminator is that it cannot ricochet and must have a direct path to your target. If it hits a wall, the ground or anything that is not an enemy, that bullet is lost and you probably won't even notice it. With the decreased accuracy at 400 stacks, it's almost impossible to get a hit even if you're facing straight forward because it is probably hitting the ground. You'll have to force yourself to aim for a bit more a accuracy (and even that doesn't always work). Also the bullets are slow so enemies such as Rakks will often be able to dodge them.

Alternate setup: I've found this build much more useful in practice. Find a weapon that fires many bullets per shot, to be more precise, a shotgun that fires at least 10 slugs per shot. The more the better. This weapon along with the Close Enough and The Nth Degree skills (as well as the skills listed in point 2 above), the increased bullet count raises your odds of hitting an enemy much higher.

Suppose we have a 15 bullet shotgun. With a 50% chance of ricocheting, each individual bullet benefits from the ability. Per shot, just shooting the into the ground gives you a 100% chance (1-.5^15) of a hitting an enemy at reduced damage from Close Enough. Chances are, you're going to be pointing in the general direction of an enemy at least so your odds are even greater.

Firing point blank into an enemy hitting connecting on every bullet gives you at least 3 guaranteed hits on another enemy at full damage from The Nth Degree.

For best results, fire into the ground in the direction of your enemies (at their feet). You have a poor chance of hitting them if you shoot directly at them, but with the chance of ricocheting with a guaranteed hit, it's foolish to not take advantage of that.

Also, if you can find a Tediore weapon, you'll be happy to know that Tediore reloads benefit from the anarchy boost without the drawbacks of reduced accuracy. So as long as you are good at aiming those Tediore reloads, you'll be able to get a lot of damage per reload. With this, Discord is an essential skill to have so you don't loose your stacks. And with a gun with a lot of ammo, be prepared to deal a lot of damage. Yes you have to aim, but for a single "shot" at normal accuracy, you can't beat it.

  • 1
    Hmmm, it looks like the "dodge this" stat is unique to Dahlminator guns. I guess this would apply to any weapon that shoots homing bullets, assuming that there can be other weapons that has this ability. Commented Oct 14, 2012 at 2:45
  • 2
    Some of the E-Tech pistols also have homing bullets, I don't think anything else does though.
    – Zelda
    Commented Oct 14, 2012 at 4:16
  • There's no such thing as a 750% chance. Probability only goes to 100%.
    – kotekzot
    Commented Nov 1, 2012 at 10:49
  • @kotekzot: Maybe my math there is wrong but very individual bullet from shotguns have a 50% chance of ricocheting. 15 bullets, each has 50% chance of occurring. Not sure how to apply that, so I figure 50% * 15 = 750%. Commented Nov 1, 2012 at 13:28
  • Oh, does the Nth degree work like that? I figured each blast of a shotgun counted as one "bullet". I've found the close enough skill to be most useful though
    – Zelda
    Commented Nov 1, 2012 at 15:07

I find, by combining Close Enough with Anarchy, and using a decent shotgun=LOADS OF FUN! Add in Shock and AAARGH, Shock Storm and Electrical Burn for additional LAWLS! Basically, you just have to aim in the general direction of enemies and let Close Enough send each pellet of the shot gun blast, bounce into the nearest enemy. If they are lower leveled foes, they will die quickly, quickly building up your Anarchy stacks, allowing the next shots to do even more damage (even with the 50% reduction to damage).

With multiple projectiles getting spewed in the battle field, after about 20 or so Anarchy Stacks, you'll start getting multiple Critical Hits (or totally blowing up bad guys), regardless of how poor your aim is, and cause an increase of of shock damage and combusting of baddies. Also, with the smaller magazine sizes being paired with Shoock and AAARGH!, you have even more reason to add to the chaos and be in the midst of a bunch of bad guys when you naturally reload your weapon!

  • 3
    You might want to consider adding some formatting (paragraph breaks) to make your answer more readable. Commented Dec 12, 2012 at 14:59
  • I also recommend aim in the general direction of enemies, but also to their feet. If you shoot at them and the bullet misses and goes far away it probably will be out of range when it ricochets, but if it hits the ground it will be close enough to the enemy. If you can't shoot at the ground (enemy's behind cover / above you) find any close surface and shoot there. By the way, you don't always have to shoot in their direction. What I find myself doing quite a lot is shooting the ground near me behind cover. That way I'm killing without getting shot at all. Commented Feb 12, 2013 at 8:35

I've found the real trick to getting hits with Close Enough is trajectory. Bullets won't always bounce into enemies unless they are at plausable angles.

Aiming in their general directon works fine when there are plenty of walls around them (or you) but the best results I've found come from keeping as much of the crosshairs on the ground as possible. That way any richocets just happen immidiately and bounce into enemies in font of (and above) you at higher stacks.

The real trick to playing heavily into Anarchy is weapons. Get weapons that work well at top accuracy (like sniper rifles, handguns, shotguns and rocket launchers), medium accuracy is a sweet spot for grenade launchers and sniper rifles still, and then full blown aiming at the ground with smg's and assault rifles (some assault rifles are good the whole time).


Lvl 61 Mechro here. The best set-up I have found: Anarchy, Close Enough used with the Redundant Fibber is beast mode. The Fibber takes a while to figure out, but once you get use to shooting the ground in front of your target, you will see why nothing comes close...especially with high stacks of Anarchy. Used with The Bee produces insane damage. Only limitation is terrain which prohibits ricochets. Having an Unkempt Harold equipped remedies this problem. Recommend judicious use of Harold due to excessive ammo use. Have fun!

  • Can you explain how the unkempt howard interacts with high anarchy to avoid needing to ricochet?
    – l I
    Commented Jul 19, 2013 at 3:16
  • The Fibber can spawn with different barrels. The one that is overkill with Anarchy and/or The Bee is the second type of barrel described here (Borderlands wiki). Commented Jul 21, 2013 at 5:10

The thing with Gaige is that she works best for me when I abandon my normal shooter play style entirely and get more into the RPG mindset of this game. I think it's a common strategy in shooters to take a "divide and conquer" approach to combat, which is based in the philosophy of whittling enemy firepower down to manageable chunks. Killing multiple enemies at once before they can kill me usually requires special munitions that aren't always available, so it's better to take them on one at a time. Gaige is another story. Making best use of her requires me to think less in terms of isolating enemies so I can take them on based on individual strengths and weaknesses, and more in terms of area denial and crowd control. Unlike the other classes, Gaige walks onto the battlefield with greater raw damage capacity than the total of pretty much any mob she faces, so my play style has to be about using that to my advantage.

This is where Deathtrap comes in. At full anarchy, I use Deathtrap as a lure to draw aggro away from me and gather groups of enemies in one place. Once I've done that, I swoop in with whatever can put the most lead on the target in the shortest amount of time (Hyperion shotguns are AWESOME for this, though any automatic weapon with a high firing rate will do the trick). When enemies are gathered, stray bullets are more likely to connect for full damage, and Deathtrap will help take down the stragglers once the majority of the group is down.

This works very well provided one thing: keep a sharp eye on the map! Anarchist Gaige is basically mobile heavy artillery, and geography is the biggest enemy she can face. Gaige becomes practically useless when there are isolated enemies surrounding her in an open area since she can't fight back at any kind of range unless the target is fairly large. For pretty much any open battlefield, the best approach is to herd enemies together by sticking to the edge of the map, using Deathtrap to draw fire away from you, and only approaching individuals whenever you can use the terrain to get in close without running through a hail of bullets or getting surrounded at mid- to long-range. Bide your time until they're all crowded together, then take them out all at once.

To summarize: Stick to the edge of the map, use terrain to your advantage, draw them out of cover and corral them with Deathtrap, and finally unload with whatever puts the most lead on the target. Make it purely a contest of raw firepower and Gaige will win every time.

  • 1
    This is a good stategy, but it's not quite what the question asked for. If you edit your answer to directly address more of what the question asked (particularly the last paragraph), your answer would be that much better.
    – MBraedley
    Commented Oct 20, 2013 at 17:16

Basically everything that was already said. Unless you have The Bee, high bullet shotguns work wonders with Close Enough and Anarchy. You would shoot a spray of bullets and you find some mob BEHIND you keel over.
Either way, you have to aim a little. You can't just shoot into the air or into the water, for example.
I do wish to try Nth Degree. That would force me to take away from Deathtrap. But I feel with Nth Degree, you could shoot even more carelessly and kill mobs without even trying.

  • Shotguns don't fire bullets. X}
    – NiteCyper
    Commented Sep 9, 2014 at 5:05

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