Tips for assassin

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#1 Posted by Vitor (3087 posts) -

So, I just started playing and I'm about lvl 9 and I'm encountering a lot of total BS insta-deaths and generally am not enjoying the class.

Played the first game as Roland and enjoyed it but wanted to try something new. I just don't find the decoy ability useful at all. I might have specced badly (mainly increased reload speed/weapon switching and melee damage) but then again I'm only 9 lvls in.

Anyone actually enjoying this class and playing it 'right'? I'd be interested in hearing your approach.

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#2 Posted by Morbid_Coffee (974 posts) -

If you're playing co-op, get the skill that allows you to do more damage to enemies who aren't paying attention to you or when you hit them from behind and the mark of death skill. Both are super useful and the decoy allows you to sneak by without having to run through a barrage of bullets to get the bonus damage.

If you're playing solo, the only good thing decoy is for is to get the fuck out of bad situations safely.

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#3 Posted by Raethen (187 posts) -

When I play Zero, I tend to keep my distance with sniper and assault rifles. I use his ability mainly for when a psycho or some other enemy gets too close. This gives you an out to get some distance, or get behind them and melee them. I use it for running through areas quickly as well, it helps keeps enemies off you when you don't want to waist the ammo.

I've found that Maya's phaselock ability works great for the same style of sniping, take out as many as you can at a distance, and if one gets too close, lock him up. It also works great for freezing a particularly hard enemy up for a quick kill with headshots.

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#4 Posted by jacksmedulla (310 posts) -

@Vitor: I'm spec'd mostly in the blood shed perk tree, and I rarely die as the assassin. My strategy usually involves doing some initial damage from a distance with a sniper rifle, then closing the gap and fucking shit up with my smg/shotgun/katana combo. The whole point of the decoy ability is to distract the target, which allows you to get in close and melee it in it's crit area.

How are you currently playing?

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#5 Posted by hbkdx12 (800 posts) -

To be honest, zero is at the bottom of my list of characters to play. 
Just going off the action skill and not necessarily the skills that flesh it out, it's very similar to Lilith and her phasewalk which i really hated in the first game. I found it pretty useless other than to just run away

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#6 Posted by Vitor (3087 posts) -

@jacksmedulla: Playing solo and trying to snipe then run in with shotguns.

I guess my issue is the fact that you can only target one enemy when you're cloaked before you have to wait for the cooldown to reset. Useful against the larger guys but pretty pointless in most encounters unless you need to run and heal.

He just feels to me like he wasn't built around solo play.

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#7 Posted by Marz (6016 posts) -

i'm mostly sniping and it's ridiculously strong....

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#8 Posted by butano (1997 posts) -

I've been going down the bloodshed spec tree, and yea, he's a bit of a squishy, but I've been doing mostly sniping and pistols. Luckily I found a grenade mod that leaches health and also skags enemies to get the bonus damage. Also found a class mod that does health regen, so that's been pretty good. For badass points, I've been upping weapon damage, and then if there aren't any other damage options, then increasing shield or health.

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#9 Posted by ShaggE (8393 posts) -

He starts weak for sure, but (and I say this as a level 26) he gets very, very capable if you keep going down the Bloodshed path. I haven't touched the other classes yet, so maybe he really is the toughest class to play, but his decoy skill is extremely powerful once you've built it up.

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#10 Edited by TheDudeOfGaming (6117 posts) -

@Marz said:

i'm mostly sniping and it's ridiculously strong....

This. Just invest in everything that increases your critical damage (sniping skill tree) and you'll do amazingly well. I've got a sniper rifle, unique, forgot the name, does like 2.5K damage and with a crit it's 20K+ Just remember, whatever you do keep a long distance away from your enemies. I chose to neglect this rule and died like 4 times. Sometimes you won't be able to headshot everything from a distance though, then I use Deception with a shotgun behind the back. It's simply the most powerful class.

But not much in the way of survival, you may want to try Axton.

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#11 Posted by Liquidus (993 posts) -

I haven't been using Zero as a sniper at all, I've been pretty much full on melee and have been destroying everything. He's kind of a hit and run type class.

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#12 Edited by GunstarRed (6044 posts) -

I've specced in the melee direction and I have found that the sniper rifle is just like in the first game, insanely powerful. One of my favourite things about the first game was how you could pretty much use it in close quarters like a shotgun, and that seems completely unchanged. I rarely use the skill, but as soon as I get into the higher parts of the tree I think that stuff will be really, really useful.

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#13 Posted by Jimbo (10472 posts) -

SPing as Zero. Basically playing like a Mass Effect Infiltrator (Cloak, Snipe, Cloak, Snipe...) It's ok I guess. None of the class choices really seemed that interesting. Not enjoying the game half as much as I did Borderlands.

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#14 Posted by SirOptimusPrime (2043 posts) -

Melee spec + sniper rifle + Jakobs revolvers = fucking e'rybody up. Go in with the rifle first, then pick off psychos with the revolver, and only go into deception for boss types/badass psychos and gigantic melee damage. Spec'ing almost entirely in the far right tree, minus a few stupid skills, and throwing some points into the gun tree on the left for crit and shields.

Reminds me of how I played Lilith; melee focus and 3-shot burst rifles. Seriously, fully spec'd out in melee you could get 1-hit KO's on just about every enemy in phasewalk and then recharge your phasewalk almost immediately because of a 'kill skill'. Oh, and then you fully recharge shields. Shit was dope. I picked the assassin solely because he seemed most like that. But, there's enough variety in the skill trees, and viability to some extent, that you should just pick skills and adapt to them, rather than hoping that your skills will adapt to your playstyle.

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#15 Posted by Oni (2283 posts) -

At early levels I recommend sticking with the sniper skill tree for Zero and mostly keeping your distance. Snipers are insanely powerful with crits and the first skills in the sniper tree are really good, the left ones anyway. I used my action skill to get away and/or to score massive crits that can take off half the health or more of a Badass enemy.

Currently at level 29 and I've stopped investing in sniper now, got Bore and 5 points in One Shot, One Kill (bonus damage for first shot from a full clip) and putting the rest in Bloodshed. You'll still do really crazy damage with snipers whilst getting buffs to melee damage and survivability from the first two tiers of Bloodshed, eventually going all the way down that path so I'll be able to tear it up close range and at distance, that's the idea anyway.

Also I haven't tried it yet, but the middle skill tree seems really mediocre. Maybe it's good at high end, I don't know. I'll give it a whirl once I've got enough skill points to unlock the last talent because the kunai thing seems fun, but other than that it seems like a pretty underpowered skill tree.

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#16 Posted by bushpusherr (1075 posts) -

I've been playing strictly as a sniper with focus on crit damage and have just been absolutely mopping up. The action skill is useful for getting around enemies with shields, and escaping high risk situations, and further buffing crit damage.

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#17 Posted by BoFooQ (986 posts) -

it's important to remember that you can still die while clocked, so it's important not to sand behind or near your decoy. It only takes a few points to increase your melee damage 300%. I usually try and shot from a distance than move in to finish people off. It also good to remember that you can run away with your decoy too. If you have darted in to kill someone than get surround use skill to run away. So after I buffed up melee I went to cooldown timer, so you can stealth skill more and more

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#18 Posted by MariachiMacabre (7097 posts) -

He starts weak for sure, but (and I say this as a level 26) he gets very, very capable if you keep going down the Bloodshed path. I haven't touched the other classes yet, so maybe he really is the toughest class to play, but his decoy skill is extremely powerful once you've built it up.

Is Bloodshed fun? I'm going down sniper and I feel like a glass cannon without the cannon part at level 18. As soon as the gap is closed I'm fucked.
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#19 Posted by qawsed (171 posts) -

I'm a level 14 sniper and having a lot of success with a crazy shield I bought in Sanctuary. it's only 100 capacity but it has a 125 recharge rate and a 1.3! second delay. I can get meleed by a badass and have my shield regen'd before they take their second strike. Combined with a health regen class mod, I feel pretty unstoppable. I'm going down far less often than higher level coop people I'm with.

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#20 Posted by xolare (1355 posts) -

Shoot Stuff.

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#21 Edited by ProfessorK (869 posts) -

I speced mainly for melee and the bloodshed tree in general. I pumped up crit damage also and play to the strengths of the decoy, by using it to escape and to do big damage to badasses and bosses. Once you get execute you'll see a big jump in damage, especially if you put points into backstab and ambush. I use snipers to pick off anything I can and when in mid range i go pistol/shotgun. Up close I use shotguns and any gun that gives bonus to melee.

For co-op I recommend sniping first and then prioritizing the heavy hitting enemies to use execute on and then back off again. Healing grenades and bullet absorbing shields are a godsend for this class. Also pumping up the cooldown via class mods and relics works great to keep you able to get in and out safely too.

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#22 Posted by ProfessorK (869 posts) -

@Vitor: don't forget that you can throw grenades while cloaked, its a great way to still do damage while moving away from a bad situation.

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#23 Posted by huntad (2346 posts) -

Apparently by sniping. I don't think he's the best class for solo play. You can certainly make it work, but having a sniper and a back-up weapon is probably your best bet.

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#24 Posted by coakroach (2497 posts) -

I'm level 16(17?) and specced mainly for sniping.

Really enjoying it so far, mostly using decoy to distract melee enemies so I can take them out with a few grenades (short fuse, corrosive), and then straight headshoting everything else from a healthy distance.

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#25 Posted by NegativeCero (3140 posts) -

Yeah, I feel the same way right now. I'm going to stick with the melee tree because I know it will pay off later on, though. If all else fails, I'll respec to the Sniper tree until I get enough points to respec the other way.

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#26 Posted by stooven (41 posts) -

I have been sniping and i keep the best shotgun i can find for close range. cloaking to reload, retreats, and close distance ( for melee or shotgun blasts). my zero is mostly specced for sniping and damage dealing but i have taken some melee ones too. i also found homing grenades that steal heath... they help.

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#27 Edited by Mcfart (2019 posts) -

I don't profess to be good at Borderlands (didn't like the first game, got bored after getting Roland to level 12), but I'm level 12 with Assassin, and doing pretty well. I died like 4 times on the robot boss because of all the adds, but here's my general strat:

1. Play on PC

2. Snipe.

3. Use a shield that has more shields for a health penalty (shields regenerate, but Assassin's Health does not)

4. Deception's on a low cooldown! Abuse iiit!

5. If you're going to melee in deception, then equip a weapon that does +50% melee damage. If you wait till ~.5 seconds, you'll 1 shot most guys.

6. Or just use deception to run while your massive shields charge.

7. I'm in the blood thrist tree, which has a skill that restores % of shields for enemies killed, therefore synergizing with high shields.

I'm gonna bookmark this thread since I'm sure Assassin's squishiness will become a problem at some points. Plus, I'm soloing. Friends don't like Borderlands :(

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#28 Posted by ShaggE (8393 posts) -

@MariachiMacabre said:


He starts weak for sure, but (and I say this as a level 26) he gets very, very capable if you keep going down the Bloodshed path. I haven't touched the other classes yet, so maybe he really is the toughest class to play, but his decoy skill is extremely powerful once you've built it up.

Is Bloodshed fun? I'm going down sniper and I feel like a glass cannon without the cannon part at level 18. As soon as the gap is closed I'm fucked.

If you like melee, it's a ton of fun. There's a kill skill on that path that allows you to zoom right up to an enemy and just take a massive chunk off of their health.

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#29 Posted by Zella (1252 posts) -

I specced pretty similar to you and level 16 or 17, best tip I could give is not to be afraid to use Decepti0n. Besides that make sure to have a good revolver on hand for last man standing(or whatever it's called) so you can take out close to mid range enemies easily. Also just keep mobile, don't just take cover and snipe. I've found it not too bad playing solo so far only one or two enemies have given me trouble with the low health.

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#30 Posted by mrcraggle (2868 posts) -

I haven't quite found the sweet spot with Zero that I did with Mordecai where Bloodwing was super OP to the point where guns were useless and it'd recharge in 1 second. I'm only level 12 so I'll give any advice I can. So far I've just been putting my points into the sniper class and to those on the right side. I personally favour accuracy and low recoil but use Zero's decoy ability to your advantage. Bandits will gang up on your decoy so throw in a grenade or 2 and you'll take out half a dozen or so. To me, I can play a much faster game with Zero than I could in B1 even up close with the sniper and melee.

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#31 Posted by Peanut (964 posts) -

I think at lower levels, and especially playing solo, the best bet is to go down the sniper tree. In co-op do whatever, because you've got backup. Although, once I got enough points to fill out an entire tree I choose to respec in the Bloodshed tree and I BLOW through enemies up close now. I play super reckless now and it's so insanely fun.

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#32 Posted by TheDoorman (571 posts) -

I would use zero as a sniper to be honest, there is a skill tree that my friend went down and his assasin kicks ass. But then again so does my commando, i can spawn two turrets that have shields :)

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#33 Posted by Vitor (3087 posts) -

@ProfessorK said:

@Vitor: don't forget that you can throw grenades while cloaked, its a great way to still do damage while moving away from a bad situation.

Did not know that, thanks!

I respecced and things are going a little easier. I had all points in fast reload/weapon switching before and went down increasing melee damage instead. Find it a little annoying that I have to max out a skill before I can move onto the next but w/e. Having an easier time now I found some decent shotguns and snipers (mainly due to accidentally using my gold key... no prompt asking if I was sure? Just a generic looking weapon box? Frustrating mistake but its paid off for now).

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#34 Posted by Kyreo (4682 posts) -

I was really into Sniping as Mordecai in BLs1 but I am strictly going with melee. I am maximizing the melee damage and all the tricks that boost that and I can just rip through just about any enemy in a single swing with the proper situation. The only thing is that I don't have someone to take the agro and I find I use the ability as a sort of fleeing then relocating. I have a nice sniper rifle for splitting melons also but moslty I just run around with a shotgun or assault rifle to close the distance and I slice and dice.

My advice, tl;dr version, choose either sniping or stabbing. Min=maxxing is the name of the game.

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#35 Edited by HerbieBug (4228 posts) -

@MariachiMacabre said:


He starts weak for sure, but (and I say this as a level 26) he gets very, very capable if you keep going down the Bloodshed path. I haven't touched the other classes yet, so maybe he really is the toughest class to play, but his decoy skill is extremely powerful once you've built it up.

Is Bloodshed fun? I'm going down sniper and I feel like a glass cannon without the cannon part at level 18. As soon as the gap is closed I'm fucked.

The melee tree is fun but it takes some time to get to the good stuff about it. Early on it's a whole lot of nothing interesting. The shitty thing about that tree is the 10 points worth of crap you need to invest in just to get the cool multi-kill multi-decoy ability. Health regen on kill is not useful (resurgence) and +15% damage on level 5 "Like The Wind" is bullshit. So. My plan is melee tree up to execute + backstab 5, then go center tree for ambush or sniper tree for crit boosts.

You should invest in a shotgun. Preferably one that shoots most of its clip in a single shot to insure as close to 1-shot kill as possible. And some type of spike shield. That should help you at close range.

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#36 Edited by laserbolts (5506 posts) -

At level 9 you have only spent 4 points on skills so it's sort of hard to spec badly yet. I just finished my playthrough as Zero and I found I only ran into trouble at like level 20 or so. I spec into the bloodshed tree and by the end of the game im able to kill five or six enemies in one cloak. It gets alot better once you get deeper into the tree. Just get a sniper rifle and headshot everything. Honestly you should be able to one shot most enemies pretty much the whole game if you can crit them which is insanely easy in this game.

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#37 Posted by bio595 (319 posts) -

@Xolare said:

Shoot Stuff.

This dude know whats up :D

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#38 Posted by morrelloman (639 posts) -

Level 26 & All my points into the bloodshed tree. I am loving Zer0. I Melee everything. Max out Killing blow & when used with the decoy to pull of a backstab does 40k+ damage.

Plus any melee kill gives back 20% of health, once I find a really good shield I'll be invincible. Anywayz I know first person melee doesn't sound like the most exciting thing, but there is that awesome 0 that flashes on the screen when you hit a killing blow. I think the sniper tree looks good, but the game makes you wait so long before finding a sniper rifle that is a true one shot kill.

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#39 Posted by liquidmatt (244 posts) -

I'm loving Zer0 with a combo of sniper, pistol and shotgun. The Bloodshed tree rocks once you start dash-meleeing, and the decoy skill can be used to either run up and shotgun things, give you time to hit crit spots or get out of a tight corner.

That and the fact that he talks in haiku.

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#40 Posted by Bobby_The_Great (1136 posts) -

I specced my assassin to do tons and tons of melee damage, therefore when I use decoy, I can really mess stuff up. I play a decoy and melee/snipe game. I love it. 

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#41 Posted by Mirado (2464 posts) -

Pure sniping. I'm level 27 and have put every point into the sniping tree, have a mod that adds like 25% to both sniper rifle damage and crit damage, along with a relic that pumps up sniper damage. The result? I one shot any normal enemy, and can usually take out most larger enemies in 3-4 hits. With a fast enough sniper rifle I can knock out the biggest enemies and bosses before they really even have a chance to go into an attack pattern.

And because most of the tree focuses on crits in general, you can use any semi-accurate weapon type and be really effective. A good SMG can lay waste when you combine the high rate of fire with the increased crit damage, as long as you can keep things lined up.

Deception becomes amazing later on; you start to encounter a lot of enemies that aren't nearly as easy to kill head on, so going into stealth and pumping a round or two into their backs usually finishes them off. Since it also pumps up gun/crit damage the longer you stay cloaked, it just compounds with the rest of the tree.

The build is a bit squishy, but that's because I'm going pure glass cannon and even then I've only run into trouble on a few occasions. Don't be afraid to cloak and put some distance between you and them; it's what my build wants the most.

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#42 Posted by mbr2 (615 posts) -

I've played all of the classes and Zero has been the easiest by far for me since getting headshots is so easy in this game. I only use Deception in edge cases (badasses, bosses, etc..)

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#43 Posted by sickVisionz (1307 posts) -

I haven't played a FPS since Perfect Dark N64 so I suck at them, but I'm doing well with my Zero. At first I used a sniper rifle that set people on fire, then I found one that's like 180% critical damage so that's my main one (still have the other one for when I need to shoot and then run away due to multiple enemies closing in), and then machine guns that do fire and corrosive damage.

I pick off most people from a distance. Once it's mid range, I switch to machine guns and light them up with those. I use a ton of cover if it's that type of battle/environment, and I action skill alot, mostly for melee kills but sometimes to chuck a grenade at a crowd, or get far enough a way to where I feel comfortable machine gunning and can run to a cover spot if thing become too much to handle. This won't always be useful, but I always pop the top off of Goliaths. It's kinda like Domination in Mass Effect 2 because they'll start killing all their homeboys while I get run away and switch to my sniper rifles to get criticals on everyone else.

The only place I really have trouble at is enemies who can one shot my shields and most of my health in a single hit. At first it was bullymogs but they weren't an issue after a while and then it became that Pyro Thresher. Threshers can be a pain in the ass still, mainly because any monster that travels through the ground is creepy to me and there is one that makes a wormhole that really exposes Zero's glass cannonness in a way that no other enemy does.

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#44 Posted by ProjectApp1e (2 posts) -

Alright to me the blood shed skill tree is useless when it comes to most boss fights especially terramorphis and the warrior sniping is my favourite skill tree because it is pretty much meant to kill from long range and what ever the middle one is that is perfect for medium range so blood shed sucks and the other two are my personal favourite. THIS IS MY OPINION SO DON'T CRITICISE ME my Xbox live gt is ProjectApp1e

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