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Borderlands 2 DLC: Krieg The Psycho hands-on - a guide to the new skill trees

Bloodlust, Mania, or Hellborn? Decisions, decisions

The Borderlands bandits have always been a bit more charming than they should have been, between screaming guttural profanities and gently bellowing Shakespeare passages to themselves. Well, now you can enjoy the inner monologue of the Psycho Bandit, as the noggin-deranged Krieg joins the vault hunters in Borderlands 2's next DLC pack. How does he play? Well, that depends on which of the three trees you taken him down. Let's look at those fruity chaps.

Krieg's special power is the Buzz Axe Rampage. Activate this, and you speed up, deliver some smart boosted melee damage, and recover health for your kills. Take damage during this rampage, and your cooldown with speed up. Basically, they're stupid to try and hurt you. They're only hurting themselves in the long run.

Once you've earned your basic power, it's time to start deciding your speciality. Here's the three branches, and how they play.

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Bloodlust

Gaige's Anarchy stacks added a new system to Borderlands 2, and Kreig's bloodlust is a similar thing: deliver damage, by any method, and you gain a stack of bloodlust. You can have up to a hundred stacks, and providing you keep on keepin' killing, you'll reap the bonusses. These Range from simple boosts in Tier 1 - a fully powered up Blood Twitch speeds your reload by 150% with a full stack, and Blood-filled Guns will boost your magazine size by 250% in similar conditions.

But central to this tree's vicious cycle of violence is these three skills: Blood Overdrive (Tier 2), Fuel The Blood (Tier 3), and Blood Bath (Tier 3). Overdrive rewards bullet damage with a melee damage boost. Fuel The Blood rewards melee kills with grenade damage. Meanwhile, Blood Bath seals the deal by boosting bullet damage when you let off a grenade.

The idea is that Kreig is a one-man cartoon fight cloud, spitting out bullets, fists, and grenades. Zero's had a simpler version, called Be Like Water. Krieg is so brilliantly dumb, you have to do all the thinking.

Other skills down this path are simpler: a boost to Fight For Your Life damage, damage reduction (Krieg's something of a tank, whether through damage resistance, or kill-triggered health recovery). At the top of the tree is Bloodsplosion - any enemy you kill explodes with the element of the weapon you killed it with.

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Mania

If you're building down this tree, select a health boosting Anshin shield, not a high-capacity Pangolin. It's all about being half-way to death, and being where the enemies are. Invest in the Feed The Meat skill, and you'll boost your max health, while slowing your shield recharge delay. That's bad for other classes, but the Mania build has a range of bonusses for swanning around with a broken shield. "Empty The Rage" gives you a 4% melee boost when you're shield-naked, and "Embrace The Pain" increases your firing rate.

When you've got no shield, you take damage, and that's what Maniacs love most. "Fuel The Rampage" goes as far as to turn on friendly fire for Krieg, and rewards the physical damage he takes from friends and foes alike by reducing the cooldown on his Buzz Saw Rampage.

How does a Maniacal Krieg stay alive? He'll be in a perpetual state of healing Buzz Saw Rampage, and if you Invest in Thrill of the Kill, any overkill damage you deal is returned to you immediately, as health.

Or you could invest in the first major tweak to the basic cycle of Fight For Your Life.

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