The lights are on
From the moment Borderlands 2 was announced, I knew I was going to start the game with Maya. I was a big fan of Lilith in the first game (though Mordecai was my go-to-guy), and I could not wait to get my hands on Maya’s Phaselock ability. What intrigued me most about her action skill was how versatile it could be. While Cataclysm seemed like the obvious choice, given its propensity for filling the battlefield with orange numbers, there was another skill tree that caught my eye – Harmony. I knew from the moment I saw the Harmony skill tree, that I was going to make Maya into one hell of support character. With the build I’ve outlined below, I turned Maya into a healing-focused support character specializing in keeping everyone’s health running high, with an instantaneous resurrect for when things get sticky. Interested? Keep reading.
Like all classes in Borderlands 2, Maya has three skill trees for players to choose from, but we’re going to focus entirely on the first two – Motion and Harmony – for this build, with the majority of our skill points funneled into second of these two trees. You’ll want to start by putting as many points into the Harmony tree as you can before branching out into the Motion skill tree – trust me, those skills will be useful later, but you’re better off passing them up for now.
While all of the skills in this tree are useful in their own right, there are a couple here that you can ignore completely if you just want to focus on being a really excellent healer. Once you’ve successfully unlocked Maya’s rockin’-awesome action skill Phaselock, you’ll want to put your next five points into Sweet Release. At five points, this skill causes five Life Orbs to spawn and seek out team members with the lowest health, with each orb healing up to 15% of a player total health – the lower the health, the higher the healing. You can bypass Mind’s Eye for now. While the increased critical and melee damage is nice, it’s not imperative to this build.
Next up is Wreck, in the second tier – this will increase your rate of fire and damage with all gun types while enemies are Phaselocked. This makes it much easier to dispatch enemies you’ve locked, and it synergizes very well with the other tier 2 skill, Restoration. This skill will increase your max health by a whopping 15%, and allow you to shoot allies to heal them. It converts 30% of your damage into healing, and it even works on allied NPCs.
In the third tier, max out Elated, which gives 5% health regeneration to the entire time while an enemy is Phaselocked. So the longer the enemy is in the air, the more health you get (but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t blow that sucker away quick-like). Follow this up with Res, which turns your Phaselock into an instantaneous resurrect when used on allies in Fight For Your Life. You can afford too skipt he last skill in this tier, Recompense, because it does not really contribute to the build in terms of increasing survivability for you or your allies.
Next, go for Sustenance – this will allow you to constantly regenerate health. The lower your health, the faster the regen. I cannot tell you how useful this is. Many times I have found myself with shields depleted and health dangerously low, and simply by backing off from the fight or taking cover while my teammates keep fighting, I was able to turn things around. Plus, the health regen is constant, so you are literally always healing yourself.
Finally, finish off this tree with Life Tap, which allows you to steal health from enemies for a short period of time after you get a kill. This is especially good in really intense battles, because every kill you get resets this skill, which means lots and lots of regen. Also, fun fact: damage over time status effects like corrosive and burning damage, when coupled with Life Tap, equal heal over time benefits for you.
Now, you may be saying “But Joseph! You’ve totally bypassed Maya’s top-tier skill in that tree? What about Scorn?!” Don’t get me wrong, Scorn is cool. It gives you an on-cooldown orb of Slag that you can throw with your melee ability. The orb travels away from you slowly, and has a good chance to slag your enemies (and even if it doesn’t, it still deals damage to enemies it passes through or by). If you absolutely want to unlock this skill, you can, because the build does allow for a few extra points to spend. I skipped over it because it didn’t fit with my play style, which often involves getting in close and dealing some damage on-on-one with weakened enemies. The trouble is that the orb of slag damages Maya too, and can leave her slagged as well.
To finish up, we’re going to put 11 points into the Motion skill tree. The first five should go into the tier 1 skill Accelerate. This increases bullet speed and damage for all gun types. This skill works very nicely with Restoration in that it allows for faster and more efficient healing. It also matches up nicely with Sweet Release – the faster you can kill the enemy, the faster you can get those delicious life orbs.
Next, go for Suspension in tier 2. This keeps the baddies Phaselocked longer, which means longer regen from Elated, and more time to finish them off and get the benefits of Sweet Release. (Are you seeinga theme here?)
Finally, put one more point into Converge. This may not seem like it directly contributes to the survivability of you or the team, but that may depend on which weapons you’re using. If you have just one weapon which allows for area of effect damage (say a rocket launcher, or a grenade) Converge can be one of the more effective self-heals. Consider this: You pop Phaselock and pull several enemies into one centralized location. Kill the Phaselocked enemy, and then fire off a rocket launcher or grenade into the crowd. Every single one of those enemies is taking damage that is going to heal you through Life Tap.
At this point, you ought to have three skill points left (or two, if you decided to unlock Scorn. You can spend these however you like, but there are a few options that are better for the build than others. Option 1.) Kinetic Relfection in the Motion skill tree. Each time you get a kill, for a period of time thereafter you have a 100% chance to deflect enemy bullets, reducing their damage to you by 30%, and diverting 60% of their damage to nearby enemies. Option 2.) Foresight in the Cataclysm tree. It increases magazine size by 12% and reload speed by 15%. This means more bullets to fire at Phaselocked enemies before you’ve got to reload, and much faster reloads if it comes to that. Option 3.) Mind’s Eye in the Harmony tree. This would give you 15% increased critical hit damage. Makes for a greater degree of healing to you when you score critical hits while under the effects of Life Tap.
Now, the thing to keep in mind is that with this build, you’ve always got two different types of healing going on: self-healing, and team healing. You’ve got a lot of skills that are working specifically to heal you, and a lot of skills that are healing you and the team, and it’s important to remember which skills are healing which people. A general rule is when you’re Phaselocking an enemy, you’re healing the entire team, so it’s important to use your Phaselock wisely. If that Phaselock is on cooldown, you don’t have the automatic res, and you don’t have the team regen. So, here are a couple tips for getting the most out of Phaselock:
1.) Need quick healing? Phaselock a weak enemy!
The enemy’s health has no effect on the healing done by the Life Orbs it produces when it dies. So Phaselocking and killing a Spiderling in a pinch is just as effective in terms of healing output as Phaselocking and killing a War Loader.
2.) Phaselock won’t work on that boss? Use it on his minions!
Some enemies in the game cannot be Phaselocked. Rather than being trapped in an alternate dimension of pain and sorrow and torment for a period of time, these enemies will instead take a huge damage spike and keep on coming. As an alternative, hold onto that Phaselock and use it as a quick res for a fallen ally, or Phaselock the boss’ minions to provide consistent healing throughout the fight.
The great thing about this build is that it’s compatible with nearly any play style. Whether I’m hanging back with my trusty sniper rifle, or wading in with pistol in hand, this build has my back. And while it is tailored for team play, it has been perfectly effective in solo play as well. The optimal situation for this build, though, is with a team of three or four, where the other players have a good enough situational awareness to target and destroy the Phaselocked enemy.
EDIT: Above material contributed by Breen. Site error temporarily removed his contribution and I have repasted it from its original version.