Character Deep Dive – Athena - Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel - PlayStation 3 - www.GameInformer.com
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Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel

Character Deep Dive – Athena

Hello, traveler! Welcome to the first of our Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel character deep dives. We’re kicking things off in style this week with Athena.

Athena, who you might recall from Borderlands: The Secret Armory of General Knoxx, used to be an elite agent. Now, she’s taken her talents to Handsome Jack’s team, as the Borderlands 2 villain begins his ascent to power.

Athena’s active ability is the Kinetic Aspis, which may be easily confused with Captain America’s shield especially since she can toss it at an enemy for serious damage. When activated, the Aspis will absorb incoming damage. Once the timer runs out (or the ability is canceled early), Athena throws her shield. 

Skill Tree: Phalanx
Notable Skills

  • Vanguard - Regenerates health for you and teammates during Kinectic Aspis
  • Prismatic Aspis - Aspis absorbs and dishes out elemental damage when active
  • United Front - Damage absorbed by Kinectic Aspis powers your shields and those of nearby allies
  • Clear! - Aspis grants Second Wind to fallen nearby friends when thrown
  • Prepare for Glory - Taunts enemies when Aspis is active
  • Wrath of the Goddess - Causes Kinetic Aspis to ricochet to up to four enemies

Play Style: Tanky healer, Co-op

All the way at the bottom of the Phalanx tree, you’ll find the Wrath of the Goddess capstone ability. We promised you Captain America, and a Super Soldier you shall have. This will send the Aspis ricocheting among up to four enemies before returning. 

The Phalanx tree includes a number of abilities that play off her active ability. Down the line Athena will be able to absorb friendly fire to power her shield and also gather elemental damage to dish back out to foes.

Skill Tree: Xiphos
Notable Skills

  • Gun Kata - Increases gun damage, and melee damage is increased for a period after shooting an enemy
  • Omega-Senshu - Increased damage to enemies with less than 50 percent of maximum health remaining
  • Mercurial - Killing an enemy increases movement speed and damage resistance
  • Rend - Melee attacks inflict bleeding (damage over time), benefits from melee damage bonuses and is more impactful on higher health targets
  • Bloodlust - Health regeneration when making an enemy bleed
  • Epicenter - Butt slamming creates a black hole
  • You’ve Got Red on You - When an enemy is bleeding when killed, it explodes
  • Blood Rush - Changes your melee attack to a dash with increased damage. This has a cooldown that is automatically reset if attack inflicts bleeding or kills enemy.

Play Style: Tank with a balanced focus on melee and shooting, Solo or Co-op (depending on the rest of the party)

The Xiphos skill tree dumps the co-op friendly skills of the Phalanx set in favor of dealing out massive damage with guns and blade. There is interplay between the two types of combat with shooting increasing melee damage. Later, bleeding targets will take more damage from bullets.

Two modification skills drastically alter Athena’s combat options. Epicenter allows her zero-G butt slam (by crouching while in mid-air) to create a black hole. Her capstone ability changes her melee attack into a berserker-style frenzy.

Skill Tree: Ceraunic Storm
Notable Skills

  • Maelstrom - The cornerstone of the tree, dealing shock or incendiary damage earns you a stack of Maelstrom. As Maelstrom stacks build, all elemental damage dealt is increased. 
  • Conduit - When at least one electrocute status is in effect, shields regenerate for each stack of Maelstrom you have
  • Unrelenting - Killing an enemy ups your weapon swap speed and fire rate proportional to the number of Maelstrom stacks you have
  • Smite - Shooting an enemy while airborne causes incendiary and shock damage in a small area, the more Maelstrom stacks you have, the more damage you do
  • Flash Freeze - Freezing an enemy stalls your gain and loss of Maelstrom stacks

Play Style: Solo Damage Dealer, Methodical

The Ceraunic Storm tree is the way to go when playing solo, if you’re a more methodical player. Especially later in the game when you unlock Flash Freeze, knowing how many Maelstrom stacks you have is crucial. Pulling out one of the new cryo weapons at the right time and combining it with Smite will keep you dealing heavy damage for extended periods.

The capstone skill generates Maelstrom, but isn’t powered by it. Instead, Hades Shackles alters your butt slam, creating a tether that electrocutes enemies in range and in line of site. At the end of three seconds, any tethered enemy (and those who die during the countdown) explode dealing even more damage.

Athena is just one of four characters coming to Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel on October 14. For more on the game, check out our E3 preview.

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