With the recent release of Borderlands 3, fans are abuzz again about the indomitable vault hunters of Pandora. The series has tickled the explosion-based funny bone of video gamers for years now, and it's exciting to see the franchise continue on.
Before anyone gets too deep into the debates about which new vault hunters kick the most butt, let's look back on the old. The Borderlands franchise has had some seriously powerful and awesome anti-heroes. But how do all the past heroes stack up against each other?
Here are The 10 Best Vault Hunters, Ranked.
In a game filled with psychos wielding axes, it took a long time for the guys to get any good press. The devs eventually understood the affection fans had for the group and gave them a DLC to play their own psycho: Krieg. A little too obsessed with self-immolation and meat, Krieg may not be all there. However, he does fight against the riff-raff of Pandora and seems to have a soft spot for Maya. Between his power and his unique-ness, playing as Krieg is an awesome experience.
And, of course, all the interactions between his inner voice and his psycho one are absolute gold.
At first glance, Axton can totally pass for a white boy Roland knock off. He's an ex-soldier with a protective turret system. Look deeper, though, and Axton is much more complicated. For example, he has a much more... intimate relationship with his turret. Between the pet names and compliments, Axton treats his turret like a beloved custom car, not a violent weapon of mass destruction.
Every turret character Borderlands has offered has been fun to play, and Axton is no exception.
While Borderlands 2 saw poor Mordecai as a hapless drunk, him and Bloodwing are a match made in heaven. As the resident sniper and animal whisperer, this vault hunter was an awesome option in the original Borderlands game. Not only could players pick off bandits with their weapon specialties, but they also could wipe back-lines out with Bloodwing.
As a person, Mordecai isn't perfect. But as a vault hunter? He's a pretty great guy.
A woman of justice turned mercenary, Athena is a complex lady with a lot of baggage. She juggles between intimidating bandits with her Captain America shield and trying to keep the heart of her girlfriend, Janey Springs.
Athena is full of contradictions, so not everyone loves her. However, she's a fun spin on a military-trained anti-hero and at least isn't just an ex-soldier with a turret this time. Enjoy the time as female Steve Rogers, because it's pretty great.
Okay, fans can make fun of the tropes Borderlands has going (tough girl Siren, ex-soldier with turret, berserker big guy with incredible fists), but they do shine in still making many of their vault hunters unique. One of the most unique is Gaige, the mechromancer. A master whiz kid with robotics, Gaige created her own retractable mech buddy to help her destroy the bad guys.
Even if people don't vibe with her specific skill trees all the time, it's still pretty awesome to throw out a giant destructo-bot to crush everything in the way.
Where is Timothy after Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel? No one may ever know, but fans will always remember him fondly. Not only did Timothy have an amazing, overpowered skill but it was something completely new to the franchise: holographic doubles.
Now, if greenhorn readers haven't figured it out yet, Timothy is the name of the guy that Jack forced into plastic surgery to become his doppelganger. Timothy is already a great class to experiment with, but more importantly he's hilarious. Always a solid choice for a playable anti-hero.
Borderlands doesn't always do so well in making its Sirens different. Other than Angel, they're all tough, angry women. They can kick in teeth better than anyone, but still. However, that doesn't stop them from being a signature part of the Borderlands experience. Vault-hunting just attracts the powerful, what can the writers say?
Maya's backstory as the living goddess/muscle for a cult is horribly fascinating. Moreover, though, her phaselock ability is way too impressive to ignore. Even if the Sirens could use some more distinction between one another, who doesn't love crushing enemies in a bubble of raw energy?
Of course this couldn't be a Borderlands list without the hero and commander that we never deserved. Looking at all the vault hunters, Roland is by far the most classic hero out of the bunch. The rest have all their anti-hero flaws, for better or worse.
Even though losing Roland was a serious trauma in Borderlands 2, playing as him in the original game was a blast. His turret had an amazing shield that made fighting off waves of enemies a one man job. Every game deserves a utility hero like him.
With how popular all the wise-talking characters are in the game, it's pretty surprising that one of the best vault hunters is a near silent assassin. Zero charms no one with his robotic, monotone voice, but the emojis that pop up on his face screen are pretty cute.
Zero's single-minded capabilities make him a hyper-effective NPC and playable character. Like a few other ex vault hunters, he's become a staple of the series. Playing him is an honor for any gamer. Also, who doesn't love sick sword action?
2 Honorable Mention: Claptrap
Even though this add is hardly a powerful vault hunter, Claptrap is too important to Borderlands not to be counted. While he acted as a guide and colorful NPC most of the series, he took up arms himself in Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel. Characteristically unpredictable, Claptrap isn't a great hero. However, he can be a whole lot of fun.
Maybe he won't save the world, but every Borderlands fan should try playing him at least once. After all, he did save the vault hunters from hypothermia and invited everyone to his birthday party.
While so many vault hunters are iconic and powerful, no one can quite match the star power and strength of Lilith. The first Siren fans ever played, the infamous Firehawk oozes ferocity and a love of chaos. However, through her ex-boyfriend Roland she learned a lot about responsibility and duty that lead her to lead Pandora and the Crimson Raiders towards something better.
Whether fans are playing her themselves against Nine-Toes or fighting bandits at her side, Lilith is the ultimate vault hunter. She's become the face of the series and she even has her own cult. How could she be denied the top spot? (And anyway, she would definitely kick anyone's butt who said she wasn't the best).