Lilith has some pretty cringe-worthy character traits in Borderlands 2. Listening to her nonchalantly ramble about how she “accidentally started a cult” then bragging about her super-awesome indestructible superpowers five minutes later is pretty lame.
Especially when a minute or two later you’re being urged to save the day because nobody else has the power to. Lilith can apparently lift a city but can’t slay a megalomaniac. Wandering through the wastelands of Pandora? It’s not in her repertoire.
But I’m not here to convince you that the outdated 2006 scene girl archetype is the best. I’m here to tell you about the fluidity of her playstyle in the original Borderlands.
Lilith’s character sheet is the perfect blend of classic poison-tipped cloak-and-dagger rogue-style gameplay and trigger-happy spray-and-pray gunplay. None of the other playable characters replicate it.
We’ve got plenty of characters designed to stun enemies. We’ve got plenty of characters that put up objects or bots to do your shooting for you. If you like playing your games on auto-pilot, by all means, do what you enjoy.
Lilith’s special ability doesn’t do anything to enhance combat – not at first. She goes invisible and gets a sizable speed boost while it’s active. In the garbage-riddled post-apocalyptic setting of Borderlands, we call it the Phasewalk.
In BL2, Zer0 is a playable character who gets a watered-down variant of the Phasewalk. He goes invisible. That’s it.
Zer0’s lack of movement speed makes his ability less impressive. I wanted to like him. I really did. He lacks the ability to hone in on scouting out more strategic ground. It doesn’t quite capture that rouge-style gameplay loop.
Lilith can pair well with teammates like Mordecai who favor snipers. She can Phasewalk up to more aggressive cover and flank the enemies. She can bait out more opponents. She’s the epitome of a crowd control character.
Lilith can pair well with brawlers like Brick. She can utilize Phasewalk to quickly dash up to a downed teammate and clear the area for a revive.
She’s like the swiss army knife of Vault Hunters.
No Teammates? No problem. If you’re playing solo, that massive speed buff helps crank up the pacing. Getting from objective A to objective B is only a few lightning walks away – replacing your tedious fetch quest hours with bullet-pummeling-nail-biting action that your primal instincts crave.
I can spam DoT’s for days!
Now that Gearbox has let the franchise formula settle a bit, the elemental skill tree seems to follow the Siren class from title to title. So admittedly, the skill tree isn’t unique to our girl Lilith.
Still, Lilith abuses the elemental skill tree better than any other playable character in the Borderlands franchise.
She can spray bullets from each element and cloak behind a Phasewalk. This allows the elemental damage to be put to work while she hunts for cover. It’s a very rewarding gameplay loop.
Corrode, Electrocute, Burn, Rinse, Repeat.
You landed those shots while cycling through guns and charging in for a corrosive melee. All that’s left to do is witness your hard work come to fruition before your very eyes. Watch your enemies kneel in the harsh desert sand, writhing in pain. Witness their cell-shaded eyes drowning in shame as they begin to disintegrate away and be teleported to the nearest New-U station.
Lilith unlocks the Radiance and Phoenix abilities. Allowing her to stack electric and fire damage to nearby enemies while Phasewalking – making more aggressive Phasewalks pretty viable.
Sometimes you need to push forward to your next barrier of cover to gain a clear shot on more enemies, but there’s a big baddie with a fat health bar standing on that perfect ground you need to capture.
Luckily for Lilith, we can use our cloak-and-dagger techniques found in her “Assassin” skill tree to make that happen.
We unlock skills like Blackout – which reduces the cooldown of her Phasewalk. We find skills like Hit and Run – which buff melee damage and increases Phasewalk duration.
At the end of the line? Phase Strike allows you to deal 160% melee damage per level when you’re ready to end your invisible dash.
The ability to sneak out of difficult situations and recover her shield comes in clutch against post-game enemies. The enemies become tough as nails, and we can’t always rely on picking up a second wind revive.
When she reaches a high level Lilith can chain Phasewalks together. She can waltz around in her invisibility cloak and spew out elemental damage to unsuspecting enemies.
Brick probably edges her out in ease of use. This is thanks to his tank-inspired skill tree abilities. He isn’t a very sophisticated character. I think the developers included him to pay homage to old-school hardcore shooters like DOOM and Quake. He favors rockets and smashing melee attacks. He absorbs damage like a sponge.
Lilith tears him to shreds in DPS (damage-per-second) and overall playability. Chances are, you’ll have more fun playing as Lilith.
P.S. If gameplay gets too easy, I’ve prepared a challenge mode guide to remedy that.
She favors Sub-Machine Guns.
She can equip Mercenary class mods to increase SMG damage between 24-61%. That stacks pretty well with her Quicksilver ability – which cranks her fire rate up to a 25% increase when fully leveled.
The math isn’t important. Basically, we can turn a whining little pew-pew into an Earth-shattering Ratatat.
Mercenary class mods also have a chance to stack more skill points to Quicksilver. Their secondary abilities can fetch up to 29% SMG ammo regeneration, and grant up to a 42% increase to elemental effect chance. Not too shabby!
It’s spray-and-pray heaven.
Firefly, PlagueBearer, and Tempest aren’t too shabby either. They buff their respective elemental damage by up to 60% and add points to some pretty awesome skills.
Still, you can’t tear me away from my Mercenary class mods. They’re the embodiment of perfection.
Chef’s Kiss? You bet. It’s good enough to get Gordon Ramsay flailing around the kitchen with the excitement of a psycho.
The popular opinion is that Borderlands 2 makes the original look like an unfinished demo. It’s true. The story is more fleshed out. The scenery is more robust. Skill trees are overall more refined. Weapon variety alone puts the original to shame.
I still favor the OG Borderlands for one reason alone. Lilith is a bonafide badass. She’s more fun to play than any character to succeed her.
Maybe sometime in the future, we’ll get a Borderlands: Ultimate that rehashes all the old playable characters under one fully-polished title. Then I could finally lay Borderlands 1 to rest for all of eternity. That day hasn’t come. So, I find myself revisiting this title over and over despite its flaws.
Lilith is a literal wrecking ball bouncing from wall to wall. She’s phenomenal.
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