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The Borderlands series contains some of the most fun looter shooters and first-person shooter RPGs in the games industry. They blend a unique sense of humor, varied character builds, and ridiculously expansive loot pools to create memorable experiences for players to shoot their way through.
Out of the various experiences offered to players by the series, Borderlands 2 is essentially the most popular with the iconic antagonist Handsome Jack, fun and diverse classes, and great level design.
It also has grown an extensive community of speedrunners who enjoy conquering a game with a healthy dose of RNG to keep things fresh.
Key Info Up Front
- Type of Speedrun: Any % with DLC
- World Record: 1:54:45
- World Record Holder: Deceptix_
Before You Begin
There are a few things to do before you start trying to speedrun Borderlands 2. First, you need to play through the game normally. This will help you learn the game’s mechanics and become accustomed to how it controls so that you can execute the more demanding parts of the speedrun.
It also will help you know what to expect as you go through the game’s main questline for this run. Then, you’ll also have to know the following.
Before you start playing, you should know that load times aren’t counted toward your final run time. This is because the speed of each runner’s set up impacts them so much that it isn’t fair to count it and give some runners an unfair advantage.
It also means that players who play on a console can also compete with the times of PC runners, although I highly recommend you play on a PC.
This is because using a mouse to aim will make you more accurate, it will allow you to change some crucial key bindings, and it is much easier to execute some of the exploits that will be used throughout the run.
There are also some settings that you should modify before you jump into your run. Firstly, you should disable all of the DLC packs other than Gaige, as that’s the character you should use.
the DLCs won’t impact your run too much, but it will cut down on the dialogues that you have to close when you first open your inventory at the start of the run.
You should also change a few key bindings to comfortable alternatives. These include the bindings for Drop Weapon and each tab of your menu.
Doing this will allow you to drop reload (I’ll cover how to perform this further down) and help you quickly navigate your inventory by opening it directly to the page you are looking for rather than clicking on it. You also should enable Aim Assist.
This setting will take some getting used to on PC, but it will make you much faster at scoring headshots once you do. Finally, you need to turn off your Badass Rank and show that you did so during your run. This is to ensure that the runs are fair for all players.
Play as Gaige
As I mentioned, you’ll be playing the DLC character Gaige for your runs. Gaige is a Mechromancer, so you’ll want to familiarize yourself with how she plays, and her action skill summons the powerful Deathtrap summon that she can use.
As you proceed through the run, you will build Gaige in a very specific way, and you’ll want to level up during sections of unskippable dialogue when you aren’t wasting time by doing so, which I will go over in the run path below. The build you want to go for is below:
- Level 5: Unlock Action Skill
- Level 6-10: Anarchy
- Level 5-10: Close Enough
- Level 11+: Cooking Up Trouble
Before your run, you’ll also need to understand how to perform these exploits to help you get through the game as quickly as possible. It will likely take some time to get them down completely, but you’ll continuously practice them as you attempt runs until you can do them smoothly.
Save Quitting is a critical exploit to skip lengthy dialogue segments or have to follow characters. This allows speedrunners to cut minutes off the total time for their run. Luckily, doing it is also relatively simple. When you have to do a Save Quit, keep an eye on the top right corner of the screen.
Once you see the saving icon appear, you can immediately hit escape and select save and quit. This will back you out to the main menu, upon which you can quickly hit continue to get right back into the game at the checkpoint you just got, but certain interactions will already be completed without you having to go through them.
Drop Reloading is another very useful technique to cut down on your run time, but how much you use it will vary depending on what gear you get. It can be a handy tool for any weapons with lengthy reload animations, as you can completely skip them.
Drop the weapon you want to reload and then immediately pick it back up to do the exploit. This is best done by hitting drop and then immediately hitting your button to pick it up.
This exploit is the easiest to perform on this list and is one that you will be doing many times throughout each run that you attempt. The main idea of the exploit is to get the modifiers and extra effects of one weapon and put them on another weapon in your inventory.
This lets you make extremely powerful guns that can deal massive amounts of critical damage to help you melt through enemies and bosses. To do the exploit, follow these steps:
- Start with the weapon you want to take the effects from and switch weapons.
- Before the switch animation is complete, open your inventory.
- Move the weapon you have equipped that you want to put the effects on and switch it to the inventory slot where the first gun is.
- Exit the menu, and you will have the merged gun in your hands, ready to use.
Grenade Jumping is another technique that you will use to help you clear open areas quickly and reach higher areas. The mechanics of this trick are exactly what the name implies. You’ll throw a grenade on the ground, run past it, and then jump just before it explodes.
This will cause the grenade’s explosion to send you flying forward much faster than you can run while only damaging your shield, which will quickly recharge. These jumps are even more effective if you can do them from the top of a hill or a cliff, giving you even more space to be rushed forward.
You’re ready to start your first run with all of that covered. Across the run, you’ll be focusing mostly on main quests, not to waste time doing any side content that isn’t necessary to finish the game. To make it easier to follow, I’ll break down each section by what main quest it concerns and then go over how to go through it as quickly as possible.
From the start of the game, once you can move, you want to know Claptrap’s pathing so that you can stay in front of him. This will make sure that he keeps moving to the door rather than stopping to turn and wait for you to catch up.
Once you get inside, you want to take the time that he talks to replace the assault rifle in your inventory with the starting sniper rifle, and then take the time to loot all of the nearby containers. Before Claptrap sends you to the cabinet to get the pistol, be in front of it to mash interact to get it as early as possible.
As you then progress and have to kill the waves of Bullymong, you’ll want to use your sniper and sit zoomed out, looking at where they can spawn. Then, as they first appear, get a headshot with a quick scope to get through the waves as quickly as possible.
Once you get through the waves, just after Claptrap says, “Oh, my eye,” use weapon merging to put the critical damage bonus from your sniper onto your submachine gun. This will allow you to stand right in front of Knuckledragger and quickly tear down his health with point-blank headshots.
Replace the submachine gun with the Jakobs pistol he drops, and then progress through the level until you travel to Southern Shelf.
Once you reach Liar’s Berg, you want to jump on the cliff around the left to get over the gate without waiting for Claptrap. Then, kill both waves of bullymongs and save quit. Return and kill the bandits, then save quit again.
Run forward to give Hammerlock the eye and then save quit once the game says you completed the objective. When you load back in, turn in the quest and talk to Claptrap immediately after to move on to killing Boom Bewm.
By now, you should have a grenade mod that you can use to make crossing the open distances to the boss go more quickly, thanks to grenade jumps. Follow Claptrap along the path to Boom Bewm and kill the bandits along the way.
To kill them as quickly as possible, use the sniper rifle and either focus on getting headshots or taking multiple of them out by shooting exploding barrels.
Before you fight, Boom Bewm weapon merge to put the critical damage multiplier from your Jakobs pistol onto your sniper rifle. When you get into the boss arena, you should learn where they spawn, and you’ll be able to take each out with just a couple of headshots.
Do so, grab the loot that drops, and save quit. You’ll then want to farm Boom Bewm to reach level seven or eight a few times. If you’re lucky, you’ll also get their unique grenade mod, which can help drastically later on in the run.
Once you unlock Deathtrap, you’ll also want to use him as you travel to the boss fight and allow him to kill the bandits you run past for the extra experience.
Once you get an excellent grenade mod, you’ll want to unequip it whenever you complete grenade jumps. This will keep the fuse time on the grenade consistent, help you get a feel for when to jump, and ensure that the grenade’s other effects don’t get in the way of the jump or damage you too much.
Once you’re ready to move on from Boom Bewm, grenade jump over the fence in the arena and run past the bandits there. If you can, use Deathtrap here to get some free experience without wasting time.
You need to get through Captain Flynt’s camp as fast as possible. Focus on getting head shots and using Deathtrap to clean up enemies that are too out of the way. Various skips can be performed to ascend the camp much quicker, but they are heavily dependent on luck with the loot rng of your run so far.
Once you get to the fight with Captain Flynt, you can kill the raiders as they climb out of the pipes to speed things along, and then weapon merging should help you kill Flynt quickly. Then, just open the red chest, turn the quest into Claptrap, and then you can proceed to the next area.
Grenade jump and get to the Catch a Ride machine as quickly as possible. Then, clear the camp of bandits until you get the adapter and leave Deathtrap to kill any bandits that you leave behind.
Return to the Catch a Ride machine and use the adapter, skip the dialogue with Scooter by interacting with the nearby vending machines, and then digistruct a runner. Use your boost as much as possible to drive to Sanctuary and interact with the button there.
Get back into your runner, drive to Captain Reiss, and pick up the power core. Then, jump off the cliff to your right to respawn by the entrance to Sanctuary. His the button by the entrance to be let in.
Grenade jumps over to Davis, turns in the power core, and then grenade jumps over to the gate to get in once Private Jessup starts moving. Talk to Scooter immediately, grab the eridium and fuel cells in his garage and save quit. Install the first two cores, buy the grenade inventory increase, and install the third core before quitting again.
Talk to the Crimson Raider in front of the headquarters, grab the key from him and grab the echo from your Vault on the second floor before save quitting. When you load back in, fast travel to Three Horns – Divide and drive to Frostburn.
Run through Frostburn as fast as possible, allowing Deathtrap to kill bandits and focusing on only killing badass enemies. Once you get close to Lilith, make sure to sell any loot you don’t have and quickly buy snipers or shotguns that you get lucky with appearing.
Get through the wave section with Lilith as soon as possible by bringing in a position directly in front of enemy spawns as much as possible and allowing Deathtrap to kill any enemies you can’t easily see. Once you finish up the section, save quit, and then turn the quest in when you load back in.
Bad Maw and Warden
Once you load back into Sanctuary, purchase a white turtle shield from a vendor before fast traveling to Three Horns – Divide. Drive over to Bloodshot and honk your horn before driving straight to The Dust. Once you hit the cutscene, save quit. Then, talk to Ellie and save quit again.
Collect the car parts as quickly as possible and save quit once again. Talk to Ellie again and merge your weapons to prepare for the upcoming boss fight. Get the Technical and drive to Bloodshot again.
Once you get to Bloodshot, honk your horn to be let in and use Deathtrap to clear most enemies while you focus on killing Bad Maw. Use the key and bridge to get into Bloodshot and trigger the fast travel terminal.
Collect nearby grenades and go back to farm Bad Maw until you reach level 10. Then, go back to Bloodshot and fast travel to Sanctuary.
In Sanctuary, farm the vending machines and Marcus until you find a Vladof rocket launcher and a Jakobs shotgun with at least two barrels. Return to Bloodshot and shoot your way through until you kill the Warden, and then activate the fast travel through the wall and save quit.
Talk to Roland to turn in the quest and save quit. Fast travel back to Sanctuary and use grenade jumps to reach the second floor of the headquarters more quickly. There, talk to Roland and grab the quests from Lilith before save quitting.
Fast travel again to Three Horns – Divide. Head to Tundra Express and run straight through to talk to Tiny Tina. Go grab the badonkadonks and die to be resurrected by Tina. Then talk to her and switch to the Cult Following quest in your inventory after Tiny Tina says, “lets get to work,” to skip the dialogue.
Buy more grenades and pick up what you need to follow Tiny Tina. Follow her and switch to the In Memorium quest in your inventory to skip Tina’s dialogue before placing the badonkadonks. Once the train is destroyed, the grenade jumps over and goes to the line’s End.
Kill yourself to be resurrected further into the area and save quit after the blue respawn animation plays. Once Angel says, “oh dear,” activate the You Are Cordially Invited quest to skip the dialogue and fight Wilhelm. Once you grab the power core, save quit.
Fast travel again to Three Horns – Divide before driving to Sanctuary. Talk to Davis and install the power core. Get to the fast travel beacon and save quit. Interact with the customization station in Sanctuary and talk to Scooter to get the 2 ignition primers.
Grenade jump to reach Roland faster and grab the eridium before save quitting. Give Lilith the eridium and buy another grenade inventory expansion. After Lilith teleports Sanctuary, save quit again. Drive to the Fridge and turn in the mission. Try to find an amp shield as you run through the area and go to Highlands – Outwash.
Go back to the Fridge to find the amp shield if you weren’t lucky enough to get one the first time through. Save quit once you complete the objective. When you reach the fast travel beacon, run through to grab the beacon, grenade jump to close gaps more quickly, kill the thresher, and go to the Highlands.
Drive to the bridge and unlock the fast travel station at the bridge. Go to Holy Spirits Bar and then go straight back to the Highlands. To skip the lengthy Overlook section, enter the Zafford Bar, leave again, repair the beacon, and save and quit repeatedly until it is counted as completed.
You can farm for a good shotgun here if you haven’t been lucky enough to get one, but fast travel back to Sanctuary once you do.
Wildlife Exploitation Preserve
Turn the quest in with Roland and grab quests from Tannis and the Marshal before fast traveling to the Highlands – Hyperion Bridge. Drive to the Wildlife Exploitation Preserve. Talk to Mordecai and the grenade jump from his perch to the door.
Use the quest The Good, the bad, the Mordecai in your inventory to dialogue skip just before you pull the lever. Wound the loaders, grenade jump, skip the gate and as many map sections as possible and get to the holding cells.
Then, kill the waves of Loaders to reach Bloodwing as quickly as possible. Kill Bloodwing, grab the upgrade he drops, and die using the elevator to get back to the fast travel station. Fast travel back to Sanctuary.
Grenade jump up to Roland and turn the quest in before grabbing the note. Fast travel back to Highlands – Hyperion Bridge. Drive to Thousand Cuts.
Run through the area, using Deathtrap to clear out bandits and talk to Brick. Get through Brick’s initiation challenge as fast as possible and use the Hidden Journals quest in your inventory to skip Brick’s dialogue.
After the cutscene, give Brick the note and use the Won’t get fooled again to skip his dialogue. Follow him to destroy the beacons and kill hordes of Loaders. When you’re done, fast travel back to Sanctuary.
Grenade jump into the headquarters and turn the quest in with Roland. Grab the quests available from Mordecai, Brick, and Lilith before fast traveling back to Highlands – Hyperion Bridge. Head to Opportunity and kill Handsome Jack’s body double to grab the voice mod.
When using the info kiosks, you can use the first one twice if you interact with it quickly enough when Angel first starts talking. Use the other info kiosks and skip the dialogue at the door by starting the Mine, All Mine quest.
Place the voice mod and skip the dialogue after the Home Movies quest. Grab the voice mod, save quit, and fast travel back to Sanctuary.
Turn the quest in with Roland and fast travel to Three Horns – Divide. But more grenades, and keep an eye out for any better snipers as you go through the area. Fast travel back to Sanctuary and talk to Claptrap before traveling again to Thousand Cuts.
Use grenade jumps to get over the game, talk to Claptrap, and grenade jump again to get past the death wall. Kill the Constructor there and stick to the cliffs to avoid the mortars being fired at you. Go to the Bunker and grenade jump to get up faster and make sure to buy grenades before the fight.
Kill the Bunker as fast as possible, buy more grenades while his phase transitions, and kill him again. Then, use the scanner and skip the dialogue afterward with the Animal Rights quest. Hit the button for the elevator and travel to Control Core Angel.
Hit the button and save quit to skip the cutscene. Skip the dialogue after Angel starts screaming using the Doctors Orders quest and killing Loaders. When Roland starts talking, skip the dialogue with the Assassinate the Assassins quest before destroying the injectors.
Then, skip the dialogue after Roland says “aw crap” with the Clan War: Starting the War quest. Kill some more Loaders, and then skip more dialogue with the Rockos Modern Strife quest just before you kill the last Loader.
Destroy the last injector and when Jack’s face disappears from the screens, use the Rakkaholics Anonymous quest to skip the dialogue. Turn the quest in with Roland and save quit. Once you get back in, travel back to Sanctuary.
Grab the quests from Marcus, turn in your quest with Mordecai, and then grab the quests that Brick offers. Fast travel to the Dust and head to Eridium Blight.
Drive to the Arid Nexus and hit the objective trigger before heading to Sawtooth Cauldron. Go to the Guano Grotto and hit the button for the elevator. Kill the commanders that attack you and use grenade jumps to reach the main street.
From there, open the Buzzard Storage and kill Boombringer. Use Capture the Flags to dialogue, skip the Mortar’s dialogue and ride the elevator. Kill Mortar and everything else around. Use Bearer of Bad News to skip the dialogue just after killing all of the Buzzards. Mark the crates and fast travel to Eridium Blight.
Grab the missions there and drive to Arid Nexus. Turn in the mission at Arid Nexus – Boneyard and then get a Runner. Activate the save near Pump Station 3 and hit the pipeline.
Do the first two pump stations and let yourself be killed. Drive to Pump Station 3 and then hit the pipe with your car. Use grenade jumps to get up the rocks and travel to Arid Nexus – Badlands.
Use the elevator to skip the Saturn boss fight and head to the Info Stockade. Grenade jump up to the console and use the Rock, Paper, Scissors: Genocide quest to dialogue skip if you have to. Grab the map and fast travel back to Sanctuary.
Reaching the Warrior
Turn the quest into Mordecai and talk to Claptrap. Fast travel back to Eridium Blight and talk to Claptrap again after driving to him. Kill the Loaders there and use To Grandmother’s House. We Go to skip Claptrap’s dialogue after he says “I will-” and head to Heroes Pass after the objective clears.
For this section, you want to avoid enemies as much as possible while using Deathtrap to take their fire off you. You can then use grenade jumps to skip the door and the gap between traveling to the Vault of the Warrior.
Use a grenade jump to get up on the rocks next to Handsome Jack. You can easily kill Jack after the cutscene, which will trigger another cutscene and put you in the fight with the Warrior.
After you kill the Warrior, use the Kill Yourself quest to dialogue skip when Jack says, “this can’t be happening.” Use the moonshot and kill Jack before touching the key, and then you’re done.
Question: How Long of a Game is Borderlands 2?
Answer: Playing Borderlands 2 normally will take players around 30 hours to do the main questline, but this speedrun will get your time down to just a few hours.
Question: Is Borderlands 2 better than Borderlands 3?
Answer: Which title is better is largely up to your preference. Borderlands 2 is considered better for some because of how its classes are built, its funny writing, and the insane amount of content it now has. However, Borderlands 3 makes some great quality of life improvements while also adding variety to its loot pool.
Question: What is the Best Character in Borderlands 2?
Answer: All of the characters in Borderlands 2 are a fantastic option to play with some very powerful builds. However, Gaige is the best character to use for speedrunning because of the sheer speed that players can achieve with her, even at lower levels.