I find that because the only upgrades to the Bloodwing come from skills and class mods, it is more efficient to spend your skill points on the two different gun trees. You will almost always find a better gun along the way, and it will usually outpace the damage of your Bloodwing. I've found it very useful to equip a shock artifact and use the Bloodwing to take out a particularly difficult target's shield (Except for the fact that Tresspass is max'd out so all bullets will simply bypass shields, thus making bloodwing useless).
Suggested Skill Path
Focus - This increases accuracy for all weapons. Extremely useful for getting face-shots at long range.
Deadly - This increases critical hit damage for all weapons. Combined with Focus, your face-shots will be one-shots... usually.
Riotous Remedy - This is a secondary method of healing. But extremely useful in that as long as you keep killing badguys, your health will constantly, slowly, replenish. This is really helpful when you get a second wind.
Killer - This will temporarily increase your damage and reload speed for all guns. Great for those "I'm baaaaack!" second winds.
At this point, you want to get to Trespass.
Loaded - Increases your ammo capacity for sniper rifles. At level 5, your 3-clip rifles will be 5, and 6 clips are 10.
Trespass - A minor increase in bullet damage is vastly overwhelmed by your chance of ignoring shields. With this skill, I think Mordecai becomes the best of the characters, as far as dealing with single, tough enemies. It is not uncommon to kill an enemy with them still having near full shields.
Hair Trigger - Increases fire rate and ammo capacity for pistols and revolvers. It doesn't help the clip size for those 2-shot clips, but 6 rounds become 7.
Relentless - When this skill procs, with Killer proccing as well, and taking Trespass into account, you will be able to one-shot and two-shot just about everything in the game, with the exception of the uber bosses like Moe, Marley, Skagzilla and the Destroyer. This assumes you are aiming for critical slots. If you've got a good gun, usually it won't matter what you aim at.
Caliber - If you find yourself using sniper rifles a lot, you might wish to take this skill at an earlier point in the tree, your mileage may vary.
Mordecai can get bonuses to accuracy and critical hits for all weapons, and his proc skills also work for all weapons, so you can make just about any weapon work for you. However, a few of your skills only work for sniper rifles and pistols, and my suggestions here take that into account.
Sniper Rifles - Any rifle that does big damage is a good start. For kills that you know are going to be tough, an elemental sniper rifle is best. Shock sniper rifles will remove shields very quickly, while fire and corrosive will eat away at an enemy's health while you duck back behind cover to heal or regen shields. Explosive works very nicely on the unarmored badguys, like Brutes. The Maliwan Volcano is an extremely powerful sniper rifle, while the Vladof Surkov has a chance to ignore shields. Try for the 6-cylinder/clip rifles to cut down on reload downtimes.
Repeaters/Machine Pistols - These are extremely useful for those times when you do not have time to aim. Skags and Spiderants come to mind. These critters can jump, and tend to close in on you rather quickly. Elemental versions of these guns will usually proc very quickly, leaving your enemies spewing coloured numbers like crazy. Machine pistols are awesome against Spiderants, aim for their head and you'll quickly stun them, causing them to expose their soft abdomens, where you'll then get many crits in a row. My favourite repeaters are the Tediore Protectors, whose main claim to fame is ammo regeneration, while the S&S Thanatos is a machine pistol with a high clip size. The Maliwan Firehawk is the repeater version of the Maliwan Volcano. Another particularly rare but extremely useful repeater is the Atlas Troll, which heals the wielder when it is wielded. It is a very useful, secondary healing source.
Revolvers - I've saved the best for last. Revolvers do one thing really well: hit hard. You will get many one-shot kills with these guns. They are incredibly powerful, I am still using revolvers that I picked up at level 19 at level 45. Once you find a good revolver, you will be very hard pressed to replace it. Elemental versions of these guns are scary powerful. Shock revolvers will rid an enemy of his shield, typically in one or two shots and they do nasty things to Eridani badguys. Corrosive revolvers work extremely well on Crimson Lance badguys. Incendiary revolvers will set people on fire and crisp them extremely quickly. And explosive revolvers will turn most non-shielded, non-armored baddies into giblets in two shots or less. Legendary revolvers to look for are: Tediore Equalizer, which has ammo regeneration; Maliwan Pestilent Defiler, which will cause horrible corrosive damage every single time; and the Jakobs Unforgiven, which does double critical damage. More common guns that are great: Mashers, which are revolver-shotguns; Laws, which have a higher rate of fire; and Justices, which typically do higher damage.
Any high capacity shield is something any one to look for. However, as Mordecai, you will be going down fairly often in some situations. This is countered by the fact that you will be killing most mobs in one to two hits, so you will be getting second winds. My suggestion then is to find a high capacity shield that offers health regeneration. These shields are created by Tediore, and will heal you in between battles.
Suggested Grenade Mods
Transfusion - Since Mordecai will be getting shot and going down fairly often, having all the healing sources as possible will make it so that when you get your second wind, you have a decent healing rate. These grenade mods are produced by Anshin.
Longbow - These grenades will teleport after a short distance, and reappear a distance away in the direction thrown. Use a scoped gun, zoom in, and punch the grenade button and the Longbow will teleport to where you had zoomed in on. Makes for very accurate grenade tosses. These grenade mods are created by Hyperion.
Suggested Class Mods
Scavenger - This mod offers bonuses to Team Scavenge Extra Items, and a chance for bonuses to Team Find Rare Items and Team Health Regeneration. Sadly, the skill bonuses are wasted since this build does not have Bloodwing skills. However, your team mates should appreciate the health regeneration, and the bonus (and possibly rare) items. The bonuses do work even if Mordecai is alone.
Sniper - I like this mod for its +15% - +95% Sniper Rifle Critical Hit Damage bonus, as well it improves upon Focus and Caliber, sadly Carrion Call is a wasted skill. However, if you haven't filled out Caliber yet, you could add one point to Carrion Call and then get the bonus from this class mod. There is a chance to get an added accuracy bonus with these class mods, but I would suggest to look out for ones that have ammo regeneration. Up to +19! That's approximately +3 bullets a second.
Gunslinger - This mod is incredibly useful for the Mordecai players who use pistols and revolvers as their main weapons. The three skills bonuses are all applicable, and the base bonus of +72% - +84% Pistol Fire Rate does wonders for even the slowest firing revolvers. While the secondary bonus of +78% Pistol Accuracy is good, keep a look out for the ammo regen versions of this class mod. +23 ammo regeneration is about 4 bullets per second.
Since you can only wear one mod, you will have to choose the right time for their use, assuming you're able to find all three. Obviously the Scavenger is useful for team games, and especially for those time when you're running through Skag/Spiderant infested areas. The Sniper and Gunslinger mods are useful when you're looking for the added accuracy or damage, while ammo regeneration helps when you're stuck out in the middle of nowhere with low ammo.
If you come across bad guys at a distance, the sniping rifle is your best bet. For instance, in the Dahl Headlands you will often see the badguys roaming about in vehicles. You should be able to take out at least one of them at a distance using a decent sniping rifle. If it's a tough enemy, like a boss, it is a good idea to use shock, fire or corrosive rifles so that the enemy takes continual damage as they come to you, giving you time to reload or switch weapons around.
For middling to short range, against slow moving or a low number of badguys, revolvers are the most effective. You should be able to take down most of the weaker badguys in one shot, while others may need more. Take out one or two weaker ones to start, to lessen incoming fire, while leaving a few for getting second wind should you go down. Then whittle down the tougher badguys with criticals or elemental damage, and when they go down, finish off the other weaker guys.
For really short range, like up close and personal, repeaters/machine pistols work best. Also, if you are facing a large number of badguys, or a smaller number of fast moving ones, repeaters/machine pistols are your go-to weapons. For the enemy who's in your face, simple spray-and-pray tactics work, while dodging and running about. Be careful not to get too close to the melee types. The best tactic is to hit all of them with a few bullets, letting the elemental damage go to work while you retreat to a better distance, if you're surrounded, get some of the weaker ones to low health before you go down, giving you something to gain a second wind off of.
Basically, machine pistols/repeaters work best when you can afford to be sloppy and not aim, typically when you have a small chance of missing. Up close and personal, or if there's a group of badguys clustered together. If you have time to aim, revolvers are a better choice, they'll do more damage, and faster, than your machine pistols or repeaters.
Bosses are a different problem. The Badass and Badmutha badguys typically have shields and lots of health. I like to have a gun of each of the elemental types, and quickly shoot the boss types and cycle to the next gun. The result is having three elemental damage types occurring at the same time while you reload and assess the situation. If the boss has lots of minions around, try killing a few of them first to lower the amount of return fire, remember to leave some for easy kills to get second winds. If the Badass/Badmutha is alone or far away from his minions, start aiming for criticals and take him down.
For the bigger bosses, like Skagzilla or Moe and Marley, you have to keep moving to avoid their different jumps and elemental attacks. I suggest a combination of elemental machine pistols/repeaters, and a good, high-damage revolver. Use the machine pistols/repeaters when the boss is in close, to get scores of elemental damage, and use the revolver when the boss is at a distance, or when they present opportunities for criticals.
Lastly, even though I have ignored the Bloodwing for this build, when it is equipped with an artifact, it can be useful for a number of situations. With a shock artifact, the Bloodwing can be used to take down the shield of a particularly tough badguy, while corrosive and fire artifacts can do continual damage to the enemy, preventing their shields or health from regenerating. Therefore it is often a good idea to send the bird out.
Pros of this Build
- 5 possible secondary healing sources: shield, scavenger mod, Riotous Remedy, transfusion grenades and if you're extremely lucky to find one, there's a gun that does healing as well.
- Exceptional critical damage, with the ability to bypass shields, will allow you to drop most bad guys in one or two shots. You will do incredible damage to anything you come across.
- Having the Sniper and Gunslinger class mods, as well as guns that regen ammo, and having three gun types in rotation, means that you will rarely run out of ammo.
Cons of this Build
- The Bloodwing is totally ignored in this build as far as skills go, Out for Blood and Fast Hands could be incredibly useful if one were to use only one of the two gun trees.
- The melee weapon is basically ignored as well, though one could mitigate this slightly by using one of the revolvers with the blade attached for extra melee damage.