BTPS Athena the Gladiator Pose01
Last week, I was lucky enough to sit down and play through a couple hours of Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel. While I was able to try out a number of characters (more on that soon!), I played as Athena first.

Athena -- sometimes referred to as "The Gladiator" -- used to lead the Omega Squad, which was a secret branch of Crimson Lance. In Borderlands 2, Athena was an NPC in The Secret Armory of General Knoxx. An assassin and natural leader, she wields a kinetic shield that absorbs damage -- a tool that proves both offensive and defensive in combat. This shield -- the Kinetic Aspis serves as her Action Skill -- allows her to absorb incoming damage and release it back at enemies. The skill can be augmented in a variety of ways, depending on how players choose to advance her skill tree.

Skill Trees


This is Athena's tank skill tree. Heavy focus on absorbing damage, survival, and drawing "aggro".

    • Ephodos: Increases Movement Speed and Gun Damage while holding the Aspis.
    • Invictus: Increases the Damage dealt by the Aspis when thrown.
    • Vanguard: While the Aspis is active, you and your nearby friends gain Health Regeneration. The Health Regeneration Rate increases as the Aspis absorbs damage.
    • Hold the Line: Lengthens the duration the Aspis can be active before it is automatically thrown.
    • Prismatic Aegis: The Aspis now stores the elemental damage type of absorbed damage. Multiple elemental damage types can be stored and all stored damage types are dealth by the Aspis when thrown.
    • Clear!: When thrown, the Aspis' explosion grants Second Wind to friends within range. In addition, you gain a Damage Bonus while in Fight For Your Life.
    • United Front: Damage Absorbed by the Aspis now provides power to the shilds of you and your nearby friends. Also increases your Maximum Shield Capacity.
    • Stalwart: Allows the Aspis to absorb a percentage of damage from your friends' guns. Also increases your Maximum Health.
    • Prepare for Glory: Activating the Aspis taunts nearby enemies, making them more likely to attack you. Additionally, for every individual enemy who inflicts damage on your Aspis, you gain a stack of Prepare for Glory, increasing your Gun Damage. Stacks persist for a short duration after the Aspis has been thrown.
    • Return Fire: When active, the Aspis has a chance to reflect incoming Lasers and Bullets while still absorbing their energy.
    • FINAL SKILL - Wrath of the Goddess: The Aspis will ricochet to up to 4 additional enemies, each taking less damage than the last. The Aspis will return to you after it hits the final enemy.


This skill tree centers on switching off between melee and ranged attacks, allowing players to upgrade her sword to cause bleed damage, in turn making enemies for susceptible to guns.

    • Gun Kata: Increases Gun Damage. Additionally, your Melee Damage is increased for a short duration after shooting an enemy.
    • Clarity of Purpose: Increased Melee Damage and Maximum Health.
    • Omega-Senshu: You deal increased Damage to any enemy who has less than 50% of their Maximum Health remaining.
    • Mercurial: Kill Skill. Killing an enemy increases Movement Speed and Damage Resistance for a few seconds.
    • Rend: Your melee attacks cause enemies to bleed, inflicting damage over time. This damage is increased against higher Health Targets, and the damage also benefits from your Melee Damage bonus.
    • Epicenter: Slam Alteration Skill. When you Slam you now create a singularity, pulling nearby enemies closer and dealing damage to them.
    • Bloodlust: Gain Health Regeneration whenever you make an enemy bleed, for the duration of the Bleed effect.
    • Tear: Increases Gun Damage dealt to Bleeding targets.
    • Fury of the Arena: Gain increased Fire Rate and Reload Speed for each Bleeding target.
    • We've Got Red on You: When an enemy is killed by your melee attacks, or dies while Bleeding, they explode. Nearby enemies will take damage from the blast, and also be kind of grossed out.
    • FINAL SKILL - Blood Rush: Melee Override Skill. Press R to dash toward an enemy and strike them with Xiphos with increased Melee Damage. This ability has a cooldown. If this attack applies a Bleed to a target that isn't Bleeding, or kills a target, the cooldown is immediately reset. Perform a regular attack when Blood Rush is on cooldown.

Ceraunic Storm

Athena's final skill tree, Ceraunic Storm is all about getting aerial and dealing elemental damage.

    • Storm Weaving: When you swap weapons, you gain Storm Weaving, increasing your Fire Rate and Elemental Effect chance for a short Duration.
    • Maelstrom: Dealing Incendiary or Shock damage causes you to gain stacks of Maelstrom. All Elemental Damage dealt is increased for each stock of Maelstrom. Stacks will decay over time, and this rate of decay increases as you accumulate more stacks.
    • Conduit: When you have at least one Electrocute Status Effect active, you regenerate a percentage of your Shields every second for each stack of Maelstrom you have.
    • Gathering Tempest: Increases Magazine Size and Reload Speed
    • Unrelenting: Kill Skill. Killing an enemy increases your Weapon Swap Speed and Fire Rate for each stack of Maelstrom.
    • Smite: When you are airborne, shooting an enemy will Smite them, causing Incendiary and Shock Damage in a small area. Smite Damage increases as you accumulate more stacks of Maelstrom. This ability has a cooldown.
    • Zeus' Rage: When you throw the Aspis, a devastating Fire and Lightning Storm will spawn at the target location, doing area damage for several seconds. The damage of the storm increases based on the amount of damage absorbed by the Aspis.
    • Superconductor: The Aspis has a chance to shock nearby enemies when struck. When this occurs, you gain bonus Maelstrom stacks.
    • Elemental Barrage: While Storm Weaving is active, your weapons have a chance to not consume ammo. This chance is increased for every Maelstrom stack you have.
    • Flash Freeze: Whenever you Freeze an enemy, you gain Flash Freeze for a short duration. During this time, you cannot gain or lose Maelstrom stacks.
    • Overload: Whenever you kill an enemy who is electrocuted or burning, there is a chance for the status effect to chain to a nearby enemy. When this occurs, you gain bonus Maelstrom stacks. This bonus is gained twice if the target is both burning and electrocuted.
    • FINAL SKILL - Hades' Shackles: Slamming links you to nearby enemies with a Shock Tether for a short duration, electrocuting them. The tether is broken if you lose line of sight to the target. Any enemies still tethered at the end of the duration, or who die while tethered, release an Incendiary Nova, and you gain bonus Maelstrom stacks for each enemy affected. This ability has a cooldown.

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