The Borderlands series prides itself on its excessive violence and gunplay, as well as the sheer number of wacky missions and memorable characters that are packed into each installment. Borderlands is known its extensive endgame content as well, with enemies’ power levels raising significantly and plenty of DLC to bring the pain.
With all of that sweet, sweet content, there are bound to be a few missions that go overboard in the difficulty department. Sometimes that’s the point of those missions: to give players a new challenge that will have them grinding their teeth and respec-ing their chosen Vault Hunter for the battles at hand. Other times, however, the difficulty comes down to a flaw in the mission’s concept or design. Either way, Borderlands has offered us more than a few moments of insane difficulty, some of which may seem nearly impossible without some clever exploits and occasionally fighting dirty. Grab your transfusion grenades and hop on your meat bicycles, it’s time to talk about some Borderlands missions that are practically impossible.
Statuesque – Borderlands 2
"Statuesque" is a escort mission in which players must protect a large Constructor robot named the Overseer while it roams around the city of Opportunity and demolishes four statues of Borderlands 2 antagonist Handsome Jack. This seems simple, but the problems arise when you realize just how painfully slooowww the Overseer is. While it’s not entirely impossible to finish the mission (as tedious as it can be, even with Handsome Jacks’ humorous dialogue), what is practically impossible to pull off is completing the optional objective of keeping the Constructor at 50% of its full health or above.
You will be constantly swarmed by enemy robots that cause massive damage with their self-destruct and projectile attacks. Even Maya’s healing abilities won’t restore the Constructor’s hit points, so pulling off the optional objective is even more unlikely. It’s possible to exploit a glitch that allows the Constructor to proceed without you to some of the statues, but that requires you to simply stand and wait, which obviously isn’t any fun, nor how the designers intended the mission to be played. To add insult to injury, the mission ends with Claptrap making the robot explode, leaving you wondering just what the point was.
You. Will. Die. – Borderlands
The bosses in the first Borderlands game were no slouches, but players were pretty underwhelmed with the final challenge, the inter-dimensional monstrosity known as the Destroyer. That boss was locked in a stationary position and its weak spot — its massive central eye — was very easy to hit.
Disappointed fans of the first game were in for a treat when The Secret Armory of General Knoxx DLC was released. This DLC raised the level cap for players and featured the appropriately-named mission "You. Will. Die.," which pitted players against Crawmerax the Invincible. Crawmerax constantly launches corrosive attacks and was designed to be hard to defeat, even with a full squad of friends. Crawmerax’s level automatically scales to be four levels above that of the session host, while the little maggots it sends out to attack you (yes, maggots) are at least a level above the host.
Crawmerax was such a challenge when compared to the Destroyer that it’s worth noting that several signs throughout the DLC will refer to it as the "Secret Final Boss." NPCs in Borderlands 2 will occasionally brag about how they faced the monster and lived. Basically, Crawmerax is still a big deal.
You. Will. Die. (Seriously.) – Borderlands 2
This spiritual successor to the first game’s "You. Will. Die." pits players against Terramorphous the Invincible, a massive, burrowing sand worm who is somehow even more of a pain in the neck than Crawmerax.
Gearbox knew what a feat it would be to even put a dent in this beast. In fact, that was largely the point, with producer Randy Varnell saying, "If you don’t curse the design team at least five times on the way to beating this guy, we haven’t done our jobs." The job here being to provide players with a grueling boss to conquer well after the main story was completed. As Varnell further explained, "He is designed to be impossible."
Beyond Terramorphous’ incredibly high hit points and devastating attacks, a particular glitch may occur that makes defeating it even more of an impossible task. One of Terramorphous’ attacks is to toss Vault Hunters into the air, inflicting a ton of damage. However, if it throws you too far up, it may trip something in the game’s code that resets Terramorphous’ health back to full and starts the battle all over again, which is more than a little inconvenient.
Lair of the Harpy – Borderlands 3
The majority of "Lair of the Harpy" honestly isn’t that bad. The enemies you encounter throughout the Jakobs Estate are mostly the Children of the Vault’s normal cannon fodder. These cultist bandits are relatively easy to blast your way through. No, the real trouble begins when you reach the estate’s auditorium and Troy Calypso shows off a new ability as he powers up a nearby Goliath enemy. This Goliath is transformed into Billy the Anointed, who might be the most annoying mini-boss in the entire Borderlands franchise.
Billy uses multiple ranged attacks, including a shockwave that can completely knock out your shields. He will also attack surrounding enemies. If he kills them, your chances of taking them out and achieving a Second Wind become much lower. As if that weren’t bad enough, Billy constantly teleports around the mansion, following you out of the room where the boss battle began. If you are killed by Billy, he will teleport to your respawn point, sometimes killing you before you even have control of your character again.
The Bestest Story Ever Told – Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel
The final boss of Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel is the Sentinel, an incredibly powerful Vault Monster that goes through several phases. In "The Bestest Story Ever Told," players must face an upgraded version of that boss, called the Invincible Sentinel. This boss (and its second phase, the Invincible Empyrean Sentinel) has had its health and shields raised to a significant degree, making it more of a bullet sponge than ever before and putting solo players at risk of running out of ammo well before the end of the battle.
In addition, while the Invincible Sentinel’s attacks aren’t considerably stronger than the standard version, the Guardian creatures that come in to assist the Sentinel are much stronger than they were in the first version of this battle and they will constantly shower you with projectile damage. This is why some players have had to resort to exploiting a glitch that gives them infinite shields in order to win the battle.
Voracidous the Invincible – Borderlands 2
"Voracidous the Invincible" is part of the Sir Hammerlock’s Big Game Hunt DLC for Borderlands 2. As if Voracidous’ corrosive attacks and his high hit points didn’t already make him a formidable opponent, he has plenty of backup. Voracidous is accompanied by a Savage enemy named Chief Ngwatu and several of his followers, who will all attack any Vault Hunters that threaten Voracidous. At some points in the battle, Chief Ngwatu will transfer his shield to Voracidous and vice-versa, further lengthening the struggle against the two enemies and necessitating that split your focus between the two.
As if that weren’t enough, there’s a tremor that goes through the field of battle every 13 seconds that will keep your own shield from fully regenerating. If you’re able to deplete both Ngwatu or Voracidous’ shields, Voracidous will kill Ngwatu and regain his full power. In other words, there are plenty of ways in which this beast can come back from the brink of defeat. There are also no loot boxes in the arena with which to resupply ammo, so you’d better hope your character has some kind of ammo regenerating skill.
Capture the Flags – Borderlands 2
"Capture the Flags" sees the Vault Hunters reactivating a series of mechanisms that will raise flags in the name of Vault Hunter-turned-bandit Brick and his crew. These mechanisms work incredibly slowly and are under constant fire from hordes of angry bandits, so it falls upon you to defend these generators from harm while the flags make their way to the top. If the generators sustain too much damage, then they must be repaired and activated once more.
This mission is particularly difficult on a second playthrough, when enemies have had their hit points raised and have become even greater bullet sponges, even while the generators are still as fragile as ever. To make matters worse, even if you manage to stick it out and get all three flags defended and raised, you may literally still not be able to complete the mission: one common glitch prevents Brick from appearing where he’s supposed to, meaning you can’t turn it in to him for completion and reward.
Recruitment Drive – Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel
To be perfectly honest, timed missions in the Borderlands series are always a bit of a hassle. Most of them have a pretty strict limit, but they’re usually doable either on foot or in a vehicle. The Pre-Sequel mission "Recruitment Drive" seems simple enough: deliver some posters and hang them up in various areas while also burning posters belonging to a rival group.
The mission gets almost untenable due to a few annoying gameplay factors. The zero gravity gameplay already made traversing the Pandora’s moon of Elpis a sight trickier than previous installments, but where this mission really drives people wild is how ridiculously tight the time windows are. Even if you manage to get the hang of piloting the zero gravity Moon Zoomies and memorize the routes, you still have to deal with wave after wave of bandits attacking you at each drop-off point. It all adds up to being easily the most difficult timed mission in the Borderlands series.
Tier 3 Battle: The Death Race – Borderlands 2
This timed mission from Borderlands 2 DLC Mr. Torgue’s Campaign of Carnage is actually an optional repeat of an earlier mission, only with the time reduced from two and half minutes to one minute and forty-five seconds. As such, "Tier 3 Battle: The Death Race" has taken a mission that was already difficult to master and made it so that you basically have to avoid any and all errors in order to complete it.
You’ll essentially have to throw out the rulebook if you want a fighting chance here. Even IGN‘s guide for the mission tells players, "This one is going to require a bit of skill and some serious short cuts. When you launch away from the starting line, do not follow the track." Even then, you had better hope no enemies try to impede your progress and that you still have the Afterburner relic you were given earlier in Borderlands 2‘s story campaign to give your vehicle some extra speed. Seriously, one wrong bump or missed turn and you might as well start the mission over.
The Circles of Slaughter – Borderlands 3
The "Circle of Slaughter"-type missions have been a staple of the Borderlands franchise since the very first installment. These take the form of a series of arena-based battles that pit you against wave after wave of increasingly powerful enemies. These are usually pretty grueling, but not exactly insurmountable with the right abilities and weaponry.
That all changed with the Slaughter locations in Borderlands 3. The enemies in these areas are total bullet sponges, using up most of your ammunition within a single round. Many of them are Badass class enemies as well, some of which have high shield capacities and are capable of one-shotting even a higher-level player. There also isn’t nearly enough time between rounds to catch your breath, nor cover to duck behind while your shields recharge in many of these arenas. Players also tend to agree that these missions are simply too long. Again, the whole point of these missions is to be something of an endurance test, but the ones in Borderlands 3 make past Slaughter locations feel like a cake walk.
A Most Cacophonous Lure – Borderlands 2
Commander Lilith and the Fight for Sanctuary was a DLC released in 2019 that bridged the story gap between Borderlands 2 and 3. It was a lot of fun, while also reminding players of everything that made Borderlands 2 so challenging, up to and including its massive raid bosses. That’s where the mission "A Most Cacophonous Lure" comes in, which becomes available once you complete the main story of Fight for Sanctuary and leads you into conflict with a formidable raid boss called Haderax the Invincible.
Haderax is a massive sandworm, its name a reference to the all-powerful Kwisatz Haderach in the Dune series, which not-so-coincidentally featured sandworms. Haderax features several different forms of attack, including corrosive sprays and powerful spikes that it launches at the player. As if Haderax and the deadly spores surrounding it weren’t enough of a challenge, Haderax is also constantly regenerating health, sometimes regaining up to 50% of its hit points when it burrows underground, which is a tactic that it uses frequently. Even if you can see through the obstructing spores and land critical hits on Haderax, you’re in for a long and possibly futile battle.
Master Gee the Invincible – Borderlands 2
Another day, another ridiculously difficult Borderlands 2 boss. The second game in the series really kicked up the challenge to a degree that the rest of the series hasn’t quite matched, particularly with the baddies that await you in DLCs and endgame content. Still, even by those standards, Master Gee the Invincible is a nasty piece of work who requires even more strategy than usual.
The biggest challenge when it comes to Master Gee is that the usual tried-and-true Borderlands strategy of "run around and just keep shooting, for the love of god" doesn’t really apply here, since Master Gee has an incredibly strong shield that basically shrugs off bullets. The only way to put a dent in Gee is by killing the sandworms that spawn nearby, which will leave a corrosive cloud behind. Then you have to be able to knock Gee into that cloud to weaken his shields. Considering Gee will be attacking you while you kill the sandworms (and vice-versa), not to mention the fact that the corrosive cloud will be harmful to you as well, it’s an interesting setup for a Borderlands boss that’s especially hard to pull off.
Fun, Sun, and Guns – Borderlands 2
Just based on the title, you might have a pretty good idea of what to expect from Borderlands 2 DLC Sir Hammerlock vs the Son of Crawmerax. That’s right; Crawmerax the Invincible had a son, the hilariously-named Invincible Son of Crawmerax the Invincible, and his boy is none-too-happy with the Vault Hunters. Sir Hammerlock is kidnapped by a tribe of bandits and is meant to be a sacrifice for the Son of Crawmerax, which puts you between Hammerlock and the Crawmerax’s pincers.
The fight that caps off the mission "Fun, Sun, and Guns" is brutal. This is another burrowing raid boss, which means that when Son of Crawmerax has decided he’s tired of getting beaten on, he’ll tunnel under the area of battle and start regenerating health. This is already a struggle, but an occasional glitch will lead to Son of Crawmerax staying underground longer than he’s supposed to, regaining all of his health and basically wasting all of your efforts. Oh, and this fight is only accessible after completing an annoying part of the quest involving intoxicated Varkids. All in all, this mission is a pain.