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Alpha Skags are large skags encountered on Pandora.

Information

Alpha Skags are some of the largest and most powerful skags encountered in Borderlands. They are covered in very thick and durable armor, which can even render the damage dealt by sustained sprays of Combat Rifle or Shotgun fire to nearly nothing. Like most skags, Alpha Skags can leap an incredible distance, and though they sometimes employ a strong tongue-whip attack, they are more fond of charging at their enemies for heavy damage and substantial knock back. They will also stalk forward and swipe at enemies with their claws which are also exceptionally deadly. Because of these two factors, special tactics are needed to effectively deal with these beasts.

Strategy

Shooting an Alpha Skag around the shoulders and back is an utter waste of ammo; if one is stalking forward instead aim for the head with heavy sustained weapons fire, which might cause the Alpha to flinch and then roar. When beginning a charge, the Alpha Skag will retreat away from their target to increase the charge distance. This provides the opportune moment to attack the skag. Following it and shooting at the lightly-armored hind legs while it retreats will cause it to stumble as it tries to regain its footing, rendering the skag largely harmless for a brief period. Repetitive shots to the hind legs using an assault rifle or a submachine gun will take out the skag while keeping it in this staggered state. This “kicking it while it is down” tactic is an effective method of taking down the Alpha Skag with little effort.

Another tactic that can be used is to face the Alpha head-on to counter their charge. Because Alphas move very quickly while charging, running away or jumping to the side will often not be enough to evade the attack. Instead, a player can stand his ground and open fire as it charges, then run forward and jump as it nears. This will cause the character to land on top of the Alpha. As the Alpha is moving, the character will end up dropping off its back, providing opportunities to shoot or melee it from the flank. Having missed with its charge, the Alpha will continue running away. Because it takes time and space to turn around, a player can fire at the maneuvering Alpha while getting ready to meet its next charge. This method can also be used against Badass Alpha Skags.

Alpha Skags are also quite vulnerable to the more powerful fire-based Maliwan weapons. Hosing an Alpha Skag with incendiary damage can completely immerse it in fire, sometimes causing it to become disoriented and unable to track targets and allowing players to find cover. This can be particularly effective when encountering Alpha Skags in large groups such as in the Lost Cave.

Nomenclature

In Borderlands:

  • Playthrough 1: Alpha Skag
  • Playthrough 2: Hardened Alpha Skag
  • Playthrough 2.5: Armored Alpha Skag

In Borderlands 2:

Notes

  • Their armored sections reduce all bullet and melee damage by 80%, but they are highly vulnerable to Corrosive and Incendiary damage.
  • There is a bug that can cause an Alpha Skag to perform a continuous leap in mid air. This can happen if a character is "bleeding out" from an Alpha Skag doing a leap attack.

Trivia

  • In animal groups, the alpha male acts as the leader, implying that skags have a sense of leadership/community, with the Alpha Skags being the monarchs.

Locations

In Borderlands:

In Borderlands 2:


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