On the trail of eldritch secrets in an effort to save Whinny, the Vault Hunter comes up against one of Borderlands 3: Guns, Love and Tentacles’ more frustrating bosses: the Empowered Scholar.
To take out the buffed up version of this already tough enemy, you’ll need a high-damage or incendiary main weapon for the first phase of the fight. I used the Vigorous Scoville from the Handsome Jackpot DLC because its splash damage helps a lot with mobs.
Next you’ll need a corrosive weapon that you’re comfortable using at range for the second, third, and fourth phases of the fight. I used a Pestilent Vicious Lyuda sniper rifle, but any corrosive weapon that’s not a shotgun will work fine.
Then you need a shock weapon for dealing with a shield in the third and four phases of the fight. Again from the Handsome Jackpot DLC, I used the Storming Guttiwuts ION CANNON.
How to beat the Empowered Scholar in the Borderlands 3: Guns, Love and Tenacles DLC
I've embedded a video of me beating the Empowered Scholar above so you can follow along.
The Empowered Scholar works a little differently to a lot of the boss fights in Borderlands 3. Usually, you want to keep the trash mobs (weaker enemies) alive to trigger your Fight for your Life.
But with the Empowered Scholar, he’ll take hold of the summoned regular enemies, make them pretty much invincible, and run them into you over and over again.
To combat this, you either need to whack out a high-damage weapon with big splash damage to wipe them out quickly, or ignore them completely and focus on the Empowered Scholar. Backpedal and jump away from the onrushing enemy and you should be able to hit the Scholar still.
The only way to stop them coming is to reduce the Empowered Scholar’s health, so don’t waste your bullets.
At about half health, the Scholar will blow up the rest of the enemies and surround themselves with a forcefield.
Switch to your corrosive weapon, then shoot the four “Shards” around it. Doing so will free the Empowered Scholar and start up the fight again.
Return to your main weapon and reduce its health in the same way for about another third.
Now the Scholar will teleport off onto a raised platform in the corner of the map. Switch to your corrosive weapons and ping off the Shards you can see from the main fight arena.
Next you need to jump onto the floating platforms, and ride them around to the back of the Scholar’s forcefield. There’s another Shard here to destroy.
This next bit in the air is stupid.
It’s very unclear what you’re meant to do and is probably the most likely thing to kill you in the fight.
Stay on the floating platform too long and you’ll fall to your death. So you need to look down, and jump onto the long, straight part of the rocky platform below.
Skip to 2:10 in the embedded video above for a visual representation.
Back in the central arena, the Empowered Scholar now has a huge shield that you’ll need to wipe away with a shock weapon. It’s just not feasible to use anything else.
Then you can switch back to your main weapon and chip away at its health some more.
Next, it’ll teleport to the other side of the area and protect itself with another forcefield.
Repeat what you did for the other side. Switch to a corrosive weapon, ping the Shards, ride the platform, then look down over the edge to see the long part of the platform that it’s safe to jump onto.
This time there are five Shards to destroy.
You’re now in the final stage of the fight, and the Empowered Scholar will have a shield and armor to deal with. Use your shock and corrosive weapons accordingly, then finish things with your incendiary.
Things can get a bit hectic in this last portion of the fight, so remember you can use the weaker enemies to get a Second Wind if you go down. Focus your fire on the Empowered Scholar and it’ll eventually go down.
For more on Guns, Love and Tentacles, here are our pages on that weird pink spider icon and The Cure shotgun.
Otherwise, here's a look at some of the new legendary weapons in Guns, Love and Tentacles, as well as some of the best character builds we've seen so far.