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When to Attempt Crawmerax
With almost anything in Borderlands there's a bit of flex. The Zombie Island and Mad Moxxi content scales with your level, even at as low as 10. The stuff in General Knoxx is meant to be experienced after either playthrough one or playthrough two, but you've got a bit of versatility there. Crawmerax on the other hand, is always the same intensely difficult level 64 fight.
No matter when you approach him - either playthrough, any level - he's level 64 and as tough as nails. His level isn't changing, but yours can, so get on up to 61 before even considering the approach.
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The Places You'll Go, The Guns You'll Need
If you're going to take on Crawmerax legitimately (I'll cover the glitch later on in the guide), you're going to need to be well armed. Elemental weapons are essential, as it's not just the boss himself that you'll be facing. He's got a group of Craw Worms - grown up versions of the Larvae Crab Worms from the Trash Coast - that each has different strengths and weaknesses.
If you haven't picked up a good corrosive weapon, you'll need it for the Armored Craw Worms that you'll be facing. Green Craw worms die by fire, and you'll want to have a good shock weapon for both Craw Maggots and for Crawmerax himself. Whatever your weapon of choice, getting the appropriate elements is important, but there are a few specific weapons that are invaluable for taking the aptly named boss out.
The Chimera - A revolver that does fire, shock and corrosive damage. Using this will eliminate the need to switch guns mid fight for taking out Craw Worms.
The Eridian Thunder Storm - Yes, an Eridian weapon is finally useful. Not only is it useful, its spread makes it excellent for hitting Crawmerax's weak points.
The Leviathan - You know, that rocket launcher that fires in an arc. It's strange to use in normal play, but if you're planning on solo glitching your way to victory, you need The Leviathan to hit Crawmerax in the back late in the fight.
The Chopper - You'll have to farm Motorhead for it, but the rate of fire and insanely large clip on this gun make it a great one to go with. Don't let the lack of accuracy worry you, it'll work to your advantage.
Skullmasher - Any sniper rifle is good against Crawmerax, but I love the Skullmasher. It does a ton of damage and gets a bonus to criticals. Since all hits on Crawmerax are criticals, that bonus pays off every single time.
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I Get By With a Little Help...
If you jump on any forum, you'll see people boasting that they took Crawmerax down solo. Unless they're Sirens, then they either used the solo glitch, or they're probably lying. It can be done solo, but there's no reason not to take a team. In fact, the loot bonus for bringing multiple people should be incentive enough to get a full group of four.
Crawmerax is the ultimate challenge in The Secret Armory of General Knoxx, and it's not just because he's tough. If everyone in your group dies, he'll fully regenerate his health. Because of this, it's always nice to have a Lilith or a Brick along for the fight.
If you're playing a Brick, make sure he's fully equipped with as many points in Die Hard as he can get. If your teammates go down, they'll have to take a 40 second elevator ride back up. If you're tough enough, you'll buy them all the time they need.
Sirens do the same thing, but in a different way. Instead of sitting and taking damage, your Lilith will need to be ready to Phasewalk as long and as often as possible. If you're Phasewalking, you won't take damage, and you'll give your group time to get up and fighting again. It was fun doing all that damage with that Zombie Island Firefly Build, but it your turn to play defensive.
Soldiers and Hunters take the DPS roles. You'll need a mod that aids in ammo or health regeneration and you'll be shooting those purple critical spots until you go down. Grab the elevator while your team buys you time and then go back to doing your job - inflicting massive amounts of damage. Something based on my suggested Mad Moxxi builds would be a good idea.
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An Alternate Method
There's another method that's been said to be quite effective. You'll be down a man, and one player in your group will have a pretty boring job, but as long as he gets a piece of the loot, I'm sure he won't mind.
The idea is to cut down the elevator wait time as much as possible by having one player act as a doorman. He'll die, bring the elevator down, and wait while his companions fight. Each elevator trip is 40 seconds, but the doorman bringing the elevator down early cuts that in half.
It's probably better to have all four of your groupmates in the fight, but if you're taking along someone who isn't quite high enough level yet, it's a great way for them to help out.
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Taking the Easy Way Out - Glitching Your Way to Victory
When facing Crawmerax the Invincible, it is possible to take advantage of the terrain in a way that makes the biggest Borderlands challenge ever seem simple. It takes a bit of practice, but once you get it down, you'll be able to take down Crawmerax with ease. You'll have to live with the fact that you've acquired your shiny new guns illegitimately, but you'll have the You.Will.Die quest checked off, a pair of achievements - Vincible and Completionist - earned, and a bundle of pearlescent weapons to comfort you.
Getting this done is all about placement. There's a nice little ledge where you can hide and take shots at the baddies without sustaining too much damage yourself. You'll go almost directly west when you get to the top of the elevator. This video does a great job illustrating exactly where you need to go.
From there, it's pretty simple. Duck when you're getting low on shields, pop up and attack when you're not. If you go down, get a second wind off of one of the minions.
You absolutely have to have a Leviathan, or a weapon with bullets that ricochet. Once you get in the sweet spot, you're not going to be able to move from it, and you need a way to hit Crawmerax in the back once you've popped all his critical points in the front.
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Still Having Trouble Taking Down Crawmerax?
If you've tried him and you just can't take him out then it's time to look at your character. It's hard to mess up a level 61 build, but double check and make sure you haven't missed anything obvious. Survival skills may not be the most fun to level up, but they're nice to have.
Work on your weapon skills and do some runs to get some upgrades. You can do both at once, it's nice and easy. If your main is at 50 and your alternate is in the 20s, you can get that alternate leveled up while farming Motorhead or The Rakk Hive for upgrades to your Chopper or Leviathan.
You might also consider going through the Mad Moxxi content if you haven't. You'll get two extra skill points at the end of it, and those can make a huge difference in your build.
Last but not least, if you're really having trouble, just take a breather. Go outside for a few minutes, get a snack, have a glass of water, and come back fresh. Sometimes all you need is a break. And above all, just keep at it!