Episode 90: FotL Impressions and Strike Exclusive Weapons Breakdown

Let's talk about the Strike Exclusive weapons! Also covered in this episode are our first impressions of Festival of the Lost, and Bungie has certainly stepped up their game from last year. Tune in now!

Massive Breakdown of the Forsaken Strike Exclusive Weapons

(Including Stats, Times-to-Kill, and Recommended Perks)

If you'd like to listen to the audio version of this guide, check out Episode 90 of the Massive Breakdown Podcast!

If you're wondering where the numbers and full list of guns are, the Weapon Stats Spreadsheet has you covered.

If you want to look at things like Barrel stats, you can go to the BSMT Visual Tool.

Several things to note:

  • Classes are broken down into Impact Archetypes.

  • These are strictly my opinions, so I'm very aware that a lot of people will probably disagree with them.

  • The Bolded Perk/Perks in each slot mean that I recommend using them the most. If there are no bolded perks, it means that I feel any of the listed perks are fine to use in the slot.

  • This is not a comprehensive list of every perk available in the pools, just the ones I recommend. Some perks that are on the Curated Masterwork Version cannot be found on the randomly rolled version.

  • All Times-to-Kill are assuming Guardian has 192hp (6 Resiliency).

  • Pros and Cons are determined by comparing weapons within the same class, not by all weapons in general, and not by only the weapons within the archetype. If you would like a different or more specific comparison than what I have listed, feel free to ask and I can provide one in the comments.

Pulse Rifle


Horror's Least - Energy (Arc) - The Corrupted

Pros - Very high aim assist.

Neutral - Average mag size.

Cons - Low range and reload speed. Below average stability and recoil direction. Very low handling.

  • Time-to-Kill: 0.80s (3 bursts, 9 crit), 1.47s (5 bursts, 15 body)

  • Rate of Fire: 540

  • Impact: 23 (22 crit, 13 body)

  • Range: 34

  • Stability: 49

  • Reload Speed: 35

  • Handling: 22

  • Aim Assist: 82

  • Recoil Direction: 55

  • Mag Size: 36

Random Perks:

  • Barrels - Hammer-Forged Rifling/Smallbore/Corkscrew Rifling/Polygonal Rifling, Arrowhead Brake, Fluted Barrel, Chambered Compensator, Extended Barrel, Full Bore

  • Magazine - High-Caliber Rounds/Ricochet Rounds/Light Mag, Flared Magwell, Appended Mag, Alloy Mag

  • Trait 1 - Rangefinder/Zen Moment, Full Auto, Headseeker

  • Trait 2 - Kill Clip, Moving Target, High-Impact Reserves, Dragonfly

Curated/Masterworked Perks:

  • Barrels - Hammer-Forged Rifling

  • Magazine - Extended Mag

  • Trait 1 - Zen Moment

  • Trait 2 - Outlaw

What was previously one of my favorite archetypes of weapons pre-Forsaken has unfortunately fallen out of favor with the meta gods. Rapid-fire PRs have what looks to be a solid optimal TtK of 0.80s, but unfortunately it requires 9 crits within optimal range (and the enemy to be at 6 Resilience or less) and the vast majority of the time that just isn't going to happen. The stability is bad, the range is even worse, and the recoil direction does it no favors either. These things could all be overlooked if the TtK was more forgiving, but as it stands now this will almost always be a 4-burst to kill weapon, and that's just not good enough to compete with Bygones, Inaugural Address, Chattering Bone, or Redrix. That being said, this is one of those weapons that I still recommend grinding for a good roll, because it's not the gun that's bad, it's the archetype. What I mean by that is, if a balance patch comes through and Rapid-Fire pulses rise to prominence, this gun and Claws of the Wolf (IB) will be leading the pack. It has fantastic aim assist, and good reload speed, stability, and range for the archetype, and the roll options on it are phenomenal. The curated roll is pretty, adding Hammer-Forged Rifling and Zen Moment to bump up range and stability, but I don't like that it has Extended Mag which cuts into a large part of the benefit that Outlaw brings, in return for more rounds in the magazine which I found to be unnecessary. I think you could do a decent amount better with a good custom roll. I'd try to do everything I could to buff both range and stability (without hurting the already very low handling speed, if possible) and that means shooting for Hammer-Forged, Corkscrew, or Polygonal Rifling, or Smallbore for a barrel perk. Exactly which one you should choose, if you have the option of two, will depend what perks you get in the next slots. For Magazines, High-Caliber Rounds will give you a small boost to range and can help to play ever so slightly into one of the most dramatic benefits this gun has, which is that it causes a ton of flinch to your opponents in PvP. If not HCR, Ricochet Rounds gives you more range and stability, and Light Mag gives you more range and a faster reload speed. In the first trait slot, Rangefinder or Zen Moment will be the best option depending on what you weren't able to improve with the barrel and magazine perks, but Full Auto is also good for anyone who doesn't trust their trigger finger to be able to keep up with the very fast 540 RPM. In the final trait slot, as always Kill Clip is phenomenal, but Moving Target and High-Impact Reserves are both passable in helping to make the gun a tad bit more forgiving. I know some of you are saying, "But Mercules, the recoil direction is trash, why don't we use Arrowhead Brake for the barrel??" Well the reason is that we have Counterbalance Mods, and they provide almost as much as of a bonus as AB does, and we can't improve range or stability with mods as of now. Plus, something like Targeting Adjuster, Icarus, or Backup Mag just isn't going to be very effective on this weapon type, so you're not missing out by using a CB mod. I say buff what you can in terms of range and stability with the barrels, and then use the mod to help the recoil direction.

Hand Cannon

Aggressive Burst

Warden's Law - Kinetic - Warden of Nothing

Pros - Above average range. High recoil direction.

Neutral - Average mag size and aim assist.

Cons - Very low handling. Low reload speed and stability.

  • Time-to-Kill: 1.07s (1 crit 2 body), 1.60s (4 body)

  • Rate of Fire: 110

  • Impact: 92 (92 crit, 52 body)

  • Range: 56

  • Stability: 29

  • Reload Speed: 27

  • Handling: 24

  • Aim Assist: 68

  • Recoil Direction: 97

  • Mag Size: 10

Random Perks:

  • Sights - HitMark HCS, TrueSight HCS, Crossfire HCS

  • Magazine - Accurized Rounds, Flared Magwell, Tactical Mag, Appended Mag

  • Trait 1 - Rampage/Kill Clip, Opening Shot

  • Trait 2 - Outlaw, Rangefinder, Triple Tap, Moving Target

Curated/Masterworked Perks:

  • Sight - Hitmark IS

  • Magazine - Ricochet Rounds

  • Trait 1 - Rampage

  • Trait 2 - Fourth Times the Charm

A strike exclusive weapons that has a unique intrinsic perk, the Warden's Law actually fires two bullets simultaneously, one directly above the other, that combine to do basically the same damage as one shot from a normal Aggressive HC. I know that in game it looks like they do slightly more, but the difference is more than likely due to a rounding error from the decimal damage created when the normal value is split in half between the two bullets. Of course, there are both pros and cons to this type of firing pattern. The pros would be that, theoretically, the weapon should proc Triple Tap and Fourth Times the Charm in fewer trigger pulls than other HCs, would we make it an excellent PvE tool. The con is that, even though both bullets are fired at the same time, you do have to worry about missing one of the two and thus only doing half damage. A second con is that it appears like the bullet registration is bugged, and only Triple Tap is activating after the correct number of hits, while Fourth Times the Charm is requiring an extra shot, which messes up the Curated roll which relies on that perk to stack with Rampage and allow you to keep popping adds. As such, I'm going to have to recommend the old standby of Outlaw and Rampage (will allow you to two-tap in PvP) or Kill Clip. If you can't get Outlaw, Rangefinder will do for PvP, or Triple Tap for PvE. Accurized Rounds and HitMark will both help to buff the range up, which is surprisingly low for an Aggressive HC. While the range is low, the aim assist, recoil direction, and mag size are all very good for the archetype, so if you want to use an Aggressive HC I would definitely recommend this one, especially for PvE. In PvP, Aggressives have never been great, and outside of being used by high-light players in IB, I'm just not sure I can recommend them compared to easier to use and faster killing options like Trust.

Sniper Rifle


The Long Goodbye - Energy (Arc) - The Insight Terminus

Pros - Low zoom.

Neutral - Average range, stability, inventory, and mag size.

Cons - Below average reload speed, aim assist, and handling.

  • Time-Between-Shots: 0.67s

  • Rate of Fire: 90

  • Impact: 70 (394 crit, 131 body)

  • Range: 49

  • Stability: 48

  • Reload Speed: 44

  • Handling: 40

  • Inventory: 43

  • Aim Assist: 55

  • Mag Size: 4

  • Zoom: 40

Random Perks:

  • Barrels - Fluted Barrel, Arrowhead Brake, Corkscrew Rifling, Hammer-Forged Rifling, Smallbore, Polygonal Rifling

  • Magazine - Light Mag, Alloy Mag, Extended Mag

  • Trait 1 - Snapshot Sights, Outlaw

  • Trait 2 - Rampage, Dragonfly, Fourth Times the Charm, Rapid Hit

Curated/Masterworked Perks:

  • Barrels - Polygonal Rifling

  • Magazine - Light Mag

  • Trait 1 - Rangefinder

  • Trait 2 - Rapid Hit

I'll be honest, even though this sniper has one of the lowest zoom settings in the game, I'm just not feeling it. The perk layout is confusing and not super beneficial for either PvE or PvP, and I just find it to be lacking compared to a well rolled Twilight Oath or Bite of the Fox. Not to mention stat-wise it's pretty weak for the archetype, which already has the Elegy-49 and Fate Cries Foul, both with better handling and aim assist (if you can handle their slightly higher zoom). It does have Fourth Times the Charm, and a small part of me wants to try to combine that with Extended Mag and a Backup Mag mod, to try to see if I can get 10 shots in a row off on a boss, but besides that and the low zoom there aren't a ton of benefits to using this weapon. It can roll Snapshots sights, which is a tier-1 PvP perk, but then nothing in the second trait slot is great for PvP. However, there are a lot of things that are great for PvE in that slow, like Fourth Times the Charm and Rapid Hit, but normally you would want to stack those together for maximum effect, and you can't do that here. It's like they started to make a PvP sniper, and then changed their minds half way through and went for PvE perks. And that's a shame, because both the Elegy and the FCF can roll the combo of Rapid Hit and Triple Tap, which makes them great for Primevals and strike boss damage. The curated roll is similarly confusion, with the purely PvP perk Rangefinder in one slot, and the purely PvE perk Rapid Hit in the next. Very disappointing overall.


Exotic Aggressive

Mindbender's Ambition - Energy (Solar) - The strike where the Fanatic goes invincible 90 million times (The Hollowed Lair)

Pros - Exotic Intrinsic increases RoF after a kill.

Neutral - Average inventory.

Cons - Below average range, reload speed, aim assist, and mag size. Low handling. Very low stability.

  • Time-Between-Shots: 1.33s

  • Rate of Fire: 45

  • Impact: 80 (23 per pellet)

  • Range: 29

  • Stability: 29

  • Reload Speed: 39

  • Handling: 31

  • Inventory: 40

  • Aim Assist: 39

  • Mag Size: 5

Random Perks:

  • Barrels - Full Choke, Rifled Barrel, Smallbore, Corkscrew Rifling

  • Magazine - Assault Mag, Accurized Rounds, Light Mag, Appended Mag, Tactical Mag

  • Trait 1 - Slideshot, Pulse Monitor

  • Trait 2 - Rampage, Quickdraw, Moving Target, Auto-Loading Holster

Masterworked Perks:

  • Barrels - Rifled Barrel

  • Magazine - Steady Rounds

  • Trait 1 - Opening Shot

  • Trait 2 - Rampage

I believe this to be one of the best shotguns in the Game, this one being an Aggressive shotty that has its RoF increase if you get a kill. It's also one of only two Aggressive archetype shotguns that can drop with random rolls, and if you're looking for an energy shotty this is it, as the other option is the Toil and Trouble which is relegated to the Kinetic slot. Stat-wise it has decent range for the archetype, although it's poor compared to other shotties, and the highest aim assist of the aggressives, but the stability and handling are both pretty bad, overall and for the archetype. For perks, the curated roll is pretty good here, with both Rampage and Opening Shot being excellent for PvP. Unfortunately Opening Shot isn't an option for the random rolls, but you can make up for it with the chance to get Full Choke and Assault Mag, which is a fantastic combo to both increase the RoF and tighten the pellet spread. Rifled Barrel is the second best option for a barrel, but doesn't have nearly the same effect as it did in D1. In place of Opening Shot, I'd go with Slideshot, which partially reloads the magazine and boosts the range after a slide. If you like shotguns and you haven't nabbed a god-rolled auto-shotty yet, I'll get your grind on for a great MBA.

Grenade Launcher


The Militia's Birthright - Kinetic - Lake of Shadows

Pros - Very high blast radius. High velocity, reload speed, handling, inventory, and aim assist.

Neutral - None.

Cons - Very low stability. Only one shot per reload.

  • Rate of Fire: 90

  • Blast Radius: 55

  • Velocity: 72

  • Stability: 23

  • Reload Speed: 63

  • Handling: 69

  • Inventory: 61

  • Aim Assist: 75

  • Mag Size: 1

Random Perks:

  • Launcher Tube - Volatile Launch, Confined Launch, Linear Compensator, Quick Launch, Smart Drift Control, Hard Launch

  • Magazine - Concussion Grenades/Proximity Grenades/Blinding Grenades

  • Trait 1 - Ambitious Assassin

  • Trait 2 - Rangefinder/Auto-Loading Holster

Curated/Masterworked Perks:

  • Launcher Tube - Countermass

  • Magazine - Blinding Grenades

  • Trait 1 - Genesis

  • Trait 2 - Threat Detector

When you're asking yourself if you should use The Militia's Birthright, you really only need to answer one thing: Do I want to use a kinetic grenade launcher? If the answer is yes, then TMB is here for you! If the answer is no, time to move along. TMB is the only kinetic grenade launcher in the game, so if you want to run the much-despised triple GL loadout for comp, you better hop into the Lake of Shadows and get to grinding! As it is a Lightweight GL, perks like stability and RoF don't matter a ton, unless you're fortunate enough to get Ambitious Assassin, but for those wondering neither of them are great anyways. That being said, the blast radius and velocity are excellent, and the reload speed is good for GLs as a whole, but disappointingly slow compared to other Lightweights. The aim assist, inventory, and handling are all decent, but nothing to get excited about. Moving over to perks, the curated roll is terrible and should be avoided. Genesis is unfortunately just not great on kinetics right now for PvE, and Ambitious Assassin is just so much better when dealing with the targets that TMB should be used against (unshielded adds and Guardians in Crucible and Gambit), since you can actually start to have some fun with a breach-action grenade launcher with multiple shots in the tube. In the second trait slot, I think Quickdraw, Rangefinder and Auto-Loading Holster are really the only perks worth having. As for the grenades themselves, I'm a pretty big fan of the disorienting Concussion and Blinding Grenades, but Proximity Grenades are also nice if you don't trust yourself to manually detonate each shot. For the launcher tubes, I'd be hard pressed to turn down the pretty large blast radius boost that Volatile Launch gives, but the gun does have some projectile speed to spare, so if you find yourself with Confined Launch it's not a problem. Linear Compensator would be the next best, followed by the options which stack more velocity onto the already high amount, like Quick Launch, Smart Drift Control, and Hard Launch. Overall, it's hard not to recommend this gun purely because it's the only one of its type, and with the right roll in the right hands it can be a force to be reckoned with in PvP. That being said, if you don't like grenade launchers, I'm not sure there is anything here that's going to finally turn you on to them.