Episode 99: Black Armory Pulse Rifle and Bow Breakdown, Holiday Special

Let’s talk about a couple new Black Armory weapons, and dive into our annual Holiday Special!

Massive Breakdown of the Black Armory Forge Bow and Pulse Rifle (Including Stats, Times-to-Kill, and Recommended Perks)

If you'd like to hear a more in-depth discussion of the other BA Forge and Scourge of the Past weapons and their perks, check out the Massive Breakdown Podcast, Episode 98!

Several Things to Note:

  • This is not a comprehensive list of every perk available in the pools, just the ones I recommend.

  • Occasionally, some perks that are on the Curated Masterwork Version cannot be found on the randomly rolled version.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Some of the "Curated" rolls may not be available in-game, but I've listed them here in case they become available.

Pulse Rifle


Blast Furnace - Kinetic - BA Forge

Pros - Very high range and stability. Above average mag size.

Neutral - Average recoil direction.

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

  • Time-to-Kill: 0.73s (2 bursts, 6 crit 2 body), 1.60s (3.25 bursts, 13 body)

  • Rate of Fire: 450

  • Impact: 35 (27 crit, 16 body)

  • Range: 81

  • Stability: 67

  • Reload Speed: 42

  • Handling: 31

  • Aim Assist: 41

  • Recoil Direction: 65

  • Mag Size: 40

Recommended Random Perks:

  • Sight - Rasmussen ISA/Meyrin RDS, Meyrin RDL

  • Magazine - Drop Mag, Flared Magwell, Tactical Mag, Steady Rounds, Accurized Rounds, Appended Mag, Alloy Mag

  • Trait 1 - Outlaw/Feeding Frenzy, Zen Moment, Quickdraw

  • Trait 2 - Kill Clip, Rampage, Headseeker

Curated Perks:

  • Sight - Meyrin RDL

  • Magazine - Tactical Mag

  • Trait 1 - Outlaw

  • Trait 2 - Headseeker

I wouldn't be surprised to see this gun become one of the most popular PvE and PvP primary weapons in the game. It has excellent base stats, with highest in class range and stability compared to the other legendary pulses, not to mention best in impact-archetype aim assist. The recoil direction is average which means you won't have to fight a ton of side-to-side sway, and the perk options are among the best available on any weapon. It starts with a relatively high base zoom (for a primary) of 1.8x, so I suggest trying to use one of the lower zoom scopes like Rasmussen or Meyrin RDS to keep your sight picture up, and buff the relatively low handling (one of it's only drawbacks besides slow reload speed). For the magazine and first trait slot, I like to go all in on helping the reload speed, with Drop Mag being a good perk to use on a primary which will almost never run out of ammo (Flared Magwell or Tactical Mag will also be acceptable, albeit with less of a boost), and then Outlaw and Feeding Frenzy are both tier-1. Outlaw will give you a bigger boost for a single kill, but it requires that kill to be a headshot. Feeding Frenzy will grant a smaller boost for a kill, and doesn't require headshots. I think Outlaw is probably your best bet for PvP, and Feeding Frenzy would be easier to use for PvE. In the last trait slot Kill Clip is obviously a fantastic option, pushing the TtK in Crucible down to 0.60s (aka faster than Luna's Howl speed). While I do think Kill Clip is the best perk in that slot, I wouldn't go so far as to call it required, for the sole reason that the standard optimal TtK is already pretty fast at 0.73s. So Kill Clip shaves two shots off of that time, and makes it a little more forgiving, but Rampage is also an excellent perk. It can shave a single shot off the TtK, at least against lower armor Guardians, bringing it down to 0.67s, but it needs 7 headshots, compared to 6 crits or 6 crits and a body for Kill Clip. So, in conclusion, I highly recommend this weapon.



The Spiteful Fang - Kinetic - BA Forge

Pros - Fast draw time. Very high reload speed and handling. High aim assist.

Neutral - Average stability.

Cons - Low accuracy.

  • Draw Time: ~667 ms

  • Impact: 68

  • Accuracy: 53

  • Stability: 55

  • Reload Speed: 64

  • Handling: 73

  • Aim Assist: 76

Recommended Random Perks:

  • String - Polymer String, High Tension String, Tactile String, Natural String, Elastic String

  • Arrow - Fiberglass Arrow Shaft, Anti-Take Fletching, Straight Fletching, Helical Fletching

  • Trait 1 - Archer's Tempo, Moving Target, Rangefinder

  • Trait 2 - Rampage, Quickdraw, Explosive Head, Hip-Fire Grip

Curated/Masterworked Perks:

  • String - Natural String

  • Arrow - Fiberglass Arrow Shaft

  • Trait 1 - Archer's Tempo

  • Trait 2 - Explosive Head

Basically, if you like Arsenic Bite but have been looking for a randomly rolled version, then this is the bow for you. Personally, I like to focus on accuracy and draw time as the two things I want to improve for bows (especially accuracy for the Lightweight bows, which struggle with it a little bit naturally), so I'd want Polymer String (small boosts to both Accuracy and Draw Time) and Fiberglass Arrow Shaft (large boost to accuracy) as my first two perks. For the strings, if you don't get Polymer, High Tension String can give a medium boost to accuracy at the cost of a small amount of draw time, and Natural and Tactile string both give straight small boosts to accuracy. Elastic String gives a medium boost to draw time but hurts accuracy, so I'd only use this if you were planning to try to use the bow as a closer range option. For the arrows, like I said Fiberglass is probably the best, but Anti-Take, Straight, and Helical fletching all also give boosts to accuracy with no downside. For the traits, you're probably still best off going with the Arsenic Bite formula of Archer's Tempo and Rampage, but you could also try some new combinations like Moving Target or Rangefinder and Quickdraw. Quickdraw will allow you to swap weapons for those fast follow up body shots if you don't want to have to shoot a second arrow, basically like what you'd do with a sniper. I'm not 100% sure how Rangefinder works in terms of bows, and as far as I know this is the only bow to roll it. Bows don't have a range stat, so to speak, but they do have accuracy and Rangefinder usually serves to increase that by increasing zoom of the weapon. On most projectile weapons, on the other hand, it increases the speed of the projectile, and bows are projectiles if they are not drawn fully back. If it does either or both of those things, it could be a very good perk for bows, but until I can test it I don't want to recommend it super highly.

In terms of stats, it has just barely better accuracy than Arsensic Bite, the same reload speed, better handling, and slightly worse aim assist. Because it can roll with Polymer String and Fiberglass Arrow Shaft, however, it can end up with a decent lead in terms of accuracy, which makes this guns best possible roll, even with the same traits, a better option than Arsenic Bite.


Must Have

  1. Blast Furnace (Aggressive Pulse Rifle)

  • Rasmussen ISA/Meyrin RDS, Drop Mag (Flared Magwell is second best), Outlaw/Feeding Frenzy, Kill Clip (Rampage is second best)

Pretty Good

  1. The Spiteful Fang (Lightweight Bow)

  • Polymer String, Fiberglass Arrow Shaft, Archer’s Tempo (Moving Target or Rangefinder are secondary), Rampage (Quickdraw is secondary)