Episode 86: Forsaken Iron Banner Weapon Breakdown

Tune in for a discussion of all things Iron Banner, with a big focus what to look for in Season 4 as you grind for guns.

Massive Breakdown of Forsaken Iron Banner Weapons (With Stats, Times-to-Kill, and Recommended Perks)

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.

  • 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.

Scout Rifle

High-Impact

Talons of the Eagle - Kinetic

Pros - Fast Optimal TtK. High range.

Neutral - None.

Cons - Below average stability, reload speed, handling, and mag size. Very low aim assist. Very slow Body Shot TtK.

  • Time-to-Kill: 0.80s (3 crit), 2.00s (6 body)

  • Rate of Fire: 150

  • Impact: 67 (66 crit, 38 body)

  • Range: 71

  • Stability: 36

  • Reload Speed: 39

  • Handling: 33

  • Aim Assist: 30

  • Mag Size: 14

Perks:

  • Barrels - Polygonal Rifling, Chambered Compensator, Smallbore, Fluted Barrel, Corkscrew Rifling, Hammer-Forged Rifling,

  • Magazine - High-Caliber Rounds, Steady Rounds, Tactical Mag, Appended Mag, Flared Magwell

  • Trait 1 - Outlaw, Zen Moment

  • Trait 2 - Explosive Payload/Rampage, Moving Target

Don't let the fact that it's stats look universally below average fool you, this scout is one of the best options if you're looking for something in the High-Impact archetype. It boasts best in class Mag Size and Stability right off the bat, with competitive Range in addition, but most importantly is one of the few High-Impact Scouts that can roll with Explosive Payload. Unfortunately, EP isn't quite as dominant of a perk as it has been in the past, getting a nerf with Forsaken to its ability to deal extra damage on body shots, and the screen shake on opposing players in PvP isn't as dramatic as it was in D1, but it's still excellent for it's ability to transfer damage between clumps of enemies. If you don't get EP, Rampage is also a fantastic perk, and the only reason it's not unanimously my favorite pick is that 1-stack (the most common stack to have in PvP) won't actually change the optimal TtK or make the weapon significantly more forgiving, but in PvE it's fantastic for minion clean-up. HCR will give you a bit of extra flinch in PvP, but it's a real difference maker in PvE too, where you can easy knock enemies out of their firing stance.

Although this gun has decent stats for the archetype, it does lag behind pretty significantly on Handling Speed and Aim Assist, so if you're looking for an option to help you finish off players after a Bow or Sniper shot, maybe look else where. In PvP, I'm definitely going to recommend HCR first for the aforementioned reasons, but if you don't get, Steady Rounds or Tactical Mag can help you to boost the stability, which, like all High-Impact Scouts, the gun could always use more of. In PvE, where ammo and reload speed is more of a priority, I think Appended Mag and Flared Magwell may be the best options outside of HCR. As for barrel perks, I'm going to take all the stability I can without suffering any huge stat hits, so Polygonal Rifling, Smallbore, and Chambered Compensator are probably the three best options.

Pulse Rifle

Rapid-Fire

Claws of the Wolf - Energy (Void)

Pros - High aim assist.

Neutral - None.

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

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

  • Rate of Fire: 540

  • Impact: 23 (22 crit, 13 body)

  • Range: 41

  • Stability: 45

  • Reload Speed: 34

  • Handling: 29

  • Aim Assist: 78

  • Recoil Direction: 53

  • Mag Size: 33

Perks:

  • Barrels - Chambered Compensator, Smallbore, Extended Barrel, Corkscrew Rifling, Polygonal Rifling, Hammer Forged Rifling

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

  • Trait 1 - Outlaw/Slideshot, Headseeker

  • Trait 2 - Kill Clip/Rangefinder, Rampage

It breaks my heart to say this, as they were once my favorite archetype in the game for PvP (Lincoln Green 4 lyfe) but the Rapid-Fire PRs just aren't in a great spot in the current meta. They had a decent TtK compared to the overall sandbox (0.80s) but they require otherworldly precision (3 perfect bursts, 9 out of 9 crits), and that's only against people at 6 Resiliency or less. Above that, the TtK plummets to 1.00s, which is so far out of being competitive that it's laughable. During Vanilla D2, I was able to overlook the relatively poor stats of the Rapid-Fire archetype because they were forgiving weapons with a decent TtK, but now that that's out the window, the drawbacks are laid bare to see. Terrible stability and poor recoil direction, combined with the fast RoF will make this weapon a bucking bronco to try and handle, and the two positives (high aim assist and high range, for the archetype) just aren't enough to make up for it. If I did want to use this gun, I would try to boost stability and recoil direction as much as possible, and that means Chambered Compensator is the best option in terms of barrels. Smallbore isn't bad if you get it, since you'll get a nice boost to stability and range, and Extended Barrel can help you with range and recoil direction, so those would be there next two best options.

As for the magazine, I'm definitely going to have to go with Ricochet Rounds, which gives small boosts to stability and range. I'd like to say that Outlaw and Kill Clip would be the God-Roll traits, but the honest truth is, even with Kill Clip Active, it only kills 2-frames faster than a normal Aggressive Pulse Rifle does, and I don't know if that's worth the struggle. Instead, I'm going to recommend Slideshot and Rangefinder, which, if used correctly, should nullify the normally glaring weaknesses this weapon has and turn it into something usable. Hopefully. Really, it's a huge shame that the archetype and stats are so weak, because the rolls this weapon offers are phenomenal, but I guess we just can't have it all.

Submachine Gun

Lightweight

Breath of the Dragon - Energy (Arc)

Pros - Above average handling.

Neutral - Average stability, reload speed, aim assist, and recoil direction.

Cons - Low range and mag size.

  • Time-to-Kill: 0.73s (10 crit 2 body), 1.13s (18 body)

  • Rate of Fire: 900

  • Impact: 15 (17 crit, 11 body)

  • Range: 32

  • Stability: 47

  • Reload Speed: 33

  • Handling: 66

  • Aim Assist: 50

  • Recoil Direction: 93

  • Mag Size: 30

Perks:

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

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

  • Trait 1 - Zen Moment/Slideways, Outlaw, Moving Target

  • Trait 2 - Kill Clip, Rampage, Tap the Trigger, Dynamic Sway Reduction

I'm normally not a huge fan of 900 RPM SMGs (byproduct of playing on console where their recoil is kind of atrocious), but I think Breath of the Dragon could be pretty decent with the right roll. Stats-wise, it's mostly average across the board, with solid handling, and poor range and mag size (surprise surprise), but both of those drawbacks offer very easy fixes with a lot of common perk options. Lack of range can be handling by a combination of barrel (Hammer-Forged Rifling), magazine (Ricochet Rounds), and trait (Slideways) perks, which still leaves room for Kill Clip in the final trait slot. If that's not for you, you can choose to address the mag size with options like Light Mag or Appended Mag, or even boost the stability up into the higher ranges with something like Zen Moment. Overall, I just sense a lot of utility in terms of playstyles for this SMG, which is not something I can say for all weapons. It should be relatively easy to get a decent roll with something that you like, and that's actually a pretty big win for this gun.

Sniper Rifle

Aggressive

Bite of the Fox - Kinetic

Pros - High range.

Neutral - Average inventory.

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

  • Time-Between-Shots: 0.83s

  • Rate of Fire: 72

  • Impact: 90 (433 crit, 158 body)

  • Range: 73

  • Stability: 28

  • Reload Speed: 32

  • Handling: 32

  • Inventory: 38

  • Aim Assist: 41

  • Mag Size: 3

Perks:

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

  • Magazine - Flared Magwell, Tactical Mag, Appended Mag, Extended Mag, Alloy Mag

  • Trait 1 - Snapshot Sights (PvP)Rapid Hit (PvE)

  • Trait 2 - Opening Shot (PvP)Box Breathing (PvE), Rampage, Moving Target

Perhaps the Year 2 sniper I'm going to be chasing the hardest, for the sole reason that it can roll with Opening Shot (and pair with my Inaugural Address). Yes, it's in the relatively maligned Aggressive archetype, which for all intents and purposes is just the 1000-Yard Stare archetype from D1 that has worse handling and a smaller magazine. And yes, the stats don't look great and there are a laundry list of things that other snipers do better (low inventory, poor stability, and bad handling chief among them), but the fact of the matter is this: Opening Shot is my new favorite PvP sniper perk, and I'm willing to stand by that. As for perks, Fluted Barrel or Arrowhead Brake are must haves in the barrel slot so that you can start to improve the abysmal handling on this weapon, and as far as magazines go, literally anything that speeds up the reload speed or improves the mag size will do. In the first trait slot, Snapshots Sights is the obvious winner, but Rapid Hit will help you more in PvE if you're trying to use it for boss DPS. In the last slot, as I mentioned, Opening Shot is the go-to for PvP, because it basically maxes your range and accuracy, and makes getting initial head shots a breeze. Not to mention it resets after only a couple seconds, so you can have it up and active in nearly every engagement. For PvE, of course Box Breathing is the better selection here, which would make this a pretty excellent weapon for doing damage to yellow bars or some bonus damage to bosses in the event you don't have the Ikelos sniper or want to run Sleeper in heavy. Speaking of Sleeper, I actually think one of the places this weapon will excel the most is in Gambit, once Sleeper has been nerfed and people start looking for a new anti-Invader/Invasion tool. Book it!

Note: This API says that this weapon can roll Full Auto, but I feel fairly confident that this is a mistake, as we've never seen a Full Auto sniper before. Even if it's not, the RoF is so slow on this weapon that Full Auto would be a funny gimmick, but ultimately a waste of a slot UNLESS it functions the way it does for Shotguns, where it increases the RoF. It remains to be seen!

Grenade Launcher

Aggressive

Swarm of Ravens - Energy (Void)

Pros - Fast RoF. Above average projectile velocity.

Neutral - Average mag size.

Cons - Very low aim assist, reload speed, and handling. Low blast radius and stability.

  • Time-Between-Shots: 0.40s

  • Rate of Fire: 150

  • Blast Radius: 15

  • Velocity: 54

  • Stability: 29

  • Reload Speed: 29

  • Handling: 26

  • Aim Assist: 27

  • Inventory: 31

  • Mag Size: 5

Perks:

  • Barrels - Volatile Launch, Linear Compensator, Quick Launch, Smart Drift Control

  • Magazine - Proximity Grenades, High-Explosive Ordnance, High Velocity Rounds, Sticky Grenades

  • Trait 1 - Field Prep, Auto-Loading Holster

  • Trait 2 - Rampage (PvP)Genesis (PvE)

One good thing about this Grenade Launcher is that it can roll with Proximity Grenades, but then again, so can Edge Transit and you probably have a million of those! As such, no matter what roll you get on this weapon, I'd be surprised if it's your best Grenade Launcher option. It has low blast radius, so you'll need to roll at least a barrel perk to improve that, and unfortunately the first trait slot has basically nothing of any worth for PvP. Inventory is lower than Edge Transit, blast radius is lower than Edge Transit, mag size is lower than Edge Transit, handling, reload speed, and stability are all worse than ET. Basically the two places it wins are RoF (by 3 frames) and velocity, and the moral of the story is just use one of your ten million Edge Transit rolls instead of trying to grind out a good version of Swarm of Ravens. For Grenade Launchers in general Genesis is a fantastic perk, so if you get one with that and the other recommended perks I'd give it a shot, but that's probably the only case I'd use it in. Honestly, the Vanguard's Outrageous Fortune launcher is better than this one in almost every way, and it's the same archetype so just go try to get that one if you really want the faster RoF and projectile velocity.

Rocket Launcher

High-Impact

Roar of the Bear - Energy (Solar)

Pros - Very high blast radius and stability. High handling.

Neutral - Average mag size.

Cons - Very low RoF and velocity. Below average reload speed.

  • Rate of Fire: 15

  • Blast Radius: 95

  • Velocity: 43

  • Stability: 61

  • Reload Speed: 41

  • Handling: 68

  • Inventory: 38

  • Mag Size: 1

Perks:

  • Sights/Barrels - Quick Launch/Hard Launch, Linear Compensator, Smart Drift Control

  • Magazine - High-Velocity Rounds/Implosion Rounds, Black Powder, Impact Casing

  • Trait 1 - Tracking Module

  • Trait 2 - Cluster Bombs, Rangefinder, Auto-Loading Holster, Quickdraw, Kill Clip

Been looking for a rocket launcher to replace your beloved Sins of the Past? Look no further, you've found it here! This beauty has nearly max blast radius, and can roll with not just Cluster Bombs, but also Tracking Module! Now that's what I call a God-Roll! The one draw back is of course the relatively low projectile velocity (just like Sins of the Past), but if you happen to get a roll with either Quick Launch or Hard Launch and High-Velocity Rounds or Implosion Rounds, you should be more than good to go on that front! If you don't end up getting Cluster Bombs, pretty much every perk in the last slot is more than usable. Rangefinder will increase the velocity even more thanks to its new usefulness on projectile weapons, Auto-Loading Holster is wonderful in PvE, and Quickdraw on launchers just makes them feel great to use on the move. Kill Clip is probably the least useful here, because it's straight up a waste to spend a rocket killing a small target to try to get the bonus damage on the next rocket shot, but if you happen to catch a dreg or other low level red bar in the blast of your first rocket, then your next rocket will do a nice little bit of extra damage as a luxury.