The 4th Horseman Exotic Review v.2

It’s not a holdout weapon, it’s a pathfinder.

The 4th Horseman is an Exotic special shotgun.

This timed PS exclusive weapon can be acquired randomly as a reward in PvE or PvP, but will not currently be sold by Xûr.

7/10
8.3/10

The good: Fun to use, full auto = crazy rate of fire.

The bad: Low Impact & range, slow reload speed.

Conclusion: The best in-your-face weapon.

Read the full review here

This is an Exotic Weapon
Shotgun (Special Weapon)
Arc Base Damage/Upgraded302/331
Quality Lvl70
Rate of Fire
34
Impact
38
Range
5
Stability
66
Reload
16
Magazine Size
5

Aim Assist
80
Equip Speed
20
Recoil Direction
60
Zoom
12

Talent Upgrades Tree

Arc Damage

This weapon causes Arc damage.

CQB Ballistics

Greatly reduced recoil. Significant penalty to range.

+10% Damage
-5 Range
-5 Stability

Final Round

The last round in a magazine deals 33% bonus damage.

Upgrade Damage 1

Increases Attack Power, resulting in more Damage.

Fitted Stock

Increases weapon stability.

+25 Stability

Return To Sender

Kills with this weapon grant bonus ammo, directly to the magazine.

Upgrade Damage 2

Increases Attack Power, resulting in more Damage.

Upgrade Damage 3

Increases Attack Power, resulting in more Damage.

Thunderer

This weapon can be fired in full auto mode.

Accurized Ballistics

More range and Impact. Increased recoil.

+5% Damage
+10 Range
-10 Stability

Hand Loaded

This weapon is effective at an extended range.

+20 Range

Upgrade Damage 4

Increases Attack Power, resulting in more Damage.

Field Choke

More range and Impact. Increased recoil.

+5% Damage
+12 Range
-15 Stability

Speed Reload

Reload this weapon quickly.

+50 Reload

Upgrade Damage 5

Increases Attack Power, resulting in more Damage.

Exotic Shard required

Video: Post-Patch 4th Horseman Review


Weapon Review

The The 4th Horseman is a secondary (special) shotgun that is currently a PS timed exclusive, but will become available in Fall 2015.

The Good

Its Rate of Fire immediately jumps out to you, with the default Thunderer perk, it’s deceptively low in comparison to how quickly it can fire. To offset this, the Horseman comes with an unreal base Stability, eclipsing every other Shotgun available.

Like Invective, The 4th Horseman can continuously discharge its barrels one-by-one by holding down the trigger. The automatic fire rate is unparalleled with the arrival of 1.1.2.

Considering its first row perks, there’s an obvious decision to make. The general trend is a choice between Range or recoil management.

CQB Ballistics grants even more Stability on top of the Horseman’s already stellar base, and Field Choke and Accurized Ballistics give helpful nudges of much-needed Range and a smidgen of Impact to boot.

Between the two, Field Choke is best if you prefer a little extra Range over the minor penalty to stability. We recommend CQB Ballistics for doubling down on that sweet, sweet, Stability. The 4th Horseman’s base Range is already so pathetic that a little extra from Field Choke will hardly make a difference.
4th horseman pve damage
Its first standalone perk is a staple on many shotguns: Final Round grants a buff to the last blast in the Horseman’s magazine. The collective increase in damage isn’t substantial, butyou’ll undoubtedly be emptying the entire magazine a lot, so it’s a welcome bit of oomph to finish off any pesky bullet-sponge you may be dealing with.

Row 3 brings a number of helpful bonuses. Fitted Stock is there in case you still have trouble managing its mighty kick. Hand Loaded, while not as potent as Hammer Forged, helps to patch the issues the Horseman has with anyone outside of spitting distance. Finally, Speed Reload cuts the reload time by a third, from 6 seconds to 4.

Any of these three are worthy choices depending on your needs. We don’t recommend Hand Loaded unless you’re going all the way with a Range build including Field Choke or Accurized Ballistics. CQB Ballistics would take too much off your range for it to be a smart trade-off. If you can handle the recoil, you would be best served with Speed Reload.

Besides Thunderer, it doesn’t have a signature perk, and instead is left with Return To Sender. When it procs, which is only about 33% of the time, this lets you keep up the pain for another fraction of a second, which is what the 4th Horseman is all about.

Its Arc Damage is also worth mentioning as a strong PvE positive, as bruisers like Fallen Captains and Hive Knights are often the most dangerous close-range foes. Their shields will melt like butter in the face of this weapon.

The Bad

Unfortunately for The 4th Horseman, it has been saddled with far too many weaknesses for just one patch to make everything okay again. Statistically, it has two crippling flaws, both of which are arguably essential for a well-rounded shotgun.

Its Range is worst-in-class. This is a staggering blow to its utility, as Range is one of the most important statistics for a shotgun. Paired with its poor impact, this means no Shotgun has a steeper penalty in drop-off damage than The 4th Horseman.
4th horseman patch pvp
To round off the poor stat profile, its Reload Speed also is at the absolute bottom-of-the-barrel. Unless you’re using it with Speed Reload, you’ll be spending most of your time reloading – about 6 seconds from empty to full.

Although its perks aren’t exactly bad, neither Final Round nor Return to Sender feel particularly Exotic. The weapon is defined by its high RoF automatic role and both of these perks just feel a little underwhelming. Hammer Forged or Rangefinder would have been godsends; Return to Sender relies on pure chance and can’t be counted on.

Much like Pocket Infinity, the 4th Horseman needs too many of its perks for trade-offs to ever be appealing. The Range is so appalling that it might be tempting to go with Field Choke and Hand Loaded, but then you’re stuck with a weapon that still has poor Range, relatively speaking, and now reloads slow with a substantial amount of recoil.

The resultant perk picture is that of a weapon that is so severely limited in usefulness by its stats that its perks can really only help to barely obscure its flaws. This weapon is designed to do one thing, and one thing only: unleash maximum hurt at intimate distances in record time. Does this make it viable for PvE or PvP? Let’s consider…

PvE

As you’ve no doubt seen by now, this weapon is able to put out some serious pain by emptying the magazine of 5 rounds all in under a second. These 5 rounds of recently-buffed shotgun damage going into a single target is going to practically guarantee a kill on even the most sturdy foes, even doing respectable chunks to certain Bosses. If you can safely get in their face, the last thing your enemies are going to see is the blinding flash of the 4th Horseman delivering a swift demise.

The reason the Horseman has a bit of a role in PvE is because of the diminished necessity of Range. The Fallen, Hive, Vex, and Cabal that you’re tackling will behave predictably, so you won’t need to worry about being instantly killed by getting too close. Fortunately, if you land the first shot, the next 4 will either kill the unlucky enemy, or guarantee he staggers long enough for you to quickly retreat to a safe distance.

Additionally, the middling impact is not such an issue with the 100% PvE buff that all Shotguns recently received. While more would no doubt be welcome, the single-shot damage borders on serviceable, and quickly becomes ridiculous when chaining together rapid shots.

But it has its problems in PvE too, of course. If you do enjoy having a bit of Range to work with in your PvE Shotguns, The 4th Horseman is going to be at the bottom of your priority list to upgrade.

Finally, the upkeep to continuously make it useful is a little unreasonable. You’ll be spending ammo almost as fast as you can pick it up, and the painfully slow base Reload Speed makes it a chore to prep again and again. You’ll be constantly trying to save a clip for a tough Major or Ultra, and it will sit in your Special slot like an Exotic paperweight until you see fit to let it shine.

To this end, we recommend swapping it out liberally for better Special alternatives when the content doesn’t fit its unique niche. Invective is a good all-purpose alternative with some Range, and obviously Icebreaker or any number of other secondary weapons can fill the void.

The bottom line is that this weapon will kill with extreme prejudice when it’s called upon. However, it will do this from breathing distance, and will be a burden on your time and resources in return. If you can balance its drawbacks with its strengths, it will serve you very well. Just make sure to bring a lot of special ammo synthesis.

PvP

The most important statistic for PvP Shotguns is Range, and this one just doesn’t have any. Even with its Range buffed by both Field Choke and Hand Loaded, it is outclassed by almost any similarly spec’d alternative. It can’t cause across-the-room rage with Shot Package or Rangefinder, and its automatic fire and perks don’t do much to mitigate this problem.

If you get close enough without facing return fire or a shotgun blast yourself, you have no need for more than two shots to finish off opposing Guardians. The remainder are ammo-wasting overkill that, while potentially inducing a giddy laughing fit, are not needed.

It can be used in a rush strategy: If you’re attempting to get close and are spotted within a reasonable range, you can rush your opponent while holding the trigger down. You may stagger and shake them up with the fire rate, despite the decreased damage, in time to let Final Round offer the killing blow.

As if through intended irony, though 1.1.2 brought the Horseman back into the limelight, it also reminded it why it’s not going to be a Crucible staple anytime soon. Special Ammo has been made incredibly scarce, and for a weapon that is meant to greedily consume its reserves, this is a death sentence. Be prepared to face frustration as you barely connect with your pellets and quickly expend all available ammunition in shotgun duels and clutch moments.

Everything this weapon does can be done better by different weapons, without consuming an Exotic slot. Yes, if you can flank well and are already a good player, you can see some success with it, but this is true of almost any weapon out there. If you’re dead set on going automatic, Found Verdict or Invective are much better options in every regard.

Cosmetics

The 4th Horseman has an absolutely gorgeous aesthetic. It’s a classic Shotgun with a rich wooden stock, four imposing gunmetal-grey barrels, and a minimalist sight that fits its almost blunderbuss design to a tee.
The 4th Horseman
The ornate carvings where the handle meets the barrel give it an element of class, and the sleek profile helps it toe the line between lethality and utter ridiculousness.

One look at The 4th Horseman, and the care taken in crafting it, points to the old trophy-driven traditions of the hunt, but this blunt force destroyer wasn’t built for just any game.

Conclusion

This weapon has finally been patched to its original purpose, and is now defined by it, for better or for worse.

In PvE, The 4th Horseman represents the pinnacle of burst damage in CQB, but suffers in almost every other category for it. Its Impact is not high enough to offset the fact that it has the worst Range and Reload Speed of any Shotgun available, but the 100% PvE damage buff helps to mask this obvious downside in most PvE encounters.

In PvP, you’d be doing yourself a disservice taking this Exotic weapon over any other, as it simply has no place among the other Shotgun variants that are available.

Still, we’re left with a weapon that is a joy to use in certain PvE contexts and looks incredibly cool while doing it. If you pick one up, we’d level it just for fun; there’s lots to be had.

For PvP this weapon earns a 7/10 and for PvE a 8.3/10.

Joel
I'm aWrySharK, your resident Exotic guru and lover of all things min/max. At PlanetDestiny, my perfectionism is no longer simply a matter of form over function.