Now that high-impact snipers like 1000YS and Longbow can no longer reliably Super-snipe, I’ve set out on a mission to find a suitable replacement. Taking down a leaping Hammer Titan or charging Bladedancer was a rarity, but it offered a thrill like no other, and I’ll be damned if I’m going to let a silly thing like a nerf to my favorite sniper stop me from doing it.
Stats and Perks
- Pros – High Range. Can snipe Guardians out of their Supers, even at full armor, with 1 crit shot.
- Cons – Below average stability. Low aim assist, reload speed, mag size, and equip speed.
- Linear Compensator
- Life Support
An interesting weapon, similar to the raid models in that comes with preset perks, the Devil’s Dawn is competitive in PvP right out of the box with a low zoom scope (4.9x), Life Support, and Quickdraw. Unfortunately, the last slot is filled with Firefly, a perk that, although fun, doesn’t serve much purpose on a sniper rifle. Although the scope is a one-off variant in terms of appearances, I tested to verify that it does indeed have the same magnification as other low-zoom options like ShortGaze and Ambush.
Something to note about this weapon is that, again similarly to the raid variants, its base stats are not reflection its usable stats. Because every barrel perk option decreases aim assist and stability, as well as increasing range and impact, the numbers are slightly different. It actually does 463 damage on critical hits to a Guardian, and 186 damage to body shots. If you use the recommended perks, the stability drops to 31, aim assist goes down to 29, and the range climbs up to 88. Something less notable but still present is the change in recoil direction from 70 to 90 with Linear Compensator, but that’s just a minor improvement.
- Pros – High Range. Above average inventory. Can snipe Guardians out of their Supers, even at full armor, with 1 crit shot.
- Cons – Very low stability, aim assist, and equip speed. Below average reload speed. Low mag size.
Recommended Vendor Perks:
- ShortGaze SLH10
- Grenadier or Spray and Pray
- Hidden Hand
Recommended PvP Perks:
- ShortGaze SLH10, LongView SLR10, ViewTac SLH20, Ambush SLH25
- Life Support, Grenadier, Army of One, Mulligan, Spray and Pray
- Quickdraw, Perfect Balance, Smallbore, Snapshot, Skip Rounds
- Hidden Hand, Unflinching, Take a Knee, Firefly
Recommended PvE Perks:
- ShortGaze SLH10, LongView SLR10, ViewTac SLH20, Ambush SLH25
- Triple Tap, Spray and Pray, Grenadier, Army of One, Life Support
- Quickdraw, Skip Rounds, Perfect Balance, Snapshot Smallbore
- Unflinching, Take a Knee, Hidden Hand, Firefly
This was the first weapon I purchased when RoI dropped, and I have to say I’m impressed. Stat-wise, it’s not the best, but the ability to do enough damage to kill Guardians out of their Supers, not to mention body shot kill basically anyone who has been breathed on, is very rewarding in the current state of the Crucible. The low RoF and lack of aim assist can get to you if you’re coming from a 1000YS or Longbow, but fortunately the vendor version comes with Hidden Hand and ShortGaze, two of the very best options for snipers. Smallbore is also included, and doesn’t actually decrease the mag size, so you get a free boost to range and stability as well. Either Grenadier or Spray and Pray can be helpful in various situations, depending on your preferences.
If you are looking at a version of this weapon with randomly rolled perks, you need to first choose whether you want to take it into PvP or PvE, or some combination of both. For PvP, ShortGaze and Hidden Hand are still the two best options in the first and last column, but we’re also going to be looking for Life Support and Quickdraw. The handling speed of this weapon is quite low by default, and trying to improve on it should be of utmost importance if you want the weapon to be at its best in the Crucible.
If you can’t get ShortGaze, the other low-zoom scopes can work, but be wary of Ambush dropping the aim assist down to almost nothing. I personally like ViewTac, but many players find the flinch pattern to be a dealbreaker. If you don’t have Quickdraw, then something that improves stability would be my next choice. The RoF is slow enough that, if uncontested, you can usually realign in time, but with the recent changes to flinch I’ve found it to be more difficult when being shot. When you’re hit immediately following one of your own shots, flinch is added on top of how high the gun jumps due to recoil, and something that decreases that amount can be the difference between nailing the follow-up and shooting wildly over an opponents head.
For PvE, I again like ShortGaze as the best scope, but any one you’re comfortable with will work for you. In the second column, Triple Tap is going to be the best for increasing the amount of damage you put into bosses, but Spray and Pray is an acceptable alternative. If you don’t have one of those two, you probably will be able to find a different sniper that can perform better in terms of ease of use and DPS. Quickdraw is again the optimal third column perk, but Skip Rounds can also be useful due to the increase in the inventory stat it brings with it. If you use this perk, you can avoid using sniper ammo boots and still get the extra ammo in reserves. Unflinching is probably the best perk in the last slot, specifically to counteract the flinch changes which affected PvE as well, but Take a Knee can also be helpful if used wisely.
- Pros – Can snipe Guardians out of their Supers, even at full armor, with 1 crit shot. High range and inventory.
- Cons – Very low stability, reload speed, mag size, aim assist, and equip speed.
- Linear Compensator
- Spray and Pray
- Quickdraw or Injection Mold
- Wait For It
EX MACHINA may not have fantastic base stats, but the combination of Spray and Pray and Wait for It (which gives you a larger magazine if you reload when empty) may make it a tremendous weapon for doing maximum damage to bosses. I’m not sure that it will take the place of some of the more commonly used snipers for PvE activities, but it’s good to finally see some more options available for discerning users. Linear Compensator will give a nice bit of bonus damage to each shot, and Quickdraw and Injection Mold can both help with the rather slow handling speeds of the weapon.
In the Crucible, I found these guns to be difficult to use, though very rewarding when played well. All three weapons share the general traits of low handling, low stability, and low aim assist, and those three are all things I generally look for in my PvP sniper rifles. Fortunately perks can be used to lift most of those stats out of their respective basements, but you’re still going to be lacking when compared to other popular weapons like 1000YS, LDR, and Glass Promontory. The slower RoF doesn’t seem like a huge drop off at first, but it’s very noticeable when you attempt to follow up the first show. 1.00s is right at the slowest primary weapons’ times-to-kill, so if you miss the first shot, or even hit and don’t kill them, you often won’t get a second chance. Switching to a primary weapon is the best bet for a clean up kill, but again the slower equip speeds can come into play here, making it difficult to swap in the middle of combat. Pairing it with a primary that has a high equip speed stat is probably your best option, but the Quickdraw perk can make a huge difference as well.
In terms of gameplay strategies, I found moving behind aggressive teammates to act as a sort of overwatch sniper worked better than trying to hold down sniper lanes alone. The high body shot damage allows you to easily leave opponents absolute or one-shot, depending on their armor values, while simultaneously making headshots unnecessary against most players that have already taken damage. Covering other teammates when they pushed gave me the chance to use the positive aspects of the weapon, and rewarded me with some of my most enjoyable gameplay. Attempting to cover a sniper lane by myself was less successful, for some obvious reasons.
The slow RoF makes it difficult to engage multiple targets one after the other, and I often found that if I killed one enemy, he would come back with a teammate and overwhelm me. Even if you hit the first shot, in the time it takes to fire the second most good players will have already taken you down, or forced you into cover and established control of the lane. The lack of aim assist also makes the guns significantly less forgiving than many other popular snipers, and head to head sniper battles often left me feeling like I was at a severe disadvantage. Low stability also played a roll in these fights, as my follow up shots required much more realignment than I was used to coming from a 1000YS, and if I was shot while attempting to acquire a second target it went from difficult to impossible. Assists were quickly racked up by both myself and others on my team as we worked together to take down enemies in synchronized engagements. With headshots often difficult to come by when covering congested areas in the heat of battle, the ability to utilize body shots was a welcome relief.
As a side note, because engagements in this gametype are so often relegated to in-your-face onslaughts, I actually found myself no-scoping more often than I ever have before. I’m not sure if this is to do with not having enough time to ADS, or just the fact that I was surprisingly hitting a decent amount of the shots. Knowing that if I even grazed someone who was barely wounded it would kill them probably contributed to this behavior as well.
The Good: Can kill Supered Guardians with a critical hit, regardless of armor levels. Can kill almost anyone who has taken damage with a body shot. Does massive amounts of damage per shot in PvE.
The Bad: Slow RoF, low mag size, low aim assist, low stability, low equip speed, and a reliance on perks to try to make up for those shortcomings.
Conclusion: These are high risk/high reward weapons, which means they’re powerful in the right hands, and borderline useless in the wrong ones. If you’re going to use them, you need to play to their strengths, even if they don’t necessarily align with your own. Meanwhile, chasing the perfect roll can give you something to hunt for, and landing shots with these guns feels inexplicably good.
If you want to try them out, then strap in for the emotional rollercoaster that is seeing someone get away with literally 1 or 2 HP left, while killing someone else who had only been hit by a single stray Doctrine of Passing bullet.