One of the three Exotic weapons obtainable from the Challenge of the Elders, the Lord of Wolves is something of an enigma. Although it’s listed as a shotgun, it functions more similarly to a Pulse Rifle, firing a burst of five heavy hitting bullets one after the other, as opposed to a grouping of pellets.
The Good: Very fast Time-to-kill with either body or crit shots, and can out shoot every primary in the game at close range. It can also kill at greater distances than even the best rolled Party Crasher or Conspiracy Theory. Exotic perk boosts allies’ Recovery stat by +3 for a decent amount of time.
The Bad: Doesn’t have enough Range to compete with most Primary weapons, and kills too slowly to take down shotgunners once they’ve closed the distance, due to the amount of time it takes to fire all five rounds in the burst.
I would recommend it as a fun gun for 6v6, or to help take care of the opposing teams shotgun pushing players, but it’s too niche to rely on in highly competitive gametypes.
Unique among shotguns in that it fires a burst of five bullets, as opposed to a spread of 12 pellets, the stat bars here can be deceiving. For example, with a range of 5, you would think that it would be among the worst of all shotguns, but, in reality, it can kill with a single burst at distances greater than even a well-rolled Party Crasher or Conspiracy Theory. The rate of fire is on the slower end, so landing as many bullets as you can from the first burst is of utmost importance, as you are definitely not guaranteed a follow up. Stability is subpar at 12, and without any perks to help, you’ll notice the barrel climbing steeply mid-burst, so it is something to watch out for.
The time-to-kill isn’t great for a shotgun, as it lacks the ability to kill instantly due to firing the bullets one after another, but it is fast enough to beat out all primary weapons. The Aim Assist is nice as well, around 70, which normally doesn’t matter for shotguns, but because this gun functions more like a low range Pulse Rifle, it’s actually very beneficial. The Reload Speed is slow, but with 5 bursts per mag, you won’t really find yourself needing to reload in many desperate situations.
Starting with the Barrel Perks, you’re given the options of Smart Drift Control, for much improved Stability at the cost of Range; Soft Ballistics, for more Aim Assist and Stability at the cost of Impact; or Linear Compensator, for more Range and Impact, as well as mostly vertical recoil, at the cost of Aim Assist and Stability. Personally, I found Linear Compensator to work well, as the decreased Stability is offset by the increased manageability of the vertical recoil, and the boosts to Impact and Range are both meaningful. Soft Ballistics is also a solid choice, and you’ll notice a much tighter bullet spread during a burst, even if you may simultaneously see enemies taking a bit less damage.
The first intrinsic perk available on the Lord of Wolves is Hip Fire, which, although not generally considered a great option, can help with some of the closer range panic shots you may be faced with in the Crucible. In the middle column, Perfect Balance is the desired choice, as opposed to the options of Speed Reload or Extended Mag. Neither of those two perks bring nearly enough to the table to offset the benefit that Perfect Balance gives in tightening up the burst pattern, in my opinion.
The last perk on Lord of Wolves is the Exotic Perk, and its namesake. Kills with this weapon will rally nearby enemies with +3 recovery, and the boost lasts 30 seconds. Although it doesn’t seem like it would provide much help, you’ll actually notice a sharp uptick in the amount of Support +15 notifications you see on screen, and it made me feel good to know that I was helping to keep my teammates alive just by getting kills. Combined with a Defender Titan, or Sunsinger or Stormcaller Warlock, you may actually be able to serve as a walking boon platform for your teammates, and it’s an interesting way to play in PvP. Support is often severely underrated, and I feel like it really has a place, especially in the more chaotic in 6v6 gametypes.
Overall, I found this gun to be incredibly fun and rewarding to use. It can outrange all shotguns, and beat all primary weapons with its fast TTK, but it requires a playstyle that is all its own. Initially, I was unsure of the weapon, and as I tried to play it like a normal shotgun, I constantly found myself dead before my burst was finished firing. I then switched to trying to use it like a pulse rifle, but the range just wasn’t there to compete at most primary weapon distances. It was only when I began to see that I could kill shotgun users before they could get within their own firing range, while still using it like a shotgun to beat primary users, that I discovered its true power.
It’s a very competent tool for this type of playstyle, and I took great joy in helping to neutralize the opposing teams’ shotgun users, while still being able to play aggressively myself. You will have to be aware of the fact that the burst simply takes too long to fire to compete with instant kill weapons at close range, so you have to bait them around corners while you hang father back, or engage at longer distances than you may be used to, before they can get to you. Going against primary weapons, you can still treat it like a shotgun, but be aware of the fact that your bullets will disappear (not just do less damage, actually go away) if you’re firing at a target that is too far away.
This weapon worked very well when paired with a mid-impact hand cannon like Eyasluna, so that you can quickly switch weapons in the event of needing a follow up shot. I also liked running it with Blink on both my Warlock and Hunter (and I thought it paired especially well with invisibility, until I realized you can still see the orange fire at the end of the barrel even when invis). Warlocks who want to throw themselves all-in to the support roll will also appreciate this weapons, as the exotic perk pairs nicely with Song of Flame for Sunsingers, or Pulsewave for Stormcallers. Basically any Defender build that runs No backup Plans will also benefit from using the Lord of Wolves.
Cosmetics and Sounds
Beautiful and unique are the words I would use to describe it. I love the way it looks in the first person view, powerful and brutish, and the sound it makes when it fires can be heard all around the map, and instantly recognized. If someone is shooting the Lord of Wolves in your game, you’ll know, and I even like the way it looks on my characters back in third person. Smooth lines define the functional form, giving way to a mean looking barrel, complete with a constantly burning flame alight at the end. 10/10, would look at again.
Do I think it’s going to change the meta? No. It’s too niche of a weapon to rely on in highly competitive gamemodes. It relies a lot on planning, foresight, and great reaction times to take advantage of what it offers, and it’s not the best weapon to use in a panic situation. However, it does offer the ability to perfectly counter charging shotgunners, which is now more prevalent than ever with the rise in popularity of Universal Remote, and evade movement abilities.
You can make an entire build around this weapon, take it into 6v6 and enjoy yourself, and I highly recommend giving it a shot.