PvP Reforge Guide: Special & Heavy

Published on: Aug 8, 2015 @ 13:40

We continue our PvP Reforge Guide with Special and Heavy weapons. Special Weapons in particular are central to the competitive metagame; the difference between a properly and poorly rolled Shotgun can mean the difference between life and death. Snipers and Fusion Rifles are high skill weapons that will be seeing more use as Shot Package and Rangefinder are made less appealing, so ensuring their potential is met will be equally important. Finally, Heavy weapons are and will remain the best way to steamroll an opposing team with momentum, with Rockets providing a fire-and-forget instant kill, and LMGs being deadly in the hands of a patient and opportunistic lone wolf.

We’ll give you the best perks for all of the above, so you can mix and match to create your dream weapon!

For more Reforge suggestions, check out our Iron Banner Guide and PvE Reforge Recommendations.

Special

Shotguns

The deadliest of deadly close-range weapons, Shotguns are unmatched when you’re in spitting distance. This isn’t going to change, though Rangefinder and Shot Package won’t be pulling off the same nasty shots when 2.0 rolls around.

Slot 1: Rangefinder, Shot Package, Full Auto

Slot 2: Flared Magwell, Reinforced/Rifled Barrel, Smallbore

Slot 3: Battle Runner, Cascade, Kneepads, Final Round, Luck in the Chamber

In the first slot, there are two strategies to play off of. The first is to guarantee the highest possible one-shot-kill distance with the use of Rangefinder or Shot Package. The jury’s out a bit on which is the best; however, it is pretty clear that Shot Package is the favorite among the playerbase. Rangefinder appears to do more damage at a further distance, but has a diffuse spread, so Shot Package is our recommendation. Your second option is Full Auto, which is a versatile choice for PvE or PvP. While you may not get the one shot kill, you’ll absolutely win out for the two-shot, which can be the difference in many encounters.

In the middle column, you’ll either want to buff your Reload Speed or max your Range. We prefer the latter, though the former could be paired with Full Auto on a naturally High Impact/Range model for an interesting option. If this isn’t your style, go with Reinforced or Rifled Barrel, with Reinforced being the preferred option. If you land Smallbore, know that your base Magazine Size will decrease, but you’ll still achieve the desired stat.

Shotguns have some great options in the final slot. Two of them, Battle Runner and Kneepads, are great choices for those who fly across the map and make the most of putting pressure on opponents. Cascade is the perfect pick for the “shotty beatdown” hold outs from the Halo days, who can reload every round in the mag at lightning speed following a well-tie smacked. Final Round and Luck in the Chamber are the last ways of increasing your effective one-hit-kill distance. The first is ideal for Shotguns with 4 or so in the mag, like the Judgment, especially when paired with Smallbore. The second can do fine if you don’t like to micromanage your ammunition, and are scared you’ll be caught empty-handed.

Fusion Rifles

Fusion Rifles are gonna be back in a big way when 2.0 drops. Well, unless that projectile speed nerf is too drastic. Either way, if Shotguns lose their huge OHKO distance, FRs are the natural candidate to replace them.

First slot: Hip Fire, Feeding Frenzy

Second slot: Single Point Sling, Accelerated Coils, Personal Preference Stat Booster

Third slot: Hot Swap, Battle Runner, Rangefinder, Who’s Next

The pickings are slim for the first slot. Hip Fire is a natural choice for PvP, as you can keep your radar and move speed up, while ensuring a tighter spread for your bursts. Feeding Frenzy is another quality pick to ensure you’ll always have a full magazine, especially for you chronic reloaders. Unflinching earns an honorable mention as well. Though you’ll ideally not be under duress when firing, Fusion Rifles rely on a pinpoint spread, and too much fire can throw off your accuracy. Unflinching ostensibly works to remedy this, though it was shown to have a fairly tame effect on Snipers – so we can’t speak to how useful it is on a Fusion Rifle.

Single Point Sling pushes your favorite FR into Plan C territory, as you’ll swap to it much quicker, while also moving faster once its out. This pairs well with Hip Fire to make you more accurate, and a trickier target to hit, whether you’re ADS or not. Accelerated Coils trades a hair of Impact in exchange for the ability to fire faster. In close range, it’s by far the best perk, but it may cause you to need to land more projectiles to guarantee the one-hit kill. It’s best used on naturally high Impact FRs. We include a blanket recommendation for a stat bump, depending on what you need and what you can sacrifice. Range and Stability are both essential, so find out what you need more of, and balance it with what your other slots offer.

This reviewer has had great luck with Hot Swap, and can personally attest to its efficacy on Fusion Rifles. The only problem again boils down to micromanagement issues; the buff doesn’t last long enough to rely on it for more than a few seconds. For this reason, you might prefer the permanent bonus that Rangefinder offers. It’s arguably the best choice for the third slot, though Battle Runner is always a strong contender, and Who’s Next gives variable bonuses to Reload Speed following a kill, with a very potent buff if it’s the last round in a magazine. Don’t stack Feeding Frenzy with Who’s Next, obviously.

Sniper Rifles

They’re always going to be the choice of deadeyes everywhere, and House of Wolves has offered a few new tools, while taking a few away. Though Final Round is going by the wayside, nothing else will change come TTK, though the infusion of new weapons will doubtless make a splash.

First slot: Hidden Hand, Clown Cartridge, Spray & Play

Second slot: Snapshot, Hand-laid Stock, Injection Mold, Casket Mag

Third slot: Grenadier, Performance Bonus, Unflinching*

There’s a reason you see all the streamers using more or less the same Sniper Rifle: there aren’t that many good perks.

For the first slot, Hidden Hand is probably your best bet. It won’t improve your aiming, but will grant a non-negligible Aim Assistance/Target Acquisition buff that may help your reticle stick just enough to improve your headshot rate. Clown Cartridge can give you a spare round or two with luck after reloading, and Spray & Play is the best reload option for the average player, as it doesn’t require you to get a headshot to proc. Plus, most of the HoW Snipers have a low mag count, so you’ll use it often.

Snapshot is ideal for quick-scopers, and in general is going to help you win Sniper duels and pull off those highlight-reel-worthy shots. Hand-laid Stock and Injection Mold buff Stability, which is great for pretty much anything that doesn’t have LDR or Black Hammer’s RoF, helping you keep the reticle on your quarry for when you miss your headshot. Casket Mag adds one or two to the mag, in exchange for a pretty substantial hit to Stability, which is best used on anything with a low RoF.

The options in the third slot are mostly disappointing. Performance Bonus procs unreliably, and Unflinching is a maddeningly unclear perk – but we mention it because of persisting anecdotal testimony that it may help with a one more intangible aiming mechanics when under fire. Your best choice is probably Grenadier, bumping your CD by 10% when you get the killing blow on an enemy. This is a good choice for Trials, where most Guardians are often counting down the seconds until their grenade is ready to use again.

Heavy

Rocket Launchers

Though Grenades & Horseshoes is being scaled back a bit, Rocket Launchers are pretty cut and dried. There’s a right way to build one, and a wrong way, and this won’t change anytime soon.

First slot: Clown Cartridge, Spray & Play, Tripod

Second slot: Flared Magwell, Heavy Payload, Javelin

Third slot: Grenades & Horseshoes, Tracking

Clown Cartridge can occasionally give you an extra round in the magazine if you don’t feel that three rockets in a single mag is necessary. It is a viable option if you want to rely on a 25% proc rate to get an extra rocket (or 2), but Tripod ensures you won’t be caught reloading when you should be firing. It comes down to a choice between longevity vs. consistency, and to that end should be based on personal preference. Spray & Play is a superior option for those that naturally have at least two, minimizing the time for which your next salvo isn’t available.

If your variant has a low base Blast Radius, you’ll want to patch it with Heavy Payload. Ditto Velocity and Javelin. If you’re set there, and went with Tripod over Spray & Play, then Flared Magwell isn’t bad at all. For something like the Ash Factory, or Radegast’s Fury, this might be what you’ll aim for – though you’re certainly welcome to max out Blast Radius for giggles.

You have two viable perks for the third slot. The first is Grenades & Horseshoes, which is by far the most popular. Your rocket will detonate as soon as it comes into close proximity with an enemy combatant. With enough Blast Radius, this is a low-skill guaranteed kill. Of course, Tracking is optimal for larger maps or airborne Guardians, where you can’t always rely on the initial trajectory. We recommend Grenades & Horseshoes on the whole. As it’s impossible to get both, it’s better to rely on your aim and your rocket’s radius than a finicky tracking mechanic. Blink essentially neuters tracking, anyway.

Machine Guns

While not nearly as popular as Rockets at the moment, the LMG is devastating if you can stay alive in a heavy round long enough to be the last man standing. At this point, it’s lights out for anyone who happens to get in a one-on-one firefight with you, providing you’ve got a stable and reliable weapon.

First slot: Counterbalance, Hidden Hand, Spray & Play

Second slot: Snapshot, High Caliber Rounds, Casket Mag, Injection Mold

Third slot: Crowd Control, Rangefinder, Army of One, Feeding Frenzy

When looking at the first option, you should already consider what your archetype needs. Bungie counter-intuitively gave the fastest firing LMGs the lowest base Stability, so you’ll almost certainly need Counterbalance to offset this noticeable handicap. Or, you can use it to make the BTRD or Jolder’s Hammer scary precise. Hidden Hand is always useful on a hit-scan weapon that needs every bullet to land. Spray & Play offers blistering reload speed, but only if you empty the mag, so it may not be for everyone.

Snapshot is actually surprisingly helpful on an LMG, as many are cumbersome enough to take a while to ADS, and this can be a fatal flaw when you’re ambushed by any of the low TTK weapons that HoW is lousy with. High Caliber Rounds will all-but guarantee no one will return fire with any accuracy, especially on something with a higher RoF that needs a few more bullets to kill. Otherwise, you’ll probably need the help of Casket Mag to dump more bullets into your mag – just be sure you’re offsetting the penalty elsewhere (hint: Counterbalance). Injection Mold is there if you went with Hidden Hand or Spray & Play in the first slot.

Crowd Control is a worthy choice if you play 6v6 a lot. You’d be surprised how many Guardians don’t anticipate the utter devastation that a CC LMG can wreak, and the more that amble into your field of view, the merrier. Army of One, and by extension, Grenadier, are ideal for evenly pacing your cooldowns, while Feeding Frenzy is arguably the best reload perk for an LMG. Finally, Rangefinder can’t be beat for extending your kill distance. While having a stable LMG is a top priority, it won’t do you any good if you can’t hit your enemies at range without suffering drop-off in damage. This is where Rangefinder comes in.

Your Favorite Perks?

That about wraps it up, thanks for sticking with us for this extensive two-parter, and we hope these recommendation have helped ease your anxiety for re-rolling. Time to make those motes go to work!

Let us know if you have any questions, and please share your perk recommendations!

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.

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