PvP Reforge Guide: Primary Weapons

Published on: Aug 1, 2015 @ 19:08

As PvE content has begun to grow stale, many Guardians are gravitating toward the Crucible to tackle the challenge of the Trials of Osiris, or amass wins to round off their Grimoire score.

To cap it off, patch 2.0 is on the horizon, which promises to even out the balance of some of the Crucible’s most overpowered standby weapons. To this end, many Guardians are seeing the wisdom in seeking out more obscure weapons and reforging them in anticipation for the coming nerfs.

In order to reforge with confidence, it’s important to know what the best perks to be on the look out for are. We’re here to help, with this new 2.0-ready PvP Reforge Guide! This article will cover just Primary weapons, but another article will be published that will include Special & Heavy.

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


Primary

Pulse Rifles

Slot 1: Outlaw/Feeding Frenzy/(Spray & Play?), Battle Runner, or Third Eye

Slot 2: Flared Magwell, Snapshot, Hand-laid Stock, Braced Frame, Appended Magazine

Slot 3: Hidden Hand, Headseeker, Counterbalance, Reactive Reload

Pulse Rifles are going to be one of the most deadly Crucible option when the Exotic Hand Cannons are brought back down to Earth.

In the first slot, depending on your Magazine Size and Reload Speed, you will want either a reload-based perk or one of two other options. Outlaw is the best if you know you’re going to get headshot kills frequently, and Feeding Frenzy is a close follow-up. Spray and Play requires consciously exhausting your magazine, which may not always be practical. Battle Runner gives you an overall mobility boost following any kill, which is always noticeable, and Third Eye is a PvP-designed perk that will give you unparalleled situational awareness so you’re never caught off guard. For bulky Pulse Rifles with high Impact, it’s particularly appealing.

In the second slot, you’ll want to reinforce one of two crucial stats. Flared Magwell is a great choice if you didn’t opt for a reload perk in the first slot, and Snapshot is viable on the slower-handling Pulse Rifles. Hand-laid Stock and Braced Frame both offer significant Stability bonuses at the cost of another stat; it’s up to you which one you can afford to trade-off. Finally, Appended Magazine adds extra rounds to the Pulse Rifle mag, at the cost of some Reload Speed – an excellent choice if you chose a reload perk in the first slot. As the patch is going to buff Magazine Size and reduce base Stability, we’d probably go with Hand-laid Stock or Braced Frame.

In the final slot, you’re looking to either offer a final substantial stat buff or fine-tune your damage or accuracy. Hidden Hand might help you land headshots with more accuracy, improving Aim Assistance dramatically. Headseeker is a great perk to compensate if you aren’t confident in landing a full burst of headshots. Even the best of players miss frequently, so extra damage is never a bad thing.

Make sure that you aren’t doubling down unnecessarily. Flared Magwell and Outlaw is overkill, as would be both Braced Frame and Counterbalance on a PR with a high base Stability. Try to offset your weaknesses from one perk with the strength from another, and be mindful of what your RoF/Impact model demands. If you have a high RoF and low Impact, Headseeker and Stability perks will do wonders. Play around and see what you like!

Auto Rifles

Look, we know they aren’t any good, but that’s changing soon! With the upcoming damage buff in September, and compensatory Range and Stability nerfs, it might be worth investing a few Motes for a dark horse down the road.

Slot 1: Hot Swap, Crowd Control, Battle Runner, Focused Fire

Slot 2: Extended Mag, High Caliber Rounds, Flared Magwell, Rifled Barrel, Hand-laid Stock

Slot 3: Hidden Hand, Counterbalance, Third Eye, Outlaw, Rangefinder

Auto Rifles are going to dominate the close-to-mid-range game if the damage buff is substantial enough. If the buff doesn’t go far enough, well then you won’t have to worry about using one of these anyway.

For your first perk, the options aren’t great. You’re either looking to patch a couple poor qualities, or use a niche perk for the times when it comes into play. Hot Swap is great if you’re routinely using your special weapon, offering a significant increase to accuracy and effective range whenever you switch back to your primary. It might be just what you need when 2.0 rolls around. Crowd Control can come in handy when you’re finishing off a weakened target with a second just around the corner, but you find that it doesn’t get as much use as you’d like. Battle Runner seems to suit the idea of an Auto Rifle perfectly, and more maneuverability never hurts. Focused Fire can actually decrease DPS, but will often create a laser out of your weapon, allowing you to hit consecutive headshots with very little difficulty.

Your second slot should essentially be dedicated to bolstering whatever stat your Auto Rifle is weak in. If it’s got a low mag, Extended Mag is your solution. If it reloads extremely slowly: Flared Magwell. Rifled Barrel is an anticipatory recommendation for 2.0, offering the biggest boost to Range in exchange for a slower Reload Speed. If you’re using an extremely high RoF Auto Rifle, you’re not going to hit anything at range anyway, so Hand-laid stock is an option for the best possible stability. Finally, you can opt for High Caliber rounds if your goal is to throw off your opponents with a little more stagger power.

Much like Pulse Rifles, you should tailor your third perk to whatever your first two don’t cover. Hidden Hand is always good for hit-scan weapons that lose out on TTK potential when they miss a few shots. Counterbalance has been proven to be extremely effective at managing both stability and makes for more predictable recoil control. Outlaw is actually a solid option, especially if you went with Rifled Barrel in the middle column. Third Eye is great for all the reasons that it is for Pulse Rifles, though it is not nearly as necessary on a weapon that requires so many shots anyway to kill another guardian. Finally, Rangefinder might end up being one of the most desirable option come 2.0, giving a huge boost to effective range that many Auto Rifles are sorely lacking.

The basic formula for a good Auto Rifle is to pick a role and stick to it. If you want something that will hopefully melt at close range, you’re going to want unmatched Stability. If you need something more versatile, be sure to include some anticipatory range/accuracy buffs, like Focused Fire, Rifled Barrel and/or Rangefinder.

Hand Cannons

Poised in 2.0 to lose a bit of their luster, Legendary Hand Cannons are still going to be viable with the right perks in steady hands. We don’t anticipate them to be as good as Pulse Rifles, but they will by no means be useless.

Slot 1: Final Round, Icarus, Battle Runner

Slot 2: Flared Magwell, Explosive Rounds, Extended Mag, Reinforced/Rifled Barrel, Smallbore/Braced Frame

Slot 3: Hidden Hand, Luck in the Chamber, Spray & Play, Outlaw, Army of One

When considering your options, it’s clear the Hand Cannon doesn’t really have an ideal loadout in the first slot. Final Round offers bonus damage that could be a the backend of a two-headshot kill, but that requires careful attention to not reloading unnecessarily. Icarus is okay, but it’s never the best strategy to put yourself in the air just to get kills. Battle Runner we’ll mention again, though it also is by no means particularly useful; mobility speed with Hand Cannons is already high.

Slot two has a few more obvious choices. Flared Magwell is great on a HC with a low base Reload Speed or low Magazine Size. Explosive Rounds ups your body shot damage and can stagger more easily, but lowers critical damage – it’s best on high RoF HCs. Extended Mag will alleviate all Magazine Size concerns and will be even more appealing with the nerf to Magazine Size. Finally, Reinforced or Rifled Barrel will buff your Range, so you can engage with confidence at mid-range. Smallbore or Braced Frame can be used with Final Round and Luck in the Chamber for a Hawkmoon Lite-style weapon, but otherwise should be avoided.

For your third option, Hidden Hand gives you a little bit of forgiveness in aiming and placing your shots. Spray & Play or Outlaw are worthy choices for improving Reload Speed, with the former being preferable on smaller mag weapons, and the latter being much better when you can routinely get headshots. Army of One is doable if you use your grenade and melee frequently, but only if you can get a quick, unassisted kill with your Hand Cannon alone. The best choice may be Luck in the Chamber, granting helpful bonus damage to a random shot in a magazine. We would advise against Extended Mag with this one, though.

With Hand Cannons, you should plan on keeping your Range high enough to survive after the 2.0 nerf, and otherwise focus on either bonus damage or just making sure your stats are well-rounded and you can aim and fire with accuracy. If you miss one shot, your TTK skyrockets, so always keep this in mind.

Scout Rifles

The long range kings are currently a little underpowered in the Crucible, but once the weapon balance patch is implemented, it’s going to elevate the Scout to its rightful position. Hand Cannons, and even Pulse Rifles, won’t be able to drop opponents from across large maps like the Scout Rifle when all is said and done.

Slot 1: Battle Runner, Luck in the Chamber, Full Auto

Slot 2: Single Point Sling, Explosive Rounds, Personal Preference Stat Booster

Slot 3: Hidden Hand, 3rd Eye, Zen Moment, Army of One, Spray and Play

Scouts don’t see a lot of Crucible action these days because there’s so few large maps, so it’s difficult to say with certainty that combinations of these perks are going to have you see success.

Battle Runner is included as per the usual trend, and is useful in tandem with Single Point Sling for a Multi-Tool Lite. Luck in the Chamber is okay on the lower Magazine Size weapons introduced with the House of Wolves. Really, the only perk you should aim for in the first slot is Full Auto. It’s been shown that, for whatever reason, a Scout Rifle will Full Auto will fire slightly faster than its Semi-Auto variant being feathered at the maximum RoF. To this end, you have more DPS when using Full Auto, and it’s therefore the best choice. It also lessens trigger finger strain, and you can focus on aiming and strafing rather than constantly pulling the trigger.

For the middle column, Single Point Sling is a good choice to make you a harder target to hit while you frustrate Snipers and anyone out of their natural range. Explosive Rounds has similar benefits and weaknesses to Hand Cannons with the same perk. You’ll do more DPS when you aren’t landing headshots, in addition to shaking them up a little more – but headshots should always be your goal. If neither of these appeal to you, you should go with whatever stat trade-off fits and improves your RoF/Impact variant. High RoF will obviously want more Stability, and if their Magazine Size is low, Reload Speed. Low RoF will care less about Stability, and will probably prefer Reload Speed outright. There are a host of middle column perks that will do the job for you, so long as you know what you’re looking for.

In the third slot, Hidden Hand is always a good choice for Primary hit-scan weapons, especially at closer range when Scout Rifles are more unwieldy. 3rd Eye is excellent, as the MIDA Multi-Tool’s happy Crucible popularity has proven. Zen Moment can be used in conjunction with Explosive Rounds on a high RoF model to get max Stability almost instantly. Army of One deserves its mention, but with low TTK, you might see your kills “stolen” a little too often for it to be a frontrunner. Finally, Spray & Play is suited to high RoF models, though you should avoid it if you went with Feather Mag or a similar perk in the middle column.

Your Favorite Perks?

What are your thoughts for the best PvP rolls? Did we give something too much credit, or another perk not enough? We’re looking forward to your thoughts in the comments and what you plan on using once the patch drops.

With so many new weapons & perks being introduced in The Taken King, expect another tier list once all of those new perks have been discovered and tested!

 

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.