New Dragunity Support – Justifying Dragunity Kuse

Konami’s latest round of retro support headed to the OCG in Cybernetic Horizon targets Cyber Dragons and Dragunity with new monsters and support cards. As a long time Dragunity fan I have a lot to say about the cards that have been revealed so far: a Dragunity Knight Synchro, a Tuner, and a Continuous Trap. There’s still at least one more card on the way–yet another Dragunity Knight of some kind. We’ll find out next month, but in the meantime let’s take a deep dive into one of the three cards already revealed.

One More Phalanx Than Necessary?

If you asked any Dragunity fan “What retro support would you use most?” the answer certainly wouldn’t have been a fourth copy of Dragunity Phalanx. Dragunity Kuse has its uses, but it’s blatantly an additional copy of Phalanx with an annoying restriction: it can only be used as a Synchro Material for a Dragunity Monster. It’s useless for Summoning the single best card in the Dragunity Extra Deck: Crystal Wing Synchro Dragon.

Dragunity Kuse – Is it even worth playing alongside Phalanx?

Kuse copies Phalanx’s key effect to Special Summon itself when equipped to a monster. It’s what makes Phalanx worth playing, and it makes Kuse a viable option among a sea of unplayable Dragunity Tuners. It works perfectly fine with Dragunity Dux, Dragunity Legionnaire, Dragunity Knight – Vajrayana, and other Dragunity monsters with built-in equip effects. It’s also a worth card to equip from the deck with Dragunity Divine Lance.

Where Kuse differentiates itself from Phalanx is very interesting: you can treat it as a Level 4 for a Synchro Summon, and that’s a big deal in a deck that’s all about Synchro climbing. Dragunity Knight – Barcha, which previously was nearly impossible to Summon, is now available by Normal Summoning Dragunity Dux, equipping Kuse, Summoning the Tuner from the Spell and Trap Zone, and then Synchro Summoning for the Level 8 monster.

Barcha is suddenly playable thanks to Kuse, expanding options within the Dragunity Extra Deck.

Kuse joins Phalanx and Destrudo the Lost Dragon’s Frisson as Cards of Consonance targets, but I’m not sure doubling down on draw effects will help Dragunity achieve its goals. Back in 2011 Cards of Consonance only existed to get Phalanx in the graveyard quicker, and in 2013 it became a way to reach Mystletainn to kick start combos with Hieratic Dragon King of Atum. At the time Tempest, Dragon Ruler of Storms was Unlimited and Gold Sarcophagus could effectively search any Wind Dragon monster by banishing Tempest. Cards of Consonance just hasn’t been as strong since.More importantly, Kuse can upgrade Dragunity Knight – Vajrayana or Dragunity Arma Mystletainn straight to the new Dragunity Knight – Ascalon. We’ll talk about Ascalon’s value in the new Extra Deck later, but the access doesn’t hurt. Unfortunately Kuse’s restriction does hurt, and it’s far from a replacement to Dragunity Phalanx. If you want to Summon a non-Dragunity Level 6 or 8 Synchro via Dux you’ll still need access to Phalanx. If Ascalon and Barcha aren’t worth playing then why bother with Kuse at all?

A draw engine could be too much for a deck loaded with redundancy.

In the next blog post I’ll talk more about Dragunity Knight – Ascalon, so today I’ll just spotlight two of the monster Kuse makes possible: Dragunity Knight – Barcha and Dragunity Knight – Trident. Barcha the only Level 8 Synchro in the Dragunity Knight line-up, and as a result it’s been perpetually overlooked. It just never made sense: Dux could climb to Level 8 Synchros, but Vajrayana and Phalanx was incompatible with Barcha’s non-Tuner requirement. It wasn’t worth it to include other cards just to make Barcha live since it contributed very little to the strategy. Instead, Phalanx, Kuse, and Destrudo should probably only be run at one to two copies each. There are already enough ways to land them in the graveyard beyond Dragon Ravine: Foolish Burial and Dragon Shrine free up Dragon Ravine searches, and while they’re terrible for card economy they’re a significant boon to consistency. Plus, running fewer Tuners in total reduces redundancy.

With these new support cards Barcha can be Summoned with Dux and Kuse alone, but is it worth playing? Actually…yes, but probably not for the reason you think. Barcha has benefited greatly from the introduction of Link Summoning and the global ability to turn almost any monster into a material for a Link Monster. Read Barcha’s effect again: When this card is Synchro Summoned, you can select any number of Dragon-Type “Dragunity” monsters in your Graveyard, and equip them to this card. With a few copies of Phalanx or Kuse in your graveyard you can use Barcha to equip them, then activate your Tuner effects to flood the field with monsters. Essentially, Dragunity Dux is a one-card Link 4.

Devastatingly powerful, but how can Dragunity afford the cost?

Kuse brings Barcha to the mainline Dragunity strategy for the first time ever at the best possible time to leverage its effect. There’s one more Dragunity Knight that benefits from Kuse: Dragunity Knight – Trident. Trident actually saw play when Metalfoes were at the top of the competitive scene. Players would Summon it with Ultimaya Tzolkin and use its effect to send Metalfoes traps to the graveyard to trigger their effects. Trident has an extremely strong effect that can knock an entire playset out of the Extra Deck and effectively act as a preemptive Ghost Reaper & Winter Cherries. Thanks to Kuse it’s now easily Summoned through Dragunity Legionnaire, though Destrudo and any Level 6 or lower Winged-Beast can also Summon it.

The new Extra Deck access that Kuse contributes to Dragunity is curious. It’s a Level 10 enabler of course, so Dragunity Knight – Ascalon is possible by Synchro Summoning with Vajrayana, and Trident Dragion, Nivana High Paladin, Leo, Keeper of the Sacred Tree, and Ascension Sky Dragon can be Summoned by first Summoning Barcha, then using Phalanx with it to reach Level 10.

There is potential here, but it’s dependent on the last batch of support. Come back soon or follow me on twitter for an update on my next blog covering Ascalon, and Dragunity Drive after that.

Until next time then

-Kelly Locke


Link Mechanic Updates: Tokens Work Too

According to newly-released rules for the upcoming Link mechanic, Token monsters can be used to Link Summon a Link Monster. How does this impact the mechanic?

First, a bit of extrapolation. If Token Monsters can be used, there’s little reason why Pendulum Monsters wouldn’t also be valid. Clearly the mechanic doesn’t require you to “send” monsters to the graveyard as a cost. If that’s the case then Pendulum Monsters should be fine.

Tokens Are Easily Manufactured
Tokens are easily Summoned in mass numbers without burning your Normal Summon. Most spells and traps that Summon Tokens are too slow or conditional. Scapegoat stands out among them for its sheer volume and value as a Quick-Play. You’ll need to wait a turn to activate it, but at worst it’s a solid option for blocking attacks.

Blackwing – Gofu the Vague Shadow is the standout, must-play Link enabler and provides three monsters for an unconditional Link 3. For now that’s just Gaiasaber, the Video Knight, but you could use a Token for Link Spider and make further plays from there. For example:

1. Summon Gofu and 2 Tokens
2. Send a Token to Link Summon Link Spider
3. Normal Summon a monster from your hand
4. Use Link Spider, Gofu, and another monster to Summon Decode Talker

If you keep the Vague Shadow Tokens in your Linked Zones you’ll be able to negate two targeting effects, and Decode Talker will hit the field with 3300 ATK. That’s a two-card investment for a massive negation body, and you’ll have two potential Link Zones as you clear away the tokens. If you want, you can change each remaining Token into a Link Spider, somehow Summon another monster, and Summon Gaiasaber, the Video Knight to open up two more Link Zones.

Dandylion, Doppelwarrior, Mare Mare, and even Lekunga can put a fairly large number of Tokens on the field on short notice. Xyz Monsters like Mecha Phantom Beast Dracossack, Number 42: Galaxy Tomahawk, and Number 64: Ronin Raccoon Sandayu are much more interesting under this rule. Summoning any of these monsters will actually extend your plays rather than end them.

I don’t think this makes Mecha Phantom Beasts especially playable. That theme has its own issues, and Summoning more than one Token at a time has typically been difficult. For now Link Spider doesn’t offer any additional plays unless you’re trying to get to Missus Radiant, which actually hurts the deck.

To recap, here are the Link Monsters we know about:

Link Spider – Requires a Normal Monster, so all Tokens are valid
Honeybot – Requires Cyverse monsters
Missus Radiant – Requires Earth monsters, can use Earth Tokens (Scapegoat)
Decode Talker – Requires Effect Monsters
Gaiasaber, the Video Knight  – Can use Tokens

Use of Tokens might not be the absolute best way to Summon Link Monsters if the majority of them require Effect Monsters, but there’s certainly an opportunity to ‘scale up’ your Link Spiders.

Link Monsters: First Impressions

Konami revealed the next Monster Card type and various other rule changes in the latest issue of V Jump. The new rules have made changes to basic Extra Deck Summoning mechanics, and represent the most extensive adjustments ever to how Yu-Gi-Oh! is played.

Link Monsters
Link Monsters are a new mechanic that adds an extra layer of complexity to Extra Deck Summoning.

  • A 6th Monster Zone has been added, called the Extra Monster Zone
  • Extra Deck Monsters can only be Summoned to the Extra Monster Zone if Synchro, Xyz, or Fusion Summoned
  • Pendulum Monsters Summoned from the Extra Deck also must be Summoned to the Extra Monster Zone
  • Extra Deck Monsters can also be Summoned to Linked Zones
  • Each player can only use 1 Extra Monster Zone at a time

Linked Zones are any Monster Zones being targeted by a Link Monster’s Link Markers: those arrows on the sides of the card art. Those Zones become available for Extra Deck Summons, and once a monster is Summoned there it doesn’t need to be “Linked” to stick around. You can destroy your Link Monster, replace it with another, or do whatever you want. Linked Zones are only important for certain card effects, and for Summoning monster from the Extra Deck.

Let’s talk about how this impacts each Summoning method, and the decks that typically use them.

Fusion Monsters
It’s not terribly common to see decks spam Fusion Monsters, but we’ll be seeing quite a bit more of it now that Invoked and Fluffals have received their new support in Fusion Enforcers. If you’re playing Fusions you’ll want to prioritize cards that let you use Fusion Materials from the hand or graveyard. You’ll need your Normal Summon to fuel Link Summons. Decks that can Summon just one Fusion Monster and support it by other means won’t be hurt as much. Cards like Odd-Eyes Vortex Dragon and Invoked Mechaba can hold down the field on their own.

There’s an interesting Synergy between the new rule on Pendulum Summons and Vortex Dragon: if you can’t Pendulum Summon those monsters again, you might as well put them back in the deck to negate your opponent’s cards.

Other monsters, like Greedy Venom Fusion Dragon, can be Special Summoned back to the field in a Main Monster Zone.

Finally, single-use Fusions like Elder Entity Norden, Gem-Knight Seraphinite, and Panzer Dragon are still viable largely because they don’t stick around for long. Seraphinite might become a liability for some strategies though, as it’s not the easiest card to take off the field again. That’s especially true with Ultimaya Tzolkin’s nerf.

Synchro Monsters
“Synchro  spam” might not be dead, as evidenced by numerous video showing Turn 1 Quasar combos under the new rules, but they’re nowhere near as consistent as they were previously. Working within the Link framework increases combo counts, reduces the number of “broken hands” by requiring extra cards, and makes the combo more vulnerable to disruption.

The decks most impacted by this change are those that previously won games by flooding the field with Synchros. Decks that make a single Synchro, those that can bounce their Synchros off the field, or Synchros with self-removal effects are still useful. Yang Zings can transition to builds that sit on Chaofeng, Phantom of the Yang Zing and exploit early-game set-ups with Denglong, First of the Yang Zing and Nine Pillars of the Yang Zing. Crystal Wing Synchro Dragon remains among the best Synchros in the game under this rule.

PSY-Framelord Omega, Stardust Dragon, Colossal Fighter, Drill Warrior, Stardust Warrior, Ancient Sacred Wyvern, and Angel of Zera can return to the field in a Main Monster Zone. This frees up your Extra Monster Zone, letting you Summon another Extra Deck monster if necessary.

Lastly, single-use Synchros like Black Rose Dragon are just as useful as ever.

Xyz Monsters
Nothing too noteworthy here. If anything, Xyz are arguably in the best possible position post-Links thanks to Rank-Up mechanics. Overlaying repeatedly on the Extra Monster Zone could be a core strategy going forward, and decks like Raidraptors with on-theme Rank-Up cards will still be able to access their best monsters.

Again, single-use Xyz remain solid under this change. Diamond Dire Wolf nukes itself instantly to free up the Extra Monster Zone, while cards like Castel, the Skyblaster Musketeer can be immediately sent to the graveyard for a Link Summon following the resolution of its effect.

There are plenty of decks that can sit on a single Xyz, or only ever need one Xyz at a time. Remember the days of Diving Dragon Knight Felgrand in Sylvans? That strategy exists today with Trains and Number 81: Superdreadnought Rail Cannon Super Dora. True King/True Dracos rarely need more than a single True King V.F.D., the Beast to achieve their win condition.

Pendulum Monsters
Pendulum strategies were utterly annihilated under this rule change. Because Pendulum Monster cannot be used to Summon a Link Monster you’re already at a disadvantage while playing a Pendulum theme. There’s no restriction on Summoning from the hand or deck, but you’ll be losing out on so many potential Summons if you don’t prioritize Link Monsters and add more Linked Zones to your field. Those problems together cripple Pendulum strategies.

Despite that, if a Pendulum strategy can put non-Pendulums on the field for Link Summons, or simply uses Extra Deck Pendulum Summons less often, then the rule change might not be as big of a problem. Monsters that return to the hand, like Mist Valley Apex Avian and Majespecter Unicorn – Kirin, are still viable. In fact, this change might put a new emphasis on Pendulum Summoning non-Pendulum monsters.

For Pendulums this change is very reminiscent of the way Synchros were affected by the 2012 Forbidden & Limited List. The removal of the best Tuners, the best Synchro, and the best non-Tuner at the time was just too much. We stopped seeing Synchros for a long time afterwards. Could Pendulums meet the same fate?

So far I’m enjoying the theorizing and speculation on Link Monsters. I’m keeping an open mind, but I’ll talk more about my criticisms of the mechanic very soon.

Until next time then



Moments of Triumph Year 2 Released

This year’s Moments of Triumph–a set of challenges designed to test your skills in completing some of the game’s most difficult quests and activities–is a step up in difficulty from last year’s. Let’s recap:


Year 1 featured two raids, Prison of Elders, three story lines, and a whole lot of vanilla Destiny challenges. Beating Vault of Glass and Crota’s End on Hard was fairly easy by the time House of Wolves launched, but defeating Skolas was still a challenge due to the increased Light Level. Skolas’ Revenge featured Level 35 enemies, which at the time was a huge step up. You were taking a major loss in damage and armor by tackling Skolas as a Level 34 Guardian, and modifiers could make it even more difficult. Luckily Bungie patched out the elemental burn modifiers and timed reinforcement waves to make the fight a bit more fair.

Golden Chests took a little hunting, Crucible games might have been a grind for PvE only players, and likewise Public Servant was likely a huge time sink for PvP players. Otherwise these challenges could be quickly completed by joining up with a raid team and crushing the three biggest challenges. More likely than not, had you been playing at all since House of Wolves, you probably had all but the bottom three challenges completed on day 1.

Now, let’s check out Year 2


Much of Year 2’s Moments of Triumph are tied to Eris Morn’s Revenge. Collecting all 50 Calcified Fragments requires you to run the raid, the strikes, the story, and Court of Oryx. Along the way you’ll complete A Blade Reborn, The Third Element, and most likely The Sword Logic. You could finish your collection by playing King’s Fall on Normal, but you’ll want to defeat Oryx on hard at the very least. It’s a challenging fight, and easily the hardest PvP requirement on this list. That said, Fragment hunting is time consuming. Fragments from Challenge Modes in King’s Fall and Tier 3 Court of Oryx bosses are only available on a three week rotation. Miss one and you’ll be waiting nearly a month to try again.

Return to the Reef and Challenge of the Elders are much easier than Year 1’s Skolas. They can both be completed in about an hour. A Blade Reborn is unfortunately a much longer endeavor, but so worth it in the end. Finally, This Is Amazing is this year’s PvP challenge. It’s a worthy Moment of Triumph that will likely end up being the stumbling block for many PvE-focused Guardians.

Overall this year’s Moment of Triumph feature a set of excellent choices. Eris Morn’s Revenge and This is Amazing are lengthy quests perfectly match the idea of MoTs without being unforgiving or nearly impossible. I’m glad once again that reaching the Lighthouse is not a MoT, but I would like to see the freebies exchanged for something else. Virtually every completionist who has been playing The Taken King since September will probably have all of these finished already. My Triumphs were finished by the time I landed in the tower, so yet again this Bungie Day is a reminder of my past accomplishments rather than a fresh challenge. Helping my friends reach their MoT, however, is just as exciting.

Iron Banner Canceled [6/21 to 6/27]

Looks like Trials of Osiris won’t be the only victim of matchmaking errors.

There’s some possibility we might see Iron Banner pop up later in the week, or next week, immediately following a patch. This is the second Iron Banner in a row to be delayed, with the previous delay caused by the Cocoon/Clown Cartridge glitch.

Bridging The PvE – PvP Gap: Special Weapons & Ammo

Special weapons have a particular place in Destiny’s Crucible. Fusion Rifles, Shotguns, and Sniper Rifles make up three of the four weapon types in Destiny that can kill a player in a single shot. They have the fastest time to kill of any other weapon group, including Heavy Machine Guns. Only Rockets match their speed and effectiveness.

Bungie has meticulously balanced and re-balanced special weapons and special ammo. Shotguns were too powerful last summer, and Sniper Rifles were similarly busted before the most recent patch. Even Fusion Rifles reigned supreme at one point early in Year 1. Special Ammo drops rarely these days, and starter ammo has been greatly reduced. Magazine capacities have also dropped for Snipers and Shotguns, so you’ll have less ammo to start, less ammo through the match, and smaller pockets if you try to stock up. These changes have been necessary, and in some cases might not have gone far enough. Unfortunately, they also bled over into PvE where they were completely unnecessary.

Remember When Shotguns Were Viable?
Let’s start with Shotguns. In Year 1 Shotguns were often outclassed by Snipers, especially given their low range and damage. Nobody was using them in Nightfalls, raids, or against bosses. Snipers were-and are-the king of damage, especially given the sheer power of Ice Breaker and Black Hammer. Then, Shotguns received a 2x damage increase. Suddenly Shotguns like Found Verdict, Swordbreaker, The 4th Horseman, and Invective were viable in PvE to quickly kill majors and trash mobs at close range.

Shotguns were, for a time, outstanding. The 2.0 update put an end to that. Their damage multiplier was reduced, and standby weapons like Dry Rot and Found Verdict were left behind in Year 1. Crucible shotguns, however, were still dominating despite repeated attempts to destroy the high-impact archetype of Felwinter’s Lie and Matador 64. Strangely, Bungie rewarded players with a near-perfect roll of Conspiracy Theory-D as a quest reward. As a result Shotguns remained dominant until the December update.

The last two balance patches to Shotguns have made them slower, weaker, and less effective in PvP. Slower handling, less range and ammo, and lower damage. The 2x damage increase was rolled back to 1.6x, and PvP changes destroyed the viability of Shotguns in PvE. The biggest problem here is just how differently Shotguns are used in PvE. You’re not running around, dashing up to opponent’s and one-shotting them. You’re getting up close to load them with multiple rounds, or pulling out your Shotgun to answer melee enemies as you protect an area.

The closest ranges in Destiny are now dominated by Swords, not Shotguns. Swords are an interesting addition to the game that we’ll take a look at in part 3, but for now let’s see how Fusion Rifles and Side Arms have fared.

PvP-Only Special Weapons
Let’s face it: outside of a few key exotics like Sleeper Simulant and Telesto, Fusion Rifles are essentially worthless in PvE. They were seemingly never designed to do well in that space, and need a PvE damage increase to become a viable option. A buff like the 2x increase to Shotguns in Year 1 would be perfect, giving players a medium-range burst of elemental damage that could both break a shield and kill a non-major in a single shot.

Side Arms are equally exclusive to PvE. There’s no Side Arm from the Raid, although there are two that drop from Variks’ various packages. They don’t deal enough damage to see meaningful play in PvE, especially with their short range. A buff to their damage in PvE would be great, but like Fusion Rifles their not particularly relevant to the discussion here. They’ve never been nerfed in the first place.

Snipers: PvE Kings
Black Hammer, Ice Breaker, Black Spindle, 1000-Yard Stare, and so many other Sniper Rifles have been staples of boss-killing and raid-stomping players since the very beginning of the game. These are the guns that deal enormous amounts of damage to high-health targets, and are therefore among the most coveted weapons in the game. From the Devil’s Lair strike onward you’ll want a good Sniper Rifle at your side at all times, and that’s especially true in the raids where Sniper DPS just can’t be beat.

The latest patch was devastating to Sniper Rifles. It reduced their ammo capacity and pushed scope zooms out a bit further, making them harder to use in PvE activities. It used to be possible to roll with 25 bullets in reserve for a 1000-Yard Stare, but that number has been cut by a third. Damage phases in King’s Fall are typically long enough to get in dozens of shots. Now we’re forced to switch to primaries, Sleeper Simulant, or other weapons when ammo inevitably runs out early.

The bigger problem with the ammo change is the constant threat of Special Ammo droughts. In the past you had enough reserve ammo to compensate for RNG doing its thing and refusing to drop green boxes. A smaller carrying capacity means you’ll be cleaned out of ammo more frequently, forcing you to farm trash mobs before you can do any real damage to bosses. This drags out PvE encounters because add spawns are based on how much damage the boss has taken. If you don’t have any Special Ammo, it’s going to take longer to push the boss to a damage threshold where adds spawn in.

It’s a frustrating a tiresome system that wasn’t requested or necessary. Special Weapons in PvE are worse as a result, and Snipers remain the only real option for quickly farming strikes or raids.

Next week we’ll check out Heavy Weapons, where things are just as bad.

Until next time then.


Fusion Rifles Stats From Iron Banner

If you played during the last Iron Banner you may have received an Email from Bungie today. This is the third or fourth post-Iron Banner email with personal and global stats, and this one focuses on one of the latest changes to PvP: Fusion Rifles. After nerfs to Special Ammo and Snipers, Fusion Rifles received a stability buff to make them more competitive. Apparently this made them very competitive, as Fusion Rifles outperformed other Special Weapons by a wide margin.

Here’s the info from the email:

  • Fusion Rifles saw a resurgence in the latest Iron Banner: equip-rate increased by 59% compared to Iron Banner: Control, while Kills/Match increased by 51%.
  • Fusion Rifles also proved more effective than other Special Weapons. The graph to the left displays the Top 8 Fusion Rifles in terms of Kills/Min.

Next, here’s the graph mentioned above:


  1. At the top is Elevating Vision, a slow-charging 94 impact Fusion Rifle from Trials of Osiris. Why is this gun sitting at the top? It’s not just stats: Elevating Vision is the most exclusive weapon on this list. It’s only accessible through Trials of Osiris, which means that most of the time it’s better than average players who are picking it up. Not only that, but its rolls are set besides the last column. Every Elevating Vision comes with Braced Frame, Last Resort, and Sureshot IS. The perk is randomly selected from a pool of four, and includes Hot Swap and Life Support – two great perks for a Fusion Rifle.
  2.  Plan C takes second place thanks to its exotic perk. There’s nothing quite like swapping to Plan C to blast a rushing shotgun, or using it like a shotgun yourself. It’s a strong contender for your exotic slot with MIDA Multi-Tool being slightly more fair. Its extraordinarily short time to kill lets you burst down Doctrine of Passing quickly.
  3. Next is the Omolon Thesan FR4, coming to you straight from the gunsmith. Early on a roll was sold with Rangefinder, Braced Frame, Accelerated Coils, and Hot Swap. It’s essentially a god roll, and a similar roll was sold a few weeks ago. This is my personal go-to Fusion, trading stopping power for just a bit more accuracy, speed, and range. It’s extremely consistent, much like other Omolon Fusions like The Vacancy and Susanoo.
  4.  Ashraven’s Flight dropped from the first Iron Banner Clash earlier this year. It mirrors Plan C in impact and charge rate, but it has less stability overall and much less range. The upshot is that it’s a Legendary with plenty of opportunity to buff its range and stability with various perks, and it also came with Hidden Hand during the last Iron Banner in which it was sold.
  5. The Vacancy was another Fusion Rifle I tried out towards the end of Iron Banner. From Future War Cult, it’s an Omolon high-impact Fusion with the same charge rate as Elevating Vision and Midha’s Reckoning. It’s also much, much more stable than Elevating Vision, thanks again to the firing pattern of Omolon weapons. If you’re looking for a hard-hitting Fusion with a slightly-faster charge rate than Darkblade’s Spite or Hitchhiker FR4, this is your gun. The vendor roll features Hot Sap, Braced Frame, and Rangefinder. This is the type of Fusion that’s built to snipe people.
  6. Susanoo is the Warlock-exclusive Fusion Rifle gained by completing the Gunsmith quest at Gunsmith Rank 3. It’s the lowest impact of those listed here at 81 (ignoring Queenbreaker’s Bow) and features the fastest charge rate at 28. Its special perk is negligible in PvP, but with Hot Swap, Braced Frame, and barrel upgrades it’s very much worth a look if you’re seeking a fast-firing Fusion.
  7. Queenbreaker’s Bow is another non-traditional Fusion Rifle like Vex Mythoclast or Sleeper Simulant. It’s more of a sniper than a Fusion, although its hip firing capabilities are seriously useful. I’m not going to spend much time on this one – it wasn’t a major factor in the recent balance changes. Its seeing play here because it’s new, but I imagine that it’ll drop off again as the novelty fades as it did in Year 1.
  8. Lastly, we have the king of impact: the Hitchhiker FR4. The Dead Orbit vendor roll comes with Hidden Hand, Braced Frame, and Hotswap. Again, a set of great perks here. 100 impact makes this Fusion Rifle the hardest-hitting of the bunch, but it’s also the slowest, clocking in with a 10 charge rate. Low stability and relatively low range make it tricky to use, but it’s a non-Omolon alternative to with a guaranteed great roll. If that’s something you’re interested in, and don’t want to farm for Darkblade’s Spite, I recommend giving it a go.


Hopefully this Iron Banner is a sign of more to come. It’s great that Bungie could get Fusion Rifles back into the game with a few simple changes. Personally I saw a few more Fusions than usual, but still more than enough Striker Titans with Conspiracy Theory-D or Party Crasher+1.

Next week we’ll talk more about Fusion Rifles, perks, and builds to complement them.
Until next time then


Bridging The PvE – PvP Gap: Defining the Problem

Bungie’s balancing philosophy is aimed at making guns, subclass abilities, and armor perks as even and fair as possible. It’s a delicate process, made even more complicated by the coexistence of Player versus Enemy (PvE) and Player versus Player (PvP) content. It’s not enough to balance the game on one front; players demand a seamless, consistent experience across all game modes.

Unfortunately, attempting to create this consistent experience has negatively impacted both PvE and PvP modes. Today I’ll be starting a series aimed at explaining how PvP has influenced the rest of the game, and how Bungie can begin to reverse the needless changes to PvE.

Primary Weapons -The Fall of Auto Rifles
By now I imagine most long-term players are familiar with the legacy of Auto Rifles in Destiny. If not, I’ll quickly summarize it here. At the start of Year 1 Auto Rifles were the go-to weapon for both PvE and PvP. High-Impact Autos like Shadow Price and Suros Regime dominated the Crucible and had more than their fair share of exposure in strikes and raids.

In October Auto Rifles were hit with a damage reduction while other primary weapon types received buffs. It was the beginning of the end for Autos, and the reign of the Scout Rifles and Hand Cannons began shortly after. It took until May for Bungie to start rolling back the nerfs, but as of May 2016 only a single archetype of Auto Rifles are competitive.

The nerf to Autos originated with their dominance in Crucible. Scout Rifles already played better in PvE thanks to their range. Vision of Confluence was greatly preferred to Atheon’s Epilogue as a general-purpose PvE weapon. The reduction in base damage, precision damage multiplier, and stability was aimed squarely at the performance of Auto Rifles in PvP. Anyone trying to use Autos in PvE from that point on was handicapping themselves, and switched to other guns as time went on.

How Scout Rifles Became Supreme
Scout Rifles have been the most popular PvE weapon type in the game for a few reasons: first, they’re effective at ranges where players can safely fire at enemies from a distance, second, they have excellent critical multipliers, and third, their main competition was either nerfed or required highly specific rolls. With Auto Rifles no longer a serious option, Hand Cannons were the only alternative.

Yes, Pulse Rifles existed in the PvE space, but outside of Red Death and Bad Juju – and more recently Smite of Merrain – they never really caught on. We’ll talk about this more in a future article.

The dominant Year 1 PvE weapons were Scouts and Hand Cannons. Notable examples included Vision of Confluence, Fang of Ir Yut, Badger CCL, and of course, Fatebringer. However, Fatebringer was the one single Hand Cannon worth using in PvE due to its perfect archetype and rolls. Outlaw, Explosive Rounds, Firefly, and Arc damage made it an absurdly powerful weapon capable of add control, shield breaking, and strong single-target damage. Other Hand Cannons never really held a candle to Fatebringer, which brings us to our last point: why did Hand Cannons receive a gigantic nerf in Year 2 when Fatebringer had been relegated to Year 1?

Making Hand Cannons Even Worse
Not satisfied with breaking Auto Rifles, Bungie decided to go against the community’s wishes and heavily nerf Hand Cannons. Exotic Hand Cannons – Thorn, Hawkmoon, and The Last Word – dominated Crucible and Trials of Osiris over the summer of 2015 in the post-House of Wolves environment. The community demanded a nerf for these weapons, but made it clear that it was these Exotics alone that were the problem. As if to spit in the face of their fans, Bungie nerfed the entire Hand Cannon archetype rather than tweaking each Exotic individually.

The net result destroyed any chance Hand Cannons had of being played in PvP or PvP. They were already underused in PvE outside of Fatebringer, which was only used because it had that ideal roll. Ammo capacity and magazine capacity nerfs in 2.0 destroyed what little niche use these weapons had in PvE, and the vast majority of Year 2 Hand Cannons can’t come close to matching the Year 1 Fatebringer. They were useless before, and they’re useless now.

Winter Woes For Pulse Rifles
Last December Pulse Rifles were balanced to match Scout Rifles in PvP. Of course that carried over to PvE, where Pulse Rifles were already second to Scouts. Now only the low and lowest impact tiers are viable for PvE, and those were arguably the worst guns to roll with in the first place. Red Death had a lot of redeeming qualities for PvE, but medium and high impact Pulses were hit much harder than the Bad Juju and Grasp of Malok archetypes. Worst yet, the best Legendary Pulse Rifle for PvE fells right into that middle-impact archetype: Smite of Merain.

With Pulse Rifles, Hand Cannons, and Auto Rifles nerfed repeatedly due to PvE, all that remains for PvE are Scout Rifles like MIDA Multi-Tool, Hung Jury SR4, Talaloc, various Suros models, and other gunsmith Omolon Scouts. They’re the best not because they’ve been balanced specifically to be the best, but instead it’s merely a byproduct of Crucible balancing.

Bungie’s “Crucible first” outlook on weapon balancing is a serious problem, and it goes well beyond Primary weapons. Here’s a spoiler for next week’s discussion on Special weapons: Crucible balancing has made them harder to use or even impractical for PvE. In other words, it’s more of the same.

Until next time then


Welcome to Twilight Gap

Destiny – A video game developed by Bungie and published by Activision – has attracted millions of gamers and hooked them on its loot-based shooter mechanics. Destiny launched in September 2014, and over the past twenty months I’ve found myself among those addicted to its deep lore, outstanding gameplay, and the never-ending hunt for the perfect pieces of gear.

Twilight Gap is my contribution to the Destiny community. I was inspired by the excellent discussion on Planet Destiny and /r/DestinyTheGame to pen my own thoughts here on Twilight Gap.

I’ll be covering a wide range of topics, including:

  • Weapon and armor analysis
  • PvE strategies
  • PvP loadouts
  • Suggestions for future content
  • Perk and “roll” discussion and ratings
  • …and more

Most importantly I want this to be a positive place. Destiny is a community game, filled with great people who are eager to help others improve. Despite what goes on in the Crucible we’re all still Guardians fighting back against the darkness. We’re in this together, on a ten-year journey through Bungie’s incredible universe.

I’ll see you star side