Having now played several more hours of the expansion, I’m finally starting to find more of the newly introduced exotics for Forsaken. I want to take you through some of the more interesting additions to the arsenal that I have gotten my hands on (or one of my friends). I’ll also be touching on a year one exotic that has seen a pretty important update with the latest expansion. These will all be weapons as I haven’t gotten a single exotic armor drop yet (feelsbadman) but will update you later if I find anything especially cool. Now then, let’s take a look.
Ace of Spades
Did you know whoever possesses the Ace of Spades becomes the owner of all of Cayde’s things? Now that I’m the proud owner of the Colonel, let’s get into what makes this gun so special (other than, you know, owning all of Cayde’s things). At first, you might see this as little more than just another hand cannon (with a really good looking ornament), and at a basic level, it is. It has great stats, especially with regards to impact and range and features a higher fire rate. For those reasons alone, this probably belongs at the top of the short list of best hand cannons.
But wait, it gets better! The Ace of Spades’ special perk is Memento Mori, which works a little bit like Kill Clip, but way better. Where Kill Clip will last for a few seconds, Memento Mori loads in a few extra-damage bullets that stay loaded as long as you’re actively wielding the gun and haven’t fired them. This is great for those moments where you know a boss is around the corner in a strike, or when someone’s teammate is trying to get away in a Crucible match. Just hold those rounds for the perfect shot and let loose when you’re ready for the killing blow.
In addition, we also find the Firefly perk which causes enemies to create a solar explosion when killed with precision shots. This, combined with the Memento Mori perk can prove absolutely devastating in capable hands, i.e. not mine. I’ve never been a huge fan of hand cannons, but I understand they are very strong right now in the Crucible thanks to the time to kill adjustments. Despite not being a fan, I always make sure to have this gun on me should a situation arise where I want or need to make a statement.
The quest to get this gun can be a little tedious, especially if you’re not the biggest Crucible or hand cannon fan (yo), but if you complete all the steps of Cayde’s Will you’ll get this gun guaranteed, which is pretty good odds in my eyes.
Here’s a gun I didn’t really know I wanted until I just kind of decided to get it. I don’t dislike shotguns, just never found one I liked. Since the Escalation Protocol refuses to drop the Ikelos Shotgun, I decided this was my next best bet. Whew, this is one hell of a crazy gun. The Chaperone fires a single slug shot which means that unlike the shots guns everyone is sliding around within the Crucible, you actually have to aim this one. When you hit, you hit hard. While the maxed out range bar is deceptive, you’re not going to be sniping people with this shotgun, it does have by far the longest range of any shotgun in the game. You won’t need to be up close and personal to deal huge amounts of damage. Combined with solid impact and great handling, players who know what they’re doing will turn this weapon into an absolute wrecking machine.
We also find the bonus perk The Roadborn which grants a brief bonus to handling, range, and precision damage when you get a precision kill. So not only does this shotgun have max range, it can have even…more? Yes, it can have even more max range. With the buff active this gun was putting out tens of thousands of damage to some enemies, we’re talking numbers that even Whisper users would have to take notice of.
My biggest issues with this weapon are twofold. The first is that this goes into my already crowded Kinetic slot (same slot as the Ace of Spades, by the way). I have so many options in that slot and being that this is a shotgun, even if it is a very special one, it is hard to make the most of it in PvE unless you’ve got Call of Duty level snaps. The second is that this uses special ammo, which means you’ll want/need to kit yourself for bonus special ammo drops or bonus ammo capacity. I rarely found myself wanting for ammo, but with only 17 shots it can make it a hard sell during some of the longer boss fights unless you know you’re going to be killing adds along the way.
Okay, now I have to tell you about my favorite thing about this gun. It was almost enough to make this my permanent exotic. When you pull out the gun you’ll hear a whip swinging around. Awesome. When you reload the gun and ready it again, you’ll hear the whip crack. Awesome! It sounds super dumb to base my gun selection on such an irrelevant thing, but it turns out this was the most relevant quality of this gun to me. I love hearing that whip crack just before I unload on some unsuspecting enemies and blow their heads off. So satisfying.
You can acquire The Chaperone by completing Amanda Holiday’s Crucible tournament questline. It actually isn’t too bad, easier than the Ace of Spades if the counts for anything.
If there was ever a gun in Destiny 2 that felt like it was ripped straight out of Borderlands, this is it. It’s just the right amount of crazy that this game needed. The big claim to fame for this gun is that it fires four rounds per shot. That means its 31 round magazine actually puts out 124 rounds. Nice. Well, in the right circumstance I suppose. You see, the Four-Headed Dog (would you believe me if I said this was the first time I understood the relevance of the name and this perk for this gun?) perk fires only one accurate bullet and three scattered bullets. When I say scattered, I don’t mean all over the place. I simply mean that they’ll fall anywhere within the firing cone.
The bonus perk, Spread Shot Package, reduces the bullet spread when aiming down sights, mitigating the spread to a more reasonable level. This is a very cool gun, but one that I struggle to find the correct use for. It sounds like they want this to be a mob shredder, but the bullets are hardly erratic enough to regularly kill multiple enemies at once. I thought, “maybe this will be good at killing bigger enemies.” Well, it’s fine. The biggest issue is that the damage is spread across all four bullets so if you aren’t hitting with all four you’ll suffer a bit of damage loss, plus this only has a 360 fire rate, as slow as it gets for an auto rifle.
Truth is there is no “perfect” scenario for this gun, and if there is I haven’t found it. Bungie set out to make exotic guns feel more exotic and Cerberus+1 certainly feels different than every other gun in the game. It also feels like it is a victim of its uniqueness. It’s fun to use for a little bit, but you’ll quickly swap back to your more reliable weapons.
You can find the Cerberus+1 in any exotic drop (if you’re lucky enough to get one)
Lord of Wolves
I don’t actually own this gun yet, but my buddy does so I’m pretty familiar with it. Lord of Wolves is kind of a shotgun/pulse rifle. It’s main perk, Shrapnel Launcher, fires a powerful burst of solar damage over short ranges. My friend says the “short range” portion of that is a little iffy since he insists it actually has pretty good range. The high impact stat backs up the powerful part though. The burst of solar looks like a 5-round pulse fire burst. He even compared it to the Vigilance Wing which is a 5-round burst pulse rifle (go figure).
Where things start to get really interesting is the second perk, Release the Wolves. With this perk, you can double the number of projectiles per burst for a short time. That means a 10 shot burst of powerful solar damage. Now that sounds like an exotic worth using. According to my buddy, it is a great weapon for burst damage but struggles in more sustained fights. With a maximum of 120 rounds and a 30 round magazine, I can easily see how you could burn (puns) through that quickly. Then again, it’s probably not much different from The Chaperone in that regard. So long as it puts out massive damage, I’m willing to forgive a small ammo pool.
You can find the Lord of Wolves as a potential drop when you complete The Spider’s biggest Wanted Bounty of the week.
Honorable Mention: The Huckleberry
Okay, The Huckleberry is not a new exotic, it was introduced during year one. It was a good exotic that was fun to use but couldn’t earn a permanent spot in my loadout, especially after the Whisper became a thing. Times have changed and so has The Huckleberry. Bungie quietly changed the gun’s catalyst with Forsaken and has made this easily one of the best guns in the game. Previously, the catalyst provided the Ambitious Assassin perk which overflowed the magazine based on rapid kills before reloading. It also partially reloaded some of the magazine when you got kills, but that was just a few rounds at a time. It worked, but the whole idea of The Huckleberry and it’s Ride the Bull perk was to hold down that trigger and never let go, building up firing speed and damage with the Rampage perk. The gun was still plenty strong, but nothing like it is now.
Now, instead of overflowing the magazine, kills completely refills the magazine for free. This gun is pretty much fire at will and let the bodies hit the floor. It is so satisfying to use and has been my go-to weapon for the majority of the expansion. This was the reason I just couldn’t commit to The Chaperone. How could I pass up a gun with essentially unlimited ammo, great damage output, and is so fun to use? While it may struggle a bit against beefier enemies due to a long reload time, I am a Titan and can counteract that with my barricade and fire away. If you’re not a Titan, that will be something you’ll have to consider. This is currently my favorite gun in the game and I can only hope to somehow find something cooler than this.