Apex Legends characters jump from a purple portal
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Apex Legends devs rush out Wingman nerfs just 2 days into season 20, to players’ delight

Wingman nerfs, now piping hot.

One of many Apex Legends players’ biggest season 20 complaints has quickly been remedied today, with the Wingman’s Digital Threat sight removed and its ammo pool nerfed, much to the fanfare of pros and other players.

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Many fans noticed the Wingman change while watching North American ALGS scrims, which happened in the middle of the scrim session being streamed to thousands of Apex viewers. The Wingman’s Digital Threat sight, which enables the user to see enemies through smoke screens like Bangalore’s tactical ability and Caustic’s gas, was removed in favor of a 1x HCOG sight, with the changes also seeing the care package weapon’s ammo reserve depleted from 110 bullets to 90. After some confusion, Apex weapons designer Eric Canavese formally announced the nerfs were intentional on Twitter/X shortly after the hotfix went live.

The nerf happened so quickly into the new season, many players were left unsure if the change was an actual nerf or just a very nice bug. It’s one of the fastest season changes in recent memory for the Apex devs, who have taken a passive approach to buffs and nerfs in the past and usually save them for seasonal updates or mid-season events.

There were several issues with the Wingman that compounded in season 20. The gun was already a fearful one in the DPS department, dealing 50 damage to the body and 95 headshot damage against a Purple helmet, with even higher headshot damage dealt to lower-rarity helmets. With nine bullets in a single magazine, it was easily capable of downing multiple enemies in the blink of an eye. But the Wingman got a big indirect buff in season 20 when the devs removed Digital Threat sights from SMGs, as well. The move was meant to nerf the all-conquering SMG class, but it also meant Digital Threats could only go on shotguns and pistols. Given shotguns are short-range weapons and the other two pistols in the game, the RE-45 and the P2020, aren’t known for their range or DPS abilities either, that made the Wingman the only weapon with a combination of good range and high damage that could see through smokes.

A gold and brown Wingman skin.
The big gun just got a bit more manageable. Screengrab via Respawn Entertainment

to make matters even worse, there have been more Wingman players than ever in season 20 thanks to another buff which seemed to have little to do with the weapon. The newly-added legend upgrade system in season 20 included a level three upgrade for Lifeline that turned her ultimate into a care package—and all care packages in Apex come stocked with a Red, Mythic-tier weapon. In addition to the care packages that already spawned during matches, any team running a Lifeline got a high-percentage chance of spawning their own Wingman via Lifeline’s ultimate.

Together, all these things made the Wingman feel overly oppressive both in ranked and in pro play, and led us to the nerfs we got today. It’s a change pros and other community figures are overwhelmingly happy with.

So, if you just got a Wingman and wondered where the Digital Threat went, I have some bad news for you: It ain’t coming back. But that’s probably for the best, especially in higher levels of Apex play. Now go out there, insta-lock Bangalore, and smoke with confidence, legends. The Wingman will only hurt you a regular amount from now on.


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Author
Adam Snavely
Associate Editor and Apex Legends Lead. From getting into fights over Madden and FIFA with his brothers to interviewing some of the best esports figures in the world, Adam has always been drawn to games with a competitive nature. You'll usually find him on Apex Legends (World's Edge is the best map, no he's not arguing with you about it), but he also dabbles in VALORANT, Super Smash Bros. Melee, CS:GO, Pokemon, and more. Ping an R-301.