Season three of Apex Legends introduced changes to hop-ups, nerfs and buffs to weapons, and even a new sniper in the Charge Rifle.
The Meltdown patch drastically shifted the battle royale’s gun hierarchy. Previously overpowered weapons, like the Alternator and Longbow, are now mid-tier pickups. And Apex’s newest gun, the Charge Rifle, made such a strong debut that it’ll likely be nerfed soon.
In this tier list, the guns are being evaluated as if they’re fully equipped with the optimal attachments. The following criteria are also being considered:
- Damage per second: Simply put, how much damage can the gun dish out over time.
- Accessibility: The rarity of the gun.
- Versatility: The gun’s ability to be used by any legend and for multiple situations, such as different distances or with different loadouts.
Here are our tiered rankings of the weapons in Apex.
- Charge Rifle (sniper)
The newest addition to the Outlands armory came in with a bang. The Charge Rifle shoots out a small laser beam that does minimal damage before exploding with a mighty energy-charged blow.
Although it deals quite a bit of damage, the Charge Rifle’s most game-breaking quality is its hit scan feature. Essentially, wherever you point your cursor, the projectiles will go with no bullet drop. This makes it easy for players to not have to account for long distances when aiming a sniper.
It’s unclear if the gun will remain at the top of the weapon tier list since it already has caught Respawn’s attention. A weapon balance for the Charge Rifle is cited in the Apex Dev Tracker.
- Mastiff (shotgun)
- Kraber (sniper)
- Scout (sniper)
- Longbow (sniper)
- R-301 (assault rifle)
- Hemlock (assault rifle)
Season three abandoned Kings Canyon for World’s Edge, a large map with a diverse terrain. Defensive strategies with Wattson worked in season two, but the large plains and open space of World’s Edge make camping corners more difficult. While this change also affected the efficiency of short-range weapons, snipers are more important than ever.
Despite shotguns taking a hit from the map change, the Mastiff is still a top-tier weapon that earns its way to tier two. Even though the Mastiff is only found in air drops, the shotgun packs a punch—dealing 144 damage to the body and 288 damage to the head. Be sure to take advantage of close corners and corridors to fully make the most of this instrument of death.
The Longbow was season two’s most overpowered sniper. Season three changed that. The weapon’s fire rate was dramatically reduced, making it more difficult for players to follow up on successful hits. Respawn’s removal of the Skullpiercer attachment actually benefited the Longbow, however. The devs increased the headshot damage on the sniper to compensate the loss of its legendary hop-up, which keeps the gun at a high-level pick.
The new Double Tap Trigger hop-up, which equips on the G7 Scout and EVA-8 Auto, allows players to fire a quick two-round burst with every shot. Couple that with the increased importance of snipers, and the Scout made its way to tier two.
The R-301’s long-range effectiveness also got a boost from the new Anvil Receiver hop-up, which empowers the assault rifle’s semi-auto mode. The Hemlock assault rifle’s base damage was buffed from 18 to 22 per bullet, which makes it even more of a long-range threat.
- Alternator (submachine gun)
- R-99 (submachine gun)
- Flatline (assault rifle)
- EVA-8 Auto (shotgun)
- Peacekeeper (shotgun)
- Wingman (pistol)
- L-Star (light machine gun)
- Devotion (light machine gun)
- Triple Take (sniper)
The large group of mid-tier weapons includes previous heroes turned zeros and bottom-barrel picks getting some love from Respawn.
The most notable change was to season two’s overpowered submachine gun, the Alternator. Disruptor Rounds, which dealt increased damage to shielded targets, were removed for season three. With no buff to compensate for the change and World’s Edge not being friendly to SMGs, the Alternator is now back in the middle of the pack.
The R-99 also got nerfed, decreasing its magazine clip size from 18/22/26/30 to 18/20/23/27. Pair that with a map that favors snipers and this submachine gun is no longer at the top of players’ preference.
Although the Flatline does benefit from the Anvil Receiver hop-up and it deals tons of damage, its recoil makes it a difficult sell from long range. And the Wingman is excellent in the hands of top-tier players, but falls short to the majority of the player base.
The Double Tap hop-up improves the EVA-8 Auto efficiency from close distance and allows it to rival the Peacekeeper. The decrease of close duels in World’s Edge, however, adversely affects both of the shotguns.
The L-Star received a buff in season three, reducing its horizontal recoil and equipping it with a 1x Digital Threat optic. But its damage was reduced from 21 to 19 per bullet and the fact that it’s only found in air drops doesn’t help the cause.
The Triple Take is the worst snipers but it’s still an effective pick up in Apex’s new map.
- Spitfire (light machine gun)
- Havoc (assault rifle)
- Prowler (submachine gun)
- RE-45 (pistol)
The slow fire rate of the Spitfire only works against it in a map that favors accuracy and long-range duels. This makes the person firing it vulnerable to a sniper headshot.
The Havoc is a great gun when a Turbocharger is equipped, but it’s outclassed by other weapons that don’t require a legendary attachment. And the Prowler is inconsistent, being a five-round burst unless it has the Selectfire attachment. It simply gets outclassed by every other SMG in the game.
The RE-45, one of the most common guns in the game, got a buff when Disruptor Rounds made their appearance. With that hop-up no longer available, the pistol falls to the bottom of the barrel.
- Mozambique (shotgun)
- P2020 (pistol)
While these weapons are at the bottom of the pack, it doesn’t mean they’re useless. It hurts to put them in the last tier because they both received buffs and the state of the game makes all guns fairly balanced. They can still be used well, but World’s Edge hinders their effectiveness.
The Mozambique is a bit of a strange shotgun—it’s basically a pistol and a shotgun fused into one. It only has a three-bullet magazine and its damage is fairly lackluster. With the new Hammerpoint Rounds that deal increased damage to unshielded targets, the shotgun can be useful to finish off an enemy. But you’ll still have to get up close and personal with an enemy to deal lethal damage.
Similarly, the P2020 pistol got a buff with the Hammerpoint Rounds and also had its damage increased from 12 to 13 per shot in season two. The gun can be a decent secondary weapon in some cases, but it’ll often be used only in the early stages of the game.