Destiny Fusion Rifles In-Depth Guide

Destiny Fusion Rifles In-Depth Guide by ch4_meleon

For the last few months I’ve been extensively testing fusion rifles in the crucible. I’ve read everything about them I could find online in the search of finding the most greasy, long range one-shot killing machine (that isn’t a sniper/Queenbreaker’s Bow). Fusions are obviously off the meta at the moment, but I expect with the release of TTK they might start seeing more popularity in PvP. In preparation for that, here is a definitive guide on the best stats, perks and fusion rifles to go for. You’d be smart to grab a couple fusion rifles now, as new fusion rifles might not be reforgeable (in other words, get the best roll possible while you still can!). Some of the information I am about to share may be common knowledge and some of it may change with the next expansion, but I’m confident that even the most savvy Fusion Rifle pro could learn something from my guide.

Video with all of the information: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c9jGz-McThQ&feature=youtu.be

Fusion Rifle Montage to show my research in action: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8EXl5s6irZc

tl;dr -> Recoil (a hidden stat) + stability make all the difference. Several legendary options are better than Plan C.


THE STATS


CHARGE RATE

For my tests, I started a timer at the first frame when the fusion rifle charge could be seen or heard. I ended the timer on the first frame where a fusion bolt is emitted from the rifle. In my tests, every fusion rifle released all seven bolts (FRs fire seven bolts if you didn’t know) in 6 frames (or 0.1 seconds). So if you want to know the theoretical time to kill for each fusion rifle below, just add 0.1 seconds. Note: All video is encoded at 60fps.

Fusion Rifle NameCharge RateCharge TimeGIF
Light of the Abyss4036 frames (~0.6s)GIF
Plan C (Acc. Coils)3738 frames (~0.62s)GIF
Split Shifter Pro3442 frames (~0.7s)GIF
Final Rest II2548 frames (~0.8s)GIF
Plan C2252 frames (~0.85s)GIF
Nox Cantor III2152 frames (~0.85s)GIF
Give/Take Eqtn.2054 frames (~0.9s)GIF
Pocket Infinity1062 frames (~1.03s)GIF

Here’s what it looks like displayed in a more-or-less linear graph. If you know your fusion rifle’s charge rate, you can use that number to guess its charge time.

As you can see, the fastest and slowest charge rates are less than 1/2 a second apart. Could a max charge rate save your life in the crucible? Definitely, but the increased charge rate comes at the cost of impact (in fact, using accelerated coils reduces your impact). In my opinion, in a good fusion rifle engagement you want to be charging from behind cover and only revealing yourself right as the charge is being expended at your enemies, I don’t think charge rate is a very important stat on Fusion Rifles. In the majority of cases when you don’t get the OHK after jumping out from cover, you are dead before you can fire off another shot, even with the max charge rate.

RANGE

Range is a tricky stat for fusion rifles. At face value it seems like an ideal perk to go for if you’re looking for max range kills. But the range stat actually doesn’t do a whole lot on fusion rifles. In my research, I foundthis detailed post that corroborates my data. Range actually affects the speed of your fusion rifle bolts, as opposed to their actual damage drop-off.

Fusion Rifle NameRangeDamageTravel TimeGIF
Plan CMax439 FramesGIF
Plan CMin4112 FramesGIF
Give/Take Eqtn.Max779 FramesGIF
Give/Take Eqtn.Min4115 FramesGIF

As you can see, with higher range values you see a slight improvement in bolt travel time (between 30-60%). This will only ever make a difference of about 6 frames (0.1 seconds) at the max possible ranges, but the advantage to having a higher range stat means that even if your opponent is strafing you are more likely to hit all bolts (since there’s less travel time between you firing your gun and it hitting your enemy). Is range an incredibly important stat in the crucible? I would say no. At the ranges you’ll be using this fusion rifle you will hardly see any benefit from an increased range. That being said, more range is never a bad thing on fusion rifles as long as it doesn’t come at the expense of more important stats (like stability or impact).

In the above chart you can also see that rangefinder (on my max range Give/Take Equation) does allow your fusion rifle to deal a bit more damage at an extended range. For normal use of fusion rifles, however, this added range is useless as you’ll never hit more than one or two bolts on a target from this kind of range.

IMPACT

Impact could be an important stats on a fusion rifle in the crucible. As I mentioned above, a fusion rifle emits 7 bolts upon firing. If you are using the Light of the Abyss (lowest impact class), then you deal 41 damage per bolt. If 5 of the 7 bolts hit you deal 205 damage. This is enough to kill all players in the crucible except for those max armor warlocks wearing the Ram. Conversely, the Praetorian Foil (highest impact class) deals 50 damage per bolt for 200 damage with only 4 of the 7 bolts connecting. Again that will kill almost everyone in the crucible, but this time with only 4 of the 7 bolts connecting. Outside of these two cases, however, impact will not realistically change the effectiveness of your fusion rifle.

Fusion Rifle NameImpactDamageIMAGE
Light of the Abyss6841IMAGE
Split Shifter Pro7443IMAGE
Final Rest II8446IMAGE
Nox Cantor III8547IMAGE
Give/Take Eqtn.8947IMAGE
Plan C8749IMAGE
Praetorian Foil9750IMAGE
Pocket Infinity7839 ~ 49IMAGE

STABILITY + RECOIL

These two stats are possibly the most important stats on a fusion rifle. Check out these comparisons.

Obviously, since there is no range drop off, keeping your bolts closer together is of utmost important. Stability helps dramatically to keep your bolts in a tighter cone and more in line with your sights.

Closely related to stability and equally important, is your recoil direction. This is a hidden stat, but here is a comparison. The following fusion rifles all have roughly the same stability stat (within a few points), but have drastically different recoil stats. Here’s the difference:

As you can see, recoil direction plays a huge part in the effectiveness of a fusion rifle. If your recoil stat is bad, then a high stability is an absolute necessity to make the fusion rifle manageable. If you’re recoil stat is already good, then your fusion rifle won’t benefit as much from stability upgrades (though it’s still worth it in my opinion). For this reason, I actually don’t like Plan C. It has terrible recoil and even with a max stability build, it is more difficult to get long range kills than with many other fusion rifles.

For anyone wondering, in the video I linked at the top, I also have comparisons of Hip Fire vs ADS. Generally Hip Fire is more accurate and stable, especially when coupled with the Hip Fire perk.

RELOAD, CLIP SIZE, AND THE OTHER STATS

I’ll just make a brief mention here that all other stats operate as you’d expect them. Higher reload is always good. Larger clip sizes, also good. The hidden stats like aim assist and equip time, also good, but I won’t be going into detail about these stats at this time for a variety of reasons (difficult to accurately test, self-explanatory, etc.).


THE PERKS


For your fusion rifle’s perks, anything that can help with your recoil, aim assist, accuracy, reload and stability are top tier. The most important thing to go for, however, is stability (since you can’t change your guns recoil at this time).

First row perk recommendations:

  • Hip Fire: By charging your fusion rifle from the hip (always a good idea–keep your radar and mobility up) and aiming down the sights immediately before firing, you can enjoy the bonus hip fire accuracy even while ADS.
  • Hidden Hand: Bonus aim assist is never a bad thing.
  • Feeding Frenzy: Kills increase reload speed and allow you to keep maximum ammo in the mag for sticky situations.
  • Spray + Play: Not the greatest perk, but an acceptable option, especially if you use braced frame (see below).

Second row perk recommendations:

  • Braced Frame: Increase stability. Reduce magazine size. This will typically only lower your magazine by one, but if you’re really worried about having a smaller magazine size, try rolling for spray + pay or feeding frenzy.
  • Hand-Laid Stock: Increase stability. Reduce range. Range is arguably still a somewhat important stat, but stability is much more valuable. If you can’t get braced frame, get this.

Final row perk recommendations:

  • Icarus: Bonus accuracy while firing in the air. This perk is actually very useful on fusion rifles. The bonus accuracy will likely surprise you.
  • Grenadier and Army of One are also acceptable choices, though I wouldn’t rate them as top tier.

Honorable Mentions:

  • Replenish (another column one perk) is also a pretty good choice as it gives you free ammo upon casting your super. I’m a big fan of this perk considering how scarce special ammo is in the crucible right now (granted this becomes less useful when using braced frame).
  • Quickdraw + Hot Swap combo. Hot Swap gives you bonus accuracy after switching guns. Combined with quick draw this can actually be a pretty deadly combo (note: Exile’s Curse, a fusion rifle which I foolishly dismantled months ago, comes standard with this combo).

THE GUNS


Here are a list of all available fusion rifles in the House of Wolves expansion. While fusion rifles don’t follow the typical “three-tier” system like most other guns do, I’ve separated them for you into three “pseudo-tiers.” These images were all pulled from the Planet Destiny weapon database.

As per our previous discussions, the main things you want to look for in a gun are a) high stability b) low recoil direction and c) the impact class/charge rate you’re looking for.

For the low impact class, the two fusion rifles I would recommend are Exile’s Curse and Split Shifter Pro. If you want to reroll a fusion for braced frame, Split Shifter Pro has the highest base stability and pretty good recoil direction compared to the other low impact fusion rifles. It’s aim assistance is a little low, but it’s base reload is top tier. If you don’t want to reroll for a great rifle, Exile’s Curse (which I don’t actually have) has incredible base stats and perks for a fusion rifle. The lowest of all recoil direction, pretty good stability, great perks and the highest aim assist of any fusion rifle. I’ve heard nothing but good things about this Fusion Rifle and with the quick draw/hot swap combo, this thing’s a beast.

For the mid impact class, I would recommend either the Techeun Force or the Give/Take Equation. I would also recommend AGAINST Plan C. I know a lot of people like Plan C and you can max it’s stability, but it’s recoil pattern is terrible and I’ve had much more success using other legendary options. Give/Take Equation is probably your best bet. With great recoil control, great stability, great impact and the best aim assist within the mid impact class, it is a killing machine. Snake Bite Surgeon is a close contender, but it’s recoil is just slightly worse than Give/Take and it’s much harder to obtain, so it only gets an honorable mention.

For the high impact class, you don’t really have many options. In fact, you have no reforgeable options. What you do have is two pretty great options in the Praetorian Foil and the Servant of Aksor. The Praetorian Foil is definitely the better of the two options, but since it’s practically impossible to get (at least for me), the Servant of Aksor might be an easier to obtain pick. Pocket Infinity also falls into this class, but I’m not a fan. It’s recoil and stability and everything is just too wild and unpredictable for me (even its damage isn’t consistent!).

EDIT: A lot of talk about rangefinder. Yes, there have been many legitimate claims that rangefinder does nothing on Fusion rifles. In all my experiments I have found that at the most extreme ranges it does affect damage drop-off slightly. This is useless, however, since you won’t be able to kill anything from those ranges. On top of that, it does grant a hidden bonus boost to your range stat. Regardless of if I am right with my experiments or wrong, I do not recommend using the rangefinder perk.

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