Season 4 of Apex Legends has seen the armory get a deliberate mix-up. Game developer Respawn Entertainment have boosted some of the lesser played weapons in the hope of creating more variety in our ideal loadouts. A few nerfs and the arrival of a new legend has also triggered a shift in the meta. The shift includes long range combat becoming less common, despite the arrival of the Sentinel – a shiny new bolt-action sniper rifle – but more on that later.
To assist you on your way to becoming a Season 4 champion, here’s a guide to which weapons you’ll want to snatch up ahead of your team-mates, and which you can happily pass on.
The R-99 SMG is the bread and butter for professional Apex Legends pros loadouts. Yes, visually the weapon looks rather unappealing. The 11 damage per shot seems rather uninspiring as well. But do not be fooled, the R-99 is deadly. It has the highest rate of fire of any weapon in the game, even better than the Devotion. It also comes with a basic magazine size of 20. This in an increase from 18 in Season 3. If you can land the shots, the R-99 is disgustingly good in close-quarters combat, but therein lies the challenge. The recoil on the weapon is significant, which is the reason why many may disregard it but you won’t make that mistake. Master the recoil or strap a barrel stabilizer on this bad boy, and you’re ready to deliver a world of pain.
The big “winner” of Season 4 is the L-Star. You should be eyeing it up as your short-range go-to alongside the R-99. Originally a crate weapon when it was introduced in Season 3, the L-Star has now been moved to the general armory. This is good news following the balance changes in Season 4. The L-Star now takes Energy Ammo – which comes in packs of 30 – and no longer requires reloading. In fact, as long as you can manage the new “overheat” mechanic (which triggers if you fire 22 shots without a slight pause), you can keep on blasting. If you got your hands on the weapon in Season 3, you’re not mistaken if you feel it fires slower and does slightly less damage. However, the buffs to the L-Star far outweigh the nerfs. Plus, with a headshot worth 38 damage the L-Star is as good as a shotgun. Not to mention it fires faster.
The VK47-Flatline AR is the ultimate all-rounder and very newbie-friendly. You might feel the Hemlok and the Flatline are in the same tier list. However, if you look at the details the Flatline is hands down the better AR in Apex Legends and here’s why. The Flatline has a rate of fire of 600 compared to Hemlok’s 490, and boasts an automatic mode which the Hemlok does not. On paper, the Hemlok does more damage per bullet, but you’re firing less shots, making the Flatline a better choice – DPS wise. The addition of the Anvil Receiver hop-up in Season 3, also gave the Flatline a nice late game damage boost. Albeit at the cost of reducing its rate of fire, but meaning it can double-up as a long-range weapon if needed. High damage, a 2x headshot multiplier and a very manageable recoil, the Flatline should be your medium-range comfort pick.
Kraber .50-CAL Sniper
Even if you’re not a massive fan of bolt-action snipers, leaving this crate weapon lying around for an enemy team to pick up could be hazardous to your health. You may be put off by the fact it comes with only 12 unreplenishable bullets, but every single one of those bullets is incredibly lethal. Even hitting an unarmored legend in the leg with the Kraber will down them.
This big bad shotgun can only be found in crates but snatch it up whenever you can. Damage wise it’s almost equal to the Kraber. With 0% leg damage reduction, hitting a non-fortified legend anywhere on their body does a minimum of 144 damage. Headshots? Well that’s an instant kill. The weapon comes with 24 bullets, which should be more than enough to toast the last remaining squads.
SMGs like the L-Star and R-99 can burn through shield and health at an alarming rate, but they can’t really match that adrenaline kick you get when you land a Peacekeeper shot. The second best shotgun, behind the crate Mastiff, the Peacekeeper is an explosive weapon capable of downing an unarmored enemy in a single shot. Even versus fortified legends (Caustic & Gibraltar) you’re still looking at 122 damage for a single headshot. No legend in the game can withstand more than two, even with a level three helmet.
However, the Peacekeeper suffers from a couple of significant drawbacks that make it A-tier instead of S. Firstly, to compensate for the huge potential damage it could deal, the Peacekeeper’s rate of fire is very poor. We’re talking rock bottom outside of snipers kind of bad. Secondly, 6 shots in a magazine and shotguns don’t come with extended mags. High risk, high reward in a nutshell. If you want to YOLO and look damn good styling over your opponents, by all means pick up a Peacekeeper. But if you do not have incredibly good aim, pick up an L-Star or R-99 instead to avoid being downed before you even fire your second shot. Or you can wait until the second half of Season 4 when Kings Canyon returns and you can camp bunker.
In Season 4 the G7 Scout was re-christened an AR, after spending three seasons as a sniper. This means it is no longer compatible with sniper scopes. Generally they were rarely used on the weapon, so it is far from a crushing nerf. Respawn also tweaked it’s rate of fire from 4.5 down to 4, and slightly increased the time between your double-tap hop-up shots. Overall, although it did get hit by the nerf hammer, the G7 Scout is still a solid reliable AR with a very easy to master vertical recoil. The penetrating bullets mean you can hit multiple enemies with a single shot which can be especially spicy when you have enemies in a bottleneck and the double-tap hop-up in your hand. Damage wise it’s the hardest-hitting AR, and a single headshot will land you a helmet shattering 68 damage. If you prefer clean and clinical AR shots, the G7 Scout is right up your street.
The Devotion became a care package weapon in Season 4, to make room for the L-Star and to balance the game. When kitted out, the Devotion was “actually one of the strongest weapons in the game” – Respawn’s words not ours. In Season 4 not much has changed.
The weapon now takes Experimental Ammo, which you receive just over 200 bullets for when you snatch it off an airdrop. It also comes with a 2x HCOG Bruiser scope and a level four barrel stabilizer. When it comes to an end game scenario where you just want to light up your enemy close range with no care for your own safety, the Devotion delivers. Don’t forget the spin-up mechanic, which makes the weapon fire faster the longer you hold the trigger. As opposed to the L-Star which will literally overheat if you do that.
The Wingman is the Desert Eagle of Apex Legends, and the high damage per shot makes it a very efficient killer. The gun is great for hip fire, and due to its weight, it offers a faster movement speed while aiming compared to other heavy ammo weapons. The Wingman has been tinkered with in every season. Even though Season 4 sees it’s base magazine increased from four to five, the nerfs to the Rare and Epic mag means it’s best left to players who can actually aim, like you.
What else do I need to know?
Aside from these S-tier and A-tier weapons, you should know that the Havoc is now in the gutter following the removal of the Turbocharger. Fortunately, it still has the hitscan beam mode which sounds so incredibly satisfying. The brand new slow-firing Sentinel sniper rifle feels a little out of place in Apex Legends. While the charge mechanic is refreshing it requires a Shield Battery, making it more of a novelty addition. If Respawn allows 2x Battery Cells to do the job in the future that might change things considerably.
Outside of that, no other weapons have changed much in Apex Legends, just keep an eye out for the S and A-tier weapons above, and don’t be afraid to hop into the firing range to practice mastering the recoil patterns. Just remember that Revenant’s ultimate is encouraging a lot more close to mid-ranged warfare in Season 4. Don’t get too attached to Sniper Rifles for the foreseeable future.