Iron Banner just concluded yesterday, and I spent a good deal of time playing it this go round. I’ve never had any luck in trying to get a decent Grasp of Malok, so when the rank five roll of Clever Dragon featured Counter Balance, Perfect Balance and Snapshot… I knew I was ultimately going to grind until I got there. With the Rise of Iron it brought a number of changes to “Iron Banana”, namely since Lord Saladin is nor our “faction leader” of a sort… the reigns of the tournament were passed to Lady Efrideet. The primary change that happened is the fact that instead of three weekly bounties, and three daily bounties… we are given four weekly bounties. Previously you got a crappy blue item at Rank 3 with Iron Banner and an item package at Rank 5. This time around two of these new bounties reward armor packages, and the other two reward weapons… and you still get some sort of a big package upon hitting Rank 5. So the total loot payout of participating in the event is significantly more than it used to be. That said I find it MUCH harder to get to Rank 5, given that I don’t have something I can be working on every day to give me a much needed boost. In Iron Banner you only gain ranks if you are winning, and especially trying to queue during the day on Friday… I hit some significant losing streaks. Now there is a built in system that gives you a sort of consolation prize coin upon a loss… and these stack to five, with a boost to your rank granted when you finally turn around and win. However there was at least one point on Friday that I lost eight games in a row… so it just become frustrating as I kept getting thrown up against premades.
Now the positive of the event is that I got tons of loot, and also managed to complete both the void damage portion of the thorn quest, and the crucible kills portion of my Future War Cult exotic class item quest. I spent a significant amount of time running around shooting people into the face with the above Shotgun. I’ve had the Party Crasher +1 for awhile now and I consider it to be as close to a god roll as I will ever likely see with Full Auto, Final Round and Rifled Barrel to help boost the range a bit. Traditionally I use my Invective when doing crucible, but at the moment I am simply not willing to waste an exotic shard on anything until I get significantly closer to the item cap. I went on a mission to try and get a decent legendary shotgun during Taken King and in my very first round of attempting to grind the Crucible I managed to pull this guy in the end of match rewards and have been loving it ever since. I am sure a god roll Matador could pry it from my hands but for the moment I am super happy with it.
The other weapon that I used a significant amount of the time especially to get those void kills is Saladin’s Vigil. Now this is something I picked up last Iron Banner from one of the loot bounties, and I felt like I got a completely reasonable roll on it. I am not even sure what a “god roll” would look like, but mine has Hammer Forged, Enhanced Battery, and Performance Bonus…. with that last perk actually extending the usefulness of the weapon as it materializes ammo out of thin air. With a really low charge rate and almost maxed impact and reasonable range… this is essentially the first fusion rifle that is not Sleeper Simulant that I really find myself enjoying using. I got many a kill by this one and leading the charge as I expected something to duck around the corner. Fusion Rifles can be extremely frustrating in the crucible because they are very much a “whelp I’m dead” weapon when you intercept a bolt.
Lastly the weapon I cannot stop using… literally ever is this Haakon’s Hatchet that was a vendor roll during the Taken King. I realize that the “doctrine of spamming” archetype is still pretty potent in the meta, but no matter how many versions of that archetype I get… I never can seem to do shit with them. I currently have a potentially viable Hex Caster ARC and an Unbent Tree… but I cannot ever bring myself to level them and have not deemed them worthy of motes of light. The weapon I continue to go back to however is this Hatchet with Ranger Finder, Counter Balance and Perfect Balance. This is as close to my perfect weapon as I will likely ever find, because not only do I love the appearance… but I can also draw a bead on enemy players with in and chew them up. What I love the most about the weapon is the fact that it is just as viable for me in Crucible situations as it is doing literally anything PVE… namely the Archon’s Forge. The magazine is big enough that I can often take down an entire wave of mobs in the forge without a reload.
I’ve tried so many different primary weapons… for example I managed to pull the above Shadow Price that while it does not have the perfect roll has something I can work with. With Rodeo and Perfect Balance it becomes usable… and while Icarus is generally a worthless perk I can make it work since I jump around a lot. This gun works well in any PVE situation, but it is completely useless in the Crucible, at least with the roll package that I wound up getting. I have a copy of The Continental that seems similarly reasonable, but nothing can quite match up to the “perfect for me” stat package of the Hatchet. I still want to try and find one of the Doctrine archetype weapons with Counterbalance and Perfect Balance to see if it suddenly becomes this magical weapon that folks talk about. However for the time being I will keep using Hatchet and be happy to have it. I am hoping however that after all the time I spent trying to get it… that I find that sweet spot with the Clever Dragon and it becomes my new favorite Pulse Rifle.