Destiny 2 has rather diverse gameplay, with players being able to use several abilities and Supers, class-exclusive Exotic items, and lots of different weapon archetypes. Because the game is at its core a looter shooter, Destiny 2 players often use some stronger weapons over others due to the state of the sandbox, and fusion rifles finally got their due with Season of the Lost. Fusion and linear fusion rifles have never been super popular, but Season of the Lost made most of them inherently better with targeted buffs, and it also came with one of the game's most powerful artifact mods ever: Particle Deconstruction.
This mod allows players to stack a debuff on enemies that grants up to 40% increased damage against them while using fusion or linear fusion rifles, making some already powerful weapons — like One Thousand Voices and Sleeper Simulant — even more potent. This created a power vacuum in the current meta for Destiny 2, which was filled with the 30th Anniversary Pack's Gjallarhorn — not because the exotic rocket launcher can outdamage fusion rifles on its own, but rather because it dramatically increases DPS for allies with its Pack Hunter perk. This is likely not going to be nerfed in the near future, and when The Witch Queen expansion comes and takes away Particle Deconstruction, all fusion rifles will need help to remain remotely useful.
There are numerous fusion and linear fusion rifles that are currently considered among the best DPS options in all of Destiny 2, with guns like Cartesian Coordinate being one of the fastest and more deadly when paired with Vorpal Weapon and reduced charge time.
Weapons like Threaded Needle, Reed's Regret, Null Composure, and the likes will all remain great guns overall, but their usage will likely drastically lower once The Witch Queen drops, simply because Particle Deconstruction will rotate out of the artifact mod selection. Furthermore, it's not impossible that Season 16 will bring a new artifact mod that might be on the same level of Breach and Clear or Particle Deconstruction, elevating a single weapon archetype to best overall for a few months.
If this happens, fusion and linear fusion rifles stand close to no chance of remaining top picks for DPS or even ad clearing, and that's precisely what's happening right now with these weapons because of Particle Deconstruction, and with grenade launchers and Breach and Clear before it. Having an artifact mod that single-handedly dominates Destiny 2's meta alongside a given gun archetype is very problematic for all those weapons that don't get an Anti-Champion mod, or simply don't deal as much damage.
As such, even though fusion rifles did get their time to shine, they should get a few more buffs if Bungie intends to have a more varied meta and for players to have more options to build their loadouts with.
And yet, because weapon choices are still limited in PvE by how much utility a gun can bring to the table, weapons that will get an Anti-Champion mod are more likely to be used in all activities that feature Champions. Since fusion and linear fusion rifles both had an associated Unstoppable Champion mod in Destiny 2's Season of the Lost, it's possible that they will fall short next Season, considering that only a handful of weapons using Special or Heavy ammo do get Champion mods.
Activities like Dungeons and Gambit do break the mold with Champions, so it's still possible that powerful or very useful fusion and linear fusion rifles will see some use there, depending on further changes to the sandbox.
Destiny 2: Which Fusion Rifles Need Help the Most
Another aspect to consider is that some of Destiny 2's fusion and linear fusion rifles didn't see much use even now that Particle Deconstruction is so popular. Guns like The Queenbreaker and Merciless have always been considered largely useless, because they either don't have a great ammo economy, or simply don't deal enough damage. There was a time, back in vanilla Destiny 2, where Merciless was one of the strongest weapons in the game, but that changed when more guns were added and Merciless was nerfed.
Merciless did get a buff this Season, which made it seem better than other options, but at this point, there are simply too many great fusion rifles to use instead. The Queenbreaker, on the other hand, is mainly overlooked due to it using Heavy ammo and dealing much less damage than most other linear fusion rifles in the same slot, be it Sleeper Simulant, or even Legendary ones. What The Queenbreaker actually has going for itself is an AoE blind effect that can be really good in some harder content, like GM Nightfalls, but pairing it with Heavy ammo simply makes it not worth running at all.
Then, there are High-Impact Frame fusion rifles, which were changed with Season of the Lost's sandbox patch in a way that makes them borderline unusable when compared to either Precision Frames or Rapid-Fire Frames. This happens because their charge time was increased to around 1000 ms, making the guns extremely slow and a bit unresponsive even when paired with Accelerated Coils and a Charge Time Masterwork stat. An example is The Dawning's Glacioclasm fusion rifle, which can roll with both Subsistence and Reservoir Burst, making it a very powerful gun — in theory — when it comes to ad clearing, but it's held back by its abysmal charge time.
Thus, Destiny 2's fusion and linear fusion rifles do need help when The Witch Queen is released, and especially so all those guns that didn't see much use even when Particle Deconstruction was around. Merciless could use a bump in damage, The Queenbreaker could finally be moved to the Energy slot, and High-Impact Frame fusion rifles could need a reduction in charge time, even if it means lowering their damage. Overall, there's a lot that could be done to prevent these weapons to fall out of the meta even more, and The Witch Queen's weapon crafting might play a part in this transition.
Destiny 2 is available on PC, PS4, PS5, Stadia, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S.
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