How To Maximize Fusion Rifle Consistency | Illustrating Range, Aim Assist, and Bolt Magnetism (x-post /r/CruciblePlaybook)


Previously, I had shared some observations regarding fusion rifle damage falloff and bolt speed. Those posts were far from conclusive, however, and the jury is still out on what exactly the Range stat does for fusions. After reading an <
reduces the airborne accuracy penalty by 75% and provides ~48% of original aim assist while airborne. Without Icarus, the accuracy cone grows by factor of 2.95 (0.74 with Icarus), and the aim assist circle completely disappears. This means bolts fired airborne are subject to extreme randomness and zero magnetism. I also compared the Sunsinger’s Angel of Light perk and Icarus, and found that Angel of Light reduces the airborne accuracy penalty by 100% and provides the same 48% aim assist that Icarus does. Icarus doesn’t appear to provide any additional accuracy while Angel of Light is active.

Stats Summary

Just to recap, below is a description of how each weapon statistic contributes to fusion rifle accuracy. I’ve also listed examples of available fusion rifles that can excel with perks that boost the associated stat.

Range tightens the accuracy cone (decreases error angle), decreasing the area where bolts may randomly project and allowing bolts to magnetize at longer distances. High Range combined with high Aim Assist contributes to consistency.

  • Examples: Wizard 77 (70), Darkblade’s Spite (70), Plan C (65), The Branded Lord (65), Praetorian Foil (65), Saladin’s Vigil (64), Ex Astris (64), Ashraven’s Flight (64), Stellar Vestige (63).

Aim Assist widens the area in which bolts can magnetize, thus increasing the margin of error allowed in a player’s aim. Low Aim Assist can be compensated for with high Stability, high Recoil Direction, or player skill. Low-impact fusion rifles tend to have much higher Aim Assist than high-impact ones, since they depend on more bolts to magnetize.

  • Examples: Techeun Rage (85), The Vortex (84), Ether Nova (75), Long Far Gone (75), Branded Lord (74), Light of the Abyss (73), Ashraven’s Flight (68), Stellar Vestige (67).

Recoil Direction eliminates horizontal tendencies in recoil, making it more vertical. More vertical recoil is easier to counteract and minimizes randomness in the recoil pattern. High Recoil Direction can compensate for low Aim Assist or Stability. High Recoil Direction is especially desirable when using fusion rifles at extended distances.

  • Examples: Plan C (105), Telesto (105), Midha’s Reckoning (100), Saladin’s Vigil (93), Stellar Vestige (81), Panta Rhei (80), The Branded Lord (78), Worlds To Come 001 (67) Ether Nova (67). Honorable mention to Each New Day, the only fusion that can roll Counterbalance.

Stability reduces the amount of recoil experienced from each bolt. High Stability can compensate for low Aim Assist or Recoil Direction, and reduces the amount you have to manually control the reticle. Stability cannot overcome low Range — even with perfect aim, bolts are still subject to error angle, and will fail to magnetize if the error angle is too large. Further on in this guide, you may notice that I recommend prioritizing Stability last after all other stats. The reason for this is that Stability is the only stat that can be 100% compensated for by player skill if recoil is completely vertical. The other stats govern random elements that can’t be compensated for no matter what, so priority should be given to minimize those elements. The reality, though, is that there are very few ways to boost Recoil Direction, and you may end up performing better with a high Stability fusion since it requires less manual effort in the heat of the moment. Fusion rifles with good Recoil Direction have a high performance ceiling, but Stability can raise the floor if you’re struggling.

  • Examples: Thesan FR4 (100), The Vacancy (100), Saladin’s Vigil (100), Susanoo (97), Each New Day (95), Ashraven’s Flight (95), Split Shifter Pro (95), Telesto (93), Panta Rhei (90), The Branded Lord (83).

Demonstrating Bolt Magnetism

Fusion Rifle Bolt Magnetism Comparison

Aim assist governs bolt magnetism; if a bolt and your target are both within the magic aim assist circle, they can form a lethal attraction. Otherwise, they’re subject to your fusion rifle’s error angle. Magnetism doesn’t guarantee that a bolt will hit, just that it’s heading in the right direction. It’s entirely possible for a magnetized bolt to miss and for a non-magnetized bolt to hit by chance. What magnetism does is lay the groundwork for consistency.

The above video demonstrates the difference in magnetism between two Saladin’s Vigils at a distance of 45 meters, one with Hand-Laid Stock and the other with Rangefinder and Rifled Barrel. This is well beyond conventional fusion rifle range, but helps demonstrate the difference between the two. I chose these two clips carefully from a much larger set. I selected clips with as equal aim as possible so any difference in magnetism can be attributed to Range rather than recoil or human error. These clips also represent best and worst-case scenarios; there were certainly instances where the low-Range fusion hit many bolts, and the high-Range fusion hit only a few. What matters is consistency. The high-Range fusion consistently placed many bolts and sometimes even killed, while the low-Range fusion’s ability to do the same was left largely to chance.

Here are some additional clips that demonstrate magnetism in the Crucible:

Maximizing Consistency

When you fire a fusion rifle, you’re rolling 7 dice. Depending on Impact, you may need to roll 4, 5, 6, or 7 sixes to get a kill. How can you fudge as many dice as possible to make that happen? How can you minimize randomness?

Below is a list of things within your control as a player, followed by things outside your control, and how best to manipulate them or minimize their effects.

In your control:

  1. Aim. Aim low so you remain on target as the reticle climbs; aim at the crotch at close range, the knees at medium range, and the ankles/feet at long range. It can be helpful to track your target from the hip and then quick-scope before you fire. Lead your target as necessary.
  2. Positioning. Engage within your fusion rifle’s effective range — for best consistency, the lower the Impact, the shorter the range. Keep your boots on the ground. Use cover and corners to protect yourself while precharging.
  3. Charge time. Precharge as you anticipate an enemy to round a corner, or as you anticipate to peek from cover and acquire a target. Watch your motion tracker. Don’t precharge repeatedly if you’re wrong, as you’ll broadcast yourself and throw off your own timing. Practice quick-scoping before you fire so charge time builds into your muscle memory.

Outside your control:

  1. Bolt Trajectory. Minimize error angle with Range and accuracy-boosting perks. Maximize Aim Assist and the margin of error for magnetism with AA-boosting perks, scopes, and barrels.
  2. Recoil. Minimize recoil with Stability-boosting perks. Minimize randomness in the recoil pattern with perks, scopes, and barrels that improve Recoil Direction. Fight recoil by pushing the analog stick down as you fire. Crouch or slide to further reduce recoil.
  3. Target Movement & Positioning. Choose targets that are stationary, grounded, or moving directly towards or away from you. Bait and force engagements in corridors and at chokepoints. Slow or suppress mobile targets. Avoid moving targets at range, as the distance you need to lead may be larger than your magnetism area.

Final Recommendations

Which fusion rifle you use and how you configure it depends on how you intend to use it. In general, fusion rifles can be divided into “archetypes” based on the number of bolts to kill, each with its own strengths and weaknesses:

4-bolts: These fusion rifles have the highest Impact and the longest charge times. Once all the bolts are out, they’re the most consistent because they require the fewest bolts to kill. They’re fantastic defensive weapons in the hands of a player that can anticipate and make up for their long charge times with excellent prediction skills. They can also strike from astonishingly long range, and kill revived enemies in Elimination gametypes. Their offensive use is limited, and the charge time is their biggest weakness. You cannot react quickly with a 4-bolt. Most 4-bolts have a charge time around 0.9s, longer than the optimal TTK of most other weapons. Excellent positioning, awareness, and clever use of cover are necessary to avoid being flanked, and to turn 3v1 and 2v1 situations into multiple 1v1s. 4-bolts tend to have low Aim Assist, requiring more skill and control on the player’s part to maximize their effectiveness.

  • Examples: Saladin’s Vigil, Midha’s Reckoning, Wizard 77, Darkblade’s Spite
  • Stat Priority: Range, Recoil Direction, Aim Assist, Stability. Range provides consistency, and Recoil Direction minimizes random recoil, allowing you to compensate for low Aim Assist or Stability. Aim Assist and Stability are still useful, but don’t sacrifice Range or Recoil Direction to improve them. Otherwise you open yourself up to randomness beyond your control.
  • Recommended Perks: Rifled Barrel, Rangefinder, Hot Swap, Hidden Hand, Accelerated Coils

5-bolts: The most common and popular type of fusion rifle, 5-bolts occupy the middle ground between charge time and bolts to kill. Consistency is sacrificed, but the shorter charge times make these weapons incredibly versatile, both offensively and defensively. Higher-Impact 5-bolts can also revive-kill in Elimination gametypes if all bolts hit (requires 43 damage per bolt to kill a revived Guardian with 300 hit points). 5-bolts still struggle engaging multiple targets at once, with charge times between 0.7s and 0.9s, so prediction skills are still required to make the most of them. 5-bolts can kill from as impressive ranges as 4-bolts can, but are best used out to medium-close range.

  • Examples: Plan C, Thesan FR4, The Vacancy, Stellar Vestige, Ashraven’s Flight, Panta Rhei
  • Stat Priority: Range, Aim Assist, Recoil Direction, Stability. Targets are closer, so recoil is less of a factor. High Aim Assist gives you a wider margin of error and allows you to snap to targets. If you intend to use a 5-bolt at long range, prioritize Recoil Direction over Aim Assist.
  • Recommended Perks: Rifled Barrel, Hidden Hand, Hot Swap, Rangefinder, Counterbalance, Accelerated Coils, Braced Frame

6-bolts: 6-bolts have the fastest charge times, allowing for quick reactions and fast-paced play. The six bolts needed to kill can make them wildly inconsistent, which is why most players avoid them. Some consider them to be shotguns with a charge time. Still, when properly configured and used, 6-bolts are highly lethal at close to even medium-close range. They can be used aggressively or defensively against rushing or flanking opponents. They complement an aggressive, highly mobile playstyle that can catch enemies off guard. Their short charge times can actually make quick-scoping a challenge since you have a smaller window to acquire your target. Practice firing from the hip as well. You really must be aware of your 6-bolt’s effective range if you use one, and accept that any attempt to use it outside that is a roll of the dice.

  • Examples: The Branded Lord, Ether Nova, Long Far Gone, Split Shifter Pro
  • Stat Priority: Aim Assist, Range, Recoil Direction, Stability. You want to be as snappy as possible and provide the largest area for bolts to magnetize. Most 6-bolts have great base Aim Assist already, so keep an eye out for Range-boosting perks. Consider AA-friendly scopes and barrels like Smooth Ballistics or Field Choke instead of Linear Compensator. Recoil is far less of a factor at close range.
  • Recommended Perks: Rifled Barrel, Hidden Hand, Hot Swap, Hip Fire, Quick Draw, Braced Frame

Plan C deserves a special mention since it can do goddamn everything. It can react with hyper-6-bolt speed and 5-bolt consistency, and hit almost as far as even the best 4-bolts with a shorter charge time. I recommend Field Choke and Hammer Forged. Smart Drift Control is tempting with its boost to Recoil Direction but the Range penalty makes it difficult to recommend.

Some short thoughts on Accelerated Coils, some might warn against using Accelerated Coils where it reduces the bolts to kill, but I think it’s okay as long as you keep the above archetypes in mind. It’s perfectly viable to use Accelerated Coils on Saladin’s Vigil, for example, but you have to treat it like a 5-bolt, and not just a 4-bolt with faster charge time. Be aware that by using a 4-bolt as a 5-bolt, or a 5-bolt as a 6-bolt, you’ll generally face lower Aim Assist than fusions that are naturally part of those archetypes. (Worth noting that Saladin’s Vigil has the highest Aim Assist, 65, of any 4-bolt, so it’s an excellent candidate for Accelerated Coils.)

If you made it this far, thanks for reading! I hope this guide proves helpful for maximizing fusion rifle consistency and effectiveness here in the closing months of Destiny 1. As always with posts of this nature, please ask any questions you may have and share your own insights. There are much better and more knowledgeable players out there, so if I’ve stated anything here that contradicts your own experiences, absolutely share and discuss. Happy vooping!

TL;DR: Accuracy-boosting perks boost accuracy. Prioritize Range, Aim Assist, and Recoil Direction to maximize consistency. Use your fusion rifle within its effective range. Practice controlling recoil so you can compensate for low Stability.

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