Destiny 2 Season 20 weapon tuning to nerf Linear Fusion Rifles & buff Heavy Grenade Launchers

The upcoming weapon balance will also see Kinetic weapons and Machine Guns getting a buff while more Exotics get Subclass 3.0 verbs.


Destiny 2: Lightfall is quickly approaching. Not only does it bring a new campaign, raid, build crafting and a host of other features, it also marks a shift in the weapon meta. Bungie has given players a preview of what changes they can expect to arrive in Season 20, including adjustments to Power weapons, Kinetic weapon damage modifiers, and Exotic weapons.

Destiny 2 Season 20 weapon tuning

In a post on February 1, 2023, Bungie offered a brief look at some of the weapon tuning that will be released alongside the launch of Destiny 2’s next major expansion, Lightfall. It should come as no surprise that Linear Fusion Rifles were the first weapons to be addressed. These Power weapons have dominated the endgame experience for about a year thanks to their ammo economy, damage, and perk options.

Taipan-4FR with Firing Line perk highlighted
Taipan was once the go-to option for boss DPS. With the bevy of nerfs incoming, it could fall from grace.
Source: Shacknews

Other than Exotic Heavy Linear Fusion Rifles, LFRs will be receiving a nerf across the board of 15 percent to their damage. Moreover, the Veist Stinger perk – which saw Taipan-4FR skyrocket in use – will now only reload 25 percent of the magazine instead of the entire thing. This should make other Linears more appealing to use, like Fire and Forget or Cataclysmic.

The post does note that Sleeper Simulant and The Queenbreaker will be unaffected by this change. The other benefit Legendary LFRs offered was that players could use an Exotic in the other weapon slot, like Arbalest, which had high damage and anti-Champion effects. It’s unlikely that users will opt for an Exotic in the Power slot unless its damage far outweighs the benefit of another weapon – or if it provides some team benefit like Gjallarhorn or Tractor Cannon.

Sleeper Simulant with perks displayed in inventory
Sleeper Simulant will be unaffected by the LFR nerfs.
Source: Shacknews

As for what you might use in the Power weapon slot, it could be a Rocket Launcher or Heavy Grenade Launcher come Lightfall. Heavy GLs will receive a 20 percent damage bump, improved projectile collision, and a blast radius increase. With Wendigo-GL3 coming up for farming in Grandmaster Nightfalls, and its wealth of damage-boosting perks, we could see GLs return to the top spot like with Season of Opulence.

However, these buffs may not be enough to make them compete with the currently strong Rocket Launcher meta. Right now, Bump in the Night is proving to be monstrously effective with Warlocks, and that’s before the boosts of Gjallarhorn.

Another massive change coming with Season 20 is an increase to Kinetic weapon damage. A weapon in this slot with Primary-type ammo will have its damage multiplier increased to 1.1 from 1.05 while Special-type ammo will increase to 1.15 from 1.05. Stasis-type weapons will lose the intrinsic 5 percent damage bonus Kinetic weapons deal to unshielded targets in PVE.

Izanagi's Burden with Exotic catalyst highlighted
Izanagi's Burden's damage output is huge and it could be the go-to option when the Kinetic buff drops.
Source: Shacknews

What all of this means is we could see a Kinetic weapon and Rocket Launcher meta similar to what we have now. Witherhoard, despite its nerf, remains an excellent set and forget weapon, especially for Starfire Protocol users. As Saltagreppo points out, Izanagi’s Burden might be the next champion if it receives the Kinetic weapon boost. Alternatively, Quicksilver Storm is being slightly updated for Lightfall while Revision Zero has impressive DPS with its Fourth Time’s the Charm catalyst.

The only other wild card in all of this is Machine Guns. Thunderlord popped off during Season of Plunder with its Exotic catalyst and now Bungie is tweaking the ammo-spewing beasts. Machine Guns will receive a roughly 10 percent damage boost and have the reserve ammo upped by 10 to 50 percent based on a Machine Gun's base ammo count.

Corrective Measure with Subsistence
The increase to Machine Gun reserves could see them become more popular, though, whether that translates to better DPS options for Day One raids remains to be seen.
Source: Shacknews

Bungie also went into detail about a few Exotics that would be receiving subclass 3.0 verbs. These verbs (scorch, suppress, blind etc) will allow the guns to interact with builds in new ways. The post notes that equipping Ember of Ashes will boost the amount of scorch stacks when an Exotic uses the scorch verb.

  • The Queenbreaker – shots now chain to nearby enemies and uses Arc 3.0 blind
  • Ruinous Effigy – Transmutation sphere slams now suppress enemies
  • The Leviathan’s Breath – Volatile on perfect draw, Champion damage increased by 30 percent
  • One Thousand Voices – Each explosion now applies 10 scorch stacks
  • Sunshot – Explosion on kill applies 10 scorch
  • Polaris Lance – Perfect Fifth now applies 40 scorch stacks
  • Two-Tailed Fox – Solar rockets apply 60 scorch, void rocket suppresses, the catalyst will add another verb
  • Prometheus Lens – Incandescent added to catalyst
  • Grand Overture – Catalyst uses Arc 3.0 Blind

There is a lot of information to unpack here but it’s worth reading, especially if you’re preparing for Lightfall by collecting Exotic catalysts, weapon patterns, or farming GMs. Keep it locked to Shacknews as we continue to cover Destiny 2, including information on the weapon meta, upcoming balances, and more. Our Destiny 2 strategy guide has valuable information to help you on your way.

Guides Editor

Hailing from the land down under, Sam Chandler brings a bit of the southern hemisphere flair to his work. After bouncing round a few universities, securing a bachelor degree, and entering the video game industry, he's found his new family here at Shacknews as a Guides Editor. There's nothing he loves more than crafting a guide that will help someone. If you need help with a guide, or notice something not quite right, you can Tweet him: @SamuelChandler 

From The Chatty
    • reply
      February 1, 2023 5:55 PM

      The nice thing about LFRs being good was you were suddenly free to use an exotic primary or special weapon. Hopefully the Lightfall meta continues to favour legendary power weapons.

      • reply
        February 1, 2023 6:02 PM

        Yeah, that's what I mentioned in the article. While Sleeper won't be hit, I don't see me opting for it over a Legendary, especially when Arby, Witherhoard, and Izzy exists. Alternatively, Outbreak Perfected remains a useful option when completely dry in a boss fight.

        • reply
          February 1, 2023 6:46 PM

          I was thinking about OP yesterday for no reason. Real fun gun to shoot and I haven't done so for a while.

    • reply
      February 1, 2023 6:28 PM

      That sublass 3.0 verb fhing is interesting. Weapon affixes/suffixes... Or Red Item Text.

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