Strategy:Shotgun Types

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Game Data Strategy



Shotguns work slightly differently to most weapons. They do not have a projectile - instead they attack a cone-shaped area in the firing direction.

Shotguns can't miss unless the target is not actually within the cone. Instead, their penalty at long range is damage drop-off, which makes them deal a little bit less damage for every tile between the shotgun and the target. Each shotgun has a different damage drop-off, with the combat shotgun being rather good at long range and the double shotgun being completely awful at long range.

Shotguns will make up the cornerstone of the early game firepower, and remain useful for a long time even if focusing on another weapon type, due to their perfect accuracy and good, efficient damage without desperately needing weapon-specific traits to be effective like most other weapons do. Shotguns excel at attacking groups of enemies at close to medium range, as each enemy will take damage, even if they're behind another enemy.

Shotguns are particularly good at two important tactics - Corner-shooting and Radar-shooting. Radar-shooting means firing shells down a corridor or in to a far away corner of a seemingly-empty room. Enemies cry out in pain when they take damage, so if you hear an enemy yell after your shot, they're hanging around just outside of vision range. Shotguns are good at this because they don't miss (although, they do have a maximum range) and they attack numerous tiles at once.

Corner-shooting is an extremely important tactic that is useful for all non-melee characters. Hiding behind a corner will hide you from enemies, but you'll still be able to see them. If you then shoot them with a shotgun repeatedly, they'll attempt to run at you (because they can't see you) while you constantly knock them back. Extremely powerful enemies can be taken out with a regular shotgun by relying on this tactic.

Lastly, shotguns will generally knock enemies back a square or two even at mid-long range. This is more than just important for corner shooting, you can use it to push tough enemies in to lava or barrel explosions too.

Angel of Shotgunnery/Shotgun-based characters

Shotguns are great weapons that almost every character will use at least once, so naturally a character who primarily (or exclusively) uses shotguns won't feel too restricted by their choice.

The main weaknesses of shotguns are not putting out quite as much 1v1 damage as other weapons can do with proper trait investment and their poor damage type - shrapnel. Shrapnel damage doubles armor before dealing damage, so the elite enemies with their high armor will sustain substantially reduced damage from shotguns, while shotguns will inflict scratch damage to most bosses if you're not close to them. There are ways to negate or mitigate this issue, such as with the Army of the Dead master trait, getting a Plasma shotgun, or making the Plasmatic shrapnel or Nano-shrapnel assemblies, but the formermost comes with some significant drawbacks as covered later below, while the latter three require luck to obtain.

As a shotgun specialist, you will certainly get Shottyman (a trait that is required for all of the following master traits), which makes weapons with long reload times suddenly not as bad. In particular the elephant gun - a regular shotgun with 50% the power but over double the reload time - works very well as long as you remember to never actually reload it manually in a firefight.

Shotgun Marine - Army of the Dead

With this trait, any weapons that deal shrapnel damage will now deal piercing damage, which means your shotguns completely ignore armor. Those elite enemies that eat up all your shells will now be taking at least 4 more damage per shot, and up to as much as 10 more damage on some bosses. This looks very appealling, especially if you're doing Angel of Shotgunnery, and this trait will bring your shotguns unmatchable ammo efficiency, but it comes with some big drawbacks.

Normally when it comes to blocked traits with a master, you only get one trait blocked that would have been very valuable to the build, if any at all that you would actually want. With MAD, you lose access to Finesse, Eagle Eye, and Hellrunner. Eagle Eye itself doesn't matter for shotguns and you can live without it with rocket launchers, but without Eagle Eye and not being a Scout, you lose access to Intuition, a very useful trait that works particularly well with shotgunners. Then with no Hellrunner, you'll have to rely solely on equipment to boost your movement speed, which will reliably come down to just Tactical boots, leaving you sluggish when shotgun builds really need movement when they lack the DPS to overpower enemies and have to utilize Shottyman. Blocking Hellrunner also means no access to Dodgemaster, making getting in open firefights really bad for MAD builds, while giving them by far the hardest Cyberdemon fight; sure MAD will give you 8 more damage per shot against him, but he is still going to be dishing out heavy damage to you with no easy way to dodge his rockets, while Fireangels can simply laugh at them, and while Shottyheads can get Dodgemaster to ensure Cybie never hits them or otherwise still evade his rockets a good chunk of the time while dealing out superior DPS to MAD.

The worst though is being blocked Finesse. Losing Finesse itself really hurts MAD's DPS potential and keeps them from being able to use clip shotguns as effectively as other builds. Then it loses access to both Juggler and Whizkid. With shotgunners having a variety of shotguns to use and rocket launchers, Juggler is a very handy trait to instantly switch between them to maximize their effectiveness at each situation. Losing access to Whizkid means MAD can never make a Focused double shotgun and will need to rely on getting lucky to find a Super shotgun to have that awesomely destructive firepower, while also never being able to make a Nano-shrapnel shotgun of some sort, that is potentially an "I win" button for other builds. No Whizkid also means they can't apply more than one mod, which really limits potential when there are really good exotic shotguns that can be all modded out.

So in conclusion, Army of the Dead will ensure you'll probably never have to worry about shotgun shells again and won't need to farm Sergeants near Arch-viles for ammo in hell, but you'll end up being a corner shooting hero who will be sorely outmatched in an open firefight and lacking the potential the other builds can reach.

Shotgun Scout - Shottyhead

Shottyhead reduces the firing time of your shotguns down to one third, which when stacked on top of the Scount's innate 10% faster firing speed and the 15% bonus you'll get from the requisite first level of Finesse, will give your shotguns a firing speed of 0.25 seconds at maximum, which can be improved even farther with additional levels of Finesse and Technical mods.

With a clip shotgun like the tactical shotgun and assault shotgun you'll be able to get at least three shots per each enemy's move. During corner shooting no enemy can ever hope to get through your firepower as you'll be able to reliably shoot them out of sight before they can even get near; you'll often end up pausing to let the enemy closer before firing again. Then with this firing speed open firefights become a lot more viable, when used in conjunction with the movement speed you'll have and Dodgemaster, you can dance around enemy projectiles while being able to hit them multiple times without retaliation. This immense firing speed will also grant Shottyheads vastly superior DPS to other shotgun masters, allowing them to much more effectively kill dangerous enemies and not have the hard time against bosses other shotgun masters have. Shottyheads will additionally make the most effective use of the Jackhammer and Plasma shotgun by far in addition to the Tactical and Assault shotguns, while if they're lucky enough to find a Super Shotgun with a nano mod, a Shottyhead with a Nano-shrapnel Super Shotgun may be the most busted build + weapon combo possible.

When it comes to blocked traits, not having Eagle Eye matters nothing at all, when you'll still have access to Intuition. Son of a Bitch could be useful when you're firing so fast you're nearly using rapid fire weapons anyway, but it's not a dealbreaker. Losing access to Triggerhappy matters not at all except for the unlikely scenario you find a Jackhammer; the DPS of a Shottyhead with a Jackhammer, 2 levels of Triggerhappy, and levels of Son of a Bitch, would have some truly dreamy DPS, but alas it remains an impossible dream. Then being blocked Tough as Nails is inconsequential, as you'll still be able to get good protection with armor, while losing access to Badass matters neither when you wouldn't want decreased knockback limiting your rocket jumps.

With Shottyheads, the only thing you'll really have to be concerned about is your ammo consumption on higher difficulties. You may need to farm Sergreants near Arch-viles from time to time in hell to not run out of shells, especially on Angel of 100/666.

Shotgun Technician - Fireangel

With Fireangel you'll become completely immune to damage from explosions. The immediate obvious effect is that you can fire rockets at close range with no concern whatsoever, while you'll be able to rocket jump all over the place with no consequence outside ammo consumption. Really hate Arch-viles, Revenants, and Mancubi? With this, they become significantly less threatening outside of their melee range and your only concern would be them blowing up items. This will additionally trivialise Cybie and the Lava elemental, while with John Carmack you can just focus on his lackeys and ignore his own rockets. Being no longer threatened by the VMR and no damage rocket jumps also means making a Fireproof red armor is no longer a nigh-necessity, meaning you can use other mods on your Red armor to make it something more useful for general usage and better protecting against those pesky Barons and Arachnotrons.

With a Missile launcher or a Tactical rocket launcher, you can spam rockets with impunity, while being able to handle closeup swarms with no problem. Then with Shottyman, you can reload them on the move, making them great weapons for general usage, and your only concern will be with destroying vital items. Get lucky enough to find a Nano mod to make a Nanomachic Rocket launcher, you'll pretty much have the game won, with only the Spider Mastermind being a real threat to you from that point. For really powerful stuff that doesn't rely so much on luck, with having immediate access to Whizkid by being a Technician, Fireangels will have the easiest time getting the coveted Focused double shotgun.

Fireangel however, despite being a shotgun mastery, provides no benefit itself to shotguns. Because of this, you should obviously avoid picking it in an Angel of Shotgunnery run. Fireangels may also run into ammo issues too, as rockets come in very low ammo amounts and rocket stacks have very limited capacity, while shotgun shells will still have their double-reduced-by-armor and scarcity in hell without Sergeants problem. Fireangels will additionally have lackluster DPS compared to what Shottyheads are capable of, but can still outdo MAD when being able to invest in Finesse and apply multiple Technical mods.

When it comes to blocked traits, Fireangels lose Eagle Eye like the rest of the shotgun masters, which itself doesn't matter, but no possible Intuition hurts still. Son of a Bitch barely matters however when you're using single-fire weapons without incredible firing speed. Then Son of a Gun and by extension Dualgunner are blocked, but why the hell would you be investing in these traits in the first place if you're not a pistol build?

For one final note, if you're for some reason playing on version, Fireangel is bugged and does not work. Fireangel does not make you immune to explosions in this version and thus does absolutely nothing, so not only is it a complete waste of a master trait if you choose it in that version, you'll probably also immediately kill yourself afterward blowing yourself up without knowing you weren't immune. Thankfully this bug was fixed in the current version, and Fireangel works as intended in the versions prior to

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