The Shredder and Pulsar are both rapid-fire energy guns with a chance of immobilising opponents hit. For Star Wars fan, this is War Robots' version of the Ion Cannon. These two weapons are the first in WR to not focus on pure damage or range, but the ability to pin enemy robots down for a while to deprive them of their speed or escape. In this blog we will be looking at their potential usefulness, ability and how to use and counter them.
"Stay on target..." (Stats)
With a range of 500m, the Shredder similar to the Punisher, as they both also have bullet spread and an optimal range of 200m. The problem is that while the Punisher is a dedicated brawling weapon, dealing up to 103,400 damage at level 12 mk1, the Shredder isn't. 37,400 damage at 200m means that most Shredder builds would be completely outgunned at 200m. If you were thinking that the Pulsar could be used in this role, its 33,264 damage is not only even less than it light counterpart, whilst the Taran deals 81,920 damage at the same level. Not only does this mean that the Shredder and Pulsar are unsuited for brawling, it also means that they should be used at a range of at least 400/410m and above. Due to bullet spread, accuracy is key for the Shredder. It's 3.2 second reload, however, allows for nearly constant fire, which can allow it to do nearly as much damage as the Punisher over time. Despite this, it remains outclassed as a brawling weapon.
However, the Pulsar is much more effective as a mid-range weapon, with a range of 600m. On top of this, it has extremely high accuracy and suffers from little to no bullet spread, so it can succesfully pin down enemies at 600m. Its manual guidance system allows the pilot to choose his targets and the exact target point that they are shooting at, an advantage that can counter corner-shooting and that lock-on weapons like the Zeus don't have. And while it isn't suitable for brawling, a cluster of 3 mounted on a Fujin, for example, can deal significant damage. It's reload is still a short 5 seconds. The two second difference between the two short reload times means that robots mounting both the Shredder and the Pulsar can unleash uninterrupted fire, with the Shredder firing when the Pulsar is reloading and vice versa, as well as them both firing at the same time.
"Target within range" (Ability)
The Shredder and Pulsar's key strength lies in their power to potentially immobilise enemy robots. Each round has a chance of rooting your opponent, so after being hit several times the effect is almost guaranteed. This can not only pin down the enemy robot for a certain amount of time, depriving them of their speed, it can deny them of an escape route. Using these weapons to try to immobilise and eliminate enemy robots in open areas or approaching vital beacons can give your team the advantage needed to win.
"Blast them!" (Strategy)
Pilots using the Shredder and Pulsar are advised to stay at 400-500m range and to use cover when reloading, due to their vulnerability (in terms of firepower) compared to knife-fighters. As mentioned before, prioritise targets caught out in the open and approaching vital beacons as well as any significant threat. The Shredder and Pulsar can be extremely helpful in immobilising pesky Dash Bots such as the Strider and Kumiho, pinning them down and allowing your teammates to finally destroy them. Having a short 5 second reload definitely helps to keep up the pressure on enemy players.
Due to them being energy weapons, the Shredder and Pulsar can be extremely effective against robots with built-in Anciles , such as the Haechi. This is not only because they pin them down and bypass their Anciles, but also because bots with energy shield generally have lower health (e.g the Carnage only has 114k health whilst the Golem has 172k).
The Shredder and Pulsar are most useful on large, open maps with little cover. This includes Yamantau, Canyon, Springfield, Dreadnought (around the sides) and Shenzhen (the centre beacon area). Immobilising enemy bots about to capture vital beacons can be vital on game modes such as Beacon Rush, as this can deny them of an extra beacon and spawn point.
As for what robots to mount them on, fast robots such as the Kumiho (ironically), Gepard etc can be extremely irritating using these weapons, able to immobilise enemy robots before using their speed to quickly return to cover and avoid enemy fire.
The Fujin works particularly well with the Pulsar, despite its under-average health. Its four legs mean that it can change direction instantly, enabling it to dodge enemy fire and it has a good top speed of 44mph as well. Mounting 3 Pulsars means that it can do significant damage and greatly increases the chance of rooting an opponent.
"But what about that turret?" (Counter Tactics)
Staying out of the Shredder and Pulsar's range works sometimes, but due to most builds being brawlers/knife-fighters and their range being 500m, this isn't always an option. The second tactic is equally simple, use cover whenever you can. This is crucial on the open maps mentioned previously as being caught out in the open, unable to move and exposed, can mean the loss of your robot. Any container, wall or boulder can instantly become your best friend when it comes to avoiding enemy fire.
Another counter is by either using a very fast robot to dodge the purple lasers or by having a robot with strong (physical) shields such as the Rhino and Bulwark. The final counter-strategy is simply outmanoevering them. Flanking them before catching them unaware in an ambush is often succesful, as once you have them in your line of fire at close-range, they don't have much firepower to stop you.
"You will have help from the Ion Cannon" (Overview)
Overall the Shredder and Pulsar are both useful weapons, most effective in the role of close-mid range suppressive and support fire. The Shredder's low damage and bullet spread counters the advantage of its root effect potential, so it is balanced, which is one thing that many recent weapons have been lacking. The Pulsar however, is much more powerful. With a longer range and practically no bullet spread, the Pulsar still just falls into the "Powerful and unbalanced" category, being more powerful and versatile than the Ion. So if you're using a robot that relies on its speed, has low health or has an in-built Ancile, watch out!
Note: All these quotes are from Star Wars if you were wondering :)