This season features an interesting variety of weapons for competitive players to choose from, but some are clearly outclassed by others. While weapon selection in Fortnite is at least somewhat random, being able to find desired weapons consistently is a trained skill for competitive players, and it’s likely they’ll resort to many of the same weapons over time.
Fortnite staple weapons, assault rifles and shotguns
If Fortnite players could only have two weapons, they would be an assault rifle and shotgun. It’s likely that every trio will have each of their players equipped with one of each. Assault rifles earn their slot due to their ability to perform well in almost any situation, while shotguns offer unparalleled burst damage at a close range.
For Fortnite Season 5, there are a few choices to be made about which assault rifle and which shotgun to bring, but it’s likely that players will ultimately have one of each. For assault rifles, the main choice is between the Assault Rifle (AR) and Heavy Assault Rifle (HAR), though the Tactical Assault Rifle (TAR) gets a special mention.
It’s likely the TAR won’t see as much play because it only drops from guards and must then be upgraded through an NPC, but it is technically an option. The HAR and AR fill the same role quite nicely, with only minimal differences between them. The AR is more accurate and has a higher rate of fire but the HAR deals more damage per shot, especially at the higher rarities.
Choosing between one or the other will likely come down to player preference, but if the choice must be made then the HAR seems to have the edge by making each shot more impactful at the cost of suffering more at longer ranges.
Shotguns offer a more meaningful choice. The shotguns of Fortnite Season 5 include the Tactical Shotgun (TaS), Dragon’s Breath Shotgun (DBS), the Charge Shotgun (ChS), the Lever Action Shotgun (LAS), and The Dub. The Dub likely won’t see play as it can only be acquired by purchasing it from an NPC. The DBS is also unlikely to see play because it fires all shots at once, and is therefore not suited to teamfights.
Fortnite trios will almost certainly choose between the TaS, ChS, and LAS, all of which offer a unique style of play. For Fortnite Season 5, the TaS seems to be the weakest of these choices as it is the lowest damage shotgun in the pack. Although it fires faster, and has a large clip, the fact that each shot is individually less impactful means that it doesn’t benefit as much from weapon swapping.
When choosing between the ChS and LAS, it will all come down to team preference. A well placed ChS shot can instantly eliminate an opponent, and it is the only shotgun currently capable of dealing more than 200 damage in a single headshot. The ChS also has the longest range of the shotguns. This means that a skilled player can down an opponent who is only vulnerable for a fraction of a second.
However, the ChS requires a lot of setup in order to land those high impact shots. The LAS, by comparison, requires no setup, and each shot deals comparatively higher damage. The LAS also deals 100 damage when in the 'Rare' rarity or higher, making it incredibly effective against unshielded opponents.
Niche weapons, will any see play?
As for the other weapons, it’s likely some of them will see play but doubtful that players will go out of their way to acquire them. Fortnite teams will make use of a Submachine Gun if they happen to find one, but it likely won’t be integral to their strategy. Pistols, meanwhile, aren’t likely to see play outside of desperate attempts in the early game.
In Fortnite the major considerations for the niche weapon slots are rockets and snipers. When it comes to snipers, players can choose between the Bolt Action Sniper Rifle (BAS), the Lever Action Rifle (LAR), or the Amban Sniper Rifle (ASR), with the Storm Scout and Boom Sniper being purchasable from NPCs.
Snipers offer unique versatility to a team, and it’s often easy enough to have one player wield one. The only one unlikely to see any play is the LAR as it is the only one unable to ever eliminate a full health opponent in a single shot. At its highest rarity, the LAR deals just 61 damage, and 122 headshot damage. By comparison, the BAS and ASR hit for well over 200 damage on headshots, guaranteeing an elimination on anyone struck by it.
Fortnite players may only get a few shots with a sniper before having to switch to a more lethal weapon, so the shot damage matters much more than any other stat.
The ASR is a unique weapon found by eliminating the Mandalorian. Since there’s only one in the game, the real consideration is whether or not it’s strong enough to warrant the risk of trying to get it. If multiple Fortnite trios consider it important to their strategy, the location could become a hotbed for early activity. However, it hits for 110 damage and has a thermal scope, making target acquisition easier than with the BAS.
Technically the ASR can also be used as a melee weapon, however if this mode is used then it’s likely something has gone terribly wrong.
The BAS, by comparison, ranges from 105 to 116 damage per shot, not enough to be considered that different from the ASR. Teams will likely feel comfortable having one of their members wield this as the potential to instantly down an opponent is strong enough to keep opponents from making risky choices.
As for the other major utility weapon, Fortnite Season 5 has an interesting dynamic for the rocket launcher. The only way to get it is to defeat Ruckus or to trade gold bars for it. Some teams may consider this tool strong enough to focus on in the early game, but most will find ways to do without it.
Nevertheless, fans should look out for which Fortnite teams decide to go for this and see how well it helps them through the Fortnite Champion Series.