The Iron Banner event in Destiny is once again upon us, challenging guardians to bring their best gear into the Crucible to battle it out for bragging rights, as well as some cool new toys. Unlike regular Crucible matches, the Iron Banner won't see all participants competing on a level playing field, instead allowing you to keep your custom attack and defense ratings to see how they stack up against the lowly level 20's of the universe.
What this all boils down to is not only a much higher importance on the armor that you choose to wear, but also the weapons that you opt to dish out doom with. Decide to head into battle with your favorite rare auto rifle and you might find yourself nursing a wounded ego. Choose the right tool for the job, however, and you'll be purchasing that level 32 gear from Lord Saladin in no time.
Today, I'm going to break down my five picks for the best weapons to bring to the Iron Banner event (running January 13 - January 19). As with any list where someone tells you what is the best and what didn't make the cut, I expect many differences of opinion. That's good. If there is a weapon that I've overlooked I'd invite you to discuss it in the comments section.
As a final note before we begin, I've chosen some weapons that I feel represent all three classes (primary, special and heavy), as well as give options to all types of gamers, regardless of their skill set or play style.
SUROS Regime (Exotic Auto Rifle)
I've decided to kick things off with a weapon that really flew under my radar until I was lucky enough to earn it as a drop in the Weekly Nightfall Strike a short time ago. Since then, it's held the primary spot on my level 31 Hunter almost exclusively. The rate of fire isn't particularly high for an auto rifle, but the stability is more than manageable, allowing you to score headshot after headshot on your fellow guardians. The damage is on par for what you'd expect from an exotic, but it's really the accuracy that's going to set this one apart from the rest.
Where you can get it: As mentioned, I was lucky enough to get it from a drop during the Weekly Nightfall Strike not too long ago, but you can also get it from other activities that drop loot. You can also purchase it from Xur for a pocket full of Strange Coins, although good luck getting the guy to show up for work.
Hawkmoon (Exotic Hand Cannon)
Don't get angry if you're playing Destiny on the Xbox 360 or Xbox One, but this Hand Cannon won't be available to you until at least fall of 2015. If you're playing on the PS3 or PS4, however, this very well could be your best bet for a Hand Cannon during an Iron Banner event. What sets it apart from other options is its extremely high impact and quick reload times, although players on the Xbox consoles wouldn't be giving up much ground if they went with another exotic Hand Cannon called The Last Word. Not as much impact, but a slightly higher rate of fire.
Where you can get it: The Hawkmoon will drop as loot, meaning that you can snag it from raids, the Crucible, Weekly Nightfall Strikes or even engrams. I'm not entirely positive that it can be purchased from Xur, so for now expect that this one will be left to chance. Xur will sell other exotic Hand Cannons from time to time, including The Last Word just last week.
Super Good Advice (Exotic Machine Gun)
You're not always going to be able to get your hands on some heavy ammunition in the Crucible, but if you do, there is no better place to put those bullets than into a machine gun called Super Good Advice, and then into your opponent's skulls. What sets this weapon apart from its competitors is the fact that the rate of fire is one of the best of any exotic weapon in the game. This means that as long as you can hit your target, your target is going to end up dead.
Where you can get it: I'm very sorry to report that this weapon does not drop as loot, and I'm almost certain that Xur won't be peddling it at the Tower any time soon. In fact, the only place that you can get this gun for sure is by completing an exotic weapon bounty called A Voice in the Wilderness, which itself is only obtained by chance.
No Land Beyond (Exotic Sniper Rifle)
Before I was qualified to take on the Crota's End raid, I hopped into the activity and took advantage of a loot chest that was sitting near the start point. You can't get weapons in that chest anymore, but luckily I made off with an exotic sniper rifle called No Land Beyond. The best part about it is that it's a primary, meaning you don't have to rummage through the map looking for special or heavy ammo to use the thing. It's not for everyone, but you'd be hard pressed to find a sniper that wouldn't want this in their gun bag.
Where you can get it: As mentioned, I got it from a chest during a raid, which means that it's available anywhere that exotic loot is dropped. It made its first appearance with The Dark Below DLC, so it's yet to be seen whether Xur will offer it up for a bounty of Strange Coins. Your best bet at this point is a loot drop, which unfortunately doesn't leave much in the way of hope.
Invective (Exotic Shotgun)
I told you that this list would cover lots of different play styles, so what better way to finish it off than with an exotic shotgun? Unfortunately, the shotgun that was originally going to make the list isn't currently obtainable in the game, so you'll have to settle for the Invective. Or, you could also go with the PlayStation exclusive, The 4th Horseman. When you're that close to your target with a weapon this powerful, pretty much anything exotic will get the job done. Just keep in mind that it is a special weapon, meaning you'll need to find special ammunition on the field of battle to load it up.
Where you can get it: Sorry, but this one is also going to be left to chance, once again in the form of an exotic weapon bounty. Players will need to complete A Dubious Task to get it, but for those that do, it will be well worth the effort once you let loose during one of the Iron Banner events.
Although it wasn't intentional, most of the weapons on this list are somewhat hard to obtain, while others are left completely to chance. Don't worry though, as there a many guns that will get the job done when you take part in the Iron Banner. Even if you don't have an exotic, there are plenty of great legendary options to ensure that you stay competitive. The best part about legendary weapons is that they can often be purchased from vendors in the Tower, such as the Vanguard Quartermaster. As long as you're willing to embrace the grind, you should have no shortage of options in your toy box of destruction.