Gunslinger Guide

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The Gunslinger Guide

Contents

Introduction

Gunslingers wield Handguns, ranged weapons capable of hitting enemies from long distances. They specialize in pelting the enemy with damage while front-line fighters help to keep the monsters at bay. A good gunslinger knows how to suppress monsters and use a monster's weakness to deal the maximum damage possible per shot.

Handguns excel at evasive gameplay. A knight with a handgun doesn't need to get close to monsters to deal damage, allowing them to stay out of range of melee attacks and easily evade projectiles.

A gunslinger also has the advantage that nearly all guns deal full specialized damage, which means more critical damage dealt from a gun.

If you wish to rain death from above, stay alive and live the dream of being a gunslinger, this guide is for you!

Getting started

Guns generally do less damage than swords, but make up for it in range. This means two things:

  • Having specialized damage weapons is more important for gunslingers.
  • Gunslingers have the potential to take very little damage, being able to easily stay at range from enemies.

Starting out, you might as well skip normal damage guns and go straight into specialized damage. This is because once you have two specialized damage types, you are guaranteed to be able to deal at least neutral damage to all six monster types and critical damage against four types. If you were to make a normal damage gun and one specialized damage gun, you would be able to do normal damage against all six types, but critical damage against only two types.

Guns have a magazine size, after which you must stop and reload before firing again. During this time you also can not shield and move at 55% speed. What this means is that reloading is the most vulnerable time for a gunslinger. Also note that one line of guns which have larger magazines are autofire, and require you to stand still and shoot the entire magazine which also leaves you vulnerable.

As a gunslinger you can also take shots at enemies that might otherwise not be as exposed. For example, if a silkwing were healing a lumber, and several other enemies blocked it on either side, you could pull out your Magnus and snipe a few shots at it.

Controls

A comfortable control setup that allows you to move and fire in different directions is very important. Here is one example of how you could set up your controls to be an effective gunslinger:

Control Scheme
Attack Shield Aim Move Switch Weapon
RMB LMB Mouse WASD Space

The Basics

When in a party...

Gunslingers play an important part in holding up strategic locations for a party's success, whether that is outright killing monsters or suppressing them for a period of time. Creating areas to maneuver are vital in staying alive. Knockback guns such as the Polaris or Valiance could be very helpful.

However, rapidly firing your sidearm might be a danger to teammates and hinder their effectiveness. Most commonly, sword and bomb users have problems with monsters being flung into them by the Pulsar line. While this is something to keep in mind, please note that all bright explosions like the Blaster or Catalyzer charge can be blinding at times so be wary.

When in specific situations...

There are situations when you just can't afford to take damage. At times like that, it is important for a gunslinger to avoid reloading so they stay out of danger, still able to move at normal speed and shield. In this case, it is best to follow a shot pattern as follows to avoid reloading:

shoot all but one bullet->pause->shoot all but one bullet->pause

You can avoid having to shoot before charging your weapon by using this pattern:

shield->hold attack key->release shield

Quick weapon switching can be accomplished by using this trick to cancel the switching animations:

switch->shield

To avoid damage in situations where you just cannot back away from the crowd, use the Shield Canceling technique. While more popular among swordmasters, this basic technique also works well for gunslingers, and doubles as an opportunity to combine getting an extra shot off before Shield Bumping:

shoot only one bullet->shield->repeat

If your shot hits between two monsters who are directly next to each other, you can do damage to both. To do this it helps to turn off your autotarget, which by default you can do by pressing and holding your left shift button.

The Armament

Alchemers

Alchemers are a potent force in a gunner's arsenal. A properly used Alchemer is a fearsome sight as it can produce a steady stream or a burst of damage on demand. All Alchemer bullets will ricochet to the left when it strikes a wall or a target; the chance of ricochets will rise as the star level increases. The charge shot of the Alchemer is its main selling point. Once an Alchemer reaches its 5* form, the initial charged shot will split into four ricochets, two the left and right. Each splitting bullet will ricochet again up to two times causing large amounts of damage. If a charged Alchemer shot is aimed correctly (which is to the left or right of a monster, and not directly), the resulting damage will be several times the amount of a regular bullet and the status (should the player be using a status Alchemer) is practically guaranteed. It is important to note that an Alchemer's regular shots have slightly less range than most other guns (it could be a glitch yet to be fixed). The charge shots however have a range similar to Valiance/Antigua

The Prismatech line deals elemental damage. Although this line does not induce status, it is compensated with a higher raw damage output than the other elemental alchemers. The charge shot of a Prismatech is considerably more powerful than the status alchemers should the player land a fair amount of ricochets on the target(s).
The Cryotech line deals elemental damage and is able to induce freeze onto targets not immune to the status. All shots as well as their ricochets have a chance to freeze their target into place, but each bullet can also break the freeze. Though the Hail Driver may have less total output than the other Alchemers, the freezes, especially from charge shots, can be used to set up enemies for additional charges which can provide a stream of high damage. The freeze inflicted by the Cryotech line can extinguish Oilers, but may also refreeze melted Ice Cubes.
The Firotech line deals elemental damage and is able to set fire to all enemies that are not immune. The Firotech line has two outlets of damage: the bullets, and the fire status which causes damage per tick. It is arguably the highest powered Alchemer being able to provide more overall damage than the Prismatech line in neutral stratums. This line can melt Ice Cubes, but will also set Oilers ablaze.
The Voltech line deals elemental damage and is able to shock all foes that are not immune. The Voltech line is able to provide crowd control via shock spasms and a steady damage per tick. The Voltech line is particularly useful in crowds where the shock will travel through each monster providing their individual tick as well as hinder the movement of said mob. Be aware that it can also supercharge Quicksilvers.
The Shadowtech line deals shadow damage and has no additional status. Its raw damage output is equal to that of the Prismatech line, both of which are higher than that of the status Alchemers. Its power and fast bullet speed is ideal for dealing with the Gremlin and Slime families, the latter of which tend to approach in clusters.

Remember!

  • Alchemer line guns have a two-shot magazine.
  • The ricochets may trip switches, set off explosive blocks, or aggro unwanted monsters if the player is not careful.

Blaster

The Blaster line is a general-purpose gun that can viably fill roles in both PvE and PvP. The bullets fired from a Blaster are considerably fast and provide a fair amount of knockback with each impact. Blasters are good at playing both offensively and defensively and are a good choice for novice gunslingers.

The Valiance deals normal damage, making it equally effective against all enemies in the Clockworks. While the Valiance is almost never the outright best gun for any situation, it is universally useful, making it an excellent choice for a knight who is using only one gun. Knights who plan on owning multiple guns should craft one of the Blaster's specialized damage lines instead.
Note that the recipes for the Valiance line are given for free as rank mission rewards, which makes the Valiance line cheaper to craft than the specialized Blasters.
The Arcana is the elemental variant of the Blaster. The Arcana, when supported by a piercing or shadow weapon, can make a better general purpose gun than the Valiance as the Arcana hits for critical damage against two of the three turrets, and hits the third for neutral damage. The Construct and Undead families contain many slow moving monsters, making them easy targets for the Arcana.
The Phantamos is the shadow variant of the Blaster. Very effective against Slimes and Gremlins. Be warned that Gremlins will attempt to dodge projectiles.
The Riftlocker is the piercing variant of the Blaster. Wolvers and Devilites are among the hardest enemies to hit with projectiles, so getting the most out of this gun requires a better aim than the other Blasters.

Remember!

  • Blaster line guns have a three-shot magazine.
  • Each shot of a Blaster causes knockback; the charged shot causes even more knockback.

Antigua

The Antigua line fires a clip of six fast bullets. Though individual bullets have a lower damage output than other guns, it compensates for this by having a very high DPS rate. Antigua line bullets themselves cause minimal (almost nonexistent) knock back which means it will hardly interfere with other party members. This line of gun is also quite useful in PvP; its rapid fire properties can amass considerable damage. It also interrupts bombers during their charge period, crippling their effectiveness in battle.

The Argent Peacemaker is an elemental revolver with a high damage bonus against the undead. The damage bonus is much appreciated as the undead family consists of several slow moving monsters (such as zombies), which means the player can deliver large amounts of damage, even killing the monster, before it ever gets close enough to attack. The Argent Peacemaker's bullets can also chase faster moving targets (such as the Kat family). This gun is just as competent against the construct family since it consists of slow moving monsters.
The Sentenza is a shadow revolver with a high damage bonus against Gremlins. Since Gremlins are able to move quickly and behave haphazardly, fights with a Sentenza are more active and alert (and arguably more fun) than with its counterpart. The Sentenza is also viable against the Slime family which are slow moving and track in clusters. The Sentenza is specialized against monsters of different speeds, and therefore requires a more versatile player.
The Gilded Griffin is a piercing revolver with a damage bonus of high against Fiends., and The Gilded Griffin requires the user to be quick and make every shot count, as both the Fiend and Beast families have many fast and projectile-dodging monsters among their ranks.
The Obsidian Carbine deals Shadow damage like the Sentenza, but trades off its Gremlin damage bonus for a chance to inflict poison with each shot. While more difficult to obtain, the Obsidian Carbine is a strictly better gun than the Sentenza. The Gremlin bonus of the Sentenza can be made irrelevant by obtaining Max handgun damage, and the poison provided by the Carbine prevents the gun's damage from being out-healed by Menders and Silkwings.

Remember!

Pulsar

The Pulsar line shoots slow bullets that expand into large orbs halfway to maximum range. Each large orb is more damaging than its initial form and causes a fair amount of knockback with each impact. Expanded shots detonate upon contact with a monster, or reaching the 9 tile range of the gun. The Pulsar line makes an effective utility gun, being able to interrupt turrets with ease and keep groups of monsters from approaching the party. Pulsars are suited for defensive gunslingers, or as support weapons, taking up the "area-denial" weapon role commonly associated with bombs and other AoE weapons.

Be warned that simply spamming the Pulsar without paying attention to where your shots are knocking enemies will often do more harm than good. Keep track of where your party members are and only knock the enemies away if you're sure it won't interfere with what they're doing.

The Polaris is one of the two elemental damage Pulsars. The Pulsar is less reliable at dealing knockback as shocked enemies are briefly locked in place, which prevents them from being knocked back. However, this can also be used to your advantage as enemies which do not suffer knockback are much easier to hit with consecutive shots. This is especially useful in PvP, as it allows you to deal additional damage to an opponent who would normally attempt to get out of range of your gun.
The Wildfire is one of the two elemental damage Pulsars. The Wildfire's fire status does not interfere with its knockback, making it the better of the two elemental Pulsars for area denial. The fire status combined with specialized damage makes this the Pulsar line with the highest potential damage.
The Permafroster is the sole shadow damage option for the Pulsar. The Permafroster has the most unreliable knockback of the Pulsars as frozen enemies cannot be knocked back. Using the Permafroster for area denial purposes will often make the freeze useless as the freeze will be broken by the additional shots hitting the enemy.
The Supernova is a normal damage Pulsar that does not inflict a status effect. It deals more neutral damage than the other Pulsar lines. As a general anti-turret gun, it is outclassed by the Polaris and Wildfire, though it can still serve as an effective general area denial weapon.

Tip/Trick

  • Bullet Streaming - Single clicking the "Fire" button and charging the pulsar a fraction and then releasing and repeating the process produces a stream of bullets without the reloading.

Remember!

  • Pulsar line guns have a three-shot magazine
  • The smaller bullets of a Pulsar do not cause knockback.
  • The Polaris/Wildfire/Permafroster lines are able to induce status with both the small and expanded bullets.
  • The Pulsar costs 15 Bark Modules, which are obtained by completing the Ironclaw Munitions Factory.
  • Recipes for the Pulsar's upgrades are only sold by Basil.

Catalyzer

The Catalyzer line has one of the most unique mechanics of any gun. The Catalyzer shoots very slow bullets in rapid succession that "stick" to the enemy. The orbs revolve around the enemy until it is set of by ANY Catalyzer line charge attack (which is the quickest in the game by default). The result is a massive explosion that results in massive knockback. The orbs will dissipate overtime (roughly 20 seconds), so the player can stack multiple orbs onto enemies and detonate them causing waves of damage. The Catalyzer can have an explosive payout; however, it requires time to set up orbs. Party members wishing to deal damage fast can (and most likely will) kill your target, so the Catalyzer is generally more suited for soloing, or for Catalyzer parties where each member has a gun from the Catalyzer line.

The Biohazard line is the poisonous shadow variant of the two possible Catalyzer routes. It can be used on Gremlins, but it is more designed towards slime mobs which move closely, in packs, and predictably. Slime floors and the Royal Jelly Palace are prime places to use the Biohazard, especially the latter area. The poison it causes nullifies the Royal Jelly's healing and causes it to take slightly more damage on top of the super effective shadow damage, making Jelly Gem farming a breeze. An explosive breeze.
The Neutralizer line is the normal damage variant and is considerably stronger than the Biohazard line against neutral enemies. While the Biohazard line is used mostly on slimes and slow constructs, the Neutralizer can be used on any slow moving enemy. It is notably viable in the Firestorm Citadel, where zombies are commonplace. It can be used on Lord Vanaduke in the early stages as well as the mask phases, but the later phases hinder its effectiveness without water support. Overall, the Neutralizer’s damage output, even with set up time, is comparable to players with a Leviathan Blade, except with more explosions.

Remember!

  • The Catalyzer line has a three-shot magazine.
  • Each charge shot does its own explosion so the affected monster(s) may shuffle from the multiple knockbacks.
  • The Catalyzer charge is the quickest in the game, roughly 1.3 seconds.
  • The normal magazine deals one unit of damage to all monsters.
  • The Catalyzer costs 15 Bark Modules, which can be obtained from the Ironclaw Munitions Factory.
  • Recipes for the Catalyzer’s upgrades are only sold by Basil.

Autogun

The Autogun lines are known for their devastating charged attacks, and rightly so. However, they carry very significant drawbacks: they root you in place while firing, and their normal attacks are very weak in comparison. They require a good deal of skill to use, and are fairly situational. Due to the lack of mobility, it is difficult to use in PvP. The normal attack fires a spread of 6 bullets, with a 2-burst magazine, and the charged attack unleashes a zig-zag spread of 15 bullets in the firing cone. Be warned, if you are stunned while using a charge attack, you will be completely frozen in place for about a second.

Currently, the Blitz Needle is the preferred weapon against Trojans and Lord Vanaduke. It is harder to use on Wolvers in tier 3, as they teleport whenever a gun is fired nearby, but it can be used to provide cover fire against Devilites.
Identical to the Blitz Needle, but trades a significant amount of damage for a chance to inflict poison. This gun is strictly inferior damage-wise to the Blitz Needle, as numerous comparisons indicate that the damage bonus due to poison does not make up for the reduced base damage, even in large parties. The recipes for this upgrade path must also be purchased with Krogmo Coins.
The Grim Repeater is a shadow damage Autogun. It can easily dispatch slow-moving slimes and the charge attack can make short work of large slimes such as Lichen Colonyies and the Royal Jelly. The Repeater has a harder time hitting dodgy Gremlins, but a well-aimed charge attack will do them in.
The Pepperbox line causes a controlled, moderate knockback and can inflict fire. The knockback caused can be used to very easily provide area denial, and is more reliable than the Iron Slug's charge or the Polaris's regular shots, although a bit less safe to pull off than the latter. Do note that the knockback will cause less shots to land, reducing the damage of the charge when deployed against a single enemy unless they are up against a wall.

Remember!

  • The Autogun line roots you to the ground while firing.
  • You cannot change direction while firing the Autogun line.
  • The guns fire in a 30-40º wide arc in the direction you face.
  • Point blank charged fire is the best way to ensure an instant-kill.

Magnus

The Magnus line is a 2-shot gun that emphasizes high single-bullet damage. Their damage output is a little lackluster due to slow rate of fire, and they also prevent you from moving while shooting, but the high damage allows them to knock down or flinch enemies with high frequency. With enough damage bonuses or a small party, you can effectively lock down a single target. The fast bullet also prevents dodging enemies from avoiding your attack. The charged attack consists of a single large bullet that can pierce through multipe enemies and hit multiple times, usually instant-killing less resistant monsters while soloing.

An excellent gun against Wolvers and Devilites, although it still tends to be outperformed by piercing swords. Its charge attack can devastate a larger number of enemies if aimed correctly. The stun is also useful, and can be deadly in PvP.
The Iron Slug is a normal damage Magnus that a deals larger amount of neutral damage than the other Magnus lines. Like the Callahan, it has a chance to stun enemies. While a specialized Magnus is usually preferred, the Iron Slug can serves as an alternative to the Valiance for a knight who only owns one gun. The Iron Slug hits harder than the Valiance and can stun enemies, but is more expensive to acquire and more difficult to use.
The Winter Grave is a shadow damage, freeze inflicting version of the Callahan. Due to the slow rate of fire, it is easy to avoid breaking your own freeze.

Remember!

  • The charge attack can hit multiple times on one enemy.
  • The Winter Grave line does not start at the Magnus, but at the Tundrus. They exhibit the same firing mechanics.

Tortofist

The Tortofist line of guns offer a very unique style of gameplay. It has a two-shot magazine, and each shot propels the knight forwards, much like a Flourish. The charge attack consists of six crystals shot into the air which impact the ground much like a shard bomb. The crystls lodge themselves into the ground, creating an impenetrable wall for enemies to cross while still taking damage. A jack of all trades in terms of their unique attack styles.

The Grand Tortofist deals normal damage so it is a viable weapon for all monsters in the clockworks. Its alchemy line starts at the 2* Blaster.
The Omegafist deals elemental damage, great for dealing with the rampant Construct and Undead family. Its alchemy line starts at the 2* Prismatech Alchemer.
The Gorgofist deals Shadow damage, ideal for slowing down the Gremlin family. In the Royal Jelly Palace, with enough charges, you can make an impenetrable wall that can kill Slimes at the same time. Its alchemy line begins with the 2* Shadowtech Alchemer.
The Savage Tortofist deals piercing damage, ideal for the Fiend and Beast families. With enough shots landed, the Savage Tortofist can keep the user safe and amass considerable damage. Its alchemy line starts at the 2* Autogun.

Remember!

The Armor

Icon-alert.png This section has not been updated to reflect the changes in the Gunner update.
Information in the armor section may be inaccurate or outdated.

Gunslinger gear is very limited until the 5-star level, but the changes in the past few months have rounded out the gunner's wardrobe. Initially, the 3- and 4-star equipment only provide low handgun attack speed bonuses, and normal/piercing defense with no status resists. However, the 5-star upgrade paths cover each special damage type, along with providing status resists, and medium handgun bonuses. At 4- and 5-star, handgun bonus Trinkets can be crafted at the Krogmo Alchemy machine, which can be used to shore up any deficiencies. Additional gear beneficial to gunners is also listed below.

Gunner Sets

Gunslinger

The Gunslinger Set is the initial 3-star version of the gunner line. It protects against normal and piercing damage. It has a low handgun attack speed bonus per piece.

Sunset

The Sunset Set is the 4-star upgrade, and offers increased protection against normal and piercing damage. It also has a low handgun attack speed bonus per piece.

Deadshot

The Deadshot Set protects against normal and shadow damage, and the curse status. Each piece offers a medium damage vs undead bonus and a low handgun attack speed increase.

Justifier

The Justifier Set protects against normal damage and piercing, and the stun status. It has a medium handgun attack speed bonus per piece.

Nameless

Nameless protects against normal damage and elemental, and the freeze status. It has a medium handgun attack speed bonus per piece.

Shadowsun

The Shadowsun Set protects against normal and shadow damage, and the poison status. It has a medium handgun damage bonus per piece.


Other Helms and Armors

Perfect Mask of Seerus

The Perfect Mask of Seerus protects against normal and elemental, and the fire and shock statuses. However, it has strong negative resistances to the poison and freeze statuses. It provides a low handgun attack speed bonus and a medium handgun charge time reduction bonus. It is a popular helm for FSC, often used in conjunction with Shadowsun Slicker. Note that it must be obtained by either purchasing and running the Operation Crimson Hammer DLC, or purchasing the item itself from another player.

Kat Eye Cowl

The Kat Eye Cowl is a unique piece of armor that provides both a Attack Speed Increase and Damage Bonus of low for handguns. Provided that the helm is half of a normal set, it is often paired with another piece of gunslinger armor. The Kat Eye Cowl can only be crafted at the Mysterious Alchemy Machine with materials from the Katacylsmic Confrontation.

Black Kat Cowl

The Black Kat Cowl offers a universal high damage bonus and a low movement speed increase, but comes with negative status resistances for all statuses except for ice resistance. It also has less shadow defence compared to most other armors with shadow defence. Despite these drawbacks its bonuses offer gunslingers much needed gun damage and a chance to move slightly faster on the battlefield which is useful for dodging enemy attacks and gunning-on-the-run/kiting. It's also viable to bring a sword with this as the high damage bonus helps in close combat. The problem is that this armor is rare and harder to obtain than most other armor and helmets.

Chaos Set

The Chaos Set is also a viable choice for a gunner, particularly if one utilizes charged attacks (for example, Alchemers and Autoguns). It protects against normal and elemental, but has moderate negative resistances to all statuses. It confers a medium damage increase and medium charge time reduction for ALL weapons per piece.

Swiftstrike Buckler

The only shield that directly benefits gunners is the Swiftstrike Buckler, which provides a global high attack speed increase to ALL weapons. However, it is a 3-star shield with fairly low normal defense and health, and will at most sustain a single glancing blow in Tier 3.

Trinkets

Obtained by crafting at the Krogmo Alchemy Machine in the Arcade, trinkets are an very useful part of the gunner's arsenal. They come in 3 flavors and 2 strengths, providing handgun attack speed increase, charge time reduction, and global damage bonus at low and medium bonus levels. They are important for reaching Very High or Maximum! bonuses when your other equipment fall short. Elite Trueshot modules are particularly helpful, as only one gunner set (Shadowsun) provides any damage bonuses.

Advanced Tips and Tricks

Here you will find more detailed advice on how to build your arsenal and utilize it more efficiently. This information is primarily for players who have a reasonable mastery of the basic controls and wish to take their gunning to the next level.

Techniques

Double Hits

When a bullet strikes an enemy, it doesn't immediately deal damage; rather, it creates a small burst that does the damage for it. If another enemy is close enough to the point of impact to be hit by the burst, it will also take damage. You can try to force this effect by turning off auto-targeting and firing between two or more closely-packed monsters.

Weapon Switching (Two guns)

When using a pair of mobile guns (able to move while firing), it is possible to skip the reload altogether. Fire the first gun and immediately hit switch weapon or weapon 2, wait a beat for the second weapon to come into ready position, and fire. Once you have a grasp of the rhythm needed, add shield canceling so that your actions are now as follows: fire-switch-shield-fire-switch-shield. While the extra action increases the difficulty of maintaining a good rhythm, it will also increase your rate of fire. Note that your timing will be slightly different depending on how much ASI you have, so adjust accordingly. Though it takes a little practice to get the rhythm down, this is an essential technique for a damage gunner. Immobilizing guns such as Callahan can also benefit, but because the immobility is part of a long attack animation that is unaffected, the effect is less dramatic. When used with guns with larger magazines, multiple rounds can be fired before switching, as long as you do not use the last shot in your magazine. NOTE: Holding sheild during the animation of shooting will help you bring it up quicker, it is also possible to swap in advance while shooting.

Weapon Switching (One gun)

Weapon switching for faster fire rate can also be accomplished with only one gun. Conceptually, it work identical to dual weapon switching, absent the firing of the second weapon. Depending on the method you use for weapon switching, this may be a fairly simple transition.

Alchemer Tricks

Alchemers' ricochet behavior gives them a variety of interesting applications:
  • Alchemer bullets always bounce to the left after their initial impact, at an angle of ~70-80 degrees. Skilled gunslingers can bend their attacks around corners with this technique.
  • When a ricochet spawns from an impact, it has a chance of spawning inside its original target if the attack was at the proper angle. For normal shots, bullets always bounce to the left, so aiming to the far right of the enemy with auto-target off has the best chance of triggering this effect, doubling or even tripling the shot's effective damage. Performing a double hit can also trigger one of these internal bounces and devastate the affected enemies.
  • Alchemer charges can deal extremely high damage to single enemies, potentially killing them in one shot. If a charged shot hits an enemy at the proper angle (either at the far left or right side relative to the player), its ricochets can spawn inside the target, dealing several times their normal damage plus the already significant initial impact damage. Status alchemers will almost certainly inflict their status on the target if this occurs. See this video for example.In Lockdown, this technique is often used with Cryotech Alchemers to permanently freeze and slowly kill a hapless foe.

Equipment Advice

Handgun Bonuses

Gunner gear offers a variety of handgun bonuses that can make your life much easier. Due to the lower damage dealt by guns, typically most gunslingers shoot for (pun intended) Very High or Maximum! increased handgun damage. The second bonus commonly sought is attack speed increase (ASI). This stat determines how fast you can unload your magazine, as well as how long it takes to reload after expending your magazine from regular fire or a charged shot. If you employ switch-gunning as your main technique, you will want Very High or Maximum! in this category as well. Finally, charge time reduction (CTR) can be very desirable if one uses Autoguns, Catalyzers, or Alchemer charges. The key is to tailor your outfit to the situation, so the more gear you have at your disposal, the better off you will be.
A good minimal arsenal is a Shadowsun armor (or helm), a Nameless and Justifier helm (or armor), and an Elite Trueshot module. This allows you to assemble a loadout with good normal defense and at least partial defense against whatever special type damage you may be facing, while maintaining Medium and Very High bonuses in handgun attack speed and/or damage. If you are willing to use the Swiftstrike buckler, you can maintain Ultra handgun attack speed and Very High handgun damage.

Helpful Unique Variants

As with most other weapons, Unique Variants (UVs) conferring attack speed increase and charge time reduction are highly desirable. All guns benefit from ASI by firing faster, and reloading faster. Guns that have a powerful charged attack also benefit from CTR; these include Alchemers, Catalyzers, and Autoguns. Monster-specific damage bonuses are less useful, but can be helpful if the bonus conferred synergizes with the gun's damage type. For example, an Umbra Driver with damage versus Slime is a very serviceable weapon, as is an Argent Peacemaker with damage versus Construct.
While any UV is better than none, performance improvements from low damage bonuses are not very noticeable, especially if they are against monster families that naturally resist the type of damage dealt by the gun. Good UVs are difficult to acquire due to their rarity, but they are in no way required to be a successful gunner. However, as you progress you will likely wish (and have the means) to acquire some decent variants; after playing as a gunslinger for a while, you will be able to notice the subtle difference between different levels of ASI and CTR. Unique variants are in no way a substitute for skill and proficiency, but they can give you an extra edge.

Strategy

Kiting

Due to their quick moving nature, kiting is a great skill a gunslinger would want to master. The key is being able to move and dodge enemies while still targeting the desired enemy. There are different variations of kiting. One way is the basic dodge and shoot method. The fast moving Antigua line is popular for slow and fast moving monsters. Another is kiting around clumped groups of monsters or countinually frozen monster, much like how the Shivermist Buster pairs with the Blitz Needle against Lord Vanaduke.

Supression and Chaining

Using a Supernova or Polaris the right way can keep gunslingers safe while soloing countless dungeons. But not only can the Pulsar line protect gunners, the high DPS Autogun line can take out most non-resistant enemies in one charge in their respective tiers. Stringing together long chains of damage by connecting different weapons together. Switching between alchemers or shield canceling between long magazines can create what seems like and endless stream of damage. This is a gunslinger's most dangerous power.

Selective Targeting

When facing a huge wave with different types of monsters, the responsibility of taking on different monsters is often divided into classes. Usually, the smaller or high damaging monsters are designated to gunners. Maybe a Callahan can take down the Silkwing that hides behind the Lumber. The gunner can then proceed to eliminate the lumber with ease.

PvP

-Specialized damage is preferred over normal damage in PvP, as the majority of armor has at least partial normal defense.

-Shock, Freeze, and Stun are the best status effects for a gunner to bring to PvP. All of these status effects restrict your opponent's ability to both approach you and evade your shots, allowing for much easier kills.

-Pulsars are very useful in PvP as their large bullet size and high knockback can completely block off chokepoints and make capture points difficult to approach.

-For a dedicated gunslinger, an Antigua in tier 2, or one of its higher forms in tier 3, can cause decent damage. It also interrupts charges, efficiently rendering bombers defenseless.

-Firotech, Cryotech, and Voltech Alchemers are sometimes used for their status effect, and at higher levels, their ricochet can be a menace to groups of enemies. One trick as a Recon is to sneak in, uncloak, fire one shot, recloak, move, repeat. This keeps gunners from having to reload. A similar strategy can be employed with the Magnus (or Callahan); however, keep in mind that Stun doesn't last as long as Shock, Fire, or Freeze.

-The Recon Cloak gives a Handgun Attack Speed: Medium and a universal Charge Time Reduction: Medium, so it's a popular choice for a gunslinger. However, gunners may opt for the Striker Dash instead. The Guardian Shield is not recommended for a pure gunner.

-For gunners playing in the striker class, your main objective is to dodge all enemy attacks. Sweep in and out of the battle, but keep an eye out for recons and try to reveal them. Also, look out for strikers that will rush abruptly and ruin you.

-A tip for recon is to move in one direction, cloak, and head in the other direction. About 90% of the time, an enemy will aim in the direction you were heading last. While they are trying to uncloak you, just come in behind and strike.

-Voltech and Cryotech Alchemers can shock or freeze enemies, so it would be useful to have a heavy sword as a sidearm to strike while the enemy is weak.

- If you own two alchemers, a effective but difficult technique is to attack once, switch, and use the other alchemer. This avoids reloading and causes massive damage.

-Try to provoke enemies, not damage. Provoke first, damage second. Once you have an enemy on your tail, it is quite easy to land shots on your enemy.

Parting Thoughts

The three most important things for a gunner to remember is move quickly, shoot sharply and to always stay on the offensive (while not hindering teammates of course). The world of gunslinging can be exciting, but one needs to be prepared to enter every battle with a plan, instead of launching in recklessly.

With this in mind, take care and stay sharp!


Tutorials & Guides
Starting Out | New Player Briefing | User interface | Useful Links
Icon-bomb.png Bombing Guide | Icon-handgun.png Gunslinger Guide | Icon-sword.png Swordmaster Guide
Icon-shield.png Shieldbearer Guide
Defense increased.png Hybrid Guide
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