The shuffling of the meta in Apex Legends Season 4's update may have resulted in the L-STAR EMG being the battle royale's premier weapon, even better than the R-99.
Introduced in Season 2, the plasma-fueled energy light machine gun known as the L-STAR has had an interesting journey in Apex Legends.
Despite its powerful stats, the weapon quickly became marginalized by the fact that it was only available in crates, which means that players could not find it in any of the floor loot on the map.
In fact, since the R-99 was nerfed as part of the patch, there is some belief that the energy-based LMG challenges it, and may even supplant it, as the best weapon in Season 4.
Below, we take a look at some of the reasons why this could be the case, including the major changes to the weapon, how its stats compare, and more.
Major changes to the L-STAR
There were two massive changes made to the L-STAR in the Season 4 update – it was changed from being a crate-only weapon to one that can be found in regular floor loot and its reloading was removed, replaced with an overheating feature that disables the gun after a period of sustained fire.
The first change obviously is as big as it gets because now the powerful EMG is found much more commonly on the map and thus used a lot more frequently.
- Read More: Blisk possibly teased as next Apex Legend
As for the new overheating mechanic, it has its pros and cons. The positive side is that now you don't ever really have to reload the clip of your gun as long as you have a good overall amount of energy ammo.
And while, yes, it can be a nuisance in gunfights, it's an obstacle that can be easily overcome. All you have to do is fire it in bursts; around eight shots at a time will allow you to get the most rounds out while avoiding overheating.
In order to balance out these changes, Respawn also reduced both the rate of fire and damage per shot, although that hasn't really deterred its viability, as we explain in the next section.
What makes the L-STAR so good?
While its stats may have been nerfed in the Season 4 patch, the weapon continues to inflict high amounts of damage at a high fire rate – a devastating combination.
It now does 18 damage per shot, decreased from 19, but that still comes out to an impressive 184 damage per second (DPS). In contrast, the R-99, which is widely considered to be the best weapon in the game, does 200 DPS.
However, you have to take into account that the L-STAR is a more versatile weapon in that it can be used viably at more ranges than its SMG counterpart.
- Read More: 5 tips and tricks to mastering Revenant
Also, because the L-STAR is an LMG, it has a much greater headshot multiplier than the R-99 – 2x vs 1.5x. This means that the more shots to the head you land with it, the more its DPS gets closer to and surpasses the R-99, even if the number of headshots is the same.
The L-STAR also has some unique qualities to it that further elevate the weapon above most of the others. For one, according to the unofficial Apex Legends wiki, it shoots larger projectiles that are "barely affected by gravity," so there's a better chance of them making contact with the target.
Furthermore, it doesn't have a short warm-up like the Devotion, the other powerful energy-based LMG in the game, so you can start firing it right away.
Speaking of the Devotion, some might argue that it's still a stronger option than the L-STAR. While that may be true in some regard, it's a pointless comparison because it was made a crate-exclusive weapon in the latest update, so it can no longer be found in floor loot.
An in-depth visual look at why the L-STAR might be the best weapon in Season 4 can be found in the video below, courtesy of popular Apex YouTuber 'The Gaming Merchant.'
Of course, judging a weapon's viability really comes down to personal preference and the situations a gun is being used. There are obviously some scenarios where an R-99 will be the better gun to go with than the L-STAR, and vice-versa.
At the end of the day, there will always be those that still side with the R-99, which isn't necessarily wrong, but there's no doubting that the L-STAR jumped a tier or two following all of the recent changes.