The worst Helldivers 2 weapon has become one of the best overnight

The Railgun has been dethroned. The one-shot-kill support weapon that could tear through enemies of every toughness at a steady pace has been brought back down to Super Earth with nerfs to its penetration and non-weak-point damage.

With the power vacuum left in its wake, helldivers across the galaxy have gone back to the drawing board looking for a worthy replacement in their loadouts. An early frontrunner has emerged from an unlikely source: the Flamethrower.

At launch, Helldivers 2’s Flamethrower was considered so bad that, when my friends and I would find a free one lying around on a map, we’d ignore it. The support weapon was slow to kill even small bugs or automatons, and had the annoying habit of self-immolation when burning enemies closed the distance on you. It was a hindrance, but as noticed by Reddit user BadassMinh, the post-patch Flamethrower has evolved into a Terminid-melting machine.

“Flamethrowers can kill Chargers quite fast now,” the post proclaimed. The accompanying video looked impressive, and the Flamethrower did get a damage buff in the patch, so I decided to try it myself.

Turns I hadn’t actually unlocked the Flamethrower yet despite being level 26 (that’s how bad it was). I jumped into a difficulty 5 bug mission with some randos. Nobody said anything, but I could feel their eyebrows rising as I locked in a pyromaniac build. 

It was love at first barbeque. My earlier attempts to make the Flamethrower useful had all ended in tragedy, but within seconds with Flamethrower 2.0 I was cooking hordes of bugs like instant popcorn. No standard bugs (or teammates) could get within an arm’s length without poofing into a pile of ash.

Helldivers 2 Flamethrower 2.0″

But the Flamethrower’s true test was against Helldivers 2’s persistent and deadly Chargers. Reddit wasn’t lying: Chargers do go down pretty quick if you keep a steady flame on them. It’s slower than the old Railgun, but competitive against the Recoilless Rifle and similar to the newly buffed Laser Cannon. It’s really good, in other words. Like the Railgun, the Flamethrower doesn’t require a backpack and can reload on the move.

The best part of the Flamethrower’s new power, and why it’s way more interesting than the old Railgun, is that using it comes with serious risks. Carelessly spewed flames will kill teammates very fast. Grass and bushes can also burn, creating pockets of danger that linger for a few seconds. As Arrowhead balancing guru Patrik Lasota put it in a blog post published today: “It should be powerful up close and an inconvenience to enemies that are lit on fire or want to walk through the fire and flames.”

After today’s patch, the Flamethrower isn’t just viable, but among the best support weapons in the game. It’s certainly one of the quickest ways to take down a Charger, which is reason enough to consider bringing one on any bug hunt.

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