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When in doubt, modify your weapon with [crit-rating(x1)/crit-damage(x2)] perk builds. In terms of raw [average-damage per second (A-DPS)], pure (DMG) builds generally underperform by >20% vs. critical-heavy perk builds; and >25% vs. headshot-focused perk builds.

Know your perks

Knowing the perks you need depends on:

Damage Per Second vs. Damage Per Shot

  • Statistically, the damage difference of 5% (or less) between 2 weapons is insignificant or negligible at best.

In Fortnite where 95% of husks die in 1-2 shots, DPS is generally irrelevant; it is only during mist-monster/mini-boss engagements -- where players are forced to weapon cycle (i.e. empty clip > reload > empty clip > repeat) -- that is it becomes absolutely critical.

DPS in of itself is a poor indicator of any given weapon's overall effectiveness. This number is derived by the Base Damage multiplied by Fire Rate; it does not factor in Headshot Accuracy Percentage, Headshot Damage Multiplier, Critical Hit Rating, Critical Hit Damage, Elemental Damage Resistance, Impact Threshold, Ammo Cost Efficiency, Magazine Size, Reload Time, Variable Range Effectiveness, Bullet Velocity and Spread, etc.

The highest average Damage Per Second builds are very different to the min/max average Damage Per Shot builds of a single bullet. In order to get the 'highest dps', players need to literally piss ammo (and weapon durability) into the wind. In many gameplay scenarios, players (effectively) have infinite ammo and resources (as long as they gather them) but certain game modes (like Horde Bash) restrict the materials you have significantly.

Physical vs. Elemental vs. Energy

By design, physical (non-elemental) type husks will only comprise 5-20% (on average) of the opponents you will face in a map. Even at the very top end of Twine Peaks, 4 player challenge missions, husks don't suddenly become 100% elemental. Even during a 'tanky' Smasher wave, they will not be 100% elemental smashers, insteade a mix of 80% physical and 20% elemental smashers, with staggered spawns between them.

  • Using a weapon with an 'elemental perk' on a physical target is (effectively) the same as using 'obsidian' over 'shadowshard'
  • If you're going to 'min/max' with a weapon of every elemental type it doesn't make sense to exclude physical, especially since physical type make an average <80% of husks you need to kill
  • Elemental perks are not the be-all end-all (and are bad if you're min/maxing physical)

Obsidian vs. Shadowshard

Obsidian if you're using your weapon for fodder killing; Shadowshard if you're using your weapon for tank killing.

  1. Weapons with more fire rate benefit more from Shadowshard
  2. Shadowshard is always less "efficient per craft" than Obsidian
  3. Resource availability is important and you should evenly distribute your resources
Damage per Second: Weapons with superior fire rate benefit more from Shadowshard. The effectiveness of Shadowsharding a weapon is dependent on your loadout. Heroes with more fire rate gets more DPS out of Shadowsharding their weapons whereas heroes with more damage scaling gets less out of it. If you have a free slot for it, slapping a +50% Fire Rate perk onto a Shadowsharded weapon is always beneficial.
High Burst Damage: Weapons with low RoF - benefits more from Obsidian than Shard - since the Burst damage will likely kill most high health units without the Shadowshard buff either way.

Efficiency per Craft / Resource Availability: Theoretically, the most effective way of allocating resources is to have 1 energy based weapon on Obsidian and 3 element specific weapons on Shadowshard. Common consensus indicate that Shadowshard is actually rarer than Obsidian.

Condition - Nocturno Hydra Difference
Obsidian - 2.105M 1.982M 5.81%
Shadowshard - 2.021M 1.903M 5.81%

What we can takeaway from these comparisons is that Shadowshard will always be less efficient in terms of damage/ clip as compared to Obsidian. We must not forget that the availability of both resources also play a part.

  • Assuming a player obtains 50% Shadowshard and 50% Obsidian as the play the game

If this player chooses to only craft Obsidian weapons, even though they are tapping on that 4.17% efficiency per craft, they are actually losing 50% efficiency in resource usage. The damage output is irrelevant regardless of which element base your Shadowsharded weapon uses, which in turn means we prioritize efficiency per craft instead. Considering how Energy Damage perk should be placed on a more general-purpose weapon which you will use a lot more, it benefits from having more efficiency per craft and it is thus better to Obsidian it.

Best Weapon Perks

  • [Magazine] or [Reload]; your choice, depending on your weapon cycle. But never both, as it is wasted DPS!
  • [Durability]? The average Fortnite player will literally never run out of resources! It is relatively common for high-level players to unload dozens of Obsidian-grade weapons into Plankerton/Stonewood servers for free; just because they can't deplete them fast enough.
  • [Stability] effects recoil and has no affect on weapon bloom; learn to compensate by pressing forward while aiming.
  • [Snare] +45% (DMG) offers better utility for melee and ranged weapons in virtually all scenarios.
  • [Affliction] (DMG) is borderline useless and composes a tiny % of overall (DMG).
  • [x5 Headshot (HS)] +30% (DMG) perk is most effective on modified pistols and assault weapons with high fire rate (FR), high headshot (HS) multipliers, and steady recoil (SR); it is useless on all shotguns and sniper weapons.
Assaults

Critical [crit-rating(x1)/crit-damage(x2)] builds; especially on assault weapons has a base crit chance of 15% or higher. Even if an Urban Assault hero lands a (HS) multiplier at 100% ratio per mission; the (CRT) build underperformance to the Headshot (HS) build is insignificant; in most situations, the (DPS) difference varies between >3-5%.

  • The Dragon's Roar greatly benefits from [Affliction] (DMG)
  • The Tiger has excellent (HS) accuracy in the 60%+ effective range; modify these weapons with (HS) perk builds.
Shotguns

Critical [crit-rating(x1)/crit-damage(x2)] builds only. Shotgun weapons have the poorest (HS) multiplier out of any weapon class; but score the highest base (DMG) and (CRT) multipliers.

Pistols

Always aim for the head; headshot (HS) builds generally outperform all other build variants, especially the Beagle and Whisper .45.

  • All Bald Eagle should be upgraded to Obsidian without having any real downside - while increasing their durability drastically.
Snipers

Sniper weapons have a very high base (HS) multiplier, so its efficient to run (HS) builds.

  • The Ol' Betsy and Spyglass have insane base (DMG) values, making [crit-rating(x1)/crit-damage(x2)] builds extremely viable.
  • The Ralphie's Revenge has a (HS) multiplier (x5); meaning if it has a base (DMG) of 100, (HS) will be 500, always run (HS) builds on that weapon.
  • The Obliterator should be upgraded to Obsidian without having any real downside - while increasing their durability drastically.
Launchers

[Impact] offers better utility value in virtually all scenarios; sending husks flying away and delay their time to reach the objective. Launchers are high [Impact] all-purpose crowd-control/cannon-fodder [Burst (DPS)] killing weapons, and should never be used for [Sustained (DPS)].

  • The Noble Launcher is purely a fodder killing machine that pierces all targets in a straight [1x1-tile wide] line, but low [Impact]; therefore, maximize (DMG) threshold.
  • All Launchers should be upgraded to Obsidian without having any real downside - while increasing their durability drastically.
Melee

Critical [crit-rating(x1)/crit-damage(x2)] builds only; melee weapon effectiveness are largely dependent on heroes that either boost melee (DMG) or critical rating (ie. Harvester, Deadly Blade, Steel Wool Syd). If both the base hero and support hero are boosting 18% crit rating each, it is beneficial to modify double [crit-rating(x1)/crit-damage(x2)] dmg perks on melee weapons.

  • All Melee Weapons should be upgraded to Obsidian without having any real downside - while increasing their durability drastically. The SS attack speed reduction hurts melee weapons more than any other weapon category. This is especially true with Lead Sled wielded by Steel Wool Syd.

What is the Best Loadout Optimization?

In conclusion, here's the min-maxers ranking for doing the most damage across the board

  1. 1x [SS] Fire Gun, 1x [SS] Water Gun, 1x [SS] Nature Gun
  2. 1x [OB] Energy Gun, [SS] 1x Energy/Physical Gun, 1x [OB] Launcher
  3. 2x [OB] Physical Guns, [OB] 1x Launcher

It is a plus if you can mix up the ammo type these guns use to achieve some ammo efficiency as well!

  • The player can only use 1 weapon at a time!

Remember, it does not make sense to carry multiple weapons that serve the same purpose. Examples of weapons serving different purpose would be:

  • Long Range vs Short Range
  • Area of Effect Spread vs Single Target Pierce
  • Energy vs Element Specific

The saddest takeaway from all this math is… Crit Chance/Crit Damage really reigns supreme! When in doubt CRITICAL!