Hawkmoon is out and about and if you are looking to understand the gun's intricacies and hidden secrets that could help you in PvP, you've come to the right place!
Hawkmoon can be a great weapon in both Crucible and PvE. In the latter, the damage from 7 stacks can rival heavy hitters like Izanagi's Burden and Whisper of the Worm. Furthermore, stacking up is extremely easy due to PvE enemies being slow and bulky for the most part.
In PvP, however, things get a bit more intricate. The weapon can two-shot or one-shot Guardians, something that is not possible with other 140 RPM hand cannons. It can even one-shot enemies under the effects of a Super. Still, Hawkmoon. doesn't seem overpowered yet as it requires a high skill ceiling to properly utilise Paracausal Shot and achieve the aforementioned feats. This guide should provide the basic mechanics and tips on how to gain the most out of the perk.
The basics of Hawkmoon
Hawkmoon is probably the most precise and easiest to handle 140 RPM hand cannon, thanks to its incredibly high base stats as well as the hidden ones. The weapon is quick to aim down sights (ADS), reload, recoil is extremely predictable and vertical and aim assist is so generous you will sometimes wonder why a shot registered as a precision hit.
All of this makes Hawkmoon worth using even before the benefits of the Exotic kick in. Speaking of which, Paracausal Shot is the intrinsic perk this weapon gets. You gain stacks with each precision hit or killing blow and each stack of it will increase damage on the last shot in the cylinder, which we will call magazine for the sake of keeping things simple.
Reloading the magazine causes the stacks to reset so you will have to play for high risk, high reward if you want to make the most out of Hawkmoon. This applies to any abilities or Exotics that refresh your mag. The only exceptions to this rule are things that partially refill the mag, like Lucky Pants, because the stacks will reset when Hawkmoon gets eight in the mag again.
Stacks will also reset if you stow Hawkmoon while it's on the empowered bullet.
Based on the number of Paracausal Shot stacks, the last bullet will deal increased damage to Guardians:
|Stacks||Body shot damage||Precision hit damage|
Utilising Paracausal Shot
Getting the most out of Paracausal Shot in PvP is straightforward - try to get at least four stacks before you are down to two last bullets. It is easier said than done though and there are bullets that will miss, be it because of a misplay, connection issue or good movement and cover utilisation from the opponent.
Therefore, this weapon benefits from partial reloading greatly. For example, if you have Lucky Pants and you whiff some shits so you don't have enough stacks for the two tap or one-shot with the last bullet, you can swap to your second weapon and get some precision hits to reload one Hawkmoon bullet each time.
Two tapping and one-shotting with Hawkmoon
This course of action will probably kill the Guardian you were stacking Hawkmoon on but you will be able to get the next one from full HP down to zero with just one or two bullets.
Basic Hawkmoon maths in PvP are:
- Four or five stacks = two tap with one headshot, one body shot
- You can kill with three body shots at five stacks
- Six stacks = instant kill with a headshot
- Can also kill with two body shots
- Seven stacks = instant body shot kill
- Can kill Supers with a single headshot
As far as your armour pieces go, Lucky Pants have a rather interesting interaction with Hawkmoon. They will allow you to reload the weapon enough to stack more even after reaching the last two bullets without enough stacks. Just swap to your second weapon, land a headshot or two and you should be good to go. The stacks will remain intact as long as you don't fully reload Hawkmoon.
This playstyle will ask for specific weapons in the Energy slot. Regular shotguns can be unreliable at scoring headshots since that often means you didn't hit the enemy with enough pellets to instantly kill them. Instead, Slug shotguns will be a great option as they promote going for precision hits, just like Hawkmoon does.
Furthermore, you can equip another hand cannon to have the best possible control over the number of bullets you load into Hawkmoon and you will have the benefits from swapping with Lucky Pants almost at all times. The obvious downside is that you don't have a Special Ammo weapon this way and the playstyle relies on making Hawkmoon the weapon that one-shots or two taps the enemies.
Alternatively, you can go with an Empowering Rift if you're playing a Warlock to reduce the number of stacks needed for quick kills. The base damage boost will only make you instantly kill with a five-stack headshot but if you have the Rift that gives the Arc Soul, it can also sweep enemies to make a single four-stack headshot lethal.
Hawkmoon is unique because the future drops of the weapon will have random rolls. That said, the one we get directly from the quest is absolutely good enough to use as is but if you happen to get one with Rangefinder, it will certainly help with landing those headshots.
Extended Barrel with Polymer or Smooth Grip shouldn't be overlooked either as they can also increase the range slightly while keeping the sky-high base stats intact.
Snapshot Sights are usually one of my favourite perks but Hawkmoon already has massive handling stat and it remains to be seen if this will be a useful one.