Season of the Arrivals has started and brought along a new Exotic breechloading grenade launcher which turned out to be useful in both PvP and PvE, although it is anything but conventional.
Breechloading grenade launchers tend to be niche picks in Destiny 2, except for The Mountaintop, which is an abomination that plagues PvP and is therefore always useful in Crucible. Witherhoard is an Exotic one that is fighting for the spot in our loadouts directly with The Mountaintop but still leaves room for either of them in PvP.
Witherhoard's unique trait and perk
This grenade launcher packs two unique things that others in its class don't have. Break the bank perk will make "Blighted targets take damage over time and blight the nearby area on death", meaning that direct hits on enemies will not have as much AoE damage but the impact target will take more damage than usual.
One interesting thing to know is that direct impacts on Guardians in PvP will cause them to go down and no further shots are required, no matter what. This weapon will one-shot even those with a Super's damage reduction.
Primeval's Torment makes the projectiles fired from this weapon to blight the target, in case of direct impact, or the area it hits. The former scenario was described above while the impacted area gets its own properties. It will remain blighted for about seven seconds and will continually damage enemies inside it.
Witherhoard in PvP
The Mountaintop and even Truthteller will beat Withertop in duels but this Exotic boasts several advantages that the regularly explosive grenade launchers can only dream of.
First of all, it is an Exotic and will not be sunset later on. You can infuse it to higher Power level forever and ever. In other words, it will remain relevant in Iron Banner and Trials.
On top of that, this weapon is the perfect anti shotgun ape tool. When you see one trying to rush you, blight the area beneath your feet and run away or shoot them from a distance if they are not in cover. If the ape decides to run through the blight, their death is pretty much guaranteed but land a shot in them just to be sure. This also works for Titans who run around with Seismic Strike.
As we noted previously, tagging a Guardian is a guaranteed death for them. The tricky part is actually hitting one directly. It will usually require you being very close to the enemy to accomplish this, which also spells death for you.
In Control, shooting a projectile at a point will cover the entire capture area. You can use this to stall a group of enemy Guardians - pop a grenade into the point and run away. By the time the blight goes away, you can pop your second grenade.
Bottom line is that Witherhoard is a utility tool. If you want to explicitly kill people with breechload grenade launchers, you are better off with The Mountaintop or Truthteller. However, they are not nearly as good at protecting you from rushing enemies or providing zone control.
Witherhoard in PvE
Witherhoard may be a utility tool in PvP but it does deal some nice chunks of damage in PvE. Still, it works similarly here because it is best used to complement your other weapons.
PvE targets are not as nimble as the PvP ones so you can reliably land direct hits. Unfortunately, you can't stack damage from multiple direct impacts but you can stack that with the AoE from blighted ground. In other words, if you see a beefy enemy, stick one grenade into them and one beneath their feet for maximised damage.
If the target is a boss, you will still need more damage to kill them but this is arguably Witherhoard's strongest suit. Due to the long duration of the blight caused by the weapon, you can tag an enemy and switch to another firearm, or better yet - a sword, and beat the boss down with two sources of damage at the same time. This approach will melt pretty much anything.
Witherhoard pairs well with Sympathetic Arsenal perk that can be found on Season of Arrivals weapons. If you have it on Whispering Slab bow, you can pop a minor enemy and the grenade launcher will reload while holstered, giving you the chance to switch between weapons with almost no downtime between grenades.
Overall, Witherhoard is not a weapon that you should solely rely on for damage. In PvP it is probably the best source of utility in the sandbox while in PvE it is best used to augment damage output from the rest of your arsenal.