[Updated 3/8/2022 to reflect shifts in the Meta] Apex Legends Season 12 has arrived, bringing with it a brand new weapon meta, as we see the alternator return to the battlefield, while the Volt SMG has been placed into the Supply drop. There were also some other minor changes, like the addition of hammerpoint for the RE-45 and other weapons that could see some weapons become much more devastating.
With the changes to the meta, here is our updated Apex Legends Season 12 Defiance weapon tier list.
One of the best ground loot guns in the game, the R-301 Carbine is dominant in short-range and mid-range fights. Its balance between being easy to control and high damage makes this a very desirable weapon for both high-level and beginning players. If you are looking for a single standby you can rely on, this is one of the best options.
Kraber .50 CAL sniper rifle
It can be hard to get your hands on a Kraber via a care package, but it’s one of the best guns in the game. It is a bolt-action rifle capable of downing enemies in a single headshot, regardless of range, making it the only single hit kill gun in the game. With so many long-range encounters in Apex Legends, a strong sniper like the Kraber by your side is an invaluable resource. The only downside to the Kraber is that the ammo is hard to come by, so make your shots with this very powerful rifle count.
The Wingman is more powerful than you would expect a pistol to be. Since the first season of Apex Legends, this pistol has been a viable option for taking fights at a variety of ranges. Season 12 will be no exception, as the gun has flown back into the meta, and is currently being used with great success by both controller and M+K pros. As with all guns, it struggles if you miss your shots, but with a bit of practice this gun is a monster, and the addition of the new ‘boosted loader’ hop-up to the game only enhances that.
The Mastiff shotgun is a favorite among pros and amateurs alike. It is capable of dealing some serious raw damage up close, but it's also somewhat inconsistent compared to the superior EVA-8. The Mastiff fires its bullets in a horizontal line, which is unique, and makes it very good in point-blank range and rather consistent as well. There is also a hop-up for the Mastiff, allowing the Mastiff to reload two bullets at a time, which is a nice buff if you can find it.
The Volt is definitely one of the best short to medium-range weapons in Apex. It has a very easy-to-control recoil pattern, so it ends up working as a laser. Now that it is in the care package, and slightly buffed, it's definitely worth picking up, since it is about as versatile and deadly as any other automatic weapon in the game. The only issue can be ammo, if you get it too 'early' in the end game.
The C.A.R. SMG is similar in function to the R99, but with a slightly different bullet spread. It isn’t as versatile as the Volt at range, but doesn’t suffer with the ammo issues that plagued Volt users thanks to the fact it can take both light and heavy ammo. This is the best SMG in Season 12 once you get to using it, and some creators believe it’s only a matter of time before it gets a nerf.
The Rampage LMG was probably an S-tier weapon last season, and when charged it's downright stupid. This gun dominates at longer ranges because it has very easy to control recoil, with the only real downside the fact it does struggle in closer ranges compared to a Flatline, for example. Its slow rate of fire should make it difficult to outgun pretty much any shorter-range weapon, but with a bit of practice and the forgiving mag size it can still be deadly in the right hands, and woe betide anyone who finds themselves in the open when a team of Rampage users spot you.
The M600 Spitfire was the very top of the meta for a minute back in Apex Legends season 8. Today, in the care package, it is still a very good gun with decent DPS and a good ammo reserve, but as with many LMGs it thrives due to the forgiving magazine size and reliable recoil, rather than insane burst damage.
The Flatline has been one of the better guns in Apex Legends for several seasons now. It has relatively high recoil, but once you learn how to control it, or jitter your way to a laser beam, you will be surprised at the distances you can down enemies at in a single clip. At medium and long-range this gun can shred, and it is definitely one of the best weapons to pick up on Season 12 if you can master its recoil, and the constant availability in the crafter makes it simpler to get.
There was a time when the Havoc was slept on in Apex Legends, but that timemay be coming to an end. We are seeing top players use the gun more often, and when turbocharged the damage this gun puts out is very competitive. It is something of a specialist weapon due to the charge time, but well worth learning in season 12.
The G7 Scout is a light ammo marksmen weapon that is decent at middle and long ranges. Given that this gun was moved to the supply drop it should be a genuinely scary thing to fight against, but there was no significant buff when the change was made and the double-tap mode is far from game-changing. Most players still prefer not to use it. Combine that with the underwhelming ammo reserves and this might be the worst of the four care package weapons.
Perhaps Apex Legends' most unique weapon, the Peacekeeper works as a shotgun from the hip, but when you aim-down-sites and charge the bullets it turns into a more accurate projectile weapon that can operate at medium distances. It is a unique proposition for a weapon, but this jack of all trades isn’t the most reliable gun either. It remains to be seen if the Kinetic Loader helps at all, but the potential of this gun is incredible, and it’s deadly in the right hands.
The Triple Take is a like it or hate it kind of gun. Some highly skilled players swear by it, and put it above all the other snipers. The Triple Take uses energy ammo, but sadly no longer deals 69 damage to the body and 138 damage to the head due to a small nerf. With the full choke, it does decent damage, and the rate of fire means you're sure to annoy your enemies when you pick this up.
R-99 Light SMG
The R-99 is another strong weapon in Season 12, but there are better SMG options and the small magazine is very much an issue (especially if you no-reg a portion of your clip). While it has seen its fair share of nerfs over the years, this gun is a menace in the right hands, and still has a crazy potential damage output, if the game works perfectly and you hit all your shots. B-tier, but with a strong hint of A.
Prowler Burst PDW
The Prowler Burst PDW is a submachine gun that is looking decent in Season 12. This gun dominated the first few weeks of Season 10, before fading in the meta down to the mid-tier. You can definitely make this burst gun work for you, especially if you are on controller where the Prowler excels due to the interaction of aim-assist with this gun's hip-fire in close-range fights.
I know the Hemlock has a relatively high damage model, but its forced burst mode limits it heavily. While the Hemlock has a demographic of players who love running around with heavy ammo burst rifles, or use it in single fire mode, most players would be better off picking up a Flatline or an R301 instead. All that being said, if the Hemlock is the only rifle you have access to, it’s still perfectly usable if you can play around its slow fire rate.
Botek Compound bow
The Bocek Compound Bow is its own kind of sniper, and there are people who are good with this weapon who swear by it. This marksman weapon uses arrows, hits for 96 to the head, and 60 to the body. The weapon isn’t popular, but is extremely powerful and is only really held back by the ammo issue, with arrows not always easy to find, although you can recover them from the bodies of your fallen enemies.
Devotion Energy LMG
A lot of people don’t really think about the Devotion when they play Apex, but it was once in the care package, and for good reason. When this gun is turbocharged and spun up in your face, you’re basically toast if your opponent can control the recoil, but the difficulty of getting the attachments required to get to that stage stop it from ranking higher.
The Charge Rifle has seen multiple nerfs over its lifetime, but in ranked lobbies on PC it is basically the perfect weapon for poke damage and shield evolution. With no bullet drop due to the gun being hitscan it’s also a lot easier to use than a Sentinel or Longbow, making it more common at lower levels of PC play too.
The Longbow has its fair share of fans, and the gun has great potential if you can use it well, but eventually, it is going to struggle as you approach the end game and need more burst damage. It’s not a bad gun by any means, but like the Sentinel, it can be a bit unwieldy at times, and with other guns like the Rampage, Bow, and R-3 effective at long ranges too, it’s not really that common in season 12.
The L-Star was briefly king of the energy ammo meta after the buffs it had received in recent seasons, and in arenas, the gun was frankly obnoxious. A couple of tweaks in the other direction means the gun now lacks the precision it enjoyed previously, and it has fallen out of favor as a result of those nerfs. It still deals good damage off drop and can work as a budget SMG, but it's a shadow of the gun that dominated the 3 v 3 game mode for much of 2021.
The Sentinel is a chargeable sniper rifle that can be found on the ground in Apex Legends season 12, and might have the coolest sounds and animations in the game. This gun boasts a nutty headshot potential when charged, but like many snipers it can struggle in a dynamic environment.
The RE-45 has long existed in Apex as a solid machine pistol. It had relatively low damage, and very manageable recoil to it, and this season it’s been given a little buff in the form of a new attachment slot that means it can now take Hammerpoint rounds. With that in mind, the gun is much more viable than it has been for a while, and it remains to be seen if those changes make the RE more common outside of the first few minutes of a game.
Does this gun deserve to be in the lowest tier of weapons? That is debatable at least, but it’s not debatable that the Eva has been wrecked, and is a shadow of the gun that was so recently dominant in the shotgun meta, With the Mozam buffed and able to take Hammerpoints once more, it’s possible the Eva has gone from the best, to the worst shotgun in just a few short months.
The Alternator is back as ground loot, and no longer has disruptor rounds, which is good news for people who love this weapon but certainly doesn't make it top tier anymore. It's basically old reliable off drop and a great place to put your attachments before you can find an R-301 or R-99, but for most people the appeal is in the ease of use, rather than the outright stopping power of this SMG.
The 30-30 repeater is usable but highly limited. It has a relatively low damage model but a respectable fire rate that can make it situationally useful, if you can consistently hit your shots with it under pressure. In terms of damage and use, it’s like an easier Wingman that doesn’t do quite as much, and the addition of Shatter Caps as a toggleable option hasn’t improved its usage yet.
This is an underrated gun, and has some of the best-ranged accuracy of any shotgun in the game. Hammerpoints are back, but with a nerf for the hop-up when used on a Mozambique and RE-45, but there is a strong case to be made that the Mozamique is now better than the Eva-8, even if it’s clearly still the poor cousin when compared to a PK or a Mastiff.
It will be interesting to see if the P2020 comes into play more now Hammerpoints are back, with the hop-up having been slightly tweaked and the gun basically the same as before, but not quite. Off drop, this is often the only gun you’ll find and worth being able to use as a result, and while it’s better now with the return of the Hammies, finding the hop-up is enough of a pain to leave this in Tier D for now.
Aaron is an esports reporter with a background in media, technology, and communication education.