Whiskey Foxtrot is a killer. He’s not particularly nuanced or complicated, which fits both his character (as a consummate and practical survivor) as well as his descriptors (versatile, assassin, easy). Anyone already familiar with FPSs can pick him up and use him thanks to a very shallow learning curve.
Of course, this isn’t to say that he’s an instant-win button. Instead of specializing, Whiskey is a generalist: he’s got average survivability, average DPS, average burst damage, average AoE, and average mobility. His helix choices allow him to spread out even more, allow you to improve his range, mobility, control, damage (burst, sustained, and/or AoE), and/or survivability. Because of this, a well played and chosen Whiskey Foxtrot can fit into pretty much any situation and, while he won’t be absolutely optimal, he certainly won’t be bad.
Whiskey’s strength is also his weakness: he’s not a specialist. Even with range improvements, he’s not going to match a sniper for damage or accuracy at a distance. The same is true for his survivability, mobility, and control. Interestingly, this also makes him extremely good at solo play, since he’s got a diverse toolkit. The only thing Whiskey simply can’t do is tank: he just doesn’t have enough of that in his toolkit.
To play Whiskey Foxtrot well you need to counter-play your opponents and shore up the weaknesses of your group. If you’re trying to kill a sniper (like Toby or Marquis), get up close and personal; if you’re being attacked by a melee fighter, stay back and just kite them. Pay attention to what your enemies can do and adapt to try and always put them at a disadvantage.
UPR-SL3 Tactical Rifle:
After getting a kill, Whiskey’s attack damage (re: damage dealt with his basic attack) is increased by 25% for 10 seconds. Because of this, it will behoove you to periodically kill minions or other soft targets to keep this buff going because it is *extremely* powerful. At level 5, you get a helix option to add an additional buff to this, making it even more important.
More important than the damage is the secondary effect: by default, the Scrap Cannon applies a 4 second wound debuff (60% reduction in healing received) to the target, which, while useless in PvE (since NPCs don’t heal), is extremely useful in PvP. You can add a lot of additional functionality to Scrap Cannon via helices too, so your choices will effect its usage.
By a strange dint of implementation, unlike Ghalt’s Dual Wield, the rounds fired while Overdrive is active are identical to your normal attack rounds, even to the extent that they’re modified by attack damage rather than skill damage. For some reason, if you kill something with Overdrive it’s still considered a kill with a skill, however.
Because of another strange bit of implementation, even if you completely empty your magazine, you have to manually reload. It’s annoying, but not particularly crippling. Just keep it in mind when you’re using it.
Level 1: Weighed Down v. Shield Scrapper v. Flak Off
Scrap Cannon doesn’t deal a truly useful amount of damage and additional damage to shields is of marginal value since few enemies in PvE have shields (and even fewer have shield in useful amounts) and, in PvP, increased damage against shields (which are only present in small quantity at the start of a fight with another player) isn’t really worth the opportunity cost.
Slows are useful in PvP, especially if you use it against a player trying to escape or jumping around like crazy, to make it significantly easier to kill or score crits. They’re not particularly useful in PvE because enemies don’t really move around fast enough to be particularly troubling.
Allowing Scrap Cannon to knock targets back is extremely useful as an anti-melee technique. Each pellet that hits the target knocks hit back further, making it significantly less useful against targets at long range, though you don’t really need to knock them back.
Level 2: Swiss Cheese v. Scrap Bank
Swiss Cheese is excellent for taking out stealthed targets (via reveal) and is a powerful DPS increase via any other target. Because it’s paired with Scrap Cannon’s existing wound, it’s extremely good for increasing the likelihood of getting a kill on a target, though it should be mentioned that this only improves your damage with your basic attack: you do not get the 25% additional damage while your ult is active, even though your ult is effectively a buff to your basic attack in every other way.
Scrap Bank gives you 3 uses of Scrap Cannon that recharge independently. Since it doesn’t add any additional functionality to your Scrap Cannon, the choice between these two helice comes down to whether you need more functionality or more use out of Scrap Cannon.
Level 3: Red Dot Sight v. Scoped Up
Whiskey’s default iron sight is terrible. SU makes it extremely good, dramatically improving your performance at long ranges. RDS allows you to move inimpeded while aiming, which I’ve never really found to be useful since, if I’m aiming, I’m not in a situation that really rewards mobility. If you like to run around while aiming, I’d try it out to see if it works for you, but I’ve yet to see anyone that prefers it over SU.
Level 4: Triple Threat v. Sticky MIRV v. Stick ‘n Sap
TT reduces the explosive damage dealt by your Sticky Bomb by 50% but gives you 3 of them, so it ends up being a 50% increase in total damage dealt (more if you take some other helices later) if you can get multiple grenades on a single target.
Sticky MIRV doesn’t reduce the damage but does give you 3 grenades, which might seem like a better option, though the grenades spread out mid-flight. This allows you to complete the attack faster (since you’re not waiting for 3 separate grenade shots), it prevents you from stacking all of the grenades on a single target. It’s better for AoE but does nothing for single target validity. The trade off just isn’t worth it, in my mind.
Stick ‘n Sap just doesn’t seem worth it to me. It gives you a bit of up front damage (especially against shields), but only having a single grenade dramatically diminishes the total damage output and utility possible when you factor in the other helices you can get.
Level 5: Reload Burst v. Killer Regen v. Speed Burst
All 3 of these give very powerful buffs. The answer to the question of which is best depends upon what you’re need: since recovery is something that Whiskey can’t really get from any other source, KR is my general recommendation if you don’t have an allied healer. If you do have a healer, RB is the best for DPS since it allows you to reload extremely quickly. Increased mobility doesn’t really do much in PvE but it can be very valuable in PvP.
Level 6: Flakback v. Napalm v. Sticky Speed
I recommend Napalm largely because it’s an extremely powerful damage increase. Stacked with the previous Stick Bomb helices that give you multiple grenades per activation, this helix adds a *lot* of damage since each grenade gets its own damage patch (which stack with each other). This helix gives Whiskey a majority of his wave clear capability and, in PvE (and Incursion/Face Off), gives him absolutely devastating damage against large enemies that don’t move around (like bosses, Sentries, etc.).
Flakback and Sticky Speed would be viable choices if Napalm weren’t so powerful. Sticky Speed makes it much easier to get hits with Sticky Bomb (though you don’t need it much if you took TT or SM at level 3, which makes it way easier to hit targets than increasing projectile speed) and Flakback gives you some decent emergency mobility when used properly.
Level 7: Duct-Taped Mags v. Shield Pen v. When Three Just Isn’t Enough
Shield penetration just isn’t useful enough to offset the opporunity cost. It might be viable if you’re constantly fighting heavily shielded enemies but it doesn’t happen at all in PvE and rarely happens in PvP.
Personally, whenever I take WTJIE, I don’t even notice it’s there. The fourth shot is less accurate because of recoil and it doesn’t really increase total rate of fire much (since you still pause between each burst).
DTM makes every other reload *extremely* fast. With Reload Burst, you’re reload almost instantly every other reload. It ends up being a much more powerful increase in DPS than WTJIE.
Level 8: Spread Shot v. Long-Distance Flak
Spread Shot, at it’s most fundamental, decreases accuracy by the same proportion that it increases the number of projectiles to give you greater area without loss of coverage. The total potential damage is higher but you’re no more likely to hit a target with additional projectiles than you were before (unless they’re very large target or very close). It’s only really effective for simply tagging a target, which is what you want out of Scrap Cannon because it’s not like the damage is particularly good.
LDF reduces spread, making it harder to tag targets, but easier to hit targets with multiple pellets which isn’t really that valuable since the damage isn’t the real reason to use it: simply hitting with at least 1 projectile is more important than tagging them with a bunch.
Level 9: Swift Stickies v. Stronger Stickies
Stronger Stickies only increases the explosion damage, but Sticky Bomb isn’t an ability that should always be used on CD. As such, CD reduction doesn’t really do you much good unless you actually need to use it more often. Stronger Stickies isn’t great, but it’s better than redundant CD reduction.
Level 10: What Shields? v. Overoverdrive
WS gives you so much shield pen that you can straight up ignore your target’s shield while firing. It’s important to keep in mind that you still can’t score crits while a target has their shield up and shielded bosses (like Rendain, Aria, and Incursion Sentries) will only take shield damage even with 100% shield penetration (though with a certain legendary, you can melt these targets extremely fast). In PvP, this can be absolutely devastating towards heavily shielded characters; in PvE, it’s of marginal worth because so few enemies have shields that you need to completely bypass.
Overoverdrive gives you an additional 25 rounds (a 33% improvement), which is a *lot* more ammo to pump out. Unless you’re constantly fighting heavily shielded foes, this is easily the best option.
While Whiskey Foxtrot is very versatile in his skillset, gearwise, he’s not particularly complex. You’re really just gearing to either make him tougher or make him more dangerous, with the goal being the optimal combination of both for your playstyle and the situation. I’ll go over all stats here, based on how I personally categorize them, and provide a priority list for each category.
(Attack Damage>Critical Damage>Attack Speed=Recoil=Reload>Skill Damage=Cooldown>Shield Pen)
Attack Damage is on top because it gets the best bang for you buck due to time lost on reloading. Whiskey is an attack damage character: even his ultimate’s damage is based off of attack damage.
Whiskey is *incredibly* accurate so it is incredibly easy to get crits with him, as long as you give yourself time to recover from recoil (which is what burst fire is meant for). While you won’t always get crits, the higher value on Critical Damage makes it extremely potent. In PvP, because crits are only worth an extra 50% instead of 200%, it’s much less valuable, but still potent nonetheless.
Attack Speed, Recoil, and Reload are all together largely because you need all of them at the same time. If you increase your attack speed without increasing Recoil or Reload, you’ll spend more time reloading and end up hitting with fewer shots. Also, because Overdrive is a limited number of rounds, Overdrive increases your throughput DPS at the cost of duration. Recoil and Reload are valuable on their own but just can’t add as much as the other stats, even with their high default values. They exist to offset penalties that the other stats simply ignore.
Whiskey is not a Skill Damage character. The only stuff it augments is his Scrap Cannon, which is a utility rather than damage power, and Sticky Bomb, which is excellent damage but on too long of a CD to be able to compete with the output provided by his basic attack and ultimate. The only reason to go with Skill Damage is if you’re trying to improve your team’s AoE/wave clear because that’s what Sticky Bomb + Napalm (at level 6) does best.
Cooldown isn’t particularly useful because the values are just too low to really make a difference and, while providing you with Overdrive more often is nice, Overdrive is more about burst DPS than it is about truly sustained DPS (since it’s a limited number of rounds) and burst DPS tends to best be reserved for when it’s needed rather than used on cooldown (which is the only time cooldown gear is useful).
Shield Pen gets the standard disclaimer: it’s only useful in PvP because most enemies in PvE don’t have shields (and no bosses have them; Rendain’s shield doesn’t care about shield pen). Furthermore, if you really care about shield pen, Whiskey can get 100% shield pen with his ult at level 10, which renders and shield pen gear redundant.
(Max Health>Max Shield>Health Regen>Damage Reduction=Shield Recharge=Shield Regen>Healing Received>CC Duration):
Max Health gives Whiskey the greatest increases to his TTK that you can possibly get. It’s amazing.
Max Shield is nice but, with half (or less) of the values that you get out of Max HP coupled with no shield support via helices/abilities and a single powerful piece of hp support in his helices, max shield falls to the wayside. It does prevent crits while it’s active, but you can’t really stack enough to truly make a difference.
Health Regen is powerful only because everything else is terrible. If you don’t take Killer Regen, this is basically a necessity, as you *will* take damage. Even if you’ve got a healer on your team, you can’t expect them to be with you all the time, considering Whiskey’s tendency to be effective in a number of different varying situations, so it behooves you to plan to be alone.
Damage Reduction is here because it makes existing recovery mechanisms more powerful (since they’re acting upon smaller amounts of incoming damage) and still gives you a bit of TTK. It’s not stellar, but it’s not bad either.
Shield Recharge and Regen aren’t particularly useful because Whiskey doesn’t have any native shield support. Shield is just a blue bar over his green bar that prevents him from getting crit. Still, he doesn’t get so much recharge or regen that they’re useless either.
Healing Recieved is only useful if you’ve got a healer on your team. Whiskey doesn’t have a crapload of hp and, with Killer Regen, can recovery pretty effectively too. As such, healing received is either redundant (since he will probably be able to just regen the damage back), overkill (most healers will be able to top him off easily without it) or worthless (since you increase healing you’re not getting).
CC Duration receives the standard disclaimer: CC duration is functionally worthless. CCs don’t last that long so the minute values of CC duration on gear basically mean nothing.
If you want to make Whiskey a better controller, the only option is to grab Cooldown. He’s not that great at it (you can do some area denial with Sticky + Napalm and forced movement with Scrap Cannon + Flak Off) and Cooldown doesn’t do a stellar job of improving that element of his play, but it’s all that you can do.
(Move speed>Sprint speed>CC duration):
Move speed is useful in combat and out of combat and is increased by sprint speed. Sprint speed is only really useful outside of combat. CC duration reduces the duration of slows and stuns but is still absolutely terrible.
Getting shards helps you buy gear as well as construct buildables. Buildable reduction makes them way cheaper, however. Something to consider is that I only find these stats remotely useful in PvP. PvE gives you shards like candy; unless you’ve got someone who bogarts all of the shards, every mission should provide a surplus of shards even if you have a triple legendary loadout (like I do for pretty much everyone). In PvP, however, these are absolutely amazing and can actually be the foundation of an effective strategy.
These are some specific legendaries to keep in mind for Whiskey.
Gloves (attack damage):
Pacifier (algorithm), Symbiotic Gauntlet (sentinel)
Attack damage beefs up the basic attack and ultimte, which is good. Both of them also contribute to your survivability with his best defensive stats. SG is better offensively but you either need to take Killer Regen or some health regen gear to stay on top; Pacifier gives a nice little attack damage debuff whenever he damages an enemy, which he should be doing all the time.
Vow of Vengeance should probably be mentioned because it’s one of the most popular legendaries out there. Do not use it on Ghalt. The stacks only apply with his quick melee (which is powerful, but very conditional) and the stacks fall off very quickly (a matter of seconds). VoV is for melee, which Whiskey is not.
Swords (attack speed):
Stolen Edge of Arcvynorr (sentinel), Vow of Zealous Fury (heliophage), Orbital Tracking Spike (llc)
VoZF is the gold standard of attack speed legendaries: the stacks last an extremely long time and are easy to acquire, and it provides an excellent stat in addition to the attack speed. It’s kind of a ♥♥♥♥♥ to get, though, because Rendain drops it. And Rendain sucks (longest mission in the game and he’s the very last boss). SEoA is much easier to get and is almost as good: the stacks can be stacked up extreme fast thanks to Whiskey’s burst fire and ultimate as long as you’re precise enough to get crits; move speed is, in my book, worse than crit damage though, but that’s personal preference.
Orbital Tracking Spike is only mentioned because it’s got useful stats (attack speed and shield) though the additional attack speed is conditional upon you standing still… which can easily get you killed and you’re not liable to do often. This is more of a sniper legendary though I can see some people liking it (or using it until they get one of the other 2).
Firmware Update 1.51c (algorithm)
While the secondary stat is mediocre and cooldown doesn’t do much for letting you use skills that often, if you want to use Overdrive as much as possible, this is your best bet. Neither of his skills is especially short CD, but neither of them is particularly long and, since the proc reduces the CD of *all* of his skills, including the one he just used, if you use you skills on CD, this can provide you with a lot of additional uses over a match.
Crit Damage (goggles):
Vigilant Power Scouter (sentinel), Longarm Scope-Goat (rogue)
VPS gives you a lot of hp in addition to that crit damage and gives you a big bonus to your next attack’s damage when you do crit. If you chain crits (which is extremely easy with burst fire), it’s a truly impressive increase to damage. LSG gives the crappiest secondary stat but, because of the sheer quantity of bullets Whiskey can unleash coupled with his excellent accuracy (and good range), the legendary effect can be extremely annoying. Of course, like all faction legendaries, it’s crippled by the fact that it only works in an extremely limited number of situations such that it does nothing in PvE and isn’t likely to be useful in PvP.
Pauldrons (damage reduction):
Blissbeast Skull Plate (void’s edge), “Alamo-7” Armor (algorithm), Burning Sunset (rogue)
Blissbeast is one of the best pure survivability tools in the game. It gives a lot of DR and a lot of health regen, both useful stats for keeping Whiskey alive. He has enough recovery/hp to make the DR not worthless but also has low enough hp that you’ll still get the legendary effect trigger quite often. A7A gives 2 nice stats and, although the cooldown time on the legendary effect is extremely long (2 minutes), it is *extremely* powerful (2 seconds of total immunity), which is long enough to either gtfo or kill a threat. Burning Sunset makes it a lot harder to screw with you when you’re on a rampage because it allows you to ignore the damage from one skill every 30 seconds (only useful in PvP; this does nothing in PvE). The CC duration fits with the theme.
Injectors (health regen):
Oath of the Sustained (renegade)
An excellent survivability legendary that also helps out your team and helps you kill. You get health regen, increased damage, and a portion of all damage dealt (which should be a lot) is given to your allies as life. Considering Whiskey’s impressive DPS, this can be quite a boon.
Armor (max hp):
Vigilance Link (sentinel), Vampiric Vestments (jennerit), Pain-2-Gain Re-Knitter (upr)
Vigilance Link gives you 2 survivability stats and makes your team more durable as well. Excellent for team players and more support minded people, especially if you’ve got a nice healer to keep you company. Vampiric vestments will give you hp, more hp when you kill things, and more attack damage so that it’s easier to kill things. However, because you lose them when you die, I wouldn’t recommend VV for PvP since dying is relatively common. Pain-2-Gain Re-Knitter is one of the only 2 max hp pieces with DR on it; it also has the capacity to double the max hp increase, as long as you don’t die.
Batteries (max shield):
One-4-All Shield Array (experiment), Modernista (saboteur)
Modernista is a good anti-ranged shield with a decent secondary stat. A good way to discourage snipers in PvP since you can avoid the first crit and hurt them in the process. One-4-All Shield Array gives you more shield, your allies more shield, and can stack up some shield penetration if you want to push a shield pen build.
Mini-Singularity Launcher (saboteur), Stable Executioner (renegade)
MSL reduces your accuracy loss, gives you regen, and one target every 10 seconds hit by your attacks will be slowed for 3 seconds. It’s a useful bit of additional control if you want to go for that. SE is a nice bit of additional damage because, on top of a pair of useful stats, a 7% chance to get 50% additional damage (which is mechanically treated as a crit, for other purposes) on hits or crits can provide a nice little bonus over the long term. It’s only 3.5% increase in damage, but it’s the best damage you’ll get out of a recoil legendary.
Special mention to Starkweather’s Oscillator: doubling the recoil reduction while your shield is charging might seem good, but that only applies while your shield value is actually in the process of increasing, which doesn’t last long. You might consider this, but I consider it a trap.
Hidden Charger (llc), Vyn’s Quiver (sentinel), Galahadric Gun Grease (lore)
Reload is valuable and, considering how often and quickly Reyna reload, Hidden Charger can help out your Shield Recharge. Both are effective and, given how often you’ll reload, pretty much constant. If you can manage to recharge your shield in mid-combat by avoiding fire, Hidden Charger is excellent, but Vyn’s Quiver is probably more reliable. GGG is absolutely amazing for Whiskey: great stats and the legendary effect is absolutely *stellar*. Since recoil, reload, and attack speed are all stats you want to improve simultaneously, as long as you don’t reload early, you’ll be sitting pretty.
Spikes (shield penetration):
Bunker Buster (algorithm)
Normally, I wouldn’t recommend shield penetration gear but Bunker Buster turns Shield Pen into bonus damage against shields. With the shield pen helices that Whiskey can get, you can melt shields incredibly quickly. It’s not particularly effective in general, but it makes a very effective gimmick anti-shield build, especially at level 10 with the shield pen helix for your ult.
Pins (skill damage):
Bola’s Target Finder (experiment)
These choices are less about pins themselves being useful because skill damage is of little worth to Whiskey. Bola’s will let you follow up skills with attack damage more effectively.
Do you got any good suggestions , leave them in the comments below
Symbiotic Gauntlet, Galahadric Gun Grease, Vigilant Power Scouter
Excellent damage and good survivability. It has no recovery, so make sure to take Killer Regen or bring a healer friend along. If you’re no good at crit shots, Vow of Zealous Fury or Bola’s Target Finder are probably the best replacements for VPS.
Sketchy “Easy Money” (-heal power), Symbiotic Gauntlet, Galahadric Gun Grease
A bit of hp, but a lot of damage improvements: just unload on your opponents. The free shard gen is there to allow you to afford the other 2 legendaries and -heal power means nothing since Whiskey can’t heal.
Shield Penetration PvP:
Sketchy “Easy Money” (-heal power), Bunker Buster, Henchman’s Capacitor (algorithm)
A true gimmick loadout that I would only bring to an Incursion match where I felt like being able to break a Sentry’s shield in a single ult. Make sure you take Shield Pen and What Shields? to push the anti-shield concept past 11. Henchman’s Capacitor is there because it reduced buildable cost encourages you to buy and level up fast, which you’ll want to do because both of those helices are definitely late game. The free shard gen is there to allow you to afford the other 2 legendaries and -heal power means nothing since Whiskey can’t heal. If you’re not concerned about shards at all and really want to push the gimmick, replace the free shard gen with a One-4-All Shield Array (or, if you don’t want to bother with buildables, replace Henchman’s Capacitor with it).
Fast Leveling PvP:
Sketchy “Easy Money” (-heal power), Janked “Screwdriver” (-healing received), Galahadric Gun Grease
Build as much as possible to get easy xp and level up as quickly as possible. Make sure you stick around the fights as well so that you’re not sacrificing minion xp for build xp. The legendary is there for when you hit level 10 and no longer need to spend shards on build xp. GGG is the best single offensive legendary but, if you want a nice compromise of damage and survivability, Symbiotic Gauntlet is better since the damage will be slightly worse but you’ll take noticeably longer to kill.