The mighty Gjallarhorn – so powerful it was able dominate Twitter and Reddit for a day just by existing. Until the introduction of the Taken King Expansion, the Gjallarhorn was the most coveted, overpowered, and rarest weapons you could get your hands on in Destiny. It was the solution to every problem that Bungie could throw at players, and was so culturally significant to the players of Destiny that individuals were often discounted from endgame activities just for not having one.
If you’re a Year 2 player, we can’t even begin to scratch the surface of why the might Gjallarhorn has been as venerated as it has. With its triumphant Year 3 return imminent in Rise of Iron (in its sexy new Iron Gjallarhorn coloring), we figured it was time to look back at the most powerful weapon in Destiny. We’ll be comparing it to its contemporaries, the Truth, and Dragon’s Breath.
Gjallarhorn Base Stat Analysis
Rate of Fire - 11
Nothing special here, the Gjallarhorn is relatively standard for a Rocket Launcher in terms of its Rate of Fire, tying with the Truth’s 11, but falling slightly behind the Dragon’s Breath at 18. Regardless, Rate of Fire is hardly ever an influencing factor when it comes to Rocket Launchers, so don’t go worrying about this stat too much.
Blast Radius - 76
Pretty tasty, the Gjallarhorn offers a decent 76 for Blast Radius, far outstripping the Dragon’s Breath at 60. However, both are nowhere near the same league as the Truth, which has a staggering Blast Radius of 96. Which is definitely still a plus point in Gjallarhorn’s favor, even if it doesn’t rank as the best here.
Velocity - 90
The undisputed king of Rocket Launcher Velocity, the Gjallarhorn hits hard and fast at a whopping 90 for Velocity, towering above the Truth’s 48, and frankly embarrassing the Dragon’s Breath’s 30. The Gjallarhorn doesn’t mess around here, and is unlikely to be beaten by many (if any) Rocket Launchers, both Exotic and Legendary.
Stability - 53
Honestly, for a Rocket Launcher this is a pretty irrelevant stat overall. However, that doesn’t stop the Gjallarhorn from coming in last place at 53 behind the Dragon’s Breath at 66, and the Truth’s impressive 83. Keep in mind that both the Truth and the Gjallarhorn's rockets are tracking, so this really makes little difference.
Reload - 68
Definitely a respectable Reload speed, the Gjallarhorn packs a hefty 68 for Reload, sitting between the 52 of the Dragon’s Breath, but flagging somewhat behind the Truth’s 79. Definitely not a deal-breaker, by any stretch.
Magazine - 2
Delivering maximum destruction, the Gjallarhorn can hold 2 rockets at a time and is capable of firing one after another before having to reload. This puts the Gjallarhorn ahead of the 1-shot of the Dragon’s Breath, while tying it with the Truth at 2. With the reasonably high Reload rate of the Gjallarhorn, you’ll find these two shots more than ample.
Base Stat Conclusion
So you might be looking at the above and scratching your head, wondering what exactly is it that makes the Gjallarhorn so mighty? Its stats are decent-to-good, but not exceptional for anything bar Velocity, so why do people rave about it? Well, while its stats may be average, the Gjallarhorn’s perks are anything but.
Gjallarhorn Perk Analysis
Exotic Perk – Wolfpack Rounds
- Rounds fired from this weapon split into tracking cluster missiles upon detonation.
Such a simple description cannot accurately describe the brutal power this perk can lay down. Not only will your target take damage from the initial explosion of the Rocket Launcher, this damage will then be followed up by a smattering of smaller homing projectiles which deal a staggering amount of damage in their own right. This allows you to lay down some serious DPS on a single target or effectively clear a crowd without breaking a sweat. It even has its place in the Crucible, turning a near-miss into a hail of Wolfpack Round death. There really are few situations that aren’t improved by Wolfpack Rounds.
Selectable Launch Perks – Soft Launch/Confined Launch/Smart Drift Control
Remember that impressive Velocity? We want to keep that and not sacrifice it in any way. That means we’re going to ignore Confined Launch and Smart Drift Control. Both of them improve Stability, but reduce Velocity – when you’re holding a homing Rocket Launcher with proximity detonation and additional projectiles that also home in, why would you care much about aiming? Recoil is something that shouldn’t even cross your mind as you cackle gleefully while firing a maelstrom of rockets. We recommend Soft Launch; while the Recoil may increase, so does Velocity, and that’s pretty kickass.
Middle Perk – Tracking
- Shells fired from this weapon track their targets.
The Gjallarhorn is a gift that keeps on giving. As we’ve mentioned, Gjallarhorn has the Tracking perk. This is literally a weapon that will do 95% of the work for you. Just point it vaguely in the direction of your enemy, wait until you hear the beeping noise, then pull the trigger and walk away without looking back (because cool guys don’t look at explosions) before seeking out your next target. “Fire and forget” has never been quite so apt.
Selectable Stat Perks – Quickdraw/Snapshot/Speed Reload
We’re not fans of Quickdraw here, especially on a Rocket Launcher. Typically, you’ll get the most mileage in PvE for a Rocket Launcher, and being able to pull out a Rocket Launcher faster isn’t going to help you much in that situation. We’d say the same of Snapshot, which does the same, but with aiming speed instead of equipping, although Snapshot has its moments for Crucible play. Instead, go with Speed Reload, because who doesn’t want to fire more rockets faster? While the Reload speed of the Gjallarhorn is decent, there’s no reason not to improve it either!
If you’re going to take it at face value based on stats alone, then the Gjallarhorn doesn’t look like much of a winner. Do not do this! While its day has long since passed, the Gjallarhorn was a behemoth; a towering damage-dealing monster capable of killing Skolas in seconds under the right conditions, and effectively contributed to the downfall of The Will of Crota by punishing every Strike boss who ever looked at a Guardian the wrong way. It really was the key for every lock, the answer to every question and the solution to every problem, and we desperately cannot wait to get our hands on it again in Rise of Iron.
It’s been far too long since we were separated, and for our lost love, the Gjallarhorn, we’ll have to give an unprecedented 5/5 Exotic Engrams. You earned it, buddy!
You’ve heard about the best Heavy Weapons in Destiny, why not check out the top five primary weapons in Destiny? Are you curious about the possibility of new content after the release of Rise of Iron? Check out Bungie's discussion on adding new content to Destiny. Planning on running the Challenge of the Elders this week? Be sure to read through our handy Challenge of the Elders Week 11 guide!