With Season 5 of Apex Legends, Respawn made the somewhat odd decision to not include a new weapon. Instead, they did the next best thing – they switched the Peacekeeper out for the Mastiff, making the former a cradle-only weapon and the latter a map spawn.
This is great, and for many players it’s basically the same as getting a new weapon. The Mastiff was a rare find, and even when they could grab one many players would pass it up in favor of whatever they were already using. As a low ammo weapon you can’t consistently practice with, the Mastiff was a tough sell.
That’s no longer the case. Since we will all be blasting each-other with Mastiffs for the next few months, I figured I’ll prepare a quick list of tips and best practices for the big bad shotgun!
Apex Legends Season 5 sees the Mastiff’s stats scaled down dramatically in his transition to a regular map spawn. The weapon’s main characteristics are more or less the same, however. Its pellet pattern is a wide horizontal line, similar to the Triple Take’s but even wider.
Even though there is no longer a visual indicator, the pellet spread is roughly 50% tighter while aiming down sights. The tightening is not instant – you must be in ADS for a fraction of a second before the spread narrows. Since the weapon handles quickly and only reduces your movement speed by 9% while aiming, you can afford to ADS in close range – consider that when choosing an optic.
Finally, the Mastiff is the only Apex Legends weapon to do partial reloads. It loads a single shell at a time, and while the individual loading animation is short, a full six-shell reload takes relatively long.
The Mastiff vs. other shotguns
Compared to the other Apex Legends weapons in the class, the Mastiff feels somewhat over-tuned. Currently it out-performs the EVA-8 at all ranges in terms of raw damage, and the gap between them increases with the range. In fact, around the 40-50 meter mark the Mastiff can still secure a knockdown on an enemy in one mag, while the EVA can’t even fully break their shields from that far. The Mastiff is also noticeably burstier at close range, although a double-tap EVA can match it.
Compared to the pre-cradle Peacekeeper, the Mastiff operates in a similar fashion while feeling slightly stronger. Long-time Peacekeeper users will appreciate the Mastiff’s faster re-chamber rate and more forgiving pellet spread. That said, the Mastiff cannot equip the Precision Choke hop-up, so its maximum effective range can’t rival that of the Peacekeeper.
How to use the Mastiff
Much like with the Peacekeeper, you get the most out of the Mastiff by getting in close so you can get the most pellets on target possible. Make sure to duck and weave in between shots! You don’t want to stand still and aim too hard – the damage output of this weapon is unpredictable, and with a single turn of their body an opponent can avoid half a blast. The fight may be over in two shots, or two mags.
Because of the distribution of pellets, and the Mastiff’s unusually low headshot multiplier of 1.25, it deals more damage with bodyshots at any range other than point-blank. If your target is farther than a couple of meters away, you should aim directly for the body, even if you’re ADS-ing.