From deep within the shadows it came—a messenger borne on black wings.
The Messenger is a Legendary primary pulse rifle.
The Adept version is obtained from the Lighthouse chest, non-Adept and can be rewarded from a Silver/Gold Package.
The good: High Impact & Range.
The bad: Weak perks for PvE.
Conclusion: Perfect for mid-long PvP engagements.
Pulse Rifle (Primary Weapon)
Talent Upgrades Tree
This weapon causes Kinetic damage.
Snapshot sight. Excellent handling. Superb target acquisition.
Radar stays active while aiming down this weapon’s sights.
A larger magazine.
Body shots with this weapon increase precision damage for a short time.
Snapshot sight. Enhanced target acquisition.
Reload this weapon even faster.
Ranged Lens RLS3
Mid-range scope. Good effective range and recoil control. Heavy and slow.
This weapon has extremely low recoil.
“Don’t Shoot The Messenger” they say. Well, they’re just terrified of you shooting them with The Messenger. This Trials of Osiris Pulse Rifle has made its presence known in the Crucible in a big way recently, rapidly earning the distinction of “That Pulse Rifle That Isn’t Red Death.” It’s stylish, compact, and deadly – and the Adept version is a great way to show off your skillz.
But is it really the pinnacle of Pulse Rifles? How does it stack up? This review is going to peel away the hype from the facts, and will focus a little more heavily on PvP than usual. So without further ado, let’s begin.
What You Should Know
The Messenger is a high-impact, low RoF Pulse Rifle, much like Hopscotch Pilgrim, Spare Change.25, and Three Little Words. It has a stellar base Range, which falls only a little short of being best-in-class.
Its Stability sits averagely among a very strong field, and you’ll appreciate its base Range all the more when considering the low amount of Aim Assist compared to other Legendary Pulse Rifles.
Its base Magazine Size of 24 is not particularly impressive, especially considering it loses out to a few other Legendaries in Reload Speed. To make an early subjective assessment, The Messenger has a few strong suits, but can be beaten in every available stat category by readily available alternatives, some of which who outclass it in multiple areas.
Of course, stats aren’t everything. We have to consider where certain Pulse Rifles are currently viable to get an appreciation for what this stat profile means for The Messenger. Much like high Impact Scout Rifles, the hardest-hitting Pulse Rifles have their distinct upside and downside. They typically boast much greater base Range, allowing them to safely engage more enemies from a distance. But, much like their Scout Rifle cousins, their slow RoF relative to the other variants makes them poor options for those who are chasing pure DPS in PvE.
Thankfully because of this low RoF, their muzzle climb won’t get too out-of-hand. However, they still need a healthy chunk of pure Stability, as the three-round burst-fire is ineffective without enough recoil control to let you reliably get consecutive precision hits.
Unlike Scout Rifles and Hand Cannons, there isn’t a clear front-runner for the Pulse Rifle Crown. The raid elemental options are both Arc damage. Praedyth’s Timepiece is a rare Gatekeeper HM drop, and the Oversoul Edict is a much less rare HM drop in Crota’s End from The Abyss. Unlike The Messenger, both of these options have a maximum RoF and minimal Impact. They’re designed to lay down heavy suppressing fire, needling enemies to death by relying on high magazine counts, and unique perks to give them an edge over their competitors. Praedyth’s Timepiece has Secret Round, and Oversoul Edict has Full Auto. With Arc damage, they present strong, if not altogether compelling Fatebringer alternatives.
Looking at other Legendaries, the aforementioned Hopscotch Pilgrim and Spare Change.25 are both very stiff competition within the same RoF/Impact class. Each of them beat out The Messenger in at least one key stat, and can be re-rolled indefinitely until you’re completely satisfied. If you’re looking for a faster RoF, the Vanguard’s 55A-allFate is one of the best Pulse Rifles out there. The non-Adept Messenger is in no-way “better” than any of the above; if you have a nice roll on any of the Pulse Rifles mentioned, there’s no need to go chasing The Messenger right away.
At this point, it’s worth nothing where Pulse Rifles are best used. Unfortunately, even with their most recent damage buff, they’re still not quite up-to-scratch with Hand Cannons and Scout Rifles. The former just do much more damage, and the latter dominate the range game with better ammo efficiency and powerhouse perks like Firefly and Crowd Control.
Where Pulse Rifles do excel is the Crucible. Since their damage was given a gentle nudge, their TTK has been reduced across the board for all variants. The 30 Impact class, to which The Messenger belongs, can even two-burst kill a Guardian with no beneficial perks, providing each bullet lands for a headshot.
Concerning sights, the Red Dot-OAS, as usual, is king. It ups your Stability, which is pretty much a no-brainer for Pulse Rifles. SureShot is a decent option for its versatility, bump to Aim Assist, and extremely clean & unobstructive ADS design. The Ranged Lens is just cumbersome, considering the only thing it doesn’t hurt is The Messenger‘s (already-high) base Range.
The Messenger isn’t the clear frontrunner for Pulse Rifles when it comes to pure statistics. So do its perks give it a fighting chance in the right situations? In keeping with the arena in which you can win, The Messenger seems specifically designed for PvP dominance. Its first perk slot is consumed by Third Eye, which allows you to maintain your radar when ADS. This perk, while technically not useless in PvE, really only is worth using in PvP. As we’ve noted, most non-Guardian enemies behave predictably, do not flank aggressively, and don’t possess horrifying movement quirks like Blink to throw you off your game. This weapon doesn’t have an immediate ADS, and being able to round corners with confidence, already scoped and ready to fire, is quite potent.
The middle options are Extended Mag, Flared Magwell, and Perfect Balance. All three of these are appealing in their own right, and sharp readers will notice immediately that they seem tailored to improve a category in which The Messenger is lacking. Concerned about the average Magazine Size? Boost your mag (but not reserves) to 33, and you can keep up the fire that much longer. Don’t care about ammo count, but just want to make sure you can reload as quickly as possible? Flared Magwell has you covered, effectively maximizing your Reload Speed among all Pulse Rifles. Finally, if you want a positively pinpoint spread, go with Perfect Balance to make your PR a laser. The two standouts here are probably Extended Mag and Perfect Balance, with Perfect Balance being our recommendation for PvP, and Extended Mag being the best call for PvE.
Finally, The Messenger boasts a Pulse Rifle exclusive perk, Headseeker. This perk adds a slight damage buff to your precision damage for remaining rounds if the first or second round of a burst hits the body. While your DPS is always going to be best-served by diligently plugging skulls, Headseeker lessens the penalty for missing the head considerably. In fact, you can still get a two burst kill in PvP if you land only 5/6 headshots! The skill curve is much less daunting with Headseeker in the mix, and it synergizes well with Extended Mag for prolonged engagements with multiple foes. The raw damage increase is pretty minimal, increasing the headshot damage from 38 to 41, but these numbers allow it to hit the threshold of 5/6 headshots, which you’ll probably find yourself taking advantage of more than you’d think. In PvE, the increase in damage is so minimal that you’d be better served by something like Army of One, or a Reload perk.
PvE vs PvP
If it hasn’t been made abundantly clear yet, The Messenger is better used in PvP. While spome Trials weapons tend to do better in PvE, this isn’t one of them.
You’ll be reloading frequently, with no buff to how fast you can do this short of using Flared Magwell or Pulse Rifle Reload Gloves. Even with Flared Magwell, now you have not-so-great Stability, and the low Magazine Size of 24 to contend with. The slow RoF is a big enough penalty that even with your relatively hard Impact, you’ll do less DPS than the faster-firing alternatives that you could roll with more PvE-friendly perks. Really, the only way we’d recommend using The Messenger in generic PvE content is with a Solar or Void Adept specialization.
In PvP, you’ve probably been increasingly felled by The Messenger. Contrary to popular opinion, it is not the far-and-away “best” PvP Pulse Rifle aside from Red Death, but merely one of them. A Hopscotch Pilgrim, Spare Change.25, or even the 55A-allFate can do just as good – if not better – with the right roll. Guardians who excel at PvP are using this weapon disproportionately compared to that of other Pulse Rifles, giving it the illusion of superiority.
What honestly makes The Messenger so great is that it doesn’t take much effort to find. Every one comes with the same, perfect PvP perks, and you can start crushing other Guardians with it right out of the box. If you haven’t been fortunate enough to grab one, take heart knowing that you can create an equally powerful alternative with some drop luck and reforging patience. Certain perks like Reactive Reload can stack with Headseeker for some really terrifying and unpredictably deadly combinations.
If you choose to take The Messenger into the Crucible, you’ll have a top-tier Pulse Rifle that’s geared to dominate at mid-to-long range. You’ll almost never have to worry about its Range or Stability, and with 3rd Eye and Headseeker, picking your engagements is just as easy as the skill curve is forgiving. PvP aces will appreciate the two-burst kill potential, and the rest of Guardians will have a chance to get a feel for a weapon that embodies everything a Pulse Rifle should be in PvP.
Solar: The best option among the three. No Pulse Rifles thus far have sported Solar damage, and although the Vision of Confluence is still a better weapon, Guardians who want to change it up or who’ve never bothered to go get a VoC will gladly take a Red Dot-OAS, Extended Mag, Solar Messenger, over its Kinetic alternative – or worse, the Abyss Defiant. Shudder…
Void: The easy second choice. The Word of Crota is the only real alluring Void weapon available, and its rarity might preclude many Guardians from having it good to go for Void Burn content. Additionally, your Adept Messenger will come with 365 ATK right away, so no need to waste an Etheric Light to ensure you’re doing all the damage you can.
Arc: Not a terrible option, but both Praedyth’s Timepiece and the Oversoul Edict are better PvE weapons, and already are Arc-flavored. Of course, if you don’t have either of these, or don’t feel particularly inspired to go out and get them, Arc damage is a fine choice for PvE. Fallen Captains and Epic Hallowed Knights will be your favorite targets, but in 35 PoE might still prove too bulky even with burns for you to handle them solo.
The Messenger came along at a great time, inspiring many Guardians to put away their Exotic hand cannons to try something new. Pulse Rifles in general have been overlooked, and a properly rolled Legendary (like the several mentioned above) can be worth its weight in Motes of Light. If you are inspired to take up The Messenger, you’ll find it rewards your faith with long-range precision and peerless damage in the Crucible.
In PvE, your affection will be tested as its low Magazine Size and overall middling DPS combine for a more frustrating experience. Still, if you manage to score an Adept version from the Lighthouse, you may have a worthy standby for PoE and Nightfall burns.
Overall, it’s one of Trials of Osiris’ best weapons and definitely worth your time to play with. So go ahead and shoot The Messenger.
For PvP this weapon earns a 8.8/10 and for PvE a 6.7/10.