Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War Season 5 is at its end, and Season 6 launches in just a few days. Season 6 brings with it new maps, new operators, a new Battle Pass, and more importantly, three new guns. Just like with Season 5, Season 6 is bringing a new submachine gun, a new assault rifle, and a new shotgun. The weapons added in Season 5 broke Cold War, so in this article, we'll explain what happened in Season 5 and let you know if there's reason to expect Season 6 to shake up the game's meta.
In Season 5, Black Ops Cold War added the EM2 assault rifle, the TEC-9 submachine gun, and the Marshal pistol. The Marshal may be classified as a pistol in the context of Cold War's various weapon classes, but it's a double-barrel shotgun that can be run akimbo. Since each of these guns' introduction, in almost every lobby regardless of map or mode these guns dominate the meta.
The TEC-9 was the worst offender for a while, with nearly every player in every lobby running it without exception, because its time-to-kill was faster than any other gun in the game. It could delete people faster than other SMGs, than other ARs, than LMGs, than everything else. If you weren't running the TEC-9, you were at a disadvantage.
Luckily, the TEC-9 was nerfed, its damage being reduced. Originally, its damage value, even when kitted to be fully-automatic (the TEC-9 is a semi-automatic weapon without attachments and can be kitted with attachments to either burst fire or be fully-automatic), was 50. This was brought down by 18% to 41. Now, the gun still kills in just a few shots when fully-automatic, and it is the unrivaled king of the SMGs, but not every Cold War player runs it in every lobby.
The EM2 assault rifle, since its introduction, has been mostly unchanged, which is a problem because it outclasses every other assault rifle in the game. With its Taskforce Barrel attachment, its fire rate was slightly reduced by 7%, and this was the gun's major nerf. But you don't have to run that attachment, and whether you do or don't, the gun is a laser at almost any range.
Its recoil is just as manageable as the Krig 6, the assault rifle best known for its manageable recoil, but it brings much more firepower to the table and is more effective at range. Plus, the EM2 has its own built-in scope, rather than traditional iron sights, which means you can save yourself an attachment slot, too, and still be effective at range.
If you're playing a game of Cold War and want to play with either an assault rifle or an SMG, the two dominant weapon classes in the game, you're at a distinct disadvantage if you use any weapon that's not the EM2 or the TEC-9. As a result, even with the nerfs, you won't play a game of Cold War and not see these weapons being used.
Then, there's the Marshal pistol. This gun hasn't seen any major nerf, and in fact, initially its Dragon's Breath attachment (rounds that sets enemies on fire) wasn't working correctly when akimbo, and that was patched to work. So, in essence, the gun was even buffed. This is a problem because still, to this day, it's by far the most dominant secondary weapon in the game.
If you don't know, the Marshal pistol is a sawed-off double-barrel shotgun with attachments that can extend its effective range, set enemies on fire, and most importantly, run it akimbo. Its range alone may not be much, even with attachments that increase effective damage range, but its damage is so high, and made even higher when running akimbo, that you can take out people from a good distance away.
Plus, when running akimbo, each of the two Marshalls can be shot twice before reloading, so not only is the gun's damage high, not only can you run two of them, but you can get four shots off in the blink of an eye. So, even if an enemy is outside of your effective range, you can get four shots off very quickly that usually do enough damage to take out players at startlingly long ranges.
This gun continues to outright ruin certain modes, and unless you're playing League Play, where the gun is banned, you'll see it in every lobby, as most players run them. Search & Destroy is now a pain to play, because people will either camp in corners with the Marshals, or they'll run around like maniacs with them, and either way, no other gun in the game can delete someone as fast as a Marshals blast.
Coming in Season 6, which begins in just a few days, are three new weapons: another assault rifle, the Grav, another submachine gun, the LAPA, and another shotgun, the .410 Ironhide shotgun. Two of these weapons will be available at the launch of Season 6. The .410 Ironhide will be unlocked at Tier 15 of the Season 6 Battle Pass, and the Grav will be unlocked at Tier 31 of the Season 6 Battle Pass.
The LAPA will come to Cold War during its upcoming Haunting event (Call of Duty's version of a Halloween event) and will be unlocked after completing certain challenges, like the Sai melee weapon was unlocked during the Numbers event in Season 5.
The Grav is described as a full-auto AR with the "fastest bullet velocity in class" that's "fast firing with improved range" while it has "modest damage and moderate recoil." Cold War's FFAR fires extremely quickly with reasonably high bullet velocity, but doesn't do too well at range and has beastly recoil. The Grav, if its description is accurate, will be strictly better than the FFAR, bringing what could be the medium-range AR equivalent of the EM2 to the game.
The .410 Ironhide shotgun is described as a lever-action shotgun with "high damage" and "an improved fire rate" that's a "reliable 2-shot kill with a short 1-shot range." It's unclear if it can be run akimbo, but there's reason to believe it can. The Marshal pistol is extremely similar to Modern Warfare 2's Ranger shotgun, which looks nearly the same, had a high damage output, and could be run akimbo.
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Also in Modern Warfare 2 was the Model 1887 shotgun, another high damage lever-action shotgun that looks pretty similar to the .410 Ironhide, and this weapon could also be run akimbo in Modern Warfare 2. If Call of Duty's past is anything to go off of, it seems like the .410 Ironhide will be another Marshal-esque weapon. Plus, even if it's classed as an actual shotgun, like pistols, shotguns are secondary weapons in Cold War, meaning you'll be able to run them as your secondary on every class without having to make any trade-offs.
Lastly, the LAPA SMG is described as a full-auto SMG with "reliable damage and good firing control" as well as "improved handling and range with a slower fire rate." This description could just as easily apply to the TEC-9, so this weapon is yet another gun to watch out for. Even if it's not as good as the TEC-9, another similar weapon for people to play with once tired of the TEC-9 will see a lot of use.
Ultimately, we won't know how these guns shake up the meta until they're introduced, but if the information we have so far is anything to go off of, it's not looking very likely that Cold War will feel particularly balanced anytime soon. And you can probably expect most players in most lobbies to use either Season 5 or Season 6 weaponry.
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