This will analyse the 3 main weapon combinations, and give some tips for what will fit your playstyle better.
Guide to Weapon Meta
First up, there is NO difference between the different weapon skins in terms of stats / mechanics.
There are however different Iron Sight designs, and you may prefer one over another, I recommend testing each weapon you buy at the Weapons Shop target, several re-colors share the same basic shape, so results might look similar until you buy one that is different.
The hit-markers are client side, meaning the game will occasionally register a shot you don’t deserve(on the servers Point of View), and you will feel robbed because it looked like a hit, got the hit marker, but no result.
There are 4 main Weapon choices, sorted by range, short to far.
- Cutlass (Sword)
- Blunderbus (Shotgun)
- Flintlock (Pistol)
- Eye of Reach (Sniper)
Cutlass – The king of mobility.
The cutlass can take a little time to master, it has several mechanics that you should strive to master to become a Sea of Thieves Champion.
- Miss Penalties
I’ll save these mechanisms for their own guide, as it wouldn’t do it justice to summarise here.
Blunderbus – The ultimate anti-boarder gun.
Simple, it has knockback.
Use it when on your boat, and you are expecting someone to board you, use it to knock foes off ladders or the back of your sloop. More effective on smaller ships, or cramped spaces.
Aiming down sights is VITAL on the blunderbus, it limits the spread of the weapon projectiles and gives you a tighter focus.
Aim down sights, Shoot point blank, get instant kill.
Panic-shoot without aim down sights, swap to 2nd, engage combat with advantage, and knock them away from sword range.
Controller players best friend, has the widest spread, so they don’t need to aim as accurately.
By far the hardest thing to master on the blunderbus, is the instant-kill range. It’s also the weapon that feels the most inconsistent, due to the netcode of Sea of Thieves not being as good as e-sports shooters, due to the multiple moving ‘worlds’ / ships that players can be standing on.
Best used with Peakers Advantage to go full assault into tight spaces before people can react.
Flintlock Pistol – Old Reliable.
The flintlock will deal 50% damage, with a fairly quick reload time compared to the sniper. Getting 2 shots off before the enemy can heal, will win you a fight QUICK. If you have a team mate to back you up, a Pistol is a great choice for the well co-ordinated team.
Whilst forgetting to aim down sights will give mild inaccuracy at longer distances, at most effective ranges, the pistol can be hip fired with ease, helping you to get those quick double shots out.
Eye of Reach – PC’s Dream.
If the blunderbus is the controller-users darling, then the Eye of Reach is for all you CSGO players out there. With a useful crack in the center, to act as a sight when ‘Aim-Down-Sight’ing, and the furthest range in the game It’s useful in a ton of situations. Doing 70% of a players health, can leave them in an awful place if they don’t have quality fruit to heal up with. Never, Ever, Hipfire. It’s high inaccuracy will leave you stranded and missing shots 95% of the time at *all* ranges, even point blank.
If you are rocking the eye of reach, don’t let them get within Sword/Blunder range, until you have a successful hit, or else you will quickly find yourself swapping weapons or dying.
With the introduction of the Eye of Reach, I feel compelled to talk about the projectile mechanics.
Sea of thieves weapon projectiles do not arc naturally. They have a limited range and will ignore gravity / drop off until until that distance is hit, then start falling dramatically. If you are shooting outside your range, You basically just need to eyeball the drop off, lead targets, and get closer. Leading isn’t usually necessary, unless shooting ship-to-ship.
The Eternal Debate
In Sea of Thieves there is a rather divided opinion on which weapons should be taken.
To Sword or not to Sword.
If you take the Cutlass, you gain massive amounts of movement, able to surf along the shore of islands repeatedly, easier boarding of enemy ships, and no ammo needed for PvE (Player vs Environment) challenges, Skeletons, mermaid statues etc.
Ammunition is a huge issue given you have 5 shots per weapon, and reload stations need to be memorised or taken with you.
But if you take 2 guns, whilst you are limited in ammunition, you gain an impressive time-to-kill bonus by swapping to your second weapon and shooting again, but you MUST make sure you have both weapons loaded, or else suffer whilst you wait for the punishing reload times. It’s also not the strategy that 90% of players take, as the average aiming skills in Sea of Thieves is low. Whether that it because of the difficulties of aiming with a controller (It’s an Xbox Play Anywhere title, with optional cross play for controller using Xbox players), or just the target demographic I’m not sure. So you can be sure to take people by surprise.
Cutlass & Blunderbus
Great for defending your boat against boarders, or camping enemy ships while water leaks inside.
Cutlass & Pistol
Decent at mid to short range, can get annoying long range however.
A pistol shot does 50% of a pirates health, so following up with 2 cutlass hits, OR a second pistol shot will finish the job. However if they manage to eat, it will fail, where as the Eye of Reach will usually still secure a kill, if they are eating bad foods.
Cutlass & Eye of Reach
If you can land point blank shots, this combination is probably one of the strongest in the game, you get long range distance, and a shot from the eye of reach, followed by 2 swings will kill a pirate, only the blunderbus could counter it easily, if they arn’t busy reloading, freaking out or eating food.
Reloading is your worst enemy, count your shots, and make sure you reload both weapons whenever you get a chance, with 5 shots apiece, bringing portable ammo crates or memorising ammo crate locations is key.
Pistol & Blunderbus
Great at short range, or camping enemy ships in arena.
Eye of Reach & Blunderbus
This is the most versatile double gun combination, eye of reach for long range, and insta-kill blunderbus against cutlass users.
You can also soften them with the Blundy, then swap to the EoR if they are mid range for a kill.
The knockback on the blunderbus is also a good get out of jail free card.
Eye of Reach & Pistol
This is the deadliest combination for experienced FPS shooters. get 2 shots at mid distance, and they will never get close enough to sword / blunderbus you.
Blunderbombs/Firebombs and Deck Control Techniques
So this section will cover the use of thrown bombs and their supplement to your chosen arsenal.
We’ll look at the 2 types of bombs currently available:
Firebombs: Firebombs are quite useful to detonate kegs in the crows nest if thrown directly at the base of the mast AND deny access points on the enemy ship, they also do slow damage over time to the ship but are EASILY negated by water.
They also have utility against PvE skeletons and can almost always ensure a skeleton kill.
Blunderbombs: The punch of a blunderbuss at range, with a very good knockback effect. These have primary use in boarding on ships or knocking people about in tight spaces, they’re also useful for checking tuckers(people who hide on ships or terrain to ambush) as their effect radius is quite large.
There’s also utility in the knockback cushioning landings from heights.
YOU CAN ONLY HAVE 5 BOMBS TOTAL AT A TIME.
I’ll cover the basics of boarding and general combat;
Before leaving your ship, make sure your weapons are reloaded and you have your bombs of choice, have some coconuts too to heal during the initial board.
Now decide how you want to do this either Cannon shot or lunge if they’re close enough. Sometimes people ram but this is usually last ditch or a show of poor skill.
You’ll likely be approaching from the front or side on, if the enemy is camping their ladder (sitting on it and shooting at you in the water) use a blunderbomb to scatter them OR a firebomb to deny them positioning. This opens up a window to board. You can follow up with a second bomb or just get down to killing fools for mad meme montages.
~Note the more focused they are on denying you boarding the less focused they are on cannoning your ship and vice versa, sometimes its not necessary to blunderbomb a ladder if you can sneak on~
While on board drop anchor and take the time to raid enemy supplies, especially fire bombs and proceed to set the whole boat aflame, ignore the lowest deck as water will negate the fires effect. ~You have about 30~ secs to do this and should have the top deck and most of mid deck alight, go back to blunder bombs and proceed to meme blast them around the ship.~
Throughout all this your crew should have a positioned for a perfect angle to pummel their lower deck and ensure the sink and some salty messages.
Blunderbombs are the best used for PvP, it mimics boarding in that you’re essentially messing up sniper shots, or blasting doublegunners around. For sword users it’s less useful, time it to mess up a lunge.
Firebombs are much more useful in PvE on forts as they almost always ensure a skeleton kill (Especially the ” ‘Ard Boys ” you’ll see what I mean once release rolls around.
~While fire might be scary initially on your ship, it takes time to damage the ship and acts as immediate area denial and a minor inconvenience, stay calm and just bail water into the fire to kill 2 birds with 1 bucket of water~