After 5 full seasons, Apex Legends has finally added a brand new weapon to the Outlands. The Nemesis Burst AR joined Apex Legends in Revelry, making it the second Burst weapon alongside the trusty Hemlok. It boasts crazy damage, a high level of satisfaction and a special feature made just for it.
Respawn introduced this weapon to dethrone the reigning kings of the Apex meta – the Flatline and the R-301 – after years of undisturbed rule. Did they succeed? Let’s find out in our guide for the Nemesis Assault Rifle, going over the weapon’s strengths and weaknesses and whether it can match the other Assault Rifles in the game.
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Nemesis Assault Rifle Overview
The Nemesis is the fifth Assault Rifle to join Apex Legends. It uses Energy ammo and can slot the typical suite of Assault Rifle attachments, meaning sights, stocks, barrels and magazines.
While it was designed to compete with the likes of the fully-automatic Flatline and R301, it’s a Burst AR. While it’s true that you can fire fully automatically by just holding the fire button, this does make it work fundamentally differently than its competitors. On trigger pull, it will fire a 4-round burst, one more round than the Hemlok.
Here’s how the magazine looks with higher rarity Extended Energy Magazines:
- Standard Issue: 20 Rounds (5 Shots)
- Common Mag: 24 Rounds (6 Shots)
- Rare Mag: 28 Rounds (7 Shots)
- Epic Mag: 32 Rounds (8 Shots)
The Nemesis deals 68 body-shot damage (17×4) and 108 headshot damage (27×4) per burst at optimal range. This means that the Nemesis can kill a Mythic Shield target in only 3 shots if you hit all criticals: if instead you hit all body shots, you can still kill in 6 shots. Either way, this makes it one of the best and most consistent options in the game, especially paired with its decent range and close-range capabilities. You will experience some harsh damage fall off at range, but the weapon’s fast fire rate will likely overcompensate in most situations.
Ramping Fire Rate Gauge
What makes the Nemesis feel special is its special weapon characteristic. Just like how the C.A.R. uses two-ammo types or the Rampage LMG can slot Thermite grenades, the Nemesis has a special feature that vastly improves its already high effectiveness: that is its ramping fire rate.
As you fire the Nemesis, a small blue energy meter above the weapon will begin to fill. The fuller this gauge, the faster the Nemesis’ fire rate will be. When paired with the gun’s already high damage, this means that you can erase enemies at optimal range, much quicker than even most Submachine Guns.
The gauge requires 6 shots (or 24 rounds of ammo) to completely fill. If you do not continue to fire, the gauge will begin rapidly falling a few seconds later. It should also be noted that you don’t even have to hit a target to charge this ramping fire rate: you can simply shoot the air and the gauge will still fill. This allows even those with poor aim to make use of the Nemesis’ special quirk.
Strengths and Weaknesses
Strengths: An Overachiever
Respawn certainly hit their goal when it came to making the Nemesis a competitor for Apex Legend’s best and most consistent guns… perhaps too well to some players.
To begin, its damage is just absurd. Any weapon that can kill a Mythic Shield in only two shots is already extremely potent, never mind one that can increase its fire rate by simply continuing to shoot. The Nemesis is a monster at the beginning of a fight but the longer it drags on, the more deadly it will become (if you aren’t taken out early, that is).
In addition, it works at practically any range. At close and mid-range the weapon is in its element, capable of catching foes trying to escape or serve as an excellent 1v1 tool. In fact, it’s especially good as a duelling weapon as it will only grow stronger the longer the fight continues, increasing the chance that you’ll melt your foe down with a crazy fast hail of bullets.
Admittedly, like most Assault Rifles, it will suffer at longer ranges thanks to significant damage fall-off. That doesn’t make it useless, though. As previously stated the increased fire rate will help aid some at those longer ranges, either at hitting targets during a barrage of shots or just to scare potential opponents off. Even without this, the damage isn’t terrible – going down from about 17 per shot to around 11 per shot – and you can certainly still punish at range with the Nemesis.
Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, the Nemesis just feels good to shoot. It has an easy recoil pattern to learn and control, it feels satisfying to watch the fire rate increase as you’re hitting your shots and even just seeing the gun light up with electricity as the gauge fills makes the Nemesis one of the most appealing weapons in the entire game. Paired with great damage and being highly accessible to all players, the Nemesis is certainly in contention for the crown.
Weaknesses: Coming Up Short
Honestly, there aren’t many downsides when it comes to this gun. Just like the weapons it is trying to overtake, it is good in practically any situation, at most ranges, in the hands of any Legend. There’s a reason all the best guns in the game are like this: they can be used whenever by whoever and get the job done and the Nemesis is no exception.
What it does struggle with is the ammo economy. Between the rather low base magazine, the burst fire and the ramping fire rate, you’ll find yourself starved for ammo more often than not. You can be popping off, firing without a care in the world but soon find yourself hung out to dry by a lack of reserves. For those who can consistently hit their shots, this won’t particularly matter but for those who need a bit more time to line up shots, keep an eye on that counter.
Speaking of needing to line up shots, the ramping fire rate can lead to some strange situations. The quick pivot to a higher fire rate may disorient some players at that moment, causing them to whiff shots or panic. This is more likely if you’re firing the Nemesis in full auto as firing in bursts will give you a bit more time to prepare.
Aside from the middling long-range capabilities, there’s not much else wrong with the Nemesis. Even the weaknesses it does have can be mitigated or sidestepped in one way or another – be more aware of your ammo counter than you usually would be, get used to the ramping up of the fire rate and learn to feel out the range where you change from annoying to a monster – making Nemesis an easy suggestion for every Legend stepping into the Apex Games.
Best Weapons to Pair
The Nemesis is an extremely versatile weapon. As such, there is plenty you can pair it with.
On one hand, you could use a longer-range weapon to make up for that lack of high-range capabilities. A Sniper like the Longbow or Sentinel would surely aid in picking off foes who are just outside of where the Nemesis would be most effective. Even something like the G7 Scout or 30-30 Repeater would provide that additional reach without getting in the way of the Nemesis’ niche.
Alternatively, you could go full assault with a close-range option. A Shotgun or Submachine pairs well for finishing up a fight, as a quick Peacekeeper shot will almost certainly take down any target you’ve already beamed down with your Nemesis. You’ll also likely find yourself in more close-range encounters when using the Nemesis, so giving yourself another tool to deal with pesky people is always useful.
In terms of what specific weapons work best with the Nemesis:
- Longbow: Good long-ranged sniping option for extending Nemesis’ range.
- Wingman: A pocket Sniper that hits hard at either close or long range to help pick off targets the Nemesis leaves weak.
- R-99: The best Submachine Gun in the game to clean up anything the Nemesis can’t.
- Mastiff: A solid close-range Shotgun to give you some extra security.
- Peacekeeper: A Shotgun that easily primes or finishes targets.
Steep Competition: Is it Better than the Flatline and R-301?
To finish, let’s discuss the Nemesis in conjunction with the Flatline and the R-301. It’s already clear that the Nemesis can easily keep up with these weapons, but does it have the capabilities to match them?
In terms of damage output, it certainly seems to have them beat. The Nemesis will likely kill faster in most situations thanks to multiple factors: it being a Burst AR gives it a touch more leniency compared to the full automatics and the ability to ramp up the fire rate very quickly is a massive boon. It’s accessible and extremely viable right out of the gate with the best iron sights of all three of our top contenders. All around, it seems like a clear winner.
Where it does falter a bit is in terms of general use. In a test environment under perfect situations, the Nemesis will win out almost every single time. However, the Apex Games aren’t like that and between the potential lack of ammo, the pressure of panicking duelling an opponent or being pushed into an uncomfortable situation, the Nemesis may end up being a less reliable pick. Missing a few shots on the R-301 is far less of a problem than missing a burst or two on the Nemesis, after all.
Another thing that needs to be considered with these weapons is what can be used alongside them. You generally don’t want to run weapons that share an ammo type, especially for something as hungry as the Nemesis. The Nemesis and Flatline are in a slightly better situation right now as they can be used consistently alongside the R-99, but weapons like the C.A.R. or any of the Shotguns do equal the playing field a bit.
I would argue that the Nemesis does pull forward slightly, though. As an Energy weapon that covers the vast majority of ranges, it would only need to truly share ammo with the Volt SMG (as the long-ranged role of the Triple Take is more suitably covered by Snipers). This gives it that little bit of an edge compared to either the R-301 or the Flatline, which both need to juggle ammo and worry about their backup weapon more.
Overall, all three of these guns are still going to be top-tier options: if you see any of them out on the field you would be a fool to ignore them. However, with the introduction of Nemesis, I do believe we will see a shift. This new Burst AR is consistent, accessible, and powerful and can pair well with the majority of Apex Legends’ weapons. The Nemesis will shine as a strong tool that can kill quickly and look good while doing so, especially for those who can master the ramping fire rate.
For those who feel comfortable and prefer the security of a standard fully automatic, the R-301 and Flatline will likely stay the safest bet. Those willing to take a bit of a gamble on the Nemesis, though, are sure to find themselves in the capable hands of one of Apex Legends’ best new weapons.