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The Cycle Frontier weapon tier list: The best guns in the game, from early-game to late-game

The best weapons to unlock in The Cycle: Frontier

Which are the best weapons in The Cycle: Frontier? It's early days for Yager's gorgeous and atmospheric alien world extraction shooter, and already there's a rich arsenal of high-tech weapons to wield. You begin The Cycle: Frontier with just a few weapons available to purchase (though you can of course get lucky and loot better weapons from enemies), but by earning enough goodwill with the three different factions on Prospect Station, you'll unlock ever-more exotic weapons to take into your drops.

There's a total of 29 weapons in The Cycle: Frontier, and below we've organised them into not one but two tier lists: one on the best guns in the game, and another on the best value for money. Following that we'll walk you through 10 of the best guns in The Cycle: Frontier, starting with the three best budget weapons for the early-game, before proceeding through up the faction tiers to mid-game and finally late-game options.

The Cycle: Frontier best weapons tier list

Below you'll find our tier list of all the weapons in The Cycle: Frontier (minus the launchers), ranging from best to worst. This tier list doesn't take cost into account - just the strength of each gun. The second tier list, by contrast, focuses purely on the best value for money of buying each gun.

The Cycle: Frontier best weapons tier list:

  • SS Tier: Basilisk, KARMA-1, KBR Longshot, Shattergun
  • S Tier: Bulldog, C-32 Bolt-Action, Kinetic Arbiter, KOR-47, Phasic Lancer, Voltaic Brute
  • A Tier: Advocate, B9 Trenchgun, Hammer, ICA Guarantee, Lacerator, Manticore, PKR Maelstrom
  • B Tier: AR-55 Autorifle, ASP Flechette Gun, Gorgon, Scarab, Zeus Beam
  • C Tier: K-28, KM-9 'Scrapper', S-576 PDW

It should come as no surprise that the top-performing weapons are all mid-to-late-game weapons - either Snipers, DMRs, or Shotguns. I know everyone loves the Manticore, but when you take away the appeal of its low price, it's very mid-tier. With the exception of the Voltaic Brute, the SMGs are really suffering in the current meta, so they dominate the lower tiers.

The Cycle: Frontier best value for money tier list:

  • SS Tier: B9 Trenchgun, Bulldog, Manticore, C-32 Bolt-Action
  • S Tier: AR-55 Autorifle, ICA Guarantee, Phasic Lancer, Lacerator, Shattergun
  • A Tier: Advocate, Hammer, KBR Longshot, PKR Maelstrom, S-576 PDW, Scarab, Voltaic Brute
  • B Tier: ASP Flechette Gun, Gorgon, K-28, Kinetic Arbiter, KM-9 'Scrapper', KOR-47
  • C Tier: Basilisk, KARMA-1, Zeus Beam

The value for money tier list looks rather different from the best guns tier list, doesn't it? Here the Manticore, Bulldog, Trenchgun, and C-32 really shine, their low price leading to near-dominance of the early-game meta. The trend towards early-game weapons continues into S-Tier, with only the powerful Shattergun as the token mid-to-late-game weapon to reach this high. And at the bottom you have the admittedly powerful but just ludicrously overpriced KARMA-1, Zeus Beam, and Basilisk (the latter of which is nearly 3x the price of its nearest rival, the KBR Longshot, and not even close to 3x as good).

Now let's take a closer look at some of the best weapons in the game at various levels of progression.

The player visits an overgrown lab in The Cycle: Frontier.

Best early game weapons in The Cycle: Frontier

C-32 Bolt Action

  • Cost: 6,800
  • Class: Sniper Rifle
  • Rarity: Common (White)
  • Faction: Neutral
  • Shots To Kill: 2 / 2 / 3 / 3 / 3 / 3

The terrain on both maps often tend to encourage mid-to-long range encounters in The Cycle: Frontier. In the early-game, one of the deadliest things you can come across is a simple C-32 Bolt Action. It has incredibly ugly ironsights so make sure you add a 2x optic to it before dropping. After that you've got a very powerful bolt-action rifle for use on unsuspecting enemies. All you need is a couple of shots to kill; and if they manage to find cover, you can use their healing time to push closer with your close-range weapon.

Bulldog

  • Cost: 6,400
  • Class: Shotgun
  • Rarity: Uncommon (Green)
  • Faction: ICA (Level 2)
  • Shots To Kill: 2 / 2 / 2 / 2 / 3 / 3

The Bulldog is small but startlingly mighty. This punchy shotgun-pistol can two-tap an enemy all the way up to blue shields. In reality this is pretty hard to pull off perfectly, because you need basically every pellet to land, which makes this, like all shotguns, a weapon purely for very close-range fights. But it's a cheap and easily unlockable ICA weapon that can serve you very well into the mid-game.

Manticore

  • Cost: 9,000
  • Class: Assault Rifle
  • Rarity: Uncommon (Green)
  • Faction: Osiris (Level 5)
  • Shots To Kill: 7 / 8 / 10 / 11 / 12 / 12

Despite its damage nerf in the 1.2.0 patch, the Manticore is still a powerful early-game Assault Rifle which outstrips all other automatic weapons until you unlock the Phasic Lancer. The Manticore's recoil is a bit strong, so you might want to give it a couple of recoil control attachments; but it deals good damage across a good range, and it has very serviceable ironsights to boot.

Concept art for The Cycle: Frontier depicting two players in a departing dropship reaching to help up a fellow prospector.

Best mid-game weapons in The Cycle: Frontier

Phasic Lancer

  • Cost: 31,000
  • Class: Assault Rifle
  • Rarity: Rare (Blue)
  • Faction: Osiris (Level 8)
  • Shots To Kill: 6 / 7 / 7 / 8 / 9 / 9

The Phasic Lancer is a startlingly powerful three-shot burst Assault Rifle which can melt enemies if you hit your shots. A single successful burst takes half the health off a white-shield enemy, and a third of the health off a pink-shield enemy. It's very accurate even over long ranges, and although 31,000 K-Marks may seem like a lot for a new player, once you reach the point where you unlock the Phasic, you'll see that it's really a very reasonable price for such a strong gun.

Lacerator

  • Cost: 41,000
  • Class: DMR
  • Rarity: Rare (Blue)
  • Faction: ICA (Level 9)
  • Shots To Kill: 3 / 3 / 4 / 4 / 4 / 5

A lot of people don't get on with the Lacerator. But once it clicks and you start to reliably land your shots, it's a menace. I adore kitting out my prospector with a silenced Lacerator as my main weapon, and terrorising enemy squads as a solo from far off before running in for the kill with my Shotgun. The Lacerator is versatile enough to use at mid or even close range; its high fire rate is very forgiving; and it can down an enemy in just 3-5 hits. What's more, with the latest 1.3.0 patch, it has reduced recoil and absolutely no damage falloff. For the price, it's really quite good.

Shattergun

  • Cost: 54,000
  • Class: Shotgun
  • Rarity: Epic (Purple)
  • Faction: ICA (Level 11)
  • Shots To Kill: 1 / 1 / 2 / 2 / 2 / 2

The Shattergun is an absolute beast, and the best shotgun in the game by far. Its tremendous damage allows it to one-shot a white-shield enemy, and two-shot anything else. It's also the perfect weapon for farming Marauders, because two shots to the Marauder's weakspot will kill it outright. It's a veritable fight-ender if you can get close enough to the enemy. Just be aware that the pellet spread is fairly wide after the 1.2.0 patch, so you really do need to be close.

Concept art for The Cycle: Frontier depicting a Prospector fighting a Marauder and a group of Striders.

Best late-game weapons in The Cycle: Frontier

Kinetic Arbiter

  • Cost: 412,000
  • Class: Sniper Rifle
  • Rarity: Exotic (Pink)
  • Faction: ICA (Level 20)
  • Shots To Kill: 2

If you're a sniper fan, the Kinetic Arbiter should be your go-to rifle once your net worth ascends into the millions. This Exotic Sniper Rifle is incredibly expensive, to be sure, but it will one-shot anything up to blue armour with a headshot, and two-shot body absolutely anything over any range. It is technically worse in damage profile compared to the Legendary KARMA-1 Sniper, but then the KARMA-1 costs an absolute fortune, and requires charging before each shot, making it harder to use. The Kinetic Arbiter is a terrifying weapon to come up against, even with the best gear.

KBR Longshot

  • Cost: 99,000
  • Class: DMR
  • Rarity: Epic (Purple)
  • Faction: Korolev (Level 14)
  • Shots To Kill: 3 / 3 / 3 / 3 / 3 / 4

If the fire rate of the Kinetic Arbiter is a little too limiting for you, then you should look at investing in a KBR Longshot. This high-tech DMR is our first Korolev weapon on this list, and definitely deserves its place thanks to its incredibly high damage potent ial for a DMR. With three quick body shots, you've killed a purple armour enemy. Now that's a scary thought. And the KBR is so easy to use that this is hardly a tall order.

Voltaic Brute

  • Cost: 149,000
  • Class: SMG
  • Rarity: Exotic (Pink)
  • Faction: ICA (Level 17)
  • Shots To Kill: 8 / 9 / 10 / 10 / 11 / 12

The Voltaic Brute is the scariest automatic weapon in the game in my opinion. It comes with a pleasantly large mag size for an SMG, and its DPS is best-in-class. The fire rate is blistering, nearly as quick as the lowly early-game PDW - and its high penetration means even Exotic-tier enemies have reason to be nervous at close range against someone using a Voltaic.

Hammer

  • Cost: 73,000
  • Class: Pistol
  • Rarity: Exotic (Pink)
  • Faction: Korolev (Level 16)
  • Shots To Kill: 3 / 3 / 3 / 4 / 4 / 4

The Hammer is the hand cannon of The Cycle: Frontier. It packs an enormous punch for a pistol, allowing you to kill in 4 or fewer hits no matter the armour you're firing through. It's a tactile and very satisfying gun to use, and it's also very accurate and easy to land your shots, as long as you can cope with its ironsights (no, you can't add a scope to it). It's essentially a DMR compressed into a pistol package, with added style.


That wraps up our guide to the best weapons in The Cycle: Frontier at the moment. If you want to become a master prospector as you work your way up the weapons arsenal ladder, set aside a bit of time to read through our beginner's guide to The Cycle: Frontier. If you're struggling with certain missions, you can also check out our list of all the Cycle: Frontier dead drop locations.

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Ollie Toms

Guides Editor

Ollie is known round these parts for having just about the deepest voice in existence. Some say he used to be pretty darn good at Rocket League, but he has since sacrificed that accolade in order to become passably decent at Apex Legends. His favourite pastimes include playing piano covers of his favourite game soundtracks, and burying his face in the warm fur of his two cats.

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