The Armajet Loadout Lowdown series exists to show you how you can win in the arena with different weapons!
Today, we look at the Badger!
The Badger is a grenade launcher that fires rocket propelled grenades that explode on contact and cause small splash damage.
An old friend of mine used to have a saying, “If you absolutely need to screw over everyone in a room, send in a Badger”. Admittedly, he was talking about the British animal which he had an inexplicable phobia of, but the theory definitely applies to the weapon in Armajet too.
This is the first primary weapon that most pilots will unlock, and is also the first to noticeably change your movement. The Badger is a hefty boi, and pilots carrying it will move noticeably slower. This becomes especially obvious when using your jetpack as it struggles under the extra weight. As such, before we even get into the details of how best to use the weapon, it is vital that pilots experience and adjust to their lower mobility with the Badger. Familiar jumps will take more fuel and time to clear, and it’s very easy to get caught out of position with no ability to escape. Learn the weapons weight as this is one of the most vital aspects of succeeding with the Badger.
Similar to the Tremor, the Badger has a curved firing trajectory. It’s not like the Longclaw that fires in a straight line, but it’s grenades arc. This gives the Badger surprising horizontal range, and the ability to fire over obstacles between yourself and your target. The flip side of this is that the Badger suffers with vertical range as the projectiles are heavy and what goes up, must come down. In fact, firing upwards is a sure fire way to rain your grenades down on your own head, and suicide is very much a thing in Armajet and will cost your team points. On that note, be careful where you fire your Badger, as you will take damage if you are hit by its explosion. I have witnessed many newer Badger players mistime a shot whilst moving, and pound it straight into the wall or floor in front of them, blowing themselves to meaty giblets.
Whilst the Badger can be tricky to use at first due to the reduced mobility, it makes up for it in utility and firepower.
As mentioned earlier, the curved trajectory of the Badger allows you to lob your projectiles over obstacles, raining your grenades on targets that weapons like the Blacktusk or Longclaw would be unable to hit. Of course, this also means that whilst you can hit them, your opponents will have to leave their cover in order to return fire. This single fact is what makes a Badger wielding pilot so dangerous – conventional cover is not necessarily protection from a Badger grenade, and, like it’s animal namesake, the Badger is useful for sinking your claws into enemies burrowed into supposed safety.
Beyond this, the grenades explode in a small area of effect. If you’re hiding behind a friendly teammate, they can body block a Longclaw hit, but a Badger will damage both of you if you’re close enough together and Badger grenades deal hefty damage. Whilst a direct hit is not quite as strong as a direct Longclaw hit, the splash damage and ability to lob grenades from safety balances this out, and a Badger pilot with the Double Damage powerup is absolutely terrifying. With Double Damage, a direct hit will obliterate most opponents and even if you miss the splash damage is often lethal too. Beyond this, the Badger’s ability to stay out of return fire means it can be very hard to deal with a good Badger wielding pilot, warning Badger Mains a certain amount of animosity. You’re not as hated as Venom mains, but be prepared to send some screenshots to Scrub Quotes.
The Badger is actually a really useful Zoning Weapon. I’m borrowing this term from fighting games and MOBAs but for those of you unfamiliar with the term, this essentially refers to the ability to influence your opponent’s movement. Keep a barrage of grenades pounding into the dispenser in a fuel frenzy match, and this will act as a great deterrent to the enemy team whilst your squad dives in and to nab the fuel cells. You can also use a Badger barrage to drive the opponent team to where you want them.
The Badger excels on open maps like Canyon and Temple where it’s long horizontal range can be put to good effect, and players can rain the pain on targets below them from relative safety. That said, it’s a solid choice on Magma and Moon where the curvature of the shot allows you to stand well away from the action, and on Snow Base, a Badger user can entrench themselves into the lower passageway. The arc of the grenades allows them to be fired into the ground level doorways without exposing yourself, though this does work both ways, and a Badger user can often clear their way into this corridor from safety too.
The biggest downside to the Badger, without a doubt, is its rate of fire, and this is compounded by its reduced mobility. As such, an opponent that sneaks up on you, or manages to slip under your bombardment can become a real problem as they rinse you with Blacktusk bullets whilst you reload and desperately try to put some much needed space between you and them. A good Badger pilot knows to keep their distance from the enemy, and keep a friendly teammate nearby for close range support where possible. Be ready to leap into the air with a well timed boost if it looks like someone wants to invade your personal space with hot lead. Be careful of firing the Badger at close range, it’s very easy to Frag yourself and your opponent at the same time and, whilst this is hilarious, it does you no real favours.
Ultimately, I like to treat the Badger like Artillery, keeping my distance and provide covering fire for my teammates, especially frontliners.
A Badger user can provide a curtain of grenades for close range teammates to advance under. Even if the Badger doesn’t kill them, they’ll be weak enough for the front liners to mop up, and the grenades will often dig enemies out of their cover and into your frontliners sights.
Even without close range teammates to support, keep your distance and fire shots into positions where you either expect your opponents to be or want to deter them from entering. If there’s a rain of Badger grenades falling on the Double Damage area of Moon or Canyon, the opposing team will think twice before trying to camp on it.
As mentioned earlier, in team play, the Double Damage pickup can be super effective for a Badger user, who goes from needing two shots to kill a target at full health, to a single shot being capable of a multi kill. If one of your teammates is using a Badger and is at least somewhat competent at pointing the barrel in the right direction, consider prioritising the Double Damage powerup to them. Stand back and watch the fireworks.
As for secondary weapons, the Badger works well with a couple. I personally like the simplicity of a Frag Grenade as this twins nicely with the Artillery feel of the Badger, allowing you to fire a grenade and lob a Frag in quick succession on pilots that you don’t even have line of sight to. Instead of pushing enemies out of cover, this is usually enough to smear them into it.
Some pilots like to twin the Badger with the Enforcer or Marauder to use as a close range sidearm for dealing with opponents that sneak under their barrage or get a little too close for comfort. This is also useful in tight situations where the Badgers curve is problematic.
If you’re trying to deal with a Badger user with close range weaponry it’s important to catch them by surprise. If you can, approach them from above, as the Badger struggles with verticality, and sneak up on them to the best of your ability. Close the gap between Badger shots and a your prey will struggle to recover. Long range weapons like the Longclaw may struggle to get a good bead on a Badger user dug into cover and bombarding from a distance, but try and lure them out for a direct shot, or catch them as they attempt to redeploy. Badger users have a habit of doing the Badger Hop where they leap into and out of cover to fire off a shot. Wait for the inbound hop then give them an extreme closeup of an incoming bullet.
Well, that just about wraps it up for the Badger! If you’re a Badger main, how do you like to use the weapon? What do you do to deal with enemy Badger users? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below or on the Gaming Galleon Discord, and consider supporting me on Patreon!
Happy sailing, and see you in the arena!