Helldivers 2 Flamethrower charger killer

Helldivers 2 Flamethrower can be the next Charger killer (but it’s not there yet)

Charger, stop charging!

Following the somewhat, erm, maligned balance patch, many Helldivers 2 players have bemoaned the nerfing of the beloved Railgun. But with the nerfs came buffs, and Helldivers 2 players may want to consider trying a Flamethrower for the infamous Charger. It’s almost ready to fill the void. Almost.

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That’s not to say the patch nerfed the Railgun into the dirt, but the change did encourage me to start experimenting with other weapons like the Flamethrower. What once was left to rot in my list of Stratagems, the Flamethrower accompanied me many times over the weekend.

The balance patch increased its damage by a whopping 50%, meaning you can turn bugs into crunchy husks faster than ever. Its increase in power also makes it more useful against the hated Charger tank, but I don’t think developer Arrowhead Games should stop there.

The Flamethrower is so close to being the next Charger killer of Helldivers 2

The Flamethrower can kill a Charger in Helldivers 2 in roughly five seconds. I’ve tested it against many Chargers and can confirm that it is a ton of fun to cook that bug to a crisp. So long as you aim the Flamethrower at the beast’s weak points, such as the head or any exposed flesh, it’ll crumple in moments. Time to kill does seem to increase if you attack its back or armored sides, mind.

If you’re unable to kill it with a stream of fire, you may still win the battle as the damage-over-time effect burns the Charger over a short period. And yet, I still will not choose it over other options in ‘Suicide Mission’ difficulty and beyond.

Helldivers 2 Flamethrower charger killer burning a charger in the grasslands
Screenshot by Destructoid

The Flamethrower in Helldivers 2 spits out the damage needed to kill a Charger, but that’s all it’s good for — damage. It lacks the stun effect brought by the Railgun and other powerful weapons. Your movement is limited to a walking pace while flinging flame, and you need to be much closer than you would with other weapons. Without something slowing the Charger’s pace, the monster easily runs you down on open terrain.

Fire hurts, right? It’s what your parents teach you as a child before you ignore them and touch the hot stove anyway. A fleshy bug like the Charger should feel the agonizing pain of being burned alive and react appropriately.

The Flamethrower needs a way to stop enemies in their tracks

The Charger could trample you, and staying that still makes you a target for another. And that’s the crux of the issue in higher difficulties. Stopping and cooking a single Charger is fine and well. But against five at once, your only hope is to do as much fire damage as possible before leaping left and right.

Taking the Flamethrower still feels like too much of a gamble. Later difficulties have you facing dozens of Terminids ranging from Hunters to Heavies. Its ability to kill faster is a much-needed improvement, but it won’t be worth adding to your arsenal in high-level missions until it can slow as well as stop. Luckily, the Flamethrower doesn’t require you to take a knee to reload.

Helldivers 2 Flamethrower charger killer fighting a charger on a hillside
Screenshot by Destructoid

For the Flamethrower to be a real menace to Chargers and other enemies in Helldivers 2, it needs some kind of stun. Not only will it make the weapon more useful, but it’ll help players save their fellow divers under attack. If I could request any other change, it would be great if Arrowhead increases the weapon’s attack distance. It’ll keep from forcing players to get right under Bile Titans just to get within range.

I like the direction Arrowhead is going with some of the Support Weapons, but there’s still work to be done. Soon enough, I hope we get to a point where players can pick Stratagems based on how much they like them instead of what’s potentially the meta. But we’re not there yet.


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Author
Cameron Woolsey
A contributing writer, Cam has been playing games for decades and writing about them for about 15 years. He specializes in action RPGs, shooters, and brawlers, but will always make a little bit of time for indies and classics.