Vlad the Impaler
“The Black and Wrecker Vlad 9000 nail gun. Designed for putting barns together. Or nailing Zeds to them.” —Unused trader description.
Vlad the Impaler (Also called Vlad 9000) is a magazine fed, pistol grip, nail-gun for the support specialist. At a weight of eight blocks, an ammo capacity of six, fast reload, and slow semi-automatic firing, it is comparable to the HSG-1 as a general weapon. The nails ricochet off surfaces, with a 25% damage penalty for each bounce.
The Support Specialist perk gives various bonuses and discounts for the Vlad 9000.
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Price and Ammunition
Vlad has a base price of 1500£ and gets a discount of 150£ for each perk level, lowering the price to 450£ at most. Ammo price is 30£ for a magazine of nail bucks which means each shot cost is 5£ per buckshot.
Vlad has identical stats to standard Shotgun aside from its ricochet utility, spread and pierce efficiency. Each nail shot dealing 35 base damage and each buckshot spraying 7 nails just like a standard buckshot shell. Nails apparently have the high pierce efficiency of 0.75; only losing 25% damage per pierce and piercing up to two targets as base value without perk bonuses like other magazine loaded shotguns.
When it comes to spread, Vlad loses so much potential here with a spread of 2500 units, second highest after Hunting shotgun, and making it impossible for ricochets to hit targets away from walls for a second time. Thanks to its magazine based reload of 2.6 seconds, Vlad will net more potential damage than standard shotgun at close up only to lose it over long distance.
- Use the Nailgun's rapid fire rate to your advantage, whittling down bigger specimens or clearing crowds of smaller ones. However, make sure you have a backup weapon when you inevitably need to reload small magazine or only approach it as a finisher. It can perform speedkill combos on big specimen but larger spread might not be utilized well when doing anything else other than sweeping trash specimen in chokes.
- Thanks to ricochet and pierce capability, Vlad actually capable of dishing out more damage to tall specimen when shot at their ankles and feet from up close. In enclosed spaces low ceilings also contribute to this effect on low angle ground ricochet shots. It makes sense when you want to nail the specimen down, but sadly you can't. Also the Nailgun's wide spread and ricocheting projectiles make it an excellent weapon for killing Crawlers and Stalkers.
- Use the flashlight as a makeshift reticle, seeing in the dark and shine light for the targets behind explosion smoke. The light gives a good indication of where the center of your screen is and doesn't reduce your movement speed to quickly get rid of rushing enemies. The flashlight will run out of battery power though, so you should turn it off when it is not needed.
- Because of the Nailgun's spread and constant need of reloading, it is less effective in wide open maps or when kiting. The Nailgun is best suited for enclosed, dark maps such as Bedlam, Biotics Lab, and Filths Cross. Besides that, depending on the hold spot on open maps, it can work well in small crosspath creating chokes.
- Small magazine size and wide spread cause you to miss more pellets unless you let specimen get closer between shots, resulting in reloading much often than you intended and drying out ammo pool early in the wave. Despite random spread looking way wider to hit anything, if aimed properly Vlad can sweep clear any low-medium grade specimen with ease at close to mid distance. Utilizing ground ricochet shots to chew through first line of specimen and carrying a reliable sidearm such as MK23, Handcannon or Lever-action rifle helps you to pick off targets from range and stop your reliance on emptying shells.
Advantages and disadvantages
- Comes equipped with a flashlight;
- Nails pierce through targets to increase damage at aligned hitboxes;
- High pierce efficiency of 0.75, which is shared by HSG-1 and AA12;
- Nails ricochet off of surfaces and ground, capable of hitting the same target multiple times;
- Cheaper than Combat Shotgun yet has similar capabilities;
- Semi-automatic fire rate with only half second delay between shots;
- Significantly faster reload than the other shotguns with magazines.
- Requires frequent reloading;
- Low magazine capacity of six shots;
- Cannot be reload canceled like the pump-action Shotgun or Combat shotgun;
- Very high spread, approximately 1.5 times larger than all other regular shotguns;
- Limited ammo pool for a weapon which can't utilize its pierce to stack kills;
- In open areas or kiting away, ricochet ability will not be utilized at all;
- Wide spread and low pellet damage render the nailgun useless in medium-long range combat.
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