“I call it the Zhang Fei. It hits almost as hard as I do.” – Wei Ning
The Fighting Lion has gained a bit of a reputation in Destiny 2 as a pretty bad Exotic weapon. It has some things going for it, being that it is a Grenade Launcher in the Energy Weapon slot but that is about it. Oh and the fact that it looks so elegant.
The Fighting Lion brings the Exotic Perk Delayed Gratification to the table which allows fired grenades to bounce off hard surfaces. It also detonates the grenades when the trigger is released so you press and hold to fire and when the grenade has reached your ideal spot, you can detonate it. It provides a little controllability to how your grenades react, especially if you can learn how they bounce. The grenades will detonate automatically after about five-six seconds, however, so you cannot just sit and wait for enemies to come rolling by. Fighting Lion’s Trait is known as Thin The Herd which deals more damage to shielded enemy combatants, which is pretty good against shielded enemies such as Minotaurs. Thin The Herd also reloads the Fighting Lion’s magazine if you score rapid kills against grenade-damaged enemies. Basically hit them with a Fighting Lion grenade and then finish them off with another weapon. I don’t know about you but when I utilise a weapon I don’t want to have to switch constantly in order to get a few kills. It becomes redundant and quite frankly annoying, but it could work for some people.
In terms of the barrel, Fighting Lion comes with Countermass which greatly controls recoil while increasing both stability and handling speed. The stability is not really a huge problem with Fighting Lion as it is a one-shot-then-reload grenade launcher but it is always nice to have. It also comes with Implosion Rounds which increases projectile speed and greatly increases stability at the cost of a decreased blast radius, which is something it did not need. It already has a pretty small blast radius as it is and this perk hurts it more than anything. Finally, it comes with Short-Action Stock which greatly increases handling speed. It has no fault there, handles like a dream, it is the damage that sucks.
The Fighting Lion functions well enough in PVE with the ability to easily take out shielded enemies which can become a decent hassle, especially when backed up by other hostiles. On top of this, if you do not mind constantly switching weapons, you can make use of Thin The Herd to reload Fighting Lion automatically. This would be a handy little trick in high-intensity encounters such as certain Public Events, Strikes etc. Plus it is nice to have a Grenade Launcher in the Energy Weapon slot.
Now I know that they could not have an Energy Weapon Grenade Launcher deal as much damage as its Power counterparts, that would simply make no sense, but the fact is, Fighting Lion does not feel Exotic, it does not feel powerful and becomes more of a hassle to use if anything. In Crucible encounters it is simply terrible, unable to remove the entire shield off an opposing Guardian with a direct hit. It would also be hard to get the perks to activate in an open firefight because by the time you have switched weapons you are already dead.
The fact of the matter is, Fighting Lion does not seem like it is an Exotic weapon at all and it is kind of disappointing. There is no doubt in my mind that with practice, it could become a good weapon, but it would still fall below other Exotic Energy Weapons and other Exotics in general.
The Fighting Lion can be found through an Exotic Engram decryption or from Xur if he happens to carry it in his inventory.