Like most battle royale games, Apex Legends has its own version of ‘super gear’ that is a cut above the rest. Apex Legends refers to this as ‘Legendary’ gear and has a yellow/golden colour. For newcomers to the game, the rarity scale is colour coded in Apex Legends and rarity indicates strength. This means that the exact same item, but of a ‘higher’ rarity will perform strictly better (i.e. it’ll do the same job the lower rarity does, but with increased effectiveness).
The colour and rarity scale goes like so: Yellow (Legendary) > Purple (Epic) > Blue (Rare) > White (Common). Yellow items (Legendaries) are the best, while white items (Commons) are the weakest. There are exceptions to this rule, for example optics are not a strict ‘stat boost’ (some magnification levels are better for specific weapons and/or specific playstyles, etc.). This article will cover any quirks with the Legendary Gear system as we go through each family of items and how Legendary items separate themselves from the lower quality items.
Apex Legends Legendary Defensive Equipment
Defensive equipment refers to four specific slots of gear you can equip. These are an entirely passive bonus (with one exception) conferred to your character when you equip them. Think of it like equipping an armour piece to your character in an RPG that rewards you better defensive stats. Except this is a battle royale, so you have to find these upgrades every match.
Legendary items in this slot don’t actually do the base job better than their purple counterpart. Instead they come with a unique built-in effect that distinguishes itself as superior to the rest. For example, a purple piece of body armour grants you 100 shields, a yellow (Legendary) piece of body armour also grants 100 shields, but has an additional effect that makes it more powerful.
As for where to find them, there is no real hard data or specifics out yet. But they do spawn in place of a normal loot drop. The current running theory is they have the highest chance of dropping in ‘high tier’ loot locations. Every notable location on the map has a name (the smaller ones are still named, just don’t appear on the map) and it’ll show you that name when you enter its zone. Under its name it will have ‘mid/high tier loot location’. It is these higher tier locations (usually the larger locations) that have a higher chance of spawning better quality (and therefore Legendary) drops.
All the above does seem to add up, which can be inferred from how supply drops/care packages work. The quality of items from these suborbital drops tends to be high across the board and they are also the most consistent source of Legendary items. So a place that spawns more purples most likely has a higher chance of spawning a Legendary. Ultimately, these pieces (as are most Legendary pieces) are notably rare — you won’t see these in many games and most of the time you do find these, it will most likely be on the corpse of an enemy.
Apex Legends Legendary Helmet
The Legendary helmet offers the same damage reduction as the purple helmet, which is a 50% reduction to the headshot bonus. For example: if a bullet was to do 100 damage to the body and 200 the head, a purple or yellow helmet would reduce that bullet to 150 (100/2, 100 being the bonus).
Where the Legendary helmet really distinguishes itself is the passive effect called ‘Fast Charge’. What this helmet does is reduce the cooldown of your active ability and increase the charge rate of your Ultimate ability. For your active ability it appears to reduce its cooldown by about 20%. We tested this with the Lifeline’s Healing Drone, which reduced it from 60 seconds down to 48, which is a 12 second damage reduction, hence the 20%. Ultimate’s are a lot harder to work out as a lot of data on how they work is missing. This is an assumption on my part, but it may just increase passive charge rate by 20% also.
As you might already be thinking, not all Legends were created equal. Some have abilities and Ultimates that can leverage this reduction quite well, while others don’t gain as much. Mirage getting his decoy three seconds early, really isn’t a massive deal, but Lifeline getting her Healing Drone 12 seconds earlier can be amazing. Bloodhound having their Ultimate up sooner is absurd for consistent fighting, Pathfinder having his Zipline (which already charges super fast) slightly sooner isn’t that huge. Therefore, the value this helmet has hinges on who’s donning it. So before you stick it on your head, think about who in your squad can leverage the bonus as effectively as possible.
Apex Legends Legendary Body Shield
Like the helmet, the Legendary body shield grants the same amount of protection as a purple body shield, amounting to an extra 100 hit points. The special ability for the body shield is called ‘Executioner’ and as you might imagine, it augments your finishers. Successfully performing a finisher on a downed player will restore your shields to full (i.e. guaranteed 100 shields).
Personally, I consider this the worst of the Legendary defensives. The effect isn’t particularly amazing, the game basically drowns you in shield restoring items and medicinals if you survive the initial brawl (most of the time anyway). So the effect itself doesn’t provide anything you can’t already obtain easily. On top of that, finishers are rarely the best way to go about dispatching a downed opponent. You’re still able to be shot while in the middle of your theatrics (i.e. a sitting duck), so making use of this passive is very situational. All-in-all, you lose nothing from equipping it, but you don’t gain much either.
Apex Legends Legendary Knockdown Shield
The trend continues as the Legendary knockdown shield gives you a knockdown shield of the same strength as a purple knockdown shield (750 hit points). This shield sports an active ability rather than the passive effects of the other three items, called ‘Self Revive’. When you get knocked down, you can hold your interact button to start a self revive. This revive takes about twice as long as a normal revive (10-12 seconds to pull off) and you’re stuck in place doing the animation and vulnerable the entire time. However, even if all three members of your squad are downed, if the person with the Legendary shield is still alive (but downed), your squad won’t be eliminated until that player is executed by the enemy (or your revive window times out), potentially fooling some unaware players.
This is a very powerful upgrade, but requires good awareness and a bit of luck to make the most of. You’ll need to avoid being executed, which usually requires a protracted firefight (basically chaos) or being downed at a range. Then you have to be careful about when you choose to actually raise the shield. If you raise your shield they will see it’s yellow; a clued in opponent will now know to finish you off so you can’t get a cheeky self revive in, so avoid using the shield unless you absolutely need to. Mirage is particularly good at using this as he goes transparent (not fully invisible) when he goes down. It all boils down to the situation at hand and how you can best use it; if you can solve that puzzle though, it can very well win you a game.
Apex Legends Legendary Backpack
Just like the Epic (purple) backpack, the Legendary backpack grants you an extra six inventory slots, keeping it inline with all the defensive equipment. This Legendary’s special passive is called ‘Fast Heal’. Fast Heal halves the amount of time it takes to use a ‘healing item’. A healing item in this game is any item in your inventory that restores health or shields. For example a Phoenix Kit takes 10 seconds to use (during which you are vulnerable), but with this backpack, it will only take five.
As mentioned earlier, this is basically Lifeline’s passive but doubled in effectiveness (it also stacks with her passive and also works with accelerants), making it incredibly powerful. No special tactics, skills or circumstances are required to really make full use of this either. It just reduces combat healing downtime by half, enabling you to get back into the fight and support your squad quicker after taking damage. This is, in my view, the best Legendary equipment in the game — the effect is bonkers, is effective for all characters and isn’t situational. This is the Legendary piece you want to see most of all.
Apex Legends Legendary Weapons
Apex Legends divides Legendary quality weapons into two distinct types: unique Legendary weapons and ‘fully-kitted’ weapons.
Legendary weapons are specific weapons that only come in Legendary quality and are completely unique. The Kraber (.50 Cal Sniper) and Mastiff (Shotgun) are ‘single use’, having unique ammo systems inherent to them. When you pick up one of these weapons, you’re given a set amount of ammo that can’t be replenished (other than finding another one). These weapons are deliberately balanced to be vastly more powerful than their ‘standard’ cousins.
These two weapons only seem to spawn in supply drops/care packages and spawn more frequently in supply drops towards the latter parts of the game. Lifeline’s care package does not have the ability to spawn these (thankfully, her Ultimate is already too good). These two weapons are the kings of their respective domains (far and close) and are well worth visiting every supply drop you can in hopes of obtaining one of these.
Apex Legends Legendary Fully-Kitted Weapons
Fully-kitted weapons are standard weapons you can find under normal circumstances, just with a full complement of Legendary attachments. It appears not every weapon has the potential to spawn as a kitted weapon as we’ve only had reports of four specifically: Wingman, R-301, Peacekeeper and Prowler. A fully-kitted weapon has every available attachment slot they’d normally have filled in with Legendary upgrades (the optics usually being a Digital Threat), even if that attachment slot doesn’t have a Legendary attachment normally. For example, I have never found a Legendary shotgun bolt on its own, but the Legendary Peacekeeper will have one pre-attached (and can’t be removed).
You’ll find fully-kitted weapons in place of regular drops (Loot Ticks seem to have a good chance of spawning them if they’re glowing yellow), but spawns most frequently in the ‘Hot Zone’. For the uninitiated, the Hot Zone is a place marked on the map with a blue circle. The indicator is present during the beginning of the game, encouraging people to land there and fight for the chance at a sizeable advantage.
Ultimately, fully-kitted weapons are the absolute peak of what a normal weapon can achieve through attachments, but are still bound by the limits of the base weapon. The gap between a Legendary Peacekeeper and a Peacekeeper with full purple attachments isn’t overwhelming, but the gap between any kind of Peacekeeper and a Mastiff is. Prioritise the unique legendaries more if you’re forced to choose.
Apex Legends Legendary Attachments
Legendary attachments are probably the least exciting and consistent category of the bunch. If we ignore the Legendary attachments from a fully-kitted weapon (which we should, they’re permanently attached to the weapon itself), attachments come in three forms: barrel stabilizers, optics and a Hop-up.
Apex Legends Legendary Digital Threat Optics
Legendary optics also come in two forms, close range and sniper. The close range version is a 1x sight that highlights visible enemies in red. This sniper version is a variable 4x/10x sight with rangefinder (tells you how far the target your aiming at is) and has the same digital threat mechanic of the 1x sight. The 1x sight only fits on shotguns, pistols, SMGs and the 4x/10x sight only fits on snipers, leaving LMGs and assault rifles high and dry.
It is the highlighting capability that elevates these sights to Legendary status as it makes target acquisition a lot easier, making it harder for enemies to hide or ambush you. It is also capable of highlighting enemies through Bangalore’s smoke, Caustic’s poison gas or any other visibility inferring mechanic (desert wind, landing care package dust, etc.). This makes it either a very effective counter to tactics employed by Bangalore and Caustic or a very powerful tool to use in conjunction (Bangalore having this is very powerful, Caustic can already see through his own gas) with them.
The 1x Digital Threat is very common, they’ll spawn anywhere replacing a normal optics spawn and fairly frequently too. This is both a blessing and a curse as they’re quite powerful and you can’t tell if someone has one at a glance. If you’re in a low visibility situation (e.g. Bangalore’s smoke), you have no real way of knowing if they can see you or not and by the time you work it out, you might already be dead. However, this can work both ways, so while it may get you killed on occasion, it also will net you free kills quite frequently too. The 4x/10x sniper sight appears to be rarer, but less impactful overall (in my view).
Apex Legends Legendary Barrel Stabilizer
Barrel stabilizers reduce recoil when firing the weapon. The higher the quality of barrel stabilizer the easier a weapon is to keep trained on your target. The Legendary barrel stabilizer fits on assault rifles, SMGs, LMGs and snipers and essentially makes the gun recoilless. This upgrade has the most value on high recoil and high fire rate guns like the R-99 or Spitfire, making them very easy to handle. The upgrade is particularly rare however, with no specific way to track it down. Luckily, purple barrel stabilizers are almost as effective and much easier to find, so finding the Legendary version isn’t the biggest advantage, especially compared to the power of other legendaries.
Apex Legends Legendary Hop-up
The very final Legendary attachment is a special Hop-up called the ‘Turbocharger’. The Turbocharger only fits in the Devotion and drastically increases the spool-up time for the weapon, allowing it reach its peak fire rate in only a few shots. This Hop-up turns the Devotion into one of the best weapons in the game (as long as you have ammo), but is extremely situational. You need to find it (being a Legendary it is rare, though not as rare as most Legendaries) and then you need to also have a Devotion. When the perfect storm happens, it’s an amazing find, but most of the time it’s just a disappointment wrapped in yellow.
“Even the most jaded of battle royale fans will find their interest rejuvenated by Apex Legends thanks to Respawn’s attention to detail, superior gunplay, and fantastic innovations, though the loot boxes and progression system certainly need addressing.”