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Apex Legends Ballistic - Abilities, Lore, And Tips For Mastering His Arsenal

Season 17's debut legend is a classy combatant with an expanded inventory and abilities that benefit his entire squad.


Apex Legends Season 17: Arsenal kicked off with a new episode of Stories From The Outlands, titled "Encore," which, alongside the season launch trailer introduced players to Apex's 24th legend: August "Ballistic" Brinkman, a former Thunderdome champion who retired from the Games after tragedy struck. But now he's un-retiring, determined to take his son's place in the Apex Games.

But despite his reputation for showing off in the ring, Ballistic is cool, calm, and collected--traits players will want to keep in mind if they aim to master this refined new legend. Knowing when to attack with guns blazing and when to stick to the shadows is key to crushing the competition when you're playing this experienced Apex predator and facing off with the game's other characters in battle. Whether you're struggling to organize and operate Ballistic's expanded arsenal of weapons or just looking to see what you'll be up against when you face him, keep reading for a closer look at this well-dressed, well-armed legend's abilities--including tips to help you make the most of that third weapon.

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Now Playing: Apex Legends | Stories from the Outlands - “Encore” Cinematic Trailer

The basics

Callsign: Ballistic

Real Name: August Montgomery Brinkman

Age: 63

Home World: Gaea

Class: Assault

Apex Games Tagline: Refined Gunslinger

Respawn describes Ballistic as a "refined older gentleman living with a beast inside." Once a popular Thunderdome Games competitor with a penchant for bravado and showmanship, August Brinkman is now coming out of a decades-long retirement to reclaim his place in the spotlight. But this time, he's not doing it solely for his own benefit (or so he says). After making a deal with Torres "Duardo" Silva to keep his son Nathan out of the Apex Games, Ballistic took his son's place, knowing all too well the dangers that come with participating in a bloodsport.

August's Thunderdome days ended in tragedy--Ballistic was responsible for the death of his brother-in-law, Kit Siang, who died due to Ballistic's preference for performance over protection. It seems he wants to stop his son from ending up in the same position--a claim that's shaky at best, given the fact that in the Apex Games, Respawn Beacons prevent competitors from actually dying. Whether this ploy to keep his son out of the Games will actually work remains to be seen.

Ballistic wears Kit Siang's glasses as a reminder to never repeat the selfish behavior that led to Kit Siang's death.
Ballistic wears Kit Siang's glasses as a reminder to never repeat the selfish behavior that led to Kit Siang's death.

Legend Abilities and class

Ballistic's legend-exclusive abilities are as follows:

  • Passive - Weapon Sling: Allows players to store a third weapon. Access via inventory or the d-pad. The sling weapon cannot take attachments.
  • Tactical - Whistler: Shoots a projectile that locks onto the enemy, damaging them and temporarily applying a debuff to them after making contact. This debuff causes enemies' firearms to overheat as they shoot. Overheating will cause a reaction that deals damage. Hold the tactical button to lock-on to a target.
  • Ultimate - Weapon Enhancer: When activated, Ballistic and any nearby teammates get a buff applied, increasing reload time, armed movement speed, and infinite ammo. Any weapon stored in Ballistic's Weapon Sling will be instantly equipped and upgraded to gold-tier for the duration of the buff.

Ballistic also has two additional abilities that are tied to his legend class. Ballistic is categorized as an Assault-class legend, meaning he has the following class-based abilities:

  • Access Weapon Supply Bins: Ballistic can open the secret compartment hidden in each red Weapon Supply Bin. Doing so will give him access to gear and attachments that fit his current loadout, similar to the Smart Loot Supply Bins found inside Storm Point's IMC Armories.
  • Carry Extra Ammo: Ballistic can carry an extra 20 rounds of Energy Ammo, Heavy Ammo, and Light Ammo per inventory slot. Additionally, he can hold 21 Shotgun Ammo (as opposed to 16) and 37 Sniper Ammo (instead of the standard 28).

Ballistic's legend abilities combined with his Assault-class perks make him a serious challenge to face in combat. With the ability to carry extra ammo and force enemies to lose control of their weapons, legends who encounter him in battle will want to plan their attack carefully.

Ballistic's abilities can turn the tide of battle, even when all seems lost.
Ballistic's abilities can turn the tide of battle, even when all seems lost.

Strategy guide

If you're struggling to get the hang of playing Ballistic (or struggling to survive your encounters with him), we've listed some helpful tips and tricks below:

Always, always pick up a third weapon

This should go without saying, but after four years of only having access to two weapons (unless you count Rampart's Mobile Minigun or Vantage's Sniper's Mark), it can be easy to forget to snag that third weapon, especially since Sling weapons don't equip automatically in the traditional way. Instead Sling weapons must be specifically assigned, so pay attention to your inventory--the last thing you want is to end up in the final round only to discover you never actually snagged that Charge Rifle you meant to stow in the Sling.

Stow thoughtfully

Pay attention to button prompts and tooltips in the game's UI and inventory screens--if you want to snag a third weapon to stow in Ballistic's Sling, you'll need to press the correct button to pick it up (Playstation users, for example, must press the triangle button instead of pressing square to stow a third weapon). When it comes to swapping weapons into the Sling slot, you'll need to open the inventory page, hover over the weapon you want to swap into the sling and press the corresponding key or button.

Keep it basic

Only base weapons can be stowed in the Sling, and Sling weapons cannot take attachments--not even sights. So if you decide that you want to swap out the R-301 in your primary weapon slot for the Nemesis you've got stored in the Sling, keep in mind that all of your R-301's weapon attachments will hit the floor the second you swap it into the Sling slot. Because Gold- and Red-tier weapons from Care Packages do not have removable attachments they cannot be stowed in the Sling.

Plan ahead

The best way to use the Sling is as a spot for a weapon that you'll need in an emergency. Since Sling weapons automatically become Gold-tier weapons with infinite ammo for the duration of Ballistic's Tempest ability, save the Sling for the weapon you want to use when the Prowler poop hits the fan. Ballistic will automatically switch to his Sling weapon when Tempest is activated, so if you think you'll mostly be using it in desperate, close-range encounters, plan accordingly. If you'd prefer to save it for long-range surprise attacks, make sure not to activate Tempest in close-range combat unless you're in a situation where you can quickly and safely switch back to your preferred close-range weapon.

It's okay to miss

Ballistic's Whistler ability has a Titanfall-esque automatic lock-on feature, meaning it takes some actual effort to miss your target. Still, it's possible to goof things up in the heat of a chaotic battle, so don't feel too bad if you miss, because missing doesn't necessarily mean you've wasted your tactical charge on a missed shot. If you activate Whistler and miss your target, the "Smart Bullet" lodges itself into the nearest surface and leaves behind an affected area that serves as a nice trap, and will trigger the same weapon-overheating debuff when an enemy walks into it as it would if they'd taken a direct hit.

This is also helpful as a makeshift method of area control. If there's an enemy in a building or you know they're lurking around a corner, firing off Whistler is a great way to block access and ensure the enemy can't reach you--not without paying a price, anyway.

Run and gun

If you've been playing Apex for any amount of time, you're probably conditioned to put your gun away as you run away, due to the speed boost legends receive when running unarmed. But Ballistic's powerful Tempest ability significantly increases armed movement speed, allowing you to make a break for it without having to stow your only means of defense.

Ballistic's squad-buffing abilities enhance other legends' battlefield performance.
Ballistic's squad-buffing abilities enhance other legends' battlefield performance.

Loot and shoot

Since Ballistic's Sling weapon can only be upgraded temporarily by Tempest, it's important that his other weapons are well-equipped. Thankfully, his second class-exclusive ability makes this significantly easier. Keep an eye out for the red Weapon Supply Bins scattered across the game's maps (they're also marked with icons visible on the map). As an Assault-class legend, Ballistic can access the secret loot compartment located inside each Weapon Supply Bin. When opened, the secret compartment presents players with an assortment of weapon attachments that match their current loadout, using the same Smart Loot system seen in the IMC Armories on Stormpoint. When playing Ballistic on Storm Point, make sure you take advantage of the Armories, too.

Grab (only) as much ammo as you need

Because Ballistic is an Assault-class legend, he has access to two unique perks, one of which is the ability to carry extra ammo per inventory slot. Don't be afraid to stock up, as ammo doesn't take up nearly as much space in Ballistic's inventory as it does for non-Assault legends.

That said, don't get too carried away--remember that Ballistic's Tempest ability increases the armed movement speed and reloading speed for the entire squad (provided that they're in range of Ballistic when he activates it). But it also gives Ballistic and his whole squad infinite ammo for the duration of the ability. If you'll be using Tempest regularly, you may find that you need to carry less ammo than you normally would. because you'll be wasting inventory space--always check the number of rounds, not the number of full inventory slots.

Stick close

Ballistic may have had a reputation as a performative lone wolf during his Thunderdome days, but he's a changed man, and his abilities reflect that; he's built not just for self-defense, he's built for squad-defense. But if you want any chance of actually keeping your teammates safe, you'll need to stick close to them. If you activate Tempest when your squadmates aren't close by, then you'll be the only one repeating the benefits. So keep an eye on the map, and watch out for character dialogue warnings indicating that your squad is scattered too far apart.

When playing as Ballistic, try to save this ability for moments when your squad is close enough to benefit, unless it's an emergency. Whether you're running from a third-partied firefight or simply trying to escape the ring, make sure you're close enough to share the love before you activate Tempest. But even if you're only playing with Ballistic instead of playing as him, you'll want to stay close enough to him to ensure you receive the squad buffs when he activates Tempest.

Speak up

Ballistic is a very experienced combatant, and has a distinct air of authority about him. Channel that energy when you play him--don't be afraid to take the reins and start calling the shots if your squad is a disorganized mess. Turn on your mic to let squadmates know when you're about to activate Tempest so they can make sure they're in range. If your squad is in a tight spot and someone is frantically pinging that they need more ammo, let them know if Tempest is charged, as it will temporarily grant them infinite ammo, and the ability's shared ammo buff usually lasts long enough to finish off an enemy squad--often with time to spare. Good communication is just as deadly as good aim.

The Games require team cooperation, a lesson Ballistic learned the hard way during his Thunderdome days.
The Games require team cooperation, a lesson Ballistic learned the hard way during his Thunderdome days.

Squad optimization

Ballistic's Tempest speed boost also deeply enhances the ability of some of the other legends. Almost all of the Skirmisher-class legends complement Ballistic's abilities, but there are a multitude of legends who pair well with Ballistic. Our favorites are listed below:

  • Octane is a great match, because he's already one of the fastest legends in the games. Stacking his Stim speed boost with Ballistic's Tempest speed boost effectively turns Octane into a green, Stim-addicted version of Sonic the Hedgehog. But the shared Tempest speed boost also means Octane has a way to boost his speed without damaging his health.
  • Wraith is another good choice. She's been a bit easier to take out lately, mainly due to the fact that Respawn removed her ability to stack the speed boosts she used to get from using her tactical and ultimate abilities at the same time. But it appears that she can stack one of her ability speed buffs with Tempest, making it easier for her to rapidly phase across the battlefield while creating an escape route for her squad.
  • Mad Maggie is one of the best legends to pair with Ballistic. The speed buff from her passive Warlord's Ire ability (which allows her to run faster when carrying a shotgun) combined with the speed boost from her Wrecking Ball ability already makes her a great match for Ballistic's squad, but by making use of the Tempest buff on top of her own abilities, she can go even faster. On top of that, Maggie is also an Assault-class legend, meaning she can also access Weapon Supply bins for customized high-tier loot and carry extra ammo. Sharing the battlefield with Ballistic only increases Maggie's skill, making her an ideal squadmate.
Ballistic may work well with Octane in combat, but he's no fan of the Silva family.
Ballistic may work well with Octane in combat, but he's no fan of the Silva family.


If engaging in combat with Ballistic is where you're having trouble, Seer is a good choice for facing off with the cultured new combatant, as his Heart Seeker passive ability allows him to locate a squad's general position without revealing his own position. But Seer's Focus Of Attention tactical ability is where he really shines--in addition to damaging and revealing the position of any enemies caught in Seer's line of wall-hacked "sight," Focus Of Attention also cancels any abilities they may have been using and interrupts in-progress healing, among other activities.

But when it comes to defending yourself against Ballistic, playing as Revenant might be the best option. His Death Totem's "second wind" respawning ability makes risky pushes a lot less risky, and most importantly, Revenant's tactical Silence ability is the perfect way to take the wind out of Ballistic's sails, instantly cutting off access to his squad-buffing abilities and defensive capabilities. The element of surprise goes a long way when facing off with Ballistic, because he can't buff his entire squad if he doesn't see (or hear) you coming, so Revenant's quiet, quick crawl speed and ability to scale entire buildings make him the ideal legend to ambush Ballistic's squad.

Revenant also shares the same Assault-class abilities as Ballistic, so they're evenly matched on that front. Whether you're aggressively pushing an unsuspecting enemy squad or just trying to buy your team enough time to run away, Revenant's abilities are great for defanging Ballistic and his squad in a number of ways. But if the rumors about Revenant being "reborn" with a new set of lore-altering abilities are true, he may soon be useless against the powerful ability set of Season 17's high-class, high-caliber legend.

If Revenant does indeed lose his ability to use Silence, players are probably better off just playing as Ballistic himself. If you can't beat 'em, join 'em. (Or pray they get nerfed).

Apex Legends is free to play on console and PC.

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