Shadowshard or Obsidian?

When flipping between the options to upgrade a weapon between shadowshard or obsidian, you can see some notable differences between the two. While both will be an upgrade, choosing shadowshard has unique differences:
  • Shadowshard has a 20% increase to damage
  • Shadowshard has a 10% decrease to rate of fire
  • Shadowshard has a 20% decrease to durability
More power and less of those other stats no one cares about? So all in on shadowshard, right?
Well, technically, yes. Right now, shadowshard is pretty much what people prefer to take on most weapons. However, there are some considerations to make.
Hero Choice Makes a Difference
If you have a hero that has damage-enhancing abilities, it is generally agreed upon that you will do less damage than a hero who has bonuses to rate of fire when using a shadowshard weapon. So a First Shot Rio or a Urban Assault Headhunter can absolutely be the best soldier they can be with a shadowshard weapon. However, for someone like Wukong that has more damage-enhancing perks, they will actually do less DPS overall. Obviously, rate of fire can make a huge difference.
Melee Weapons
The choice is even more difficult with melee weapons. At the enhanced rate that melee weapons break, a loss of even more durability can get expensive. Furthermore, for heroes that rely on attack speed, having a loss of attack speed like with shadowshard can be a detriment as well. Explosive weapons are in a similar boat. Do you really need the more power if you are going to craft it more often?
Rarity of Obtaining Materials
There are some who say shadowshard is more difficult to find than obsidian, but as I’ve been running around Twine Peaks, I think that is pretty rubbish. I’d say there is a pretty even skew, but that is not really what should concern you. The thing is, where there was, for example, malachite, you pretty much just found malachite. However, now those ore spawns are split between two ores. This means if you are just using one ore for all your weapons, you’re going to have to farm it more often. So, in that regard, it might be worth spreading your weapon upgrades between both obsidian and shadowshard.

A General Recommendation on Which to Choose

If you are still having trouble deciding, I use a pretty simple decision when I upgrade my weapons. I have a trash gun that I upgraded to obsidian. It is an all-around great gun and I use it for most situations, I call it a trash gun because that’s what I kill with it – the fodder.
However, I also have my high-powered gun. This is a shadowshard upgraded weapon that I pull out to use on smashers, mini-bosses, or just when things are going to shit. It keeps a pretty even spread between the ore and, while I have a powerful weapon if I need it, you honestly won’t notice much between the two in terms of ability to murder husks in a timely manner.