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Looking for the Destiny 2 best Warlock build? In the post-Lightfall landscape, this versatile class remains as integral to any well-functioning fireteam as ever. But that doesn’t mean the meta has stayed the same. Like all classes, new exotics and armour, and fresh rebalances have changed the optimal builds for warlocks.
With abilities that can empower allies and replenish health, as well as a vast range of crowd-control capabilities, Warlocks often fill a role similar to a support class. Consequently, a user of this class can either make or break a squad’s run, depending on how well suited their loadout is for the tasks at hand. We’ll go over the current best warlock build, including best builds for PvE and PvP.
Even with your arcane skills perfected though, a fireteam needs to have top cohesion to succeed. Make sure you’re familiar with the current Destiny 2 best Hunter build and Destiny 2 best Titan build, too. That way, you’ll be best prepared for Destiny 2 season 23 and the Final Shape release date. Here are our suggestions for the best Warlock builds in Destiny 2.
Best PvE Warlock build in Destiny 2
The best Warlock build for PvE in Destiny 2 is a solar build centred around Sunbracers.
Subclass and equipment setup
Here’s how you’ll want to set up your subclass and your weapons and armour to make the most of this build.
- Subclass: Solar Dawnblade
- Super Ability: Well of Radiance
- Grenade: Solar Grenade
- Melee: Incinerator Snap
- Class Ability: Phoenix Dive
- Aspects: Touch of Flame and Heat Rises
- Fragments: Ember of Torches, Ember of Solace, Ember of Searing, Ember of Empyrean
- Exotic Armor: Sunbracers
- Weapons: Weapons with good damage and airborne effectiveness are a priority here. It’s especially important to aim for at least one weapon with solar damage. Waveframe grenade launchers like Explosive Personality are a good choice, but linear fusion rifles like Cartesian Coordinate work too. There are a few other excellent choices as well, like the Destiny 2 Epochal Integration hand cannon. A solar weapon is preferable.
Seasonal Artifact Mods
If you’ve got the Season of The Deep artifact, you’ll want to make sure you fine-tune your mods from it when making the most of builds. For this particular build though, you don’t need to worry too much, as few mods give any bonuses to solar builds. We would still recommend Authorised Mods: Melee to reduce the energy costs of any melee-related armor mods, as well as Counter Charge, to make the most out of Champion stuns with your ignitions.
To complete the build, we’d recommend you aim for certain stats and run certain mods to boost the effectiveness of the build’s combat cycle, and help fill in gaps.
For stats, maxing Resilience should be the top priority. This will improve your survivability in between your melee-grenade-heal cycle. You can run Discipline or Strength as secondaries if you wish, but the build and mods should mean that your grenade and melee regeneration are fast enough without the stats so long as you’re getting kills.
How the build works
This build is designed to boost your healing and grenade potential through the roof. When combined with the Heat Rises aspect, consuming a grenade will grant Cure, which removes debuffs for you and nearby teammates, as well as Heat Rises. If you use your Phoenix Dive while Heat Rises is active, it’ll apply Restoration, a powerful healing buff. The Ember of Solace and Ember of Empyrean – whenever you land melee or solar final blows respectively – will extend the time that Restoration is active for, allowing you to create combat loops where you benefit from consistent, high-level healing. This is ultimately far more effective than the standard Healing Rift or healing grenade.
This works in synergy with the massive boosts provided to your grenades by this build. Sunbracers provide two important bonuses. Firstly, they’ll increase the duration your Solar Grenades exist for. Combined with the Touch of Flame aspect, this will give you long-lasting damage-over-time grenades that can incinerate low-level targets, and build up the Scorch debuff on stronger opponents and Champion foes until they Ignite, causing an explosion that’ll often kill the former and always stun the latter.
The second Sunbracer bonus is that powered melee kills grant five seconds of infinite grenade energy. It’s not really infinite, but rather, it’s a temporary 20,000% increase to grenade energy recharge. Incinerator snap is ideal here because it works in tandem with your grenades, dealing additional Scorch damage on top of its base damage. It’s also a good way to stun Unstoppable Champions if you can hit them with all five of the fire streaks. With this bonus from Sunbracers, you can throw up to five grenades in quick succession, always choosing to save the final charge and consume the last one to proc Heat Rises and begin healing again. You can always consume one of the grenades earlier too, if you’re suddenly in dire need of healing.
Lastly, weapon consideration is important to pushing this build further. Airborne kills, for which simply hopping up with a jump rather than floating is enough, will extend the duration of Heat Rises, and grant melee energy back, helping you to maintain the combat cycle. Having a solar damage weapon will give you another, easier option for extending Restoration. It’ll also extend your Radiant buff, which you’ll get from Ember of Torches. Being Radiant boosts your weapon damage, and also allows you to shoot through any shield, such as Hydra shields and Anti-Barrier shields, while it’s active.
If this build really isn’t working for you, we’d recommend trying out Dawn Chorus. This helmet exotic massively boosts the damage of your Daybreak super projectiles, scorching enemies and replenishing your melee energy. While it’s much more difficult to maintain an accurate combat cycle, running Ashes to Assets mods or similar on your helmet, alongside orb generating armor mods, can make this an alternative viable build which is a bit simpler to execute.
Here are the mods we recommend running on each piece of armour to make the most out of this build:
- Helmet – two Ashes to Assets mods. These will give you bonus super energy on grenade kills. Two mods provide grenade energy equal to a 600% super regen rate. Given how many grenades you’ll be throwing, these mods will help you recharge your super extremely quickly.
- Arms – Firepower, Bolstering Detonation, Momentum Transfer. Firepower will generate orbs of power for final blows, synergising with Insulation. Bolstering Detonation will grant class ability energy just for grenade damage, and Momentum Transfer melee energy for the same thing.
- Chest – You can run whatever mods you like here. We’d recommend a couple of element or damage resist mods, though.
- Legs – Insulation and solar scavenger. Insulation will grant you class ability energy whenever you pick up an orb of power. Given that your phoenix dive is the key to accessing Radiant, this is a must-have. We’d also recommend a solar scavenger to make sure you don’t run out of ammo if your chosen solar damage weapon isn’t a primary gun.
- Bond – Outreach, Utility Kickstart, Powerful Attraction. Outreach will reduce your cooldown when using your class ability and Utility Kickstart will give class ability energy when you use your class ability – these will both help charge your abilities quicker. Powerful Attraction will automatically pick up orbs of power when you dive, meaning even quicker regens.
Best PvP Warlock build in Destiny 2
The best PvP warlock build in Destiny 2 right now is an Arc class build, focusing on the new Destiny 2 Centrifuse autorifle and Crown of Tempests armor exotic.
Subclass equipment and setup
Here’s how you’ll want to setup your subclass, and what equipment you’ll want to use for this build.
- Subclass: Arc Stormcaller
- Super Ability: Stormtrance
- Grenade: Arcbolt Grenade
- Melee: Chain Lightning
- Class Ability: Empowering Rift
- Aspects: Lightning Surge and Electrostatic Mind
- Fragments: Spark of Haste, Spark of Instinct, Spark of Shock, and Spark of Discharge.
- Exotic Armor: Crown of Tempests
- Weapons: Centrifuse exotic autorifle. It’s best to run it with the Centrifuse catalyst to make the most of this build, but it’s not a necessity.
Seasonal Artifact mods
For this PvP build, it’s important to use the right mods from the Season of The Deep articfact to make the most out of it. You’ll want to select the following mods:
- Authorized Mods: Arc – armor mods affecting arc weapons cost less energy.
- Amped Up – You’ll stay Amplified for longer while your arc subclass is equipped.
- Thunderous Retort – Casting your super while Amplified or critically wounded gives the super bonus damage.
- Electric Armor – Being Amplified will make you more resistant to damage.
- Shock And Awe – Final blows while Amplified will summon lightning bolts that inflict Jolt onto targets.
- Lightning Strikes Twice – Gain temporary increased grenade energy regeneration after throwing a grenade. Arc final blows will extend the length of the boosted regen.
For your stats, you should try to retain Resilience as top priority, to give yourself the best chance to last when going on the offensive to score kills on debuffed targets and propagate the combat cycle. Mobility, though largely not useful, is one you can place as secondary if you want to move even faster, but the fragments and buffs in this build should provide ample enough sprint speed by themselves. If you’ve got the room in your armour, keeping Disipline and Strength high is recommended, as this build relies on your charged abilities to reach its full potential.
How the build works
This build is centred around three core concepts that increase your combat effectiveness across the board: the Amplified buff, the Jolt debuff, and speed.
The Amplified buff increases your weapon handling speed, allowing you to draw guns out faster, and increases your movement speed. Because of the chosen artifact mods, and the Centrifuse catalyst it’ll do a lot more though. With this build, Amplified increases movement and weapon handling speed, but it also increases your damage resistance, lasts for longer, Jolts targets when you get final blows, increases the range of your Chain Lightning melee, and passively recharges the Static Charge metre on Centrifuse. On top of all that, it offers bonus super damage if you activate your super with the buff present. This is why we chose Crown of Tempests over Stormdancer’s Brace, as with Amplified already giving a damage bonus, Crown’s ability to extend the super duration on kills makes the super more versatile.
Jolt is a debuff that makes targets more vulnerable to incoming damage, as well as chaining lightning to those nearby as a bonus attack. You’ll Jolt nearby targets when activating your super, but thanks to the Spark of Shock fragment, you’ll also Jolt any targets hit by your grenade. We chose Arcbolt because of its chain-lightning property giving it the potential to score the most hits. Remember that combined with Centrifuse, this gives you more potential to score final blows with well-timed grenades, earning back energy from the Lightning Strikes Twice mod. Your Chain Lightning melee will also be able to Jolt. The Spark of Instinct will also cause you to emit arc explosions that Jolt whenever you take critical damage while wounded, helping to finish off enemies you couldn’t quite kill in time. Lightning Surge is the final piece here; sliding and using a charged melee will summon a chain of lightning strikes that will all inflict Jolt on nearby targets. This means you have five different ways to apply Jolt in combat, granting massive versatility to your ability to damage and debuff enemies for your own kills and for teammate kills.
While sprinting for a while, you’ll gain a large sudden boost to your speed while Amplified. Combined with additional speed bonuses and extra resilience while sprinting from the Spark of Haste fragment, this makes you far more difficult to kill when on the move in PvP. Added mobility also makes it easier to utilise the Lightning Surge aspect, and, most importantly, charges the Electrostatic Charge metre on Centrifuse, filling in gaps when you aren’t Amplified.
This build is elevated by Centrifuse, the exotic arc auto rifle which released at the beginning of Season of The Deep. Under normal circumstances, the slow fire rate and limited range would make this a poor PvP weapon. But this changes given how the exotic perk fits into our build. The exotic perk for Centrifuse is Overcharge Capacitor. You’ll have a metre on the left called Electrostatic Charge which will gradually build up while sprinting, sliding, or firing the weapon. At high charge, final blows on enemies will create arc explosions. At maximum charge, those explosions will inflict Blinding, a debuff that leaves enemies momentarily unable to see – obviously useful in player versus player encounters. You’ll also gain range and reload speed bonuses when the charge is high.
With our build, high speed, emphasis on sliding and the prolific use of Amplified grant assistance in getting the metre charged. When it is charged, we can make full use of the Electrostatic Mind aspect, which generates Ionic Traces from Blinded or Jolted targets. Alongside Spark of Discharge, which gives a chance for Arc final blows to generate an Ionic Trace, collecting them should be fairly easy. This and rapid final blows with arc damage can both grant the Amplified buff, meaning there’s more than one path to activate it with this build.
In all, this arc build centres around maximising the effectiveness of different damage sources, utilising arc AOE damage and debuffs to empower your character and your weapons with abilities that then make them more effective at defeating enemies and applying debuffs, thus propagating the cycle.
Here are the mods we recommend running on each piece of armour to make the most out of this build:
- Helmet – Power preservation, Arc Siphon, and Harmonic Targeting. Power Preservation will generate additional orbs of power on super kills for your allies, allowing them to gain their supers quicker – it benefits even more from this build’s aim to overcharge the potential of Stormtrance. Arc Siphon will generate even more orbs for rapid final blows against enemies with an Arc weapon – easy to do with Centrifuse consistently running at full strength. Harmonic Targeting will improve your aim-down-sights and target acquisition speed for arc weapons, giving you another edge in crucible matches.
- Arms – Firepower, Bolstering Detonation, Momentum Transfer. Just like our PvE build, these three are indispensable for recharging your abilities quickly. Firepower will generate orbs of power for final blows. Bolstering Detonation will grant class ability energy just for grenade damage, and Momentum Transfer melee energy for the same thing.
- Chest – Unflinching Arc Aim, Sniper Damage Resistance, Emergency Reinforcement. Unflinching Arc Aim will help you to hit precision shots for rapid kills with Centrifuse. Sniper Damage Resistance is useful as Centrifuse isn’t fantastic for long-range engagements, and taking melee or weapon damage at close range will make use of the Spark of Instinct. Emergency Reinforcement will make you more survivable while critically wounded, so long as you have some Armor Charge from picking up orbs of power. This’ll come in handy given how this build rewards risky plays.
- Legs – Innervation, Stacks on Stacks, Arc Weapon Surge. Innervation will grant grenade energy on picking up orbs of power, keeping your grenade cooldown as short as possible. Stacks on Stacks will grant additional Armor Charge when collecting an orb of power, reducing the risk that you’ll be unable to make use of Emergency Reinforcement when in a bind. Arc Weapon Surge will give a small damage bonus to arc weapons when you don’t have Armor Charge, helping you to score kills more easily.
- Bond – Outreach, Bomber, Reaper. Outreach will grant melee energy and Bomber will grant grenade energy whenever you use your class ability, cutting down recharge times yet further. Reaper will guarantee an orb of power on the kill following your class ability, helping boost your orb generation.
What are Warlocks good at in Destiny 2?
Warlocks are extremely useful for filling a heavy-duty support role in teams. Their class abilities can provide healing or damage boosts, and their subclasses are tailored for tearing through large groups of enemies quickly, and optimising the damage output and survivability of the fireteam with buffs and debuffs.
Picking Warlock means investing in the team’s success and survival, but that doesn’t mean you have to take a more passive role when it comes to damage dealing. You can try out the Destiny 2 best PvP weapons for some damage-inflicting options that will boost you ahead of the competition.
That covers everything we’ve got for the best warlock build in Destiny 2, for both PvE and PvP. We’ll be sure to keep this updated as the meta continues to change throughout the game. Be sure to check back in with us before Destiny Season 22 begins to go into the next step of the journey as ready as possible.
Are Warlocks the best PvE class in Destiny 2?
No class can categorically be called the best, but the Warlock’s variety of support abilities and crowd control potential do make them an excellent ally in PvE.
What are the best Warlock exotics in Destiny 2?
Our picks for the best Warlock exotics would be Sunbracers, Karnstein Armlets, Mantle of Battle Harmony, Crown of Tempests and the Swarmers.
What are warlocks good at in Destiny 2?
Warlocks are excellent an excellent support and crowd control class, ideal for keeping a team alive, destroying large numbers of enemies, and weakening bosses.