Destiny Bladedancer Tips and Tricks
Destiny Bladedancer Tips and Tricks by echolog
Hello fellow bladedancers! I hope you’ve all been having fun whooshing around and slicing up your enemies. However, have you been wondering how to squeeze out every last drop of killing potential from your build? Then look no further! Below is a guide of how to best familiarize yourself with your class and how to use your various skills and stats to maximize your abilities. Let’s get started!
The first thing we’re going to look at is your actual subclass ability tree. This is the thing you see when you hover over the subclass icon and select ‘details’. From this point on, we’ll refer to the configuration of your abilities as your ‘build’. First I’ll go over the individual abilities, and then I’ll provide a few example builds that you can use in specific situations. The perks below are listed in (mostly) left-to-right order according ot the ability tree.
- Grenades: Flux, Skip, Arcbolt
/ Flux is your main PvP grenade. It sticks to enemies and causes them to explode violently! In PvE you might fine some use in it for high ranking enemies (Captains, minotaurs, centurions, etc), but for the most part it has lackluster AOE (area of effect) damage, so isn’t very useful against large numbers of enemies.
/ Skip is a bit of a hybrid grenade that can be used in PvP or PvE. It splits on impact into five orbs of arc light that track and damage enemies. They’re great if you can’t stick enemies with the Flux grenade in PvP, but aren’t quite as good for AoE as the Arcbolt grenade in PvE.
/ Arcbolt is your bread and butter in PvE. It explodes on impact, sending out a ‘scan’ and shooting out a lightning bolt that chains between up to 3 enemies, killing them instantly in most cases. The Lucky Raspberry exotic chest increases the range and number of enemies to be killed by this grenade, making it truly shine. This grenade can also be used effectively in PvP as it can bring multiple enemies to very low health, allowing you to finish them off easily.
- Jump: Double Jump – Higher Jump, Better Control, Blink
/ Higher Jump is pretty straightforward. It makes you jump higher. That being said, this is probably your worst option unless you reallyneed to reach a high ledge.
/ Better Control does what it says. It gives you better directional control while in the air. This is my personal preference for PvE as it gives a good combination of height and control so you can get where you need to go.
/ Blink is tons of fun, extremely unfair, and very difficult to master. It is unlike any other ‘jump’ skill out there, as it doesn’t boost you ‘up’ when you press jump. Instead, it carries your momentum in the direction you were going when you pressed the jump button. Therefore, if you press jump early into the initial jump, it will teleport you upwards. If you press it at the peak of your jump, it will teleport you forwards. If you press it on the downslope; you guessed it; you’ll teleport downwards. In PvE there is honestly no reason to use blink unless you just want to do it for practice. In PvP, however, you can use it to disorient your enemy and get in close with that shotgun. Try it out, get in some practice, and in time you’ll be unstoppable. WARNING: Blink interrupts pretty much any other skill you were using at the time, including reloading and invisibility! The other jumps do not!
- Super: Arc Blade – Showstopper, Razor’s Edge, Vanish
/ Showstopper allows you to unleash an AOE burst when you press the right trigger while in Arc Blade. This skill is practically designed for PvP control matches, as it allows you to jump in, kill everybody in one shot, and move along. It’s also a lifesaver in PvE in situations where you can get swarmed by enemies (cough, thrall, cough). Use this situationally and it can save your life, or win you the game. Be careful though, because the animation is a bit slow and can get you killed.
/ Razor’s Edge is kind of like Showstopper, but instead of an AOE blast, it directs that energy forward in a straight line. It’s easy to take out lots of enemies very quickly by using this, especially in narrow hallways or on doors that enemies keep flowing out of. Be warned, in PvP enemies can jump over this blast if they react quick enough! That being said, it is much quicker and has a much longer range than showstopper, so try them both and see what you like! (Thanks /u/Kayyam for the tip!)
/ Vanish is probably the most versatile arc blade perk, as it can be used for more than just killing enemies. In PvP it allows you to get the jump on a point, but don’t try activating it in the middle of a fight (you’ll be standing still for a good 1-2 seconds when you use it). In PvE it allows you to escape enemy aggro and revive your teammates without getting shot at constantly. This can be an absolute lifesaver in nightfall strikes and raids. I tend to use this in any high level content that might require an aggro drop. WARNING: Do not use with Blink! Blink cancels invisibility!
- Melee: Blink Strike – Backstab, Escape Artist, Fast Twitch
/ Backstab allows you to assassinate people like the good old Halo days! This perk would be incredibly useful in PvP if the radar wasn’t so damn useful. It allows blinkstrike to one-hit-kill any enemy you manage to stab in the back. The problem is it is very difficult to sneak up on people since you’re pretty much ALWAYS on the radar, even if you’re standing still! I personally never use this perk, but it might be useful in PvE if you’re playing with friends and manage to get behind enemies.
/ Escape Artist makes you invisible every time you melee an enemy while blink strike is off cooldown. If you plan on using an invisibility-heavy build, this could be useful. The problem here is that it’s difficult to anticipate when blink strike will be available, and as soon as it is, the next melee will force you into invisibility (even if you don’t want it to). That makes it hard to use effectively, so I really don’t use this one. WARNING: Do not use with Blink! Blink cancels invisibility!
/ Fast Twitch is where it’s at. This perk effectively brings your blink strike cooldown to an extremely reasonable level of about three to five seconds. This means that although you don’t get any bonuses on the melee (aside from the range), you can use it almost constantly. This perk in combination with a shotgun and blink can make you absolutely unstoppable in PvP. In both PvP and PvE it syncs extremely well with the final perk of the ability tree: hungering blade. I’ll get into that later, but just so you know, I recommend this perk.
- Path…: Forgotten, Forbidden, Unknown
/ Forgotten = Toughness + Speed / I recommend these stats for PvP. Stay alive, move fast.
/ Forbidden = Recovery + Speed
/ Unknown = Recovery + Toughness / I recommend these stats for PvE. Stay alive, heal fast.
- Subclass Perk #1: Fleet Footed, Quick Draw, Shadowjack
/ Fleet Footed allows you to sprint faster and slide farther. This can be useful if you sprint and slide a lot in PvP, but personally I find that this leads me to death more than anything else. However, this perk can be a big help in PvE if you find yourself running for your life alot. It is good for getting behind cover and staying alive more than anything else.
/ Quick Draw makes your weapons ready immediately in all situations. I find that this is the best perk for PvP since getting that gun up just a half second faster than your enemy can be the difference between life or death.
/ Shadowjack causes your invisibility effects to last a bit longer. If you rely on invisibility to stay alive (primarily in PvE), this is a good addition to your arsenal. It keeps you alive longer and allows you to revive teammates with less danger. WARNING: Do not use with Blink! Blink cancels invisibility!
- Way of the…: Drifter, Fearless, Nomad
/ Drifter = All Attributes
/ Fearless = Toughness / I recommend these stats for PvP. Taking less damage keeps you alive.
/ Nomad = Recovery / I recommend these stats for PvE. Recovering health keeps you alive.
- Subclass Perk #2: Encore, Stalker, Hungering Blade
/ Encore increases the length of your arc blade super as long as you keep killing enemies. This is pretty good in PvE if you need to get a LOT of kills in a short period of time. It’s pretty useless in PvP as far as I can tell.
/ Stalker allows you to become invisible by simply crouching and not moving for a few seconds. This can be very sneaky in PvP, and extremely useful in PvE as an aggro drop. Running around a corner and crouching is a great way to get the enemy off your tail in either case. Specifically in PvE, you can use this to go invisible and revive your teammates without fear of being shot to pieces. This works great in combination with the Crest of Alpha Lupi chest. In PvP it can be a great combination with the backstab melee perk, since many times the enemy will just walk right past you. WARNING: Do not use with Blink! Blink cancels invisibility!
/ Hungering Blade is the ultimate perk of the bladedancer class. It allows you to heal approximately one ‘lifebar’ (one third of your overall health bar) upon getting a kill with either arc blade or blink strike. This, above all other perks, is what will keep you alive. This is what fixes the problem of dying between arcblade kills in PvP. This allows you to finish off an opponent and move on to the next with a full bar of health. Combine hungering blade with fast twitch (blink strike perk) and heal on melee every few seconds. Use it to take out entire hoards of enemies without your health dropping even a little bit. Use it to stay alive in PvP while dashing from enemy to enemy. It’s great. I highly recommend it.
So now that we’ve gone over the various abilities and perks for the bladedancer class, how do we best put them together? There are quite a few combinations that I have found stand above the rest and allow you to excel at all forms of gameplay. Here they are:
- PvP Offensive
- Flux Grenade, Blink, Showstopper, Fast Twitch, Path Forgotten, Quickdraw, Way of the Fearless, Hungering Blade
/ Blink all over the place, use a shotgun, melee to heal, and stick grenades on peoples’ faces. The stats in this build allow you to move quickly and take less damage to win fights. This is probably the fastest and move aggravating build in the entire game to go up against. Have fun!
- PvP Defensive
- Arcbolt Grenade, Better Control, Vanish, Backstab, Path Forgotten, Shadowjack (or Quickdraw), Way of the Fearless, Stalker
/ Arcbolt grenades can almost clear a room, allowing you to mop up (be sure to go invisible before rushing or defending!). Get on a point, maintain invisibility, use backstabs and shotguns to dominate anyone to tries to get close.
- PvE Offensive
- Arcbolt Grenade, Better Control, Razor’s Edge (or Showstopper, depending on situation), Fast Twitch, Path Unknown, Fleet Footed, Way of the Nomad, Hungering Blade (or Encore)
/ Arcbolt Grenade clears mobs out pretty quick, while Razor’s Edge/Showstopper can clear out entire hordes of enemies. Fast Twitch keeps you healed up in combination with Hungering Blade, and Fleet Footed allows you to escape when needed. The stats in this build also allow you to take less damage and heal up quickly.
- PvE Defensive
- Arcbolt Grenade, Better Control, Razor’s Edge (or Vanish, if you need more invisibility), Escape Artist, Path Unknown, Shadowjack, Way of the Nomad, Stalker (or Hungering Blade)
/ Same as above, trade healing on melee for invisibility to drop aggro and revive teammates.
Recommended stat breakdown: 66% Intellect, 33% Discipline, 0% Strength
- Intellect – Reduced Super Cooldown
/ Intellect is VERY important! You want to be using Arc Blade as often as possible in both PvE and PvP. While you might not want to spam it against a large boss, you’ll definitely want it against trash mobs. Stack as much intellect as possible. You’re aiming for 100% here.
- Discipline – Reduced Grenade Cooldown
/ Bladedancers have some pretty cool grenades, as shown above. You’re going to want to use them as often as possible, right? Personally I sit at around 100-150 discipline, giving me about a 50-60% cooldown reduction.
- Strength – Reduced Melee Cooldown
/ Strength doesn’t do much for a bladedancer. Blink Strike already has an amazing perk called Fast Twitch which reduces your melee cooldown to only a few seconds. Because of this, I recommend dumping ALL of your stats into Intellect and Discipline.
SYNERGY. IS. KEY. Try to match up your armor/weapons to bolster your own play style!
/ Primary weapons, first and foremost, are mostly up to your personal preference. I use a Hand Cannon (Alternating between Lord High Fixer and Thorn, depending on the situation) above all else. They have extremely high damage-per-shot, can easily one-hit-kill most enemies if you get precision shots, and with the right armor/ability perks can be absolutely lethal and unstoppable in PvE and PvP. When I’m not blasting people with an HC, I do tend to lean toward a Scout Rifle (I have Cryptic Dragon) in PvE, and Assault Rifles (dat Shingen-E tho) in PvP. Pulse Rifles have their place as well, but personally I just can’t seem to find a niche for them while the other three are so good at what they do.
/ Special Weapons are pretty awesome. Shotguns rule the PvP scene for good reason. I like to use a blue shotgun with high impact and range, and a perk that further increases range when I aim. This allows me to one-shot people at a considerable distance, so most people tend to hate me. Shotguns are a bit more dangerous in PvE, as they fire slow, have a low ammo capacity, and don’t always work well against hordes of enemies. Instead, I recommend the Fusion Rifle for taking out large numbers of enemies at once (cough thrall cough). In PvP, Fusion Rifles automatically make you an asshole. Just saying. If you MUST use one in PvP (asshole), do NOT aim down sight. These things for whatever reason are much more accurate and easy to fire (plus you can see your radar) while NOT aiming down site. Great, I just helped you be an asshole. Now I’m an asshole. :( Anyway, Sniper Rifles are my specialty. In PvP, if you can get 10-15 headshots a game, go for it. They’re great for clearing corridors and taking people out from a distance, but be warned of the red light that shines when you aim down sight, giving your position away to everyone who can see you. WARNING: If you aren’t great at sniping, don’t snipe. You’ll just bring down your team. In PvE they are very useful at taking out targets such as hobgoblins at a distance, without putting yourself in danger. They are also great for taking out shielded enemies from afar. I use them all the time to clear out enemy commanders before actually running in and mopping up the trash. Overall, pick which special is best for your situation (shotguns up close, fusion rifles for clearing hordes, snipers for picking off high value targets) and roll with it.
/ Heavy Weapons are absolute lifesavers in so many situations. They can decimate bosses and ‘ultra’ enemies in PvE, and turn the tide of battle in PvP. If your team managers to get both heavy ammo spawns consistently, you’re probably going to win the game. You only have two choices here, and I recommend to carry three of each: one for each element. Let’s start with the Machine Gun. High ammo capacity, high damage, varying rates of fire and recoil. Personally I have three Zombie Apocalypse machine guns: one for each element (damn I got lucky with these). They allow me to roll through PvE content with 0 difficulty. I can kill any ‘ultra’ enemy in seconds due to their high damage per shot and relatively low recoil. Even bosses are no match for these things, they’re absolute beasts. On the other hand, Rocket Launchers are the big bruisers of the game. I use the exotic Gjallarhorn which is upgraded to track enemies and throw off a bunch of homing cluster missiles when it explodes. If there is a large single target, the main missile AND all of the cluster missiles hit, and the target pretty much dies. It’s kind of unfair, really. Regular rocket launchers are still extremely powerful as long as you match up the element to the enemy, and they can save your life if you’re in a tight spot. Conserve ammo as much as possible, and as long as you find an occasional ammo drop you’ll never run out. Just to be safe though, I carry plenty of Heavy Ammo Synthesis (available at the gunsmith in the tower).
Note: The main stats you want on your armor are Light to boost your level, Intellect for lowering your Super cooldown (you want 100% of this), and Discipline for lowing your Grenade cooldown (you want about 50% of this). Strength doesn’t matter much unless you use melee perks like Backstab or Escape Artist exclusively.
- I’m going to go over the stats that I personally have on my armor, and why I like them so much.
/ Helmet: I recently upgraded to a helmet from a Queen’s Wrath mission. I should note that my helmet has basically the same stats as the FWC helmet: Cover of No Tomorrows (mine just looks cooler). The main stats here are Increased Melee Speed and Grenade Kills Replenish Super Energy. The first perk is the most important in this case. Increased melee speed allows you to win 90% of melee fights in PvP (STAB, STAB, DEAD), and take out hordes of smaller enemies in PvE with no problem. The second perk can be up to your preference. I use my grenade a lot in both PvP and PvE, so I use it constantly to get more super energy. Combined with my Lucky Raspberry chest perks (longer arcbolt grenade chain, grenade energy replenishes on respawn) I can usually get my super very quickly in any game mode.
/ Gloves: I use the Vanguard gloves from the Dustwalker set. These are the perfect gloves, and I’ll likely never get rid of them. The perks I have on them are Faster Hand Cannon Reload Speed and Increased Grenade Throw Distance. For me, the hand cannon perk is self-explanatory. I use them more than any other gun, so this is vital. For you, you might want to find gloves with a different weapon reload speed. If you get them from an Engram, the stats/perks can be random, so there’s a chance of anything happening! As for the increased grenade throw distance, this has been invaluable in PvE and PvP. Being able to hit far away targets with grenades is a lifesaver in some situations. I recommend you get good at ‘grenade sniping’ as I call it, and you’ll be able to pick off targets with ease.
/ Chest: I use the Lucky Raspberry exotic chest, and I quite like it. The main perks on it are Increased Arcbolt Grenade Chain Length, Replenish Grenade Energy On Respawn, More Fusion Rifle Ammo, and More Heavy Ammo. These perks are great in PvE and PvP! Arcbolt grenade can now kill more than 3 enemies at a time (I believe up to 5 or 6), and if you happen to die (or switch grenades at any point) you get all of your energy back immediately. The fusion rifle ammo and heavy ammo perks are amazing for difficult missions/strikes/raids, where these weapons are the best at taking out those shielded enemies. Another exotic option is the Crest of Alpha Lupi, which gives you Faster Revives! This, combined with invisibility can make you an instant combat medic for high level strikes and raids. If you don’t have one of these chests, you’re basically just stuck with generic More Ammo perks, so find some that are useful!
/ Boots: Just like my gloves, I use the Vanguard Dustwalker boots. I am actually looking to upgrade these, since the only perk I have isMore Ammo For Assault Rifles. I want hand cannon ammo!
- Noteworthy Bonuses
/ Note: As far as I know, armor bonuses DO NOT STACK. Don’t try to get multiple pieces with the same perk on them, since that doesn’t work!
/ Try to get as many unique perks such as increased reload speed and increased melee speed and more ammo as possible. Synergize your armor to maximize your potential in your preferred play style!
/ More coming soon!
- PvE Tactics – AKA ‘How to make Vex GTFO and kill someone else instead.’
/ Use Elemental Damage – Match your elemental damage (arc/solar/void) to the color of your enemies shield!
/ Use Cover – Rocks are your best friend. Also low walls. If you can crouch behind a wall, try point your gun near the top and then aim down site… you can automatically aim over the cover! What is this, Gears of War? Seriously though, you can totally avoid 99% of damage by just barely sticking your head out over a wall or a rock. The enemies still shoot the rock, and you’ll still be able to shoot them!
/ Backpedal – 1. Learn your surroundings. 2. Learn to shoot while walking backwards. 3. Keep the enemy in front of you. 4. Win.
/ Use Invisibility – When all else fails, try using some invisibility perks such as Escape Artist to drop aggro and make a quick getaway. Just don’t attack or blink or you’ll be visible again!
- PvP Tactics – AKA ‘How To Make Everyone Hate You: A Comprehensive Guide!’
/ Blink + Shotgun + Blink Strike + Hungering Blade = Win – Seriously. If you get good at using Blink to disorient your enemies (while keeping yourself aware of your surroundings), you’ll be unstoppable. Use it to get over walls and behind enemies without them even noticing, and then blast them up close and finish them off with a blink strike to heal back up. This combination is so incredibly powerful, it’s crazy.
/ Invisibility + Sneaky Tactics + Backstab = Win – The key to invisibility is to use it BEFORE you engage the enemy. If you use Stalker, crouch in a corner and then go around, zig-zagging to disorient the enemy, and then BAM shotgun. They can still sort of see you, but that doesn’t mean they’ll be able to hit you if you’re moving all over the place. If you use Vanish (arc blade perk), all you have to do is start your super out of sight, go invisible, then rush in and slice everybody up before they know what hit them. Same thing applies, just keep moving (not in a straight line) and you’ll be impossible to hit. If you’re being chased, try ducking around a corner, going invisible, and then backstab the enemy as they pass. It works maybe 50% of the time, but it is so worth it when it does.
/ Arc Blade is easily one of the most powerful supers in the game in PvP. Unlike most other supers, you can actually move around and hunt down enemies! The downside is that they can also shoot you and end your killing spree at any time… That being said, MOVE! If you keep on the move and use your melee to zig-zag across the battlefield (and even, in some cases, FLY THROUGH THE AIR) it will be very difficult for them to hit you. However, you are still always vulnerable to Fist of Havoc and Nova Bomb, so try to kill enemies around corners to get the jump on them. Arc-Blade is one of those supers that can get you like 6-7 kills if you’re lucky, but also get you killed the instant you activate it if you aren’t careful. If you are running across an open field, you’ll likely die. Don’t die. Be death.
Be everywhere. Be nowhere. Be right behind your enemy. BAM. STAB. WIN. Your best weapon is misdirection. Blink, blink strike, invisibility, sticky grenades, and enough agility to simply outrun the bad guys should be plenty to keep you on them move and far away from bullets. Use cover, manipulate the radar, and strike where the enemy least expects you.