Destiny Bladedancer PvP Build Detailed Guide
Destiny Bladedancer PvP Build Detailed Guide by NinjaBlademaster
Hello everyone. After sucking really badly at Crucible, I changed things up and found myself quickly improving, so I decided that maybe my build was effective and that I might share it with everyone. I’m going to include every little detail in this guide, from my character stats to my subclass to my weapons. I can say that I know what I’m talking about here, having played more than 700 Crucible matches and have a total score of 1,687,740.
EDIT: These choices are not the only ones you can use for this playstyle. If you want to adopt a similar playstyle but want to use some perk on your weapon over another, or a whole other weapon altogether, or or or, feel free to change that up. This is my own build that I tailored for myself, but when you use it feel free to tailor it to yourself.
The elephant in the room here, of course. The subclass is very influential to your build and playstyle, more so than you may really notice. While a lot of your kills will be coming from your weapons, your subclass build will be deciding what kind of weapons you will use and how you will use them.
My skillset is not always fixed and I change it based on three things:
- My weapon loadout
- My opponents
- The gamemode I am playing
Keep these things in mind whenever you play and make sure you are able to adjust accordingly.
First of all, don’t use Skip Grenade. I have experimented with it extensively and there isn’t even any situational or niche use where it isn’t outperformed by the other two. If you want to mess around a bit, sure. Otherwise, skip this one (pun intended).
Arcbolt Grenade is excellent for general, versatile use. It has a very good chaining range, does good damage (equal to melee damage of 122) and it has a good, predictable throwing arc. I would use this if using a sniper or if operating at slightly longer ends of midrange (like using a Scout Rifle) as it does not require much aiming and is very generous with the radius, or if you will be playing in very hectic CQC situations as your enemies will move around very quickly. However, when using this grenade, do not use it as a last resort. Instead, start off your attack with it if it’s available. The reason for this is that if the grenade lands on the ground after you die, it will not chain bolts of lightning, but it will produce a weak explosion that does between 10 and 30 damage (very insufficient).
Flux Grenade is ideal for midrange, and no range but midrange. Using this grenade at midrange is where it really shines as your targets are far enough away to the point where their movements won’t throw you off as much, but you can still aim the grenade effectively. While it does provide some assistance in sticking to enemies, do not depend on this as quicker enemies are able to dodge it if your aim is too far off. It still does cause damage if it doesn’t stick, but it is weak and has a small AoE. This grenade is ideal for situations where enemies will be grouped together as you are likely to get a stick, and you are near-guaranteed a multikill from full health if they are close enough.
Higher Jump is decent and can be somewhat useful for reaching a camping spot or something, but really it doesn’t provide benefits that Better Control can’t cover for in PvP if you won’t use Blink.
Better Control is what you will use if you won’t use Blink. It provides a small boost to Recovery, which is nice, and it gives a good mix of distance and height. This makes it a very versatile and reliable jump that is good for most situations.
Blink is the ideal jump… if you are able to use it effectively. It is by no means easy to master and takes practice if you want to use it to its maximum potential (and no, this is not a Blink+shotgun build). It allows for two Blinks in quick succession before there is a cooldown of around 5 seconds. Keep in mind that Blink is only affected by this cooldown, meaning you can blink several times in the air if you stay in the air for long enough. It is affected by your momentum; if you are at the beginning of your jump, Blink will take you upwards; if you are in the middle of your jump, it will take you forwards; and if you are at the end of your jump (falling) it will take you downwards. It gives great mobility, evasion, and gap closing ability. Because of this, it is the ideal jump to use and is the preferred option if you can use it. If you find that even after extensive practice it isn’t working for you, Better Control is viable.
Arc Blade is an interesting super. It is the only super in the game that provides a restriction and a buff at the same time; you cannot use your guns for the entire duration of Arc Blade. You have probably died to it if you play PvP, but using it is a whole other story. First of all, you cannot use Arc Blade as a panic button. Using it in the heat of battle, while exposed, will usually result in certain death because the animation is long, and you actually have to stab in order to kill someone. Because of this, it is ideal to use Arc Blade from behind cover, or as you are Blinking in (if you are good enough to pull it off it can look fabulous and be very effective). You then have 2 attacks: the stab, and the R2/RT ability. I’ll cover the abilities next, but for now, let’s talk about the stab. The stab deals around 200 damage, meaning it will one hit kill Guardians who have regular health. Guardians in supers or those who have overshields will take 2 stabs to kill.The stab functions very similarly to the Aegis or Sword slash in that it covers ground quickly and can be used to glide across wide spaces to close a gap.
Depending on your choice of modifier (in the last column of the subclass), you will be using Arc Blade in one of two ways: the first is for quick multikills and ambushing groups huddled somewhat close together, at the very most together in a small room, and the other use is somewhat longer killstreaks where you will likely achieve less kills on average, but will be much safer and much more consistent. I’ll talk more about this in the last column section.
In Arc Blade, keep an eye on your radar. Many people, when confronted with Arc Blade, will jump around and spam Blinks or double jumps. Because of this, once you see that middle circle go to a lighter, faded red, you should back up a bit, point your camera slightly upward, and jump to be able to kill that bunny-hopping, hopeless enemy.
You are more killable than you may think during Arc Blade, so don’t activate it if your health isn’t already at full. You will either die or spend precious super timer waiting for your health to regenerate.
Vanish (and really any invisibility) is of so little use in PvP that it isn’t worth taking, so I’ll just discuss Razor’s Edge and Showstopper.
Showstopper is a medium-sized AoE attack that you can activate in the middle of Arc Blade. It kills all enemies in the area in one hit. This is useful for being able to take out multiple enemies at once if they are surrounding you and you won’t be able to stab them quickly enough. However, the animation is quite long and the radius isn’t exceptionally large to justify using it. Add to this that you will have to get close to use it in the first place, which is no easy feat given that people will focus on you a lot.
Razor’s Edge is in my opinion the better of the two. It sends a fairly long (but slow-moving) wave of energy that kills people it hits in one hit. It is very useful for taking out closely gathered groups and for killing people you won’t be able to reach. EDIT: Razor’s Edge can also kill Defenders inside their bubbles from a safe distance so that they don’t shotgun you since they will take 2-3 stabs to kill. The only reason not everyone uses it is because it is somewhat hard to aim. It sends out the wave in the direction your character is facing rather than your camera, so you will have to make sure your character is aligned. It also pushes you slightly forward, so make sure you aren’t on the edge of a cliff when using it (for whatever reason I guess). If you aren’t able to aim it well or you find it too clunky, then Showstopper is useful in some situations, but not as versatile or powerful as this ability.
Blink Strike is a somewhat underwhelming ability on its own. It’s a melee attack with extended range that is 0.2m less than Scorch and Energy Drain, but it provides no added benefits or damage. It is useful for close quarters fights as it allows you to latch onto a slippery enemy and deal a good amount of damage to them. There isn’t really much to say about the melee itself, but its abilities are quite interesting. Keep in mind it is a somewhat inconsistent melee and whether it’s lag or bad design, you might encounter some issues with the hit not connecting and just doing a lunge animation.
First of all, Escape Artist (and invisibility in general) is useless so I won’t really even go over it.
Backstab allows your melee to kill Guardians in one hit you hit them in the back — sorta. The hitbox for the back is very inconsistent; you might find it dealing bonus damage on the head and sides sometimes, and you might find it not dealing bonus damage on the back (rarely). It is somewhat vague but generally hitting people in the back with it will secure a one-hit-kill. Backstab is best used when you are using a sniper as your secondary, since you won’t have a shotgun to one-shot people at close range, so this will be your alternative (unless you’re using Universal Remote, which… why?!). Because of this, investing in Strength is very important when using Backstab; you want to have a reliable close-range one-hit-kill to be up ASAP.
Fast Twitch reduces your Blink Strike cooldown to 5 seconds. This is very useful as it allows you to have it up every single fight, and is best used when using a shotgun as you want your follow-up melee to be effective and reliable. EDIT: Fast Twitch is excellent with Hungering Blade because you can regenerate your health with Blink Strike very often. Investing in Strength here is a matter of preference. Having between 90 and 100% Strength does in fact further reduce the cooldown to 2.5 seconds. While this may not seem like it’s useful, it allows you to use 2 Blink Strikes in a single fight, which you wouldn’t be able to do with a 5 second cooldown since this is enough time for your enemies to regenerate health. This can be very useful for having a range advantage over your opponents if you both hit each other with a single melee attack, and you will need some sort of trump card if you don’t want to always trade kills or lose.
”Random” Modifiers 1
I really don’t know what to call these.
Fleet Footed is really the way to go here. Increased sprint speed and slide distance help your mobility, which is very important for this build. It also boosts Agility so that’s cool. There isn’t much to say but it also gives you this blue trail/outline which looks cooooooool…..
Quick Draw can be useful at times, but unfortunately the benefit it provides is too little and too situational. Anyways, you should already have the right weapon out because as a player, you will want to pick your battles and choose the situation that suits you rather than simply reacting to whoever pops up on your screen. This will give you an edge since switching does take time even with Quick Draw.
I go with maximum Agility, then Recovery, then Armor. The reason for max Agility is because you may be using Blink, which has a cooldown. This means that whenever Blink is unavailable, you will have to rely on your first jump. Guess what boosts your first jump’s height? Agility. It also boosts walk speed which allows you to strafe better and position yourself better in close quarters.
Armor does practically nothing so I just made it the lowest priority.
I went with Path Forbidden and Way of the Drifter to get these stats.
”Random” Modifiers 2
Again, what do I call these?!
Stalker and other invisibility SUCK IN PVP (unfortunately) so don’t use it.
Now onto what I was talking about with Arc Blade:
Encore is very useful for keeping your Arc Blade up longer, but your lack of health regen after each kill means you will be easily killable after you reach the first guy if you attack a group of people. Having this, however, means you should use Arc Blade for slower killstreaks and for playing it safe. This is a much safer option as you will face one enemy at a time, meaning people won’t be able to pull off some crazy move and completely annihilate you all at once. If you’re a person who prefers a killstreak over a multikill, this will help you extend your streak more safely, and hopefully Reign with Terror on the enemy team. You will want to activate Arc Blade from behind cover when you see one guy, then move around a bit and try to pick off a few more people. Keep in mind you won’t get 4 kills a super almost at all, and never 5.
Hungering Blade is very useful for increased survivability and allows you to take on groups of people. Because you regenerate health after each kill, it’s harder for people to just focus fire on you once they see you since you will be getting your health up all the time. This isn’t very good for long streaks because you will run out of super very quickly, but it allows you to chain kills together immediately. However, there is a lot more risk associated with this because people can pop supers or heavies, and there’s less of a likelihood of surviving or escaping them with multiple threats to look out for. You will want to activate Arc Blade from behind cover when you see a group of 2-3+ people huddled fairly close to each other.
Your playstyle will be influenced by your map and your opponents, but for the most part, you will want to operate in close quarters. This will largely influence your weapon loadout depending on which weapons RNGesus has bestowed upon you (more on that later) but you will rarely find yourself at long range. No matter what gamemode you are in (besides Salvage) you shouldn’t really care much for the objective (if present) because you will be helping your team more in score if you are getting kills. If people are capping a zone, great! Go with them. Otherwise, don’t waste time and risk your life sitting on a Control point.
If you happen to be sniping, it won’t be across very long distances. It will be as close as you can get with a sniper without it becoming too hard since you are at a disadvantage vs Gunslingers at those long ranges.
You will want to play aggressively and roam around the map, instead of just staying in one area. This means you have to a) learn the maps and b) be careful when approaching; aggressive does not mean blindly rushing in. Check your radar. If you see a flash and you think someone is camping with a shotgun around the corner, they probably are. You will want to prioritize Stability on your weapons (besides Shotguns and Rocket Launchers) because you need to be able to land accurate headshots on your enemies to kill them quicker.
On a scale of 1-10 (aggression, 10 being highest aggression), I would say you sit between 7 and 9 depending on your build. Hungering Blade would bump it up, while going with Encore and/or Backstab would bring it down to 7.
If you are using Encore over Hungering Blade, you will want to play a bit safer, even outside of Arc Blade. You will be getting kills with your melee, a LOT, so having the health regen will allow you to jump into groups of two and take one out with a melee, then shotgun or double melee the other. However, Encore is equally useful; it just means you need to play a bit safer and not rush into large groups of people.
You are not Rambo. Respect the enemy. Only enter fights that you will be able to win given what is available to you (do you have a super? do you have a grenade? do you have heavy ammo?) and if you die, and there are still people where you died, don’t go there again without a teammate or two, and definitely don’t take the same path.
While you can really make any weapon work, there are a few weapons that have very good synergy with this build. I will only include vendored versions of Legendaries, Raid weapons, and Exotics.
MIDA Multi-Tool is an excellent scout rifle that works especially well with the Bladedancer class because of the high agility. It kills in 4 headshots or 6 bodyshots, and provides the famous speed boost. I would recommend Smart Drift Control and Lightweight from the perk options as you will want more stability, and the extra agility is always a nice addition. If you like scout rifles, this is as good as it gets for Bladedancers. Pair this one with a shotgun.
The Last Word is one of the few primaries that you can get away with pairing with a sniper for this build. It’s an excellent close quarters weapon that allows you to unload shots into your opponents at a very fast rate. The exotic hand cannon also has the ability to kill in 2 headshots if your hip-fire aim is true. I would recommend Smart Drift Control and Perfect Balance from the perk options to maximise the stability. Don’t worry about the range as you will not be using this outside of the closer ends of midrange. EDIT: Quick Draw is viable on this weapon since it does have a long animation IF you find it too long.
Red Death is one of the game’s best exotic primary weapons. It has very good synergy with Hungering Blade as it allows for quick healing after melee, super, or gun kill. This allows you to take on groups of people from any range. It is statistically excellent and if you are accurate, can kill very efficiently. I would recommend pairing this with a shotgun as you will want to have Blink Strike up often (for the heal), and therefore you cannot afford to use Backstab. I would recommend going with Aggressive Ballistics for more impact and stability, as well as Snapshot, since you will ADS with this weapon most of the time. This weapon’s heal can allow you to bring the aggression up to 11, no joke.
Vex Mythoclast is a very good fusion rifle, and it allows you to shine anywhere from close to mid range due to its excellent hip fire accuracy and stability, as well as good scope. I would go with Smart Drift Control (again!) and Send It to make this weapon more versatile to use at multiple ranges. While Extended Mag is viable, I just prefer the range. This can also be paired with a sniper due to its close range capabilities. It kills in 5 headshots or 8 body shots, and is still one of Destiny’s top exotics.
Word of Crota is the best legendary hand cannon option out there. It is very responsive, quick to ADS and switch. It also has a fast fire rate and good stability (as well as Zen Moment) which makes it very stable and ideal for closer range fights. I would recommend the first scope and Explosive Rounds for max stability and to throw off people’s aim more.
The Stranger’s Rifle is one of the game’s best Pulse Rifles, with high damage and a quick fire rate. It has good perks and good stats, nothing too special about this one but it is solid overall. I would recommend Smart Drift Control and Fitted Stock to help this weapon’s stability as much as possible.
Secret Handshake is a very good shotgun with fantastic stats and perks. I would go with Accurized Ballistics and Hammer Forged to maximise my range with this weapon. It also has the Grenadier perk, which allows you to pretty much skip out on Discipline if you are getting a decent amount of kills with it. It’s probably the best legendary shotgun option for a Bladedancer, especially due to Shot Package and its ability to follow up on shots quickly with its fast fire rate.
An honorable mention goes to Found Verdict. I really haven’t tried it extensively (only through Shareplay) but people do seem to recommend it so you can go with that if you have tried it and liked it.
Invective is nice if you really love your shotgun as it is a perfected version of the Secret Handshake. Full auto, more range, more impact, Final Round, and an option for high stability. I would go with Accurized Ballistics and Fitted Stock as you will be firing in full auto a lot, so you might as well land your shots.
Praedyth’s Revenge is THE sniper to use for this build. The high fire rate and stability, as well as Field Scout, allow you to follow up on shots really fast. Firefly is icing on the cake and can net you a bonus kill or two if you’re lucky. Go with the Ambush scope for maximum stability and Field Scout so you can have a bigger magazine. This thing is just soooo good.
Against All Odds is a dream to use. It kills in very few shots and has very good range for a machine gun. Its low fire rate makes it a headshot machine, and even with bodyshots it kills exceptionally quick. Grenadier is also a nice plus if you want your grenade once you run out of heavy ammo. It has Field Scout (hint hint, go with that) which gives it 50 rounds in a belt, and another 24 in reserve. This can allow you to get tons of kills in one heavy drop provided you don’t lose your heavy and you can land your shots. Don’t use this at close ranges though as it is very slow firing.
Deviant Gravity-A is very similar to Against All Odds, but fires slightly faster and hits slightly less hard. There isn’t much to say about it; it’s very similar to Against All Odds, but in my opinion slightly better due to added fire rate, which makes closer range battles a bit less painful. Hammer Forged is nice for hitting people at longer ranges too, and it has Soft Ballistics which helps the stability. If you are able to keep up long heavy killstreaks however, stick with Against All Odds.
Thunderlord is basically a perfected version of Deviant Gravity-A. It has the same fire rate and impact, but it has the Lighting Rounds perk which helps tear through groups of enemies. It is very accurate despite how bouncy the sights may seem, and has Field Scout which allows you to carry massive amounts of ammo per drop. Definitely maximise stability on your Ballistics and pick Field Scout.
I will mainly talk about Exotic armour here as most other perks don’t make much of a difference. Try to have an Increased Heavy Weapon Ammo perk somewhere on your armor, but more importantly you need increased melee attack speed. This is near necessary as you will need your melee to be as fast as possible for a close quarters build.
Knucklehead Radar is excellent if you like to use your radar a lot. If your primary does not have Third Eye, this gives you that perk for free which can be very handy. People say it’s a crutch, but it isn’t really that hard to go back to regular radar-lessness after using this helm (or the Third Eye perk) a lot. It also has Strength which is nice.
Mask of the Third Man is probably the ideal Arc Blader’s helm. Contrary to popular belief, it does not free up the Encore spot in effect because you will still lose energy per kill, just a bit less than usual. Still, it is very nice and allows you more attacks during Arc Blade. It also has increased melee attack speed which is nice, and is generally very good for this class. If you like to use your super a lot, put this one on.
Radiant Dance Machines will only ever be useful when paired with MIDA, and even then still subpar. I really wouldn’t recommend using these unless you don’t have Mask of the Third Man and are using MIDA Multi-Tool.
Lucky Raspberry is not really that great since you will rarely face groups of over 3 with just an Arcbolt Grenade anyways. Spawning with grenade energy is nice, but you really shouldn’t be aiming to die all that often, at least for those 45 or so seconds while your grenade is cooling down. Meh.
I already pretty much explained my stats, but I’ll go over it quickly here. There is no need for Discipline due to the grenades not being amazing (as well as the presence of Grenadier) and the super and melee being much more valuable, so skip out on that. Intellect and Strength are a bit more of a toss-up. If you like having the absolute reliable edge in melee fights, or you will be using Backstab and a sniper as a secondary, then max out strength and have Intellect at 60-70%. Do the reverse if you care a lot more for your super.
General Loadout Info
As I said, my loadout changes based on the situation.
I already discussed weapon loadouts and what to use as a secondary, as well as what skills to use based on your secondary weapon. However, some still remains to be discussed.
For larger maps and/or gamemodes with 6 total players (as opposed to 12), you are better off using a safer loadout. This usually means using Encore over Hungering Blade and if viable on the map, the sniper Backstab build. If it’s a smaller map the shotgun build is still workable but I would definitely use Encore over everything else. You will want to play a lot slower than you would in something like Control and be a bit more careful when making decisions.
Thank you everyone for reading. I’m always open to suggestions and things I can add onto this (and I will credit you appropriately of course). I hope this helps you in PvP, and if you would like to see more guides by all means tell me what you want to see.