Destiny Gunslinger Hunter PvE Guide
Destiny Gunslinger Hunter PvE Guide by Eterya
This guide will comprehensively discuss perks, playstyles and equipment choices, and how any Gunbros among you can take out any enemy from a distance to the best of their ability. Massive Wall of Text inbound, brace yourself.
DISCLAIMER: This represents my experiences and opinions, and is not necessarily the “correct” or “definite” way to play. It’s what I do, and I’m quite successful with it. Also, these are guidelines, nothing more. If you find anything else you want to do, go ahead. It’s your game, so you should play the way you want to.
Basics: This will outline the Gunslinger class and their special abilities. If you know anything about Gunslingers, feel free to skip this bit.
- The Gunslinger is an offensive class that is best at mid-to-long ranges and offers great flexibility. Specialization allows them to excel with either weapons or abilities.
- Double Jump: The Hunter’s Jump ability. Significantly different from the Warlock and Titan ones, the principle will be known to anyone who played just about any action or jump&run title. It offers great, fast mobility in combat, but is slightly lacking in the platforming department. Two upgrades are shared with the Bladedancer, the third is Triple Jump, which is exactly what it sounds like, adding another identical jump added to the Double Jump.
- Golden Gun: Summon a powerful Hand Cannon formed from Solar energy into your hands to fire mighty shots at enemies. By default it holds 3 shots and lasts 10 seconds or until all shots are fired. It’s ADS and fired like a normal gun, with a RoF of about 15 (which is equal to the Timur’s Lash archetype) and obviously deals Solar damage. Note that unlike Arc Blade, you gain no damage resistance during use. It can be improved by perks as follows.
- Perks: Deadeye: Significantly increases accuracy. Combustion: Killing enemies causes them to explode. The damage falls of like a grenade, and up close deals about as much damage as the actual shot. Gunfighter: Reduces the cooldown of Golden Gun.
- Throwing Knife: The Gunslinger “melee”. Quotations added, because it actually has an effective range of up to 10 or so meters. Off cooldown it throws a, well, Throwing Knife at the enemy. It is aimed where the crosshair points, and can be thrown while ADS for more accuracy, but behaves like a projectile and drops off after a few meters. It has an amount of Aim Assistance and can score precision hits, dealing enough damage to one-shot Vandal-tier enemies. It can be modified by perks as discussed below. A Knife will only be thrown if there is no enemy in melee range, otherwise the character will execute a regular melee strike. Any throw triggers a cooldown, even if the Knife completely misses.
- Perks: Circle of Life: TK kills while Golden Gun is active increase the latter’s duration. Incendiary Blade: Hits with TK set an enemy on fire and deal DoT. Knife Juggler: Precision kills immediately reset the cooldown.
The following discussion will expect the reader to know and understand the various perks and Gunslinger exotics. If you don’t, check out the perks by following the build links and reading their descriptions, and the armor by clicking here. (Ignore the exotic Cloaks in that list, they’re datamined and not yet in the game).
Weapons/stack-centric build “Boom, headshot.” A build that uses two perks that grant stacks on precision kills to excel with just about any weapon. It’s as flexible as your arsenal, and the build I use most of the time. Build. Discussion why I use these exact perks:
- Incendiary grenade.: I far prefer these for PvE. They deal decent damage and DoT, which makes them useful on shielded enemies (screw you, Wizards). The DoT also gives it the interesting property that the damage falloff over range is lessened, as the burn always hits in full. For the Swarm grenade, think Wolfpack Rounds, but sadly not as OP. They still deal enough damage to be useful, shredding one or two trash, and taking a chunk out of a major. Plus they carry little risk of hurting yourself, if it’s at all possible. Tripmines deal the highest damage, but imo better for PvP, due to the exact way they work: They have a very small blast radius, that also is cone-shaped instead of spherical. However there will not always be a decent surface to attach the mine to (go for walls over ceilings or floors) and mining a chokepoint is less important in PvE. Plus it can’t be used in combat nearly as good as other grenades, as it carries a relatively big risk: It will stick to enemies, but unlike other sticky type grenades, will go off immediately. This combined with the shape of the blast has a very good chance to kill you if you try to use it in close quarters. Similarly, if you miss a throw and hit an obstacle near you, it may go off right away and kill you, whereas any other grenade you can dodge or at least survive, and htey actually can be detonated by enemy shots while being thrown, again, killing you. However, barring that, they are great on bosses. I find that when using Tripmines, I die to them disproportionally often. But ultimately the grenade is up to personal preference, use whichever you like.
- Triple Jump: This, again, is up to preference, but I find that the third jump can effectively replace both more height and more control, plus it offers extremely good maneuverability.
- Combustion: Imo this is just the strongest option, and gives GG an element of splash damage and crowd control. Deadeye is really unnecessary, as GG is already plenty accurate on anything but the longest ranges. Gunfighter is okay, but Combustion is simply better (and I don’t know exactly by what percentage it reduces the cooldown).
- Knife Juggler: Circle of Life is seriously, what? When using Golden Gun the duration only becomes important when running out of targets, so you won’t have anything to kill to extend duration. It’s only small saving grace is the +1 Armor it grants for some scenarios. Incendiary Blade is a decent option to have a(nother) DoT effect to mess with shields or put some more hurt on bosses/majors. Feel free to use that if you’re not that good at aiming your Knife. I use Knife Juggler because I use my Knife mostly as a fallback when stuff is getting too close for comfort. That almost always has them coming straight at me, so I can quickly line up a precision shot to effectively keep my Knife. Also it’s a one-hit-kill anyways, so what good would be DoT. Note Knife Juggler does not work so well on Goblins/Hobgoblins due to their oddly situated crit spot messing up the aim assist.
- Path Unkown and Way of the Nomad: On all these builds what exact training you choose is purely a matter of preference. This one is supposed to fight a long ranges and take cover if they’re being shot at, so I have lots of Rec to quickly heal off damage.
- Gunslinger’s Trance: The point of this build is to use both stack-granting perks for use with precise weapons, so there’s no other option. This one significantly helps with any weapon’s recoil, but of note are Hand Cannons and Snipers, many of which have the potential to have literally no kick when you have 3 stacks. The stacks last 15 seconds, which are refreshed every time you land a precision kill, even if you’re at 3 stacks already.
- Chain of Woe: As above. This helps out with reloading and is quite useful on just about anything, though there seems to be a cap applied to weapons with inherently very fast Reload. The stacks last 10 seconds each, and work exactly like Gunslinger’s Trance.
Playstyle: Pretty straightforward. Move at medium-to-long ranges and shoot stuff, aiming for precision kills to build stacks. Ideally go for a few trash mobs first to gain stacks, and try to keep them up. A useful trick is, when an encounter is over, before Chain of Woe runs out to quickly cycle through your weapons and quickly reload all of them. Your grenade and melee are a bit more of backup here, depending on the exact range you’re at and how good you can aim your throws. You’ll have Golden Gun up often enough, use it to nuke either a major or some trash, ideally going for some that are grouped up.
Armor: Just about anything. The best option is the Achlyophage Symbiote, followed by the Knucklehead Radar for more awareness and spending long times ADS, and the Don’t Touch Mes for when something comes close enough to hit you. The latter two also come with Inverse Shadow for more super off PvE kills. For the remaining armors: Alpha Lupi >> Arachnid > RDM > Ahamkara Spine. But really the last three will be of limited, if any use. Stat-wise, prioritize INT, then DIS.
Weapons: There’s a great flexibility here, especially in regards to primaries: Anything. Scout, Hand Cannon, Pulse, Auto, whatever you like and use well. Though I recommend Scout Rifles or Hand Cannons for ease of precision kills. My personal favorites include: Hawkmoon (sorry, Xbox people), MIDA, Fang of Ir Yut (running Spray&Play, Perfect Balance and Focus Lens) and the Vex for slightly closer quarters. For legendary Scouts I recommend a Focus Lens or Ranged Lens type scope. However on secondaries a Sniper is easily the best choice, as Shotguns are a close-range weapon, and Fusions are mid-range at best, and can’t land precision hits. Either exotic sniper works well, as do most legendaries; use whatever scope you prefer, personally I like the Ambush and Tacsys ones for flexibility and field of view. Rockets obviously don’t score precision hits, so an HMG might be preferable, but use whichever you like. Strong weapons include: Thunderlord, Truth, Against All Odds, Jolder’s Hammer and (of course) Gjallarhorn.
Cooldown-reduction build “I can use that.” As some people feel that the use of stacks is somewhat inconsistent (admittedly it is, but I prefer to see it more as a powering up-mechanic), this build forgoes them and instead focuses on reducing all ability cooldowns for great flexibility on the battlefield. Build. I will only discuss differences to the above build.
- Gunfighter: This build focuses on cooldowns, so it stands to reason we’d use a perk to reduce the cooldown. If you insist, Combustion is still a decent option of course.
- Knife Juggler: This time, this one is highly recommended, as the goal is ability usage, so more Knifes are always good.
- Path Forbidden and Way of the Fearless: This one fights at somewhat closer distances and is going to move around the battlefield a lot. Thus a mixture of Arm and Agi.
- Scavenger: This ability is pretty neat. The amount of cooldown reduced is proportional to the rarity of ammo picked up. Heavy > Special > Primary. Esp purple boxes take off a good chunk. We don’t want stacks on this build, and Keyhole is a weaker option for this build.
- Gambler’s Dagger: As the build is centered on all abilities, not only the super, the extra Knife is the better option.
Playstyle: Run around mid-range and kill stuff using all your abilities. That means grenades, Knifes (aim for Precision kills) and primary, special and heavy weapons. As you want use of Scavenger, try to have room for all types of ammo, and if you see pickups, just fire off a shot to reduce your cds. Use Golden Gun to wreck a few adds or finish off a major for more Orbs.
Armor: Achlyophage Symbiote is strong here as well. As is the Radar. Pretty much the same as for the above build applies, with DTMs more useful, as you will be in slightly closer ranges. A bit more relevant are various other perks. Look for: More super for PvE kills, more super for grenade kills, melee for grenade hits, grenade for melee hits. Some of these are found on the various exotics. Stat-wise, you want all three in about equal parts.
Weapons: Even more than before, just about anything. Use whatever weapon you like. Of note is the Grenadier perk, which can roll on any legendary, but is guaranteed on: The Chance (vendor type), Murmur, Swordbreaker, Song of Ir Yut. This one helps with cooldowns some more, as does Monte Carlo for PS players (again, sorry XBox people).
Golden Gun(wo)man “You’ve gotta ask yourself one question: ‘Do I feel lucky?’ Well, do ya, punk?” A super-centric build that focuses on enhancing Golden Gun as far as possible. In truth this one may be a bit gimmicky, but it’s great fun, and useful for some Eris bounties (Solar damage kills and Orbs of Light). Build. Again I’ll only discuss where it deviates from the first build.
- Path Forgotten and Way of the Drifter: To get optimal use out of the super, this build needs to be fast, so loads of Agi. Path Forgotten could easily be replaced by Path Forbidden for some more Rec instead of Arm.
- Keyhole: The focus is on GG, so this one is the perk of choice. Multiple kills with a single shot will proc Combustion multiple times, possibly wrecking some serious shit.
- Over the Horizon: As above, plus it grants a point of Recovery. If you really like your Knife, feel free to use Gambler’s Dagger, as this one is less important.
Playstyle is easy: Kill stuff to get your super, use super to kill more stuff (plus Orbs for your team). Repeat until all the things are dead. Aim Golden Gun level to the ground, so the shots pierce as far as possible and don’t hit a floor or ceiling. If you have multiple enemies lined up, say, when they’re right off spawn, you can spread some serious destruction with even a single shot, and clear a wide swath.
Armor: Achlyophage Symbiote. It makes your super 33.333…% more awesome. Absolutely the best choice. Then Alpha Lupi, after that the rest as above. The Ashes to Asset and Inverse Shadow perks are useful here. Stats, go for INT, then DIS.
Weapons: Once more, most things. Bad Juju is great for more super energy, and it stacks with Inverse Shadow, if you have that. Other than that, whatever helps you kill stuff best. And Grenadier is nice if you have Ashes to Asset on an armor (like the Symbiote).
About the Hunter exotics. Just that A short discussion on all currently available exotic armors.
- Achlyophage Symbiote: Grenade distance is okay, and Ashes to Asset is quite good. The exotic perk effectively increases your super damage by a straight third, making this is easily the best Gunslinger-specific. It has DIS on it, which is good, and works well with Ashes to Asser.
- ATS/8 Arachnid: Ashes to Asset and melee for grenade damage are rather good, but the exotic perk is somewhat lackluster. The zoom for GG is that necessary. But it does increase the actual range/accuracy, so I guess if you’re playing a real sniper playstyle this could be worth considering. It comes with split DIS/STR, which is okay, and the former, again, goes well with Ashes to Asset.
- Crest of Alpha Lupi: Special ammo is great, and I like Hand Cannons too. The signature perk increases the revive speed, and creates more Orbs from your super. Both effects are decent here, but neither is outstanding. Same applies to this armor. Has STR, which is only great for throwing lots of Knifes.
- Don’t Touch Me: Technically a Bladedancer-specific, but actually still useful. Special Loader is great, and Inverse Shadow is probably one of the best PvE perks (it will also stack with itself if you got a raid helmet with that same perk). For Bladedancer these are probably the best, but Gunslinger has no other stealth options, and shouldn’t fight in melee range anyways. However they are still a good choice if you don’t have the Symbiote, need gloves for Light, or need to act in close quarters, although they should be utilized less offensively and only really to get out of melee and shoot whatever hit you. The DIS is good.
- Knucklehead Radar: Melee for grenade damage good, Inverse Shadow great. Radar while ADS primaries is useful for increased awareness if you don’t have a gun with 3rd Eye. For the most part not the top choice, but a good alternative, say, if you need an exotic helmet for Light level or have few other exotics, especially on a weapon-centric build. It’s got STR, which is good for Knifes.
- Lucky Raspberry: Bladedancer-specific. Heavy Ammo is redundant, Fusion ammo is whatever. Gunslinger has no Arcbolt grenade, and though the respawn with grenade energy does work, it’s only really relevant for PvP. Not particularly useful overall. Has INT, which is good, but doesn’t play into the other perks.
- Mask of the Third Man: Bladedancer-specific. Melee speed for Gunslinger and Infusion are okay, the latter is of note for Crota HM. Other than that, don’t use this on a Gunslinger. Though it does have INT on it, which is always good.
- Radiant Dance Machines: Heavy ammo is superfluous. The special perk only seems to be really useful in PvP. These are comparatively lackluster overall. They have STR, which doesn’t really help them either.
- Young Ahamkara’s Spine: Special loader and Ashes to asset are okay, but that’s about it. The special perk rarely, if ever comes useful, and in PvE it only really increases the duration your Tripmine can blow yourself up. They have DIS, which does go well with their perks.
This turned out relatively short. Tbh Gunslinger has a bit less synergies in their skilltree, so I had to get a little creative. But now you have all you need to gun down any foe as a Gunslinger in PvE. This wasn’t that long, but for reading all of it you still deserve a cookie.
Do you guys know of anything I missed, forgot, or have wrong? If so, comment and I’ll change it accordingly. Of course feel free to comment with any other opinions questions, or whatever too xD
Thanks for reading, and see you on the battlefield, fellow Guardians.