Destiny Sunsinger Warlock PvE Guide
Destiny Sunsinger Warlock PvE Guide by Eterya
This guide will comprehensively discuss perks, playstyles and equipment choices, and how any Sunbros among you can both burn the enmy and support their team, 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 Sunsinger class and their special abilities. If you know anything about Sunsingers, feel free to skip this bit.
- The Sunsinger is an offensive mid range fighter that can be highly versatile. They deal great damage with their grenades and can adapt to various situations through specialization.
- Glide: The Warlock’s jump ability. Remotely similar to a Titan’s Lift, but much more dependent on the users momentum. It moves comparatively slowly, and can be used to either gain height or traverse vertical distances. The first two upgrades are identical to the Voidwalker’s, the third is basically a combination of the two, granting the effects of both to a weaker extent.
- Radiance: Imbue yourself with Solar energy, drastically reducing all ability cooldowns and gaining a measure of damage reduction, as well as increasing the damage dealt by Scorch. Grenades get a higher cooldown increase than melee, the DR is 100%, meaning you take twice as much damage to kill. Its base duration is about 14 seconds. Any kills during the duration generate Orbs of Light, not only grenades (however, kills during Radiance do not count as “super kills” for bounties etc). It can be enhanced through perks as follows:
- Perks: Song of Flame: During Radiance, grants all allies in range (approx. 8m, everyone inside the inner circle of the Radar) the Song of Flame buff that reduces all their ability cooldowns and lasts as long they are in range, plus a few seconds after that. Its effect will be strengthened if the user is wearing the Heart of the Praxic Fire. Radiant Skin: Increases the damage reduction during Radiance to 120%. Fireborn: If the super is charged, after death Radiance can be triggered to return to life.
- Scorch: The Sunsinger melee. Off cooldown a hit on any enemy will ignite them, dealing damage over time. Perks grant an additional effect to Scorch as will be listed below. Any hit on an enemy deals extra damage up-front and triggers a cooldown.
- Perks: Flame Shield: Hitting an enemy grants an Overshield that lasts 15 seconds (and displays a timer) or until it is depleted. Solar Wind: Hits with Scorch knock back an enemy hit. Note that this also applies to friendly Guardians (but doesn’t deal any damage). Brimstone: Killing an enemy with Scorch causes them to explode, in a matter similar to Bloom, but obviously Solar-typed.
The following discussion will expect the reader to know and understand the various perks and Warlock 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 Bonds in that list, they’re datamined and not yet in the game).
NOTE about Fireborn. I highly advise against ever using this perk outside of Nightfalls and (possibly) HM raids. I have seen way too much examples of misuse of it (95% of all Warlocks I ever played with) to say anything else. The reasons being not only that it encourages hoarding the super instead of using it as often as possible, but also leads to taking unnecessary risks and generally faciliates what I (and most) consider bad play. A truly good Sunbro wants to use their super as often as possible and also manages to not die in the first place (and obviously anyone reading this is, or wants to be, truly good). That is literally all I will say about it. This post is not a discussion about Fireborn, but about Sunsinger builds. So please don’t complain about or defend FB in the comments, this is not the place. Thank you.
Standard grenade Build “I’ll be the last Light they ever see.” – Eriana-3 The most archetypical Sunsinger build, and the one I use most. It focuses on grenade damage and frequently using Radiance to generate as much Orbs as possible. Build Discussion on why I choose to use these perks:
- Fusion grenade: A typical sticky grenade, similar to Flux or Magnetic, there’s nothing fancy about it. High damage in a small radius. But that damage is massively high (upwards 3k on a stuck target), which is why I use these. Solar grenades are AoE and good for crowd control/area denial. But their actual damage output tends to be somewhat low, as enemies just quickly walk out of the flares, and the goal of this build is high damage output with grenades. Firebolt grenades are a bit of an oddity. From the point of impact they hit up to 3 targets via hitscan, dealing moderate damage. They hit a bit more reliably and have a bigger range, but deal less damage, which makes them non-ideal for this build as well. If you really want, use either of the others, but I recommend Fusions for the highest possibly single-target damage.
- Focused Burst. Jump abilities mostly boil down to personal preference, but I like this one best. Glide tends to be rather slow, and FB remedies this a little at least, making it usable as a fast dodge. But use whatever you want.
- Song of Flame. This one is quite helpful to any teammates near you. If you have the Heart of the Praxic Fire, you become a walking mini-Time’s Vengeance every few minutes. I guarantee your teammates will like you for that (presuming they notice. If using voice chat, make sure to call it out.) Radiant Skin is a bit lackluster, as it effectively only grants a 20% increase in damage resistance, which is pretty little and makes SoF the far stronger option. The exception is when playing completely solo, as there SoF would just go to waste.
- Flame Shield. This is not a melee build, so you’ll only do so if stuff gets to close for comfort. Thus a bit of immediate protection is very welcome. Alternatively you can seek out a single enemy (or leave just one alive) to proc FS and use the overshield to put some slightly prolonged damage on your next target. Solar Wind is rather weak, as it only affects a single target, and a shield is generally better than just pushing back what’s attacking you. Brimstone is okay, but like the Voidwalker’s Bloom requires the killing blow, while only triggering off melee. It’s not bad per se, but situational, and tends to be outclassed by Flame Shield.
- Arcane Force and Ancestral Order. The training is pretty much entirely up to personal preference. I like this combination for very balanced stats, but use whatever you want.
- Radiant Will. This increases the duration of Radiance by 25%, to slightly above 17 seconds. Without discussion, this perk is great. Radiance is a centerpiece of this build, so more of it is easily the best choice. Viking Funeral only affects burn effects, of which this build only has Scorch, making the perk nigh useless. Sunburst has a chance to create Orbs of Light on each Scorch kill. It’s an okay option for support, but generally sees itself outclassed by Radiant Will, especially when running Song of Flame.
- Gift of the Sun. A second grenade is always great, and it also slightly increases your damage output during Radiance, as it eliminates the delay in grenade recharge while throwing the first one. Touch of Flame gives all grenades an ignite effect. But this is not an ignite build, and Fusion grenades tend to kill stuff the hit anyway, so there’s very little use for that. Angel of Light has some niche utility, but Gift of the Sun easily beats it in just about any situation.
Playstyle is pretty simple. Run around medium-range or closer, shooting and grenading stuff. If you get your super, use it as often as possible, ideally near teammates. Try to go for maximum Orb creation by nuking trash mobs or focusing on majors, or alternately max DpS by throwing all grenades at a boss or similar. Do keep in mind that you also create Orbs via weapon kills, so do not exclusively rely on grenades (especially if you’re carrying a Shotgun and are in close quarters).
Armor: The Heart of the Praxic Fire is very much your best choice. It enhances Song of Flame and vastly increases your damage output during Radiance. If you have it, use it. Alternatives include the Starfire Protocol to get Angel of Light as a bonus, Claws of Ahamkara for more Flame Shield (though not as useful on a non-melee build), Apotheosis Veil for more survivability and Light Beyond Nemesis for more Orbs and faster revives. The other exotics aren’t really worth your while here. Noteworthy perks for legendary armor include grenade charge for melee damage, melee charge for grenade damage, more super for grenade kills, more super for PvE kills and grenade throw distance. Stats you want as much both INT and DIS as possible.
Weapons: Literally everything. Every gun that helps you kill stuff at your preferred range. Notable is Bad Juju for vastly more super charge, as well as the Grenadier perk that can roll on any legendary weapon, but is guaranteed on Murmur, Swordbreaker, Song of Ir Yut and The Chance (FWC vendor version).
Igniter damage-over-time build “Be cleansed in flames.” This build focuses on DoT effects do deal damage, and is particularly useful against shielded enemies. Build. I will only discuss the differences to the previous build.
- Firebolt grenade. Remember when I said these deal less damage? Turns our with the DoT it’s exactly enough to finish off Vandal-tier enemies after a few ticks of damage, while having a far stronger range than Fusions. Solar grenades will not trigger the burn effect through their AoE damage, but only on impact, which makes them almost useless here.
- Viking Funeral. Here’s the igniter build, so now we use this. It doubles the number of ticks from burn damage, which makes it pretty much the only option.
- Touch of Flame. No igniting stuff without ignite effects. No discussion.
Playstyle: Pretty much exactly as above, only that special focus should be on enemies with shields or the ability to restore health, as well as small groups.
Weapons: Literally as above. Grenadier will be particularly useful, as you’ll only have one grenade available.
Armor: There’s no exotic that interacts with ignite effects, so use whatever you like. Very much the same as above applies.
Flame Shield tank build “A wall of fire is still a wall.” This build is a tanky, melee-focused option that aims for survivability to take fire off the team and destroy enemies in close quarters. Build. Again, I’ll only discuss differences to the first build.
- Fusion grenade. Not different, but worth noting that all grenades are good options here. Fusions deal high single target damage, Firebolt offer more range (plus have no issue of blowing yourself up with them), and Solar add an element of zoning that can be utilized tactically.
- Radiant Skin. I did previously say this was a bit weak, but here the focus is optimization, so we’ll take the 20% we can get. Also you’re not gonna be as close to teammates, so Song of Flame has less use.
- Arcane Spirit and Divine Order. All the armor. If you want a bit more speed over recovery, feel free to use Arcane Force instead.
Playstyle: Somewhat unlike other melee builds, you can’t just charge in and shoot stuff; even with Flame Shield you’re not that tough. Instead the focus is on a somewhat more tactical play. Know the limits of your Flame Shield. It won’t allow you to take significant fire from a boss, but it will protect you from a bunch of stray shots or one or two melee hits. Get close to proc Flame Shield, then fight at close-or-mid range until your health dips, then take cover for a moment. Alternatively during boss fights or similar, you can use some trash to get a Shield, then use that to put some more fire on the boss. Do note that while you have the potential to be as tough as a tank, you also move as slow as one. The Warlock Glide does not really help either, so don’t rely on being able to really dodge much of anything through speed. Your super is to be used frequently and will allow you to take a bigger deal of damage for its duration, especially when combined with Flame Shield, multiple of which will be charged through Radiance. It’s a bit of an experience value just how much you can take without dying, so this one may take some practice. But done right, it can be highly useful.
Weapons: Obviously a Shotgun. I particularly like Swordbreaker or Invective. Plus whatever primary. But PS players will very much want to use Monte Carlo. It does rather low damage, but quickly recharges your melee through dealing damage. But it’s far from required. Other good weapons include the Fang of Ir Yut, Red Death or MIDA. Also note that an HMG may be preferable over Rockets because dying to your own splash damage is dumb (and totally not what happened to me numerous times before.)
Armor: Far and wide the best option are the Claws of Ahamkara for obvious reasons. If you don’t have those, the Apotheosis Veil is good to, to use Radiance as an additional healing. HotPF is of course still strong, but nothing else really stands out, besides maybe the Sunbreakers if you want to use Solar grenades.
Other stuff: Not really a build, but some miscellaneous notes on synergies or perks that weren’t enough to warrant a full build around them.
- How Angel of Light works. It lets you hover in the air for about 2 seconds if you ADS while airborne. However it does only slightly, or not at all, affect your momentum, so it’s best to wait until you’re at the apex of your jump to have an as stable aim as possible.
- About Sunburst. It has a 50% chance to create 2 Orbs for a Scorch kill (averaging one per kill). It also procs off kills via Brimstone or the burn damage.
- Area denial. Solar grenades plus the Sunbreakers, plus Dragon’s Breath if you’re feeling funny. It works, but there wasn’t any real synergy for a full build.
About the Warlock exotics: Title says it. A short discussion on all currently available exotic armors.
- Apotheosis Veil: I like the word “apotheosis” (it means as much as deification, something becoming (a) god). Melee damage to grenade is a very nice perk. Infusion is good for CE HM, otherwise a little situational, but not bad. The main perk makes this one interesting. Just be aware that it only triggers regen. If you get hit again, it will stop. Use it as a Second Wind: fight the enemy until your health is critical, then take cover for a second, trigger Radiance and get right back into the game. Stats, it has DIS, which is always good.
- Claws of Ahamkara: Melee speed and Special Weapon Loader are both nice perks. The extra charge on either subclass melee makes these a decent choice for any build, but outside of a dedicated melee build, there tend to be better options. They come with split DIS/STR on them, the former of which is nice, and the latter isn’t out of place on a melee piece either.
- Heart of the Praxic Fire: The best Sunsinger piece, period. The Heavy ammo gets redundant with raid boots, and Fusion ammo is whatever. But the main perk makes this one a godsend. The increased cooldown reduction during Radiance is easily noticeable and (with enough DIS) allows you to throw grenades as fast as the animation plays. Even better, the effect is transitively applied to your Song of Flame buff, granting allies an even greater benefit. It has DIS on it, which goes absolutely great with the main perk.
- Light Beyond Nemesis: Melee speed is good, Infusion as above. The signature perk increases the revive speed, and creates more Orbs from your super. A decent choice if you like being support/medic, but overall there’s better. STR is rarely important either.
- Obsidian Mind: Voidawlker-specific. Grenade distance is okay, Inverse Shadow is great. Great for Voidbros, Sunbros not so much, for lack of benefit from the exotic perk. Its stats are an INT/STR split, which is okay.
- Skull of Dire Ahamkara: Another Voidwalker-specific. Grenade distance is okay, super off grenade kills is pretty good.
- Starfire Protocol: Ammo is the same as HotPF. The main perk does not give an additional, but a second Fusion grenade, i.e. it does not stack with Gift of the Sun. Truthfully that makes this one rather weak. The only real reason to use it would be if you have little selection of exotics and really like both Fusion grenades and Angel of Light. For stats, it has INT, which is something at least.
- Sunbreakers: Special Loader and grenade for melee damage is good. The main perk increases the duration of Solar grenades from 4 or so seconds to 8 (does not affect the Flares created by Dragon’s Breath). They aren’t bad per se, just situational; in general use they see themselves outclassed, but on a setup aiming for area denial they are pretty useful. INT on them is good as well.
- Voidfang Vestments: Voidwalker-specific. I like Hand Cannons. And special ammo is neat too. But the main perk just fall flat in PvE, as you have no Axion Bolt, and you should rarely die, so there won’t be much respawning. They are useful for PvP, and truly beast combined with Gift of the Sun and Fusion grenades, but here there’s little use for them. Their STR doesn’t really help them either.
That was about as long/short as I expected. That’s about all you should know to properly praise the sun in PvE. I feel this one’s a bit on the short side, but for reading to the end you deserve a cookie anyway.
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.