Destiny Hunter Exotic PvE/PvP Tier Guide
Destiny Hunter Exotic PvE/PvP Tier Guide by WintermuteZero
I’ve got about 1000 hours played, the majority of it on Hunter. I play a good bit of both Crucible and PVE, so there’s advice for both, including perks to keep an eye out for on your armor pieces. Onwards!
Stat Allocation and Perks
PVE Gunslinger: Intelligence > Discipline > Strength
Golden Gun is your jam. Reach out and touch someone or a pack of someones, three or four times. Too bad it can’t crit, but when you Combust your way through a full mob or two, who cares about crit kills anyway, right? Great for generating orbs safely for your team. Get Intelligence capped or damn near it, it’s the core of your class aside from your better-than-average gunplay. Take advantage of it as often as you can.
Your grenades are decent. You’re no Striker Titan, but Tripmine does REALLY good single target damage if you don’t accidentally kill yourself in the process. Discipline should be your other go-to stat for most PVE situations, and probably just under Int. Combine this with Scavenger, and you should have your grenade up more often than not. As for Strength, you run Knife Juggler, right? You probably don’t need much Strength, if any. Do note that knives can crit KO, which turns around and procs Chain of Woe/Trance. Synergy! … Seriously, it’s the only synergy Hunter has. Just run Knife Juggler.
As for Glove perks… Hell, pick anything not on Achylophage Symbiote. You are running it, right? Incisive Maintenance is probably your best bet.
PVE Bladedancer: Strength > Intellect/Discipline or Intellect > Discipline > Strength
Ideal Bladedancer stat spreads for PVE are a little different. There are two main types I see played usually – the invisible bladedancer running Don’t Touch Me gauntlets who runs all the appropriate perks, flux grenades, and can probably survive the Thrallway solo, and the aggressive bladedancer who wants to proc Hungering Blade as much as possible and stab/shotgun/arcblade everything to death.
Sneaky Blade wants Strength high to have maximum invis uptime on melee and a good split between disc and int, and an Unyielding Casque with Infusion and Light the Blade for Crota HM. Aggro Blade wants Int/Disc to warm up packs with grenades before blinking in, and is usually running Fast Twitch making Strength largely redundant. Ideally Aggro Blade is reinforcing his grenade spam with Incisive Maintenance on his gloves and Mask of the Third Man for faster stabbing and getting more mileage out of his Arc Blades.
PVP Gunslinger: Intelligence > Discipline/Strength
I run a more even spread as a PVP slinger, with a slight but not overwhelming emphasis on INT for more Golden Gunning. The build I run uses Scavenger, Gambler’s Dagger, Knife Juggler and a hand cannon for the potential incredibly fast 2HKO of knife headshot + pistol shot, so I’m constantly running around refreshing my nades and knives picking up boxes, making a huge investment in to either strength and discipline less important. Perks I look for are Switchblade and Fastball, with Switchblade taking priority. Learn to love your knives.
PVP Bladedancer: Intelligence > Discipline > Strength
Fast Twitch, Hungering Blade, Blink are the bread and butter for most Bladedancers out there. STR is kind of redundant as you should almost always have Blinkstrike up with Fast Twitch, so get INT capped for faster Arc Blade nonsense and look in to getting Fastball on your gloves or helmet for long-distance stickies or arcbolt grenades, and/or Switchblade for stronger followup Blinkstrikes. If you’re running Backstab (especially now with Inferno mode being a thing) then definitely bump Strength up and bump Int down for a more even spread – you have 2 potential OHKOs there in stickies and backstabs, pretty nasty.
Achlyophage Symbiote – Discipline – PVE: S PVP: A
This is -the- defining Gunslinger exotic. 4 Golden Gun shots is a massive gamechanger. Combust your way through packs of baddies or just hammer rounds in to big yellow enemies. If you’re not running this as Gunslinger in PVE content not called the Crota’s End HM final boss room, you’d better have a very compelling reason as to why not. It loses a little bit of luster in PVP on the back of not always being able to find 4 targets before your cooldown goes off. Still really good, just IMHO not auto-pick S tier. Discipline here is VERY nice for your grenades, as the secondary perks on this helmet just make them perform that much better.
Knucklehead Radar – Strength – PVE: B PVP: A-
This is a very playstyle-dependent piece, and its perks are weirdly allocated. While its PVE applications are limited (though having Inverse Shadow is pretty nice) in PVP Third Eye on ANY primary is pretty incredible, as your radar is a constant stream of information in Crucible. Pair this with an exotic hand cannon or Red Death, watch your corners, and increase your chances of getting that all-important first shot off while ADS. It loses a step thanks to Inverse Shadow being useless in PVP, and Strength for most common bladedancer builds is kind of useless thanks to Fast Twitch. Still really damn good though.
ATS/8 Arachnid – Strength/Discipline – PVE: C PVP: C+
Neat idea, but doesn’t do enough. If this thing let you crit with your Golden Gun shots I can see the perk being much more interesting, but as it stands it just shrinks your field of vision while golden gunning targets you usually would’ve been able to hit anyway. Secondary perks on the helmet are legit good though, creating a neat little feedback loop with your grenades refilling the rest of your abilities at a faster pace. It does have a saving grace on large maps like Skyshock combined with increased GG range, keeping it from being completely useless in Crucible.
Mask of the Third Man – Intelligence – PVE: A PVP: A+
This is my personal choice for Bladedancer nine times out of ten, as it’s set up very nicely for the class. Intelligence, faster melee attack speed which is imho a crucial PVP perk for Bladedancers (that followup stab needs to beat out your opponent’s second melee if you don’t KO with the first lunge or shotgun blast, and this helps facilitate that), arc blade attacks take less energy which lets you not bother running Encore and instead go with Hungering Blade most of the time, and the all-important Crota HM Health Insurance package in Infusion, which can occasionally save your tail in PVP too. Note that ‘Arc Blade Attacks’ refers to your RT/R2 abilities, not to your regular swipes. Pair this with Encore for hilarious results in the Lantern phase of Crota’s End, or anywhere else with huge packs of weak enemies. S Tier for the Crota fight especially as the sword runner.
Young Ahamkara’s Spine – Discipline – PVE: C PVP: B
These get points for looking absolutely amazing. They lose points for only working with one particular grenade type, and not being at all relevant in PVE aside from Ashes to Asset being decent. In PVP you can long-term lock down doorways if you’re clever, and can generate scenarios occasionally where you have two grenades going at once. There’s probably a pretty interesting build with scavenge, capped Discipline, and tripmines that utilizes this to good effect to lock points down, but it’s hard to pass up some of the more impactful exotics for such a marginal gain. It does turn your tripmines into fire-and-forget grenades, though – with a 30 second duration, you will occasionally get freak kills out of nowhere. Postmortems for days!
Don’t Touch Me – Discipline – PVE: A PVP: C
Inverse Shadow on GAUNTLETS. This exists nowhere else in the game right now. That alone makes these worth looking at. The invisibility perk, however, is something that will fundamentally alter your playstyle, and lets you get away with aggressive play that you normally wouldn’t want to even consider. Bladedancers use these to good effect – the invis this grants is affected by the Shadowjack perk and can last quite a long time – but that’s not to say Gunslingers can’t use these as an oh-shit safety net to retreat to a safe spot if they get mobbed and still enjoy the Inverse Shadow benefits. These gauntlets are basically a get out of jail free card against anything that doesn’t melee one-shot you, and for that they definitely deserve the A ranking. These are also AMAZING for the thrall lantern phase in Crota’s End. They’re kinda crap in PVP – if you’re finding yourself in a position where you’re in melee range, you’re probably either dead or killing your opponent as is, and Inverse Shadow is wasted in PVP. Seriously though. Double shotgun Thrallway. Try it with these. It’s super fun.
Crest of Alpha Lupi – Strength – PVE: B- PVP: C or B+ depending on game mode
Every class has one of these, this is your medic kit and orb generator. You use it better than anyone else as a invis-specced Bladedancer at least for the medic aspect, but aside from that it’s a bit lackluster as your orb generation as said subclass is for some reason terrible and you’re stuck with a Strength roll. If it had Discipline or Int instead of Strength, it’d rate a little higher. It gets a special shoutout in PVP modes where reviving is a thing though, as it can and will let you get away with rezzes you have no business doing and turn fights around. A whole team wearing these is pretty hilarious. This thing isn’t awful, it’s just not amazing, and it’s useless in HM raids.
Lucky Raspberry – Intelligence – PVE: B PVP: A
I’ve talked to plenty of Bladedancers who swear by this thing in PVP, and while it’s -good- (hence the A ranking) I personally value the mix granted by Mask of the Third Man (or even Knucklehead) a little higher. Reason being is this – a good chunk of Bladedancers are running Fast Twitch/Hungering Blade, which means you can dump the rest of your stats in to Disc and Int and have pretty damn good grenade regeneration as is without the need to spend your exotic slot to facilitate it. Also, ironically, the better you do in PVP the worse this piece is. The bonus radius/target on Arcbolt Grenade is actually pretty damn useful in both PVE and PVP, however. I like this piece a lot despite rating it under MotTM, it’s a very viable choice. If it suits your style, by all means – I’ll run it when I’m feeling crazy and want flux grenades up constantly if I’m doing a grenade bounty.
Radiant Dance Machines – Strength – PVE: C PVP: B+
This is a weird piece. It’s borderline useless in PVE, if you need to juke and shoot it’s usually not an issue against mobs. In PVP though, that extra bit of mobility when ADS can make a HUGE difference in firefights, especially with a high agility build. I wind up running these here and there, and with the MIDA Multitool or other +2 AGI weapon you become a skirmishing monster. They’re a minor advantage much like Knucklehead Radar, but the hunter kit is strong enough in PVP on its own that minor advantages like this add up pretty quickly over the course of a match. These are the hardest ones to rate for PVP as they directly reward how skilled you are in handling your character.
Thanks for reading! Hopefully you got some value out of this, and I’m curious to see other players thoughts on my favorite class and how to most effectively play them.