Destiny Bladedancer PvP Guide

Destiny Bladedancer PvP 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. Last time I made a Bladedancer guide it received some mixed responses. The general consensus and message I found from them was that I didn’t really tinker around with enough things and weapons and skill builds, and so 3 months, 2 Unbroken medals, and some Trials flawless runs later I think I’ve done enough tinkering. I’m by no means a tripleWRECK or any player of that level, but I’ve been having a lot of success lately and I’ve played the Bladedancer subclass for probably well over 10 days of compiled playtime now.

I’m going to be listing all the things that the subclass has to offer (I neglected some things last time around, I’m not doing that this time) and such. I’ll be giving my own personal opinion on them and where I feel they shine. Keep in mind this is kinda subjective since it’s from one person’s point of view and one person’s playstyle, so it might vary slightly in your own experiences. Take what I say with a grain of salt and experiment for yourself. There is no “cookie-cutter” build in this game for the Bladedancer from my experience.


Your subclass build will be the main influence of your playstyle. While you do use your guns for a majority of the time, your subclass will influence which guns you use, how you use them, and when you don’t use your guns and opt for using abilities.

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. Don’t stick with one build for too long or you will find yourself unable to adjust when making new classes or using another Hunter subclass (especially important with the upcoming new subclass which you will want to try). Same goes with weapons but obviously for the reason that balancing changes are a thing (although sometimes they take a few 5 months longer than usual lol).


Skip Grenade was the grenade that I just told you to not use at all last time, and my opinion is still pretty similar. It deals the same total damage to a single target as Arcbolt if the four projectiles all hit the target, but it’s a lot harder to hit, and if there’s more than one target then you’re dealing some 10 damage to each one. Not very significant. Its only situational use I have found is for flushing targets out of an area but that is also doable with an Arcbolt grenade as well.

Arcbolt Grenade is still 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 is pretty similar to the one a sticky grenade makes if it doesn’t stick.

Flux Grenade is still great 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. Keep in mind this grenade will not kill users of the Ram helmet on the Warlocks so just don’t be surprised when that happens.

Jump Ability

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, although feel free to do that if it floats your boat). 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

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 204 damage, meaning it will one hit kill Guardians who have regular health. Guardians in supers or those who have overshields (or the Ram) will take 2 or more stabs to kill. Titans using Armor of Light, Ram Sunsingers, and Unstoppable Striker Titans will take three stabs to kill. The stab functions very similarly to the Aegis or Sword slash attack in that it covers ground quickly and can be used to glide across wide spaces to close a gap. This is better done in the air because you can just keep slashing, meanwhile slashing on the ground results in this three-“combo” stab after which the next stab animation will take a bit longer.

If you’re not going with Stalker, your last column of perks will greatly influence how you use your Arc Blade, which will either be for picking off single targets or for taking on groups of enemies.

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.

In Trials, you will want to use it when you’re at a disadvantage or when you know you will be able to kill the enemy team. Don’t waste it on one guy unless you’re gonna lose otherwise. Also, don’t activate in a way to where you can be shot in the activation, otherwise you will most likely die.

Important: when rushing people to stab them, try to stay in the air as that will reduce their ability to shotgun you.

Now let’s talk about the perks for Arc Blade:

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 (thanks CaptFrost): 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.

Vanish is the one I neglected last time. I’ve used it quite a bit, and I have to say that while I still prefer Razor’s Edge, Vanish does have its uses. Keep in mind you’ll probably want to use Shadowjack with it. The thing about Vanish is that when you’re invisible and people aim at you, they can’t see your healthbar. What this means is that if you’re sliding around or moving around very quickly and unpredictably people will have a somewhat harder time hitting you. You also flash up on the radar every few seconds, similar to crouching, but you flash less often. This can be useful for ambushing people who like to stay ADS and only check their radar really quickly by releasing the left trigger for a fraction of a second and then aiming again.

Melee 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. Blink Strike is probably the glitchiest melee in the game and you will encounter times where you will just do this awkward lunge animation but not deal damage, or other times where the physics completely messes up and someone (you or the target) is launched awaaaayyyyyyy…..

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). The thing about Backstab is that if you are able to consistently abuse the messed-up hitboxes, you will be able to reliably one-hit-kill people from the front with a melee, which can be incredibly useful especially if you are a lover of the snipes. Consider some degree (if minimal) of investment in Strength if you will be using this melee a lot.

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. Fast Twitch is excellent with Hungering Blade because you can regenerate your health with Blink Strike very often. Having between 90 and 100% Strength doesin fact further reduce the cooldown to 2.5 seconds, but it’s not really that useful to have. I would just recommend focusing on the other two stats if you’re running Fast Twitch.

Escape Artist is kinda alright. It’s situational and while it does have its uses if you’re a lover of the Shotgun+melee, it’s useless if you begin the fight with your Blink Strike since the enemy can really clearly see you while invisible if you’re at melee range. If you’re good at finishing off targets with a melee and you like using invisibility you will find success with this.

”Random” Modifiers 1

I really don’t know what to call these.

Fleet Footed is a really good ability. 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 is the one I really underused last time, and shame on me! This thing is amazing! Quickdraw is really good all around and probably better than Fleet Footed in most scenarios. Having your weapons draw and ADS instantly is great since it allows you to react quicker and get an edge on people who try to draw out a shotgun on you. It’s great for (infamously) helping out with Blink+shotgun so if you’re into that then go all out. It also helps heavy weapons a lot which have really bad handling stats.

Shadowjack is pretty straightforward. If you’re using invisibility frequently you will want to go with this since the activation sounds for invis are really loud, and so you’ll want to be a bit far away from enemies before you activate it.

Character Stats

Down completely to personal preference. I prefer to go with Agility so that I can use my first jump effectively when Blink is on cooldown and Recovery so that I can get an edge on my opponents in gunfights where both of us take cover and then pop out again to continue. Again, this isn’t what everyone should use and this is completely down to preference.

”Random” Modifiers 2

Again, what do I call these?!

Stalker is the last ability I neglected last time. It’s basically a shorter-duration Vanish that activates after crouching in place for a couple seconds and is useful for the same reasons that Vanish is useful. Again, I have to stress that you are not permanently off the radar. You flash on and off but less frequently than when crouching. That is all.

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. Usually works best in 3v3 or Rumble (except Trials, more on that in a bit).

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. Use this if the enemy team has a half decent Thorn user! You will want as much recovery as you can get!


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 and you will not be able to see people on the radar.

You will want to play aggressively and roam around the map, instead of just staying in one area (an exception is Trials since you can’t afford this kind of risk without a carefully coordinated team effort). 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. Don’t allow yourself to get baited, if someone runs away and then suddenly you see more people pop up on the radar as you’re chasing them, run back to a safe position or to your teammates.

You can be aggressive, but remember: 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.

Weapon Loadout

The weapons I’m listing are the ones I found best. That’s not to say that other weapons don’t work well or can’t be very successful with this build, but the ones below are the ones I felt meshed the best with it. On rerollable weapons I will include the rolls I think are the best.

Thorn is arguably the king of PvP right now. I didn’t put it in last time because I didn’t have it and therefore couldn’t judge it, but now I can. It’s simply in the highest tier of weapons in the game for the Crucible. It kills in two headshots or three bodyshots and if you happen to not kill your target, it will delay their recovery thanks to the damage over time ability. I would advise going with Aggressive Ballistics and Send It. Only use Perfect Balance if you absolutely cannot control the recoil, otherwise Send It is better. Pair this with a shotgun, it’s already a sniper lol.

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. I recommend pairing it 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. Aggressive Ballistics is the best here to get more impact, and Perfect Balance is the best for recoil control. If the enemy is close and you are good at recoil control, then hold the trigger. If they are far away tap-fire the trigger so you can be more accurate.

Red Death is one of the game’s best exotic primary weapons. It has very good synergy with Hungering Blade as that allows for quick healing after melee, super, or gun kill. It can kill in two bursts to the head and it’s just really good. I would use Aggressive Ballistics for more impact and stability. The other perk choices are down to preference.

The Stranger’s Rifle is the blue Red Death. No joke, it has the same time to kill if you land all headshots, but it doesn’t have the healing perk. In the ballistics choices, go with Accurized Ballistics so you can get the most impact. The other column is down to preference, although I recommend Fitted Stock for more stability so you can more consistently two-burst people.

Found Verdict is the best bet for a non-Shot Package shotgun. The full auto is great for taking out super users, the thing has max range, Aggressive Ballistics, Final Round, and great impact. Good shotgun.

Matador 64, Party Crasher +1, Judgement IV, or Felwinter’s Lie are the “meta” shotguns right now because of high impact and the ability to reroll perks. I would recommend going for Shot Package, a range boosting perk, and the last perk doesn’t matter that much. These shotguns are fantastic because they have a ridiculous one-shot-kill range, but line up your shots or you will suffer due to the low fire rate.

Snipers are down to personal preference, really. Ambush or Shortgaze are good scopes to have, snipers with more Aim Assist are nice, but most importantly try to use high-impact snipers because they can kill super users in a lot of cases and they can kill people through revive shields. If the impact is above 30 it cuts it.

For Rocket Launchers I would recommend using The Ash Factory or The Dreamwaker if you’re gonna reroll them. Try to get Javelin, Warhead Veriners, Grenades and Horseshoes, and Clown Cartridge/Tripod (down to preference). Tomorrow’s Answer is also really good but can’t be rerolled.

For Machine Guns the BTRD-345 is really the best rerollable one. I would recommend Aggressive Ballistics, Counterbalance/Spray and Play, a stability boosting perk, and really any of the perks for the last slot except Grenadier. The Infinite Theorem is also nice but can’t be rerolled.

Thunderlord is basically a perfected version of the BTRD. 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.

EDIT: Lord of Wolves is a great shotgun but it’s situational and I would only use it if you’ve mastered that “sweet spot” since it can kill outside the range of a Felwinter’s with Shot Package. Fun weapon but it has its own learning curve. If you’re gonna use it, use Linear Compensator and Perfect Balance.

EDIT: Queenbreaker’s Bow is in a similar situation to Lord of Wolves in that it’s very fun and will reward those who grow accustomed to it, particularly thanks to the amazing ammo capacity. I recommend Combat Sights and Flared Magwell/Send It depending on your own preference. It also has its own learning curve and it’s not for everyone.


I will mainly talk about Exotic armor 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 meh.

Mask of the Third Man is probably the ideal Arc Blader’s helm. The perk provides a slightly weaker version of the Encore perk which is really nice. 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 one that made me change my mind! The Arcbolt chaining to a 4th target is great for 6v6 gamemodes, and more importantly you respawn with grenade energy. This is amazing for Trials because you will be able to have a grenade every single round, and we all know how good those are!

Khepri’s Sting basically frees up the Stalker slot which is good for invis users that also want to make good use of their Arc Blade. The actual melee perk won’t come into play too much but it can be used sometimes, notably on self-resurrecting Warlocks. The melee, if it’s not done from the back but while invisible, will apply a damage over time effect that will bring the target to about a quarter of their health.

Crest of Alpha Lupi is fantastic for 3v3 for the reason of allowing you to revive and be revived quicker. It also helps with Orb generation which is something the Arc Blade really lacks in.


Disclaimer: I’m not certain if these values are actually exactly possible with the armor in the game, feel free to correct me.

It’s mostly preferential but I would put the values at around this (if not using Fast Twitch):

  • Intellect: 70%
  • Discipline: 70%
  • Strength: 20%

Stat build (if running Fast Twitch):

  • Intellect: 100%
  • Discipline: 100%
  • Strength: 0%

EDIT: Trials tips

A little tip for when to use your super as a bladedancer in ToO.

In the current meta there are 2 options for using your super:

  • You get a lot of kills early and are able to pop it in round 2 or early round 3
  • You didn’t get enough kills early and now you have to hold on to it until you see the appropriate hard counters to it have been used (FoH, Nova, Golden Gun). If you are playing a half decent team they will be holding onto to their super for when you pop your bladedance. So in my opinion wait for them to use theirs or if they are dead.

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 I’m blatantly wrong about something or I missed something like I did last time, please point it out to me.

More Info by Pwadigy

A more decisive guide for players looking for the general consensus on what is good for blade-dancer. Players have had a lot of time to test with blade-dancer, and it has a lot of competitive showing. Therefore, it’s fairly easy to say that these choices are simply better:

Hungering Blade. This is necessary to use Arcblade. You have to have this perk. Period. The health regeneration is pivotal, as you’ll be put at a sliver every single time you swing at a shotgunner. If you want your arcblade to kill more than one player in competitive play, you have to have this perk.

Furthermore, the addition of health regeneration on melee makes blink-strike an incredibly powerful tool in a lot of situations. It allows for the ability to go from a CQC match under Thorn DoT into another fight. With backstab, it can become an instant spree-extension while on the move or taking cover. Combined with the mobility of Blink, you can steal major plays with this perk.

This is the most powerful perk on any class. Use it.

But seriously, it not only maximizes the draw-speed of all of your guns, it brings them past the maximum. But as a little known fact, it also makes your guns ADS faster. this is huge. When sniping, a faster scoping time affords you precious milliseconds to make a snappy aim. When blink-shotgunning, it allows you to ready a gun immediately while blinking.

Basically, it’s like all of your guns have both “snap-shot” and “quickdraw” on them. You can even stack it with snap-shot and quickdraw to make your guns perform faster.

In a game where guns have terrible latency issues, you don’t want slow gun-handling messing you up. Please, use this perk. It gets you to your ADS accuracy faster, and with .34 second kill-times from thorn, you want your guns moving as fast as possible.


Use it. No other grenade is as versatile in this meta against competitive players.


I don’t care if you’re a blink shotgunner, or a full-time sniper. This jump is the best jump. Offensively or defensively. It lets you clear distance for free, and allows you to move from point to point with no exposure.

Considering thorn will do 100 damage to you and put you out of the game for 4 seconds simply by touching your body, blink is very, very, very necessary.


There’s an argument for fast-twitch, but it’s not a very good one. Generally, having no strength investment will still allow you to have your blink-strike ready for when this perk would be useful. but when it’s useful, it’s very useful.

Combined with hungering blade, this perk can net you multiple kills that you otherwise wouldn’t have gotten. It also allows you to pack massive damage to players using supers. especially while in animation.

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