Destiny 2

PVP tier list for every subclass, rationale and ideas for balance changes (warning: mega long read)

destiny2 9 - PVP tier list for every subclass, rationale and ideas for balance changes (warning: mega long read)

With not much remaining until Beyond Light, I thought it would be a good time to take a step back and organize all the subclasses into tiers.

Obviously, this is a highly subjective. While I'm a decent player, having both PVP titles and Diamond elo on all playlists, I am most definitely not great. I don't know as much as a CammyCakes or Potatoe, and there are many who would destroy me in the Crucible. I also haven't played all the subclasses to equal depth.

So please take this as a discussion starter, and not my argument for the one and only truth. I would love to hear your thoughts on what you agree or disagree with.

A few notes about the tier list:

  • I've assumed subclasses can wear any exotic armor
  • I've assumed no artifact mods can be used
  • These are for "general PVP," i.e. across playlists like Trials and Iron Banner
  • While subclasses in a tier are the same power bracket, I do order them left to right in terms of preference

I consider S and A to be meta capable, meaning you are not putting yourself at a material disadvantage with those classes. But even B and C in the right hands can win, just not as easily in my opinion.

Tier List

S: T Dawnblade, M Nightstalker, B Arcstrider, B Striker, T Stormcaller

A: M Striker, M Arcstrider, T Nightstalker, T Sentinel, M Sentinel, B Sentinel, M Stormcaller, T Arcstrider, T Gunslinger

B: B Nightstalker, M Gunslinger, B Gunslinger, T Voidwalker, M Sunbreaker, B Stormcaller, B Sunbreaker, M Dawnblade

C: B Voidwalker, B Dawnblade, T Striker, M Voidwalker, T Sunbreaker

Subclass Rationale

S Tier

T Dawnblade: On PC, Top Dawnblade is clearly the strongest subclass, primarily because higher frame rates and instant turn radius makes Icarus Dash an amazing ability to juke or get away. On console, it's not quite as good but still top tier. With Solar Plexus this season, Celestial Fire is too strong but we shouldn't factor in artifact mods.

M Nightstalker: Flawless Execution (going invisible and getting wall hacks from crouch precision kills) is amazing, but the super is what makes this class monstrous. It's even better on PC with longer lunges. Lasts a long time as well and has high damage resistance.

B Arcstrider: Bottom Arcstrider is the preferred subclass by many top players for a reason. The faster cooldowns are great and the tankier dodge is clutch.

B Striker: All about Knockout and Frontal Assault. Cerridius has a great video I highly recommend on why Bottom Striker is so strong. It's possibly the best subclass for shotgunning.

T Stormcaller: Arc Web is so good for fighting groups. When you see it tag that's a great time to push. The super with Ionic Blink and Transcendence is a game changer. In the hands of a good player the super alone will win rounds in Trials, and in 6s you can wipe whole teams.

A Tier

M Striker: The key buff is the knock back effect if hit with Death From Above: no longer is the Titan a sitting duck. It's easy to get predictable with it, so it needs to be used wisely, but it's fantastic in a push where opponents have to look at your teammates on the ground and a missile from above. The super is also a great counter to other supers and in the right hands a guaranteed kill in Trials. Picking up ammo to get a damage buff is always nice.

M Arcstrider: The super will counter almost everything and with Raiju's Harness you can conserve super energy so you don't waste it chasing people. Tempest Strike is good, more for shotgunning than juking; you can reliably slide-shotgun from much further out than opponents. The annoying thing with shotgun-melee is you can accidentally waste a ranged melee if the shotgun OHKed. With Tempest Strike, you can control when you want a normal vs ranged melee.

T Nightstalker: The super is garbage but the neutral game is awesome. In the hands of a potato, invisibility does nothing. But in the hands of a great player moving unpredictably at lightning speeds, invisibility is a huge asset. Smoke bombs are also great in messing up radars.

T Sentinel: Great with shotguns and the bubble is top tier for capturing zones and other game objectives. Suppressor grenades round out a solid kit.

M Sentinel: Arguably the best super in the game, Mid Sentinel can roam, throw a projectile that tracks, and use a shield that will block almost everything and can itself kill. The detonator is more of a gimmick but can be good in 6s. More than a gimmick if you go with Heart of Inmost Light and Magnetic Grenades.

B Sentinel: This is a controversial choice, I know. Bottom Sentinel only merits this spot IF Shield Bash reliably procs suppression. If it does, this ability is clutch as it counters roaming supers and is a game changer in Trials. The problem is that melee registration isn't reliable, and without suppression Bottom Sentinel is more like C tier. With Doomfang Pauldron, the super is crazy. You can throw five or six shields in one super, more than enough to win a round and team wipe all on your own. This is possible only with Bottom Sentinel thanks to the synergy between Superior Arsenal and Second Shield.

M Stormcaller: The super is mediocre but if you use it to get just one or two kills and then cancel early, you can get more supers in a game. Ionic Trace is good. Ranged melee is awesome, especially if used to finish off opponents in cover (aim above their head while they're hiding behind a boulder and the ball will damage downward). Pulsewave is top tier in D1 but in D2, it's not as great given it's easy to spec for max mobility and there are exotics like Transversive. Still good of course.

T Arcstrider: This is a subclass which looks great on paper but I struggle to maximize in real play. Top Arcstrider theoretically has the advantages of Bottom Striker with greater melee lunge and heal on melee kill, though not as easily as you have to dodge. Nevertheless, it has those capabilities while still having Hunter jump and dodge. Taira Bacca, a top 10 PS4 player in Survival, believes this subclass is top-tier.

T Gunslinger: I flip flopped on whether to put Top Gunslinger in A or B. What I like about the class is the throwing knife and the dodge that refreshes it. Hunters often dodge in a CQC duel and this means they will almost always have a knife available, which is a huge advantage. The super is not as good as it once was but in 6s it can still clear a crowd and in 3s it can be used defensively (just be ready to two-tap).

B Tier

B Nightstalker: This subclass needs Khepri's Sting to be good. With the exotic, you can throw a smoke bomb on yourself and get wall hacks while going invisible. Because you can get melees easily with dodge, this ability can be used frequently. In Trials the intel is incredible: easy to find the flanker, call out and then aggressively push as team. The super buff means the tether went from horrendous to mediocre. Not good but usable. Support abilities are solid while often underappreciated.

M Gunslinger: With the super nerf, Mid Gunslinger goes from A to B. Blade Barrage can still shutdown and get multi-kills, but it's less of a sure thing. Knives are great for a similar reason as Top Gunslinger, just not as good. Because knives have horizonal spread, it's hard to miss with them and for that reason shotgun-knives are amazing for getting further ranged kills.

B Gunslinger: The aim assist nerf to Weighted Knife hit Bottom Gunslinger hard. As is, it's a class similar to Top Gunslinger just slightly worse. Yet, players like Wallah who can use the OHK knife well slay with this subclass. This is the weakest Hunter subclass in my opinion and it's still B tier; speaks to how good Hunter jump and dodge are, especially on console.

T Voidwalker: The super if used correctly is a guaranteed kill in Trials. The little tracking novas after will often multi-kill; or at least cause opponents to scatter, which means a push to easily win the round. Overcharging the grenade is good too: Vortex for controlling areas and Axion Bolts to start a push or finish off opponents. If you keep things simple this subclass is solid.


M Sunbreaker: With Ashen Wake, Mid Sunbreaker is a monster in 6s. Kill with hammers to proc Roaring Flames and then go to town with OHK fastball grenades. But the subclass is pretty bad in 3s.

B Stormcaller: Arc Soul can shorten TTK or improve consistency for achieving optimal TTK. If you're slow in visually acquiring targets like I am, arc buddies can be good in finding opponents. The Stag is an excellent way to have it up often. The downside is that arc buddies make a lot of noise so opponents can hear you from a mile away. The super is mediocre; Landfall's radius is small and without blink the super is easy to gun down.

B Sunbreaker: On paper, Sunspots are super strong. In practice you rarely get one going. The main way to proc Sunspots is shotgun-melee, and even then you don't want to stand still to get faster cooldowns. Against good opponents you have to be on the move. The super is great, surprisingly so against other supers. Like middle tree, this subclass is better in 6s than 3s.

M Dawnblade: This subclass is hard to peg. When I play with it, individually I seem to do worse but in theory my team should be better (are they though?). I'd say this is a good subclass if your teammates are strong and can take advantage of the support abilities.

C Tier

B Voidwalker: In vanilla D2 with dual primaries, Devour was very strong. In the current sandbox with so many OHK weapons, much less so. Moreover, most will spec for high recovery making the heal less needed. Bottom Voidwalker is best for Rumble and can also be a good choice in 6s if you're the best player in the lobby.

B Dawnblade: This subclass is all about the super. It destroys in 6s and tracking makes it so easy to use. With it, I can easily get 10 super kills per game in 6s. Phoenix Dive doesn't recover enough health for it to be useful unfortunately.

T Striker: The only redeeming thing about this subclass is the two grenades. Everything else is sub-par. Shoulder charge is good against bad players but not so much against good players.

M Voidwalker: The HHSN nerf killed this class, and the super buff doesn't compensate. The super can be good in 6s with Astrocyte, but less so in 3s. Because Mid Voidwalkers must charge before emitting the blast while in super, they are vulnerable.

T Sunbreaker: The super is the only good thing about this subclass.

Balancing the Subclasses

The following is what I would do in an attempt to make subclasses more balanced. The target is to bring everyone to A tier.


T Dawnblade: Reduce Icarus Dash back to just one dash like before and increase cooldown to 7 seconds. So it's like Hunter dodge but doesn't break aim assist. Sunset Solar Plexus forever.

M Nightstalker: Increase the super cost for swipes and reduce the super's damage resistance. Make it so the super is only useful if you sneak around and go for assassinations (vs mass murder).

B Arcstrider: Shorten the super time so realistically it's one or two kills per super. Make this class all about the neutral game.

B Striker: Shorten super time and melee lunges take more super energy; so realistically it's one or two kills per super. Increase super regen on kill so the super still feels good in PVE if used against trash mobs. How it should feel is if opponents in PVP are bunched up, you can get them all. But if they are scattered, there's only time to get one kill. Sunset Thunder Coil forever.

T Stormcaller: Ionic Blink consumes more super energy. Just a slight tweak is all that's needed.


B Sentinel: Make Shield Bash consistent.

M Stormcaller: Pull the camera out more when in super, so it's easier to aim the beam.

B Nightstalker: Give wall hacks naturally to smoke grenades; i.e. make the Khepri Sting perk innate to this subclass. That might mean the exotic may need to be reworked but this will make Bottom Nightstalkers more competitive as they can wear another exotic.

M Gunslinger: Reverse the Blade Barrage nerf. Buff Burning Edge for faster super regen. So a good Mid Gunslinger can get more supers in a game if slaying.

B Gunslinger: Speed up the animation for Weighted Knife so there is less wind-up. Super doesn't need Knock Em Down to do more damage, so one Golden Gun shot can take down any opposing super.

T Voidwalker: Grenade kills of guardians (not combatants) significantly refund grenade energy. By say, 50%? Make this class an overcharging grenade monster.

M Sunbreaker: Faster sprint speed while in super and reduce super energy usage of melee in super (the spinning hammer) so the super can chase targets more effectively. Faster hammer melee throw so it's easier to connect with. The bounce back from melee hammer kills track back to the player. So if you kill an opponent with a hammer it'll boomerang back to you if there's clear line of sight and restore full melee energy and regenerate health. No more wasting time looking for the hammer on the ground. Wormgod Caress along with Ashen Wake might be meta with this buff.

B Stormcaller: Extend duration of Arc Souls and damage caused by arc buddies reduce Rift cooldown. Significantly expand the Landfall radius so it's like a Titan smash; right now you basically have to be on top of the opponent to reliably get Landfall to kill. With this buff you can count on the super for one kill at least.

B Sunbreaker: Throwing a grenade creates a Sunspot on impact whether on the ground or against an opponent. Popping a barricade also creates a Sunspot. Spicy! This actually might be too strong so perhaps a nerf elsewhere is needed; e.g. remove or limit health regen on ability kills, or reduce the duration of a Sunspot's effects. The idea is to make it easier to create Sunspots and lean in on what makes this subclass exciting.

M Dawnblade: Casting a healing grenade to anyone in the fireteam gives a damage buff to the Warlock. So not only can this subclass support others it can make itself deadlier. With all the ability synergies, you'll be surprised by how many grenades a good Mid Dawnblade can cast, and that means more up-time with the damage buff.

B Voidwalker: Instant heal with Devour, so damaging the Warlock after a kill doesn't stop health regeneration. Shorten the animation required to hold a grenade to get Devour. Kills with Devour add super energy so slaying out will lead to more supers per game. Increase the speed of the Nova Bomb so it's lance-like (e.g. from D1) and significantly enlarge the hit box so it's hard to miss with it. Make this subclass the best choice for slayers.

B Dawnblade: Significantly increase health regen from Phoenix Dive. Once upon a time, Bottom Dawnblade was meta on PC as higher frame rates gave the subclass substantially more health regen. Bungie nerfed it and ever since the subclass has not been good.

T Striker: Kills in super regenerates health. Basically, give Top Striker the pre-nerf super from Bottom Striker, but without super kills regenerating super energy. This will also make Top Striker more useful in PVE.

M Voidwalker: Reverse the HHSN nerf but eliminate all damage resistance so it can be easily killed with a shotgun or fusion. Shorten the HHSN range so that it's only effective up to 8 meters; i.e. shotgun range. HHSN essentially becomes a fusion-shotgun; a hybrid of the two but not as good as a shotgun because it has to be charged, and not as good as a fusion because of the range. So HHSN is useful but not OP. Contraverse doesn't add any damage resistance; only increases grenade energy refund. Super does a blast on activation.

T Sunbreaker: Buff Tempered Metal. Instead of solar ability kills, just causing damage will proc the perk's benefits. In addition to faster reload and movement, it also weakens enemies and reduces ability cooldowns. Yes, this essentially gives the Hammer Strike debuff to any Top Sunbreaker ability. A sensible build might be Armamentarium or Khepri's Horn with Traveller's Chosen. I don't know if this is enough to get the class to A Tier but it'll make it a PVE monster.

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