Destiny 2 Warlock Guide — PVE, PVP, Best Exotics

Getting into Destiny 2 for the first time? Considering trying another character? Our Destiny 2 Character Guides have all the information you need on playing Titans, Warlocks, and Hunters. We’ll first cover the basics, then get into the details on PVE and PVP scenarios.

Warlocks are the mages of the Destiny universe, warrior-scholars who probe the dark mysteries of the world. In practice, that means you get to float around and shoot lightning out of your hands. Pretty neat stuff!

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Destiny 2 Warlock — General Info, Tips

It’s tempting to call Warlocks the support class of Destiny 2, but that’s not entirely accurate. Every type of Guardian can be played in a number of different ways. But before we get to grips with Warlock subclasses, let’s talk about their core ability and movement styles.

Warlock Class Ability: Rift

The Warlock class ability is Rift. By holding the crouch button, you generate a field of energy around you which will either buff damage or provide a healing effect to everyone standing in it — including yourself. This makes Warlocks great team players, but don’t forget to use your Rift when you’re alone as well. Healing Rifts will drastically increase your survivability in solo PVE. Empowering Rifts, meanwhile, are much more situational, though can be useful in certain situations.

Warlock Movement Ability: Glide

Of all of the classes in Destiny 2, Warlocks have the most complicated movement abilities. Hitting the jump button in midair activates Glide, which is not a traditional second jump. Instead, Glide conserves your existing momentum at the time of activation. That means if you activate it right after you leave the ground, you’ll keep flying up and forward. But if you’re already descending, you won’t gain any additional height.

Glide does have two other limits. First, you have a set amount of glide time. Once it runs out, you’ll drop like a rock. There’s no onscreen meter, so you’ll just have to get a feel for it. Second, you have a limited number of activations in one jump, so you can’t just tap on and off constantly. That said, playing with activating and deactivating the ability in midair gives you a lot of maneuverability.

All Warlock classes have access to two varieties of Glide: Burst and Strafe. The Stormcaller and Dawnblade class also get Balanced Glide, while the Voidwalker gets Blink. Burst is useful for speed and making long jumps — it gives you maximum velocity but minimal control. Strafe gives you a lot of control but minimal thrust, making it great for many jumping puzzles. If neither suits you, give Balanced a shot.

As for Blink, this Voidwalker-only ability works similarly to Glide. Jumping in midair will teleport you a short distance in the direction you were heading. It’s not the best for getting around, but it is extremely useful in a firefight.

Destiny 2 Warlock PVE Guide

The big thing for Warlocks used to be Well of Radiance, a Dawnblade Super that — when combined with the Lunafaction Boots Exotic — was incredibly powerful. As of Shadowkeep, though, Lunafaction Boots no longer auto-reload weapons in Well of Radiance. Instead, they give you a boost to reload speed. That doesn’t make Well of Radiance terrible or anything, but it is much less useful than it used to be.

So what’s the new Warlock hotness? Well, you’re actually freed up to play around with your subclasses a little more these days, especially because the big fireteam damage boost is likely going to be coming from the Titans now.

For my money, Voidwalker and Stormcaller are much more fun and effective than Dawnblade. Voidwalker gives you access to two powerful Supers that can either wipe out waves of adds or melt bosses. Similarly, Stormcaller can get you the room-clearing Stormtrance or the focused power of Chaos Reach.

Regardless of which subclass you go with, situational awareness is key as a Warlock. Make sure to keep your Rift active whenever you can, preferably behind cover. Remember that trying to cast it while you’re getting hit can often result in you getting killed, even if you’re able to get it off. Your Rift is one of the most reliable healing abilities in the game, so careful placement and timing is crucial to helping your fireteam survive difficult encounters.

Destiny 2 Warlock PVP Guide

One strong option for Warlocks in PVP is the Voidwalker Attunement of Fission. This subclass gives you access to Nova Warp, a roaming super that lets you float around the map and unleash explosive void energy. Used correctly, you can easily get multiple kills in one activation. Just remember that while you do have additional armor during your super, you aren’t actually invulnerable — especially since Shadowkeep‘s nerf to Super survivability. A well-placed rocket launcher or enemy super can still take you out.

In addition to the super, Attunement of Fission Voidwalkers get one of the best PVP grenades in the game: Handheld Supernova. Warlock grenades typically aren’t all that useful in PVP, since they mostly do damage over time, and opposing Guardians can simply move out of their area of affect. But Attunement of Fission lets you charge your grenade then release it in a short ranged spread attack that will one-shot enemy Guardians at close enough range. Practice charging it when you see someone approaching on radar around a corner — it can really ruin someone’s day.

Another option for Warlocks in PVP is the Stormcaller Attunement of Control. Not only does this give you a ranged melee attack and additional speed when you’re wounded, but you get the ability to fire a Kamehameha Chaos Reach. This is a deadly, controllable big laser of death that can easily wipe out several foes in one activation if timed right.

Destiny 2 Warlock Exotics

Unfortunately, Warlocks kind of get the short end of the stick when it comes to Exotic armor. Seriously, they have one that just makes them float in midair. And again, Lunafaction Boots no longer automatically reload weapons, instead providing a bonus to reload speed. But as one Warlock Exotic falls, another rises. Right now, that’s the previously-neglected Nezarec’s Sin.

This Exotic hood isn’t particularly flashy, simply effective. It speeds up your ability regeneration every time you get a Void kill. It doesn’t matter what subclass you have equipped, and Void weapon kills count just the same as ability kills. Why is that so good? Well, the Recluse SMG happens to be one of the most effective weapons in Destiny 2 right now, and it’s a Void Energy weapon. Every time you get a kill with it, your abilities refresh that much more quickly. Yeah. If you don’t have the Recluse, the next best thing is the Moon weapon Every Waking Moment. You could also try a Void Auto Rifle like Hard Light.

For a detailed look at how to build a Warlock around Nezarec’s Sin, check out our Destiny 2 Best Warlock Build for Season of the Undying.

In PVP, you have a few options. Transversive Steps increase your sprint speed, which can be useful in Control matches. Contraverse Hold works well with Handheld Supernova, allowing you to use it more frequently and gain some additional protection while you’re charging. Ophidian Aspect increases your reload and ready speed, plus ups your melee range slightly, which can be useful for getting the drop on enemies. And Eye of Another World improves all of your ability regeneration speeds.

Destiny 2 Warlock Best Weapons

Since all Guardians in Destiny 2 can equip all weapons, check out our weapon guides for general information on the best equipment for each scenario:

And that’s it for our Destiny 2 Warlock Guide! Be sure to check out the rest of our Destiny 2 coverage for more guides, news, and features on the game. Good luck out there, Guardian!

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merritt k

Features & Trending Editor

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