Episode 45: How to Prepare for Destiny 2 PvP

Let’s talk about what you can to do prepare yourself for D2’s changes! Mercules brings fresh insights from the Destiny 2 game play reveal, and he and Kyt discuss things you can do right now to start getting a feel for the coming release.

Massive Breakdown: How to Prepare for Destiny 2 PvP

This breakdown is going to be a little different from the normal ones I do, in that it’s not really a heavy numbers and stats write-up. Instead, it’s a generally lighthearted attempt to help people prepare themselves for the changes that are upcoming to Destiny’s PvP environment. As someone who was fortunate enough to get a chance to experience these changes firsthand, I can say it was absolutely a shock to the system how different (and yet still the same at its core) D2’s PvP felt from the current state of the Crucible. Over the course of the day I played dozens of rounds, and I began to get a feel for the way things worked. When I got back home several days later and started playing D1 again, I was struck once more by how the two models contrasted.

Activision Inc.

As such, I’ve recently decided that I want to start modeling my playstyle in Destiny 1 to mock-up to what will be available in D2, and so I’ve come up with this short list of ways you can prepare, and help to make the transition much smoother. I want to stress that these tips and tricks are by no means meant to be the end-all guide to prepping for D2, simply because we know a lot can change even between now and the beta. They won’t make you a god in PvP or be the only possible way you’ll survive the coming changes. They’re mostly meant to be a fun way to show you a small taste of what D2 Crucible is like in D1, and to help you see how to not rely on some of the things that won’t be available for us in the future.

First thing you’re going to need to change is your weapons loadout. In D1, we have a primary, a special, and a heavy. In D2 we have two primaries (one elemental and one kinetic) and a power weapon. This means snipers, shotguns, and fusions are no longer able to be carried along with an LMG, rocket launcher, or sword, but now must be used in place of them. This is a huge change, but honestly in my experience it absolutely worked out for the better in terms of gameplay (with the stipulation that I’m not sure exactly how they plan to successfully balance all the options in the power slot). Sidearms and SMGs (basically 100/2 ARs with less damage) are now considered primary weapons, so in your first two slots you now have the choice of ARs, SMGs, PRs, SRs, HCs, and sidearms. In the last slot you have rocket launchers, swords, snipers, shotguns, and fusion rifles. LMGs seem to have been totally removed from the game. To mimic this I’ve been doing the following:

  1. Primary slot: HC, PR, SR, or AR
  2. Special slot: Sidearm
  3. Heavy: Rocket launcher (without Grenades and Horseshoes) or sword

Now thankfully, this is already basically what a lot of people run due to the current special weapon ammo meta. The biggest change may be needing to get rid of the LMG in the heavy slot, or removing the perk Grenades and Horseshoes from your rocket launcher of choice. The reason I suggest not using G&H is because I have a very strong feeling (based on conversations had at the reveal) that this perk will not be in game come D2. They’ve made a strong push to get rid of perks, weapons, and mechanics that they felt were either the only choice or gamebreaking, and G&H is definitely the first of those two. If you really, really don’t want to run a sidearm in your secondary slot, then feel free to use a sniper, fusion, or shotgun, and just ignore your heavy. The drawback to this is you won’t get the feeling of having two “primary” weapons, and the special ammo economy in D1 is much more generous than it is in D2, so if you find yourself relying on your special you’re not going to have done yourself any favors.

The second thing you’ll want to do is start focusing more on your ability cooldowns. Now, obviously we won’t have the same abilities that the classes will have in D2, simply because they’ve added a new one in and changed some of the supers around, but we can focus on the timing (supers and subclass perks we’ll talk about in the next section). What I noticed in the gameplay was that grenades and melees took a much longer time to come back after usage. We’re talking was seemed to be between 40-55 seconds, depending on perks, Compare this to currently when I can get both my grenade and melee back in 30 seconds if I spec my gear correctly. This was one of the first things I noticed in the gameplay itself, and had a huge affect on how and when I chose to use my abilities. As such I recommend staying between tiers 3 and 4 on all cooldowns, and do not hit tier 5 on any of them. Realistically, going down to tier 3 on all would probably be the best bet, but I know not everyone will want to give up their tier-11 or tier-12 builds, so I just suggest staying at 4 or lower. You’ll still get them back slightly faster, but it may be slower than you’re used to which will give you an idea of how the limiting feels. I also recommend not using too many perks that give you boosts to those cooldowns, but that’s personal preference.

The last thing we’re going to talk about today are the subclasses we can use, and what perks (and exotics in some cases) we can use on each one. As of right now, it looks like we’ll be getting Gunslinger, Arcstrider, Voidwalker, Dawnblade, Striker, and Sentinel in the fall D2 release. I say this because we’ve seen no evidence at all that the TTK subclasses will be coming back. As such, for the most part we’re not going to recommend using Nightstalker or Stormcaller, and we’re going to use Sunbreaker only as a poor-man’s version of Dawnblade. Similarly, it appears Bladedancer has been swapped out in favor of Arcstrider, and since no one has any gameplay of that, we’re going to hold off on using Bladedancer, regardless of them being basically melee-super subclasses. Voidwalker as well we have seen nothing of, so we’ll wait to make plans using it. What this means is we’re going to be playing as Gunslingers for Hunters, Sunsingers/Sunbreakers for the Warlocks new Dawnblade, and Strikers for Titans. Below, I’m going to list the perks you should choose for each subclass, as well as any special recommendations that I think may help (keep in mind that armor, agility, and recovery will now be part of the armor perks themselves, and so you can choose what you want for those):

Hunter – Gunslinger


  • Your choice of grenade (they all come back)
  • Your choice of jump (they all come back)
  • Gunfighter (going to combine this one with Gunslinger’s Trance to make a poor-man’s D2 Gunslinger’s Trance)
  • Knife Juggler (Knife Juggler comes back in the second tree option)
  • Gunslinger’s Trance (combine this with Gunfighter to try to mimic the D2 version, which gives you decreased Golden Gun cooldown with precision kills, as opposed to increased stability)
  • Chain of Woe (Chain of Woe also comes back, but now speeds up your allies’ reloads too)
  • Special recommendations: Start using Achlyophage Symbiote. It won’t get you up to 6 shots or take the duration of Golden Gun down as much as the Six Shooter perk will for D2, but it will give you an extra shot and knock a second off of the timer.

Warlock – Dawnblade


  • Solar or Firebolt until Super, then Fusions (all three come back, but keep in mind fusions can no longer one-hit kill, so relying on them all the time will be detrimental to your game)
  • Balance Glide or Focused Control (remember you can no longer Warlock surf in D2, so using Focused Burst to increase your movement speed isn’t going to help you)
  • Radiant Skin (Dawnblade does get some damage reduction while active, so use Radiant Skin here, but stay away from Fireborn at all costs)
  • Brimstone (trying to mimic Igniting Touch, which is anew perk that causes the enemies to explode)
  • Radiant Will (increases the duration of Radiance, which I’ll explain later)
  • Angel of Light (allows you to hover in the air by aiming your weapon, and will be our version of D2’s Risen Angel)
  • Special Recommendations: Because we absolutely cannot ever make the Sunsinger Super function like Dawnblade, we’re going to try to do the next best thing. We’ll use Brimstone and Angel of Light to give us the feel of the melee and in-air combat, and then we’ll pretend like Radiance with Fusion grenades is our flaming sword. If you use Heart of the Praxic Fire or Starfire Protocol to decrease grenade cooldowns in Radiance or give you two fusion grenades, respectively, and then you use Radiant Will, you should be able to through around the same number of fusion grenades during your super as the Dawnblade can through swords. It won’t be quite the same feeling, but as direct hits with both will kill and enemy, and they both have a fair amount of tracking, it’s going to be the best we can do.

If not having the super just is too hard for you to work with, you can also partially emulate Dawnblade using a Sunbreaker, although outside of the super the results won’t be as satisfying.


  • Fusion grenades (the only option here, I’m sure you’ll be disappointed. Just don’t abuse them! Try to only stick people you or a teammate have damaged!)
  • Increased Height or Catapult (Just like with the Warlock jumps, you can no longer skate, so try to avoid the temptation)
  • Forgemaster (just allows you to throw more “blades” and cause bigger explosions)
  • Melting Point (ignites people you hit, which is half of the Dawnblades’ Igniting Touch melee perk)
  • Fleetfire (enemies you kill with your fire grant you increased movement and reload speed, which is basically just like D2’s Firestarter, except Firestarter has to be melee kills only)
  • Simmering Flames (when super is charged melee and grenades recharge faster, but the only reason you’re playing Sunbreaker is for dat super, so you should never let it stay charged)
  • Special Recommendations: If you’re looking for exotic armor, go with Empyrean Bellicose or Twilight Garrison. Empryean will count as the Sunbreaker’s version of Fallen Angel, while Twilight Garrison’s in-air dodge will work to be like the Dawnblade’s Blazing Dash. As you can see, the Dawnblade is basically a combination of the Sunbreaker and SUnsinger subclasses, and running either one of the two with the listed setups will give you part of the feeling.

Titan – Striker


  • Your choice of grenade (they’re all coming back, but remember that Lightning grenades now take time to arm after they hit a surface)
  • Increased Height or Catapult (as previously mentioned, no skating!)
  • Aftermath (goes one-for-one with the D2 version)
  • Amplify (unfortunately we don’t have anything like this or D2, but since all it does is reduce your super cooldown, maybe just shave off some Intellect from your build)
  • Aftershocks or Transfusion (we have versions of both in the new Striker skill trees, but Aftershocks is the one that goes with the other perks we are choosing as part of a package deal. However, if you don’t want to use it and instead want Transfusion I won’t tell anybody)
  • Shoulder Charge (Shoulder Charge makes a comback in D2, so it’s definitely what you want to go with here)
  • Special Recommendations: I would just stay away from exotics in general for this build, since we don’t want to get bonus grenades with Armamentarium and the Striker won’t have in-air dodging. Unfortunately nothing is going to get us close to the Striker’s improved Super, so you’ll just have to use your imagination here.

And now for the last two pieces of the pie. Use Jolder’s as your artifact, since there’s no sprint cooldown, and then get a group of friends and play some 4v4 custom games! If you can’t get a big enough group then try to go into 6v6 with a 4-man fireteam and hope Bungie’s MM and the low population does the rest. Enjoy!