Episode 89: Festival of the Lost Info, and Armor Mod and Orb Perk Discussion

Let’s talk about Festival of the Lost and go deep on Armor Mods!

Massive Breakdown of Forsaken Armor Ability Cooldown Mods

AKA Massive Mod Cooldown

Disclaimer: No testing system is perfect. There are a number of possible sources of error, which I have done my best to alleviate, but in the end mistakes happen. Please let me know if something doesn’t seem right, and we’ll figure it out.

Make a copy of this Google spreadsheet if you want to test the effects of various Mod and Perk combinations:

Massive Breakdown Forsaken Armor Builder Sheet (FABS)

Also check out the accompanying guide to Armor Perks affecting Cooldowns:

Massive Breakdown of Armor Perks that Affect Ability Cooldowns

Testing Notes:

  • Most tests were conducted on my Hunter, but I have checked Ability cooldowns on Titan and Warlock as well.

  • The vast majority of these values have been validated in-game by myself or by another Guardian who followed my testing script and then provided me with footage to double-check method and timing. These Guardians are credited at the bottom.

  • In some cases, the numbers I have for cooldowns may disagree with your count or numbers found elsewhere by a few seconds. This occurs because we all start counting at different times. For reference, I attempt to start timing as close to ability activation as possible and stop as soon as the ability flashes, indicating it can be activated again. My times are typically a bit longer than others I have seen, when they differ at all.

  • I have given all times in seconds to account for variations in timing methods and because I didn’t see a benefit to counting frames given the long duration of cooldowns, the considerable margin of error, and the lack of any conceivable benefit to doing so.

  • I have not yet tested Armor perks / mods that don’t affect ability Cooldowns. I don’t know how much Aim Assist, Flinch Reduction, etc is given. I hear other Guardians are working on these things, and I suggest googling them for now.

How to Use This Guide

  • CTRL-F is your friend.

  • Under each Mod, I will provide an explanation of the effect as well as the testing method. Find your Mod name, and you’ll have everything you need to know about it right there.

  • Underneath each Mod’s entry I have listed Armor Perks that synergize with it. I will separately publish a guide to Armor Perks that Affect Cooldowns (character limits are my enemy) for additional reference.

  • The Rating System is as follows:

    • S - Super, the best possible choice. This Mod is really good in every game mode, and you could leave it on all the time.

    • A - Awesome, a very strong choice. This Mod is good in many game modes, or super great in at least 1-2.

    • B - Basic, a functional but not strong choice. This Mod is good, but often outclassed by other choices.

    • C - Crud, an ineffective choice. This Mod is always outclassed or too specific to be worth your time.

Ability Cooldown Armor Mods

These mods can be used on any Armor piece, and provide a direct reduction in the cooldown of the affected Ability (Super, Grenade, Melee, Class Ability). Typically you will get the most benefit from the first Mod of a given type, with additional mods of that type providing diminishing (but sometimes still significant) returns. All Mods were tested by applying each number of mods (0-5) to a character and timing the cooldown. Cooldowns were also checked against third party sources for accuracy.

Super Mod

Rating: B
The Super Mod is the least effective of the Ability Cooldown Mods in terms of raw percentage. Here’s how it breaks down:

# Mods Cooldown (s) % Change
0 301 0%
1 279 7%
2 260 7%
3 244 6%
4 229 6%
5 215 6%

I’ve rounded the percentages out since the times are all approximate anyway. However, you can see that the Super Mod is providing a relatively stable reduction with each mod, meaning you get pretty much the same benefit with each point taken off. Unfortunately, it’s not a lot for any given number, making this Mod a decent, but not truly optimized choice. For comparison, you can get the same super energy as 1 Mod by killing 6 Red Bars, or about 2 Yellow Bars. So are these mods getting you to your Super faster? Yes. But as you’ll see below, there are a lot of ways to increase Super Energy, and some of them are probably more efficient than this.
Perks that also return Super Energy: (Enhanced) Ashes to Assets, (Enhanced) Heavy Lifting, Hands On, Light Reactor, Pump Action, Remote Connection, Distribution, Dynamo, Absolution
Perks that benefit from Super use: None

Ordnance Mod

Rating: A
The Ordnance Mod is both very effective and generally useful, as throwing lots of Grenades can help you get a lot of kills, and there are also a number of perks that can both generate energy from Grenade Kills and stack with this to get your Grenades back even faster. Here’s the breakdown:

# Mods Cooldown (s) % Change
0 83 0%
1 63 24%
2 51 20%
3 43 16%
4 37 14%
5 33 11%

So as you can see, the first two ordnance Mods make an enormous difference in your Grenade cooldown time, with significant chunks taken off by each additional mod as well. Given the usefulness of Grenades in setting up or closing out gunfights in PVP, not to mention the ability to rapidly drop multiple enemies in PVE, I predict that Ordnance builds will become much more popular once Dynamo and Distribution (see below) suffer the nerf-hammer. Grenade use also has strong synergies that you can take advantage of with various Armor Perks.
Perks that also return Grenade Energy: (Enhanced) Impact Induction, (Enhanced) Bomber, Distribution, Absolution, Innervation
Perks that benefit from Grenade use: (Enhanced) Ashes to Assets, (Enhanced) Momentum Transfer

Impact Mod

Rating: B
For a build centered around Melee use - and particularly in PVE - I might rate this Mod an A, but for general use it’s a B because using Grenades to prime / close encounters or wipe adds is usually the stronger move. Here are the numbers:

# Mods Warlock / Titan (s) % Change # Mods Hunter (s) % Change
0 83 0% 0 96 0%
1 63 24% 1 74 23%
2 51 20% 2 60 19%
3 43 16% 3 51 15%
4 37 14% 4 44 14%
5 33 11% 5 38 14%

As indicated, the columns on the left apply to Melees for Warlocks and Titans, while the columns to the right apply to Hunters, who totally get the shaft here for no apparent reason. The Mods also seem to apply slightly different percentage changes for Hunters, but I attribute to a combination of timing and rounding errors - the real behind-the-scenes values are likely the same. That aside, Impact Mods provide the exact same level of benefit as Ordnance Mods down the line, but in most cases a Grenade Ability is preferable to a Melee Ability in PVP. In PVE, this line is a bit thinner, as a number of Melee Abilities can truly shine there, making these mods a stronger choice.
Perks that also return Melee Energy: (Enhanced) Momentum Transfer, Distribution, Outreach, Absolution, Invigoration
Perks that benefit from Melee use: Hands On, (Enhanced) Impact Induction

Paragon Mod

Rating: S
The current belle of the ball, the Paragon Mod is a stand-out not so merely because of what it does as what it synergizes with - that is, Distribution and Dynamo. I’d go so far as to give it an S+ for Hunters - there’s never any reason to consider not using at least 3 Paragon Mods for them. Titans can also get a TON of use out of this combo, while Warlocks lag behind but still benefit considerably thanks to how useful Rift is all by itself. Here’s the breakdown:

# Mods Warlock (s) Titan (s) Hunter (s) % Change
0 84 38 25 0%
1 64 29 19 24%
2 51 23 15 20%
3 43 19 13 16%
4 37 16 11 14%
5 33 14 10 11%

So as you can see, Paragon Mods are on the same curve as Impact and Ordnance Mods, meaning the first two mods give a huge benefit, with declining but still meaningful returns thereafter. Like I said above, Hunters right now should be combining 2-4 of these with Dynamo or the (much) better Distribution to rock the house. Titans should do the same. For Warlocks, I’d still suggest 3 of these combined with either 2 Impact or 2 Ordnance mods, depending on your subclass choices.
Perks that also give Class Ability Energy: Perpetuation, Distribution, Insulation, Absolution
Perks that benefit from Class Ability use: (Enhanced) Bomber, Distribution, Dynamo, Outreach, Perpetuation

Taken Invigoration

Rating: C
With this Mod, “Defeating a Taken Elite refreshes your Class Ability”. I have not had the ability to test it directly, but I take Bungie at its word. That said, the effect is borderline worthless as the conditions for achieving it are too unpredictable and random to bother equipping it on your armor. The only places this is likely to happen consistently are in Gambit (where you might face many different kinds of enemies, but will always fight Taken at some point), or in the Dreaming City where the Taken run rampant. Even then, since it only triggers when defeating an “Elite”, a rather vague term that might mean an unnamed Yellow/Orange Bar enemy, or maybe just an extra tough red bar, or something else entirely, you’re definitely better off with a Paragon Mod. Or any other Mod, to be honest.

If Bungie clarifies this in some way, Warlocks are the only ones with slow enough cooldowns to be likely to benefit - so maybe Warlock mains should hang onto these, just in case.

Oh, and obviously this does you no good in PVP. Did I need to say that?

Taken Repurposing

Rating: C
With this Mod, “Destroying a Taken Shield refreshes your Grenade”. And let’s just pretend that I copypasta’d everything from above down here. Taken Shields are at least more common in the scenarios above, and you’ll periodically run into them elsewhere in the game world. For a general PVE build, you could run this (since you only need 1), especially after Distribution and Dynamo get nerfed.

But trust me on the PVP thing.

Other Mods (Not Affecting Cooldowns)

  • Mobility/Recovery/Resilience Mod

  • Rating: B Granting +1 to the named stat, each of these mods gives a small but occasionally worthwhile bonus. In general, the only one I consider is Resilience, and then only if I really want to run a low resilience armor without sacrificing my hit points. To figure out what can kill you at each level of Resilience, I suggest checking out the Archetype TtK Comparison Tool here. However, I believe firmly that you will generally get much more benefit from a Cooldown mod than one of these.

  • Riven’s Curse

  • “While in the Dreaming City, you deal more damage, but also take more damage from all sources.”

  • Rating: A Each of these mods (found on Reverie Dawn gear), grants a 5% damage buff in The Dreaming City, while also increasing the damage you take by what appears to be ~2% or so. Especially when first starting your exploration of the City, this can be much more helpful than it is harmful.

  • Transcendant Blessing

  • “While in the Dreaming City, you deal more damage to all targets.”

  • Rating: A This is Riven’s Curse without the Curse - 5% bonus damage, but no downside. You get this from various Dreaming City quests along with more Reverie Dawn gear, and it is very nice. I’m always a huge fan of dealing more damage, and if you stack these up for 25% bonus damage in the Dreaming City - well, who could blame you?

  • Taken Barrier

  • “Receiving Taken damage gives a 20% reduction in damage for 10 seconds.”

  • Rating: B This is far and away the strongest of the Taken Mods, since you can easily guarantee you will be frequently receiving damage from Taken enemies in a number of situations. If you’re building an optimized loadout for Gambit, Dreaming City, or perhaps even the raid, you could consider this. Especially as a solo player, the extra survivability in Dreaming City explorations could be very useful.

  • Taken Armaments

  • “Defeating a Taken enemy with a grenade has a chance to grant Heavy ammo to reserves.”

  • Rating: C This Mod at first appears to be worth considering for the same situations as Taken Barrier, but unfortunately it only gives a chance of getting Heavy ammo. I haven’t seen this one in the wild, so I can’t make any suggestion as to what that chance is, but if you already have a Heavy Ammo Finder perk or two on your Armor, I wouldn’t even bother. Especially given that you can’t throw a grenade more than once every 30 seconds or so (at most), this Mod just provides too little effect for it to be worth using the slot.

  • Empowering/Radiant/Embraced Largesse

  • “While you’re on the Leviathan, activating an (Arc/Solar/Void) Super recharges your grenade.”

  • Rating: S-C All Leviathan mods are rated “S-C” because they’re superb on the Leviathan and crap everywhere else. These helmet-only mods appear on Leviathan Raid armor sets and are also available from Benedict’s rotating stock on occasion. They also only work on the Leviathan.

  • Striking/Shielding/Giving Hand

  • “While you’re on the Leviathan, your melee kills (increase all damage by 20% / reduce incoming damage by 20% / have a chance to make enemies drop Heavy ammo).”

  • Rating: S-C These Arms-only mods appear on Leviathan Raid armor sets and are also available from Benedict’s rotating stock on occasion. They also only work on the Leviathan.

  • Heavy Hitter

  • “While you’re on the Leviathan, using Power weapons to defeat challenging enemies will boost your Power weapon damage by 15% for a short time.”

  • Rating: S-C This chest-only mod appears on Leviathan Raid armor sets and is also available from Benedict’s rotating stock on occasion. It also only works on the Leviathan.

  • Emperor’s Shock/Blaze/Balance

  • While on the Leviathan, your (Arc/Solar/Void) abilities deal 25% more damage.

  • Rating: S-C These Legs-only mods appear on Leviathan Raid armor sets and are also available from Benedict’s rotating stock on occasion. They also only work on the Leviathan.


Testers: The Bloody lX, Alpacalypse, jenmc14, JessePB, tim_currys_beard, littleben4242, mygeekdaddy, thefortkeeper