Destiny 2 classes and subclasses guide
Looking for a breakdown of all the Destiny 2 classes? The class system behind Bungie’s hit looter shooter has changed a lot in the many years since Destiny 2 players first took on the Red Legion in the fight for the Light. Though Destiny 2 still includes its Warlock, Titan, and Hunter classes – the same ones that first appeared in the original Destiny game – the once-simple Arc, Solar, and Void elemental subclasses have grown to include Aspects, and Fragments. The game also now includes the Darkness-based subclasses Stasis and Strand.
Each of the Destiny 2 classes has a unique kit that leverages one of the game’s four elements to allow players to develop builds that suit their specific style of play. The team at Bungie is constantly iterating to keep the game fun and fresh in what many say is one of the best free PC games out there. While this is great for Destiny 2’s most active players, casual players, and newcomers may struggle to keep up with the game’s evolving subclass systems and how they differ from other FPS games, especially with the arrival of the Destiny 2 Strand subclass.
In this Destiny 2 class guide, you’ll find a character overview designed to help new players choose a class and begin turning it into a powerful Destiny 2 build, you’ll want to be up to speed once the Lightfall release date rolls by. It will also be helpful for long-term players who are considering creating a new character and need a little guidance on what to try next. We’ll explore how each character class uses the game’s subclasses and abilities for maximum impact. Each subclass also has unique melee, grenade, and movement options, which players can customise according to their playstyles.
When creating a Destiny 2 character, players can choose whether they want to be Human, Exo, or Awoken. While each race has an interesting backstory within the context of the game’s lore, your choice won’t impact your gameplay experience and you’ll only actually see this change represented when roaming around in the game’s social hub, the Tower. At this stage, choose whatever you desire and customise your Guardian’s look accordingly.
More importantly, players can choose between one of three classes: Warlock, Titan, and Hunter. You’ll spend a lot of time building and developing your character, so it’s best to try to understand the nuance of each class instead of blindly selecting one. Although players can have up to three characters and, therefore, a character of every class, it takes time to learn to play each. So, you want to be thoughtful about your initial choice, even if you ultimately choose a different class later down the line.
Destiny 2 classes explained
Destiny 2’s Guardian classes are very different from one another. Their unique abilities are designed for distinct playstyles, which players can adjust and amplify with subclass modifiers. It’s also worth noting that while there are important differences between each class, they’re not fundamentally different in the way that MMO archetypes are – you’re always pretty mobile and can switch between aggro and support abilities depending on the type of activity you’re embarking upon.
Here are the three main Destiny 2 classes.
Warlocks are versatile characters with balanced playstyles. This class’s abilities are relatively straightforward compared to those of the Titan and Hunter.
With the option to choose between a Healing Rift and an Empowering Rift, which strengthens the damage dealt by anyone in it, the Warlock’s class abilities highlight both offensive and defensive gameplay. This makes the Warlock class a solid choice for players focusing on Destiny 2’s numerous PvE activities. They’re often strongest when buffing their teammates.
Their jump is arguably the most difficult to get used to, as they generally glide slowly over the battlefield. While the Super Ability changes significantly depending on the subclass, Warlock supers are generally about casting or throwing elemental effects – they’re sort of like space mages.
Titans sacrifice agility and dexterity in favour of strength and defence. For a class ability, Titans can pick between The Towering Barricade – a tall, see-through wall that protects all Guardians behind it – or a Rally Barricade, which lasts a shorter time but increases weapon reload speed, stability, and range while behind it. As a result, Titans make good team players for coordinated PvP and PvE activities. The Titan’s movement can be a little tricky to get used to as it’s effectively a jet-powered glide, rather than a traditional jump or double-jump.
The Titan is also great if you’re trying to solo content, as they’re not only durable but can create their own cover to hunker down behind.
Hunters are tacticians, snipers, and lone wolves. Their kits emphasise movement and stealth, and while that evasiveness can be handy in a team environment, it’s mostly self-serving. Though they reap benefits such as dodging abilities and invisibility, they require more precision in timing and execution. The Hunter class suits serious players who can execute more complex mechanics, especially in PvP settings.
The Hunter’s class ability is a dodge move – you can pick either Gambler’s Dodge, which replenishes your melee, or Marksman’s Dodge, which reloads your currently equipped weapon. The Hunter can equip any one of several ultimate abilities depending on which subclass they pick, but they’re main use is dishing out massive amounts of damage.
The Hunter probably has the highest skill ceiling in Destiny 2, but it’s also the hardest to learn and the least forgiving when you make a mistake. There is a small mercy in that the Hunter’s jump ability is a classic double-jump, so it’s easy to use if you’ve played a few other shooting games.
Destiny 2 subclasses explained
Destiny 2 characters can easily swap between four elemental subclasses, though each character class utilises these elements quite differently. Arc emphasises electricity, Solar harnesses the power of heat, Void leverages dark energy and gravitation, and Stasis – which is exclusive to the Beyond Light expansion – is all about the power of the cold. The forthcoming Strand subclass will be about manipulating environments.
Each class has a different set of traits tied to each elemental subclass, and players can further modify these with Aspects and Fragments. Aspects allow players to tailor their gameplay experiences by choosing class-specific perks to complement their Special Ability, grenade, jump, and melee abilities. Fragments are available across classes and provide additional perks that reward specific character actions. The strongest character builds make the most out of strong synergies between Fragments, Aspects, armour mods, and weapon selection. You can read more about Aspects and Fragments in our Void build, Solar build and Arc build guides.
New players gain the ability to tap into the Void subclass early in the game but will have to complete a series of objectives to learn the others. You can unlock the additional Light elements by completing the New Light campaign and corresponding quests from Ikora in the Tower. Then, follow the quest lines and instructions to unlock Aspects and Fragments.
To unlock Stasis, players must own the Beyond Light DLC and defeat the campaign’s final boss. After that, you must talk to the Exo Stranger on Europa to unlock additional Aspects and Fragments. This process can be quite a grind, so prepare to put some time in to unlock these modifiers.
Dawnblade: Warlock Solar subclass
Dawnblade is excellent for newer players due to its straightforward Daybreak Super Ability. However, that’s not all it has going for it. Well of Radiance is also a powerful group ability that can be deployed to deal massive damage to a single target.
Dawnblade Super Abilities
- Daybreak: Fly and wield a flaming sword that unleashes a deadly wave of fire with each swing.
- Well of Radiance: Throw your sword into the ground to scorch nearby targets. The blade projects an aura for nearby allies that regenerates health and shields and enhances damage.
- Heat Rises: This allows you to fire weapons, melee, and throw grenades while gliding. Holding the grenade button will consume a grenade and activate Heat Rises, causing any final blows while airborne to extend Heat Rises’ duration and grant melee energy.
- Touch of Flame: Buffs the Warlock grenade.
- Icarus Dash: The Guardian can dodge quickly while airborne. If Heat Rises is active, gain an additional dodge.
Stormcaller: Warlock Arc subclass
Stormcaller abilities can inflict large amounts of damage on enemy hordes in PvE.
Stormcaller Super Abilities
- Stormtrance: A chain of lightning that electrifies enemies.
- Chaos Reach: A channelled beam of Arc energy.
- Electrostatic Mind: Defeating goes using Arc abilities or eliminating jolted or blinded targets creates an Ionic Trace, which makes you amplified.
- Arc Soul: Rift creates an Arc soul that shoots at targets ahead of you, and enemies who pass through your well also gain an Arc Soul. Amplification improves Arc abilities.
- Lightning Surge: While sliding, activate your charged melee ability to blink forward, and jolt targets while you materialize.
Voidwalker: Warlock Void subclass
Voidwalker’s Void Soul and Devour buff pair to syphon health from enemies. However, a player can instead choose to optimise grenades for maximum damage. When combined with effective perks, additional grenade damage can contribute to melee ability regeneration or health regeneration.
Voidwalker Super Abilities
- Nova Bomb – Vortex: Pulls all enemies towards Nova Bomb.
- Nova Bomb – Cataclysm: Causes Nova Bomb to detonate, releasing a volley of heat-seeking projectiles.
- Nova Warp: Lets the player teleport short distances and release explosive energy in bursts.
- Feed the Void: Triggers the Devour buff whenever a player kills an enemy using a Void ability.
- Chaos Accelerant: Makes grenades much more powerful.
- Child of the Old Gods: Functions similarly to Arc Soul but also weakens enemies while granting grenade and melee energy whenever regenerating health while inside a rift.
Shadebinder: Warlock Stasis subclass
The Shadebinder Warlock Stasis subclass is challenging to perfect but comes in handy against large crowds.
Shadebinder Super Ability
- Winter’s Wrath: Summons a Stasis staff, which casts Stasis shards that freeze targets. The player can then trigger a shockwave to shatter all frozen targets.
- Iceflare Bolts: Spawns seeking projectiles. These will shatter a frozen target, which will extend to and freeze other targets.
- Bleak Watcher: Turns your grenade into a turret that fires slowing projectiles at enemies.
- Frostpulse: The player’s rift sends out a shockwave that freezes nearby enemies.
Broodweaver: Warlock Strand subclass
The Warlock Broodweaver uses the power of the Weave to manipulate Threadlings, spider-like entities to do its bidding.
Broodweaver Super Ability
- Needlestorm: Launch Strand-based missiles at enemies, detonating them and spawning Threadlings to hunt foes.
- Weaver’s Call: Rift cast weaves three Threadling eggs that hatch upon hitting a surface. Any that may be perched on the Warlock will turn into additional eggs.
- Mindspun Invocation: Improves Warlock abilities. Grapple melee weaves three Threadling eggs on target. Can consume Threadling grenade to spawn a full set of perched Threadlings. Can also consume shackle grenade to gain a buff that suspends detonation on kills.
Sunbreaker: Titan Solar subclass
The Sunbreaker’s Hammer of Sol ability makes them a worthy foe in both PvP and PvE.
Sunbreaker Super Abilities
- Hammer of Sol: Summon a throwable hammer that shatters into molten shards on impact.
- Burning Maul: Summon a flaming maul and crush your enemies with the force of an earthquake. Players can either spin the maul around them or slam it into the ground.
- Roaring Flames: Final blows with Solar abilities or ignitions increase the damage of Solar abilities. This stacks three times. This Aspect has 2 Fragment slots.
- Sol Invictus: Solar ability final blows, Hammer of Sol impacts, and scorched targets create Sunspots. In a Sunspot, your Super drains more slowly, and abilities regenerate more quickly. These Sunspots also scorch and damage targets, and entering a Sunspot applies restoration.
- Consecration: While sliding, activating your charged melee launches out Solar energy, which damages and scorches targets. While airborne, activating your charged melee again slams you into the ground and creates a large wave of Solar energy. If the wave hits a scorched target, it ignites.
Striker: Titan Arc Subclass
Fists of Havoc is a powerful Super ability and is good for both offensive and defensive play.
Striker Super Abilities
- Fists of Havoc: A supercharged electric ground slam. Use grenade button to quickly charge forward with an attack or the melee button to slam fists into the ground to deal area-of-effect damage.
- Thundercrash: Hurtle through the air to inflict damage like a missile.
- Touch of Thunder: Flashbang, Pulse, Lightning, and Storm Grenades have enhanced functionality.
- Knockout: Critically wounding an enemy or breaking a shield infuses melee attacks with Arc energy, increasing melee range and damage. Melee defeats starts health regeneration and makes you amplified.
- Juggernaut: With full class ability energy, after sprinting for a short time, gain a frontal shield blocking incoming damage, which takes more damage while player is amplified.
Sentinel: Titan Void subclass
The Sentinel subclass highlights the Titan’s defensive abilities. Players can augment the Titan’s Overshield perks with Fragments for even more strength.
Sentinel Super Abilities
- Ward of Dawn: Creates an indestructible dome that also provides a temporary increase in weapon damage.
- Sentinel Shield: Grants a Void light shield with options to attack, defend, throw, and create a defensive wall that grants increased weapon damage to allies when shooting through it.
- Bastion: Grants Overshield to nearby allies. Barricade grants Overshield to the player and nearby allies and empowers it, regenerating Overshield and extending its duration.
- Offensive Bulwark: While in Overshield or Well of Dawn, your grenade charges faster and you get increased melee range and damage. Melee final blows extend Overshield. It also grants an additional shield throw when using Sentinel Shield.
- Controlled Demolition: Hitting a target with a Void ability or Volatility makes the enemy volatile, and further damage causes them to explode. These explosions grant health to the player and nearby allies.
Behemoth: Titan Stasis subclass
The Behemoth is a favoured Titan subclass due to its ability to generate explosive damage from Stasis crystals – this subclass is also incredibly effective in close-range fights.
Behemoth Super Ability
- Glacial Quake: Summons a stasis gauntlet that the player can slam down for a shockwave that freezes targets. Or, as a light attack option, the player can supercharge their Shiver Strike melee for massive damage, plus sprinting through Stasis crystals or frozen targets will shatter them.
- Cyroclasm: Enables a longer and more powerful slide, plus sliding into Stasis crystals or frozen enemies shatters them and any nearby frozen targets.
- Tectonic Harvest: Shattering a Stasis crystal drops a Stasis charge that grants melee energy.
- Howl of the Storm: Activating charged melee while sliding launches a wave of Stasis energy, freezing targets and creating Stasis crystals.
- Diamond Lance: Shattering or defeating targets with a Stasis ability creates a Stasis Lance, which the player can throw to freeze a target on impact. Slamming the lance into the ground freezes targets in a small area.
Berserker: Titan Strand subclass
The Berserker is all about untamed power, with the Titan using its fists to unleash the fury of the Darkness within the Weave.
Berserker Super Ability
- Bladefury: Summons a stasis gauntlet that the player can slam down for a shockwave that freezes targets. Or, as a light attack option, the player can supercharge their Shiver Strike melee for massive damage, plus sprinting through Stasis crystals or frozen targets will shatter them.
- Into the Fray: Destroying a Tangle they’ve generated will grant a Woven Mail buff. The buff provides incoming damage resistance and increases melee regen while active.
- Drengr’s Lash: Using the Titan class ability will cause Strand to rush forward from the barricade, suspending and disabling enemies.
Gunslinger: Hunter Solar subclass
The Gunslinger is a PvP favourite due to the Golden Gun’s ability to quickly wipe an entire enemy team, though some prefer the sharp volley of Blade Barrage.
Gunslinger Super Abilities
- Golden Gun – Deadshot: A rapid-fire pistol that disintegrates targets. Causing ignitions while the Super Ability is active refunds a Golden Gun round.
- Golden Gun – Marksman: A flaming pistol that disintegrates targets. The gun deals increased precision damage and creates Orbs of Power on precision hits.
- Blade Barrage: Launch into the air and release a volley of explosive knives.
- Knock ‘em Down: Enhances Solar supers. Also, while radiant, final blows with the Throwing Knife will refund melee energy.
- Gunpowder Gamble: Defeating targets with abilities, Solar debuffs, or Solar weapons charges a Solar grenade, which players can shoot mid-air for a huge explosion.
- On Your Mark: Precision final blows grant you and your allies increased reload speeds and weapon handling – this can stack three times. Activating the Hunter class ability will also grant maximum stacks.
Arcstrider: Hunter Arc subclass
The Arcstrider wields the Arc Staff. Its effectiveness depends on a player’s ability to pull off strong combos and stay mobile.
Arcstrider Super Abilities
- Arc Staff: Arc energy staff that allows acrobatic melee combos and can deflect incoming projectiles.
- Gathering Storm: Throw Arc Staff forward, lodging it into surfaces and jolting nearby targets. A devastating lightning bolt bill strike the staff, overcharging it so it blasts lightning at nearby foes.
- Flow State: Become amplified by defeating jolted targets, so dodge recharges more quickly, you are more resilient while dodging, and reload speed is increased.
- Tempest Strike: Activate your charged melee while sliding, unleashing an attack that travels along the ground.
- Lethal Current: After dodging, your next melee attack has increased lunge range, jolts target, and creates an aftershock. Damaging a jolted target with melee attacks also blinds them.
Nightstalker: Hunter Void subclass
This subclass specialises in invisibility, which the player can also grant to their allies through various means.
Nightstalker Super Abilities
- Shadowshot – Deadfall: Tethers a large group of enemies to a Void Anchor, which slows and silences them. This has long been a favourite of Hunters in PvE activities where you come up against large numbers of enemies.
- Shadowshot – Moebius Quiver: Fires two three-shot arrow barrages that tether enemies.
- Spectral Blades: Void blades that grant invisibility while the player performs a quick melee attack or heavy attack.
- Trapper’s Ambush: The player can spend their melee charge to activate Quickfall, diving into the ground and creating a large smoke cloud. Targets caught inside are weakened, and allies are made invisible. Additionally, the Nightstalker’s Smoke bomb melee also grants invisibility.
- Stylish Executioner: Defeating a weakened, suppressed or volatile target grants invisibility and truesight. The next melee attack while invisible weakens targets. This allows for powerful combos as many weapons and mods suppress or weaken enemies or make them volatile.
- Vanishing Step: Dodging makes the player invisible. This is good for high-intensity activities such as Trials of Osiris, where abilities aren’t always as useful as strong movement.
Revenant: Hunter Stasis subclass
Many consider Revenant an overpowered build, primarily due to its flexibility and ability to pair well with various modifiers from various weapons, armour, and Fragments.
Revenant Super Ability
- Silence and Squall: The player channels Stasis shards to form Kama blades, the first of which bounces off enemies and freezes them before the second detonates on impact, creating a Stasis storm. Being able to easily freeze targets and also cause a storm, paired with the ability to easily shatter stasis crystals, makes this one of the most potent PvP subclasses in the game.
- Shatterdive: Activating mid-air makes the player descend on targets and shatter them on impact.
- Winter’s Shroud: Dodging slows nearby targets.
- Grim Harvest: Defeating slowed or frozen combatants creates Stasis shards, which grant melee when picked up by player and allies.
- Touch of Winter: Stasis grenade types have enhanced functionality.
Threadrunner: Hunter Strand subclass
The Hunter Threadrunner leverages Strand by turning it into a chain-like tool that aids in movement but can also deal significant damage.
Threadrunner Super Ability
- Silkstrike: Hunter can use grapple to move around in third-person, throwing and spinning their rope dart to harm enemies and manipulate the world around them.
- Ensnaring Slam: Pressing the air-move input while in mid-air causes the Hunter to slam downward to suspend all nearby enemies.
- Widow’s Silk: Grants an additional grenade charge. Grapple creates a persistent grapple Strand Tangle and refunds grenade energy when the Hunter grapples to it. This allows the player to set up chains of Tangles that they and their fireteam can use to traverse an area quickly.
The ability to combine Aspects, Fragments, armour perks, and weaponry means there are limitless options for character builds in Destiny 2 within each element and subclass. One of the best things about Destiny is that it constantly encourages players to experiment with builds that push limits.
If you want more tips on developing a strong character, why not check out our guides to the best Destiny 2 Exotics, best PvP weapons, and armor? We’ve also got a slew of guides we update with the Destiny 2 weekly reset, including the Destiny 2 Legendary Lost Sector, the week’s Destiny 2 Nightfall weapon, and even how Xur works.