Destiny 2Source: Bungie

While Destiny 2's sandbox has traditionally been a simple one that offers more width than depth, the developers at Bungie have made strong efforts to give players tools to put together powerful and creative builds over the course of 2020 and beyond. Thanks to the addition of three new stat types, the Armor 2.0 system, and dozens of armor mods that tweak moment-to-moment gameplay, creating and using builds is more relevant than ever before.

However, many players may have a hard time knowing where to start when it comes to builds, especially if they're not franchise veterans (if that's you, check out my beginner's guide on how to get into Destiny 2 for a broader overview of the game overall).

If you're not sure what build to use or how to make a build of your own, don't worry — I'm here with an overview of some of the best builds in Destiny 2 for both PvE and PvP, as well as a crash course on how you can start forming your own builds.

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Destiny 2 Beyond Light Reco Box

Destiny 2: Beyond Light

Europa awaits

Beyond Light is the next big expansion for Destiny 2, introducing a new element for Guardians to wield, a new area on the Jupiter moon Europa, a new story, and plenty of loot to go around.

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Destiny 2 best builds: Titan

Destiny 2Source: Bungie

In general, Titans are at their strongest when they're getting up close and personal with enemies in PvE as well as PvP. As such, the best Titan builds emphasize close-range combat with shotguns, swords, and melee attacks. They also have the best options for damage mitigation and tanking out of the three classes.

Ursa Furiosa Endgame build

Ursa FuriosaSource:

  • Subclass: Sentinel, Code of the Commander
  • Exotics: Ursa Furiosa
  • Weapons: Masterworked primary, preferred special, preferred heavy
  • Primary armor stats: Recovery, Intellect
  • Important mods: Taking Charge, Stacks on Stacks, Supercharged, Protective Light

This is the best Titan build for endgame Nightfalls, especially at the Master and Grandmaster level. The Code of the Commander's Banner Shield super allows you to block near-infinite damage from everything from generic red bar enemies to Champions and bosses while also giving your fireteam members a damage boost when they fire through the shield. The Ursa Furiosa Exotic gauntlets then return a huge chunk of super energy to you based on how much damage you blocked, meaning that you can often chain multiple supers together quickly. This keeps your team safe, which is crucial in endgame content.

This build is even more effective if you have a high Intellect stat and you make use of Charged with Light mods (namely, Protective Light) as well as masterworked weapons to boost your super recharge rate even more while also enhancing your tankiness. These stat and mod combinations basically guarantee that you won't die as long as you're playing smart, while also ensuring that you get your Banner Shield super back in seconds.

Cuirass of the Falling Star build

Cuirass of the Falling StarSource:

  • Subclass: Striker, Code of the Missile
  • Exotics: Cuirass of the Falling Star
  • Weapons: Masterworked primary, preferred special, preferred heavy
  • Primary armor stats: Recovery, Intellect
  • Important mods: Taking Charge, Stacks on Stacks, Supercharged, Protective Light

If you want to hit Raid bosses or Champions for millions of points of damage, this is the build for you. It's centered around the Cuirass of the Falling Star Exotic chest piece, which dramatically improves the damage of the Thundercrash super and also provides you with an overshield after hitting your target so that you can get to safety. This Exotic singlehandedly makes Thundercrash the best Titan super for endgame PvE if you want to dish out lots of damage in one huge burst.

To maximize the effectiveness of this build, you'll need to have a high Intellect stat so that you get your Thundercrash back as quickly as possible. You're also going to want to use a standard Protective Light Charged with Light setup to maximize your survivability, as sometimes even the Cuirass of the Falling Star's overshield isn't enough to protect you from the enemies your super doesn't kill (this is only a concern in Grandmaster Nightfalls).

Icefall Mantle Tank build

Destiny 2Source:

  • Subclass: Any
  • Exotics: Icefall Mantle, Heir Apparent
  • Weapons: IKELOS_SMG_v1.0.2, preferred shotgun
  • Primary armor stats: Resilience, Recovery
  • Important mods: Wrath of Rasputin, Warmind's Protection, Global Reach, Fireteam Medic, Recuperation

This is a subclass-independent Warmind Cell PvE build that's centered around the Icefall Mantle Exotic and is all about turning yourself into the ultimate frontline tank. The Icefall Mantle allows you to trade your barricade, your high jumps, and your ability to sprint for a very resilient overshield. This allows you to survive attacks from enemies that would normally kill you, especially in endgame activities like Nightfalls (this build is less effective in Grandmaster Nightfalls, however). As you kill enemies with your IKELOS SMG, you'll also be making Warmind Cells that will reduce enemy damage. If needed, you can also destroy these to instantly heal you (and any nearby teammates). If you want to be even tankier, you can use the Heir Apparent for its Arc shield that activates when you spin it up at full health. The Recuperation mod is also a good choice, as it allows you to heal when picking up Orbs of Power.

Related: Destiny 2: Beyond Light guide: List of new Exotic weapons and how to get them

Since this build is Icefall Mantle focused, you're going to want as much Resilience as you can get. This is because Resilience makes your barricade recharge faster, and since the Icefall Mantle replaces your barricade ability, having high Resilience shortens the cooldown of the Icefall Mantle overshield.

Behemoth PvP build

Destiny 2Source: Windows Central

  • Subclass: Behemoth, Cryoclasm
  • Exotics: Antaeus Wards, Salvation's Grip
  • Weapons: Preferred primary, preferred shotgun
  • Primary armor stats: Recovery, Mobility
  • Important mods: Targeting/unflinching aim, shotgun scavenger

This is one of the best builds that Titan players can take into PvP in the Destiny 2: Beyond Light era, and it's focused entirely on taking advantage of how powerful the Behemoth subclass' Cryoclasm Stasis Aspect is. Slide-shotgunning is the absolute best way to push against the other team in the game (especially if you have a strong PvP shotgun like Felwinter's Lie), and the Cryoclasm Aspect makes your slides faster and longer. This makes you harder to hit, and it also means that you can execute the slide-shotgun combo before the enemy even sees it coming.

Antaeus Wards increase your safety by reflecting enemy attacks for a brief window each time you slide, and you can use the Salvation's Grip to freeze enemies for a quick kill with the Cryoclasm Aspect's empowered slide. Make sure to equip targeting and unflinching mods that match your primary weapon choice, and don't forget shotgun scavenger either since it will ensure you always have ammo.

Destiny 2 best builds: Hunter

Destiny 2 Source: Bungie

Hunters are strongest when you take advantage of their high mobility and burst damage potential in both PvE and PvP. Due to this, the strongest Hunter setups are centered around taking advantage of the class's positioning and/or its DPS strengths.

Golden Gun Endgame build

Destiny 2Source: Bungie

  • Subclass: Gunslinger, Way of the Sharpshooter
  • Exotics: Celestial Nighthawk OR Star-Eater Scales
  • Weapons: Masterworked primary, preferred special, preferred heavy
  • Primary armor stats: Recovery, Intellect
  • Important mods: Taking Charge, Stacks on Stacks, Supercharged, Energy Converter, Firepower, Innervation

This Charged With Light mod-heavy build is completely centered around getting your Golden Gun super back quickly. This, when paired with the Celestial Nighthawk Exotic, will allow you to kill Nightfall Champions incredibly consistently. Additionally, it will also allow you to do huge boss DPS in Raids, for which your fireteam will love you. To make your super recharge faster equip the mods listed above and masterwork your favorite primary weapon and collect the Orbs of Power that drop when you get multikills with it to get Charged With Light. Then, throw your grenade to replenish a large chunk of your super energy. Further Orbs of Power will both contribute to your super charge and return your grenade energy to you, allowing you to keep the recharging cycle going until your Golden Gun is ready again. High Intellect will also help charge your super, too.

If you don't have Celestial Nighthawk or don't like centering your build around one single Golden Gun crit, the Star-Eater Scales Exotic is a viable alternative. When it's fully charged with four Orbs of Power it actually outperforms Celestial Nighthawk in terms of damage. Additionally, the Exotic's other benefits also help you get your Golden Gun back even faster. The trade-off is that you have to hit three crits instead of just one, and missing any of them will significantly reduce your effectiveness.

Related: Destiny 2 Deep Stone Crypt raid guide: How to beat every boss encounter

Omnioculus Nightfall build

Nightstalker HunterSource: Bungie

  • Subclass: Nightstalker, Way of the Pathfinder
  • Exotics: Omnioculus
  • Weapons: Masterworked primary, preferred special, preferred heavy
  • Primary armor stats: Recovery, Mobility OR Strength
  • Important mods: Taking Charge, Stacks on Stacks, Supercharged, Protective Light

This Nightfall-focused build is arguably the best option for Hunters right now for difficult Master and Grandmaster Nightfalls. The core component of the build, the Omnioculus Exotic chest piece, allows you to spam invisibility smoke grenades in quick succession as long as you cloak everyone in your fireteam each time you use them, which helps make many dangerous sections of Nightfalls much easier. It's also a great way to make going for revives easier, too.

The Charged With Light mods aren't crucial for getting the build to work, but the enhanced protection given by Protective Light makes you even safer since it will reduce incoming damage significantly. In situations where your fireteam is on the ropes, Protective Light will often be the difference between narrow survival and a wipe.

Shatterdive PvP build

Destiny 2: Beyond LightSource: Bungie

  • Subclass: Revenant, Shatterdive, Glacial Grenade, Touch of Winter, Whisper of Fissures, Shards, and Torment
  • Exotics: Mask of Bakris
  • Weapons: Masterworked primary, preferred special, preferred heavy
  • Primary armor stats: Recovery, Mobility, and Discipline
  • Important mods: Targeting/unflinching aim, scavenger for special, Grenade Kickstart

The Shatterdive Aspect for the Revenant Stasis subclass is one of the deadliest things you can use in PvP right now, as it can reliably one-shot any Guardians near your Glacial Grenade crystals when you shatter them using the Shatterdive ability. The Whisper of Shards Fragment and the Grenade Kickstart mod help you get your Glacial Grenade back faster when you throw it, while the Touch of Winter Aspect and the Whisper of Fissures Fragment enhance the potency of Shatterdive itself. Mask of Bakris is also a great Exotic to use with Shatterdive since its teleport-like dodge makes it very easy to get out of danger once you've performed your Shatterdive combo.

In terms of stats, it's recommended to use a mix of Recovery, Mobility, and Discipline. Mobility and Discipline in particular are important, as high Mobility lets you jump higher before Shatterdiving while Discipline further enhances your grenade recharge rate.

Spectral Blades PvP build

Destiny 2Source: Windows Central

  • Subclass: Nightstalker, Way of the Wraith
  • Exotics: Gwisin Vest
  • Weapons: Preferred primary, preferred shotgun, preferred heavy
  • Primary armor stats: Recovery OR Intellect, Mobility
  • Important mods: Targeting/unflinching aim, scavenger for special

If you want a simple PvP-focused build that will dominate, look no further than this Spectral Blades-focused one. Way of the Wraith is one of the best PvP subclasses in the game, and it's arguably the best one for Hunter due to the fact that you go invisible on headshot kills if you're at full health. Additionally, Spectral Blades is nasty in PvP because of how fast it makes you, and if you use it smartly you'll often get three to five kills against the other team. Gwisin Vest extends the duration of the super when you get kills with it, too, which is awesome. For stats, Recovery and Mobility are what you should hunt for since quick healing and high jump height are great for PvP. You could switch Recovery out for Intellect if desired, which will give you a faster Spectral Blades charge time.

One of the best things about this build is that it's very applicable regardless of the weapons you like to use. Whether you're a crackshot sniper or an aggressive shotgunner, this build will work excellently.

Destiny 2 best builds: Warlock

Destiny 2Source: Bungie

Warlocks are unique in that they are more support oriented compared to Titans and Hunters. Therefore, Warlock builds that encourage a support playstyle are among the most powerful and effective. If you want a build geared towards lethality instead, aim for a setup that recharges your abilities quickly.

Endgame Shadebinder build

Destiny 2: Beyond LightSource: Bungie

  • Subclass: Shadebinder, Bleak Watcher, Iceflare Bolts
  • Exotics: Eyes of Another World OR Verity's Brow
  • Weapons: Masterworked primary, preferred special, preferred heavy
  • Primary armor stats: Recovery, Discipline
  • Important mods: Taking Charge, Stacks on Stacks, Supercharged, Protective Light, Grenade Kickstart

This Shadebinder Stasis build is incredible for endgame PvE like Grandmaster Nightfalls and the Master Vault of Glass (it can also put in some work in PvP), as the Stasis turret you can create with the Bleak Watcher Aspect provides insane crowd control value that keeps every enemy on the field frozen. Iceflare Bolts also make enemies that you kill while frozen freeze other nearby enemies, which is helpful. Since the Bleak Watcher turret relies on using a grenade charge, you should aim for high Discipline as well as Recovery. Eye of Another World also helps recharge your grenade faster since it gives a flat recovery rate increase to all of your abilities. You could swap it for Verity's Brow if you're using Stasis weapons, as that Exotic gives you grenade energy when defeating enemies with an element that matches your subclass.

Related: How to get Stasis Aspects and Fragments in Destiny 2: Beyond Light

In terms of mods, I recommend the classic Taking Charge and Protective Light combo, along with some supporting mods like Stacks on Stacks or Supercharged. In high end content, survivability is key, and since nothing offers better survivability than Protective Light, it's considered to be the best mod for most situations. Grenade Kickstart is also a must, as it gives you a chunk of grenade energy every time you throw your grenade (aka your turret).

Voidlock PvE build

Destiny 2Source: Bungie

  • Subclass: Voidwalker, Attunement of Chaos OR Attunement of Hunger
  • Exotics: Nezarec's Sin
  • Weapons: Masterworked Void primary, preferred special, preferred heavy
  • Primary armor stats: Recovery, Discipline OR Intellect
  • Important mods: Taking Charge, Stacks on Stacks, Supercharged, High Energy Fire OR Protective Light

If you want all-out offense as a Warlock, your best bet is the tried-and-true "Voidlock" build that's centered around getting plenty of Void kills with your weapons and abilities to proc the Nezarec's Sin Exotic, which will in turn boost the recharge rate of all of your abilities. Either Nova Bomb Voidwalker skill tree works excellently here (avoid Nova Warp), and as for your Void primary weapon (don't forget to masterwork it!), I recommend either Gnawing Hunger or a Reckless Oracle.

When it comes to armor stats, I recommend Recovery for good health regen and Discipline for faster grenade cooldowns. You could opt for Intellect here if you want, but in my experience, Void grenades are fantastic for keeping your Nezarec's Sin well fed with Void kills.

Well of Radiance Nightfall build

Destiny 2Source: Bungie

  • Subclass: Dawnblade, Attunement of Grace
  • Exotics: Phoenix Protocol
  • Weapons: Preferred IKELOS/Seventh Seraph primary, preferred special, preferred heavy
  • Primary armor stats: Recovery, Intellect OR Discipline
  • Important mods: Wrath of Rasputin, Cellular Suppression, Global Reach, Fireteam Medic

This is the ultimate support/healer build for Nightfall runs, as Phoenix Protocol allows you to recharge your Well of Radiance super very quickly as long as you and your teammates are getting kills while using a Well of Radiance. Additionally, the Divine Protection grenade ability is fantastic for healing your teammates in situations where you don't have a Well of Radiance ready or when using one would be impractical. For stats, you should primarily go with Recovery for strong health regen and Intellect for an additional boost to your Well of Radiance recharge rate. You could swap Intellect for Discipline if you want to use the Divine Protection grenade more often.

The build becomes even more powerful when you throw some Warmind Cell mods into the mix. Cellular Suppression allows you to blind enemies by shooting your Warmind Cells, which is extremely helpful in Nightfalls at the Legend difficulty and above. Additionally, you can also destroy your Warmind Cells to heal you and your teammates with Fireteam Medic, which is great for scenarios where your Divine Protection ability is on cooldown.

Mantle of Battle Harmony build

Mantle of Battle HarmonySource:

  • Subclass: Shadebinder (Any Aspects and Fragments)
  • Exotics: Mantle of Battle Harmony
  • Weapons: Preferred masterworked primary, Ager's Scepter, masterworked preferred heavy
  • Primary armor stats: Recovery, Intellect
  • Important mods: Taking Charge, Stacks on Stacks, Supercharged, Protective Light

For a fun and effective build with Ager's Scepter and the Mantle of Battle Harmony Exotics, give this setup a try. At the build's core, you only need the Mantle of Battle Harmony and Ager's Scepter with its catalyst. When using Shadebinder, kills with Stasis weapons boost your Super energy gain thanks to the Mantle of Battle Harmony's Exotic perk. This is where Ager's Scepter comes in, as it can freeze and kill normal enemies with Stasis damage rapidly.

Then, once your Super is charged, you can hold down your reload button to activate Ager's Scepter's "overdrive mode" that does significantly more damage but drains Super energy. As you kill enemies with the overdrive mode, you'll still get Super energy returned because of the Mantle of Battle Harmony. This means that you can offset the Super drain of the overdrive mode with chunks of Super energy, prolonging the amount of time you get to use it. For maximum survivability while playing aggressively, use a standard Protective Light Charged with Light build.

Destiny 2 builds: Tips for making your own builds

Destiny 2Source: Windows Central

If none of the above builds sounds good to you, or if you simply feel like getting creative yourself, I highly recommend experimenting and coming up with your own personal Destiny 2 build. If you're not sure where to start, these tips will help get you going in the right direction.

  • Choose one or two core goals for your build. Destiny 2 builds are best when you go all-in on one or two specific "themes" such as fast ability regen or strong damage reduction. Trying to be good at everything will result in underwhelming performance overall.
  • Pick the right subclass and skill tree. You should make sure that you're using the subclass and skill tree that best synergizes with your build goals. For example, if you want to heal teammates and you're a Warlock, pick the Dawnblade subclass with the Attunement of Grace skill tree. In general, your subclass will act as the foundation for your builds.
  • Make sure you choose the right Exotics. Exotics are a huge part of any strong build. This is because they typically enhance specific abilities or weapons, which in turn allows you to use them to specialize. Study what Exotics are in the game and pick the Exotic armor and/or weapon that's ideal for your chosen build goals.
  • Aim for 70+ points in two stats that synergize with your build. When searching for well-rolled armor, you should aim for at least 70 points or more in two stats (three is possible, but requires excellent RNG) that will help you achieve your build goals. For example, a build focused on damage mitigation will benefit the most from Recovery and Resilience. In general, I always recommend choosing Recovery as one of your target stats regardless of build. This is because good health regen is optimal in high-level content and PvP. However, you can sacrifice good Recovery and still be okay if you'd prefer to target another stat.
  • Never go above 100 points in a stat category. The effects of a stat cap at 100 points, so any further points in the stat above that are wasted. Try to find armor that allows you to hit 100 in one of your build's chosen stats, but doesn't go higher.
  • Use the right mods. Mods have been heavily fleshed out over time in Destiny 2, and as a result they're some of the strongest build tools in the game right now (especially Charged With Light and Warmind Cell mods). Making good use of them isn't that important for PvP builds, but mods are crucial for any top notch PvE build. You can also use stat adjustment mods that allow you to tweak specific armor stats up by 5 or 10 points, which is helpful if you're struggling to get the specific armor rolls you want.
  • Masterwork everything. Masterworking your weapons and armor is a great way to enhance your build's overall effectiveness. Aside from flatly boosting all of your armor stats by a slight amount, masterworking your armor also allows you to use stronger mods or multiple weaker mods per armor piece. Masterworking weapons, meanwhile, boosts one of the weapon's stats and allows them to generate Orbs of Power for you and your allies on multikills.

Any questions?

If you have any questions about builds, ask me in the comments and I'll be happy to answer you. Also, make sure you check out my Destiny 2: Beyond Light review for my thoughts on Destiny 2's latest expansion.

Destiny 2: Beyond Light is available now on Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, Xbox One consoles, and Windows 10 PCs for $40. The base game is free on all platforms, so if you haven't tried it out yet, I highly recommend doing so since it's one of the best Xbox One shooters available.

Wield the Darkness

Destiny 2 Beyond Light Reco Box

Destiny 2: Beyond Light

Europa awaits

Beyond Light is the next big expansion for Destiny 2, introducing a new element for Guardians to wield, a new area on the Jupiter moon Europa, a new story, and plenty of loot to go around.

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