Is Arcblade Showstopper really the win button haters say it is? Is it really possible to one-shot bosses as a Gunslinger wearing an exotic helm? Are Hunters ridiculously OP? No. But...
Hunters attract a certain play-style in Destiny, and regrettably for those on the receiving end in PvP it’s players that have gained confidence playing other shooters. This is an admittedly sweeping statement, but typically these guys aren’t looking for extra shields or long-distance super-bombs. They like to get in your face or head-shot from range. It’s why the Bladedancer and Gunslinger subclasses can be so damn annoying in Crucible, while in PvE their fragility demands an increased level of awareness to find cover spots and use Supers wisely.
Bladedancer and Gunslinger overview
Want to be the man with the Golden Gun? Of course you do, which is why Gunslinger is the first subclass available to Hunters in Destiny. One-shot kills with this solar super satisfy every time. It’s an intimidation tool to unleash in PvP and, when upgraded, clears a room in PvE. Noob-friendly triple-jump for terrain navigation is also a wise evasion tactic in PvP.
You’ll envy Bladedancers precisely one split-second after one decimates your entire fireteam, or see them swish majestically across the chasm in Crota’s End without need of a sword. You’ll want to be the hero that’s confusing the hell out of Crota, dancing behind his ass while invisible. You’ll want to be the guy saving the entire Skolas attempt while your comrades wait to be revived.
Hunters have been the ultimate showboating class in Destiny Year One, but even those of you with the swiftness of thought to make them effective are likely missing a trick (or even several). Below, ahead of The Taken King's release later this month, we endeavour to plug those holes.
As stated earlier, Triple Jump can save your day no matter which mode you’re on. Confident players on the offensive favour Gunslinger’s Trance in tandem with Class Modifier Path Forgotten (toughness and speed) and Attribute Modifier Way of the Fearless (toughness at all costs). This combination boosted by MIDA Multi-Tool and/or Knucklehead Radar helm allows Aiming-Down-Sight precision the entire time while remaining an elusive target. You’re flimsy though, so take care.
In busier PvE locations, Knife Juggler, which immediately resets throwing-knife cool-down after a precision kill, is the obvious choice. It helps keep that Chain of Woe mod (increased reload speed) active, available since you’re not leaning on Gambler’s Dagger from the same menu. Combustion (exploding minions) is also preferred. However, when it comes to boss fights, switching to Incendiary Blade and Gambler’s Dagger is more effective as it eats away at the target. Ignore Deadeye during PvE: it's Gunfighter (Golden Gun cool down) that keeps you in the fight and ends it sooner in the main.
In PvP things are dramatically different, and Incendiary Knife is the number-one melee modifier. Path Forgotten and Way of the Fearless remain locked for Hunters that enjoy keeping busy close to the fray, while Path Unknown aids speedy recovery if you’re picking off targets from range and take an unexpected hit while ADS. Your play-style will decide between Gambler’s Dagger (one extra throwing knife), or Chain of Woe in the Additional Modifiers. It depends how much you enjoy frying folks on the spur of the moment versus picking off pre-identified targets with a rifle.
Reflex versus premeditated harm also dictates the choice of Gunfighter or Deadeye in PvP. The latter is only slightly helpful in target acquisition but can make you feel badass in a nothing-to-lose survival scenario. Usually Gunfighter is best to keep cooking that Golden Gun super. The chances of killing an opponent with a throwing knife during Golden Gun are so slim that Circle of Life is useless for most.
Generally, then, the Gunslinger is a shoot-from-range aggressor, perfectly living up to the name. During PvE or PvP, learning the terrain to capitalise on that Triple Jump precision is the key to owning the floor, keeping the enemy in your sights while your buttocks remain out of theirs.
Rhythm of the Bladedancer
Focused practice with the Bladedancer subclass lets you run the show in PvP or PvE. In terms of assisting fireteams in PvE, invisible Hunters with their increased Agility became the superstars of Crota’s End, and lately similar tactics are ensuring that Skolas goes down quickly. Most Guardians are prepared for the onslaught of a Bladedancer with Hungering Blade (immediate health regeneration) and Showstopper (damage nearby enemies) Modifiers enabled.
The finer points are often missed however, and as with Gunslinger the set-ups in PvP and PvE contrast dramatically. Starting with PvE, the emphasis is usually on speed and recovery since the strategy is quick-in quick-out, so use Path Forgotten and Way of the Drifter at all times. Escape Artist (invisibility after hitting with Blink Strike) is solid across PvP and PvE as it causes panic and confusion.
It depends on the guile of the opposing team how much you can rely on Stalker (crouch for invisibility) in PvP. In our experience most Guardians remain vigilant for a flickering radar signature, making an attempted stealth assault redundant. Hungering Blade is more likely to keep you alive. This is why Fleet Footed (increased speed and slide distance) with a shotgun is so much more fun.
In PvE it’s all about the invisibility game – if you’ve Don’t Touch Me gauntlets, so much the better. Toughness and Speed are the priority in end-game activities to avoid one-hit back-to-orbit disaster. Your armour set-up needs to favour Intellect and Strength (this is the first time we’ve called out armour attributes in these subclass guides: that’s how critical it is). For PvE, use Vanish for Arc Blade, Escape Artist for Blink Strike, Path Forgotten, Shadowjack, Way of the Fearless and good old Stalker.
And try not to spend too long in front of the mirror.