With the constant additions of new weapons and perk tweaks in Destiny 2, determining the optimal damage-per-second (DPS) loadouts can be a challenge. After extensive research and testing, some clear recommendations have emerged for Hunters looking to maximize their damage output.
Solar versus Arc Subclasses
Hunters currently have two main subclass options for DPS – Solar and Arc. The Nightstalker Void subclass has fallen behind after changes to buffs and debuffs. Arc Hunters provide solid ad-clearing and versatility for most content.
For pure boss DPS, Solar Hunters reign supreme, especially with exotic armor like Star Eater Scales or Dragon’s Shadow. These boost Super damage or improve weapon reload speeds. Meanwhile, Arc Hunters can exploit high-damage combinations like Gathering Storm and Foetracer helmet.
Here’s the pro’s and cons breakdown:
Solar Hunters are probably back on top, Star Eater Scales swapping into Dragon’s Shadow or Radiant Dance Machines is proving to be an devastating combo with great versatility for different boss styles. Swapping to Knucklehead Radar for last stands is also a nice little boost to help burn down that last 20%. Healing Grenade, Knife Trick, Benevolence, Solace, Torches, Singing, Ashes and Blade Barrage is the best build we’ve found, providing Hunters with massive ability regen, radiant and bonus scorch stacks for more regen. As well, Solar Hunters should use Gambler’s Dodge when using swords.
Now Arc Hunters, they’re a strange one.
The list of pros and cons may seem more boring than for our Solar friends, but it’s because Arc Hunters are hugely versatile and viable for most content. Using a Star Eater + Gathering Storm combo, swapping into Foetracer for use with Bequest, Fourth Horseman and Monochromatic Maestro results in a huge damage bonus – one of the highest in the game. All of this on top of their solid ad-clearing capabilities results in the best spot Arc Hunters have been in since the One-Two Punch + Liar’s Handshake era.
Setting Up Your Weapons Class
Depending on the boss’s style, as well as your subclass – you’ve got quite a few options when it comes down to weapons. There’s an answer for everything, and we’ve got the best-in-slot gear for all of it.
We’ve got 2 options here, with a very simple explanation. Izanagi’s Burden for long-range fights, pairing with a rocket and a swap-GL like Wilderflight. This goes for both subclasses, Izanagi’s just sits atop the hill.
For close-range fights, we recommend a Ragnhild-D Aggressive frame shotgun – utilising Assault Mag and One-Two Punch, stacking damage onto your Knife Trick or Arc Melee.
We’ll use this space to quickly talk about your standard rotations as well. Solar Hunters will be utilising a 123 swap build, swapping between 3 shotguns and throwing knives after One-Two Punch proccing and dodging for Dragon’s Shadow reloads. Keep in mind that missing the scorch stack application with knives will dramatically slow down your pacing and damage, because this rotation relies on the bonus handling from On Your Mark.
Arc Hunters have some more freedom, opting usually for a double shotgun setup with Fourth Horseman and Bequest as their primary DPS tools.
Some bonus contenders for this position that entirely deserve being mentioned are Riptide and Nox Perennial V – both are solid flex picks that completely carry outside of pure boss DPS, however they both come with nice bonuses and great damage for taking out bosses. Riptide with Chill Clip serves as a fully self-contained Stasis kit, providing bonus shatter damage ontop of its strong burst. Nox Perennial V with Accelerated Coils, Lead From Gold/Envious Assassin and Controlled Burst acts almost as a throwback to the old Cartesian Coordinate days. Insanely high damage and charge speed allows this fusion to put up serious numbers.
There are 4 candidates for this position, a long-distance option in Wilderflight, and 3 shotguns depending on setup.
Wilderflight, the twofer grenade launcher from Spire of the Watcher, is an outstanding swap-build option. Featuring Spike Grenades, Auto-Loading and Frenzy/Vorpal, this weapon is an absolute machine for pumping out damage at mid to long ranges in-between cycles.
We’ve already talked about Fourth Horseman in this article, but its use-cases need to be reiterated. Arc Hunters, post-supering will swap to Foetracer, giving a 4x surge boost to Arc weapons. Fourth Horseman will be your secondary option to a sword, swapping back, dodge reloading and dumping on the boss.
Aggressive Frame shotguns, specifically Comedian and Mindbender’s, are our two final picks for the spot. Solar Hunters will utilise the 123 swapping rotation. Our recommended build for Comedian includes having Assault Mag and Vorpal Weapon/Trench Barrel, a nice boost to fire-rate and boss DPS. Mindbender’s gives players the option between One-Two Punch or Vorpal in the 4th column, offering either more flexibility or raw damage.
The heavy-options and selections are surprisingly simple for Hunters. The support options are important to note first because they affect the whole team. Gjallarhorn boosts the team’s rocket damage by somewhere between 30-80%, it’s unclear right now because of how buggy Wolfpack Rounds are, but it’s a sizeable increase. Tractor Cannon is a flat 30% damage increase on affected enemies, another laughably high boost.
Solar Hunters are going to finalise their 123 rotation with Tractor Cannon at short range, working perfectly with the subclass’s handling boost + buffing the full team’s damage by 30%.
Hunters rely on boosting their heavy sword damage, or sticking with Tractor Cannon. Gjallarhorn doesn’t really find a comfortable spot on most rotation slots, besides long-distance encounters, forcing them off Izanagi’s.
For swords, the two options are Bequest – from Deep Stone Crypt – and The Lament. Bequest with Swordmaster’s Guard, Relentless Strikes and Surrounded is slightly better than Lament, but does required Surrounded to stay proc’d for the whole DPS phase. The Lament offers a much simpler yet slightly worse damage cycle, stacking Banshee’s Wail and executing a heavy attack, unfortunately its Exotic status clashes with Fourth Horseman, so we recommend sticking with Bequest or at least Goldtusk.
For rocket DPS, Apex Predator sits above the rest, with The Hothead coming in at a close second. Cold Comfort with Ensemble and Bait & Switch serving as a last resort. Apex Predator with Impact Casing, Reconstruction and Bait & Switch/Explosive Light/Frenzy is the best option, featuring flexes for swap-builds and rocket-dumping strats.