Destiny 2 classes and subclasses guide

Our guide to Destiny 2 classes breaks down the looter shooter's revamped subclass system to help you pick the best class for your style of play

The three main Destiny 2 classes: Warlock, Titan, and Hunter posing in classic armour

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 perk trees, Aspects, and Fragments, and there’s even an entirely new element called Stasis.

Each of the Destiny 2 classes has a unique kit that leverages 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 in order to keep the game fun and fresh, so expect more class changes in the future. However, 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.

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. 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, it 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, feel free to choose whatever you desire and customise your Guardian’s look accordingly.

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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 decide to main a different class later down the line.

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, have largely the same kit, and can switch between aggro and support abilities depending on the type of mission you’re embarking upon.

Before we get into the nuances of subclasses though, here are the three main Destiny 2 classes.

  • Warlock
  • Titan
  • Hunter

Destiny 2 classes: The Warlock Solar subclass casting its Super Ability

Warlock

Warlocks are versatile characters with balanced playstyles. This class’s abilities are relatively straightforward compared to those of the Titan and Hunter. As a result, new players often tend to favour Warlocks.

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 who plan to focus on Destiny 2’s numerous PvE activities. They’re strongest when buffing their teammates.

Their jump is arguably the most difficult to get used to, as they glide slowly over the battlefield, but you can change this to a blink-like teleport depending on the subclass you pick. While the Super Ability changes a lot depending on the subclass, Warlock supers are generally about casting or throwing elemental effects – they’re sort of like space mages.

Destiny 2 classes: the Titan class taking cover behind a barricade

Titan

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.

Destiny 2 classes: a Hunter striding across the battlefield with an Arc energy staff

Hunter

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 a range of 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 elements

Destiny 2 characters can easily swap between four elements, 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.

Each class has a different set of traits tied to each element, and players can further modify these with Aspects and Fragments (except for Arc, which will likely be reworked by the next season’s launch). 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 and Aspects. You can read more about Aspects and Fragments in our Void 3.0 and Solar 3.0 build guides.

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New players gain the ability to tap into one element 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.

Destiny 2 classes: the Solar Warlock subclass holding an orb of burning energy

Warlock subclasses

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 in order 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.

Aspects

  • 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 Ability

  • Stormtrance: A chain of lightning that electrifies enemies.

Perk trees

  • Attunement of the Elements: Grants an Arc Soul, an added damage-dealing Fragment that assists the player and any allies when using the player’s rift.
  • Attunement of Control: Gives the player more control over their Super Ability, granting them a long beam of Arc energy as well as the option to deactivate their Super Ability and save their Super energy.
  • Attunement of Conduction: Turns the Warlock’s melee into a chain that extends from the target onto nearby enemies. It also allows the player to teleport while using Stormtrance. Stormtrance requires a relatively close range for attacks; teleporting can help the player dodge a counter-attack from a powerful enemy.

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.

Aspects

  • 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 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.

Aspects

  • 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.

Destiny 2 classes: The Titan Void subclass charging with a shield

Titan subclasses

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.

Aspects

  • 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 Ability

  • Fists of Havoc: A supercharged electric ground slam.

Perk Tree

  • Code of the Earthshaker: Player melee becomes a Seismic Strike that causes an Arc explosion and restores your grenade. The player also gets a second grenade charge.
  • Code of the Missile: Fists of Havoc becomes Thundercrash, hurtling the player like a missile and causing meteoric damage when crashing into enemies. Pairing this with the Cuirass Of The Falling Star Exotic chest armour strengthens Thundercrash and makes it one of the most potent Supers in the game. Further, with this perk tree, your melee becomes a ballistic slam, and picking up ammo while sliding grants reloads your equipped weapon, grants melee energy, and increases weapon damage for a short time.
  • Code of the Juggernaut: Melee triggers health regeneration, reloads weapons, and increases weapon stability and damage. Critically wounding an enemy or breaking their shields increases melee range and damage, and defeating enemies with Fists of Havoc extends its duration.

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.

Aspects

  • 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.

Aspects

  • 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.

Destiny 2 classes: the Arcstrider Hunter subclass facing off against a boss

Hunter subclasses

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.

Aspects

  • 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 Ability

  • Arc Staff: A pure Arc energy staff that allows a player to attack enemies with acrobatic melee combos.

Perk Trees

  • Way of the Warrior: Melee kills recharge dodge, grant health regeneration, and temporarily increase melee damage. Dodging increases melee range, and after dodging, an Arc Staff hit grants a lightning aftershock.
  • Way of the Current: Players can deflect projectiles while yielding Arc Staff. Sliding also turns your melee into an uppercut, and Arc abilities disorient enemies and grant grenade, melee, and dodge energy. This deflection is a powerful way to resist enemy damage to take full advantage of the player’s Super.
  • Way of the Wind: Increases max sprint speed, plus sprinting recharges your dodge ability. Melee and grenade abilities charge faster when critically wounded, and melee disorients a target and nearby enemies.

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.

Aspects

  • 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.

Aspects

  • 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.

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, weapons for PvP, and armour? We’ve also got a slew of guides we update with the Destiny 2 weekly reset, including today’s Destiny 2 Legendary Lost Sector, the week’s Destiny 2 Nightfall weapon, and even Xur’s location for the weekend.