Elite Warlock Builds

Published on: Mar 16, 2015 @ 19:38

It’s safe to assume by now that most of us have explored all of our subclasses. We’ve probably settled into a comfortable build, focused on collecting and maxing a variety of powerful weapons, and not gone back particularly often to try new playstyles. However, how do we know that we’ve got the right builds for the right situation?

When should we use Bloom over Embrace The Void – Solar Wind over Flame Shield? This article is going to attempt to address the optimum perks for PvE and PvP content, giving attention to overlooked and niche builds.

If you’ve got your own preferred build, be sure to share it with us! If you’d like more tips and tricks for a particular subclass, check out these guides.

We also have Exotic Warlock armor reviews.


What is a Class “Build”?

A “build” is the selection of talents you choose from your character. It’s the process of carefully selecting your perks and weapons to suit your playstyle.

You’ll want to play around with different combinations to suit different circumstances, it all depends on how you prefer to play.

We also have recommend subclass builds for Titans and Hunters.


  • Arcane Wisdom +2 Recovery, +2 Agility

  • Arcane Spirit +2 Recovery, +2 Armor

  • Arcane Force +2 Armor, +2 Agility

  • Ancestral Order +2 Armor, +2 Recovery, +2 Agility

  • Chaos Order +5 Agility

  • Divine Order +4 Armor, +2 Recovery

Sun Shreiker

best sunsinger buildsSubclass:             Sunsinger

Playstyle:             Aggressive

Grenade: Firebolt Primary Weapon: Monte Carlo
Glide: Balanced Glide Special Weapon: Sniper Rifle
Radiance: Radiant Skin Heavy Weapon: Machine Gun
Scorch: Flame Shield  
Passive I: Arcane Force Alt Primary: Auto Rifle
Ability Modifier: Radiant Will Alt Special: Invective
Passive II: Divine Order Alt Heavy: Rocket Launcher
Ability Modifier: Angel of Light Ideal Exotic Armor: Claws of Ahamkara

This build is all about high damage output and survival. Firebolt grenades are the trash disposers; a single burst of solar energy will shoot out in different directions, snagging up to three enemies with moderate damage. These can be used to judiciously handle clusters of non-major enemies, especially under Radiance.

Their utility is mostly limited to wave clearance, however, in PvP these are excellent in finishing off weakened foes or creating pressure at control points to significantly cripple a defense from afar. Under Radiance, they become even more deadly, especially when coupled with Touch of Flame and/or Viking Funeral.

best sunsinger class builds

Radiant Skin is the ultimate defense for Sunsingers. In addition to the impressive base damage reduction under Radiance, Radiant Skin grants even more, allowing you to shrug off lethal hits and keep the grenade pressure on. It is an excellent selection for confident Sunsingers who don’t expect to need Fireborn.

Flame Shield: a screamingly effective panic button, offensive force, and survivability tool all wrapped in one. It provides an overshield without requiring a kill, allowing a Sunsinger to escape or stay in the fight with ease. High Strength investment allows for very frequent up-time on this ability – a boon that may cause some Sunsingers to rethink their stat allocation.

With the Warlock’s generous melee range, it’s usually fairly safe to land this even on more dangerous enemies, and it is thus equally useful across all content. In PvP, it practically trivializes close-range encounters if you can land it, and is a one-hit-kill under Radiance.

Sun Devil

best sunsinger buildsSubclass:             Sunsinger

Playstyle:             Team Support

Grenade: Fusion Primary Weapon: Red Death
Glide: Focused Burst Special Weapon: Shotgun
Radiance: Song of Flame Heavy Weapon: Machine Gun
Scorch: Flame Shield  
Passive I: Arcane Spirit Alt Primary: SUROS Regime
Ability Modifier: Viking Funeral Alt Special: Fusion Rifle
Passive II: Divine Order Alt Heavy: Rocket Launcher
Ability Modifier: Touch of Flame Ideal Exotic Armor: Heart of the Praxic Fire or Starfire Protocol

This build focuses on supporting your teammates to the fullest. Fusion Grenades are the absolute epitome of DPS: when stuck to a target, they provide massive single-target damage that is outstripped by very few things in the game. A generous explosion radius gives them usefulness in packs as well. They have generous magnetism for ease of use, and you’re practically guaranteed a kill being allowed to spam these in Radiance.

Consider Focused Burst for areas in which you expect to take lots of fire or need to move quickly, or in Crota’s End if taking the role of Swordbearer, as you’ll be able escape the Big Bad with that much more efficacy.

best warlock sunsinger builds

Song of Flame works to drastically increase the cooldowns of your fireteam members within a certain radius of yourself, while also still providing to you the baseline cooldown reduction that Radiance normally grants. It is best used by teams that are coordinated – playing close together and communicating ensure that everyone is aware when it is active and are able to use their respective grenades/melees to really put offensive pressure on your foes.

Viking Funeral adds a few extra ticks to Touch of Flame, forcing solar shielded mobs to remain without their shields for a little while longer. This can be excellent against Wizards or Cabal bullet-sponges, giving you a few seconds longer to line up your Icebreaker headshots before those shields come back in full force.

Sun Samurai

best sunsinger buildsSubclass:             Sunsinger

Playstyle:             Survival

Grenade: Solar Primary Weapon: Thorn
Glide: Focused Burst Special Weapon: Shotgun
Radiance: Fireborn Heavy Weapon: Machine Gun
Scorch: Flame Shield  
Passive I: Arcane Spirit Alt Primary: Scout Rifle
Ability Modifier: Radiant Will Alt Special: Ice Breaker
Passive II: Ancestral Order Alt Heavy: Rocket Launcher
Ability Modifier: Gift of the Sun Ideal Exotic Armor: Claws of Ahamkara

Solar Grenades are perfectly suited to area denial, crowd control, and big damage on big targets. They have a steep learning curve, benefiting from Energy Projection for increased distance/control, but are quite effective in the right hands, keeping enemies at bay.

Fireborn allows for aggressive and tactical play, and is often a key facilitator for many Raid strategies. In PvP it can be used to great effect in Skirmish, Rumble, and Control, catching unaware opponents off-guard, often resulting in a two-pronged assault on an enemy team.

best sunsinger class build
Artwork by akidneythief

Radiant Will adds a few precious extra seconds to Radiance, meaning a couple of extra grenades and time wherein you take less damage. This equates to higher DPS and survivability, desirable traits for both PvE and PvP alike.

Gift of the Sun provides a second grenade, a universally desirable benefit that is hard to ignore. With smart use of Radiance and appropriate gear perks, its cooldown can be refreshed frequently, leading to near-constant uptime on at least one grenade.

Obsidian Bomber

best voidwalker buildsSubclass:             Voidwalker

Playstyle:             Nova Bomb’n

Grenade: Scatter Primary Weapon: Bad Juju
Glide: Blink Special Weapon: Sniper Rifle
Nova Bomb: Shatter Heavy Weapon: Rocket Launcher
Energy Drain: Soul Rip  
Passive I: Arcane Force Alt Primary:
Ability Modifier: Annihilate Alt Special: Fusion Rifle
Passive II: Chaos Order Alt Heavy: Machine Gun
Ability Modifier: Bloom Ideal Exotic Armor: Obsidian Mind

A build every Voidwalker should know, if you want to use your super as much as possible, use this gear and these talents.

The Scatter grenade is an explosive that releases a cluster of Void “mini-bombs” when it impacts a target. The damage dealt depends on how close the target is to the bomblets when they go off, as there are several miniature waves of explosions after the Scatter grenade impacts.

destiny warlock-voidwalker-guide

Soul Rip gives an impressive 10% bonus to your super meter when you kill an adversary with Energy Drain. If you are focused on Strength and Intellect, Soul Rip can improve your Nova Bomb frequency significantly as long as you are aggressive about downing weak foes with Energy Drain.

Bloom causes any foe killed by any of your grenades, Nova Bomb, or Energy Drain to explode. This talent will turn your Energy Drain into an explosive high-five, and scatter enemies taken out by Nova Bomb for even more potential destruction (and thus super energy).


best voidwalker buildsSubclass:             Voidwalker

Playstyle:             Assertive

Grenade: Scatter Primary Weapon: Bad Juju
Glide: Focused Burst Special Weapon: Sniper Rifle
Nova Bomb: Shatter Heavy Weapon: Rocket Launcher
Energy Drain: Life Steal  
Passive I: Arcane Force Alt Primary: Pulse Rifle
Ability Modifier: Annihilate Alt Special:
Passive II: Divine Order Alt Heavy: Machine Gun
Ability Modifier: Embrace the Void Ideal Exotic Armor: Skull of Dire Ahamkara

Built to shred through minions of the Darkness, this build is perfect for PvE content. You’ll want to try and stay at a distance, far enough to make use of your multiple Void Bombs. The build is focussed on targeting many enemies at once. Use your AoE damage from the Scatter grenades whenever possible.

In any grenade-focused build, Annihilate can improve your overall damage output. This will give you a bit more room to score some kills, since your enemies don’t have to be as close to each other if your explosions are bigger.If you don’t have access to Skull of Dire Ahamkara, which provides “The Hunger” talent, then you may want to opt to use The Hunger in this build.

Embrace the Void is an extremely powerful talent that causes all of your Nova Bomb and grenade hits to trigger the Energy Siphon buff, refreshing your grenades faster.

Shadow Runner

best voidwalker buildsSubclass:             Voidwalker

Playstyle:             Denier

Grenade: Vortex Primary Weapon: Hand Cannon
Glide: Blink Special Weapon: Shotgun
Nova Bomb: Vortex Heavy Weapon: Dragon’s Breath
Energy Drain: Surge  
Passive I: Arcane Wisdom Alt Primary: Monte Carlo
Ability Modifier: Angry Magic Alt Special:
Passive II: Chaos Order Alt Heavy: Machine Gun
Ability Modifier: Vortex Mastery Ideal Exotic Armor: Apotheosis Veil

A build for aggressive, kill hungry players who want to focus on area denial in PvP. You will need to be confident with Blink to strategically outmaneuver other Guardians.

Vortex grenades work quite well for area denial, especially with the Vortex Mastery talent, giving you a very long-lasting and highly damaging Void field to guard an area.

Surge causes Energy Drain to max your Agility, greatly increasing your mobility and improving your gun-handling ability. It lasts for 15 seconds, giving you plenty of time to make good use of its benefits. On a Strength-focused build, you can get good uptime on Surge, significantly improving your overall speed.


Vortex Mastery adds 2.5 seconds to both Nova Bomb’s Vortex and the Vortex grenade’s damaging fields (as well as doubles the range of Axion Bolt seekers).

In PvE, Vortex Mastery is often results in a simple damage increase; enemies within the lingering fields, particularly in enclosed areas, will take more damage than they normally would.

Your Builds

Have a favorite build not listed here or in the video? Be sure to share it with us! What abilities do you prefer using, and why?

We also have recommend subclass builds for Titans and Hunters.


Check out forums.planetdestiny.com if you’d like to talk to others about Destiny in a friendly and welcoming community! :)

  • Clause

    I personally don’t use any of those Sunsinger builds, but they could work. Anyway I been following planet destiny for a long time and would like to give you my input for improvement. Firstly, update the suros regime review, it hasn’t been edited since its glory days because I bet it’s not a 9/10 in Pve anymore after all the nerfs. Secondly, constantly be updating the best exotics for Pve and Pvp articles/vidoes. These are the most important things in the game, so give us the information as soon as possible after a patch etc. icebreaker still doesn’t have a Pvp/ Pve rank out of ten on its review. Do a best legendary Pve and Pvp weapon review also constantly update these. I’m just saying these are more important than community focus and lore. Plz take my considerations into account, I am only trying to improve the website from a fans perspective.

    • They’re being worked on

      • Nick

        Any chance of an updated Hawkmoon video? I love you guys, but that video is basically interviewing somebody about a gun you guys didn’t have.

        I’ve been killed by Holtzmann in Crucible, I know he has it now lol.

  • Keith Christmas

    Drop Scatter grenades for Axion Bolts on… Basically every one of these builds. In PvE, you can basically forget about aiming, and Bloom means every bolt will take out a bunch of enemies, if you aim it right

    In PvP, they’ve got another use. See a blip on your radar? Toss an Axion grenade and follow the bolt to find hidden enemies. Despite the fact one bolt won’t one shot anyone, people in cover will tend to freak and run away.

    And extra special handy use… They seek through walls. They won’t go around and hit enemies, but if you suspect someone is lurking around a corner with a shotgun, you can toss one and check, then dash in and surprise them. Voidfang Vestments are amazing on that build, since you always get the grenade on respawn. To repeat, they have way more utility than dealing damage

  • Clayton sample

    On the void walker use void fang vestments, axon bolts with vortex mastery and bloom it is a very effective tool in the crusible as well as pve this can be pared with rather one of these bulbs definitely recommend this

  • Invader Xim87

    Here’s my voidwalker build for PVP

    Axion bolt, blink, Vortex, soul rip, arcane wisdom, Annihilate, Chaos Order, and Embrace the void.

    Exotic armor: skull of dire ahamkamra

    Reasoning: Blink is awesome, axion bolt is awesome. I switch between vortex and and shatter. Passives built on recovery and agility. The key here is the Skull of Dire Ahamkamra paired with soul rip and embrace the void. I think this build is way better than obsidian mind for PVP voidwalkers. You’re never going to kill enough with one nova bomb to really recharge it enough for obsidian mind to be worth the exotic slot. Soul of Ahamkamra with soul rip and embrace the void means all your abilities are constantly charging. Ideally I would use the Hunger instead of Annihilate but I’m currently getting a lot more kills with annihilate as I’m not accurate enough with my nova bombs right now.

  • Guest

    heres my sunsinger build for pvp

  • SGT_Pannenkoek

    Agent of light? (Sun Shreiker, Ability modifier) i thought is was Angel of Light? I can be wrong..

    • oops, fixed

      • drsprite

        sure you want angel on that one instead of Touch of Flame and Viking Funeral? if you max your discipline, it’s a very strong build.

  • Arturo Cortés Prieto

    One build I like to use for PvP combines the Voidfang Vestments with the Sunsinger “gift of the sun” talent, thus spawning with 2 grenades every time you die. This is really powerful in PvP and can be combined with Fusion grenade to achieve a lot of kills every time you respawn. Also, with Radiant skin and Radiant Will you will be able to deal massive damage while being tanky. Furthermore, you should combine this with Flame shield for extra defense. What do you guys think?

    • Andrew

      I find it hard to tear myself away from Heart of the Praxic Fire when playing a Sunsinger. Even claws are not horrible on the Sunsinger. But in PvP, I have been running more with the Voidwalker/Skull of Dire Ahamkara lately.

      But Voidfang is extremely viable. And when I do use Sunsinger, it is always with Gift of the Sun and Fusion grenades. It might be time to try out the Voidfangs…

    • TASfreakstyle

      This is precisely what I use in PvP, but I wasn’t going to tell anyone. Voidfang with fusion grenades, self-res, and radiant will; with focus on intellect and strength. Brutal. For PvE, Voidlock with shatter, surge, axion bolt, bloom and annihilate with bad juju and obsidian mind. You can basically spam nova bombs, especially at the start of CE.

      • TASfreakstyle

        I should add gift of the sun to the sunsinger build.

  • A Shielded Nightgall Shank

    These build articles are hilariously ridiculous…this game is NOT that deep…seriously…this isn’t a hardcore RPG where you build truly dictates what you can and cannot do…

    You can literally use ANY “build” (with the correct armor/weapon level for the mission) for 99.99999% of the content in this shallow game if your’re not a completely terrible fps player…

    Seriously, stop with these stupid fluff articles you’re embarrassing yourselves…anyone who has played this game since launch (and is not fanboy with blinders on) can see right through this nonsense…

    How about some detailed articles about specific things this game is lacking/does not do well so maybe Bungle will take more of a noticed and start thinking about fixing things that desperately need to be addressed???

    • Christian

      The point of articles, here on planet Destiny. Is to inform players about in game content. This is usually details about weapons, talents and strategies. Builds add to the RPG aspect as you can choose your specialization from the 6 subclasses, then modify the equipment to suit your personal needs.

      There is a method that players use during the templar battle to prevent his teleports. It is incredibly difficult to single handedly block the teleports in the open without “Shadowjack” and “Stalker”; you just get shot down by the many enemies, otherwise. Without “Fire Born” you can’t revive yourself during a Hard mode raid. “Flash bangs” will simply save your life against mobs of enemies when there simply aren’t any other options.

      These builds are simply nowhere near the most important thing in battle. You need to be a good player, that is the most important thing. But they are incredibly helpful and make many possibilities, well, possible. If you are a good player, the right Perks will only make you play better. The experience from using a Flash Bang to a Lightning Grenade is hugely different. They just don’t do the same things.

      It’s not in our interests, (nor I expect others, too) to just bash the game and force the developers to change everything. We want to help players maximise their experiences with the game. Some people might enjoy trying new Builds, some people might not, that doesn’t mean to say nobody should be allowed to enjoy them. If you don’t like the game, there’s no need to play it. There is no need to make a developer change things to exactly how you like it. Try different games, because if you have no interest left in the game, you have played it to an extent where where are bored with the game and it is time to move on. We are fortunate enough to live in a world populated by thousands of games. They aren’t all for everyone, so explore a little and find something you like.

    • theMachine

      Dude, the lore is one of the coolest aspects of the game. Get over yourself. If you don’t like the game, how it is and where it’s going, then why in the World are you here on this site? From the sound of it, you don’t care for the game so take your negativity elsewhere. Don’t let the door hit you on the ass on the way out.

  • demon

    I use voidwalker with red death life steal embrace the void scatter

  • Zilken

    I’m sorry, I need to comment this.

    The Sun Samurai build is plain wrong. Viking funeral is pretty much useless without Touch of flame. But you can’t have Touch of flame if you use Gift of the sun. Unless of course you have Starfire protocol equipped, which you didn’t recommend.

    It’s really a choice between quality or quantity when it comes to Sunsinger grenades, unless you use Starfire Protocol at the expense of the exotic armor slot.

    Furthermore you advocate Solar grenades for area denial, which they are excellent for. But Sunbreakers will give more benefit than Claws of Ahamkara when using Solar.

    In general I must say that I dislike the use of the term “builds” in Destiny. Imo it’s more about knowing which specific talents that go well together and in what situations they are useful. Hence these articles aren’t very useful im afraid.

    With that said, thx for an excellent site! I check in almost daily for Destiny news and analysis. /Zilken

    • Christian

      I’ll admit that a lot behind these Builds is just a bit of fun (: Some wont be particularly useful, but there are more about the enjoyment of it all. A lot are influenced quite heavily by the RPG aspect. Role playing your favourite specialisation just helps jazz up Raids and Strikes (:

    • Samurai has been fixed, that was a mistake

  • ResidentHawk90

    I think these builds are awful. for voidwalker i have axion bolt and bloom. Using axion bolt into a crowd of enemies and watching them go BAM is great. For nova bomb angry magic, or the hunger, embrace the void, and soul rip and lance= constant kills op. training focus: ARMOR AND RECOVERY. Forget speed and the claws are amazing for this build (i get so much hate messages from crucible pansies) For sunsinger: same training focus. Fire born: fusion grenade: (pvp: gift of the sun or starfire protocol) firebolt grenade (pve: touch of flame or angel of light for strikes and raids) Radiant will for both, flame shield for most activities: solar wind or brimstone for raids and night falls: (screams to majors: GET THE HELL AWAY FROM ME!) really works well

  • megaman1744

    I’m excited to try out Sun Devil on VoG!

  • Nietzsche

    What evidence do you have that Ancestral Order gives +2 armor, +2 recovery, + agility?

  • Stokey Brown

    For Shadow Runner, why do you use Angry Magic for the ability modifier over Annihilate? If the class is built for area denial, Annihilate seems like the obvious choice.

  • Symphonic Blaze

    Truth Warlock.

    Grenade: Axion Bolt (Or any. Prefer Axion cause it feels like a guarantee kill :P)
    Movement: Blink
    Super: Lance
    Perk I: Arcane Wisdom/Force
    Ability Mod: Angry Magic
    Perk II: Chaos Order
    Ability Mod II: Bloom/Embrace the Void

    Play style: Any. Mostly support though

    Primary: Red Death. But anything your good with.
    Secondary: Shotgun. Anything really but shotgun is there to clear anyone comibg near you
    Heavy: Machine Gun. Gun everyone down. Against All Odds is the best choice.

    Armour Exotics:
    Skull of Ahamkara
    Apotheosis Veil
    Claws of Ahamkara (If you want to spam Axions)
    Void Fangs (Because Axions and LOLZ)

    I would say base your stats around Intellect and Strength but having a balance is recommended. I only made this build for fun and to test my skills as a Voidwalker Warlock. Angry magic literally has little effect on your Nova Bomb so getting kills maybe harder that you think. Hopefully they might buff it a little.

    This build is basically trying to mimic the Truth rocket launcher. If you have the launcher along with this Nova build then you’ll be watching people run like hell. Its alot of fun but targeting your Nova Bomb correctly is fairly difficult. Good luck to any Warlock worthy of this challenge!! 😋😋

  • MakkinjeM

    Why no builds with the axion bolt grenade? It’s clearly one of the best grenades of all (sub)classes..

    • Daan Thijs

      i agree, and with voidfang vestmenst and bloom it can get you up to 3 kills if enemy’s are packt together.

    • Ethan Kleinman

      The scatter grenade it the far better grenade for pve, and I don’t think they were looking at pvp so much in these classes

  • Jarrett

    Personally, I use Universal Remote + Sniper + Rocket Launcher Solar grenades as my grenade, Flame shield for melee and radiant skin for my super. it’s very aggressive build that works well on pretty much all maps, what do you think?

  • nazeef13

    Something with fusion grenade, voidfang vestments and gift of the sun. Gives you two fusions every spawn/death

  • Josh

    I think that for Sun Samurai, Monte Carlo should be used instead of red death or Suros, because it seems like a build completely focused on melee

  • Carty 1975

    I don’t see any that are based around lifesteal build anywhere, basically, you run axion bolt for grenade, hve the lance for four super and have lifesteal for your melee, other than hat you ru max agility and battle recovery with an increased grenade and super radius with embrace the void as the last perk, for the weapons, use red death, a high power shotgun (felwinters is good) and you have a heavy of your preference, the whole build is about getting in close and personal and continuously feeding your life with the kills you make, chasing any stragglers with your axion bolt to pick them off, and using super if you get into a pinch, apotheosis veil would be the best bet for you exotic armour piece

  • Dynasty

    The Monte Carlo + Claws flame shield build is still excellent for vanguard roc strikes and normal crota’s end

  • Justin

    I feel like you guys missed the most effective PvP build for Voidwalker, Voidfang Vestaments – Axiom Bolt, Nova Bomb with Vortex Mastery, Vortex, Annihilate, and Soul Rip. Spec to have as little discipline as possible (since you spawn with grenade) and you’ll have tons of Nova Bombs. If you can, get an armor perk to give grenade kills more super energy..

    • NyneWunWun

      This is the exact build I run with as a Voidbro.

  • Baden

    I’ve been having a lot of fun recently running my Sunsinger with arcane spirit and divine order(maxed armour and recovery) with fusion grenades, gift of the sun and radiant skin, this with the voidfang for pvp or switching over to sun breakers and solar grenades for most pve scenarios the key to these builds though is using the mida multitool being able to almost max recovery and armour but still maintain a lot of agility is a lot of fun