Guide to the Bladedancer

Published on: Oct 19, 2014 @ 9:07

The Bladedancer: Stalkers, masters of the unseen blade.

Hunters are the fastest and most precise of the three Classes. They use speed, agility, and stealth to overcome their foes.

Hunters begin with the Gunslinger subclass, unlocking Bladedancer at Level 15. If you’ve already unlocked a subclass on another character, you can unlock the Bladedancer subclass immediately after creating your Hunter. 

Basics

The Bladedancer focuses on shredding its foes with Arc-charged melee powers and slipping into the shadows with your cloak to evade retaliation. The Bladedancer subclass features the longest range melee attack in the game in the form of Blink Strike, the unique ability to cloak, and the mighty Arc Blade super.

bladedancer
Amount of Bladedancer’s via DestinyDB (this is from early October)

Strength/Intellect splits are the recommended choice, giving you more access to either your Arc Blade or your Blink Strike. However, Blink Strike has a unique upgrade – Fast Twitch – that reduces its cooldown to five seconds, meaning you can completely skip Strength if you choose it and maximize your Intellect and/or Discipline.

Bladedancer Hunters have the unique ability to cloak. While cloaked, enemy combatants in PvE lose track of you completely, though they can still fire at your last known position.

Cloaking also gives allows you to save your Fireteam in PvE if things are getting really hectic, such as in the Nightfall Strike.

In PvP, you are visible as a ghostly outline that fades in or out depending on how quickly you are moving. If you’re sprinting at full speed, opponents will probably detect you easily.

Cloaking reduces your Motion Tracker signature in PvP. It is functionally identical to crouching, but you maintain full mobility while cloaked, so you can use the delay in the Motion Tracker to strike offensively. Push in one direction, then suddenly change course and attack from a flank. Cloaking slows tracker pulses to 5 seconds from the normal 3.

Recommended Exotics

Helmet

  • The only Bladedancer-specific Exotic helm is the Mask of the Third Man. The Unstable Current upgrade on this helm reduces the amount of super energy your Arc Blade uses.
  • The Knucklehead Radar helm is good too, even though it doesn’t directly benefit the Bladedancer, it’s still got some enticing upgrades which makes it a great alternative.

Chest

  • Lucky Raspberry  was made for the Bladedancer. Its Improved Arcbolt Grenade ability allows it to chain further, and you’ll also spawn with grenade energy.
  • Crest of Alpha Lupi  is the other Hunter Exotic chest, but this one could work just as well for a Gunslinger.

Gauntlets

  • The Don’t Touch Me gauntlets prove very useful in parts of the game, like the Crota’s End raid. The invisibility effect can be extended with Shadowjack, and has no cooldown, so wading through swarms of Thralls turns trivial with these.
  • Ikaheka’s Hooks are going to be introduced in the House of Wolves expansion. It applies a poison effect to enemies you hit with melee while invisible.

Boots

  • The Radiant Dance Machines increase your movement speed while aiming down sights, similar to the MIDA Multi-Tool. These boots are a fashionable choice to fill your exotic slot with if this is an ability you think you’d find useful.
  • The Unremarkable Bones, which are coming out in the House of Wolves expansion, turn your Double Jump into a Triple. If you aren’t using Blink, these will give you a huge boost to mobility.

Abilities

For a detailed look at Destiny’s grenades types, click here.

Blink

Blink completely replaces Double Jump with an instant teleport move. Rather than letting you float or jump through the air, it transports you instantly in the direction of your current momentum. This means that you can jump in one direction, look in another, and then Blink in the direction you are moving without looking.

You can use Blink twice in quick succession before it requires a short cooldown. Blink is a bit more difficult to use for general mobility and terrain traversal than the other movement abilities, which is the tradeoff for having an instant movement speed.

In PvP, Blink can be extremely powerful for disengaging or disorienting an opponent. The instant teleport can get you out of trouble or take you behind an opponent before they realize where you have moved. Alongside the Bladedancer’s potent melee abilities and cloak, you have a powerful combination for rapid aggressive movement.

Percentage of Bladedancer's via DestinyDB
Percentage of Bladedancer’s via DestinyDB

Arc Blade

Arc Blade gives you a lethal Arc-charged blade that you can use to slice and dice your foes. Using Arc Blade grants you control in third person, allowing you to see nearby enemies directly around you.

Pressing melee while aiming in any direction causes you to lunge in that direction with a swift melee strike, and Arc Blade has a very generous auto-lock. If there’s an adversary in that direction, you are all but guaranteed to hit them. If you leave the stick neutral while pressing melee, facing the general direction of an enemy, you automatically target them.

Arc Blade normally gives you around 12 seconds of use. However, if you use a melee strike, it drains more quickly. Swinging reduces the meter whether you hit or not.

Arc Blade is unique among supers as a melee range attack; it has a long lunge distance and gives you damage resistance while it is active.

Blink Strike

A powerful melee attack with extended range.

Blink Strike teleports you forward several meters, instantly striking your foe with a lunging stab. This quick blink can surprise opponents in PvP, and close distance quickly in PvE. You can even use Blink Strike as a quick evasion tool by lunging at an adversary that is behind cover.

Backstab

Hitting an enemy from behind with Blink Strike causes significantly more damage. Backstab deals double damage, giving you a long-range melee attack that is almost always lethal in PvP. In PvE, Backstab is easier to trigger against AI combatants most of the time, especially if you’re cloaked.

Fast Twitch

This talent cuts your Blink Strike cooldown to five seconds! Needless to say, this is one of the more powerful melee talents in the game if you enjoy melee combat.

Fast Twitch lets you take full advantage of your maximum range melee strikes, essentially as often as you want. It also means that you can put the full focus of your stats into Intellect and Discipline without losing any melee effectiveness.

Escape Artist

Hitting an enemy with Blink Strike grants brief invisibility. Escape Artist causes you to instantly cloak after a Blink Strike, giving you nearly a 8 second cloak duration. In PvE, this is very useful for scoring a hit and then evacuating from a dangerous situation. You can keep Escape Artist in your pocket for when you need it, triggering it mid-combat to escape.

In PvP, you may cause enough confusion when you cloak to score a kill. Typically though, if you’re in someone’s line of sight, they’re not going to lose their fix on you because you triggered a cloak.

Passives

Tier 1

Path Forgotten

Training focused on toughness and speed. +2 Armor, +2 Agility

Path Forbidden

Training focused on battle Recovery and speed. +2 Recovery, +2 Agility

Path Unknown

Training focused on battle Recovery and toughness. +2 Armor, +2 Recovery

Tier 2

Way of the Drifter

Training focused on all attributes. +2 Armor, +1 Recovery, +2 Agility

Way of the Fearless

Training focused on toughness at all costs. +5 Armor

Way of the Nomad

Training focused on maximum battle Recovery. +4 Recovery, +1 Agility

PvP Tips

For a full guide to Destiny’s Crucible, check out this guide.

  • Speed gives you an edge on the Motion Tracker. When you cloak, and move more quickly than an enemy is expecting, you can easily pull off a flank.
  • Arc Blade’s Razor’s Edge can penetrate a Ward while maintaining a distance.
  • Arc Bolt is a great way to capitalize on chaotic close-range encounters, as (at the very least) the enemy hit with Arc Bolt will be starting the fight at a health disadvantage.
  • Arc Blade’s Escape Artist allows you to vanish and surprise enemies at close quarters. This super greatly synergizes with the smaller maps of Rumble.
  • The Fleet Footed talent will increase your slide distance, which is excellent for both speedy evasive mobility and shotgun and melee rushing.
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  • kaZHo͞oəltē

    I can vouch that leaving the analogs neutral doesn’t let Arc Blade auto-target.
    Also, is that build for PvE or PvP?

    • If the enemy is close enough it will, I do it all the time. You need to be facing in the general direction of the enemy though.

      The recommended build is for PvP.

  • Stephen

    The PVP build is very wrong, while you are correct on the grenade, most of everything else is wrong. Escape artist is very poor for PVP as it really fools nobody as if you are that close to melee them, they can see you. You are much better off using backstab so you can hit them from the back for the one hit kill, but there is also a glitch where if you are running towards them and you use backstab it will count as if you are behind them and one hit kill them. Vanish is also pretty poor in PVP as people will see you coming and with every attack you have to use the animation to turn invisible again. Showstopper is much better because you can kill everyone off a control flag in one movement. Fleet footed is not nearly as good as Quick Draw which allows you so switch weapons faster, aim down sights faster, shoot after sprinting faster and generally out gun your opponent and is useful in almost every gunfight. Really you don’t want to focus on discipline on this character because the best grenade in this class is glitched where sometimes it will not cause damage to your enemy, meaning that intellect and surprisingly strength are the way to go as you want to get those one hit kill melees that can glitch people for the kill. I really feel like you haven’t spend enough time using this character. I would also take out Datto’s opinion from this guide as if you are trying to be informative, you really don’t want an opinion in the middle of your article especially by someone that does not even play as a hunter, also because the video talks mostly about gunslingers.

  • Alex

    If you’re going with an invis build shadow jack makes much more sense since fleet footed’s added speed is negligible. Also intellect/strength makes more sense on a melee based class when not using fast twitch. Blink negates invisibility and should be switched to either of the other jumps.