Guide to the Defender

Published on: Oct 13, 2014 @ 13:06

The Defender Titan: Brute force, masters of war, a powerful combination of strength and skill.

Titans are the most heavily armored and the most direct of the three Classes. They assault fortified enemy positions head-on, utilizing their mastery of the Light to shield and protect themselves and their allies, or destroy their adversaries.

Titans begin with the Striker specialization, unlocking Defender at Level 15. If you’ve already unlocked a subclass on another character, you can unlock the Defender subclass immediately.

The Defender subclass wields Void energy to create powerful shields, allowing you and your allies to remain in the thick of combat under heavy fire.

Amount of Defender's via DestinyDB
Amount of Defender’s via DestinyDB

A Defender’s Ward of Dawn is a unique defensive ability, critically important in difficult PvE missions and very useful in objective-oriented PvP modes. A Defender’s Suppressor grenade provides the unique ability to completely shut down enemy abilities, and your melee strikes can fortify you with a Force Barrier, giving you extra durability in combat.

Specializing in Intellect allows you to use the Ward of Dawn to the fullest. Focusing on Strength gives you a surprising boost to durability, as the increased chances to trigger Force Barrier can greatly improve your staying power in combat. If melee combat is inadvisable, a blend of Discipline and Intellect allows to you shut down enemy positions with Suppressor grenades. Check out this Factions overview guide to see which one would be best for your playstyle.

Recommended Exotics

Helmet

  • The Helm of Saint-14’s Starless Night upgrade will blind anyone that enters your Ward, and also increases your melee attack speed, excellent for PvE and PvP.
  • The Glasshouse increases the duration of the Blessing of Light and Weapons of Light, making it a great option for a buff-oriented Defender.

Chest

Gauntlets

  • No Backup Plans are a good choice for Defenders. You’ll get a quicker melee speed, as well as a longer lasting Force barrier from your melee!
  • Ruin Wings are a nice subclass-neutral choice. They increase the amount of heavy ammo dropped and the amount of ammo in each drop, as well as reducing the cooldown on your grenades when you deal melee damage.
  • The ACD/0 Feedback Fence gauntlets are going to be released with the House of Wolves expansion. They will cause damage in a small area around you upon taking melee damage from an enemy.

 

Abilities

The Ward of Dawn is the Defender’s premiere ability. A powerful defensive tool, the Ward of Dawn is a bubble shield that lasts for 30 seconds and shields you and your Fireteam from all incoming enemy fire. Ward of Dawn generates Orbs of Light when it blocks damage; The more damage it takes, the more orbs are created.

The Ward is an amazing tool for creating cover in open areas, or a snap defensive tool for absorbing a massive incoming attack before it hits. This proves especially satisfying in PvP against incoming supers or heavy attacks. Enemies can still enter the Ward and engage you though.

The Ward of Dawn can be destroyed, but generally only in PvP by offensive enemy super moves. In PvE, it may go down if it suffers a huge amount of damage, but this is usually only possible if you place it in a very exposed position on a high-difficulty mission. Ward of Dawn is a vital ability in tougher PvE missions and raids.

Amount of Defender's in the VoG
Percentage of Defender’s in the VoG via DestinyDB

Armor of Light

While inside Ward of Dawn, you and your allies gain significant damage resistance.  

Armor of Light provides you and any allies inside the Ward with a powerful regenerating shield. This single upgrade can make dealing with the Ward incredibly difficult for hostile opponents in PvP. If they stay out, you can duck in and out of the Ward and shoot them. If they come in, you are all but guaranteed to win the melee fight that ensues.

In PvE, this is usually the least important of the three upgrades, as the others are often helpful in more engagements. That being said, if you are on a mission where you are routinely forced into close-quarters engagement, you can take advantage of it.

Blessing of Light

Passing through Ward of Dawn grants you and your allies a temporary shield.  

Blessing of Light grants you and any allies who pass through the shield a bonus shield that stacks on top of your existing health. This shield normally has 65 health (boosted to 95 with the Illumination talent) and lasts for 10 seconds. If the shield is damaged or destroyed, you can simply step back into your Ward to regenerate it.

It’s helpful in situations where you need some extra muscle to break an enemy position. Set up the Ward, get your entire team to pass through it, and push on a hostile position with a huge health advantage.

Weapons of Light

Passing through Ward of Dawn grants you and your allies a temporary increase to weapon damage.  

A powerful damage bonus, Weapons of Light grants you and any friendly Guardians who pass through it a 25% damage bonus for 10 seconds (35% with the Illumination talent).

Weapons of Light gives Ward of Dawn some offensive bite. While it may not be as overtly powerful as the offensive supers, it can result in more sustained damage being dealt over the lifespan of Ward of Dawn. This is true especially if your Fireteam takes full advantage of this powerful buff.

Disintegrate

Killing an enemy with this powerful melee attack creates a Force Barrier around you that absorbs incoming damage.  

Disintegrate is a powerful melee strike that grants you a 75 health Force Barrier that lasts for 15 seconds if you kill an enemy with it. This barrier can give you an impressive amount of extra durability, and because it is granted instantly, it can allow you to score a multi-kill in PvP by chaining a melee kill into a follow-up on a nearby target.

War Machine

While Force Barrier is active, all your weapons reload and ready blindingly fast.  

War Machine grants you a massive boost to both Reload and Handling stats, taking you to 150% of your base values. This can push your reload speeds, ADS times, sprint recovery, and weapon switching to incredible levels, giving you a sharp edge in firefights immediately after you down an enemy with Disintegrate.

defender guide

Unbreakable

Force Barrier continually recharges.  

Unbreakable makes your Force Barrier regenerate to full very quickly (under a second if you aren’t taking damage). This extra durability is useful in both PvE and PvP. Without Unbreakable, Force Barrier does not regenerate once broken!

Gift of Light

While Force Barrier is active, all your melee kills create Orbs of Light. 

If you consistently take down targets with melee, you can significantly increase the number of super moves that your Fireteam can pull off. This means that you do not need to wait for Disintegrate to recharge to generate more orbs.

Once your Force Barrier is up, you have until the buff wears off to perform as many melee kills as you can.

Passives

Tier 1

Titan Codex I

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

Titan Codex II

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

Titan Codex III

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

Tier 2

Titan Codex IV

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

Titan Codex V

Training focused on maximum Recovery. +5 Recovery  

Titan Codex VI

Training focused on raw speed. +1 Armor, +4 Agility

PvP Tips

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

  • Defender’s should use the team clumping to their advantage by giving their team shields or damage boosts.
  • Try to use the Ward to take the power positions in each map. By casting in a good power position, your teammates are encouraged to hold the Ward and gain its benefits.
  • Blessing of Light gives a shield on entry and exit, so popping in and out of the Ward keeps your shields high.
  • The Magnetic grenade can easily attach to someone for an instant kill.

Recommended Build

Class/Subclass Movement Mode Grenade Melee Super Stat Perks Perks Character Stat
Defender Titan Catapult Lift Suppressor Grenade Disintegrate,
Unbreakable
Ward Of Dawn,
Weapons Of Light
Titan Codex I,
Titan Codex IV
Relentless,
Illuminated
Strength,
Intellect

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LATEST POSTS BY AUTHOR

  • Pat1711

    I love Defender in both PvP and PvE. Especially with the Saint-14 Helmet, it makes a Titan nearly invincible in PvE and proves difficult for enemies to kill me while inside it (Unless of course it’s a Blade Dancer, those bastards). Overall I’m glad with what Bungie has done with the Defender Subclass, very fun IMO.

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  • Spidi

    The only thing I can point out is that the intellect build is not necessary. Specially that with saint 14 or VOG helmet the amount of super energy you gain is high enough to keept the shield up all the time. And I don’t see defender shield being that important on pvp. So strength and discipline should be better. + The amount fo super energy you get on pvp is highly determined by amount of kills you make.

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  • Thomas Harrison

    also mention the suppressor grenade that can kick guardians out of their supers (mainly Sunsingers, Gunslingers and Bladedancers)

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  • You state that the more damage Ward of Dawn takes the more Orbs it generates. However this isn’t true. WoD unconditionally generates two Orbs when you cast it. If (and only if) you have a specific talent active (I forget its name), it will generate three additional Orbs after taking a moderate amount of damage. However you need that talent active for it to work, and there is no proportionate generation as stated in this article.

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  • ianken

    Three Defenders with Crest of Alpha Lupi == infinite supers for fire team in Control. Unless its been nerfed