Taken King: Nightstalker Guide

Hunters have some of the strongest neutral game in Destiny, in addition to very potent supers. Nightstalker is almost perfectly balanced between PvP and PvE.

GRENADE

The Nightstalker, as a Void class, has three grenades that all deal elemental Void damage. We consider Void damage to be somewhat of a black sheep in Destiny, as Void shields are the least prevalent in average content.

Spike

Identical to the Defender class, this grenade can be stuck on a surface to emit a torrent of damaging void light opposite to direction of attachment. Idealy used in close quarters where a doorway can be sealed off effectively, either keeping enemies out or punishing those who enter.

Voidwall

Unique to Nightstalkers, this grenade can be thrown to create a horizontal wall of damaging void light across the ground. This grenade is beneficial for smaller maps as well, as it can be thrown behind corners to put damage on lurking enemies. While tricky to land, it rewards a skilled hand by dishing out significant damage.

Vortex

Identical to that of the Voidwalker class, this grenade is the most versatile, as it provides a spherical area of effect while sticking to all environmental surfaces. What it lacks in damage, it makes up in effectiveness, as this grenade can be used in a wide variety of situations and environments.

JUMP

Same as the Gunslinger, a wide variety of perks allow for different focuses; building off of the basic Double Jump.

MELEE

Although Nightstalkers have the standard uncharged hunter knife melee, a charged attempt results in a thrown smoke projectile, blinding enemies.

Envenomed

Deals damage over time to enemies who’ve come into contact with smoke, similar to burn effects. Extremely powerful in PvP, as the combination of blindness and constant damage put intense stress on foes, providing for an easy clean-up kill.

Vanish in Smoke

Provides invisibility for user and allies when inside Area of Effect. Vital for PvE, this perk can determine the difference between life and death for Guardians low on health. While not as effective in PvP, it does reduce one’s presence on enemy radars, which in itself is a useful tool.

Snare

Undoubtedly the most underused perk for smoke, this allows the smoke projectile to stick to surfaces, detonating only when an enemy walks near. Practically useless in PvE, while average in PvP. Anticipating an enemy provides a challenge for timing one’s smoke, thus snare removes that stress and simply acts as a trap for opponents to find themselves caught in.

SUPER

Lash tethers onto nearby opponents, slowing them, suppressing their abilities, and enabling critical damage.

nightstalker subclass update

Blood Bound

Tethered enemies explode when killed, and damage to any enemy is shared to all tethered enemies. This perk is vital for PvE, as explosions and shared damage can easily result in chain reactions, while killing one tethered high level enemy will also kill all of the lower level ones. PvP is less of a medium for it to shine, as large maps and spread enemies are common, while some 3v3 matches may prove otherwise.

Black Hole

Allows a Shadowshot anchor to tether more targets, increase tethering range, and last significantly longer. This is the best balanced choice for both PvE and PvP. For PvE, it is a solid option for tethering bosses, as a longer lasting tether ensures that maximum DPS is dealt, as all shots are critical hits for an extended period of time. In PvP it rewards players with patience, as it is able to kill in one shot like any other shot, but tethers enemies in a wide vicinity, allotting for easy kills in small matches. Not only this, but due to the extended range, there is a higher chance of supers being drained as well, roaming supers can’t simply run away as easily: ideal for Trials of Osiris.

Quiver

The most aggressive and offensive perk for Shadowshot, Quiver gives Hunters 3 arrows with their super, while reducing tether range. Comparable to a Golden Gun, each arrow can kill a guardian on impact, with supers being excluded. Because of these mechanics, Quiver might not be the best choice for PvE, but is easily utilized in PvP, where maximum number of kills is the goal- having the ability to kill three guardians with one Shadowshot charge will ensure you’re a hell in any house. Yet, due to the lack of range, supers are significantly harder to tether.

SKILLS

Courage of the Pack

Killing tethered targets increases armor and recovery for a short time for you and nearby allies. This is most useful for places in PvE where enemies can easily overwhelm a Guardian; getting extra armor will undoubtedly help withstand heavy-hitters, while recovery will ensure your health bar is difficult to deplete.

Light of the Pack

Killing tethered targets drops orbs for allies, which is an extremely vital perk for both PvP and PvE, as most of the time your allies should be able to reach their supers simply from your orbs. When supers can turn the tide of a strike or crucible match, providing orbs to your allies is key, especially in the King’s Fall raid and Trials of Osiris.

Lockdown

A unique and effective skill, duration of smoke and grenades last twice as long. Absolutely an amazing perk for the community dubbed “Wombo Combo”- throwing both a grenade and a smoke on the same area. This effect simply maximizes area control potential, providing a very versatile advantage over opponents.

MODIFIERS

Keen Scout

Indisputably one of the strongest aspects of Nightstalker, this modifier allows for ‘marking’ of an enemy to see their position, an advanced tracker, and faster sprinting and crouched movement. For the most part this skill has no place in PvE, but in PvP seeing enemies marked behind cover will relay dominance in any gunfight, just as the enhanced tracker will ensure that hunters stay aware of enemy position.

Predator

Underwhelming at best, this perk makes void anchors into traps that await enemies to trigger them, the same as the Snare perk for Smoke. Much like Snare, this perk is of little use in PvE, while it can reduce the stress of timing tethers in PvP.

Shadestep

Up against Keen Scout for title of best subclass modifier, this perk enables Nightstalkers to perform an evasive maneuver when crouch is double-tapped. It has been compared with blink, as it not only lets one dodge shots, but has an unpredictable appearance, which barely gives away the direction of the evade. Using Shadestep can stop rockets from homing onto the Hunter, but can only be used twice before a 4 second cooldown.

EXOTICS

Graviton Forfeit

The largest dilemma for any Nightstalker is choosing between Keen Scout and Shadestep. With this exotic granting Shadestep automatically, that decision is irrelevant, because now both can be used- providing a staggeringly powerful neutral game.

Sealed Ahamkara Grasps

While this exotic grants double melee charge for any subclass, having double smokes is useful in just about any situation. Be it in PvP or PvE, having a spare envenomed or invisibility smoke could be key between your death, or an opponent’s. It also takes the strain out of focusing on a strength build, and allows Hunters to increase discipline to get devastating ‘Wombo Combos’ more often.

Crest of Alpha Lupi

As a class that shows off its support skills in all aspects of play, this exotic not only allows Nightstalkers to revive significantly faster, but drop an extra orb during Shadowshot, a difference which can often determine when a teammate gets their super.

STRATEGIES

Wombo Combo

The combination of a grenade and smoke thrown in the same area can yield shocking results, especially when that smoke provides damage over time with Envenomed. For those fairly accurate with grenades, Voidwall will be ideal, as it is one of the fastest damaging grenades- so if performed correctly, enemies can be demolished by this method without you firing a single shot.

Friendly

Black Hole has the ability to tether farthest out of any other perk, thus more likely to catch players on the enemy team. Light of the Pack takes advantage of this, and grants an orb per tethered enemy kill. In Trials of Osiris, most teams have two Guardians run fast-resurrection exotics, so Crest of Alpha Lupi will also add an orb to that count. This adds up to a maximum of 5-7 orbs, a significant amount for Guardians waiting for their super; which can change the tide of an entire match.

Cutthroat

Invisibility makes it very difficult to see a guardian, Vanish in Smoke often providing the element of surprise in 1v1 encounters. As far as long range engagements go, Keen Scout allows you to see where an enemy is going, or where they have taken cover, making sure you can get the first shots once they reveal themselves. Graviton Forfeit enables Shadestep, which is abnormally potent in close range melee-bashing, shotgun-swinging encounters. Apply invisibility to yourself before entering a long-range or close-range encounter, and you’re almost guaranteed to win every 1v1 encounter.

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