Hey everyone, Dukaness here with an analysis focused on the Gunslinger. This will be a three part mini-series. The next two analyses will feature Throwing Knives and then the other modifiers in the Gunslinger skill tree.
The only focus of this analysis is the Gunslinger’s grenades. I will explain how much damage each grenade does and then offer suggestions for what I believe are the best ways to use each grenade.
We’ll start with the Trip Mine. In the June update, Bungie eliminated the possibility of sticking an enemy with a Trip Mine, however, a Trip Mine that hits your enemy will now fall to the ground and immediately activate. When you throw a Trip Mine that would have stuck to your enemy, you will now see spastic red light flashes as the Trip Mine falls to the ground before erupting. So, I guess technically they don’t stick, but the end result of a Trip Mine stick is unchanged.
There are exceptions to this rule. If an enemy is sprinting and does not stop after being hit with the Trip Mine, they will run through the explosion, similar to when it is set up on a wall. I’ve also found this unreliable when sticking an airborne enemy, among other rare instances. The Trip Mine deals 188 damage when a guardian receives the full blast. You can one-hit kill with a Trip Mine as long as your enemy’s Armour is 3 or less. Therefore, Warlocks and Hunters will or will not be one-hit depending on their preferred Armour. A Titan will never be one-hit by a Trip Mine, as their Armour cannot dip below a 5.
Bungie either stated or implied that Trip Mines were intended to be used as traps. I’ve seen airplanes guided into a terminal with dimmer lights than the Trip Mine shines with, so it’s unfortunately not trapping anyone. Further, even though I always run max Recovery and Agility, I believe most people run high Armour, so you can no longer reliably expect a kill when walking away after dropping a Trip Mine because it likely won’t kill your opponent. Leaving a guy absolute across the map isn’t giving you a benefit. So now that I’ve labelled the trap method as outdated, I’ll offer a couple of ways where I still find them effective:
- You can use Trip Mines as a last resort. We all know when we’re inevitably going to lose a gun fight. When you’ve accepted defeat, just chuck a Trip Mine at a wall next to your enemy. As long as you’ve hit them with one bullet, you’re going to trade.
- Use them defensively. If an enemy damages me, I know I’ll probably lose when they turn the corner and challenge me. In a scenario like this, I’ll stick a Trip Mine to the choke point I expect to be challenged from. This works if you’re being chased and need to recover, reload, or reset. By the time your enemy shoots down the Trip Mine, you’ll have had enough time to recover. This is especially effective in Trials when every death is critical.
- If you know an enemy is damaged in any way and they’re hiding behind a corner, just stick a Trip Mine to a wall facing them and it’s a guaranteed kill.
If you aren’t a Hunter or never play Gunslinger, this information can still be valuable to you. If you go into a lobby that has 2 or more Gunslingers all running Trip Mines, make sure your Armour is at least a 4. In Trials, if I’m playing even one Gunslinger with Trip Mines, I make sure I set my Armour to a 4 as it allows me to survive a full blast.
We’ll move to Incendiary Grenades. Pre-update, a perfectly placed Incendiary Grenade hit for 170 damage, plus 5 ticks of 7 damage, for a total of 205 damage. This was enough to one-hit any guardian with max Armour. In the June update, the burn was accidentally reduced from 7 to 4, but was then reversed. Therefore, a perfectly placed Incendiary Grenade will currently one-hit kill any guardian.
A lot of grenades in Destiny have tracking and thus do a lot of the work for you. Incendiaries have no tracking, but do more damage and have the ability to one-hit kill as a trade-off. It’s higher risk because it is more difficult to hit your enemy than it would be with a Skip Grenade or Axion Bolt for example, but is also higher reward because it can deal more damage.
For this reason, I consider them to be a more skilled grenade. I find Incendiaries have situational uses because they actually get a decent bounce off of the ground and walls, so you can soften someone up from behind cover and then move in for the kill. Also, their explosive radius is actually pretty wide, which makes them ideal to place on Control points.
Lastly, we’ll discuss the Swarm Grenade, which received a bit of a buff to the tracking radius and damage in the June update. The first thing I tested was the damage of a full tag, which does about 130 damage, give or take, depending on the Armour build.
After seeing the damage increase, I was ecstatic. I thought the Swarm Grenade had become a second cousin of the Skip Grenade. Unfortunately, it’s a lot better on paper than it is in practice. I’ll explain. When testing this grenade, I caught an enemy by surprise. I threw my grenade directly at him. You would think after catching an enemy off guard and missing very few shots with my Hawksaw, I would have been able to win this gun fight clean, but I barely won it at all. So I changed my approach and looked into this further. In another situation, I was anticipating an enemy coming up a set of stairs, so I pre-threw my Swarm Grenade close enough to my enemy to activate a full tag.
After watching in slow motion, I had time to land three shots and miss three shots from The Last Word before my enemy died. This happens because the grenade simply doesn’t activate fast enough, nor is the tracking aggressive enough to be worth using. By the time it deals the bulk of its potential damage, you’ve already killed your enemy, or they’ve killed you. In both of my examples, and probably many more, I would have been better off shooting earlier or throwing a different grenade. So although the damage is great, I personally don’t use Swarms due to the activation delay and lack of aggressive tracking.
Just to conclude and recap, I’ll summarize when and why I will be using the Gunslinger’s grenades. I think Trip Mines are the best choice in Trials and other 3v3 playlists because of the defensive capabilities when every death is precious. You can lock down a relic or the overtime point, as well as use them to clog up choke points to buy yourself time in the event of an enemy push. Just remember to bump your Armour above a 3 if your opponent is using them. I like Incendiaries in Control and some other 6v6 playlists.
The big explosive radius is good for attacking Control points or enemy spawns. As mentioned earlier, in my opinion, the long delay and poor tracking on the Swarm Grenade offset the benefits of the damage and radius buff. As a result, I don’t recommend using these in any playlist.
Something I really enjoy about writing articles and making videos is learning from my audience. I try my best to spark a conversation whenever I can, so let me know if you have other creative ways to use the Gunslinger grenades in the comments below. As I mentioned, I have two more articles coming out that will focus on other parts of the Gunslinger. I’ll see you all then.