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Destiny 2 Warlock build - best builds for PvP and PvE

If you're looking for the best D2 Warlock build to tear up your foes in PvE and PvP in Season of the Witch, then here are our top picks in the meta.

Destiny 2 Warlock build: A Warlock wearing armor looking to the side of the camera, set against a blurred background of gameplay.

What is the best Destiny 2 Warlock build? Essentially the closest thing Destiny 2 has to a mage class, the Warlock is arguably the most versatile of the three classes in the game – something our Destiny 2 Warlock build guide will now perfectly demonstrate. Ostensibly the more cerebral of the bunch, the Warlock can still bring the noise and is able to dish out massive damage while speccing for strong defence and utility in both PvE and PvP activities

With some of the coolest abilities in the game, it can be tough to figure out what works best for you. With the subclass reworks we received in the run-up to the Lightfall release and the changes to mods and armor since, there’s now more choice than ever when it comes to creating the perfect Destiny 2 Warlock build. We’ll give you a handful of options to start with for PvP and PvE activities, including the best Destiny 2 weapons to use with them. With the Destiny 2 The Final Shape Supers on the horizon, there will be even more D2 Warlock build options soon.

Destiny 2 Warlock build for PvE

The best Destiny 2 Warlock build for PvE is:

  • Subclass: Dawnblade – Daybreak
  • Primary stat: Discipline, Resilience
  • Secondary stat: Recovery
  • Grenade: Fusion Grenade
  • Melee ability: Incinerator Snap
  • Class ability: Phoenix Dive
  • Aspects: Touch of Flame, Heat Rises
  • Fragments: Ember of Empyrean, Ember of Solace, Ember of Torches, Ember of Searing
  • Exotic armor: Verity’s Brow
  • Weapons: Sunshot, Tommy’s Matchbook, Vex Mythoclast, Jotunn, Calus Mini-Tool, any Solar weapon with Incandescent
  • Mods: Harmonic Siphon, Grenade Kickstart, Ashes to Assets, Impact Induction, Bolstering Detonation, Charged Up, Stacks on Stacks, Insulation, Innervation, Reaper, Bomber, Outreach

The true beauty of this Destiny 2 Warlock build in PvE is that, not only is it able to wipe out even Champions blazingly fast, but it also benefits from the restoration effect to stay alive against all odds. We’ll be making use of restoration and radiant to improve survivability and damage respectively, while also having powerful abilities available at nearly all times. All you’ll have to do to get started in battle is consume your grenade, Phoenix Dive, and then start slaying using your melee ability and weapons.

Destiny 2 Warlock build: The subclass customization screen showing a Solar Warlock PvE build.

The most important element to consider first are the Aspects which guide the playstyle – Touch of Flame and Heat Rises. Touch of Flame empowers the various Solar grenades with different effects. Since we recommend using Fusion Grenades, Touch of Flame will cause this grenade to explode twice, quite literally doubling the damage. If you’ve got 100 Discipline, there’s almost no end to the fiery explosions.

Heat Rises, on the other hand, lets you fire weapons, melee, and throw grenades while gliding, with any kills earned while airborne increasing the duration of Heat Rises and granting melee energy. You will need to consume your grenade to gain Heat Rises, which will also unleash a healing burst for yourself and nearby allies. This should be your first action when entering any combat encounter, followed by your class ability – Phoenix Dive – as you’ll need it to gain restoration x2 which lets you continuously heal.

Next up are the Fragments that build upon these Aspects to raise the heat and bring the fire. Starting off with Ember of Empyrean, this is how we gain restoration x2 from the initial combo mentioned above. Solar weapon and ability final blows extend the duration of restoration and radiant effects, which is vital to increase survivability and damage respectively.

Ember of Solace provides a similar effect, increasing the duration of restoration and radiant effects. Combined with Ember of Empyrean, these invaluable buffs are much easier to maintain a near 100% up-time during combat.

Ember of Torches causes powered melee attacks to trigger restoration, raising the bar with another way to kickstart and maintain the solid ability loop of this build. Although it does come with -10 Discipline, this can easily be remedied with armor mods and is worth the trade off. Remember, Ember of Empyrean and Solace will also synergize well with this effect.

Lastly, Ember of Searing grants melee energy and creates a Firesprite when defeating scorched targets which should be nearly all enemies if you’re using your abilities frequently and Incandescent weapons – more on this later. This Fragment brings everything together by effectively increasing regeneration for all of your abilities, letting you take advantage of the previous effects even more frequently.

Moving onto gear, the Verity’s Brow Exotic helm is the best option for this Solar D2 Warlock build in PvE. With this item, weapon final blows matching your subclass energy (in this case Solar) grant Death Throes, which improves grenade damage and grants grenade energy. We love using Verity’s Brow in this build because it not only helps to keep the ball rolling thanks to bonus grenade energy, but also increases grenade damage by up to 100%. Yes, up to 100%. When paired with the Fusion Grenade and Touch of Flame Aspect, your grenades are incredibly powerful.

As for weapons, there’s a certainly a lot of strong options so you can’t really go wrong. Thanks to handcannon buffs in Season of the Witch, the Sunshot has risen to the top for many Solar builds thanks to its great damage and bonus effects that work well in nearly all situations. Tommy’s Matchbook has also received buffs and can work very well in this build, especially since restoration and cure effects can counteracts the health decay. Likewise, the Vex Mythoclast and Jotunn can also be a blast to use.

However, we can’t not mention the Calus Mini-Tool – our favorite legendary weapon in the game for Solar builds. If you’ve got a drop with the Incandescent perk, the Calus Mini-Tool is more than capable of being your main weapon, leaving an Exotic slot for a heavy weapon or even the Sunshot. We use this weapon all the time with this Solar D2 Warlock build in PvE.

It’s highly likely that with the launch of The Final Shape bringing a new Solar Warlock Super and Aspect, this build will see some overhauls, so be sure to check back.

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Destiny 2 Warlock build for PvP

The best Destiny 2 Warlock build for PvP activities is:

  • Subclass: Dawnblade – Well of Radiance
  • Primary stat: Strength
  • Secondary stat: Recovery
  • Grenade: Fusion Grenade
  • Class ability: Phoenix Dive
  • Melee ability: Celestial Fire
  • Aspects: Heat Rises, Icarus Dash
  • Fragments: Ember of Torches, Ember of Tempering, Ember of Singeing, Ember of Solace
  • Exotic armor: Wings of Sacred Dawn, Starfire Protocol, Chromatic Fire
  • Weapons: Personal preference, any Solar weapon with the Incandescent perk
  • Mods: Targeting, Dexterity, Unflinching, Holster, Targeting, Loader, Distribution, Outreach, Bomber

There are so many awesome choices for an offensive Warlock in PvP, but this D2 Warlock build, Archangel, focuses on rising above the fray, bringing big damage as well as big heals. It prioritises battle placement in team-based PvP, giving you massive range and visibility.

Destiny 2 Warlock build: A PvP Warlock build in the Solar subclass screen.

Primarily, you’re using the Heat Rises Aspect to stay above the battlefield. By consuming one grenade charge, you can stay suspended for longer, and kills will prolong the effect. Long-range weapons like scout rifles are great, especially if paired with the Chromatic Fire Exotic chest that creates explosions in your subclass element on Kinetic precision kills. Chances are you’ve seen a Warlock dominating PvP with this setup before, as they can be extremely tricky to shut down.

Heat Rises is also strong because it will give your Icarus Dash two dodges, and causes your Phoenix Dive to apply cure to nearby allies while scorching enemies. As for Icarus Dash, this is invaluable movement when airborne, letting you dodge in the air.

Destiny 2 Warlock build: A Solar Warlock produces a floating ball of flame from their outstretched palm

The selected Fragments focus on returning energy and increasing the effects of restoration. Ember of Torches will give you an avenue to trigger radiant for bonus weapon damage after a powered melee hit, pairing nicely with Ember of Tempering which causes Solar weapon kills to grant increased recovery. Tempering will also increase airborne effectiveness and generate a Firesprite, so it’s hard to argue with the power on offer with this Fragment alone.

While Ember of Singeing is harder to get quite as much use out of in PvP as it is in PvE, being able to recharge class ability energy for scorching enemies is great. You’re likely to scorch foes using your grenade or an Incandescent weapon.

Lastly, Ember of Solace increases the duration of restoration and radiant effects, which improve healing and damage respectively. Like Ember of Singeing, the up-time of this effect is certainly lessened in PvP, but that’s not to say it’s not still a very powerful bonus to have.

When it comes to gear, there’s quite a wide array of options at your disposal. For Exotic armor, we recommend Wings of Sacred Dawn for increased airborne effectiveness and the instant reload effect for Solar weapons upon gaining an elimination while in the air.

If you’re not quite so keen on the airborne playstyle then Starfire Protocol should be your next stop. This will give you an extra Fusion Grenade charge, as well as gaining grenade energy from empowered weapon damage, so be sure to use the empowered rift class ability. If we’re not in the mood to be an aerial turret, or if enemies have caught on and are focusing on us, then we often swap to the Starfire Protocol as an alternative.

Similarly, Chromatic Fire can also be useful. With this item equipped, precision final blows with kinetic weapons create an explosion in the element of your subclass, in this case Solar, and will apply scorch stacks as a result.

As for weapons, we recommend the best Destiny 2 PvP weapons to instantly improve your Warlock PvP build. However, those with a Solar element, such as Vex Mythoclast or Sunshot, or even the Calus Mini-Tool are preferable as these will gain additional damage thanks to the setup.

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If Solar isn’t your style, then it’s worth checking out the Warlock’s Strand subclass in PvP. It’s Super can be absolutely devastating when used at the right time. Check out our Destiny 2 Lightfall review to find out whether it’s worth picking up.

Destiny 2 Warlock build alternatives

Besides these two strong D2 Warlock builds for PvE and PvP respectively, there’s plenty more where that came from. So, these are some great builds for general gameplay.

The best Strand Destiny 2 Warlock build for general activities is:

  • Subclass: Broodweaver – Needlestorm
  • Primary stat: Resilience
  • Secondary stat: Discipline
  • Grenade: Threadling Grenade
  • Class ability: Healing Rift
  • Melee ability: Arcane Needle
  • Aspects: Weaver’s Call, The Wanderer
  • Fragments: Thread of Evolution, Thread of Generation, Thread of Propagation, Thread of Rebirth
  • Exotic armor: Verity’s Brow
  • Weapons: Quicksilver Storm, any Strand weapons
  • Mods: Ashes to Assets, Strand Siphon, Bolstering Detonation, Grenade Kickstart, Charged Up, Recuperation, Innervation, Stacks on Stacks, Bomber, Reaper, Powerful Attraction

The D2 Warlock build for Strand takes full advantage of the unique specialities of this class – Threadlings – for a fun, fast, and powerful build in a wide variety of PvE activities, including endgame modes. While the general ability spam is powerful enough, the Needlestorm Super ability is effectively a nuke against tough enemies, so don’t forget to use it!

Using Verity’s Brow, the goal is to score final blows with Strand weapons to generate Death Throes which enhance our grenade damage and grant grenade energy, while also aiding nearby allies with increased grenade regeneration after using a grenade while the Death Throes buff is active. This then powers up our deadly Threadling Grenade that gets the ball rolling.

To pair with this already excellent grenade damage boost from Verity’s Brow, we’ll be using Thread of Evolution to increase the damage and range of Threadlings, including those created by the Threadling Grenade. Kicking things up a notch, Thread of Generation is great for getting our amped up Threadling Grenades back as soon as possible, as we’ll constantly be dealing damage through our weapons and existing Threadlings. But that’s not all, Thread of Rebirth makes it so Strand weapon final blows have a chance to create a Threadling too, expanding our army of little green friends even faster.

Thread of Propagation is our last Fragment and provides the superb unraveling effect to our Strand weapons after getting a powered melee final blow. Unraveling not only increasing the damage affected targets take, but also cause unraveled projectiles to seek out other nearby enemies.

As for our Aspects, we recommend Weaver’s Call and The Wanderer. Weaver’s Call causes your Rift to create a group of Threadlings and sends out any additional ones you’ve got stored up. In action, this turns Healing Rift into a damage dealing ability, not just one to keep you alive. As such, don’t forget to cast it as often as you can. On the other hand, The Wanderer is great for creating Tangles, since Threadling final blows will now generate a Tangle. Additionally, destroying Tangles cause a suspending burst that immobilizes enemies for a short duration. Since we’re sending out hordes of Threadlings, Tangles are a common occurrence, and therefore also the powerful suspend debuff, even in endgame activities.

You’ll begin a fight by unleashing a Threadling Grenade, throwing our Arcane Needle melee, and casting your Healing Rift to get the ball rolling. From here, just rack up kills with your Strand weapons and use your abilities again once they’ve recharged.

Once you’ve decked out your armor with the mods listed above, you’ll realize that not only do your standard abilities recharge quickly, but so too does your Super. Given how absurdly powerful Needlestorm is against tanky foes, this massively helps the effectiveness of this D2 Warlock build in endgame activities like Grandmaster Nightfalls.

Destiny 2 Warlock build: An Arc Warlock PvE setup in the subclass page.

The best Arc Destiny 2 Warlock build for general activities is:

  • Subclass: Stormcaller – Stormtrance
  • Primary stat: Resilience
  • Secondary stat: Discipline
  • Grenade: Flashbang
  • Class ability: Healing Rift
  • Melee ability: Chain Lightning
  • Aspects: Arc Soul, Electrostatic Mind
  • Fragments: Spark of Beacons, Spark of Magnitude, Spark of Brilliance, Spark of Resistance
  • Exotic armor: Crown of Tempests, Fallen Sunstar
  • Weapons: Delicate Tomb, Riskrunner, Trinity Ghoul, Thunderlord, Trespasser
  • Mods: Arc Siphon mods, Distribution, Outreach, and Grenade Kickstart, Charged Up, Stacks on Stacks, Bomber, Font of Focus, Font of Endurance

This Lord of Storms arc build will not only devastate crowds of ads in PvE, but throw up a few surprises for opposing Guardians in PvP, too. The focus here is on Ionic Traces, bolts of light that will travel across the ground to you and boost your ability regeneration, making it a fast and fun Warlock build. Ideally, for this build you want Fallen Sunstar, the Exotic Helmet which increases the speed and potency of Traces. However, if you haven’t snagged it, Crown of Tempests will still boost your regen by a massive amount.


To maximise this build, we want to take advantage of the perks of Electrostatic Mind. This Aspect causes Jolted or Blinded targets to release an Ionic Trace when killed. The combination of Flashbang Grenades and Chain Lightning is absolutely lethal here, as packs of enemies or opposing teams can be exploited easily with a few well-timed abilities.

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Running Healing Rift is ideal for PvE or PvP, as when combined with Spark of Resistance it will make you almost as resilient as a Titan running the Lorely Splendor (we said “almost”; you’re still not a tank). We’d also recommend making use of Arc Soul for some extra firepower without having to put in the work. 

Weaponry can be anything with Arc output, but Trinity Ghoul or Riskrunner are unrivalled when it comes to chaining damage between groups of foes. Blind a pack of mobs with a well-placed ‘nade, and use Trinity Ghoul’s Lightning Rod perk to mop them up – then sit back and watch the Ionic Traces roll in.

That said, Delicate Tomb (the Season 19 Exotic) has a perk that generates Traces on kills, making it a strong contender. The Destiny 2 Ex Diris Exotic grenade launcher from Season 20: Season of the Witch can also be great in PvE due to its economical add-clearing.

If you’re looking for non-Exotic options, then we’d recommend anything Arc Legendary weapon with the Voltshot perk as this will provide even greater damage and add-clearing potential.

Destiny 2 best Warlock build: An arc Warlock casts a ball of blue light in the palm of their hand

What makes a strong Destiny 2 Hunter build?

If you want to make your own Destiny 2 Hunter build, either for PvE or PvP, there’s a handful of elements we recommend keeping in mind:

  • Playstyle – This should be your first consideration when making a D2 Warlock build, as this class has arguably the most diverse options. From a Fireteam healer or damage booster, to raw DPS or even summoner type playstyle, you have a lot of options available to you.
  • Survivability – Warlocks generally have great survivability in PvE and PvP as you’ll want points in Recovery, its main stat. Likewise, you will also want to have high Resilience, so you’ll be much tankier than you’d expect. That’s not all though, as the Warlock also benefits from the Healing Rift ability that can swiftly turn the tide of a fight.
  • Abilities – The Warlock emphasises AoE damage through massive explosions, chain lightning, or even summoning an army of Threadlings. However, they can also be surprisingly mobile with the Solar subclass, or self-sustaining with the Devour effect from Void.
  • Mods – You’ll want Mods that let you take full advantage of these powerful abilities, particularly in PvE where crowd control is all-important. Remember, these more often than not require you to use weapons of the same element as your subclass, so pay attention to what you have currently equipped.
  • Exotics – Consider which Exotic weapon and armor pieces synergize well with your overall build. While many Exotics for the Warlock are subclass dependant, some aren’t and can therefore be used with a wide array of builds. Similarly, some are designed to push the supportive playstyle of Warlocks, while others are more for raw damage.

Well, we hope this guide has given you some ideas for the best Destiny 2 Warlock builds in one of the best FPS games right now. Remember, these are just a few examples of the kind of devastating D2 Warlock builds you can create without the need for particularly rare gear. There are countless alternatives to consider, but ultimately you’re always going to benefit from committing to a singular playstyle that you feel comfortable with. If you’re also dabbling with Titan and Hunter classes, check out our best Destiny 2 Titan build and best Destiny 2 Hunter build guides for some more suggestions.