Destiny 2 Hunter class guide: Class info, subclasses, skills, tips and more
Destiny 2 returns with the trio of classes from the first installment: Titan, Warlock, and Hunter. In this article, we're going to go over the Hunter in-depth. Here's our definitive guide to the class, as well as some tips and suggestions.
What is the Hunter class?
If Titans are the tanks and Warlocks are the mages, then the Hunter class is Destiny 2's equivalent to a rogue. Hunters have low durability — you can only take a few hits before going down — but for what they lack in endurance, they make up for in agility. Thanks to their light armor and clothing, the Hunter the fastest of the three Guardian classes. When put to good use, their speed and nimble movement abilities allow them to be the best scouts, assassins, and sharpshooters of all of the Light's warriors.
No matter what subclass of Hunter you choose to be, all members of the class share two types of abilities: dodges and jumps.
- Marksman's Dodge - A directional dodge that quickly allows you to avoid damage that also instantly reloads your weapon.
- Gambler's Dodge - A directional dodge that allows you to avoid damage, as well as generating melee power for your next attack when used near enemies.
- High Jump - After jumping, you can jump a second time to go higher.
- Strafe Jump - After jumping, jumping again activates strong horizontal momentum.
- Triple Jump - You can jump two more times after an initial jump to reach large heights.
In Destiny 2, there are three subclasses available to the Hunters — Arcstrider, Gunslinger, and Nightstalker. Each offers their own unique strengths and weaknesses, as well as abilities, both regular and super, exclusive to that subclass. On top of that, each subclass also has two available skill trees that further increase the number of playstyles you can adopt.
Arcstriders are the ninjas of the Hunter class. Instead of staying clear of enemies, the Arcstrider is best at fighting them up close and personal, bobbing and weaving as you take them down, one by one, via powerful melee strikes. The Arcstrider, therefore, specializes in harassing the enemy up close and constantly being a nuisance.
SUPER ABILITY: Arc Staff - Summon a staff made of pure Arc energy for the Arcstrider to use to assault enemies with.
- Arcbolt Grenade - A grenade that spreads several lightning bolts to nearby enemies on detonation.
- Flux Grenade - An explosive grenade that deals extra damage to enemies it's attached to.
- Skip Grenade - A fragmentation grenade that, upon detonation, sends several smaller projectiles outward that seek out targets.
Way of the Warrior skill tree abilities:
- Deadly Reach - Dodging increases your melee range, allowing you to hit enemies from farther away.
- Combat Flow - Melee kills recharge your dodge ability.
- Combination Blow - Killing an enemy with this melee ability regenerates health.
- Lethal Current - After dodging while using Arc Staff, each hit will cause aftershock lightning damage.
Way of the Wind skill tree abilities:
- Disorienting Blow - Striking an enemy with this melee ability will cause both them and nearby enemies to become disoriented.
- Focused Breathing - Sprinting recharges your dodge ability.
- Combat Meditation - When critically wounded, your melee and grenade abilities charge faster.
- Lightning Reflexes - You are much harder to kill while using your dodge.
The Gunslinger is the sharpshooter of the Hunters. Where the Arcstrider likes to physically assault enemies up close, the Gunslinger generally stays at medium to long range, hitting precision headshots on enemies with hand cannons and other highly accurate firearms. Specializing in huge burst damage potential to either soften up or outright kill foes, the Gunslinger is a force to be reckoned with.
SUPER ABILITY: Golden Gun - Pull out a flaming Solar pistol that does huge damage to enemies.
- Incendiary Grenade - A grenade that catches enemies on fire, causing damage over time.
- Swarm Grenade - Grenade that sends out mini-drones to attack various enemies.
- Tripmine Grenade - Grenade that acts like a mine, detonating when enemies get close.
Way of the Outlaw skill tree abilities:
- Chains of Woe - Kills with headshots increase reload speed for you and nearby allies.
- Bombs for Bullseyes - Precision kills recharge your grenade energy.
- Six-Shooter - Your Golden Gun can be fired six times, but the duration is shorter.
- Explosive Knife - Throw a knife that explodes on impact.
Way of the Sharpshooter skill tree abilities:
- Knife-Juggler - Throw a knife at enemies. Precision kills with it immediately recharge the ability.
- Gunslinger's Trance - Each precision kill you get charges your Golden Gun a small amount.
- Crowd-Pleaser - Precision hits with Golden Gun generate Orbs of Light for your allies.
- Line 'Em Up - Precision hits with Golden Gun increase the ability's damage and duration.
While the Arcstrider and Gunslinger are best at raw damage output, the Nightstaker fills more of a supportive role. While you can still dish out the hurt with Nightstalker, the true utility of this subclass is their ability to slow enemies down and prevent them from using their abilities. Therefore, the Nightstalker class specializes in making it easier for their teammates to defeat enemies by immobilizing and disabling them.
SUPER ABILITY: Shadowshot - Summon a Void Light bow and fire arrows that, upon impact, create special Void Anchors that slow and disable enemies within their vicinity.
- Vortex Grenade - This grenade creates a large area of effect vortex that constantly damages enemies inside.
- Spike Grenade - This grenade sticks to surfaces and then projects a cone of Void damage outward that damages all enemies it touches.
- Voidwall Grenade - When thrown, this grenade creates a horizontal wall of burning Void Light upon impact.
- Smoke - Unlike the other subclasses, your melee ability isn't a melee at all. Rather, it's a smoke bomb that causes damage and disorients enemies.
Way of the Trapper skill tree abilities:
- Snare Bomb - Your Smoke bomb can be attached to surfaces and detonates when enemies are near it.
- Keen Scout - You can sprint and sneak around faster, while also gaining an enhanced tracker.
- Deadfall - Your Void Anchors during use of Shadowshot will last longer and have a longer reach.
- Vanishing Step - Dodging causes you to briefly turn invisible.
Way of the Pathfinder skill tree abilities:
- Vanish in Smoke - You and allies in the blast of your Smoke bomb become invisible to enemies.
- Lockdown - Your Smoke and Grenade abilities last twice as long.
- Heart of the Pack - Kills on tethered enemies generate Orbs of Light and buff teammates with faster recovery and movement.
- Moebius Quiver - Shadowshot arrows can be fired rapidly, and already tethered enemies will take huge bonus damage.
To help guide you in picking a direction to go with when you're playing as a Hunter, we've come up with three types of builds (one for each subclass) to give you an example of how you can find success.
Arcstrider: The Bladedancer
- Movement ability: Strafe Jump
- Grenade ability: Arcbolt Grenade
- Dodge ability: Gambler's Dodge
- Skill path: Way of the Warrior
- Kinetic weapon: Auto Rifle
- Energy weapon: Submachine Gun
- Heavy weapon: Sword
The "Bladedancer" build emphasizes the Arcstrider's incredibly high effectiveness in close quarters combat. By using strafe jump to quickly close the distance on foes, the Arcstrider can then begin to chain melees to recharge their dodges. In doing so, they will frequently be diving around the battlefield, pummeling enemies with the combined power of the melee-enhancing gambler's dodge and the extended melee reach from the deadly reach skill.
If you start to take a lot of damage, either land a combination blow to regenerate your health or start to utilize your auto rifle and submachine gun to shred your foes up close. When utilizing your super ability, try and dodge as much as possible so that your Arc Staff strikes generate aftershock effects.
Lastly, if you find yourself in need of some heavy damage but your super isn't available, a sword heavy weapon is incredibly effective at doing high levels of damage to enemies. Paired with your dodging perks, it will be an even more effective tool.
Gunslinger: Billy the Kid
- Movement ability: Triple Jump
- Grenade ability: Swarm Grenade
- Dodge ability: Marksman's Dodge
- Skill path: Way of the Sharpshooter
- Kinetic weapon: Hand Cannon
- Energy weapon: Hand Cannon
- Heavy weapon: Sniper Rifle
The "Billy the Kid" build for the Gunslinger focuses on making the class a deadeye sharpshooter. Using triple jump, you can get to advantageous high ground positions to fire down at enemies from. Then, begin blasting away at foes with your dual hand cannons like a real cowboy.
After several headshots, you should find that, thank to the sharpshooter skill tree, you'll have your super charged a lot faster for hitting precision shots. When you use Golden Gun, prioritize hitting precision shots, as they will do more damage and also make your super last longer. The Orbs of Light generated for your fellow Guardians will also help them get their supers, giving your super a support element.
Utilize your swarm grenade to injure groups of enemies in order to potentially make them vulnerable to one shot kills from precision hits. Marksman's dodge will help keep you safe and your weapons loaded, and when you need some high caliber precision damage, your trusty sniper rifle will be instrumental in putting large holes in the faces of tougher enemies.
Nightstalker: The Well-Rounded Warrior
- Movement ability: Strafe Jump
- Grenade ability: Voidwall Grenade
- Dodge ability: Marksman's Dodge
- Skill path: Way of the Pathfinder
- Kinetic weapon: Pulse Rifle
- Energy weapon: Submachine Gun
- Heavy weapon: Grenade Launcher
The "Well-Rounded Warrior" build turns the Nightstalker into a perfect jack-of-all-trades supporting Guardian on the battlefield. Utilizing strafe jump to always be with the team, you can then use your Smoke bomb ability to cloak yourself and your teammates as you engage the enemy.
Always make sure that you're firing with your pulse rifle or submachine gun; use the rifle for enemies at medium and long range, and fall back on the submachine gun when enemies close the distance. To help keep the hordes of foes away from your team, use your voidwall grenade to wall your position off with flames. Your lockdown skill helps immensely with this, as the doubled effects of the voidwall grenade will ensure that your team will be relatively safe from melee rushes for a good amount of time.
When the time comes to use supers, your Shadowshot will combo with other supers exceptionally, as it helps keep enemies in one place and disables their abilities, leaving the door open for your Titan, Warlock or fellow Hunter friends to put their more damage-oriented supers to good use. Try and use the fact that you have several arrows to your advantage by spreading out your tethers and maximizing coverage. When you're fighting a boss or other tough foe, make sure to land all your arrows into them, as tethered enemies take bonus damage from more arrows.
Lastly, if there are several tethered enemies, but your team needs some help in the damage department, the grenade launcher heavy weapon is fantastic for blasting chunks of hitpoints out of groups of enemies.
Tips and tricks
We're going to round this guide out with five tips and tricks that will help every Hunter find success.
- Never stand still. - This is extremely important, regardless which subclass of Hunter you are. Standing still increases the chances of the enemy mobs whittling down your small health pool and killing you. Always be on the move!
- Aim carefully. - You're missing out on a lot of the Hunter's bonuses if you have poor accuracy and don't hit weak spots much. Careful aim will yield devastating results; sloppy aim will possibly result in your death.
- Use cover whenever you can. - While dodges are very helpful and reliable, there are times where there are simply too many bullets to avoid. Knowing when to fall into cover (either natural or a friendly Titan barrier) is an essential skill that will save your life.
- Make good use of sliding. - Sliding can be a strong way to avoid damage when your dodge is on cooldown and there's no nearby cover available. It significantly reduces your vertical hitbox, so don't be afraid to get those legs dirty.
- Never get cocky. - While it may be easy to think that you're invincible because of how well you can dodge or mitigate damage (this can be the case with Arcstrider especially) one mistake can mean the end for you. Always try and remember to back off and recharge your shields if the fight starts to get hairy. Don't risk it.
Destiny 2 is available now on Xbox One and PS4 for $59.99
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Brendan Lowry is a Windows Central writer and Oakland University graduate with a burning passion for video games, of which he's been an avid fan since childhood. You'll find him doing reviews, editorials, and general coverage on everything Xbox and PC. Follow him on Twitter.