Welcome to our guide for the best Warlock Voidwalker build in Destiny 2. We’ll be going in depth with a PvE-oriented build that can take on a wide variety of content, from regular patrol/strikes to difficult end-game content like the 980 PL Nightfall.
Many of you are likely already utilizing pieces of this build. However, Destiny 2 has seen such a huge influx of returning/new players that I ultimately decided an in-depth guide that explains all the bits and pieces in detail is still warranted. I also have a few extra things I haven’t seen people talking about so hopefully even veteran players who have already been using this build can pick up some new useful information.
Now I might be biased as a Warlock main, but this build is probably the strongest PvE build in the game right now. It excels in both solo and team play, and brings both utility and incredibly high burst DPS. Personally, I’ve used it in great success in Master (980 PL) Nightfalls, the Garden of Salvation Raid, and solo flawless the newest dungeon, Pit of Heresy. This is an in-depth guide; we’ll be going over the armor components and mods, recommended weapon choices, and breaking down the moment-to-moment gameplay.
This Voidwalker Warlock build revolves around our grenade ability and the Season of Undying artifact mod ‘Oppressive Darkness’. Each one of these grenades applies a serious debuff and does massive damage all on its own, allowing you to clear large groups of enemies or melt down high priority targets at will. We will be using a combination of exotic armor and mods to regenerate this grenade as fast as possible.
This build in particular has options when it comes to the exotic armor you should be using. Each of the options we will be considering has its own pros and cons, and each has a type of play that they excel at. Let’s break down what each of them do and how they work.
Nezarec’s Sin: This exotic helmet from base game Destiny 2 is the armor piece I see most often recommended on Reddit and Youtube/Twitch. It’s exotic perk is ‘Abyssal Extractors’, which is a buff triggered by kills with any source of void damage (weapon, grenade, melee ability, super), that increases your ability energy recharge rate (grenade, melee, class ability, super). The initial kill gives the buff a duration of 2 seconds. While this buff is active, any additional void damage kill will add 4 seconds to the timer up to a max of 20 seconds. Abyssal Extractors gives about 3x faster ability recharge. This exotic can be found from a world-drop exotic or from Xur on the weekends if he sells it.
For my Warlock, if I keep the buff up constantly, it lowers my grenade cooldown from 59 seconds down to about 20 seconds, and lowers my super cooldown from 4 minutes 31 seconds down to about 1 minute 37 seconds. Not bad, eh?
Contraverse Hold: These exotic arms from the Forsaken expansion are my personal go-to for this build. It’s exotic perk is ‘Chaotic Exchanger’, which gives you damage resistance while charging your grenade, and then gives you a random amount of grenade energy back when your grenade hits an enemy. The random amount of energy you get can range from as low as 20% of your grenade ability to as high as the entire grenade. This exotic can be found from a world-drop exotic or from Xur on the weekends if he sells it.
Now, you may be turned off by the fact that the refund amount is random. However, the perk can proc more than once from additional enemies walking into the grenade. Also, the way that this perk seems to function on a single target is that there’s a small 1-2 second cooldown on the trigger for grenade ability recharge, meaning that it’s possible for an overcharged grenade from top-tree Voidwalker Warlock to proc the perk twice. At the end of the day, I’ve found this perk to actually be incredibly consistent, and in combination with mods from the seasonal artifact, you can practically guarantee a constant flow of supercharged grenades.
One of the components of this perk that I feel is overlooked, at least in PvE, is the damage resistance during charging your grenade. If you are running difficult or high-level content, this perk becomes invaluable. Having the ability to charge a grenade for damage resistance when you’re critical health or going for a risky revive is very useful, especially because you can simply sprint to cancel the charge so you don’t waste your grenade if you don’t need to throw it. Once you get used to this perk, it’s hard to go back.
Verity’s Brow: What the heck is this? Even if you’re a veteran of Destiny 2 all the way from launch, this exotic might be new to you. This exotic helmet from the Warmind expansion used to be a reward given to all players who completed the story campaign and was widely considered garbage at the time. However, I believe with the release of New Light, it is now only obtainable as a world-drop exotic or from Xur on the weekends if he sells it.
It’s perk is ‘The Fourth Magic’, which grants a buff called Death Throes on any energy weapon kill. This buff boosts the grenade recharge rate for both you, and allies.It stacks up to 3x, and lasts for 15 seconds if the buff affects one other person besides you, otherwise it lasts for 10 seconds. Additional kills while the buff is active only increase the stacks up to 3x, but do not refresh the duration. The grenade recharge rate when the buff is at 3x is the same as Abyssal Extractors from Nezarec’s Sin.
The biggest benefit provided by this exotic is its ability to also boost your allies grenade recharge just as effectively as it boosts yours. Your entire fireteam/raid team has grenades on 20 second cooldowns. Need I say more?
If you’ve read my previous guides or played around with this build, the mods we’re about to discuss are probably already slotted in. If you’re new to the build, however, let’s give each of the pieces a quick explanation:
Oppressive Darkness. This is a class item perk from the 5th (final) column of the artifact mod. It reads. ‘Causing damage with a Void grenade adds a weaken effect to enemies’. This is a debuff that applies to any enemy damaged by your void grenade that lasts for 5 seconds and causes them to take an additional 30% damage from all sources, including the grenade itself. Because it’s based on causing damage, this debuff can last the entire duration of the grenade plus another 5 seconds past that if the enemy stays within the damage radius of your grenade.
Enhanced Ashes to Assets: This is a class item perk that reads ‘Gain even more Super energy on grenade kills’. It costs 4 energy to equip, and is only available on class items with Solar polarity. I was able to get this mod as a random drop after completing a 950 PL Nightfall. Every grenade kill you get with this perk equipped will net you a big chunk of your super (around 10% of your super per grenade kill), and since we’ll be throwing high damage, debuffing grenades as often as we can, this is a very synergistic perk that will accelerate us towards being able to throw more Nova Bombs as well.
Breach Refractor & Anti-Barrier Rounds: Breach Refractor is a 4th column mod from the Season of Undying Artifact that reads ‘Grants grenade energy on final blows with shield-piercing weapons or when a member of your fireteam shuts down a Barrier Champion’s ability’. It costs 3 energy to apply, and can be applied to any chest piece regardless of elemental polarity.
Anti-Barrier Rounds is a 2nd column mod from the Season of Undying Artifact that reads ‘Shield-piercing rounds designed to bypass combatant defenses. Strong against Barrier Champions’. Anti-Barrier Rounds can be applied to Hand Cannons, Submachine Guns, and Auto Rifles. With these Anti-Barrier Rounds and Breach Refractor combined, 11 kills will get you your grenade back. If you add a weapon with demolitionist on it, you can get your grenade back in as little as 6 kills.
Depending on which of the exotics discussed above you decide to go with, you might have certain loadout restrictions. In this section, I’ll go over the pros and cons for each of the exotics and talk about what weapons/loadouts I think fit best with each one.
Honestly, I think this is the most overrated exotic out of the three, and I think a lot of its popularity is due to the popularity of the Recluse. Nezarec’s Sin is a choice I would go with if my priority was super generation, as that’s the only advantage that this exotic offers over the other two. That being said, I do think there is a definite utility in generating a Nova Bomb every minute and a half. I also think that if you’re choosing the Devour (bottom-tree) Void Warlock that Nezarec’s Sin pairs nicely with the innate grenade regeneration built into Devour kills, because with Devour procced you can spam grenades that will recharge themselves. Because you’ll be needing void damage weapons to trigger Abyssal Extractors, the following weapons are recommended:
Recluse: Possibly the most overpowered legendary Bungie has released in Destiny 2, this is an obvious choice for a Nezarec’s Sin Voidlock. It’s damage perk, Master of Arms, procs from kills with any weapon, and turns this SMG’s bodyshot damage equal to precision damage, making mowing down waves of adds an almost skill-less activity. This weapon is a reward from a short PvP quest from Shaxx requiring wins in PvP and reaching 2100 (Fabled) Glory in the Survival playlist.
Graviton Lance: There are certain situations in Destiny where you might be looking for a longer-range option than Recluse, and that’s where Graviton Lance is a great choice. The Cosmology perk makes it so that enemies killed turn into tracking void projectiles that attack other nearby enemies, making this weapon a very good choice for add clear at long distances.
If you’re already using Recluse or Graviton Lance as your primary weapon, there’s not necessarily a reason to also use a void Heavy weapon. However, if you are also using Taken/Fallen/Hive armaments and are fighting the corresponding enemies, you can use the following:
Hammerhead: This is a 450 RPM machine gun from the Black Armory expansion, and is a fairly easily grindable weapon. Although it recently got nerfed, it still has insane, almost Scout-Rifle-like range and good stability. Look for a roll with Feeding Frenzy and either Surrounded or Rampage.
Temporal Clause: This is a 900 RPM machine gun from the current season, Season of the Undying. According to Bungie, this weapon will be grindable from the Vex Offensive activity in the next hotfix update scheduled for November 7. Similar to Hammerhead, this can roll with either Rampage or Surrounded as damage-increasing perks. It can’t roll with any reload speed-increasing perks, however, so I think the next strongest option to look for is Auto-Loading Holster.
If you’re looking to really maximize your grenade recharge, you can also consider one of the following void weapons. Each of them can roll with the Demolitionist perk, which grants grenade energy on final blows and reloads the gun when you throw a grenade.
Every Waking Moment: This is a 600 RPM SMG from the latest expansion, Shadowkeep. This is a fairly easily grindable weapon; purchase an Essence of Obscurity from the Lecturn of Enchantment on the Moon, fulfill its requirements, and return to the Lecturn to get your weapon drop. The longest part of the grind is probably getting the Phantasmal Core currency you need to buy the Essence. I recommend farming the Altars of Sorrow public event in Sorrow’s Harbor on the Moon to get the materials for that currency. The roll I recommend looking out for is Outlaw or Subsistence with either Demolitionist or Swashbuckler.
Reckless Oracle: This is a 720 RPM Auto Rifle from the Garden of Salvation raid. Raid drops have a weekly lockout, meaning you’ll only get one chance at this drop per character each week. It comes from the 2nd encounter of the raid. The roll I recommend looking out for is Outlaw with either Demolitionist or Swashbuckler.
Gnawing Hunger: This is a 600 RPM Auto Rifle that comes from either Gambit Prime, or Reckoning. This weapon is somewhat grindable, although it isn’t easy; it can either come as a random drop at the end of a Gambit Prime match, or from Reckoning at Tier III difficulty on weeks where the boss is the Likeness of Oryx. To check what the weekly boss for Reckoning is, I usually use braytech.org which has a ‘This Week’ tab that will show what the current boss is, among other useful weekly information. Fortunately if you do get one to drop, it has a small but good perk pool, so you’ll likely get a good one. The roll I recommend looking for is Subsistence or Field Prep with either Demolitionist, Rampage, Swashbuckler, or Multikill Clip. (Exception being Subsistence + Multikill Clip, as those perks are anti-synergistic).
Like I mentioned in the Build section, this exotic is my personal favorite out of the 3 options. The damage mitigation perk alone makes this exotic a top-tier pick for difficult content. And unlike the other 2 exotics, Contraverse Hold is not tied to kills with any particular weapon, allowing you to be fully flexible with your loadout. This is great for some of the harder tier content where the Match Game modifier often forces me to run certain weapons to account for the particular elemental shields I expect to encounter. With how useful the anti-barrier properties of Eriana’s Vow and anti-overload properties of Divinity are in 980 Nightfalls and Nightmare Hunts, it is particularly good to be able to run those when you need to in your build. One big advantage granted by this exotic over the other two is that there is often no downtime between grenades. With Nezarec’s Sin or Verity’s Brow, you do get accelerated grenade recharge, but that still means you will be waiting at least 10 seconds in between each grenade. Since Contraverse directly grants grenade energy on hit, you have the potential to have back-to-back grenades. I like to run a primary weapon with Demolitionist so that even if I get the worst RNG with Contraverse I can easily make up for it with the combo of Demolitionist, Anti-Barrier Rounds, and Breach Refractor. If you are the kind of person that enjoys using a variety of different weapons (like me!), this is definitely the choice for you.
Contraverse Hold tanking a boss attack that normally 1-hits you.
Although Contraverse might be my go-to for when I’m running solo content, Verity’s Brow is fast becoming my favorite for group activities. When everyone on my fireteam is running void grenades with Oppressive Darkness, the big boost to everyone’s grenade recharge rate allows us to rip through any and all enemies very quickly. Although you might be tempted to run your favorite legendary energy primary weapon to complement this perk, there’s one standout option I think people should consider:
Loaded Question: This Black Armory pinnacle fusion rifle is obtained from a somewhat lengthy quest from Zavala. Its special perk, ‘Reservoir Burst’, causes the fusion rifle to do additional damage and make enemies explode when the mag is full. Auto-Loading Holster allows you to then put the weapon away to reload itself, and then pull it out to explode enemies again. Since the buff from Verity’s Brow does not refresh its timer on additional kills while the buff is up, you could use this fusion to snag an easy triple kill every 15 seconds to proc Death Throes x3. Even outside of this build, the Loaded Question is one of the best add-clearing legendary weapons in the game, so I highly recommend picking it up if you have not done so already.
Which tree of the subclass should I be using?
This builds is going to synergise best with the top-tree Void Warlock. In top-tree, holding your grenade button down will overcharge the grenade, making it do more damage and have a wider area of effect. You’ll also have access to the higher damage version of Nova Bomb, that travels slower but also releases tracking axion darts on detonation that also do a significant amount of damage themselves. This is where you’ll truly feel like a space wizard, disintegrating enemies left and right with powerful grenades and Nova bombing things out of this plane of existence. Because you have the ability to recharge your grenade so quickly, you can use your grenades for both groups of adds as well as a debuff on priority targets (bosses, minibosses, etc.) before unloading with super/heavy weapons.One other important thing to know is that your melee ability, Entropic Pull, grants a significant chunk of grenade energy (about 60-70%), and does not require a kill.
Bottom-tree Void Warlock is still a viable option if your priority is survivability. Holding your grenade button down with this tree will consume it, giving you the Devour buff that heals you to full health on every kill and grants you grenade energy on kills. Although your damage will not be as high as top-tree, you can still dish out a respectable amount with the high quantity of grenades you can throw, as well as being basically invincible as long as you keep getting kills.
Middle-tree Void Warlock can technically function with this build, but is not even really a consideration. The charged grenade that this tree gets is not very useful in PvE, and the super was neutered back in Forsaken due to PvP complaints.
Which grenade should I be using?
Vortex grenade should be your primary choice. It does the highest damage out of the three, which is one of the priorities of this build. When overcharged, Vortex grenade actually has a huge radius, almost as big as the Nova Bomb from bottom-tree Void Warlock. Axion grenade is technically not a bad choice, as overcharging it gives the bolts very aggressive tracking that will pursue enemies even if they run away around walls/corners. However, it’s not a good option when it comes to single target damage. Scatter grenade has the potential to be good, but falls short because it’s very inconsistent. Sometimes the grenade will decide to just bounce up and down instead of actually splitting like it’s supposed to, and while that’s kind of funny to watch, it’s not so funny when the enemies it was supposed to kill come around the corner and blast you into oblivion.
What kind of stats should I be looking for on armor for this build?
As a PvE build, Recovery is always going to be your most important stat. However, I will say that as a long-time Warlock main one of the weaknesses of the class has always been its vertical jump height. Warlock jump can cover very long distances but often struggles with verticality, so having decent Mobility is actually somewhat important. I don’t find that Resilience particularly matters for Warlocks in PvE.
Now for the other stats, Discipline is far and away the most important. Stack that as high as you possibly can. Intellect is not necessary as we can generate super very quickly with Enhanced Ashes to Assets, and Strength is not particularly useful for this build.