On Warlocks

Off Warlocks! Problem solved, byeeee.

The 3 main spoons stepped into Skolas’ gauntlet last night, and we came out victorious. Some of us, however, came out a little more victorious than others, and by some of us, I mean Ian and Jake. Why were they more victorious, you ask? (Don’t lie, I know you did.) Because it was my first time playing a video game.

At least, that’s what it felt like. I died a total of 28 times. That’s right, 28. That’s 15 more than either of my teammates, who saved my spacey-magical ass more than once (28 times, in fact). Now, while this was partly due to my semi-vegetative state lying on my couch and not once, not twice, but three times forgetting I had Skolas’ taint (heh) and dying before handing it off, I also think it was partly due to the class I played.

My Warlock. My main and by far most played character, despite it being the second one I made, after my Hunter. But how could a class I only slightly-subtly suggested was the best class in the game only last week deceive me so?

For starters, let’s look at the other two classes: Titan and Hunter. The Defender Titan is unquestionably the best all-around support spec in the game, bringing life-saving bubbles and generating more orbs outside of their super than a Bladedancer could even dream of generating with two of theirs. Defenders are fantastic, and they make any and all PvE content easier just by having one on your team.

As for the Hunter, well, it’s been a bumpy ride, but with the now not-so-recent introduction of Crota’s End, they’ve finally found their place: invisibility. A Bladedancer’s invisibility is priceless in high-level PvE content. They’re able to stealth in several different ways in order to hide, revive teammates, or even just survive a few more seconds to get somewhere safe. Bladedancers are the medics of Destiny.

Now, where does this leave Warlocks? Over the course of these next two articles, we’ll be taking a look at both specs, but first, the Voidwalker.


I love my Voidwalker, and for content rich in smaller, lesser-healthed enemies, Nova Bomb is a godsend. Just equip Bad Juju, Obsidian Mind, and spec into Bloom to watch your super practically recharge itself on use.

But note that I said lesser-healthed enemies. Ignoring the non-word that is healthed, this combination suddenly becomes much less useful (and nearly useless) when your Nova Bomb doesn’t actually do enough damage to kill anything. You’re no longer getting any use from your Obsidian Mind (outside of its Minions of Darkness perk), and using Bad Juju on anything but trash is laughable.

Outside of their super, however, I don’t feel Voidwalkers offer much in high-level content. Defenders have their bubbles, Bladedancers have their invis…what about us?

Well, I have some ideas.

(Let’s take a second to note again that I’m strictly talking high-level content. OM Bloom Warlocks are the absolute kings of strikes and really any content featuring hordes of low-leveled enemies.  But once enemies reach levels above your own, Voidwalkers are just missing that special something.)

As stated above, Obsidian Mind loses its viability when dealing with high-health enemies. Okay, so what other exotic can we use? Well, what about the Skull? Now hear me out: Skull of Dire Ahamkara could be the catalyst to a pretty nasty zone control Voidwalker build. How?

Well first, note that the SoDA helmet gives its wearer increased toughness while casting Nova Bomb as well as an increased duration of The Hunger (5 seconds -> 8 seconds). Against level 35 (soon to be 41?) enemies, you die fast, so a bit of extra toughness to get your Nova Bombs off safely is a big help. As for The Hunger, this opens up the other great perk in this tier, which is Annihilation. More explosion is always good.

This build is all about damage and zone control. It’s based around the Voidwalker’s Energy Drain effect (not to be confused with its Energy Drain ability), so we’ll call it just that.

Energy Drain Build


Tier 1: Vortex Grenade

  • Why? Zone control. Make your enemies your puppets. They go where you tell them to go.

Tier 2: Blink

  • It’s just the best jump in the game, simple as that. Even in PvE. When there are 10 yellow-bar level 35s shooting at you from every direction imaginable, you’ll be thankful you chose Blink.

Tier 3: Vortex

  • With OM, I usually take Shatter in order to spread out my Nova Bomb’s damage and increase its potential kills, thus increasing my potential return on super energy. However, with SoDA and high-health enemies, you’re not going to be killing many (if any) with each Bomb. Instead, you want to focus on doing damage. The lingering vortex does just this, and increases your zone control capability to boot.

Tier 4: Surge

  • Once again, we’re dealing with higher-leveled enemies here. You’re (most likely) not going to be killing anything with your melee, and as a Voidwalker, you really shouldn’t be using your melee at all. So why Surge? Because it doesn’t require a kill to reap its benefits, only a hit. There are going to be times you’re in a bind and need to GTFO, and this is where the added movement speed from smashing an enemy in the face with your palm will be a literal life saver.

Tier 5: Arcane Force

  • Jury’s out for the stat-enhancing perks, but I prefer to stack armor and agility, as my base recovery as a Warlock is already so high. Armor to survive the bullets, speed to outrun them.

Tier 6: Annihilation

  • This is where SoDA allows you to have the best of both worlds. Angry Magic sucks.

Tier 7: Chaos Order

  • Again, armor and speed, but if I have to choose one, I prefer the extra speed. It’s also of note that I’m simply used to having near-max agility due to my preference for it in the Crucible, and I’m therefore much more comfortable and familiar with how my character maneuvers at this speed. If you’re used to a speed slightly slower, then by all means go for that extra armor.

Tier 8: Embrace the Void

  • A keystone perk in this build, ETV allows your grenades and super to trigger the Energy Drain effect, reducing the recharge on your grenade. Combined with the SoDA perk Quintessence Transfer (grenade kills recharge super), you’re a lean, mean, self-replenishing void-damage machine.

In summary: melee hits give you speed and grenades, grenades give you grenades and super, supers give you grenades, and on top of that, you have two forms of Vortex zone control to play with. Whoa. Just make sure you don’t overlap Energy Drain effects, and you’ll be recharging your abilities faster than ever. Your job as an Energy Drain Voidwalker is to 1) Do damage and 2) Control your enemies with your abundance of AoE. But most of all, have fun.

Next time out, I’ll be covering my favorite PvE Sunsinger build, so keep an eye out for that. I’ll be covering my favorite PvP builds for both specs in the near future as well, so…keep two eyes out. YEAH.


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