With the Strand element introduced in Destiny 2: Lightfall came new ways to build and play with your Guardian. In this article, we’ll be exploring the Berserker subclass for Titans. As another melee-focused subclass, players quickly made comparisons to the Striker subclass. However, the tools provided by the Berserker create a very different fantasy and close-range playstyle than that provided by the Arc subclass in Destiny 2.
The main tools used by the Berserker in Destiny 2 are the tightly-woven Strand blades that extend from their wrists. While some may draw the comparison to Wolverine or Baraka, one of my clanmates recently brought up the similarities to the Pokémon, Sandslash. Either way you cut it, Berserkers are formidable in close range, utilizing many of the Strand verbs in combat at once. Here are the abilities that help them in that regard.
Base Cooldown: 9:16
Enraged, the Berserker empowers their Strand blades and enters a ballistic rampage.
Bladefury’s light attack causes the Titan to lunge forward and swipe with a blade. The attack deals damage to and Severs enemies, and it can be chained indefinitely. As they hit enemies, the Berserker increases their attack speed. Finally, the light attack also deals 50% more damage to Suspended enemies.
The heavy attack has the Berserker launch two projectiles with slight tracking. The attack damages and Suspends enemies that it hits. This is a great combo starter on bulkier enemies due to the damage bonus against Suspended targets. While it recharges relatively slowly, this heavy attack can be recharged quickly with just a few light attacks on targets.
Barricades and Jumps
The Berserker’s barricades and jumps are the same as they are on the other subclasses. Nothing unique to note here until we get to the Aspects.
Melee: Frenzied Blade
Base Cooldown: 1:54
Frenzied blade sees the Berserker quickly summon the Strand blades for one or more lunging slashes. These melee attacks Sever enemies. This ability, alongside the Warlock’s Arcane Needle, is one of the first abilities to have up to three charges at once. The attacks can be followed up one after another, allowing for some quick burst damage on high health targets or to quickly plow through weaker enemies.
As with the introduction of Stasis and the revised Light subclasses, grenades are now universal across all three classes. Still, let’s rapid-fire through them and what they can do.
Base cooldown: 1:45
The Guardian connects themselves to an invisible anchor point to swing from one place to another. During or immediately after the swing, the Guardian can dish out a powerful melee attack that also Unravels enemies. Grappling to a Tangle or a fixed Strand Grapple point immediately refunds the Grapple.
Base Cooldown: 2:32
The Shackle Grenade explodes on impact, suspending enemies caught in the area. The grenade also creates additional Suspending projectiles that seek enemies.
Base Cooldown: 2:32
When thrown, the Threadling Grenade spawns three Threadlings while in flight. They then seek out enemies and detonate on them.
As of Season of Defiance, there are only two Aspects available for each Strand subclass. While new additions may change how the Berserker is built, it’s still extremely effective as is, and these Aspects feed into that power immensely.
Into the Fray
Fragment Slots: 2
When the Berserker destroys a tangle or casts their Super near allies, they all gain Woven Mail. Furthermore, the Berserker’s melee abilities regenerate faster while Woven Mail is active.
Fragment Slots: 2
Base Barricade Cooldown: 0:48
The Berserker, upon casting their barricade, releases a line of energy along the ground in front of them. When it passes through an enemy, that enemy is Suspended.
Example Berserker Build: The Barbarian
With all of these tools at our disposal, we now have numerous paths to build our Berserker in Destiny 2. This build focuses on becoming an unrelenting whirlwind of blades and blood, capable of both dishing it out and taking it. Our abilities will also have extremely high uptime, thanks to some helpful Fragments and mods. Moreover, this build is incredibly simple, as it doesn’t even require use of the Armor Charge system (though it definitely can be slotted in).
Grenade and Fragments
Fragment 1: Thread of Generation — Dealing damage generates grenade energy; -10 Discipline
Fragment 2: Thread of Fury — Damaging targets with a Tangle grants melee energy; -10 Strength
Fragment 3: Thread of Warding — Picking up an Orb of Power grants Woven Mail; -10 Resilience
Fragment 4: Free slot.
The fragments here are focused on regenerating our abilities as fast as possible. Thread of Warding will make maintaining our Woven Mail that much easier, as well as help with our melee uptime. The reason for these choices, as well as our choice with Grapple, will become clear when we cover our Exotic armor of choice.
Other Fragment Options
For the final Fragment slot, consider these options:
Thread of Binding: Super final blows emit a Suspending burst; +10 Resilience. Since Bladefury deals increased damage to Suspended enemies, this fragment allows us to save our Super energy for the light attacks on hordes of ads. Not to mention, it’s also a fantastic source of burst crowd control.
Thread of Propagation: Powered melee final blows grant your Strand Weapons Unraveling Rounds. This is useful under two very likely conditions. You may like to use the new Strand weapons, or you want easy access to Anti-Barrier rounds for a weapon not affected by the Seasonal Artifact. Either way, this Fragment is a great way to bump up the damage of your Strand weapons in between abilities.
Thread of Wisdom: Defeating Suspended targets with precision final blows creates an Orb of Power. This synergizes directly with Drengr’s Lash, and can double up with the Reaper mod to create two Orbs at once.
Thread of Mind: Defeating Suspended targets grants class ability energy. Just like Thread of Wisdom, this Fragment also ties directly to Drengr’s Lash, and is useful if you like the crowd control the Aspect offers.
The seasonal Artifact has been changed with the release of Destiny 2: Lightfall. Now, instead of offering mods to be slotted into your armor, you can choose up to 12 passive perks, allowing for more freedom when modding your armor. Here are the relevant artifact mods you’ll want for this build:
Authorized Mods: Grenades: Any mods that affect grenades have their costs significantly reduced. While they normally cost 3 energy to slot, they are reduced to 1.
Untangler: Destroying a Tangle with a Strand weapon Suspends targets affected by the explosion. This is excellent crowd control on its own, and will be an obvious choice for those of you already running Thread of Propagation.
Allied Unraveling: Rapid Final Blows with a Strand weapon grants your weapon Unraveling Rounds, with a longer duration near allies. Second verse same as the first.
Threaded Blast: Destroying a Tangle with a Strand weapon creates a larger and more damaging explosion. Third verse… well, you know.
We will be using Synthoceps for this build. These exotic arms greatly increase the damage of our melees and supers when near 3 or more enemies. Since this build focuses greatly on close-ranged combat, we’re going to have a great amount of uptime for this Exotic perk.
Focus on Resilience and Strength for this build. Damage reduction is always a boon in Destiny 2, and a Berserker will need it due to it thriving in close range. A higher Strength will scale well with Into The Fray’s melee regeneration benefit. If you have good enough armor for a third high stat, go for either Discipline or Recovery.
Our armor mods will round out this build, helping us top off our abilities and keep us alive. Furthermore, our Exotic armor of choice will allow us to massively increase our ability damage. Finally, it does not use the armor charge system, which makes the build extremely straightforward. Each armor piece will have a list of necessary mods for the build, as well as alternative suggestions. You may need to exclude some mods to allow space for stat-boosting mods.
Head: Hands On x2, Siphon Mod relevant to your weapons.
Arms: Heavy Handed, Impact Induction x2
Chest: Any damage-resist mods of your choice.
Legs: Invigoration, Recuperation, Innervation
Mark: Reaper, Bomber, Outreach
Since this is a more ability-focused build, you have a plethora of weapons to pair with your abilities. But, there are some options to consider to further amp up this build.
A Shotgun that has the perk One-Two Punch is phenomenal for this build. This will further jack up the damage of your Grapple melee with good timing. Some examples of good One-Two Punch Shotguns include the Ragnhild-D and the Found Verdict. Alternatively, the combo can be flipped if your Shotgun has Trench Barrel instead. Initiate your burst damage with a Grapple melee or Frenzied Blade, then fire off three powered-up shells. Some good Shotguns that roll with Trench Barrel include the Imperial Decree and the IKELOS shotgun.
A Strand weapon in your Kinetic slot will be the best choice, as they’ll both benefit from Unravelling Rounds and improving a Tangle’s effects, thanks to Artifact mods. I really like to use the Round Robin Hand Cannon, since it can roll with Golden Tricorn. This perk activates on kill with the weapon, then gains its second stack when a kill is made with an ability. Once fully activated, it improves the weapon’s damage by a whopping 50%, which is one of the highest damage buffs granted by a single weapon perk.
Finally, there’s two excellent routes for your Heavy slot. I really like the Circular Logic Machine Gun with Golden Tricorn to match the Round Robin. This will let it absolutely tear through adds. Another route is a rocket launcher with Explosive Light, such as the Palmyra-B or the Hothead. With how many Orbs of Power we’ll be generating, these Rockets will have a constant damage bonus.
How to Use This Berserker Build in Destiny 2
The best way to play with this build is to live out the Titan stereotype: find the biggest group of adds and beat them all to death. Grapple-melee into a group of enemies, and mow them down with bullets and blades. Orbs from your multitude of melee abilities, including the Grapple melee, will keep you healthy and resistant. Furthermore, the Orbs, Impact Induction, and Thread of Generation will quickly return grenade energy. Meanwhile, high Strength combined with Into The Fray’s melee regeneration will refund melee energy extremely quickly.
For some crowd control, take advantage of the Artifact mods this season and destroy your Tangles with Strand weapons. This will suspend or outright kill any nearby enemies. Regardless of whether you destroy them this way or throw them, your Tangles’ damage will grant massive chunks of your melee energy back, as well as refresh your Woven Mail if you’re close by.
If you find yourself up against an Unstoppable Champion, casting your Barricade will suspend and stun them, thanks to Drengr’s Lash. It’s not a focus of this build, but it’s certainly a great ability to have in your back pocket. You can then melt them with your Shotgun-melee combo or your Heavy weapon, be it the Machine Gun or the Rocket Launcher.
This build thrives in all content, including endgame activities like dungeons and raids. While you usually want to sit back in the higher-end content of Destiny 2, this Berserker build does shine in that content from time to time, especially when you use your super to annihilate the nearby adds and heavily damage bosses. Even aside from that, it’s effective at pushing back a group of adds trying to rush you. Don’t underestimate close-range efficiency in Grandmaster Nightfalls, as it could save your life!
The Berserker Titan is extremely powerful, fun, and straightforward subclass in Destiny 2. With this build, you can live out the fantasy of a living, raging maelstrom, severing your enemies from reality with paracausal blades. With this simplicity, it’s also possible to build further upon this class, so experiment with different mods and armor to suit your playstyle.