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Destiny 2: Lightfall | Mods and Armor Charge Explained

Here is absolutely everything you need to know about the new mod system in Destiny 2: Lightfall, including an explanation of what combat mods are and what Armor Charge is. The new mod system implemented in Lightfall has completely changed build crafting in Destiny 2, and this guide is here to help walk you through the new system, including example builds to get you started.

Destiny 2 Lightfall | Mods and Armor Charge Explained

Destiny 2: Lightfall has finally arrived. Alongside the introduction of a new subclass, campaign, destination and gear, Lightfall bought with it some sweeping quality of life and broad system changes to the game. One of the most impactful is the new mod system, including the way you customize and save builds.

Before Lightfall, build crafting was broad and diverse but hard to approach and get into because of how unrefined the system was. Now, with a brand new mod customization screen and a much smoother onboarding experience, more Guardians of all skill levels can participate in making crazy builds that test the boundaries of the sandbox. 

There’s still a lot to learn and go over, though, especially for newer players. So, here’s everything you need to know about the new mod system in Destiny 2: Lightfall, including an in-depth breakdown of the Armor Charge system and how it works. We’ll also be including an example build that utilises the new system so you can see the power of build crafting in Destiny 2.

Want more Destiny 2 content and articles? You can find more here on KeenGamer:

  1. How to Get the Final Warning Exotic Sidearm | Destiny 2: Lightfall
  2. How to Get the Winterbite Exotic Heavy Glaive | Destiny 2: Lightfall
  3. How to Get the Deterministic Chaos Exotic Machine Gun | Destiny 2: Lightfall
  4. 10 Best Weapons You Need to Prepare for Destiny 2 Lightfall
  5. Destiny 2: The Witch Queen Seasons Ranked By Story
Destiny 2: Lightfall - Launch Trailer

Mod Overview

To begin, let’s go over the basics.

Each piece of armor has a set amount of energy, which will start at 1 and raise to as high as 10 as you level up and eventually Masterwork the item. Subsequently, each mod also has an associated cost between 1 to 5 Energy, which it will use up upon being slotted. You should try and get all of your gear Masterworked to give you the most freedom when picking and choosing mods, but make sure that the base stats are relatively what you need for your build, such as a focus on discipline for grenade builds. 62+ stat rolls are generally where you want to be in terms of what is considered “good”.

In total, each normal piece of gear has 4 mod slots to use: one General Mod Slot and three Armor Mod Slots.

A Closer Look at Armor

A Closer Look at Armor

General Mods are mods that can slot to simply raise one of your core 6 stats – mobility, resilience, recovery, discipline, intellect and strength – each of which affects things like damage resistance (resilience) or grenade and melee cooldowns (discipline and strength, respectively). These are very useful for rounding out your builds and getting to the higher tiers of a stat, which provide additional bonuses and boons compared to lower levels: for example, tier 10 resilience grants 30% passive damage reduction in PvE, whereas tier 4 only grants 9%. 


The other 3 mod slots are for armor-specific mods. Each piece of gear – helmet, arms, class items, etc. – has a unique suite of mods available to them. These are what you’re going to be choosing from to create your builds. In general, here is what each has access to: 

  • Helmets have access to Special and Heavy Ammo Finders, mods that increase the gain of Super energy in various ways, mods that allow certain weapons to create Orbs of Power and mods which improve targeting with various weapon types. 
  • Arms have access to mods that affect grenades and melee, as well as mods that increase reload speed and swap speed of your weapons.
  • Chest pieces have access to mods that improve your damage resistance against certain elements or attack types, mods that reduce flinch and mods that improve how much ammo you can carry for specific weapons.
  • Legs have access to mods which give additional effects to Orbs of Power, mods which automatically reload certain weapons over time and mods which increase the amount of ammo you get from Special and Heavy ammo bricks.
  • Class Items have access to mods related to Finishers and mods related to your class ability. 
Mod Customization Screen

Mod Customization Screen

The Mod Customization Screen

In the past, you would’ve had to inspect each armor piece individually to see what mods you were running. Now, we have the Mod Customization screen.

From the Character menu, head right to enter the Mod Customization screen. From here, you can quickly see all of your currently equipped mods as well as your currently equipped subclass and active Seasonal Artifact mods. You can also quickly tab back and forth between each piece to quickly adjust or change any mods that you need.

This screen should become an important part of your routine as you make new builds or create new set-ups. Remember that, alongside this, you can save your different builds in the Loadouts sections of the Character menu. This allows you to switch between completely different builds – which include weapons, Exotics and more – at the press of a button. 

Loadouts and Builds

Loadouts and Builds

Artifice Armor Update

Another important change for build crafting is Artifice Armor. Previously, Artifice Armor provided an extra slot for Seasonal Artifact mods, allowing more diversity on that side of the build crafting spectrum. However, with Lightfall, Seasonal Mods are now always active and do not need to be slotted into mod slots, which leaves Artifice Armor in a strange spot. 

Artifice Armor now has an extra slot that grants a free +3 bonus to any stat of your choosing. You’ll find this new Artifice Armor Mod next to the General Mod slot. These mods do not cost any energy, allowing you to round out any stats which may just be falling short of the next tier.

With a full set of Artifice Armor, you can get an additional 15 points worth of stats. This can be used to round out certain stats, is guaranteed to bring one stat to at least the next tier or can be used across a variety to raise several to the next level. 

You can get Artifice Armor by completing Master Dungeon encounters. These are quite difficult, so they should only be hunted as an endgame venture when you already have a full set of masterworked, fully modded gear. 

Artifice Armor

Artifice Armor

Example Armor Piece

With all this in mind, let’s look at an example piece of armor. 

For my Warlock chest piece, I am running a Minor Intellect General Mod, Sniper Damage Resistance, Unflinching Harmonic Aim and Harmonic Reserves. This uses up a total of 9 Energy, allowing me to substitute certain mods in and out if I please.

With this setup, I gain a small bump to my Intellect stat, which allows me to get my Super back faster. Additionally, I will take less damage from long-ranged attacks thanks to my Sniper Damage Resistance. The Harmonic mods will reduce flinch and increase the ammo reserves of weapons that match my subclass, allowing me further benefits that tie into my build and loadout. 

This is just scratching the surface of build crafting, but it should give you an idea of what is possible when you begin to mix and match certain mods. 

Example Chest Piece

Example Chest Piece

Armor Charge Explained

A select number of mods are called Combat Mods. These mods use the new Armor Charge (or Armour Charge) system. This is a simpler and more streamlined version of the old Charged With Light system, mixed in with aspects of the Elemental Well system too. 

As a basic overview, Armor Charges are stacks that you can build up by doing various things with specific mods equipped. You can then use those stacks to gain something in return or keep them for an additional effect, both of which change depending on what kind of Combat Mods you have equipped.

In general: 

  • Green Combat Mods: These mods are usually a way to gain stacks of Armor Charge.
  • Yellow Combat Mods: These mods are ways to get rid of Armor Charge, gaining some benefit in the process.
  • Blue Combat Mods: These mods give you benefits while you have stacks of Armor Charge.

Some mods fall into these categories but break the mould. The general idea behind Armor Charge is to build up stacks using a variety of methods. Then, when you have enough, reap the benefits based on your build. 

Combat Mods

Combat Mods

How to Generate Armor Charge

The main way to gain stacks of Armor Charge is to use Green Mods. These each have a precise, definitive way of obtaining Armor Charge upon completing a certain action.

  • Powerful Friends: Collecting an Orb of Power causes nearby allies to increase their Armor Charge by 1.
  • Radiant Light: Casting your Super causes nearby allies to also increase their current Armor Charge by 1. Allies that have a different subclass element from you increase Armor Charge by 2.
  • Shield Break Charge: Breaking a combatant’s shield with the matching damage type grants you Armor Charge.
  • Stacks on Stacks: Picking up an Orb of Power grants you 1 additional Armor Charge.
  • Empowered Finish: Finisher final blows grant 1 temporary Armor Charge when you have none.

Additionally, if you run any Yellow or Blue Mod (Font Mods, Weapon Surge Mods) you will gain a stack of Armor Charge upon picking up an Orb of Power. This is immensely useful and can be combined with other sources of orbs like the Siphon mods and Firepower mods to create builds that can self-sustain based on Orb pick-ups alone. 

Another thing worth noting is the mods Charged Up and Time Dilation. The former increase the amount of Armor Charge stacks you can hold. Then, the latter increases the time before your stacks of Armorr Charge disappear. Both of these mods are incredibly important to builds that revolve around Armorr Charge (especially those using Font Mods) so keep these in mind when selecting your loadouts.

So now you know how to generate Armor Charge, how do you use it? 

Green Combat Mods generate Armor Charge | Destiny 2 Armor Charge

Green Combat Mods

How to Use Charges

The mods you’ll be looking to take advantage of Armor Charge are the Yellow and Blue Mods. The main difference between the two is that Yellow Mods will take away your Armor Charges in trade for a bonus like an extra Grenade or Melee charge or emergency damage resistance. Meanwhile, the effects of Blue Mods will only be active while you have stacks of Armor Charge, with those benefits disappearing when the Charges dissipate or are used up. 

The Yellow Mods that use up Armor Charge are:

  • Grenade Kickstart: When your grenade energy is fully expended, you gain grenade energy. Additionally, your Armor Charge is consumed and you gain additional grenade energy for each stack. 
  • Melee Kickstart: When your melee energy is fully expended, you gain melee energy. Additionally, your Armor Charge is consumed and you gain additional melee energy for each stack. 
  • Emergency Reinforcement: When your shields become broken, gain temporary damage reduction. Consumes 3 or more stacks of Armor Charge, granting a longer duration to the damage reduction for each charge consumed. 
  • Utility Kickstart: When your class ability energy is fully expended, you gain class ability energy. Additionally, your Armor Charge is consumed and you gain additional class ability energy for each stack.

There is also a wide range of Finisher mods which consume Armor Charge: these grant everything from guaranteed Special ammo to ability energy damage to damage resistance and far more. 

Yellow Combat Mods use up Armor Charge to get benefits | Destiny 2 Armor Charge

Yellow Combat Mods

Next, we have the Blue Mods. It is worth mentioning that, with any of these mods equipped, your Armor Charges will begin to decay over time. The Blue Mods that rely on Armor Charge are:

  • Font of Wisdom: You gain a bonus to intellect while you have any Armor Charge.
  • Font of Focus: You gain a bonus to discipline while you have any Armor Charge.
  • Font of Vigor: You gain a bonus to strength while you have any Armor Charge.
  • Font of Endurance: You gain a bonus to resilience while you have any Armor Charge.
  • Font of Agility: You gain a bonus to mobility while you have any Armor Charge.
  • Font of Restoration: You gain a bonus to recovery while you have any Armor Charge.
  • Weapon Surge Mods: Your [insert element here] weapons gain a small bonus to damage while you have any Armor Charge. This mod has a Kinetic, Strand, Stasis, Solar, Void and Arc variant. 
Blue Combat Mods give you benefits while you have stacks of Armor Charge | Destiny 2 Armor Charge

Blue Combat Mods

Best Mods in Each Slot

While each mod is useful in a specific situation, some do come out on top in terms of general viability. This can be thanks to how useful it is in the endgame or general content, the power of the benefit it grants or some other use that will be specified on a case-by-case basis.


The best mods that you should consider always having on your helmet are:

  • Special/Heavy Ammo Finder
  • Powerful Friends
  • Harmonic Siphon

Special/Heavy Ammo Finder has been a staple of Destiny 2 for a while now and it has undergone a few transformations. At one time, it was on a per-weapon type basis (Grenade Launcher finder, Rocket Launcher finder, etc.) but that has been smoothed out in Lightfall. Having a high amount of Heavy ammo (or Special ammo in certain builds) is extremely important, especially in Raids and endgame PvE content, so taking this mod is a no-brainer in most situations. You can even pair it with the new Scout Mods to grant your entire fireteam Special or Heavy ammo whenever you spawn some. 

Next up is Powerful Friends. Despite a massive shift from its original effect, Powerful Friends remains a great option to put on your helmet. Most builds in Destiny 2: Lightfall is going to revolve around Orbs of Power in some way shape or form. As such, Powerful Friends lets you act as a team player and give everyone a free charge whenever you pick up an Orb. If your entire fireteam is running this, you can quickly escalate into an infinite loop of granting each other Armor Charge.

Lastly is Harmonic Siphon. With the removal of Match Game from most activities and the shift towards a monochromatic style of play with elemental keywords and weapon perks like Incandescent or Volt-Shot, you’re far more likely to be running weapons whose elements match your subclass. Harmonic Siphon allows weapons that match your subclass element to spawn Orbs of Power on rapid kills. As we previously explained, Orbs are the backbone of most builds in Destiny 2 now, so having an easy, cheap way to spawn them using your weapons is an excellent use of your resources. 

Best Helmet Mods

Best Helmet Mods


The best overall mods for arms include:

  • Grenade/Melee Kickstart +Firepower/Heavy Handed
  • Shield Break Charge

The first suggestion comes with a slight caveat. If you are planning on making a build focused on grenades, pick Grenade Kickstart + Firepower: if you are planning on making a build focused on melee, instead, choose Melee Kickstart + Heavy Handed. These mods pairings work the same way but for different facets of your kit, and they will allow builds focused on either grenade or melee to function relatively autonomously. Your abilities will spawn Orbs which grants you Armor Charge which gives you your ability back and allows you to spawn Orbs again and around we go. A nice healthy loop that anyone can exploit and use to their advantage. 

The other main thing in the arm slot is the mod Shield Break Charge. If you are having trouble with building up stacks of Armor Charge and are having difficulty with Orbs of Power, pick this mod for an easy, definitive way of creating Charges. Despite Match Game going away, you’ll still want to run matching elements and Shield Break Charge just adds to those benefits. This mod is a simple, easy way to guarantee that you’ll be getting at least one stack of Armor Charge should you prepare correctly.  

Best Arm Mods

Best Arm Mods


The best chest mods are:

  • Charged Up
  • Font of Endurance

Charged Up increases the maximum number of Armor Charge stacks you can carry. As you can imagine, for builds that focus on building stacks of Armor Charge to get more ability energy back via mods like Grenade Kickstart or for those that want to keep the uptime high for Surge mods, having as many stacks as possible will always be better. Aside from Reserve Mods, the chest slot is kind of lacking, so you could even run multiple copies of Charged Up to gain access to even more Armor Charge stacks.

Meanwhile, Font of Endurance is an easy way to tap into high resilience without needing to run a ton of resilience mods. For the uninformed, you gain increasing amounts of damage reduction in PvE (and flinch reduction in PvP) depending on how high your resilience stat is, with it capping out at an additional 30% DR at tier 10. By running Font of Endurance, you get a cheap source of damage resistance while you have Armor Charge stacks, without needing to divert attention from other parts of your build like discipline or strength. 

Best Chest Mods

Best Chest Mods


The best mods for legs include:

  • Absolution
  • Stacks on Stacks
  • Weapon Surge Mods

Absolution is the best among the Orb ability cooldown mods, but it can be substituted for Invigoration, Innervation or Insulation if you’re only focusing on one type of ability. Simply put, whenever you pick up an Orb of Power, it reduces the cooldown of your abilities. Obviously, for any build focused on getting Armor Charge via Orbs, this is a massive boon that’ll allow you to sling your abilities around at a much higher frequency. 

Stacks on Stacks is a great mod as it allows you a bit of leniency when it comes to picking up Orbs of Power. Now, instead of an Orb granting you 1 stack of Armor Charge, you gain 2 instead. This makes it far easy to snowball into having higher stacks of Armor Charge, which comes into play when using mods like Grenade or Melee Kickstart that reward you with more energy based on how many stacks you possess. 

Lastly, we have the Weapon Surge Mods. There is a variant for every kind of damage type in the game and they play a great role in any monochromatic build. It rewards you for playing into the Armor Charge system by potentially increasing the damage of your entire arsenal (if your weapon types match the element of the Surge mod, of course), allowing your weapons to become even stronger. This works with Exotic weapons, too, and you can exponentially boost your damage output with just one mod. 

Best Leg Mods

Best Leg Mods

Class Item

Finally, here are the best mods for the class item. This is easily the most stacked armor piece in terms of mods, so choose wisely:

  • Distribution
  • Utility Kickstart
  • Time Dilation
  • Reaper

Distribution, like Absolution, is the best class ability cooldown mod as it reduces the cooldown of all of your abilities when you use your class ability near enemies. However, if you need some more energy for other mods and still want to run a similar mod, you can use Bomber or Outreach instead.

Utility Kickstart is the class ability variant of Grenade and Melee Kickstart. While a tad bit more niche than either grenade or melee builds, Hunters in particular will find a lot of value in Utility Kickstart, allowing them to focus on stats other than mobility while still having high uptime on their dodge. Other classes can massively benefit, too, especially Warlocks and Titans playing on Strand.

Time Dilation is another mod which gives you a bit more leeway in the Armor Charge system. By slotting this mod, your Armor Charge stacks will decay at a much lower rate. This allows you to take further advantage of Font or Surge Mods in particular, letting you wreak havoc on the battlefield for a few more moments.

Lastly, we have Reaper which is a great way to guarantee yourself an Orb of Power. Simply pop your class ability and your next kill is guaranteed to drop an Orb. Paired with mods like Utility Kickstart, you can become a beacon of Orbs for your entire team.

Best Class Item Mods

Best Class Item Mods

Example Build

Set Up and Mod Selection

To close, let’s go over an entire example build that utilises Armor Charge and the new Combat Mod system along with some Exotics to give you a full picture of what’s possible. 

I want to create a Stasis Warlock build that can make use of the Exotic Bow Verglas Curve to wreak havoc on the battlefield, Freezing everything that comes my way with constant grenade spam. Well, thanks to the Armor Charge system, I can have my wish. 

First, I will be using the Verglas Curve Exotic Bow alongside the Osmiomancy Gloves to give me two uses for my Coldsnap Grenade. I will also be using the Stasis Subclass with the Frostpulse and Iceflare Bolts Aspects, and the following Fragments: Whisper of Chains, Whisper of Rending, Whisper of Shards and Whisper of Fissures

Next up is my mod selection: 

  • Helmet: Heavy Ammo Finder, Dynamo, Harmonic Siphon
  • ArmsFont of Focuys, Bolstering Detonation, Firepower
  • Chest: Charged Up x2, Harmonic Reserves
  • Legs: Stasis Weapon Surge, Absolution, Stacks on Stacks
  • Class Item: Time Dilation, Bomber, Reaper

How the Build Works

This build focuses on being aggressive with my multiple Coldsnap Grenades and high damage potential with my Exotic Bow. 

As I throw my grenades, I will Freeze enemies, who will then Freeze other enemies thanks to my Iceflare Bolts. I can then Shatter those Frozen targets to trigger Whisper of Chains and increase my grenade recharge rate. Firing the Verglas Curve and breaking the Stasis Crystals it forms will do the same thing. As I deal damage with these grenades, I am gaining class ability energy thanks to Bolstering Detonation

At the same time, I will constantly be using my Class Ability, Healing Rift. Every time I activate this near an enemy, I will trigger Dynamo (reducing my Super cooldown), Distribution (reducing all of my ability cooldowns) and Bomber (reducing my grenade cooldown even further). Thanks to my Frostpulse Aspect, this will also Freeze enemies around me, allowing me to get some easy kills and gain the benefits from Whisper of Chains once more. This will also generate Orbs every time I drop a Rift thanks to Reaper and Harmonic Siphon

For my Combat Mods, I’ve chosen to take advantage of both a Font Mod and a Weapon Surge Mod. As I create Orbs using my Stasis weapons and as I constantly drop my Rift, I will gain stacks of Armor Charge that improve my discipline (improving my grenade regeneration rate) and increase the damage of my Stasis Bow and my Stasis Rocket Launcher. With the aid of Charged Up and Time Dilation, I can not only hold more stacks of Armor Charge but they will depreciate at a lower rate. 

Altogether, this build is a self-sustaining monster that can Freeze everything in its path with either its grenades or its class ability. I can be super aggressive, gain a bunch of Super and ability energy from each kill, constantly have either my grenade or class ability, have a near-permanent boost to my Stasis weapons and discipline and more. 

Frozen Over

Frozen Over

This was only one example of what kind of builds you can make thanks to the new mod system in Destiny 2. Give it a go and see what creative builds you can think up!

And that was everything you needed to know about Mods, Armor Charge and the new build crafting system in Destiny 2: Lightfall. Eyes up, Guardians!

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