Destiny

A Definitive Guide on How to Create PvP Builds – Armor, Weapons, Stats, and Other Considerations


Introduction

Before I begin, and people inevitably comment lol pvp sucks or some other variant, I know there's a great deal of people who don't enjoy the competitive aspect of this game. That's fine, to each their own. For those who do, or those who'd like to get better, this will be a guide of armor stats to look for, important mods to consider, what weapons stats to look for, and other general tips. I see a great deal of people loading into Crucible while still having their PvE load outs on either not realizing how much of a disadvantage they put themselves at or just not caring.


Armor

PvP differs from PvE slightly in stats in that you need to cater towards staying alive and playing around the limited time. Recovery is king for for getting yourself back into the fight faster, but unfortunately recovery scales significantly more in the later tiers than the earlier. Intellect plays a more significant role in PvP than PvE due to the limited time of the game mode, less Orb of Power generation, and longer down time between kills. A lot of times, matches can be decided on who gets their super first and who gets them more often, especially in 3v3 game modes like Survival and Trials.

Let's take a look at how your armor stats scale through the tiers. Note that Stasis has different cool down times than light sub classes. This will be using light subclasses as an example. I've highlighted important break points:

10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100
Mob 4 8 12 16 20 24 28 32 36 40
Res 1 2 3 4 6 8 10 11 12 13
Rec 3 6 9 11 14 17 23 29 34 43
Dis 1:43 1:33 1:25 1:22 1:08 0:59 0:51 0:45 0:41 0:37 0:32
Int 7:12 6:22 5:43 5:00 4:45 4:32 4:18 4:07 4:00 3:52 3:48
Str 1:43 1:33 1:25 1:22 1:08 0:59 0:51 0:45 0:41 0:37 0:32

Thank you to this post for collecting the times into one nice table.

Mobility

Mobility scales linearly throughout all its tiers, the only stat to do so. Mobility is important to all classes in that it allows for faster strafing speed while ADS. Moving while shooting is vital to making your opponents miss shots. Never stay stationary while fighting someone.

Mobility is important to Hunters in that your dodge cool down is governed by this. If you're a Hunter, you should be aiming for 100 mobility in PvP at all times. Warlocks may want to consider lower mobility, around 3-5, to take advantage of Warlock surfing (where you burst glide while falling, tap the ground, and do it again). The lower your mobility on Warlock, the less time it takes before you begin falling to the ground making you get around quicker overall. Titans, play whatever mobility you feel comfortable with, other stats are more important to you.

Important things to remember with mobility: lightweight frame weapons give a hidden +20 to your mobility stat and this DOES affect Hunter's dodge cool down. The Powerful Friends Arc CwL mod also gives a +20 to your mobility. Hunters have an easy time reaching 100 mobility because of these two things.

Resilience

Resilience is a hard stat to advocate for. In PvE, it doesn't have any use as the damage resistance is negligible for how much investment it takes. Titans are the only one that strongly benefit from maxing this stat out as their barricade cool down is tied to it. That being said, everyone should aim for at least 5 resilience to reach an important cut off in PvP. At 5 resilience, you move 120 rpm HC's from a 1h2b kill against you to a 2h1b making it than more likely they don't secure a kill on you. At 5 resilience, you also stop body shots from high impact snipers under the effect of easier-to-get damage boost such as empowering rift or Whisper of Hedrons. The stat is a bit misleading in PvP. While it says that it offers up damage resistance, your total health increases based on your resilience stat. Bungie has changed the numbers on this a few times, and doesn't publicly announce often what they are, so I'm not sure what they reside at. Even the community experts who give out numbers for these are giving their best guess as weapon damage is rounded making it hard to predict exact values. Just remember, high as possible for Titans, 5 for everyone else.

Recovery

Recovery is the most important stat to spec into. At 0 recovery, it takes an eternity to get your health back, but at 100 you get it back 43% faster. Notice also in the chart above, recovery begins ramping up in scaling heavily after reaching 70 in the stat. Because of that, recovery becomes an all-or-nothing stat. You really need to get 100 in this if you want to be as effective as you can be. There's not really a way around this. Going from 23% to 43% between 70-100 is an insane difference. The stat increase really needs to be balanced better by Bungie. Good news for Warlocks, your rift cool down is based on recovery, so you'll be speccing into this regardless. For Hunters and Titans, you will have to take this into account with the stat that governs your class ability cool down.

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Intellect

Intellect is the rate in which you passively recharge your super. This has no bearing on the amount of super you get for a kill or Orb of Power pickup, only your passive gain for not doing anything. Crucible is a timed game mode. Getting your super back even 5 seconds faster can be the difference in winning a match or losing one, especially in game modes like Survival and Trials. At the very least you should aim for 70 intellect in your builds as this is the second break point before diminishing returns on the stat. If you're playing 3v3, try your best to go all in for 100 intellect. You can probably get by with 30 intellect in 6v6 modes to reach the first break point, but I still advise going for 70-100.

Discipline and Strength

These two are grouped together because they scale exactly the same. There's not much to say about these two. If you have a specific build that relies on either ability that these two stats govern, consider dumping more points into it, but not at the cost of recovery or intellect. There's other methods to regain your cool downs for melees and grenades. I'd aim for around 40 in either of these stats as that's where the break point occurs before diminishing returns. Abilities and effects that restore grenade or melee energy do take into account these two stats when determining the amount of energy your receive back, unlike intellect which is only a passive gain.


Suggested Stats

Here's the stat totals you should aim for considering all armor stats, mods, and other stat boosting sources:

Hunter

  • 100 Mobility
  • 50 Resilience
  • 100 Recovery
  • 100 Intellect

Titan

  • Mobility – As high as you want (you can get an easy +40 from the same mods mentioned before)
  • 50 Resilience – Go higher if you want faster barricade cooldowns
    • It's hard to get this to 100 on top of 100 recovery unlike mobility which can get an easier +40 to the stat. 100 is an end goal to aim for after getting 100 recovery and 100 intellect
  • 100 Recovery
  • 100 Intellect

Warlock

  • 50 Resilience
  • 100 Recovery
  • 100 Intellect
  • You have more free room to alter your stat totals than the other classes, put them with what best fits your play style

Mods

PvP differs from PvE in that you need to value consistency over being lethal, especially as you play better and better players. You may have an awesome PvE mod setup where you're throwing out grenades every 5 seconds, keeping up a 35% damage boost, getting your super back every 1:22, and making Luke Smith come to your house and personally congratulate you, but you're not going to do that in PvP unless you're a god amongst men or playing an entire team that's afk. Let's get a brief look at the armor mods you should be focusing on per armor piece

Helmet

  • Targeting

Arms

  • Reload

Chest

  • Unflinching

Legs

  • Scavenger
  • Traction (must have on console)

These mods should be what you use your energy on before slotting anything else. You want to improve the consistency of your weapon before adding on more bells and whistles. If you don't have the energy to slot both your kinetic and energy weapon on targeting, reload, and unflinching mods then I advise making sure your primary weapon gets these benefits first. Your special weapon should always have at least one scavenger mod slotted, never use a primary scavenger mod.

Targeting adds a +10 to your hidden aim assist stat and increases your ADS speed. Reload is self explanatory, you may want to slot 2x of these on your primary, but that depends on how you feel about your current reload speed. Keep in mind that the returns are diminishing when stacking all of these mods. Unflinching is important for weapons that rely heavily on head shots to land your optimal ttk (less forgiving weapons). Keep in mind that some sources will flinch you heavily regardless such as high cal rounds, explosive rounds, and timed payload – especially timed payload. You also receive more flinch when being shot from the sides or behind. You want to minimize your chance to be thrown off target as much as possible when getting into duels. Targeting and unflinching mods combined together give you the best chance of negating that. If you go into crucible without these two, you are handicapping yourself heavily without realizing it. Scavenger makes you pick up 2 shots instead of 1 on your special when sliding over a green brick, 3 if you have 2 scavenger mods. If you're on console, use traction over a second scavenger. If you're not used to using traction, the faster turn speed may throw you off at first. Stick with it until it becomes natural to yonegativeu, being able to turn faster makes a huge difference.

If you have extra energy left over after getting your stats allocated and slotting the mods above, consider adding the following mods to your build:

  • Taking Charge
    • An easy way to become CwL when your ally gets a double kill or pops off with a super
  • High Energy Fire
    • What's not to love about the occasional +20% damage boost you get during a match. Have fun 2 tapping with a 120 HC, body shotting with a high impact sniper, longer kills on a shotgun, or getting instant kills with a prox grenade launcher
  • Charge Harvester
    • If you're comfortable in your ability to go on streaks, this is one of the easier ways to become charged with light for High Energy Fire
  • Powerful Friends
    • Easy +20 mobility boost, everyone should use this
  • Radiant Light
    • Easy +20 strength boost, and it has the added benefit of making Powerful Friend's secondary affect activate on top of its own when you slot both. I'd say that if you run Powerful Friends then you should run Radiant Light too
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Weapons

Instead of giving a detailed break down of every weapon type and every exotic out there, I'm going to refer you to this spreadsheet which details weapon time-to-kill (TTK) and all of their stat bonuses, both hidden and normal. You'll probably pick up what are the meta weapons from playing other people, but I want you to look through that spreadsheet and pay attention to a few things. Optimal TTK, forgiveness, and aim assist.

Optimal TTK

This is how fast the weapon can kill you if you land all of your shots and deal the exact number of crits to body shots to make things perfectly optimal. Don't kid yourself though, you rarely reach this value. You can land all 3 crits on a 140 hand cannons, but are you really firing at max rate of fire? How many times did you need to fire 4 shots instead of 3 because one was a body by mistake or you missed? 5 shots? Optimal TTK is a good judge of how lethal a weapon is, but it's not the deciding metric.

Forgiveness

120 HC's have a slower optimal TTK compared to 140 HCs, does that mean 140s are better in the current sandbox? If you've played more than a match, you'd probably know that isn't the case. That's because 120 HCs are forgiving while still having a TTK that can be competitive. They require 1h2b to kill up to 5 resilience and 2h1b after that. 140s require 3 crits regardless of resilience level and have less range.

Don't let optimal TTK be the only judge of a weapon's viability. If a weapon remains slower, yet competitive, in terms of TTK, but has an easier time reaching its optimal TTK, don't be afraid to use it. You might be surprised what weapons you do well with that aren't in the meta.

Aim Assist

Weapons, even in the same archetype, have different aim assist values. Ever wondered why Jade Rabbit feels so good compared to other 150 scouts? Look at its aim assist compared to other scout rifles at the same rpm. The super elite in this game that tote hand cannons as the only skillful weapon in this game are the same one using dire promise with 92 aim assist that gives them training wheels. That being said, don't be an elitist. If the game gives you tools, use them. Look for weapons that have higher aim assist, you'll land crits more as aim assist allows you to be further off target and still land your shot.

Aim assist isn't the end of the story though. A weapon's range stat plays into your accuracy cone when firing a weapon as well as stability doing the same on follow up shots after your first. Weapons with high aim assist typically have either lower range or lower stability to compensate. Weapons with low aim assist tend to have higher range or stability to compensate. Weapons that have all three, like Hawkmoon, feel amazing to shoot because they are absolute stat monsters with no significant downsides in these terms. The range stat also governs how far out aim assist kicks in. The lower your range stat, the sooner your assistance from aim assist falls off. This is why lower range weapons don't feel sticky at 30-40+ meters out even though they may have 90+ aim assist.


Weapon Perks

Weapon perks make or break most guns. You don't need god rolls to be optimal, but you certainly don't want to go into PvP with a PvE weapon. You're not looking for optimal DPS against a raid boss here.

Most players fall into the trap of only concerning themselves with the final two traits on a weapon, but this is only the surface. The final two traits may change the way a gun functions with added benefits, but they don't change the base nature of the gun apart from a select few. Your barrel, magazine, masterwork, and weapon mod play just a big of a roll as the final two columns.

Barrel

Try to either compensate for what a weapon lacks in terms of stats or go all in on one specific stat with your barrel option. Avoid barrels that negatively impact your performance. Hammer forged rifling's +10 range is better than full bore's +15 because it doesn't tank your stability and handling with it. Have a weapon with poor recoil direction? Go for arrowhead break, chambered compensator, or extended barrel – these offer +30, +10, and +10 to recoil direction specifically. While we're on topic, pay close attention to a weapon's recoil direction stat. The rule of thumb is to get it high and make sure it ends in 5. Weapons that end in 5 with their recoil direction are more vertical and the higher the number goes the less bounce to your weapon there is.

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Magazine

There's a few really good options here for PvP. On weapons that aren't aggressive frames, high cal offers more flinch while giving a range boost. Ricochet rounds offers both range and stability boost with no downside. Steady rounds gives a large boost to stability on weapons that need it, but it does have a negative stat attached to it. Flared mag gives you both stability and reload speed with no downside. Accurized rounds gives a whopping +10 range without any negative effects. Once again, either compensate for your weapons downsides or go all in on a certain attribute with your options here.

Masterwork

It's pretty self explanatory what a masterwork does to your stats. Consider focusing on either range, stability, or handling depending on what the weapon needs. For example, does your weapon have surplus but can't roll quickdraw, but you really want it to feel like you have quick draw? Maybe go for a handling masterwork to pair with arrowhead break. All three of those together will give you a massive handling boost to your weapon making it more snappy.

Final Two Columns

Certain perks are better than others here, and some are complete trash. Most players fall into the pit of valuing damage boosting perks over all else. This is fine in 6v6 modes, but they lose value in 3v3 where you have trouble finding another person in time to use your damage boost. Do you want to be a better player overall? Maybe try focusing on your weapon's consistency with these two final perks. Instead of going outlaw and rampage, try headseeker on a pulse to secure a 4h2b kill on a high impact pulse rifle instead of 5h1b. Maybe use quick draw or snapshot to make a slow weapon feel snappy. Don't rule out a weapon just because it doesn't have kill clip or rampage. Remember, you have to get a kill before you can even use those anyways. Why not make sure you get that first kill first before worrying about what you do after it? This isn't to say that damage boosting perks are bad, no one will argue with you when you say rampage is good on a 120 HC.

A special note is going to be made here for Thresh. It was recently changed to work in PvP. Going off how important getting your super fast is in PvP, don't look past this perk. It shaves off an additional 2 seconds for every kill you get. That's not a lot on it's own, but it adds up over time and when compared to other sources restoring your super faster.

Weapon Mods

Finally, we come to weapon mods. Icarus is king here, the in air accuracy you gain from this should not be overlooked. Don't play in the air and don't plan to learn? Throw on a targeting adjuster for the free +5 aim assist. Weapon doesn't end in 5 for its recoil direction and it's anything other than a single fire weapon? Put on counterbalance for +15 to its recoil direction. Using a bow or grenade launcher? Use quick-access sling for quick swaps to your other weapon after. Using a machine gun in your heavy? Put on backup mag to increase your total magazine size so that you get more shots when pulling heavy off the wall.

Putting It Together

I'd advise trying out this website: https://d2gunsmith.com/, and crafting your ideal weapon to see just how much the above three options change the stats on a gun. Caring about your barrel, magazine, and masterwork instead of just your last two columns can turn a weapon from average into a stat monster. It's the difference between a Palindrome having 55 range at base to having 78 range with the help of hammer forged rifling, ricochet rounds, and a range masterwork. That makes a massive difference.


Previous Guides

  • Elemental Well Mods in PvE
    • https://www.reddit.com/r/DestinyTheGame/comments/mq7e1f/a_definitive_guide_on_how_to_create_pve_builds/
  • Armor Stats and Elemental Affinities for PvE
    • https://www.reddit.com/r/DestinyTheGame/comments/mplokf/a_definitive_guide_on_how_to_create_pve_builds/
  • GM Nightfalls
    • https://www.reddit.com/r/DestinyTheGame/comments/mm3x1t/how_to_make_gm_nightfalls_absolutely_trivial_with/

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