How to Make GM Nightfalls Absolutely Trivial with Shadebinder Warlock using Bleak Watcher

The Build

Stats Needed (don't sweat it if you can't get exactly 100)

  • 100 Recovery
  • 100 Discipline

Exotics Needed

  • Verity's Brow
  • Ticcu's Divination

Weapons Needed

  • Kinetic Sniper
    • Succession w/ Reconstruction and Vorpal Weapon is best
  • Rocket Launcher
    • Use your favorite and take enemy shields into consideration
      • Perks to look for: Impulse Amplifier, Auto-Loading Holster, Field Prep, Lasting Impression, Frenzy, Vorpal Weapon, and Demolitionist
      • Niche tip: a void rocket with tracking module and lasting impression will one shot the void shielded interceptors in the Proving Grounds GM whenever that comes back around with ease.

Armor Mods

  • Note: All armor should be solar affinity for the mods listed
  • Helmet (Verity's Brow)
    • Combat Mods
      • Fire Power
  • Gauntlets
    • Mods
      • Overload Bow
      • Anti-Barrier Sniper
    • Combat Mods
      • Taking Charge
  • Chest
    • Mods
      • Solar Resistance OR Rocket Reserves
      • Concussive Dampener
    • Combat Mods
      • Fire Power
  • Legs
    • Mods
      • Rocket Launcher Scavenger
    • Combat Mods
      • Fire Power
  • Bond
    • Mods
      • Bomber (2x preferably)
      • Resonance Siphon (optional)
    • Combat Mods
      • Fire Power

Subclass – Shadebinder

  • Aspects
    • Iceflare Bolts
    • Bleak Watcher
  • Fragments
    • Whisper of Refraction
      • Gain rift energy when defeating slowed or frozen targets
      • You can optionally switch this for Whisper of Hedrons if you feel you need more damage
    • Whisper of Fissures
      • Improved shatter on frozen targets
    • Whisper of Torment
      • Gain grenade energy when taking damage

What Does it Do?

Your armor, mods, and subclass choices are all catered towards getting out more of your bleak watcher grenades. Your bleak watcher grenades are extremely powerful in high level content. They have the ability to complete control a room as well as permanently stun lock champions, even multiple champions at once due to iceflare bolts. The more of these you throw out, the better off your team is. Ehroar has a video demonstrating this, but his build was meant more for general play as it relied on Salvager's Salvo with Demolitionist and Blast Radius to keep up grenade energy and charged with light stacks. You can't rely on this in GM content as it takes up a slot that could go towards a weapon with champion mods. The build I laid out here is focused on GM level end game content. Here's your typical game play loop for when you're charged with light and when you're not.

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While NOT Charged with Light

  1. Throw out a Bleak Watcher at a location where it can be most effective
    1. If you're focusing on champions, make sure it is placed in an area where it will continuously hit them without obstructing your aim
    2. If you're focusing on add control, try to place it in a central location where it's not obstructed by any cover
  2. Drop a healing rift
    1. You're running 2x bomber mods on your class item which restores a large chunk of your grenade energy when activating your rift
  3. Prime targets with ticcu's divination, they should be getting frozen by your Bleak Watcher by now
  4. Detonate targets with ticcu's divination. The combination of stasis shatter plus ticcu's AoE explosions will clear waves of adds even in GM content. All the while, every time you shatter an enemy your iceflare bolts are seeking new targets to freeze. Your energy weapon kills from Ticcu's divination will proc Verity's Brow which restores your grenade energy on energy weapon kills. Taking damage while you fire procs Whisper of Torments to restore more grenade energy and Whisper of Refraction is working when you shatter your frozen targets to give you your rift back to proc Bomber again.
  5. You should have enough grenade energy back by now to repeat the process

While Charged with Light

  1. Throw out a Bleak Watcher at a location where it can be most effective
    1. Since you are charged with light, your 4x Firepower mods activate when throwing your grenade
    2. These will restore about 60% of your grenade energy while consuming 1 stack of charged with light
  2. Drop a healing rift
    1. The 2x Bomber mods on your class item will proc, combined with your firepower mods grenade energy restore, you will now have full grenade energy again
  3. Throw out a second bleak watcher to further control the room
  4. Go to step 3 on the NOT charged with light section
  5. Repeat once you have full grenade energy
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  • Anti-Barrier champions will be completely chain stunned by your bleak watchers allowing you free reign with your heavy and sniper. They may occasionally get a shield off, but you should have out your anti barrier sniper to kill them anyways
  • Overload champions will be completely locked in place. Keep firing your Ticcu's Divination at them to keep them overloaded. Since freezing a champion is bugged currently and causes their stun timer to reset, you have to continuously overload them with your bow. This is fine since Ticcu's ramps up in damage pretty quickly to 100% damage increase.
  • Unstoppable champions are more of the same as overloads with the same bugged interaction with freezing. I don't recommend chain freezing these to keep them stun locked as you can't really damage them without having to continuously stun them; however, you are able to stun lock them with Bleak Watchers to keep them off your team while you handle other threats in the room or give yourself breathing room to get off a revive on a teammate.

Other Tips

Use your super offensively, not defensively. Don't be afraid to pop it often to make orbs for your team and clear out adds in the room. Shadebinder is the only roaming super that is good in GM content. You can also use your super to chain stun a champion in a pinch to let your teammates kill them.

Use your melee defensively. You don't have anything that can kill enemies quickly in close range. Save your melee for when you're getting pushed and can't get away to freeze an enemy. Don't be in a hurry to shatter an enemy that you just froze with your melee when you're low on health if you know you can't kill it immediately. Use the time it's frozen to get your health back. Remember, you have 100 recovery.

Spam the hell out of your heavy, especially if it has demolitionist. Ideally, one of your teammates should be using Aeon's to constantly keep making heavy for your team. Since you're able to freeze everything you see, make sure to freeze champions so they can safely finish them and keep you topped off on heavy.

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Bleak Watcher increases your DPS against bosses. Frozen enemies take 5% more damage from special weapons, and they take damage when shattered. Since Bleak Watcher is constantly reapplying a freeze on a boss, you can keep up the 5% damage buff and shatter damage for a nice increase in total DPS. If you opted to use Whisper of Hedrons instead of Whisper of Refractions, you're also constantly reapplying your 20% weapon damage boost from freezing a target on yourself.

That's about it. This is the build I've been running with my teammates for GM's this season with great success. You don't see it talked about a lot over Chaos Reach, but this is definitely a sleeper pick that I prefer far more than Chaos Reach. You have a neutral game that contributes far better than middle tree arc while still having a powerful super with a ton of utility.


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