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Comprehensive Defender Class Guide in Destiny: The Taken King

First off, stat priority.

1.(3) Intellect: Defenders want their bubble. Half of their team utility and strength in PvE comes from the bubble, and they want it as often as possible. Nowhere near as important in PvP where it can be broken by other supers, though in Control it has plenty of use.

Strength: While titans do have fairly crappy melees across the board, Force Barrier can help you in so many ways that it edges out Discipline for defender titans. Especially if running No Backup Plans, this is an important stat.

Discipline: Lackluster in PvE due to Defenders rather weak grenade selection, but in PvP it’s a whole nother story. Supressor grenade, especially with 2 new “persistant” supers in the meta, is a god send for any team. You want them back as much as possible, giving this stat a healthy place for PvP bubblebros.

(Recommended norm is a 5/1/3 in PvE, and a 1/4/4 in PvP)

The Tiers

S, A, B, C, and D. As you might guess, S is the crème de la crème, A is everything but the cherry on top, B is perfectly functional - if outclassed, C and D actually makes you worse.

Perks

Grenades:

Spike PvE C PvP C

Honestly just an all-around terrible grenade. Nearly impossible to land correctly, doesn’t hurt the guy it hits, and is simple to move out of.

Magnetic PvE A PvP A

Solid Single target grenade, the secondary explosion adds quite a bit of damage to its arsenal (surpassing both other sticky grenades in total damage). OHKO in PvP, and actually can hurt several grouped up people (the secondary explosion has some range to it).

Supression PvE B PvP S

In PvE, it is unreliable due to confusing nature of what it actually prevents. Most wizard abilitys, some grenades, and some taken abilities, but not others. However in PvP, the change in Meta have turned it into a powerhouse of a grenade. A full 5 subclasses have persistent supers you can ruin, and everyone else is an easy kill with no grenades or jump.

Ward of Dawn:

Armor of Light PvE B- PvP A

A fairly strictly PvP-only perk. In PvE there already isn’t much threat inside your bubble, and the two buffs can apply to your team much easier. However, it has been pointed out to me that on certain bosses (Darkblade, Shade) it can be a good option in combo with a Sword. In PvP, this gets better the more casual your game is, as weaker players are more likely to try bubble-rushing (and good ones that do this won’t really help against).

Blessing PvE A PvP A

The defensive option in both PvE and PvP, gives your team an overshield to take some extra hits. The usual preferred option in both PvP and certain raid encounters. All-around solid choice.

Weapons PvE S PvP B

In PvP, is a highrisk high reward offensive choice. Certain builds can make great use of it though (high impact snipers) (Chaperone + No Backup allows Chaperone to body OHKO and you still have a shield). In PvE, this single-handedly cemented Defenders love in raids. Aetheon in particular came with a defender ‘requirement’ to speed up the encounter. Oryx, with its invulnerable buff and sharp dps requirement, also is a fight that loves a Weapons defender.

Disintegrate:

War Machine PvE A PvP B+

Turns your guns into a near-instant reload while you have your overshield. Between this and the shield, you turn into a near-unstoppable tank shredding your way through enemies. Combos well with Iron Harvest in an Orb Factory build.

Unbreakable PvE A PvP A

Allows your over shield to regenerate, ensuring that it is maintained for the whole duration. An important talent while wearing No Backup Plans or using Relentless. An extremely useful defensive option in both PvP and PvE.

Gift of Light PvE B PvP C

Fairly useful in a PvE orb factory build if you want to go punch-happy (I prefer WM and Harvest). In PvP, the odds of getting two melee KILLS that close together are low, and 1 extra orb isn’t really worth it.

Bonus Perk

Bastion PvE A PvP B

This whole column is odd in that they are all useful in PvE, but not so much in PvP. Bastion in Particular is excellent in PvE, especially if running a buffing build. In PvP, your bubble is likely to get popped by some other super, or you might die before the extra duration comes into play. Definitely don’t rely on it lasting the whole duration in PvP if you take this.

Relentless PvE B PvP B

Only really comes into its own combined with Unbreakable, as the increased duration is useful if you lose the shield 5 seconds later. The increased health (+95 vs +75) to recharge to is also a nice benefit. In PvP, not great purely for how rare titan melee kills are. Using No Backups fixes that and pushes this to an A easily.

Gift of the Void PvE A PvP B-

Great in PvE where enemies love to shoot your bubbles. In PvP the only time players will do so is to pop it with a super, so I guess you get 3 orbs as a consolation prize for losing your super? Take this in an orb build in PvE, or if you want your super to just be generating 5 orbs for your fireteam in PvP.

Class Perk Possibly the most balanced column in the game

Untouchable PvE A PvP B+

Counts as around 80 Intellect (even past cap), and grants you a bit of armor. Great in PvE for keeping bubbles up for your team, or in Control for easier zone capturing. Not much else to say, a simple, fairly good talent.

Illuminated PvE A PvP A

The buff support talent of the column. Best paired with Blessing of Light in PvP (weapons already hits its damage targets), and Weapons of Light in PvE (Blessing is fairly easy to re-apply once broken). Obviously the rating is a D if you run Armor of Light.
Iron Harvest PvE A PvP C

The definitive orb-generation talent. Only Nightstalkers can come close to you with this equipped. Pick your favorite Machine Gun or the new Bolt-caster and go to work keeping your teammates supers active. Great Combo with Ruin Wings for a more offensive support build. Not worth the 1-2 orbs a game in PvP.

Exotics

Exotic stats changed in Taken King, no longer having certain stats per piece. Now most exotics can roll either split between any two stats, or pure ONLY in their “preferred” stat. Many are also more likely to roll their preferred stat, with a few having a certain stat nearly 100% of the time. Additionally, a small amount of stat comes from a perk, and can only be applied to one stat at a time.

Helm: // Pure: 80 +15 // Split-stat: 45/45 +15

Gauntlets: // Pure: 70 +13 // Split-stat: 40/40 +13

Chest Armor: // Pure: 104 +20 // Split-stat: 68/68 +20

Boots: // Split-stat: 53/53 +18

Exotic Armor (Preferred Stat) PvE rank PvP rank

Helmets

Insurmountable Skullfort (STR): PvE B PvP C

Reasoning: While this is technically a Striker helm, the other two subclasses can take advantage of its main bonus of a second melee charge, and in PvP the respawn energy is helpful as well. While you can make good use of 2 force barriers by killing red-bars in PvE, in PvP it is much preferable to wear Backups since it is so hard for titans to get melee kills in the first place.

Helm of Saint-14 (INT): PvE S PvP B

Reasoning: The iconic Defender helm for PvE in all forms, no that Glasshouse is left behind it barely even has competition. Turns your Ward into an excellent Crowd Control super, and makes any non-ultras caught in it easy kills. In PvP it can help with some shotgun rushers, but it is so noticeable that good players will know the blind is in effect.

Empreyean (-): PvE C+ PvP C+

Reasoning: Some people really love this helm, but for most it isn’t worth the exotic slot. It has some niche uses (fairly good when fighting Phalanxes) but it also leaves you extremely exposed. Defenders have too many better options to pick from unless you REALLY love this helm.

Taikonaut (-): PvE B- PvP A

Reasoning: In PvE this helm is effectively a worse Ruin Wings with a small benefit in tracking. However most of the current PvE endgame is stationary bosses, and in fact Machine guns are preferred for nearly all PvE. In PvP however, this helm adds an insanely important perk to any launcher, and you can make a pseudo-truth if you nab one that already has Horseshoes and Tripod. Don’t use an already tracking launcher though, as the helm will strip tracking off of it.

Gauntlets

Ruin Wings (-): PvE A+ PvP C

Reasoning: The only DLC titan exotic to come forward into Taken King, if we had to pick one this would have been it. Combo these with your favorite HMG and you will have a field day in PvE. Also a very good choice in an orb build with Iron Harvest to keep that perk running more. Only their inconsistency keeps them from an S tier. For obvious reasons, nearly useless in PvP.

No Backup Plans (STR): PvE A PvP S

Reasoning: Holy crap talk about buffs. Is now easily the best PvP exotic for defenders, and as you can tell from earlier in this review, single-handed makes a whole slew of perks viable. One of the only exotics to come with TWO guaranteed perks, both perfectly compliment the main bonus. Add the guaranteed strength, and the fact that it fixes the biggest problem with defenders otherwise excellent melee, and there is nothing to not like about these gloves.

Chestpieces

Crest of Alpha Lupi (INT): PvE C PvP A (in 3v3 only)

Reasoning: Nothing special in the ammo department. Exotic perk is cookie-cutter and available on all classes, useful only for 3v3 content. Not much else to say here.

Temporarily Missing

Glasshouse (INT): PvE A PvP B (Shame this is missing, shaders now make it look insanely cool)

Armamentarium (DISC): PvE B+ PvP S

ACD/0 Feedback (STR): PvE B PvP C

Sample Builds

Recommended talents (pvp swaps)

Stat Priority, Perks and Exotic Armor

Weapon types and recommended Exotics

Playstyle

Buff Support

Magnetic // Weapons(Blessing) // Unbreakable // Armor&Recovery //Bastion // Illuminated

Int >> Str = Disc | Inverse Shadow

PvE: Saint-14 PvP: Player Choice

High Impact Scout or Pulse, Sniper Rifle

Malice, Bad JuJu, Hereafter

A Good support build for raids and dungeons, focuses on keeping a bubble up at all times.

Orb Factory

Player Choice // Weapon(Blessing) // Player Choice // Armor&Recovery // Gift // Harvest(Untouchable)

Int > Str > Disc | Inverse Shadow

PvE: Ruin Wings PvP: Backup Plans

Heavy Machine Guns/Swords, Army of One

Zhalo, BAD JUJU, Bolt-Caster

Holy Crap will you have orbs, in fact possibly too many. This build doesn’t work great in PvP, but maybe if you’re determined

Purple Knight

Suppressor // Weapons // Unbreakable // Agility // Relentless // Untouchable

Str > Disc >> Int | Momentum Transfer, Invigoration

PvE: No Backup Plans PvP: No Backup Plans
Army of One, Danger Close/Surrounded, Shotguns

Monte Carlo, Chaperone, Invective

Works best in PvP, but serviceable in PvE as well. Effectively gives you 290 health at all times. My favorite PvP build for titans, even over sunbreakers.

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Credits: Guide by cyberhawk94