All PvE damage testing was done in the level 36 vanguard strike playlist. Now, before comments arise saying that the numbers are wrong, two main points stem from this.
- All PvE damage numbers that I'm about to write scale with eachother. If you're seeing your numbers differently, you may just be in a differently leveled activity. Please keep that in mind. Also..
- Oftentimes, different enemies of the same level would take slightly different damages from the same attack. These differences amounted to roughly 30 damage most of the time, and none made any noticeable difference whatsoever. Majors, non-majors, and ultras also experienced the same thing with the same results. Menial differences that amount to basically nothing.
PvP testing was done in various environments, but this guide made sure to have clear numbers whenever it took something down. Hopefully nothing is too majorly wrong and if anything is, feel free to yell at me. On to actual guide things.
As a Sunsinger, your super is Radiance. While not as flashy as most other supers, it carries far more potency and utility in most scenarios. That is, only if you're actually using it. Pocketing your super for a self-res, unless you seriously need it, is a horrible way to go the majority of the time. You have massive damage output with your grenades, and it is extremely easy to make seven orbs with your super, seeing as every kill you get in Radiance creates orbs. Why play support, tank, or DPS when you can be all three?
Duration and Grenades
Your Radiance will last for about 14 seconds without using Radiant Will, and 17 seconds when you are using it. With maximum Discipline, Heart of the Praxic Fire, and Gift of the Sun, this puts your maximum grenade output at a whopping 11 grenades. Your absolute number one priority when using Sunsinger should be having rank 5 Discipline at all times and at all costs. Having anything lower than that kills your recharge rate while in Radiance and severely hurts your damage. Without Praxic Fire, you'll be hovering at around 7-9 grenades, depending on whether or not you have Radiant Will on. This assumes maximum Discipline.
Radiance has three modifiers that change the way you play around your super.
Radiant Skin gives you additional damage resistance on top of what you already get in Radiance. It isn't really that much but it does it's job, turning you into even more of a tank than you already are in Radiance. Stacked with Flame Shield, you become nearly indestructible.
Song of Flame
Song of Flame gives allies near you a taste of the flame-fueled bliss you're feeling while in Radiance by increasing the speed that their abilities cool down as well. This turns you into an amazing support class, boosting your allies up to near your level of grenade-spewing goodness.
Whenever you die and you have Radiance, you can pull yourself back from the dead by using your super. Now, this sounds all fine and everything, and it really is, but unless you absolutely positively need to stay alive at all costs, DON'T pocket your super and save it for when you die. Pocketing it when you don't have to creates a habit of keeping it as a safety net when you may not need it, and you're much better off using it freely.
These are your main outputs of DPS for a Sunsinger, barring weapon choices. These are the core of your class, and completely change the playstyle you take when approaching a situation. Learning how and when to use these is the key to success with the subclass.
These are single-explosion sticky grenades that do bonus damage if stuck to a target. Using these, you can achieve the single highest single-target damage per super of any class in the game.
- In PvE, these do 5881 damage as an explosion, and an additional 2731 damage to whichever enemy you stick, totaling 8,612 damage to a single target per grenade. (Multiply that by 11 maximum grenades and that totals 94,732 damage per super. Hence, highest in the game.) As is probably obvious, these are best used in an aggressive way to pick off single targets or to pour damage onto a strike boss or large enemy. If you see a shielded enemy, use one of these to strip it's shields and pick it off after. Enemies will respond to it heavily, too. If you stick a smaller enemy, others around it scatter. If a larger enemy is charging you, stick them and they stop dead in their tracks, usually. This will be your best option by far for a PvE grenade. The other two just don't have the damage to stack up to it.
- In PvP, these deal 180 damage as an explosion, and 79 bonus damage for sticking the target. This will kill any unshielded, non-supered enemy outright. It's a very simple grenade to use in PvP, but may require some skill to get consistent sticks. While it lacks the utility and ease of use of a Firebolt grenade, it makes up for it with killing power. If you miss, you just wasted your grenade. And it's very easy to miss. It can be very good though.
Less powerful than the Fusion grenade, the Firebolt grenade is a kind of "tag" grenade, sending out a scan in an area, and sending out up to three bolts of fire (get it?) to strike enemies. Good for multi-target damage or safe damage in PvP.
- In PvE, these grenades deal 2941 damage to three targets. Good for mopping up a lot of trash enemies at once and spreading damage out over a very large space with Radiance. While they lack the killing power of Fusions, they still hold their own somewhat. Also, for some unknown reason these can "crit" against enemies with specific crit spots such as Harpies for 5881 damage. It's weird.
- PvP is where these grenades become absolute monsters. They deal 85 damage and can't "crit." While not much damage, weakening enemies from cover is an extremely powerful tool to have. Often enemies will turn tail and run for safety, giving up their positions. If they don't, they're easily picked off due to reduced health. Paired with Touch of Flame and Viking Funeral, this keeps enemies very weak for a very long time. Easily the best grenade the Sunsinger has for PvP.
There always has to be one left out, right? The Solar grenade is that one. Being an area of effect grenade, it carries the inherent issue of it's effectiveness being severely limited due to enemy AI. It lasts for four seconds after impact. It was also a severe pain to test the damage for due to enemy movement and the fact that the Taken King made the damage really weird on it.
- In PvE, this grenade does 1681 damage on impact, and then 757 damage per tick with an occasional 253 damage thrown in. That's why it's weird, there's no rhyme or reason behind the damage numbers, it's just random to me. Anyway, enemies move out of the damage radius and it can't do much of anything. It's best used thrown into tight groups of enemies or with larger enemies. It's really the worst of the three grenades. If you can make it work, more power to you but if not, you really aren't losing anything noteworthy.
- Same story for PvP. It deals 49 damage on impact, and 19 damage per tick with some 7's thrown in. Due to people moving out of the radius and just not touching it at all, it's mediocre. However, sometimes people are dumb or just not paying attention and it works. It gains some usefulness when using a burn build, but not much.
In PvE, for the majority of cases and with general use, the grenades could be ranked:
- Fusion Grenade
- Firebolt Grenade
- Solar Grenade
In PvP, in terms of effectiveness in most combat situations, they could be ranked:
- Firebolt Grenade
- Fusion Grenade
- Solar Grenade
This section will be short, and it honestly makes me sad that it has to be short. Why? Flame Shield is by infinite leaps and bounds the best melee ability for Sunsingers. Solar Wind has no practical use, and can't even be used to push your friends around anymore, and Brimstone is just laughable. Flame Shield is practically the only melee ability for Sunsingers.
Your melee in PvE will be enough to kill tier one enemies, and can "crit" like the Hunter's knife to kill some tier 2 enemies. Scorch applies a damage over time that I'll get into in the next section, and becomes more powerful when in Radiance. In PvP, a Scorch melee while in Radiance will kill anyone without an overshield or super.
Sunburst, an ability connected to Scorch, has a one in two (APPROXIMATELY) chance to spawn two orbs of light whenever you kill an enemy with scorch.
That's the melee section. Not much, because everything besides Flame Shield sucks.
Touch of Flame, Viking Funeral, Radiant Will, and Gift of the Sun
Before getting into these skills together, how they work together, and the comparisons between them, it's best to describe each skill on it's own first.
As described at the beginning of the guide, Radiant Will increases your Radiance's duration from 14 seconds to 17 seconds. This, depending on your Discipline and whether or not you have Heart of the Praxic Fire, can add between 1 and 3 grenades to your super. It's a major component of a build.
Gift of the Sun
Literally just gives you another grenade. That's it. Your second grenade will charge at half the rate of the first. While simple, the utility and convenience of having two Fusion or Firebolt grenades is amazing, and it's what allows access to that 11th possible grenade in Radiance.
Touch of Flame
This makes any grenade apply the Scorch damage over time effect, which by default ticks 5 times for 127 (PvE) or 7 (PvP) damage. Best paired with Firebolt grenades in PvP, this skill is extremely powerful for tagging enemies to finish off, or keeping enemy shields down.
Extends the duration of your burn DoT from 5 ticks to 11 ticks in both PvE and PvP. Should only be used with Touch of Flame, and should ALWAYS be used with Touch of Flame.
As said before, Touch of Flame (ToF) and Viking Funeral (VF) should always be used together. In the situations in which you want to use a burn build, having a longer duration on the burn is undeniably the best way to go, as it increases the amount of time before your enemies' shields can regenerate and increases damage output with the burn.
Radiant Will and Gift of the Sun should also always be used together. Radiant Will gives you a lot more grenades due to the duration, and while your second grenade charges half as fast as your first, that doesn't matter. While in Radiance, you should be spewing out grenades as fast as you can. That second grenade shouldn't be charging if you can help it, and only serves as another "cup" to catch whatever grenade energy runs over the first.
Tip: Use a burn build whenever you need to keep an enemy suppressed for an extended period of time, such as when using Firebolts in PvP. Use the other build when you want to do as much damage as possible with your super.
Codexes (Armor, Recovery, Agility)
If a situation calls for anything else, such as using maxed agility to do a jump puzzle, then obviously use what you like. However, two setups use seem to be the most effective for me in most situations.
PvE: Arcane Wisdom and Ancestral Order, maxes Recovery with some emphasis on Agility. Supercharges your recovery, allowing you to dip in and out of fights nearly at will. Very versatile.
PvP: Arcane Spirit and Divine Order, maxes out both Armor and Recovery. Makes you resilient enough to withstand a slight bit more punishment while at the same time giving you that ungodly recovery the first build had.
Here I'll be going through any and all relevant exotics and giving them a rating from S (the literal best) to C (don't). (Obsidian Mind, Impossible Machines, etc) This includes weapons as well, because some do synergize well.
Apotheosis Veil: A
While it has no year 2 version yet, the version we see in the Bungie armory says that when you activate your super, your grenade and melee energies are recharged in addition to kickstarting your health and shield regeneration. When in a pinch, you'll find it more useful to use Radiance and get a Flame Shield off of someone than to just run away. This keeps you in the fight, and allows you to make orbs for your teammates and clear out any immediate danger.
Light Beyond Nemesis: B
Really if you have anything else, use it. This exotic only gets a B because the faster revives are crucial in areas such as Trials of Osiris and Raid encounters. It has no other use besides that, seeing as the singular additional orb you can make really won't do much.
The Ram: B
Now that the whole Thorn debacle is over and chestpieces can roll with Solar Armor, The Ram loses a lot of it's luster. Much more suited to Voidwalkers, but it can still have some effect with the other subclasses.
THE STAG: C
Truly a trash exotic. It literally has no redeeming factors that I can name. If anyone knows anything to the contrary, please let uss know.
Alchemist's Raiment: A-
This is not in the A tier of exotics because what it does, the Claws of Ahamkara do a bit better. While clearly meant to keep your melee and grenade up while pocketing your Fireborn, the Claws do better for reasons. This synergizes very well with Tlaloc, if you feel like using that as well. Also woo, glimmer.
Heart of the Praxic Fire: S+
This is what you want. This chestpiece causes your cooldowns to skyrocket in Radiance, can come with Solar Armor, boosts your Agility a sizable amount while in Radiance, and even applies the further increased cooldown rate to allies while you have Song of Flame active. This chestpiece is literally the pinnacle of Sunsinger exotics. Get one.
Purifier Robes: B-
The huge, obvious drawback is that these require you to die to make use of their exotic ability. While useful in the extremely particular niche in was made for, the issue is that that niche will hardly ever come up, if ever. S+ on looks though.
This exotic just makes me mad. It's ability is that it lets you have two fusion grenades. This seems good, right? The thing is, the situation in which you would want dual grenades with burn damage is with FIREBOLT. grenades. Fusion grenades kill whatever you need to use them on, rendering the burn damage largely useless except in a few niche cases. Changing this to be "Grants Gift of the Sun" would easily make it A-tier due to it's PvP effectiveness alone. I'm still salty about this ever since The Dark Below even released.
Voidfang Vestments: B+
In Trials of Osiris, getting your grenades back at the start of every round is very, very nice. Sometimes gamechanging, depending on your build and such. It's also nice to have full grenades every time you respawn anywhere.
Claws of Ahamkara: A+
Doubling up your melee charge does two godlike things. 1. You get two flame shields, allowing you to make your way out of very tight situations. And 2. In PvP, two Scorch melees in Radiance will allow you to very quickly dispatch two opponents and walk away stronger than you came in. Simple effects, godlike results. Synergizes extremely well with Monte Carlo due to heavy melee recharges. Looks sick too.
Sunbreakers (No, not Titans on your arms.): B
These make Solar grenades pretty viable, allowing you to blanket an area with fire and lava. At the same time, not having to take Gift of the Sun is favorable as well, giving your grenades the added boost of burn damage. They're okay.
Any weapons with Grenadier or Army of One will be of use to you, as they'll recharge your grenade and melee even faster.
The Bad Part of Sunsinger
While the subclass is amazing as a whole, there are some parts that stick out like huge sores, and it's very apparent.
Angel of Light
It makes you a hanging target with glowing wings that says "Hey! Shoot me!"
The ability in itself isn't bad, it just has to compete with Radiant Will and Viking Funeral. Not happening.
Solar Wind and Brimstone
Laughably useless, especially when set up against the likes of Flame Shield.
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Credits: An In-Depth Sunsinger Guide - Now Updated for The Taken King by ChaoticallyNatural