It's been a few days but players really have been tucking into Destiny 2: Beyond Light. The secrets of Europa are already getting unearthed by the passionate player base, and the power of Stasis has lead to some spectacular wow moments in-game. For this guide, we will be focusing on the particulars of the new Warlock subclass, the Shadebinder.
First, let's examine just how much of the game you have to unlearn with this subclass. Generally speaking, most subclasses in Destiny 2 deal with damage over time or setting up elaborate kill boxes full of overlapping damage. With Stasis, the whole name of the game is area denial and environmental control. It's no surprise that most of the arenas in Beyond Light's campaign are so sparse, you're expected to either make cover yourself or actively slow down your enemies.
Destiny 2 Warlock Shadebinder - Glacial Grenade
Case in point, your Glacial Grenade. Throwing it down will create a wall of ice crystals and any enemy caught in it will be frozen. While you can use this more aggressively by just throwing at enemies like a Void Wall grenade, it's honestly better to throw it at the floor near you for some quick cover. This is especially useful if you're dealing with swarms of melee enemies like Hive Thralls or Fallen Wretches since they'll just throw themselves at your cold cover.
But a Stasis wall isn't just a barrier; it's an anti-personnel bomb waiting to happen. Whenever you kill a frozen enemy or destroy an ice wall, it will shatter. This will send ice crystals everywhere, dealing damage to your enemies. If you keep thinking one step ahead with this in mind, not only can you deny a whole swarm of enemies with one well-placed grenade, you can turn it into a shredder.
Destiny 2 Warlock Shadebinder - Penumbral Blast
If you're more of a ranged fighter, that is where the melee ability comes in. As written, the Penumbral Blast isn't exactly special. You throw out an ice ball from your staff and it instantly freezes whatever enemy gets hit with it. If it kills them, their body shatters, dealing damage to nearby enemies. It's just an ice-flavored version of the ranged melee ability found in the Attunement of Control skill tree on the Stormcaller subclass.
But the big difference with this melee attack is it only works at medium and short range. Hitting an enemy up close and personal will just end in a regular Warlock slap. If you want to get the most of this ability combined with your grenade, you'll need to stick to medium-range weaponry. Auto rifles, sidearms, hand cannons, and bows are great choices for this.
Destiny 2 Warlock Shadebinder - Winter's Wrath
Finally, there is the Shadebinder's Super: Winter's Wrath. You summon an ice staff and for a limited time you can shoot ice darts at your enemies, instantly freezing them. Better yet, with another button press, you can unleash a shockwave all around you, instantly shattering all frozen enemies.
It took me a while to get the hang of this Super. This is because unlike any other Warlock Super in Destiny 2, you are rewarded for being careful with your shots. Once activated, the Super takes a long time to go away, but firing darts speeds up this process. Furthermore, the darts have really weak tracking and can take too long to reach a target. On the other hand, the shockwave affects any and all enemies that are frozen by Stasis, either by your abilities or your allies, and costs nothing. Ideally, you can coordinate with a team to freeze multiple opponents, then just spam shockwaves to rip apart whole rooms in seconds.
Another problem with this super is that it only works on frozen or slowed enemies. The shockwave does nothing to ice walls, making them more of an annoyance than a trap in waiting. On top of that, unless the target is frozen, a shockwave will just stun them temporarily. This means freezing a boss then blasting it might not be as effective as freezing some goons and hoping the ice shrapnel makes up the difference.
Because of this, the Winter's Wrath super is geared more towards crowd control than raw damage to a single target. However thanks to the shockwave's area of effect hitting multiple targets at once and the splash damage that shattering provides, those crowds are going to be controlled into the ground faster than you can say “ice age.”
Destiny 2 Warlock Shadebinder - Aspects and Fragments
But if you jumped through the hoops needed to unlock Aspects and Fragments for the Shadebinder, there's a way to lean into this freezing focus. First is twist provided by Aspect of Control. Every single time you defeat a frozen enemy, an icefire bolt will shoot from the target and hit another enemy, freezing them. Kill that enemy and another bolt will spawn, seeking another target. Rinse and repeat until either you hit a maximum number of targets which puts the ability on a brief cooldown, or the bolt fizzles.
Combine this with the Fragment called Whisper of Fissures. With this equipped the area of effect from shattering a frozen enemy or an ice wall is increased. Shattering damage is also increased. Finally, equip the Coldsnap Grenade. Throwing it down sends out seekers that instantly freeze targets.
Put all of this together with some solid mods like Ashes to Assets and Innervation, and you will be constantly freezing enemies, blowing them up like exploding snowmen, and dealing bonus damage to any major enemies who get caught in the crossfire. Add to it some well-placed darts and shockwaves from a well-timed Winter's Wrath and you will be a force to be reckoned with.
Right now, Beyond Light is still relatively fresh and chances are there will be more Fragments and Aspects to come. This will mean that this guide will be updated over time as more things get introduced. But as a quick primer for you Warlock mains out there, this is a great start.