house of wolves exotic armor tiers

House of Wolves Exotic Armor Tiers

Published on: Jul 27, 2015 @ 19:05

While perhaps a little light on Exotic Weapons, House of Wolves introduced a host of new Exotic Armor pieces, many of which have shaken up Destiny’s PvE and PvP experiences. We’ve had time to acquire these, play around with them, and get a good feel for where they excel and where they fall short.

Many of you have wondered whether or not it’s worth it to use X or Y, and we felt that each of your questions deserved a comprehensive answer. So, without further ado, we’re proud to present our House of Wolves Exotic Armor Tiers!



The Ram

PvE: Tier 2

The Ram is one of the coolest and most well-designed Exotics that House of Wolves has to offer. Its perk provides Life Steal for every melee strike, whether or not your special energy is charged. This perk allows you to select Surge or Soul Rip and provides a massive boost to longevity. Throw in the major boost to armor and you have a bulky and resilient Voidwalker to challenge the Sunsinger’s dominance, or a Sunsinger with unparalleled staying power when using Flame Shield. Infusion fits this theme, and Scholar’s Draw – a new House of Wolves perk – synergizes well with the INT/STR split stat to assist your Super with cooldown.

PvP: Tier 1

It’s borderline broken! No other class possesses a way to innately push their Toughness values to beyond the cap. As we’ve discussed, a Warlock with this helmet can survive many one-two punches from the most popular weapons and setups that would otherwise prove fatal without it. This alone makes it a top-tier Exotic, and the INT/STR and occasional use for Scholar’s Draw is just the icing on the cake. It’s perfect for solo queue, though you may want something more team-focused for Trials of Osiris.

Nothing Manacles

PvE: Tier 2

We were almost sure these would be called “Voidbreakers” – oh well. Warlocks have a strong Exotic HoW profile, and these gauntlets are no exception. They provide an ideal INT/DISC stat split, and finally give Voidwalkers access to a second grenade. Unfortunately, you are restricted to Scatter Gernades, but fortunately, Scatter Grenades are all you’ll ever need. Energy Projection allows for pinpoint throws, although Innervation is kind of a throwaway perk. Combine them with a helmet with Inverse Shadow for maximum benefit.

PvP: Tier 1

The Voidwalker suddenly has one of the most potent tools for discouraging camping in all of PvP. With two grenades at the start of any PvP match, they’re able to apply significant pressure early on. The projectiles explode quickly, even when tracking, but when combined with Bloom have the potential to match even the Lightning Grenade for levels of sheer room-clearing glee! They’re best used in game modes such as Control where you can catch weakened foes and chain Bloom explosions for multi-kills. Consider it a mini Nova Bomb in the right situations.

Purifier Robes

PvE: Tier 2

This chest piece was perhaps the most hyped before we saw it in action… While the blinding effect radius was a little disappointing, they’ve still got a lot going for them, including a healthy DISC/STR split and the unique provision of both Serpent’s Tail and Serpent’s Mouth – a pair of perks that were, until recently, relegated to gauntlets only. Unfortunately, this comes at the cost of providing extra reserve ammunition, but this is a worthy trade-off in PvE. The Exotic perk can get you out of a tight jam, but is a little more difficult to use strategically.

PvP: Tier 3

They almost scrape a Tier 2, but are simply too situational to earn it. Serpent’s Tail and Serpent’s Mouth, while useful when there are plenty of enemies to go around, aren’t as alluring in the Crucible. This is where the trade-off for extra reserve ammunition hurts the Purifier Robes. What we’re basically left with is the Exotic perk: While undeniably strong in certain situations, such as the Trials of Osiris, the blind is only temporary and there’s no Suppression effect to hinder Super counter-play from the opposing team. What’s more, if the other squad noticed you wearing them, they’ll smartly keep their distance. You’ll still earn a few highlight reel-worthy moments, but you’re handicapping yourself until that time comes.



Celestial Nighthawk

PvE: Tier 1

Bungie’s answer to those complaining that “Golden Gun doesn’t do enough damage” is the Celestial Nighthawk; it’s the first convincing reason to give your Achlyophage Symbiote a rest. The Exotic perk “Big Game” condenses your GG energy into one, devastating shot that provides 6x the damage of a regular GG bullet – enough to take down Crota’s shield in 1 shot.

Pure Intellect, Ashes to Asset, and Inverse Shadow is the best combination for generating Super energy in the game. Throw in “Keyhole” for free, and you have the hands-down king of Major/Ultra disposal. Obviously, don’t take it into low-stress content where there aren’t any challenging foes; Achlyophage with Combustion will suit you better there.

PvP: Tier 4

This tier isn’t a knock against the Nighthawk, simply a reminder that its true home is in PvE. Inverse Shadow is worthless and Big Game is essentially worthless. While Ashes to Asset and the Intellect score allow you to build your Super quickly, there’s no point if it’s simply going to result in one GG shot. Yes, you can swap it out for Achlyophage when your bar is full, but this is a cop-out and thus is not considered in our tiering here.

Khepri’s Sting

PvE: Tier 2

As a subclass neutral Exotic, it gives Gunslinger a taste of Invisibility, even without Shadowjack to make it practical – but this is a Bladedancer’s best friend, first and foremost. It frees you up to spec both Hungering Blade and Stalker; this alone makes it quite strong. Pure Strength assists with Escape Artist recharge times, which is crucial to take advantage of the Exotic perk.

While it requires some micro-managing on your cooldown times and positioning, it can handle irksome enemies quite well, even applying a DoT when they aren’t immediately killed. Invigoration is an OK addition, but Primary Weapon Loader shouldn’t be overlooked for its rarity and usefulness with certain Scout Rifles and Hand Cannons.

PvP: Tier 3

Invisibility is a little less useful in PvP but Stalker and Hungering Blade are never without utility. Pure Strength is probably the least helpful stat allocation, as proc’ing Escape Artist is often a death sentence unless succinctly timed with a killing melee strike. Primary Weapon Loader is still a noteworthy perk though.

Making use of Touch of Venom is even trickier, requiring a Bladedancer to flank after using Stalker to go invisible, all the while being conscious that invisibility could expire at any time. Still, these gauntlets can prove strong in patient hands that are used to employing an opportunistic strategy with a coordinated fireteam (or just use Gally).

Bones of Eao

PvE: Tier 3

These babies are pretty simple: pure Discipline, extra Heavy Ammo, and a third (or fourth) jump. To that end, they’re a little underwhelming for the min/max crowd. While Gunslingers and Bladedancers both have need of Discipline and extra Heavy Ammo, both the former and latter can be found on Legendary boots. That one extra bounce is the reason to wear these – so are they worth using?

The Bones can be extremely fun to use when you’re looking to speed across the battlefield, or curious about that hard-to-reach ledge and what may lie beyond it – but for optimizing your build, they are not at or even near the top of the pack. Still, for an example of where the Bones are right at home, check out this wildly fun Crota Speed Run.

PvP: Tier 4

It’s essentially the same story: Discipline is great, more Heavy Ammo is a must, and the value of an extra jump comes down to the player using them. However, for PvP where traversing the environment is usually secondary to engaging its inhabitants, the Bones are even more out-of-place. Bladedancers have the highly appealing Blink which don’t benefit from the “Not Bound By Law” perk, and most Gunslingers couldn’t possibly justify using these over Achlyophage Symbiote or even the Crest of Alpha Lupi.

Yes, they can be fun to stay airborne for longer, and competitive players may find an extra jump conducive to easier flanking. But for the rest of us, this tier is sadly all they deserve.



Eternal Warrior

PvE: Tier 3

Stony-faced and inscrutable, the Eternal Warrior is a top Tier 3 PvE Exotic, but falls a little short of Tier 2 for a couple of reasons. While the INT/DISC split and Inverse Shadow are absolutely ideal, and Infusion an occasional boon when the situation is grim, the Exotic perk is too dull. It provides Unstoppable for Fist of Havoc, which then allows you to select either Shoulder Charge or Juggernaut. The former is fun, but not optimal, and the latter is poorly-designed, forcing you to sprint towards danger in order to be useful.

In the world of Destiny, where close-range death is guaranteed in high-end content, Juggernaut is a novelty at best. In short, the Exotic perk is simply not ‘Exotic’ enough. But if you’re content with the stats and Inverse Shadow, or just want to look horrifying, this helm might be perfect for you.

PvP: Tier 2

In PvP, the Warrior overachieves just to scrape a Tier 2. Essentially, both Unstoppable and Shoulder Charge are much more helpful in the Crucible. Shoulder Charge is the only melee (aside from Flame Shield) that will dispatch an opposing Guardian in one hit – and the cause of much consternation in anyone unlucky enough to be smacked by it. Unstoppable is the answer to Felwinter’s, Matador, Judgment, and Party Crasher, letting you stomach a face full of buckshot and still power through to drop your Fist of Panic Havoc for those crucial kills.

It’s also not bad for those daredevil Death From Above fans who suddenly find themselves the target of every player on the other team before they come crashing down to earth. Inverse Shadow is unfortunately pointless, but INT/DISC never goes out of style.

ACD/0 Feedback Fence

PvE: Tier 3

We had high hopes for these subclass-neutral Gauntlets when House of Wolves was announced, but they ended up falling well short of our expectations. They have a few things going for them, including the interesting Brawler’s Charge, as well as a perfectly fitting INT/STR split – which seemed perfect for a Striker with Amplify – but the rest is disappointing.

Rain Blows lets you punch a little faster, but the Titan melee is risky with its pitiful range. As for the Exotic perk? The Wrath Conductors simply don’t do enough damage. It’ll knock back whatever hits you, but then requires a moment to recharge, where aggressive foes like a Thrall will get in another hit while you’re vulnerable.

Strangely, it’s the Defender who can make best use of these gauntlets. In a bubble with Armor/Blessing of Light, you can finish off those weakened by the damaging pulse, which procs Brawler’s Charge, which helps you get your Ward of Dawn back that much faster. However, Helm of Saint-14 is still a much better option.

PvP: Tier 3

By now, you’re probably well aware of how practical a build focused solely around melee is. While INT/STR is great, Brawler’s Charge, like Scholar’s Draw, is probably going to see very little action – though it’s nice when it procs. Rain Blows can also allow you to win or trade a melee duel, though these are admittedly rare in today’s metagame with the abundance of Shotguns. This point is also why Wrath Conductors are so tricky to make use of. The amount of times in which you’ll be surprised at close range and not immediately die is already low, and a situation in which you deal damage with the Wrath Conductors and are able to finish them off with your own melee is even more rare.

The pulse damage from the Wrath Conductors is not even enough to take down a shield. Still, a little damage is better than no damage at all, which saves these from the doldrums of Tier 4.

Peregrine Greaves

PvE: Tier 3

When we first panned these unequivocally prior to HoW’s release, we were unaware of the prevalence of burns and other modifiers in the Prison of Elders. The introduction of Brawler has saved the Peregrine Greaves from Tier 4 because 4x damage becomes 8x damage, and with the addition of Arc Burn, the Peregrine Greaves actually aren’t bad at all. The pure Intellect is actually ideal for Strikers too, so it’s not all bad. However, if there are no friendly modifiers, by no means should you choose the Peregrine Greaves. Shoulder Charge is a losing strategy without a lot of help, and they’re a (great looking) novelty in most content.

PvP: Tier 3

At the top of tier 3, there are two situations in which the Peregrine Greaves are more than just fancy shoes: Super and Ram counter-play. A Striker using a Shoulder Charge on a Radiant Sunsinger, Arc Blade-wielding Bladedancer, or max-Armor Warlock with the Ram Exotic Helmet will be able to take down these deadly foes before they can wreak havoc on a vulnerable team.

However, as this mandates charging headfirst into their path, it also requires perfect timing and zero fear. Aside from the Exotic perk, extra Heavy Ammo and pure Intellect are positive arguments for its use as well. Again though, the Peregrine Greaves are only ever going to have niche utility, so make sure you’ve got a couple other standby Exotics.


Your Favorite Exotic?

Well, that’s it! No doubt you have a few opinions of your own, so don’t hesitate to let the community know your thoughts. While we include the caveat that all tiering is subjective, we feel the arguments here address the crucial considerations for what makes each of these Exotic pieces powerful or weak. The individual tiers are meant to provide a rough framework for sorting their worth, but it’s the explanation that’s most important.

We wanna hear from you though! Do you think this is a mostly accurate list? What Exotic do you find yourself using the most? Let us know in the comments – and if your argument is persuasive enough, we might even change our minds…