Published on: Jun 22, 2015 @ 16:47
Note: This subclass has been updated – click here to see the latest talents!
After seeing what the Nightstalker could do, it’s pretty hard to believe another subclass from The Taken King could even come close to its potential, but here we are with Sunbreaker.
Fusion Grenade: Just like the Sunsinger Warlock. Stick an enemy, watch them take immense damage. Smile, laugh, go about your day.
Incendiary Grenade: Donated by our Gunslinger friends. Toss it in a group of enemies, do some immediate but minor burn damage, and count on the AOE to keep the shields down long enough for you to finish them off.
Match Grenade: A curious name belies a powerful grenade option. It essentially acts like the Nightstalker’s Slash Grenade, spewing forth a wall of elemental damage in a straight line. However, while the Hunter wall pops up immediately, the Match Grenade sends wave after wave of Solar energy instead – with much more damage. If you can line it up properly, you’ll have a strong Solar option that can be effective in the Crucible and PvE. Consider it for checking for enemies around corners and halting PvE rushes in their tracks.
Hammer of Sol: After a brief activation animation, you’ll have a flaming hammer available with which to rain fiery death on those who have wronged you. You’ll be on a timer, and each toss will consume a sliver of your Super meter. It’s difficult to say how many tosses you’ll be able to get, as our only gameplay footage had a perk active that skewed our perception.
In Crucible, it’ll easily kill anyone it hits, with even a little bit of wiggle room on your aiming precision. You can also simply swing it as a conventional melee for a free OHKO! Without any PvE damage numbers, it’s hard to get an impression of its potency there, but we can imagine it’ll be ideal for wave-clearance, especially with some of the perks in the latter portions of the tree.
High Noon: The higher your health, the more hammers you can throw and the bigger their impact.
This increases your overall DPS and deadliness by simply giving you more Hammers to work with. It requires a bit of caution and savvy, as you’ll have to be aggressive to take advantage of the extra firepower, but defensive to ensure your health stays high. If you can walk this tightrope, it might be the best perk in the tree, for both PvP and PvE. More hammers with more damage – what more could you want?
Suncharge: Hurl yourself forward, crushing enemies that are close.
It wasn’t unlocked in the video, so we’ll have to rely on the snippets of footage we’ve seen in the various trailers to assess its worth. In a couple of clips, it appears it acts a bit like a Striker’s Fist of Havoc, perfect for doing immediate heavy damage to anyone in close proximity. In one clip, one use of it consumed about half of the Super meter. PvE may see it best used as a panic button, or intentionally to take out one particularly onerous adversary, but you might as well just throw the Hammer from a distance.
Conflagration: Ignite the world, creating Sunspots where your Hammer of Sol impacts.
Having not seen this perk in action either, we have to guess as to how it’ll work. It’s likely each Hammer impact is going to drop a small, damaging, Solar AoE field in the vicinity. There may be a limit as to the amount available at one time, but there may not. By itself, a Sunspot seems best suited for PvE, where enemies are dumb enough to bunch up and stick to their behavior patterns even when being punished. In PvP, control points and other objective areas are prime targets for a well-placed Sunspot.
Sunstrike: It’s a pretty simple Solar punch. It doesn’t appear to have any utility outside of immediate damage with a lingering DoT. We didn’t see nearly enough examples of it to get a strong field impression, but it’s a safe bet that it’ll be similarly balanced to all other melees. Doesn’t look like it gets any extra range, either, which is disappointing for a class that could use some on its melee.
Melting Point: Burn away your target’s defenses. Targets take more damage from you and your allies.
If you can sneak in a free melee hit, you’ll be able to hit your opponents defenses where they’re soft, and leave them open to taking more damage from all incoming fire from yourself and your friends. It seems like it’ll be excellent for PvE, softening up bulky Cabal Centurions or Hive Knights for easy disposal. In PvP, you’ll probably not see it prove to be nearly as good. At such close range, almost all encounters are immediately fatal for either you or your enemy, so a little less DR isn’t going to make a difference. Maybe you can hit a Bladedancer as he kills you, so a teammate can finish him off.
Fulminator: Your Sunstrike melee releases a Solar explosion on hit, igniting enemies within the blast. Kills create a Sunspot around you.
One of the more complex melee options, this looks like just what the Sunbreaker wants to make Strength especially desirable for Titans again. Notice that the Solar explosion is on hit, which may lead to more damage in PvP, and certainly will in PvE. Igniting an enemy has previously meant applying a DoT, and we can’t see that trend being broken here. Finally, if you manage to save it for an enemy with low enough health, a kill will create a Sunspot, which is more Solar AoE to play with. It might be the perk to contend with in PvE.
Stoke the Forge: Natively reduces the cooldown of your Sunstrike melee. Getting a killing blow with Sunstrike instantly recharges it.
It sounds good, and certainly is better than the a Striker’s Overload, but you have to consider what you’re giving up to choose it. No matter how frequently your Special melee is available, it’s only ever going to do a little bit more than a basic melee hit, and always less than a series of well placed headshots from a safe distance. It would be a fantastic perk if it could be combined with either of the two preceding it, and isn’t the worst choice for PvP – where a little extra melee damage widens your OHK range – but forfeiting Melting Point or Fulminator will be a steep penalty.
Fleetfire: Enemies brought down by your fire grant you bonus Agility and Reload Speed for a short time. Stacks up to 3 times.
We’re guessing each stack of this provides +1 Agility. This perk is hard to judge. If you feel you’d find Agility very useful for how you play, then it could be a decent pick in PvE. In PvP, the only time you’ll be stringing together multiple ability kills will be with the Hammer of Sol, so there are better options here. The Reload Speed buff might turn out to be irksome and unpredictable. Chain of Woe can be anticipated and given almost constant uptime, but “fire kills” are much less reliable, and it’ll be hard to establish a rhythm with your favorite guns.
Tempering: Grenade and Melee abilities cool down faster when Hammer of Sol is fully charged.
A very creative perk, that forces you to pick between two great options. Do you want to have your Match Grenades and Sunstrike up quicker, or use the immediate power of Hammer of Sol? Thankfully, if you’re saving your Hammer for a strong enemy or a specific PvP objective that you know is on the horizon, you’ll be rewarded for your patience with an unspecified increase to your cooldowns. If it’s significant, we could see this being great for the Trials of Osiris or any given PvE encounter. Of course, most often you’ll want to just get those hammers flying, to create that positive orb cycle, so this may be a perk you’ll want to swap out regularly as necessary.
Wreathed in Flames: Hammer of Sol lasts longer and you gain an overshield when standing near a Sunspot.
This talent perfectly exemplifies how Bungie has been working to create new subclasses with perks that play off with another, adding to each other’s strengths. Fulminator and Conflagration suddenly become much more appealing with the promise of an overshield every time you’re near one. We’ll have to keep an eye out to see if the overshield persists after leaving the Sunspot, because this would be a boon that would be hard to pass up. Either way, the increased length on Hammer of Sol is a universally strong choice for all Destiny content, assuming that it also means you can throw more hammers. We can’t say it will for sure, as every demonstration of Hammer of Sol has come with High Noon to throw off our analysis.
Flameseeker: Your Hammer of Sol will alter its flight path to seek out your enemies.
We’ve seen this with Angry Magic on Voidwalkers, and Flameseeker and it will very likely follow the same pattern. It’ll be best for PvP, where your enemies are going to actively avoid you, and landing every hammer with perfect accuracy is more important. In PvE, you’ll have more leeway for aim, as most of your enemies are designed to simply stand relatively still and fire on you at all times. The Taken may be a bit more hard to deal with though, so those with shaky throwing arms might appreciate the aim assist. Plus, you get some free Agility.
Cauterize: Enemies brought down by your fire regenerate your health.
This one seems designed to pair with High Noon. Pop your Super with full health, land a hammer while taking a little damage, immediately recover your health, and have more and stronger hammers at your disposal. Assuming that Match Grenades, Sunstrike, and the Sunspots spawned by Hammer of Sol and Sunstrike all count as “fire”, you’re going to have plenty of ways to keep your bar up. Exposure modifier will be trivial – and hey, throw in Red Death for an indomitable Titan to give the Defender a run for his money.
Wildfire: Enemies brought down by your fire explode, catching other nearby enemies on fire.
The last Sunbreaker perk to analyze looks like the Titan’s version of Bloom. If you can land a Hammer and score a kill, your victim will spontaneously combust, doing damage to anyone nearby and igniting any that don’t also die outright. If you’re looking to get the most out of your Hammer in PvE, this is the perk for you. For trash disposal, it will probably have comparable utility to the Gunslinger’s Combustion. If you’re planning on dealing damage to an Ultra or Boss, you’re not going to get anything out of this perk. The best strategy will be to pick on weak or weakened foes and hope to do some residual damage to their tougher friends. In PvP, you might catch a couple oblivious Guardians bunched up, but the travel time on the Hammer of Sol means it won’t be as effective as the near-instantaneous Combustion from Golden Gun. Probably better off with Cauterize or Flameseeker, there.