Solar 3.0 Warlock Builds for PVP and PVE
Hello, and welcome to the 3rd edition of “Wow! Solar is a lot better than what everyone thought”.
This article will be discussing the new Solar 3.0 Warlock class.
Although the Aspects the warlock received are nothing new, the class benefits greatly from the new scorch stacking system for a plethora of explosions.
If you are unfamiliar with what scorch stacks and other new solar terms they are right below.
Solar Subclass Terms
A quick burst of healing. This heal is an instantaneous chunk of health that is returned.
Health regeneration that occurs over a short window of time continuously. This is like recovery, but is not interrupted by taking damage.
A weapon damage increase, in PvP this is 10% and PvE this is 25%.
A debuff applied to a target in which they take burn damage. Scorch stacks up to 100 stacks. As stacks of scorch increases, the damage of the burn increases until 100 stacks of scorch are reached in which a target ignites.
A large explosion of solar damage that affects nearby targets.
PvE Build Recommendations
Upon initial release, there was much disappointment that the warlock was not an ideal healer class. This is mostly true, but on the flip side the warlock can deal massive amounts of single target damage and clear low health enemies in a snap. This build is a little less healer, but a lot more fireworks.
- Well of Radiance – Despite being changed from an overshield to damage resistance, this super is still very strong and keeps you and your fireteam alive as well as buffs damage.
- Empowering Rift if using Starfire Protocol otherwise Healing Rift – Later on I will discuss what makes Starfire Protocol so strong, and it is the exotic i recommend most. If you opt not to use it, I recommend using Healing Rift instead.
- Burst Glide – This is the fastest movement ability for the warlock. To move quickly jump normally, then just as you are about to hit the ground double tap the jump ability for a quick burst, and then repeat.
- Incinerator Snap – This ability clears enemies so well with multiple projectiles and grants radiant if using ember of torches for a weapon damage boost.
- Fusion Grenades or Solar Grenades – If using Starfire Protocol use fusions, if using Sunbracers use Solar Grenades. These respective grenades are what synergizes with each exotic.
Touch of Flame
This aspect is fantastic as it greatly buffs your grenades which this class revolves around.
Icarus Dash or Heat Rises
You can go either way here. Icarus Dash gives you some nice mobility if you are in a tough spot while Heat Rises can grant melee energy. The issue with Heat Rises is that you have to use an entire grenade that is buffed by Touch of Flame for just some melee energy.
Ember of Ashes
This increases the number of scorch stacks you apply leading to more ignitions which deal massive amounts of damage.
Ember of Eruption
This increases the area of those ignitions which you will be getting plenty of from the amount of grenades you can throw and the increased scorch stacks from Ember of Ashes.
Ember of Empyrean
This resets the cooldown of restoration and radiant buffs with solar weapon kills. Great for offense and defense.
Ember of Torches
This grants you and allies the 25% radiant damage buff when you use your Incinerator Snap.
Faster rifts and a great stat in general for survivability. You will most likely be healing off of restoration, but nonetheless the stat helps with rift regeneration.
You will be getting grenades very fast, but it can’t hurt to supplement their return if you miss one or your cycle of rifts and grenades gets messed up.
This stat is amazing now due to the damage resistance it gives, and will allow your builds healing to outpace the damage you take.
This is highly recommended and is currently a top exotic in the game for PvE.
This exotic allows you to string together empowering rifts and fusion grenades for endless explosions and is a top method of single target damage. This exotic is quite offensive, but with proper mods listed in the next section, you will have a lot of sources of healing.
This exotic is for the Solar Grenade route. These don’t deal quite the damage the fusion grenades do, but it is a safer option as you do not have to run Empowering Rift to make the exotic work, and can utilize the much safer Healing Rift.
Well of Life
Picking up elemental wells heal you. With one of the next two mods you will have plenty of elemental wells.
Elemental Ordnance and/or Explosive Wellmaker
These are very important to have in conjunction with Well of Life as you will be creating elemental wells all over with grenades, and with well of Life you will be healed, making up for the lack of healing in Empowering rift when running Starfire Protocol.
Ashes to Assets
You have nearly infinite grenades, might as well get your super from them too!
This extremely strong Season 17 mod will turn your Empowering Rift into a combination of a Healing and Empowering Rift.
Font of Might
This synergizes well with Lament and Xenophage for extra damage between grenade tosses.
This mod is by no means necessary, but is nice to have as it will draw elemental wells towards you so you do not have to leave your rift nor Well of Radiance to get the healing and damage boost from elemental wells you create.
This gives grenade energy when using your grenade, helping you get it back even faster.
I am going to break down the usage of Starfire Protocol in this section. What you need to know about Starfire Protocol is that Fusion Grenade kills recharge your rift energy, and empowered weapon damage recharges fusion grenades. General strategy is to use an empowering rift, throw fusion grenades while in the rift with weapon damage in between.
The grenade kills will recycle the rift cooldown and the weapon damage while inside the rift will refund your grenades. A very important tip is that tick damage from a weapon counts as empowered damage. So if you use Witherhoard, Thorn, or Le Monarque the tick damage refunds your grenade back while performing other actions.
Witherhoard is the best of these as it has the longest lasting damage over time, and deals the most damage overall. From there you can lay an Empowering Rift down, Shoot Witherhoard, and throw your grenades as they come off of cooldown.
If Witherhoard expires, shoot another shot, and if your grenade isn’t quite back yet, take out your primary weapon and shoot a few shots. This cycle can then be repeated as long as you make sure you get a kill with a fusion grenade to get back your rift.
That is the offensive side of the build, now for defense. Defense of this build is made possible by the mods in use. Classy Restoration will heal you on Empowering Rift usage, and Ember of Empyrean will extend the restoration duration from the mod on kills.
Even beyond Season 17 or if you don’t have this mod yet, you can use Well of Life and have solar elemental wells heal you that you create. Be sure to increase your restoration timer with kills to keep the healing going.
PvP Build Recommendations
The solar warlock isn’t too different from what we had before the rework in terms of PvP, but it is still in a strong spot due to the movement the class has access to. Healing, movement, and in air accuracy gives a lot of opportunities to outplay opponents on this class.
Daybreak – The multikill potential of this super is still there and with certain fragments can give a lot of value. If playing zone trials you should consider using Well of Radiance due to the lower cooldown and zone control.
Healing Rift – In PvP this is a must choose. The damage boost from empowering is not worth it and Phoenix Dive has too long of a cooldown and has minimal healing. The overshield and area control of Healing rift is too strong to pass up.
Burst Glide – As mentioned in the first section, this movement ability allows you to move the fastest.
Celestial Fire – This ability is a lower damage, but easier to hit Throwing Knife. It’s a great way to finish off a half health enemy just outside of melee range.
Healing Grenade or Firebolt Grenade – Healing Grenade is great to re-engage a fight or to help out teammates. Firebolt is pretty solid in terms of offense, but its most redeeming factor is that it has the lowest cooldown to activate Heat Rises.
When consuming your grenade you get nearly perfect in air accuracy and can float to extreme heights. This allows you to take very off angles in the air that opponents won’t be expecting and allows you to peek over certain structures on the map that no other class can.
This Aspect gives the classic in air dash for warlocks and is a great ability for getting around the map faster and juking out enemies.
Ember of Combustion
This creates an ignition on super kills allowing you to splash damage other enemies and gives a nice bonus to strength for Celestial Fire.
Ember of Blistering
Ignitions give grenade energy, so every super kill gives you free grenade energy once it is complete.
Ember of Solace
This is a good fragment as it extends the effects from Healing Grenade and Classy Restoration if those are being used.
Ember of Beams
This gives a nice intellect bonus and buffs Daybreak greatly by having projectiles track enemies.
Getting back a grenade for general use or Heat Rises is great to have and something to build for.
A great PvP stat in general and is tied to your rift cooldown, a must have for Warlocks.
A fantastic neutral game exotics that increase the handling of weapons and give a boost to melee range.
There isn’t an exotic that can really lean into a certain playstyle so going for a neutral game is usually a good move.
Same idea with this exotic. Sprint faster to get to certain areas of the map faster and it auto reloads weapons on sprint which is a nice aspect if your special ammo weapon is empty and you pick up ammo.
The season 17 mod is going to be everywhere once the player base unlocks it. Take advantage of it, it is very strong and gives you a super healing rift.
Get your rift back faster with this, and it can be doubled up for a greater effect.
Same deal here but with your grenades, grenades are a cornerstone of your kit, so any opportunity to have them more often should be utilized.
What sets this class apart is its movement abilities. Using Heat Rises and Icarus Dash effectively are paramount to getting value from this class. First off I recommend binding your Air Move to a key or button that does not affect your ability to use the directional keys nor joystick.
This will make it such that you can go in any direction with the use of Icarus Dash. For mouse and keyboard binding it to a mouse button or a button you can hit with your thumb is ideal.
When using Heat Rises be sure to stay close to cover if possible because if you are spotted out and not near cover you are a sitting duck. If you are near cover you can Icarus Dash behind it to disengage if you don’t like the fight.
Icarus Dash is great to escape fights when in air, but is also a tool to reposition yourself in close battles to fake out an enemy, kite someone with a shotgun, or get back in cover.
It synergizes very well with a shotgun and Celestial Fire to get closer to a target or get out of a dangerous situation. After using Icarus Dash and still in air Celestial Fire is very effective as it is perfectly accurate midair and the enemy can be finished when you land once again.
The last piece of warlock to talk about is the rift. This is a strong class ability that should be placed on the edge of cover to allow for peak shooting and a safe haven to fall back to for a quick heal to re-engage a fight. It will allow your team to hold down an angle to maintain map control when fighting for ground near a capture point, a revive, or heavy ammo.
After some experimentation, Solar 3.0 turned out to be very strong. The Warlock has a very unique PvE build of endless explosive grenades and still has a strong PvP class-based around movement and unexpected positioning.
Thanks for reading! Check out our other Destiny 2 class guides here.