Destiny 2: How to Use Buffs and Debuffs for Max Boss Damage

In the world of Destiny 2, many activities, especially those in the endgame, come down to a confrontation with a strong boss. Figuring out the mechanic necessary to make the boss vulnerable is part of the equation and then doing damage is the other. Players that want to get a leg up on these beefy bosses will want to make sure they are using plenty of buffs and debuffs so that their team is doing max damage. Here’s a breakdown of all the buffs and debuffs in Destiny 2 and how they work.

Empowering Rift (Warlock)

Empowering Rift should be familiar to most players, especially Warlock mains. This ability buffs a circular area and any players that are standing inside of it for 25% extra damage.

Well of Radiance (Warlock)

The Well of Radiance is a new super introduced with Destiny 2: Forsaken that serves like an empowering rift, only its 10% stronger. Any team members that are in the Well of Radiance will receive a 35% buff to damage and the super lasts for 30 seconds.

Guiding Flame (Warlock)

well of radiance super

Guiding Flame is a melee ability for the Attunement of Grace subclass tree that gives any nearby teammates (and the user) a 25% boost to damage for 6 seconds. Warlocks will melee an enemy while their melee ability is charged and everyone nearby should be empowered.

Hammer Strike (Titan)

Hammer Strike (formerly Melting Point in Destiny 1) is arguably the most popular of the debuffs, lasting for 6 seconds and giving 50% extra damage on a single target hit with the melee ability. Run up to a boss with the shoulder charge visual cue and then debuff them for big damage.

Banner Shield (Titan)

Banner Shield gives the team 25% extra damage as long as they shoot through the radius of the blocking animation. But because this buff requires that one player stand and does nothing, it doesn’t offer as much utility for extra damage.

Tether (Hunter)

A Nightstalker’s Tether will give 35% damage to any target trapped in its reach. However, the buff only impacts primary and secondary weapons, so the big damage, power weapons get no benefit from the Tether. This Super is best suited for situations where the team needs to clear enemies or plans to use their Supers for damage. However, single target damage with something like Sleeper Simulant or Whisper of the Worm loses out on any of the benefits of Tether.

Shattering Strike (Hunter)

Shattering Strike is a new ability included with the Way of the Wraith subclass tree on the Nightstalker Hunter. To trigger the ability, the Hunter must first perform a flawless execution, which is a kill while crouched. Once the Flawless Execution timer is active, the player can melee any target and debuff it for 50% damage over 6 seconds.

Tractor Cannon

Tractor Cannon went from a silly weapon to an essential weapon over the course of Destiny 2’s first year. Any target hit by the shotgun’s blast will be debuffed for 11 seconds and weak against all elements. For Void damage, the target will take 50% extra damage and for solar and arc the target will take 35% more damage. Tractor Cannon is arguably the easiest to use of the debuffs but it works best with void damage and most of the best power weapons are solar or arc.

Putting everything together, a fireteam should always try to build up as many buffs as possible without sacrificing DPS. All buffs in Destiny 2 stack except for Empowering Rift and Well of Radiance, which are similar abilities for the same class.

destiny 2 tractor cannon

Then, with a full complement of buffs, the team should apply one debuff – either Hammer Strike or Shattering Strike. This will up the damage by 50% over 6 seconds, which is plenty of time to melt many bosses. Tractor Cannon can come in handy if everyone is using Void weapons, but those situations are few and far between. And most importantly, debuffs do not stack, so choose the one that offers the most bonus damage or cycle between debuffs during a DPS phase (i.e. Hammer Strike first, then Shattering Strike).

With enough buffs, any boss, including the Last Wish raid’s final boss, should melt in a matter of seconds. And for those players that are lower power level, these buffs and debuffs will help compensate for lack of base DPS.

Destiny 2 is available now for PC, PS4, and Xbox One.

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