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Elemental Mechanics

Last Updated: June 25th 2024

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The Final Shape

Subclasses and their elemental mechanics play an integral role in Destiny 2's combat system. In the earliest stages of Destiny's life cycle, elemental damage was very simple as you only benefited from them by pairing them respectively to destroy enemy shields. Match Game was a prevalent modifier in all content in higher difficulty tiers almost forcing you to match them. In the current sandbox, elements and their verbs offer you much more, from buffs and debuffs to threats and surges in Expert lost sectors and Nightfalls. This guide equips you with knowledge of all the subclass mechanics, what they offer, and how to utilize them in combat.


Become a current of Light, moving with blinding speed and amplifying your capabilities. The Arc subclasses focus on using your speed to reach or escape enemies while chaining damage between them. This offers a sort of risk versus reward playstyle without much self healing, but is a very satisfying choice for more aggressive Guardians using Arc elemental mechanics.


While you are Amplified, you gain a massive +50 to Mobility, a 33% increased slide distance, and +40 handling to all weapons for 15 seconds. Additionally, after sprinting for 2.5 seconds, you gain the Sprint Booster buff. This maximizes movement speed, increases your slide distance by 50%, a 25% jump height boost, and 15% damage resistance against enemy combatants. Sprint Booster lingers for 2 seconds after sprinting and even stays around after your Amplified buff runs out. Notable sources of Amplified are Arc multikills and Spark of Volts.


Arc Blind is a very powerful tool that takes your enemies completely out of the fight. Combatants become disoriented and become unable to attack or use abilities while under this effect. Blind is also capable of stunning Unstoppable Champions. Notable sources of Arc Blind are Flashbang Grenade, Disorienting Blow, Spark of Brilliance and Spark of Beacons.


When a combatant is Jolted they chain Arc lightning to other targets when taking damage themselves. This damage reaches up to 8 meters from the source and lingers on a target for 10 seconds. This debuff is suitable for stunning Overload Champions and clearing groups of ads. Weapons rolled with Voltshot, Spark of Shock, Spark of Instinct, and Lethal Current are all capable of applying Jolted.

Ionic Trace

Ionic Traces are the elemental pickup for the Arc subclass. They track to your location and give you 12.5% ability energy to your Grenade and Melee ability and 15% to your Class ability. These Arc traces are created by using Coldheart, Delicate Tomb, Electrostatic Mind, and Spark of Discharge. Warlocks can take extra advantage of this elemental mechanic with Fallen Sunstar equipped.


Feel the blessed heat, scorching foes and rising above the fray. Solar subclasses specialize in damage over time, chaining explosions and wielding the restorative power of the Light. It offers Guardians a very safe, very showy way to engage with their enemies. A "jack of all trades" sort of playstyle, whether you're trying to use its elemental mechanics to play safe and support your fireteam or put out massive amounts of damage to topple bosses.


Scorch is one of the debuffs from this Light subclass and causes afflicted targets to take damage over time. It can stack up to 100x and slowly decays after 4.5 seconds if not reapplied. The higher these stacks get, the stronger the damage becomes. Scorch can be applied by most Solar Grenades and powered Melee abilities. Other sources are weapons rolled with Incandescent, Sunshot, Sol Invictus, Phoenix Dive when paired with Heat Rises, and its stacking effect can be increased with Ember of Ashes.


Once the aforementioned Scorch reaches 100 stacks, it causes an Ignition. This is a large explosion that deals moderate damage in a 10 meter radius from the source and has no damage falloff. After the Ignition, all stacks of Scorch fall off and you cannot reapply more stacks for 1.6 seconds. This Solar effect is useful for stunning Unstoppable Champions and has great ad clear potential. Some sources of Ignitions are Consecration, Gunpowder Gamble, Ember of Combustion and the area of effect can be increased by using Ember of Eruption.


Radiant enhances the power of your equipped weapons, providing a 25% damage buff for 10 seconds. This buff can be increased to 15 seconds when using Ember of Solace. Radiant is useful for piercing the shields of Barrier Champions. Notable sources of Radiant are Well of Radiance, Song of Flame, Ember of Torches, Lightweight Knife, and Acrobat's Dodge.


Mend yourself and nearby allies by applying Cure. Healing 60 HP over 0.1 seconds with a 1 second cooldown before you're able to receive another Cure. However, you can have multiple stacks of it at the same time. Some sources of Cure are Healing Grenade, Heal Clip and Phoenix Dive when paired with Heat Rises.


A heal over time effect, Restoration keeps Guardians in the fight for extended period of time and is not stopped by incoming damage. 1 stack heals for 35 HP/s and 2 stacks for 50 HP/s and can be extended up to 15 seconds while using Ember of Empyrean. Sources of Restoration are Healing Grenade, No Hesitation, Physic, Sol Invictus, and Phoenix Dive when paired with Heat Rises.


Firesprites are the elemental pickup for the Solar subclass and grant 10% grenade energy when collected. They are only created for the person that generated it, linger for 12 seconds and are created by using fragments Ember of Combustion, Ember of Searing, and Ember of Tempering.

Check out our Build Guides for specialized loadouts using all of these Elemental Mechanics.


Embrace the space between, opening doors to distort time and gravity. The Void subclass was the first of the Light subclasses to see the 3.0 overhaul. Void focuses on pulling and pushing enemy combatants and drawing on their life force to bolster your own. This once controversial power of the Light has multiple elemental mechanics to weaken your foes and is able to do so from the shadows, providing a safe yet effective playstyle.


Enemies under the effects of Suppression are removed from any active ability and cannot cast another one for 10 seconds. Suppression Minor and Elite combatants are also disoriented and cannot fire their weapons. This distorting Void ability is effective against Overload Champions and allows you to retreat safely from enemy fire. Sources of Suppression are Suppressor Grenade, Shield Bash, Shadowshot: Deadfall, Shadowshot: Moebius Quiver and Tractor Cannon.


Void Weaken impairs enemies with a debuff that causes Guardians to deal 15% more damage to them. Sources of Weaken are Snare Bomb, Child of the Old Gods, and Echo of Undermining. This debuff is increased to 30% when caused by Shadowshot: Deadfall, Shadowshot: Moebius Quiver, Tractor Cannon or Felwinter's Helm. These 2 debuffs are independent and the larger debuff is used in the case that both are applied.


A Void Titan specialty, Volatile enemies explode with a radius of 7 meters after taking 190 HP of damage. Volatile Rounds are effective at bringing down Barrier Champion's shields, stunning them after it breaks. You can gain Volatile Rounds in your Void weapons by using Echo of Instability. Notable sources of Volatile are Echo of Instability, Destabilizing Rounds, Controlled Demolition, and Hunters using Gyrfalcon's Hauberk.


Feed off the life force of your enemies with Devour. Activating this Light buff heals Guardians for 100 HP and it lasts for 10 seconds. This timer can be increased to 15 seconds by using Echo of Persistence. Kills while Devour is rolling also heal you, grant Grenade ability energy and refreshes the timer by 5 seconds. Some sources of Devour are Feed the Void, Echo of Starvation, and Buried Bloodline. Warlocks taking advantage of Feed the Void are healed to full instead of the base 100 HP making it one of the strongest elemental mechanics for self preservation.


Invisibility is a key aspect of Void Hunters. This buff grants the user a multitude of benefits including removing enemy combatants ability to track you, reducing radar range effectiveness, removing homing projectile tracking, and increasing your overall survival while in a thick gunfight. The downside to Invisibility is that any offensive ability, whether it's shooting your gun or throwing a grenade, instantly removes your cloak. It's overall timer can be increased while using Echo of Persistence. Sources of Invisibility are Echo of Obscurity, Trapper's Ambush, and Vanishing Step.


Overshield shrouds you in a protective barrier of Void Light with a max of 45 HP, reducing the damage taken from enemy combatants by 50%. Any damage done to Void Overshield does not stop passive health regeneration. The effect of Overshield is extended while Echo of Persistence is equipped, but gets overwritten by things like the Overshield gained from a Healing Rift. Sources of Overshield are Repulsor Brace, Bastion, and blocking with Vexcalibur.

Void Breach

Void Breaches are the elemental pickup for the Void subclass. These pickups remain visible for 25 seconds, are exclusive to the creator, and provide Class ability energy upon collection. Void Breaches are created by using Echo of Cessation and Echo of Domineering.


Reality is chaotic and unruly; bind it and bring order. Stasis was the first time we as player Guardians wielded the power of the Darkness. Wielding the icy tool of destruction allows you to slow your enemies down, detain them in fractured ice and shatter them into pieces. Gifted to us in the form of a Splinter from the Exo Stranger, Stasis was the introduction to deeper elemental mechanics and the start of reshaping subclasses as a whole.


The two main effects of Slow on enemy combatants are a 40% movement speed reduction and an overall accuracy penalty to their weapons. Overload Champions become stunned upon receiving any amount of Slow stacks. This debuff is only the beginning to crowd control while using Stasis. Some common ways to apply Slow are Duskfield Grenade, Bleak Watcher, Winter's Shroud, Whisper of Reversal, Ager's Scepter, and Chill Clip.


Upon reaching 100 stacks of Slow, enemy targets Freeze for 6 seconds. Frozen enemy combatants take increased damage from all weapons and abilities. This is one of the most powerful crowd control traits available to Guardians. You can Freeze enemies with Coldsnap Grenade, Glacier Grenade, Iceflare Bolts, Chill Clip, Penumbral Blast, and Frostpulse. This is useful against Barrier Champions because it prevents them from creating a shield.


Continuing down the chain of Stasis elemental mechanics, after enemies are Frozen, they can be Shattered. Dealing enough damage to a Frozen target creates a Shattering explosion that deals up to 400 damage to any nearby targets. Unstoppable Champions are stunned upon receiving any amount of this Shatter damage. Dealing damage to a Frozen target is your main source of causing them to Shatter, but Hunters can also use Shatterdive.

Stasis Crystal

Creating Stasis Crystals is paramount for any Stasis user. These solidified pillars of Stasis matter last up to 15 seconds and Freeze nearby targets. Destroying these Crystals deals up to 175 damage within 8 meters and are another target for Shatterdive. You can create Stasis Crystals with Glacier Grenade, Verglas Curve, Salvation's Grip, and Titans utilizing Hoarfrost-Z. Hunters can create a small Stasis Crystal with a Duskfield Grenade while Touch of Winter is equipped.

Frost Armor

Frost Armor is a new addition to the Stasis subclass. This buff grants users 4.5 damage resistance per stack, up to a 22.5% total reduction with 5 stacks lasting for 9 seconds. This stack amount can be increased to 8 for a 36% damage resistance when using Whisper of Rime. There are many ways to increase the benefits of Frost Armor such as Whisper of Chains, Whisper of Torment, and Whisper of Reversal. Some ways to gain Frost Armor are Whisper of Fractures, Grim Harvest, Tectonic Harvest, and Glacial Harvest.

Stasis Shard

Stasis Shard are the elemental pickup for the Stasis subclass. These small crystals last for 30 seconds and grant 10% or 50% depending on the size of the collected pickup. This is increased to 17.5% and 75% when using Whisper of Hunger. Unique to the Light subclass pickups, your allies can also see the Stasis Shards that you create. Stasis Shards can track to your position when you're equipped with Whisper of Conduction. Notable ways to create Stasis Shards are Whisper of Chains, Whisper of Chill, Grim Harvest, Tectonic Harvest, and Glacial Harvest.


Discover hidden connections. Fashion them into whatever you desire. Manipulate the battlefield by becoming one with The Weave, using its threads to control all living beings and minds connected to it. After training with Osiris on Neomuna, Guardians unlocked the ability to harness Strand. This Darkness subclass offers you a good blend of survivability, crowd control, debuffing, and damage overtime. The Strand subclass requires access to the Lightfall DLC to unlock.


Unravel is a damage over time debuff that causes the afflicted to release seeking threads to nearby enemies upon taking damage. These threads deal 29 damage per second for 9 seconds and spreads the debuff continuously. Thread of Propagation grants your Strand Unraveling Rounds that not only apply the debuff, but is capable of destroying Barrier Champion's shields. Notable ways to apply Unravel are Unraveling Rounds, Arcane Needle, and Flechette Storm.


Sever applies a debuff to enemy combatants that reduces their damage output by 40% for 10 seconds, increased to 15 seconds when using Thread of Continuity. Some sources of Sever are Thread of Isolation, Threaded Spike, and Frenzied Blade.


The crowd control elemental mechanics of the Strand subclass, Suspend holds your targets in the air for 5 seconds, preventing them from moving, shooting, or using abilities. Suspension stuns Unstoppable Champions and prevents Barrier Champions casting their shields. You can Suspend enemies with Shackle Grenade, Drengr's Lash, Mindspun Invocation, Ensnaring Slam, The Wanderer, and Thread of Binding.


Threadlings are creatures woven from Strand matter that seek out and deal up to 338 damage to nearby enemies. Thread of Evolution causes Threadlings to deal more damage the further they have to travel. Warlocks have the innate ability to have these minions "perch" on them, saving them for later use. Some ways to create Threadlings are Thread of Finality, Threadling Grenade, Weaver's Call, Threaded Specter, Hatchling, and Euphony.

Woven Mail

To mitigate damage while using Strand, Guardians can don Woven Mail, providing a 45% damage resistance for 10 seconds. This buff does not affect precision damage and melee abilities. Sources of this woven armor are Thread of Warding, Into the Fray, and Hunters using Cyrtarachne's Facade.


After killing an enemy afflicted with a Strand debuff, a Tangle is created. This elemental pick up can be see by friendly Guardians and lasts up to 20 seconds. When you throw Tangles at enemies or destroy them, they explode dealing up to 420 damage to targets within 5 meters. Grappling onto a tangle fully refunds your Grenade ability energy and Guardians can also create a Tangle by using Thread of Transmutation.


Transcend the divisions and limitations of Light and Darkness. Prismatic pulls elemental mechanics from all the Light and Darkness subclasses and combines it into an incredibly powerful amalgamation. Popping Transcendence transforms your Grenade ability and increases your ability regeneration. Hunters have Hailfire Spike which Slows and Scorches. Titans have Electrified Snare that Suspends and Jolts. Warlocks have a Freezing Singularity which Slows and Suppresses. Some of the other elemental mechanics available to Prismatic are Volatile and Unraveling Rounds from Facet of Bravery, rapid defeats and Super ability final blows create an elemental pickup with Facet of Awakening, or Facet of Dawn making you and teammates Radiant. Facet of Purpose grants Amplified, Restoration, Frost Armor, Woven Mail, or Overshield depending on your equipped Super. The Prismatic subclass requires The Final Shape DLC to unlock.

Check out our Prismatic Fragment Guide to unlock the whole of the subclass and utilize all of the elemental mechanics available to it.


There is a large focus using elemental mechanics during combat in Destiny 2 and you want to know them well to ensure your success.

  • Arc provides you with Amplified, Jolted, Blind, and Ionic Traces.
  • Solar grants Cure, Restoration, Scorch, Ignition, Radiant, and Firesprites.
  • Void delivers Suppression, Weaken, Volatile, Devour, Invisibility, Overshield, and Void Breaches.
  • Stasis benefits are Slow, Freeze, Shatter, Stasis Crystal, Frost Armor, and Stasis Shards.
  • Strand gives you Unravel, Sever, Suspend, Threadlings, Woven Mail, and Tangles.
  • Prismatic pools mechanics from all of the other elements through Transcendence and some of its available fragments.


Written by: SquirrelyDan

Reviewed by: ShieldMaiden, Tenkiei

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