Hunter buffs are on the way in Destiny 2 season 21

The nimble cloak-clad Guardians are about to get a lot more deadly.

Image via Bungie

Destiny 2’s next season—Season of the Deep—is now less than a month away, and the team at Bungie is full steam ahead on giving the community some tasty little tidbits of what to expect from the balance changes coming alongside it.

Today, in a sizeable preview of the ability tuning dropping next season on May 23, Destiny 2’s combat gameplay team revealed that Hunters will be receiving a plethora of buffs to a variety of underperforming Supers, abilities, and even Aspects. It’s one of the larger shifts in power that the class has undergone in a while, and with notably underused PvE Supers such as Spectral Blades and Arc Staff being a part of the buffs, there’s a lot for Hunters to be excited about.

“Overall, we’re happy with where Hunter Supers sit in high-level PvE gameplay,” Bungie said in its blog. “However, there’s still a few Supers that are lagging behind the rest of the pack that we’d like to address.”

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The Supers in question that Bungie is taking note of are four in particular: Golden Gun, Arc Staff, Spectral Blades, and Gathering Storm. The changes coming to Golden Gun and Arc Staff are the most minor when it comes to the patch, but Spectral Blades and Gathering Storm are undergoing more significant changes to try and make them relevant in both high-end PvE and PvP content, respectively.

Hunter Super changes

  • Golden Gun:
    • Damage in PvE has been increased by 20 percent.
  • Arc Staff:
    • Damage in PvE has been increased by 20 percent.
  • Spectral Blades:
    • Damage in PvE has been increased by 35 percent.
    • The Heavy attack can now weaken targets.
    • An issue has been fixed which caused some Spectral Blade attacks to miss while attacking at the maximum speed.
  • Gathering Storm:
    • Direct damage vs. players has been increased from 200 to 300.
    • Lightning strike damage vs. players has been increased from 300 to 500.
    • Lightning tick damage vs. players has been increased from 40 to 60.
    • Gathering Storm now does bonus damage against Well of Radiance and Ward of Dawn.

When it came to Spectral Blades, Bungie didn’t shy away from its difficult past in PvE. “Spectral Blades has historically been a significant underperformer, so we’re taking a harder swing here,” Bungie said.

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With Gathering Storm, the need for changes came less from a history of issues and more from a cold launch in PvP specifically when it was added in Season of Plunder. “When building Gathering Storm for Arc 3.0, we intentionally required significantly higher player precision on the initial throw to separate its role in combat from Nova Bomb,” Bungie said. “But the current iteration too frequently fails to reward that precision in the Crucible.”

Hunter ability changes

  • Threaded Spike (Strand)
    • The projectile now travels 30 percent farther before beginning its return to the player.
    • Damage against PvE enemies has been increased by 55 percent.
    • The returning dart is now slower to make it easier for the player to catch.
    • The energy gain for catching the dart has been increased.
  • Withering Blade (Stasis)
    • The projectile tracking search range on bounce against players has been increased by 20 percent.
    • The maximum tracking strength has been increased by 12.5 percent.
  • Snare Bomb (Void)
    • The weaken duration on detonation in PvE has been increased from four to eight seconds.
  • Proximity Explosive Knife (Solar)
    • Detonation damage against players has been reduced from 105 to 90.
    • Impact damage against players has been increased from 14 to 20.
  • Weighted Throwing Knife (Solar)
    • For mouse and keyboard, the minimum tracking shape size is reduced by 25 percent and the maximum tracking shape size is reduced by 10 percent.
  • Lightweight Knife (Solar)
    • The tracking shape size has been increased by 20 percent.
    • The projectile speed has been increased from 30 meters to 40 meters per second.

All of these adjustments are part of a wider suite of sandbox changes coming to all three classes. While the Stasis and Strand buffs came with no needed explanation, the updates to the Light 3.0 abilities did come with some more in-depth information. While the targeted buff for Snare Bomb was aimed at further enhancing the capabilities of Void Hunters to engage in “offensive playstyles” and support their allies, the tweaks to all three Solar melee options were a bit more complex in nature.

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“Proximity Explosive Knife and Weighted Throwing Knife (particularly on mouse and keyboard) have dominated the performance charts, with Lightweight Knife struggling to land in its intended role as an easy-to-use melee option,” Bungie said. Therefore, the buffs and nerfs coming to those abilities are about more appropriate adjusting the power band to let the Lightweight Knife shine more in its intended role.

Hunter Aspect changes

  • Trapper’s Ambush
    • Fragment slot allotment increased from one to two.
  • Shatterdive
    • Fragment slot allotment increased from one to two.
  • Gunpowder Gamble
    • Fragment slot allotment increased from one to two.
    • The cooldown has been reduced from 12 seconds to six seconds.

These Aspect upgrades come packaged with Aspect upgrades hitting Titans and Warlocks as well, in direct response to player feedback that buildcrafting has been severely hindered by how “restrictive” single-Fragment-slot Aspects can be.

“Fragment slots are a critical balancing lever that we intend to continue to use to control Aspect potency,” Bungie said. “But we don’t feel that any of the current single-Fragment-slot Aspects are overperforming to the point of restricting them to a single slot, and so with Season 21 we’re increasing them to two.”

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Gunpowder Gamble got an additional dose of love thanks to its place in “too narrow a niche.” Any worries about what it could potentially do are not currently influencing Bungie’s balancing decision for it as the Aspect is still yet to see any widespread usage among the Destiny 2 player base.

While this isn’t the full list of sandbox changes coming with season 21, it’s a hefty-enough list by itself to give players an idea of the significant shifts in power that will be coming with it. When Season of the Deep launches for Destiny 2 on May 23, there’s a real chance we’ll see some previously unloved Hunter subclasses shining in the spotlight for the first time in years.


Alexis Walker
Alexis is a freelance journalist hailing from the UK. After a number of years competing on international esports stages, she transitioned into writing about the industry in 2021 and quickly found a home to call her own within the vibrant communities of the looter shooter genre. Now she provides coverage for games such as Destiny 2, Halo Infinite and Apex Legends.

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