Best subclasses for Destiny’s Crucible playlists

We analyzed the best Guardian subclasses for each of the permanent Crucible playlists on Destiny.

Are you losing on the weekly Crucible playlist in Destiny? Having trouble in Iron Banner based on which game type it uses this month? Want to grind Crucible wins but find yourself on the bad end of more than half your games?

We’ve compiled a list of the best subclasses both with analysis and outside sources to give you an edge.

Naturally, your weapons and armor will play just as large a role in whether you can hack it in Crucible, but at least you’ll have our subclass rankings as an easy starting point to get you on the right track. (For Guardian and gear management, check out our sister site Gamer Launch’s Destiny API.)



  • Gunslinger
  • Sunbreaker

Gunslinger is one of the best subclasses for Rumble. Since you’re primarily going to see enemies one or two at a time, it’ll be easy to clean them up with your super and move on.

Also, Rumble has the unique setup where all five other players are your enemies. You can take advantage of your fast-twitch skills and pull the trigger the moment you see another Guardian rather than picking friends from foes.

Sunbreaker can also break multiple skulls, given that you opt for the perk that returns health when you get a kill with your super hammers. One of the important things to remember with this subclass in Rumble is to start your super before a fight, not during it. The charging time is long enough that a crossfire will kill you before you can sling a single fiery tool at anyone.



  • Stormcaller
  • Gunslinger

Clash is the all-out war almost everyone craves. With six players on both teams, no revives, and no objectives, the real goal is just to kill more often than you are killed. Almost any subclass aside from Defender can be viable here, but we will mention the ones that tend to perform well.

The Stormcaller has no problem making enemies regret their group efforts to take down your team, especially in tight spaces or around corners. Short of using a Nightstalker or Striker super ability, the best thing to do against a Stormcaller at short range is probably to run. Yes, you can take them down, but you usually won’t, and you’re just adding to the orbs the Stormcaller drops to empower his allies for a second wave of woe.

At range, you can easily headshot a Stormcaller to death, but a good Stormcaller knows not to give you that option.

The Gunslinger is the long-range answer to the Stormcaller’s close-quarters strength. Keep the other team at arm’s length, and then punish them brutally for showing their faces during your super ability. With the Clash gametype being all about getting more kills than deaths, the Gunslinger is the best option to simply take a few opponents down fast from a distance before suffering a swift death of your own.

And if all the Gunslinger’s strength wasn’t already enough, remember to throw down your tripmine grenades for the most satisfying way to kill your opponent and make him want to stop playing Destiny altogether.



  • Striker
  • Bladedancer

With only three enemies to fight and mostly small maps on the playlist, Strikers can rock the Shoulder Charge ability for some one-hit kills. Plus, with extra points being awarded for reviving dead allies, it helps that one of the Striker’s arc grenades can deny access to those Ghosts for at least five seconds straight.

Possibly equal in power on these small maps is the Bladedancer. With arguably the most versatility and utility of any subclass, the Bladedancer can simply adjust to counter whatever the enemy brings to the table. Blink out of the way of Shoulder Charges, cancel your opponent’s super at close range with your own, or simply use your agility to never get caught.



  • Defender
  • Nightstalker
  • Striker

Control is one of the only player-versus-player (PVP) environments where Defender makes sense. With the Defender’s super ability, you can lay down a bubble that’s literally the same diameter as the objective -- and with two armor buffs to choose from, you can either fight inside or outside your territory to take the objective.

Plus, the duration is long enough to both neutralize and capture the objective all at once. Sure, there are some strong shotgun or melee choices your opponent could make to put you down, but you should equip yourself with the same resources. You also share your bubble buffs with your allies.

Obviously, you may not end up with the most points on your team, but you’ll consistently find that the team with the Defender wins the most often, and that’s more important than individual score.

The real issues are the Nightstalker and Striker super abilities. If you see that the other team has a Nightstalker, either charge your super before he can, or wait until he blows his big purple arrows on someone else. The Nightstalker super turns off your Defender bubble, leaving you naked with a wasted super. Hopefully you weren’t taunting inside your bubble when he cracked you open.

The Striker super is a little easier to counter, as he has to get all the way inside your bubble to effectively kill you and turn your power off. Beware though: he can wipe your whole team if they’re counting on your protection on the control point.

Plus, the Striker and Nightstalker are great even if they’re not countering a Defender. If the enemy team groups up on a point, both subclasses are made to punish them for their proximity.



  • Sunbreaker
  • Stormcaller

While Salvage is territorial and objective-based like Control, the strategies are very different. Teams are smaller, and you don’t have to stand on the objective to capture it.

Sunbreaker is a great subclass because you’ll have only three enemies (rather than the possible six in some other PvP games) ganging up on you to take you down before your super ends. Once you’ve wiped up all of them, you can take objectives with relative ease. You’ll also drop more orbs for it, which your team needs with the orb shortage that comes with fewer teammates.

Stormcaller has the same advantages. Normally vulnerable to a six-man counter effort, the Stormcaller can clean up and take objectives.



  • Voidwalker
  • Nightstalker

Rift is a strange game type. With its long respawn timer, you can’t simply kill and be killed and still expect your team to win. The key is killing the enemy team all at once without dying yourself and using agility to take the spark home. Voidwalker and Nightstalker can both deliver on these goals.

“It’s always about getting kills without dying!” you might argue.

This is true, but if you’re a Striker running around reliably killing one to three enemies at a time, you’ll never wipe the enemy team. Plus, with the Titan class, the goal is usually armor and recovery, not agility. You’ll rarely be in the right place at the right time, and you can’t carry the spark fast enough to make a difference.

Voidwalker’s Nova Bomb provides just the simple, ranged, deadly super required to take out half the enemy team with the right timing. Since the enemy will already be coming to you whether you have the spark or you’re defending from it, you’ll always have a large target.

Oh yeah, and in a playlist where getting past enemies is clutch, you can literally blink through enemy fire as the Voidwalker.

Nightstalkers have another super move that can make your opponent’s team obsolete, especially when all 12 players are generally in the same place at once. Fire a Shadowshot into a choke point or group of enemies and let your team do the cleaning.

Whatever perks you use to modify your Shadowshot, you can generally put at least half the enemy team out of commission all at once.



  • Sunsinger
  • Striker

The Elimination playlist is really the toughest of all Crucible options. You can’t just gun people down and then die. Revives, team composition, and resource management count here.

That being said, the best subclass for Elimination is Sunsinger. In a game where the entire goal is to kill all of the enemy players at one time, Sunsinger (with the Fireborn perk active) literally lets you come back from the dead.

Find yourself getting a mutual death with an enemy? Bring yourself back to win uncontested. Get killed with only one enemy remaining? Revive yourself with full health and use your empowered melee and grenade abilities to stomp them out.

For the all-purpose fighter who doesn’t have to rely solely on his super ability, the Striker is pretty great. Usually having enough armor to survive a sniper shot (knowing that snipers dominate the playlist), Strikers can outlive Warlocks and Hunters to fight another day.

Plus, just by closing the gap on ranged enemies, you can make them regret their marksman builds as you slap them with Shoulder Charges, Storm Fist melees, and shotgun blasts to the face. With super abilities appearing generally less in Elimination than in other playlists, this tendency to rely on other subclass strengths is powerful.

Trial and error is key

Do you have a favorite class that breaks the meta for a certain playlist? Are you so skilled that your class doesn’t even matter? Do you disagree with the logic behind these subclass rankings?

Comment below and let us know.