Facing The Prison of Elders as a Warlock
Destiny‘s latest expansion, House of Wolves, is out and it brought a few new challenges along with it. The biggest new challenges is the Prison of Elders. This is an activity that sends a fireteam of three guardians deep into a prison under the reef. Inside the prison, players will come across some of the toughest criminals in the entire universe.
Preparation for the Prison of Elders requires a lot of planning when it comes to just figuring out how to properly play as part of team. But, fine tuning your guardian for optimal performance is just as important. The Prison of Elders requires flexibility due to random modifiers, as well as players covering specific roles when the situation calls for it.
To that end, we’ve put together a guide to help get your Warlock into fighting shape. We will cover both the Sunsinger and Voidwalker classes, as well as provide some tips to play either aggressively or in a more supportive role. Equipment, specifically armor, will also be covered in order to even better fine tune the experience players are seeking.
Being a master of all trades within the Prison of Elders will make your guardian a must-have addition to any fireteam, so let’s get started.
Set The Prison of Elders Ablaze As a Sunsinger
The Sunsinger is a great subclass in Destiny. Some would even go as far as to say that it is one of the absolute best classes in House of Wolves for activities such as the Prison of Elders. Its armor, recovery, and Solar alignment make the Sunsinger a powerful contender within the Prison of Elders’ many arenas. What makes this particular subclass even greater is its ability to serve well as a death dealing offensive class that can get into the fight, as well as an amazing support class for when the going gets a little too rough.
In order to select the abilities that are right for you, and the role you wish to play, you must first decide what that role is. Do you want to lead the charge and be a dealer of death? Or would you rather hang back and cover your teammates as they deal with the bigger baddies? Depending on how you want to play, follow the suggestions for that play-style. Also feel free to mix it up if you’d be more comfortable with something in the middle.
Sunsingers are incredibly powerful, and have several abilities that allow them to turn up the heat on their enemies in a serious way. That allows for this particular subclass to lead the charge in the Prison of Elders, although it requires a few specific tweaks that will keep a Warlock running Sunsinger in the fight longer.
Since playing aggressively means you’ll find yourself on the receiving end of some powerful gunfire during the Prison of Elders, you’re going to want to make sure that your Warlock can take the heat. Divine Order and Arcane Spirit are must have abilities for aggressive Sunsingers since they provide a nice buff to both Armor and Recovery, although they leave you with a pretty low Agility rating. To counteract the loss in Agility, utilize the Balanced Glide ability to at least provide some solid movement while in the air.
For offensive abilities there are a few options that will have a Warlock burning through hordes of enemies inside the Prison of Elders. Viking Funeral makes the Ignite ability of the Scorch attack last longer as well as lower the defense of the affected enemy. Touch of Flame adds the Ignite effect to grenades making Viking Funeral even more useful in an aggressive build. Throw in Brimstone for good measure in order to have Scorched enemies explode, taking down their buddies right along with them. You can wrap the package up with Fusion Grenades since they deal more damage when they stick to a target. This build will make a Warlock the nightmare of every major and ultra enemy in the Prison of Elders.
As far as Radiance goes, Fireborn is still the best ability modifier even on an aggressive build due to the hectic nature of the Prison of Elders. On higher difficulties a timer is put on revives (like the raids) making the ability to instantly pick yourself up invaluable.
This build will leave the Warlock a bit on the slow side, making it less desirable for the bomb diffusal challenge, but it can definitely hold its own during every other part of the Prison of Elders.
As useful as an aggressive Sunsinger is during the Prison of Elders activity, having one in a supportive role can be just as helpful (if not more so). While the Warlocks lack the speed and stealth of a class such as the Hunter’s Bladedancer, they are still very capable in covering their fireteam and achieving those clutch revives.
To maximize the supportive Sunsinger’s potential, Arcane Force and Ancestral Order will provide the balance necessary for revive runs, and the ability to hold off waves of additional enemies as the Warlock’s teammates deal with the bigger foes. Focused Burst will add an extra bit of speed to the Glide ability to allow the Sunsinger to cover ground quicker and get to downed ally with haste.
Attacks should be focused more on crowd control so the Warlock could easily eliminate most basic enemies with ease, to keep the bigger damage dealers from getting swarmed. Gift of the Sun, along with either the Solar or Firebolt Grenade, make for excellent crowd control. The Solar Grenade is perfect for keeping enemies from swarming doorways and creating choke points. While the Firebolt Grenade helps to pick off enemies hiding behind cover, without putting the Warlock itself at risk. Flame Shield is also recommended for the Scorch ability. During support runs, you’ll want to have that extra level of protection, especially if your buddy’s orb is surrounded.
Keeping Fireborn as the Radiance skill is a must, along with the Radiant Will perk. This will make sure you’re able to dish out a bit of extra grenade damage when you return from the grave, as well as allow you to survive the more tricky revive and supply runs.
Using the Sunsinger in this way will make sure there are never too many additional enemies (adds) on the screen. The extra speed and agility will make running for objectives much more of a viable option than with the aggressive build. In arenas such as the Fallen and Vex arena, where there are more hiding spots, the supportive Sunsingers grenades will prevent flanking, while also allowing easier movement.
Show the Prison of Elders the Light of the Void
What the Voidwalker lacks in flames, it more than makes up for in the sheer amount of area it can cover with its attacks. This subclass is also equipped with some powerful abilities that make the Warlock a force to be reckoned with when backed into a corner. Its lack of self-revive may make some overlook the Voidwalker, but rest assured that any Warlock that wields the dark light of the void is not to be underestimated.
Just like with the Sunsinger subclass, your skill selections will revolve primarily around the role you desire to play in your Prison of Elders fireteam. The Voidwalker can easily fill in any position, although it should be noted that it is best used in the supportive role in terms of defending an area. Of course, that doesn’t mean that this subclass can’t hold it’s own when stepping into the fray with some of the Prison of Elders more nefarious enemies.
Since the Voidwalker can’t come back to life at will, doing battle with the tougher enemies in the Prison of Elders will require abilities that focus on keeping your Warlock’s health up. Perks such as Arcane Spirit and Divine Order drastically increase a Voidwalkers Armorand Recovery stats. When combined with the Life Steal and Embrace the Void perks, you have a Voidwalker with an uncanny ability to heal.
Now that the whole staying alive issue is dealt with, it’s time to dish out the damage. For an aggressive build, Warlock players are going to want to go with the more focused skills and perks. While the Voidwalkers wider attacks are certainly useful, if you want to stand a chance again ultras and majors in the Prison of Elders, you’re going to want more bang for you buck.
Skills like Embrace the Void, Annihilate, and Vortex turn the Voidwalkers Nova Bomb into a one-stop shop for all your death dealing needs. Trapping powerful enemies and continuously draining their life force will keep enemy numbers to a minimum while also helping out those in a more supportive role. This combination is especially useful within the Prison of Elders’ Vex arena, where there are a lot of Void shields to deal with.
Although the Voidwalker may have some problems outside of the Vex arena due to the greater frequency of Arc and Solar shields, its ability to continuously do damage (and lot’s of it) without a gun is absolutely great. Just make sure to bring solid Arc and Solar weapons to balance out its flaws.
The supportive role in the Prison of Elders is what the Voidwalker was made for. The way a Voidwalker Warlock can clear a crowd is something beautiful.
It all starts with the Scatter Grenade. This little beauty explodes into a bunch of smaller grenades that cover a pretty sizable area, allowing a Voidwalker Warlock to quickly, and quite easily, eliminate large groups of weak enemies. Getting swarmed by the Hive? Grenade. Bunch of Dregs and Vandals charging at you? Grenade. Your teammate is getting surrounded and they’re running out of ammo? Grenade.
Next comes the Nova Bomb. When playing in a more supportive role, players will want to give their Nova Bomb the ability to cover as wide a range as possible. The perks Shatter, and Angry Magic are necessary for this, they allow for the Nova Bomb to split, and seek out enemies respectively. Due to the size of the arenas, and the nature of the boss fights within the Prison of Elders, this modified Nova Bomb can potentially clear all weaker adds, and send the strong ones running. Whole swathes of enemies (be they Fallen, HIve, Vex, or Cabal) will be wiped off of the battlefield, making it easier for teammates to deal with a boss.
Add in the Soul Rip perk for the Energy Drain ability, and the Voidwalker will be able to throw out Nova Bombs more often, provided that they can find a melee target. Bloom is also a great addition since it can lead to a chain reaction of exploding enemies, although using Embrace the Void instead will allow you to reap the benefits of Soul Rip from afar.
Since supporting roles are better for covering doorways due to the relatively small areas in the Prison of Elders, Bloom may be the best option since you’ll have plenty of opportunities to get up close and personal. Also enemies tend to bunch up, especially in the more difficult versions of the Prison of Elders. Crowd control is always a good thing.
Although void shields aren’t the most common shield in the Prison of Elders, the amount of battlefield coverage the Voidwalker can supply is still worthy of praise. It may not be built for revive runs, nor can it throw up a protective shield, but it can keep an entire army at bay, and cover passages better than anyone.
Class and skills are extremely important in the Prison of Elders activity. They help to determine your role, and add balance and diversity to your fireteam. In order to maximize the impact of your choices though, there are specific equipment that really help to refine your play style.
For the sake of this guide we’re going to focus on the exotics. Keep in mind though that there are plenty of other legendary armor that also carry some really neat buffs. But, since you can only equip once exotic at a time, we’re going to help you pick the best one.
Heart of the Praxic Fire (Chest Armor)- This armor is perfect for both aggressive and supportive Warlocks. It switches the grenade regeneration to overdrive during Radiance, allowing Warlocks to throw a seemingly endless string of grenades thanks to the Praise the Sun perk. Also, it increases the maximum ammo limits for Fusion Rifles and Heavy Weapons.
Purifier Robes (Chest Armor)- The ability to have both melee and grenade abilities charge one another is invaluable in the Prison of Elders. Having a spare grenade, or a Scorch Flame Shield ready for tight spots can often spell the difference between life and death. Throw in the ability to stun enemies when triggering Radiance and you have armor that can get you out of almost any tight spot in the Prison of Elders.
Obsidian Mind (Helmet)- This helmet increases both Intellect and Strength, allowing for more Nova Bombs and grenades. It also has the ability to use the kills of one Nova Bomb to charge the next one, and when used correctly, can allow for back to back room clearing supers.
The Ram (Helmet)- This helmet is a must-have for one reason alone. Every Voidwalker melee attack is granted the Life Steal ability, making surviving in the Prison of Elders that much easier.
Light Beyond Nemesis (Helmet)- Light Beyond Nemesis is an excellent exotic for two reasons. First, it allows a Warlock to heal a sizable amount of health by picking up Orbs of Light. Two, it allows for almost instant revives. This makes it a perfect exotic to equip for those looking to be a bit more supportive in the Prison of Elders. Most of the time, a fallen guardian will be in a less than pleasant location, so the ability to revive almost without stopping at all is a huge benefit.
Claws of Ahamkara (Gauntlets)- The greatest advantage offered by these Warlock Gauntlets is The Whispers perk. It grants a second charge to all melee abilities. That’s double the Scorch or Energy drain which adds tons of new possibilities. Do you keep two Life Steals in your pocket? Or do you have a backup Flame Shield for when things get really hairy.
Outside of Exotic armors, you may want to consider your Warlock’s stats in general. The most useful Warlock skills within the Prison of Elders are the super and melee attacks. For those you will want to increase both your Intellect and Strength. This goes for both Aggressive and Supportive builds, having a super helps keep you alive and control the battle, and with the healing/shielding capabilities of the melee attacks, a high Strength Stat will be invaluable.
So there you have it. You now have the tips and tricks to tailor your Warlock to the Prison of Elders’ high standards. What subclass will you run with? Leading the charge, or covering everyone’s back? Let us know in the comments. As always, safe travels guardian.