For those of you who want to know the result of the build before reading the entire guide, skip ahead to The Nuclear Option section where I break down all the benefits you gain and the effects of the build. If it appeals to you, then go through the guide to see how it’s done.
With that out of the way, let’s get into the flame-grilled meat and potatoes!
Sol Invictus & Roaring Flames
Ember of: Torches, Solace, Ashes, & Eruption.
SUPER, BARRICADE & GRENADES
Any Super, any Grenade, and any Barricade will work fine with this build. Personally I prefer to use Hammer of Sol, Solar Grenade and Rally Barricade, especially as I run this build with Loreley Splendor. The exotic isn’t at all necessary as it doesn’t affect the synergy at all, but we’ll get more into this stuff in The Final Form section.
Throwing Hammer, and this is absolutely crucial.
With the Ember of Torches, powered melee hits will grant you and any friendly players within a small AoE of you Radiant, which is a 20% weapon damage buff. With the Throwing Hammer, picking up the hammer will always refresh it completely, even if you missed the actual throw. Since the Ember only requires a hit to trigger, you will gain Radiant any time you hit any enemy with the Throwing Hammer, regardless of whether or not you kill them. It will still work if you do kill them, more on that later. This means that you can quite easily maintain a 100% uptime on Radiant for you and your fireteam, and you’ll have 15 seconds to refresh it with Ember of Solace equipped. This 100% Radiant uptime is what will allow The Final Form to become, frankly, positively ridiculous.
Currently, two fragments are locked until we as a community complete enough Containment activities on the Leviathan. One of these Fragments in particular is what we’re after:
When this Ember of Char is released, we replace the currently equipped Ember of Solace. Since We can maintain a 100% uptime via refreshing our Throwing Hammer through picking it up, the extra duration isn’t strictly necessary. It does mean that you will have a bit less leeway and you have to be on the ball with ability and enemy management, ensuring that your hammer is ready to make friends with some poor sod that hasn’t already been shot or exploded. Yet.
Additionally, you could replace Ember of Ashes with Ember of Empyrean. However, since you’ll just have equipped a Fragment that spreads Scorch, maximising that via Ember of Ashes will make for a very powerful combination. An added bonus is that Ember of Ashes doesn’t cost you 10 Resilience, as Empyrean comes with a -10 penalty to Resilience. With the buff Resilience got whereby more Resilience grants you PvE damage reduction, it’s a meaningful choice that you will have to experiment with to see what you prefer.
You’ll want the following, distributed among any of your Armor. Do not put any of these mods on your Class Item, you will need 2 slots and at least 9 Energy for Artifact Mods.
1x Melee Wellmaker
1x Font of Might
The damage buff from Font of Might stacks with the Radiant Effect.
Those are the two mods you need, but I also run the following:
1x Elemental Armaments
1x Well of Life
1x Harmonic Siphon
CLASS ITEM MODS
From the final column of the Artifact, you want to equip:
Rays of Precision & Solar Fulmination
If your Class Item is Masterworked, add a 1 energy +5 Stat mod to fill out one of your stats.
How to make the Bomb Tic
All you need to add to this mixture for all hell to break loose, is a Solar energy weapon that preferably uses primary ammunition. I am going to make two very specific recommendations that are not all that easy to get for most players, but be assured that this works with any Legendary weapon that fits the description.
Personally, I run this build with Tarrabah, or Vex Mythoclast if I’m doing something where it’s a bit too dangerous to close to SMG range. However, with Rally Barricade gaining a near-permanent uptime via Loreley Splendor, it isn’t much of an issue. Just something to keep in mind.
If you want an exotic that adds even more explosion per explosion, you can always run Sunshot. However, I’d strongly recommend running a Legendary weapon with a damage perk instead, like any Solar auto rifle with something like Rampage, Swashbuckler, Frenzy etc. All of you who farmed up a good The Summoner have an excellent opportunity to put it to use here, but all you’re really looking for is a weapon that does these two things:
1. Kills enemies via Solar precision damage.
2. Uses primary ammunition. This build is about uptime, you don’t want the uptime to go to waste by running out of Solar ammunition.
This is the order of operations you need to go through to set us up the bomb:
1a. Hit or kill any target with your Throwing Hammer to become Radiant. Collect your hammer to refresh the ability.
1b. If you killed the target, pick up the Solar Elemental Well created by your Melee Wellmaker. This will also trigger Well of Life. If the Well somehow didn’t end up inside the Sunspot, step in the Sunspot to gain the Sol Invictus buff.
2. Shoot things in the head for 9-ish seconds.
Now then, let’s break down the result of all of this in the next section.
– J. Robert Oppenheimer, director of the Los Alamos Laboratory during the Manhattan Project
Dear God what have I done?
Hyperbole aside, let’s begin by taking a look at the most basic components that work right now, without the unreleased Fragments and the late-game Artifact mods. Remember, what you’re reading here in the next few paragraphs is what the build can do right now, today, without any of the locked Fragments or those end-game Artifact Mods!
Firstly, you can always become Radiant regardless of difficulty, limited only by how good your throwing arm is. If you’re in a situation where picking up the hammer is too dangerous, the explosion it creates upon expiring will actually grant you Radiant again if it hits anything. Becoming Radiant and then picking up the Elemental Well to trigger Font of Might grants your Solar weapons +36% damage against all targets, regardless of if that weapon is Energy or Heavy. To put that in perspective, that’s a greater damage buff than the pre-nerf Weapons of Light from the Sentinel Titan’s Ward of Dawn which was 35%, and is now 25% since the nerf.
This stacks with the weapon’s own damage perks if it has any, such as the Explosive Light on my Ascendancy, which happens to be a Solar rocket launcher. You will also have triggered 10 seconds of decent self-healing via Well of Life. Sit behind a Rally Barricade for vastly improved weapon stats such as reload, stability & range and you can seriously lay on the hurt at ranges you really have no business doing so. Additionally, whenever you collect your hammer after having hit a target, the hammer itself will give you a chunk of healing. If you killed the target, you’ll have a nice, comfy Sunspot ready to heal you in addition to the healing you’ll gain when picking up the Elemental Well. Even if you didn’t kill the target, the hammer will still heal you when you collect it.
Since you’re running Roaring Flames and you can just pick up your hammer and throw repeatedly until you get all three stacks if need be, you can almost always get a Solar Elemental Well as it’s extremely rare for any red bar enemy to survive a 3x Roaring Flames Throwing Hammer. The healing gained by Well of Life, which isn’t interrupted by taking damage and lasts for 10 seconds, coupled with the “In case of Emergency Light Self on Fire” helmet (Loreley Splendor), it’s perfectly feasible to collect this in more difficult content. As long as you aren’t being completely silly, it’s not an issue.
The helmet isn’t necessary to make this work, it’s more of an insurance policy. Just bear in mind that while you will be tricky to kill, you’re definitely not immortal in more difficult content and snipers or anything that deals an incredibly high amount of burst damage is your number one counter. This is why I pair my Tarrabah/Vex with a sniper to pick off enemy snipers and make the area safer for me to collect the Wells.
If you manage your time in Sunspots effectively, you can make Sol Invictus align perfectly with these other buffs. Since you’ll have Roaring Flames up and running, creating a Solar well via your melee becomes exponentially easier, which makes maintaining your insanely empowered state exponentially easier.
Since the basic form doesn’t use any seasonal mods at all, this build will always be possible as long as Bungie doesn’t directly dismantle it.
That’s all just the basic core of the build. Now, we’re reaching The Final Form:
If you’re executing the gameplay loop from the previous section properly, you will always be Radiant. This means you will always be triggering Rays of Precision, causing enemies you kill with Solar precision damage to Ignite. You’re running both a Fragment and another artifact mod, Solar Fulmination, to directly increase the explosion size and damage. Along with that, you’re running two Fragments that A, apply Scorch to enemies who survive Ignite explosions, and B, applies more stacks of Scorch whenever you apply it to a target, which incidentally benefits your Sunspots as well. Anything still alive at that point will almost always be an excellent opportunity to refresh all of your buffs with a swift hammer to the face. This is all in addition to the benefits I mentioned above, which integrate into this Final Form.
Even in it’s current, weaker form, you can maintain a near infinite +36% Solar weapon damage, self healing & loads of ability regen through all of those nifty Sunspots you’ll be making, and you can achieve that completely solo without the help of any other player and without any exotics. Once it achieves its final form, it will also cause enemies you kill with precision damage while maintaining your buffs to Ignite in explosions empowered twice in blast size and once in damage via a combination of Artifact Mods and Fragments.