“Dad Mode”: A Guide to Building a Dad-Loadout in Destiny 2

by Jacob Klein

Dad Mode in Destiny started as and remains a good-natured joke between Guardians. It describes a person (could certainly apply to a Mom too!) who doesn’t have a lot of time to grind, cant spend 4-5 hours on a raid for a chance at some gear but otherwise wants to at least be competitive enough to feel like they’re “hanging” competitively with those that put in more time. Destiny is a team sport but we Dads need to maximize the gaming time we’re allowed in our busy lives for primarily fun but for in-game achievement as well. We don’t want you to necessarily use all or any of the items we recommend here. Use them and our other tips as a guide for how to think about putting your very  own Dad build together.

Key Features of the D2 Dad Build:

  • Easily Obtainable (weapons and armor obtained “along the way” preferred)
  • Easily Mastered (high DPS doesn’t matter if you’re not hitting your shots)
  • Competitive Enough to Hang (but not necessarily “the best” meta item available)
  • Versatile (can be used effectively in nearly all situations)
  • Persistent (perks that help you all-the-time instead of “when X rare thing occurs”)
  • Evergreen (this item isn’t going anywhere or getting nerfed anytime soon.. no re-grinding)


Kinetic Weapons


You’ll have your primary weapon in the Kinetic or Energy slot but I can highly recommend starting with a Pule Rifle of some kind. You’ll be able to support your fire team by sending damage their way consistently– at medium AND long range. When players are a bit better than you and you’re still grinding, I find range to be my friend in Destiny 2. Vigilance Wing is a top-tier Dad Pulse because you’ve got the heavy 5-hit and TWO healing powers on this thing to keep you alive. You can wait for this exotic to drop on you or for Xur to sell it in the weekly sale. Keep grabbing those exotic engrams each week! The Full Auto Trigger System from the catalyst is the Dad-icing on the Dad-cake because it allows you to just sit back at range and pulse continuously into mobs or through a contested doorway in a crucible match. You’ll almost certainly hit your target with one of the 5 bullets and with any luck your fireteam can help you mop up the rest. More bullets per second means more chances at lucky headshots!

You can also use Blast Furnace or Go Figure as a Legendary alternative pulse with similar stats OR if you’re running something else in the Kinetic slot Last Perdition is a solid pulse rifle at the Energy slot (among others).

Energy Weapons

The Energy slot is typically where we put our One Hit Kill, Special Ammo using weapons. If you’re a sniper you can grind a perfectly top-tier Tatara Gaze in the forges. You’re looking for that One Hit Kill on head shot in crucible so consider mostly the slower, higher damage snipers with Snapshot Sights almost required in PvP on a sniper. Decent shotguns are abundant and Gunnara’s Axe from the Iron Banner gets the job done with a nice, common roll. Look for a shotgun with a low fire rate (remember we want OHKs in crucible), max damage and some neat abilities (Vorpal Weapon, Slideshot, One-Two Punch etc).


But the king of all Dad-Build Energy Weapons has to be Jotunn. No, you say?  It’s not actually THAT good in Pro games but the fact that you start every crucible match with two highly explosive blasts is nothing to laugh at. Fire this bad boy into a crowd of enemies and someone’s going to get blown up. It’s a tracking missile so you can fire across a long distances with Dad-level aim and take out guardians in one hit. You’ll have to master the forges to get this gun but the forges are great places to Dad-grind.


Power Weapons

The power weapon is a personal choice I’ll leave in your hands. You can wreck shop with a Rocket Launcher, Sword or Grenade Launcher for sure. The one thing I’d advise is not to waste your Exotic slot on your power weapon unless you’re quite happy with your other two guns. Power weapons aren’t used as often in crucible, moreso in PvE but even then I want to keep this build focused on “making us better ALL the time” not just some of the time. If you’re playing Gambit you’ll probably earn the Legendary Machine Gun 21% Delirium in no time (a quest from the Drifter that’s just playing a ton of Gambit, basically) but we want to adhere to the tenants of our “not too much grinding” dad-game.


There’s a strong case to be made for Grenade Launchers as the dad mode Power Weapon of Choice. You get a huge magazine (more chances to miss!), can make those shots explode on proximity and add some decent perks on top of those that are often lost on say a Rocket Launcher.  Look for one with a high Blast Radius (masterwork BR if possible) and Proximity Mines. Most Legendary grenade launchers are similar so take a look at your Play of the Games and Edge Transits before sharding them!


The easiest source of high stat armor is your Season Pass. As you play normally, you’ll usually get an entire set of 60+ stat armor, which is about the cutoff line for viability here. As you collect armor during normal play, compare it to your seasonal armor to see if it’s better and don’t masterwork anything until you’ve got something you love in that slot (but feel free to upgrade to 8 or 9 until you have the shards). You’re looking for spikes in stats that you love, particularly Recovery (the consensus seems to be this is the best stat to max out) and Mobility (really helps for PvP and I personally love navigating The Tower at max speed!).


Hover over a stat on your character screen to see what the next level of a stat will do for you. Beyond that, think about whether you love your grenade, melee ability or getting your super more often. You may not have much control here if you’re just using your first round of seasonal armor. Use your stat mods to fill in the gaps.

Thinking about your stats again, the easiest way to boost that “neutral game” is to up your stats with the general stat mods. Depending on the stat spread of your armor, you can get Recovery, Mobility or your personal favorite stat up to 90/100 fairly easily.  With your remaining armor energy charge, apply mods that help your neutral game such as Enhanced Targeting, Unflinching Aim, Traction, or even the Seasonal “Powerful Friends” which gives +20  to mobility on Arc armor.



This is where your individuality comes in. You could make a case for Titan, Warlock and Hunter Dad-builds but you should choose the path that fits your personal style of play and role playing preferences. I’ll throw exotic armor abilities as well as your choice of sub-class into that same pile. Choose exotic armor with abilities that help you persistently, boost your neutral game and are easily obtainable.

Supers are something you should experiment with yourself. For all of them, pressing “F” will make you feel pretty damn powerful so shop around with those and find something that fits your style of play. I personally like to swap those around between matches anyway since all of my chosen mods are neutral, not relying on one subclass or another specific ability to be effective. Changing up your sub-class is a great way to keep the game fresh and most of the time… a grenade’s a grenade. Just throw more of them!!!


No Dad rules here except to use a Ghost with “Guiding Light” which gives a static +10% XP bonus. That’s 10% less grinding through that season pass!  Luckily it’s fairly common in seasonal Ghosts (Eris Morn and the Rival GG Shells) that you’ll get without trying too hard. Here’s a list of Ghosts with Guiding Light.


So you’ve done most of the above but you’re still looking for more. You want those gold borders on your newfound Dad-armor. You want a perfect roll for your Beloved. Great! Even Dads can, over time, grind out that last weapon you’ve always wanted. For masterwork materials, the Season Pass is by far the most Dad-friendly way to pick up nearly enough crystals and shards to masterwork an entire armor set every 3 months. You’ll usually get 3 Ascendant Shards and 6-12 Enhancement Prisms just for playing at a normal clip to level 85 or so each quarter. You’ll also get those Enhancement Cores from weapon bounties and from sharding all of the purples that drop during normal playtime. Play Crucible a lot? You’ll get 10 Enhancement Cores for a Valor reset (grab Shaxx bounties every time you play). Visit the Tangled Shore? You can buy 2-3 Cores per day (within reason) from Spider. You’ll masterwork a set in no time with this lazy, almost too-easy non-grind!   And the great part is, after that first season, you won’t necessarily have to do it again unless you get a better piece of armor (and in that case I hope you’ll be excited to upgrade!).

If you’ve done most of the above, take heart that competitively, your neutral stats and abilities are certainly enough to hang with most semi-casual D2 groups. Destiny 2 is an amazing FPS and the majority of your likeliness to win comes from the flesh and blood abilities within yourself as a gamer. Like most Online RPGs, that final 5% buff is 99% of the grind. And sheeeeeeeit… we dads don’t quite have time for that right now.


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