Destiny 2- Surprise Attack and Sidearm Build in Season of Arrivals

Recently each season we’ve been getting some good mods that can switch up the way you play the game, and this season is no different. The best mods offer damage buffs to weapons bringing up the viability of the weapon and offering a bit of variety into your play sessions. The following is a guide for a Surprise Attack and Buzzard Sidearm build in Destiny 2.

Surprise Attack is a new mod introduced in Season of Arrivals, and you can pick this up from the Prismatic Recaster. There have been some good ones introduced this season, including Lucent Blade and other mods that work in conjunction with Charged with Light. Head on over to the Prismatic Recaster and check out the mod on the bottom left, if Surprise Attack isn’t there today then check tomorrow as they appear to be on rotation. It’s very cheap, it only costs one energy when you’re slotting it onto armour but it has to be void armour.

Surprise Attack states “While Charged with Light reloading or readying a Sidearm will consume all stacks of Charged with Light and convert them into stacks of a major damage buff, which are depleted as you damage combatants with that Sidearm”. Sounds pretty good to me. When you have one stack of Charged with Light, you’ll get 5 Charged Magazine bullets, 2 stacks you’ll get 10 and so on. I’ll go into the damage buff in more detail later on.

To get this to work we’re going to need to become Charged with Light, and there’s an array of mods that can help with this including Taking Charge – where we become Charged with Light by picking up Orbs or you can use something like Empowered Finish where killing combatants grants you charged with light. You’ll see when you are charged with light with a notification down in the bottom left hand corner of the screen.

Once we become Charged with Light we can use mods, like Surprise Attack to trigger damage buffs – in this case on our Sidearms. There’s also other Charged with Light bonuses light High-Energy Fire for more damage buffs, and Super Charged which allows us to carry more stacks up to 5.

You can use any Sidearm you want. I like Last Hope, Anonymous Autumn and there’s also Devil’s Ruin – the Exotic from Season of Dawn. If you missed this Exotic you can pick it up using the Exotic Cipher from the Season Pass. It’s really good fun as you can fire in the normal Sidearm mode, or you can use it in the secondary mode to fire a laser beam out of it. It’s probably one of the most unique weapons in the game and certainly lives up to its exotic label.

Those sidearms are cool, but personally I really like Buzzard. This one was introduced in Season of Dawn and is the Pinnacle weapon which you can get fairly easily through a quest from Zavala. It only takes a few strikes to get it, and it comes fully master worked with a choice of perks including Outlaw or Fourth Times the Charm and Osmosis and Swashbuckler. I like Outlaw/Swashbuckler.

I did some testing on the damage with and without Surprise attack using Buzzard and Devil’s Ruin. First up lets have a look at Devil’s Ruin.

Devil’s Ruin

  • Base Damage 2135 crit, 1521 regular, secondary fire mode with the laser 2,623 crit and 1868 regular
  • Surprise Attack 4270 crit, 3,041 regular secondary fire mode with the laser 5,245 and 3,735 regular 100% increase


  • Base damage 2,242 crit, 1,597 regular
  • Surprise Attack 4,483 crit, 3,193 regular 100% increase
  • Surprise Attack & Swashbuckler 5,379 crit and 3,383 140%

That’s pretty impressive damage buffs.

Finally, there is a good build out there if you want to have some fun with this combo. I’m using my Titan, with top tree Void for that melee focus and pairing it up with Doomfang Pauldrons as the intrinsic perk there is Horns of Doom, where void melee kills give super energy. This works well with Buzzard and Surprise attack as you can run around, punching and triggering Swashbuckler to increase the damage on the Sidearm, while also getting super energy for your titan, then unleash your super and sheild bash away all the enemies. This was working pretty well in Contact, the PVE event this season but it’d be good for Escalation Protocol or Alters of Sorrow too.

If you have any exotics on your Guardian which are melee focused then they’re likely going to work well with the Buzzard and Surprise Attack combo.

Let me know what you think down in the comments. What do you think of the new seasonal mods and which sidearm do you like to pair with it?

That’s it for this guide for a Surprise Attack and Buzzard Sidearm build in Destiny 2. For more Destiny 2 content like this check out the Shadowkeep Guide or check out the YouTube Channel.

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