A Brief Guide/Refresher Course on Destiny's "Champion" Enemies
Hey, there. Just going to throw this out for those that need it, new players or returning.
If you've played any of the late game PvE content, then chances are by now you've encountered Champion enemies, tough, extra strange-looking foes with weird abilities that regenerate health like it's their job. Well, it is
their job, actually. And stopping that is your
"Hold on there, my fuzzy friend. I've encountered these so-called Champions in the Nightfall playlist. They hurt, but they aren't so tough!"
Then you were playing a lower level Nightfall, where most of them can be overrun by brute force. The higher Light the Nightfall/Empire Hunt/Raid/Etc., the worse the Champions get. If you're running a Light deficit at all against them, it's going to be exponentially harder than in lower difficulties. That's why Stunning the champions with the right weapon is so important. But we'll get to that in a moment.
Barrier: Depending on which race they are, these can be really easy to kill or maddeningly annoying. When losing a chunk of health, Barrier champs will--get this-- throw up a Barrier to sit behind and regen health in a flash. Unless they are being shot with a specific kind of weapon which changes from season to season.
Unstoppable: Exactly what it says, these enemies are hyper aggressive. Once you're spotted, they will lock onto you and stomp your way through nearly anything you throw at them without even staggering. No matter how hard you hit them in a crit zone, they will not flinch. Unless, that is, you have a weapon modded to do exactly that.
Overload: Ability spammers extraordinaire! These guys take their race's signature abilities and bombard you with them constantly. (Now in cool, refreshing Stasis flavor, which can freeze you right out of a super.) Most notorious is the Fallen Captain version, spamming teleport so hard even getting a shot on them can be a chore, much less enough of them to trigger a stunning mod on some weapons.
Another self-explanatory term, these are mods you can unlock on the season's artifact that you then slot into a piece of armor, mostly the Arm slots. Once applied, any weapon that matches the mod type automatically gains the ability to stun it's matching champion when you use it right.
Anti-barrier: The most picky to apply mod, but also the most useful by far. When a barrier champ pops their shield, shooting them with this prevents them from regenerating, and is the only way to damage their shield. Doing enough damage to break it before they can drop it is what stuns this champion.
But almost as important, anti-barrier rounds apply to almost any type of enemy barrier. This will let you punch through pretty much everything but Servitor/Scorn Void Totem immunity shields. Hive knight shielding to heal? Shoot right through. Hobgoblin doing a turtle impression? Not on your watch. Huge timesaver.
Anti-Unstoppable: Triggering these is a slower process, but the most forgiving most of the time. You just have to aim (ADS) the weapon for a second and then you'll see a glow come over it. The buff to the left will tell you that your Unstoppable Shot is ready. Pop this into the right flavor of champ at (almost) any time to send them into their stun state.
Anti-Overload: These are a bit trickier to use. After every so many shots you land, your gun will get an Overload Round buff, where the next bullet fired will stun an Overload champ. If you fire and miss, you have to land more hits to get another. Can be extremely fickle with fast firing guns for some reason, like auto-rifles or SMGs. Especially against the aforementioned Captain champs who love to teleport.
One, yes, I am. Thank you for noticing.
Two, this is more about the Effects of Inflicting a Stun. First and foremost, it stops regeneration. This is absolutely vital because a champ can go from nearly dead to full health in seconds, wasting your time and your Heavy ammo.
Second, it gives you a window to attack in without being blasted to pieces.
Third, it weakens the champ's defense drastically. You do way, way more damage to a stunned champ than to one who isn't. In the highest difficulty content, you absolutely need this because every shot of Heavy ammo counts.
It's also important to note with non-barrier champs that they cannot be stunned back to back. The champion will have a few moments of immunity after they recover from a stun. Then they get a brief glow, after which you can stun them again.
There are a few guns with built-in anti-champion mods that are always applied. Eriana's Vow (hand cannon) and Lament (sword) have intrinsic Anti-Barrier. Divinity (trace rifle) can stun Overload enemies all day. Leviathan's Breath (bow) and Devil's Ruin (sidearm) each come with Anti-Unstoppable rounds.
Come prepared. If you enter a Nightfall playlist or any matchmade content with Champions, you should be bringing at least one weapon to stun with. If not, you're dumping the responsibility of stunning onto your teammates, which can badly limit the ways in which they can otherwise contribute. Worse, if you and they both stubbornly refuse to switch to a weapon and mod for the job, you're likely dead in the water at worst, or extremely
dependent on heavy ammo at best (and again, at higher difficulties you can't afford that). Try to bring at least one weapon and equipped mod appropriate to the activity.
There are sometimes other seasonal mods that can stun champs. They vary, of course, so read before you unlock. If you don't run, say, solar classes very often, then it's best to avoid ones like "solar melee stuns unstoppables." Focus on the weapons.
Nightfall Rank (not score) is completely dependent on how many of the specific strike's champions you put down. The fewer you get, the worse your likely rewards. If you're not getting drops like the unique weapons, then this is probably why. Kill each and every champion to attain Platinum rank and make it rain good loot.
It's also important to note that champions will despawn if you get too far from them or if the strike progresses. Never
speedrun a Nightfall. Unless you're in a group of your own and that is your only goal, you're most likely preventing your matchmade partners from killing the champs, and thus wasting their time and effort. If you ever had someone seemingly inexplicably bail, this is a very likely reason why.
Champs always spawn in the same places in each strike, so be careful and take the time to learn it as you play. Don't let the clock rush you. Watch for champs at unexpected points as well. For example, people frequently blow right by the barrier hobgoblin in the giant drill section just before the boss in the Inverted Spire strike because they sparrow through it and don't even notice him. And in some boss fights like in the Glassway, champions spawn in between waves of enemies sometimes. Easy to miss if you're focused on putting the boss down fast.