Without its Exotic weapons and gear, Destiny 2 wouldn’t be a top-tier looter shooter. There’s little players love more than decrypting an Exotic engram or completing a complex quest only to get their hands on a sweet weapon or gear piece. Powerful Exotics are essential for completing the game’s high-calibre activities, such as the recently launched Vow of the Disciple raid.
But, with a backlog of Destiny 2 Exotics spanning four expansions, it’s tough to keep up with the game’s best Exotic pieces through The Witch Queen and the accompanying Season of the Risen. Factor in a series of buffs and nerfs and it’s enough to leave even the most seasoned players second-guessing their chosen Exotic.
Here are our favourite Exotic weapons in Destiny 2, as well as the best Exotic gear pieces for Warlocks, Titans, and Hunters. Keep in mind that almost all Exotics are more effective when used in a specific way, so be sure that whenever you equip one of these items, your armour mods and class abilities complement it accordingly.
Destiny 2 best Exotic weapons
Destiny 2’s weapons are often situational, meaning that the best weapon may change based on the encounter type, the character’s subclass, armour mods, or any combination of those things. Still, there are a few that stand out regardless of the circumstances.
Submachine Gun – Kinetic Weapon
As a new addition to The Witch Queen, anyone with the expansion can access this weapon as part of the game’s standard campaign. It shoots what the game calls “a stream of sentient, toxic projectiles” that track an enemy. It’s also equipped with Toxic Overload, which causes final blows and precision hits to poison nearby enemies. As part of the game’s new weapon leveling system, players can also obtain the catalyst, which increases reload speed and causes precision final blows to return ammo to the magazine. Limiting reload time makes it a convenient weapon for clearing ads and everyday play.
Sword – Power Weapon
Swords are potent weapons in Destiny 2, but The Lament is an S-tier option due to its effectiveness against both typical ads and powerful enemies. It’s ideal for high damage at close range, with a charge-up mechanic that grants shield piercing against Barrier Champions for even greater damage. When paired with an inherent trait that heals the user upon damaging a combatant, the player can annihilate enemies as long as there’s enough heavy ammo to keep them slashing.
Linear Fusion Rifle – Kinetic Weapon
This powerful weapon grants a ton of force in a single shot. The Arbalist packs an undeniable punch even for players not particularly fond of linear fusion rifles. It’s an excellent choice for PvE and PvP combat, rendering any enemy Guardian a quick kill. However, its real power is in its ability to take down the game’s strongest enemies due to its increased damage against shields, making it highly effective against Barrier Champions. Combined with its Disruption Break trait, which makes enemies more vulnerable to kinetic damage after breaking an enemy shield with Arbalest, it quickly becomes a valuable weapon in almost any situation.
Even though it uses special (green) ammo, it’s a kinetic weapon. It takes up the kinetic weapon slot in the player’s inventory, meaning players can pack their energy and heavy weapon slots with higher-DPS weapons for a killer combo. Its catalyst only makes it more robust, as breaking an enemy shield fills the magazine from reserves while energy weapons regenerate ammo on hit whenever the weapon’s damage type matches the enemy’s shield type.
Hand Cannon – Energy Weapon
This hand cannon, which takes special ammo, boasts 100 impact and 100 range stats. It includes a scope and ADS grants bonus damage on the opening shot of an attack. That damage continues as long as the shot deals precision damage or hits an enemy’s elemental shield. For players with solid aim, this presents a good choice in PvP, while others will find it valuable in PvE scenarios with many shielded enemies.
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The gun features shield-piercing ammo as an intrinsic trait, meaning it’s strong against Barrier Champions. However, the catalyst is what makes this a one of the best Destiny 2 weapons. The catalyst not only increases the magazine from six to nine, meaning the player can chain 50 percent more shots for significantly more damage, but it also automatically reloads on holstering. Destiny 2 players are encouraged to switch weapons often, so it’s a huge benefit that the weapon reloads when cycling through.
Rocket Launcher – Power Weapon
This fan-favourite weapon from the first Destiny game recently joined Destiny 2’s arsenal as part of Bungie’s 30th Anniversary celebration. It’s a potent area-of-effect weapon used for taking down groups of enemies, primarily due to its 100 blast radius stat and its Wolfpack Rounds that split into cluster missiles upon detonation. As an added perk, firing also grants Wolfpack Rounds to nearby pals actively using non-exotic rocket launchers. Finally, this weapon’s catalyst makes final blows spawn an even more powerful missile at the target’s location.
- Vex Mythoclast: Fusion Rifle – Energy Weapon
- One Thousand Voices: Fusion Rifle – Power Weapon
- Eyes of Tomorrow: Rocket Launcher – Power Weapon
- Collective Obligation: Pulse Rifle – Energy Weapon
- Divinity: Trace Rifle – Energy Weapon
Destiny 2 best Exotic armor
Destiny 2 often ties its armour to specific subclasses and playstyles, with particular traits that activate only when players are running certain builds. That aside, here are our picks for Exotic gear options that are undeniably powerful.
Exotic Warlock Armor
Transversive Steps – Leg Armor
It’s not the most flashy Exotic, but it’s worthwhile. Transversive Steps dates back to 2017’s The Red War DLC but remains valuable today. This leg armour buffs the Warlock’s sprint and reloads their weapons while sprinting. Whether the activity is casual PvE or hardcore PvP, a Warlock will always be in a better position when it doesn’t need to spend time reloading.
Secant Filaments – Leg Armor
This Exotic leg armour option fits squarely within the game’s Void 3.0 subclass rework. As a result of that rework, Voidwalker Warlocks gained the Devour ability. When a Warlock has the Devour buff, final blows restore them to full health, grant grenade energy, and restore Devour. With Secant Filaments, a Warlock’s empowering rift, which typically stands to make the player and their allies’ weapons deal more damage, also grants Devour. As a result, it also becomes a healing rift.
Exotic Titan Armor
Antaeus Wards – Leg Armor
This item’s main perk is valuable but straightforward: sliding reflects projectiles. As long as a player is skilled enough to execute slides as they play, they can reflect projectiles off of them, preventing damage.
One-Eyed Mask – Helmet
A solid option for PvP and PvE play, the One-Eyed Mask highlights enemies that cause damage to the Guardian, which the player can then defeat for an Overshield. Bungie’s recent Void subclass overhaul gives additional power to this Exotic, as equipping the Offensive Bulwark Void Aspect increases grenade charge speed and melee range and damage while the player has an Overshield, plus melee final blows extend Overshield for even more protection.
Exotic Hunter Armor
The Dragon’s Shadow – Chest Armor
The Dragon’s Shadow is a tried-and-true armour piece. When equipped, the Hunter’s dodge reloads guns, and buffs speed and handling. Automatic reloading is one of the most universally helpful perks in the game, while improved weapon handling can make a difference in a player’s ability to take down enemy hordes.
Sealed Ahamkara Grasps
Sealed Ahamkara Grasps is yet another armour option that can take advantage of Destiny 2’s recent Void subclass changes. With these gauntlets, dealing melee damage reloads the player’s currently equipped weapon. However, players can gain added value by equipping the Hunter Void Aspect Stylish Executioner. When equipped, a Stylish Execution occurs when a player defeats a weakened, suppressed, or volatile target. Further, it grants invisibility upon doing so, and the Guardian’s next melee attack, while invisible, weakens targets. With these gauntlets, a Nightwalker can chain melee attacks while also taking advantage of the instant reload from the melee.
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Ultimately, Destiny 2’s best Exotics come down to playstyle and preference. However, this list is a wrap-up of some of our favourites that will no doubt help you on your quest to take down The Witch Queen.