Destiny 2 Max Power Level Guide

All Powerful and Pinnacle gear sources

By Ric (aka Prim)updated Updated Dec 8, 2020

Every new season comes with a new Power Level cap, but Expansions have the potential to drastically change how leveling works in Destiny 2.

With today’s launch of the Beyond Light expansion, the Power level cap for weapons and armor has been significantly increased by 200 points. This means you’ll need Powerful sources to reach the hard cap set to 1250 Power and Pinnacle sources to reach the new max power level at 1260.

Bungie has given us an additional reason to worry about our Power Level: the release of the brand-new Deep Stone Crypt raid.

If you’re interested in tackling this new raid or worried about being ready for Trials of Osiris or any other high-end activity, you’ll want to level up fast.

Beyond Light Powerful and Pinnacle chart Destiny 2

Before we get started, here are 2 things you need to remember:

  1. Your Power Level (formerly known as Light Level) is 100% connected to the power level of your gear.
  2. There are different level caps that require gear from different sources to progress.

This little chart summarizes what gear will be needed to increase your Power Level until reaching that elusive Max Power Level, currently set at 1260.

Level Cap Power Level Gear needed
Starting Level 1050
Soft Cap 1200 Any
Hard Cap 1250 Powerful
Pinnacle Cap 1260 Pinnacle

This post will only focus on how to increase your Base Power Level. You can also gain extra Power Levels with your seasonal Artifact. You can read all about it here.

Last Updated: Dec 8, 2020

Things change fast in Destiny 2, especially when a new expansion launches.  For that reason, this ranking will be updated at least once per season.

Major changes introduced today:

Now that Beyond Light is well underway and most Powerful and Pinnacle sources have revealed themselves, the following sources have been added:

  • Deep Stone Crypt Pinnacle rewards
  • Europa Powerful and Pinnacle rewards
  • Seasonal (Tangled Shore) Powerful and Pinnacle rewards
  • Prophecy dungeon Powerful and Pinnacle rewards

The following sources have been removed:

  • Removal of all Moon Powerful and Pinnacle rewards except Luna’s Calling Quest
  • Removal of the Destinations Flashpoint
  • Removal of the several Powerful Clan engrams

Powerful and Pinnacle gear sources in Destiny 2

These are all the Powerful and Pinnacle gear sources in the game:

TypeLocationSourcePower increaseFrequencyFireteam needed?
PowerfulCore activitiesComplete Strikes, Crucible or Gambit matches+3Random

No

PowerfulWorld dropsExotic Engrams+3Repeatable

No

PowerfulWorld dropsPrime Engrams+3Repeatable

No

PowerfulWorld dropsLegend & Master Lost Sectors Exotic Engrams+3Repeatable

No

PowerfulGambitInfamy Rank Up+3Repeatable

No

PowerfulCrucibleValor Full Rank Up+3Repeatable

No

PowerfulCrucibleGlory Rank Up+3Repeatable

No

PowerfulStrikesNightfall: The Ordeals
(1-3 runs)
+3Weekly

No

PowerfulCrucibleSurvival Playlist
(win 7 rounds)
+3Weekly

No

PowerfulCrucibleTrials of Osiris
(3 wins)
+3Weekly

Yes

PowerfulMoonLuna's Calling Quest+3Weekly

No

PowerfulExotic QuestsBeyond Light Exotic Quests+3Weekly

No

PowerfulTangled ShoreCryptolith Lure
(upgradeable to 4)
+3 x 4Weekly

No

PowerfulTangled ShoreWrathborn Hunts completions
(upgradable to Pinnacle)
+6Weekly

No

PowerfulEuropaExo Stranger Challenge
(100 Stasis defeats)
+3Weekly

No

PowerfulEuropaEmpire Hunts completions
(upgradable to Pinnacle)
+3Weekly

No

PowerfulEuropaExo Challenge+3Weekly

No

PowerfulEuropaTurn Europa bounties
(8 total)
+3Weekly

No

PowerfulTowerTurn Gunsmith bounties
(8 total)
+3Weekly

No

PowerfulTowerTurn Vanguard bounties
(8 total)
+3Weekly

No

PowerfulTowerTurn Crucible bounties
(8 total)
+3Weekly

No

PowerfulTowerTurn Gambit bounties
(8 total)
+3Weekly

No

PowerfulTowerProphecy dungeon encounters
(3 total)(first encounter)
+3 x 3Weekly

Yes

PowerfulTowerObtain "Adored" Ritual weapon+3Season

No

PowerfulTowerExotic Quests+3 eachSeason

No

PinnacleTowerClan Weekly XP+1Weekly

No

PinnacleGambitGambit Matches
(3 matches)
+1Weekly

No

PinnacleStrikesVanguard Strikes
(3 runs matching weekly element)
+1Weekly

No

PinnacleCrucibleCrucible Matches
(3 matches)
+1Weekly

No

PinnacleCrucibleReach Legend Glory rank+2Season

No

PinnacleStrikesNightfall: The Ordeal
(100,000 points)
+2Weekly

Yes

PinnacleTowerProphecy dungeon completion+2Weekly

Yes

PinnacleCrucibleTrials of Osiris
(5 wins)
+2Weekly

Yes

PinnacleCrucibleTrials of Osiris
(7 wins)
+2Weekly

Yes

PinnacleEuropaMaster Empire Hunt
(when upgraded to Pinnacle)
+3Weekly

Yes

PinnacleEuropaExo Challenge
(when upgraded to Pinnacle)
+3Weekly

No

PinnacleTangled ShoreWrathborn Hunts completions
(when upgraded to Pinnacle)
+2Weekly

No

PinnacleCrucibleIron Banner Bounties
(4 total)
+2 x 4Monthly

No

PinnacleEuropaDeep Stone Crypt Raid encounters
(4 total)
+2 x 4Weekly

Yes

This table includes all Powerful and Pinnacle sources in Destiny 2. Depending on where you are on your road to Max Power Level, you can filter the table accordingly. For example, you can filter sources to only see:

  • Powerful sources
  • Pinnacle sources
  • Sources requiring a Fireteam (without Matchmaking)
  • Sources considered hard (or easy)

For more details about the latest Weekly Challenges, you can check out this page which I update every Tuesday at reset!

Destiny 2 Beyond Light Max Light banner

Beyond Light Power Level changes

It’s worth noting that several Powerful & Pinnacle sources changed with Beyond Light:

  • Powerful sources released with Shadowkeep no longer grant Powerful rewards:
    • Rune table
    • Repeatable campaign missions
    • Nightmare Hunt completion and time trials
    • Pit of Heresy completion
    • Garden of Salvation completion
  • Strikes, Gambit, Crucible, and Seasonal drops now have a chance to reward Powerful rewards all the way up until the Hard Cap
  • Gear earned through token purchases will be 20 Power below your Power Level
  • Collection buybacks will be capped at 1050 Power.

This means the old “cheese” to spam tokens at vendors to “equalize” your gear level no longer works. On the flip side, playing random Crucible matches and the like can now reward Powerful gear.

If you’re somewhat lost and still wonder what exactly needs to be done to reach the Power Level Cap, the next section is for you.


How to reach Max Light Level in Destiny 2 fast

You’re probably familiar with the struggle that is chasing Pinnacle gear to eventually reach the Max Power level (and the frustration of getting everything but the one item you need for 3 weeks in a row).

But even if you’re new to Destiny 2 or are coming back after a long break, this section explains in detail how leveling works and how to level up as fast as possible.

Guiding principles:

  • Your Power Level is the average of the Power Level of all your gear
  • That average takes into account equipped gear, gear in your inventory, and even gear in your vault.
  • You should never dismantle anything before making sure you have a higher Power Level item on that same slot
  • Playing on 3 characters will help you level up faster (but you can still level up efficiently with only one character)
  • The activities and strategies to level up will change depending on what cap you’re currently at.

As a reminder:

Beyond Light Powerful and Pinnacle chart Destiny 2

Reaching the Soft cap in Beyond Light: 1200 Power Level

Before reaching the soft cap (1200), drops from any source will help you increase your Power Level.

This part is simple. Basically, everything in the game will drop gear that will help you increase your Power Level. This includes Legendary and Rare gear. In fact, Rare gear (blues) plays an important role at this stage and you should be actively seeking blue gear whenever possible!

‼️ You should preferably never chase Powerful nor Pinnacle rewards before hitting the soft cap first.

Destiny 2 Leveling Guide Season 12 V2

Tips to reach the soft cap as fast as possible:

  • Play the Beyond Light campaign (and/or the New Light campaign at the Cosmodrome), and in parallel:
    • Participate in Public Events when you see one (and turn them into Heroic Public events when possible)
    • Actively search for chests (especially the golden chests in the Cosmodrome)
    • Do every quest that rewards gear
  • Grind Lost Sectors or your favorite core activity over and over again.

Again, everything works at this stage. All you need to do is grind and play a lot.

Reaching the Powerful cap in Beyond Light: 1250 Power

Now that you’ve reached the soft cap, only Powerful and Pinnacle sources will give you progress. Both Powerful and Pinnacle sources are highlighted in the Directory and in the table above.

‼️ Note that you won’t even be able to see Powerful and Pinnacle gear challenges in your directory until you hit the soft cap!

Destiny 2 Powerful Sources Beyond Light

Tips to reach the hard cap as fast as possible:

  • Only Powerful and Pinnacle gear will increase your average Power Level
  • Every piece of your gear needs to keep up with your average. Always be equalizing your gear. More on that below.
  • The Competitive Playlist in PVP is one of the best sources of Powerful rewards in the game. The timing is perfect too as Comp matters more than ever now:
    • Every Valor and Glory rank up will reward you with a Powerful reward, therefore the Comp playlist will help you with both.
  • Bonus: You can work on your Crucible, Strikes, and Gambit Challenges while doing the weekly bounties to earn Bright Dust to spend in the Eververse store.

Equalizing your gear: When leveling up, some of your gear will be below the average of the rest of your gear. When that happens, you should chase lesser rewards to bring that lagging gear up to the average!

How to equalize your gear

Seasoned players already know about this crucial method to efficiently increase your Light Level. In fact, REAL GAMERS used to keep track of their current Power Levels per slot in an Excel sheet. They would then identify the gear that was lagging behind and find ways to bring those slots to the average.

Luckily for you and me, the process is much easier than ever before. All you need to do is launch DIM (shot for Destiny Item Manager, my absolute favorite D2 tool in the world) and click on your Power Level:

DIM Equalize gear

This will tell you exactly what slots are lagging behind your average. This means even a Blue piece of gear could help you increase your Power Level for that slot!

When you see several slots lagging behind your average, you basically just need to play more and follow the steps from the “what to do before hitting 1,200 Power Level” section until all your gear is at or above your average Power Level.

Even better: You can actively chase rewards that will match the slot you’re looking to upgrade.

Some examples:

  • The Season Pass is full of low stat gear that is generally useless. Do not claim it and keep it for when you’re working towards your Powerful or Pinnacle caps and need upgrades for specific slots!
  • Wrathborn Hunts let you chose specific weapons and armor. These are Powerful rewards and should be used to tackle the slots that need it the most!

And by the way, this equalizing tips and tricks remain valid for the Pinnacle cap too.

Reaching the Pinnacle cap in Beyond Light: 1260 Power

This section is straightforward. When you reach the Powerful cap (1250), only Pinnacle sources will give you progress.

Tips to reach the Pinnacle cap as fast as possible:

  • You can use Powerful gear to equalize your equipment closer to the average (covered in the section above)
  • You can filter the table at the top of this post to only see Pinnacle rewards:

By the way, Bungie made the Pinnacle climb slightly easier in Season 10: Some Powerful gear sources were turned into Pinnacle sources providing +1 Power.


How Level-Up faster in Destiny 2

If you’ve read this far, you already know how to efficiently increase your Max Power Level in Destiny 2. Those are the basics, but if you’re struggling to level up or simply want to increase your Power Level even faster, the following tips and tricks will definitely help:

Prime Engrams

Prime Engrams are a technically unlimited source of Powerful gear (as long as you play the game a lot and RNG stays on your side). Just remember: The Power Level of the Engram will remain at the level it was when found, not when decrypted.

Therefore, decrypt your engrams as soon as possible!

In any case, doing challenging activities (such as the Raid or Dungeons) will reward you more Prime Engrams which can either help you reach the Powerful cap faster, or help you equalize gear if you’re already chasing the Pinnacle cap.

Grinding 2 or 3 characters?

If you’re prepared to level up your 3 characters (or 2), you can follow the same steps described above. You just need to start with your least important character and finish with your most important character.

As soon as you’re done with the first character, transfer its highest Power Level weapons to the next character. Rinse and repeat. If you’d prefer a video version of this strategy, CastleIsLive did a great video on that topic:

Easy Pinnacle sources in Destiny 2

Powerful sources are fairly common and not particularly challenging.

Pinnacle sources are a different story. And it makes sense they’re difficult. They are, after all, supposed to be part of the end-game activities, but they can be particularly challenging when you don’t have a pre-existing group of friends to play with.

These are, in my opinion, the easiest Pinnacle sources in the game (trust me, I’ve done them weekly just by using LFG tools):

  • Playlist Pinnacles: These only grant +1 Power Level but they are extremely easy compared to the other ones.
  • 100,000 in Nightfall: The Ordeal: Most people know how to run it. Finding a capable group in LFG is very easy.
  • Exo Challenge in Europa: This one can be done solo and is easy enough. All you need to do is upgrade it to a Pinnacle reward via Varyks.

And these are, in a nutshell, easier ways to slowly reach the max Power Level cap in Destiny 2.


The Last Word

Now you know everything there is to know about reaching the Max Power level fast. So what’s the plan? Will you grind all 3 characters or just your main?