Destiny 2 Max Power Level Guide: Powerful & Pinnacle sources

by | May 12, 2021

Every new season comes with a new Power Level cap.

With the launch of Season of the Splicer (Season 14), the Power level cap for weapons and armor has been increased by 10 points. This means you’ll need Powerful sources to reach the hard cap set to 1310 Power and Pinnacle sources to reach the new max power level at 1320.

If you’re interested in tackling endgame activities, such as farming Legend and Master Lost Sectors, Nightfall: The Ordeals, or simply want to be ready for Trials of Osiris, you’ll want to level up fast.

Destiny 2 Powerful and Pinnacle chart Season 14

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 1320.

Level Cap Power Level Gear needed
Starting Level 1100
Soft Cap 1260 Any
Hard Cap 1310 Powerful
Pinnacle Cap 1320 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: May 12, 2021

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

Major changes introduced today:

With the release of Season of the Splicer, the following sources were added:

  • Override activity related Pinnacle and Powerful rewards
  • Expunge mission Pinnacle rewards (coming soon)
  • Vault of Glass Pinnacle rewards (coming soon)

The following sources were removed:

  • Deep Stone Crypt no longer gives Pinnacle rewards
  • Presage exotic quest no longer gives Pinnacle rewards
  • Season 13’s (Season of the Chosen) Powerful and Pinnacle rewards

Powerful and Pinnacle gear sources in Destiny 2

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

SourceLocationTypePower increaseFrequencyFireteam needed?Fireteam neededRequiresRequirements?
Exo Challenge Simulation
(when upgraded to Pinnacle)
EuropaPinnacle+2Weekly

No

NoDestiny 2 Beyond Light logo 1Beyond Light
Nightfall: The Ordeal
(Score 100,000 points)
Playlist: VanguardPinnacle+2Weekly

Yes

YesDestiny 2 Free to Play logo 1Free-to-Play
Master Empire Hunt
(when upgraded to Pinnacle)
EuropaPinnacle+2Weekly

Yes

YesDestiny 2 Beyond Light logo 1Beyond Light
Vault of Glass Raid encounters (releases May 22!)DirectorPinnacleTBCWeekly

Yes

YesDestiny 2 Free to Play logo 1Free-to-Play
Prophecy dungeon completionTowerPinnacle+2Weekly

Yes

YesDestiny 2 Free to Play logo 1Free-to-Play
Exotic Quests: HarbingerEDZPinnacle+2Weekly

No

NoDestiny 2 Deluxe Edition logoDeluxe Edition
Exotic Quests: Expunge (releases May 25!)H.E.L.MPinnacleTBCWeekly

No

NoDestiny 2 Season 14 logoSeason 14
Trials of Osiris
(at 5 and 7 wins)
Playlist: CruciblePinnacle+2 x 2Weekly

Yes

YesDestiny 2 Free to Play logo 1Free-to-Play
Iron Banner Bounties
(4 total rewards)
Playlist: CruciblePinnacle+2 x 4Monthly

No

NoDestiny 2 Free to Play logo 1Free-to-Play
Splicer Servitor bounties
(Complete bounties)
H.E.L.MPinnacleTBCWeekly

No

NoDestiny 2 Season 14 logoSeason 14
Open Conflux Chests
(Open 3 chests in total)
H.E.L.MPinnacle+1Weekly

No

NoDestiny 2 Season 14 logoSeason 14
Vanguard Strikes
(Complete 3 matches with matching element)
Playlist: VanguardPinnacle+1Weekly

No

NoDestiny 2 Free to Play logo 1Free-to-Play
Crucible Matches
(Complete 3 matches)
Playlist: CruciblePinnacle+1Weekly

No

NoDestiny 2 Free to Play logo 1Free-to-Play
Gambit Matches
(Complete 3 matches)
Playlist: GambitPinnacle+1Weekly

No

NoDestiny 2 Free to Play logo 1Free-to-Play
Clan Weekly XPTowerPinnacle+1Weekly

No

NoDestiny 2 Free to Play logo 1Free-to-Play
Reach "Legend" Glory rankPlaylist: CruciblePinnacle+2Season

No

NoDestiny 2 Free to Play logo 1Free-to-Play
Nightfall: The Ordeals
(at 5 points)
Playlist: VanguardPowerful+3Weekly

No

NoDestiny 2 Free to Play logo 1Free-to-Play
Survival Playlist
(Win 7 rounds)
Playlist: CruciblePowerful+3Weekly

No

NoDestiny 2 Free to Play logo 1Free-to-Play
Trials of Osiris
(at 3 wins)
Playlist: CruciblePowerful+4Weekly

Yes

YesDestiny 2 Free to Play logo 1Free-to-Play
Reputation Rewards Rank 1Playlist: CruciblePowerful+3Weekly

Yes

YesDestiny 2 Free to Play logo 1Free-to-Play
Reputation Rewards Rank 1Playlist: GambitPowerful+3Weekly

Yes

YesDestiny 2 Free to Play logo 1Free-to-Play
Beyond Light Exotic QuestsExotic QuestsPowerful+3Weekly

No

NoDestiny 2 Beyond Light logo 1Beyond Light
Exo Stranger Weekly Challenge
(at 100 Stasis defeats)
EuropaPowerful+3Weekly

No

NoDestiny 2 Beyond Light logo 1Beyond Light
Empire Hunts
(at 2 completions)
EuropaPowerful+3Weekly

No

NoDestiny 2 Beyond Light logo 1Beyond Light
Exo Challenge Simulation
(can be upgraded to Pinnacle)
EuropaPowerful+3Weekly

No

NoDestiny 2 Beyond Light logo 1Beyond Light
Europa bounties
(Complete 8 bounties)
EuropaPowerful+3Weekly

No

NoDestiny 2 Beyond Light logo 1Beyond Light
Gunsmith bounties
(Complete 8 bounties)
TowerPowerful+3Weekly

No

NoDestiny 2 Free to Play logo 1Free-to-Play
Vanguard bounties
(Complete 8 bounties)
TowerPowerful+3Weekly

No

NoDestiny 2 Free to Play logo 1Free-to-Play
Crucible bounties
(Complete 8 bounties)
TowerPowerful+3Weekly

No

NoDestiny 2 Free to Play logo 1Free-to-Play
Gambit bounties
(Complete 8 bounties)
TowerPowerful+3Weekly

No

NoDestiny 2 Free to Play logo 1Free-to-Play
Clan Engram Rewards
(4 total rewards)
TowerPowerful+3 x 4Weekly

No

NoDestiny 2 Free to Play logo 1Free-to-Play
Prophecy dungeon encounters
(Complete encounters 1, 2 and 3)
TowerPowerful+3 x 3Weekly

Yes

YesDestiny 2 Free to Play logo 1Free-to-Play
Conflux activities
(Complete 3 runs)
H.E.L.MPowerful+1Weekly

No

NoDestiny 2 Season 14 logoSeason 14
Battlegrounds
(at 3, 6 and 9 completions)
Playlist: VanguardPowerful+3 x 3Weekly

No

NoDestiny 2 Deluxe Edition logoDeluxe Edition
Wrathborn Hunts
(3 completions)
copy
Tangled ShorePowerful+3 x 3Weekly

No

NoDestiny 2 Deluxe Edition logoDeluxe Edition
Obtain "Null Composure" Ritual weaponTowerPowerful+3Season

No

NoDestiny 2 Free to Play logo 1Free-to-Play
Obtain "Salvager's Salvo" Ritual weaponTowerPowerful+3Season

No

NoDestiny 2 Free to Play logo 1Free-to-Play
Obtain "Adored" Ritual weaponTowerPowerful+3Season

No

NoDestiny 2 Free to Play logo 1Free-to-Play
Exotic EngramsWorld dropsPowerful+3Repeatable

No

NoDestiny 2 Free to Play logo 1Free-to-Play
Prime EngramsWorld dropsPowerful+3Repeatable

No

NoDestiny 2 Free to Play logo 1Free-to-Play
Legend & Master Lost Sectors Exotic EngramsWorld dropsPowerful+3Repeatable

No

NoDestiny 2 Free to Play logo 1Free-to-Play
Major Infamy Rank UpPlaylist: GambitPowerful+3Repeatable

No

NoDestiny 2 Free to Play logo 1Free-to-Play
Major Valor Rank UpPlaylist: CruciblePowerful+3Repeatable

No

NoDestiny 2 Free to Play logo 1Free-to-Play
Major Glory Rank UpPlaylist: CruciblePowerful+3Repeatable

No

NoDestiny 2 Free to Play logo 1Free-to-Play
Completions of Strikes, Crucible or Gambit matchesPlaylist activitiesPowerful+3Random

No

NoDestiny 2 Free to Play logo 1Free-to-Play

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 Season of the Splicer leveling

Season of the Splicer Power Level changes

It’s worth noting that several Powerful & Pinnacle sources changed with the release of Beyond Light and then again with Season of the Splicer:

  • Deep Stone Crypt and Presage Exotic quest no longer grant Pinnacle rewards
  • 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 1100 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 whether you’re a returning player or a brand-new player, this section will explain in detail how leveling works and how to level up as fast as possible in Season 14.

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:

Destiny 2 Powerful and Pinnacle chart Season 14

Reaching the Soft cap in Beyond Light: 1260 Power Level

Before reaching the soft cap (1260), 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 Power level Character Season 14

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: 1310 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 you won’t 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 Bounty Challenges to also 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:

Destiny 2 Power level equalize Season 14

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 1250 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!
  • Seasonal Activities often let you chose specific weapons and armor. These are generally Powerful rewards and should be used to level up 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: 1320 Power

This section is straightforward. When you reach the Powerful cap (1310), 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 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

Your Power Level is more than a number in Destiny 2. The higher your Power Level, the more accessible end game content will be for you, including Raids, Nightfalls, and Legend/Master Lost Sectors for PVE, and Trials of Osiris for PVP.

Hopefully, you now 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?

Want to keep the conversation going?

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