A relatively new addition to the game, Exotic Ciphers are one of the most valuable currencies in Destiny 2. Not only do they offer the opportunity to obtain past quest exotics—they also can grant free random exotics and now allow you to focus specific exotic armor.
In this article, we’ll cover everything there is to know about Exotic Ciphers: what they are, the different types, how to obtain them, and where to spend them.
What are Exotic Ciphers?
Exotic Ciphers are a rare currency that allows you to purchase Exotic weapons and armor from various sources in the game. You can currently only hold one at a time, but that will increase to five in Season 21 (Season of the Deep).
Types of Exotic Ciphers
Destiny 2 has two types of Ciphers: standard Exotic Ciphers and Forsaken Ciphers. The generic ones are far more common and will be the primary focus of this article. However, we’ll quickly cover Forsaken Ciphers here as well.
After purchasing the Forsaken Pack, you’ll receive three Forsaken Ciphers. You can redeem these at the Monument to Lost Lights in the Tower in exchange for Year 2 exotics. An important exception comes in raid exotics: Anarchy, Tarrabah, and Always on Time. Even if you have a Forsaken Cipher, you’ll still need to spend 240 Spoils of Conquest to purchase these.
If you already have all the exotics from Year 2, you can exchange your Forsaken Ciphers for Ascendant Shards at the monument instead.
Now that we’ve covered this unique type of cipher, the rest of this article will cover the more common kind: standard Exotic Ciphers.
How to get Exotic Ciphers in Destiny 2
There are currently only two ways to obtain Exotic Ciphers, making them one of the rarest currencies in the game.
The first method is straightforward: all you’ll need to do is hit rank 55 on the season pass. This reward comes from the free track, meaning you don’t need to own the current season to benefit. To level up quickly, complete bounties and seasonal challenges as they come out.
Xenology Quest: Exotic Cipher farm
The other option, which you can do more frequently, is through Xur. Each week, he’ll offer a quest titled “Xenology.” To complete it, all you need to do is finish Vanguard Ops or get Crucible and Gambit wins. You’ll need 21 total, but playing with clanmates and completing Nightfalls or Trials of Osiris matches speeds up progress. You can only complete Xenology once per week.
Sadly, there’s no way to farm Exotic Ciphers just yet. For now, you’re limited to just one a week through Xur’s quest; however, we fully expect Bungie to add more methods to obtain the currency as it becomes more useful.
Where to Spend Exotic Ciphers
Exotic Ciphers are a diverse currency that proves useful to all Guardians. While there have previously only been two ways to spend ciphers, Season of the Deep will add one more: precision Exotic armor decryption. In this section, we’ll cover all three in detail.
Monument to Lost Lights
The first place to spend ciphers is also the most helpful for newer players: the Exotic Kiosk in the Tower. Here, you can purchase old quest and raid exotics for one Exotic Cipher each.
A small yet important note is that you’ll need Destiny 2’s expansions to purchase most exotics. Additionally, raid exotics from the past require 240 Spoils of Conquest, a rare currency obtained from raids.
Xur’s Fated Engram
If you’d instead like to round out your collection of world drop Exotics, Xur sells Fated Engrams that can help with that. The first engram each week will cost you Legendary Shards, but you can purchase one more each week with an Exotic Cipher.
Precision Exotic Armor Decryption
New with Season of the Deep, Master Rahool will offer Exotic Armor focusing. With this system, you can turn your Exotic engrams into specific armor pieces with 60,000 Glimmer, 3 Ascendant Shards, and one Exotic Cipher.
Remember, you can only use precision focusing for armor you’ve already obtained. If you still need to finish your collection, Xur, Vex Strike Force, and Lost Sectors are your best bets.
Before you go…
If you’re interested in Exotic Ciphers, it means you’re probably looking into completing your collection of Exotics. If that’s the case, Solo Lost Sectors remains the best method to acquire Exotic armor.
For Exotic weapons, this Exotics tier list tells you how to get every Exotic weapon in the game.