Destiny 2 Best PVE Weapons

Future-proofed for Beyond Light

By Ric aka Primatrix | Sep 29, 2020

As you start getting serious with Destiny 2, one of the first questions you’ll have is: What are the best weapons in the game?

That question is not as easy to answer, as it all depends on whether you’re looking for the top weapons for PVP, PVE, casual, or endgame content.

Today, we’ll focus on the best PVE weapons in 2020 for endgame activities. And by endgame, we mean content where having a high Power Level matters. In other words, we’ll focus on weapons that will not be sunsetted any time soon.

JarvA big thank you to Jarv for helping me put together this selection. Jarv is one of my favorite Destiny 2 content creators and someone who definitely knows his stuff. You should definitely check him out on YouTube.

In this guide, we’ll cover both Exotic and Legendary weapons (including their PVE god rolls), give you an overview of the current PVE meta, and provide quick guides on how to obtain the top PVE exotics. For the sake of clarity, we’ll split our selection of weapons into three categories: primary, special and heavy weapons.


Destiny 2 Best PVE Primary weapons

In this section, we cover the best primary PVE weapons. And by primary, we mean either Kinetic or Energy weapons that use Primary ammo. If you sometimes get confused between Kinetic, Primary, Energy and Special weapons, just remember Primary weapons use “normal” ammo, aka, white ammo boxes:

 WeaponDrops from / DifficultyExotic Perk, God Rolls & VerdictTypeSlotDrops from
Gnawing Hunger Destiny 2 art

Gnawing Hunger

| Auto Rifle
Umbral Engram

Easy

Slot: Void Energy | Ammo: Primary | Sunsets: Season 15

Gnawing Hunger PVE God Roll:
Perk 3: Overflow (also good: Subsistance)
Perk 4: Rampage

Auto rifles have always been accessible and easy to use but with the buff they received with Season of the Worthy, they became extremely lethal too. Especially the 600 RPM variants.

Among the many options available, Gnawing Hunger is the top choice. It offers some of the best PVE perks in the game and it's also extremely easy to farm via the Umbral engrams system.

Good Alternative: The Summoner.
Auto RifleEnergyUmbral Engrams
Sacred Provenance Destiny 2 art

Sacred Provenance

| Pulse Rifle
Garden of Salvation Raid

Hard

Slot: Kinetic | Ammo: Primary | Sunsets: Season 15

Sacred Provenance PVE God Roll:
Perk 3: Rapid Hit (also good: Full Auto Trigger)
Perk 4: Killclip

► Offering better range than Auto rifles, Pulse rifles remain solid and consistent weapons to use in endgame PVE. And among the many excellent Pulses out there, Sacred Provenance is one of the strongest.

On top of offering great perk options, a hard hitting four-burst fire weapon. Sacred Provenance is Best in Class, but you'll have to earn it throught raiding.

Good Alternative: Cold Denial.
Pulse RifleKineticRaid
Traveler's Chosen Destiny 2

Traveler's Chosen

| Sidearm
Exotic Quest

Easy

Slot: Kinetic | Ammo: Primary | Sunsets: NA

Exotic Perk: "Final blows grant stacks of Gathering Light. Consuming stacks, grant melee, grenade, and class ability energy based on the number of stacks. Each stack of Gathering Light improves this weapon's reload, handling, and target acquisition."

► Sidearms instantly became meta when they received a buff with Season of Dawn. Capable of inflicting some of the highest DPS in Destiny 2, they are generally considered a safe bet.

Traveler's Chosen, the newest exotic in the game, is perhaps the best sidearm ever created. It has the best base stats ever seen on a sidearm AND it features an extremely useful and consistent exotic perk.
SidearmKineticExotic Quest
Nation of Beasts Destiny 2

Nation of Beasts

| Hand Cannon
Last Wish Raid

Hard

Slot: Arc Energy | Ammo: Primary | Sunsets: Season 15

Nation of Beasts PVE God Roll:
Perk 3: Outlaw
Perk 4: Dragonfly (also good: Rampage)

140 RPM hand cannons have a slightly longer range and higher damage than their 150 RPMs counterparts (such as Dire Promise), making them favorites for endgame PVE. And Nation of Beasts happens to be one of the best 140 RPM hand cannons in the game.

Nation of Beats feels great, features good bases stats, and can offer potentially great rolls. What else could you want?

Good Alternative: Ancient Gospel.
Hand CannonEnergyRaid
Dire Promise Destiny 2 art

Dire Promise

| Hand Cannon
World Drop

Average

Slot: Kinetic | Ammo: Primary | Sunsets: Season 14

Dire Promise PVE God Roll:
Perk 3: Overflow (also good: Triple Tap)
Perk 4: Swashbuckler

► The natural replacement to the infamous Spare Rations, Dire Promise is essentially the only 150 RPM hand cannon that will be viable for endgame content next season.

On top of featuring good base stats and excellent PVE perks, Dire Promise is also a Lightweight frame, resulting in insane handling and fater movement speed.

Good Alternative: The Old Fashioned.
Hand CannonKineticWorld Drop
Destiny 2 Trinity Ghoul art

Trinity Ghoul

| Combat Bow
Exotic Engram

Average

Slot: Arc Energy | Ammo: Primary | Sunsets: NA

Exotic Perk: "Fires an arrow that splits when released. Aiming down sights and fully drawing the bow both decrease the spread. Precision kills grant the next shot chain-lightning capabilities."

► Bows don't usually get much love and are mostly used by bows aficionados only. Except for Trinity Ghoul, which became one of the best exotic primaries overnight and the absolute best PVE bow in the game.

With its new Catalyst, it can easily create massive chain-lightings, making ad clearing a breeze. To be fair, Trinity Ghoul won't be as effective in the highest-level endgame.
Combat BowEnergyExotic Engram
Last Hope Destiny 2 art

Last Hope

| Sidearm
World Drop

Average

Slot: Arc Energy | Ammo: Primary | Sunsets: Season 13

Last Hope PVE God Roll:
Perk 3: Feeding Frenzy
Perk 4: Rampage (also good: Multikill Clip)

Another reprised Year 1 weapon, Last Hope took everyone by surprise when it was re-released with Season of Dawn. Season of Dawn also came with sidearm buffs that transformed this long-forgotten weapon into one of the best DPS primaries in the game.
Good Alternative: The Fool's Remedy.
SidearmEnergyWorld Drop
Destiny 2 Outbreak Perfected art

Outbreak Perfected

| Pulse Rifle
Exotic Quest

Hard

Slot: Kinetic | Ammo: Primary | Sunsets: NA

Exotic Perk: "This weapon creates SIVA nanite swarms on rapid hits and precision kills and does more damage to enemies based on the number of SIVA nanites that attach to them."

► With its SIVA nanites, Outbreak Perfected is capable of doing insane damage, especially if others in your team are using it too. In fact, when used right, Outbreak Perfected is one of the highest damage-dealing primary weapons in the game.

As one of the few exotics that will no longer be available next season (due to the Destiny Content Vault), you should definitely prioritize getting your hands on it ASAP.
Pulse RifleKineticExotic Quest
IKELOS_SMG_v1.0.2 Destiny 2 art

IKELOS_SMG_v1.0.2

| Submachine Gun
Umbral Engram

Easy

Slot: Arc Energy | Ammo: Primary | Sunsets: Season 15

IKELOS_SMG_v1.0.2 PVE God Roll:
Perk 3: Threat Detector
Perk 4: Surrounded (also good: Vorpal Weapon)

► Players have been desperately looking for a Recluse replacement for months, and after disappointments such as the Seventh Seraph VY-7 or the DeathAdder, Bungie finally delivered a solid SMG: the reprised IKELOS_SMG_V.1.0.2.

With the right perks, this weapon shreds, and as a massive bonus, it can create Warmind cells (aka, mini-nukes that destroy everything around them).
Submachine GunEnergyUmbral Engrams
Destiny 2 Monte Carlo

Monte Carlo

| Auto Rifle
Exotic Engram

Average

Slot: Kinetic | Ammo: Primary | Sunsets: NA

Exotic Perk: "Dealing damage with this weapon reduces melee cooldown and can fully charge your melee with each kill. Melee kills and kills with this weapon increase damage."

► Just like Gnawing Hunger, Monte Carlo is a 600 RPM auto rifle capable of dealing a lot of damage. On top of that, it features a great exotic perk that is essentially Swashbuckler (one of the best damage-dealing perks in the game) on steroids.

That exotic perk also makes it the perfect tool for melee builds or basically for anyone that enjoys punching things.
Auto RifleKineticExotic Engram

PS: Remember, our selection of top PVE guns is limited to weapons viable for endgame content with Beyond Light. This is why you won’t see any Pinnacle weapon such as Recluse or Mountaintop in here!


Destiny 2 Best PVE Special weapons

Destiny 2 special ammoIn this section, we cover the best Special PVE weapons. And by Special, we mean either kinetic or Energy weapons that use Special ammo. Just remember, Special weapons use “Special” ammo, aka, green ammo boxes:

 WeaponDrops fromExotic Perk, God Rolls & VerdictTypeSlotDrops from
Destiny 2 Eriana's Vow art

Eriana's Vow

| Hand Cannon
Exotic Cipher

Average

Slot: Solar Energy | Ammo: Destiny 2 special ammo Special | Sunsets: NA

Exotic Perks: "Fires special shield-piercing ammunition. Bonus damage when aiming down sights on the opening shot of an attack."

► A fan-favorite for the highest endgame content such as Grandmaster Ordeals, Eriana's Vow can deal with Barrier Champions while also dishing some serious damage.

And to top things off, Eriana's Vow may behave like a sniper, but as it's technically a hand cannon, it was untouched by the big sniper nerf from last season.
Hand CannonEnergyExotic Cipher
Witherhoard art Destiny 2

Witherhoard

| Grenade Launcher
Season Pass

Easy

Slot: Kinetic | Ammo: Destiny 2 special ammo Special | Sunsets: NA

Exotic Perk: "Projectiles fired blight the target or nearby area on impact. Blighted targets take damage over time and blight the nearby area on death."

► With the ability to inflict significant damage over time, Witherhoard acts like a "mini" Anarchy. This weapon has quickly become one of the go-to weapons for PVE, with many using it for the hardest solo feats.

Players have been desperately looking for a Mountaintop replacement. This is it. Shoot it at an enemy, the floor where that enemy is standing, and then switch to your Heavy weapon to basically melt anything the game throws at you.
Grenade LauncherKineticSeason Pass
Destiny 2 Divinity art

Divinity

| Trace Rifle
Garden of Salvation Raid

Hard

Slot: Arc Energy | Ammo: Destiny 2 special ammo Special | Sunsets: NA

Exotic Perk: "Sustained damage with this weapon envelops the target in a field that weakens and disrupts them."

► Divinity is the ultimate support weapon. It can deal with Overload Champions and more importantly, it can apply a huge debuff on everything, weakening enemies and creating a giant crit spot on them.

Divinity may have the lowest DPS on this list, but the huge benefits it can bring to a fireteam more than make up for it.
Trace RifleEnergyRaid
Destiny 2 Izanagi's Burden

Izanagi's Burden

| Sniper Rifle
Exotic Quest

Hard

Slot: Kinetic | Ammo: Destiny 2 special ammo Special | Sunsets: NA

Exotic Perk: "Holding reload consumes the magazine and loads a round with additional range and damage."

► Izanagi's Burden used to be the undisputed best PVE energy weapon. And while snipers received a significant nerf last season, Izi is still one of the best DPS weapons around. It's easy to use, consistent, and lethal, especially with the Catalyst.

You'll especially see plenty of Izanagi's Burdens in Grandmaster Nightfalls as it's capable to deal great damage from range.
Sniper RifleKineticExotic Quest
Destiny 2 Seventh Seraph CQC-12

Seventh Seraph CQC-12

| Shotgun
Umbral Engram

Easy

Slot: Solar Energy | Ammo: Destiny 2 special ammo Special | Sunsets: Season 14-15

Seventh Seraph CQC-12 PVE God Roll:
Perk 1: Auto-Loading Holster (also good: Slideshot)
Perk 2: Vorpal Weapon (also good: Trench Barrel)

As a Lightweight frame shotgun, the Seventh Seraph CQC-12 is one of the highest DPS legendary shotguns in the game. And on top of the damage, the faster handling, and movement speed, it also features excellent perks.

For example, auto-loading holster with trench barrel or Vorpal Weapon can result in insane burst DPS. Last but not least, this is an incredibly easy to farm weapon via the Umbral engrams system.

Good Alternative: IKELOS_SG_v1.0.2.
ShotgunEnergyUmbral Engram
IKELOS_SR_v1.0.2 Destiny 2 art

IKELOS_SR_v1.0.2

| Sniper Rifle
Umbral Engram

Easy

Slot: Solar Energy | Ammo: Destiny 2 special ammo Special | Sunsets: Season 15

IKELOS_SR_v1.0.2 PVE God Roll:
Perk 1: Fourth Time's The Charm (also good: Triple Tap)
Perk 2: High Impact Reserves

The IKELOS sniper used to be fan-favorite back when static rolls were the norm. It's, therefore, a relief to see it come back stronger than ever with random rolls.

The IKELOS_SR_v1.0.2 has good base stats but what sets it apart is the great PVE perk selection it has. If you manage to find a God roll, you'll have potentially the strongest legendary sniper in the game.

Good Alternative: Distant Tumulus.
Sniper RifleEnergyUmbral Engram
Destiny 2 Astral Horizon

Astral Horizon

| Shotgun
Trials of Osiris

Hard

Slot: Kinetic | Ammo: Destiny 2 special ammo Special | Sunsets: Season 14

Astral Horizon PVE God Roll:
Perk 1: Slideshot (also good: Auto-Loading Holster)
Perk 2: One-Two Punch

► If you're looking for a great kinetic shotgun, look no further than Astral Horizon. While most people farm it for its PVP potential, Astral Horizon can also come with excellent PVE perks.

For example, an Astral Horizon with one-two punch can deal some serious damage and be an excellent tool for melee-based playstyle. Be prepared for a tough time in Trials to farm it though...
ShotgunKineticTrials of Osiris
Hallow Words Destiny 2

Hollow Words

| Fusion Rifle
Umbral Engram

Easy

Slot: Arc Energy | Ammo: Destiny 2 special ammo Special | Sunsets: Season 15

Hollow Words PVE God Roll:
Perk 1: Killing Wind
Perk 2: Vorpal Weapon (also good: Surrounded)

► Fusion rifles cannot do the damage shotguns can, but with a higher range, they're definitely safer to use in endgame content.

It's a mystery to me why fusion rifles are so unpopular, but a Hollow Words with the right perks is an excellent DPS weapon that offers great perks and is incredibly easy to farm with Umbral engrams.

Good Alternative: Main Ingredient.
Fusion RifleEnergyUmbral Engram
The Supremacy Destiny 2 art

The Supremacy

| Sniper Rifle
Last Wish Raid

Hard

Slot: Kinetic | Ammo: Destiny 2 special ammo Special | Sunsets: Season 15

The Supremacy PVE God Roll:
Perk 1: Ambitious Assassin
Perk 2: Triple Tap

► With many good snipers becoming unusable for endgame content next season due to weapon retirement, The Supremacy has become a must-have kinetic sniper.

The Supremacy may not be easy to acquire (as it's locked behind the Last Wish raid), but with good base stats, good perks, and a Season 15 sunset, it's still definitely worth chasing.

Good Alternative: Long Shadow.
Sniper RifleKineticRaid
Hawthorne's Field Forged Destiny 2

Hawthorne's Field-Forged Shotgun

| Shotgun
World Drop

Average

Slot: Kinetic | Ammo: Destiny 2 special ammo Special | Sunsets: Season 13

Hawthorne's Field-Forged Shotgun PVE God Roll:
Perk 1: Grave Robber (also good: Full Auto Trigger System)
Perk 2: One-Two Punch (also good: Demolitionist)

► Hawthorne's Field-Forged Shotgun is another re-released Year 1 weapon that came back with great perk combinations, especially for PVE.

In the kinetic slot, an Astral Horizon may be a slightly superior option, but the Hawthorne's Field-Forged Shotgun is just much easier to find via the Gunsmith or via Legendary engrams. Plus, it can also roll with one-two punch!
ShotgunKineticWorld Drop

But what about PVP?


Destiny 2 Best PVE Heavy weapons

Destiny 2 Heavy ammoIn this section, we cover the best Heavy PVE weapons. In other words, weapons that use “heavy” ammo, aka, purple ammo boxes:

 WeaponDrops fromExotic Perk, God Rolls & VerdictTypeSlotDrops from
Falling Guillotine Destiny 2 art

Falling Guillotine

| Sword
Umbral Engram

Easy

Slot: Void Heavy | Ammo: Destiny 2 Heavy ammo Heavy | Sunsets: Season 15

Falling Guillotine PVE God Roll:
Perk 1: Relentless Strikes
Perk 2: Whirlwind Blade (also good: Surrounded)

The Falling Guillotine doesn't need an introduction. After all, half the guardians in the game use it to melt everything in their path.

Indeed, the Falling Guillotine is the strongest sword currently in the game, and the perfect example of how swords should have always been: High risk and high reward. Manage to get close enough without dying and you'll delete your enemies.
SwordHeavyUmbral Engram
Destiny 2 Xenophage

Xenophage

| Machine Gun
Exotic Quest

Hard

Slot: Solar Heavy | Ammo: Destiny 2 Heavy ammo Heavy | Sunsets: NA

Exotic Perk: "Fires high-powered explosive ammunition. Aiming this weapon increases its effective range and zoom magnification."

► The nerf to snipers and a huge buff to Xenophage with Season of the Worthy made it one of the best PVE weapons in Destiny 2.

Many tests have been made and the results are undeniable: Xenophage is one of the most consistent DPS weapons in the game. On top of that, as it doesn't do precision damage, Xenphage is also easy to use and forgiving.
Machine GunHeavyExotic Quest
Destiny 2 Anarchy

Anarchy

| Grenade Launcher
Scourge of the Past Raid

Hard

Slot: Arc Heavy | Ammo: Destiny 2 Heavy ammo Heavy | Sunsets: NA

Exotic Perk: "Grenades stick to surfaces and chain Arc bolts to other mines. It also has the Moving Target perk."

► Anarchy is arguably the best boss-DPS weapons in the game and a must-have. With its damage over time, it pairs perfectly with lots of powerful Special weapons.

It's often a favorite for raids and Grandmaster Ordeals, as it can deal a lot of tick damage while you and your fireteam use other weapons on that same target.
Grenade LauncherHeavyRaid
Destiny 2 One Thousand Voices art

One Thousand Voices

| Fusion Rifle
Last Wish Raid

Hard

Slot: Solar Heavy | Ammo: Destiny 2 Heavy ammo Heavy | Sunsets: NA

Exotic Perk: "Charging this weapon unleashes a giant continuous beam of death. The beam superheats its targets upon impact, causing delayed explosions."

► One Thousand Voices has suffered from several buffs and nerfs over time, but it's still a DPS powerhouse.

It can do significant area of effect damage, but what makes it truly special is the insane burst damage it can do in a fairly short time. Getting one won't be easy though, as it's a random drop from the Last Wish raid final boss...
Fusion RifleHeavyRaid
Destiny 2 Interference VI

Interference VI

| Grenade Launcher
World Drop

Average

Slot: Arc Heavy | Ammo: Destiny 2 Heavy ammo Heavy | Sunsets: Season 14

Interference VI PVE God Roll:
Perk 1: Clown Cartridge (also good: Auto-Loading Holster)
Perk 2: Full Court

The Interference VI became an instant meta weapon when it was re-released with Season of the Worthy. It directly benefited from a nerf to Aggressive frame grenade launchers, but it also raised to the top thanks to great perk combinations.

The only grenade launcher capable to roll with Clown Cartridge and Full court, the Interference VI is the highest DPS grenade launcher currently in the game.
Grenade LauncherHeavyWorld Drop

If you’re looking for a video with the best PVE weapons you should farm before Beyond Light arrives, this video from Jarv is a must-see:


Destiny 2 PVE Meta (as of September 2020)

Every sandbox change comes with a new meta. And while we love to criticize Bungie for not changing the meta often enough, the last few seasons have significantly altered the hierarchy of PVE weapon types in Destiny 2.

PS: If you’re looking for the complete rundown of the state of the current Meta for PVP and PVP, check out our Destiny 2 Meta weapons guide. 

We covered the absolute best PVE weapons before, but if you’re interested in other weapons, it’s important to understand how the different weapon types compare with each other.

PS: Meta refers to the most used weapons for a particular activity. Generally, these weapons are the most used because they are the most powerful/efficient.

These are the different Tier levels used for these Tier lists:

  • S Tier – Best: Highest ranking weapon types.
  • A Tier – Strong: Very strong weapon types, but not on the same level as S Tier Choices.
  • B Tier – Average: Decent choices that can be lethal in the hands of a skilled player.
  • C Tier – Weak: The middle of the pack, somewhat mediocre.
  • D Tier – Worst: Lagging behind the competition, these don’t have much to offer.

The list starts with S Tier and moves down until it reaches the bottom Tier:

PVE Primary weapons meta

Weapon Type TierCurrent State
Auto rifle weapon type Destiny 2Auto Rifles
Best

S

Auto rifles received a significant buff with Season of the Worthy, especially 600 RPM variants. They are undeniably the most lethal and easy to use primaries right now, as they have good range and large magazines.

They do have one drawback: You have to be out of cover to do the max possible damage (unlike a hand cannon or pulse), which makes them riskier in endgame content.

Lastest "meta change": Auto rifles were buffed with Season of the Worthy, receiving increased base and precision damage.

Sidearm weapon type Destiny 2Sidearms
Best

S

Sidearms have been some of the most slept on weapons in Destiny 2 for too long. But ever since they were buffed and Recluse nerfed, the larger player base has realized their potential. They do some of the highest DPS in the game while having a decent magazine size.

Their only drawback is the fact they have limited range, making them a little risky in Master and Grandmaster content.

Lastest "meta change": Sidearms were buffed with Season of Dawn, receiving "increased target acquisition".

Hand cannon weapon type Destiny 2Hand Cannons
Strong

A

Hand Cannons were the top tier choice for PVE content for years, but after a nerf to their effective range last year, they are no longer the go-to primaries they used to be.

Don't get me wrong though, hand cannons are still extremely strong and efficient. They are definitely viable for Master and Grandmaster content, and although their range suffered, they are still great at hiding behind cover in-between shots.

Lastest "meta change": Hand cannons were nerfed with Shadowkeep, receiving a reduced effective range.

Pulse rifle weapon type Destiny 2Pulse Rifles
Strong

A

Pulse rifles have been quite stable for a while now with most sandbox changes focusing on other weapon types.

And that's a good thing, as Pulse rifles are in a good place. They do reasonable damage, have a good range, and are, overall, safe and easy to use in Master and Grandmaster content.

Lastest "meta change": Pulse rifles haven't received any noticeable PVE changes in a long time.

Combat bow weapon type Destiny 2Combat Bows
Average

B

Combat bows may not be very popular, but they can truly excel in some niche situations. Namely, in very difficult content in which you want to stay as far away from enemies as possible (namely, solo flawless dungeon attempts).

With virtually infinite range, bows can deal good damage from insane distances. Granted, their damage is not as good as other weapon types, but they do offer a lot of safety.

Lastest "meta change": Bows were buffed with Season of Arrivals, receiving +10% PvE damage VS minors.

SMG weapon type Destiny 2Submachine Guns
Average

B

The Recluse reigned supreme as the best PVE primary for a very long time, but it was an exception. Because in general, SMGs are not bad, but they aren't great either.

They can do decent damage but now that auto rifles are so strong, it's hard to recommend an SMG over a good 600 RPM auto rifle. And even if you don't care about having more range, a sidearm will do better DPS too.

Lastest "meta change": SMGs haven't received any noticeable PVE changes in a long time.

-
Weak

C

-
Scout rifle weapon type Destiny 2Scout Rifles
Worst

D

Where to begin with scout rifles? Scout rifles have been in a sorry state for a long time. They offer good range but their damage is simply abysmal compared to other weapon types.

To be fair, some Scouts can get the job done, namely the re-issued Night Watch. But there's no reason why you should use a scout when auto rifles and pulse rifles are so much more lethal and consistent.

Lastest "meta change": Scouts haven't received any noticeable PVE changes in a long time.

PVE Special weapons meta

For the sake of clarity, all weapon categories consisting of only 1 or 2 exotics have been excluded. Weapons such as Divinity or Eriana’s Vow are too unique to be representative of an entire weapon type.

If you’re particularly interested in these unique exotics, check out our Exotic Tier list including every exotic weapon currently in the game.

Weapon Type TierCurrent State
-
Best

S

-
Shotgun weapon type Destiny 2Shotguns
Strong

A

Shotguns are in a good place right now, and that's mainly due to the many new shotguns recently released with great stats and insane damage-dealing perks such as trench barrel, Vorpal weapon, one-two punch, etc.

Overall, shotguns are finally hitting that sweet spot between risk and reward. Slug shotguns are finally viable too, thanks to a recent PVE buff.

Lastest "meta change": Slug shotguns were buffed with Season of Arrivals, receiving a massive +30% PVE damage.

Sniper rifle weapon type Destiny 2Sniper Rifles
Average

B

Up until Season of Dawn, snipers were the best PVE special weapons in the game. They were extremely lethal and safe to use in endgame content, as they allowed players to deal insane DPS from afar.

But Bungie decided to nerf them hard because they were "too safe", bringing them back to pre-Shadowkeep values. Except, they were buffed with Shadowkeep because they were too average...

Lastest "meta change": Snipers were nerfed with Season of the Worthy, receiving a -20% PvE damage VS majors.

Fusion rifle weapon type Destiny 2Fusion Rifles
Average

B

Fusion rifles were recipients of a significant nerf some time ago, making them technically weaker than before.

That said, fusion rifles deserve more love, because even if they were nerfed, they are still powerful. They are capable of dealing more damage than snipers while being safer to use (due to having more range) than shotguns.

Lastest "meta change": Fusion rifles were nerfed with Season of the Worthy, receiving an increased damage falloff and a decreased effective range.

Grenade launcher weapon type Destiny 2Grenade Launchers
Weak

C

Special ammo Grenade launchers used to be Top tier, but that was only because of the Mountaintop. Technically, the Mountaintop is still one of the best (if not THE best) special weapon for PVE.

Thing is, Mountaintop will be retired with Beyond Light and won't be viable for endgame content anymore. And as much as people keep saying Truthteller will replace it, no other grenade launcher will be nearly as good as the Mountaintop.

Lastest "meta change": While not technically a "nerf", grenade launchers will greatly suffer from the loss of the Mountaintop.

-
Worst

D

-

PVE Heavy weapons meta

Same as before, weapon categories consisting of only 1 or 2 exotics have been excluded. In this case, snipers, shotguns, and fusion rifles have been excluded:

Weapon Type TierCurrent State
Sword weapon type Destiny 2Swords
Best

S

Swords have never been stronger than they are today. The huge rework they received with Season of the Worthy made them much more usable. They are now safer to use, have a better ammo economy, and can deal much more damage.

Swords have taken an even more prominent place this season, with the release of the monster that is Falling Guillotine. That sword is as high risk / high reward as it gets. When used right, you can basically delete any enemy in front of you, no matter the difficulty.

Lastest "meta change": Swords were buffed with Season of the Worthy, receiving a complete overhaul of how they function.

Grenade launcher weapon type Destiny 2Grenade Launchers
Strong

A

Grenade launchers used to be the top tier choice for PVE content, especially Aggressive Frame variants such as Swarm of the Raven. But after the removal of the Aggressive Frame archetype entirely (now called Rapid-Fire) and a blanket nerf to all grenade launchers, they are no longer the indisputable choice.

To be fair, they remain a strong option, especially when getting too close to the enemy is impossible. Otherwise, they have been replaced by Swords as the go-to damage-dealing Heavy weapon type in the game.

Lastest "meta change": Grenade launchers were nerfed with Season of the Worthy, receiving a reduced damage to Major enemies of -10% overall and a reduced damage to all Rapid-fire frames.

-
Average

B

-
Rocket launcher weapon type Destiny 2Rocket Launchers
Weak

C

Rocket launchers went from top tier to mediocre in a heartbeat when Bungie removed most auto-loading abilities. This means we now have to actually reload these extremely slow single-round weapons every time we fire them.

This makes all the difference because, for as much damage a rocket can do, their reload time destroys their DPS. Until Bungie finally gives them a proper buff, there is no reason to use a rocket launcher over a good grenade launcher right now.

Lastest "meta change": Rocket launchers were nerfed with Shadowkeep, having their DPS destroyed with the removal of instant reloading capabilities.

Linear fusion rifle weapon type Destiny 2Linear Fusion Rifles
Weak

C

Linear fusion rifles are also in the middle of an identity crisis. They cannot do as much damage as grenade launchers and even lag behind exotic heavy snipers.

Granted, some of the newer linear fusion rifles with Vorpal weapon and firing-line can do decent DPS but there's really no reason to use one over a grenade launcher or even Whisper of the Worm if you need to be precise.

Lastest "meta change": Linear fusion rifles haven't seen any significant changes in a while.

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Worst

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As you can see, the Meta can completely change in a heartbeat. You can rest assured, though, as this overview is up to date with the current Season of Arrivals sandbox and will be updated as soon as a new meta arrives.


Destiny 2 Best PVE Exotics: How to get them

We cover every exotic quest in Destiny 2 in this guide, but these are the detailed steps on how to acquire all the top PVE exotics in Destiny 2 mentioned before. Note that exotic quests involve very different steps of varying difficulty:

0. Season Pass: How to get Witherhoard

This one is extremely easy to get. It’s part of your Season Pass and is immediately available in the Paid track of the Season Pass or at Rank 35 in the Free Track.

Witherhoard will probably be available via the Exotic ciphers (read section below) once the season is over, but who knows when. I recommend claiming this weapon right now, just to be safe!

1. Exotic Engrams: How to get Trinity Ghoul and Monte Carlo

Trinity Ghoul and Monte Carlo can be found as random exotic engrams. This is bad news if you don’t already have them as you won’t be able to actively work to get them.

In a nutshell, there are only a few ways you can get exotic engrams in Destiny 2:

  • From the Season pass (the Free track offers while the Paid track offers )
  • From Xur: Either as his random exotic engram or as his weekly Exotic weapon for sale
  • As a random World drop

There isn’t much more that can be said about grinding Exotic engrams, only that they have a higher chance to drop from end-game activities. If finding this exotic is your priority, Nightfall: The Ordeals are for you. And the higher the difficulty (Master level and above), the higher the chance to get one.

2. Exotic Cipher: How to get Eriana’s Vow

Bungie finally introduced a method to acquire exotic weapons from previous seasons. Up until recently, if you missed Season of the Undying, you could not get Eriana’s Vow anymore. With Season of Arrivals, Bungie added an item called Exotic Cipher to the Season Pass (available to all, including free-to-play players).

As soon as you reach rank 55, you’ll be able to claim that item and simply bring it to Master Rahool at the Tower. He will exchange you one several Exotic weapons from previous seasons, including Eriana’s Vow.

PS: Bungie just released a tribute quest that rewards you another Exotic Cipher.

3. Raid Exotics: How to get Anarchy, Divinity and One Thousand Voices

Anarchy and One Thousand Voices are straightforward to obtain.

Anarchy can drop from the Scourge of the Past final boss while One Thousand Voices can drop from the Last Wish final boss.

And now that Bungie has added drop protection to all raid exotics, you should eventually get them if you put in the work:

Do keep in mind that Scourge of the Past is going into the DCV and will be entirely removed from the game on November 10, 2020.

Divinity on the other hand is more complicated to obtain. It’s part of an exotic quest that eventually takes you to the Garden of Salvation raid. This video guide from Datto has all the details.

4. Exotic Quests: How to get Outbreak Perfected, Traveler’s Chosen, Xenophage, and Izanagi’s Burden

When it comes to exotic quests, the internet is full of video guides and How-to articles to chose from.  The difficulty of an exotic quest can vary from long and hard (such as Izanagi’s Burden’s quest released with Black Armory) to fast and easy (Traveler’s Chosen). In any case, I always recommend Datto’s video guides:

They’re thorough without being too long for the sake of pleasing the YouTube algorithms…

The quests for Outbreak Perfected and Izanagi’s Burden are also going into the DCV and will be entirely removed from the game on November 10, 2020.


Destiny 2 Best PVE loadouts

Up until now, we have split our Top PVE guns into Primaries, Special and Heavy weapons. This makes sense when comparing weapons against each other.

But once you start building towards the ultimate loadout, a weapon’s slot becomes crucial. That’s because you can only carry one Kinetic, one Energy, and one Heavy weapon at a time. For example, if you’re committed to using a Gnawing Hunger as your primary weapon, then your Special weapon will have to be kinetic.

In this section, we’ll share some of the most popular PVE loadouts right now. This is how our Top PVE weapons look like, filtered by slot and not by ammo type:

Destiny 2 Best PVE Kinetic weapons:

Weapon  Type Ammo Type
Sacred Provenance Pulse Rifle Primary
Traveler’s Chosen Sidearm Primary
Dire Promise Hand Cannon Primary
Outbreak Perfected Pulse Rifle Primary
Monte Carlo Auto Rifle Primary
Witherhoard Grenade Launcher Special
Izanagi’s Burden Sniper Rifle Special
Astral Horizon Shotgun Special
The Supremacy Sniper Rifle Special
Hawthorne’s Field-Forged Shotgun Shotgun Special

Destiny 2 Best PVE Energy weapons:

Weapon  Type Ammo Type
Gnawing Hunger Pulse Rifle Primary
Nation of Beasts Sidearm Primary
Trinity Ghoul Hand Cannon Primary
Last Hope Pulse Rifle Primary
IKELOS_SMG_v1.0.2 Auto Rifle Primary
Eriana’s Vow Hand Cannon Special
Divinity Trace Rifle Special
Seventh Seraph CQC-12 Shotgun Special
IKELOS_SR_v1.0.2 Sniper Rifle Special
Hollow Words Fusion Rifle Special

If we mix and match the top kinetic and energy weapons, some the potential top PVE loadouts might something like this:

Loadout 1:

Kinetic Energy Heavy
Izanagi’s Burden Gnawing Hunger Falling Guillotine

Loadout 2:

Kinetic Energy Heavy
Nation of Beasts Seventh Seraph CQC-12 Anarchy

Your Turn

Hopefully, this list should help you plan and prepare for Beyond Light. We did our best to include both Legendary weapons and Exotics, as well as the top tier, most difficult to obtain weapons, and easier to get, yet still great alternatives.

Did we miss your current favorite PVE weapon? Do you have a particularly good PVE loadout you would like to share? Let us know in the comments section below!

For the record, this list is based on my experience playing the PC version of the game.