Best Trace Rifles in Destiny 2: Tier List for PvP and PvE

by | Mar 26, 2024

Considered second-tier for too long, Trace rifles are finally in a good place. There are now several Legendary alternatives, and the top Exotic Traces are considered among the best weapons in Destiny 2.

This guide covers every Trace Rifle in Destiny 2, including Exotic and Legendary Traces and the best rolls for PvE and PvP.

s23 Season of the Wish icon Destiny 2 Updated as of Season of the Wish (S23). See Updates.

Destiny 2 Best Trace Rifle: Top-tier Options

This Tier list features the Top-tier Exotic and Legendary Traces in the game and covers both PvE and PvP:

ItemWeaponsTypeArchetypeAmmo?Element?RequirementsIn loot pool?RankSourceAvailable?Tier rankSource ❘ DLCFinal VerdictReleasedPerksBest of?
Path of Least ResistancePath of Least Resistance art

Path of Least Resistance
Trace Rifle
Trace RifleAdaptiveSpecialArcThe Witch QueenYesS › BestOperation: Seraph's ShieldCheckmark icon V3
Best

S



Excels in:
PvE
Operation: Seraph's Shield
The Witch Queen Icon (final) Destiny 2
Witch Queen
Slot: Arc Arc | Ammo: Special ammo Destiny 2 Special | Archetype: Adaptive

PvE God Rolls: Stats for All (also good: Subsistence) + Voltshot (also good: One for All)

► Acting as a mini-Coldheart, Path of Least Resistance is great for Guardians looking for a strong non-exotic weapon pairing for their Arc builds. A solid first column of perks combines with Voltshot to create a weapon that feels potent in any PvE activity you put it up against.
Season 19
Slot: Arc Arc | Ammo: Special ammo Destiny 2 Special | Archetype: Adaptive

PvE God Rolls: Stats for All (also good: Subsistence) + Voltshot (also good: One for All)
Top-tier
Acasia's DejectionAcasia's Dejection art
Acasia's Dejection
Trace Rifle
Trace RifleAdaptiveSpecialSolarLightfallYesS › BestRoot of Nightmares RaidCheckmark icon V3
Best

S



Excels in:
PvE
Root of Nightmares Raid
Lightfall Icon (final) Destiny 2
Lightfall
Slot: Solar Solar | Ammo: Special ammo Destiny 2 Special | Archetype: Adaptive

PvE God Rolls: Rewind Rounds (also good: Reconstruction) + Incandescent (also good: Paracausal Affinity)

► On the same level as Retraced Path, Acasia's Dejection is one of the best legendary trace rifles for generic gameplay. While it does have Solar synergy through Incandescent, it's typically used without builds in mind. This trace rifle is an excellent pick for anyone looking for one that excels in all situations.
Season 20
Slot: Solar Solar | Ammo: Special ammo Destiny 2 Special | Archetype: Adaptive

PvE God Rolls: Rewind Rounds (also good: Reconstruction) + Incandescent (also good: Paracausal Affinity)
Top-tier
The NavigatorThe Navigator art Destiny 2
The Navigator
Trace Rifle
Trace RifleExoticSpecialStrandLightfall Dungeon KeyYesS › BestGhost of the Deep DungeonCheckmark icon V3
Best

S



Excels in:
PvE
Ghost of the Deep Dungeon
Lightfall Icon (final) Destiny 2
Lightfall Dungeon Key
Slot: Strand Element Strand | Ammo: Special ammo Destiny 2 Special | Archetype: Exotic

Exotic Perk: "Firing this weapon at an ally grants Woven Mail to both the user and the target. Dealing sustained damage severs the target."

► The Navigator is incredibly powerful. Not only does it have some good supporting tools with Woven Mail, but it enables some of the highest damage combos in the game on both Hunter and Titan.
Season 21
Slot: Strand Element Strand | Ammo: Special ammo Destiny 2 Special | Archetype: Exotic

Exotic Perk: "Firing this weapon at an ally grants Woven Mail to both the user and the target. Dealing sustained damage severs the target."
Top-tier
IncisorIncisor art Destiny 2
Incisor
Trace Rifle
Trace RifleAdaptiveSpecialStrandThe Final ShapeYesS › BestTrials of OsirisCheckmark icon V3
Best

S



Excels in:
PvE
Trials of Osiris
The Final Shape Icon (final) Destiny 2
The Final Shape
Slot: Strand Element Strand | Ammo: Special ammo Destiny 2 Special | Archetype: Adaptive

PvE God Roll: Lead From Gold + Swashbuckler (also good: Killing Tally)

► While Incisor doesn't have the best perk pool in the world, it still outclasses Appetence, its only direct competitor. If you're looking for a trace rifle in the kinetic slot with a wide range of utility, Incisor is the top pick (at least until The Final Shape).
Season 23
Slot: Strand Element Strand | Ammo: Special ammo Destiny 2 Special | Archetype: Adaptive

PvE God Roll: Lead From Gold + Swashbuckler (also good: Killing Tally)
Top-tier
MicrocosmMicrocosm art Destiny 2
Microcosm
Trace Rifle
Trace RifleExoticHeavyKineticThe Final ShapeYesS › BestThe Pale HeartCheckmark icon V3
Best

S



Excels in:
PvE
The Pale Heart
The Final Shape Icon (final) Destiny 2
The Final Shape
Slot: Kinetic symbol Destiny 2 Kinetic | Ammo: Heavy ammo Destiny 2 Heavy | Archetype: Exotic

Exotic Perk: "Fires a beam of Kinetic light, dealing massive bonus damage to shields. Final blows with this weapon grant Super energy. This weapon gains bonus damage once your Super expires."

► Microcosm is the new 'lazy' DPS option. It pumps out okay damage, but it shines as an ad-clearing and Major killing beast. Microcosm feels like it beams through almost anything but bosses in the game, making it an incredibly powerful weapon to use whenever your Exotic Slot is free.
The Final Shape
Slot: Kinetic symbol Destiny 2 Kinetic | Ammo: Heavy ammo Destiny 2 Heavy | Archetype: Exotic

Exotic Perk: "Fires a beam of Kinetic light, dealing massive bonus damage to shields. Final blows with this weapon grant Super energy. This weapon gains bonus damage once your Super expires."
Top-tier
DivinityDestiny 2 Divinity art
Divinity
Trace Rifle
Trace RifleExoticSpecialArcShadowkeep PackYesA › StrongExotic QuestCheckmark icon V3
Strong

A



Excels in:
PvE
Exotic Quest
Shadowkeep Icon (final) Destiny 2
Shadowkeep Pack
Slot: Arc Arc | Ammo: Special ammo Destiny 2 Special | Archetype: Exotic

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

► Divinity has been a great choice for years now. Even though a recent nerf reduced its debuff to 15%, this trace rifle still proves its worth through the ability to make crits way easier to hit. Plus, it's still considered the best Overload weapon in the game.
Season 8
Slot: Arc Arc | Ammo: Special ammo Destiny 2 Special | Archetype: Exotic

Exotic Perk: "Sustained damage with this weapon envelops the target in a field that weakens and Overload rounds disrupts them."
Top-tier
Ager's ScepterAger's Scepter art
Ager's Scepter
Trace Rifle
Trace RifleExoticSpecialStasisBeyond Light PackYesA › StrongExotic KioskCheckmark icon V3
Strong

A



Excels in:
PvE
Exotic Kiosk
Beyond Light Icon (final) Destiny 2
Beyond Light Pack
Slot: Stasis Stasis | Ammo: Special ammo Destiny 2 Special | Archetype: Exotic

Exotic Perk: "Final blows with this weapon generate a slowing burst around the defeated target. Stasis final blows transfer ammo to this weapon's magazine from reserves."

► Ager's Scepter is the Stasis weapon; sadly, Stasis isn't awfully good right now. While it can freeze and lock up entire rooms in ice, it doesn't really matter when the alternative is to just outright kill the enemies. Ager's Scepter remains a very powerful option on its own, though.
Season 15
Slot: Stasis Stasis | Ammo: Special ammo Destiny 2 Special | Archetype: Exotic

Exotic Perk: "Final blows with this weapon generate a slowing burst around the defeated target. Stasis final blows transfer ammo to this weapon's magazine from reserves."
Top-tier
Retraced PathRetraced Path art
Retraced Path
Trace Rifle
Trace RifleAdaptiveSpecialSolarFree-to-PlayYesA › StrongDares of EternityCheckmark icon V3
Strong

A



Excels in:
PvE
Dares of Eternity
Destiny 2 Icon (final) Destiny 2
Free-to-Play
Slot: Solar Solar | Ammo: Special ammo Destiny 2 Special | Archetype: Adaptive

PvE God Roll: Subsistence (also good: Feeding Frenzy) + Incandescent (also good: One for All)

► Now that legendary trace rifles have found their niche in the game, Retraced Path has begun to excel in various activities and builds. While it's often overlooked by newer options and exotics like Path of Least Resistance and The Navigator, Retraced Path continues to hold its own—especially when combined with a strong Solar build.
30th Anniversary event
Slot: Solar Solar | Ammo: Special ammo Destiny 2 Special | Archetype: Adaptive

PvE God Roll: Subsistence (also good: Feeding Frenzy) + Incandescent (also good: One for All)
Top-tier
AppetenceAppetence art Destiny 2
Appetence
Trace Rifle
Trace RifleAdaptiveSpecialStasisFree-to-PlayYesA › StrongSeasonal activityCheckmark icon V3
Strong

A



Excels in:
PvE
Seasonal activity
Destiny 2 Icon (final) Destiny 2
Free-to-Play
Slot: Stasis Stasis | Ammo: Special ammo Destiny 2 Special | Archetype: Adaptive

PvE God Roll: Overflow + Killing Tally (also good: One for All)

► One of the first Kinetic legendary trace rifles added into the game, Appetence is a consistent option simply because of its novelty. However, its actual perks aren't all that special, especially compared to Incisor (its only direct competition as of right now). Appetence isn't outstanding unless you're specifically looking for a kinetic legendary trace rifle.
Season 23
Slot: Stasis Stasis | Ammo: Special ammo Destiny 2 Special | Archetype: Adaptive

PvE God Roll: Overflow + Killing Tally (also good: One for All)
Top-tier
ChronophageChronophage art Destiny 2
Chronophage
Trace Rifle
Trace RifleAdaptiveSpecialVoidEpisode 1: EchoesYesA › StrongEchoes ActivitiesCheckmark icon V3
Strong

A



Excels in:
PvE
Echoes Activities
EP1 Echoes Icon (final) Destiny 2
Episode 1: Echoes
Slot: Void Void | Ammo: Special ammo Destiny 2 Special | Archetype: Adaptive

PvE God Roll: Shoot to Loot (also good: Repulsor Brace) + One for All (also good: Demolitionist)


► While the weapon doesn’t have any perk combinations that make it meta-defining, Chronophage excels at what it’s supposed to in PvE: general utility and a replacement for typical primary weapons.
The Final Shape
Slot: Void Void | Ammo: Special ammo Destiny 2 Special | Archetype: Adaptive

PvE God Roll: Shoot to Loot (also good: Repulsor Brace) + One for All (also good: Demolitionist)
Top-tier

Destiny 2 Traces: The complete list

This database includes every viable Trace rifle currently in the game:

ArtWeaponTypeArchetypeRarityAmmo?Element?RequirementsIn loot pool?AmmoElementTierExcelsSourceCraftable?RequiresReleasedSlotCan be Crafted?Best of?Top Perk?
Ager's Scepter artAger's ScepterTrace RifleExoticExoticSpecialStasisBeyond Light PackYesSpecial ammo Destiny 2 SpecialStasis Stasis
Strong

A

PvEExotic KioskError icon V2 NoBeyond Light Icon (final) Destiny 2
Beyond Light Pack
Season 15KineticNoTop-tier
The Navigator art Destiny 2The NavigatorTrace RifleExoticExoticSpecialStrandLightfall Dungeon KeyYesSpecial ammo Destiny 2 SpecialStrand Element Strand
Best

S

PvEGhost of the Deep DungeonError icon V2 NoLightfall Icon (final) Destiny 2
Lightfall Dungeon Key
Season 21KineticNoTop-tier
Destiny 2 Coldheart artColdheartTrace RifleExoticExoticSpecialArcFree-to-PlayYesSpecial ammo Destiny 2 SpecialArc Arc
Average

B

PvEExotic EngramError icon V2 NoDestiny 2 Icon (final) Destiny 2
Free-to-Play
Season 1EnergyNo
Destiny 2 Divinity artDivinityTrace RifleExoticExoticSpecialArcShadowkeep PackYesSpecial ammo Destiny 2 SpecialArc Arc
Strong

A

PvEExotic QuestError icon V2 NoShadowkeep Icon (final) Destiny 2
Shadowkeep Pack
Season 8EnergyNoTop-tier
Destiny 2 Wavesplitter artWavesplitterTrace RifleExoticExoticSpecialVoidFree-to-PlayYesSpecial ammo Destiny 2 SpecialVoid Void
Average

B

PvEExotic EngramError icon V2 NoDestiny 2 Icon (final) Destiny 2
Free-to-Play
Season 4EnergyNo
Ruinous Effigy Destiny 2Ruinous Effigy Trace RifleExoticExoticSpecialVoidShadowkeep PackYesSpecial ammo Destiny 2 SpecialVoid Void
Weak

C

-Exotic KioskError icon V2 NoShadowkeep Icon (final) Destiny 2
Shadowkeep Pack
Season 11EnergyNo
Destiny 2 Prometheus Lens artPrometheus LensTrace RifleExoticExoticSpecialSolarFree-to-PlayYesSpecial ammo Destiny 2 SpecialSolar Solar
Weak

C

-Exotic EngramError icon V2 NoDestiny 2 Icon (final) Destiny 2
Free-to-Play
Season 2EnergyNo
Microcosm art Destiny 2MicrocosmTrace RifleExoticExoticHeavyKineticThe Final ShapeYesHeavy ammo Destiny 2 HeavyKinetic symbol Destiny 2 Kinetic
Best

S

PvEThe Pale HeartError icon V2 NoThe Final Shape Icon (final) Destiny 2
The Final Shape
The Final ShapeHeavyNoTop-tier
Appetence art Destiny 2AppetenceTrace RifleAdaptiveLegendarySpecialStasisFree-to-PlayYesSpecial ammo Destiny 2 SpecialStasis Stasis
Strong

A

PvESeasonal activityCheckmark icon V3 YesDestiny 2 Icon (final) Destiny 2
Free-to-Play
Season 23KineticCraftableTop-tier
Retraced Path artRetraced PathTrace RifleAdaptiveLegendarySpecialSolarFree-to-PlayYesSpecial ammo Destiny 2 SpecialSolar Solar
Strong

A

PvEDares of EternityCheckmark icon V3 YesDestiny 2 Icon (final) Destiny 2
Free-to-Play
30th Anniversary eventEnergyCraftableTop-tierIncandescent
Hollow Denial artHollow DenialTrace RifleAdaptiveLegendarySpecialVoidBeyond Light PackYesSpecial ammo Destiny 2 SpecialVoid Void
Weak

C

-PresageCheckmark icon V3 YesBeyond Light Icon (final) Destiny 2
Beyond Light Pack
Season 17EnergyCraftableRepulsor Brace
Acasia's Dejection artAcasia's DejectionTrace RifleAdaptiveLegendarySpecialSolarLightfallYesSpecial ammo Destiny 2 SpecialSolar Solar
Best

S

PvERoot of Nightmares RaidCheckmark icon V3 YesLightfall Icon (final) Destiny 2
Lightfall
Season 20EnergyCraftableTop-tierIncandescent,Reconstruction
Incisor art Destiny 2IncisorTrace RifleAdaptiveLegendarySpecialStrandThe Final ShapeYesSpecial ammo Destiny 2 SpecialStrand Element Strand
Best

S

PvETrials of OsirisError icon V2 NoThe Final Shape Icon (final) Destiny 2
The Final Shape
Season 23EnergyNoTop-tier
Chronophage art Destiny 2ChronophageTrace RifleAdaptiveLegendarySpecialVoidEpisode 1: EchoesYesSpecial ammo Destiny 2 SpecialVoid Void
Strong

A

PvEEchoes ActivitiesCheckmark icon V3 YesEP1 Echoes Icon (final) Destiny 2
Episode 1: Echoes
The Final ShapeEnergyCraftableTop-tier
Path of Least Resistance art
Path of Least ResistanceTrace RifleAdaptiveLegendarySpecialArcThe Witch QueenYesSpecial ammo Destiny 2 SpecialArc Arc
Best

S

PvEOperation: Seraph's ShieldCheckmark icon V3 YesThe Witch Queen Icon (final) Destiny 2
Witch Queen
Season 19HeavyCraftableTop-tierVoltshot

These are the different Tier levels used for our list:

  • S Tier – Best: Highest ranking weapons in our Tier List.
  • A Tier – Strong: Very strong weapons, 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.

Best Destiny 2 Trace Rifles in 2024

Ready to dig deeper into the absolute best Traces in Destiny 2 right now? These are the cream of the crop, our favorites (for PvE and PvP):

 

Ager's Scepter Destiny 2 featured

5. Ager’s Scepter

PVE and PVP logo Destiny 2 Excels in PvE and PvP

One of the most underrated exotics in the game, Ager’s Scepter is exceptionally potent—especially compared to other special weapons in the kinetic slot.

In PvE, Ager’s ability to slow and freeze every enemy in sight is unmatched, even compared to Bleak Watcher. This potency extends to Master and Grandmaster-level activities, where debuffing enemies is vital to your fireteam’s success.

Ager’s Scepter also has an S-Tier catalyst, allowing its freeze and build potential to skyrocket. While Stasis builds have recently declined in popularity due to Strand’s potent release, Ager’s really brings them to the next level with its unparalleled synergy with Aspects and Fragments.

Overall, Ager’s is an outstanding pick for all areas of the game. Its raw power is only pushed to greater extents through popular Stasis builds and its absurd catalyst.

Exotic Perk: “Final blows with this weapon generate a slowing burst around the defeated target. Stasis final blows transfer ammo to this weapon’s magazine from reserves.”

How to get it: Ager’s Scepter can be purchased at the Monument to Lost Lights in the Tower.

 

The Navigator Trace rifle

4. The Navigator

PVE and PVP logo Destiny 2 Excels in PvE and PvP

Containing everything you’d want and more in an exotic Strand trace rifle, The Navigator combines Lumina’s support power with the build potential of something like Ager’s Scepter.

The main perk of The Navigator deals with Woven Mail, arguably the most potent buff Destiny 2 has to offer. It provides a 60% reduction in damage (25% in PvP), and The Navigator’s perk allows you to keep it applied to yourself and allies 100% of the time.

This exotic also has noticeable synergy with Strand subclasses, especially for Hunters and Titans. While utilizing the Aspects and Fragments these subclasses have to offer isn’t required, they elevate this weapon to the next level.

While the damage output of The Navigator is pretty bad for an exotic weapon, its support capabilities can easily keep you and your allies alive in high-level PvE activities. Any Guardian looking to adopt a greater support playstyle should invest in farming for this exotic, regardless of your opinions on Strand subclasses.

Exotic Perk: “Firing this weapon at an ally grants Woven Mail to both the user and the target. Dealing sustained damage severs the target.”

How to get it: The Navigator can be acquired from the Ghost of the Deep dungeon.

 

Divinity Trace Destiny 2 featured

3. Divinity

Vanguard logo Destiny 2 Excels in PvE

Divinity continues to dominate the high-end PvE scene, even with a substantial nerf to the debuff it applies.

Divinity now only debuffs enemies by 15% in PvE, which is relatively weak compared to other popular options. However, Divinity’s popularity has endured, primarily due to the precision hit field it creates.

While running the weapon effectively removes one player’s damage potential entirely, the addition of the crit bubble on bosses allows precision-based weapons like linear fusion rifles and snipers to be used highly efficiently.

Divinity’s one colossal problem is its effectiveness (or lack thereof) in PvP. However, its unwavering power in PvE more than makes up for this flaw.

While running it may be incredibly dull, having a Divinity user in your fireteam is extremely helpful in many raid and dungeon encounters.

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

How to get it: Divinity can be acquired by completing an Exotic quest.

 

Acasia's Rejection Trace Rifle

2. Acasia’s Dejection

Vanguard logo Destiny 2 Excels in PvE

Compared to other legendary traces, Acasia’s is exceptionally well-rounded and doesn’t need to rely on build potential to help it succeed. While the option of Incandescent in the final column lends itself to Solar subclass synergy, other options like Paracausal Affinity are arguably stronger.

These potent final column perks are further supported by the ones available in the column before, which is filled to the brim with S-Tier picks like Reconstruction and Rewind Rounds. With the potential exception of Hip-Fire Grip, this first column of main perks has zero misses.

The only negative aspect of Acasia’s Dejection is its lack of utility in The Crucible. This is a common trend with trace rifles, however, and realistically doesn’t take much away from this otherwise-powerful pick.

Acasia’s is an excellent choice for Guardians looking to incorporate a double-special weapon loadout into their arsenal. While it—and trace rifles as a whole—can struggle to keep up with SMGs and other primary ammo options, this is an excellent pick for anyone wanting to try trace rifles. These are the top Acasia’s Dejection God Rolls:

  • PvE God roll: Rewind Rounds (also good: Reconstruction) + Incandescent (also good: Paracausal Affinity)

How to get it: Acasia’s Dejection can be acquired from the Root of Nightmares raid.

 

Incisor Trace rifle featured Destiny 2

1. Incisor

Vanguard logo Destiny 2 Excels in PvE

The only Strand Legendary Trace Rifle today, Incisor also features several competitive perks that make it a hot commodity. There are stronger weapon types than Trace Rifles, but as far as Traces go, Incisor is one of the best. If you don’t have The Navigator from Ghosts of the Deep, Incisor will be your only other option, immediately making it desirable.

Acacia’s add clear potential with Incandescent or quality of life with Frenzy is strong, but the versatility and build potential that options such as Slice or Hatchling have make up the difference, as well as having classic perks like Killing Tally to round the weapon out.

In PvP, it does pretty well compared to other trace rifles. While it doesn’t have Coldheart’s DPS, it does have Slice, which is an excellent utility perk. These are the top Incisor God Rolls:

  • PvE God roll: Lead From Gold + Swashbuckler (also good: Killing Tally)

How to get it: Incisor can be acquired via Trials of Osiris (engrams and rank-ups).

Trace Rifles and the PvP Meta: TTK

We covered which Trace rifles are considered top-tier (and should be farmed) and which ones can be safely ignored. But how do they compare, in general, to other Special weapons in PvP?

Weapon Type RankTierTrendRole ❘ Current StateCategory
Shotgun weapon type Destiny 2
Shotguns
S › Best
Best

S

-► With the introduction of fixed (and consistent) pellet spread patterns per archetype and the reversal of some widely disliked nerfs, Shotguns are finally back. With consistent changes in the right direction, Shotguns are once more a staple pick among many PvP players.

► Best Archetype: Precision (65 RPM) - Example: Matador 64
PVP Specials
Sniper rifle weapon type Destiny 2
Sniper Rifles
S › Best
Best

S

-► Sniper Rifles are in an excellent spot right now. After the nerfs to Linear Fusion Rifles, it only makes sense that Sniper usage picked up. And with weapons that come stacked with aim assist and excellent perks, such as the Defiance of Yasmin or Beloved, it's easy to see why Snipers have risen up the ranks.

► Best Archetype: Adaptive (90 RPM) - Example: Beloved
PVP Specials
Fusion rifle weapon type Destiny 2
Fusion Rifles
S › Best
Best

S

Trend up► Fusion Rifles have been at the top of the meta for a while now, and it doesn't seem to be changing. Fusions can cover the close to medium ranges excellently, and a good Fusion Rifle player can be incredibly frustrating to play against, no matter the range of the engagement.

► Best Archetype: Precision (780ms Charge Time) - Example: Main Ingredient
PVP Specials
Linear fusion rifle weapon type Destiny 2
Linear Fusion Rifles
A › Strong
Strong

A

-► The special ammo Linear Fusion category of weapon is rather barren, but the two weapons that occupy it, Arbalest and Lorentz Driver, are both forces to be reckoned with. While they have received some deserved nerfs throughout Seasons 17-19, they remain a solid choice for many players wanting a long range option.PVP Specials
Trace rifle weapon type Destiny 2
Trace Rifles
B › Average
Average

B

-► Trace Rifles are quite a niche pick and will fall short as a competitive option in most players' hands. Even once you learn to master Trace Rifles, you'll be better off with a Special weapon that can provide a one-hit-kill t rather than one that can be out-dueled by a Primary weapon.

► All Archetypes are 1000 RPM - Best Option: Coldheart
PVP Specials
Glaive weapon type Destiny 2 art
Glaives
B › Average
Average

B

Trend down► With their buffs in Season 19 and the hit registration improvements they've seen, Glaives can be quite annoying to play against. That said, they are outclassed by other mid/long range options and can't compete at close range due to their lackluster melee.

► Best Archetype: Adaptive (55 RPM)- Example: The Enigma
PVP Specials
Grenade launcher weapon type Destiny 2
Grenade Launchers
C › Weak
Weak

C

Trend down► Grenade Launchers are annoying to play against, and that's about it. They can be used in a hot-swap loadout, but you'll be better served by a Bow like Le Monarque. Grenade launchers can put pressure on your enemies, but they can't bring the heat like some other Special Weapons can.

► Best Archetype: Lightweight - Example: Truthteller
PVP Specials

Remember that when it comes to PvP, TTK is perhaps the most important factor. As you know, the lower the TTK, the faster you can kill your opponent. We have a TTK guide/chart that includes TTK figures, but that mostly applies to Primary weapons, not Specials.

Having said that, if you equip ammo finder and scavenger mods and use Traces as a Primary weapon (like a souped-up Auto rifle), they can get the job done:

Weapon Optimal TTK Average TTK
Coldheart 0.67s 0.93s
Wavesplitter 0.67s 0.93s
Prometheus Lens 0.73s 0.93s
Ruinous Effigy 0.73s 0.93s
Divinity 1.13s 1.80s

For the record, a 0.67s TTK is extremely fast and matches the fastest Primary weapons in the game (the top sidearms and SMGs). Trace Rifles have better range too, but on the other hand, they use Special ammo, which means you’ll have to be much more careful with how you spend ammo.

Using a Trace rifle may seem like a gimmick, but with the right ammo mods and mindset, you can have tons of fun with them.

Trace Rifles and the PvE Meta: DPS

How do Traces compare to other Special weapons in PvE?

Weapon Type RankTierTrendRole ❘ Current StateCategory
Fusion rifle weapon type Destiny 2
Fusion Rifles
S › Best
Best

S

Trend up►Fusion Rifles are absolutely insane right now. There were a ton of viable options already and newer options, such as The Eremite, can roll with perk combinations that can turn them into monsters. This, on top of certain Exotic options like Merciless, makes Fusion Rifles a staple option for either backup DPS or just general major clear.

► Best Archetype: Rapid-Fire (500ms Charge Time) - Example: Cartesian Coordinate
PVE Specials
Shotgun weapon type Destiny 2
Shotguns
S › Best
Best

S

Trend up► Shotguns are excellent right now. They can be used in traditional hot-swap loadouts when combined with Tractor Cannon in a raid setting, and they remain strong at both major clear and burst damage. However, they can achieve some of the highest damage combos in the game due to their ease of use, high burst damage, and perks like One-Two Punch.

► Best Archetype: Lightweight (90 RPM) - Example: Wastelander M5
PVE Specials
Grenade launcher weapon type Destiny 2
Grenade Launchers
S › Best
Best

S

-► Grenade Launchers are brilliant right now. They are versatile and are arguably the best pick in almost all areas. They can have excellent add control through Blinding Grenades or the Wave Frame archetype, and they can also deal good boss damage in a 'hotswap' build with Spike Grenades.

Simply put, having a strong arsenal of Grenade Launchers is something you should definitely prioritize if you're looking to get into high-level content.

► All Breach Grenade Launchers share the same archetype
PVE Specials
Sniper rifle weapon type Destiny 2
Sniper Rifles
B › Average
Average

B

-► Sniper Rifles have improved a tad, but not that much. They are still too slow for most players' liking, but they can still be a solid backup DPS option. These are commonly used in many longer-range DPS scenarios, but other than that, they remain mediocre.

► Best Archetype: Rapid-Fire (140 RPM) - Example: Supremacy
PVE Specials
Trace rifle weapon type Destiny 2
Trace Rifles
B › Average
Average

B

-► With the nerfs to the double-special ammo economy, Trace Rifles have been knocked down a notch. Using a Primary weapon is just more efficient these days. However, they remain solid utility weapons and a go-to if players still want to run double-special lodouts. They also have a couple of solid Exotic options too, making them a decent pick right now.PVE Specials
Glaive weapon type Destiny 2 art
Glaives
B › Average
Average

B

-► Glaives require a bit of getting used to, but when you do, they can grant you crazy levels of damage resistance. However, they are quite a risky pick, especially if you haven't learned how to master them first. Glaives are also one-dimensional. There is basically no reason to use their melee attack, which is unfortunate as that is probably the most fun part of the Glaives.

► Best Archetype: Adaptive (55 RPM) - Example: The Enigma
PVE Specials
Linear fusion rifle weapon type Destiny 2
Linear Fusion Rifles
C › Weak
Weak

C

Trend down► Linear Fusion Rifles are difficult to rank as there are only two of them. While Arbalest is definitely a powerful weapon, it is by no means a must-pick anymore. And Lorentz Driver isn't exactly a serious contender for PvE. Overall, this archetype is quite weak, especially now that Arbalest isn't the top-pick it used to be.PVE Specials

Remember that DPS is one of the most important factors when it comes to PvE. As you know, the higher the DPS, the more damage you can deal to a Boss or Major. This D2 DPS chart includes the DPS numbers for every weapon in Destiny 2.

When it comes to actual DPS numbers, Trace rifles are average:

-Weapon TypeArchetypeSustained DPSMag DPSTotal DamageSpecs---Best in ClassChange?Ammo
Trace rifle weapon type Destiny 2Trace Rifle

Exotic

1519518525685425-Ruinous Effigy Destiny 2Ruinous Effigy Special
Trace rifle weapon type Destiny 2Trace Rifle

Exotic

1381916638410868At Max chargeDestiny 2 Coldheart artColdheartBuffedSpecial
Trace rifle weapon type Destiny 2Trace Rifle

Exotic

1126513585543400AverageDestiny 2 Wavesplitter artWavesplitterBuffedSpecial
Trace rifle weapon type Destiny 2Trace Rifle

Exotic

1029511388With "Judgement"Destiny 2 Divinity artDivinitySameSpecial
Pulse rifle weapon type Destiny 2Pulse Rifle

Exotic

984398434-burst, Rounds + "Hunter's Trace"Revision Zero artRevision ZeroPrimary
Trace rifle weapon type Destiny 2Trace RifleAdaptive848910170407478-Appetence art Destiny 2AppetenceSpecial
Trace rifle weapon type Destiny 2Trace Rifle

Exotic

838910170394596-The Navigator art Destiny 2The NavigatorSpecial
Trace rifle weapon type Destiny 2Trace Rifle

Exotic

74138940298000-Destiny 2 Prometheus Lens artPrometheus LensBuffedSpecial
Trace rifle weapon type Destiny 2Trace Rifle

Exotic

27587354947/w CatalystAger's Scepter artAger's ScepterSameSpecial

Endgame content

Trace rifles do not excel in endgame content due to their lacking DPS numbers. Granted, some, such as Ager’s Scepter, can deal insane DPS. But for the most part, Traces excel thanks to the unique things they bring to the table. For example, Divinity is king for endgame PvE content due to its immense support to teammates.

Before you go…

Are you looking for a top-tier Primary and Heavy weapon to round out your loadout? We cover the Best Destiny 2 Hand Cannons and Best Destiny 2 Linear Fusion Rifles, too.

You now know everything there is to know about Trace rifles in Destiny 2, whether that is for PvP or PvE content.

See latest Updates

We keep our content up to date! These are the latest changes made to this guide:
  • March 26, 2024: General updates and the inclusion of Seasons 21, 22, and 23 Trace rifles.
  • August 20, 2023: General updates and the inclusion of Seasons 18, 19, and 20 Trace rifles.
  • November 20, 2022: General updates and the inclusion of Year 3 and 4 weapons.
  • June 7, 2022: The guide is published for the first time.

Stay tuned, and don’t forget to bookmark this page for next season!

About The Author

Andrew Sideris
Andrew Sideris
With my over seven years of game knowledge, six months of writing experience for Blueberries.gg, and hundreds of Blueberries already guided through endgame content, I hope to allow newcomers to have the same great introduction I had all those years ago. You can find Andrew on Twitter.
More from Andrew Sideris
1 Comment
  1. Veggies

    You say Acasia’s Dejection is “on the same level as Retraced Path”, but you give it an ‘S’ while you give Retraced an ‘A’.

    Reply
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