Best Bows in Destiny 2: Tier List for PvP and PvE

by | Jan 5, 2023

Combat Bows in Destiny 2 were rarely seen in the wild, with the exception of bow aficionados who couldn’t care less about “the meta.” But thanks in part to excellent Exotics, several buffs, and their ease of use in endgame PvE content, Bows made a strong comeback.

This guide covers every bow in Destiny 2, including both Exotics and Legendaries, as well as the best rolls for PvE and PvP.

Checkmark icon V3Updated as of Season of the Seraph (S19).

Destiny 2 Combat Bows Tier list

This Tier list features every Exotic and Legendary bow in the game. It starts with the S Tier weapons and moves down from there. It also covers both PvE and PvP, with the “Excels in” column clearly identifying in what area each weapon shines:

NameWeaponsTypeArchetypeAmmoElementRequirementsIn loot pool?RankSourceAvailable?Tier rankSource ❘ DLCFinal VerdictReleasedPerks
Trinity GhoulDestiny 2 Trinity Ghoul art
Trinity Ghoul
Combat BowExoticPrimaryArcFree-to-PlayYesS › BestExotic Engram
Best

S



Excels in:
PvE
Exotic Engram

Free-to-Play
Slot: Arc Arc | Ammo: Primary ammo Destiny 2 Primary | Archetype: Exotic

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."

► Trinity Ghoul has always been brilliant for ad-clear, and that doesn't seem to be changing any time soon. Despite the more ability-focused meta we have right now, Trinity Ghoul is still a top contender for ad-clear in all PvE content.
Season 4
Slot: Arc Arc | Ammo: Primary ammo Destiny 2 Primary | Archetype: Exotic

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."
Wish-EnderDestiny 2 Wish Ender art
Wish-Ender
Combat BowExoticPrimaryKineticForsaken PackYesS › BestExotic Quest
Best

S



Excels in:
PvE
Exotic Quest

Forsaken Pack
Slot: Kinetic symbol Destiny 2 Kinetic | Ammo: Primary ammo Destiny 2 Primary | Archetype: Exotic

Exotic Perk: "While aiming down sights with a fully-drawn bow, enemies behind walls are highlighted. Piercing arrowheads damage the target on entry and exit. One-shot can over-penetrate multiple targets."

► Wish-Ender has never been this strong, nor popular. With the newfound intrinsic ability to deal with Anti Barrier Champions with ease, even in Master and Grandmaster levels, and the fact that it effectively hits 3 times per arrow due to its piercing perk, Wish-Ender is currently a monster in PvE.
Season 4
Slot: Kinetic symbol Destiny 2 Kinetic | Ammo: Primary ammo Destiny 2 Primary | Archetype: Exotic

Exotic Perk: "While aiming down sights with a fully-drawn bow, enemies behind walls are highlighted. Piercing arrowheads damage the target on entry and exit. One-shot can over-penetrate multiple targets."
Under Your SkinUnder Your Skin art
Under Your Skin
Combat BowPrecisionPrimaryVoidDeluxe EditionYesS › BestPsiOps Battlegrounds
Best

S



Excels in:
PvE
PsiOps Battlegrounds

Deluxe Edition
Slot: Void Void | Ammo: Primary ammo Destiny 2 Primary | Archetype: Precision

PvE God Roll: Archer's Tempo + Successful Warm-up(also good: Explosive Head)

► Allowing you to reduce your draw time to unprecedented levels, Under Your Skin is an easy S-Tier pick. Both Archer's Tempo and Successful Warm-up won't reduce impact (damage per arrow), meaning you can keep doing the same damage while drawing arrows at the speed of light.
Season 16
Slot: Void Void | Ammo: Primary ammo Destiny 2 Primary | Archetype: Precision

PvE God Roll: Archer's Tempo + Successful Warm-up(also good: Explosive Head)
Strident WhistleStrident Whistle art
Strident Whistle
Combat BowPrecisionPrimarySolarFree-to-PlayYesS › BestPlaylist: Vanguard
Best

S



Excels in:
PvE
Playlist: Vanguard

Free-to-Play
Slot: Solar Solar | Ammo: Primary ammo Destiny 2 Primary | Archetype: Precision

PvE God Roll: Archer's Tempo + Incandescent (also good: Successful Warm-up)

► Bow players have been waiting long for the next Solar bow, and Strident Whistle doesn't disappoint. With new S-Tier perks like Successful Warm-up and Incandescent alongside old but reliable ones like Archer's Tempo and Explosive Head, this bow can fit any role you need.
Season 17
Slot: Solar Solar | Ammo: Primary ammo Destiny 2 Primary | Archetype: Precision

PvE God Roll: Archer's Tempo + Incandescent (also good: Successful Warm-up)
Hierarchy of NeedsHierarchy of Needs art
Hierarchy of Needs
Combat BowExoticPrimarySolarDeluxe EditionYesS › BestSpire of the Watcher Dungeon
Best

S



Excels in:
PvE
Spire of the Watcher Dungeon

Deluxe Edition
Slot: Solar Solar | Ammo: Primary ammo Destiny 2 Primary | Archetype: Exotic

Exotic Perk: Precision hits and final blows build Guidance Ring energy. Arrows fired through a Guidance Ring release seeking projectiles, which do more damage based on distance traveled.

► Hierarchy of Needs is very unique, and it also happens to be excellent at boss damage. It actually beats Outbreak Perfected and Touch of Malice for the top spot in Primary DPS, making it a staple backup weapon. It does a shedload of damage and still has all the bonuses of being a bow.
Season 19
Slot: Solar Solar | Ammo: Primary ammo Destiny 2 Primary | Archetype: Exotic

Exotic Perk: Precision hits and final blows build Guidance Ring energy. Arrows fired through a Guidance Ring release seeking projectiles, which do more damage based on distance traveled.
Le MonarqueDestiny 2 Le Monarque art
Le Monarque
Combat BowExoticPrimaryVoidForsaken PackYesS › BestExotic Kiosk
Best

S



Excels in:
PvP
Exotic Kiosk

Forsaken Pack
Slot: Void Void | Ammo: Primary ammo Destiny 2 Primary | Archetype: Exotic

Exotic Perk: "Arrows fired quickly after a full draw become poison arrows. Precision hits with poison arrows spread poison to nearby enemies."

► Le Monarque is a ridiculously oppressive pick in PvP as it can be combined with a Hand Cannon to deliver blindingly fast combo kills with relative ease. It also comes with intrinsic Overload Arrows, which, combined with its poison effect, are highly effective against Overload Champions. This makes Le Monarque an incredible pick for PvE too.
Season 5
Slot: Void Void | Ammo: Primary ammo Destiny 2 Primary | Archetype: Exotic

Exotic Perk: "Arrows fired quickly after a full draw become poison arrows. Precision hits with poison arrows spread poison to nearby enemies."
Point of the StagPoint of the Stag art
Point of the Stag
Combat BowPrecisionPrimaryArcFree-to-PlayYesA › StrongExotic Kiosk
Strong

A



Excels in:
PvE + PvP
Exotic Kiosk

Free-to-Play
Slot: Arc Arc | Ammo: Primary ammo Destiny 2 Primary | Archetype: Precision

PvEvP Fixed Roll: Archer's Tempo + Vorpal Weapon

► With a fast draw time, Archer's Tempo, and Vorpal Weapon (which is excellent against Supers), Point of the Stag is up there with the best of the Legendary Bows.
Season 10
Slot: Arc Arc | Ammo: Primary ammo Destiny 2 Primary | Archetype: Precision

PvEvP Fixed Roll: Archer's Tempo + Vorpal Weapon
Biting Winds
Biting Winds
Combat BowPrecisionPrimaryKineticBeyond LightYesA › StrongEmpire Hunts
Strong

A



Excels in:
PvE + PvP
Empire Hunts

Beyond Light
Slot: Kinetic symbol Destiny 2 Kinetic | Ammo: Primary ammo Destiny 2 Primary | Archetype: Precision

PvEvP God Roll: Rapid Hit + Swashbuckler

► Many Bow users love the Biting Winds. It has some brilliant perks for both PvE and PvP like Swashbuckler, Rapid Hit, Moving Target, Killing Wind, and more, making it a fan-favorite pick.
Season 12
Slot: Kinetic symbol Destiny 2 Kinetic | Ammo: Primary ammo Destiny 2 Primary | Archetype: Precision

PvEvP God Roll: Rapid Hit + Swashbuckler
Wolftone DrawWolftone Draw art
Wolftone Draw
Combat BowPrecisionPrimaryArcFree-to-PlayYesA › StrongXûr
Strong

A



Excels in:
PvE + PvP
Xûr

Free-to-Play
Slot: Arc Arc | Ammo: Primary ammo Destiny 2 Primary | Archetype: Precision

PvE God Roll: Archer's Tempo + Demolisionist (also good: Frenzy )
PvP God Roll: Archers Tempo + Harmony

► Wolftone Draw is able to roll with a number of good perks, making it a solid option everywhere in the game. With options like Harmony allowing some crazy combos in PvP, Wolftone is a really nice choice.
Season 15
Slot: Arc Arc | Ammo: Primary ammo Destiny 2 Primary | Archetype: Precision

PvE God Roll: Archer's Tempo + Demolisionist (also good: Frenzy )
PvP God Roll: Archers Tempo + Harmony
Accrued RedemptionAccrued Redemption art
Accrued Redemption
Combat BowPrecisionPrimaryKineticShadowkeepYesA › StrongGarden of Salvation Raid
Strong

A



Excels in:
PvE
Garden of Salvation Raid

Shadowkeep
Slot: Kinetic symbol Destiny 2 Kinetic | Ammo: Primary ammo Destiny 2 Primary | Archetype: Precision

PvE God Roll: Archer's Tempo + Rampage

► Accrued Redemption is a solid bow, it can roll with Archer's Tempo and Explosive Head making it an excellent pick in PvE to quickly stagger targets at any distance.
Season 8
Slot: Kinetic symbol Destiny 2 Kinetic | Ammo: Primary ammo Destiny 2 Primary | Archetype: Precision

PvE God Roll: Archer's Tempo + Rampage
Leviathan's BreathDestiny 2 Leviathan's Breath art
Leviathan's Breath
Combat BowExoticHeavyVoidShadowkeepYesA › StrongExotic Kiosk
Strong

A



Excels in:
PvE
Exotic Kiosk

Shadowkeep
Slot: Void Void | Ammo: Heavy ammo Destiny 2 Heavy | Archetype: Exotic

Exotic Perk: "Fires a massive heavy bolt that staggers unshielded combatants. When fully drawn, the bolt knocks combatants back."

► Leviathan's Breath is an interesting option these days. In certain scenarios, such as the Insight Terminus Nightfall, it can actually be a solid pick, especially with its catalyst.
Season 8
Slot: Void Void | Ammo: Heavy ammo Destiny 2 Heavy | Archetype: Exotic

Exotic Perk: "Fires a massive heavy bolt that staggers unshielded combatants. When fully drawn, the bolt knocks combatants back."
Ticuu's DivinationTicuu's Divination art
Ticuu's Divination
Combat BowExoticPrimarySolarBeyond LightYesA › StrongExotic Kiosk
Strong

A



Excels in:
PvE
Exotic Kiosk

Beyond Light
Slot: Solar Solar | Ammo: Primary ammo Destiny 2 Primary | Archetype: Exotic

Exotic Perk: "Hipfiring this weapon fires multiple tracking projectiles. Targets marked explode upon death, or when struck again. Arrows fired while aiming down sights cause Sacred Flames to instantly detonate."

► Ticcu's Divination may require more work than Trinity Ghoul but it is nonetheless an excellent weapon capable of easily disposing of ads but also dealing serious damage to majors in PVE.
Season 13
Slot: Solar Solar | Ammo: Primary ammo Destiny 2 Primary | Archetype: Exotic

Exotic Perk: "Hipfiring this weapon fires multiple tracking projectiles. Targets marked explode upon death, or when struck again. Arrows fired while aiming down sights cause Sacred Flames to instantly detonate."
Fel TaradiddleFel Taradiddle art
Fel Taradiddle
Combat BowLightweightPrimaryKineticFree-to-PlayYesA › StrongWellspring
Strong

A



Excels in:
PvE
Wellspring

Free-to-Play
Slot: Kinetic symbol Destiny 2 Kinetic | Ammo: Primary ammo Destiny 2 Primary | Archetype: Lightweight

PvE God Roll: Archer's Tempo + Successful Warm-Up (also good: Explosive Head)

► Able to roll with all the best PvE perks possible, Fel Taradiddle is potentially the best Lightweight bow in the entire game. Just try it with Archer's Tempo and Successful Warm-Up and you won't believe its speed.
Season 16
Slot: Kinetic symbol Destiny 2 Kinetic | Ammo: Primary ammo Destiny 2 Primary | Archetype: Lightweight

PvE God Roll: Archer's Tempo + Successful Warm-Up (also good: Explosive Head)
Whistler's WhimWhistler's Whim
Whistler's Whim
Combat BowLightweightPrimaryKineticThe Witch QueenYesB › AverageTrials of Osiris
Average

B



Excels in:
PvE + PvP
Trials of Osiris

The Witch Queen
Slot: Kinetic symbol Destiny 2 Kinetic | Ammo: Primary ammo Destiny 2 Primary | Archetype: Lightweight

PvEvP God Roll: Rapid Hit + Kill Clip (also good: Successful Warm-Up)

► Whistler's Whim is truly unique. It is the first bow to ever roll with Kill Clip, and with a damage buff, such as Radiant, for example, it can actually one-shot enemies in PvP. However, this takes a bit of setup. Whistler's Whim is unfortunately a Lightweight bow, but it still feels great to use.
Season 18
Slot: Kinetic symbol Destiny 2 Kinetic | Ammo: Primary ammo Destiny 2 Primary | Archetype: Lightweight

PvEvP God Roll: Rapid Hit + Kill Clip (also good: Successful Warm-Up)
Arsenic Bite-4b
Arsenic Bite-4b
Combat BowLightweightPrimaryArcFree-to-PlayYesB › AverageWorld loot pool
Average

B



Excels in:
PvE
World loot pool

Free-to-Play
Slot: Arc Arc | Ammo: Primary ammo Destiny 2 Primary | Archetype: Lightweight

PvE God Roll: Rampage + Archer's Tempo (also good: Explosive Head)

► Arsenic Bite is a decent bow, it can roll with some good perks like Rampage and Archer's Tempo, but it suffers from its poor archetype, inherently doing less damage than Precision bows.
Season 11
Slot: Arc Arc | Ammo: Primary ammo Destiny 2 Primary | Archetype: Lightweight

PvE God Roll: Rampage + Archer's Tempo (also good: Explosive Head)
Tripwire CanaryTripwire Canary art
Tripwire Canary
Combat BowLightweightPrimaryArcSeason 19YesB › AverageSeasonal activity
Average

B



Excels in:
PvE
Seasonal activity
Season 19 icon
Season 19
Slot: Arc Arc | Ammo: Primary ammo Destiny 2 Primary | Archetype: Lightweight

PvE God Roll: Archer's Tempo + Successful Warm-up

► Tripwire Canary doesn't exactly bring anything new to the table, it has some new perks but they don't realy provide anything to the weapon. That being said, it can roll with some classic solid perks making it a decent pick regardless.
Season 19
Slot: Arc Arc | Ammo: Primary ammo Destiny 2 Primary | Archetype: Lightweight

PvE God Roll: Archer's Tempo + Successful Warm-up
Whispering Slab
Whispering Slab
Combat BowLightweightPrimaryKineticFree-to-PlayYesB › AverageWorld loot pool
Average

B



World loot pool

Free-to-Play
Slot: Kinetic symbol Destiny 2 Kinetic | Ammo: Primary ammo Destiny 2 Primary | Archetype: Lightweight

PvE God Roll: Archer's Tempo + Swashbuckler (also good: Demolitionist)

► Lightweight bows are rarely the top choice for PVE nor PVP, but if you happen to prefer Lightweight bows, the Whispering Slab is a good choice.
Season 11
Slot: Kinetic symbol Destiny 2 Kinetic | Ammo: Primary ammo Destiny 2 Primary | Archetype: Lightweight

PvE God Roll: Archer's Tempo + Swashbuckler (also good: Demolitionist)
Tyranny of HeavenTyranny of Heaven art
Tyranny of Heaven
Combat BowLightweightPrimarySolarForsaken PackYesC › WeakLast Wish Raid
Weak

C



Last Wish Raid

Forsaken Pack
Slot: Solar Solar | Ammo: Primary ammo Destiny 2 Primary | Archetype: Lightweight

PvE God Roll: Archer's Tempo + Explosive Head

► There isn't much going on for Tyranny of Heaven. It has poor base stats and a severely limited perk selection. It also happens to be one of the hardest bows to obtain, as it's locked behind the Last Wish raid.
Season 4
Slot: Solar Solar | Ammo: Primary ammo Destiny 2 Primary | Archetype: Lightweight

PvE God Roll: Archer's Tempo + Explosive Head
Imperial NeedleImperial Needle art
Imperial Needle
Combat BowLightweightPrimaryVoidFree-to-PlayYesC › WeakUnobtainable
Weak

C



Unobtainable

Free-to-Play
Slot: Void Void | Ammo: Primary ammo Destiny 2 Primary | Archetype: Lightweight

PvE God Roll: Impulse Magnifier (also good: Archer's Tempo) + Frenzy

► Imperial Needle is decent, but it lacks a potent damage perk to truly excel. Frenzy is good and Impulse Magnifier is fun, but other Lightweight bows have superior perks.
Season 13
Slot: Void Void | Ammo: Primary ammo Destiny 2 Primary | Archetype: Lightweight

PvE God Roll: Impulse Magnifier (also good: Archer's Tempo) + Frenzy
Lunulata-4bLunulata-4b art
Lunulata-4b
Combat BowLightweightPrimaryStasisFree-to-PlayYesC › WeakWorld loot pool
Weak

C



World loot pool

Free-to-Play
Slot: Stasis Stasis | Ammo: Primary ammo Destiny 2 Primary | Archetype: Lightweight

PvE God Roll: Shoot to Loot + Headstone (also good: Successful Warm-up)

► Besides its Stasis element (the first of its kind), Lunulata-4b is pretty disappointing due to its Lightweight Frame and weak overall perks.
Season 17
Slot: Stasis Stasis | Ammo: Primary ammo Destiny 2 Primary | Archetype: Lightweight

PvE God Roll: Shoot to Loot + Headstone (also good: Successful Warm-up)

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.

More Destiny 2 Tier lists:

Best Destiny 2 Combat Bows in 2023

This section not only covers the top combat bows currently in the game, it also tells you where you can find them. And while most of the sources below are self-explanatory, this guide covers every weapon source in Destiny 2. If still in doubt, you can always leave a comment below or ask away on our Discord server.

Overall, these are our Top 5 favorite bows for PvE and PvP.

 

Under Your Skin Bow Destiny 2 featured

5. Under Your Skin

Vanguard logo Destiny 2 Excels in PVE

Under Your Skin was the first bow to drop with the popular perk combo, Archer’s Tempo and Successful Warm-Up. These two perks literally turn you into Legolas and let you take down enemy after enemy with high-damage shots.

The best part about Bows in higher-level content is that they offer high single-shot damage (when compared to other primary weapons). But the downside has always been their limited “kills per minute.” With this perk combo, you retain that high burst shot damage while gaining immense draw speed and efficiency.

What makes this bow special, though, is its Origin Trait. Land Tank grants damage resistance, with each stack providing +10 resilience and 5% damage resistance. Given that you can stack this buff very easily to x3, you shouldn’t be surprised to see this bow makes its way into our Top 5.

PVE God roll:

  • Perk 1: Archer’s Tempo
  • Perk 2: Successful Warm-up (also good: Explosive Head)

How to get it: Under Your Skin can be acquired by completing PsiOps Battlegrounds and focusing Umbral engrams.

ArtWeaponTypeArchetypeRarityAmmoElementRequirementsIn loot pool?Ammo?Element?TierExcelsSourceCraftable?RequiresReleasedSlotCan be Crafted?
Under Your Skin artUnder Your SkinCombat BowPrecisionLegendaryPrimaryVoidDeluxe EditionYesPrimary ammo Destiny 2 PrimaryVoid Void
Best

S

PvEPsiOps Battlegrounds
Deluxe Edition
Season 16EnergyCraftable

 

Le Monarque Destiny 2 featured

4. Le Monarque

Crucible logo Destiny 2Best PVP Bow in Destiny 2

Exotic Perk: “Arrows fired quickly after a full draw become poison arrows. Precision hits with poison arrows spread poison to nearby enemies.”

Le Monarque might be one of the most annoying weapons to play against in PvP. Damage over Time (DoT) is very difficult to play against as it keeps you behind cover and stops your guardian from recovering, regardless of your Recovery stat. When you pair this with a 151-damage headshot, you knock any enemy to the brink of death by simply hitting them in the head with an infinite ammo weapon.

Le Monarque truly is a very oppressive pick; however, it does require a certain playstyle to truly be effective, and you will easily be outdueled if you don’t use Le Monarque “right”. Target prioritization is key with this bow.

In PvE, it does solid work for ad clear and intrinsically stuns Overload Champs, making it a solid pick for any Nightfall with Overloads.

How to get it: Le Monarque can be purchased at the Monument to Lost Lights in the Tower.

ArtWeaponTypeArchetypeRarityAmmoElementRequirementsIn loot pool?Ammo?Element?TierExcelsSourceCraftable?RequiresReleasedSlotCan be Crafted?
Destiny 2 Le Monarque artLe MonarqueCombat BowExoticExoticPrimaryVoidForsaken PackYesPrimary ammo Destiny 2 PrimaryVoid Void
Best

S

PvPExotic Kiosk
Forsaken Pack
Season 5EnergyNo

 

Wish Ender Destiny 2 featured bows

3. Wish-Ender

Crucible logo Destiny 2 Excels in PVP

Exotic Perk: “While aiming down sights with a fully-drawn bow, enemies behind walls are highlighted. Piercing arrowheads damage the target on entry and exit. One-shot can over-penetrate multiple targets.”

You can say Wish-Ender is like a “budget Arbalest”. It takes care of Barrier Champions with ease, and while it doesn’t grant that Disruption Break damage buff, it does have infinite ammo, and it also grants a ton of Super energy due to its ‘Broadhead’ perk, which hits targets three times, granting 3x Super energy per hit.

Wish-Ender is also a little more versatile than Arbalest. It can deal with lower-tier enemies much more efficiently and it also isn’t too demanding when it comes to precision hits, as the Broadhead perk isn’t affected by whether you hit a headshot or not.

Despite Arbalest’s obvious strengths, you should absolutely not sleep on Wish-Ender if you want to mix things up or want to try a different strategy for high-difficulty Nightfall runs.

How to get it: Wish-Ender can be acquired by completing an Exotic quest.

ArtWeaponTypeArchetypeRarityAmmoElementRequirementsIn loot pool?Ammo?Element?TierExcelsSourceCraftable?RequiresReleasedSlotCan be Crafted?
Destiny 2 Wish Ender artWish-EnderCombat BowExoticExoticPrimaryKineticForsaken PackYesPrimary ammo Destiny 2 PrimaryKinetic symbol Destiny 2 Kinetic
Best

S

PvEExotic Quest
Forsaken Pack
Season 4KineticNo

 

Hierarchy of Needs bow featured

2. Hierarchy of Needs

Vanguard logo Destiny 2 Excels in PVE

Exotic Perk: “Precision hits and final blows build Guidance Ring energy. Arrows fired through a Guidance Ring release seeking projectiles, which do more damage based on distance traveled.”

Hierarchy of Needs is a standout weapon. It is unique, fun, and, most importantly, strong. It is top of the pile in Primary weapon DPS, which might seem irrelevant given that certain Heavy weapons like Rocket Launchers and Linear Fusion Rifles deal so much damage; however, in a situation where you run out of Heavy Ammo and don’t have a good Special weapon for DPS, a solid backup DPS option in your Primary weapon can work wonders.

In my team’s Day 1 clear of Vow of the Disciple, we all made sure to have options like Outbreak Perfected on hand, just in case (and we did, in fact, use Outbreak’s DPS). However, I will now be looking at Hierarchy of Needs to fill that backup option slot as it beats out Outbreak and Touch of Malice, should you satisfy the conditions of being a medium distance away from the boss to allow the ‘Appolonic Tangent’ perk to come into full effect.

Hierarchy of Needs is an excellent weapon at what it does and only falls slightly short due to Primary weapon DPS being very niche.

How to get it: Hierarchy of Needs can be acquired from the Spire of the Watcher dungeon.

ArtWeaponTypeArchetypeRarityAmmoElementRequirementsIn loot pool?Ammo?Element?TierExcelsSourceCraftable?RequiresReleasedSlotCan be Crafted?
Hierarchy of Needs artHierarchy of NeedsCombat BowExoticExoticPrimarySolarDeluxe EditionYesPrimary ammo Destiny 2 PrimarySolar Solar
Best

S

PvESpire of the Watcher Dungeon
Deluxe Edition
Season 19EnergyCraftable

 

Trinity Ghoul Destiny 2 featured bows

1. Trinity Ghoul

Vanguard logo Destiny 2Best PvE Bow in Destiny 2

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.”

Trinity Ghoul has long been the king of bows and is considered the best weapon in the game for ad clear, especially with its catalyst. It holds up in every single piece of content in the game, from Grandmaster Nightfalls to Day 1 Raids, and will hard carry your team in clearing waves upon waves of ads.

The 40% damage buff against minor enemies it received with The Witch Queen massively helped it a lot, as it could never consistently keep its perk rolling in the most challenging pieces of content. But now, it only stops running when there are no more enemies left to kill. It is a weapon so strong at what it does that it arguably becomes worse with more people using it.

Trinity Ghoul just manages to snag the top spot for its more general use of monstrous add clear over the more niche use of Hierarchy of Needs.

How to get it: Trinity Ghoul can be acquired via Exotic engrams or Xûr.

ArtWeaponTypeArchetypeRarityAmmoElementRequirementsIn loot pool?Ammo?Element?TierExcelsSourceCraftable?RequiresReleasedSlotCan be Crafted?
Destiny 2 Trinity Ghoul artTrinity GhoulCombat BowExoticExoticPrimaryArcFree-to-PlayYesPrimary ammo Destiny 2 PrimaryArc Arc
Best

S

PvEExotic Engram
Free-to-Play
Season 4EnergyNo

Bows in PvP: Lethality

When it comes to PVP, bows are a niche choice. They are certainly not “meta”, and many other weapon types can get the job done with more ease. But bows still have a place, as long as you lean into their strengths and adapt your playstyle accordingly.

With the right playstyle (i.e. combine a bow with an easy-to-swap weapon for cleanup kills), several bows can be viable. But let’s be clear, Le Monarque is the only bow that can truly excel in high-stakes PVP.

Bows in PvE: DPS and basics

DPS is important for PvE because the higher the DPS, the more damage you can deal to a Boss or Major.

This DPS chart includes the DPS numbers for every weapon in Destiny 2.  When it comes to actual DPS, bows can deal decent damage, taking into account they can be effective at nearly infinite ranges:

-Weapon TypeArchetypeAverage DPSBurst DPSTotal DamageSpecs---Best in ClassChange?Ammo
Combat bow weapon type Destiny 2Combat Bow

Exotic

-->18,152466,763With CatalystDestiny 2 Leviathan's Breath artLeviathan's BreathBuffedHeavy
Combat bow weapon type Destiny 2Combat BowLightweight-->3,265229,704640 ms Draw time width=Arsenic Bite-4bSamePrimary
Combat bow weapon type Destiny 2Combat BowPrecision-->3,215252,221680 ms Draw timeUnder Your Skin artUnder Your SkinSamePrimary
Combat bow weapon type Destiny 2Combat Bow

Exotic

-->3,969357,225-Destiny 2 Le Monarque artLe MonarqueSamePrimary
Combat bow weapon type Destiny 2Combat Bow

Exotic

-->4,137391,952vs. non-TakenDestiny 2 Wish Ender artWish-EnderSamePrimary

Mastering Bows in Destiny 2

If you’re truly interested in mastering combat bows in Destiny 2, there are a few key principles you need to understand. These all come from the excellent Dummies Guide to Bows on Reddit user Mwray:

Top stat for Bows

The most important stat for Bows is their Draw Time:

  • For Precision Bows, Reload is the next most impactful stat.
  • For Lightweight Bows, Accuracy is the second most impactful, followed by Reload.

Unlike Charge Time, which negatively affects a weapon’s Impact, Draw Time does NOT affect the Impact stat. Because of this, faster Draw Time = better DPS.

Precision Bows have higher impact and much higher accuracy compared to Lightweight Bows and are able to achieve 576 Draw Time with Elastic String and a Draw Time MasterWork.

Unlike other weapons, Bows rely heavily on Strings and/or Masterwork to reduce Draw Time. To give it some perspective, imagine an Iron Grip or Extended Magazine Steady Hand vs. a Steady Hand and with Outlaw proc’d. Most people are running around with the equivalent of Extended Magazine on their Bow.

Endgame content

Bows (Precision bows in particular) excel in endgame content such as Nightfall: The Ordeals, Legend Lost Sectors, and Dungeons, as they can 1-2 hit kill red bars without damage perks active, compared to other primaries that can take entire magazines for a single kill.

Finally, for content with an elemental singe active, such as Legend Lost Sectors, Lightweights can be used to great effect with perks like Explosive Head and Rampage.

How do you get your first bow in Destiny 2?

Getting your first bow in Destiny 2 used to be a pain. You had to either cross your fingers that a bow would randomly drop one day or complete a specific quest that is part of the Forsaken paid expansion.

Right now, you can get your very first bow in just a few clicks. All you need to do is:

  • Head over to your Collections tab
  • Go to Weapons
  • Go to Combat Bows
  • Acquire the Holless-IV, the only rare bow (blue icon) available

That will get you up and running while you find a better bow, such as one of the top-tier Exotic bows covered in the next section.

Destiny 2 Bows: Are they Meta?

We’ve talked about the best bows for PVE and PVP already, but how do they compare, in general, with other primary weapon types? In other words: Are bows good in Destiny 2?

The current Primary weapons Meta for PvE

Weapon TypeRankTierTrendRole ❘ Current StateCategory
SMG weapon type Destiny 2
Submachine Guns
S › Best
Best

S

-► SMGs are doing very well right now. They have good DPS to tear through ads and beefier orange bar enemies, but also come with excellent perks. There are a plethora of good SMGs you can go for right now, like Funnelweb, Unforgiven, Every Waking Moment, or Extraordinary Rendition, the choice is completely yours. They may struggle slightly in super high-end content, but they are still definitely usable.

► Best Archetype: Aggressive (750 RPM) - Example: Unforgiven
PVE Primaries
Auto rifle weapon type Destiny 2
Auto Rifles
B › Average
Average

B

Trend down► Auto Rifles currently feel like a worse version of SMGs. They have a bit more range, but outside of the absolute top-shelf content such as Grandmaster Nightfalls, range isn't too much of a factor. And if you are actively tackling difficult content, Auto Rifles aren't exactly the best pick either, making Autos a decent, but outclassed option right now.

► Best Archetype: Adaptive (600 RPM) - Example: Gnawing Hunger
PVE Primaries
Sidearm weapon type Destiny 2
Sidearms
B › Average
Average

B

Trend down► Aside from a few select sidearms with certain perks, there really isn't much of a reason to use Sidearms. They have slightly higher damage numbers than SMGs, but typically come with significantly less range. Outside of top-tier weapons like a god-roll Brigand's Law or High Albedo, there is no real reason to run a sidearm.

► Best Archetype: Adaptive (491 RPM) - Example: High Albedo
PVE Primaries
Hand cannon weapon type Destiny 2
Hand Cannons
B › Average
Average

B

-► While Hand Cannons routinely dominate the PvP meta, they are often outclassed by weapon types that can either offer better DPS or better range. There are a couple of solid options, such as Fatebringer or Zaouli's Bane, but putting those aside, you'll be better off using something else.

► Best Archetype: Adaptive (140 RPM) - Example: Fatebringer
PVE Primaries
Pulse rifle weapon type Destiny 2
Pulse Rifles
S › Best
Best

S

Trend up► Pulse Rifles are in a great place right now. They offer good range and pretty decent damage, allowing you to take down some beefier targets nicely. There are also some excellent pulses in the game right now, like Insidious, Sacred Provenance, or New Purpose. Unfortunately, High-Impact and Aggressive frames are the only archetypes worth your time, as the others rely on Exotic Perks or god rolls to compete.

► Best Archetype: Aggressive (450 RPM) - Example: Insidious
PVE Primaries
Scout rifle weapon type Destiny 2
Scout Rifles
S › Best
Best

S

Trend up► Scout Rifles have come a long way. They are a solid and consistent option for anyone that prefers a safer and slower playstyle. They also shine in high-level content due to their excellent range. The best part about Scout Rifles, however, is their versatility across archetypes. Basically, every type of Scout Rifle is viable and can be used anywhere in the game.

► Best Archetype: Aggressive (72 RPM) - Example: Tarnished Mettle
PVE Primaries
Combat bow weapon type Destiny 2
Combat Bows
A › Strong
Strong

A

Trend up► Bows are a high-damage, high-range option for players who prefer to keep their distance. The main issue with bows is that they are slow at clearing ads (outside of Trinity Ghoul). and when you have to deal with ads up close, bows can massively struggle. However, their solid range and excellent damage make them a strong option.

► Best Archetype: Precision - Example: Under Your Skin
PVE Primaries

The current Primary weapons Meta for PvP

Weapon TypeRankTierTrendRole ❘ Current StateCategory
Hand cannon weapon type Destiny 2
Hand Cannons
A › Strong
Strong

A

Trend down► Hand Cannons are in a bit of a strange spot. Many will argue that they are still the best weapons in the game, however, due to the prevalence of Pulse Rifles and Sidearms, and certain special weapons like Arbalest and Lorentz Driver, Hand Cannons have slowly been pushed out of many players' main pick. They are still excellent duelling weapons though, and feel amazing to use so they still retain a strong ranking.

► Best Archetype: Adaptive (140 RPM) - Example: Eyasluna
PVP Primaries
Pulse rifle weapon type Destiny 2
Pulse Rifles
S › Best
Best

S

Trend up► Pulse Rifles have seen a resurgence in the past few seasons, with constant buffs to all types of Pulse Rifles. It is hard not to find success with one due to the high-flinch potential of Rapid-Fire Pulses or the lethal time-to-kill of High-Impact Pulses.

► Best Archetype: High-Impact (340 RPM) - Example: The Messenger
PVP Primaries
Sidearm weapon type Destiny 2
Sidearms
S › Best
Best

S

Trend up► Sidearms recently received a monumental buff to their ease of use and effective range by increasing auto-aim fall-off distance by 30%. This means that Sidearms simply can kill from further away, and more easily. Sidearms are particularly potent on a controller.

► Best Archetype: Adaptive (300 RPM) - Example: Drang
PVP Primaries
Auto rifle weapon type Destiny 2
Auto Rifles
C › Weak
Weak

C

-► Auto Rifles aren't doing greét right now. They contest a similar range as Hand Cannons, however, they lack the peak shooting potential that Adaptive Hand Cannons bring. They can also be contested at close range by SMGs, making them difficult to use everywhere. However, a good player can still find value in an Auto Rifle as they do provide high flinch and constant damage.

► Best Archetype: Adaptive (600 RPM) - Example: Gnawing Hunger
PVP Primaries
Combat bow weapon type Destiny 2
Combat Bows
B › Average
Average

B

-► Bows are incredibly unique. They have a remarkably slow time to kill, however, this isn't where Bows shine. Hotswap builds with bows can be incredibly potent and don't require much learning either. Bows also provide incredible value when teamshooting opponents. Despite this, Bows on their own are quite mediocre and need something behind them to really shine.

► Best Archetype: Precision (Slower Draw Time) - Example: Strident Whistle
PVP Primaries
Scout rifle weapon type Destiny 2
Scout Rifles
B › Average
Average

B

Trend down► Scouts have been tuned down to make them less potent in the hands of the average player. However, good scout rifle players will still be able to do pretty well in lobbies, however, they may find themselves outmatched by Pulse Rifles.

► Best Archetype: High-Impact (150 RPM) - Example: Polaris Lance
PVP Primaries
SMG weapon type Destiny 2
Submachine Guns
A › Strong
Strong

A

Trend down► A few SMGs were recently hit with a range and/or damage nerf that knocked them down a peg or two. However, SMGs still have fast TTKs at short to medium ranges but are slightly outclassed by Sidearms now.

► Best Archetype: Aggressive (900 RPM)- Example: Borrowed Time
PVP Primaries

Before you go…

As you chase some of the best Combat bows in the game, you’ll probably want to farm in parallel a top-tier Special and Power weapon. For example, a top-tier Shotgun and Rocket launcher.

About The Author

Ric Molina
Ric Molina
I've been covering gaming since 2012, and some of my work has been featured by large brands, including MSN.com, Forbes, Rock Paper Shotgun, and more. I've been obsessed with Destiny 2 for years now, and I hope to provide new and returning players with the guides and resources I wish I had when I first started.
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