Best Destiny 2 Bows

All 14 bows ranked (as of August 2020)
By Ric aka Primatrix | Aug  4, 2020

For the longest time, Combat Bows in Destiny 2 were considered weak.

Deemed too weak for neither PVP nor PVE challenging content, they were rarely seen in the wild, with the exception of bow aficionados who couldn’t care less about “the meta“.

But things are changing fast. With Season of Arrivals released this Summer, bows are making a comeback. First, because they all received a 10% damage buff in PVE. But also because of how insanely good Trinity Ghoul’s catalyst is.

So which ones are the best now? Which ones should you start grinding for?

This guide will cover every bow in Destiny 2, including both Exotic and Legendary bows and also the best rolls for Legendaries.

A big thank you to clanmates Skyknight and Roxiie for their immense help with this guide. With thousands of combined kills on bows, Roxiie is a true bow aficionado. Skyknight also has thousands of bow kills under his belt and likes to use them for solo flawless challenges such as Prophecy.

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.

The list starts with S Tier and moves down the different tiers until it reaches the bottom D Tier.  Also, don’t forget that you can filter and sort the list however you prefer!


Destiny 2 Bows Tier list (as of August 2020)

This list covers both PVE and PVP, but pay special attention to the “Excels in” column, as it clarifies what the best bows for PVE or PVP are.

 WeaponTierExcels inDrops fromExotic Perk, God Rolls & VerdictFrameSlot
Destiny 2 Trinity Ghoul art

Trinity Ghoul

| Exotic Frame
Best

S

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

"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 was average at best but with its new Catalyst, it became one of the best exotic primaries in the game. With easy to proc chain-lighting, ad clearing has never been easier. Trinity Ghoul is simply a monster in PVE.
ExoticEnergy
Destiny 2 Le Monarque art

Le Monarque

| Exotic Frame
Best

S

PVPExotic Quest
Slot: Void Energy | Ammo: Primary | Sunsets: NA

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

► Le Monarque can be lethal in the hands of an experienced PVP player. It can bring a guardian to 1 HP with a "perfect draw" headshot, making it an extremely easy clean up kill with a Quickdraw Hand Cannon (something like a Duke MK. 44). Also, it counts as a Lightweight Frame, giving you a boost in movement speed.
ExoticEnergy
Subtle Calamity Destiny 2 art

Subtle Calamity

| Precision Frame
Strong

A

PVEWorld Drop
Slot: Void Energy | Ammo: Primary | Sunsets: Season 12

Perk 1: Rampage (also good: Dragonfly)
Perk 2: Archer's Tempo (also good: Explosive Head)

► Subtle Calamity can roll with some of the best perks and is also one of the best feeling bows in the game. Compared to Hush, it's much more forgiving. Dealing lots of damage from a distance,it's perfect for challenging activities. Too bad it will be sunset this Fall.
Precision FrameEnergy
Point of the Stag Destiny 2 art

Point of the Stag

| Precision Frame
Strong

A

PVPIron Banner Ritual
Slot: Arc Energy | Ammo: Primary | Sunsets: Season 14

As a Ritual weapon, Point of the Stag comes as a curated roll with No Distractions or Archer's Tempo and Vorpal Weapon or Eye of the Storm.

► With a fast draw time, Archer's Tempo and Vorpal Weapon (excellent against Supers), Point of the Stag is a reliable and consistent weapon to bring to the Crucible. Bonus point: This is a weapon that will be sunset later than most legendaries in this list.
Precision FrameEnergy
Hush Destiny 2 art

Hush

| Precision Frame
Strong

A

PVEGambit Pinnacle
Slot: Solar Energy | Ammo: Primary | Sunsets: Season 12

"Archer's Gambit: Hipfire precision hits grant a massive draw-speed bonus for a short duration."

► Hush can be extremely lethal in the hands of a skilled player. Hitting those hip-fire precision hits can turn Hush into a monster, but it's just another bow if you can't. Hush requires skill, but if used right, it's one of the best at ad clearing, only surpassed by Trinity Ghoul.
Precision FrameEnergy
Accrued Redemption Destiny 2 art

Accrued Redemption

| Precision Frame
Average

B

-Garden of Salvation Raid
Slot: Kinetic | Ammo: Primary | Sunsets: Season 15

Perk 1: Archer's Tempo (also good: Quickdraw)
Perk 2: Rampage (also good: Rapid Hit)

► Accrued Redemption is special because it's one of the only 2 kinetic precision bows in the game and also happens to be viable for end-game content beyond Season 12. It also has a great feel and consistency.
Precision FrameKinetic
No Turning Back Destiny 2 art

No Turning Back

| Precision Frame
Average

B

-Spider's Wanted Bounties
Slot: Kinetic | Ammo: Primary | Sunsets: Season 12

No Turning Back only comes as a curated roll with Explosive Head (or Snapshot Sights) and Hip-fire grip.

► No Turning Back is very similar to Accrued Redemption in that it's also kinetic precision bows. It also offers a good feel and consistency, yet it's much easier to get during the Forsaken Campaing. Too bad it will be sunset at the end of this Season...
Precision FrameKinetic
Arsenic Bite-4b Destiny 2 art

Arsenic Bite-4b

| Lightweight Frame
Average

B

-World Drop
Slot: Arc Energy | Ammo: Primary | Sunsets: Season 15

In general, Lightweight frame bows are in a poor state. They do significantly less damage than Precision frame bows while not offering a noticeably better draw speed.

Arsenic Bite is probably the strongest Lightweight option. It offers a wide range of perks including Dragonfly, Archer's Tempo, Rampage, and more, as well as a satisfying "feel" when using it.
Lightweight FrameEnergy
Destiny 2 Leviathan's Breath art

Leviathan's Breath

| Exotic Frame
Weak

C

-Exotic Cipher
Slot: Void Heavy | Ammo: Destiny 2 Heavy ammo Heavy | Sunsets: NA

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

► It gets the job done against Unstoppable Champions and even one-shots guardians in their supers in PVP. Unfortunately, it has an extremely long draw time that tanks its DPS. Other weapons may be more efficient, but Leviathan's Breath is still unique and fun to use.
ExoticHeavy
Destiny 2 Wish Ender art

Wish-Ender

| Exotic Frame
Weak

C

-Exotic Quest
Slot: Kinetic | Ammo: Primary | Sunsets: NA

"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."

► S Tier a few months ago due to a bug that made it OP, Wish-Ender is back to being average. It can still be useful in PVP, though, but only as part of a coordinated team that uses it to have constant visuals on the enemy, something always helpful in 3v3 modes.
ExoticKinetic
Whispering Slab Destiny 2 art

Whispering Slab

| Lightweight Frame
Weak

C

-Umbral Engrams
Slot: Kinetic | Ammo: Primary | Sunsets: Season 15

In general, Lightweight frame bows are in a poor state. They do significantly less damage than Precision frame bows while not offering a noticeably better draw speed.

This is an interesting weapon that can roll with some of the latest perks. A roll with the Sympathetic Arsenal and Quickdraw can be useful PVE, but you'll be better off with a Precision bow.
Lightweight FrameKinetic
The Vow Destiny 2 art

The Vow

| Lightweight Frame
Weak

C

-Crimson Days Event
Slot: Solar Energy | Ammo: Primary | Sunsets: Season 12

In general, Lightweight frame bows are in a poor state. They do significantly less damage than Precision frame bows while not offering a noticeably better draw speed.

With both Rapid Hit and Archer's Tempo, The Vow can do well in PvE, providing insane reload and draw speeds while also offering a good "feel". Too bad it has to compete with Hush.
Lightweight FrameEnergy
Destiny 2 The Spiteful Fang art

The Spiteful Fang

| Lightweight Frame
Worst

D

-Black Armory Forge
Slot: Kinetic | Ammo: Primary | Sunsets: Season 12

In general, Lightweight frame bows are in a poor state. They do significantly less damage than Precision frame bows while not offering a noticeably better draw speed.

Also, a bow's "feel" is important and Spiteful Fang just doesn't feel great. Even if it can have good perks, it's surpassed by most of the other bows in this list.
Lightweight FrameKinetic
Tyranny of Heaven Destiny 2 art

Tyranny of Heaven

| Lightweight Frame
Worst

D

-Last Wish Raid
Slot: Solar Energy | Ammo: Primary | Sunsets: Season 15

In general, Lightweight frame bows are in a poor state. They do significantly less damage than Precision frame bows while not offering a noticeably better draw speed.

Even worst, Tyranny of Heaven has a smaller and weaker perk pool than some of the much more accessible bows in this list. For a Raid weapon, it is very disappointing.
Lightweight FrameEnergy

If you’re really serious about chasing god rolls, you know that string and arrow options are extremely important too. I realize that but prefer to keep things simple and only focus on the two main perks. I do go into more detail for our absolute favorites below.


Destiny 2 Best Bows: The absolute favorites

Trinity Ghoul Catalyst Destiny 2 V2

Trinity Ghoul

Weapon Type: Combat Bow Sunsets: Never
Ammo: Primary Source: Exotic Engram

Why it excels in PVE: With Season of Arrivals, Trinity Ghoul became one of the best weapons in Destiny 2.

And I don’t mean the best bow or the best exotic. With the release of its brand-new catalyst, Trinity Ghoul became one of the best exotics in the game, perhaps even the best primary PVE weapons all-around.

This is Trinity Ghoul’s main exotic perks:

  • Lightning Rod: Precision kills grant the next shot chain-lightning capabilities.

This is Trinity Ghoul’s new Catalyst perk:

  • Forked Lightning: Lightning Rod now triggers from any Arc damage final blow.

That Catalyst perk right there makes all the difference. With the catalyst, activating Lighting Rod becomes extremely easy. So easy, you can practically keep it activated until every single red bar enemy is disposed of.

With this improved Lighting Rod perk, Trinity Ghoul becomes a monster at killing ads, and the more the lighting damage chains between enemies the harder it hits.

 

Le Monarque Destiny 2 featured

Le Monarque

Weapon Type: Combat Bow Sunsets: Never
Ammo: Primary Source: Exotic Quest

Why it excels in PVP: Playing against a skilled Le Monarque user can be a nightmare. The weapon does damage over time, prevents health regeneration, and allows you to keep track of your opponents thanks to the on-screen damage numbers from the tick damage.

A “perfect draw” headshot can leave an opposing guardian with a sliver of health (1hp), leading to easy clean up kills with something like a Quickdraw hand cannon. This can lead to near-instant TTKs (time to kill) if you can land your crits. Also, Le Monarque can one-shot opponents with a damage buff such as inertia override, empowering rift, a bubble, charged with light, etc.

Last but not least, it counts as a Lightweight Frame bow, giving you a boost to mobility and movement speed. However, Le Monarque will show its limitations against a skilled sniper player (which most players are high-level PvP).

 

Subtle Calamity Destiny 2 featured

Subtle Calamity

Weapon Type: Combat Bow Sunsets: Season 12
Ammo: Primary Source: World Drop

Why it excels in PVE: Subtle Calamity is hands-down, one of the best feeling bows in the game, and as mentioned before, a bow’s “feel” is extremely important.

On top of that, it’s a forgiving bow that can roll with great rolls that make it excellent at dealing with low health and red bar enemies. It also has great stats and can be an excellent tool to tackle challenging content as it can do a lot of damage from a safe distance.

God rolls:

  • Bowstring: Polymer String or Natural String
  • Arrow: Fiberglass Arrow Shaft or Carbon Arrow Shaft
  • Perk 1: Rampage or Dragonfly
  • Perk 2:  Archer’s Tempo or Explosive Head

Subtle Calamity might not have the raw add clear power of Hush, but it is a much more forgiving bow that is easy to obtain. Subtle Calamity has been one of the top PVE weapons in Destiny 2 for a long time and the only thing holding it back is it’s sunset next season. Hopefully, Bungie will re-release a refreshed version soon…

 

Point of the Stag Destiny 2 featured

Point of the Stag

Weapon Type: Combat Bow Sunsets: Season 14
Ammo: Primary Source: Iron Banner Ritual Quest

Why it excels in PVP: With a fast draw-time, Archer’s Tempo and Vorpal Weapon, Point of the Stag is a consistent and reliable bow to use in PVP. It has a welcomed Accuracy Masterwork (which is one of two masterworks you’d want on a bow) and it has better handling than something like a Subtle Calamity.

Vorpal Weapon is the perk that sets this bow apart as it allows you to take down supers surprisingly easily. It’s also worth noting that for PVE, Vorpal works on bosses and majors (something that the perk’s description doesn’t make clear).

Last but not least, unlike most legendary bows in this list, Point of the Stag will not be sunset this Fall, which means it will remain viable for a while.

 

Hush Destiny 2 featured

Hush

Weapon Type: Combat Bow Sunsets: Season 12
Ammo: Primary Source: Gambit Pinnacle Quest

Why it excels in PVE: The best legendary bow at ad clearing, Hush is can be extremely lethal in the hands of a skilled bow user.

Hush’s Pinnacle perk, Archer’s Gambit, provides an insanely fast draw-speed for a whopping 8 seconds, and in PVE, the perk is insanely easy to proc. Archer’s Gambit is definitely a much superior version of Archer’s Tempo, but it requires more skill to get the most out of it. Bungie said it right when it released Hush:

This weapon is for those who would proclaim mastery with the Combat Bow

If you can land your crit consistently, Hush is a monster. Its a damn shame it will be sunset at the end of this Season.

 


Destiny 2 Exotic Bows: How to get them

These are the detailed steps on how to acquire all three exotic bows in Destiny 2. Note that every bow involves very different steps of varying difficulty:

How to get Trinity Ghoul?

As covered in my weapon + catalyst review, Trinity Ghoul can be found as a random exotic engram. This is bad news if you don’t already have it as you won’t be able to actively work to get it.

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.

How to get Le Monarque?

Acquiring Le Monarque used to be a pain. But with the release of Shadowkeep in September 2019, the process has been streamlined and made easier.

Part of the Black Armory exotics, these are the steps to acquire it:

1. Grab the two Exotic quests from Ada-1 at the Tower.

2.  Get the kills needed (the easy part)

3. Forge 10 Legendary frames (the long part): This step often leads to confusion. To complete it, you’ll need to:

  • Complete the 2 weekly bounties from Ada-1 to obtain the two Ballistic Logs.
  • Use those Ballistic Logs to forge 2 different legendary weapon frames.
  • Repeated Legendary frames won’t count until you have them all unlocked.
  • This means you’re stuck at 2 frames per week: 5 weeks total…

4. Enjoy your new Exotic.

To be clear, these quests are not difficult, they’re just long and grindy. This is especially true because forging Legendary frames requires you to find Weapon Cores which drop from forge saboteurs. If you’re having issues with that step, this video explains the process.

How to get Leviathan’s Breath?

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 Leviathan’s Breath 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 Leviathan’s Breath.


Ranking criteria:

For the record, as much as I try to keep this list as objective as possible, it’s still based on my personal experience playing the PC version of the game.

Also, even with hundreds of hours of playtime, I’m far from being neither an expert nor an amazing PVE/PVP player. That’s the whole point of this site. I’m just a blueberry who loves this game and wants to share everything I’ve learned so far!

Finally, if you’re wondering what criteria was used to build this Tier list, these are the main factors I took into account:

  • Feel: The feel of a weapon is always important, but it makes even more of a difference with bows.
  • Lethality: The higher the effective DPS and usability, the higher the ranking.
  • Consistency: Some weapons may not have the highest DPS numbers, but they are so consistent, they more than make up for their lower DPS numbers.
  • Ease of use: Similar to the point above, some weapons are very effective because they are easy to use and don’t require too much skill or setup. This is also rewarded with higher rankings.
  • PVE/PVP Performance: High lethality in either PVE or PVP is equally valuable. However, a weapon that is good at both PVE and PVP should rank higher than one that is slightly better on only PVE or PVP.
  • Fun factor: Not the most important factor, but it also helps if the weapon is damn fun to shoot with!

If you strongly disagree with some of the rankings here, feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below.