Best Destiny 2 Bows Tier List

Ranked for PVP and PVE

By Ric (aka Prim)updated Updated April 4, 2021

Deemed too weak for neither PVP nor PVE challenging content, 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 things are changing fast. With Season of Arrivals, released last Summer, bows started to make a comeback. Mainly because all bows received a 10% damage buff in PVE, but also because of how insanely good the latest Exotics are.

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.


Destiny 2 Bows Tier list for PVE and PVP

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 the S Tier and moves down from there. It also covers both PVE and PVP, with the “Excels in” column clearly identifying where each weapon shines.

About DPS: You’ll see us talk a lot about DPS, damage per second, throughout this guide. DPS is important for PVE, because the higher the DPS, the more damage you can deal to a Boss or Major.

WeaponTierExcels inDrops from ❘ RequirementsVerdictElement?Archetype?Requirements?
Destiny 2 Trinity Ghoul art
Trinity Ghoul
| Combat Bow
Best

S

PVEExotic Engram
Destiny 2 Free to Play logo 1
Slot: Arc Energy | Ammo: 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 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 damage, taking care of ads and red bar enemies has never been easier. Trinity Ghoul is simply a monster in PVE.
ArcExoticFree-to-Play
Ticuu's Divination Destiny 2 art
Ticuu's Divination
| Combat Bow
Best

S

PVESeason Pass
Destiny 2 Season 13 logo
Slot: Solar Energy | Ammo: 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."

► With a "priming" mechanism that allows you to first tag an enemy and then create a massive explosion with a subsequent arrow, Ticuu's Divination does wonders in PVE.

Ticcu's Destination 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.
SolarExoticSeason 13
Biting Winds Destiny 2 art
Biting Winds
| Combat Bow
Strong

A

PVEEuropa
Destiny 2 Beyond Light logo 1
Slot: KInetic | Ammo: Ammo: Primary | Archetype: Precision

PVE God Roll: Rapid Hit (also good: Killing Wind) + Explosive Head

► Biting Winds is arguably the best legendary bow currently in the game. Capable of rolling with some of the best PVE perks for bows, it also happens to be much more accessible than say, Garden of Salvation's Accrued Redemption.

It has similar base stats as the Accrued Redemption and Point of the Stag, but the fact it has great perks and is easy to obtain make it a top tier choice for PVE.
KineticPrecisionBeyond Light
Destiny 2 Le Monarque art
Le Monarque
| Combat Bow
Strong

A

BothExotic Kiosk
Destiny 2 Forsaken logo 1
Slot: Void Energy | Ammo: 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 can be lethal in the hands of an experienced PVP player. It can bring a guardian down to 1 HP with a "perfect draw" headshot, making it an extremely easy clean-up kill with a Quickdraw Hand Cannon (something like an Igneous Hammer, for example).

Also, Le Monarque counts as a Lightweight Frame, which means it also provides a boost in movement speed.
VoidExoticForsaken
Point of the Stag Destiny 2 art
Point of the Stag
| Combat Bow
Strong

A

PVPExotic Kiosk Destiny 2 Free to Play logo 1
Slot: Arc Energy | Ammo: Ammo: Primary | Archetype: Precision

PVP Fixed Roll: Archer's Tempo + Vorpal Weapon

► With a fast draw time, Archer's Tempo, and Vorpal Weapon (which can be excellent against Supers), Point of the Stag is a reliable and consistent weapon to bring to the Crucible.

Bows are certainly not a popular choice in PVP, but if you want to give bows a serious chance, you won't find a better legendary alternative than this.
ArcPrecisionFree-to-Play
Arsenic Bite 4b Destiny 2 art
Arsenic Bite-4b
| Combat Bow
Strong

A

PVEWorld Loot Pool ❘ Destiny 2 Free to Play logo 1
Slot: Arc Energy | Ammo: Ammo: Primary | Archetype: Lightweight

PVE God Roll: Dragonfly (also good: Rampage) + Explosive Head

► Arsenic Bite may suffer from the same shortcomings as all Lightweight bows do. That said, this is perhaps the strongest Lightweight option due to its strong selection of top-tier damage-dealing perks such as Dragonfly, Rampage, and more.

It also happens to feature great base stats and a satisfying "feel" to it, a nonquantifiable quality that happens to be particularly important for bows.
ArcLightweightFree-to-Play
Imperial Needle Destiny 2 art
Imperial Needle
| Combat Bow
Average

B

-Battlegrounds
Destiny 2 Season 13 logo
Slot: Void Energy | Ammo: Ammo: Primary | Archetype: Lightweight

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

► Precision bows are usually the top choice for PVE bow aficionados, as they deal more damage than Lightweights.

That said, with perks such as Frenzy and Impulse Magnifier, the Imperial Needle can be an effective and damn fun to use ad clear weapon. It also helps that it can currently be easily farmed via Battlegrounds and Umbrals engrams.
VoidLightweightSeason 13
Whispering Slab Destiny 2 art
Whispering Slab
| Combat Bow
Average

B

-World Loot Pool Destiny 2 Free to Play logo 1
Slot: KInetic | Ammo: Ammo: Primary | Archetype: Lightweight

PVE God Roll: Archer's Tempo (also good: Killing Wind) + Vorpal Weapon

► As mentioned before, Lightweight bows are rarely the top choice for PVE nor PVP players. But having said that, if you happen to prefer Lightweight bows, the Whispering Slab is a good choice.

It can roll with all of the best PVE perks in the game, in fact, it has access to perks no other Lightweight bow can offer, such as Unrelenting, Vorpal Weapon, and Demolitionist.
KineticLightweightFree-to-Play
Accrued Redemption Destiny 2 art
Accrued Redemption
| Combat Bow
Average

B

-Garden of Salvation Raid
Destiny 2 Shadowkeep logo 3
Slot: KInetic | Ammo: Ammo: Primary | Archetype: Precision

PVE God Roll: Archer's Tempo + Rampage

► Accrued Redemption is special because it happens to be one of the only 2 Kinetic Precision bows in the entire game. Plus, it has the best base stats among Precision bows overall.

But while it offers a great feel and consistency, Accrued Redemption can't be ranked any higher due to the fact it's locked behind a raid (ie. much harder to obtain than its competition) and has a limited perk pool.
KineticPrecisionShadowkeep
Destiny 2 Wish Ender art
Wish-Ender
| Combat Bow
Average

B

-Exotic Quest
Destiny 2 Forsaken logo 1
Slot: Kinetic | Ammo: 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."

► The only time Wish-Ender was ever relevant was when a bug caused gave it double damage. Those were fun times, but as soon as the bug was resolved, Wish-Ender went back to being average at best.

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.
KineticExoticForsaken
Destiny 2 Leviathan's Breath art
Leviathan's Breath
| Combat Bow
Average

B

-Exotic Kiosk
Destiny 2 Shadowkeep logo 3
Slot: Void Heavy | Ammo: Destiny 2 Heavy ammo Heavy | Archetype: Exotic

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

► Leviathan's Breath can definitely get the job done against Unstoppable Champions and can even one-shoot guardians while in their supers in PVP.

Unfortunately, due to an extremely long draw time and limited magazine size, it simply cannot compete against several other Heavy weapons. To be fair, other weapons may be more efficient, but Leviathan's Breath is still unique and fun to use.
VoidExoticShadowkeep
Tyranny of Heaven Destiny 2 art
Tyranny of Heaven
| Combat Bow
Weak

C

-Last Wish Raid
Destiny 2 Forsaken logo 1
Slot: Solar Energy | Ammo: Ammo: Primary | Archetype: Lightweight

PVE God Roll: Archer's Tempo + Rampage

► 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.... You'll be better served with virutally any of the other bows in this list.
SolarLightweightForsaken

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 Top 3 Bows: Our 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 weapon 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. Without a doubt, Trinity Ghoul’s Catalyst is one of the strongest catalysts in the game.

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 opponent 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. Le Monarque is not easy to master, but in the hands of a skilled player, it can easily be one of the best PVP weapons in the game.

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.


Destiny 2 Best Bows for PVE: A Dummies Guide

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 A Dummies Guide to Bows on Reddit user Mwray:

The most important stat: Draw Time

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.

Example God Rolls for Precision Bows

String Shaft Trait 1 Trait 2 Masterwork
Elastic String Fiberglass / Straight Fletching Archer’s Tempo Rampage / Dragonfly / Explosive Head Draw Time

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.

Archers Tempo also reduces Draw Time to 460ms when active, regardless of your Draw Time stat, and is the same for both Lightweight and Precision Bows. So both Bows can effectively achieve the same Draw Time, but Precisions do more damage and have better Aim assist.

Trinity Ghoul wide

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 to get a bow in Destiny 2: Your first bow

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.


How to get every Exotic Bows in Destiny 2

We cover every exotic quest in Destiny 2 in this guide, but these are the detailed steps on how to acquire the four exotic bows in Destiny 2 mentioned before. 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 and Leviathan’s Breath?

Acquiring Le Monarque used to be a pain. But with the release of Beyond Light in November 2020, Le Monarque became available via the new Exotics kiosk in the tower, called the Monument to Lost Lights. The Monument to Lost Lights includes weapons that used to be part of Exotic quests that are no longer in the game.

Nowadays, weapons such as Le Monarque and Leviathan’s Breath can be instantly acquired at the Exotics kiosk, provided you have the necessary materials. We cover all the weapons and materials from the Monument to Lost Lights here.

Destiny 2 Monument to Lost Lights wide

How to get Ticuu’s Divination?

Ticuu’s Divination is actually the easiest Destiny 2 Exotic Bow to get right now, provided Season 13 hasn’t ended by the time you read this… Indeed, this exotic bow is part of Season of the Chosen’s Season Pass and can be acquired immediately for paid users and at rank 35 for free-to-play users.


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.