Destiny 2 Best PVP Weapons

Future-proofed for Beyond Light

By Ric aka Primatrix | Oct 16, 2020

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

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

Today, we’ll focus on the best PVP weapons in 2020 that will not be sunsetted once Beyond Light launches. We did take into account that, unlike PVE, the most popular PVP activities won’t be Power Level-enabled, so you can consider these the best all-around PVP weapons in the game.

A big thank you to Pattycakes for helping me put together this selection. Pattycakes is one of my favorite Destiny 2 PVP content creators. If you’re looking to improve your PVP game, you should definitely check him out on YouTube.

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

A word about TTK: You’ll see us talk about TTK, or time to kill, throughout this guide. TTK is particularly important in PVP, because the lowest the TTK, the more quickly you can kill your opponent. It’s not everything (consistency and ease of use, for example, also play a role), but having a low TTK is one of the most sought after traits in a weapon.


Destiny 2 Best PVP Primary weapons

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

 WeaponDrops from / DifficultyExotic Perk, God Rolls & VerdictTypeSlotDrops from
Destiny 2 SUROS Regime

SUROS Regime

| Auto Rifle
Exotic Engram

Average

Slot: Kinetic | Ammo: Primary | Sunsets: NA

Exotic Perk: "The bottom half of each magazine deals bonus damage and can return health on kill. Holding down the trigger increases rate of fire."

► Auto rifles have always been accessible and easy to use, but since their buff from last season, they are stronger than ever. In fact, 600 RPM ARs have the fastest optimal TTK in the game.

SUROS, especially with the catalyst, is perhaps the best AR. It feels great, can grant health regen on kills and can reach a ridiculously low TTK when spinning up.

Good Alternative: Monte Carlo.
Auto RifleKineticExotic Engram
Dire Promise Destiny 2 art

Dire Promise

| Hand Cannon
World Drop

Average

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

Dire Promise PVP God Roll:
Perk 3: Opening Shot (also good: Snapshot Sights)
Perk 4: Rangefinder (on controller: Elemental Capacitor w/Void)

► The natural replacement to the infamous Spare Rations, Dire Promise is a 150 RPM hand cannon with an insane TTK and Lightweight frame that grants extra handling and mobility.

On top of featuring good base stats and excellent perks, Dire Promise is arguably the best hand cannon in the game, and being a legendary, it also frees up your exotic slot.

Good Alternative: The Old Fashioned.
Hand CannonKineticWorld Drop
Destiny 2 Thorn

Thorn

| Hand Cannon
Exotic Quest

Hard

Slot: Kinetic | Ammo: Primary | Sunsets: NA

Exotic Perk: "Rounds pierce targets and deal damage over time. Kills leave behind Remnants which, when absorbed, increase damage."

► Also a 150 RPM hand cannon, Thorn benefits from the same insane TTK as Dire Promise. And when its perk is active, Thorn can two tap low resilience guardians, making it one of the most lethal primaries in the game.

On top of that, Thorn does burn damage that both delays health regeneration and mitigates part of the damage falloff ordinary hand cannons suffer from.

Good Alternative: Lumina.
Hand CannonKineticExotic Quest
Cold Denial Destiny 2 art

Cold Denial

| Pulse Rifle
Umbral Engram

Easy

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

Cold Denial PVP God Roll:
Perk 3: Killing Wind
Perk 4: Multikill Clip (also good: Headseeker)

► One of the newest Pulse rifles in the game, Cold Denial benefits from a recent PVP buff given to high-impact pulses. This makes it one of the strongest Pulses in the game.

with lighting fast TTK and a great perk selection that includes the brand new Killing Wind perk, Cold Denial is a highly rewarding Pulse, especially when you land 2 clean headshot bursts.
Pulse RifleKineticUmbral Engrams
Destiny 2 Vigilance Wing art

Vigilance Wing

| Pulse Rifle
Exotic Quest

Hard

Slot: Kinetic | Ammo: Primary | Sunsets: NA

Exotic Perk: "This weapon fires a 5-round burst. When a nearby ally is killed, gain health regeneration, and increased movement speed."

► Another beneficiary of the recent buff to high-impact Pulses, Vigilance Wing is one of the most forgiving pulses in the game right now.

It has a low headshot requirement to still get its optimal TTK of 0.77 seconds, it has decent range and it does a ton of flinch which makes it hard to play against. What else could you ask for?

Good Alternative: Outbreak Perfected.
Pulse RifleKineticExotic Quest
Gnawing Hunger Destiny 2 art

Gnawing Hunger

| Auto Rifle
Umbral Engram

Easy

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

Gnawing Hunger PVP God Roll:
Perk 3: Tap the Trigger
Perk 4: Kill Clip (also good: Rampage)

Thanks to the buff they received with Season of the Worthy, 600 RPM Auto rifles became extremely lethal. And Gnawing Hunger is arguably the best legendary auto rifle in the game right now.

It has a huge magazine, clean sights, and easy to control recoil. It also features that same wicked fast TTK all 600 RPM ARs share, but it also offers some of the best PVP perks in the game. Did we mention it's also extremely easy to farm with Umbral engrams?

Good Alternative: Hard Light.
Auto RifleEnergyUmbral Engrams
Destiny 2 The Summoner

The Summoner

| Auto Rifle
Trials of Osiris

Hard

Slot: Solar Energy | Ammo: Primary | Sunsets: Season 14

The Summoner PVP God Roll:
Perk 3: Dynamic Sway Reduction
Perk 4: Rangefinder (on controller: Elemental Capacitor w/Void)

The Summoner is another insanely good 600 RPM Auto rifles. As the Gnawing Hunger, it shares that same 0.7 seconds TTK and great base stats, but it features fundamentally different perk options.

On paper, Gnawing Hunger has more perks, including all the best damage-dealing perks, but The Summoner has a technically better perk pool when it comes to winning lengthier 1v1 fights thanks to Dynamic Sway Reduction.
Auto RifleEnergyUmbral Engrams
Destiny 2 Sunshot art

Sunshot

| Hand Cannon
Exotic Engram

Average

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

Exotic Perk: "This weapon fires explosive rounds. Targets killed with Sunshot explode in Solar energy."

Do you remember how we said 150 RPM hand cannons are among the most lethal weapons in the Crucible? Sunshot is an excellent 150 RPM hand cannon that sits in the Energy slot.

It also features explosive rounds that help it mitigate the severe damage falloff all legendary hand cannons suffer from. On top of that, it features great base stats, especially with the catalyst, and makes defeated enemies explode in flames!

Good Alternative: Jack Queen King.
Hand CannonEnergyExotic Engram
Destiny 2 Le Monarque art

Le Monarque

| Combat Bow
Exotic Quest

Average

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

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 hands down the strongest bow for PVP in the game and can be lethal in the hands of an experienced player. It does damage over time and spreads poison to enemies.

But more importantly, 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. Also, it counts as a Lightweight Frame, giving you a boost in movement speed.

Good Alternative: Wish-Ender.
Combat BowEnergyExotic Quest
IKELOS_SMG_v1.0.2 Destiny 2 art

IKELOS_SMG_v1.0.2

| Submachine Gun
Umbral Engram

Easy

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

IKELOS_SMG_v1.0.2 PVP God Roll:
Perk 3: Dynamic Sway Reduction
Perk 4: Tap the Trigger (also good: Surrounded)

► Players have been desperately looking for a Recluse replacement for months and Bungie finally delivered: the reprised IKELOS_SMG_V.1.0.2.

The IKELOS_SMG_V.1.0.2 is one of the best SMGs for PvP right now. It has a great feel, excellent PVP perks, and includes Seraph rounds with are a welcome addition.

Good Alternative: Tarrabah.
Submachine GunEnergyUmbral Engrams

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


Destiny 2 Best PVP Special weapons

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

 WeaponDrops fromExotic Perk, God Rolls & VerdictTypeSlotDrops from
Destiny 2 The Chaperone art

The Chaperon

| Shotgun
Exotic Quest

Average

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

Exotic Perks: "Fires a single-slug precision round. Precision kills briefly grant bonus handling, range, and precision damage with this weapon."

► The Chaperone is a slug shotgun with incredible range and an easy contender for best PVP shotty in Destiny 2.

Because of its excellent base stats and its single-slug frame, The Chaperone has the longest one-hit headshot distance of any shotgun in the game, at around 12 meters! In the hands of a skilled player, this is an incredibly lethal weapon able to map enemies from afar.

Good Alternative: Izanagi's Burden.
ShotgunKineticExotic Quest
The Supremacy Destiny 2 art

The Supremacy

| Sniper Rifle
Last Wish Raid

Hard

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

The Supremacy PVP God Roll:
Perk 1: Snapshot Sights
Perk 2: Kill Clip (also good: Rampage)

► With many good snipers becoming unusable for endgame content next season, The Supremacy has become a must-have kinetic sniper and one of the few 40 zoom snipers left for endgame content once Beyond Light launches.

The Supremacy may not be easy to acquire (as it's locked behind the Last Wish raid), but it features great sights, low zoom, and high aim assist. Enough to make it totally worth it, in spite of its high flinch.
Sniper RifleKineticRaid
Destiny 2 Bastion

Bastion

| Fusion Rifle
Exotic Cipher

Easy

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

Exotic Perk: "Charge to fire 3 spreads of Kinetic slugs. A portion of this weapon's damage bypasses elemental shields."

► Bastion is a unique weapon that sits between a shotgun and a fusion rifle. With its 3 quick bursts, it feels like a semi-automatic shotgun that can literally destroy any roaming super with ease.

Bastion is fun, easy to use, and is able to deal high burst damage. But because it's still technically a fusion rifle, you have to deal with its charge time. In other words, timing is everything.
Fusion RifleEnergyExotic Cipher
Destiny 2 Astral Horizon

Astral Horizon

| Shotgun
Trials of Osiris

Hard

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

Astral Horizon PVP God Roll:
Barrel and Mag: Full Choke + Assault Mag
Perk 1: Quickdraw
Perk 2: Opening Shot

► If you're looking for the best kinetic spread shotgun, look no further than Astral Horizon. On top of having excellent base stats and a good range, it also stands out as it's one of the few kinetic shotguns that can roll with Quickdraw.

It can also come with other excellent PVP perks such as Opening Shot. Be prepared for a tough time in Trials to farm it though...

Good Alternative: Toil and Trouble.
ShotgunKineticTrials of Osiris
Eye of Sol Destiny 2 art

Eye of Sol

| Sniper Rifle
Trials of Osiris

Hard

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

Eye of Sol PVP God Roll:
Perk 1: Snapshot Sights(also good: Vorpal Weapon)
Perk 2: Opening Shot (also good: Box Breathing)

► Eye of Sol is a solid 90 RPM sniper akin to the soon to be sunsetted, Beloved.

Featuring a reasonable 45 zoom stat and good aim assistance, Eye of Sol can also roll with great perk options. That said, it remains one of the toughest weapons to farm in this list.

Good Alternative: Bite of the Fox.
Sniper RifleKineticTrials of Osiris
Felwinter's Lie Destiny 2 art

Felwinter's Lie

| Shotgun
Currently Unavailable

NA

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

Felwinter's Lie PVP has a fixed Roll:
Perk 1: Personal Preference
Perk 2: Opening Shot (and Vorpal Weapon to deal with Supers)

► The best PVP shotgun currently in the game, Felwinter's Lie features insane one-hit-kill distances consistently. And that's partly due to its exotic intrinsic perk, Shot Package.

Similar to Ritual weapons, it also comes with 2 fixed perks per slot you can choose from, and they're all excellent. For example, you can instantly swap to Vorpal Weapon to shut down supers when they come around.
ShotgunEnergyCurrently NA
Omniscient Eye Destiny 2 art

Omniscient Eye

| Sniper Rifle
Garden of Salvation Raid

Hard

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

Omniscient Eye PVP God Roll:
Perk 1: Mulligan (also good: No Distractions)
Perk 2: Snapshot Sights

► Omniscient Eye is another one of the few low zoom snipers that will sunsetting when Beyond Light launches. That alone makes it a sought after sniper for endgame PVP activities.

Omniscient Eye also comes with good perk options, a good sight and excellent aim assistance. Everything you'll need once Beloved is sunsetted next season...

Good Alternative: Distant Tumulus.
Sniper RifleEnergyRaid
Destiny 2 Telesto art

Telesto

| Fusion Rifle
Exotic Engram

Average

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

Exotic Perk: "Fusion projectiles attach and detonate with a delayed Void blast. Multikills with this weapon immediately reload your equipped Kinetic and Energy weapons from reserves."

►Telesto, The besto. Or so players like to call it. Telesto is indeed a great weapon with some unique features. With its proximity explosive bolts, you can use it to set traps and play defensively or use it as a traditional fusion rifle.

It's also capable of solid one hit kill ranges and has the ability to potentially get multi kills on grouped up enemies.

Good Alternative: Lord of Wolves.
Fusion RifleEnergyExotic Engram
Destiny 2 Seventh Seraph CQC-12

Seventh Seraph CQC-12

| Shotgun
Umbral Engram

Easy

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

Seventh Seraph CQC-12 PVP God Roll:
Barrel and Mag: Full Choke + Assault Mag
Perk 1: Quickdraw (also good: Slideshot)
Perk 2: Vorpal Weapon (also good: Snapshot Sights)

As a Lightweight frame shotgun, the Seventh Seraph CQC-12 benefits from faster handling, and movement speed, both critical in PVP.

On top of that, the CQC-12 can roll with some of the best PVP perks available, namely Quickdraw and Vorpal weapon. Last but not least, this is an incredibly easy to farm weapon via Umbral engrams.

Good Alternative: First In Last Out.
ShotgunEnergyUmbral Engram
IKELOS_SR_v1.0.2 Destiny 2 art

IKELOS_SR_v1.0.2

| Sniper Rifle
Umbral Engram

Easy

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

IKELOS_SR_v1.0.2 PVP God Roll:
Perk 1: Moving Target (also good: Triple Tap)
Perk 2: Quickdraw

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

The IKELOS_SR_v1.0.2 has good base stats but what sets it apart in PVP are the fairly low zoom stat at 45, decent sights, high aim assistance and good perks.

Good Alternative: Widow's Bite.
Sniper RifleEnergyUmbral Engram

But what about PVE?


Destiny 2 Best PVP Heavy weapons

Destiny 2 Heavy ammoIn this section, we cover the best Heavy PVP weapons. Unlike Primary and Special weapons that can be in either the Kinetic or Energy slots, Heavy weapons can only be in the Heavy slot. In other words, we’re talking about the weapons that use “heavy” ammo, aka, purple ammo boxes:

 WeaponDrops fromExotic Perk, God Rolls & VerdictTypeSlotDrops from
Destiny 2 The Wardcliff Coil

Wardcliff Coil

| Rocket Launcher
Exotic Engram

Average

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

Exotic Perk: "This weapon fires a volley of rockets and automatically reloads on ammo pickup."


When it works as intended, The Wardcliff Coil is incredibly lethal and could potentially wipe an entire team. On top of that, it's a consistent and reliable weapon that can practically guarantee kills, even in competitive modes.

The Wardcliff Coils also has the ability to easily shut down supers from range.

Good Alternative: Truth.
Rocket LauncherHeavyExotic Engram
Seventh Seraph SAW Destiny 2

Seventh Seraph SAW

| Machine Gun
Currently Unavailable

NA

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

Seventh Seraph SAW PVP God Roll:
Perk 1: Zen Moment
Perk 4: Vorpal Weapon (also good: Elemental Capacitor w/Void)

► Machine guns are popular in PVP because they offer an excellent ammo economy. When used right, one ammo brick can result in 4-5 kills.

The Seventh Seraph SAW is one of the few legendary machine guns that will survive sunsetting later this year, which is why it easily earned a spot here. That said, it does have good stats and decent perk options.
Machine GunHeavyCurrently NA
Destiny 2 Tractor Cannon art

Tractor Cannon

| Shotgun
Exotic Engram

Average

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

Exotic Perk: "This weapon emits a powerful impulse that pushes enemies away, suppresses their abilities, and makes them more vulnerable to all incoming damage."

► Tractor Cannon is a good weapon overall and can secure kills just as well as any other Heavy weapon. That said, it also has the ability to suppress supers, and that alone can be incredibly valuable in high stakes competitive matches.

PS: The ability to kill enemies by bouncing them against the wall or throwing them out of the maps remains as satisfying and fun as ever.

Good Alternative: One Thousand Voices.
ShotgunHeavyExotic Engram
Destiny 2 Xenophage

Xenophage

| Machine Gun
Exotic Quest

Hard

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

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

► A big nerf to snipers and a huge buff to Xenophage last season made it one of the best PVE weapons in Destiny 2.

In PVP, it remains as strong as it has always been. You can easily use its explosive rounds to two-shot kill any guardian, and you can even kill guardians behind cover by shooting the ground or nearby objects. PS: Xenophage is particularly good in Trials on longer-range maps.

Good Alternative: Thunderlord.
Machine GunHeavyExotic Quest
Destiny 2 Deathbringer art

Deathbringer

| Rocket Launcher
Exotic Quest

Average

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

Exotic Perk: "Fires remotely detonated projectiles that drop Void orbs on combatants. Hold to fire, release to detonate. The further a Void orb falls, the more powerful its detonation becomes."


Deathbringer is one of the most fun heavy weapons in the game. If you catch a team on spawn, you can wipe them all out with a well-placed detonation.

You can also use it to shoot it at a wall when someone pushes you and still secure a few kills in a pinch. It's great at tracking enemies, and overall, a slept on weapon more guardians should try.

Good Alternative: Black Talon.
Rocket LauncherHeavyExotic Quest
If you’re looking for a video version of a great PVP weapons guide, these 3-part video series from Pattycakes focusing on Exotics is a must-see:


Destiny 2 PVP Meta (as of October 2020)

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

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

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

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

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

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

The list starts with S Tier and moves down until it reaches the bottom Tier. Also, remember that the PVE meta is completely different than the PVP meta!

PVP Primary weapons meta

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

S

Auto rifles received a significant buff with Season of the Worthy, especially 600 RPM variants. They are undeniably the most lethal and easy to use primaries right now. On top of having some of the fastest TTK in the game (0.7 seconds), they also have good range and large magazines.

They do have one drawback: You have to be out of cover to do damage (unlike a hand cannon or pulse), which makes them less efficient in competitive modes or against skilled hand cannon users.

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

Hand cannon weapon type Destiny 2Hand Cannons
Best

S

Hand Cannons were the indisputable top tier choice for PVP, but after a nerf to their effective range last year, they no longer dominate the meta as they used to.

To be clear, they are still top tier. In fact, the top PVP players still rock a hand cannon as their primary weapon of choice. They may no longer have the range they used to, but they can still do a lot of damage while peaking in and out of cover (something an auto rifle user cannot do).

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

Sidearm weapon type Destiny 2Sidearms
Strong

A

Sidearms have been slept on for far too long. But things are definitely changing, especially since their target acquisition was buffed. You now see more and more top players main sidearms alongside their favorite sniper.

On paper, sidearms certainly have a limited range, but they still offer some of the best TTKs in Destiny 2.

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

Pulse rifle weapon type Destiny 2Pulse Rifles
Strong

A

Pulse rifles have been in a stable position for a while now. They have never been the best but neither the worst. They are workhorses that consistently get the job done.

Often referred to as "dad rifles", they are easy to use, have a good range, and good aim assist. But with the recent PVP buff to the High-Impact archetype, pulses such as Cold Denial, Redrix's Broadsword or even Vigilance Wing have become some of the most lethal weapons in the Crucible.

Lastest "meta change": Pulse rifles were buffed with Season of Arrivals, with High-Impact pulses getting an increased damage per bullet from 21 to 22.

SMG weapon type Destiny 2Submachine Guns
Average

B

The Recluse reigned supreme as the most used PVP primary for a very long time, but after a few nerfs, it finally left room for other SMGs to shine.

SMGs can get the job done. A good SMG with the right rolls (like the new IKELOS SMG with the Surrounded Perk) can get to insanely low TTKs, but unfortunately, 600 RPM auto rifles are so strong, it makes little sense to use an SMG over a well-rolled Gnawing Hunger. For this reason, SMGs are currently considered average.

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

Combat bow weapon type Destiny 2Combat Bows
Average

B

Combat bows are definitely a niche choice for PVP. You will rarely see a guardian using a bow in the Crucible, and that's because bows are far from being the most optimal tool to get the job done.

With a headshot, they can "almost" kill an enemy, but during the time you'll need to shoot a second arrow, your enemy will be either gone or you will be already dead. Exceptions such as Le Monarque do exist of course, but in general, you'll be better served with other weapon types.

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

Scout rifle weapon type Destiny 2Scout Rifles
Worst

D

Whether we're talking about PVE or PVP, Scout rifles have been in a sad state for a long time.

In PVP, they have some of the worst TTKs in the game and will lose most fights in close to medium range. They do have good range, but most guardians will use a sniper rifle when engaging in long-distance fights and a scout won't be able to compete.

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

PVP Special weapons meta

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

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

Weapon Type TierCurrent State
Shotgun weapon type Destiny 2Shotguns
Best

S

Arguably the best Special weapon type for PVP, shotguns are both deadly and accessible. Unlike snipers, shotguns are easier to use and can one-hit kill any guardian with a well placed shot in close range.

As Destiny 2's maps were initially created for 4 VS 4 guardians, using a shotgun in today's 6 VS 6 game modes is easier than ever. There's a lot of cover and small spaces where a good shotgun user can tear an entire enemy team.

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

Sniper rifle weapon type Destiny 2Sniper Rifles
Best

S

Sniper rifles are also top tier choices for PVP. But unlike shotguns, they have a higher skill-ceiling. In other words, it's harder to master a sniper than it is to master a shotgun, but in the hands of a talented players, there's nothing deadlier than a sniper rifle in the entire game.

Overall, snipers are in weird place right now. A recent nerf rendered the Rapid-Fire archetype less viable. This forced players to Agressive and Adaptive Frames, namely Revoker and Beloved. This has lead Bungie to warn that they're looking into how snipers behave in PVP and, I assume, push people to use something other than Revoker.

Lastest "meta change": Sniper rifles were nerfed with Season of the Worthy, receiving
a reduced precision multiplier for Adaptive snipers and a reduced base impact from 100 to 90 damage for Rapid-fire snipers.

Fusion rifle weapon type Destiny 2Fusion Rifles
Average

B

Fusion rifles were so good just a few months ago, many called them "broken", especially the Erentil FR4. But in typical Bungie fashion, all fusion rifles were nerfed. Nerfed too hard in fact.

Fusion rifles are no longer what they used to be, but they remain a decent weapon type to use in the Crucible. In fact, they can be very fun and are well-suited for newer players getting familiar with Destiny 2's PVP. But as you improve your game, you may want to graduate to a shotgun instead.

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

Grenade launcher weapon type Destiny 2Grenade Launchers
Average

B

When it comes to Special ammo Grenade launchers, there's Mountaintop and then there's the rest. Mountaintop is so strong, many claim it's downright broken. It also calls for a toxic type of gameplay, which is why most hate it and are glad to see it sunset next season.

The other special ammo grenade launchers are still decent, namely a Truthteller with a good roll or the brand-new Witherhoard. In the hands of an experienced player they can be lethal, but they remain much less effective than the top tier choices.

Lastest "meta change": While not technically a "nerf", special ammo grenade launchers will greatly suffer from the Mountaintop's retirement.

-
Weak

C

-
Trace rifle weapon type Destiny 2Trace Rifles
Worst

D

Trace rifles don't have much going for them in PVP. They can deal respectable total damage, which can be useful on a boss. But in PVP, you wan't the opposite.

With insanely high TTKs (remember, high = bad), it can take forever to down an opponent, unless they're absolutely terrible and barely move at all, or you have excellent tracking. Generally speaking, Trace rifles take too long to do significant damage and most opponents will either hide or counter you with something that hits harder, such as a shotgun.

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

PVP Heavy weapons meta

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

Weapon Type TierCurrent State
Rocket launcher weapon type Destiny 2Rocket Launchers
Best

S

Unlike for PVE, rocket launchers are in a great place right now for PVP. As ammo economy isn't an issue in the Crucible, their insane high-burst damage allows them to shine.

Rocket launchers, and especially the exotics, can basically guarantee a kill without requiring much skill. And if used right, you can easily get multikills. Even in competitive modes, they are still preferred due to their consistency.

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

Machine gun weapon type Destiny 2Machine Guns
Strong

A

Machine guns are extremely popular in PVP. They have excellent damage, great TTKs and come with enough ammo to kill 3 or 4 enemies.

Not all machine guns were created equally, of course, but with the right perks, they can be incredibly stable.

Lastest "meta change": Machine guns haven't seen any significant changes in a while.

Grenade launcher weapon type Destiny 2Grenade Launchers
Average

B

Grenade launchers can be excellent options in PVP. They are powerful and can come with great perks. When using something like Proximity grenades, they become even more reliable and easy to use.

Compared to the other Heavy weapon types, grenade launchers remain strong contenders. And when you take into account the exotics, namely The Colony, they basically give you free kills.

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


Sword weapon type Destiny 2Swords
Weak

C

Swords may be top tier in PVE because they're high risk and high rewards, but in PVP, the risk is much higher than the reward.

You can, of course, use a sword to benefit from the third person view and wait for opponents around corners. But in many situations, you could find yourself completely vulnerable out in the open while chasing an enemy. For this reason, you won't see many sword users in the Crucible (except those that use them for 3 peeking...).

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

Linear fusion rifle weapon type Destiny 2Linear Fusion Rifles
Weak

C

Linear fusion rifles are in the middle of an identity crisis. They are stronger than sniper rifles and have a little more aim assistance, but they still require a headshot to one-shot an enemy.

On top of that, they have a charged time, which makes them feel like a charge-time snipers that also require Heavy ammo. In PVP, you want a Heavy weapon that can easily down several guardians. A skilled player can probably do that with a linear fusion rifle, but other weapon types can accomplish that more easily.

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

-
Worst

D

-

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


Destiny 2 Best PVP Exotics: How to get them

These are the detailed steps on how to acquire all the top PVP exotics in Destiny 2 mentioned before:

1. Exotic Engrams: How to get SUROS Regime, Vigilance Wing, Telesto, Wardcliff Coil, Tractor Cannon and Sunshot

All of these weapons can be found as random exotic engrams. This is bad news if you don’t already have them as you won’t be able to actively work to get them.

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

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

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

2. Exotic Cipher: How to get Bastion

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 Bastion 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 Bastion.

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

3. Exotic Quests: How to get Thorn, The Chaperone, Deadbringer, Xenophage, and Le Monarque

The difficulty of an exotic quest can vary from long and hard (such as Xenophage’s quest) to fast and easy (The Chaperone).

In any case, you can find every single exotic quest in this guide. It also includes the difficulty of the quest itself and has a warning for all the quests that will soon be unavailable due to the Destiny Content Vault).


Destiny 2 Best PVP loadouts

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

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

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

Destiny 2 Best PVP Kinetic weapons:

Weapon  Type Ammo Type
SUROS Regime Pulse Rifle Primary
Dire Promise Sidearm Primary
Thorn Hand Cannon Primary
Cold Denial Pulse Rifle Primary
Vigilance Wing Auto Rifle Primary
The Chaperone Grenade Launcher Special
The Supremacy Sniper Rifle Special
Bastion Shotgun Special
Astral Horizon Sniper Rifle Special
Eye of Sol Shotgun Special

Destiny 2 Best PVP Energy weapons:

Weapon  Type Ammo Type
Gnawing Hunger Pulse Rifle Primary
The Summoner Sidearm Primary
Sunshot Hand Cannon Primary
Le Monarque Pulse Rifle Primary
IKELOS_SMG_v1.0.2 Auto Rifle Primary
Felwinter’s Lie Hand Cannon Special
Omniscient Eye Trace Rifle Special
Seventh Seraph CQC-12 Shotgun Special
IKELOS_SR_v1.0.2 Sniper Rifle Special
Telesto Fusion Rifle Special

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

Loadout 1*:

Kinetic Energy Heavy
Cold Denial Felwinter’s Lie Wardcliff Coil

*My current go-to loadout!

Loadout 2:

Kinetic Energy Heavy
Dire Promise Omniscient Eye Xenophage

Loadout 3:

Kinetic Energy Heavy
Astral Horizon Sunshot Seventh Seraph SAW

Loadout 4:

Kinetic Energy Heavy
Eye of Sol IKELOS_SMG_v1.0.2 Deathbringer

The Last Word

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

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

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