Best Destiny 2 Weapons

PVE, PVP and Exotics

By Ric aka Primatrix | Sep 25, 2020

When I returned to Destiny 2 after an 18-month break, I was completely lost. Not only is Destiny 2 notoriously bad at explaining things or giving a vague sense of priority, it’s also a game that naturally evolves with time. Especially because of its ever-changing weapons, meta, and sandbox.

It was frustrating to search online, find outdated guides and end up grinding for weapons that were no longer good (I’m looking at you Breakneck).

In this guide, you’ll find everything important there is to know about weapons in Destiny 2 today.

What are the best weapons in Destiny 2? How to find them? What about the best Exotics? 

Weapon retirement: Starting this Fall, some weapons in Destiny 2 will be retired. This means they will have a limited maximum power level and won’t be viable for end-game content. Read everything there is to know about weapon retirement (also refered to weapon sunsetting) here.

From this point forward, I’ll be making a clear distinction between PVE and PVP content. What is best for one is often not the best for the other. This is why every weapon ranking or guide needs to make a clear distinction between the two.


The best Destiny 2 Exotic Weapons

Exotics are a key part of a Guardian’s loadout. As you’re allowed to only equip one Exotic weapon at a time, which one to bring with you can be a difficult choice and can sometimes lead to intense debates with your Fireteam. If you want to dive deep into Exotic weapons in Destiny 2, which ones are the best, which ones are easier to get, etc, this guide is for you:

Destiny 2 Exotic Tier List

All 67 Exotics ranked (as of July 2020)

That guides also covers what you’ll need to do to get every Exotic and how hard they are to obtain. If you’re starting from scratch, knowing which of the Top-tier Exotics are easier to get can make a big difference. With that knowledge, you can target the exotics to chase first and build strong loadouts sooner.

And if you’re ready to start chasing the best exotic weapons and exotic catalysts, this guide covers all the exotic quests currently in the game. And since most of these quests will soon become unavailable due to the DCV (Destiny Content Vault), you better hurry before it’s too late…

TL;DR: The top tier Exotics for PVE and PVP are:

Our Exotic Tier list ranks every single exotic in the game, but if you’re interested in only the Best exotics, these are the ones I consider S-tier (with those that excel in PVP highlighted in red, those that excel in PVE highlighted in blue):

Kinetic slot

Witherhoard art Destiny 2

Witherhoard

Exotic | Grenade Launcher

SUROS Regime

Exotic | Auto Rifle

Destiny 2 Thorn

Thorn

Exotic | Hand Cannon

Energy slot
Destiny 2 Trinity Ghoul art

Trinity Ghoul

Exotic | Combat Bow

Destiny 2 Divinity art

Divinity

Exotic | Trace Rifle

Destiny 2 Eriana's Vow art

Eriana's Vow

Exotic | Hand Cannon

Heavy slot
Destiny 2 Anarchy

Anarchy

Exotic | Grenade Launcher

Xenophage

Exotic | Machine Gun

The Wardcliff Coil

Exotic | Rocket Launcher

About Pinnacle and Ritual weapons

Not quite as unique as Exotics, Pinnacle weapons (and Rituals to a lesser extent), are also powerful weapons with unique perks. We cover and rank them all here.

That guide also covers what you’ll need to do to get every Pinnacle and Ritual weapon in Destiny 2 and how hard they are to obtain. The difficulty to obtain them is more important than ever because most of them will be sunset this Fall…

Warning: All Pinnacle weapons will be sunsetted when Beyond Light launches on November 10. This means they will have a limited maximum Power Level and won’t be viable for endgame activities.

If you’re interested in weapons that will remain viable for Power-Enabled activities when Beyond Light launches this November 10, keep reading. Both our PVE and PVP guides only include future-proofed weapons for Beyond Light.


The Best Destiny 2 PVE Weapons

These are the most popular weapons used for end-game PVE content, such as Master and Grandmaster Nightfall: The Ordeals, Master Nightmare Hunts, Raids, and the Pit of Heresy Dungeon.

Now, popular doesn’t always mean good, but in Destiny 2’s case, when weapons become “Meta” (e.g. the ones everyone is using), it’s because they are the most efficient at getting the job done. And in this case, I can 100% recommend any of these weapons:

Kinetic slot

Mountaintop

Legendary | Grenade Launcher

Destiny 2 Izanagi's Burden

Izanagi's Burden

Exotic | Sniper Rifle

Nation of Beasts Destiny 2

Nation of Beasts

Legendary | Hand Cannon

Energy slot
Destiny 2 Eriana's Vow art

Eriana's Vow

Exotic | Hand Cannon

Gnawing Hunger Destiny 2 art

Gnawing Hunger

Legendary | Auto Rifle

Destiny 2 Divinity art

Divinity

Exotic | Trace Rifle

Heavy slot

Xenophage

Exotic | Machine Gun

Falling Guillotine Destiny 2 art

Falling Guillotine

Legendary | Sword

Destiny 2 Anarchy

Anarchy

Exotic | Grenade Launcher

This guide covers all the best PVE weapons in the game, the best loadouts, tips on how to get the top exotics and more:

Destiny 2 Best PVE Weapons

Future-proofed for Beyond Light 

If you’re building towards a strong PVE loadout, that guide is a good place to get started.


The Best Destiny 2 PVP Weapons

These are the most popular weapons used for PVP content, such as Trials of Osiris or the Competitive playlist. The most used weapons for more casual PVP are slightly different, but I prefer to focus on the weapons everyone uses when they are serious about winning:

Kinetic slot

SUROS Regime

Exotic | Auto Rifle

Dire Promise Destiny 2 art

Dire Promise

Legendary | Hand Cannon

Destiny 2 The Chaperone art

The Chaperone

Exotic | Shotgun

Energy slot
Felwinter's Lie Destiny 2 art

Felwinter's Lie

Legendary | Shotgun

Gnawing Hunger Destiny 2 art

Gnawing Hunger

Legendary | Auto Rifle

Eye of Sol Destiny 2 art

Eye of Sol

Legendary | Sniper Rifle

Heavy slot

The Wardcliff Coil

Exotic | Rocket Launcher

Seventh Seraph SAW Destiny 2

Seventh Seraph SAW

Legendary | Machine Gun

Destiny 2 Xenophage

Xenophage

Exotic | Machine Gun

This guide covers all the best PVP weapons in the game, the state of the meta, best loadouts, tips on how to get the top exotics, and more:

Destiny 2 Best PVP Weapons

Future-proofed for Beyond Light 


The Destiny 2 Meta

While not as covered as the “Top weapons”, the current Meta is equally important. The Meta defines what weapons and loadouts will be the most efficient and lethal on any given season. For that reason, understanding the current Meta will help you better understand weapons in Destiny 2 and get you ahead of the competition.

This guide covers the current Meta and state of the Sandbox in detail: What the best weapon types are and why, and what have been the latest changes: 

Destiny 2 Meta

PVP and PVE weapon types Tier list


The best weapons per type

If you’re interested in a particular weapon type, this section is for you:

Best Destiny 2 Bows

All 14 bows ranked (as of August 2020)

The best places to find great weapons

Some of the best weapons are extremely hard to acquire. And that’s a good thing as Destiny 2 is a looter-shooter and having to work hard for the best weapons is part of the fun.

In the meantime, there are a few excellent sources where you can find Top-tier weapons. The following guides rank every single weapon from those activities, provide the best rolls, and give you tips and methods to efficiently farm them:

Best Destiny 2 Black Armory weapons

Exotics and Legendary God rolls

The Menagerie is another great source of good weapons.

Unfortunately, the Menagerie will be removed from the game and put into the DCV (Destiny Content Vault) this Fall. Plus, every weapon from the Menagerie will be sunset this Fall too, making the activity itself worthless from a loot perspective.


Your turn

These resources should help you figure out what the best weapons in Destiny 2 are. These are the weapons that are worth chasing, either because they’re simply the best in class or because they’re very good while being easy to farm at the same time.