Best Destiny 2 Weapons: Tier List for PVE, PVP and Exotics

by | Aug 10, 2021 | Weapons

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, but 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It was frustrating to search online, find outdated guides, and end up grinding for weapons that were no longer good (I’m looking at you Breakneck).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 the best weapons in Destiny 2 today.

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

Checkmark icon V3List updated as of Season of the Splicer (S14).  Link


The Best Season 14 weapons

Like any other looter shooter out there, Destiny 2 is all about getting the latest and greatest gear. Exotics and best-in-class legendaries are always important, but the new weapons will always get the spotlight.

And when the Seasonal weapons happen to be as excellent as Season of the Splicer’s, then they instantly become the most sought-after weapons in the entire game.

This guide covers every weapon released in Season 14, including the best PVE and PVP rolls selected with the help of some of the best Destiny 2 content creators:

Destiny 2 Season 14 Weapons

Every PVE and PVP god roll to chase


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, it’s often a difficult choice that can even lead to intense debates with your Fireteam.

If you want to dive deeper into the top Exotic weapons in Destiny 2, this guide is for you:

Destiny 2 Exotic Tier List

All 77 weapons ranked for PVE and PVP

It includes:

  1. A ranking including all 81 Exotics currently in the game
  2. Requirements to obtain them
  3. Guides on how to get them
  4. A focus on the all the newest Exotics

Knowing which Exotics are best and understanding which ones are the easiest to obtain can make a big difference, especially if you’re just starting out. With that knowledge, you can better target what Exotics to chase first and build strong loadouts sooner rather than later.

If you’re ready to start chasing the best Exotic weapons and Catalysts, these guides will show you where to find them:

Be aware that many Exotic quests were removed from the game and put into the Destiny Content Vault (DCV).

Most of those weapons are now available for purchase at the Monument to Lost Lights in the Tower.

The top tier Exotics for PVE and PVP

If you’re in a hurry and want a quick list that highlights the best Exotics for PVE and PVP, these are ones we consider S-tier (in blue for PVE and red for PVP):

Kinetic slot

Destiny 2 Ace of Spades art

Ace of Spades

Hand Cannon

Witherhoard art Destiny 2

Witherhoard

Grenade Launcher

Dead Man's Tale Destiny 2 art

Dead Man's Tale

Scout Rifle

Energy slot
Destiny 2 Trinity Ghoul art

Trinity Ghoul

Combat Bow

Destiny 2 Divinity art

Divinity

Trace Rifle

Destiny 2 Eriana's Vow art

Eriana's Vow

Hand Cannon

Heavy slot
Destiny 2 Anarchy

Anarchy

Grenade Launcher

Destiny 2 The Wardcliff Coil art

Wardcliff Coil

Rocket Launcher

The Lament Destiny 2

The Lament

Sword

Exotics deserve a dedicated section because they are truly special. Some of them literally break the rules of what a weapon should be able to do in Destiny 2.

Having said that, you should always be clear on what you’re looking for when talking about weapons in Destiny 2. Are you looking for: A weapon for PVE or a weapon for PVP?

PVP vs PVE

PVP and PVE are entirely different beasts that require entirely different tactics, strategies, and weapons. A good gun for PVE will most likely be very different than a good gun for PVP. For that reason, we will always talk about PVP and PVE separately.

Weapon sunsetting: Several weapons in Destiny 2 were recently retired. They are still in the game but are no longer viable for end-game content. Read everything there is to know about weapon sunsetting here.


The Best Destiny 2 PVE Weapons

You’ll see us talk a lot about DPS, damage per second, throughout this section.

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

What to look for in PVE

A good PVE weapon should be able to deal a good amount of DPS while remaining consistent and easy to use. Some weapons can deal great DPS, but require excellent aim and leave little room for mistakes.

All of our top PVE weapons follow those criteria. They do good DPS, are consistent, and easy to use. These are the weapons you’ll want to bring to the most challenging PVE content in Destiny 2:

Destiny 2 Best PVE Weapons

The top Exotics and Legendaries

Our PVE Weapons guide includes:

  1. The Top 25 PVE weapons currently in the game
  2. Requirements and difficulty to obtain them
  3. The current PVE Meta (what weapon types are the best and why)
  4. Instructions to get the best PVE Exotics
  5. The best PVE loadouts

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

The TL;DR 

Again, if you’re in a hurry in simply want a list with the absolute best PVE weapons, these are the most “Meta” PVE weapons right now:

Kinetic slot

Chroma Rush Destiny 2 art

Chroma Rush

Legendary | Auto Rifle

Extraordinary Rendition Destiny 2 art

Night Watch

Legendary | Scout Rifle

Witherhoard art Destiny 2

Witherhoard

Exotic | Grenade Launcher

Energy slot
Destiny 2 Riskrunner

Riskrunner

Exotic | SMG

Gnawing Hunger Destiny 2 art

Gnawing Hunger

Legendary | Auto Rifle

Destiny 2 Sunshot art

Sunshot

Exotic | Hand Cannon

Heavy slot
Falling Guillotine Destiny 2 art

Falling Guillotine

Legendary | Sword

Destiny 2 Anarchy

Anarchy

Exotic | Grenade Launcher

Shattered Cipher Destiny 2 art

Shattered Cipher

Legendary | Machine Gun

If you’re struggling with PVE endgame content such as Master and Grandmaster Nightfall: The Ordeals or Master Empire Hunts, you can’t go wrong with any of those weapons.


The Best Destiny 2 PVP Weapons

You’ll see us talk a lot about TTK, time-to-kill, throughout this section.

About TTK: TTK is particularly important in PVP, because the lowest the TTK, the faster you can kill your opponent. You can read all about it in our TTK guide below.

What to look for in PVP

Unlike PVE, PVP is not about sheer damage or DPS. In the Crucible, every bullet counts, and for that reason, you should be looking for those weapons that require the least bullets (and time) to kill an opposing Guardian.

But similarly to DPS in PVE, TTK in PVP is not everything. You also want a lethal weapon with a good TTK that is also consistent and easy to use.

It goes without saying that our selection of PVP weapons follows that criteria too. They are consistent, easy to use, and have some the lowest TTK out there:

Destiny 2 Best PVP Weapons

The top Exotics and Legendaries

Our PVP Weapons guide includes:

  1. The Top 25 PVP weapons currently in the game
  2. Requirements and difficulty to obtain them
  3. The current PVP Meta (what weapon types are the best and why)
  4. Instructions to get the best PVP Exotics
  5. The best PVP loadouts

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

TL;DR

Again, if you’re in a hurry, these are the most “Meta” PVP weapons right now:

Kinetic slot

Destiny 2 The Chaperone art

The Chaperone

Exotic | Shotgun

Destiny 2 Ace of Spades art

Ace of Spades

Exotic | Hand Cannon

Destiny 2 The Last Word

The Last Word

Exotic | Hand Cannon

Energy slot
The Palindrome Destiny 2 art

The Palindrome

Legendary | Hand Cannon

The Palindrome Destiny 2 art

Adored

Legendary | Sniper Rifle

Felwinter's Lie Destiny 2 art

Felwinter's Lie

Legendary | Shotgun

Heavy slot
Destiny 2 The Wardcliff Coil

The Wardcliff Coil

Exotic | Rocket Launcher

Destiny 2 Heir Apparent art

Heir Apparent

Exotic | Machine Gun

Destiny 2 Black Talon

Black Talon

Exotic | Sword

If you want to take PVP seriously and want to give yourself the best changes in Trials of Osiris or the Competitive playlist, these weapons are all safe bets.

TTK values

Last but not least, if you want to take a deeper look into what the most lethal weapons, TTK wise, are, this guide is for you:

Destiny 2 TTK Chart

Time-to-kill Weapon Values

It includes:

  1. All TTK values for all primary weapons  
  2. Weapon examples per archetype  
  3. Explanation on how to take into account ease of use

And it includes a couple of charts and graphs to help you see easily see what weapon archetypes are the most dangerous in the Crucible! 


Current Destiny 2 Meta

While not as covered as the “Top weapons” in Destiny 2, the current Meta is equally important.

The Meta defines what weapons and loadouts are the most efficient and lethal at any given time. For that reason, understanding the current Meta will help you better understand Destiny 2 weapons in general and potentially get 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

It includes:

  1. The latest Meta changes (season per season)
  2. The current PVE Meta per class (Primary, Specials, and Heavy)
  3. The current PVP Meta per class

And as the Meta in Destiny 2 can change overnight, you can rest assured our guide will be updated accordingly.


The best Destiny 2 weapons per type

The following guides all focus on specific weapon types or classes. If you’re interested in taking a deeper look into a specific weapon type that is dear to you, look no further than these:

PS: These guides obviously make the distinction between the best choices for PVE and PVP too!


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 gear is part of the fun.

But in case you feel lost and don’t even know where to begin, there are a few excellent sources where you can consistently farm Top Tier weapons.

The following guides focus on specific sources of great guns. Each guide ranks every single weapon from its relevant activity, includes the top exotics found there, provides the best rolls for Legendaries, and gives you tips to efficiently farm them:


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.

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6 Comments
  1. Huseyin Akgul

    when would this thread be updated?

    Reply
    • Ric (aka Primatrix)

      Just updated last night. I usually go in there and update it twice a month. It’s rarely huge updates, but more adding new resources and updating some highlighted weapons based on the shifting meta.
      After all, everything can change from season to season so I better go back to previous “best of” guides!

      Reply
  2. enigmaticorb

    Need to add more best weapons by type…not just bows. I like to experiment around and see what other Guardians are using.

    Reply
  3. Jordon Williams

    I’ve been keeping Leviathan’s Breath in my arsenal for PVE. That bow can melt elites and bosses. Altough the 10 max arrows hurts the viability of the weapon

    Reply
  4. Yasmeen

    You have all these abbreviations, can you include what they mean?

    Reply
    • Ric (aka Prim)

      Glad to, but I guess I’m too close to all of this… What abbreviations are causing you trouble?

      Reply
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