Destiny 2 Catalysts Guide

All 45 Exotic Catalysts & How to Get Them

By Ric aka Primatrix | Oct 8, 2020

Exotic catalysts are some of the most sought after items in Destiny 2.

Unlike legendary weapons, some exotics can be dramatically enhanced by their catalyst. Granted, some catalysts are duds, barely improving a weapon, while others can be game-changing, taking an exotic to an entirely new level.

But as with most things in Destiny 2, it’s hard to keep of all the exotics and catalysts in the game: Which exotics have a catalyst? How can you get them? Are they even worth it?

Ace of Spades Catalyst Destiny 2What is a Catalyst?: Catalysts allow you to “upgrade” Exotic weapons by granting them either more stat points, a new perk, or both.  Note that not every Exotic weapon has a Catalyst and every Catalyst needs to be first found and then unlocked. More about that below.

Our Exotic Tier list covers every exotic weapon in the game. It explains how to get them, what they do, and more. That’s a good place to start. This guide focuses on the catalysts themselves and tells you How to get them, how to unlocked them, and what effect they grant.

In the table below, we cover and rank every exotic catalyst in the game.


Destiny 2 Exotic Catalyst list 2020

These are the different Tier levels used for the table below:

  • 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.

For the sake of clarity, the ranking below focuses on the benefits of each catalyst but is also influenced by weapons themselves. For example, the best catalysts as S Tier because they bring significant improvements to already great weapons:

Going away: Catalysts highlighted as “Going away” are going into the DCV and won’t be available anymore until Bungie implements new ways to acquire them (and that could take months).

 WeaponCatalyst TierAvailable?Drops from / DifficultyHow to unlockCatalyst effectTypeSlotDrops from
Trinity Ghoul Catalyst Destiny 2

Trinity Ghoul

| Combat Bow
Best

S

Yes

Completions or kills in Gambit, Crucible, Strikes, or Nightfalls

Easy

► Get 400 killsTrinity Ghoul Catalyst:
► Adds Forked Lightning perk: Reduces draw time by -108 and Lightning Rod now triggers from any arc damage final blow.
Combat BowEnergyAny activity
Izanagi's Burden Catalyst Destiny 2

Izanagi's Burden

| Sniper Rifle
Best

S

Going away

Complete Heroic Menagerie with a Masterworked Chalice of Opulence

Average

► Get 500 killsIzanagi's Burden Catalyst:
► Adds Peerless Edge perk: Increases the damage bonus of Honed Edge when all 4 bullets are consumed.
Sniper RifleKineticQuest
Legend of Acrius Catalyst Destiny 2

Legend of Acrius

| Shotgun
Best

S

Going away

Complete encounters and open Underbelly chests in Prestige Leviathan

Hard

► Get 500 killsLegend of Acrius Catalyst:
► Adds Deeper Pockets perk: Increases the magazine size by +2 and expands the ammo reserves.
► Increases reload speed by +36.
ShotgunHeavyRaid
Riskrunner Catalyst Destiny 2

Riskrunner

| Submachine Gun
Best

S

Yes

Complete Pain and Gain quest

Easy

► Get 500 kills
► Get 50 Arc Conductor kills
Riskrunner Catalyst:
► Increases range by +27.
Submachine GunEnergyExotic Quest
Huckleberry Catalyst Destiny 2

The Huckleberry

| Submachine Gun
Best

S

Going away

Kills or completions on Heroic adventures

Average

► Get 500 killshe Huckleberry Catalyst:
► Adds Bull Rider perk: Kills with this weapon now reload the entire magazine.
Submachine GunKineticHeroic Adventures
Eriana's Vow Catalyst Destiny 2

Eriana's Vow

| Hand Cannon
Best

S

Yes

Complete quest from Banshee-44

Average

► Get 700 killsEriana's Vow Catalyst:
► Adds More to Give perk: Increases magazine size by +3 and adds the perk Auto-Loading Holster.
Hand CannonEnergyQuest
Witherhoard Catalyst Destiny 2

Witherhoard

| Grenade Launcher
Best

S

Yes

Complete quest from Banshee-44

Average

► Get 400 killsWitherhoard Catalyst:
► Adds Silent Alarm perk: Maximizes handling, holstering this weapon automatically reloads it after a short period of time.
Grenade LauncherKineticQuest
Sunshot Catalyst Destiny 2

Sunshot

| Hand Cannon
Best

S

Yes

Kills, completions or wins on Strikes, Nightfalls or the Crucible

Average

► Get 500 Sturm kills
► Get 1000 Sun Blast kills
Sunshot Catalyst:
► Increases stability by +18 and range by +27.
Hand CannonEnergyStrikes, Nightfalls or Crucible
Ace of Spades Catalyst Destiny 2

Ace of Spades

| Hand Cannon
Strong

A

Yes

Kills or completions in Strikes or Nightfalls

Average

► Get 500 killsAce of Spades Catalyst:
► Adds Funeral Pyre perk: Firefly does more damage while Memento Mori is active.
Hand CannonKineticStrikes or Nightfalls
Bad Juju Catalyst Destiny 2

Bad Juju

| Pulse Rifle
Strong

A

Going away

45 Tributes placed in the Tribute Hall

Average

► Get 700 killsBad Juju Catalyst:
► Adds Unending Curse perk: Extends the duration of the perk String of Curses.
Pulse RifleKineticTribute Hall
Crimson Catalyst Destiny 2

Crimson

| Hand Cannon
Strong

A

Yes

Kill enemies in PVE

Average

► Get 500 killsCrimson Catalyst:
► Increases range by +18.
Hand CannonKineticPVE
Hard Light Catalyst Destiny 2

Hard Light

| Auto Rifle
Strong

A

Yes

Kills or completions in Strikes or Nightfalls

Average

► Get 1000 kills
Hard Light Catalyst:
► Increases stability by +18.
Auto RifleEnergyStrikes or Nightfalls
Lumina Catalyst Destiny 2

Lumina

| Hand Cannon
Strong

A

Yes

Completions or kills in Gambit, Crucible, Strikes, or Nightfalls

Easy

► Get 250 Noble Round healsLumina Catalyst:
► Adds Resonant Vitrue perk: Gain two Remnants per final blow instead of one.
Hand CannonKineticAny activity
Outbreak Perfected Catalyst Destiny 2

Outbreak Perfected

| Pulse Rifle
Strong

A

Going away

Complete Zero Hour on Heroic difficulty

Hard

► Collect 500 SIVA Nanites from Zero Hour on Heroic
► Get 500 precision kills
Outbreak Perfected Catalyst:
► Adds Disease Vector perk:Deal additional nanite damage.
Pulse RifleKineticQuest
Rat King Catalyst Destiny 2

Rat King

| Sidearm
Strong

A

Yes

Kills or completions in Strikes or Nightfalls

Average

► Get 1000 kills while everyone in your fireteam is also using Rat KingRat King Catalyst:
► Adds Infestation perk: Increases aim assist and recoil direction. Refreshes health when Vermin activates.
SidearmKineticExotic Quest
Ruinous Effigy Catalyst Destiny 2

Ruinous Effigy

| Exotic Trace Rifle
Strong

A

Yes

Any PVE kill

Easy

► Destroy all Savathun's Eyes or
► Get 5000 kills
Ruinous Effigy Catalyst:
► Adds Deconstruction perk: Deals increased damage against targets damaged by Transmutation spheres.
Trace RifleEnergyPVE
Sleeper Simulant Catalyst Destiny 2

Sleeper Simulant

| Linear Fusion Rifle
Strong

A

Going away

Complete encounters in Prestige Leviathan

Hard

► Get 1000 Sniper Rifle kills, 1000 Shotgun kills, and 2000 Submachine Gun kills with IKELOS weapons
► Loot the Oracle Chest in The Whisper mission
► Get 500 kills
Sleeper Simulant Catalyst:
► Lowers charge rate by -250 and expands ammo reserves.
Linear Fusion RifleHeavyRaid
SUROS Regime Catalyst Destiny 2

SUROS Regime

| Auto Rifle
Strong

A

Going away

Kills or wins in the Crucible

Average

► Get 300 PVP killsSUROS Regime Catalyst:
► Adds SUROS Ascendance perk: Improves recoil direction and increases the chance to activate "SUROS Legacy".
Auto RifleKineticCrucible
The Fourth Horseman Catalyst Destiny 2

The Fourth Horseman

| Shotgun
Strong

A

Unavailable

Complete Season of the Worthy activities

Average

► Get 400 killsThe Fourth Horseman Catalyst:
► Adds And its name was Death perk: Adds an additional round to the magazine and increases reload speed by +40.
ShotgunEnergyRaid
Jade Rabbit Catalyst Destiny 2

The Jade Rabbit

| Scout Rifle
Strong

A

Yes

Kills or wins in the Crucible

Average

► Get 250 PVP killsThe Jade Rabbit Catalyst:
► Increases stability by +27.
Scout RifleKineticCrucible
Prospector Catalyst Destiny 2

The Prospector

| Grenade Launcher
Strong

A

Yes

Kills or completions in Strikes or Nightfalls

Average

► Get 500 killsThe Prospector Catalyst:
► Adds Deeper Pockets perk: Increases the magazine size by +1 and expands ammo reserves.
► Increases blast radius by +20.
Grenade LauncherHeavyStrikes or Nightfalls
Wardcliff Coil Catalyst Destiny 2

The Wardcliff Coil

| Rocket Launcher
Strong

A

Yes

Kills or completions in Strikes or Nightfalls

Average

► Get 500 killsThe Wardcliff Coil Catalyst:
► Adds Pinpoint Guidance Module perk: Tightens rockets spread.
Rocket LauncherHeavyStrikes or Nightfalls
Whisper of the Worm Catalyst Destiny 2

Whisper of the Worm

| Sniper Rifle
Strong

A

Going away

Complete The Whisper on Heroic difficulty

Hard

► Farm 100 Blighted Essence from The Whisper on Heroic difficulty
Whisper of the Worm Catalyst:
► Adds Whispered Breathing perk: Aiming down the scope for 3 seconds increases range and precision damage while the weapon scope remains zoomed.
Sniper RifleHeavyQuest
Prometheus Lens Catalyst Destiny 2

Prometheus Lens

| Trace Rifle
Average

B

Yes

Kills or completions in Strikes or Nightfalls

Average

► Get 500 killsPrometheus Lens Catalyst:
► Increases stability by +18 and handling by +18.
Trace RifleEnergyStrikes or Nightfalls
Black Talon Catalyst Destiny 2

Black Talon

| Sword
Average

B

Yes

Kill enemies in PVE

Easy

► Get 500 killsBlack Talon Catalyst:
► Adds Reversal perk: Shots blocked immediately after guarding increase the damage of Crow’s Wings for a very short duration.
SwordHeavyPVE
Cerberus+1 Catalyst Destiny 2

Cerberus+1

| Auto Rifle
Average

B

Yes

Kill enemies in PVE

Average

► Get 500 killsCerberus+1 Catalyst:
► Adds Focused Fire perk: Hold reload to swap to a tighter, close-ranged spread.
Auto RifleKineticPVE
Coldheart Catalyst Destiny 2

Coldheart

| Trace Rifle
Average

B

Yes

Kills or completions in Strikes or Nightfalls

Average

► Get 300 killsColdheart Catalyst:
►Increases stability by +18 and reload speed by +18.
Trace RifleEnergyStrikes or Nightfalls
DARCI Catalyst Destiny 2

D.A.R.C.I.

| Sniper Rifle
Average

B

Yes

Kill enemies in PVE

Average

► Get 300 killsD.A.R.C.I. Catalyst:
► Increases stability by +18.
Sniper RifleHeavyPVE
Fighting Lion Catalyst Destiny 2

Fighting Lion

| Grenade Launcher
Average

B

Yes

Kill enemies in PVE

Average

► Get 1000 kills
► Complete 167 bounties
Fighting Lion Catalyst:
► Adds Chimera perk: When Fighting Lion is fired, equipped Kinetic and Power weapon gain increased handling and accuracy for a brief period of time.
► Increases reload speed by +27.
Grenade LauncherEnergyPVE
Graviton Lance Catalyst Destiny 2

Graviton Lance

| Pulse Rifle
Average

B

Yes

Kills, completions or wins on Strikes, Nightfalls or the Crucible

Average

► Get 500 kills
► Get 1000 Cosmology kills
Graviton Lance Catalyst:
► Adds Hidden Hand perk: Increases the aim assist and targeting acquisition stats.
► Increases range by +18.
Pulse RifleEnergyStrikes, Nightfalls or Crucible
Merciless Catalyst Destiny 2

Merciless

| Fusion Rifle
Average

B

Yes

Kills or completions in Strikes or Nightfalls

Average

► Get 500 killsMercilessCatalyst:
► Increases stability by +36 and range by +36.
Fusion RifleEnergyStrikes or Nightfalls
Polaris Lance Catalyst Destiny 2

Polaris Lance

| Scout Rifle
Average

B

Going away

Complete the 5th and final Nascent Dawn quest

Average

► Get 500 Kills
► Get 50 Perfect Fifth kills
Polaris Lance Catalyst:
► Adds Dragonfly perk: Precision kills create an explosion around defeated enemy.
Scout RifleEnergyQuest
Symmetry Catalyst Destiny 2

Symmetry

| Scout Rifle
Average

B

Yes

Complete quest from Banshee-44

Average

► Get 700 killsSymmetry Catalyst:
► Adds Electric Styx perk: Increases the max stack size of Dynamic Charge from x15 to x20.
Scout RifleEnergyQuest
Tommy's Matchbook Catalyst Destiny 2

Tommy's Matchbook

| Auto Rifle
Average

B

Yes

Complete quest from Banshee-44

Average

► Get 700 killsTommy's Matchbook Catalyst:
► Adds Heat of the Moment perk: While Ignition Trigger is active, your health recovers much faster.
Auto RifleEnergyQuest
Tractor Cannon Catalyst Destiny 2

Tractor Cannon

| Shotgun
Average

B

Yes

Kill enemies in PVE

Average

► Get 300 killsTractor Cannon Catalyst:
► Adds Deeper Pockets perk: Increases the magazine size by +3 and expands ammo reserves.
ShotgunHeavyPVE
Vigilance Wing Catalyst Destiny 2

Vigilance Wing

| Pulse Rifle
Average

B

Yes

Kills or wins in the Crucible

Average

► Get 250 PVP kills
► 5 Blood for Blood medals
Vigilance Wing Catalyst:
► Adds Full Auto Trigger System perk: Makes the weapon fire fully automatic when holding down the fire button.
Pulse RifleKineticCrucible
Telesto Catalyst Destiny 2

Telesto

| Fusion Rifle
Weak

C

Going away

Complete encounters in Prestige Eater of Worlds

Hard

► Acquire the Gift of the Lighthouse, then interact with the forge on MercuryTelesto Catalyst:
► Adds Deeper Pockets perk: Increases the magazine size by +3 and expands ammo reserves.
Fusion RifleEnergyRaid
Lord of Wolves Catalyst Destiny 2

Lord of Wolves

| Shotgun
Weak

C

Yes

Completions or kills in Gambit, Crucible, Strikes, or Nightfalls

Easy

► Get 500 killsLord of Wolves Catalyst:
► Adds Fang and Claw perk: Increases reload speed while Release the Wolves is active and increases stability when it's not.
ShotgunEnergyAny activity
Colony Catalyst Destiny 2

The Colony

| Grenade Launcher
Weak

C

Yes

Kills or wins in the Crucible

Average

► Get 500 killsThe Colony Catalyst:
► Adds Deeper Pockets perk: Increases the magazine size by +1 and expands ammo reserves.
Grenade LauncherHeavyCrucible
Skyburner's Oath Catalyst Destiny 2

Skyburner's Oath

| Scout Rifle
Weak

C

Going away

Complete encounters in the Leviathan raid

Hard

► Get 1000 Cabal killsSkyburner's Oath Catalyst:
► Increases range by +27.
Scout RifleEnergyRaid
Sturm Catalyst Destiny 2

Sturm

| Hand Cannon
Weak

C

Yes

Kill enemies in PVE on Nessus

Average

► Get 500 Sturm kills
► Get 500 Drang kills
Sturm Catalyst:
► Increases handling by +40 and range by +18.
Hand CannonKineticPVE
Sweet Business Catalyst Destiny 2

Sweet Business

| Auto Rifle
Weak

C

Yes

Kills, completions or wins on Strikes, Nightfalls or the Crucible

Average

► Get 250 MultikillsSweet Business Catalyst:
► Adds Serious Business perk: Reduces incoming flinch when firing Sweet Business at full speed.
Auto RifleKineticStrikes, Nightfalls or Crucible
Borealis Catalyst Destiny 2

Borealis

| Sniper Rifle
Worst

D

Yes

Kill enemies in PVE

Average

► Get 150 Solar Mode kills, 150 Void Mode kills, 150 Arc Mode killsBorealis Catalyst:
► Increases reload speed by +18.
Sniper RifleEnergyPVE
MIDA Multi-Tool Catalyst Destiny 2

MIDA Multi-Tool

| Scout Rifle
Worst

D

Yes

Kills or wins in Competitive Crucible matches at Legend Glory rank

Hard

► Get 250 precision kills in PVPMIDA Multi-Tool Catalyst:
► Adds Outlaw perk: Increase weapon reload speed after a precision kill.
Scout RifleKineticCrucible
Worldline Zero Catalyst Destiny 2

Worldline Zero

| Sword
Worst

D

Going away

Kill enemies in PVE with a sword equipped

Easy

► Hit all 5 of the weekly bosses in Mars Protocol with Worldline Zero while they’re unshieldedWorldline Zero Catalyst:
► Adds Another Dimension perk: Reduces the activation time for the perk Tesseract.
SwordHeavyPVE
Destiny 2 Anarchy

Anarchy

| Grenade Launcher
-
No Catalyst
---Grenade LauncherHeavyRaid
Destiny 2 Arbalest art

Arbalest

| Linear Fusion Rifle
-
No Catalyst
---Linear Fusion RifleKineticRandom Engram
Destiny 2 Bastion

Bastion

| Fusion Rifle
-
No Catalyst
---Fusion RifleKineticExotic Cipher
Destiny 2 Deathbringer art

Deathbringer

| Rocket Launcher
-
No Catalyst
---Rocket LauncherHeavyExotic Quest
Destiny 2 Devil's Ruin art

Devil's Ruin

| Sidearm
-
No Catalyst
---SidearmEnergyExotic Cipher
Destiny 2 Divinity art

Divinity

| Trace Rifle
-
No Catalyst
---Trace RifleEnergyRaid
Destiny 2 Heir Apparent art

Heir Apparent

| Machine Gun
-
No Catalyst
---Machine GunHeavySeasonal Event
Destiny 2 Jotunn

Jötunn

| Fusion Rifle
-
No Catalyst
---Fusion RifleEnergyExotic Quest
Destiny 2 Le Monarque art

Le Monarque

| Combat Bow
-
No Catalyst
---Combat BowEnergyExotic Quest
Destiny 2 Leviathan's Breath art

Leviathan's Breath

| Combat Bow
-
No Catalyst
---Combat BowHeavyExotic Cipher
Destiny 2 Malfeasance art

Malfeasance

| Hand Cannon
-
No Catalyst
---Hand CannonKineticExotic Quest
Destiny 2 Monte Carlo

Monte Carlo

| Auto Rifle
-
No Catalyst
---Auto RifleKineticRandom Engram
Destiny 2 One Thousand Voices art

One Thousand Voices

| Fusion Rifle
-
No Catalyst
---Fusion RifleHeavyRaid
Destiny 2 Tarrabah art

Tarrabah

| Submachine Gun
-
No Catalyst
---Submachine GunEnergyRaid
Destiny 2 The Chaperone art

The Chaperone

| Shotgun
-
No Catalyst
---ShotgunKineticExotic Quest
Destiny 2 The Last Word

The Last Word

| Hand Cannon
-
No Catalyst
---Hand CannonKineticExotic Quest
Destiny 2 The Queenbreaker art

The Queenbreaker

| Linear Fusion Rifle
-
No Catalyst
---Linear Fusion RifleHeavyRandom Engram
Destiny 2 Thorn

Thorn

| Hand Cannon
-
No Catalyst
---Hand CannonKineticExotic Quest
Destiny 2 Thunderlord art

Thunderlord

| Machine Gun
-
No Catalyst
---Machine GunHeavyRandom Engram
Traveler's Chosen Destiny 2

Traveler's Chosen

| Sidearm
-
No Catalyst
---SidearmKineticExotic Quest
Destiny 2 Truth art

Truth

| Rocket Launcher
-
No Catalyst
---Rocket LauncherHeavyExotic Quest
Destiny 2 Two-Tailed Fox art

Two-Tailed Fox

| Rocket Launcher
-
No Catalyst
---Rocket LauncherHeavyRandom Engram
Destiny 2 Wavesplitter art

Wavesplitter

| Trace Rifle
-
No Catalyst
---Trace RifleEnergyRandom Engram
Destiny 2 Wish Ender art

Wish-Ender

| Combat Bow
-
No Catalyst
---Combat BowKineticExotic Quest
Destiny 2 Xenophage

Xenophage

| Machine Gun
-
No Catalyst
---Machine GunHeavyExotic Quest

About the Destiny Content Vault (DCV)

The DCV is a big deal. In Bungie’s words:

Each year, usually at the expansion boundaries, we will cycle some destination and activity content out of the game (and into the DCV) to make room for new experiences.

Close to 50% of the current game will go into the DCV this November 10, 2020, with the release of Beyond Light.

Destiny 2 DCV art

A comprehensive list including everything that is going away would be too long to cover here, but when it comes to Exotic quests, and catalysts, this is everything you need to know:

Exotic catalysts going into the DCV

As explained by Bungie, the catalysts for the following weapons will also become unavailable once Beyond Light launches:

  1. Bad Juju
  2. The Huckleberry
  3. Izanagi’s Burden
  4. Legend of Acrius
  5. Polaris Lance
  6. Skyburner’s Oath
  7. Sleeper Simulant*
  8. Telesto*
  9. Outbreak Perfected*
  10. Whisper of the Worm*
  11. Worldline Zero*

Bungie does clarify the following:

If you have these catalysts already equipped and their objectives completed, you can continue using them at your leisure. If you already have any catalysts with an asterisk, make sure you finish completing the necessary objective to apply it as the objective will no longer be available at the end of Season of Arrivals.

As you can see, a lot of exotics and catalysts are leaving. If you crave any of these, you better get started before it’s too late. In fact, if you have limited playtime and can only chase 1 or 2 of these, I recommend:

  • Whisper of the Worm if you’re in need of an excellent PVE weapon
  • Telesto if you’re looking for a great PVP option

Your Turn

When I first got into Destiny 2, exotic catalysts were some of the most mysterious items for me. Where do they come from? Do you have to find them and then unlock them? Granted, by themselves, catalysts are not overly complicated, it’s just another system that is hardly explained in-game.

With this guide, hopefully, all of your questions have been answered and you should have all the information you need to know what catalysts you want and how you can go about finding them.

This list will also help you plan and prepare for Beyond Light. Beyond Light will certainly come with exciting new things to play and chase. But in parallel, it will mark the end and removal of a lot of content. To be fair, most of the content going into the DCV won’t be missed (sorry, Curse of Osiris), but a few gems will.

So which are your favorite exotic catalysts? Let me know in the comments section below!