Destiny 2 Exotic Bows Tier list: PVE and PVP ranking

by | Jul 15, 2021 | Weapons

Combat bows are some of the most polarizing weapons in Destiny 2. Many hate them, but some absolutely love them.

We already covered all the best bows in the past and concluded that no matter your personal preferences, Combat Bows have a lot to offer. Especially in endgame PVE content.

But more importantly, some of the top Exotic bows are among the best weapons in the entire game. Today, we’ll focus on Exotic bows only, starting from the not-so-great to the must-have choices.


Destiny 2 Exotic 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.

NameElementRankExcelsSourceRequirementsWeaponTierExcels inDrops from ❘ RequiresVerdict
Trinity GhoulArcS › BestPVEExotic EngramFree-to-PlayDestiny 2 Trinity Ghoul art
Trinity Ghoul
Best

S

PVEExotic Engram
Destiny 2 Beyond Light 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.
Ticuu's DivinationSolarS › BestPVEExotic KioskDeluxe EditionTicuu's Divination Destiny 2 art
Ticuu's Divination
Best

S

PVEDeluxe Edition
Destiny 2 Deluxe Edition 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.
Le MonarqueVoidA › StrongPVPExotic KioskForsakenDestiny 2 Le Monarque art
Le Monarque
Strong

A

PVPExotic 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.
Wish-EnderKineticB › Average-Exotic QuestForsakenDestiny 2 Wish Ender art
Wish-Ender
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.
Leviathan's BreathVoidB › Average-Exotic KioskShadowkeepDestiny 2 Leviathan's Breath art
Leviathan's Breath
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.

Top 3 Exotic Bows in Destiny 2

In case it wasn’t clear by now, Exotic bows can be hit or miss. They’re either bad (sorry, Wish-Ender) or insanely good. In this section, we’ll cover the top 3 exotic bows, which all happen to be downright excellent.

The Best Exotic Bow for PVE:

Trinity Ghoul Destiny 2

Trinity Ghoul

Weapon Type: Combat Bow Slot: ArcEnergy
Ammo: Primary Source: Exotic Engram

Exotic perk: Precision kills grant the next shot chain-lightning capabilities.

Catalyst perk: Lightning Rod now triggers from any Arc damage final blow.

With its catalyst, activating Lighting Rod becomes extremely easy. So easy, you can practically keep it activated until there are no more ads to kill. And by the way, the more the lighting chains between enemies, the harder it hits. Without a doubt, Trinity Ghoul’s Catalyst is one of the strongest catalysts in the game.

Trinity Ghoul stats

Why it excels in PVE: With the release of its catalyst, Trinity Ghoul became one of the best exotics in the game, perhaps even the best primary PVE weapon all-around.

The Best Exotic Bow for PVP:

Le Monarque Destiny 2 featured

Le Monarque

Weapon Type: Combat Bow Slot: Void Energy
Ammo: Primary Source: Exotic Kiosk

Exotic Perk: Arrows fired quickly after a full draw become poison arrows. Precision hits with poison arrows spread poison to nearby enemies.

Le Monarque stats

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, leading to easy clean-up kills.

Le Monarque is not easy to master, it can compete against the best PVP weapons in the game.

A Top Exotic Bow for PVP and PVE:

Ticuu's Divination Destiny 2

Ticuu’s Divination

Weapon Type: Combat Bow Slot: Solar Energy
Ammo: Primary Source: Exotic Kiosk

Exotic Perk: Hipfiring this weapon fires multiple tracking projectiles. Targets marked by these projectiles explode upon death, or when struck by another Sacred Flame’s explosion. Arrows fired while aiming down sights cause Sacred Flames to instantly detonate.

Ticuus Divination stats

Why it excels in PVE: With its ability to “prime” targets, this bow introduces an entirely different playstyle. But more than just a novelty, the detonations created by this bow are insane, making it nearly as good as ad clearing that Trinity Ghoul and much stronger at damaging Majors.

Why it can excel in PVP: Let’s get it out of the way: Ticcu’s Divinitation is not a top-tier PVP. But if you still give a chance, you’ll find that tagging enemies (which is extremely easy due the insane auto-tracking its arrows have) to then hit them with a precision shot to see them explode is extremely satisfying.


How to get every Exotic Bow in Destiny 2

The table above includes a column titled “Drops from  ❘ Requirements“.

Destiny 2 Exotic Engram

This section goes deeper and includes more detailed steps on how to acquire all the shotguns still viable in Destiny 2:

WeaponDrops fromRequires?How to get it?
► Ticuu's Divination
► Le Monarque
► Leviathan's Breath
Exotic KioskDestiny 2 Deluxe Edition logoThis Exotic can be acquired via the Exotics Kiosk in the tower, officially called the Monument to Lost Lights. You can read all about it, including costs and requirements, here.
Trinity GhoulExotic EngramDestiny 2 Free to Play logo 1Some Exotics can only randomly drop while playing the game or by acquiring Exotic engrams (most notably from the Season Pass or from Xur). Playing higher-difficulty activities will greatly increase your chances to find one (namely, Nightfall: The Ordeals).
Wish-EnderExotic QuestDestiny 2 Forsaken logo 1This Exotic requires you to complete a dedicated Exotic quest. For more information, check out our Exotic Quests hub.

Most of these sources are self-explanatory, but in doubt, you can always leave a comment below with your question or ask away on our Discord.


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.

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