Destiny 2 Meta weapons: PvP and PvE Meta today

by | Nov 3, 2022

You can always use whatever weapons you enjoy the most. But if you’re like me, as soon as you get destroyed in endgame content or the Crucible, figuring out the current Meta becomes crucial.

The Meta refers to the most used weapons for a particular activity at any given time. Generally, these weapons are the most used because they are the most powerful/efficient, which means they can be used to your advantage when used right.

As understanding the meta is not easy for the average guardian, we created this guide to properly review the current state of the Destiny 2 meta.

Checkmark icon V3Updated as of Season of Plunder’s release (S18).

Destiny 2 Meta tracker: Season 18 changes

This section covers all the latest and most noticeable Meta changes made by Bungie. In other words, these are the latest and most important buffs and nerfs, ordered chronologically:

SeasonWeapon TypeTypeTrendCurrent State
Season 18:
Mid Season Update

Oct. 28, 2022

6.2.5 Update
Auto rifle weapon type Destiny 2
Auto Rifles
Auto RiflesTrend up► Increased effects of stability stat on recoil reduction by around 20% at the high end.
► Increased critical damage multiplier from 1.5 to 1.55, which raises the critical damage from 30 to 31.
Combat bow weapon type Destiny 2BowsTrend up► Increased Bows stow duration. Duration varies by subfamily and handling stat.
Rocket launcher weapon type Destiny 2
Rocket Launchers
Rocket LaunchersTrend up► Increased blast radius by 0.4m across the board.
Sidearm weapon type Destiny 2
Sidearms
SidearmsTrend up► Increased auto aim fall-off distance by 30% across the board (this brings them up to parity with other primary weapons).
Trace rifle weapon type Destiny 2
Trace Rifles
Trace RiflesTrend up► Increased effect of the stability on recoil reduction at the low end of the stat by around 10%, at the high end of the stat by around 25%.
Pulse rifle weapon type Destiny 2
Pulse Rifles
Pulse RiflesReworked► Rebalanced the effect of the handling across Pulse Rifles.
► Adjusted damage falloff scale based on the range stat.
► Adaptives: Increased the precision multiplier from 1.6x to 1.65x
Sniper rifle weapon type Destiny 2
Sniper Rifles
Sniper RiflesReworked► Increased the settle time after receiving flinch by 60%.
► Reduced received flinch in PvE.
Scout rifle weapon type Destiny 2
Scout Rifles
Scout RiflesTrend down► High-Impacts: Reduced body damage from 42 to 40, and crit damage from 73.5 to 70.
SMG weapon type Destiny 2
SMGs
SMGsTrend down► Reduced damage fall-off end from 24m to 23m across the board.
► Lightweights: Reduced critical damage from 18.2 to 17.9 and base damage from 11 to 10.85.
► Precisions: Increased critical damage from 22.4 to 23.8 and base damage from 16 to 17.
► Reduced the zoom of Shayura's Wrath and Friction Fire from 16 to 15.
Fusion rifle weapon type Destiny 2
Fusion Rifles
Fusion RiflesTrend down► Precisions: Reduced the effect the intrinsic Precision Frame perk has on recoil direction by 50%

Glaives
GlaivesTrend down► Reduced Glaive shield damage resistance vs players from 75% to 50%.
► Damage resistance from Supers and PvE enemies unchanged.
Exotics icon Destiny 2
Exotics
ExoticsReworked► Lord of Wolves : Release the Wolves reworked: Reduced ADS accuracy penalty, removed 25% universal base damage buff, added 40% PvE damage buff, removed the 50% critical hit multiplier penalty, fires full auto.
Exotics icon Destiny 2
Exotics
ExoticsTrend down► Jade Rabbit: Reduced aim assist by 20.
► No Time to Explain: Reduced recoil direction stat from 90 to 73. Reduced aim assist stat from 45 to 40.
► Riskrunner: Reduced damage resistance versus players when Arc Superconductor is active from 50% to 15%.

Constantly changing: Every buff or nerf has the potential to significantly change the Meta. For that reason, whatever commentary or analysis you find that is a season (or more) old is potentially irrelevant and outdated. Expect this page to be updated at least once per season.

Destiny 2 current PvP Meta: The Crucible Meta

This section covers the state of the Destiny 2 PVP meta.

Keep in mind that the PVP meta is the result of the combination of fast TTKs (time-to-kill) and ease of use. We cover TTK values for every weapon in the game in our TTK guide.

PS: If you’re looking for the top PVP weapons right now, you can check our Best PVP weapons guide. Unlike this guide, which focuses on weapon types, that guide covers the specific weapons that currently dominate the Crucible.

Weapon types Meta

These are the different Tier levels used for the list:

  • 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:

PVP Primary weapons meta

Weapon TypeRankTierTrendRole ❘ Current StateCategory
Hand cannon weapon type Destiny 2
Hand Cannons
A › Strong
Strong

A

Trend down► Hand Cannons are in a bit of a strange spot. Many will argue that they are still the best weapons in the game, however, due to the prevalence of Pulse Rifles and Sidearms, and certain special weapons like Arbalest and Lorentz Driver, Hand Cannons have slowly been pushed out of many players' main pick. They are still excellent duelling weapons though, and feel amazing to use so they still retain a strong ranking.

► Best Archetype: Adaptive (140 RPM) - Example: Eyasluna
PVP Primaries
Pulse rifle weapon type Destiny 2
Pulse Rifles
S › Best
Best

S

Trend up► Pulse Rifles have seen a resurgence in the past few seasons, with constant buffs to all types of Pulse Rifles. It is hard not to find success with one due to the high-flinch potential of Rapid-Fire Pulses or the lethal time-to-kill of High-Impact Pulses.

► Best Archetype: High-Impact (340 RPM) - Example: The Messenger
PVP Primaries
Sidearm weapon type Destiny 2
Sidearms
S › Best
Best

S

Trend up► Sidearms recently received a monumental buff to their ease of use and effective range by increasing auto-aim fall-off distance by 30%. This means that Sidearms simply can kill from further away, and more easily. Sidearms are particularly potent on a controller.

► Best Archetype: Adaptive (300 RPM) - Example: Drang
PVP Primaries
Auto rifle weapon type Destiny 2
Auto Rifles
C › Weak
Weak

C

-► Auto Rifles aren't doing greét right now. They contest a similar range as Hand Cannons, however, they lack the peak shooting potential that Adaptive Hand Cannons bring. They can also be contested at close range by SMGs, making them difficult to use everywhere. However, a good player can still find value in an Auto Rifle as they do provide high flinch and constant damage.

► Best Archetype: Adaptive (600 RPM) - Example: Gnawing Hunger
PVP Primaries
Combat bow weapon type Destiny 2
Combat Bows
B › Average
Average

B

-► Bows are incredibly unique. They have a remarkably slow time to kill, however, this isn't where Bows shine. Hotswap builds with bows can be incredibly potent and don't require much learning either. Bows also provide incredible value when teamshooting opponents. Despite this, Bows on their own are quite mediocre and need something behind them to really shine.

► Best Archetype: Precision (Slower Draw Time) - Example: Strident Whistle
PVP Primaries
Scout rifle weapon type Destiny 2
Scout Rifles
B › Average
Average

B

Trend down► Scouts have been tuned down to make them less potent in the hands of the average player. However, good scout rifle players will still be able to do pretty well in lobbies, however, they may find themselves outmatched by Pulse Rifles.

► Best Archetype: High-Impact (150 RPM) - Example: Polaris Lance
PVP Primaries
SMG weapon type Destiny 2
Submachine Guns
A › Strong
Strong

A

Trend down► A few SMGs were recently hit with a range and/or damage nerf that knocked them down a peg or two. However, SMGs still have fast TTKs at short to medium ranges but are slightly outclassed by Sidearms now.

► Best Archetype: Aggressive (900 RPM)- Example: Borrowed Time
PVP Primaries

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.

Weapon TypeRankTierTrendRole ❘ Current StateCategory
Shotgun weapon type Destiny 2
Shotguns
A › Strong
Strong

A

Trend down► Shotguns have been hit by several nerfs and are no longer the undisputed go-to short-range option. They have lost their 'mapping' potential and even struggle to pick up kills at close range due to inconsistencies. However, Shotguns remain the easiest Special weapons in the game to pick up and slay out with, so for that reason, it still sits comfortably in the A tier.

► Best Archetype: Lightweight (80 RPM)- Example: Without Remorse
PVP Specials
Sniper rifle weapon type Destiny 2
Sniper Rifles
S › Best
Best

S

Trend up► Snipers have benefitted massively from the 'Anti-Flinch' changes that have been added with Season of the Haunted. Leaning into high Stability and equipping Sniper Unflinching Mods can allow you to still land the headshot while getting shot by multiple people. They do have a little bit of a learning curve, but if you become skilled with a Sniper, you can be nearly unstoppable.

► Best Archetype: Adaptive (90 RPM)- Example: Beloved
PVP Specials
Trace rifle weapon type Destiny 2
Trace Rifles
B › Average
Average

B

Trend down► Trace Rifles are quite a niche pick and will fall short as a competitive option in most players' hands. Even once you learn to master Trace Rifles, you'll be better off with a Special weapon that can provide a one-hit-kill t rather than one that can be out-dueled by a Primary weapon.

► All Archetypes are 1000 RPM - Best Option: Coldheart
PVP Specials

Glaives
A › Strong
Strong

A

-► Glaives received a buff going into Season of the Haunted, and have also benefitted from the Special Ammo changes that also launched with Season 17. Simply hitting a single shot will chunk your opponent for 131 damage, and will also provide energy for your Shield which is a chunky 75% damage resist. Glaives require mastery of a certain playstyle, but once you get it down, you can dominate lobbies with ease.

► All Glaives share the same archetype
PVP Specials
Fusion rifle weapon type Destiny 2
Fusion Rifles
S › Best
Best

S

Trend up► Fusion Rifles have seen buff after buff, and with Season of the Haunted, they finally saw a slight nerf. However, this change hasn't altered the state of Fusion Rifles enough to consider them noticeably weaker than before. They are able to cover the close-medium range excellently and a good Fusion Rifle player can be incredibly hard to beat.

► Best Archetype: Precision (780ms Charge Time) - Example: Main Ingredient
PVP Specials
Grenade launcher weapon type Destiny 2
Grenade Launchers
A › Strong
Strong

A

-► Grenade Launchers remain the most 'annoying' option in PvP. The ability to flush players out from cover is not lost on players in PvP, and being able to 1-hit kill with certain rolls allows Grenade Launchers to be a highly tactical, but also lethal option. They also serve as an excellent 'hot-swap' choice to allow for easy cleanups with your Primary weapon.

► Best Archetype: Wave Frame - Example: Dead Messenger
PVP Specials

PVP Heavy weapons meta

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

Weapon TypeRankTierTrendRole ❘ Current StateCategory
Rocket launcher weapon type Destiny 2
Rocket Launchers
S › Best
Best

S

-► Rocket Launchers remain a staple in many players' loadouts. They can provide high-range one-shot kills, and can also do AoE damage which can potentially allow you to clear teams if they are close enough together.

► Best Archetype: Precision (15 RPM) - Example: Gjallarhorn
PVP Heavies
Machine gun weapon type Destiny 2
Machine Guns
A › Strong
Strong

A

-► Machine Guns are still an incredible option for Control as they can provide many kills. However, they do require multiple shots to kill which can lead to you potentially being Sniped or peak-shot by a Primary Weapon.

► Best Archetype: Adaptive (450 RPM) - Example: Corrective Measure
PVP Heavies
Grenade launcher weapon type Destiny 2
Grenade Launchers
S › Best
Best

S

Trend up► Heavy Grenade Launchers are an incredible option for those who are confident in landing their direct hits. They can functionally serve as a Rocket Launcher, but instead of coming with only a single shot, Grenade Launchers can bring 3, which, of course, means more potential kills.

► Best Archetype: Adaptive (120 RPM) - Example: Memory Interdict
PVP Heavies
Sword weapon type Destiny 2
Swords
C › Weak
Weak

C

-► Swords are perhaps the most fun option (especially with Eager Edge), however, they are too inconsistent to warrant any competitive use. Furthermore, benefitting from third-person view is no longer possible without Heavy ammo, making the only niche usage swords had now redundant.

► Best Archetype: Adaptive/Lightweight- Examples: Half-Truths/Quickfang
PVP Heavies
Linear fusion rifle weapon type Destiny 2
Linear Fusion Rifles
C › Weak
Weak

C

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

On top of that, they also have a charge time to take into account. Compared to a sniper rifle that fires immediately and only uses Special ammo, Linear Fusion rifles make little sense for the Crucible. In PVP, you want a Heavy weapon that can either easily down several guardians or guarantee a kill in a high-stakes match. It isn't impossible to do with a linear fusion rifle, but other weapon types can accomplish that more easily.
PVP Heavies

Destiny 2 current PvE Meta: The DPS Meta

This section covers the state of the current Destiny 2 PVE meta. Unlike PVP, the meta in PVE is often defined by what the highest DPS weapons currently are. If you’re looking for DPS values for every weapon type and Exotics, our DPS guide covers them all.

PS: If you’re looking for the top PVE weapons, you can check our Best PVE weapons guide, including the top 25 weapons for PVE right now.

PVE Primary weapons meta

Weapon TypeRankTierTrendRole ❘ Current StateCategory
SMG weapon type Destiny 2
Submachine Guns
S › Best
Best

S

-► SMGs are doing very well right now. They have good DPS to tear through ads and beefier orange bar enemies, but also come with excellent perks. There are a plethora of good SMGs you can go for right now, like Funnelweb, Unforgiven, Every Waking Moment, or Extraordinary Rendition, the choice is completely yours. They may struggle slightly in super high-end content, but they are still definitely usable.

► Best Archetype: Aggressive (750 RPM) - Example: Unforgiven
PVE Primaries
Auto rifle weapon type Destiny 2
Auto Rifles
B › Average
Average

B

Trend down► Auto Rifles currently feel like a worse version of SMGs. They have a bit more range, but outside of the absolute top-shelf content such as Grandmaster Nightfalls, range isn't too much of a factor. And if you are actively tackling difficult content, Auto Rifles aren't exactly the best pick either, making Autos a decent, but outclassed option right now.

► Best Archetype: Adaptive (600 RPM) - Example: Gnawing Hunger
PVE Primaries
Sidearm weapon type Destiny 2
Sidearms
B › Average
Average

B

Trend down► Aside from a few select sidearms with certain perks, there really isn't much of a reason to use Sidearms. They have slightly higher damage numbers than SMGs, but typically come with significantly less range. Outside of top-tier weapons like a god-roll Brigand's Law or High Albedo, there is no real reason to run a sidearm.

► Best Archetype: Adaptive (491 RPM) - Example: High Albedo
PVE Primaries
Hand cannon weapon type Destiny 2
Hand Cannons
B › Average
Average

B

-► While Hand Cannons routinely dominate the PvP meta, they are often outclassed by weapon types that can either offer better DPS or better range. There are a couple of solid options, such as Fatebringer or Zaouli's Bane, but putting those aside, you'll be better off using something else.

► Best Archetype: Adaptive (140 RPM) - Example: Fatebringer
PVE Primaries
Pulse rifle weapon type Destiny 2
Pulse Rifles
S › Best
Best

S

Trend up► Pulse Rifles are in a great place right now. They offer good range and pretty decent damage, allowing you to take down some beefier targets nicely. There are also some excellent pulses in the game right now, like Insidious, Sacred Provenance, or New Purpose. Unfortunately, High-Impact and Aggressive frames are the only archetypes worth your time, as the others rely on Exotic Perks or god rolls to compete.

► Best Archetype: Aggressive (450 RPM) - Example: Insidious
PVE Primaries
Scout rifle weapon type Destiny 2
Scout Rifles
S › Best
Best

S

Trend up► Scout Rifles have come a long way. They are a solid and consistent option for anyone that prefers a safer and slower playstyle. They also shine in high-level content due to their excellent range. The best part about Scout Rifles, however, is their versatility across archetypes. Basically, every type of Scout Rifle is viable and can be used anywhere in the game.

► Best Archetype: Aggressive (72 RPM) - Example: Tarnished Mettle
PVE Primaries
Combat bow weapon type Destiny 2
Combat Bows
A › Strong
Strong

A

Trend up► Bows are a high-damage, high-range option for players who prefer to keep their distance. The main issue with bows is that they are slow at clearing ads (outside of Trinity Ghoul). and when you have to deal with ads up close, bows can massively struggle. However, their solid range and excellent damage make them a strong option.

► Best Archetype: Precision - Example: Under Your Skin
PVE Primaries

PVE 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.

Weapon TypeRankTierTrendRole ❘ Current StateCategory
Shotgun weapon type Destiny 2
Shotguns
A › Strong
Strong

A

-► Shotguns overall are pretty good right now. There are a good number of Pellet and Slug shotguns that can be used in most content, and shotguns are also an integral part of many melee builds thanks to the shotgun-exclusive '1-2 Punch' perk. However, their severe lack of range makes them a risky pick for high-level content.

► Best Archetype: Pinpoint Slug - Example: Heritage
PVE Specials
Grenade launcher weapon type Destiny 2
Grenade Launchers
S › Best
Best

S

-► Grenade Launchers are brilliant right now. They are versatile and are arguably the best pick in almost all areas. They can have excellent add control through Blinding Grenades or the Wave Frame archetype, and they can also deal good boss damage in a 'hotswap' build with Spike Grenades.

Simply put, having a strong arsenal of Grenade Launchers is something you should definitely prioritize if you're looking to get into high-level content.

► All Breach Grenade Launchers share the same archetype
PVE Specials
Sniper rifle weapon type Destiny 2
Sniper Rifles
C › Weak
Weak

C

Trend down► Sniper Rifles are not in a great place right now. They are completely outclassed by Linear Fusion Rifles in terms of DPS and are also lacking at ad clear/major killing by Shotguns and Grenade Launchers. Snipers are also quite difficult to use as they are precision-based weapons. They can be used as a backup DPS weapon if you don't have access to an Arbalest, for example, but right now, they are too niche to recomment.

► Best Archetype: Adaptive (140 RPM) - Example: Succession
PVE Specials
Fusion rifle weapon type Destiny 2
Fusion Rifles
A › Strong
Strong

A

Trend up► Fusion Rifles are pretty good right now. They have slightly more range than Shotguns, making them a safer pick in high-level content, however, they lack a top-tier perk such as '1-2 Punch' to rise to S-tier status. Still, they remain a consistent pick for mid to high-level content.

► Best Archetype: Rapid-Fire (500ms Charge Time) - Example: Cartesian Coordinate
PVE Specials

Glaives
B › Average
Average

B

-► Glaives require a bit of getting used to, but when you do, they can grant you crazy levels of damage resistance. However, they are quite a risky pick, especially if you haven't learned how to master them first. Glaives are also one-dimensional. There is basically no reason to use their melee attack, which is unfortunate as that is probably the most fun part of the Glaives.

► All Glaives share the same archetype
PVE Specials
Linear fusion rifle weapon type Destiny 2
Linear Fusion Rifles
S › Best
Best

S

Trend up► There are only two Linear Fusion Rifles that use Special ammo, but when one of them is arguably the strongest weapon in the game, they have to be ranked S tier. Arbalest is an absolute must-have if you want to take endgame content seriously. Lorentz Driver is an okay option, but Arbalest is completely overpowered and is an excellent pick for whatever content you throw at it.PVE Specials
Trace rifle weapon type Destiny 2
Trace Rifles
B › Average
Average

B

-► Trace Rifles are a strange pick. Legendary Trace Rifles are a very niche pick right now, but Exotic trace Rifles are all pretty good. Wavesplitter can do well with certain builds, and Divinity is always a good pick, even despite the nerfs.PVE Specials

PVE Heavy weapons meta

In PVE, your Power weapon of choice will often be a burst-damage weapon able to deal with bosses and/or damage phases or an ad clear weapon for difficult content with lots of shielded ads.

This table covers all the main Power weapon types, excluding of course those categories with only 1 or 2 exotics (such as snipers, shotguns, or fusion rifles):

Weapon TypeRankTierTrendRole ❘ Current StateCategory
Sword weapon type Destiny 2
Swords
B › Average
Average

B

Trend downMain roles: Add Clear & Single Target damage (i.e. Boss damage).

► Swords have fallen slightly out of the meta since the days of Falling Guillotine, however, they are still a solid pick. Swords like The Lament and Heartshadow are both solid options for slaying majors and dealing good boss damage. They are unfortunately very risky, though, and when Linear Fusion Rifles deal the incredible amount of damage they do right now, it is difficult to recommend Swords.

► Best Archetype: Exotics - Example: The Lament
PVE Heavies
Rocket launcher weapon type Destiny 2
Rocket Launchers
A › Strong
Strong

A

-Main role: Burst Damage (Secondary role: Add Clear)

► Rocket Launchers are solid options. They deal good burst damage and are effective for killing high-health targets like Majors quickly. Their ammo economy is poor, unfortunately, meaning that you will need to be conservative with how you use your rockets.

► Best Archetype: Adaptive (20 RPM) - Example: The Hothead
PVE Heavies
Linear fusion rifle weapon type Destiny 2
Linear Fusion Rifles
S › Best
Best

S

Trend upMain role: Single Target damage (Secondary role: Burst Damage)

► Linear Fusion Rifles are the cream of the crop. They can deal very high damage consistently. They have solid DPS and incredible total damage, making them amazing for Raids and other high-level pieces of content. There are also plenty of strong options right now, including the Taipan-4FR or Cataclysmic, which both come with excellent perks and have good damage.

► Best Archetype: Precision (533 RPM) - Example: Reed's Regret
PVE Heavies
Machine gun weapon type Destiny 2
Machine Guns
B › Average
Average

B

-Main role: Add Clear

► Machine Guns are a different kind of Power weapon. Instead of focusing on boss damage (outside of Xenophage), Machine Guns focus on ad clear. And they are excellent at ad clear, especially Thunderlord; however, given that abilities and primary weapons are excellent at add clear, Machine Guns are currently mediocre options for your Heavy slot.

► Best Archetype: Adaptive (140 RPM) - Example:
PVE Heavies
Grenade launcher weapon type Destiny 2
Grenade Launchers
D › Worst
Worst

D

Trend downMain role: Add Clear (Secondary role: Single Target Damage).

► Grenade Launchers are in a very sad state right now. Outside of maybe Typhon GL5, Heavy Grenade Launchers are in a terrible spot. They do not have great boss damage and also do not have good add clear, making them very, very pointless in all content.

► Best Archetype: Adaptive (120 RPM) - Example: Typhon GL5
PVE Heavies
Sniper rifle weapon type Destiny 2
Exotic Sniper Rifles
C › Weak
Weak

C

-Main role: Single Target damage

► Exotic Snipers are very niche. They are far from the top of the meta right now as they are simply harder to use and in many ways inferior to Linear Fusion Rifles.

► Best Archetype: Aggressive (72 RPM) - Example: Whisper of the Worm
PVE Heavies

The Last Word

Terms such as “Meta” or “sandbox” may sound overwhelming at first, but just remember they basically refer to the current “state of the game”.

Understanding the Meta will ultimately help you understand the game better. What works right now and why. And hopefully, this guide should give you a proper overview of the current sandbox for you to digest.

About The Author

Ric Molina
Ric Molina
I've been covering gaming since 2012, and some of my work has been featured by large brands, including MSN.com, Forbes, Rock Paper Shotgun, and more. I've been obsessed with Destiny 2 for years now, and I hope to provide new and returning players with the guides and resources I wish I had when I first started.
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