The launch of Forsaken revolutionized storytelling and revitalized gameplay for Destiny 2, and it also introduced the bow weapon class. Bows mix the mid-speed accuracy of scout rifles, the long-range draw distance of sniper rifles, and the semi-rapid fire of pulse rifles to make a unique new weapon class that’s difficult to master.
Since their introduction, the rollout of new bows has been slow and varied. No two bows are the same, and some of the more recent options have introduced some incredible perks. But which of them are worth trading in your heavy-duty artillery for a bow and a quiver?
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10 Best Destiny 2 Bows in 2021
Beyond Light and Season of the Chosen have unleashed a handful of devastating bows while upgrading the base ability of some fan favorites. The actual lineup is far more limited than before (at least until sunsetting is sunsetted next season), but there are still plenty of excellent bows to choose from. Here’s our list of best bows in Destiny 2.
1. Ticuu’s Divination
The best bow in Destiny 2
Why is it one of the best? Acquiring Ticuu’s Divination at the start of this last season is what signaled to me that bows were in a great place. This tri-shot, solar-based Exotic bow works as a solid multi-enemy clearing weapon and an accurate damage-dealing option. Firing from the hip allows you to target and track three enemies simultaneously. Aiming down sights brings all three shots together.
These are great elements on their own but are best when used together. By hip-fire targeting, you mark enemies to explode once defeated. Opt to go for a precision shot instead, and you can cause this detonation to occur earlier. This combination makes it incredibly easy to turn every shot into a continuous explosive blast among lesser enemies.
You can also spawn Warmind Cells if you’re patient enough to earn the Catalyst. It’s a rather lengthy questline that unfortunately requires a bunch of PvP kills, which is one of the slight drawbacks to this weapon. It’s powerful but difficult to get off quickly, making it more apt for non-Crucible events.
What’s it good for? It’s useful in PvE and Gambit due to the explosive hip-fire and ADS combination.
How do I get it? Acquire it as part of Season of the Chosen’s Season Pass.
2. Trinity Ghoul
The best Exotic bow Destiny 2
Why is it one of the best? Bungie has a thing for weapons that chain lightning, and I’m not complaining. Trinity Ghoul takes this idea to the natural extreme, applying the Lightning Rod perk to any Arc based kill, including the bow itself. This perk requires you to earn the Exotic Catalyst, but the benefits outweigh the randomness of acquiring it.
Now, to truly get the most out of this bow, you need to opt for an Arc subclass to keep your chain lightning rolling. This can be limiting for some players, but the crazy amount of AOE and residual damage is well worth it, especially when taking on multiple enemies in the Crucible.
What’s it good for? Use it in PvP and PvE due to the extensive chain lightning attacks.
How do I get it? Acquire it as a random world drop in challenging encounters or from Xur.
3. Biting Winds
The Destiny 2 best PvP bow
Why is it one of the best? First off, your ability to keep rerolling this bow is fantastic. And while the Empire Hunt isn’t a short mission chain, it’s still quick enough to grind out specific rolls of Biting Winds. And you’ll want to do that until you roll Swashbuckler and Rapid-Hit or Killing Wind and Explosive Head.
Getting any variation of these perks and adding them to the accuracy benefits of the Precision Frame can turn your weapon into a constant stat-boosting machine. The more you land headshots, the stronger and more flexible the bow becomes, making it perfect for rolling through Crucible and taking down Guardians in a single hit.
What’s it good for? It’s best in PvP and Gambit due to Precision Frame and diverse perk pool.
How do I get it? Acquire it by completing the Beyond Light campaign or by completing the Dark Priestess Empire Hunt through Variks.
4. Imperial Needle
The best Energy bow in Destiny 2
Why is it one of the best? The Imperial Needle works in contrast to the others on this list. It’s a Lightweight Frame that lacks some of the accuracy, stability, and damage output seen in other bows, but it makes up for it with improved handling and reload speed. This makes it a perfect choice for taking on lesser enemies, especially if you’re using Impulse Amplifier and Frenzy to bump up your damage.
It’s a nice change of pace having a bow that isn’t focused on a slower fire-rate with high damage. Instead, you get a lightweight option meant to help you manage lesser enemies. The only drawback is that taking out Majors or Guardians can be a frustrating and fruitless debacle, making this best used when coupled with another highly accurate weapon or rapid-fire sidearm.
What’s it good for? Best in PvE and Gambit due to the large perk pool.
How do I get it? Acquire it as a random drop by smashing chests in Battlegrounds, ranking up your War Table, or focusing on umbral engrams.
5. Arsenic Bite-4B
The Destiny 2 best bow for PvE
Why is it one of the best? At first glance, the Arsenic Bite-4B may seem more like a generalist bow than one of the best bows in Destiny 2. All of the stats are fairly well balanced, with impact and aim assist slightly edging out the rest. However, the real kicker is that every stat aside from accuracy and zoom falls past sixty, making this one of the more powerful bows available.
On top of that, the perk pool is incredibly deep. Explosive Head, Archer’s Tempo, Rampage, and Dragonfly, among others, help push the benefits a bit further. And since it’s a random roll, you’ll likely find yourself stacking up on multiple variations as you play.
What’s it good for? Use it in PvE, Gambit, and PvP, depending on your perk roll.
How do I get it? Acquire it as random Legendary Engram or rank up package reward.
6. Le Monarque
The best AOE bow in Destiny 2
Why is it one of the best? Le Monarque likely paved the way for Exotic Bow archetypes, being the first to showcase an explosive ability through precision hits. The interesting thing is that it causes poison damage, meaning any AOE impact can gradually affect nearby enemies. And thanks to the high impact and accuracy stats, any precision shots will typically take out minor enemies and even Guardians in one to two hits.
The only drawback here is the lack of a hip-fire benefit. With this being an early weapon-type, you can tell the devs were still working out the balance of what Exotic bows should be. It’s still a useful weapon, especially if you have armor and abilities available to stack your poison damage, but it’s been superseded by more recent Exotics.
What’s it good for? Use it in PvE and PvP if you can refine quickfire to precision hit combo.
How do I get it? Acquire it as a random Exotic Engram drop or purchase it through Xur when available.
7. Whispering Slab
The best Kinetic bow in Destiny 2
Why is it one of the best? Whispering Slab is a Lightweight Frame that avoids some of the failings of other movement-based weapons. The stats are incredibly well balanced, weirdly high, and the fast draw time makes this weapon ideal for quick hip-fire shots.
Then there’s the deep pool of incredible perks. A combination of Archer’s Tempo and Sympathetic Arsenal makes this an ideal choice for balanced offense and support, while Firmly Planted and Unrelenting makes you a highly accurate and unkillable machine in Crucible.
What’s it good for? Best in PvE, PvP, and Gambit, depending on your perks.
How do I get it? Acquire it as a random Legendary Engram drop.
8. Tyranny of Heaven
The easiest bow to farm in Destiny 2
Why is it one of the best? Introduced with the Last Wish Raid, Tyranny of Heaven once again serves as a precursor to better bow archetypes. It’s a Lightweight Frame, rapid-fire bow with relatively high stats, and a couple of excellent perk options. Archer’s Tempo, Rampage, Dragonfly, or Explosive Head are the best you can hope for with this weapon.
In some ways, this limited perk pool is a benefit. Just run a few encounters in Last Wish, and you’ll likely acquire a roll that you really want.
What’s it good for? Best in PvE and Gambit due to the limited perks.
How do I get it? Acquire it as a random drop after completing any major encounter in the Last Wish Raid.
9. Point of the Stag
The best bow for long-range shots in Destiny 2
Why is it one of the best? The Point of the Stag is another slightly older bow variant that benefits from a limited perk pool. This compound bow again sets the archetype for Precision Frames, with incredibly high impact and accuracy stats that are only benefited by any combination of the No Distractions or Archer’s Tempo with Eye of the Storm.
Eye of the Storm is especially useful, further amping up the accuracy while diminishing draw time. And like Tyranny of Heaven, this serves as a useful weapon that truly benefits from how specific the perks are. Other than that, it’s a relatively simple weapon.
What’s it good for? Best in PvP due to the high accuracy stats and perks.
How do I get it? Originally tied to an Iron Banner quest, it’s now acquired as a random drop during Iron Banner.
10. Accrued Redemption
The best base power bow in Destiny 2
Why is it one of the best? Accrued Redemption is one of the first bows to introduce a combination of diverse perks and specific stats that reinforce the frame. Rolling this with Rampage, Rapid Hit, or Explosive Hit are excellent options made better by rolling Archer’s Tempo.
Other than that, this bow is another option that has some excellent stats and perks but is outshined by modern bows. Still worth playing with if you can get it, but not really the best out there.
What’s it good for? Use it in PvP and Gambit depending on your Energy weapon choice.
How do I get it? Acquire it as a random Legendary Engram drop.
Best Mods for Bows in Destiny 2
The best bows in Destiny 2 have the unique aspect of being useful when aiming down sights and when firing from the hip. Typically one method leads to great precision damage, and the other has a beneficial AOE effect. For you, that means opting for better targeting or hip fire benefits, depending on your playstyle.
Here are the mods you should look out for:
- Freehand Grip: Increases accuracy and ready speed while firing from the hip.
- Sprint Grip: Increases weapon ready speed and aim down sights speed after sprinting.
- Icarus Grip: Improves accuracy while airborne.
- Targeting Adjuster: Improves weapon target acquisition.
Just Call Me Hawkeye
The best bows in Destiny 2 are some of the most fun weapons to use. Grabbing a handful from this list will provide you with some diverse and deadly firepower in your arsenal. If someone on your Fireteam has been hesitant to pick up a bow, be sure to share this article with them on your favorite social platform. To stay up to date with the latest from Destiny 2, be sure to subscribe to our newsletter.