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Destiny 2: The Best Exotics | Every Weapon Type (2024)

Exotic weapons are often the best you can use in Destiny 2. These exotic weapons are the rarest of the rare. Sure, some of them can be picked up very easily, but others can take hundreds of attempts to get. Whether you’re looking for a PvE boss-destroying heavy weapon or a Hand Cannon for PvP, we’ve got you covered.

Here’s our picks for the best exotic weapons in Destiny 2 (in no particular order).

Cloudstrike (Sniper Rifle)

The most explosive sniper rifle

(Image: Bungie / Brett Moss)

Why is it one of the best? Cloudstrike is capable of taking out multiple enemies in one shot thanks to its exotic perk, Mortal Polarity. This perk causes precision final blows against any enemy to cause a lightning strike to strike down and do serious damage. It also has another perk, Stormbringer, that truly stands out in PvE. With Stormbringer, rapid hits generate an entire lightning storm to spawn on the enemy you shot. All of this combines to make Cloudstrike a menacing weapon that’s capable of taking out just as many Guardians as Dregs.

What’s it good for? PvE boss fights, clearing adds, and PvP.

How do I get it? Random rare drop at the end of Empire Hunts on Europa.

Witherhoard (Grenade Launcher)

The best grenade launcher for both PvE and PvP

(Image: Bungie / Brett Moss)

Why is it one of the best? Witherhoard isn’t just a normal grenade launcher. When you hit an enemy (including enemy Guardians) with Witherhoard, they take damage over time instead of instantly.
In PvE, this is most useful against either bosses or on top of add spawns. You can shoot a boss with Witherhoard, then switch to a heavy weapon and do even more damage with it while Witherhoard ticks away. In PvP, Witherhoard is more useful for controlling a point on the map or easy one-shot kills.

What’s it good for? Boss damage in PvE, specific add-clear situations, and objective-based PvP (especially Control).

How do I get it? Exotics Archive at the Tower.

Divinity (Trace Rifle)

The best trace rifle for boss fights

(Image: Bungie / Brett Moss)

Why is it one of the best? Divinity is by far one of the most unique weapons in the game. It doesn’t do much damage, but it does allow your team to do their absolute max damage. Its intrinsic trait causes Divinity to spawn a large bubble on enemies hit. If another Guardian shoots that enemy anywhere in the bubble, they deal precision damage. Enemies with a Div debuff (bubble) on them are also stunned and weakened. Therefore, it’s an absolute all-star in raids for any DPS phase. And there’s also some merit to Divinity in PvP as well. It definitely isn’t designed for that environment, but there’s something unbelievably fun about spawning the Div bubble on enemy Guardians.

What’s it good for? Boss DPS phases and maybe PvP.

How do I get it? Complete the “Defragmentation” quest (requires completing the puzzle in the Garden of Salvation raid).

Conditional Finality (Shotgun)

The best exotic shotgun

(Image: Bungie / Brett Moss)

Why is it one of the best? In addition to perhaps being the coolest looking weapon in Destiny 2, Conditional Finality brings a lot to the table. Its exotic intrinsic trait is Split Decision, which causes each barrel to fire a different type of elemental shot. The first shot is Stasis, and if you hit most pellets, it causes a Stasis burst which can freeze other enemies and stun Overload Champions. The second shot is Solar and has a similar effect. Land most of the pellets and you’ll cause a Solar ignition which does solid damage and stuns Unstoppable Champions.

What’s it good for? Any PvE content where you can get close enough to land your shots. Especially if there are Unstoppable or Overload Champions to stun since this is one of very few weapons that can stun multiple Champion types. It’s also great in PvP because of how easy it is to hit most of the pellets and trigger the elemental explosions.

How do I get it? Random drop from the last encounter of the Root of Nightmares raid.

Gjallarhorn (Rocket Launcher)

Still the best exotic rocket launcher in Destiny history

(Image: Bungie / Brett Moss)

Why is it one of the best? Gjallarhorn is not the DPS powerhouse it once was, but it still has the unique ability to passively empower other rocket launchers when in use. Just fire Gjallarhorn and every other Legendary rocket launcher gets the Wolfpack Rounds buff. Wolfpack Rounds makes your (and your allies’) rockets split off into extra tracking missiles after hitting. The bonus isn’t a ton by itself, but across many rockets in a DPS phase it stacks up quick.

What’s it good for? PvE boss fights, as long as most of your allies are using Legendary Rocket Launchers.

How do I get it? “And Out Flies the Wolves” quest (requires completing the Grasp of Avarice dungeon).

Osteo Striga (SMG)

A strong SMG for every kind of activity

(Image: Bungie / Brett Moss)

Why is it one of the best? Osteo Striga is a craftable exotic weapon, which is still pretty rare (even though it’s not the only one anymore). Osteo’s bullets travel slower than most SMG bullets do, but they have tracking and do poison damage similar to Thorn. It also gets several great perks, including Toxic Overload, which causes the poison to spread to nearby enemies when the poisoned one dies. The Osteo Striga catalyst is essential for its use, because it makes reloading basically irrelevant. With the catalyst, every poison kills reloads some rounds into the gun.

What’s it good for? Everything from add-clear in PvE to competitive PvP.

How do I get it? Complete the Witch Queen campaign and craft it at the Enclave.

Thunderlord (Machine Gun)

Nonstop Arc damage with no reloads in sight

(Image: Bungie / Brett Moss)

Why is it one of the best? Thunderlord is the best multipurpose exotic machine gun in the game. The lightning strikes it spawns on rapid precision hits or kills is great for taking out any type of enemy. When you get the catalyst, it also reloads itself every time it spawns a lightning strike. That means that even during DPS phases you won’t need to reload it often. You can shred through bosses like they’re nothing with this thing (and it has a cool aesthetic too).

What’s it good for? PvE boss fights or add-clear.

How do I get it? Exotic Engrams or Xur.

Izanagi’s Burden (Sniper Rifle)

The hardest hitting sniper rifle

(Image: Bungie / Brett Moss)

Why is it one of the best? Izanagi’s Burden is for players who don’t want to bother with firing multiple shots, when one super shot is cooler. It has 4 rounds in the magazine, but you can hold down your reload key to consume all 4 shots for 1 Honed Edge shot. This shot does well over 100k damage and easily holds up with some heavy weapons. It does take a while to load the shot since you have to double reload, but the damage is worth it. Especially if you have Legendary weapons you want to use in the other slots and need something with good range in the Kinetic one.

What’s it good for? Doing DPS from a distance in PvE.

How do I get it? Exotic Archive at the Tower.

Ace of Spades (Hand Cannon)

The most well-rounded hand cannon for PvP (and still good in PvE)

(Image: Bungie / Brett Moss)

Why is it one of the best? Ace of Spades is quite possibly the best hand cannon for PvP. It doesn’t do anything too flashy, which is one of its biggest strengths. The Memento Mori exotic perk grants a few bonus-damage rounds every time you reload after getting a kill, and also keeps your radar up while aiming down sights. In PvP, having your radar while aiming is a pretty big deal. And the bonus-damage rounds are even better. Ace has also had a resurgence in popularity in PvE, and while it isn’t the absolute best there, it’s more than useful in many situations.

What’s it good for? Mostly PvP, but it works great for some PvE content.

How do I get it? Exotic Archive at the Tower.

Crimson (Hand Cannon)

A hand cannon meant to destroy in the Crucible with no mercy

(Image: Bungie / Brett Moss)

Why is it one of the best? Crimson is one of the best for two very simple reasons–it heals you and reloads itself. In PvP at least, you really don’t need much more than that. Crimson feels incredible to use, as the three-round burst is incredibly satisfying. Especially win you also get a heal and reload out of every fight you win. It’s really impossible to pick the best hand cannon for PvP, but if any has a shot at beating Ace it’s this one.

What’s it good for? PvP.

How do I get it? Exotic Engrams or Xur.

Le Monarque (Bow)

A bow for every occasion

(Image: Bungie / Brett Moss)

Why is it one of the best? Le Monarque is the best exotic bow at the moment, and it’s not all that close. It’s been a monster for seasons now across every game mode, especially since it can stun Overload Champions. The Poison Arrows exotic perk gives exactly what it sounds like–poison arrows. However, you do have to fire them as soon as you draw them for the poison to count. In PvE content the poison is helpful for taking out more powerful enemies, and it’s even better in PvP. It does great damage, prevents enemies from healing while they’re taking damage (in PvP), and feels great to use. And it has some really good ornaments.

What’s it good for? PvE and PvP.

How do I get it? Exotic Archive at the Tower.

Graviton Lance (Pulse Rifle)

A beautiful Pulse Rifle that literally rips a hole in space and time

(Image: Bungie / Brett Moss)

Why is it one of the best? This one might be more of a personal favorite, but it’s recently been a lot better than it has been in a long time. The star of the show with Graviton Lance is obviously the combo of Black Hole and Cosmology. Black Hole is an exotic intrinsic that causes the second shot of the burst to do more damage with zero range falloff. That alone is great for both PvE and PvP, as range is one of the best stats for both. Cosmology focuses more on add-clear, but it can work out in PvP as well. It causes kills to make enemies explode and also spawns some Void projectiles. They track targets, so they’re annoying to deal with in PvP and wipe out adds in PvE.

What’s it good for? PvE content where DPS isn’t the primary objective and PvP.

How do I get it? Exotic Engrams or Xur.

Join the High Ground

Thanks for checking out this article! Exotic weapons are one of the coolest parts of Destiny 2, so it’s good to know which are worth looking for first. Good luck with that grind (and logging onto the servers in the first place) for the best exotic weapons, and as always, make sure to keep the high ground!

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