Trace rifles are the flashy but underutilized subset of the fusion rifle weapon class in Destiny 2. Rather than providing a single burst from close-to-mid range, these are long-range iterations that fire a constant beam of energy. They’re basically a deadly laser pointer meant to take out multiple enemies with incredible precision.

In concept, the trace rifle sounds incredibly useful and serves as a unique departure from other weapon classes. In practice, they’re an interesting experiment that doesn’t pack enough of a punch. That said, there’s still some use for these Exotic weapons if you’re willing to build around the better options. 

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All 5 Destiny 2 Trace Rifles Ranked

So what is the best trace rifle in Destiny 2? It’s actually a fairly easy question to answer — there are only five of them available. Let’s dive in and rank the current trace rifle options in Destiny 2.

1. Coldheart

The Destiny 2 best trace rifle overall

Coldheart
Image: Bungie, Inc via HGG

Why is it one of the best? There’s something immediately useful about a trace rifle that fits into an Energy slot. It immediately takes the place of a traditional fusion rifle, allows you to keep an AOE-enhanced Power weapon slotted, and means you can lay out solid DPS against all types of enemies. In short, you have yourself a versatile weapon that naturally fills in for other Energy weapons.

Coldheart does all of this and stacks that DPS ability even further with an extended magazine, recoil control, and a longer-range barrel. But the best trait, the one that makes it especially useful against bosses and majors, is the increased damage output from continuously hitting an enemy. It’s simply the best DPS trace rifle in the game.

Originally a preorder exclusive, and the first Exotic trace rifle in the game, it proves that Bungie had a great concept at the launch of Destiny 2. The fact that it’s still the best, unfortunately, proves that they’ve struggled to expand on this weapon-type, as you’ll likely see with some of the others on this list.

What’s it good for? You can use it in PvE, PvP, and Gambit due to the accurate and excessive DPS capabilities. 

How do I get it? Acquire it from Exotic engrams or purchase it from Xur when available.

2. Divinity

The Destiny 2 best trace rifle for PvP

Divinity
Image: Bungie, Inc via HGG

Why is it one of the best? Often the best weapons in Destiny 2 have a core hook that sets them apart. For the Divinity, that is the ability to spawn Vex-like cages around enemies. This field, known as Judgement, weakens and disrupts enemies, even allowing you to stun Overload Champions without a specific mod.

This is capped off with the Penance ability, which causes a burst of damage against enemies affected by the Judgement perk. And the cage even augments incoming damage, meaning that you and your Fireteam can quickly take out a major or enemy Guardian if you maintain the Judgement effect. 

Aside from that, the weapon is incredibly well-balanced but lacks powerful DPS. It’s meant to be a team-oriented weapon, and you need to want to build around it to make it work.

What’s it good for? It’s useful for high-level PvE events and Crucible thanks to the cage ability.

How do I get it? Acquire it from the “Divine Fragmentation” Exotic Quest.

3. Prometheus Lens

The Destiny 2 best trace rifle for PvE

Prometheus Lens
Image: Bungie, Inc via HGG

Why is it one of the best? At one time, Prometheus Lens was the best trace rifle in Destiny 2 for PvE, but it’s seemingly lost its sheen over the last few years. However, it’s still a handy enemy-clearing weapon that encourages rapid gunplay and accuracy to keep your beam steadily firring and growing. That’s due to the Flame Retraction perk, which returns ammo and expands your beam upon successful kills.

You’ll also want to be sure you earn and equip the Weapon Catalyst to produce orbs of light upon successful multi-kills. While it’s not a benefit that builds on the inherent perks, the ammo-regen does mean that you can rapidly earn your class abilities by defeating lesser enemies. Just know that the damage output is pretty weak, so don’t expect to take out any majors.

What’s it good for? Use it in PvE and Gambit due to the expanding range, making it perfect for taking down lesser enemies. 

How do I get it? Acquire it from Exotic engrams or purchase it from Xur when available.

4. Ruinous Effigy

The former best Exotic trace rifle in Destiny 2

Ruinous Effigy
Image: Bungie, Inc via HGG

Why is it one of the best? Once upon a time, Ruinous Effigy was the Destiny 2 best Exotic trace rifle in the game. The ability to turn defeated enemies into Transmutation Spheres that could be picked up and used against other enemies was incredibly fun and useful. Now, it’s been nerfed into oblivion and simply doesn’t do enough damage to make this mechanic worthwhile, even if you have the increased damage from the Catalyst.

The arrival of Ruinous Effigy in Season of Arrivals seemed to announce that Bungie had figured out how to keep making trace rifles interesting. But the lack of a damage boost since the initial Beyond Light patch may show that they’re actually meant to be fun and gimmicky in short stints.

What’s it good for? Use it in low-level PvE if you want to leverage a fun weapon mechanic. 

How do I get it? Acquire it from Exotic engrams or purchase it from Xur when available.

5. Wavesplitter

The former console-exclusive trace rifle

Image: Bungie, Inc via HGG

Why is it one of the best? If you’re going to make a weapon exclusive, you need to make it good. And while the oscillating damage output is an interesting feature meant to be offset by claiming Orbs of Power, it’s simply not enough to make Wavesplitter useful. 

The long-and-short of it is that this weapon is simply too weak. It doesn’t lay out enough consistent damage to make it worth wasting an Exotic slot. Even with the Catalyst, which generates orbs upon multi-kills, it just isn’t enough to offset the lower initial damage. It’s definitely in a better place than it once was, but it just can’t compare to the other options on this list.

What’s it good for? Honestly, it’s not really good for anything in its current state. 

How do I get it? Acquire it from Exotic engrams or purchase it from Xur when available.

All I Want Is a Gun With a Freakin Laser Beam

Trace rifles serve as a unique experiment that has always come close to being an incredible weapon class but never quite sticks the landing. Here’s hoping that they can find a winning formula like they recently did with bows.

For now, be sure to share this article on your favorite social channels to let your Fireteam know which trace rifles to avoid. And to know if a new trace rifle breaks the mold of the current options, be sure to sign-up for our newsletter to stay in the know.

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