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Destiny 2: Dead Man’s Tale Exotic God Rolls and Perks (2024)

If you know anything about Destiny 2, you’ll know that Exotic weapons don’t usually have “rolls” like most weapons. Usually, Exotic weapons come with a per-determined set of perks that cannot be changed. However, over the last couple years Bungie has introduced a number of Exotic weapons that can get unique rolls. Dead Man’s Tale was the first of those, and in this article we’ll take a look at its god rolls in both PVE and PVP!

How to Get Dead Man’s Tale and How It Works

To get Dead Man’s Tale in 2023, you’ll have to speak to Xur on the weekends (he’s only available to visit on the weekends). Xur always has a random roll of Dead Man’s Tale in his shop, so you won’t have to hope for luck just to get one. However, since there’s no way to farm it, you will be at his mercy for your roll. What he has is what he has, and you can’t reroll his inventory. Each week Xur has a randomly rolled Dead Man’s Tale, so just be sure to check each week until you get the rolls you want.

If you want to check out what Xur has this week, feel free to check out our Destiny 2 weekly tracker, which includes a rundown of Xur’s inventory including his weapon rolls.

Another thing to know about Dead Man’s Tale is that it has different perk categories than most scout rifles. Instead of two perk slots, it only has one and then a unique stock slot.

Dead Man’s Tale Catalyst

Before we jump into the god rolls, make sure to get the Exotic catalyst that goes along with this weapon. The catalyst makes your hip-fire shots more accurate, incentivizing a different style of gameplay than usual. Stacks of Cranial Spike (Dead Man Tale’s Exotic perk, which increases range and target acquisition on precision shots), also increase your hip-fire rate of fire with the catalyst.

To get the Dead Man’s Tale catalyst, just buy the weapon from Xur and then play random activities in the core playlists (Vanguard Strikes, Gambit, and Crucible). It’s a random drop from those activities once you have the weapon, so you won’t have to do any difficult quests or anything like that.

Dead Man’s Tale | Best PVE God Rolls and Perks

Image: D2 Arsenal

In addition to being one of the slickest looking weapons in Destiny 2, Dead Man’s Tale is actually really good for PVE! Exotic primary weapons are more playable than ever thanks to the abundance of powerful legendary options in the other slots, so we can get a lot of use out of them. Here’s our recommendations for the god rolls on Dead Man’s Tale in PVE!


  • Smallbore (+7 Stability, +7 Range)
  • Extended Barrel (-10 Handling, +10 Range, +10 Recoil Control)
  • Corkscrew Rifling (+5 Stability, +5 Handling, +5 Range)

Whether you plan to exclusively hip-fire Dead Man’s Tale or not, all three of these barrels are good options. Smallbore is really well-rounded with no downsides, and the bonuses to stability and range will be great for helping you land precision shots to gain stacks of Cranial Spike. If you don’t mind losing some handling, Extended Barrel really gets to shine on this weapon. Recoil control is really important for not missing precision shots when you’re firing fast, and the range is always helpful.

Corkscrew Rifling gives +5 to stability, handling, and range, so it’s a good option by default. It’s pretty much always a good pick on any weapon, so that’s no surprise.


  • Ricochet Rounds (+5 Range, +10 Stability, and other bonuses)

Ricochet Rounds works perfectly for Dead Man’s Tale. In addition to the actual ricochet rounds themselves which bounce off surfaces, it gives two amazing bonuses. There’s no other magazine that offers this much value, especially with no downsides. This is the perfect magazine for Dead Man’s Tale.

Perk 1

  • Vorpal Weapon
  • Fourth Time’s the Charm
  • Outlaw

Since Dead Man’s Tale is actually really good for taking out bosses in lower level content, Vorpal Weapon is a really strong option. For primary ammo weapons, Vorpal gives a flat 20% damage bonus (more in PVP) against bosses, Guardians using a super, and vehicles. If you’d rather focus more on keeping the fight going as long as possible, Fourth Time’s the Charm will allow you to do that. All you have to do is land four precision shots to get two rounds back. If your goal is to melt enemies with the hip-fire / Cranial Spike combo, one of these is definitely the way to go.

If you want to use Dead Man’s Tale more for taking out powerful enemies or adds, Outlaw is the better choice. It drastically increases your reload speed after precision kills, so you’ll be able to get back into the fight far quicker than before. It is kind of hard to pass up Vorpal Weapon and Fourth Time’s the Charm, but it’s certainly an option.


  • Fitted Stock (+10 Stability, +11 Recoil Control, -5 Handling)

The stock slot is unique to Dead Man’s Tale, and Fitted Stock stands out above all the other options. Stability and recoil control are the two most important stats for landing precision shots easily, which is the whole point of this weapon in PVE. Stacking up Cranial Spike results in some incredible gameplay, and this is the best way to maximize that.

Dead Man’s Tale | Best PVP God Rolls and Perks

Image: D2 Arsenal

While Dead Man’s Tale is great in PVE, it’s a bit more explosive in PVP. Its status in the meta has shifted a lot over the years, but it remains one of the strongest Exotic primary weapons for any level of PVP content.


  • Smallbore (+7 Stability, +7 Range)
  • Hammer-Forged Rifling (+10 Range)

For the barrel on Dead Man’s Tale in PVP, we recommend prioritizing range. This weapon is well-rounded enough not to desperately need any major stat bonuses, and range is usually the best option in PVP if you don’t really need anything else. Smallbore gives bonuses to both stability and range, but Hammer-Forged Rifling gives more to just range. This one is ultimately up to personal preference.


  • Ricochet Rounds

For the same reason as the barrel choices, we’re going with Ricochet Rounds for the magazine. It gives a nice amount of stability and range, and don’t forget about the ricochet rounds it gives. There isn’t any other magazine option as strong as this one, so we highly recommend it.

Perk 1

  • Killing Wind
  • Vorpal Weapon
  • Moving Target

If you plan to utilize the hip-fire features of this weapon, Killing Wind and Vorpal Weapon are the best choices. Killing Wind gives +50 Mobility, +40 handling, and +20 range for 5 seconds after getting a kill. It’s always a good perk in PVP, especially if you can find a group of enemy Guardians grouped up together. For example, in Control or a similar objective game mode, you can usually get a lot of use out of Killing Wind since people tend to group up.

Vorpal Weapon is a more sketchy choice in PVP, but it can be really helpful in specific situations. Since it gives a 40-50% damage boost against Guardians in a super, it turns this into one of the best weapons to take out Guardians using roaming supers. The downside here, though, is obvious. If there aren’t any Guardians using a super, this perk doesn’t offer anything. So in game modes where supers are rare (like Elimination and Trials), this isn’t the best choice. But if you’re in Iron Banner or casual modes, it can be great.

Moving Target is the last choice we recommend, but only if you actually intend to ADS. It gives bonuses to target acquisition and moving speed while you’re ADS, so if you’re in hip-fire mode it won’t help you.


  • Composite Stock (+5 Stability, +5 Handling)
  • Fitted Stock (+10 Stability, +11 Recoil Control, -5 Handling)

In all honesty, your stock pick doesn’t matter all that much in PVP. Since none of the stock options have major downsides, you can really go with any that you like. However, these are the two we recommend the most. Composite Stock gives bonuses to both stability and handling, which helps you both land precision shots and quickly switch to your close-range weapon when needed. Alongside a shotgun or similar up-close weapon, this works out really well.

Fitted Stock works almost just as well as Composite Stock. The big difference here is that it gives more stability and some recoil control. These aren’t quite as important as in PVE, but they’re certainly not bad to have in any situation. Losing 5 handling shouldn’t be the biggest problem, but it can cause some issues if you’re hot swapping to another weapon.

Join the High Ground

Dead Man’s Tale is one of the coolest weapons in Destiny 2, especially if you want to look like a cowboy. Good luck hoping for Xur to have the roll you want, and as always, make sure to keep the high ground!


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