Exotics are the top collectibles in Destiny 2. New additions are the most sought-after weapons and armor every season, typically granting some game-breaking new perk. With hundreds of options to collect, unlocking them all is well worth the chase. Especially when weapons like Hawkmoon, Trinity Ghoul, and Sturn continuously resurface as the top-tier gear.
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While Exotics are designed to be challenging pieces of gear to acquire, there are now more ways than ever to earn Exotic Engrams. While they won’t be as easy as vanilla Destiny’s notorious loot cave, these are methods that are virtually guaranteed to get you Exotics. Here are the best ways to get Exotics in Destiny 2.
Nightfalls have consistently been one of Destiny 2’s best ways to get Exotics since they were introduced. Grandmaster Nightfalls guarantee an Exotic Engram as long as you reach Platinum rank, which can unfortunately be an incredibly challenging experience. This mode is always set 10–20 Light levels above the hard cap in a given season, locks your build, and sets a series of various debuffs that typically supercharge enemies.
The strike that’s cycled in also makes a big difference. Lengthier runs like The Scarlet Keep or strikes filled with overwhelming combat scenarios like Proving Ground just aren’t worth running. So, while Grandmaster is a sure bet, you’re better off running Master if you have a solid Fireteam (or have leveled up enough on your own) or Legend if you need to matchmake.
Be sure to run these Nightfalls when Double rewards are active. This will ensure that you collect two top-tier pieces of gear at the end of a successful run. Just be sure to take out all the champions and complete any additional tasks, and you can expect an Exotic to drop every 3–5 runs or so.
Legendary and Master Lost Sectors
The Lost Sectors
The Beyond Light expansion added new difficulty modifiers to Lost Sectors, turning them into miniature Nightfall-like encounters. Unlike the Nightfalls, these more difficult Lost Sector variants serve as a curated method for unlocking specific Exotic Armor. Depending on the location and the current cycled reward, you can earn Exotics in a specific slot.
Depending on the day, you can expect the reward to be either a helmet, legs, arms, or chest armor. The armor types should appear in that order — if the current reward is a helmet, and you want to farm arms, just wait two days to jump in.
The major caveat here is that you need to run these solo, as a Fireteam will nix the Exotic reward altogether. To prepare to take this one, be sure you’re at the appropriate Light level (or a bit above) and have your Raid or strike builds prepared. If there are any Burn modifiers, be sure you have weapons to quickly eliminate shields. If you’re prepared, it should take roughly ten minutes on the hardest difficulty, and you should see an Exotic drop within 3–4 runs.
Xur is a weekly specialty vendor that appears on Fridays and disappears upon reset the following Tuesday. While this isn’t a farmable activity, Xur has a rotating inventory of Exotic armor and weapons to help you fill out your collection. Each week you can expect to find:
- One Exotic weapon
- One Exotic armor piece per class
- Fated Engrams (non-duplicate random Exotic roll)
Additionally, Bungie introduced the Exotic Cypher quests, which will drop from Xur every week. These are simple and only require you to play any game type to earn points toward completion. You can then turn it in for an additional Fated Engram or use it in the Exotic Kiosk in the Tower to go after a specific piece of Legacy Gear.
The Season Pass is another great way to earn a handful of Exotic Engrams while Destiny 2 Exotic farming. If you’re running the free version, you can earn one Exotic Engram and an Exotic Cypher. With the paid version, you can earn five additional Exotic Engrams, along with a handful of Ascendant Shards. These are earned over time, so here’s when you can expect to earn these Exotics this season:
- Rank 25 (Premium Exotic Engram)
- Rank 55 (Free Exotic Cypher)
- Rank 65 (Premium and Free Exotic Engrams)
- Rank 74 (Premium Exotic Engram)
- Rank 88 (Premium Exotic Engram)
- Rank 98 (Premium Exotic Engram)
Keep in mind that the quantity and levels may change from season to season, but this is likely what you can expect. On top of Engrams, you’ll also be able to earn the Seasonal Exotic Weapon one or two times, giving you instant access to the latest in-game weapon addition fairly quickly.
The update to Shax and the Drifter as vendors this last season has made them a great source for Destiny 2 Exotic farming. Where you used to complete matches, earn tokens, and turn them in for a very under-leveled piece of gear, there’s now an actual reward system.
Earning Infamy ranks in Gambit and Valor ranks in Crucible will allow you to earn things like Ascendant shards, shaders, and vendor weapons. You’ll earn another Ascendant shard at the first reset point, then each reset after that will earn you an Exotic Engram.
Gambit this season is a bit of a grind, so your best bet is to play Crucible and work through that upgrade chain. It will take roughly half the time of the Gambit reward system, and you can even boost it further by playing a double or triple Valor or Infamy week. Hopefully, we’ll see a similar adjustment to Savallah and the Vanguard vendor system sometime soon to add a third Exotic Vendor reward.
Presage Exotic Quest
Running the Presage Exotic Quest weekly is a consistent method for Destiny 2 Exotic farming and earning the Dead Man’s Tale Exotic weapon.
Sure, you’ll only be able to earn this one weapon, but each run earns a version at a higher light level and with a random final Perk roll. It’s rare to find such a consistent farming event in Destiny 2, so be sure that you run through it at least once with each reset.
Be sure to check out our guide for a full walkthrough to help optimize your runs.
Amazon Prime Gaming
This isn’t exactly a way to grind Exotics, but it is worth calling out.
As part of Bungie’s partnership with Prime Gaming, any player with an Amazon Prime account can collect an Exotic Bundle every few weeks. These typically include some combination of an Exotic weapon, Ghost shell, ship, Sparrow, and/or an emote. You won’t know what’s available until the latest package is live, but they’re worth grabbing to fill out your collection, especially if you missed a Legacy item at some point.
Pro Tip: Max Out Your Engram Inventory
As you work to grind out Exotic Engrams, it can be difficult to avoid earning duplicate armor and weapon types. Luckily, a trick discovered by Redditor RegisterVexOffender offers a viable solution to refine your results from Exotic Engrams. And all you have to do is keep your Engram Inventory full and earn Exotics from Legendary or Master Lost Sectors.
Doing this, like with any maxed-out inventory in Destiny 2, will immediately send any new items to the Postmaster. While it can be annoying to have to run to the Tower to clear out your mail, this is actually a good thing when it comes to collecting from Lost Sectors.
Whatever you earn from a Lost Sector on a given day is designated as an Exotic Engram for a specific piece of armor. If it hits your inventory, it’ll turn into a Master Lost Sector Engram. If you don’t want that day’s armor type, just leave it with the Postmaster and turn it in on a different day to earn from a different class pool.
You won’t be able to farm specific items, but it will help you narrow down your chances. It can also allow you to run through easier Lost Sectors and accrue multiple Engrams. There is no word on if this method works with any other activity — likely not since the rest are random rolls. However, this is an excellent method for anyone needing to fill out their collection of Exotic Class items.
There’s no real quick and dirty method for grinding out Destiny 2 Exotic farming. Thankfully, there are plenty of methods with reward structures that guarantee an Exotic every few runs or just over time. Try to balance your time between these activities and focus on Lost Sectors if you need to clean up any class items.
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