Destiny 2 Shadowkeep: Best Exotic Weapons and Armor

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Destiny 2 Shadowkeep: Best Exotic Weapons and Armor

From Shadows to Spotlight: Old Exotics Worth Another Look

Destiny 2’s Shadowkeep expansion brought a lot of fun content to the game. One of the best things to come out of the Shadowkeep expansion is the inclusion of a few game-changing exotics. Exotic weapons are some of the most powerful items in the game. They have the ability to dish out insane damage numbers, refill subclass ability energy, or alter the way you play in the sandbox via a new gimmick. Unfortunately, due to Shadowkeep’s age, many players may not be aware of the useful exotics found within this expansion. I want to fix that issue by highlighting six of the best weapon and armor exotics added in Shadowkeep and why they are worth picking up even in the game’s modern sandbox.

Top Shadowkeep Exotic Weapons

There are 10 exotic weapons made available to the player once they own the Shadowkeep expansion. These exotic weapons can be purchased from the Monument to Lost Lights vendor located at the Tower. All of these exotics can be purchased for one Exotic Cipher, a large chunk of Glimmer, quite a few Legendary Shards, and an Acendent Shard.

I’ve chosen the following 3 exotics based on their viability in most of Destiny 2’s content, including end-game content. The order of these exotics can vary depending on the season, the user’s playstyle, and the activity the user is running. With that said, they are all worth giving a spin if you have some spare endgame currency lying around.

One last heads-up, this list isn’t going to include Witherhoard because it is pretty widely known as one of the best exotics in the game and I’d like to shed some light on exotics that are a bit more obscure.

Traveler’s Chosen

Sidearms have never really been my favorite gun type in Destiny 2. They have often felt too weak in comparison to Autorifles and other primary options. The exotic version of the Traveler’s Chosen does not have this problem. The weapon has a very respectable 49 Impact stat and a fire rate of  300 rounds per minute. The weapon’s stats aren’t the main attraction of this weapon, it’s the exotic perks that actually push it up into being a solid choice.

This weapon’s exotic perk, Gathering Light grants stacks of a buff with the same name when the user gets kills with this weapon. The user can then consume those stacks to generate grenade, melee, and class ability energy based on the number of stacks consumed. These stacks also grant the weapon improved handling, reload speed, and target acquisition while the buff is active. 

I personally feel that any weapon that can grant ability energy is a solid pick for tackling most of the challenges the game has to offer. Still, that is really all this weapon does, so it is a fine pick for a season that has strong artifact perks for sidearms, but other than that you can probably find a better option in terms of damage and ability energy regen.

Eriana’s Vow

Here is a weapon that is rather unique. Eriana’s Vow is the only Special Ammo Handcannon in the game at the time of writing this. This is likely due to the weapon functioning as a light sniper rifle, as evidenced by its slower firing rate and scope attachment. Most handcannon’s fire at 120 or 140 rounds per minute, but Eriana’s Vow fires at only 90 rounds per minute. 

The Solar handcannon has some pretty strong pros to make up for its relatively slow firing rate, the main one being its exotic perk Looks Can Kill. This perk is what makes the weapon fire special ammo instead of primary ammo, it also grants the weapon shield-piercing rounds that can stun Barrier Champions. This weapon’s second perk is called Death at First Glance, and it increases the weapon’s damage when you land the first shot on an enemy while aiming down sights. This bonus damage effect also triggers when you land a precision shot on a target or break a target’s elemental shield.

This weapon’s catalyst is a must-run as it increases the weapon’s magazine size and reloads the weapon from reserves while it is stowed. I find this weapon is actually best ran with a Strand or Stasis primary like a scout rifle to deal with Unstoppable Champions. This also allows you to run things like Stasis/Strand pulse rifles, shotguns, sidearms, etc. since you no longer need to dedicate your primary ammo slot to an Anti-Barrier auto rifle. 

Tommy’s Matchbook

While we are on the topic of auto rifles we have Tommy’s Matchbook, a Solar Exotic primary with a very interesting gimmick. This weapon’s exotic perk is called Ignition Trigger, and it increases the weapon’s damage by around 90% after 20 rounds have been continuously fired. There is a drawback to that insane jump in damage, the user’s shields will begin to take damage while this effect is active. The shield damage effect is reduced slightly while firing from the hip, which works great with this weapon since it has absolutely insane hip-fire accuracy. Also, this weapon will only damage the user’s white and blue shields, it will not damage your red critical health, so you don’t have to worry about the weapon itself killing you.

Speaking of stats, this weapon is packing an 18 in Impact, 100 rounds in the magazine, and fires at a rate of 720 Rounds Per Minute. It does have a pretty abysmal reload speed stat of 20 so keep that in mind if you decide to use it. You can mitigate this weapon’s issues with proper build crafting and the right exotic armor piece. I recommend an exotic or ability that can reload your weapons instantly, as well as a subclass with high healing potential, like Solar Restoration or Void Devour.

It can be pretty hard to recommend an exotic that requires you to shift your build around it but depending on the player you may just find Tommy’s Matchbook to be worth the effort. The exotic has been updated to now apply scorch to targets once you acquire its Catalyst and you will also receive increased healing while Ignition Trigger is active. The Ignitions caused by scorch buildup from this weapon will do less damage than those caused from other sources but that damage is still quite high. If you’re looking for a Solar version of Sweet Business, this is probably the closest you’re going to get.

Top Shadowkeep Armor Exotics

Shadowkeep brought three new armor exotics for Hunter, Titan, and Warlocks and pretty much all of them have some practical use in the sandbox, but there can only be one winner when it comes to armor exotics since their effects are often so much more game-changing than those of weapon exotics.

With that in mind, I’ve chosen what I feel to be the best armor exotic added for each of the three classes by the Shadowkeep expansion for your build crafting pleasure.

Phoenix Cradle

This may seem like a weird one for those reading this before Season of the Wish, but I’ve made this choice with the changes coming to Solar Titan in Season of the Wish in mind. Solar Titan is getting quite a few nerfs in Season of the Wish and this exotic can help alleviate some of those survivability nerfs. 

This exotic armor piece increases the duration of your Sol Invictus buff from 5 to 10 seconds. It also allows your allies to gain the benefits of standing in a Sun Spot and grants them the Sol Invictus buff as well. Allies with Sol Invictus receive a 100% increase to their Grenade and Melee ability regeneration rate, 20-40% reduction to their super drain while using a roaming super,  and Restoration x1. In essence, we as Solar Titans may have received a nerf to our survivability with the Bonk Hammer build, but we can make up for that by empowering our team instead. 

This Exotic will likely still feel a bit weak in solo content when compared to Sinthoceps and Heart of Inmost Light in their primes, but while running content with a fire team, this build will really shine. This is especially good with the new in-game fireteam finder coming in Season of the Wish, so forced solo content runs may be a thing of the past anyway.

Felwinter’s Helm

This Exotic was chosen based on its versatility and the potential power of its effect if you’re willing to lean into the Exotic’s gameplay loop. Felwinter’s Helm has the exotic perk Warlord’s End, which causes powered melee final blows to create an explosion that Weakens nearby targets. Performing finishers on targets increases the radius of this explosion and the duration of the Weaken effect based on the tier of enemy defeated. 

This exotic is often paired with a Void build for invisibility on top of the weakening explosion when using a finisher but it can also be used with a Strand build or any build that doesn’t mind being up close and personal with enemies. Finishers can also be really powerful tools that many new players tend to overlook. With the right mod equipped, finishers can grant ability energy, overshield, or even special ammo. This exotic really shines in fireteam activities since you’ll have people who can immediately follow up on the Weaken you apply to targets. Definitely give this one a try if you haven’t already.

Assasin’s Cowl

Here is an exotic that likely needs no introductions. Assasin’s Cowl is one of the best armor exotics in the entire sandbox, and for good reason. This exotic’s perk is called Vanishing Execution and it grants the user invisibility and health on melee kills. Performing finishers on enemies grants an increased duration of invisibility to the user based on the tier of enemy defeated.

This exotic is not limited to Void Hunter, it can be paired with any subclass, granting them the powerful invisibility keyword on command. Pretty much every Hunter subclass can benefit from this exotic seeing as almost all of them have pretty powerful melee abilities. I have plenty of fun pairing this exotic with Solar and Arc Hunter thanks to abilities like Combination Blows.

This exotic is commonly used in solo runs of endgame content but can also come in handy when playing with a fire team since it is basically a get-out-of-jail-free card. The exotic even has its uses in PvP as well. You really can’t go wrong when it comes to making this exotic the star of your build, especially since a lot of the other Hunter exotics in the game don’t quite match this one’s power level.

Well, that just about wraps up our list. The exotic we didn’t cover on this list aren’t unusable, in fact, many of them could be a lot of fun to experiment with, but these six are what I have found the most success with in my time as a Destiny 2 player, so they are what I recommend. I hope you’ll give at least one of these exotics a chance in your next build!

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