Best Destiny 2 Exotic weapons for PvE and PvP, ranked

Amitesh Dhar
All three guardians standing in front of light i destiny 2Bungie

Destiny 2 has a lot of Exotic weapons for you to use. However, with the constantly evolving meta it can be hard to which are the ideal choice, s here are the best Exotic weapons for both PvE and PvP.

In Destiny 2, you will come across a specific group of weapons known as Exotics that are more powerful than their Legendary or Rare counterparts and are usually locked behind quests or drop from Dungeons and Raids.

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These Exotic weapons have intrinsic perks that allow them to deal additional damage or add some status effects to the enemy under specific circumstances.

Most of these Exotic weapons have a strong neutral game, but some of them synergize very well with specific builds in Destiny 2. That said, here are the best Exotics that the game has to offer.

Best Exotic weapons for PvE activities in Destiny 2

There are different ways in which you can get your hands on these Exotic weapons in Destiny 2. You can either buy it from Xur, whenever he comes to the system every weekend.

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You can also purchase some of these weapons from the Exotic Archive at the Tower. Alternatively, you can also get these Exotics as random world drops, or by completing certain quests associated with them.

That said, these are the Exotic weapons that you should be looking out for in the game:

10. The Lament

The Lament in Destiny 2.Bungie
The Lament in Destiny 2 can be used to break the shields of Barrier Champions.

The Lament is one of the few Exotic swords that Destiny 2 has to offer. Added during the Beyond Light expansion, this weapon is a good choice for a DPS weapon against bosses who love to get close to you during damage phases. It also has intrinsic Anti-Barrier capabilities so you can hack through those Barrier Champions with ease.

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9. Osteo Striga

The Osteo Striga in Destiny 2.Bungie
The Osteo Striga is the only SMG that deals poison damage.

Bungie introduced weapon crafting in The Witch Queen expansion and Osteo Striga was one of the first craftable Exotic weapons in Destiny 2 and is capable of dealing poison damage. Quite similar to the Witherhoard, this weapon can be used to deal tick damage to bosses, but it’s best used to clear out ads in Raids and Dungeons.

8. Gjallarhorn

Destiny 2 gjallarhornBungie
The Gjallarhorn and its catalyst drops from the Grasp of Avarice dungeon.

Gjallarhorn was initially a part of Destiny 1, but this Exotic weapon was later on introduced in Destiny 2 alongside the 30th Anniversary expansion. While Gjallarhorn isn’t a DPS machine, it comes with an intrinsic known as Wolfpack Rounds, which buffs the damage output of the Rocket Launchers used by your teammates. If you’re opting for Rocket damage during the Boss DPS phases, then it’s important to have a Gjallarhorn in the mix.

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7. Divinity

The Divinity in Destiny 2.Bungie
Divinity is one of the most popular Trace Rifles in the game.

Introduced in the Shadowkeep expansion, Divinity could only be earned through the Garden of Salvation Raid. While it didn’t drop from any specific encounter, you had to complete elaborate puzzles within the Raid to unlock this weapon. The Divinity is a Trace Rifle. When you shoot an enemy continuously, it forms a cage around the enemy. Any shot in this cage is regarded as a crit shot and the enemy takes 15% additional damage.

6. Tractor Cannon

The Tractor Cannon in Destiny 2.Bungie
Tractor Cannon can be unlocked from the Exotic Archive at the Tower.

Tractor Cannon rose to popularity in Destiny 2 after Divinity was nerfed. This Exotic weapon in Destiny 2, when used on an enemy, causes them to take an additional 30% damage for 11 seconds. If you’re sure that you will be able to land the crit shots without much effort, then this is a very good alternative for boss DPS phases.

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5. Sunshot

The Sunshot in Destiny 2.Bungie
The Sunshot works well with almost every Solar build in the game.

The Solar Subclass in Destiny 2 came into the limelight in Season of the Wish, and Sunshot was one of the few weapons that instantly became a part of the meta. intrinsic perk on this weapon activates whenever you land a precision hit on a target. If the target dies in that shot, then they explode, scorching nearby enemies. Although it’s not a good boss DPS option, it’s a geat choice for clearing ads.

4. Witherhoard

The Witherhoard in Destiny 2.Bungie
The Witherhoard is the only Kinetic Grenade Launcher in Destiny 2.

The Witherhoard is a versatile Exotic weapon in Destiny 2. Not only can you use it for ad-clearing, but you can also use it to damage a boss over time. If you shoot a surface, it creates a blighted area, inflicting damage if enemies step into this area.

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If you shoot an enemy instead, then they take damage for a short period, and if they die within this period, a blighted area is created at the spot where the enemies die.

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3. Izanagi’s Burden

Izanagi's Burden in Destiny 2.Bungie
Izanagi’s Burden is one of the few Sniper Rifles that you can use during DPS phases.

If you want to see some top damage numbers, and you aren’t afraid of some complicated rotations, try out the Izanagi-Rocket damage combination. While it might not be the best Sniper Rifle in the game, it’s probably the best Sniper Exotic that the game has to offer.

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If you manage to unlock the catalyst, the Honed Edge intrinsic perk will help you increase your damage numbers as well. This is one Exotic weapon you should not be sleeping on in Destiny 2.

2. Trinity Ghoul

The Trinity Ghoul in Destiny 2.Bungie
The Trinity Ghoul can be used with almost every build in the game.

This Exotic weapon in Destiny 2 is by far one of the best ad-clearing options. Its intrinsic perk is known as Lightning Rod, causing lightning to strike the area where the bow hits after a kill. These lightning strikes are enough to kill red-bar enemies.

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1. Wish-Ender

The Wish-Ender in Destiny 2.Bungie
The Wish-Ender is a powerful Kinetic Bow.

The Wish-Ender is one of the best weapons to deal with Anti-Barrier Champions in the game. To get the Bow, you will have to complete a quest within the Shattered Throne Dungeon. Once unlocked, you will find yourself using this weapon quite a lot in Grandmaster Nightfalls in Destiny 2.

Best Exotic weapons for PvP activities in Destiny 2

Unfortunately, there aren’t many Exotic weapons that are tailored for PvP activities in Destiny 2. Although there isn’t any rule that prevents you from using certain Exotics in the PvP mode, the weapons themselves don’t perform well.

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There are, however, a few weapons that have made their name in the PvP sector in Destiny 2. These Exotics are as follows:

5. Hawkmoon

Hawkmoon rose to popularity because of its PvP-oriented perks

It’s safe to assume that the Hawkmoon is one of the best Exotic Handcannons in the game, provided it has the right rolls. This Exotic weapon in Destiny 2 is one of the few Exotics that has multiple rolls available. Although there was a mission associated with it, the only way to get this weapon right now is to purchase it from Xur every week.

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4. Ace of Spades

Ace of SpadesBungie
Cayde-6 immortalized the Ace of Spades in Destiny 2.

Introduced during the Forsaken expansion, the Ace of Spades is probably one of the most iconic weapons in the entire franchise. The Ace of Spades was initially owned by Cayde-6 and was later transferred to the Guardian at the end of the Forsaken campaign after Uldren Sov was defeated. Following the vaulting of the Forsaken campaign, it can be acquired from the Exotic Archive at the Tower. This weapon has a pretty amazing set of rolls that makes it wonderful in PvP activities.

3. Thorn

Thorn Hand Cannon in Destiny 2Bungie
Thorn is one of the few Weapons of Sorrow in Destiny 2.

Lore-wise, Thorn is an important Exotic weapon in Destiny 2. It’s believed to be crafted by Dredgen Yor from the Rose, which happens to be a Legendary weapon in the game.

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Thorn is also capable of dealing poison damage, just like the Osteo Striga, but being a Hand Cannon, it’s more favorable for PvP activities. It received a catalyst in Season 22, which gave the weapon additional range and stability.

2. Dead Man’s Tale

Dead Man's TaleBungie
The Dead Man’s Tale Exotic Scout Rifle belongs to the Tex Machina foundry.

Not everyone is comfortable using Sniper Rifles in PvP activities. Those who want to take the fight to their enemies at long range but can’t use a Sniper properly can use Scout Rifles in Destiny 2. The Dead Man’s Tale is an Exotic Scout Rifle that was introduced in the Season of the Haunted. This weapon was locked behind the Presage mission, which is also a part of the Exotic mission rotation in the game right now. When introduced, this weapon shot to popularity amongst PvP players because of its range and sheer damage output.

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1. Conditional Finality

Conditional FinalityBungie
Conditional Finality works well with both Solar and Stasis builds.

Conditional Finality is the newest Exotic weapon to go live in Destiny 2, and it’s also the best in PvP. To get this weapon, you need to complete the Nezarec encounter in the Root of Nightmares raid.

The weapon can deal both Solar and Stasis damage, but that’s not the best part. The real draw is that Conditional Finality is a Shotgun, which makes it best suited for close-quarters combat in PvP activities.

That sums up our list of best Exotic weapons in Destiny 2. For more information about the game, be sure to check out the following links:

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About The Author

Amitesh is a writer at CharlieINTEL. When not writing about video games, you'll find him immersed in either Destiny 2 or Diablo 4, trying to perfect builds for different activities. You can get in touch with him at [email protected]