Destiny 2 best Exotic weapons and how to get them (Season of the Defiance update)

hawkmoon destiny 2 logoBungie

Destiny 2 has a vast and ever-expanding weapon arsenal, sometimes leaving players overwhelmed by all of the options. But, amidst all the fodder, there are some clear-cut best exotic weapons in Destiny 2.

Destiny’s exotic weapons have always stood out as some of the most coveted items in the game, even dating back to Destiny 1. These exotic weapons can be collected through questlines, by purchasing them from Xur, completing certain missions, or even just from random drops.

Players can equip one piece of exotic armor and one exotic weapon at a time in the game, so don’t expect to roll into battle with one in each inventory slot.

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Below are 10 of the best exotic weapons in Destiny 2’s arsenal, how to find them, and what the best use case for each weapon is (PvP or PvE) with the release of Lightfall.


Best Destiny 2 exotic primary weapons


arbalest destiny Bungie
Arbalest, Linear Fusion Rifle

Best use: PvE

Arbalest is by far one of the most versatile weapons a Guardian can bring in a PvE situation. The special Linear Fusion Rifle is able to deal bonus damage to shields, regardless of the type.

Alongside this it brings a natural anti-barrier perk, being able to break champion barrier shields in one or two hits. Arbalest also still deals a good chunk of damage, despite Linear Fusion Rifles being nerfed in Lightfall.

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Arbalest can be gained via exotic world drop, making it particularly difficult to grab.


thorn destiny 2Bungie
Thorn, Hand Cannon

Best use: PvP

To many, Thorn may be the best gun for PvP that has ever been, and it has been that way for quite some time. Another Hand Cannon, Thorn pierces targets and does damage over time, with kills leaving behind remnants that increase damage when they are picked up. Like most PvP guns, this can be feast or famine at times but has serious potential in the right hands.

Thorn used to be acquired through a multi-step questline that began on the EDZ, but now can simply be purchased at the Exotic Kiosk in the Tower with the following materials.

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  • 1 Exotic Cipher
  • 125,000 Glimmer
  • 200 Dusklight Shards
  • 1 Ascendant Shard


witherhoard destiny 2Bungie
Witherhoard, Grenade Launcher

Best use: PvE

Witherhoard is one of the best Kinetic weapons in the game, especially when it comes to PvE. It also happens to be one of, if not the best, Grenade Launchers in Destiny 2.

What’s more, it’s also extremely simple to acquire this gun. All players need to do is gather the necessary resources to purchase it at the Exotic Kiosk in the Tower. This is located just next to the Vault. The cost for Witherhoard is listed below:

Witherhoard is a single-shot Grenade Launcher that specializes in area of effect damage. It’s one of the best tools for clearing out crowds and can even deal some serious damage to bosses and mini-bosses.

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Osteo Striga

osteo strigaOsteo Striga, Submachine Gun

Best use: PvE

Osteo Striga was introduced in The Witch Queen and was one of the first craftable exotics introduced into Destiny 2 as a whole. Osteo Striga is able to fire out sentient tracking rounds at your enemies, which poisons them. When a poisoned enemy dies, the explode into a poison mist, dealing damage to anything nearby it.

Osteo Striga is a fantastic workhorse weapon that can be used in almost all content, with great damage and easy usage.

Dead Man’s Tale

Dead Mans Tale Exotic Scout RifleBungie
The Dead Man’s Tale is lethal, and now available from Xur.

Best use: PvP

Previously earned as a reward in the excellent Presage quest, this old-timey scout rifle gets more powerful (and reloads faster) when you land precision hits.

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As with Hawkmoon, you can buy it from Xur, and he’ll offer a different role each week.

Best Destiny 2 exotic energy weapons

Sunshot Bungie
Sunshot, Hand Cannon

Best use: PvP & PvE

One of the OGs of Destiny 2, Sunshot hails all the way from the original game. Sunshot is a 150 RPM Hand Cannon, which fires out explosive rounds causing enemies to combust.

Sunshot is a nice and simple weapon, which, with the help of the Light 3.0 keywords introduced, has been able to remain a competitive exotic choice until this day.

Whilst Sunshot is definitely known for its PvE capabilities, it’s not a terrible PvP weapon either, and can definitely reward players with good aim.

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Unfortunately, Sunshot is an exotic world drop, meaning that it can be rather hard to come by. You’ll have to hope you’re lucky enough to pick one up while adventuring.


riskrunner destiny 2Bungie
Riskrunner, Submachine Gun

Best use: PvE

One of the most satisfying and literally electric guns in Destiny, Riskrunner stands as perhaps the game’s best Submachine Gun. Its “Arc Conductor” perk is a big reason why this gun is as powerful as it is in PvE, as it makes players resistant to Arc damage. So, for strikes and raids that deal heavily in Arc damage, Riskrunner is a great choice.

Riskrunner is obtained from an exotic engram, which players get from random exotic drops earned in various Destiny 2 activities.

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Lorentz Driver

lorentz Bungie
Lorentz Driver, Linear Fusion Rifle

Best use: PvP

Lorentz Driver has been a nuisance in PvP since its release. It’s able to mark enemies for you to take down, and when doing so, you’ll gain telemetry patterns. Collecting 3 of these telemetry patterns will grant you a damage bonus for a short duration.

This weapon has been the bane of PvP players for some time now, and definitely deserves a spot for the treachery it has caused.

Lorentz Driver is available at the exotic kiosk at the tower.


Destiny 2 Divinity Exotic WeaponBungie
Divinity can rip through Overload Champions.

Best use: PvE

Another great way of dealing with barrier champions, this trace rifle can disrupt Overload Champions with sustained fire. Not only does that stun them, but Divinity will also debuff them — meaning they’re easier to kill.

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You’ll need to complete the Garden of Salvation raid in the Shadowkeep expansion to have a chance of earning it, though.

Trinity Ghoul

trinity ghoul bowBungie
Trinity Ghoul, Combat Bow

Best use: PvE

Trinity Ghoul is ideal for working through red bar enemies in bigger boss fights. That’s because its arrows split, allowing them to take out multiple opponents, while chaining kills will cause lightning damage between the arrows, too.

The gun is obtained from an exotic engram, which players get from random exotic drops earned in various Destiny 2 activities.

Best exotic heavy weapons


Destiny 2 Gjallarhorn weaponBungie
Gjally is back, and it’s been worth waiting for.

Best use: PvE

A true legend in the Destiny franchise, Gjallarhorn returned as part of the 30th Anniversary Pack’s set of weapons. It fires Wolfpack Rounds that split into smaller explosives after an initial detonation. New in D2, though, it’ll also share these rounds with non-exotic Rocket Launchers that your fireteam is using.

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To get it, you’ll need to pick up an exotic quest once you buy the pack, then follow our guide — as a warning, though, you’ll have to complete the Grasp of Avarice dungeon, so you’ll want to put a squad together.

Xenophage Bungie
Xenophage, Machine Gun

Best use: PvE

Xenophage was an absolute king of DPS back in the day during its time in the meta. However, times  changed and Xenophage fell out of the meta.

However, it may be back in full force due to the several buffs it received throughout its time. It’s still a great DPS option for bosses that are hard to track and have small critical hit boxes. This makes it still a viable alternative as a heavy weapon.

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Xenophage can be acquired by completing the Exotic quest associated with it in Shadowkeep.

The Lament

the lament weaponBungie
The Lament, Sword

Best use: PvE

The lone Sword stands at the top of this list. The Lament is an absolute beast and allows for some of the most DPS in the game, due to its ability to be revved up and deal massive bonus damage.

The questline for The Lament is called, aptly, “Lost Lament.” The most time-consuming part of this quest involves finding dead exos throughout Europa. Otherwise, there are several steps to this quest, but it will serve to be more laborious than challenging once you’ve located those dead exos. You’ll need to finish the Beyond Light campaign to be able to start the quest.

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Best Destiny 2 Weapons for PvE and PvP (including Legendaries)

Destiny 2 has a plethora of weapons to choose from, and it’s not all about Exotics.

The following weapons are all widely considered some of the best Destiny 2 weapons in the post-Lightfall meta, so go check them out.

Best PvP Weapons in Destiny 2

We’ve put together a guide for the game’s best PvP weapons based on their usage.

Best PvE Weapons in Destiny 2

We’ve put together a guide for the game’s best PvE weapons based on their usage.

So, there you have it – that’s everything you need to know about the best weapons in Destiny 2.

Destiny 2’s Lightfall expansion was only just recently launched for the looter shooter/ MMO. Be sure to check out more of our guide content on Dexerto.

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