The Best PVE Weapons in Destiny 2 (January 2020 Season of Dawn Meta)

There are so many weapons in Destiny 2, Exotic or otherwise, that it can be really hard to know which weapons are best suited for PVE, Crucible, or Gambit. You’ve got a bank full of weapons, sure, but which ones should you actually be using? While it’s possible to just hop into PVE and see what your teammates are using, that’s not really a fun way to figure out what’s what. That’s why we’re here sharing the best PVE weapons in the current meta so you can work out your loadout before diving into the game mode.

We’ll be listing at least ten options and putting a spotlight on five of them, discussing what makes them useful. Keep in mind that you may need to do some adjusting depending on which weapons you don’t have and which slot you choose to outfit with an Exotic.

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Our picks are based off a combination of a few different sources. The largest is what the Charlemagne Discord bot which reports the current meta. Among other things, the bot tracks weapon popularity for each game mode. This is super useful to get our baseline information. We also use general community consensus from the Destiny subreddit and our own experiences playing PVE.

This list was last updated on January 6, 2020.

Best PVE Kinetic Weapons

Wish-Ender / No Turning Back (Bow)

There is currently a bug with Wish-Ender that allows it to do massive amounts of damage. This is particularly helpful in Gambit when it comes to dealing with blockers and primevals. We won’t link to the bug here, but if you see the bow a lot, that’s why.

Steelfeather Repeater (Auto Rifle)

Steelfeather Repeater is one of the first Sundial weapons you get and it’s actually super good.

The Mountaintop (Grenade Launcher)

With the domination of The Recluse in the energy slot, the most experienced players have turned to The Mountaintop, another pinnacle weapon, in their primary slot. With Mountaintop you’ll have good boss DPS while using Recluse for close combat and a machine gun as wave clear.

Bygones / Blast Furnace (Pulse Rifle)

Bygones and Blast Furnace have long been the benchmarks for a good pulse rifle. If you don’t have one yet, what are you doing? Try and get one with Feeding Frenzy and Kill Clip. It’ll help minimize the amount of time you’re stuck reloading and help you put down more enemies before running out of ammo.

Randy’s Throwing Knife / Patron of the Lost Causes (Scout Rifle)

The Season of the Undying Crucible ritual weapon requires a significant number of Scout Rifle final blows. It was quite the grind last season and still is for many who are yet to earn it. The good news is folks still seem to be using it even though the season has ended. If you have it, feel free to equip it! It seems solid.

Izanagi’s Burden (Sniper Rifle)

Hands down, Izanagi’s Burden is one of the best PVE weapons in the game right now. It’s second to none when it comes to damaging bosses with precision damage.

Breachlight (Sidearm)

Sidearms have never really made an appearance on any of our best Destiny weapons lists. This season may be the one exception since the Vanguard’s ritual weapon is Buzzard, a legendary sidearm. Getting it requires a whole lot of sidearm final blows. As expected, many of the other sidearms have completely disappeared now that the initial save of folks has earned Buzzard.

Best PVE Energy Weapons

The Recluse / Riskrunner (SMG)

SMGs continue to be the meta choice for the energy slot. Even with the latest nerfs, The Recluse is so powerful because it can rapidly eliminate adds. Kill an opponent with any weapon and the SMG will get a damage boost. Kills with The Recluse itself will increase reload speed for a short time. It is the best weapon in the game. Of course, getting it requires being very good at Crucible as it’s one of the Season of the Drifter Pinnacle weapons. If you haven’t earned it yet, we recommend the new solo queue competitive playlist.

Riskrunner is a viable alternative. It’s especially powerful if you find yourself fighting enemies that deal arc damage.

Sunshot (Hand Cannon)

There are so many powerful enemies with shields this season that Eriana’s Vow has stayed popular. Bungie also gives you an exotic catalyst quest that requires completing a whole bunch of activities with the weapon equipped which could be boosting its popularity.

With its recent buff, Sunshot also finds itself in the top ten energy weapons.

Symmetry / Oxygen SR3 (Scout Rifle)

Scout Rifles have never really been that great anywhere unless it was the Momentum Control in Crucible. Symmetry, however, looks like it might just be in the meta thanks to its perks. Not only is it full auto, but precision hits build up Arc Seeker charges. When you finally swap over to that mode by holding reload, these seekers track enemies and deal extra damage. They’re really good at clearing yellow bar adds.

Oxygen SR3 is not a great scout rifle despite being a pinnacle weapon. It’s just underwhelming when it comes to damage output and as a result it’s usually not a popular gun. That hasn’t stopped it from being prevalent this season though.

Subtle Calamity (Bow)

As someone with an Explosive Head + Dragonfly Subtle Calamity, I can assure you that good rolls perform incredibly well.

Fighting Lion (Grenade Launcher)

Fighting Lion has always been a solid single tube grenade launcher. The only thing that has really kept it from being more popular is the availability of The Mountaintop which doesn’t chew up an exotic slot. If you don’t have that one, Fighting Lion is another good option.

Outlast / Graviton Lance (Pulse Rifle)

This Gambit Prime weapon is making its debut on any of our best weapons lists. This is likely thanks to the new seasonal artifact which encourages both Solar energy and pulse rifles, both of which fit the description here.

Graviton Lance got a 30% buff late last year and has become a viable pulse rifle option as a result.

Telesto (Fusion Rifle)

Whenever it’s not bugged, Telesto is always a solid choice thanks to its sticky projectiles and ability to reload your weapons from reserves.

Best PVE Power Weapons

21% Delirium / Hammerhead / Avalanche / Edgewise / Thunderlord / Xenophage (Machine Guns)

Destiny 2 machine guns reign supreme when it comes to basic PVE encounters. No other power weapon can deal such large amounts of damage to such a high number of enemies in such a short amount of time. Just make sure you’re not using them against bosses during DPS phases. Bungie nerfed their effectiveness against bosses a few patches ago.

Wendigo GL3 / Love and Death (Grenade Launcher)

Grenade Launchers have seen a huge boost as boss melters this season, with anything that has Spike Grenades being especially favored.

Black Talon (Sword)

Black Talon got an exotic catalyst alongside Lord of Wolves with the Season of Dawn launch. With it, shots blocked immediately after guarding increase the damage of Crow’s Wings for a very short duration.

Pyroclastic Flow (Rocket Launcher)

Rocket Launchers really aren’t in a great place right now. Cluster Bomb can only do so much to make up for their lackluster damage. Pyroclastic Flow is likely only here since it’s part of the season pass and able to be grinded for from the Tower Obelisk.

Update History

January 2020

  • Kinectic – Added Bygones, Patron of the Lost Causes, Blast Furnace. Removed Rat King, Smuggler’s Word, Lonesome.
  • Energy – Added Fighting Lion, Graviton Lance, Telesto, Oxygen SR3. Removed Eriana’s Vow, Drang, Anonymous Autumn, Translation Theory.
  • Heavy – Added Avalanche, Pyroclastic Flow, Xenophage. Removed Fixed Odds, Bad Omens.

December 2019 (Season of Dawn Update)

  • Kinectic – Added Breachlight, Steelfeather Repeater, Wish-Ender, Rat King, Smuggler’s Word, No Turning Back, Randy’s Throwing Knife, Lonesome. Removed Braytech Werewolf, Pluperfect, Sweet Business, Breakneck, Exit Strategy, Huckleberry, Ace of Spades, Go Figure.
  • Energy – Added Symmetry, Outlast, Drang, Anonymous Autumn, Translation Theory. Removed Subjunctive, Misfit, Arc Logic, Arsenic Bite, Fighting Lion.
  • Heavy – Added Edgewise, Black Talon, Bad Oments, Crooked Fang-4fr. Removed Temporal Clause, Avalanche, Edge Transit, Swarm of the Raven.

December 2019

  • Kinectic – Added Exit Strategy. Removed Monte Carlo.
  • Energy – Added Arc Logic. Removed Loaded Question, Graviton Lance.
  • Heavy – Added Love and Death, Swarm of the Raven, Avalanche. Removed Through Fire and Flood, Zenobia-D.

November 2019

  • Kinectic – Added Braytech Werewolf, Sweet Business, The Huckleberry. Removed Outbreak Perfected, Ten Paces, Duke Mk 44.
  • Energy – Added Graviton Lance. Removed Arc Logic.
  • Heavy – Added Temporal Clause, Zenobia-D. Removed A Fine Memorial.

October 2019 (Update 2)

  • Kinectic – Added Monte Carlo, Duke Mk. 44, Pluperfect. Removed Austringer, Huckleberry, Trackless Wastes.
  • Energy – Added Subtle Calamity, Eriana’s Vow, Misfit, Arsenic Bite, Sunshot. Removed Every Waking Moment, Reckless Oracle, Telesto.
  • Heavy – Added Fixed odds, Through Fire and Flood, Zenobia-D, Avalanche. Removed Play of the Game, Swarm of the Raven, Love and Death, Deathbringer, One Thousand Voices.

October 2019

  • Kinectic – Added Go Figure, Ten Paces, Smuggler’s Word, and Trackless Waste. Removed Bad Juju, Midnight Coup, Rose, Blase Furnace.
  • Energy – Added Reckless Oracle, Subjunctive, Arc Logic, Every Waking Moment. Removed Sunshot, Ikelos Shotgun, Telesto, Graviton Lance, Jotunn, and Misfit.
  • Heavy – Added Wendigo GL3, Deathbringer, A Fine Memorial, One Thousand Voices, Love and Death. Removed Outrageous Fortune, Anarchy, Tractor Cannon, The Wardcliff Coil.

September 2019

  • Energy – Added Graviton Lance, IKELOS_SG_v1.01, Misfit, Jötunn. Removed Prometheus Lance, Tarrabah, Nation of Beasts, Hard Light.
  • Heavy – Added The Wardcliff Coil, Anarchy, Tractor Cannon, Edge Transit. Removed Fixed Odds, Wendigo GL3, Through Fire and Flood, One Thousand Voices.

August 2019

  • Kinetic – Added Rose. Removed Lumina.
  • Energy – Added Riskrunner, Prometheus Lens, Nation of Beasts, and Hard Light. Removed Beloved, Kindled Orchid, Trust, and The Epicurean.
  • Power – Added Play of the Game and Through Fire and Flood. Removed Bane of Sorrow and Legend of Acrius.

June 2019

  • Kinetic – Added Austringer, Lumina, and Bad Juju. Removed Go Figure, Duke Mk. 44, Threat Level.
  • Energy – Added Tarrabah, Beloved, Sunshot, The Epicurean, and Trust. Removed Riskrunner, IKELOS, Jotunn, Telesto, and Subtle Calamity.
  • Power – Added Fixed Odds, Wendigo GL3, Legend of Acrius, and Swarm of the Raven. Removed Play of the Game, Edge Transit, Through Fire and Flood, and Bad Omens.

June 2019

  • Kinetic – Added The Mountaintop and Threat Level. Removed Bygones and Thorn.
  • Energy – Added Fighting Lion, Loaded QUestion, CALUS Mini-Tool, and Subtle Calamity. Removed Nation of Beasts, Trust, Hard Light, and Misfit.
  • Power – Added Play of the Game, Edge Transit, Through Fire and Blood, and Bane of Sorrows. Removed The Wardcliff Coil, Tractor Cannon, Whisper of the Worm, and Avalanche.

May 2019

  • Kinetic – Removed Spare Rations.
  • Energy – Added Telesto, Hard Light, Misfit. Removed The Ringing Nail, Luna’s Howl, and Prometheus Lens.
  • Power – Added Bad Omens. Removed The Prospector.

And that’s that for our guide to the best PVE weapons in Destiny 2! Thanks for taking the time to check it out. We wish all of you trigger happy Guardians out there the best of luck in mowing down the forces of darkness.


Dillon Skiffington

Guides Editor at Fanbyte. Dillon is probably thinking about Destiny 2 right now.

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  1. You’re wrong about sidearms. Breachlight, lonesome, last hope and any other sidearms I’m not thinking of that roll with multikillclip are the best ad clearing weapons in the game after the recluse nerf. They do more damage to the body, more crit damage, are much better at range and do more dps overall then smgs including recluse….

    1. My guess would potentially be that due to the rotating forge, Blast Furnace has spiked downwards as its not as easily acquirable as it used to be?

  2. Just as a heads up, you have Loaded Question/Telesto marked as “Trace” rifles, when they should be “Fusion”, as the description states. Trace rifles are weapons like Prometheus Lens, Coldheart, etc.

      1. No problem. Bad JuJu might want to be re-added to the top, since the String of Curses perc wasn’t nerfed with the recent Rampage,etc nerf.

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