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 your next strike or dungeon.
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 use an Exotic.
More Destiny 2:
- The Best Crucible Weapons in Destiny 2 (June 2020 Season of Arrivals Meta)
- The Best Gambit Weapons in Destiny 2 (June 2020 Season of Arrivals Meta)
- Destiny 2 Prophecy Dungeon Guide – How to Complete Every Encounter
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 guide was last updated on June 15, 2020 after one week of Season of Arrivals.
Best PVE Kinetic Weapons
Witherhoard / The Mountaintop (Grenade Launcher)
Witherhoard, the latest free season pass exotic, is admittedly already strong. It’s super forgiving when it comes to landing your shots. If you miss, it’ll still create a useful area-of-effect (AOE) damage zone on the ground and most enemies aren’t smart enough to avoid it. If it lands the grenade instead goes inside of enemies and slowly damages them over time (DOT). Should they fall to the DOT, they’ll melt into the aforementioned AOE damage zone. On top of that it’s also bugged at the moment and can do massive amounts of damage, killing raid bosses in under ten seconds.
The Mountaintop remains atop the heap, however, but the difficulty to obtain it does put this out of reach for many players. If you don’t have it now, it’s been capped at 1060 power and won’t be feasible for endgame content come September.
False Promises / The Forward Path (Auto Rifle)
False Promises isn’t the best Auto Rifle available, admittedly. It is, however, freely available and super fun to use. Try to get one with Feeding Frenzy or Overflow and Rampage as the final perk and you should have a great time with it.
If you really want to rock Auto Rifles, the best choice is The Forward Path from Season 1’s Iron Banner efforts. That is, at least until this season’s Iron Banner returns and you can earn it with a much higher power limit.
Lonesome / Breachlight (Sidearm)
A lot of players are using Lonesome as it’s now more easily available, but Breachlight is likely still the best Sidearm to rock for the moment.
Spare Rations / Ace of Spades / Dire Promise (Hand Cannon)
Honestly, Spare Rations and Ace of Spades are the go-tos for Hand Cannons. The former is best if you’re running any activity with champions since you’ll need the weapon mods. Ace of Spades is incredibly accurate, provides radar even when zoomed in, and lets you really knock down enemies in rapid succession once Memento Mori has been activated. Also Firefly is always great. Dire Promise is a popular choice which is the only real reason is makes this list. We think it’s better left for Crucible, however.
Outbreak Perfected (Pulse Rifle)
Season of Arrivals is the perfect time for Outbreak Perfected and other exotic Pulse Rifles. Why? Because the seasonal artifact has an all-new Unstoppable Pulse Rifle armor mod. All previous mods of this type have been limited to weapons themselves meaning exotics were not viable for endgame content with champions. Now you can just slap this one on and take whatever exotic Pulse Rifle you want into battle. We just recommend Outbreak Perfected because it’s clearly the best.
Best PVE Energy Weapons
The Recluse / Death Adder / Riskrunner (SMG)
Until the power limit goes into effect in September, The Recluse will likely remain at the top of the heap. If you don’t have that, Death Adder is a good alternative though you’ll need to grind the Prophecy dungeon to get it. With Feeding Frenzy and Dragonfly it can be nearly as powerful.
The Riskrunner has proven time and time again to be the best Exotic SMG in the game. Its ability to clear entire rooms of enemies with ease makes it a go-to choice for anyone facing down Arc damaging enemies such as the Fallen. Riskrunner is also quite good in the Garden of Salvation raid since you can trigger the Arc damage by stepping into the Vex Milk.
Trinity Ghoul (Bow)
Say hello to Trinity Ghoul, Guardians. Thanks to an all-new catalyst introduced last week. Without it, precision kills give the next shot chain-lightning abilities. But once it’s added any Arc final blow will cause the Lightning Rod to activate. Needless to say, that’s incredibly powerful when it comes to clearing enemies.
Gnawing Hunger / The Summoner / Hard Light / Reckless Oracle (Auto Rifle)
With the return of Oppressive Darkness, Void energy is back in style. It’s a big reason why Gnawing Hunger is popular once again. And the best news? You can get it from Umbral Engrams. No more having to grind The Reckoning. Reckless Oracle is a good alternative if you have one.
Surprisingly, even after getting hit with a pretty substantial nerf, Hard Light is still a favorite among PVE players. This is due to Hard Light having a large magazine, great rate of fire, and ricochet rounds, making it great for taking on multiple foes. The changing elements also cannot be overlooked, as it’s perfect for any activity with the Match Game modifier.
Finally, if you’ve managed to get The Summoner to drop from Trials of Osiris, that too seems popular.
Sunshot (Hand Cannon)
Sunshot has always been hovering right around the top ten weapons in Destiny. It continues to just plug away as a solid exotic to use at basically any time.
Divinity (Trace Rifle)
Basically any endgame PVE activity is helped by the addition of Divinity. In combination with some Xenophages, the two can dole out massive amounts of damage to bosses. While Xenophage can’t crit normally, when the Judgment perk creates the weakening field it can!
Other Good Weapons
Eriana’s Vow (Hand Cannon)
Best PVE Power Weapons
Hammerhead / 21% Delirium / Xenophage (Machine Guns)
Machine Guns have it good right now. With Hammerhead and 21% Delirium to clear high numbers of low level enemies and Xenophage to help out on the DPS front. The first two are absolutely fantastic, particularly on PC where Hammerhead has next to zero recoil. As we just mentioned, Xenophage can help do some quick DPS to bosses or majors which makes it unique among Machine Guns.
Falling Guillotine / Temptation’s Hook / Steel Sybil Z-14/ Black Talon / Honor’s Edge
Swords are seriously up there when it comes to DPS and the addition of Falling Guillotine and Temptation’s Hook further solidifies that. Those two are really Legendary version of Dark Drinker and Bolt Caster which were Exotics in the original Destiny. What’s not to like about having those perks on a Legendary weapon?
With their rework, blocking no longer costs ammo which means you can soak a huge amount of damage without a worry in the world. As such, tons of players have been turning to swords for the sake of survivability on top of their damage. Plus, you can one phase bosses like The Deception in Crown of Sorrows and even Riven in Last Wish if your team has a Titan bubble!
Anarchy / Wendigo GL3 (Grenade Launcher)
The Scourge of the Past raid exotic, Anarchy is a supremely unique and potent weapon. Capable of denying entire areas, this grenade launcher is the king of dealing passive damage. Despite not being a meta pick for the Garden of Salvation, it still has some utility in the Crown of Sorrows raid during the Deception fight. Even though its damage numbers aren’t as high as other choices on this list, Anarchy’s creative design make it a wicked fun gun to use.
One Thousand Voices (Fusion Rifle)
Now that Bungie has made it easier than ever to get One Thousand Voices. Drop chance begins at 10% and increases to a max of 50% over 20 clears. That’s still a lot, but it makes the weapon much more accessible and it’s a good thing because this thing packs a hell of a punch and is second to none to all other Fusion Rifles.
A Note on Rocket Launchers
Rocket Launchers are still lackluster when it comes to DPS. When it comes to PVE that’s the only thing that matters so they often take a back seat to basically everything. Bad Omens still remains the best launcher available, but it just can’t keep up with the rest of the power weapons on this list.
- Kinetic – Added Witherhoard, False Promises, and Lonesome. Removed Monte Carlo, Breakneck, Austringer, Seventh Seraph Carbine, Steelfeather Repeater, and Sweet Business.
- Energy – Added Trinity Ghoul, Gnawing Hunger, Reckless Oracle. Removed Tommy’s Matchbook, Seventh Seraph CQC-12, Loaded Question, Trophy Hunter, and Python.
- Heavy – Added Temptation’s Hook, Wendigo GL3, and Falling Guillotine. Removed Heir Apparant and Love and Death.
- Kinetic – Added Breckneck and Austringer. Removed Breachlight and Exit Strategy.
- Energy – Added The Summoner, Trophy Hunter, Python, Divinity, and Seventh Seraph CQC-12. Removed Arc Logic and Fourth Horseman.
- Heavy – Added Goldtusk, Heir Apparent, Anarchy. Removed Thunderlord, Wendigo GL3, and Stryker’s Sure Hand.
- Kinectic – Added Seventh Seraph Carbine, Dire Promise, Outbreak Perfected. Removed Breakneck, Sweet Business.
- Energy – Added Sunshot, Last Hope, Seventh Seraph VY-7, The Fourth Horseman, Loaded Question. Removed Symmetry, Misfit.
- Heavy – Added Honor’s Edge, Black Talon, Interference VI, Steel Sybil Z-14, Stryker’s Sure Hand. Removed Anarchy.
- Kinectic – Added Spare Rations, Sweet Business, Breakneck, Exit Strategy. Removed No Turning Back, Randy’s Throwing Knife, Patron of the Lost Causes, Izanagi’s Burden, Bygones, Blast Furnace.
- Energy – Added Tommy’s Matchbook, Hard Light, Arc Logic, Misfit. Removed Subtle Calamity, Arsenic Bite-4b, Fighting Lion, Devil’s Ruin, Outlast.
- Heavy – Added Anarchy. Removed Avalanche, Edgewise, Love and Death, Pyroclastic Flow, Zenobia-D.
- Kinectic – Added Monte Carlo, Ace of Spades. Removed Wish-Ender.
- Energy – Added Arsenic Bite-4b, Devil’s Ruin. Removed Oxygen SR3, Graviton Lance, Telesto.
- Heavy – Added Zenobia-D. Removed Black Talon.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.