Destiny 2 has been live on consoles for almost a month now, giving players plenty of time to level their Guardians and begin collecting some of the game’s most sought after loot. And once a Guardian reaches level 20 – the first soft level cap, reachable through earned experience – Destiny 2 becomes all about getting that loot.
Destiny 2‘s weapons and armors come in several different rarities, ranging from uncommon and rare to legendary and exotic. The exotic or yellow-coded gear is by far the best loot to get, often significantly bumping up a Guardian’s power level – which, after reaching the XP level 20 becomes the real signifier of a Guardian’s worth. So if a player wants their Guardian to take part in the more challenging, end-game content, they’ll need to have an exotic or two equipped.
Being such powerful gear, exotics do come with limitations – like only being able to wear one exotic piece of armor and use one exotic weapon at a time. This makes knowing which exotic armor and weapons are the best very important, and on that front, we have you covered.
Here are the Best Exotic Weapons and Armor in Destiny 2:
BEST EXOTIC WEAPONS
Merciless (Fusion Rifle)
Cutting to the chase, Merciless is without a doubt a big favorite in the Destiny community. In fact, to hear some players talk about this solar fusion rifle, this gun is already a top contender to be Destiny 2‘s answer to the mighty Gjallarhorn. The reason behind this immediate love affair with Merciless is its perk, Conserve Momentum, which allows non-lethal hits with projectiles to charge the weapon faster until its wielder gets a kill. Add to that its increased damage after reloading, an extended magazine, and its pretty stable handling and what you have here is one incredibly powerful fusion rifle. Merciless is a must-have gun for PvE, but it can be a real difference maker in PvP matches as well.
Tractor Cannon (Shotgun)
Besides a unique design, what sets the Tractor Cannon apart from other shotguns (and exotics for that matter) are the unusual ways its perk and trait can be deployed in a firefight. Its intrinsic perk is Repulsor Force, which pushes away enemies when fired. Surely, some can already see what a monster that can be in Crucible matches, with the Guardian who’s equipped the Tractor Cannon sending their enemies flying off edges and into bottomless pits. This force push also makes the Tractor Cannon great for mobs of enemies in PvE play, giving Guardians a chance to catch their breath and better think how they’ll be clearing a path. Additionally, this void shotgun grants extra speed and handling after damaging an enemy, meaning if you want to use the Tractor Cannon’s Repulsor Force for a quick getaway, you’ll be fast enough to do just that.
MIDA Multi-Tool (Scout Rifle)
The MIDA Multi-Tool isn’t a new gun for Destiny 2 but rather a holdover from the first game, and boy, are we glad it’s back. There are other legendary and even exotic scout rifles that make for fantastic additions to any arsenal – like Skyburner’s Oath, an exotic solar scout rifle that does extra damage to Cabal – but none are as universally useful as the MIDA Mult-Tool. This kinetic scout rifle boasts increased stability, has rounds that knock back enemies, and keeps the radar active when looking down sights. Those bonuses in themselves would be enough to make the Multi-Tool the must have scout rifle of the game, but when equipped with the legendary submachine gun, MIDA Mini-Tool, Guardians get increased movement speed to boot!
The Wardcliff Coil (Rocket Launcher)
This is a bizarre looking gun, no bones about it, but it’s what this arc rocket launcher can do that makes it so appealing. Its intrinsic perk, Mad Scientist, allows it to fire a volley of rockets in a single shot which is, frankly, a wonder to behold in action. Couple that with its optimization for an especially explosive payload and its ability to automatically reload upon ammo pickup, and Wardcliffe Coil is easily one of the funkiest looking and most fun to use rocket launchers in the game.
Rat King (Sidearm)
Another winner from the wacky design department comes in Rat King, a handy little sidearm that’s perfect for the whole fireteam. No, really, Rat King’s intrinsic perk makes the weapon stronger when nearby fireteam members also have Rat King equipped; a bonus which can stack up to six times. That in itself is a wonderful perk, but Rat King is also pretty stable, has good range, a quick reload, and a decent magazine size. And as if that weren’t enough to make players desire this kinetic sidearm, when a Guardian reloads Rat King immediately after a kill, they’ll turn invisible.
Borealis (Sniper Rifle)
We were hesitant to include any weapons or armor that were exclusive in some fashion, either as a pre-order bonus or console specific, but it just wouldn’t be right to leave Borealis off the list. This is a sniper rifle for any occasion, boasting the ability to change its elemental damage from arc to void to solar at will. And for anyone who’s played Destiny 2‘s redesigned Nightfall strikes, being able to easily and quickly switch from one element to another is an indispensable perk. Add to that this sniper rifle’s extended mag, balanced barrel, and optimized recoil control and it’s perfect for hanging back and packing a wallop. Oh, and did we mention it will transfer a bullet from reserves to magazine when breaking an enemy’s shield? Yeah, it does that, too. So apologies to Xbox One players and soon those on PC, but Borealis is a PS4 exclusive (for now) and a must-have sniper rifle.
Sweet Business (Auto Rifle)
Though classified as an auto rifle, Sweet Business has more in common with a Gatling or mini-gun in that it can and will mow down just about anything in your way. This is the perfect weapon for wading into heavy fire, with its bonus to hip fire accuracy, recoil reduction, and high-caliber rounds that knock enemies back. As an added perk, holding down the trigger boosts range and rate of fire and automatically reloads upon ammo pickups – making it so nothing can stop your Guardian when you’re on a roll.
Sunshot (Hand Cannon)
Whether you fire precisely or in a bit of a spray, Sunshot has you covered. This solar hand cannon has Accurized Rounds, meaning it can fire at long distances, but it also has Sun Blast, which causes enemies killed by Sunshot to explode, damaging nearby enemies. From there, Sunshot’s perk kicks in, Sunburn, marking enemies who’ve taken damage from the hand cannon. With Sunshot equipped, it’s easy to keep track of what’s on its way and how much more it’ll take to wipe it out, making this an all around great addition to your Guardian’s arsenal.
Riskrunner (Submachine Gun)
Submachine guns are new to Destiny 2 and they’ve received a bit of a lukewarm reception from the game’s community. But were there one submachine gun that can make any player a fan (besides the Multi-Tool’s partner, MIDA Mini-Tool) it’d be Riskrunner. This arc submachine gun is perfect when taking arc damage as it increases its own damage output when under arc fire, allowing Guardians who are getting pummeled to strike back even harder. Additionally, when Arc Conductor is active, Riskrunner’s shots have a chance to become chain lightning and return ammo. All in all, Riskrunner can pack a punch, perfect for a dangerous close encounter.
The Prospector (Grenade Launcher)
The Prospector has one of the neatest designs in the game, hearkening back to a simpler time of Old West shootouts. It can also practically guarantee you’d win that shootout with its high-capacity drum, explosive payload, and great recoil control. Sweetening the deal even more is The Prospector’s intrinsic perk, which lets players fire all their grenades in quick succession when holding down the trigger, and upon releasing it, detonates the whole bunch simultaneously. Were anyone to have had this gun years ago it wouldn’t have just been a gunfight at the O.K. Corral, but an annihilation.
Vigilance Wing (Pusle Rifle)
Last but certainly not least, Vigilance Wing is by far one of Destiny 2‘s most beautiful guns, with a design that could have come straight from Destiny 1‘s Trials of Osiris. More than just a pretty face, the real reason you’ll fall in love with Vigilance Wing is its five-round burst. Yes, you read that right – five-round burst. But that isn’t the only thing that makes Vigilance Wing a standout, it’s also quite handy when playing with a fireteam and you quickly find yourself as the last Guardian standing. Thanks to its intrinsic perk, Harsh Truths, when a nearby ally is killed, those with Vigilance Wing will gain health regeneration and increased movement speed. Plus, if you are the last Guardian standing, the pulse rifle gives you improved weapon performance, meaning you’ll be more likely to hang on until your teammates can return or be revived.
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