Destiny 2 best exotic weapons – Our top 10 picks you need for The Final Shape

Destiny 2 best exotic weapons – Our top 10 picks you need for The Final Shape
Finlay Cattanach Updated on by

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Want the Destiny 2 best exotic weapons? Bungie’s space-faring FPS is filled to overflowing with weapons and armaments to fight against enemies of the Last City. Among the strongest of these are exotic grade weapons.

But as powerful as they are, what are the Destiny 2 best exotic weapons? That’s what we’re going to answer here, ensuring that you’ve got the best weapons unlocked and ready by the Final Shape release date, and for facing down the challenges of Destiny 2 season 23. If you’re curious about armor exotics, we’ve covered the best Hunter exotics, best Warlock exotics, and best Titan exotics in separate guides for you.

What are the best exotic weapons for Destiny 2 The Final Shape?

Here are our top ten picks for the best exotic weapons in Destiny 2 that you should pick up in time for the Final Shape. Keep in mind though that our choices aren’t in any ranked order. All ten of these picks are excellent in their own ways. If you’re unsure how to get exotics on this list, we’ve got a guide covering the main strategies.

  • Arbalest
  • Gjallahorn
  • Izanagi’s Burden
  • Outbreak Perfected
  • Thunderlord
  • Quicksilver Storm
  • Conditional Finality
  • Witherhoard
  • Tractor Cannon
  • Sunshot

Arbalest

The Kinetic Linear Fusion Rifle has been a popular choice in Destiny 2 for a long time, and it remains so even to this day. With an intrinsic Trait, Compounding Force, that allows it to fire shield-piercing slugs, it’s an excellent choice for dispatching powerful combatants, or even defeating Champions. When it breaks shields, it also leaves enemies temporarily more vulnerable to kinetic damage thanks to it Disruption Break perk.

Arbalest is a great one-to-one duelling weapon for PvE, and works well as a secondary firearm for boss DPS.

Destiny 2 best exotic weapons - Our top 10 picks you need for The Final Shape: The Arbalest in combat.

Gjallarhorn

One of the most iconic weapons in the Destiny franchise, the Gjallarhorn rocket launcher remains a fan favourite for good reason. The Solar Rocket Launcher boasts a massive 100 Blast Radius, high damage, and solid handling, it’d already be on the radar of many as a prime choice, especially with the ongoing rocket launcher DPS meta. What really makes it special is Wolfpack Rounds, the intrinsic trait which creates tracking cluster missiles after the initial detonation. Not only do these deal a significant amount of extra damage, but when the catalyst is equipped, firing Gjallahorn will grant Wolfpack Rounds to all nearby non-exotic rocket launchers.

Gjallahorn is top tier for boss DPS optimisation, and performs excellently in PvE environments, and admirably in PvP.

Destiny 2 best exotic weapons - Our top 10 picks you need for The Final Shape: The Gjallahorn in combat.

Izanagi’s Burden

An old kinetic sniper rifle, Izanagi’s Burden has been synonymous with sniper rifle quality for a long time. While the zenith of its meta might have passed, Honed Edge remains a potent exotic perk, allowing the already well-rounded weapon to fire a powerful shot with extra range and damage. Fitted into a well-optimised damage loadout, Izanagi’s can synergise for a fantastic damage output that lets it shine in combat.

Izinagi’s Burden isn’t a common sight in PvP these days, but it remains an excellent boss DPS choice and powerful combatant killer for high-end PvE activities.

Destiny 2 best exotic weapons - Our top 10 picks you need for The Final Shape: Izanagi's Burden on display.

Outbreak Perfected

Outbreak Perfected boasts arguably the best DPS of any primary weapon currently in the game. Its intrinsic trait, The Corruption Spreads, sends clusters of nanites after enemies you damage, eating away at their health. While this makes it a fine choice in solo situations, the effect stacks dramatically when utilised by multiple members of a fireteam. This makes it the perfect choice for navigating endgame content like Grandmaster weekly Nightfall strikes.

If you’re looking for a devastating PvE weapon suited to crowd control, powerful combatant elimination, and tertiary boss damage, then Outbreak Perfected is the gun for you.

Destiny 2 best exotic weapons - Our top 10 picks you need for The Final Shape: Outbreak Perfected on display.

Thunderlord

Machine guns have long been one of the best weapon classes for ad clear, crowd control, and battle pacing. There are few to none however that can compete in these areas like Thunderlord can. Its special perk, Reign Havoc, calls down lightning strikes on eliminating a target or landing a precision blow. These strikes themselves damage targets and stun enemies, making it effective against Overload Champions. With the catalyst, each strike also partially reloads the magazine. With 450 rounds per minute, massive AOE potential that can self-propagate, and the potential to keep firing for upwards of a straight minute, Thunderlord can wipe out entire arenas of lesser combatants with ease, and output staggering damage numbers that cripple stronger foes.

For a weapon that will control the tide of battle in PvE and serves as a formidable choice for boss DPS or for dispatching powerful combatants, Thunderlord is the choice to go with. It’s also delightfully deadly in PvP.

Destiny 2 best exotic weapons - Our top 10 picks you need for The Final Shape: Thunderlord in combat.

Quicksilver Storm

If you’re not a fan of the slower fire rate of pulse rifles like Outbreak, Quicksilver Storm may be your new best friend. This auto rifle boasts a deadly 720 RPM, high damage, great stability, and strong handling. It also comes with the Nanotech Tracer Rockets intrinsic trait, which causes one in a few bullets to turn into a micro homing rocket after sustained hits on a target. Each hit with a micro rocket will then charge up a grenade. The Grenade Chaser perk then allows the weapon to change firing modes, shooting up to three potent strand grenades that deal shockingly high damage for their size. With the catalyst, each grenade elimination then also spawns a Tangle. All this damage potential, combined with its high fire rate and the crazy ad clear capabilities of Strand make Quicksilver Storm arguably the best auto rifle in the game.

If you want a weapon that’s versatile enough to clear rooms full of ads, take down powerful combatants, devastate opponents in PvP, and even serve as a decent auxiliary boss DPS choice in PvE, try out Quicksilver Storm.

Destiny 2 best exotic weapons - Our top 10 picks you need for The Final Shape: Quicksilver Storm in combat.

Conditional Finality

We’ve failed to mention any raid exotics thus far, but that changes with Conditional Finality. Added with the Root of Nightmares raid in Lightfall, this dual-barrel shotgun has found a home in PvP, and remains popular in PvE as well. Split Decision, its exotic perk, gives one shot Stasis damage and the other shot Solar damage. Another perk, paracausal pellets, Freezes targets hit by all the Stasis pellets, and Ignites hit by all the Solar pellets. In the hands of a skilled PvP goblin, this all but guarantees quick kills at close range. Of course, the abilities of this shotgun are also fantastic for dealing with minor and major foes in PvE.

If you want a versatile and potent shotgun that works well in any PvP or PvE theatre, try and get your hands on Conditional Finality.

Destiny 2 best exotic weapons - Our top 10 picks you need for The Final Shape: Conditional Finality in combat.

Witherhoard

Witherhoard is a special slot grenade launcher with a bit of an unusual AOE. Its trait, Primeval’s Impact, inflict Blight onto direct hit targets, or create a large area of Blighted ground on the floor where a projectile detonates. Blight is a powerful Taken effect, dealing rapid damage over time to anything stood within it. This has long made it a great support weapon in boss DPS and a perfect tool for cutting off angles or approaches in both PvE or PvP.

If you’re looking for an excellent support and control weapon that can give you an upper hand in PvP or PvE, Witherhoard is worth checking out.

Destiny 2 best exotic weapons - Our top 10 picks you need for The Final Shape: Witherhoard on display.

Tractor Cannon

Tractor Cannon is an even more unusual shotgun than Conditional Finality, only just barely meeting the definition. Repulsor Force knocks back enemies hit by this Void weapon. It also Supresses them, cutting off access to their abilities, and makes them more vulnerable to incoming damage. Alongside its Scientific Method perk, it can be a nightmare to face off against in the Crucible. But it’s also perfect for setting up higher damage numbers when fighting bosses.

If you want even better boss DPS, or the perfect meme weapon to have PvP opponents raging, Tractor Cannon deserves your attention.

Did you know?

The Tractor Cannon is one of only two heavy slot shotguns in the game, the other being Legend of Acrius. Both have also been in the game since the Red War campaign.

Destiny 2 best exotic weapons - Our top 10 picks you need for The Final Shape: Tractor Cannon in combat.

Sunshot

We’d be remiss for not finding a spot for a hand cannon on this list. Although there are plenty of great options to choose from, Sunshot is perhaps the best, performing admirably in both PvE and PvP. It’s Sunburst intrinsic trait equips the gun with explosive rounds that deal severe Solar damage to targets, and highlights any target hit by them. Its secondary trait Sunblast causes any target defeated with it to explode in a significant AOE attack. This makes it perfect for dealing with enemy Guardians in PvP activities, giving away their position and encouraging them to either separate from nearby teammates or risk harming them when they go down. It also performs better at ad clearing in PvE settings than virtually any other hand cannon.

If you want a hand cannon that strikes a great balance for PvP and PvE play in Destiny 2, then Sunshot is for you.

Destiny 2 best exotic weapons - Our top 10 picks you need for The Final Shape: Sunshot in combat.

Why are these weapons the best for Final Shape?

As of yet, we know little about what to expect from Destiny 2, The Final Shape. With the expansion having been pushed back to a June release date window, that’s likely to remain the case for some time to come. It’s therefore important to be well prepared across the board. New locations, enemies, missions and activities will be geared for a fair but challenging experience, and balance changes may significantly alter the state of play in areas of the game like PvP.

Therefore, we’ve aimed to provide you with a list of weapons which are versatile, but which can still perform specialist roles if need be. With all ten of these exotics on you, even if you don’t have a single other exotic weapon to your name, you should be well positioned to take on anything the last DLC of Destiny 2 can throw at you.

What’s the best exotic weapon in Destiny 2?

It’s impossible to claim that one Destiny 2 exotic weapon is truly superior above all others. There are a few that we would argue warrent particular attention though, depending on where you might be struggling.

  • If you favour hand cannons, but can’t reliably clear ads or deal with asymettric engagements in PvP, Sunshot is your best option.
  • If you need to improve your crowd control, but want to retain great boss DPS, Thunderlord is king.
  • If you’re looking for a weapon with amazing fireteam potential, go after Outbreak Perfected.
  • If you like fast-paced combat and want a versatile weapon, you’ll love Quicksilver Storm.

That covers our list for the top ten Destiny 2 best exotic weapons you need to get your hands on to be prepared for Final Shape. Be sure to see if you can get any from Xur’s location if you’re still looking for some of them. If you also want the ten best Legendary weapons, or you’re specifically curious about the best PvE weapons or best PvP weapons overall, check out our other dedicated lists.

What are the rarest weapons in Destiny 2?

The rarest types of weapons in Destiny 2 are exotic grade weapons.

Are exotic weapons better than legendary weapons in Destiny 2?

Most exotic weapons tend to be better than legendary weapons, but there are cases where a legendary weapon will make a superior choice.