Destiny 2 best ways to get exotics ranked from least to most effective

Destiny 2 best ways to get exotics ranked from least to most effective
Finlay Cattanach Updated on by

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Want the best ways to get exotics in Destiny 2? Exotic weapons and gear are some of the best pieces of equipment available to you in Bungie’s space-faring FPS game. With impressive stats, great perks, and powerful intrinsic traits, exotics allow Guardians new potential for powerful builds and devastating damage. But how do you actually get them?

Since exotic engrams are a pretty rare drop, we’ve decided to rank some of the best ways to get exotics in Destiny 2 so that you can acquire the most coveted gear in the game. If you’re wondering what the best class-specific exotics are though, like the best Hunter exotics, best Titan exotics, or best Warlock exotics, we’ve got a breakdown of our favourites that can help you out. And if you’re looking for specific exotics like the new Wish-Keeper exotic bow and it’s associated Starcrossed exotic mission, check out our dedicated guides.

How to get exotics in Destiny 2- Our best strategies ranked

Here are the all the ways to get exotics in Destiny 2, ranked from worst to best.

  1. Random activity drops.
  2. Raids.
  3. Master and Grandmaster weekly Nightfall strikes.
  4. Solo Legend and Master Lost Sector completions.
  5. Visiting Xur before the weekly reset.
  6. Visiting the Monument to Lost Lights.
  7. Completing weekly challenges for ritual activities.

Let’s go over each of these methods a bit more closely to explain our rankings.

Random activity drops

The simplest and least reliable method is to simply play activities and hope to stumble across exotic engrams. Whether playlist activities like Strikes, Crucible, or Gambit, or other activities like a Dungeon, exotic engrams have an extremely low chance to drop anywhere. This was of course once the only method for getting your hands on this type of gear, but that’s thankfully no longer the case. The extremely low chances for these random drops puts this method at the bottom of our list.

Destiny 2 best ways to get exotics: Decrypting collected exotic engrams at Rahool.


Raids are a great way to pick up some specific exotic weapons. The obvious downside here is that, outside of random drops, there’s only one exotic per raid that you’ve got a chance at getting. While the potential loot pool is tiny compared to the game’s full exotic catalogue, completing raids does offer a better opportunity for these powerful weapons than random chance. The more times you complete a raid without getting the associated exotic, the higher your chances for getting it next time become, increasing from a 5% chance up to 20%. You can also complete raid-specific triumphs and challenges, which will boost your probabilities for getting the raid exotic too.

Did you know?

This hidden raid mechanic to improve your exotic chances is not present for the Vault of Glass raid, making Vex Mythoclast one of the hardest exotics to acquire in the game.

Destiny 2 best ways to get exotics: exploring an area in the Vault of Glass.

Master and Grandmaster Nightfalls

The hardest Nightfall difficulties are a pretty solid way to get your hands on exotics. These challenging encounters will require exceptional teamwork, the best PvE weapons in the game, and more often than not carefully constructed classes and subclasses to make viable builds. In return though, you’ve got a much higher than usual chance of earning exotics when you open the chest at the end of the activity. This is especially true on Grandmaster difficulties, where exotics are common enough that you’ll likely pick up at least one within a few attempts. The reason it’s so far down our list is the relative challenge to reward ratio. While you do have good odds for exotics, Grandmaster Nightfalls are tough, time consuming affairs, and thus not a very efficient way to farm for better gear. Not to mention, if you’re taking on Grandmasters, you’ve probably already got most of the exotics you could want in the first place.

Destiny 2 best ways to get exotics: Loading into a Nightfall strike on the Moon.

Solo Legend and Master Lost Sectors

Legend Lost Sectors have been a pretty popular edition, especially among end-game players for their great farming potential. Completing a Legend Lost Sector by yourself opens up the path to significantly better rewards. In particular, you have a chance to pick up an exotic armour piece on completion. The type of armour rotates each day between helmets, chest pieces, legs, and arms. You can also take on a Master Lost Sector, boosting your chances for an exotic on completion from 25% to 33%. However given the jump in difficulty and Champions spawn numbers, it’s often far more efficient to stick to Legend Difficulty. As far as farming goes, Legend Lost Sectors are perhaps the best method available.

Destiny 2 best ways to get exotics: Legend Lost sector flag.

Xur, Agent of The Nine

Everyone’s favourite enigmatic merchant provides an easy shot for new players to expand their exotic collections. Every Friday, Xur will arrive at one of his pre-set locations. He’ll sell three different exotic armour pieces, one for each class, as well as exotic engrams which will drop a random exotic on purchase. He also sells a handful of specific, unchanging exotic weapons. Xur’s wares aren’t cheap, but neither are they egregiously expensive, so even new players shouldn’t struggle too much to collect one or two bits of gear from him. The only issue is that he’s not around all week. He arrives on Fridays, and departs on Tuesdays.

Visiting the Monument to Lost Lights

If it’s exotic weapons of bygone eras you’re after, the Monument to Lost Lights is the place to go. This interactable monument sits between the two vault terminals in the Tower. From it, you can purchase many – though not all – of the exotic weapons added to the game throughout its eras and expansions. If you’re looking for Centrifuse or Quicksilver Storm, try here.

But be aware that many of the strongest exotic weapons, like Wicked Implement, or the aforementioned raid exotics, are not available through here. While the Monument has a great selection and is always available, it’s only drawback is the expense. You’ll fork out a lot of Glimmer and Legendary Shards for these weapons. However you’ll also need to make sure you’ve got Exotic Ciphers and Ascendant Shards on-hand, some of the rarest materials in the game.

Destiny 2 best ways to get exotics: The main menu for the Monument to Lost Lights.

Completing weekly challenges for ritual activities

Since the freeze on the ever-rising Power level cap a few seasons ago, pinnacle engrams and gear have started to become commonplace. To combat this, some weekly challenges for ritual activities now drop exotic engrams instead. This means that by simply playing enough Crucible, Vanguard Ops, Gambit and more, and taking stock of the bounties, challenges and requirements, players can earn exotic engrams almost passively. Combined with the ability to focus exotic engrams and boost your chances for specific gear, simply playing the game is now the easiest, most effective way to get exotics in Destiny 2.

That covers all the best ways to get exotics in Destiny 2. Try out some of these methods for yourself and you’ll hopefully be rolling in golden glowing engrams in no time. With the Final Shape release date now pushed back and an extra lengthy Destiny 2 season 23, you’ve got plenty of time to farm and put together your best Hunter build, best Titan build, and best Warlock build before June.

Destiny 2 exotic acquisition FAQ

Can you get all exotics as random drops in Destiny 2?

No. Some powerful exotics, like Divinity or Wicked Implement, are locked behind specific activities or dedicated missions.

Can you acquire multiple of the same exotic on different characters?

Yes, you can pick up copies of a given exotic by using different characters, though they’ll be identical.