Destiny 2 best ways to get Ascendant Shards explained

Destiny 2 best ways to get Ascendant Shards explained
Finlay Cattanach Updated on by

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Trying to farm Destiny 2 Ascendant Shards? Ascendant Shards are among the rarest and most valuable material in Bungie’s space-faring FPS, and crucial to getting the fullest potential out of your gear. But what’s the best way to get them?

Here, we’re going to go over how to get Destiny 2 Ascendant Shards, covering all the methods available to you, as well as the best method you can try. If you want to ensure you’re well prepared for activities in the weekly reset, Destiny 2 season 23, or larger events like the Final Shape release.

Best way to get Ascendant Shards quickly in Destiny 2

The best way to get Ascendant Shards quickly in Destiny 2 is to farm Solo Legend Lost Sector missions. Each day, the Legend Lost Sector will rotate, and you’ll be able to complete it for worthwhile rewards. However, completing a Legend Lost Sector on your own will reward far better rewards, including exotic gear and high-level upgrade materials.

While it’s still rare you’ll get Ascendant Shards directly from this method, you will quickly acquire Enhancement Cores and Enhancement Prisms, the two preceding upgrade materials before Ascendant Shards. You can trade in ten Enhancement Prisms for one Ascendant Shard at Master Rahool in The Tower.

A Legend Lost Sector can be completed on Legendary or Master difficulty. While the latter does provide higher chances for extra or better loot, these chances aren’t drastically better than your odds on Legend. For example, chances for an exotic to drop on completion of a Legend Lost sector are 25% on Legendary difficulty, and 33% on Master. Given the substantial jump in challenge for Master, it tends to take significantly longer than a Legendary run, ultimately making it less efficient.

Destiny 2 best ways to get Ascendant Shards explained: A Guardian fights through a Solo Legend Lost Sector.

How to get Ascendant Shards quickly in Destiny 2

That might be the best method, but it’s far from the only one. Here’s a full list of all the ways you can get Ascendant Shards in Destiny 2.

  • Trade in materials for Ascendant Shards at Master Rahool.
  • Complete high-difficulty activities.
  • Reset your vendor rank for ritual activities.
  • Dismantle exotic gear.
  • Progress on the season pass.
  • Complete rare triumphs.

Let’s cover each of these methods in a little more detail.

Trading in materials for Ascendant Shards

Master Rahool is the vendor to go for if you want Ascendant Shards fast, but at a cost. At Rahool, players can buy a set number of Enhancement Cores, Prisms and Ascendent Alloys each day by exchanging large amounts of Legendary Shards. Players can also use this menu to convert ten Enhancement Cores into one Enhancement Prism, and ten Prisms into one Ascendant Shard.

You can find Rahool under the canopy to the right side of the main area of The Tower just after you spawn in. Access his Materials Exchange menu to see what you can buy and convert. While this method might technically be the fastest and easiest, the cap on how many materials you can buy on a given day, and the limits imposed by how many Legendary Shards you might have on you both have a significant impact.

Destiny 2 best ways to get Ascendant Shards explained: Materials Exchange menu.

Complete higher difficulty activities for Ascendant Shards

Overcoming Destiny 2’s greatest challenges is another good way to get your hands on this exotic material. There are a few different activities that can reward them. Master level raids or dungeons are certainly options. But the best is likely tackling the weekly Nightfall. On Hero and Legendary difficulty you’ll be unlikely to see many of these rare materials and rewards, unless there are double rewards on, which is sometimes the case.

Where you mainly want to focus is on Master level strikes, and most of all, on Grandmaster strikes. GM Nightfalls are one of the hardest activities in the game, but offer bountiful rewards on completion. It’s not uncommon for Ascendant shards to be one of those rewards.

If PvE isn’t your style, you can also earn a limited number of Ascendant Shards in Trials of Osiris. Your first flawless game of the week will reward a Shard. As will completing a flawless 7-game passage.

Destiny 2 best ways to get Ascendant Shards explained: A fireteam of Guardians land a flawless defeat against an opposing team in Trials of Osiris.

Reset your vendor rank for Ascendant Shards

All ritual activities – that being Gambit, Crucible PvP, and Vanguard Operations like Nightfall strikes, have assigned vendors. You’ll find these vendors spread throughout The Tower. Each vendor has a rank progression system, which offers various rewards for completing activities in that playlist, and especially from picking up and finishing bounties on offer from those vendors. At lower ranks you can unlock weapons, armour and cosmetics. But the best reward is saved for last.

When you reach a maximum rank with a vendor, you can reset your rank back to the beginning, starting on a new path of rewards to earn. To do this, go and speak to a vendor you’ve hit max rank with. When you choose to reset your vendor rank, you’ll do so by claiming the last reward – an Ascendant shard. This theoretically means that with enough grinding, you could earn three shards a week just from ritual activities.

The vendors you can get Ascendant Shards from in this way are:

  • Shaxx – The Crucible
  • Saint-14 – Trials of Osiris
  • The Drifter – Gambit
  • Zavala – Vanguard Operations
  • Banshee-44 – Gunsmith activities
Destiny 2 best ways to get Ascendant Shards explained: The Vendor rewards and ranks progression on display at Lord Shaxx's interaction screen.

Dismantle exotic gear for Ascendant Shards

Probably the worst way to get Shards, it nonetheless technically works. If you’ve got an excess of the same exotics, you can always dismantle them. Doing so has a rare chance to drop an ascendant shard upon recycling, as long as it’s a masterwork exotic.

It’s a good idea if you’ve got a large backlog of old masterworked exotics you don’t need or want, but the unreliability and sheer expense of the method tends to make it a fairly poor strategy for collecting Ascendant Shards.

Destiny 2 best ways to get Ascendant Shards explained: A Guardian begins dismantling a masterworked exotic.

Progress on the Season Pass

If you’ve bought the Season Pass for the current season, at the moment Season of The Witch, you’re in luck. You can pick up some Ascendant Shards just by progressing on the pass. Check the pass to see which tiers specifically will unlock it. Completing challenges or seasonal content is a great way to grind through Season Pass levels quickly.

While you can gain some from the free track of the pass, the paid track provides significantly more.

In-game screenshot showing Destiny 2 Season Pass, where you can acquire ascendant shards

Complete rare triumphs

Triumphs are usually more of a status symbol, showing your progress and achievements within the game. But very rarely, they come with more tangible rewards as well. The Augmented Obsession triumph is a good example. By completing all Augment triumphs – something that’ll take you eight weeks total – on Europa, you’ll gain an Ascendant Shard, rewarded to you by Variks as thanks.

What are Ascendant Shards in Destiny 2?

Ascendant Shards are a very rare upgrade material. All armour requires at least one Ascendant Shard in order to masterwork – a final upgrade level that will give additional stat bonuses of +2 in every category to the piece of gear. Exotic armour requires three Ascendant Shards to masterwork. You can also use them to buy certain exotics at the exchange, if you have Exotic Ciphers on you.

That covers the best way to get Destiny 2 Ascendant shards, and every other way besides that for farming them. Be sure to use all these upgrade materials wisely. Check out our picks for the best weapons for PvE and best weapons for PvP if you’re planning on spending some of your earnings to upgrade your arsenal.

Do you need Ascendant Shards in Destiny 2?

You will need Ascendant Shards in Destiny 2 if you want to masterwork your gear or purchase older exotics at the exchange terminal.

What’s the difference between Ascendant Shards and Ascendant Alloy?

While both Ascendant Shards and Ascendant Alloy in Destiny 2 are rare upgrade materials, the former is used for masterworking armour and gear, and the latter is used for upgrading crafted or reshaped weapons through weapon crafting.