Exotics are the most powerful and unique items you can obtain in the Destiny 2 sandbox, and with them at your disposal, you'll be well equipped to take on the enemies of the Guardians (or Guardians like yourself in the Crucible). With that said, some Exotics are more powerful than others, and using the best ones will help you maximize your efficiency and effectiveness in battle, especially if you incorporate them into full character builds (check out my guide to the best Destiny 2 builds for more on that topic). Therefore, you should aim to get your hands on the best Exotic weapons and armor pieces as soon as you can. Here's a look at all of the best Exotics in Destiny 2 in 2021.
Destiny 2: Best Exotic weapons
The best of Destiny 2's Exotic weapons are the ones that are effective in many different types of content and are also viable for all three of the game's character classes. Generally, the best Exotic weapons also either bring valuable utility or superb damage-per-second (DPS) to the table.
The Lament has pretty much taken over Destiny ever since the launch of Destiny 2: Beyond Light, and the reason why is because of how absurd its boss damage is. When the sword is at full charge, block to rev up the blade for a second and then perform three-five light attacks followed by a heavy attack. Performing this combo will often be enough to kill almost all normal boss enemies outright, and it'll take a huge chunk out of the tougher bosses you'll find at the end of Dungeons or Raids.
To get The Lament, you'll need to finish the Beyond Light campaign and talk to Banshee-44 at The Tower to obtain the quest for it. Make sure to check out my list of Beyond Light's new Exotic weapons and how to get them for more details about the quest.
The Divinity is one of the best and most valuable tools for players to have in their arsenal, especially if they frequently play Raids and high-level Nightfalls. This is because this trace rifle has the unique ability to debuff enemies by covering them in a bright blue bubble that stuns enemies and makes all damage done by allies critical. Therefore, for strong enemies like Champions, Divinity is phenomenal. It's also an excellent choice for one member of a fireteam to use during a Raid boss, as bosses such as Taniks from the Deep Stone Crypt (don't miss my guide on how to beat every Deep Stone Crypt encounter if you haven't done the new Raid yet) have a weak spot that's difficult to hit normally. With Divinity's blue bubble, you can achieve critical damage without the risk of missing.
To get the Divinity, you'll need to complete a series of small puzzles spread throughout the Garden of Salvation Raid. When you kill the final boss after completing all the puzzles, you'll receive the weapon.
Though the Xenophage was quite underpowered when it released during the Shadowkeep expansion, it has become one of the best weapons in the game ever since Bungie buffed it. This unique machine gun fires highly damaging explosive rounds at a slow yet steady pace. It's a superb weapon for quickly killing tougher foes like Champions or minibosses. When supported by damage amplifiers like Divinity, Weapons of Light, or a Well of Radiance, the Xenophage is also one of the best long-range options available for Raid boss DPS. Additionally, Xenophage is also the best heavy weapon for Invaders to use in Gambit as the weapon's long-range firepower allows them to make quick work of other players without having to close the distance.
To get the Xenophage, you'll need to complete a short quest that requires you to complete a few puzzles and activities in the Shadowkeep expansion.
This heavy grenade launcher packs a huge punch and is also quite unique. Instead of shooting traditional explosive grenades, the Anarchy creates Arc traps that connect to one another with Arc bolts to form a web. Enemies who touch this web take extreme damage until they either die or the traps do their max damage. These grenades can also be stuck directly to enemies if you need focused damage on one target, and since you need only two grenades to reach maximum DPS, Anarchy is very ammo efficient. Overall, this weapon is a fan-favorite option for Raids and Nightfalls.
To get the Anarchy, you'll need to buy it from the Monument to Lost Lights kiosk on the Tower. You'll need an Exotic Cipher, 150,000 Glimmer, 240 Spoils of Conquest (obtained from completed Raid encounters), and two Ascendant Shards to obtain it.
Builds based around melee abilities are quite strong in Destiny 2 right now, and as a result, Monte Carlo is a top-tier choice for the current meta. This primary returns melee energy to you rapidly as you do damage with it, making it perfect for people who want to focus on keeping their melee ability off cooldown as much as possible. The weapon also gets increased damage as you kill enemies with either melee attacks or the Monte Carlo itself.
To get Monte Carlo, you'll need to own Shadowkeep and get a lucky drop from Exotic Engrams or buy it from Xur.
Dead Man's Tale
While scout rifles are overall pretty weak across the board, the Dead Man's Tale Exotic from Season of the Chosen is one of the best weapons you can take into the Crucible right now, and the gun is pretty strong in PvE as well. Rapidly chaining precision hits improves your damage and quickens your reload speed, which can help you significantly in duels against other players or in situations where you have a lot of enemies to kill in PvE activities. The weapon can also roll with some nice random perks like Outlaw, Vorpal Weapon, and Snapshot Sights.
To get the Dead Man's Tale, you'll need to first obtain its quest, then complete the Presage story mission, which you can access from the Tangled Shore map screen.
Destiny 2: Best Titan Exotics
Titans are generally at their most powerful when fortifying and defending ground or aggressively taking it. Because of this, the most effective Titan Exotics are ones that strengthen these approaches.
Helm of Saint-14
The Helm of Saint-14 has been a top-tier pick ever since Bungie buffed the Ward of Dawn super (colloquially known as "bubble") in Shadowkeep, and it's my favorite Exotic armor for high-end PvE content. This Exotic makes it so that you and your allies gain an overshield each time you walk into your bubble, which helps immensely with survivability and makes strafing in and out of the bubble to do damage much safer. Additionally, the Helm of Saint-14 also causes your bubble to blind enemies when they walk into it, making them much easier to kill.
To get this Exotic, you'll need to get a lucky drop from Exotic Engrams or obtain it from Xur.
The Ursa Furiosa is an Exotic that I consider extremely underrated, and I'm not sure why. It makes it so that the damage you block with your Sentinel Shield super is converted into super energy after the super ends, effectively allowing you to chain Sentinel Shield supers very quickly, especially if you have a high Intellect stat that helps recharge what this Exotic does not. This isn't that useful for bottom-tree Sentinel Shield, but it's fantastic for the Code of the Commander skill tree since it makes your shield huge and amplifies your allies' damage when they shoot through it. If you're not a fan of the immobile nature of Helm of Saint-14 with Ward of Dawn, I highly recommend this combo as an alternative.
To get Ursa Furiosa, you'll need to own the Forsaken expansion and get a lucky Exotic drop or buy it from Xur when he has it available.
The Insurmountable Skullfort
This Exotic has been the prime choice for Striker Titans ever since Destiny 2 came out, and that hasn't changed one bit. It returns your melee energy to you when you get an Arc melee kill while also triggering health regeneration, making it a superb choice for aggressive close-quarters play in PvE and PvP alike. It's also one of the few offense-focused Exotics that shines in Master-level content and Raids since the health regeneration effects allow you to survive against stronger enemies.
To get this Exotic, you'll need a lucky Exotic Engram drop, or you'll need to get it from Xur.
Heart of Inmost Light
This is a stellar subclass-independent Exotic that makes it so that using any of your core three abilities (barricade, melee, grenade) causes the other two to recharge faster and become more effective when used (barricades have more health, melees and grenades do more damage). This effect allows you to chain your abilities together quite quickly, making it very effective overall across every game mode and difficulty level.
You'll need to own Forsaken and either get a lucky drop or buy from Xur to get this Exotic.
The One-Eyed Mask has received nerf after nerf over the last few years, but while it's not nearly as effective as it used to be, it's nevertheless the Exotic most Titans should reach for in PvP. Its special effect is that it highlights whoever last damaged you in yellow, and if you kill them, you're rewarded with a full heal and an overshield. This overshield then lets you confidently fight your next opponent, resulting in another overshield if they damage you, proc the highlighting effect, and lose. You can go on a pretty huge streak if you can chain this effect, although be wary of becoming too aggressive since multiple players working together can burn through your overshield pretty quickly. This Exotic is also a good choice for solo PvE content if you're not a fan of playing with others.
You can obtain it once you own Forsaken and either get a lucky drop or purchase it from Xur.
Cuirass of the Falling Star
Cuirass of the Falling Star massively buffs the Titan's Thundercrash super, making it do double damage and also giving the Titan an overshield (the farther you fly before hitting a target, the stronger it is). This gives Titans a massive burst damage option like Warlocks and Hunters have, and it can also be a bit useful in Crucible and Gambit as well since using your super will be safer and less risky.
You can get this Exotic by farming solo Legend and Master Lost Sectors that have chest armor drops active (the drops rotate daily).
Destiny 2: Best Hunter Exotics
Hunters are the most agile of Destiny's classes. Most Hunter abilities are designed to give players opportunities to use that mobility to have strong bursts of impact on the battlefield. As a result, the best Hunter Exotics are ones that enhance and improve these bursts of impact.
When paired with the Way of the Sharpshooter skill tree, this Exotic turns your Golden Gun super into a devastating single-shot nuke that does hundreds of thousands of damage points to an enemy, assuming you're hitting a crit. This makes it perfect for instantly deleting difficult enemies like Champions in Nightfalls and making it fantastic to do some big boss damage in Raids. This Exotic is even more effective with a build centered around super regeneration, as you'll have your Golden Gun available frequently.
You'll need a lucky drop or a purchase from Xur to obtain this Exotic.
This is a superb Exotic for top-tree Nightstalkers that gives you huge ability regeneration for each enemy you or an ally kills that is affected by your debuff tethers, including up to 50% of your super. This makes it a stellar choice for endgame PvE content, especially if you pair it with an Intellect build that helps recharge the rest of your super meter quickly so you can use another tether.
You can get this Exotic from random drops or from Xur.
This Exotic is perfect for Arcstrider Hunters that like to go on the offensive in close quarters. It hugely buffs your melee attacks whenever you either have your Arc melee ability charged or get hit by an enemy melee attack, allowing you to decimate any enemy (including Guardians!) that isn't a Raid boss. Its main strength is in PvE, although it's also a great counter to punch-happy Titans in PvP, who will undoubtedly expect to win the melee duel after landing the first hit.
You can get this Exotic by owning Forsaken and then either getting a lucky drop or buying it from Xur.
The Sixth Coyote
This Exotic is simple, yet very effective. All it does is give you an extra dodge to use in combat. Still, since Hunters can dodge to reload instantly or instantly recharge their melee, this Exotic ends up being hugely effective when used with builds centered around melee abilities or powerful weapons that have low magazine sizes. It's also a superb Exotic to pair with Stasis, as you can pair it with Gambler's Dodge to recharge your ice shuriken melee and freeze enemies consistently.
You'll need to own Forsaken and either get a lucky drop or purchase this Exotic from Xur to use it.
This Exotic is great for turning the tables on foes in PvP, as it boosts your dodges by giving you a small burst of healing and shield regen when you use them. This is incredibly effective when used to dodge out of an enemy's line of sight during a duel, only for you to pop back out with half of your health back and either a fully reloaded weapon or a freshly recharged melee ability. This Exotic is also a good choice in PvE content as well if you need survivability.
You can get it from Exotic Engrams or from Xur whenever he's selling it.
These greaves are a must-have if you're a Hunter using a super-focused build, as they make it so that all Orbs of Power provide double the super energy. Additionally, when your super is fully charged, collecting more orbs will boost the damage of your super significantly, which is especially valuable with supers like Golden Gun, Blade Barrage, and Moebius Quiver. It's not very good in PvP, but it's arguably the best PvE Exotic Hunters have.
To get the Star-Eater Scales, you'll need to farm solo Legend or Master Lost Sectors that have leg armor drops active.
Destiny 2: Best Warlock Exotics
Warlocks are more ability-driven than the other two classes, and often, the most effective way to play Warlock is to find ways to keep your abilities off cooldown as much as possible. Due to this, the best Warlock Exotics are the ones that help give Warlock players maximum ability uptime. Exotics that enhance the effects of rifts in cooperative PvE content are also excellent choices.
This Exotic boosts the regen rate of all of your abilities, including your super, whenever you score kills with Void damage. This Exotic has become a favorite of Voidwalkers due to this, but it's also a strong choice for other subclasses, too, provided that you're using a good Void primary weapon. This is the Exotic I recommend if you're looking to play aggressively with your abilities.
You can get this Exotic by finding it in random Exotic drops or buying it from Xur.
Fans of the Well of Radiance super in high-end PvE content will love this Exotic, as it makes it so that any kills or assists you get while standing in your Well of Radiance will return super energy to you. Depending on how many kills and assists you and your teammates can rack up, it's possible to fully charge another Well of Radiance before the first one even despawns. This makes it very potent since Well of Radiance is one of the best ways to stay safe against lethal enemies like Champions.
You can get it by owning Forsaken and either getting a lucky drop or buying it from Xur.
These Exotic boots are pretty much useful only against Raid bosses, but in that situation, they're the best Exotic you can have equipped if you're using Well of Radiance. They significantly boost the reload speed of you and your allies while standing in your Well of Radiance (as well as your normal rifts), and they also boost the range of weapons. This makes them essential for DPS phases where everyone is grouped up in your Well of Radiance, as they'll help everyone do as much damage as possible before the DPS phase ends.
To get it, you'll need to get a lucky Exotic drop or purchase it from Xur.
Crown of Tempests
This is basically the Stormcaller's version of the Nezarec's Sin, with two noticeable differences. Firstly, only Arc abilities can proc the ability regen effect; Arc weapons will not work like Void weapons do for the Nezarec's Sin. Secondly, the Crown of Tempests also allows you to extend the Stormtrance super's duration by getting kills with it. Overall, this is a stellar Exotic if you prefer playing as a Stormcaller instead of a Voidwalker or Dawnblade.
To obtain it, you need to get it via random Exotic drop or from a Xur purchase.
Warlocks don't have many good PvP Exotics, but the best one is, by far, Ophidian Aspect. It boosts your weapon reload speed permanently, allowing you to always have your weapons ready no matter when an enemy decides to attack you. Additionally, it also gives you a longer melee range, which can be advantageous if you want to start a melee duel by landing the first hit. This Exotic may not be flashy, but the huge boost it gives your neutral game is extremely valuable.
This Exotic can be obtained from random drops or from Xur whenever he sells it.
The Warlock's Chaos Reach super is one of the better options for a general use high damage super that's great for both boss damage and clearing ads. The Geomag Stabilizers simply extend the duration of the super, allowing you to deal even more damage with it. This is incredibly beneficial in endgame PvE activities like Nightfalls where enemies like Champions tend to be tankier and may not die quickly.
This Exotic can drop randomly, but you can also buy it from Xur when he's selling it.
What do you think of the list? What are some of your favorite Exotics, or Exotics that you consider to be the best? Let me know.
Destiny 2: Beyond Light is available now on Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, Xbox One consoles, and Windows 10 PCs for $40. The base game is free on all platforms, so if you haven't tried it out yet, I highly recommend doing so since it's one of the best Xbox One shooters available. If you do end up giving it a shot, don't miss my guide on how to get into Destiny 2 in 2021 for some tips, tricks, and important information.
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