A bad carpenter blames his tools, and bad carpenters love to hate on exotic (yellow) weapons in Destiny 2.
In fact, I bet most players spend more time checking which legendary (purple) weapons are available for infusion into those exotics than they do the stats on those same legendary weapons. But I’m here to tell you that those stats — and especially the perks — make all the difference.
You can only carry one exotic weapon in Destiny 2, and if it’s a power weapon, ammunition is extremely limited. It’s the legendaries that do all the dirty work. So keep your tools clean and well-oiled, and be on the lookout for these favorites from the Vox_Polygon clan.
I lucked out and found this beauty around level 10, during the main campaign in Destiny 2. I’m closing in on power level 290 and it’s still my go-to kinetic weapon. Senior reporter Samit Sarkar breaks down what makes it a must-have for every class.
There was one good auto rifle in all of Destiny: Zhalo Supercell. Do not @ me with talk of Hard Light or Suros Regime or whatever. Auto rifles were, by and large, pretty weak in the original game, which is why I primarily used hand cannons.
But Bungie flipped the equation with Destiny 2, turning hand cannons into pea shooters and making auto rifles positively godlike. I had a brief love affair with Sweet Business, the exotic weapon that's essentially a mini-Gatling gun masquerading as an auto rifle. Then I fell hard for Origin Story, a legendary auto rifle that retains its accuracy at range. By the numbers, it's not actually as good as Scathelocke — but the stats don't factor in the killer Rampage perk, which grants increased damage when you score a kill (an effect that stacks up to three times).
When running Origin Story, look for the white halo effect around your hands and the gun itself. That’s when you know the Rampage perk is engaged.
Speaking of auto rifles, if you don’t happen to see Origin Story drop, then be on the lookout for Scathelocke. As Samit said, it’s the next best thing after the sweet business that is Origin Story’s Rampage perk. In fact, the dynamic range of this particular gun has our Russ Frushtick hooked.
I was a die-hard proponent of Origin Story, which is an excellent auto rifle, but I just recently got Scathelocke for the first time and I think I’m in love. I dig guns that are snappy to use with fast reload times, and Scathelocke is both. A quick fire rate and controllable recoil make it relatively easy to nail headshots, and the good-sized clip makes it great for clearing adds. It also looks wicked with the raid shader (pictured)! Enjoy it now before auto rifles suffer the fate of the original Destiny auto rifles and get nerfed all to heck.
While the auto rifle love-fest is going on, let me take this time to heap praise upon Conspirator, the scout rifle from the Leviathan raid. I didn’t earn this gun myself; rather, I received it from a clan engram thanks to Vox_Polygon’s success in the pinnacle of Destiny 2’s cooperative achievements.
What I enjoy about this gun is the full-auto trigger, which makes it feel a bit like an auto rifle. But, thanks to the game’s disgustingly sticky auto-aim on consoles, it’s a real menace in the Crucible. Conspirator is a death sentence to anyone caught mid-range between me and the objective. I don’t expect it to be worth a sow’s ear on PC, but for now it’s a legitimate threat and my go-to weapon for mid-range and longer engagements.
Also know that Borealis, the PS4-exclusive exotic sniper rifle, is expensive to run against AI enemies. Conspirator has excellent range, ammunition is plentiful, and you can swap out the elemental damage mod as you like.
Hawthorne’s Field-Forged Shotgun
The exotic fusion rifle called Merciless is the best raid weapon in the game right now, hands down. But it’s an exotic, and you can only equip one of those at a time. If you’re not lucky enough to see it drop in the early or mid-game, keep an eye out for Hawthorne’s Field-Forged Shotgun.
It may look plain on the outside, but the full-auto perk is exceptional. With shotguns relegated to the power weapon slot in Destiny 2, ammunition comes at a premium. Why not make the most of that with this beast? It is the very best tool I’ve found for bringing down Fallen tanks. Just stand on top of the hull and go to town.
First In, Last Out
First In, Last Out is another random drop, so it might easily escape your notice. I almost burned mine up infusing Hawthorne’s shotgun, but stopped short because of a single perk.
FILO fires slug rounds. There’s no spread. All of that delicious power weapon ... power, I guess, goes into your target. That can be especially useful in the Crucible.
Linear fusion rifles
Fusion rifles are few and far between in Destiny 2, but even more rare are linear fusion rifles, a long-range variant with a mighty punch.
Everyone is guaranteed at least one LFR, so long as they’re level 20 and run the blue crown quest with Asher Mir on Io. It will reward you with Man O’ War, and you’ll be able to purchase duplicates for Glimmer at level 200 or slightly above.
LFRs have a small magazine, but deal heavy damage at long range. The best we’ve found is Tarantula, which Vox_Polygon’s Tom Warren swears by for sniping elite enemies at medium to long range.
That’s all for now. We’re still evaluating raid weapons and random drops alike. What’s your go-to legendary? Have anything in the kinetic slot that you’ve hung on to for more than a few levels? Is there actually a good sidearm to be found in the game?
Share your thoughts in the comments below.
Update (Sept. 28): We did a little digging, reaching out to more of the folks in Vox_Polygon for their input. There was one more legendary that kept cropping up on people’s lists. It’s a hand cannon called Better Devils.
Our Russ Frushtick slapped on his favorite shader and got to work.
Hand cannons don't seem to get a lot of love in Destiny 2. Ammo is a constant issue for them, and they have accuracy issues in the Crucible. But there is one that manages to overcome those shortcomings by doing a metric crapton of damage per shot.
Better Devils is a kinetic weapon that does explosive damage. It drops from engrams in-game and as Crucible rank rewards. Basically, this gives you two hits every time you tag a target. The difference in damage is immense. You will melt yellow bars and bosses with this thing. It also benefits from either a massive clip size or a speedy reload, depending on your chosen perk. Once you try it, you'll be a convert for life.