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Destiny 2: Guide to Exotic Ciphers and how to get old Exotics from past seasons

Spend the Exotic Cipher at Rahool for an older Exotic

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Destiny 2 Exotic Cipher Rahool Image: Bungie via Polygon
Ryan Gilliam (he/him) has worked at Polygon for nearly seven years. He primarily spends his time writing guides for massively popular games like Diablo 4 & Destiny 2.

In Destiny 2: Season of Arrivals, Bungie added a new currency called Exotic Ciphers. New players can use this currency to collect Exotics currently unavailable in game, while veterans can use it to get more rewards from Xur.

Here’s how to earn an Exotic Cipher, what weapons are available, and which order you should buy them in.

Where to find an Exotic Cipher?

Free and Premium players can pick up the Exotic Cipher
Image: Bungie via Polygon

The Exotic Cipher is a rare currency, and we currently know of only one source: the Season Pass. At level 55 in the Season of Arrivals Season Pass, players can pick up an Exotic Cipher — it’s available on the free track, so all Destiny 2 players earn one.

According to the tooltip for the Exotic Cipher, players can only hold one at a time. If you’re missing all five Exotics, it seems you’ll need to play five seasons before you can get them all.

It’s worth noting that more sources of Exotic Ciphers may appear in the future, but for right now we just know of the one-per-season.

Spending your Exotic Cipher to get old weapons

Exotic Cipher season of arrivals
Spend your Exotic Cipher at Rahool to buy Exotics you may be missing
Image: Bungie via Polygon

The Exotic Cipher’s primary use is to help new players get retired weapons. Once you have an Exotic Cipher, take it, 100,000 Glimmer, 3 Enhancement Prisms, and some planetary materials to the Cryptarch, Master Rahool, in the Tower.

In his menu, you’ll see Rahool has Exotics from Season of the Undying and Season of Dawn — he’ll likely get the Exotics from Season of the Worthy this fall. During Season of Arrivals, you can pick up: Eriana’s Vow, Leviathan’s Breath, Devil’s Ruin, Symmetry, and Bastion.

But some of these Exotics are much better than others, and with such a rare material, you want to make sure you choose correctly. Here are our recommendations for which Exotics to pick up first:

  1. Eriana’s Vow (useful in Nightfalls, all activities with Champions, PvP)
  2. Devil’s Ruin (useful in activities with Champions, fun and powerful)
  3. Bastion (useful in PvP)
  4. Symmetry (useful for patrol activities and strikes)
  5. Leviathan’s Breath (useful for nothing, a currently very weak Exotic)

What if I already have the Exotics from those seasons?

Xur Exotic Cipher
Get a second Exotic Engram from Xur in a single week with your Exotic Cipher
Image: Bungie via Polygon

If you already have those five Exotics, you can spend your Exotic Cipher at Xur. Every week, Xur offers an Exotic Engram, which you can buy for nearly 97 Legendary Shards. This Exotic usually drops an Exotic you don’t have, or a random Exotic armor piece if your collection is complete.

Normally you can only buy one of these a week, but you can spend your Exotic Cipher to buy a second from Xur. If you don’t have all the Exotics yet, this is a great way to complete your collection.

But if you do already have all the Exotics, we recommend you wait to pick up your second Exotic Engram from Xur until this fall. Beyond Light will likely add more armor and weapon Exotics to the random drop pool, like Forsaken did in 2018. If you save your Exotic Cipher until the fall, you can pick up two new Exotics almost immediately.

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