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Destiny 2 guide: Best Exotic Archive weapons

Here are our 10 overall recommendations for Exotics and three PvP-specific suggestions

Destiny 2 Thorn guide Bungie via Polygon

If you’re new to Destiny 2 or have missed a few seasons, your Exotic arsenal probably looks a little light. Since the Forsaken era, Bungie has launched some massive Exotic weapons that fundamentally change how you play. But there are so many Exotics in the Archive that it can be hard to pick.

Here are the Top 10 Exotics to grab from the Exotic Kiosk in Destiny 2. We’ve ordered them here from best to worst, but all of these are great guns and we recommend picking up what you can afford.

1. Anarchy

Anarchy is a fire-and-forget grenade launcher
Image: Bungie via Polygon

Cost: 1 Exotic Cipher, 150,000 Glimmer, 240 Spoils of Conquest, 2 Ascendant Shards

Anarchy is the best Exotic in Destiny 2, especially for any difficult content. The weapon fires Arc mines that stick to enemies and the environment, dealing damage in a pulse when enemies activate them. If you stick two to a target — like a raid or Strike boss — it will tick with damage every second or so.

Anarchy does very high damage, but more importantly, you can fire it and move on to another enemy or use your Special weapon to deal additional damage. It’s a ton of damage for very little work.

You should get Anarchy as soon as you can, but you may want to focus on other guns here while you grind out those 240 Spoils of Conquest.

2. Ace of Spades

Ace of Spades is a jack-of-all trades hand cannon
Image: Bungie via Polygon

Cost: 1 Exotic Cipher, 125,000 Glimmer, 200 Etheric Spiral, 1 Ascendant Shard

Ace of Spades is the perfect primary weapon. It’s stacked with perks, letting you reload faster on a headshot (while also making enemies explode on headshot kills) and giving you a damage bonus after you kill something. It’s great for clearing red bar enemies and can even hold its own against some tougher foes.

Ace of Spades is also a universal Exotic. It’s awesome in every activity, including Gambit and Crucible.

3. Eriana’s Vow

Eriana’s Vow is a shield-piercing Special hand cannon
Image: Bungie via Polygon

Cost: 1 Exotic Cipher, 100,000 Glimmer, 150 Helium Filament, 1 Ascendant Shard

Eriana’s Vow is an odd weapon. It’s a hand cannon like Ace of Spades, but it fires very slowly and uses Special ammo. Eriana’s Vow packs a serious punch, dealing a ton of headshot damage if you can stay accurate.

Eriana’s is specifically useful in Nightfalls and activities with Champions. It’s one of the only Exotics that can pierce the shield of a Barrier Champion just by shooting at it. Eriana’s isn’t a great weapon for raids or bosses, but it’s essential for taking down mini-bosses.

4. Izanagi’s Burden

Izanagi’s Burden is a burst-damage sniper rifle
Image: Bungie via Polygon

Cost: 1 Exotic Cipher, 150,000 Glimmer, 250 Spinmetal Leaves, 2 Ascendant Shard

Izanagi’s Burden is our second boss damage weapon on this list, behind Anarchy. With Izanagi, you can hold the reload button to smoosh four bullets in the clip into one, big bullet. This big bullet does incredible damage, so this is an awesome weapon to pick up for raids or dungeons.

The only problem with Izanagi’s Burden is that you spend a lot of time reloading and it’s not too great in non-difficult activities — the damage is usually overkill. But Izanagi excels at burst damage, and sometimes that’s exactly what you need.

5. Thorn

Thorn is a poisonous hand cannon
Image: Bungie via Polygon

Cost: 1 Exotic Cipher, 125,000 Glimmer, 200 Dusklight Shard, 1 Ascendant Shard

Thorn is another awesome hand cannon in both PvE and PvP. Thorn deals some light poison damage when you shoot an enemy. But killing an enemy empowers the weapon, reloading it and causing even more poison damage.

This effect is super fun in PvE, and you can burn through a group of enemies very quickly. But Thorn excels in the Crucible. Once you practice with its weird sights, you can take down entire teams of enemies with some careful headshots and poison damage.

6. The Fourth Horseman

The Fourth Horseman is a fast-firing shotgun
Image: Bungie via Polygon

Cost: 1 Exotic Cipher, 125,000 Glimmer, 200 Dusklight Shard, 1 Ascendant Shard

The Fourth Horseman is a shotgun with four barrels instead of two, and that should tell you basically everything you need to know about this gun. It fires very fast, has very short range, and deals a ton of damage.

The Fourth Horseman is a pretty situational Exotic. If you’re up close to an enemy but can’t use a sword, The Fourth Horseman is extremely powerful. That may sound like a lot of qualifiers, but it’s more common than you think. For example, Fourth Horseman is one of the best options for damage in the first encounter of the Deep Stone Crypt raid.

7. Jotunn

Jotunn is a tracking fusion rifle
Image: Bungie via Polygon

Cost: 1 Exotic Cipher, 125,000 Glimmer, 200 Microphasic Datalattice, 1 Ascendant Shard

Jotunn looks like a toaster, sits over your arm, and launches a giant ball of fire that seeks your enemies. This fusion rifle is very unique and one of our personal favorites. It deals damage in an area to take care of groups and it hits very hard on mini-boss targets with a ton of health.

Jotunn is also flexible like Ace of Spades. You’ll have a great time with this gun in Strikes, missions, Nightfalls, Crucible, or Gambit. It’s a great weapon to keep on you and throw on when there’s nothing else to use.

8. Legend of Acrius

Legend of Acrius is a Heavy shotgun
Image: Bungie via Polygon

Cost: 1 Exotic Cipher, 150,000 Glimmer, 240 Spoils of Conquest, 2 Ascendant Shards

Legend of Acrius is the antithesis to The Fourth Horseman. This shotgun sits in the Heavy slot, fires very slowly, and obliterates anything in its path with a single shot. Acrius is the kind of gun you bring when you really need to eliminate something immediately — if you can get close enough.

Acrius is one of the most fringe Exotics on this list and it’s very expensive. But since it goes in your heavy slot, it supplements a lot of longer range builds very nicely, letting you run snipers and scout rifles for long range before swapping to Acrius to take out whatever gets too close.

9. Sleeper Simulant

Sleeper Simulant is a high damage linear fusion rifle
Image: Bungie via Polygon

Cost: 1 Exotic Cipher, 125,000 Glimmer, 200 Baryon Bough, 1 Ascendant Shard

Sleeper Simulant is a Linear Fusion rifle that deals a ton of damage and bounces around with its ricochet powers. Sleeper is another solid boss DPS weapon, although weapons like Izanagi’s Burden have eclipsed it in recent seasons. However, Sleeper is a weapon you shouldn’t count out, because it’s very easy to use. It’s a great weapon to start out on if you’re new to Destiny.

10. Bad Juju

Bad Juju is a Super-generating pulse rifle
Image: Bungie via Polygon

Cost: 1 Exotic Cipher, 125,000 Glimmer, 200 Microphasic Datalattice, 1 Ascendant Shard

Bad Juju is all about getting you your Super more often. The more enemies you kill, the more damage Bad Juju does, and the more Super energy it generates.

This isn’t a pulse rifle that you want to take with you into the Crucible or even into tougher content like raids. But Bad Juju is the perfect “just doing missions” weapon. It’s awesome for basis content and is a ton of fun to use. Like Sleeper Simulant, it’s also a great beginner Exotic, letting you test out your Super way more often.

PvP-only Exotics to grab

Many of the Exotics we mentioned above are awesome in PvP. But there are some guns in Destiny that only succeed in PvP, so it’s hard to recommend them unless you really like slaying out in the Crucible. Here are our top three Exotic Archive picks if you want to impress Lord Shaxx.

1. The Last Word

Last Word is a fast-firing hand cannon
Image: Bungie via Polygon

Cost: 1 Exotic Cipher, 125,000 Glimmer, 200 Etheric Spiral, 1 Ascendant Shard

The Last Word is an old-west style six-shooter. It’s a hand cannon that fires very quickly and has limited range. So while it’s really not great against normal enemies, it’s incredible in the Crucible.

If you’re using a mouse and keyboard, you can learn to really mess players up if you practice. But controller players have it easy with The Last Word. Because of the aim-assist with controllers, The Last Word is extremely accurate at close range and a free-kill machine.

2. Bastion

Bastion is a shrapnel-firing fusion rifle
Image: Bungie via Polygon

Cost: 1 Exotic Cipher, 100,000 Glimmer, 150 Etheric Spiral, 1 Ascendant Shard

Bastion is the only Kinetic fusion rifle in the game, meaning you can use it with some of Destiny’s powerful Energy weapons. Bastion does need to charge up like a traditional fusion, but it fires in very accurate bursts, letting you ruin enemies at a distance.

Like Last Word, Bastion takes some getting used to. But in the hands of an expert, Bastion can do some serious work in the Crucible.

3. Truth

Truth is a heat-seeking rocket launcher
Image: Bungie via Polygon

Cost: 1 Exotic Cipher, 125,000 Glimmer, 200 Baryon Bough, 1 Ascendant Shard

Truth is a rocket launcher that can hold multiple shots at once and has some serious tracking. That sounds boring, but you can lock onto an enemy with Truth, aim into the air, fire, and the rocket will still hunt them down and kill them.

The only problem with Truth is that it’s a heavy weapon, which means you need to find some ammo bricks to make it work. But loading Truth is a guaranteed kill, and it’s the perfect heavy weapon to run in Crucible if you’re not using another Exotic.

These are our top Exotic picks as of Beyond Light. But Bungie will surely add new Exotics to the Archive as content heads out of the game and into the Destiny Content Vault. We’ll update with list whenever Bungie makes a major adjustment to the Exotic Archive.