destiny best exotic weapons

Exotic PvE Tiers | Best & Worst

Published on: Jan 5, 2015 @ 17:49

Now that we’ve reviewed each of Destiny’s Exotic weapons, we’d thought it would be useful to rank them in PvE and PvP. This article will focus on PvE.

Awhile ago, before the Exotic patch, we created a Top 5 Exotic list for overall use. This list will be for every Exotic.

We’d also like your feedback on which Exotics you feel are the best. Everyone has different playstyles, so our list may differentiate from yours, and we’d like your thoughts about why X weapon is better or worse than another.

For the House of Wolves Exotics, we recently did an early review for each of them, which you can watch here.






  • Tier 1 weapons are considered the best of the best, borderline overpowered.
  • Tier 2 weapons are exceptional, but not as great as Tier 1.
  • Tier 3 weapons are OK, worth using sometimes.
  • Tier 4 weapons preform poorly, and probably should be avoided.

These tiers were inspired by a community-voted Reddit poll.

The weapons in each tier are listed in alphabetical order, not in order of how good they are within their own tier.

[divider]PvE Rank

Tier 1

Bad Juju (Exotic Bounty)

The only reason why this weapon isn’t in the Tier 1 rank is because it’s just too niche. Simply said: it’s a fantastic weapon against easier enemies.

It can take down 100 enemies before you need to reload, but its low Impact means you’ll only get the most use out of it on weak enemies.

A high intellect build in PvE can yield very fun results, especially a Voidwalker with the Obsidian Mind helm.


An extremely powerful tool that will help you out when you’re in a tight spot or need to lay down some quick damage on an enemy.

It may have a slow rate of fire, but the raw power of each round is so devastating, you might not even need to get that second round off. The tracking Wolfpack Rounds ensure maximum damage is dealt to bosses; the seekers can either disperse and deal damage over a much larger area or focus even more deadly firepower against a single target.

Click here to read/watch our Exotic rocket launcher comparison.

Hawkmoon (Timed PS Exclusive)

This hand cannon performs fantastically in almost all scenarios, with almost no drawbacks besides the lack of elemental damage, it’s one of the best weapons in Destiny.

Worthy for use against tough bosses to measly Dregs, it’ll make quick work of your enemies.

Ice Breaker

An impossibly good weapon for PvE.  It is incredible for Nightfall Missions, as it allows you to be patient with infinite ammo.  Solar Burn makes it even more deadly than it already is.

Ice Breaker will also replenish some of your other special weapon ammo! If you are out of special ammo for another weapon, switch to this gun and wait for a few seconds, and then switch back to your special weapon of choice. This is great if your ammo synth’s are on cooldown.

It’s a practical and powerful sniper rifle that is a must-own, and we labeled it as the #1 Exotic in the game a couple months ago.

Vex Mythoclast

A once overpowered weapon, it’s still extremely effective. It’s a snappy scout rifle-esque weapon that deals solar damage, making it optimal for Solar Burn Strikes.

This weapon is best used when enemies are at close-medium range, as it’ll be easiest to control its recoil so you can score critical hits; it really shines in Crota’s End.

One of the best aspects of this weapon is the fact that it’s got such useful upgrade perks – and many times you might find it hard to choose which to go with.


Tier 2

MIDA Multi-Tool

With its buff, this weapon has a better knock-back against targets in both PvE and PvP.

Before this buff it probably wouldn’t be worthy of Tier 2, but the ability to stagger enemies is very useful and not many primary weapons can do it as well as this one.

Patience and Time

Being aware of your surroundings while being hidden from your enemies is a deadly combination.

What makes this sniper rifle so good in PvE is its cloaking ability when aiming down sights for a few seconds. Being invisible can be invaluable in some situations since the enemies will have no idea where you are.

As with each of these weapons, they’ll be much more powerful when a burn modifier is active or when applied to an enemy’s shield of that type. For example, Arc Burn or Arc Shields will make this sniper a must-use.

Plan C

One of the first weapons we reviewed, it’s improved a lot since the beginning of Destiny. Fusion rifles are almost too powerful in PvP, but they’re just as strong in PvE.

Red Death

In addition to Bad Juju, Red Death is definitely one of the best pulse rifles in the game with the second-highest impact.

Recently its rate of fire was increased slightly, but burst damage reduced to compensate.

Overall the weapon is outstanding, and good for solo play because of the healing capability, but its bonuses will usually serve you better in PvP.

SUROS Regime

While this weapon would be better used in PvP, it’s earned its place in the Tier 2 list for PvE because it hits so hard, as it has the highest impact for auto rifles.

Unfortunately it doesn’t have elemental damage like Necrochasm, but it’s a worthy alternative if you’re unable to get your hands on the Vex Mythoclast or Hawkmoon.

Thorn (Exotic Bounty)

In PvE you will find Thorn will kill most enemies with one shot as opposed to most Hand Cannon’s 2, this is all thanks to the damage over time.

This weapon stops opponents from getting their shields back with, so there is no escape for your victims. Easily at the top of the Tier 2 list, just barely missing out on Tier 1 because of its extremely low impact.

We recently updated out Thorn review, which you can read here.


This heavy machine gun feels Exotic. It’s a very balanced heavy weapon and performs well in PvP and exceptionally in PvE, but it has to be used in the right scenarios to be dominant.

It’s good at mowing down groups of enemies, but it loses some of its special advantages against ultras. It’s main issue: it’s Exotic, and a few Legendary’s can cause just as much pain.


Certainly not as deadly as the mighty Gjallarhorn, but the stats on this rocket launcher are too good to ignore, and is one of the few Void rocket launchers.

With the intense tracking that this weapon provides, you’re guaranteed not to waste any ammo and always hit your mark.

If you’re unable to get this launcher, we provided some Legendary alternatives in our comparison article.


Tier 3

Dragon’s Breath

One of our most recent Exotic reviews, this rocket launcher just didn’t excel at anything in particular, but wasn’t necessarily bad. In PvE its unique solar flare is more useful because the slow-moving enemies will take extra damage from it.

It’s worth upgrading, and is very fun to use, but when it comes time to kill some Wizards or anything but trash-mobs, even a Legendary rocket launcher would be better.

When it comes down to it, there just any good reason to use your Exotic slot for this.

Hard Light

Fun to use, but overall a pretty average performing Exotic. It has enough edge to dominate clustered enemies in PvE, but that’s about it.

Unless it’s fully upgraded, it’ll really be unworthy of your Exotic slot. Why not use a Legendary AR?


The Impact is below average, but it’s still a decent shotgun. This could really be in a tier ‘2.5’ spot.

What saves this weapon from being any lower is its regenerating ammo, elemental damage, and high range.

Monte Carlo (Timed PS Exclusive)

Designed for close quarters combat, you’ll be able to use your melee ability a lot with this weapon. Your firefights will unfortunately be dulled down by the lack of damage output, which is primarily why this is in Tier 3.

Similar to Hard Light, the low impact and low magazine size just doesn’t make for a good auto rifle.

It is worth mentioning that as a Warlock with Claws of Ahamkara you could almost have your melee ability up constantly.

Pocket Infinity (Exotic Bounty)

This weapon is just too much fun not to use, but it’s not incredibly practical, and its recoil only makes it effective at close range unlike Plan C.

It will certainly help you out with any mission harboring the Solar Burn modifier, however, though it’s a very situational piece of equipment that’s worth having but not what you’ll want to use most of the time.

Super Good Advice (Exotic Bounty)

This weapon, up close, is an absolute power house. It delivers a devastating punch, but, its recoil leaves it shooting all over the place. With the Exotic bounty only taking an hour to complete, this weapon is well worth getting your hands on.

The saving grace on this heavy machine gun is the fact that most of your missed ammo will be returned to the magazine, which is especially useful for the Oracles and Oversoul.

The Last Word

As excellent PvP weapon, but a poor PvE one. The Hip Fire perk will not be utilized in PvE because of the horrible range, and the low magazine size makes it even worse.

Legendary hand cannons such as FatebringerLord High FixerTFWPKY 1969, and certainly Word of Crota (when it’s available) outclass The Last Word.


Tier 4

No Land Beyond

The first primary sniper rifle, its capabilities are severely underwhelming, although it can be fun to use. This weapon has iron sights, bringing the sniper encounters closer to the user.

There is a tiny ammunition capacity, very slow rate of fire and an obstructed down-sight view. With a good rhythm and a skilled wielder, even if you can land precision shots your ammo will run out too quickly, making its primary status laughable.

It desperately needs elemental damage, or something to make it worth using over normal primary weapons.

The 4th Horseman

With the highest rate of fire of all shotguns, it has no issue filling opponents with plenty of lead. But, it’s low range means you need to get very close. Sadly, this gun has no place in your Exotic weapon slot.

There’s no justifiable reason to use this in PvE, and it is only viable in PvP because it’s a shotgun, but not even a good one at that. You shouldn’t be using a shotgun in a raid, but at least Invective will refill your ammo.

Universal Remote

This weapon is generally considered as something fun to use, over what it is practically useful for. The fact you are completely sacrificing your mid-range arsenal for this weapon is just ridiculous.

It’s an awesome shotgun though, but more of a novelty than a weapon of war.