riskrunner exotic review

Riskrunner Exotic Review

Charge your soul and let the electrons sing.

The Riskrunner is an Exotic Submachine Gun that can be acquired from Exotic/Luminous Engrams, various rank-up packages, or as a quest reward in Destiny 2’s campaign.

Upon reaching Io and completing the first campaign step, Asher Mir will prompt Guardians to select what is very likely their first Exotic weapon reward: Sunshot, Riskrunner, or the Graviton Lance. If you select one, subsequent characters will only be able to acquire one of the other two from this quest step.


The Basics

Submachine Guns are deadly weapons in close range. They boast low TTKs, second only to Sidearms, but are balanced by their weak ammo economy and inflexible engagement range. They are best used in run ‘n gun strategies, paired with a build and partner weapons that shore up their weaknesses at range. To this end, a Scout Rifle or Hand Cannon makes a solid Kinetic companion, while a mobile and devastating weapon like a Sword is a good Power option.

The Perks

The Riskrunner belongs to the Adaptive class of SMGs, that fire at 900 RPM. They are balanced to be flexible, dealing reliable damage at more forgiving range distances, but excelling neither at precision nor aggression.

The first intrinsic perk on the Riskrunner is Arc Conductor. When your Guardian takes Arc damage while this weapon is drawn, you become heavily resistant to incoming Arc damage for the next 5 seconds. What’s more, taking continued Arc damage during this time refreshes the duration to the maximum 5 seconds!

Arrowhead Brake is the first fixed perk: It increases both recoil and handling speed. You’ll strafe and move faster with this weapon out, and find it easier to control the horizontal components of its recoil.

Extended Magazine is the second fixed perk: It greatly extends the Magazine Size (to 37) at the cost of decreasing Reload Speed. SMGs typically reload quickly, so this is a trade-off worth making.

The second intrinsic perk on the Riskrunner is Superconductor. It essentially generates near-infinite ammo return, and the majority of landed bullets chain deadly arc energy to several adjacent foes. This lightning deals additional Arc damage, and may stagger enemies who take repeated damage in a short amount of time.

Those who are familiar with the Zhalo Supercell will recall this effect. It is an absolute game-changer in PvE, with the potential to very quickly clear waves of adds, or deal massive single-target DPS if your aim is steady.

Short-Action Stock is the third and final fixed perk: It greatly increases handling speed. Along with Arrowhead Brake, this makes the Riskrunner feel particularly snappy and responsive, and your movement speed while using isn’t at all sluggish.



This weapon is an absolute monster in PvE. Providing you are acquainted with the types of damage that enemies in each activity output, you can smartly switch to the Riskrunner to activate the Arc Conductor effect, and then chew through both crowds and bosses alike with feverish glee.

Wizards, Knights, Dreg Melee, Vandals, certain Legionaries, and Taken variants of many standard combatants fire arc weapons that can spark your killing spree. Vex Radiolarian fluid, and Shank conducting traps are also AoE sources of Arc damage that can be tactically engaged to provide an unending source of fuel for the Riskrunner.

riskrunner exotic pve review

The Inverted Spire and Exodus Crash strike bosses are particularly vulnerable to the Riskrunner; the former taking place in a lake of Radiolarian fluid, and the latter buttressed by Shanks that leave weak Arc fields all over the map.

Without Arc Conductor and Superconductor active, however, this weapon is still serviceable as a PvE Energy choice. Like most Submachine Guns, it’s best used in close range, where you can reliably get most shots to hit critically, and where damage drop-off is a non-issue. Anyone who has played around with an SMG can attest to the fact that they become exponentially more worthless as you get out of range.

While Auto Rifles and Hand Cannons have their optimal distances, they can still poke away at unideal ranges for safer encounters; SMGs have no such luxury.

Note for Dawnblades: If you’re using Attunement of Sky, be sure to be airborne for your Superconductor Riskrunner kills; the chain lightning will make stringing together multiple kills in mid-air a breeze, and greatly increase your ability recharge rates.

Riskrunner’s extended Magazine Size makes it the perfect weapon to swap to in order to finish off weakened enemies, or to dispatch 2-3 trash mobs at a time. Its recoil isn’t particularly unwieldy, and its Aim Assist is middle-of-the-road, so any accurate shooter can make good use of this weapon in content that is playable at close range.

Because its reserves are on the low end, this Exotic is not great for PvE activities in which:

  • There are very few enemies putting out Arc damage
  • AND Ammo is both scarce and essential.

To this end, Riskrunner is not a good choice for the final Calus fight, either in the Throne Room or in the Mind’s Eye.

Overall, Riskrunner should be a staple in your PvE rotation. It can’t be stressed enough how powerful this gun is with its Exotic perks active; there is simply no other gun in the game (besides, perhaps, Sunshot) that can match its add-clearing potential, and if you are smart about your health and when to go all-in, it is also devastating on Majors, and even certain bosses.



Riskrunner is a surprisingly strong PvP weapon, thanks largely to its well-rounded stats. While Arc Conductor and Superconductor will rarely, if ever, come into play, they are a nice bonus for those Guardians that forget to swap elements on their Uriel’s Gift and find themselves and their teammates suddenly scattered to the winds by a ferocious tirade of Arc energy.

Riskrunner possesses a best-in-class Magazine Size of 37, allowing its user some leeway in missing shots in frantic firefights. Its Reload Speed is average, so the overall ammo economy is well above-average. Its Range of 55 is 3rd among Legendary+ alternatives, behind only the Precision frames of the Antiope-D and the Adjudicator. Its Aim Assist is slightly below average, at 50.

However, for comparison, The Showrunner possesses a best-in-class Aim Assist of 59 – SMGs are not notoriously sticky. Ironically, the Showrunner’s handling, despite being bolstered by two intrinsic +Handling perks, is poor relative to its competition, at 51. In spite of this, the weapon does not feel slack or unreliable; other SMGs are just quicker.

While it’s always best to aim for headshots, the Riskrunner is particularly forgiving with body-shots, requiring (with its Adaptive kin) only 17 body hits to kill – less than ½ of its magazine. This makes the Riskrunner particularly useful for Guardians who like to get vertical. While your accuracy will undoubtedly suffer, the extended magazine coupled with the best body-shot TTK in the SMG class make it a worthy option for dropping in on a Guardian to deliver a quick Melee killing blow.

It must be noted here that the Riskrunner does consume your one Exotic weapon slot. If you like the Vigilance Wing, Sunshot, Graviton Lance, or any number of Exotic Power Weapons, you are trading the ability to use those for just a very solid SMG. There’s nothing wrong with that though, and Bungie has done a good job doing away Exotic PvP staples like Thorn, The Last Word, Icebreaker, et al.

riskrunner ornament

In sum, the Riskrunner is a very reliable – even great – PvP weapon that may justify its Exotic price tag if you like how it feels. If you enjoy the Adaptive model of SMGs, you should look into the Foggy Notion, Mob Justice, and Resonance-42. Among them, the Foggy Notion possesses the best stat profile, but the perks of the others might suit your playstyle more. Experiment!



The Riskrunner is a strong entry in Destiny 2’s Exotic repertoire. It is a top-tier PvE weapon that provides a giddily powerful effect that can be reliably (and satisfyingly) triggered by heads-up play. While the gun feels a little underwhelming once this effect ends, it perfectly embodies what Bungie’s stated design goals are for Exotics. In PvP, you have an excellent performer with above-average stats across the board. While it does require your Exotic slot, this is a small price to pay if this gun fits your playstyle.

All of this utility is packaged in a sleek and visually appealing design. The Arc flair and pronged metallic extensions protruding from the barrel give the weapon an elegant lethality. Once Arc Conductor has proc’d, the gun feels and looks truly Exotic.