Destiny 2 is full of guns and armor, but while you’ll go through countless helmets, hand cannons, boots, and capes, some are much more powerful than others. These Exotic weapons and armor come with special properties that can change your character builds, provide new abilities, or give you incredible power against enemies or other players.
Exotics are fun because of their cool additional characteristics, but sometimes, they break loose in unexpected ways. Whether it’s a gun getting over-tuned to be incredibly powerful if only for a weekend, or the right combination of elements creating a helmet that dominates the meta, Destiny 2 is full of moments and items that have defined the game with their capabilities. These are some of the best Exotics in the game–not because they’re truly the most powerful, but because they’re the most fun, goofiest, or most unexpectedly weird weapons and armor the game has ever seen.
Rocket launchers are always a good time in shooters, but Wardcliff Coil is on another level. The launcher tube is a round ball full of holes, and instead of firing one rocket, it fires a nonsensical storm of warheads that flare out almost in all directions. Wardcliff is a ludicrous flower of death you carry around with you, and firing it at someone pretty much instantly erases them–especially in the Crucible. All that helps make Wardcliff a ridiculously fun gun to use. It barely requires you to aim, it almost always annihilates anything and everything in front of you, and it’s overkill in an extremely Wyle E. Coyote kind of way.
For a while, few things were worse than seeing a Guardian rounding a corner in the Crucible with their Heir Apparent spinning up. The machine gun wreaks havoc like the Terminator unloading a minigun on the entire LAPD–but it has the extra-useful addition of providing an energy shield to its wielder that protects them from damage. It has since been nerfed, but for a while there, Heir Apparent did a pretty good job of making a Guardian close to unkillable in the Crucible. It was impossible not to have a grin when walking into an arena and watching everyone flee–or to curse in frustration as you walked into a losing situation after failing to get to the Heavy ammo in time.
After it was released with the Scourge of the Past raid, Anarchy became essential for tough bosses. Like a lot of Exotics, there’s also nothing else like it. Technically, Anarchy is a grenade launcher, but instead of shooting explosives, it launches pylons that stick to walls, floors, and enemies. The pylons are all wired together, sending bolts of Arc electricity through the web, which makes Anarchy great for locking down a location and killing anything that wanders into it–or for just shocking the hell out of Gahlran’s Deceptions. Anarchy has since been nerfed, so it’s no longer an essential boss-killing gun, but it’s still a lot of fun for murdering enemies with electric fences, or sticking pylons to teammates’ faces.
One of the new Exotics to come with the Witch Queen expansion is Parasite, possibly the funniest and goofiest gun in the game. It comes at the end of a long quest in which you hang out with one of the sentient worm parasites that live inside Hive enemies and give them their power. The gun you eventually make out of the worm is a grenade launcher that shoots other worms, which flop through the air and then explode in a shower of goo. A worm cannon is great on its own–not only is it visually goofy, it’s ridiculously effective against bosses like Atraks-1 in the Deep Stone Crypt raid and the irony of blowing up Hive with their own worms is delicious. But the best part is that the worm will sometimes talk to you. Take Parasite into the Preservation mission in Savathun’s Throne World and you’ll get some alternate worm dialogue from the environs there. Guns that talk to you are the best guns, even if the worm is kind of a jerk overall.
One of the reigning champs of the Season of the Haunted and the Solar 3.0 subclass changes is Loreley Splendor, a Titan helmet that comes close to granting immortality. The helmet creates a “Sunspot” automatically when you’re critically injured, and with the new changes to Solar Titan subclasses, Sunspots instantly heal you. Combined with adjustments to the Resilience stat and massive damage reduction, Loreley essentially lets you tank a ton of damage, saving your life by creating emergency Sunspots or allowing you to make one instantly by creating a barricade. Loreley has made doing tough solo activities such as dungeons much easier in the Season of the Haunted, making it one of the must-have Exotics for Solar 3.0.
Another excellent Exotic thanks to the Solar 3.0 changes and the Season of the Haunted is Assassin’s Cowl; it doesn’t make Hunters nearly invincible like Loreley Splendor does for Titans, but you can’t kill what you can’t see. Assassin’s Cowl makes you invisible whenever you land a powered melee kill, and with the right Solar build, you can pretty much throw deadly knives at enemies ad infinitum. That means Assassin’s Cowl can make you invisible almost forever, giving Hunters just as much ludicrous survivability as Titans.
Pure and simple, Geomag Stabilizers increase the fun factor of Warlocks’ Chaos Reach Super by a significant margin. Chaos Reach just lets you fly into the air and basically erase your enemies from existence with a Goku-like blast of laser-like energy. It’s not a bad Super on its own, but Geomags took it from “fine” to “essential” when it was first introduced, because the boots can double its duration. In PvE content, that lets you just float there, clearing whole rooms or blapping a boss straight in the face with the concentrated power of the electrons. Back before a recent nerf, the boots would also allow you to sprint around the battlefield to top off your Super–an absolutely unfair ability that significantly helped in getting more Supers more often. Coupled with the fact that the boots also returned Super energy, that made Geomag Warlocks a terror in the Crucible, flying over the field and sweeping a fight clean of enemy Guardians for what felt like forever.
One of the newer Exotics to turn the Crucible upside down is Lorentz Driver. Nail a precision kill with the linear fusion rifle and it creates an implosion that sucks enemies in from nearby. For a while, the suction was so intense that it would yank people out of cover, making it possible to wreck multiple players in quick succession with a coordinated team. Lorentz has since been nerfed, but it’s still pretty impressive in both PvP and PvE situations–especially when it makes enemies come flying in from all directions. Best of all is the awesome woooomp! sound it makes when people turn into mini black holes.
There are a lot of guns in Destiny 2, but Jotunn is the only one that lets you do a bit of Mega Man cosplay while you’re blowing up aliens and other players. It’s a fusion rifle that doesn’t shoot the usual short-range burst of vaporizing energy; instead, it charges up an explosive fireball that lightly tracks enemies across the screen. It also looks like an arm cannon, which is an added bonus. Jotunn’s somewhat fire-and-forget orientation makes it a fun gun for the Crucible, because it’s one of those weapons that relies on you surprising an opponent because they didn’t know what to expect from you. Though you won’t see it popping up in PvP nearly as much as when it was new, the a new Catalyst is making Jotunn a viable way to explode unsuspecting players once again. It also is shaped like a toaster (and hey, it toasts players, heh heh), and that became enough of an in-community joke that Bungie sold a Jotunn-styled toaster in its in-game store.
Back during the Warmind expansion, Tractor Cannon was an essential weapon for fighting through the big Hive bosses of the Escalation Protocol activity. While it’s good for shutting down tough bosses thanks to its weakening effects, Tractor Cannon’s best use is its most hilarious: blasting enemies into walls or just straight-up blowing them apart. See, Tractor Cannon is a shotgun that doesn’t fire bullets; instead, it releases bursts of repulsive energy that sends enemies flying. And with enemies like Hive Acolytes, the Tractor Cannon just turns them into a pile of exoskeletal chunks. Having an alien-booping gun is always a good time.
One Thousand Voices
The Exotic fusion rifle that could be earned from the Riven boss fight in the Forsaken expansion’s Last Wish raid was notoriously difficult to come by, thanks to an extremely low random drop rate. If you did get it, though, you were one of the few who could wreak havoc on everyone–especially in the early days of Gambit. One Thousand Voices could be charged for a high-powered, continuous beam, so it had more range and laser-like targeting than other fusion rifles. But getting hit with it didn’t kill you outright–instead, it triggered a delayed explosion. That meant that Guardians you hit with One Thousand Voices had just enough time to exclaim “Oh s–t” before exploding in a hail of deadly energy. Delivering that final moment to Gambit invaders, or even just watching teammates do it, was consistently satisfying.
As certain Exotic weapons go, Deathbringer feels a bit more passive than others. It’s a rocket launcher where you don’t actually shoot the rocket at what you want to kill. Instead, you fire into the air, remotely detonating your rocket above your target. Deathbringer creates an explosion of seeking projectiles that rain down and hunt targets, and while it’s an effective way to kill lots of enemies at once or deal damage to a bigger target, it’s best when you use it against other players. Those tracking projectiles do a great job of finding other Guardians behind cover or around corners, and will often snag you kills you’d never expect to earn otherwise. What’s more, the surprise of suddenly getting vaporized always has some comedic value.
There was one glorious weekend when Prometheus Lens was the only gun you needed in the Crucible. After it was released with the Curse of Osiris expansion, players discovered the trace rifle absolutely annihilated other players in PvP, zapping them to death way faster than anything else in the game. And since the gun fires like a laser beam, it was extremely easy to use, incredibly accurate, and deadly at a surprisingly long range. While it was working on a fix, Bungie took the step of putting Prometheus Lens in Xur’s inventory–so instead of a few people vaporizing everyone with their laser guns, it was lasers everywhere. Prometheus Lens has since been tempered, but lots of Destiny players hanging around during that period have fond (or not-so-fond) memories of the Laser Tag Weekend. There’s even an emblem to commemorate it.
Dunemarchers are one of those Exotics that are extremely fun to use in the Crucible and incredibly annoying to face off against. For years, Titans enjoyed an annoying powered melee advantage–at a sprint, they could smash into opponents with a shoulder and kill them pretty much instantly. If you didn’t have a shotgun handy, a Titan rounding a corner at a run 10 feet away was certain death. Dunemarchers amplifies the exhilaration, encouraging you to go crashing through one enemy in order to kill others. The Exotic builds up Arc electricity and sends a bolt chaining from the first person you ran over to their pals, and the range of those lightning chains is ridiculous. Dunemarchers are excellent for creating situations in which one teammate’s mistake makes everyone suffer.
Probably the most iconic weapon of the Destiny universe is Gjallarhorn, a rocket launcher that shoots a warhead that blows up and releases a bunch of additional tiny bombs, which then chase down targets and blow them up some more. The extremely powerful launcher is a great choice in just about any activity, bringing devastation to anything that stands in your way. It also has the extra effect of passively providing its “Wolfpack Rounds,” which explode and track enemies, to allied players and their rocket launchers–making everybody’s guns better just for being in play. Gjallarhorn makes you feel like you have an immense amount of power in your hands, no matter what activity you’re playing in.
Hunters don’t generally get the opportunity to punch their way through enemies the way Titans and even Warlocks do, but Liar’s Handshake changes that. Hit an enemy with your powered Arc melee–or take a punch yourself–and you can follow up with a super-strong counter-punch. Throwing haymakers through waves of enemies is fun on its own, and Liar’s Handshake heals you as you go to help keep you alive so you can fight aliens like you’re in Streets of Rage.