One of the best aspects of “Destiny,” the popular shooter from the makers of “Halo,” is the sheer variety of powerful and outlandish weapons at your disposal.
Exotic weapons are the rarest and coolest-looking weapons in the game. Each one has its own unique perk: Some automatically regenerate their own ammo, while others reward bonus damage, or speed, or boost your other abilities.
With the latest expansion dropping last month, “Destiny” now has a whopping 50 different exotic weapons, so we thought it’d be fun to rank them all. Now, for some background, I’ve personally played over 1,000 hours of “Destiny” since 2014, and I’ve acquired and used a vast majority of these weapons. These exotic weapon rankings are not just based on their unique abilities, but also their overall usefulness. Since you can only equip one exotic weapon at a time, it helps to know which ones are worth that valuable slot.
In-game description: 'Wait for enemy to make a mistake. Die. Stand by for Ghost Resurrection. Repeat as necessary.'
Exotic perk: 'High ricochet shock rounds with enhanced target acquisition.'
Bottom line: Dreg's Promise is a sidearm -- a quick-shooting pistol -- that suffers from a poor damage output and low rate of fire. It also often requires an entire clip, if not more, to down any single enemy. It's not better than any other exotic weapon on this list. Let's move on.
In-game description: '...is when death becomes an afterthought.'
Exotic perks: 'Bonus to range, stability, and movement speed when aiming down sights. First precision kill of this weapon's magazine refills it, granting bonuses to movement speed while aiming down sights, range and stability until player reloads.'
Bottom line: The First Curse is disappointing to use, especially since it requires a relatively long questline to get it. It has an extremely slow rate of fire and lacks the impact required to compensate for that slowness.
In-game description: 'Eternity is very close. Can you feel yourself slipping?'
Exotic perk: Precision kills with this weapon trigger a Cursed Thrall explosion.
Bottom line: Though Necrochasm has one of the best attack values in the game, its bullets have extremely low impact and its exotic perk, while cool (blue fiery explosions from landing a headshot is pretty cool), is only really effective against low-tier mobs, and not much else. You have better options for your primary slot.
In-game description: 'Wait for enemy to make a mistake. Die. Stand by for Ghost Resurrection. Repeat as necessary.'
Exotic perk: This weapon has increased handling, stability and rate of fire when enemies are close.
Bottom line: Almost everything about this gun is average: average stability, average impact, and an average exotic perk. And that exotic perk is not very good: It only provides minimal boosts to your stats, which is hardly meaningful in a serious firefight. Only use this gun in low-stakes situations.
In-game description: 'You cannot shake the feeling that this is less a weapon than a doorway.'
Exotic perk: 'Fires in full auto mode and has a chance to return rounds that miss to the magazine.'
Bottom line: Despite having a nice perk, and being only one of two automatic exotic fusion rifles in 'Destiny,' Pocket Infinity is undone by its poor stats: namely, a low magazine size and poor range. It also has a brutally-long charge time, which could easily get you killed in a close firefight. If you want an exotic fusion rifle, there's a couple of better ones further down this list.
In-game description: 'Let them feel every lash, every curse, every touch of malice that they first dealt to me.'
Exotic perk: 'Final round of the magazine regenerates and deals bonus damage at the cost of the wielder's life force. Three rapid kills will return a portion of the wielder's health.'
Bottom line: While Touch of Malice is one of the most difficult guns to obtain in 'Destiny,' and it has one of the coolest-looking designs in the game, this gun is decidedly niche. It's really only best in end-game activities, where you'll need the extra firepower granted by the exotic perk. It shines in the final act of the King's Fall raid, for example. But the downside to the weapon's perk -- bonus damage at the cost of your life force -- means you can accidentally kill yourself while using it. You'll have to be very careful with this gun and know when to use that perk.
In-game description: 'What is the answer when the question is extinction?'
Exotic perks: 'On trigger pull, this weapon's initial burst has a higher rate of fire. When holding down the trigger, range and accuracy increase as rate-of-fire decreases. Kills grant bonus Grenade energy.'
Bottom line: Nemesis Star is a solid gun with a couple of fun perks that justify its 'exotic' status. So why does it rank so low on this list? Simply, this is an exotic heavy weapon that deals solar damage, and there several better alternatives in that department. This is good for taking out lower-tier enemies thanks to that extra grenade energy perk, but you might want to consider another one of the machine guns or rocket launchers on this list to fell a bigger boss.
In-game description: 'If you've got it, they will never see it coming.'
Exotic perk: 'You gain active camouflage from aiming down sights.'
Bottom line: Aside from its exotic perk, which only gives you camouflage when you're aiming down sights (the effect doesn't hold once you start shooting, or look outside the scope), this is a pretty solid sniper rifle. Its reload speed isn't great, but it has excellent stability, so you can unload pot shots on bosses and small mobs with relative ease. It's not a bad gun, but its exotic perk, which can certainly save your life, will only help you temporarily.
In-game description: 'Don't play your hand unless you're sure you have that ace in the hole.'
Exotic perk: 'Precision kills move one round from your ammo reserves into the magazine.'
Bottom line: This gun is unfortunately only available for the hunter subclass, but if you do happen to get this gun, it's a good time. It comes with Firefly, a perk where precision kills create explosions, but precision kills also immediately give you more ammo back, so you can just keep on shooting. It's a good gun that works in all sorts of activities, if you're into hand cannons -- but there are a few more notable ones on this list.
In-game description: 'Huddled at the mountain's base, we had no choice but to beat our ploughshares into swords once more.'
Exotic perks: 'Crouching increases scope zoom and makes it easier to aim under fire. Magazine is refunded if all shots fired are precision kills. Precision kills with this weapon have the chance to cause a bright flash that can blind nearby enemies.'
Bottom line: If you ever played 'Halo,' this gun is nearly identical to the default sniper rifle from that game, both in looks and feels. But of its three perks, only one of them is truly useful: Blinding a group of enemies with a killshot can be very helpful to control a hostile situation. But the other big perk, where you can refund your magazine if all your shots are precision kills, depends way too much on the situation and your particular skill level. It's a nice-looking gun, but there are better snipers available.
In-game description: 'Fight your way!'
Exotic perks: 'Bonus Agility on precision kills. Stacks up to three times.' OR 'Bonus Armour on non-precision kills. Stacks up to three times.'
Bottom line: One of my favourite aspects of the Boolean Gemini is the way it sounds -- each shot has a satisfying ping to it. But otherwise, it's an extremely standard scout rifle. It's easy to get in the game, hence its standard stats and relatively pedestrian exotic perks. Honestly, there are better legendary scout rifles out there. But the Boolean Gemini is still fun for playing around with, even if other weapons are more deserving of that valuable exotic slot.
In-game description: 'Every hit blazes the path to our reclamation.'
Exotic perks: 'This Exotic Sniper Rifle can be equipped in the primary weapon slot. Increased precision damage. Kills briefly increase damage against next target.'
Bottom line: Nine out of 10 times you encounter someone using No Land Beyond, it's in a casual multiplayer format. Some people are extremely good with this gun (looking at you, KJHovey), but its usefulness is pretty limited to one-on-one encounters. It's not good at all for handling mobs of enemies or big bosses.
In-game description: 'You are not welcome.' -- Unknown 'I beg to differ.' -- Shiro-4
Exotic perks: 'This weapon fires bursts of bullets with deadly accuracy. Reloading after a kill causes the next burst to be a longer, more powerful superburst.'
Bottom line: Trespasser is a solid sidearm, but sidearms in general are still by and large better fitted for multiplayer matches as opposed to campaign missions, strikes, and raids. The 'superburst' exotic perk is fun, but doesn't do too much more damage than typical burst. Its range is also subpar, which doesn't help either. Still, it's fun to play around with.
In-game description: 'To the first of the new Iron Lords.'
Exotic perk: 'Use to unleash a fiery solar eruption that weakens enemies and deals damage over time.'
Bottom line: There's an interesting conundrum about The Young Wolf's Howl. This sword is roughly as powerful as the other swords on this list, but it unfortunately costs more ammunition to use than those other swords. Also, compared to the only other solar exotic sword in the game, this does do a teensy bit less damage, which can make the difference between killing a big boss, or running out of ammo and getting killed by one. So while it's a nicely-designed sword, it's unfortunately behind the others on this list due to its significant ammo needs and lack of comparable damage.
In-game description: 'My mother had a shotgun we called the Chaperone. Kept us alive out there, before we got to the City.'
Exotic perks: 'This weapon fires a single precision slug. Grants Agility boost. Precision kills briefly grant bonus handling, range and precision damage with this weapon. Three rapid precision kills while Born on the Road is active will return two rounds to the chamber.'
Bottom line: I love the design of The Chaperone. The gun itself is slick, and the sights are designed to look like a pair of horns. Devilish, indeed. But unfortunately this gun is only adequate in Crucible multiplayer matches, especially since its high range can really close the gap in a one-on-one firefight; it's really not a good choice for any of the bigger activities like strikes or raids, though, since you really need precision kills to take advantage of its exotic perks -- and those aren't easy to get if you're being mobbed.
In-game description: 'Ionized polymer synballistic attack platform. The system's lethality is dynamically robust across tactical spaces.'
Exotic perk: 'Rounds fired from this weapon have no damage falloff, overpenetrate targets and ricochet off hard surfaces.'
Bottom line: I love Hard Light, with its futuristic look and sound effects, but it's only truly useful in certain situations. In Crucible multiplayer matches, it's a gem. Its rounds bounce off surfaces, which isn't always effective for one-on-one firefights, but it can be helpful when groups of enemies are bunched up near a wall. Unfortunately, the impact of each bullet is pretty weak, so you'll need to be accurate to be effective.
In-game description: 'To the untrained eye, this beast is a junker. To the trained eye however, this junker... is a beast.'
Exotic perk: 'Range and precision damage increases greatly while aiming down the sights.'
Bottom line: That in-game description is apt. In the right hands, Universal Remote can be extremely effective, particularly in multiplayer matches where shotgunners tend to rule anyways (it's easy to run up to someone and unleash one shot). But this gun, despite its great range, has poor reload speed and low impact, so you'll need to get off a few shots to kill bigger targets. It's a fun gun, but it depends on your particular skill level and ability to handle close encounters.
In-game description: 'Despite the Breakers' treachery, Her Majesty still stands.'
Exotic perks: 'Long-range sights with slower charge time, greater damage, and ammo and charge displays.' OR 'Low-zoom sights with faster charge time and ability energy display.'
Bottom line: This is a really fun gun with a unique design (it has two scopes since it's supposed to be used by Fallen aliens, which have four eyes) and some interesting perks to play around with. On one hand, this is indeed a fusion rifle, so each shot takes a couple of seconds to charge. On the other hand, the Queensbreakers' Bow acts like a sniper rifle -- it can do considerable damage, which is great for bosses or stronger enemy types. But here's a kicker: Though it acts like a sniper, Queensbreakers' Bow can hold way more ammo than a typical sniper, which can really make the difference in any given situation.
In-game description: 'This weapon is full of it.'
Exotic perk: 'Almost all shots that miss their target will return to your magazine.'
Bottom line: That exotic perk sounds pretty good, right? It is! The only problem is, this gun has low damage and extremely low stability, making it really hard to handle. So even though you'll get back almost all the bullets you miss, you might miss a lot. It's really best used on mobs of low-tier enemies. Just hold onto the trigger and have fun.
In-game description: 'By this right alone do I rule.'
Exotic perk: 'Kills with this weapon rally nearby allies with +3 recovery. Lasts 30 seconds.'
Bottom line: This gun is a bit niche, but it is excellent at what it does. It has the worst range of any primary weapon in 'Destiny,' but up close, this gun is absolutely brutal. It even looks brutal. It essentially acts like a shotgun that fires a burst of bullets. In particular, it's a beast in multiplayer.
In-game description: 'Nostalgia as a weapon of war. Style as a hallmark of victory.'
Exotic perk: 'The bottom half of each magazine deals bonus damage and has a chance to return health when dealing damage.'
Bottom line: Suros Regime was my very first exotic gun in 'Destiny.' And back in the day, it used to destroy people in multiplayer matches in just a few shots. It was way overpowered, and I loved it. Suros Regime gives you two incentives to nail your precision shots: it gives you bonus damage, and it gives you health back. It's not quite as effective as it used to be, but it's still fun to play around with in strikes and missions.
In-game description: 'An ancient instrument of war, renewed and enhanced by Guardian power -- not unlike you.'
Exotic perk: 'When held, this weapon grants +2 character Agility.'
Bottom line: You might be wondering, 'what's with the lack of exotic perks?' Great question: If you look at the other non-exotic perks of this gun, you'll see its exotic nature comes in its myriad of options. You can choose to have this gun fire in automatic, semi-automatic, or burst fire modes -- no other gun can do that. You can choose this gun to have more range, or more stability, or more ammo. You can even choose the gun's rate of fire. Since this is meant to be an exotic version of the first gun you ever use in 'Destiny,' Bungie wanted to make it flexible for any playstyle. It is fun to play with, but it nonetheless lacks a 'wow' factor that other exotics have to make them truly feel special. Still, this is a solid gun in nearly any situation.
In-game description: 'Good fighters have contingency plans. Great fighters don't need them.'
Exotic perk: 'Charge and equip times are very short immediately after weapon swap.'
Bottom line: Plan C is one of the best, if not the best, fusion rifle in 'Destiny.' This weapon can be devastating if you use it right. Plan C is a rare weapon that can counteract players that run up to you and shotgun you to death. Since you have increased movement speed and brief charge time when swapping from another weapon, you can quickly unleash a torrent of bullets that will vaporise almost anyone in the Crucible, and most low- to mid-tier enemies in the game.
In-game description: 'Stalk thy prey and let loose thy talons upon the Darkness.'
Exotic perk: 'Two more random bullets in your magazine deal considerable bonus damage.'
Bottom line: Hawkmoon is the best, most balanced, and most stylish hand cannon in 'Destiny' -- and yet, it used to be so much better. The gun was a bit overpowered, since its perks could randomly stack to give you incredibly powerful bullets on occasion, but these days, the magazine size is smaller and the perks can't stack on one another. Still, the design of the gun -- the talon on the bottom, and the wings on the side -- is still one of my favourite things.
In-game description: 'Release the storm. Hold nothing back.'
Exotic perk: 'This weapon has better handling, rate of fire and stability while the wielder's Super is charged.'
Bottom line: Charging your Super in 'Destiny' is important: It can help you unleash devastating attacks, or defences to help you and your whole team. But it's not always appropriate to use your Super as soon as it's ready; sometimes, you want to wait. And for those players who wait to use their Supers, this gun is perfect. Its exotic perk, which only activates when your Super is ready but not being used, essentially gives you one of the fastest-firing scout rifles in the game, and it's nearly perfect for any kind of activity. It's a shame this gun is exclusive to Warlocks.
In-game description: 'They rest quiet on fields afar... for this is no ending, but the eye.'
Exotic perk: 'This weapon fires faster and more accurately the longer the trigger is held.'
Bottom line: Thunderlord was one of the first exotic weapons in 'Destiny' that truly lived up to its name. It has the highest impact, range, stability and reload speed among heavy exotic machine guns. It's great for bosses, and it's fun to bring into multiplayer as well. It's a gun that also looks great and sounds great. Well worth the exotic slot.
In-game description: 'There will always be paths to tread and methods to try. Roll with it.'
Exotic perk: 'Dealing damage with this weapon reduces your melee cooldown and grants a chance to fully charge your melee ability with each kill.'
Bottom line: This gun is extremely useful in the right hands, mainly due to its perk: the ability to recharge your melee ability. That means Titans can use their lightning fists more often, Hunters can use smoke bombs more often, and Warlocks can use energy drain more often, for example. And when paired with other pieces of exotic armour, which can further reduce your melee cooldown or let your melee kills help recharge your Super ability, the Monte Carlo can be a lethal tool in nearly any situation.
In-game description: 'With your own hands you forged the mighty Bolt-Caster. Now take it in hand and unleash its thunder.'
Exotic perk: 'Use to shoot a beam of Arc Light from your sword creating a lingering electrical storm.'
Bottom line: It's fun to hack and slash at stuff, but this is the only sword that can shoot out a whirling electrical storm directly in front of you, which is an awesome effect and useful in almost any situation, from a big boss to a multiplayer match where someone is too far away.
In-game description: 'Burn the world. Burn it all.'
Exotic perk: 'Rounds fired from this weapon leave a Solar Flare upon detonation.'
Bottom line: Dragon's Breath is one of my favourite weapons in 'Destiny.' It feels like the designers had fun with this one, from the look of the rocket launcher to the exotic perk, which, in my opinion, is one of the best in the game. The appropriately-titled perk 'Napalm' basically leaves a giant pool of fire wherever you shoot it, which is particularly good for the game's many stationary bosses. It's not quite as useful in multiplayer matches, but it will absolutely earn you some street cred.
In-game description: 'To rend one's enemies is to see them not as equals, but objects -- hollow of spirit and meaning.'
Exotic perk: 'Rounds pierce targets and cause lingering damage over time.'
Bottom line: Ah, Thorn. In the first year of 'Destiny,' I killed more enemies with this gun than any other gun. But I think I also got killed by this gun equally often. Thorn is the result of a difficult and long exotic questline, but at least in the first year of 'Destiny,' where hand cannons were perhaps too overpowered compared to other weapon types, Thorn reigned supreme. Besides being a hard-hitting cannon, getting shot with Thorn would turn your screen green and distort your vision, making you easier to kill. It used to be one of the cheapest guns in the game, and I loved every moment of it. Unfortunately, Bungie has tweaked the meta so hand cannons in general are much less effective, but this gun was a great time back in the day. I hope it makes a resurgence someday. (Side note: The lore behind this gun is fantastic.)
In-game description: 'Please replace these components if use causes fatal damage: HEAT SINK. MAGAZINE. OPERATOR'
Exotic perk: 'Cannot be reloaded. Regenerates ammo over time. Ice Breaker's victims spontaneously combust, dealing damage to others nearby.'
Bottom line: In the first year of 'Destiny,' I probably hid behind this gun a little too often. But frankly, this was a great gun for beginners, simply because of its exotic perk: You never reload the gun, it just regenerates ammo over time. And back in the day, Ice Breaker refilled its ammo fairly quickly, which was perfect for popping bosses in strikes or raids while largely staying in your hiding spot, far away from the action. The gun is largely irrelevant these days, since it can't be leveled up to meet the current meta in the game, but you can still use it in Crucible multiplayer matches. It's not quite as effective as it used to be, but I'll always remember its former greatness.
In-game description: 'Complete awareness, complete focus. A mind sharpened by diligence to a single deadly point.'
Exotic perk: 'Grants explosive rounds. Rapid kills with every round in the clip load an extra, higher-damage round for 5 seconds (called Dynamite). The extra round from Dynamite causes a massive explosion.'
Bottom line: Zen Meteor's Dynamite perk is a ton of fun: Killing stuff gives you an extra, singularly powerful shot, which creates a massive explosion -- the front of the gun actually glows red to let you know you have a massive payload ready to go. It's good on smaller mobs, but it's also extremely capable in many other situations.
In-game description: 'Yours…not mine.'
Exotic perk: 'The weapon can be fired quickly and continuously. Improved stability and target acquisition when firing from the hip.'
Bottom line: You'll often see some of the best players, particularly in the Crucible, using the Last Word. That's because it has probably the best time-to-kill ratio in the game. Just a few quick shots -- made possible since you can hip fire and unload shots like a cowboy -- can down an enemy player. This gun isn't so great in public activities, where you typically need more ammo to get the job done, but its abilities in multiplayer more than makes up for that.
In-game description: 'A single word is etched onto the inside of the weapon's casing: 'Soon.''
Exotic perk: 'Body shots with this weapon increase precision damage for a short time. Precision hits are immediately returned to the magazine.'
Bottom line: The long and convoluted questline to get this gun was unforgettable, and this gun thankfully justifies that journey. With body shots contributing to precision damage, and precision damage immediately returning ammo to your magazine, you can unload on bosses or mobs of enemies with equal effectiveness. In some cases, this can mean near-unlimited ammo. Oh, and you can fire the gun in full-auto mode, meaning you can just hold onto the trigger and watch stuff die. It's pretty neat.
In-game description: 'What kind of harebrained scheme have you got in mind this time?'
Exotic perk: 'Chain body shots to gain bonus damage on your next precision shot and return ammo to the mag.'
Bottom line: The Jade Rabbit might be the best long-range scout rifle in the game, and definitely one of my favourites. You won't need a sniper with this one; it's perfect for downing any kind of enemy at long range thanks to its exotic perk, which lets you chain body shots and head shots to give you extra precision damage and extra rounds back in your magaizne. Pair it with a shotgun and you'll have a great time.
In-game description: 'With your own hands you forged the mighty Dark-Drinker. Now take it in hand and slake its thirst.'
Exotic perk: 'Use to unleash a spiral of Void energy in all directions.'
Bottom line: Basically, it can hack and slash like the other exotic swords, but it also has a special spin move so you can attack enemies all around you. It's effective for many bosses, and it's one of the few void exotic heavy weapons in the game. And, like the other swords, you can also use it to block gunfire or other attacks, which is useful in many situations. It's a well-rounded exotic with a solid unique perk.
In-game description: 'I've done the maths. When you pull this trigger, one plus one equals zero. Every time.'
Exotic perk: 'Enemies that take repeated hits from this weapon spawn SIVA nanites that attack other enemies. Fallen take extra damage. Precision kills release a SIVA nanite swarm that attacks other enemies.'
Bottom line: It's tough to know what's more epic: the questline involved in getting this gun in the first place, or its awesome effect where small red stuff bursts out of your bullets to attack your enemies a second time. To be honest, getting this gun is half the fun of owning it. I'll let the man who discovered it explain how to get it, but the effort is well worth it: Outbreak Prime looks incredible, with its black and red geometry and circuitry, it's an incredibly solid and stable gun, and it has a great perk that's useful for attacking multiple enemies at once.
In-game description: '...a causal loop within the weapon's mechanism, suggesting that the firing process somehow binds space and time into...'
Exotic perk: 'This weapon has no charge time. It fires a single bolt with each trigger pull.'
Bottom line: The only way to obtain the Vex Mythoclast is to beat the Vault of Glass raid on hard mode and hope for the best -- it's an extremely rare drop, even when you do those things. But as a proud owner of one from back in the day, I can tell you this gun used to be one of the best weapons in the game. There's a famous YouTube video of it tearing through people in the Crucible, showing how overpowered it was. It's technically a fusion rifle, but it shoots single bullets quickly and accurately that it feels more like a futuristic lightweight machine gun. I also love the look of this gun. I miss this gun.
In-game description: 'It's not a holdout weapon, it's a pathfinder.'
Exotic perk: 'This weapon can be fired in full auto mode. Kills with this weapon have the chance to grant bonus ammo to the magazine.'
Bottom line: This gun feels like you're holding onto dear life to a bucking bronco. Since it can be fired in full-auto, the gun kicks upward with a single trigger pull, and will keep firing. It has poor range, but when you're right in the face of your target, there is no better gun or shotgun in the game, period. That said, you do need to be very close to your target, which can be dangerous in some situations, like raids.
In-game description: '...is where you seek it.'
Exotic perk: 'Rounds fired from this weapon seek their targets aggressively.'
Bottom line: Truth is one of the best rocket launchers in the game, and one of the most fun weapons to use in general. It has incredible velocity and great reload speed for a launcher, but its exotic perk is the best part: Once you aim at your target, the rocket will try to avoid any nearby obstacles to hit your target. There have been many documented occasions in multiplayer matches where Truth rockets will go all over the map, up into the air and all the way back down to earth, just to find its target. It's hilarious at times, but not when you're on the other end of it.
In-game description: 'I tried to talk them down. They made a grab for my Ghost. After that it was a short conversation.'
Exotic perk: 'This weapon regenerates ammo over time.'
Bottom line: Invective is easily one of the most versatile shotguns, and worthy of an exotic slot. It's a fundamentally well-balanced weapon -- its stability and range are both best-in-class -- it can be fired in full-auto mode, and it's the only shotgun that can regenerate ammo over time, which is useful since most shotguns can't carry much ammo to begin with.
In-game description: 'Your only existence shall be that which I weave for you out of sorrow and woe.'
Exotic perk: 'Rapidly landing three precision shots will refill the magazine from your reserves.'
Bottom line: This gun is an exotic reincarnation of the legendary sniper rifle Black Hammer, which you could get from the Crota's End raid in the first year of 'Destiny.' Black Hammer was easily one of the best guns in the game, but its perk was so exotic that Bungie decided to outmode that gun and make this new exotic one, which looks and acts more or less the same. Black Hammer's original perk refilled your magazine but didn't count against your reserves, but Bungie changed that, which essentially let you fire at a stationary target infinitely. Still, if you nail all your precision shots, Black Spindle will let you unload your entire clip -- around 18 shots -- without having to reload at all, which is a huge time-saver, and often a life-saver.
In-game description: 'Vestiges of the Queen's Harbingers yet linger among Saturn's moons.'
Exotic perk: 'Fusion projectiles attach and detonate with a delayed Void blast. Multikills with this weapon spawn Orbs for your allies.'
Bottom line: Telesto is easily one of my favourite guns, as it's perfect for strikes and group activities -- particularly when there's a void burn modifier active, which makes all void damage more effective. Telesto is the only gun that can shoot projectiles that attach to a surface and detonate with a blast. And since it does void damage, and very few exotic weapons deal void damage, this gun is worth keeping leveled up and in your inventory.
In-game description: 'Subroutine IKELOS: Status=complete. MIDNIGHT EXIGENT: Status=still in progress.'
Exotic perk: 'Weapon's laser tears through enemies and ricochets once on hard surfaces. Laser upgrades to allow multiple ricochets on hard surfaces.'
Bottom line: When it comes to dealing damage on bosses, it doesn't get much better than Sleeper Simulant. It sadly can't carry much ammo, so every shot is important -- but every shot is incredibly powerful. Expect to do heavy damage every time you charge your weapon, which has the chance to ricochet off a surface and hit the target again (particularly if it's close to a wall). It can tear through multiple enemies, or just one big one. Great for any situation. (Also, the design is just bonkers futuristic, and I love it.)
In-game description: 'If you believe your weapon wants to end all existence, then so it will.'
Exotic perk: 'After each kill, this weapon will reload instantly and increase damage for a short time. Kills will help charge your super.'
Bottom line: Bad Juju is one of the best guns for group activities, hands-down. Every kill instantly reloads your magazine, so you can shoot at endless lower-tier enemies as long as they keep coming. And better yet, every kill helps charge your super, which allows you to generate more orbs for your allies more often so they can use their supers. When it was first released, it was a terrible gun, but Bungie listened to the community, made a few tweaks, and now we have one of the best all-around weapons in the game. Thanks, Bungie.
In-game description: 'Vanguard policy urges Guardians to destroy this weapon on sight.'
Exotic perk: 'Each kill heals you and speeds up reloads.'
Bottom line: Red Death is the ultimate insurance policy. I can't tell you how many times this gun has saved my life when I was on the brink of death. Since kills heal you, you can get into an intense firefight in the Crucible, or in a public activity, and keep your health in check simply by killing something. It really makes the difference in raids, where you're often under fire by multiple enemies, but it's truly great in any situation, thanks to its solid stability and range.
In-game description: 'An upcycled torrent of righteous thunder.'
Exotic perks: Arc projectiles have the chance to chain lightning when enemies are close together. Double kills with this weapon charge a small amount of Super energy and return ammo to the magazine.
Bottom line: This gun is just incredibly satisfying to use. It's one of the rare primary weapons that can deal out elemental damage -- arc, specifically -- but it's essentially a tiny version of the Thunderlord machine gun, as it shoots electric bullets that can chain to other enemies. And the exotic perk makes it even better: killing more than one enemy, which is easy since the lightning chains between multiple enemies, gives you ammo back and helps charge your Super ability. I pretty much take this with me on public activities any chance I get.
In-game description: 'With your own hands you forged the mighty Raze-Lighter. Now take it in hand and feed its flames.'
Exotic perk: 'Use R2/RT to launch into a Solar Light uppercut.'
Bottom line: You've seen other swords on this list, but none deals more damage, more effectively, than Raze-Lighter. Yes, it hacks and chops, but the special attack -- a solar uppercut -- is the special sauce. It destroys bosses perhaps better than any other weapon in 'Destiny,' if you're able to get that close. Multiple people with Raze-Lighters can down almost any high-tier enemy in seconds. And, like the other swords, it can block attacks and gunfire. Highly recommended for public activities.
In-game description: 'Select application: Ballistic engagement. Entrenching tool. Avionics trawl. Troll smasher. Stellar sextant. List continues.'
Exotic perk: 'This weapon boosts move speed and fires on a hair trigger.'
Bottom line: With 'multi-tool' in the name, you'd expect this gun to be versatile. It is extremely versatile -- and then some. There is, in my opinion, no better-feeling gun in the game. It's perfect for downing enemies quickly at a distance, since it fires on a hair trigger and it's extremely stable, but it also works great for anything mid-range as well. Another nice perk is the added agility, which lets you zip around the field. This gun is so well-balanced, it's one of my absolute favourites. I use it for any kind of meaningful Crucible match.
In-game description: 'If there is beauty in destruction, why not also in its delivery?'
Exotic perk: 'Rounds fired from this weapon split into tracking cluster missiles upon detonation.'
Bottom line: The Gjallarhorn is simply the best weapon in 'Destiny.' If you were to choose one weapon to sum up what 'Destiny' is all about, this is it: An overpowered exotic rocket launcher that tracks its targets, explodes, splits into three smaller cluster projectiles, which then hit the target again and explode. And if that's not enough pomp for you, the gun is covered with gold -- specifically, from the armour of dead Guardians who fell at the Battle of Twilight Gap (since you asked).
In the first year of 'Destiny,' Gjallarhorn was easily the rarest gun in the game. It could randomly drop from several activities, including the raids, but it was extremely rare -- so rare, in fact, that getting a Gjallarhorn to drop for you became a YouTube phenomenon. You have to watch these videos to get a sense of how significant this gun is.
In the game's early days, Gjallarhorn was actually quite a divisive weapon. Since it was so overpowered -- but also so, so rare -- it became a way for players to only accept some players and not others into their activities. Since matchmaking is largely done online, you'd find plenty of people only asking for people of a certain level, and 'must have Gjallarhorn.' It was seriously that good.
Bungie retired Gjallarhorn last year for 'The Taken King' expansion, only to revive it in 'Rise of Iron.' It's much easier to get now, since there's an actual questline to get it. And the gun isn't quite as effective as it was in the first year, since Bungie made those secondary cluster projectiles less effective, but it's still a terribly good gun and probably the best choice for many strike and raid activities.
Here's a sample of what it felt like to have a Gjallarhorn drop from you in the first year of 'Destiny.'