Exotic PvP Tiers | Best & Worst

Published on: Jan 6, 2015 @ 19:46

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 PvP.

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, and we’d like your thoughts about why X weapon is better or worse than another.

For the House of Wolves Exotics, you can find our initial thoughts for each of them 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.

PvP Rank

Tier 1


Though you won’t be using it often, when you do, you’re guaranteed to get at least a few kills because of its tracking.

With the additional tracking cluster missiles that seek out targets after the initial blast, you can easily take out someone nearby.

Hawkmoon (Timed PS Exclusive)

In terms of what one would expect from a Hand Cannon, Hawkmoon is the pinnacle. With its high accuracy, large magazine, and exceptional Impact, the weapon is at the top of its class and overall is above average.

All this, combined with the chance of increased bullet damage (making 2 shots to kill possible), makes for a weapon that any hand cannon lover will be thrilled to use.

Red Death

Pulse rifles just aren’t that great, but thankfully the 10% damage buff makes this one of the best. Red Death has a very high Impact rating too, the second-highest of all pulse rifles.

The Unflinching and Red Death perks really do well in keeping you alive, making this the best PvP pulse rifle.

The Last Word

For 1v1 encounters in close-medium range, it doesn’t get much better than this.

With impact and rate of fire identical to Thorn, TLW has long earned its place at the top of the PvP charts.

Thorn (Exotic Bounty)

With its buffs, this weapon is simply a killing machine. Only 2 shots are needed for a kill because of the damage over time.

While it may not be as good as The Last Word or Hawkmoon for 1v1, it’s still one of the best hand cannons.


Like the Regime, it’s everything you want in a rocket launcher: intense tracking and early detonation. The potency of the tracking will allow you to pull off some amazing kills too.

With a 3 round magazine and balanced stats, it’s perfect for PvP.

Vex Mythoclast

Its signature perk, Timeless Mythoclast, allows it to never have to be charged like a normal fusion rifle, which makes it act like an auto rifle.

In close-medium range PvE and PvP, this weapon will dominate. If you’re on a larger map, consider using SUROS or Hawkmoon, because it just can’t compete with those at longer ranges.

Tier 2

Invective (Exotic Bounty)

Full auto, regenerating ammo, high range/stability shotgun… what more could you ask for?

With its latest update the reload speed was increased significantly, making this a top choice for Guardians who want to get up close and personal.

MIDA Multi-Tool

Besides the Fate of all Fools, it’s the only Exotic scout rifle (until the House of Wolves).

It’s got a high fire rate & healthy magazine size, allowing it to dish out damage at a high rate. One of the best features of this weapon is its ability to improve your movement speed and agility.

Patience and Time

The perks on this sniper rifle are great, but a Legendary reroll sniper could have equally good perks.

It’s a great weapon to use, but it’s easily replaceable.

Plan C

Easily one of the best fusion rifles, it excels in PvP because of its quick recharge speed and balanced stats.

There’s also a decent amount of options for upgrading its stability or range/accuracy so you can customize the weapon to your playstyle.

Pocket Infinity (Exotic Bounty)

While personally I don’t enjoy using this, it does deserve its place in the second tier because of how easily it can take out enemies/vehicles.

Once you get a feel for Pocket Infinity and understand its quirks, it might grow on you, but I’d go with Plan C any day for its fast recharge/reload.

SUROS Regime

Arguably the strongest auto rifle in the game (certainly with the highest Impact), it’s truly a force to be reckoned with. All of its base stats are balanced and perfect for an auto rifle.

As for the perks, they’re very useful and each provide good utility. There’s basically nothing wrong with this weapon!


This heavy machine gun is in a similar spot as Patience and Time. Its perks are awesome and it’s a powerful weapon, but it’s replaceable.

Against All Odds for example would work just as well for the limited time you have with your heavy.

Tier 3

Bad Juju (Exotic Bounty)

Pulse rifles just aren’t good in PvE/PvP in general, but the horrid impact rating makes using this a chore.

If you can aim well, even a Legendary scout rifle or hand cannon will have a lower time to kill than Bad Juju.

Dragon’s Breath

Similar to the Thunderlord, this rocket launcher just doesn’t have much going for it that you can’t get with any other decent rocket launcher.

The Pyromancer perk just isn’t that good because of how quickly it disappears, and most people will know to avoid it, so it doesn’t serve as a threat.

Furthermore, without tracking, and with extremely low velocity, why waste your Exotic slot for it? Check out some of the Legendary alternatives we include in this article.

Hard Light

This auto rifle suffers from the same issues as Monte Carlo and unfortunately many of the new Legendary auto rifles: low impact.

Even though the stability was increased, its unique perk feels like a gimmick and isn’t beneficial for most PvP encounters.

Ice Breaker

What is an excellent PvE weapon, falls short in PvP. The only utility this weapon has going for it for PvP is the regenerating ammo.

Unfortunately, unlike Patience and Time or a Legendary like Praedyth’s Revenge, the stability and rate of fire is too low on Ice Breaker, making something like LDR 5001 or Efrideet’s Spear just as good or better (with the right perks).

Monte Carlo (Timed PS Exclusive)

Even though this auto rifle received a stability increase, it still falls behind in terms of raw damage.

It barely makes it into tier 2 because of its utility to reduce/eliminate the cooldown on your melee ability. Depending on your setup (high strength = lower melee cooldown) and subclass you might get more use out of this it than others.

Super Good Advice (Exotic Bounty)

This is a borderline tier 4 weapon, and only is in the third tier because it can return ammo to the magazine.

As with Thunderlord, there’s really no reason to use your Exotic slot for this, since basically any heavy machine gun will be able to take out enemies just as easily/quickly.

The 4th Horseman (Timed PS Exclusive)

Just barely squeezing into tier 3, this weapon is outclassed by Invective and literally any other full auto shotgun.

It has the lowest range of any shotgun and the reload speed is horribly low too (5.3 seconds without the Speed Reload perk). In PvP this will leave you scrambling around trying to slowly reload your weapon with at least two shots to guarantee a kill on someone.

Universal Remote

Is this gun fun to use? Absolutely. Is it a great Exotic? Well, no. If this was a secondary weapon, it’d be much more useful.

While this could be great for really small maps, there’s no reason to use this as your primary weapon.

Tier 4

No Land Beyond

The only horrible weapon, this primary sniper rifle just doesn’t deserve to be an Exotic right now.

It’s place in PvE is understandable in some circumstances, but in PvP, it’s really frustrating to use when compared to any of the Tier 1-3 primary weapons.

Will the most skilled players be able to do well with this weapon? Sure, but it certainly isn’t a good choice for the vast majority.


Check out forums.planetdestiny.com if you’d like to talk to others about Destiny in a friendly and welcoming community! :)


  • Justice Taker

    No land beyond is an outcast. R.I.P. in pieces. It does look nice though.

    • Christian

      It’ll get a buff soon (:

      • Mezi-Crochet

        Have too like Thorn and bad Juju

  • Octus

    no land beyond. I basically have it just to complete my collection. It works ok during Crotas end bridge/warlock glitch when you need sniper fire(for those who don’t have regenerating ammo awesomeness from the icebreaker).

  • Dylan Pickles Schneider

    Red Death a Tier 3 weapon? Even if it isn’t fully upgraded, it’s an amazing weapon. Easy to control as you fire, three-burst shot takes down shields, perks either give it stagger rounds or quicker ADS, and the more you kill, the faster you reload. To me, it’s the SUROS of Pulse Rifles.

    • sycoteck

      The reason is most of the destiny community are auto rifle fans that can barely aim to survive. Very few can handle the true potential of pulse rifles. I use pulse rifles inside and out of pvp/pve and even raids. And I got to say the only resoan they’re under rated is lack will to take a split second longer to aim instead of spray “n” pray, personally the best one I’ve picked up was (kinda still is despite being maxed at 300) strange suspect. Impact way higher than most auto rifles, almost the range of a good scout rifle, and stability is no problem,

      • Christian

        I do agree. If you can aim and shoot a Pulse rifle, you can dominate an auto rifle any day. My pride and joy for PVP is the rare pulse rifle “Lump Distribution”. Great recoil control, fantastic rate of fire, it drops way, way faster than an auto rifle.

        • ProdigalPlayer

          My favorite pulse is also a rare! Dead Air 09F3. Mine has nearly maxed stability, fully maxed reload, and higher impact than Red Death.

      • Mezi-Crochet

        Exactly man… I totally agree with you on that one. And you learn using the red death… Ohhh god!

      • ProdigalPlayer

        I 100% agree. They are the real two-shot primary, not hand cannons. Arguably the hardest primary to learn, but with the greatest rewards for those who do. But ultimately it doesn’t matter what these lists say; if it works for us, good for us!

      • Dylan Pickles Schneider

        I will admit Red Death is a rabid beast to control, but that’s because I come from using Hand Cannons too much. The Last Word and Thorn are my favorites, but I want to try out Red Death. It just seems like a treasure I can’t pass up.

  • NeverTheOne

    Ryan: Man, you made a mistake. You’ve got the Monte Carlo listed as (Exotic Bounty). It should be (Timed PS Exclusive). Just trying to lend a hand. Keep up the good work! =)

    • oops, sorry about that

  • Jason Peterson

    Good list guys, agreed. They need to do something more with Red Death, that thing is awesome for a pulse rifle, and that’s saying a lot in Destiny.

  • Jens Hjerpe

    Good list just one problem. Bad Juju is my favorite weapon, at first its a tier 3 weapon but after you upgrade it so it reloads after every kill its a tier 2 weapon in my book. Just aim and shoot, never worry about reloading 😀

    • Alastor Lakiska Lines

      This ranking is for PvP, and there it can’t kill fast enough to actually use the auto reload except for an afk target.

      • MasterCJ117

        I completely disagree with that, one of my friends destroys with the Bad Juju chaining kill after kill without reload and using super all over the place, he averages 10-kill streaks atleast with it but really what brings out the good in a weapon is the user, like Universal Remote sooo many people say it’s shit but I’ll use it on big maps even and dominate (it helps that I’m pretty good at dodging shots).

  • Haydn

    No love for no land beyond lol.

    I don’t blame them either, I believe some rare hand cannons could potentially be more effective at killing enemies

  • rairomusicboy

    that’s how you No Land Beyond 😛

    • This guy isn’t a sniper, he’s some kind of Ninja/TRex hybrid.

      • rairomusicboy

        I guess that’s something unusual 😛

    • Daniel Seel

      Not only is he good…..but nice music choices.

      • rairomusicboy

        thanks mate 😀 I’m happy you like it

        • J radical

          You would be a force to be reckoned with using a rregular gun haha

    • NLK3

      He’s good, but he’s still using it the way you’re supposed to use snipers. I would think to make the bolt action a little faster (by maybe 20%) and remove reloading (give it one shot per clip, but make the faster bolt action the main reload). Improve the handling, but not as good as other weapons though. And… GLARE? REALLY?! WITH NO SCOPE?!!

      • MasterCJ117

        Don’t forget the ridiculous zoom it has without a scope it should be as far as a hand cannon.

  • Hanayo Asa

    Universal Remote in Tier 3 ? It should be Tier 2, I think. Not that good in Clash (it depends on which map you play) but Control, Skirmish and Rumble are an absolute blast with it.

    • MasterCJ117

      I here that it’s a damn good weapon for those that know how to use it, I prefer it over anything depending on the map and enemies arsenal. The description is certainly accurate though.

  • sambo

    This is a good list as i agree with most. I have all exotics except for Gjallarhorn… i know, im working on it. Two things i dont agree on is Red Death and No Land Beyond. While i wouldnt put Red Death it in Tier 1, it should definetly be in tier 2. Especially considering it is the PVP exotic pulse rifle. Both of its perks are not only useful but are both pvp oriented. I believe the time to kill with this weapon is off, and still needs work, but in the right hands this weapon does its job well. Now, No Land Beyond. If you dont agree that this weapon is a PVP beast… you arent using it right, or you need to work on your PVP skills. The head shot radius is amazing for this weapon. Pretty sure ive aimed near someones belly button and ended up getting a headshot. Not to mention if i shoot someone thats missing even the slightest amount of damage they are going down with that shot. Which is really usefull for a quick hip shot up close or just a quick ranged shot to get off without aiming for the head. 2nd PVP match i took this weapon into after figuring out its strengths, i went 22 and 1 in a skirmish map. Learn to use it and not only is it fun, its very effective.

  • ProdigalPlayer

    Good list overall, but I think that you seriously underestimate pulse rifles in general. At least in PvP, high impact pulse rifles are just as strong of an option as a scout rifle for the right player. Many Legendary and even rare high impact-high stability pulse rifles can two-shot an opponent, something you applaud Thorn and Hawkmoon for. I don’t have Red Death so I can’t comment on how good that pulse is specifically, but if you’re just dropping it into that tier because you aren’t good with a solid pulse weapon personally, I’d suggest a reappraisal by someone who uses them a lot.

  • Shay Allen

    I think im in the wrong chat but i wanted to voice an opinion on top exotics i believe that tier 4 should have more guns in it starting from super good advice down universal remote , fourth horseman , no land beyond

  • Ingulit

    The Patience and Time review isn’t totally fair in saying a legendary reroll could be just as good since legendaries can’t get Third Eye, which is a rather notable perk while under the tunnel vision of sniping.

    • ha trolled

      Mercenaries can quite easily have third eye . for example fang of Ir yut or a rerolled ghelons demise

      • ha trolled


  • Tomas Esteban

    Tier 5

  • JC

    G’Horn as tier 1 in PvP and pulse rifles suck? You obviously don’t play much Crucible and just listen to the ignorant community. ANY rocket launchet that has the early detonation perk is better than G’Horn in PvP, and after the pulse rifle buff people are going to cry about how they are OP. DPS doesn’t mean crap when you figure in effective range and human error (the fact that people are not hitting every shot at optimal range and all those shots are precision shots… that doesn’t happen outside of a controlled testing environment). People who know how to use pulse rifles will be dominating soon. Mark my words, because I actually play enough to know what I’m talking about.

    • 985647

      G’horn has early detonation btw.

  • Doubleken

    Where is the Necrochasm??

  • Hélio Azem

    Putting SUROS Regime in tier 2 must be some kind of joke

  • Decaf

    I disagree with the point made on the Universal Remote. It being in place of the first weapon allows me to use my favorite two weapons: A shotgun, and a sniper. I use the UniRemote with the PraeRevenge and I find myself being MVP the majority of the games, sometimes flawless games. It surely is a nooby annoying combo, but I am pretty fantastic with it.