Strange Coins, Ascendant Materials (Energy & Shards), and Motes of Light are level 20+ materials.
Once you hit level 20, Ascendant materials will be required to increase your Light level (via armor upgrades). Strange Coins and Motes of Light will be used to buy high-level armor, such as the Exotics sold by Xûr.
How To Acquire?
Ascendant materials can’t be farmed like regular materials, and mostly are acquired through specific activities that take a significant amount of time.
- A Public Event gold-tier rating each day, which can be completed on each character, will reward you with Ascendant materials. After your first completion, they still have a small chance at rewarding Ascendant materials.
- Loot chests will have a chance to reward you with Strange Coins.
- After ranking up a Faction, you’ll have a chance at Ascendant materials as well as Legendary items.
- Buy cheap Legendary gear from a vendor and dismantle it.
- The Daily Heroic on a 24+ difficulty setting will reward at least 1 Ascendant material.
- The Weekly Heroic Strike will reward you with Strange coins the first time you complete it.
- Nightfall Strikes sometimes randomly reward you with a Legendary or Exotic item, which can be broken down for Ascendant materials.
- Finally, Strange Coins are sometimes awarded randomly too, so you could get lucky and earn one from a Crucible match or Engram.
Before we talk about materials, Engrams deserve a special mention. Any enemy can potentially drop an Engram, though Majors and Ultras have a better chance of doing so.
Engrams can potentially contain any Legendary item. Similarly, when you rank up and receive items from a factional vendor, you can earn items they sell. Usually you’re going to want to dismantle the item you get from decrypting your Engrams, unless of course you receive an item that you want to use. If you’ve got a bunch of junk Engrams, put them in your Vault and decrypt them on a character that you’re low on upgrade materials.
For example, if you have 10 Engrams on your Warlock – when you decrypt those items – you’re most likely going to get Warlock armor. When you decrypt that Warlock armor, you’ll always get Hadronic Essence (armor upgrade material for Warlocks). If you need another upgrade material for another class, such as Sapphire Wire for your Hunter, then put your Engrams in your Vault to use on your Hunter.
Motes of Light are a currency you earn with experience once you reach Level 20. At 20, you no longer gain levels normally; instead, every time you would have gained a level from experience, you earn a Mote of Light instead.
You also may get lucky and receive a Mote of Light from decrypting an Engram. The Speaker in the Tower accepts this currency for his cosmetic items, as well as the Agent of the Nine for an Exotic Engram.
Strange Coins are used primarily for buying Exotic items from Xûr. The best way to reliably get Strange Coins is by doing the Weekly Heroic Strike. If you complete the Strike on the hardest difficulty, you’ll get the coins from the other difficulties as well. For example: Complete the Weekly Heroic on the level 28 difficulty, and you’ll receive a whopping 9 Strange Coins!
Remember: You can share materials between your characters using the Vault. If you have another 20+ character, and only want your Coins on 1 character, just complete the Weekly Heroic on another character and store the Coins in your Vault for your other character to use.
These can also be a random reward from Crucible matches, regular Strikes, Engram decryption, and basically any other activity.
Ascendant Materials are powerful and rare Materials necessary to upgrade level 20 weapons and armor. Ascendant Energy is necessary to upgrade high-level weapons, while Ascendant Shards are needed for high-level armor.
Dismantling high-level equipment or completing challenging activities, such as a Nightfall Strike or the Vault of Glass, can earn you Ascendant Materials. In addition, Daily Heroics on a harder difficulty than the default will reward guaranteed Ascendant Materials.
If you need Ascendant materials quickly, grind for Faction Marks and buy Legendary gear from any one of the vendors. Dismantling Legendary gear will always produce Ascendant material.
When you do end up having enough materials to upgrade your Legendary & Exotic items, using Telemetries will actually speed up this process! When you level up your weapons and then dismantle them, you’ll receive even more materials!