12 Best PvP Weapons in Destiny 2 Season of Defiance

Good luck, you'll need it.

Eoin Black
Eoin Black
13 Min Read
Image via Bungie

I know, I know, you don’t suck at PvP – your weapons do. I get it, and that’s why I’ve put together a list of the 12 best PvP weapons Destiny 2 has on offer right now. If I see one more person bring Subsistence into Crucible I swear I’ll uninstall, so stop sabotaging yourself with your terrible rolls. I’ve got a META weapon here for everyone – regardless of your tastes.


Ikelos SMG

Ikelos SMG.
Image via Bungie

Element: Arc
Source: No longer obtainable

The Ikelos SMG V3 is potentially the greatest example of Destiny 2 FOMO yet. If you never managed to craft yourself one of these during Season 19, you’re out of luck. This weapon is no longer obtainable, which is especially tragic as it’s potentially the best PvP guns Destiny 2 has, as well as the best PvE weapon as well.

This gun’s PvE god roll is one thing, but its PvP first-choice of Dynamic-Sway Reduction/Tap the Trigger is nothing new for an SMG, but here it’s thrown on top of the Ikelos’ already great base stats. The result is an SMG that beams at close-to-mid ranges, and outguns practically anything but a shotgun when things get up close and personal.


Dead Man’s Tale

Dead Man's Tale.
Image via Bungie

Element: Kinetic
Source: Exotic rotator mission being added after Season 21

If you frequent the Crucible, then you already know why Dead Man’s Tale is considered one of the best PvP weapons in Destiny 2. As far as the best PvP guns Destiny 2 has had over the years – there’s a real argument for DMT being the most dominant. This Exotic Scout Rifle is built around the gimmick of firing from the hip – and what a gimmick it is.

Dead Man’s Tale, or DMT, increases your range, target acquisition, and rate of fire when hitting targets from the hip. Oh, and it also removes any hip-firing aim penalties. On top of that, it can roll with random perks like Outlaw. A perfectly rolled DMT will have you three-tapping enemies like you’re playing PvE.


Phyllotactic Spiral

Phyllotactic Spiral.
Image via Bungie

Element: Arc
Source: Lightfall Campaign

Season 21 and Lightfall brought a lot of new and exciting weapons with them to Destiny 2. For PvP players, one of the most exciting new additions to the weapon roster is Phyllotatic Spiral. This High-Impact Frame Pulse Rifle has some of the most consistent two-bursts I’ve ever seen – and I’ve always been a Pulse fan, even when I’m not maining them.

In the case of Phyllotatic Spiral, what you want to be looking for is Keep Away/Headseeker. Keep Away will give you a range, reload, and accuracy bump when there are no enemies within 15 meters of you – which is ideal range for a Pulse. Combine that with Headseeker and you’ll be capable of killing tier-7 Resilience Guardians with four cits and two body shots – and that’s insane.


Le Monarque

Le Monarque.
Image via Bungie

Element: Void
Source: Monument to Lost Light

Le Monarque is an unusual case of a weapon being META at the highest level in both PvE and PvP. On the PvP side of things, its main benefit is its Exotic perk providing poisoned arrows. Not only do these arrows synergize with the likes of Necrotic Grips, but the tick damage prevents Guardians from refreshing their shields.

If that wasn’t good enough, precision hits with Le Monarque will spread that Poison and Le Monarque works with Volatile Rounds because it’s Void. As a bow, that means all it takes is two or even one shot to not only kill your target but spread poison and deal Volatile damage to anyone nearby. It’s a monster in the right hands.


Ace of Spades

Ace of Spades.
Image via Bungie

Element: Kinetic
Source: Monument to Lost Light

Ace of Spades is the OG king of the Crucible. At a time when 140 RPM Hand Cannons dominated the META, none were as oppressive as Ace of Spades. Cayde-6’s iconic primary is a comfortable three-tap even now, maintaining some of the best time-to-kill in the game despite Hand Cannon’s no longer being a PvP first-choice weapon type.

When you reload Ace after a kill, you’ll activate its Memento Mori Exotic perk. This loads six high-damage rounds into the top of your magazine and triggers Firefly on precision kills. This, with the right buff setup, is enough to two-tap, even in Lightfall. Any Hand Cannon that can kill in two kills will always be worth considering, META be damned.


Vex Mythoclast

Vex Mythoclast.
Image via Bungie

Element: Solar
Source: Vault of Glass Raid

I’m a Vex Mythoclast main in Crcucible – and I won’t apologize for that. This primary Fusion Rifle might as well be an Auto Rifle, granted one with incredible damage. Vex beams enemies across the map thanks to its great base stats, and it has an alt-fire mode that can one-tap Guardians.

The effort of grinding out Vault of Glass is worth if for this thing. As a Call of Duty player, acclimating to Destiny’s PvP system presented me with a massive problem. Vex Mythoclast helped ease that problem a little bit and is as close to a traditional FPS PvP experience as you can get while still staying competitive.



Image via Bungie

Element: Kinetic
Source: Competetive Crucible playlist

While Ace of Spades has always dominated the Exotic Hand Cannon META, there have been a few contenders for the top Legendary spot. Some have held that spot for a time, like Fatebringer, but none have been as consistently used as Rose.

As a typical 140RPM, Rose is everything you could ever need from a PvP Hand Cannon. In particular, its high aim assist and range allow it to outduel a lot of other Hand Cannons, making it a favorite of console players and PC diehards alike. Rose is a true and true PvP Hand Cannon, and that’s what makes it one of the best PvP weapons Destiny 2 has ever had.


Felwinter’s Lie

Felwinter's Lie.
Image via Bungie

Element: Kinetic
Source: Monument to Lost light

The PvP Shotgun META is dead, and long may it rot. I certainly won’t miss it, but any diehards that do will be able to get by with Felwinter’s Lie. This shotty used to terrorize the Crucible, but since the nerfs, it’s not been as frustrating to play against. That being said, it’s still one of the best PvP guns Destiny 2 players have easy access to – so don’t underestimate it.

The fact that Felwinter’s comes with such a perfect static roll is what makes it so popular – you don’t have to grind for it. You get Slideshot/Opening Shot for free, which is incredible on an Aggressive Frame with Full Choke. If you can get in close with Felwinter’s Lie, you’ll one-shot pretty much anything. Outside of that range, though, and you’ll struggle thanks to the Shotgun changes.


No Time to Explain

No Time to Explain.
Image via Bungie

Element: Kinetic
Source: Monument to Lost Light

As the original dad Pulse Rifle, No Time to Explain has a devoted fanbase of aged 30-something Guardians too tired to keep up with the fast-paced, close-range gameplay that a Hand Cannon or Sub-Machine Gun provides. If that kind of playstyle appeals to you, then this Pulse is going to change your life.

No Time to Explain is a phenomenal Pulse Rifle based on stats alone. However, it returns precision shots to the mag, and when you return 10 bullets, you’ll open a temporary portal next to your weapon that effectively serves as an Arc Soul. Both of these aspects combined allow NTTE to hit some insane kills, with damage being supplemented by not needing to reload, and the extra shots from your Arc Soul.


Matador 64

Matador 64.
Image via Bungie

Element: Arc
Source: Grasp of Avarice Dungeon

Here’s another Shotgun for you, and while the Matador 64 may not be as popular as Felwinter’s Lie, there are some out there that would argue this is one of the best PvP weapons Destiny 2 has ever seen, moreso than the other popular Shotguns.

Due to the reworks to Shotgun pellet spreads, Precision Frames like Matador got a pretty sizeable buff in terms of being able to hit all of those individual shots. On top of this weapon’s base range and great roll potential, it’s enough to make Matador comfortably one of the best PvP guns Destiny 2 has as of Lightfall – at least for the Crucible.



Image via Bungie

Element: Kinetic
Source: No longer obtainable

The Season of the Haunted Sniper Rifle Beloved is a monster and is single-handedly carrying the Sniper weapon type on its back. The combination of No Distractions/Box Breathing or Moving Target/Snapshot Sights allows Beloved to excel in practically every situation, whether it’s for something tactical like Trials, or more chaotic gameplay like Iron Banner.

Snipers aren’t too popular right now – and Beloved still sees massive use despite that. It’s got consistent one-taps, great stats, and feels far less clunky to use than some other Sniper Rifles. Every respectable Crucible player should have at least one Beloved god roll in their Vault – regardless of whether or not they use it.



Image via Bungie

Element: Solar
Source: No longer obtainable

Wow, that Drang META sure was wild. This dainty little Sidearm was melting Guardians at one point – so much so that it was considered the definitive best PvP weapon in Destiny 2 at the time. Why? Well, there were a few contributing factors.

First and foremost was the fact that Sidearms got a healthy buff right around the time Drang was gaining popularity. This buff on its own would have made Drang META, but the god roll potential of the weapon is what made it really stand out amongst the other Side Arms in the game. On top of that, it was craftable during Season of the Haunted and was a PvE-viable weapon, so everyone and their Grandmother has one crafted.


Those were 12 of the best PvP guns Destiny 2 has to offer right now. The Crucible is in a weird place, and multiple weapon types are flourishing as a result. Capitalize on the META by hunting down some god rolls of the above weapons. Whether you’re a Hand Cannon or a Pulse fan – there’s a top-tier gun out there for you.

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Eoin has been playing video games his entire life. He specializes in narrative-driven, single-player titles, and brings his extensive Esports experience into his writing.
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