Destiny 2 best PvP meta weapons for Crucible, Trials of Osiris, & Iron Banner in Season of the Wish

Destiny 2 best PvP meta weapons for Crucible, Trials of Osiris, & Iron Banner in Season of the Wish
Images via Bungie

Written by 

Dave McAdam

Last updated 

13th Mar 2024 10:42


Destiny 2 PvP is the truest test of any weapon, where we learn exactly how each gun stacks up against the others. Destiny 2 has arguably the most ever-evolving meta of any FPS, considering the sheer number of weapons in the game, and how long it has been going for.

Meta weapons for Trials of Osiris and Iron Banner shift and change as often as the PvE weapons do, so I've picked out some of the best PvP performers for you to base your loadout choices on. 

How we chose the best PvP weapons

Ace of Spades, No Man's Tale, No Time To Explain, and The Immortal
Click to enlarge

Great Crucible weapons need two things: reliability and a good Time To Kill. Basically, can a weapon defeat an opponent quickly, and can it do so consistently? Primary weapons in either your Kinetic or Energy slot are likely to be your workhorse weapons, and the best choices are the ones that fit this bill.

You want something reliable, but also you want a weapon suitable for the current map. An SMG or auto rifle might be the best choice on a map with lots of short-range encounters, but nearly useless at longer ranges where a sniper would be best, and vice versa.

As such, I've factored in several weapons that serve various purposes and gone through the weapon usable stats on to help inform my picks.

So here are the best options for the Kinetic and Energy slots, with each one proving more effective than the others depending on the situation.

Best Kinetic weapons for PvP

Weapon Source
Conditional Finality Root of Nightmares raid
Thorn Monument to Lost Lights
The Immortal Trials of Osiris
No Time to Explain Complete Beyond Light campaign
Unending Tempest Crucible reward
Ace of Spades Monument to Lost Lights
Warden's Law Nightfall
Dead Man's Tale Presage mission (exotic mission rotator)

Conditional Finality

The conditional finality exotic shotgun in Destiny 2
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This raid exotic has been consistently at the top of the usage charts for Trials of Osiris and competitive PvP for months now, and with good reason. Many high-level players are using weapons like Igneous Hammer and Ammit AR2 right now, leaving their kinetic slots free for something a bit different.

What makes Conditional Finality so strong is that its freezing/burning capabilities are so disruptive that even bubble shields and wells cannot protect your opponents. The ability to counter these powerful defences makes Conditional Finality extremely useful, it's no wonder the shotgun is so popular.


The Thorn hand cannon in Destiny 2
Click to enlarge

One of the big stories coming into Season of the Wish has been the arrival of the long-awaited Thorn catalyst. This upgrade of the classic weapon was unearthed years ago and only recently added to the game. With it, the Thorn goes from a decent hand cannon to a top-tier head clicker.

The catalyst gives Thorn extra range and stability, with additional range, mobility, and handling granted after kills or when picking up Remnants. This equates to a truly exceptional weapon in PvP. Thorn may be the hot thing right now with the new catalyst, but the hype is very much warranted.

The Immortal

The Immortal, arguably the best PvP SMG in Destiny 2
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The Immortal is an SMG that can be earned in Trials of Osiris. This makes it a bit more difficult to get a hold of, especially the Adept version, but you could see it as a reward to chase as you improve your Destiny 2 PvP skills.

The Immortal is a top-tier weapon, SMGs in general are very strong and this is by far the best one for The Crucible. A strength of The Immortal is having good range, as the biggest downside to using SMGs is their usefulness at a distance.

Still, you should use this weapon primarily on shorter-range maps. Stick to areas where you can fight in close quarters and The Immortal will be your best friend.

No Time To Explain

No Time To Explain, one of the strongest pulse rifles in Destiny 2 PvP
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Pulse rifles make for a great middle ground between the fire rate of auto rifles and the accuracy of scout rifles. No Time To Explain is fast and accurate, and its unique perk makes it even more powerful.

Rewind Again will return precision shots to your magazine, and gaining ten stacks of Rewind Again will trigger Time-Slip. This perk opens a portal through which another weapon from an alternate timeline fires with you, meaning you are firing even more bullets.

No Time to Explain is a great pulse rifle and is extremely useful in medium to long-range situations. If you can make use of the Time-Slip, it becomes an absolute monster.

Unending Tempest

The Unending Tempest is a new top-tier SMG for Destiny 2 PvP
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A newer addition from the recent Season of the Witch, Unending Tempest is a 600 RPM submachine gun that can be acquired as a random reward for completing matches in the Crucible. Some are dubbing this weapon the new Shayura's Wrath for its similarity to the fan favourite SMG.

It is a common drop but also has many potential perks, meaning finding a god roll for PvP might take some grinding. With the right barrel, rounds, and masterwork roll this weapon can have extremely high range, making this an ideal weapon for anyone who doesn't want to suffer the wrath of Trials of Osiris.

Ace of Spades

The Ace of Spades, Cayde-6's favourite gun, and one of the best Hand Cannons in Destiny 2
Click to enlarge

There is a good reason why we have listed Ace of Spades among the best exotic weapons in Destiny 2. This classic hand cannon is a perfect example of its weapon class. It is a solid all-around weapon, with a really useful perk.

Reload the weapon after getting a kill to activate the Memento Mori perk. This massively increases the damage of your next few shots. This is strong in PvE, but is absolutely destructive in Destiny 2 PvP.

As is generally true of hand cannons, Ace of Spades is best used at medium range. This makes it a versatile weapon, suited to most maps.

Warden's Law

Warden's Law has returned to Destiny 2 and is one of the best hand cannons for PvP
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Warden's Law has a complicated history in Destiny 2, especially in PvP. The hand cannon fires two-shot bursts, but some strange issue caused the aim assist to not properly apply to the second bullet, causing it to miss more often than not.

Warden's Law recently returned to the Nightfall loot pool, and it came back with some improvements. Firstly, the two-shot issue appears to have been fixed and the weapon now functions properly. Couple that with the recent hand cannon buffs, and Warden's Law now hits like a truck.

Dead Man's Tale

Dead Man's Tale is a reliable and strong scout rifle for Destiny 2 PvP
Click to enlarge

For long-range maps, there are few weapons that will serve you better than Dead Man's Tale. This old-fashioned lever-action rifle is very accurate and hits like a truck. The biggest barrier to entry is the lack of a scope, you have to use the weapon's iron sights. This might even be to your liking, so be sure to try it out.

Better still, the perk Cranial Spike means that the more accurate you are, the more accurate the weapon becomes. Precision hits increase the weapon's target acquisition and range, which makes racking up multiple kills much easier.

Best Energy weapons for PvP

Jotunn, Cloudstrike, Matador 64, and the Ikelos SMG
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For Energy weapons in Destiny 2, you'll want to use either Cloudstrike, the Ikelos SMG, Jotunn, or Matador 64 in PvP encounters. Keep reading for a rundown on these weapons below and why we think they're the cream of the crop.

Weapon Source
Ammit AR2 World drop
Igneous Hammer Trials of Osiris
Jotunn Monument to Lost Lights
Cloudstrike Beyond Light exotic quest
Matador 64 Grasp of Avarice dungeon
Ikelos SMG Random drop, or purchase from Banshee-44/Xur

Ammit AR2

Ammit AR2 auto rifle in Destiny 2
Click to enlarge

Of all the weapons to pop off in PvP, Ammit AR2 might be the most surprising. This auto rifle, a spiritual descendant of Uriel's Gift, is a workhorse weapon. Ammit doesn't do anything wild, it is simply efficient.

The weapon is accurate, it kills in a reasonable time, but the really exceptional factor is the range. Ammit can reliably tear down Guardians from ranges you'd normally want a scout rifle for, at least. If you enjoy your PvP as a pure test of weapon accuracy and efficiency, nothing will serve you better than a well-crafted Ammit AR2.

Igneous Hammer

The Igneous Hammer from Trials of Osiris is a very powerful PvP weapon in Destiny 2
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The uncontested king of 120 RPM hand cannons, this Trials weapon lives up to the hype of its origin. Igneous Hammer dominated the Crucible when it first arrived a few years ago.

With the recent buffs to hand cannons, and the inclusion of Keep Away and Eye of the Storm in the perks of this weapon, Igneous Hammer is back with a vengeance. If you want a hand cannon that feels truly like a cannon in your hand, this is the weapon you want.


Jotunn, a deadly if limited weapon in Destiny 2 PvP
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This one won't make you any friends, but it is an excellent way to get some easy kills. Jotunn gets one shot per load, so you will start each life with a single shot in the weapon. One shot is really all you need because it is more than enough to defeat an enemy.

You also don't really need to aim the weapon either. It has a massive blast radius, so as long as you land your shot relatively close to your target you will likely kill them. As if you needed any more help, the exotic perk Charge Shot allows you to charge your shot, which will then track your target.

Jotunn is not a weapon to rely on, as ammo is not plentiful. That said, you are almost guaranteed a kill for each shot you fire, making this great for Trials of Osiris, or Competitive Crucible.


The Cloudstrike sniper rifle, which has been dominant in Destiny 2 PvP
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If you have a reliable Kinetic weapon, particularly one with some range, pairing it with a sniper rifle can be a great idea. Sniper rifles are great for objective modes where you have some knowledge of where enemies will be, and a great way to take advantage of that is with Cloudstrike.

This exotic sniper has the potential to wipe out multiple enemies with a single shot. Hitting a precision shot causes lightning to strike anyone nearby. Excellent for clearing out a heavily defended objective.

Matador 64

The classic Matador 64 shotgun is very powerful in Destiny 2 PvP
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A beast from the past has returned to Destiny 2 and instantly changed the shotgun game. Matador 64 is an all-rounder, powerful with few drawbacks. It can only be acquired from the Grasp of Avarice dungeon, so grab some friends if you want to get this shotgun.

What makes this shotgun even more powerful is the changes to pellet spread. Now, precision frame shotguns have a diamond-shaped pellet pattern. This shape is taller than it is wide, just like Guardians. This makes it even more likely that your pellets will hit your target.

Pair this shotgun with a Kinetic SMG like The Immortal to be a close-range beast.

Ikelos SMG

The Ikelos SMG is a reliable workhorse PvP weapon in Destiny 2
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If you have a powerful weapon in your Kinetic slot, or you simply prefer an Energy weapon as your primary, you won't go far wrong with the Ikelos SMG. As mentioned, SMGs are particularly potent in Destiny 2 and there are few more sought-after from the Gunsmith or Xur than the Ikelos SMG.

Particularly useful is the fact that this weapon can be crafted, allowing you to tailor it to your liking. A crafted Ikelos SMG can have just about any perk imaginable, paired with the weapon's impressive base stats to make a very potent weapon.

One of the weapon's greatest strengths is its range, which goes a long way to counter the biggest weakness of SMGs. The Ikelos SMG is a versatile and adaptable weapon as a result, a perfect companion for most encounters.

Best Heavy weapons for PvP

Commemoration and Gjallarhorn
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When it comes to the best Heavy weapons in Destiny 2 for PvP, this is a slightly broader choice, as Heavy weapons don't factor quite as much into Destiny 2 PvP as Kinetics or Energies. Ammo is very limited, and most matches will go by without any Heavy ammo coming your way. There are two ways you can go with your Heavy choice; something you can fire and forget, or a more active-use weapon.

Rockets are great for the former, especially in objective modes. If you know multiple enemies are likely gathered in a particular spot, like a control point, a rocket on target can clear them all out in one fell swoop. If you don't want to focus much on using your Heavy, throw on any rocket launcher you have just in case.

If you want to focus on using your Heavy weapon a bit more, you should go with a machine gun. Ammo is still very rare, but where a Heavy ammo brick might give you one or two rockets, it might also give you a few dozen machine gun rounds.

Thunderlord, a powerful classic machine gun in Destiny 2
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Bring a machine gun with a bit of range, and a high ammo capacity. Those two things rarely come together, but if you can find a good balance, such as the Commemoration from the Deep Stone Crypt raid, it should work well.

Then you can treat it like you have an auto rifle, but one with a massive range that kills in two or three bullets. It won't last, but that period of time where you have a few dozen shots in your machine gun can turn into quite the killing spree.

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For more, head to our Destiny 2 homepage, for guides like our rundown of the weekly reset, the Lost Sector rotation for the week, what Xur has each weekend, and the latest promo codes for some free emblems and shaders.

Dave McAdam
About the author
Dave McAdam
Dave is a Senior Guides Writer at GGRecon, after several years of freelancing across the industry. He covers a wide range of games, with particular focus on shooters like Destiny 2, RPGs like Baldur's Gate 3 and Cyberpunk 2077, and fighting games like Street Fighter 6 and Tekken 8.
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