Game Mobalytics

Top Trace Rifles in Destiny 2: A Comprehensive Guide for PvP and PvE

Trace rifles have long been overshadowed in Destiny 2, but they have finally found their place in the game. With the introduction of several legendary alternatives and the recognition of the top exotic traces, these weapons are now considered among the best in D2.

Destiny 2 Trace Rifle Tier List: Discover the Elite Options

Let’s dive into the top-tier exotic and legendary traces in Destiny 2, covering both PvP and PvE scenarios:

Destiny 2 Traces: The Complete List

This database includes every viable (non-sunset) trace rifle currently available:

These are the different tier levels used in our list:

  • S Tier – Best: The highest-ranking weapons in our tier list.
  • A Tier – Strong: Very potent weapons, but not on par with S Tier choices.
  • B Tier – Average: Decent choices that can be deadly in the hands of a skilled player.
  • C Tier – Weak: In the middle of the pack, somewhat lackluster.
  • D Tier – Worst: Lagging behind the competition, offering little advantage.

Best Destiny 2 Trace Rifles in 2023: The Cream of the Crop

Are you ready to explore the absolute best traces in Destiny 2 right now? These are our favorites for both PvE and PvP:

Acasia's Dejection

5. Acasia’s Dejection

  • Recommended for PvE

Acasia’s Dejection was the first legendary trace rifle obtainable through a raid, and it certainly lives up to its reputation. Compared to other legendary traces, Acasia’s is extremely versatile and doesn’t rely on specific builds to excel. While Incandescent in the final column offers Solar subclass synergy, options like Paracausal Affinity can be equally formidable.

The impressive final column perks are complemented by the top-tier perks in the previous column, which includes Reconstruction and Rewind Rounds. With the exception of Hip-Fire Grip, the first column of main perks is flawless.

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The only drawback of Acasia’s Dejection is its limited utility in PvP. However, this is a common trait among trace rifles and doesn’t detract from its overall power.

Acasia’s Dejection is an excellent choice for Guardians who want to incorporate a double-special weapon loadout. While trace rifles may struggle to keep up with SMGs and other primary ammo options, Acasia’s is a fantastic option for anyone keen to try these unique weapons.

PvE God roll: Rewind Rounds (alternative: Reconstruction) + Incandescent (alternative: Paracausal Affinity)

How to obtain: Acasia’s Dejection can be acquired from the Root of Nightmares raid.


4. Coldheart

  • Recommended for PvE and PvP

Coldheart is an underappreciated exotic that excels in almost every aspect of Destiny 2. Since gaining the ability to generate Ionic Traces, this weapon has become increasingly popular among Arc-loving Guardians. In PvE, the continuous supply of Ionic Traces synergizes exceptionally well with all Arc builds. Although it may not be as flashy as other exotic trace rifles, Coldheart gets the job done effectively.

In The Crucible, Coldheart is highly underrated, especially in the current meta dominated by abilities. While its base time-to-kill (TTK) may not be impressive, this weapon’s ability to provide more grenades, melee attacks, and class abilities per match is unmatched.

Coldheart’s strength and popularity rely on its synergy with Arc subclasses, which isn’t necessarily a drawback. If you have an Arc build ready, adding Coldheart to your loadout is a wise choice.

Exotic Perk: “This weapon shoots a steady cold fusion-powered laser that does exponentially more damage the longer it remains on a target.”

How to obtain: Coldheart can be acquired through Exotic engrams or Xûr.

Ager's Scepter

3. Ager’s Scepter

  • Recommended for PvE and PvP

Ager’s Scepter is one of the most underrated exotics in the game, especially compared to other special weapons in the kinetic slot. In PvE, Ager’s ability to slow and freeze enemies is unmatched, even when compared to Bleak Watcher. This power extends to Master and Grandmaster-level activities, where debuffing enemies is crucial for success.

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Ager’s Scepter also possesses an S-Tier catalyst, which greatly enhances its freeze and build potential. Despite the decline in popularity of Stasis builds due to the release of Strand, Ager’s Scepter elevates these builds to new heights with its synergy with Aspects and Fragments.

Overall, Ager’s is an outstanding choice for all aspects of the game. Its raw power is further amplified by Stasis builds and its exceptional catalyst.

Exotic Perk: “Final blows with this weapon generate a slowing burst around the defeated target. Stasis final blows transfer ammo to this weapon’s magazine from reserves.”

How to obtain: Ager’s Scepter is available for purchase at the Monument to Lost Lights in the Tower.

The Navigator

2. The Navigator

  • Recommended for PvE and PvP

The Navigator combines the support capabilities of Lumina with the build potential of Ager’s Scepter, making it an exceptional exotic Strand trace rifle. The main perk of The Navigator revolves around Woven Mail, a formidable buff in Destiny 2. It provides a 60% damage reduction (25% in PvP), and The Navigator’s perk ensures it remains active for both the user and allies at all times.

This exotic weapon synergizes notably well with Strand subclasses, particularly for Hunters and Titans. While utilizing the Aspects and Fragments unique to these subclasses is not mandatory, it elevates The Navigator to new heights.

Although The Navigator’s damage output as an exotic weapon may not be impressive, its support capabilities can keep you and your allies alive in high-level PvE activities. Any Guardian seeking a greater support playstyle should consider farming for this exotic, regardless of their opinions on Strand subclasses.

Exotic Perk: “Firing this weapon at an ally grants Woven Mail to both the user and the target. Dealing sustained damage severs the target.”

How to obtain: The Navigator can be acquired from the Ghost of the Deep dungeon.


1. Divinity

  • Recommended for PvE

Divinity continues to dominate the high-end PvE scene, despite receiving a substantial debuff to its applied debuff. In PvE, Divinity now only weakens enemies by 15%, which is relatively weaker compared to other popular options. However, its popularity persists, primarily due to the precision hit field it creates.

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While using Divinity effectively reduces the damage potential of one player, the addition of the precision hit bubble enables precision-based weapons like linear fusion rifles and snipers to excel.

Divinity’s only significant drawback lies in its lack of effectiveness in PvP. Nevertheless, its undeniable power in PvE compensates for this flaw.

Although using Divinity may seem monotonous, having a player equipped with it in your fireteam greatly contributes to raid and dungeon encounters.

Exotic Perk: “Sustained damage with this weapon envelops the target in a field that weakens and disrupts them.”

How to obtain: Divinity can be acquired by completing an Exotic quest.

Trace Rifles and the PvP Meta: Time-to-Kill (TTK)

We have covered the specific traces considered top-tier and worth acquiring, but how do they compare to other special weapons in PvP?

Remember that in PvP, TTK is perhaps the most crucial factor. As you probably know, the lower the TTK, the quicker you can eliminate your opponents. While our TTK guide/chart mainly applies to primary weapons, not specials, it is still worth considering.

However, if you equip ammo finder and scavenger mods and utilize traces like primary weapons (similar to souped-up auto rifles), they can certainly get the job done:

Traces and Optimal TTK:

  • Coldheart: 0.67s
  • Wavesplitter: 0.67s
  • Prometheus Lens: 0.73s
  • Ruinous Effigy: 0.73s
  • Divinity: 1.13s

For reference, a TTK of 0.67s is exceptionally fast, matching the swiftest primary weapons in the game, such as top-tier sidearms and SMGs. Traces also boast better range; however, they consume special ammo, necessitating careful resource management.

Using a trace rifle may seem like a gimmick, but with the right ammo mods and mindset, they can provide tons of fun.

Trace Rifles and the PvE Meta: Damage Per Second (DPS)

How do traces fare against other special weapons in PvE scenarios?

Trace Rifles and DPS (Endgame Content):

Interestingly, trace rifles do not excel in endgame content due to their relatively lower DPS numbers. Nevertheless, they excel in unique ways. For instance, Divinity reigns supreme in endgame PvE due to its exceptional support capabilities.

Your Turn

You are now well-informed about trace rifles in Destiny 2, whether for PvP or PvE activities.

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