Destiny 2 – Top five best Exotic armour for Hunters in PVE

Hunters are the most popular class in Destiny and for a good reason – they’re quick, powerful and have a range of devastating abilities. They also have a great range of Exotic armour for both PVP and PVE. Today I’m going to be focusing on PVE Hunter armour and run down the top 5 exotic armour pieces you should care about whether you’re a new player or a seasoned veteran.

What I’m going to do today is run down the armour pieces that are available in the game right now. We’re just about to go into a new expansion with Beyond Light dropping on November 10th, so keep your eyes glued to the channel for any updates as I’ll be sure to let you know. Today though I am going to be focusing on what the armour piece is and what subclass it pairs with

Raiden Flux

First of all, I’m going to be looking at Raiden Flux, this is an exotic chest piece. This one is a random drop, or you can get this from Xur when he’s around at the weekends.

  • Synapse Junctions – Quick successive attacks with Arc Staff increase its damage output and duration.
  • Plasteel Reinforcement Mod – Increased Resilience.

The main benefit here is Synapse Junctions which I’ll be using with an arc subclass to extend the duration of the super.

For our subclass I am using The Way of the Wind, which is bottom tree arc strider.

  • Disorienting Blow – Strike an enemy with this melee ability to disorient the target and nearby enemies.
  • Focused Breathing – Sprinting recharges your dodge ability. Increased maximum sprint speed.
  • Combat Meditation – While critically wounded, melee and grenades recharge drastically faster.
  • Lightning Reflexes – You are harder to kill while dodging.
  • Gambler’s Dodge – Dodge to perform a deft tumble, avoiding enemy attack. Dodging near enemies fully recharges your melee ability.

There’s a couple of things here. Striking an enemy with Disorientating Blow is good and pretty powerful in PVE to help confuse the enemies if you’re surrounded by red and yellow bar enemies. Focused Breathing is great because sprinting is going to be recharging our dodge and in turn Gambler’s Dodge recharges our melee ability. I’m going to be using that melee ability in combination with some weapons and traits later on in the build. Lightning Reflexes is great as you’re going to be pretty much invincible when you’re in your super and you’re dodging around.

Liar’s Handshake

Next up I’m going to be looking at Liar’s Handshake. These gauntlets were originally introduced in season 6 of Destiny 2 and you can pick these up from Xur when he’s got them or try getting them from the weekly exotic engram. It’s a random world drop exotic so you may get lucky and get them out there in the wild. The particular perk we’re interested in for this build is called Cross Counter.

  • Cross Counter – Using your Arc melee ability or being hit by a melee attack will allow you to follow up with an extremely powerful melee counterpunch that will heal you.
  • Mobility Enhancement Mod Increased mobility.

Cross Counter is the main benefit here. When testing down in the Tribute Hall we can see our initial melee attacks on the Ogre are 2523 and then the follow-up melee is 7569. That’s a 200% increase in melee damage, which is incredible.

We’re going to be using our Arc subclass here and specifically the top tree as there are some perks here that are going to synergise nicely with the exotic armour and weapons.

  • Combination Blow – Kill an enemy with this melee ability to trigger health regeneration and increase your melee damage temporarily.
  • Combat Flow – Melee kills recharge your Dodge ability.
  • Deadly Reach – Dodging increases your melee range, allowing you to lunge further to strike enemies.
  • Lethal Current – After dodging, each Arc Staff hit creates a damaging lightning aftershock.

There’s a couple of elements to this subclass which are going to come in really handy. First of all, we have Combination Blow, so when you get a kill with the melee ability it’s going to regenerate your health as well as give you extra damage for your melee. This stacks 3 times. Also, we’re going to be using Combat Flow, where a melee recharges our dodge ability. Finally, we’re going to be taking advantage of Gambler’s Dodge. This is where you dodge to perform a deft tumble, avoiding the enemy attack. Dodging near enemies fully recharges your melee ability.

Combination Blow allows us to get health back as increase melee damage, Combat Flow recharges our dodge and Gambler’s Dodge recharges our melee ability so it all works really well, especially when pairing it up with our exotic armour.

Celestial Nighthawk

Next up, I’m going to be checking out Celestial Nighthawk. This is an exotic helmet for Hunters and the perks include:

  • Hawkeye Hack – Modifies Golden Gun to fire a single high-damage shot. Enemies eliminated by the shot explode and grant you Super energy.
  • Plasteel Reinforcement Mod – Increased resilience.

What we want here with Celestial Nighthawk is to use Hackeye Hack to optimise our DPS in that single high-damage shot. If you get the kill then you’ll get some super energy back, and we’re going to be using a collection of mods & weapons to get our super back faster so we can use the single golden gun shot as much as possible.

We’re going to be pairing up Celestial Nighthawk with Way of the Sharpshooter (bottom-tree gunslinger). There are few perks on the tree here that will come in handy.

  • Knife-Juggler – Throw a knife from a distance. Precision knife kills with this Melee Ability immediately recharge it.
  • Practice Makes Perfect – Enter a trance with each precision hit, reducing the cooldown of your Super.
  • Line ‘Em Up – Precision hits with Golden Gun increase its damage and extend its duration.
  • Crowd-Pleaser – Enables precision damage with Golden Gun. Precision hits with Golden Gun generate Orbs of Light.

Practice Makes Perfect is good because it reduces the cooldown of your Super, which we want because the aim here is to get your super as much as possible. Crowd Pleaser enables precision damage from golden Gun and Line ‘Em Up is good because we get that damage increase for maximum DPS.

The aim here with our exotic and subclass pairing is to maximise the DPS. Celestial Nighthawk combines all our Golden Gun shots into one mega shot, then Line ‘Em Up increases the damage and Crowd Please enables that precision damage. Next up, we’re going to have a look at some weapons and mods to try and help us get our super back as fast possible so we can do as much damage as possible.

Ophidia Spathe

Next up I’m going to be using Ophidia Spathe and this is an Exotic Hunter Chest Armor. This one is a random world drop exotic, or you can pick it up from Xur and it pairs nicely with our Solar subclass for Hunters.

Let’s check out the perks.

  • Scissor Fingers – Grants two knives per charge.
  • Plasteel Reinforcement Mod – Increased Resilience.

What we want here is that Scissor Fingers perk, so we’re armed with knives more often than not. This used in conjunction with our subclass and mods, it’s going to make us deadly in PVE.

Let’s check out the subclass.

I am going to be using The Way of a Thousand Cuts and this is the middle ability tree for the Gunslinger.


  • Knife Trick – Throw a fan of flaming knives that burn targets on hit. Melee ability.
  • The Burning Edge – While enemies burn, your dodge ability recharges faster.
  • Playing With Fire – Destroying burning enemies recharges Knife Trick more quickly.
  • Blade Barrage – Vault into the air and unleash a volley of Solar-charged explosive knives. Replaces the Golden Gun as subclass Super.

With Knife Trick here we’re going to be dishing out a fan of knives for our charged melee ability and by dodging near enemies this is going to help us get that knife trick back faster. However, if we kill enemies while they are burning, then again we’re going to get that Knife Trick back quicker. That combined with our perks from Ophidia Spathe, this is going to lead to knives being available pretty much all the time, allowing you to run around and dish out the damage with your flaming blades.

Orpheus Rig

First up I am going to be using the exotic leg armour for the Hunter called Orpheus Rig. These are a random world drop exotic, so you can pick these up from Xur when he’s around or get them from a random world drop exotic. Let’s have a look at the perks of the armour first of all.

  • Uncanny Arrows – Provides ability energy for each enemy tethered by Deadfall anchors. Moebius Quiver has more shots.
  • Mobility Enhancement Mod – Increased mobility.

This exotic armour is going to pair up nicely with our subclass, which I’ll go into next.

For out subclass I am going to be using The Way of the Trapper this is the top ability tree for the Nightstalker subclass of Hunter class.

  • Snare Bomb – Throw a Smoke Bomb from a distance with this melee ability. The Smoke Bomb sticks to surfaces and detonates when enemies are near, slowing and disorienting them.
  • Keen Scout – Sprint and sneak faster, and gain an enhanced tracker. Tethered enemies are marked for easy tracking.
  • Deadfall – The Void Anchors fired from Shadowshot become traps and wait for prey. Void Anchors have increased range and last longer.
  • Vanishing Step – Dodging makes you vanish from sight for a short time.

Orpheus Rig and Way of the Trapper go together well because of the synnergy with Deadfall. What we’re looking to do is tether a whole bunch of enemies and we’re going to be given back a fair amount of super energy, meaning in PVE activities like the Contact Public event or Altars of Sorrow, anything with a load of smaller enemies, then we’re going to be able to trap them in our tether, kill them then get a bunch of super energy back, meaning we can do it all over again much faster.

This is going to be the tool for dealing with loads of smaller enemies but when it comes to bosses we’re going to be using a combination of mods and weapons, and I’ll get into those next.

For the weapons & mods for the builds you can pretty much mix and match in terms of what’s good in the meta when you watch this video. At the time of release I like using Cold Denial (Pulse Rifle) or Traveler’s Chosen for the Kinetic slot. Cold Denial is a solid mid range option and traveler’s Chosen is hands down one of the best exotics in the game with it’s perk of recharging abilities.

For the Energy slot I’m looking at either Trinity Ghoul (with catalyst) or Ikelos Shotgun (which you can get from the Prophecy Dungeon as a drop at the final boss). Trinity Ghoul is just a lot of fun spraying arc arrows everywhere that chain electricity and the Ikelos Shotgun packs a punch up close for taking out small, medium and large enemies. In the power slot I’m using Falling Guillotine. This is by far the best legendary power weapon in the game right now, but Anarchy and Xenophage are also good choices.

Mods are going to change as the seasons progress plus in Beyond Light things are goign to change up with Stasis… but for now I am using something like Opressive Darkness and Lucent Blade. I’ll run through some updated guides in Season of the Hunt and beyond for mods and weapon combos with exotic armour and subclasses, so keep an eye out on those.

Let me know down in the comments your favourite Hunter PVE builds and if you would swap out anything here in the top 5 list.

That’s it for this guide for the top five best Exotic Armour for Hunters in PVE. For more Destiny 2 content like this check out the Shadowkeep Guide or check out the YouTube Channel.

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