Destiny 2’s fusion rifles are the best weapon class for living out your space fantasies, since they have no direct real world equivalent.
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You don’t see fusion rifles as much in Destiny 2 PvP as in their D1 heyday thanks to a more balanced sandbox. They remain difficult to use for all but expert players who can manage the tricky timing on charged shots and predict where their enemies will be at any time. When you do land the shots, you can really do some damage, but you’ll want to be very confident you know what you’re doing before you take a fusion rifle into the Crucible.
In PvE, fusion rifles are sort of like shotguns – very good for quickly smacking down shields or majors, either up close or in the case of the two linear fusion rifles at range. If you’re good, you can clear crowds very quickly with a fusion rifle, and it’s much safer than firing a rocket or grenade up close – but most casual players will be better off packing a shottie or sword for toe-to-toe encounters.
On this page, part of our Destiny 2 guide, we’ll run down the best fusion rifles for PvE and PvP. Combine this with our advice on the best armour attributes in Destiny 2 and our lists of armour sets and where to find them, and you have everything you need to craft a perfect Destiny 2 build.
The best fusion rifle in Destiny 2 is more difficult to pin down than it was in D1, but we’re pretty happy with these choices.
Note that the opinions expressed here are derived from the state of the Destiny 2 PvP and PvE meta during Season 1 (September 2017 onwards). A major rebalance is expected when Season 2 begins, and we’ll update once the dust settles.
Here are the absolute best fusion rifles in Destiny 2.
Best slow charge fusion rifle: Shock and Awe
Like most High Impact paradigm fusion rifles, Shock and Awe has rubbish handling, stability and reload speed, and although its recoil direction is surprisingly good, it has pretty piss-poor aim assist, and lower range than the rest of its family, too. So why is it so beloved of those who don’t mind hanging on the trigger while the weapon warms up? Well, like the other High Impact models you only need to land four bolts to kill, and the wonderful perk Back Up Plan means those willing to juggle Shock and Awe in and out of their backpack end up with a ferocious contender. Good customisation options, too.
“Do not fear. Be what others fear.”Found in: Nessus, Gunsmith, Faction and random drop Legendary engrams.Alternative: The Wizened Rebuke is very similar, and on paper the better weapon – but we don’t think it feels as nice to use. YMMV!
Best fast-charge fusion rifle: Critical Sass
Fusion rifle newbies are best starting off with a Rapid-Fire paradigm fusion rifle as they learn to master the charging fire pattern. Of the two possibilities, we have to pick Critical Sass. Not only does it come with Back up Plan but also the option for Accelerated Coils; the two of them combined take the oxymoron out of the phrase “rapid-fire fusion rifle”. It has very poor stability, range and aim assist, though, so don’t think you’ll be successful the first time you have a go.
“A chain reaction of nuclear insolence.”Found in: Crucible engramsAlternative: Cartesian Coordinates is your other option.
Best PvE fusion rifle: Main Ingredient
A beta PvP favourite nerfed a little before release, Main Ingredient still deserves a slot in your vault. Impact and charge time-wise it’s pretty middle of the road, meaning it’s easier to use than either of the extremes, but it boasts excellent stability, recoil direction and most importantly, range – Main Ingredient can smash from further away than any non-linear fusion rifle. Perhaps best of all is the Rampage perk, which dishes out more damage after a kill; knock down a line of adds then turn it on the boss or a major to make a huge mess. Delightful.
“Now stir the sauce…”Found in: Vanguard Tactician (Strike) engramsAlternative: Although you may prefer other fusion rifles, there is literally nothing else in the same Precision paradigm.
Best linear fusion rifle: Tarantula
There are a couple of fusion rifles that fire a single, high power bolt rather than a cluster, which makes them very heavy hitting, long range, and easier for beginners to use. Of the two Legendary examples, Tarantula is definitely the best. Not only does it come standard with Snapshot, that much loved perk, it also offers three barrels and two batteries, giving you plenty of customisation options. Absolutely smashing against shielded majors of the matching element in PvE, but you’ll want to be pretty good before you bring this charged-shot almost-sniper into PvP. Those who are will profit.
“No one will escape my web.”Found in: Io, Gunsmith, Faction and random drop Legendary engrams. Can be purchased from Asher Mir after completing the Dynasty mission in the Io World quest.
Best Exotic Fusion Rifle: Merciless?
Obviously Merciless wins on account of being literally the only Exotic fusion rifle, but this weapon is really, really worth a look on its own merits: it charges slow and hits lightly, which sounds terrible, but makes up for it be being top tier in every other way. The really interesting thing about it is Conserve Momentum, which increases your rate of fire every time you deal non-lethal damage, right up until you score a kill. Once you do get a kill, reload to trigger Impetus and score bonus damage on your next few shots. The two perks together make for a great time in PvE, but the second is especially useful in Crucible.
“Entropy is inevitable.”Found in: Exotic engrams, Xur inventoryAlternative: Sorry, there isn’t one. We’re hoping that changes with Curse of Osiris.
Weapon choice is a very personal thing, so tell us your best fusion rifle, and why.