Destiny: the best weapons and armour to upgrade with Etheric Light
"What have you been upgrading first?" has become the hot question as fireteams assemble in orbit. It is time to blow the dust off your Vault of Glass loot, become choosy over which Crota’s End gear best serves your needs across Prison of Elders and Trials of Osiris. Your old Crucible prizes are now worth taking back to Iron Banner, reliving the glory of… well, a few months ago but it feels like ages.
Since everyone can boast a level 34 armour set, mainly thanks to Variks in the Reef, our attention turns to reasons for allocating Etheric Light and Exotic Shards to specific helmets, chest pieces, boots and gauntlets; then rifles, hand cannons, launchers and heavy machine guns. The reason we’re being so fussy is because the elements required are offered so sparingly across the various game modes.
Etheric Light, required to 'ascend' (upgrade) Legendary gear, is earned once per week for completing level 34 and 35 Prison of Elders arenas, only rarely rewarded for the Weekly Nightfall and Trials of Osiris. Iron Banner allows the purchase of one Etheric Light upon reaching ranks 3 and 5. These are slim pickings, indeed. Exotic Shards are more common but costly at 7 Strange Coins from Xur each week, otherwise they’re only gained by dismantling Exotic weapons or armour in your possession.
So, here’s the best start we can possibly give you inside of a few weeks of the latest Destiny DLC.
1. Crota’s End Raid Helmet
Defeating Crota on Hard gives the chance of a helm that replenishes health upon picking up Orbs of Light. The perk is still useful during that last battle, but more importantly it helps during the harder waves of Prison of Elders, and especially the long drawn-out fights against Qodron.
2. Crota End Raid Boots
Every pair of Crota’s End Raid boots enables Guardians to carry more ammo for Rocket Launchers and Heavy Machine Guns but this mainly benefits Gjallarhorn, Truth and Hunger of Crota RPGs, respectively allowing seven, eight and six rounds to chuck at bullet-sponge bosses.
3. Vision of Confluence - Legendary Scout Rifle, Solar Damage
This gun is the most used in Destiny, and the reason in our view is that it seems to have power that isn’t covered by its perks as strictly advertised. Its Solar-rounds chew great big chunks out of most enemies, including Vex. Even at 300 it’s an invaluable ally in Prison of Elders. At 365 it’s a beast.
4. Fatebringer - Legendary Hand Cannon, Arc Damage
Vault of Glass ‘god tier’ acquisition that’ll carry you through most rounds in Prison of Elders, the Firefly perk helping to clear enemies bunched together while the Arc damage eats through Fallen Captain shields. This remains the handcannon for PvE, and is fun for confident gunslingers in PvP.
5. Found Verdict - Legendary Shotgun, Arc Damage
First weekend that we played Trials of Osiris, we lost count of the number of times we went down to a level 34 Guardian toting a 365 Found Verdict. As with Vision of Confluence, the basic 300 model is worth taking into battles, only its favoured territory is PvP. Upgraded it’s just ridiculous.
6. Praedyth’s Revenge (Legendary Sniper Rifle, Void Damage)
Long favoured for its stability, rate of fire and reload speed, Etheric Light allows Praedyth’s Revenge to dominate in cross-mapping Trials of Osiris duals. It really is like hammering nails into somebody’s skull from a couple of hundred metres. Firefly (exploding headshots) is the cat’s meow.
7. Corrective Measure - Legendary Heavy Machine Gun, Void Damage
300 rounds, with 100 in each clip, perfectly balanced with a ridiculous rate of fire gaining accuracy the longer this is fired. It’s one of finest ways to bring down Atheon, but alongside Praedyth’s Revenge it has become a Crucible staple. It’s easy a top-3 choice for weapon-bound Etheric Light.
8. Oversoul Edict - Legendary Pulse Rifle, Arc Damage
Awesome in PvP owing to its focused automatic fire making the most of Bungie’s recent Pulse Rifle buff. It’s between this and Praedyth’s Timepiece (Vault of Glass Pulse Rifle) for an Arc damage tool that drills through enemies of all kinds. Oversoul ignores Hive Knight shields, so gets the vote.
9. Blackhammer - Legendary Sniper Rifle, Solar Damage
With two guys taking care of ‘adds’ while one gets to business with the Blackhammer, Prisoner of Elders bosses are brought down surprisingly quickly if your rockets are on recharge. Blackhammer’s potential for unlimited rounds based on never missing a hit can be a gamble but are a godsend.
10. Abyss Defiant - Legendary Auto Rifle, Solar Damage
This is mainly for Prison of Elders and returning to Crota’s End at level 34 with a ho-ho-ho. Wizards in the Hive arenas of PoE are such a pain with splash damage ensuring death within seconds. The Defiant confuses them long enough for fellow Guardians to aim headshots or send in rockets.
11. Murmur - Legendary Fusion Rifle, Arc/Solar Damage
Sure, Murmur isn’t the ultimate Fusion Rifle compared to Vex Mythoclast or Plan-C. Its appeal is that it is really strong as a Legendary, with a fast recharge good for PvP and choice of Arc or Solar burn during a Nightfall Strike. All this, and you can still equip your favourite Exotic primary or Heavy.
12. Thorn - Exotic Hand Cannon
Two headshots is all that it takes to take down a fellow Guardian in PvP, making Thorn the most widely despised weapon in the game right now. And the only way to feel better about it is to earn one of your own, perfecting those headshots then imagining the curses as the other guy sizzles.
13. Gjallarhorn - Exotic Rocket Launcher
Lots of Guardians are seeing this drop more often lately, which is actually wonderful because it means that fireteams are stronger across the board. Gjallarhorn’s Wolfpack rounds are now more prominent in Critical Objective rounds to clear the floor of ‘adds’, creating breathing space.
14. Vex Mythoclast - Exotic Fusion Rifle
Another cursed Primary weapon in Crucible, back to full form after having its wings clipped for a while. It’s more effective in Clash and Control, where you’re likely to open up on larger, darting to cover and blocking each other’s shots. That’s why it seems weaker in the Trials of Osiris.
15. Glasshouse - Exotic Titan Helmet
Defender Class Titans are all the rage in Prison of Elders right now, helping to diffuse Splinter Mines and keeping the whole team on their feet with Blessings of Light while aiming 42 rockets at Qodron the Forever Eater. Blessings and Weapons of Light last longer with Glasshouse equipped.
16. Mask of the Third Man - Exotic Hunter Helmet
If you’re not in possession of a Crota’s End Raid helmet that provides full health from Orbs, Mask of the Third Man is a Hunter’s first aid in a tight corner during Prison of Elders. It boosts the duration of Arc Blade super ability too, allowing Vanish to be used more often, which is huge.
17. Ruin Wings - Exotic Titan Gauntlets
Heavy ammo, Heavy ammo everywhere... The infamous ‘Heavy Ammo Glitch’ is no longer available to Guardians across all character classes, meaning only the Titans can (more or less) guarantee themselves a healthy resupply of Heavy Ammo during a Prison of Elders. It can save so much time.
18. Don’t Touch Me - Exotic Hunter Gauntlets
Invisibility is a real Get out of Jail card during Prison of Elders, and a pain in the neck for confused rivals in PvP. Just to remind everyone that Don’t Touch Me gauntlets make Hunters temporarily disappear upon taking damage from a melee attack. That’s long enough to revive a teammate.
19. Three Little Words - Legendary Pulse Rifle
With good perks this can be a menace in PvP, and a solid stand in for Oversoul Edict in case you haven’t had one drop. Its impact combined with rate of fire combine with perks that include Third Eye and Perfect Balance, even Full Auto to make it really special.
20. Against All Odds - Legendary Heavy Machine Gun
It’s between this and the MG81A Harm’s Way, but for the Crucible – meaning benefits during Trials of Osiris and Iron Banner – AAO is just awesome. It has serious impact for a ready-made that can be obtained straight off the shelf from the Crucible Quartermaster.