Destiny 2: Witch Queen meta: Biggest weapon winners and losers from TWAB

three guardians wearing the witch queen armor
(Image credit: Bungie)
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Destiny 2: The Witch Queen is just a couple of weeks away and knowing what weapons will be top of the meta is going to be massive in getting a step above the rest. 

The ‘This Week at Bungie’ (referred to from now on as the TWAB) was one of the biggest in a long time. There was a ton of information included, almost all of it weapon-related. From crafting to world changes, there's a lot to parse. That's why TechRadar is here to read it all for you and pick out the most important parts.

Most importantly though, players now have a glimpse at what to expect from their arsenal and have been given key hints into what to stockpile. Also, we have a glimpse of what exotic weapons to pick up if you haven’t yet. 

On the other side of the coin, there are several weapons you should be prepared to give up. Especially for some PvP favorites out there, maybe start readying some alternate options. 

A lot is set to change in the meta with the announced changes, but it can be hard to parse what any of it truly means. That doesn’t mean it can’t be attempted though. Here’s some insight into the biggest weapon changes coming with the Witch Queen, straight from Bungie.

Winners: What weapons are getting a big buff?

Exotic Primary Weapons 

Image of The Huckleberry smg

(Image credit: Future)
  • Increased damage vs minors in PvE by 40 percent

Exotic Primaries have been in a weird place for a long time. Taking up your only Exotic slot is prime real estate and there are more than a handful of strong  Power or Special options. Essentially, Exotics have been all about enabling lots of damage and enabling it quickly. 

Primaries in PvE have been generally "fine" for a long time, but besides Champion mods, what you use hasn't really mattered. They are more or less personal preferences because the differences aren't massive.

This buff changes that. A 40% buff to minors for Primary Exotics is enormous. So much so, several options could become meta.

It could also have some wild consequences too. Especially as you start thinking about weapons like Huckleberry, Outbreak Perfected, Trinity Ghoul, Graviton Lance, Terrahbah… really it’s endless. It's going to be very wacky. It's a sweeping change. An exciting change. A change that could break things. These are always fun. 

Exotic Pulse Rifles

Image of outbreak perfected pulse rifle

(Image credit: Future)
  • Buffing their damage vs. minors by 10 percent

While this change is going to help all Pulse Rifles, the Exotic choices are going to be out of this world at clearing enemies. That’s because this 10% buff will apply on top of the already staggering 40% buff of all Exotic Primaries. 

These buffs should apply to various effects too, such as Outbreak Perfected’s nanites, as well as Gravition Lance’s alternate effect that creates lots of bouncy nodes that help clear enemies. Assuming the turret you get has increased damage as well, the No Time to Explain could be excellent too.

On top of this, it will also just make other general legendary Pulse Rifles better too, which is a win all around for Pulse rifle Users. 


Image of Tarrabah smg

(Image credit: Future)
  • Now reduces perk progress by half instead of clearing it on weapon stow. 
  • Increased Ravenous Beast duration increases for damaging a player slightly. 

Yes. Yes. Yes. Tarahbah has needed love since the day it dropped from the Crown of Sorrow raid. It's always teemed with potential, but it was always heavily hurt but the fact it lost its Ravenous Beast charge when stowed. 

This meant you had to entirely commit to the gun, which is really counter to how Destiny is played. It's often about the synergy of your loadout so the gun felt lost in the natural loop of play.

It does lose half charge so it won't turn into the broken monster people wanted, but it helps. A lot. Hopefully, the SMG now gets to shine outside of weird niche builds.  

Also, it will benefit from the 40% buff to all Exotic Primaries, so should shred smaller enemies. 


Image of Lumina hand cannon

(Image credit: Future)
  • Increased range stat from 44 to 59. 
  • Increased base stability stat from 46 to 56.

Similar to Terrabah, this is a great change to see. Lumina has always promised a cool idea but has never truly felt like it paid it off. It's cool to heal and buff you and your teammates, a really unique trait, but it always faltered in its neutral game performance.  

However, outside of specialist builds and people really trying to get it to work, it’s never found a solid place in the meta. This gives it a real shot, especially in PvP, as it should feel so much better to use. The abillity to heal and buff yourself and others will just be an incredible bonus.

This will also benefit from the 40% Exotic Primary buff too. It could be very good. 

High Impact Fusion Rifles

Image of Glacioclasm fusion rifle

(Image credit: Future)
  • Increased High-Impact Fusion Rifle damage per bolt from 62 to 64 (this doesn't seem like a lot, but it allows more rolls to cross bolts-to-kill thresholds). 
  • Increased High-Impact Fusion Rifle PvE damage bonus from 15 percent to 20 percent. 

This was really needed. While it felt like all other Fusion Rifle archetypes had soared in popularity after recent changes, it felt like High-Impacts fell too far in the opposite direction. They became exceptionally slow and the trade-off just wasn’t worth it. 

This change turns them into really effective PvE weapons. The charge will still take an age, but it will at least pack an almighty punch. These should be great for finishing off Champions once they've been stunned.

Ruinous Effigy

Image of Ruinous Effigy trace rifle

(Image credit: Future)
  • Increased the damage dealt by guarding with a transmutation sphere by 66 percent (30percent against players). 
  • Note: Transmutation Sphere multikills now count for Orb generation armor mods (previously only kills with the beam would trigger this).

This could be a deceptively large buff. Exotic Trace Rifles are also receiving the 40% buff against minors like Exotic Primaries. That means this outlandish 66% buff to the transmutation sphere is likely on top of that. That's a lot of passive damage.

Considering the area of the sphere when using guard is massive, and you do damage to anything that gets near you, this could be a wonderful way to keep yourself safe from incoming enemies. 

 It's hard to say exactly how this will translate in practice, but keep an eye on it. It might be negligible, it might be, "oh gosh, oh gosh, oh no".

Losers: Which weapons are getting a nerf?

Felwinter’s Lie

Image of the Felwinter's Lie shotgun

(Image credit: Future)
  • +15 percent spread angle.

Is.. is this it? Is Felwinter’s finally - finally - dead? It has been a problem since the day it came into the game and has reigned supreme ever since.

This hasn’t been for lack of trying on Bungie’s part either. It has taken several whacks in the nerf department but it has remained ever resilient. This came down to its very consistent nature, a thing not all other shotguns have. This buff seems tuned to hitting that reliability specifically. 

Will it be enough? Who knows. This shotgun refuses to die, so we will have to see.

Eager Edge Swords

Image of Half-Truths Sword

(Image credit: Future)
  • Reduced lunge distance benefit while airborne by 25 percent. 
  • Now caps maximum player airborne velocity (to a fairly high value) while active. 

This is going to likely be the change that annoys the community the most, especially speedrunners. Eager Edge felt like Bungie giving back the old World Line Zero skate from back in the day. 

Being able to absolutely fly around the map with the sword meant that players could speed through content at impossible speeds. Seeing it hit so soon after its introduction is bound to make those who have mastered its technique a bit disappointed. 

That said, the reasoning behind this seems solid. With a Day One raid race looming, having six Guardians flying around at breakneck speed and finding ways out of the map in unexpected ways adds a little too much unknowability.

It’s sad, but it's understandable.

That Main Ingredient (Tap the Trigger)

image of Main Ingredient fusion rifle

(Image credit: Future)
  • Tap the Trigger on Fusion Rifles only: 
  • Reduced stability bonus from +40 to +10. 
  • Changed max recoil angle scale from 0.5 to 0.875. 
  • Changed error angle scale from 0.9 to 0.975. 

The Tap the Trigger Main Ingredient has become a menace in PvP. It’s so stable, and so good at distances that it has become one of the most popular weapons in all of the Crucible. It in fact, it just recently became the most used weapon in Trials.

This should knock it down a few pegs, and possibly allow other Fusion Rifles the chance to shine. This became too good, too accessible for everyone, and started to genuinely become a bit of a menace. 

One does worry this might only encourage the use of shotguns though, which are already the most popular, so it might be one to watch. 

Ikelos SMG

Image of Ikelos SMG

(Image credit: Future)
  • +1 zoom, -5 range, -7 stability, -8 handling, -5 aim assist. 

This one hurts but is entirely understandable. This was one of the best feeling Primaries in the game and has been a dream to use since it was released. There really weren’t many better options, especially if your energy slot was open for a Primary. 

This whacks the gun pretty hard, to bring it more in line with similar SMGs, making this one less of a default choice for its slot. This should broaden the pool.

Still, it’s a shame to see a weapon that performed so well hit so it feels less pleasing. Alas, these things happen. 

Dead Man’s Tale

image of Dead Man's Tale scout rifle

(Image credit: Future)
  • Reduced the catalyst's hip-fire rate of fire from 150 RPM to 130 RPM. 

Dead Man’s Tale has been a complicated beast since it entered the game in Season of the Chosen. In PvP, it has been excellent on PC since it launched but was spotty for controller players. Bungie has now closed that discrepancy, and now feels like it’s time to take it down a few pegs. 

This nerf hits its spammy hipfire which was the cheesiest aspect of the whole weapon. This feels like a good change. It should make the gun feel a little fairer and force users to aim down sights a little more.

Lorentz Driver

Image of the Lorentz Driver linear fusion rifle

(Image credit: Future)
  • Increased flinch received.

Lortentz is a love it or hate it gun. Generally, that means, you love using it or hate getting killed by it. At times, it really can take over a PvP map. It has all the benefits of a sniper, with some insane bonuses on top.

The aim assist and zoom meant that it was so hard to duel the Lorentz, even with an aforementioned sniper. On top of that, its sucking black hole on a precision kill can end up bringing in other guardians who ended up dying.

It’s hard to say exactly how hard a flinch nerf will hurt it, but hopefully, it makes dueling it much more reasonable.

The Chaperone

Image of the Chaperone shotgun

(Image credit: Future)
  • Reduced passive range buff from 2m to 0.5m. 

Chaperone is just… well, it’s too good. Its ability to one-shot other guardians from Narnia is way too powerful. For a Shotgun, the range it has is just enormous, and the headshot cone is way too forgiving. While it’s one of the best feelings in the game, headshot kills from 3+ meters is a little out of control. 

This nerf seems particularly massive though. This will make the gun worse at range in the neutral game. Range is what this gun has going for it too. It’s hard to say if this will be enough to unseat it from most used weapons in PvP, but it seems the future will have a fair amount less Chaperone. 

Patrick Dane
Gaming Guides Editor

Patrick Dane is TechRadar Gaming's Guides Editor. With nearly a decade in the games press, he's been a consistent voice in the industry. He's written for a plethora of major publications and travelled the world doing it. He also has a deep passion for games as a service and their potential to tell evolving stories. To wit, he has over 2000 hours in Destiny 2, over 1000 in Overwatch and is now deeply into Valorant.