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Bungie reveals Destiny 2 PvP meta changes for Season 18

Bungie has revealed some of the changes to Destiny 2's PvP meta for the upcoming Season 18. Here's everything you need to know.
Bungie reveals Destiny 2 PvP meta changes for Season 18

Destiny 2 Season of the Haunted has entered its sixth week, and as is always the case with weekly resets, Bungie has also released the latest TWAB.

In this latest TWAB, Bungie has enlisted some of the PvP meta and Airborne Effectiveness changes that are arriving in and around Season 18. Here's everything we know about it so far.

All Destiny 2 Season 18 PvP meta changes

destiny 2 pvp meta
Bungie is making several changes to Destiny 2's PvP meta in Season 18. (Picture: Bungie)


  • Airborne Effectiveness: 
  • Improved baseline airborne accuracy and aim-assist for all Primary weapons. 
  • Added a static airborne effectiveness buff to some existing perks. 
  • Raised the base AE stat on several Exotic weapons. 
  • Tuned up some underperforming Primary weapon subfamilies in PvP. 
  • Increased pellet Shotgun damage in PvE. 
  • Increased ammo per Special brick for Glaives, Forerunner, and Eriana's Vow in PvP. 
  • Linear Fusion Rifles no longer receive increased flinch in PvE (will still receive increased flinch in PvP). 


  • Tuned down some overperforming Exotics in PvP. 


  • Reduced airborne penalties for all Primary weapons—these changes are roughly equivalent to increasing the base AE stat of Primary weapons by ~15 at low stat values 
    • Reduced airborne accuracy penalty at low AE by 20%-40% dependent on weapon type. 
      • Auto Rifle, Pulse Rifle, Scout Rifle, Submachine Gun – 40%. 
      • Hand Cannon, Sidearm – 20%. 
      • Bow – 30%. 
    • Reduced airborne aim assist penalties for the above weapon types and changed the stat scale to provide more benefit to each point 
      • Reduced airborne auto-aim (bullet bending, M+K and controller) penalty by 20%. 
      • Reduced airborne magnetism (reticle stickiness, controller only) penalty by 40%. 
  • Some perks now give a static AE stat buff in addition to their other effects. 
    • Air Assault: +10 AE at all times in addition to +60 (for 70 AE total) when at low health. 
    • Extended Mag: +10 AE. 
    • Steady Rounds: +7 AE. 
  • Raised the base AE stat on several Exotic weapons (listed in the Exotics section below). 

Weapon Archetypes

destiny 2 ae season 18
Bungie is also buffing airborne effectiveness for Season 18. (Picture: Bungie)

Hand Cannons

  • Precision (180 RPM) Hand Cannons have languished for quite a while, and we took some time to soften their time to kill in PvP. In playtesting we find this makes them a lot more competitive, particularly with their innate +25 bonus to AE. 
  • Increased body shot damage from 37 to 40, crit moves from 57 to 60. 
  • Can now kill in 2 crit 2 body against Guardians, kills in 1.33s in body shots. 

Auto Rifles

  • Precision (450 RPM) Auto Rifles have fallen behind other AR subfamilies, partly because they were more reliant on hitting a higher proportion of crits to reach their optimal time to kill. 
  • Increased body shot damage from 19 to 20, precision multiplier moves from 1.6 to 1.5 (crit damage stays the same at 30). 

Scout Rifles

While we don't want Scout Rifles to be too effective (we generally don't want long range weapons to compete with short range weapons for ease of use or time to kill) there's some room to make Scout Rifles a little better in PvP and add some Primary weapon competition to snipers at longer ranges, so we've adjusted two of the Scout Rifle subfamilies: Precision and High-Impact. 

  • Precision (180 RPM). 
  • Increased body damage from 34 to 38, crit moves from 54.4 to 60.8. 
  • Can 2 crit 2 body against 197 HP (health + shields) or lower, kills in 1.33s in body shots against 190 HP or lower, 1.67s against higher resilience's. 
  • High Impact (150 RPM). 
  • Increased body damage from 38.2 to 42, crit moves from 66.9 to 73.5. 
  • Can 2 crit 1 body against 189 HP or lower, kills in 1.60s in body shots. 


  • Pellet Shotguns felt like they could use some love in PvE. 
  • Increased pellet Shotgun PvE damage bonus from 10% to 25%. 

Linear Fusion Rifles

  • The flinch increase on Linear Fusion Rifles was fairly effective, but since it was global it hurt their usability in PvE—we've made a change that applies this increased flinch to damage coming only from players instead. 


When scavenger mods were disabled in PvP, Glaives were no longer able to get enough ammo for a kill from a single brick, we've corrected that issue. 

  • Increased ammo per Special brick from 1 to 2 in PvP. 
  • Damage scalars on Trace Rifles (Killing Tally, Ager's Scepter in Will Given Form mode), Eriana's Vow and Fighting Lion were not functioning as intended—the fix for this will restore that functionality for most weapons, but an update to Fighting Lion will come later, currently planned for Season 18 launch (note that this issue may also have affected other weapons or perks). 


  • Lorentz Driver is still oppressive to play against, and we wanted to address this more thoroughly. 
  • Reduced aim assist stat from 32 to 22. 
  • Reduced suction against players. 
  • Removed the universal 2x flinch nerf from the previous change, since we've changed flinch for all Linear Fusion Rifles (see above)—this change also applies to Arbalest. 
  • Gjallarhorn is much too dominant as a Heavy weapon choice in PvP and Gambit, due to proximity detonation making it very easy to use, and Wolfpack Rounds finishing Guardians who should be far enough away to be safe. 
  • Primary rocket no longer has proximity detonation. 
  • Wolfpack Rounds now deal half-damage to players. 
  • The Last Word has reached a usage level on controller where it warranted some adjustment—with this change it will be a little harder to land crits while hip-firing, and it will be less deadly at extended range. 
  • Reduced hip fire precision aim angle by 50%. 
  • Precision aim angle dictates how far off of the head you can be aimed and still have aim assist grant you a critical hit instead of a body shot. 
  • Reduced damage and aim assist falloff distance by 3m. 
  • Forerunner was getting 3 ammo per Special brick in PvP—technically enough for a kill, but this was unforgiving, we've bumped it up a little. At the same time, it was getting full ammo from a single Special brick in PvE, which gave it extremely high uptime. 
  • Increased ammo per Special brick from 3 to 4 in PvP. 
  • Reduced ammo per Special brick from max to ~16 in PvE. 
  • Eriana's Vow was getting 1 ammo per Special brick in PvP, not enough for a kill. 
  • Increased ammo per Special brick from 1 to 2 in PvP. 
  • We're evaluating the airborne effectiveness stat on Exotic weapons, keeping in mind that they can't equip the Icarus Grip mod, and decided to bump several up to be more competitive. 
  • SUROS Regime from 23 to 31. 
  • Whisper of the Worm from 9 to 20. 
  • Monte Carlo from 21 to 29. 
  • Forerunner from 22 to 27. 

That's all the confirmed changes coming to Destiny 2's PvP meta before Season 18 arrives in August 2022.

For more on the game, why not check our section dedicated to Destiny 2 Season of the Haunted news, guides, and features.


Featured image courtesy of Bungie.

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