Exotic Catalysts are essentially upgrades to existing Exotic weapons that can be acquired through the completion of certain activities, or as a random drop from killing enemies. Once a weapons Catalyst has been obtained, a certain objective needs to be completed before it can be slotted into the weapon, usually, this is simply killing a couple of hundred enemies with the weapon.
Exotic Catalysts can drastically increase the power of the Exotic weapon, either through significant stat bonuses or improving the weapons Exotic perk. The below list is a breakdown of some of the best Exotic Catalysts in the game that give the largest improvement to the Exotic weapon. While these below weapons might not be the strongest Exotics, their Catalysts alone take them from mediocre to viable in a snap.
Huckleberry is an Exotic Submachine Gun that sits in the Kinetic slot. The weapon’s main perk ‘Ride the Bull’ drastically increases the weapon’s fire rate and recoil when holding down the trigger while also reloading a portion of the magazine on each kill.
Huckleberry’s Exotic Catalyst gives the weapon a new perk called ‘Bull Rider’ which now causes each kill to fully reload the magazine. This is a significant change. This simply gives the player double the ammo on each kill and double the breathing room to kill another target in order to get the full mag refresh again.
This Catalyst turns Huckleberry into an absolute meat grinder that is able to quickly dispatch an entire room of enemies by itself without even needing to reload.
The Huckleberry Catalyst can be obtained as a random reward from completing Strikes, Crucible and Gambit matches. To complete the Catalyst, the player must obtain 500 kills with Huckleberry.
Rat King is an Exotic Kinetic Sidearm. While the weapon does get improved stats from having multiple Fireteam members using the weapon, Rat King’s main strength comes from its ‘Vermin’ perk. This perk causes the wielder to go invisible for a few brief seconds when reloading after a kill and this is further buffed when using Rat King’s Catalyst. This Catalyst adds the ‘Infestation’ perk to Rat King which causes immediate health regeneration whenever the Vermin perk is activated.
This combination is extremely useful when trying to solo difficult content such as Dungeons. The invisibility will cause enemies to drop aggro and allow you to get in to a better position, while the health regen ensures you are ready to fight when the invisibility ends. A secondary benefit of this health regeneration is that you don’t need to spec as heavily into Recovery with your build, due to the health regeneration from Infestation, and can buff up the other stats instead. Rat King and its Catalyst are a must-have if you find yourself stuck on a difficult piece of content.
The Rat King itself can be grabbed through the Exotic Kiosk and the Catalyst can be obtained as a random reward from Strike completions. Once this Catalyst has been obtained you then have to create a Fireteam and have OTHER members of the Fireteam achieve 1000 kills with Rat King. It’s important to note that your own kills with Rat King will no count to the 1000 kills. This is a tough one for solo players to achieve but you can usually find a couple of people to team up with on the Destiny 2 LFG Discord server or through the Destiny 2 Companion app.
Trinity Ghoul is an Exotic Bow that deals Arc damage. The weapon’s main perk ‘Lightning Rod’ causes each precision kill to give the following arrow chain-lightning abilities.
The Catalyst for Trinity Ghoul causes the Lightning Rod perk to activate on ANY Arc final blow. This means once the player has obtained a kill with Arc damage, either with Trinity Ghoul or a subclass ability, Lightning Rod is ready to be used.
Now, this is where the magic happens. Since the chain-lightning arrows given by the Lightning Rod perk as also Arc damage, this means if the first volley of arrows gains a kill, this activates Lightning Rod again. Essentially, with the Exotic Catalyst, the player is able to easily chain Lightning Rod activations together, just as long as there are enemies to kill.
This Catalyst turns Trinity Ghoul from a fairly suboptimal Exotic into an Exotic capable of easily taking out areas of lesser enemies within seconds. Trinity Ghoul does struggle with Major enemies though so be sure to pack a Shotgun or Sniper to deal with them.
The Trinity Ghoul Catalyst can be obtained as a random completion reward from Strikes, Gamit and Crucible matches. The Catalyst requires 400 kills with Trinity Ghoul to complete.
Dead Man’s Tale
This is another weapon on this list that is already fairly decent with the Catalyst simply elevating to that next level. Dead Man’s Tale is an Exotic Kinetic Scout Rifle that can be obtained through completing the Presage quest on the Tangled Shore. Once this mission has been completed the player then has to grab a quest from Zavala in the tower called ‘At Your Fingertips’.This quest tasks the player with redoing the Presage mission on Master difficulty for the Catalyst. Be warned though, this mission has a recommended Power of 1320 and has a fairly tight time limit. Make sure to equip the best loadout and you can and take in some buddies with you to ensure this goes smoothly.
Return to Zavala to be gifted with the Catalyst but you still need to complete it. You can either get 800 kills with the weapon or open secret caches within the Presage mission for further progress.
The Catalyst for Dead Man’s Tale gives a significant boost to fire rate when shooting from the hip and also completely removes hip-fire accuracy penalties. You know how small the hip-fire cone is when not firing and standing still? The hip-fire cone for Dead Man’s Tale with the Catalyst remains the same even if you are shooting, moving, or in the air, it always maintains a tight spread.
This removal of accuracy penalties also completely removes the one weakness of Dead Man’s Tale: close range. The fact that the gun remains extremely accurate when shooting from the hip means that now Dead Man’s Tale is able to be extremely deadly over practically all ranges. Sniper in the distance? ADS and pop them before they can line up a headshot. Shotgun user rushing in? Hip-fire with the increased accuracy and fire-rate to take them down before they can get close enough.
A large portion of the community feels that Dead Man’s Tale, especially its Catalyst, will be on the chopping block for nerfs after the planned nerfs for Felwinter’s and 120RPM Hand Cannons goes live next Season. Be sure to make use of this insane weapon before then.
Now, Eriana’s Vow is already a pretty great weapon without the Catalyst, especially against Barrier Champions in Nightfalls. The Exotic Catalyst for it simply takes it to that next level.
The Catalyst doesn’t really do anything fancy though, it simply adds three extra rounds to the magazine, and causes the magazine to automatically reload once the weapon has been stowed for a few seconds.
This is important though as three extra rounds raises the overall DPS of Eriana’s Vow significantly and allows the player to more easily deal with Champions, especially Barrier ones. Since Eriana’s Vow has a hefty reload time, the auto-reload allows the player to expend some rounds on tougher enemies, then switch over to a primary to continue to deal damage while Eriana’s Vow reloads.
Eriana’s Vow, and its Catalyst, are an important addition to your arsenal if you plan on taking on some of the harder Nightfall difficulties.
The one problem with the Catalyst for Eriana’s Vow is that since the weapon was a Seasonal Exotic, it has a quest that needs to be completed. This quest can be grabbed from Banshee once the player has Eriana’s Vow, which is available through the Exotic Kiosk, but prepare yourself for a hellish grind. To unlock the Catalyst, the player must complete 400 Strikes, Gambit, or Crucible matches.
This grind was significantly easier during Season of the Undying when Eriana’s Vow was released as many completion multipliers were unlocked from the Season Pass. These multipliers only affect the current Seasonal Exotic weapon so for those of you that have yet to unlock the Catalyst for Eriana’s Vow, this is unfortunately 400 whole activity completions.