Destiny 2 Masterworks are rarer and more powerful versions of weapons and armour.
Unlike the first Destiny, all Legendaries in Destiny 2 have the exact same stats. However, Masterworks expand upon a Legendary weapon or armour by adding a random perk and other benefits, giving you something to aim towards as you continue to play in the end game.
Not only are they available for Legendary weapons and armour, but with the introduction of the Warmind DLC Exotics too, in the form of Masterwork Catalysts. These are unlocked differently, but still require a heavy dose of luck.
On this page:
Destiny 2 Masterwork Catalysts explained
Like Legendary Masterworks, it's possible to get Exotic Masterworks. You have to earn Catalysts to upgrade these weapons, giving them additional perks, the ability to drop multiple Orbs with multi-kills and kill tracking.
How to get Masterwork Catalysts
Catalysts will drop for an Exotic weapon at random but only under certain requirements. If you investigate an Exotic weapon, you will notice they have a Masterwork Catalyst slot. Hovering the cursor over them gives you a clue of how to unlock it:
- Kill any enemy: Borealis, Crimson, D.A.R.C.I., Tractor Cannon, Worldline Zero
- Heroic Adventure completions: The Huckleberry
- Crucible victories: Jade Rabbit, Vigilance Wing
- Kill Nightfall / Heroic Strike bosses: Merciless
- Leviathan Raid section completions: Skyburner Oath
Thanks for ebolaxb on Reddit for filling in the gaps with the above list.
As you can see, not every Exotic is currently available. More will unlock over time, with leaks suggesting the next Faction Rally event will see Catalysts for Graviton Lance, Sweet Business and Sunshot assigned to each of the three factions.
Masterwork Catalysts are literal drops - they are golden pyramids you pick up. When you do, they won't appear in your inventory, but will show up whenever you investigate that Exotic weapon. Here's the Tractor Cannon dropping, for example:
It should also be noted you need to own the Exotic for the Catalyst to drop - but you don't need to have it equipped or on your Guardian for it to appear. Whether you need it in your Vault is another question - so it might be worth having it there just to be safe.
How to use Catalysts and their Masterwork Perks explained
Once a Catalyst has dropped, investigate the weapon, hover over the slot and apply it. This gives you one of the upgrades - the ability to drop multiple Orbs with multi-kills - but the other perks are missing.
The Catalyst must be fully activated by performing further actions in order to unlock the bonus perk:
|Exotic Weapon||Catalyst completion method||Masterwork Perk|
|Borealis||150 Arc, Solar and Void Kills||20 Reload Speed|
|Crimson||300 precision kills||20 Range|
|D.A.R.C.I.||300 precision kills||20 Stability|
|The Huckleberry||500 enemy kills||Adds rapid kills to magazine before reloading perk|
|Jade Rabbit||250 Crucible kills||30 Stability|
|Merciless||TBC||40 Range or Stability|
|Skyburner Oath||TBC||30 Range|
|Tractor Cannon||300 kills||70 magazine size, 50 weapon size, increased ammo reserves perk|
|Vigilance Wing||250 Crucible kills, 5 Blood for Blood medals||Holding down trigger fires in full auto perk|
|Worldline Zero||Use Tesseract attack on final Escalation Protocol boss||Reduces activation time of Tesseract perk|
Destiny 2 Legendary Masterwork weapons and armour explained
A Legendary Masterwork weapon or armour will have three differences over existing Legendaries:
- The addition of a random perk
- Weapons: The ability to drop additional Orbs with multi-kills
- Armour: Reduced incoming damage while using Supers (+3% per piece)
- Kill tracking in either Vanguard or Crucible activities
Though these aren't huge advantages over existing weapons, there are some useful benefits; perks (revealed in full later in the article) provide some additional boosts to handling, reload speed and more, while additional Orbs will come in useful for Supers in team-centric activities, such as Strikes, Raids and Crucible matches.
You can tell at a glance that a weapon is a Masterwork by its icon on the inventory screen with its additional yellow border. When investigating the weapon or armour, you'll be able to see the perk in question, as well as perform other actions.
This includes allowing you to 'reroll' (or reset) to give you a different random perk (weapons) or stat set (heavy, light or restorative for armour) and for weapons, change it to a Vanguard or Crucible tracker.
You can also upgrade any Legendary into a Masterwork, added the above listed benefits.
Both of these actions require a new resource - Masterwork Cores.
How to get Legendary Masterworks and Masterwork Cores
Alongside Masterwork weapons comes Masterwork Cores, a new resource to find and collect to spend on re-rolling Masterworks or upgrading your favourite Legendary weapons or armour into Masterworks.
There is only one source of Masterwork Cores, and that's dismantling Masterworks you have in your inventory. As such, you'll want to get as many Masterworks as possible to dismantle and spend the Cores you receive on the weapons you want.
Masterworks are random drops once you hit Power level 250 and above. They can come from anywhere you'd get Legendary weapons or armour in the game - whether it's dropped during an activity, from chests or Engrams.
There is also a "very high chance" of receiving Masterworks from the following:
Note - all Raid Masterworks are earned from raid drops, and not Engrams or vendors.
So while playing the above activities will give you better chances, the long and short of it is the more you play, the higher your chances of getting Masterworks are.
Then, the more Masterworks you receive, the more you can dismantle for Masterworks Cores to spend upgrading the Legendary weapons you use most.
Looking for more help with Warmind? We explain this week's Iron Banner Season 3 gear, new Exotics and Masterwork Catalysts, such as the Sleeper Simulant and how to unlock Worldline Zero with Lost Memory Fragments. There's also the mysterious Override Frequency nodes and Nascent Dawn quest, giving you other rewards. Elsewhere, you can learn how to reach Power level cap 380 / 385, what to spend Glimmer and Legendary Shards on, how Mods, Infusion, and Engrams work, plus an explainer for the Destiny 2 Leviathan Raid.
Legendary Masterworks Perks list
Here is a list of every possible perk by weapon type:
|Auto Rifle||+5 Range|
|Fusion Rifle||+5 Stability|
|Grenade Launcher||+5 Stability|
+5 Blast Radius
|Hand Cannon||+5 Stability|
|Pulse Rifle||+5 Range|
|Rocket Launcher||+10 Reload|
+5 Projectile Speed
+5 Blast Radius
|Scout Rifle||+5 Range|
|Sniper Rifle||+5 Range|