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I’ve been playing Destiny since day one of Destiny 1. I’ve completed every major encounter, finished every DLC, and ran more or less every raid excluding a handful of now vaulted D2 raid lairs. So, when I tell you that the Ace of Spades is the strongest weapon Destiny’s PvP scene has ever encountered, I truly mean that.
Now, you can think what you want of PvP, I certainly have some strong opinions on it. However, I’ve got to be objective here, so despite the state of the game mode, I acknowledge that a bunch of people still play it. What’s more, the best of those PvP players will all be found using Ace of Spades most, if not all of the time. It’s one of the best weapon archetypes in the game, being 140RPM hand cannons, and has a perk making it capable of consistently two-tapping Guardians from ludicrous ranges.
While it doesn’t have nearly that much power in PvE, it does have story significance because of who it belonged to, and the chain of events a single bullet fired from it kicked off.
So, I’m going to go over everything Ace in this Ace of Spades Destiny 2 guide. I’ll tell you all about the weapon’s history, why it’s important, as well as how it’s so dominant inside Destiny 2’s PvP scene. The only bit of information I’ll be omitting is the Ace of Spades in Destiny 1. Back then, it was simply a Gunsmith reward with no lore behind it, plus D1 is unsupported now, so that would be a waste of time.
Speaking of time-wasting, I’m done with wasting yours, so here’s a definitive guide to Destiny 2’s Ace of Spades.
Key Details up Front
Location: Exotic Kiosk.
Cost: 1 Exotic cipher, 125,000 Glimmer, 200 Etheric Spiral, 1 Ascendant Shard.
Weapon Type: 140RPM hand cannon.
Exotic Perk: Memento Mori.
Related Characters: Cayde-6, Uldren Sov.
For one of Destiny’s most iconic weapons, there is a depressingly little amount of lore about Ace of Spades. In fact, the only real Grimoire entry we have on the weapon reads as follows:
“THE LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT OF CAYDE-6
To whomst it may concern:
I, Cayde-6, being of sound(ish) mind and body, do hereby and henceforth and heretofore leave all my possessions to the person, alien, animal, or natural phenomenon what kills me.
Aforesaid possessions include, but are not limited to:
– The Ace of Spades
– Any and all stashes I’ve hidden throughout the system
– The Colonel, my faithful friend
– My debts, which follow:
THE ATTACHED FILE IS TOO BIG TO DOWNLOAD”
This is a copy of Cayde’s will that you obtain shortly after the start of the Forsaken campaign. In accordance with it, the Ace of Spades rightly becomes the property of Prince Uldren following Cayde’s debts. Therefore, we’re left to take it off of Uldren ourselves after finishing Nothing Left to Say, making us the third holder in the weapon’s line of succession.
Despite this bit of lore being more or less it when it comes to the Ace of Spades, we do know a little bit about the weapon’s origin. In the Grimoire “Ace of Spades” we learn that Cayde commissioned the weapon as a custom piece from Banshee. Amusingly, Cayde is quite proud of the fact that he “did all the design” himself, referring to the Spades theme, which the weapon shares with both his armor and cloak.
That’s all we know about the Ace of Spades. It was created by Banshee for Cayde, and rightfully belonged to Uldren after Cayde’s death, before falling into our hands.
So, Ace doesn’t have anything going for it in terms of backstory, although it is a final memento from the fanbase’s most beloved character. It’s not the nostalgia and love for Cayde that keeps the weapon in players’ hands, though. Instead, it’s a memento of a different kind.
Specifically, Memento Mori, the Ace of Spades’ exotic perk. While the base stats of Ace are strong enough to put it at the top of the PvP META, it’s this perk that cements it as the “best gun in the game” for many, including myself.
Memento Mori is so powerful that having it active makes Ace a two-headshot kill weapon. Without Memento up, it’s a three-headshot kill. Given that you only need one kill to activate Memento Mori, you can see why it’s so powerful. It’s essentially Kill Clip on steroids and makes wiping out entire teams comically easy.
Aside from that, it’s got everything you could ever want from a PvP hand cannon. Ace of Spades only has its curated roll, meaning there’s no farming for specific barrels or perks. Instead, every instance of the gun will have the same stats, including a Range stat of 87 and an Impact of 84. It’s also got pretty strong aim assistance, making it a monster for both console and PC players alike.
As if that wasn’t all enough, you also keep your radar while ADSing with Ace, and it comes with Firefly, further adding to its ability to decimate teams with multi-kills.
Unfortunately, while it’s quite literally at the very top of the PvP META in terms of kills and usage, the same cannot be said for its PvE potential. It’s a kinetic exotic, which is never ideal for end-game PvE activities where you want your exotic to either deal high DPS or do phenomenal AD-clear.
Ace does none of these. Memento Mori’s damage buff isn’t useful in the slightest against bosses or majors, for which you want to be using a special or heavy weapon. Plus, it pails in comparison to exotics like Trinity Ghoul and Gjallarhorn on both the AD-clear and DPS front.
On top of all that, it directly competes with Fatebringer, a kinetic legendary hand cannon that is simply all-around better than Ace of Spades for PvE. Not only does Fatebringer have a perk table, meaning you can farm for your roll of choice, but it has a curated roll that is arguably the best perk combination a hand cannon could possibly have.
In fact, I use that curated roll myself for all end-game activities. The combination of both Firefly and Explosive Payload make it a superior PvE hand cannon that doesn’t use up your exotic slot, making Ace of Spades pretty much irrelevant in PvE.
It’s odd that a weapon has such a stark difference. To go from being useless in PvE to the most used weapon in PvP is one hell of a jump, but the Ace of Spades really is just that good in the Crucible.
Forsaken has been hit with the good old Destiny Content Vault, meaning the Ace of Spades’ related quests aren’t actually in Destiny 2 anymore. That being said, I’m still going to go over it in terms of lore so that you can get a better understanding of the significance that comes with reclaiming the Ace of Spades.
Last Call might be the single most emotionally impactful quest in the entirety of Destiny history thus far. It opened the Forsaken campaign and brought the story of Savathun into the spotlight for Destiny 2. That story only “finished up” in Witch Queen, although there’s undoubtedly more to come of it. Therefore, it’s not unreasonable to suggest that Last Call is one of the most important missions in Destiny 2.
Last Call sees you attempting to quell a riot that has broken out in the Reef’s Prison of Elders. Mara Sov and Uldren are both still missing since the war with Oryx, so the Guardians are forced to deal with the inmates.
You, along with Cayde-6 and Petra Venj, enter the prison in an attempt to subjugate the escapees.
Everything is going relatively well until an explosion rocks the facility. You lose contact with Cayde and are forced to travel through the wreckage to find him. It’s at this point that we’re introduced to the Scorn for the first time.
During your attempt to find Cayde, you find his Ghost, Sundance, dead. Shortly after, you witness the Scorn Barons, along with a reemerging Uldren Sov, execute Cayde with his own weapon, the Ace of Spades. Without his Ghost, this serves as the Hunter Vanguard’s final death.
Back at the Tower, Zavala refuses to send a Guardian army into the Reef in a war of retribution, leaving you on a solo quest of vengeance, devoid of any official Vanguard support or permission.
Nothing Left to Say
After systematically assassinating all but one of Uldren’s Scorn Barons, you track him down to an old Awoken Watchtower. Fighting through waves of Scorn, and more importantly and worthy of note, Taken, you kill both the final Baron, as well as a Taken Servitor.
After taking both down, you and Petra finally get a shot at Uldren. Using the same hand cannon he used to kill Cayde, it’s implied that you fire the final shot, although we’ll never know for sure as the screen pans before we get confirmation.
After that, you return to Banshee, do some tasks to recalibrate the hand cannon, and get awarded with your very own Ace of Spades. That’s the long and short of how things went down in Forsaken.
Now, there are some serious important details that are hidden in between there. First, a cutscene that reveals Uldren was under the influence of Riven, the last Ahamkara, the entire time. As we now know, Riven was taken by Oryx during the events of The Taken King. However, after his death, she served Savathun. In other words, Savathun was responsible for Cayde’s death.
So, you can see why this entire storyline was so important to Destiny as a whole. It laid the groundwork for the next four years of D2 narrative, and potentially even longer depending on what happens in Lightfall and the Final Shape. It just so happens that the Ace of Spades was an emotional device used to drive that groundwork.
Related Perks/Special Abilities
I’ve gushed over how powerful Memento Mori is, but I’ve yet to actually explain why.
The reasoning is rather simple. It’s a flat damage buff that has incredible uptime and is easy to activate, all while being on the best weapon archetype in the game, being 140RPM hand cannons.
With Memento Mori, reloading after a kill will load Ace with six high damaging bullets. These bullets will lose their buff if Ace is stowed. While Memento Mori is active, each one of those six shots does 130% damage against Guardians, making it possible to two-shot kill most opponents in Crucible or Trials of Osiris. With how valuable perks like Kill Clip and Frenzy are, something that is the best part of those perks made better is going to be incredibly powerful.
In PvE, that damage buff is closer to 160%, but as we’ve previously discussed, Ace just isn’t worth using outside of PvP.
It’s incredibly rare that a primary weapon is capable of two shooting opponents. A handful of old 120RPMs were capable of it, but required a damage buff to be active. These buffs, universally, only last a few seconds. Memento Mori, on the other hand, lasts until you fire six shots or swap to a different weapon.
Therein lies the reason for Ace’s dominance over the META. A skilled player can keep Memento Mori’s uptime close to 100%, which is an insane statistic compared to the uptime of over damage perks.
Having Memento Mori on any type of weapon would instantly make it a META contender, but putting it on a 140 hand cannon is just the cherry on top.
Ace of Spades Catalyst
I’m going to be brief in going over the effect of Ace’s catalyst.
Rather than buffing Memento Mori itself, it gives the weapon a perk fittingly called Funeral Pyre. This perk makes Firefly more powerful when Memento Mori is active. Given that Mori should be active more often than not, this gives you a, more or less, permanent buff to Firefly.
In regular crucible content, you won’t notice this benefit that much. However, in small team-based gamemodes like Trials, you’ll feel this a lot. Getting one precision kill on an enemy close to their teammates can put the other in possible one-shot range, making multi-kills even easier to obtain.
How to Obtain the Ace of Spades
Ace of Spades
Forsaken has been vaulted, meaning it’s no longer possible to obtain Ace from completing Nothing Left to Say, and the subsequent exotic quest. Instead, the only way to acquire it these days is from the exotic kiosk in the Tower.
For anyone new to Destiny, this Kiosk is called the Monument to Lost Lights and is located in between the two Vault terminals in the main courtyard. Keep in mind that you need to own Forsaken in order to buy the weapon.
You can buy the Ace of Spades using one of your Forsaken Ciphers, or with the following materials:
- 1 Exotic Cipher.
- 125,000 Glimmer.
- 200 Etheric Spiral.
- 1 Ascendant Shard.
Ace of Spades Catalyst
To get your hands on the Ace of Spades’ catalyst, you’ll need to own the weapon first. Once it’s in your possession, you just have to play the game.
Unfortunately, like most other catalysts, Ace’s is in the world loot pool. In other words, there’s no specific way to obtain it. It’s dropped randomly from Strike and Crucible completions, meaning you’ll have to grind out your playlist of choice and pray for good RNG.
Fortunately, activating the catalyst isn’t that difficult. All it requires is killing 500 enemies using Ace of Spades. It’s time-consuming but mindlessly easy.
Question: Can you still get Ace of Spades in Destiny 2?
Answer: Yes, as of Witch Queen, you can still obtain the Ace of Spades in Destiny 2. You can buy the exotic hand cannon from the Exotic Kiosk in the Tower for 1 Exotic Cipher, 125,000 Glimmer, 200 Etheric Spiral, and 1 Ascendant Shard.
Question: Is Ace of Spades good in Destiny 2?
Answer: Yes, the Ace of Spades is the single best weapon inside of Crucible. It accounts for the most number of kills from a single weapon inside of PvP, and is the second most used gun inside of both Crucible and Trials of Osiris.
Question: Is Ace of Spades good for PvE in Destiny 2?
Answer: No, and anyone telling you otherwise shouldn’t be taken seriously. For regular PvE content, of course it’s good. Every single weapon is when you’re facing encounters of that level of difficulty. However, for end-game activities such as raids or nightfalls, it is simply unusable. It is outclassed in every conceivable metric by other weapons in PvE, including other legendary hand cannons like Fatebringer.
That about does it for this comprehensive Ace of Spades Destiny 2 guide. It’s a gun that’s near and dear to all of our hearts, and as a Hunter main of seven years, I say that with complete sincerity.
Beyond the emotional connection to our old Hunter Vanguard, which as of writing we have yet to get a replacement for four years later, by the way, Ace is also my Crucible main. I’m far from a Destiny 2 PvP player, but I do have my gaming roots in competitive FPS titles, so I’ve got a lot of experience to pull from in that department. So, when I say that the Ace of Spades is easily the best PvP weapon, hands down, that’s a well-informed statement.
Beyond that, I hope you found this Ace of Spades guide useful. There’s even more lore regarding Cayde and his whole “Ace” gimmick if you’re interested. It relates back to the old Hunter Vanguard before Cayde, as well as Cayde’s pre-Exo son. There’s a wealth of good reading for anyone wanting to search it out.
Even if you’re not a lore-head, though, you’ll find that Ace is, objectively, a weapon you should get good with. It’s META, and it’ll stay there for a very long time.
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