With the release of its Warmind update, Destiny 2 added a new exotic weapon masterwork system called catalysts. By completing specific actions, players have a chance of earning a catalyst for an exotic weapon, which turns it into a masterwork. However, once a player has a masterwork catalyst they have to complete another set of objectives (usually getting kills using the weapon in a certain activity) before the true benefits of the masterwork are applied.
Not every exotic weapon in Destiny 2 has a masterwork, but there are quite a few that do. However, Bungie chose not to reveal how to acquire each catalyst so it was up to the community to figure each one out. And so far we know how to get the catalysts for almost every exotic weapon with masterwork potential.
The first category is fairly easy. All players need to do is get kills in any activity and they have a chance to earn the Crimson, D.A.R.C.I., Borealis, or Tractor Cannon catalysts. In fact, most players likely got at least one, if not all, of these weapons’ catalysts simply by playing through Warmind and grinding up to power level 380.
These exotic weapon catalysts are earned by killing “the most challenging opponents” in strikes. Most assume that this means beating the strike by killing the final boss, but some players have reported getting a catalyst to drop from elite enemies (those with yellow health bars).
It’s no surprise that the weapons built for the Crucible have catalyst objectives tied to the mode. These three weapons can drop their catalysts anytime that players claim victory in the Crucible. It’s perfect timing, then, that the Iron Banner event is active, so players can kill two birds with one stone.
MIDA’s catalyst is apparently tied towards achieving “glorious victory in the Crucible,” which some are taking to mean wins in the Competitive playlist or Trials of the Nine.
Heroic Adventures are a relatively new addition to Destiny 2, brought into the game with the Curse of Osiris DLC. And so completing them has a chance to reward the catalyst for Huckleberry, a new exotic submachine gun included with the Warmind expansion.
Skyburner’s Oath is a weapon designed for fighting Cabal and so it is fitting that the catalyst drop while completing encounters in the Leviathan raid.
The new Worldline Zero exotic sword catalyst drops from kills with the sword. Having power ammo is not necessary; all the player needs to do is get kills with the sword.
There are three catalysts tied to the upcoming Faction Rally, which will see some changes for Season 3. Based on the wording, it sounds like these catalysts will drop simply from pledging to the respective faction, but it may require earning a faction engram as well.
Those are all the catalysts we know thus far, but there are sure to be more discovered in the coming weeks and months. Bungie said that not every weapon will have a masterwork, but a lot of them do. And many of these exotic masterwork weapons are worth pursuing because the extra perks are quite useful in PvE or PvP.
Destiny 2: Warmind is available now for PC, PS4, and Xbox One.