How to get the Thunderlord Exotic catalyst - Destiny 2

Here are all the different ways you can get the Thunderlord catalyst to drop, and some tips to level it up quickly.


Guardians who purchased Season of Plunder will notice a treasure chest waiting for them in the H.E.L.M. This chest contains a Thunderlord Exotic Machine Gun. Go ahead and pick it up if you don’t have it, but that’s only half the battle. To enjoy Thunderlord to its full potential, players will need to get the Exotic catalyst and level it up.

Thunderlord catalyst

An image showing the Thunderlord catalyst in Destiny 2

Source: Shacknews

To get the catalyst to drop, you must complete playlist activities. Strikes, Gambit, and any Crucible playlist matches could drop it as a reward.

The fastest methods I’ve found are either games of Mayhem (Week 1 of Season of Plunder) or games of Gambit. If Mayhem is no longer active, buckle up and prepare to grind for an undetermined amount of time. If you’re leveling a character’s Power, the smart thing to do is play what you would otherwise need to play for Pinnacles, and hope that you get it from that. If you’re unlucky, choose your favorite playlist activity and get to work, Guardian. There are no shortcuts to get this drop if Mayhem isn’t in the Crucible rotation this week.

Once you have the catalyst, it needs completing. This is done by getting 500 kills with Thunderlord with Catalyst slotted in (remember to check your Catalysts are applied to your Exotics). Without a doubt, the fastest way to complete this is by visiting the Wall of Wishes in the Last Wish raid and wishing yourself to the Shuro Chi checkpoint. Equip Thunderlord and some ammunition mods, drop down a Raid Banner for full ammo, then approach the door. You can get 81 kills per run in only about three minutes, so you’ll have this catalyst complete in less than seven runs and about 20 minutes.

There are mob farming alternatives to Shuro Chi such as Altars of Sorrow found on the Moon, a location called ‘Thrallway’ found in the Shattered Throne dungeon which would take a while to get to but is effective to use. Some Guardians prefer the Grasp of Avarice dungeon entrance, equipping ammunition mods for Machine Guns and hanging around until they’re done.

Due to the new Season, I completed it just by doing Ketchcrash to up my rankings there and taking advantage of the regular Raid Banners. It’s a chill activity in terms of difficulty with plenty of adds, so it works perfectly with seasonal progress if you don’t want to use the other methods.

Once you have the Thunderlord catalyst completed and inserted into the weapon, causing a lightning strike with this weapon partially reloads the magazine from reserves. As users of Thunderlord will know, kills and damage with the Machine Gun will cause lightning to strike its target. With the catalyst, this now means your gun will continue to reload itself. Less reloading means more bringing the thunder.

Thunderlord and Arc 3.0

Season of Plunder has brought with it a boost to Arc with Arc 3.0, recent Machine Gun balancing, and the current round of seasonal artifact mods. The ones we are interested here include the following:

  • Machine Gun Ammo Finder (Helmet)
  • Machine Gun Reserves (Chest)
  • Machine Gun Scavenger (Legs)
  • Overload Machine Guns (Arms)
  • Machine Gun Holster (Legs)

Note: Thunderlord does not require you to use the Overload Machine Guns mod, as it will stun Overload champions intrinsically.

Another bonus to the catalyst is that Thunderlord works with Elemental Well mods. The Explosive Wellmaker mod kicks in on kills with the lighting strikes, so while mowing down mobs you’ll be making plenty of wells. Throw together the mods listed above, and you’ve got a real game changing Machine Gun that produces wells, reloads itself, and stuns Overload champions, making it viable for end-game content. 

As a bonus for you King’s Fall raiders out there, Thunderlord is not too shabby when it comes to add clear duty so it’s well worth considering its mod pairing as well as getting the catalyst for maxing out its potential.

I highly recommend farming this out to completion as it’s a real game changer and an overall enjoyable weapon to ‘bring the thunder’ while enjoying Season of Plunder. Be sure to check out the Shacknews Destiny 2 strategy guide for all our Destiny 2 advice and guide articles for the new season and beyond.

Contributing Editor

RiseOfBacon is a Redditor, vinyl collector, craft beer enthusiast, and lover of all things sports and gaming. Most frequently seen on r/DestinyTheGame either posting guides or in the comment section offering tips, advice, and sharing stories of Destiny triumphs and god roll chasing. Catch up with him on Reddit or Twitter using @RiseOfBacon to talk all things Destiny2.

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