Destiny 2: Borealis God Roll and How to Get It

The Borealis is an exotic arc sniper rifle in Destiny 2 that was added with the Warmind expansion. It is notable for its perk Ionic Return, which allows it to change damage types between arc, solar, and void. With the right roll, Borealis can be a top-tier PvE and PvP sniper rifle. This in-depth guide will cover everything you need to know about getting Borealis and what the god roll perks are for PvE and PvP.

Overview of Borealis

Borealis was designed by the Clovis Bray corporation during the Golden Age. It was lost until it was discovered in a cache on Mars by Ana Bray.

Some key traits of Borealis:

  • Fires in three-round bursts.
  • Above average aim assist and inventory size for a sniper rifle.
  • Can change elemental damage types between arc, solar, and void.
  • Breaking a combatant’s shield with a matched elemental damage type causes an explosion.

The main perk that makes Borealis special is Ionic Return. After breaking an enemy shield or destroying a Guardian’s Suppressor Grenade, Ionic Return will change the damage type of Borealis. For PvE, this allows you to easily match shields. In PvP, you can surprise opponents by changing damage types.

Borealis excels at burst DPS and shield breaking. The three-round burst can quickly damage tough enemies. Switching damage types mid-fight to match shields can give you an edge.

Borealis was reissued in Year 4 of Destiny 2. It retained its Ionic Return perk, but can now also create Warmind Cells.

How to Get Borealis

Borealis is not the easiest exotic to acquire, but your best bet is from these sources:

World Drops and Xur

Like all exotic weapons in Destiny 2, Borealis has a small chance to drop from any exotic engram. This includes world drops from Xur’s Fated Engram each week. However, given the large exotic loot pool, your chances are low.

Legend/Master Lost Sectors

When sniper rifles are the featured reward, you can farm Borealis from Legend or Master Lost Sectors. The drop chance starts at 25% on Legend and scales up each run until an exotic drop. Master Lost Sectors have a higher drop rate.

Vault of Glass Raid

Borealis is one of the possible exotic weapon drops from hidden chests in the Vault of Glass raid. Using a Vault of Glass chest exotic farm route can net you multiple chances per week per character at Borealis.

Borealis God Rolls

Due to its fixed perks, Borealis has limited customization from random rolls. But the barrel, magazine, and masterwork can make a difference. Here are the god rolls for PvE and PvP.

PvE God Roll

For PvE, you generally want to maximize aim assist, ammo capacity, and handling:

  • Barrel: Arrowhead Brake (recoil + handling)
  • Magazine: Extended Mag (increases capacity)
  • Masterwork: Handling

This roll is ideal for PvE DPS thanks to improved handling and ammo capacity. The recoil direction bump from the Arrowhead Brake also helps keep your bursts on target.

Some argue that Appended Mag is better than Extended Mag for the slight damage perk over increased capacity. But more total damage before reloading is usually preferable.

PvP God Roll

For PvP, range and aim assist are most important:

  • Barrel: Corkscrew Rifling
  • Magazine: Accurized Rounds
  • Masterwork: Range

This setup maximizes range and aims to assist in optimal consistency. Corkscrew Rifling gives a nice bump to range and stability. Accurized Rounds boosts range further. And a range masterwork pushes the range out even more.

Some prefer Hammer-Forged Rifling for maximum range over Corkscrew. And a handling masterwork is also decent for faster scoping. But the corkscrew, accurized, range roll covers all bases nicely.

Borealis Catalyst

The Borealis catalyst was added in Season of the Risen. It provides the following bonuses when unlocked:

  • Adds the Voltaic Rounds perk. Voltaic Rounds cause arc chain lightning damage when destroying a shield.
  • Increases inventory size.
  • Generates orbs of power on multikills.

The main benefit is Voltaic Rounds. This gives Borealis a passive arc damage perk so it can cause chain lightning on any shield break. Helpful for crowd control and ad clarity.

Acquiring the Borealis Catalyst is a random drop from Nightfall strikes, especially higher difficulties. It can also rarely drop from strikes.

Once you have the catalyst, you need to complete around 400 kills to unlock it. This shouldn’t take long if you use Borealis during normal PvE activities.

Overall the catalyst is a nice bonus, mainly for the Voltaic Rounds perk. But the gun still performs well even without the catalyst unlocked.

How to Use Borealis

Here are some tips to use Borealis effectively in both PvE and PvP:

PvE Tips

For PvE, Borealis excels at burst damage on tough enemies and majors. Take advantage of its perks in these ways:

  • Switch damage types to match shields then break the shield to trigger Ionic Return and explosions.
  • Use the three-round burst on tougher combatants for burst DPS.
  • Create Warmind Cells with the Rasputin armor mod for added clarity.
  • Use extended or appended mag for maximum total damage per magazine.
  • Take advantage of Borealis’ above-average aim assist to consistently land precision shots even at long range.

Borealis can put in serious work against high-health enemies like champions and bosses thanks to its unique perks. The ability to constantly re-match shields and deal burst damage gives it an edge over standard snipers.

PvP Tips

For PvP, Borealis gives you the flexibility to change up your damage type and play mind games with opponents expecting an arc snipe.

  • Pre-charge to solar or void then peek-shoot to surprise opponents expecting arc damage.
  • Voltaic Rounds allow chaining lighting damage after any shield break -use this for area control.
  • Make use of the high aim assist and inventory size.
  • Be aggressive with the three-round burst for quick kills.
  • Masterwork and perks for max range/aim assist for consistency.

Avoid getting caught in quick scopes vs. other snipers. Borealis thrives when you control the engagement range and lanes. Leverage the unique perks like Ionic Return and Voltaic Rounds to full advantage.

Is Borealis Worth Using?

Borealis stands out from other snipers thanks to its flexible damage types and burst fire ability. But is it worth using over the meta?

In PvE, Borealis can definitely be worth running in certain scenarios like high-level Nightfalls. Its sheer burst damage and ability to match any shield give it an advantage in tough content. It also benefits from anti-barrier sniper rifle mods. Overall it occupies a nice specialty niche – not necessarily better than a Firing Line sniper all the time, but very potent in specific situations.

For PvP, Borealis is a slightly above-average choice. According to top players, it doesn’t have enough aim assist or zoom to consistently compete with the top options. However, the flexibility of Ionic Return and Voltaic Rounds can give you an edge in the right hands. It’s certainly usable, but won’t dramatically increase your K/D overnight.

Borealis has also fallen behind newer options like Arbalest in the anti-barrier role. Legendary aggressive snipers can match or exceed its DPS.

So in summary – Borealis is definitely worth keeping in your back pocket and can shine in certain scenarios. But it’s not necessarily a top-tier or must-have exotic compared to all legendaries.


Does Borealis have one shot in Crucible?

Yes, Borealis can one-shot kill in Crucible with a precision shot under the right circumstances.

  • It can one-shot Guardians under 5 resilience with any damage type.
  • Against 5-6 resilience, it can one-shot with an empowering rift or inertia override.
  • Against 6+ resilience it needs additional buffs like high energy fire etc.

So while not the most consistent OHKO sniper, it can pull off lightning-fast kills with the right setup.

What class should use Borealis?

All classes can make good use of Borealis in both PvE and PvP:

  • Hunters benefit from the high aim assist and handling for quick drag scopes. Marksman’s Dodge can quickly reload after bursting.
  • Titans can take advantage of the burst damage against bosses and champions. Rally Barricade can enable fast DPS phases. Inertia Override can allow OHKOs.
  • Warlocks can leverage Empowering Rift for easy OHKOs in PvP. Devour keeps you alive during intense PvE DPS.

Overall there isn’t really a single “best” class for Borealis – it’s effective on all three. Play to the strengths of your subclass tree.

What is a good PvE roll for Borealis?

For PvE, you want perks and masterwork that maximize aim assist, recoil direction, and ammo capacity:

  • Barrel: Arrowhead Brake
  • Magazine: Extended Mag
  • Masterwork: Handling

This setup gives you excellent handling, recoil control, and lots of total damage per reload. The aim assist is already high enough from the base stats.

Is Borealis good in Crucible?

Borealis is decent but not necessarily top-tier for Crucible. The pros are high aim assist, inventory size, and flexible damage types. The cons are lower than average zoom and recoil direction.

A skilled sniper can still dominate with Borealis by leveraging Ionic Return and the burst damage. But it faces stiff competition from snipers with higher zoom and natural snap like Eye of Sol.

Overall, Borealis is good but not amazing for PvP. The unique perks give it viability, but it’s less consistent than top choices like Uzume or Fate Cries Foul.

How do you get the Borealis catalyst?

There are a couple of ways to get the Borealis catalyst:

  • Random drop from any Nightfall strike, with higher difficulties having a better drop chance
  • Very low chance drop from Vanguard playlist strikes
  • Random drop from opening chests in Dares of Eternity

Your best bet is to farm Nightfalls, especially on Master or Grandmaster difficulty, until the catalyst drops. It may take many runs but this is the most reliable method.

Does the Borealis catalyst give it snapshot sights?

No, the Borealis catalyst does not grant snapshot sights. The main benefits of the catalyst are:

  • Voltaic Rounds perk for arc-chaining damage after breaking shields
  • Increased inventory size for more total ammo
  • Generates orbs of light on multi-kills

So while the catalyst is nice to have, it unfortunately doesn’t add snapshot sights. You still need to manually scope in before each shot.


The Borealis exotic sniper rifle has been a mainstay in Destiny 2 for years thanks to its unique variable damage types and burst fire ability. It can put in serious work in both PvE and PvP when used properly. While not necessarily a top-tier or must-have weapon, its flexible perks give it viability across all classes and game modes.

Getting your hands on Borealis requires some luck through world drops, Lost Sectors, or raid chests. But the grind is worth it for this iconic and fun-to-use sniper rifle. With the right roll and playstyle, Borealis can crush bosses, majors, Guardians, and anything else that stands in your way. So pull it from your vault, throw on the catalyst, and start chaining lighting explosions across the system!

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