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Destiny: The Taken King Three of Coins Guide- All You Need to Know About 3oC

First you need to buy them from Xur. They cost 7 Strange Coins (SC) for 5 Three of Coins (3oC). 3oC increases your (or just gives you one) chance of getting an Exotic Engram from killing an ultra (bosses with skulls).

The 3oC buff looks like a triangle with an IX in it and is labelled Exotic Particles. No other info is visible to players (like timers, stacking, cumulative effects).

The basics:
  • 3oC has no time limit (it does not expire, it will be there the next day if you log off with one active)
  • 3oC does not disappear if you die
  • 3oC only disappears if it is "consumed" - i.e.: it made a roll to see if you would get an exotic engram when you kill a boss
  • 3oC works on most ultras, but there are exceptions (list at end of post)
When decrypting exotic engrams:
  • If your light level is 299 of lower you can only get 290 exotics.
  • If your light level is 300+ you can get 310s, but the chance is random. It seems to be 10-40% - i.e.: highly RNG based and not enough data for a definitive answer.
  • Recommendation: If you are in the high 290s you might want to wait and decrypt your exotic engrams until you hit light 300.
There are three questions everyone seems to ask:
  • What is the timer on 3oC? The consensus is 6-10 minutes between kills. To further clarify, the timer only reduces your chance - it does not eliminate it. For example, I (and others) have gotten back-to-back exotic engrams from the shield brothers. There is a lot of debate on how this works.
  • What does 3oC work on? Ultras: with some exceptions.
  • When should I use a 3oC? That depends on how many you have.
The answer to how and when to use 3oC is different based on your situation:

Strategy 1: If you can afford a lot of 3oC each week.

Buy 50-70 3oC a week using 70-90 SC. Spend all of my SC on 3oC except for a reserve of about 20 SC just in case Xur has something the following week that you really want. Depending on how much you play the reserve might not be necessary.

If you will follow this strategy then you use about 40-50 3oC a week.

Always have a 3oC active in this approach. So after a strike (except Dust Palace / Psion Flayers), always apply a new 3oC. In Valus Ta'rauc the Sol Progeny (not the tank) is an ultra so, reapply a 3oC after killing it. You can also use another 3oC after killing the first brother in the shield brothers strike (this is probably overkill, but if you have enough 3oC, it's worth it).

This strategy allows me to not think much about the 3oC and makes strikes more exciting because an exotic is always possible.

Strategy 2: If you cannot afford many 3oC each week

If you can only afford 5-10 3oC (7-14 SC), it is recommended firing one up everytime you start a session. Once it is consumed, wait thirty minutes and use another. This is probably conservative, so use your discretion.

If you want to be less conservative or are running strikes, just use one for each boss by activating a new 3oC after each boss (that consumes the 3oC buff) you kill.

More Info

Should I use multiple 3oC at once?

The consensus is that stacking does not give you sufficient gains and it is better to use them one at a time, but since it is RNG and a relatively low number it is very hard to distinguish between the benefits of using multiple 3oC at once and being lucky.

When 3oC is "consumed" it means it rolled a chance to get an exotic engram. Here are special cases:
  • Ultras with shields apparently do not count for 3oC.
  • Dust Palace / Psion Flayers: Do not consume 3oC.
  • Valus Ta'aurc: Tank does not consume 3oC, Sol Progeny does.
  • Court of Oryx: Only Tier 3 (Antiquated Rune) bosses consume 3oC. (Apparently some Tier 3 bosses do not count - see first bullet regarding shielded ultras not counting.)
  • Shield Brothers: Both brothers consume 3oC. (I use one after each brother.)
  • Taken Zealots: The final bosses of planetary taken encounters - the zealots that come after killing three lieutenants - consume a 3oC.
  • Omnigul: Does not consume a 3oC. (Shielded? or just a major?)
  • Atheon: Does not consume 3oC.
  • Skolas: Does consume 3oC.
  • Crota: Does not consume 3oC (shielded).
  • Fallen Walkers: Do not consume 3oC.
Kingsfall Raid:
  • Warpriest: Yes
  • Golgoroth: Yes
  • Daughters: No
  • Oryx: No, but the Shade of Oryx in the bubble does.
TL;DR:

If you can afford a lot of 3oC keep them up all the time, otherwise use them at the start of each session and replenish them every 30 minutes.

They don't go away except when they are used for an exotic engram chance roll.

You can only get 310 exotics from an engram after reaching light 300.

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