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Gear Stat Rolls in Destiny: The Taken King Guide (Explaining What the Numbers in the Armory Mean)

What is up with Stats:

While it seems as though Bungie’s new armory makes it’s easy to figure out whether something has a good roll, what possible stats are, and everything else, there is actually a lot hidden going on behind the scenes that makes for some confusion.

This page will help clear up what the numbers in the armory mean, what is actually possible on a piece of gear, and how much you should actually care (Spoiler: not as much as you used to).

We will be going to be specific as possible, and might be too specific in certain areas. 


Rolls don’t matter as much as they used to. Aim for (before stat nodes and at Def 280) Helms 46+, Arms 31+, Chests 46+, Boots 43+, Class& Ghosts 19+, and split-stat Artifacts. Each exotic only has 3 possible stat combinations, pay attention to the possible stat nodes listed in the Armory to figure out which ones. DON’T WASTE GLASS NEEDLES

Maximum stats

The maximum stats listed in the armory are the true values, but with a few caveats.

The minimum stat value shown is basically irrelevant, it is tied to the lower defense value shown, but is neither the maximum nor minimum value at that level. (Helms show 35, but Vendor helm stats range from 30 to 36 before perks).

The maximum value shown is the possible stat value at the higher defense including stats from an armor perk. Exotic Helms show 35-60. This does not mean they can roll anywhere from 35 to 60, it means that the highest roll and a boosting perk will hit 60 in that stat at 310 Defense. (The actually range is more like 35 to 43).

The maximum rolls at 280 and 310 (before perks) are:

  • Helms: 38 -> 43
  • Gloves: 33 -> 38
  • Chests: 49 -> 55
  • Boots: 45 -> 50
  • Class & Ghosts: 20 -> 23
  • Artifacts: Extremely screwy and weird
The bonus stat nodes also increase with defense. However these are the same across all gear of the same defense value, with no RNG.

  • Helms: 14 -> 17
  • Gloves: 13 -> 15
  • Chests: 20 -> 23
  • Boots: 18 -> 21
  • Class & Ghosts: 8 -> 9
  • Artifacts ~33 -> 38
Side note: Single-stat Artifacts lose out on around 15 points, which is actually a lot considering. Try and keep Split-stat artifacts unless you really lower your light level doing so.

Possible rolls

One or two of the stats having a much higher maximum than average listed means that the piece can roll “pure” in that stat. However it also means a few other things.

There are at first glance 9 possible stat distributions on a given piece of gear:
  • Int/Disc
  • Disc/Str
  • Int/Str
  • Pure Int (Str perk)
  • Pure Disc or (int perk)
  • Pure Str (Disc perk)
Obviously not every exotic can roll pure in any stat, each exotic has either 0, 1, or rarely 2 stats that it can roll pure in, and these are fairly obvious in the armory. These are the Exotics “preferred” stats.

There is another hidden limitation: Pure stats only have one “side” stat possible:
  • Pure int will have a strength node
  • Pure disc will have an int node
  • Pure strength will have a disc node.
The end result of this is that every exotic in the game only has 3 possible stat combinations.
  • For 0 preference gear this is each split combo,
  • for 1 preference (lets say intellect) it is int/disc, int/str, and pure int (str perk),
  • and for 2 preference (lets say int & disc) it is int/disc, int (str) and disc (int)
How can you tell this without remembering the combinations? Well if you look at the possible perks in the armory that will tell you! The secret is that each of the two stat nodes are rolled together, not separately. The first possibility in each node happen together, etc.

So if you look at Nighthawk, it shows Int/Int/Str, and Str/Disc/Int in the two Nodes. What this really means is it can roll (1) Int/Str, (2) Int/Disc, or (3) Int (str). (The last combo shows the ‘side’ stat always)


Infusion stat increases is actually fairly simple for the defense values we care about. (it’s hard to tell what happens lower or higher because of a lack of legendries under 260 Defense or about around 315).

Basically every 10 points of defense increase will amount to a 1 point increase to all stats before 290, and a 2 point increase past 290 (rounding may change exactly when these increases happen).

This effect is doubled for pure-roll gear.
  • The stat nodes on helms, chests, and boots increase by 1 every 10 defense.
  • Arms, Ghosts, and Class items increase by around ½ point every 10 defense (causing some odd rounding)
  • Artifacts increase by roughly 1 ½ or 2 points every 10 defense.
This means that any piece of gear you obtain at 280 (Vendors and Xur both sell at that level) will be the same raw # below max at 310 that it was when you bought it.

How much you should Care

Because so much of your stats come from the Gear Nodes which are fixed values, the actually rolls don’t matter as much as they did. Furthermore the actual variance is not that huge from gear to gear, and the new “stat tier” system again reduces the amount a bad rolled piece will affect you.

The end result of all this is:
  • At 280 Light, it is possible to have 9 total stat tiers to play with.
  • At 300 Light, you are nearly guaranteed to have 9 total stat tiers to play with.
  • At 300 Light, it is possible to have 10 total stat tiers to play with.
  • At 310 Light, you most likely have 10 total stat tiers to play with.
  • Past 315 Light, it is technically possible to hit 11 total stat tiers, but this is hard to do.
Your goal with stat rolls: Hit 10 stat tiers by LL 305, and don’t let yourself drop below 10 tiers once you’re above LL 310.

In reality, one stat tier isn’t that huge of a deal, but since it only requires average to above-average rolls rather than near-perfect, you might as well go for it.

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Credits: Special thanks to cyberhawk94 for this guide.