Ace of Spades Exotic Hand Cannon Review: Perks and Build Guide

Everything you need to know about the Ace of Spades Exotic Hand Cannon, and its perks and stats! 

The Ace of Spades is a hard-hitting Exotic Hand Cannon reserved only for those Hunters who manage to attain the lofty heights of Rank 3 with Banshee-44, the Tower’s Gunsmith. When compared with the Titan’s Fabian Strategy and the Warlock’s Tlaloc, people typically gauge the Ace of Spades somewhere closer to the Tlaloc, with the Fabian Strategy at the opposite side of the spectrum.

However, does the Ace of Spades deserve the reputation it has garnered? Are there any tricks up its sleeves? Bad gambling puns aside, let’s take a closer look at the Ace of Spaces! We’ll be comparing the stats of the Ace of Spades against its fellow high Impact Year 2 Hand Cannons, Hawkmoon and The First Curse.

Ace of Spades Base Stat Analysis

Rate of Fire - 22

Nobody is ever going to look at a Rate of Fire of 22 and consider it anything particularly earth-shattering. However, for the archetype Ace of Spades occupies, it’s actually at the upper end even if it does tie with Hawkmoon. In fact, both the Ace of Spades and the Hawkmoon find themselves ahead of The First Curse with its low 15 Rate of Fire.

Impact - 81

Here’s where the Ace of Spades and its compatriots start to shine, with both the Ace of Spades and the Hawkmoon rocking a beefy 81 for Impact. While impressive, it appears the two actually find themselves a little outclassed by The First Curse’s mind-boggling 94 Impact.

Range - 40

Not particularly amazing but also not a deal breaker, the Ace of Spades sits at a Range of 40, successfully staying ahead of the Hawkmoon at 32 while flagging behind The First Curse at 47. For the Ace of Spades, this needn’t be the case, as you can up the Range a little via perks if it’s something you really can’t handle.

Stability - 32

Once again the Ace of Spades finds itself somewhere in-between, although it still leans pretty high towards the upper tier. Especially when you compare its Stability of 31 to The First Curse’s 12, which is pretty pitiful. Unfortunately, both weapons are left in the dust by the Hawkmoon’s impressive 51 Stability. Keep in mind that you will have the chance to pick up more Stability elsewhere in the Ace of Spade’s perks, so keep your eyes open.

Reload - 33

We immediately recommend obtaining a pair of Hand Cannon Reload Gauntlets if you can get your hands on them. While the Ace of Spade’s 33 isn’t the worst Reload speed, it’s still a long way from perfect. It finds itself slipping slightly behind the 39 of the Hawkmoon, while exceeding The First Curse at 22.

Magazine - 12

The Ace of Spades and the Hawkmoon are pretty similar here, with the Ace of Spades at 12 and the Hawkmoon at 13, with The First Curse coming in dead last at 8 shots. However, we’re going to give this one to the Ace of Spades due to the nature of its Exotic perk which gives it a virtually bottomless Magazine under the right circumstances.

Base Stat Conclusion

The Ace of Spades is often virtually indistinguishable from the Hawkmoon in stats, which is by no means a bad thing. For their archetype (high Impact, low Rate of Fire), both weapons are exemplary and operate soundly. However, this doesn’t mean that the Ace of Spades doesn’t have its quirks. While its stats are solid, we still recommend doing something about the Ace of Spades’ Range and Stability. Unfortunately with the perk choices available, it’s tough to do both.

Ace of Spades Perk Analysis

Exotic Perk

Maverick — Precision kills move one round from your ammo reserves into the magazine.

Rewarding a skilled hand, this perk is amazing for Destiny’s sharpshooting Hunters out there. Arguably best for PvE, this perk allows you to mow down hordes of trash mobs without having to constantly worry about reloading. Not necessarily as useful in the Crucible, it still helps if you find ammo scarce. Effectively giving you a bottomless magazine and eliminating the low Reload speed in one go, this is a pretty nifty perk and synergizes well for the Ace of Spades.

First Perk (Non-Selectable)

Third Eye — Radar stays active while aiming down this weapon’s sights.

The Ace of Spades is a little different in that it gives an additional fixed feature perk found at the top of the weapon’s perk tree. In this case, that perk is Third Eye. Typically this perk operates best in the Crucible, which balances the scales a little more for the Ace of Spades. This perk effectively heightens your situational awareness by letting you see if you’re being flanked, even when aiming down sights.

Selectable Sight Perks

  • TrueSight IS
  • QuickDraw IS
  • SteadyHand IS

While each of these is a viable option, we suggest avoiding QuickDraw IS. It’s designed around pulling out your weapon faster, aiming quicker, and reloading better. While those are all great assets to have, they’re not what the Ace of Spades needs. For a better option all-around, we recommend TrueSight IS which provides better Stability and Reload, as well as improved aim assist and equip speed. However, if you really want to invest we recommend SteadyHand IS, which is designed to greatly improve Stability and Recoil control in addition to Reload speed.

Middle Perk (Non-Selectable)

Firefly — Precision kills with this weapon cause the target to explode.

A fan favorite, Firefly was one of the reasons players loved to get their hands on Fatebringer back in the day. Coupling incredibly well with the Maverick Exotic Perk, Firefly is great for clearing crowds in PvE and knocking opponents down to size in the Crucible.

Selectable Stat Perks

  • High Caliber Rounds
  • Perfect Balance
  • Reinforced Barrel

Immediately discount High Caliber Rounds. While it may make your opponent flinch more, it wrecks your Recoil control. This leaves us with Perfect Balance and Reinforced Barrel. If you’re determined to make the most of the Ace of Spade’s Stability, definitely go with Perfect Balance. However, if you’d rather have the Range, choose Reinforced Barrel (be warned that it will give Stability a knock down). Although, if you’ve already boosted Stability through Sights choice, this may not be a bad strategy at all.


From the stats alone, we would call the Ace of Spades a good to average weapon. It’s pretty typical of the high Impact, low Rate of Fire Hand Cannon archetype to the point where it’s basically the same as Hawkmoon. There are a couple of issues with stats like Range, Stability, and Reload, but the Ace of Spades’ perks more than make up for these stats. In fact, the weapon displays some fantastic perk synergy by both fixing and balancing in all the right places. While the configuration makes the Ace of Spades a much better PvE weapon, it’s not to be underestimated in the Crucible either.

Because of this, we’re giving the Ace of Spades an impressive 4/5 Exotic Engrams!

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About The Author: Greg Pain

A member of the #TitanMasterRace, Greg likes to Fist of Havoc his way through a good book, a great punk album and the background of Reddit. But really he plays Defender. Follow him everywhere as 'NorseFenrir'. Like everywhere.

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