I am level 23 and I have still not had a purple (legendary) engram drop but I am thinking when I do finally get one I should hold on to it until I level my Cryptarch up to hopefully increase the chance of it decoding into a Legendary Item. My Cryptarch is currently only level 4.

I have read online lots of people disagreeing with each other on this issue, some say the item is determined at time of pick up and not at time of decryption (why bother with the Cryptarch at all in this case) other people are saying they never get greens (uncommon) at higher Cryptarch levels (27+).

Has anyone figured out a conclusive answer to this issue or tested it with significant numbers of engrams?

Edit: Since the latest patch this question has become far less pertinent as engrams never decode lower than their current level.

  • The level of the item is decided when you decrypt the engram at the Cryptarch, but I too have read that the quality (uncommon, rare, legendary, exotic) is decided when picked up. I don't have any sources at the moment. The rank of the Cryptarch will give you new engrams to decode every time he reaches a new level, and apparently at higher levels he will sometimes sell legendary engrams directly. No sources for any of this though. Commented Sep 22, 2014 at 6:37
  • I doubt we'll get a definitive conclusive answer to this because there is no way for us to peek inside the engrams before they're decoded. This means that there is no way for us to know what information is stored inside or is generated upon decoding. Perhaps a Bungie employee can chip in? Commented Sep 22, 2014 at 6:38
  • On Reddit a few comments suggests that the rarity and type has already been decided, and what is left is the level, which will be decided when you decode it. Not sure how much trust can be put into these messages though. Commented Sep 22, 2014 at 6:41
  • I'm cryptarch rank 11 and I haven't noticed him being any better about giving me blues from my legendary engrams.
    – turbo
    Commented Sep 22, 2014 at 15:34
  • Oh and I'm Level 27, I don't think your level makes a difference. However I don't get green engrams anymore, just blue or higher. Greens drop as items.
    – turbo
    Commented Sep 22, 2014 at 16:00

2 Answers 2


I'm level 52 at the cryptarch and have yet to see a rare item available from him. Doesn't increase chances of items turning into legendary either. I have no proof, but a lot of experience with him.


I had a purple engram decode into Mida Multi Tool at around level 24 (character) and around level 10 (Cryptarch) - after that, I had Decoherent engrams decode into purple weapons, twice.

With a new character, I had a decoherent engram decode to 'Prudence II' (legendary) at level 21 but only level 2 or 3 for the Cryptarch.

It suggested to me at least that it was only to do with character level and not Cryptarch level.

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