I heard an advice once to level up your gear before dismantling to produce more parts and materials. From my subjective experience this seems to work more or less with rare items, though I can't say for sure.

As I care most for Ascendant Shards and other top-level materials, the question is mainly about legendary gear. So basically what I'm asking is this: is there a difference in material output between these options:

  1. Dismantle item right away;
  2. Level up item before dismantling, but without actually upgrading it;
  3. Level up item and upgrade (buy) it's skills before dismantling;

I can't seem to find any concrete info on this, and don't have enough legendaries to experiment yet (the ones from Queen don't produce Shards).

  • From my experience, you only get back a very small portion of what you put into an item when you dismantle it. You certainly are not going to get back the ~32 or so Ascendant Shards that you put into a piece of armour when it is dismantled. Oct 2, 2014 at 10:32
  • 2
    @MichaelFrank, yes, but what if I don't put in anything except experience? Will it give more in this case? Or if I buy one or two skills with glimmer, basic materials and parts, will it increase top-level materials output? If yes, it's a good exchange.
    – icebat
    Oct 2, 2014 at 10:39

7 Answers 7


If you fully level up a legendary weapon without actually purchasing the upgrades you will get twice the amount of Ascendant Energy. You DO NOT need to spend a single glimmer or material on the item.

Basically instead of getting 2-3 you will get 4-6 or something like that. Good if all your weapons are already fully leveled, you can switch weapons before you hand in a bounty.

However this does not work for armour.

  • Ok, I tried with fully leveled purple rocket launcher, with upgrades purchased up to final column (wich requires ascendant materials, didn`t want to spend those). It gave me 4 Energy. One item is not enough to confirm a trend but your info seems legit to me right now, and it overrides last accepted answer.
    – icebat
    Oct 15, 2014 at 18:31
  • Did couple of tests with armor. It seems you're right on all accounts.
    – icebat
    Oct 26, 2014 at 11:24
  • 2
    Also just a note, if you fully level an exotic weapon (without buying upgrades) you can get two exotic shards when dismantling
    – turbo
    Dec 15, 2014 at 18:22
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    Can confirm. I tested this 4 legendary weapons that were pre expan (300 cap). 3 of them yielded 6 energies, 1 yielded 5. The upgrades were not purchased. Armor legendaries seem to be capped as indicated.
    – Travis J
    Dec 29, 2014 at 21:54
  • Small update to this: You do get 2 exotic shards for a fully leveled exotic weapon. However, I would highly discourage leveling an exotic item for the sole purpose of dismantling it if you have others which should be leveled. It takes a lot of experience to fully level, and it only costs 7 coins for an exotic shard. I would gladly pay 7 coins to level an exotic weapon at times. So be careful about wasting a lot of experience just for one exotic shard. Food for thought.
    – Travis J
    Jan 13, 2015 at 20:05

Upgrading a piece of legendary gear will get you a few extra class based material components out of it, but it won't increase the amount of Ascendant materials reclaimed. It will always be 2-3 no matter how many upgrades have been purchased on the armor. You definitely won't get back any of the common materials like spirit bloom and relic iron you use.

For an example, a redditor dismantled a piece of fully upgraded exotic gear and got 5 sapphire wires and 3 shards out of it.

If you get an extra legendary, just trash it without upgrading it. You won't see any return on the XP or materials you spend. By the time you start trashing legendaries, you won't be hurting for the extra sapphire wire or weapon parts. That's what greens and blues are for at that point.

  • This answer is only true for armor. If you get an extra legendary weapon DO NOT TRASH IT WITHOUT LEVELING IT (as in unlock all options without spending materials to purchase the options). :)
    – Travis J
    Dec 29, 2014 at 21:52

At level 20+ I turn my bounties in for leveling gear I found in each slot.

For each 5000xp bounty or two 2500xp bounties you can roughly max out xp on one green item.

When you dismantle these items they give you somewhere around double the parts - 3 or 4 instead of 1 or 2.

From my experience I agree with above: don't actually buy/activate upgrades on the items because they don't increase returns meaningfully.

My main gear purples and exotics are either leveled already or getting all the playtime, so its just a nice alternative to exchange xp for mats.

I don't really level blues with bounties, they return 5 or 6 at dismantle but take more than twice the xp to max a green.

When I'm doing heavy grinds on low level content I equip blues and greens to make the xp go somewhere where I can gain from it.

  • Thanks for the info! I used to level gear with bounties too, but with all the greens and blues falling on most activities now I have hundrends of parts, so leveling does not seem worth the effort, but still nice to have in mind in case of shortage.
    – icebat
    Oct 6, 2014 at 9:45

I've had nothing close to what is costs to upgrade come out of a dismantle. If you plan on dismantling then I would avoid upgrading.


I always upgrade legendaries upto there last coloum...I have tried without buying n it gives ya roughly double...I have done it with buying upgrades and iv had upto 7/8 energies from a legendary weapon :) glimmer/sapphire/weapon parts are ov an abundance....ascendants are not so i ALWAYS do this with purple gear!!


Upgrade the armor without skill purchase. Buy "Blessing of the Unmade" emblem from Speaker. Wear this while dismantling. Very high chance for 6.

Other hidden emblem buffers:


  • I tried dismantling vanilla legendary with this emblem, it gave me 3. Apparently, emblem itself doesn't increase output, but can increase the chances. I'll try with levelled purple when I'll have one, but other emblem that I tried from list, of the Ancients, does not increase glimmer from majors as described, so I'm sceptical. As of now, I think armor does not produce more than 3 at any rate.
    – icebat
    Oct 24, 2014 at 21:39
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    Dismantled fully leveled purp helmet, got 3 shards. Emblem of Unmade was equipped too. So no, your info is not correct.
    – icebat
    Oct 26, 2014 at 11:23

2 - I've dismantled a legendary scout rifle and armor that were fully leveled up and got 5 Ascendant Energy/Shards from it. Next I'll try to upgrade an item just to the first damage/defense upgrade of the last column and report how it goes.

  • Sorry, my mistake about the armor. Previous poster's correct, you can only get 2-3 shards for armor that is fully leveled up.
    – cthree
    Oct 23, 2014 at 23:05
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    I did try just leveling up a legendary weapon to just the top circle of the last column and got 7 ascendant energy for it. So no need to level up fully to get the max energy.
    – cthree
    Oct 23, 2014 at 23:06
  • Here's a way that could possibly get you more materials: Buying an emblem from The Speaker that costs Motes of Light. reddit.com/r/DestinyTheGame/comments/2hjo4w/…
    – cthree
    Oct 24, 2014 at 5:12
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    Dismantled an exotic Super Good Advice machine gun that was leveled up to the 5th column (of 8 columns), top circle and it only gave 3 AE. Will try to the 6th or 7th column next.
    – cthree
    Oct 25, 2014 at 0:02

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