Destiny 2: Black Armory Spoiler-free Raid Guide
With the "Black Armory" expansion, Destiny 2: Forsaken moves into the meat of its Year 2 content. And with it comes a brand new Raid: Scourge of the Past. Some of the most dedicated Guardians have already completed it, and in no time flat.
That's not what we're here to talk about. In this spoiler-free guide for the latest pinnacle activity in Destiny 2, we'll be discussing how you and your fireteam can go in blind and learn the mechanics quickly and efficiently.
It's not as hard as you think. All it takes is a little knowledge of how Bungie structures their Raid encounters, which can all be summarized as follows:
- Wave(s) of enemies
- Unique mechanic
- Secondary wave
- Damage phase
Every encounter will also have a team wipe mechanic, though some are more forgiving than others. For some, just knowing the basic breakdown is enough, but we'll be going into much more detail shortly.
Like, right now.
The Core of Every Raid
Since the first Destiny's first Raid, "Vault of Glass," every encounter that contains a boss has followed the blueprint outlined above. Now, let's break it down into more granular detail and look at how you can use your understanding of the core mechanics to learn these new encounters.
Wave of Enemies
This phase is exactly what it says on the box. The first part of a Raid encounter will be a (sometimes) endless wave of enemies that you'll have to clear or contain if you want to have the breathing room to deal with the boss's unique mechanic.
Your primary goal here is to decide how you want to split the team to best deal with the oncoming waves. In the Baths room in "Leviathan," for instance, each player has their small groups of enemies to deal with. In the Argos fight in "Eater of Worlds," enemies spawn in droves, but because of the rotating nature of that encounter, you only need to clean up a single platform at a time.
Take your time during this initial phase, as you'll likely be doing it several times before you get everything right. Think about where people are standing, the layout of the room, where cover is, and more importantly isn't, and from which directions the enemies spawn. Consider if you need to funnel them into kill boxes or move around them.
You can answer most of those questions within a few moments, but be sure to communicate what you see to your squadmates because their experience often isn't the same as your own.
Whether the enemies stop spawning or not, Step 2 of any Destiny Raid encounter is dealing with a mechanic geared specifically to test you prior to the damage phase. For example:
- Leviathan: Calus's Throne Room and Shadow Realm
- Eater of Worlds: Preparation of the skulls and removal of the boss's barrier
- Spire of Stars: Destroying the ships and lowering the boss's shield
- Last Wish: Using crystals to remove the boss's immunity (to name just one)
What you might notice is the timing of these unique mechanics is, well, unique. On the Leviathan and Spire, and especially Last Wish, there are plenty of ways to lose your stride, but in Eater of Worlds, the add wave and the unique mechanic blend almost seamlessly into the DPS phase.
When you go into Scourge of the Past and get past the first boss encounter's enemy wave, know three things:
- There's probably not going to be much of a break before the mechanics start.
- Don't be afraid of failure. Like a Dark Souls boss, Raid encounters are not built to be conquered on the first go around.
- Once you've pulled off the mechanic once, you need to internalize why you succeeded and how you can replicate your success. That can mean wiping to discuss and practice, or trying to learn on the fly. Unless you want to speed through the Raid like the World First racers, I recommend the former.
Be aware that the unique mechanic often has something to do with the damage phase. Pay close attention to the left side of your screen for buff and debuff notifications and messages demarcating whether you've completed the mechanic or not (Challenge Failed, Ship Destroyed, Force of Will x100, etc.).
Most importantly, though, you want to approach this step of each encounter with care. In the moment, tensions will run high, and mistakes will happen. If you're looking to get the most out of your Raid experience, don't push yourself or your team too hard, and play every moment like you're at low health.
Trust me. It'll save you a major headache later on.
Secondary Wave and Damage Phase
Some encounters, like the Baths, the Argos fight, or the final phase of Shuro Chi in Last Wish, don't let you breathe. You'll be dealing with a second wave of enemies that you'll have to clear before you can safely deal damage. If the first wave wasn't endless, this one probably will be.
Once you're set up to do damage, you have to figure out the best weapons to use. In most cases, Whisper of the Worm is your best bet, with the IKELOS shotgun taking a very close second for shorter-ranged encounters.
Rockets with cluster bombs can sometimes be better options, depending on the size of the boss or its position about the player.
The enemy weak spot is usually pretty easy to spot, but if it isn't, have your teammates each go after a different candidate for critical damage. Once you find it, make shooting it your top priority.
Bosses usually only die if you shoot them.
Repeat, and it gets harder
If the boss isn't dead after DPS phase 1, one of two things will happen: either there will be a second unique mechanic you need to figure out, or the first one will shift in some fashion.
For instance, Calus's Shadow Realm gains some inconvenient new holes in the floor, or Shuri Chi demands you solve an arbitrary hopping puzzle to not die.
One you aren't dead, start the damage phase a second time and repeat as necessary. Follow the same basic strategies outlined above to figure out new mechanics, just know that if you fail, you'll have more to do if you want to get back to where you were.
Wipe mechanics are always well-telegraphed, and you should make note of them as soon as you see them. I would almost suggest letting one happen to figure out what the trigger condition is, but if the mechanic occurs deep into the fight, best to try and avoid it if at all possible.
As with the unique mechanic mentioned above, keep a sharp eye on the left hand side of the screen, because if there isn't a loud sound and some majorly flashy particle effects telling you that "This thing will kill you get away from/kill it now," that's the only place that will.
To deduce how to avoid wiping is usually not hard either. Raids are structured such that where you deal damage from has line of sight on what will be doing the wiping. Keep an eye out for something you've never seen before or something that feels out of place. Odds are that strangeness wants to kill you.
Don't let it.
Lastly, the Destiny franchise has seen many instances of encounters without so much as a single boss. Because these encounters are primarily mechanical, they require more trial and error, but again, there's plenty you can glean through simple examination.
Look around the encounter area and take stock of the big, shiny things that stand out. Ask yourself:
- Are there items appearing and disappearing?
- Are there visual distortions that you don't see anywhere else in the arena?
- When you step somewhere, does it cause a message or enemies to appear?
- Are there specially named enemies that look or act differently than everything else? How can you make them spawn?
- What causes a Guardian to die seemingly without explanation (there is one)?
It might take your fireteam a few goes to get a handle on where and what you'll be doing. Communication is your friend in these matters. Everyone should be saying what they see because not everyone will be seeing the same thing or focus on the same place all at once.
No question is not worth asking.
No clarification is unwarranted.
No strategy is not worth pursuing, at least until you find something that works.
Most of all, try to keep it fun. Don't be afraid to take a break. The checkpoint will be waiting for you when you get back.
Raiding in Destiny is one of the most satisfying ways to engage with the game. Though the community always settles on the "right" way to do something, that doesn't mean you and your team need to follow "the meta." After all, if you're laughing your way through every encounter, that's the whole point of playing with a group. Embrace it.
If you found this guide useful, take a gander at our other Destiny 2 guides here on GameSkinny.