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Destiny 2: How the Deck of Whispers Works

The Deck of Whispers is one of the most involved seasonal mechanics Destiny 2 has ever seen. Here's how it works.

The Deck of Whispers is the latest Seasonal progression system in Destiny 2, and it’s a doozy. Rather than “go to activity and earn the things,” the Deck of Whispers adds a light deck-building element to the game. And, like any deck-building game, things are pretty complex. First, there’s gathering your cards, then choosing your hand, then actually making use of the cards you want to pull from. On top of that is the Destiny 2 grinding experience for both loot and the cards themselves. We’ll go over it all in this guide to the Deck of Whispers.

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How the Deck of Whispers Works in Destiny 2

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Using The Deck of Whispers is a multi-step process, and you need to know a lot of different proper nouns to get the most out of the mechanic. Here’s a breakdown of all the terms you need to know:

  • Opaque Cards: These cards allow you to unlock Arcana cards at the Lectern of Divination, accessible in the Athaneus via a portal in the H.E.L.M.
  • Major Arcana: Some Opaque Cards turn into Major Arcana, which you can use to build a deck of buffs usable in both the Spire of Savathun and Altars of Summoning activity. Each Major Arcana requires you to complete a short quest to activate its effects. Once unlocked, you can pick up to five for your deck, one of which activates its effect at random at the start of a seasonal activity.
  • Minor Arcana: These cards, which activate once transformed from Opaque Cards, provide more traditional Seasonal benefits. These include allowing Witch’s Keys to award additional Witch’s Engrams (Empowered Unlocking) or guaranteeing the first seasonal weapon you Focus each week is Deepsight Resonant (Witchrafting).
  • Witch’s Keys: Keys you have a chance to earn at the end of either Spire of Savathun or Altars of Summoning activities (as well as Strikes, Gambit, Crucible, and the like), which, when used, increase the amount of loot you receive from the end of activity chest.

The next question is how you get more Opaque Keys for more Major and Minor Arcana? Here’s how.

How to Get Opaque Cards in Destiny 2: Season of the Witch

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Opaque Cards will say whether they are Major or Minor Arcana, and there are multiple ways to acquire them. Your main sources are

  • Opening Season of the Witch seasonal activity loot chests: There’s a large (but not 100%) chance that completing either Altars of Summoning or Spire of Savathun activities awards an Opaque Card. What kind is as random as the chance of obtaining one, and some cards will be locked until specific weeks of the Season of the Witch have passed.
  • Completing Seasonal Activities: In addition to opening the chest at the end of a seasonal activity, you get loot simply for completing it. There’s also a chance to get an Opaque Card among these rewards as well, though they’re primarily Minor Arcana.
  • As Rewards from the Ritual Table: Reaching reputation levels 7, 10, 13, and 16 the Ritual Table in the Athenaeum awards a Minor Arcana Opaque Card. These can have any effect from providing seasonal buffs to being simply seasonal items like Witch’s Keys or Exotic Engrams.
  • Finding them in Destiny 2’s many Destinations: Not every key is unlocked via some instanced activity. Some cards are simply floating around in hidden corners of the Destiny 2 ecosystem. These cards are automatically revealed.

How to Use Opaque Cards

With an Opaque Card in your inventory, you can go to the Lectern of Divinaiton in the Athenaeum to unlock its abilities or reveal the quest to do so. Card quests are fairly straightforward, requiring you to collect a new currency called Insight, as well as sometimes certain activities or do specific tasks throughout the system.

Once you have five Major Arcana cards revealed from your Opaque Cards, you can use them to build a deck that the game will randomly pull from at the beginning of Season of the Witch activities. You’ll know which is active thanks to a buff symbol on the left side of your screen, though you will need to memorize what each buff does, as the game doesn’t allow you to check while in an activity.

It’s unclear how many Major Arcana cards will be available during the season, but there are twelve identical altars in the Athenaeum where you decide which to put in your deck, so twelve seems to be the number. Again, we won’t have access to all of them immediately, with more becoming available as we complete weekly story missions and progress the ongoing narrative.

Which Major Arcana Are the Best?

As for which Major Arcana to use, that is yet to be determined. While their effects are powerful, there is enough variance in each seasonal activity, as well as the randomness of card chosen, that you’ll need a build that can make use of all of them. Take stock of what build you’re running as well as the effects of each Major Arcana in your deck of five cards and try to match at least one build effect to each card. As more unlock, this process will get easier.

And that’s everything you need to know about the Deck of Whispers in Destiny 2 Season of the Witch. It’s probably the most involved seasonal upgrade path we’ve ever had, but that’s certainly welcome after more than two years of basically the same stuff, different day. If this kind of gameplay and story is what we can expect going forward, I for one cannot wait for The Final Shape. For more Destiny 2 content from us, check out our guides hub.

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John Schutt
John Schutt has been playing games for almost 25 years, starting with Super Mario 64 and progressing to every genre under the sun. He spent almost 4 years writing for strategy and satire site TopTierTactics under the moniker Xiant, and somehow managed to find time to get an MFA in Creative Writing in between all the gaming. His specialty is action games, but his first love will always be the RPG. Oh, and his avatar is, was, and will always be a squirrel, a trend he's carried as long as he's had a Steam account, and for some time before that.