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Conquer Destiny’s most rewarding raid with our Vault of Glass guide [updated 1/14/2015]

Destiny Vault of Glass Guide
Note: This guide has been updated to reflect changes to certain rules, as applied by patches and hotfixes. We’ve noted on each individual page if an entry has been updated. We’ve also added additional tips to the bottom of every section that lay out how strategies must change (if needed) when you tackle the Vault of Glass on the “Hard” difficulty.

There’s an argument to be made that Destiny exists to support experiences like Vault of Glass. The game’s lone (for now) level 26 raid is massive in scope. While a team of six pros could probably knock a playthrough out in around two hours, newcomer squads of six can expect to spend upwards of 10 hours learning the intricacies of each section.

Who has time for that? Not you, if you’re reading this guide. We’ve broken down Vault of Glass into its individual sections here, complete with explanations meant to walk you through the process of completing Bungie’s mammoth endgame mission. The challenge level is still high, but this guide is meant to cut out the guesswork.

Fair warning: Figuring out Vault of Glass is part of the fun. We’d recommend that you and your group try to tackle it first without help. Then, when you get jammed up on one part or another, turn to this guide for tips and strategies. Context is important; you can watch the videos and read the explanations here, but it’s all academic until you try it first for yourself.

Before going any further, here are a few general tips. First, assemble a group of six players (yourself included) who can all commit to scheduling play sessions over the course of a week; there’s no matchmaking to lean on. Destiny‘s week starts on Tuesday, meaning any progress you make in the Vault – it saves at each checkpoint – is wiped clean. If you’re making a run at Vault of Glass, try to start on a Tuesday or Wednesday, or at least make sure everyone’s weekend is clear.

Also make sure you have a good mix of classes taking on the Vault. It is essential that you have at least one Titan armed with the Defender subclass and its Ward of Dawn ability. That shield is extremely helpful when you’re facing the first boss and it’s absolutely necessary in the final boss fight.

One more tip: As tempting as it is to use the raid to level up newer, better gear, just don’t. Equip your best stuff and get your light level as high as it can be. The level 26 recommendation for the Vault is doable, but ideally you’ll have at least a few people at 27+ in your group.

That’s all for the setup.

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Opening the Vault of Glass

Your first act in the Vault of Glass raid involves cracking open the actual Vault. It’s a challenging, if relatively straightforward process of capturing three specific locations and holding them while high-level enemies try to sieze them back. Lose one for more than a few seconds and the whole process needs to be started over again.

When you first start the raid, your group will spawn right outside the entrace to the Vault on Venus. There’s no mistaking the door; it’s a giant circle set into the nearby rock face. Directly in front of that door is the first control point, which looks like a circle of concrete on the ground with a rectangular chunk of stone set in the center of it.

If you’re facing the Vault door, there are paths leading off to the left and the right. Follow the path on the left down the hill to find the second control point at the bottom. Note the spawn door just to the right of where the downward slope ends. Enemies will attack this position from there, and they’ll also spawn in and come up the short staircase that’s directly opposite the spawn door.

The righthand path leads to the third control point, which sits in the center of a plateau. Much like the second control point, enemies will attack from two directions, spawning at both ends of the plateau. In both locations, enemies coming out of the spawn closest to the Vault door have a chance of heading up toward the center location and trying to take that plate.

First, figure out a name for each of the three locations. Then split your group into two, with three players covering the right side and three covering the left. One player from each of those groups – preferably one of the higher-level participants – should be assigned to keep watch on the Vault door control point. Those players should camp themselves closer to that position, to better cover enemies that spawn in and try to retake the center.

Once everyone is in position, have one player apiece step onto each of the three plates, so they can be captured simultaneously. You’ll know it’s working because you’ll see white energy building up and slowly forming into a tower of rock. Once the tower is fully assembled, the Vault pops open. Try to keep one player inside of the left and right control points, as that’s the most effective way to defend against an enemy capture if one manages to break through.

Once the enemies start to spawn, getting the spire built becomes a communication challenge. Talk to your teammates. Shout out enemy positions. This is why it’s important to come up with names for each control point. Only the Praetorians – basically, high-level Minotaurs with yellow health bars – will try to capture locations, so focus fire on them whenever you can.

This isn’t particularly difficult for communicative teams, and it’s a good introduction to the sort of teamwork that will be required as you tread deeper into the Vault. Just keep shouting out new Praetorians and hammering them down. Lower-level players can focus more on crowd control. Keep it up, and eventually the Vault will open.

Hard Mode tips: There’s actually nothing different about opening the door to the Vault of Glass on the Hard difficulty. The scenario doesn’t play out in a Darkness Zone, and all of the enemies you encounter are their standard (for Normal) level 26. All strategies laid out above apply in Hard as well.

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Getting to the Templar’s chamber

The first stretch of corridor in the Vault of Glass is very straightforward. Just follow the path until you come to a chest. It’s impossible to miss. Gather everyone up around it before you crack it open to ensure that everyone gets to grab some loot. This is true for all other chests you’ll find (and throughout Destiny, really).

Just past the chest is a section that involves some light platforming. It eventually leads to a floating platform that overlooks a large, open space with three lanes leading to a raised dais. This is the chamber of the Templar, Vault of Glass’s first boss.

Don’t jump down into the chamber until everyone is ready and grouped up on that floating platform.

Hard Mode tips: Again, no changes here.

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Defend the Confluxes

Before you can take the fight directly to the Templar, you’ll need to survive some enemy waves while defending Conflux machines that spawn in. There are three phases to this section, and while tactics vary slightly between each one, they all work in generally the same way.

First, get a sense of how the Templar’s chamber is laid out. Think of it as you would a compass, with north being the end opposite from where you jumped down. There are elevated lanes running north-south on the east and west sides of the room, and a lower, central lane, also north-south, in the center.

You’ll spend most of your time in this part of the raid on the southern end of the room, with the heaviest flow of enemies coming from the north. Note, however, that there are also spawn caves in the southeast and southwest corners of the room. Those are major danger zones that you’ll have to monitor during the next stretch of play.

The trick with defending Confluxes is to keep enemies from getting close to it. They won’t shoot at these machines, but they’ll cause damage by sacrificing themselves once they reach the glowing border of each Conflux. You’ve still got a few seconds to kill them while they’re in sacrifice mode, and they’re completely non-aggressive at this point. But it’s preferable to just avoid letting them get close enough to start a sacrifice in the first place.

In the first phase, a single Conflux spawns at the southern end of the center lane. This is very straightforward. Just defend it. Watch out for enemy Fanatics that emit a green glow. They leave behind a miasma of green, swirling gas when you take them down that you should avoid at all costs. It’s poison. You can cleanse yourself by stepping into the lit circle at the northern end of the central path, but that’s dangerous. Better to just avoid the green all together.

For the second phase, Confluxes spawn in the southeast and northwest corners (the center one disappears). Same strategy, different locations. Split into two groups once again, and keep an eye on the center while you fight. It’s best to use the same groups you did outside (this is true all throughout the Vault of Glass), as they’ve had some time to develop a familiarity with one another. It can’t be overstated just how vital teamwork is in this raid.

The final phase brings back the central lane’s Conflux along with the other two, meaning you’ve got machines to defend in the southeast, south, and southwest. Same strategy again. Designate one player from each group to spend most of their time monitoring the center lane, but keep everyone together and in position on the east and west sides of the room. Hold out long enough and all the Confluxes disappear, signaling an end to this section.

Hard Mode tips: Here’s where things can start to get tricky. One of the big differences in Hard Mode, in addition to the higher level enemies, is the fact that there are no revives allowed during a Darkness Zone scenario. This fact alone makes every main combat section of the Vault tougher.

In the case of the Conflux defense sequence, there are no mechanical changes. You still defend one Conflux in the center; then two, on the left and right; then three, on the left/right and in the center. There is, however, a helpful tweak to the standard strategy that makes the whole thing more manageable. This works on the Normal difficulty as well, but the lower challenge hardly justifies it.

Once each Conflux defense sequence ends, the Templar summons its “legions,” at which point the Confluxes all disappear and a heavy swarm of enemies spawn in. It’s possible to fend them off, but that’s not necessary as these are timed scenarios. On Hard Mode, where every death sets the whole team back, it’s best to just huddle up and take cover in a place where nothing can get to you. The best spot for that is the small chamber on the west side of the chamber, accessible via an opening that’s part of the way up the northern set of stairs, set into the wall (jump height) on the east side of that path.

If you’re familiar with the Vault — and you should be by now, if you’re playing on Hard — then you probably know this chamber as the entrance to the alternate route down to the Gorgon’s Labyrinth. There are other safe spots too, but this one is easy to get to and large enough to accommodate a full fireteam. Just take cover in there until the next set of Confluxes spawn. The second phase is actually the toughest and longest, so don’t stress too much if you’re down a Guardian or two coming out of that sequence.

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Defeating the Templar [updated 10/21/2014]

Before we get to strategies, let’s revisit the layout of this room. Remember the compass. South is where you jumped down from, north is where the Templar – which is basically a giant Vex Hydra with a shield fully encircling it – is at the start. In the middle of the room is a circle of light where you can cleanse yourself of the Mark of Negation (more on that in a bit).

There are two phases to this fight. The first is all about survival, since the boss doesn’t move and can’t be damaged. What it does do is summon Oracles, which appear as very bright spots of light that spawn in a series of set locations around the chamber. You know the Oracles are coming when you hear a deep, reverberating gong start to chime.

Between Oracles, the team – split into two groups, east and west – should focus on cleaning up enemy spawns. Be particularly mindful of the floating platforms just outside the chamber, as Hobgoblin snipers spawn there. They should be the first to go whenever possible, unless Oracles happen to be spawning.

Once the Oracles start spawning, everyone needs to focus their attention on finding and destroying each one. It doesn’t take much to take one out, maybe a clip, clip and a half worth of ammo from most guns. If you miss one before they disappear, every member of the team is hit with a Mark of Negation, at which point they need to get to the circle of light in the center of the room, to cleanse themselves. Anyone who’s not cleansed in time dies on the spot.

After seven waves of Oracles — they appear in increasing numbers with each wave — everything quiets down and a mission marker appears where the circle of light was. That’s the relic. Designate one member of your team to be the relic-holder, and make sure it’s someone capable. They have an important job. The relic must be held at all times throughout the fight to come; drop it for more than a few seconds without someone picking it up, and it’s game over.

The person carrying the relic plays from a third-person perspective. It’s a powerful melee weapon in its own right (similar to the story’s Sword of Crota), and one that the wielder should always use to clear out enemies, as doing so fills the relic’s super meter more quickly. There’s also a bubble shield ability, L1 on PlayStation 4 controller) ability, which creates protection field for as long as you hold the button down, until the ability’s meter drains (it’s the melee slot ability). Unlike the Titan’s similar Ward of Dawn shield ability, anyone inside the relic bubble can shoot out of it. More importantly, anyone inside the bubble is also cleansed of the Mark of Negation.

The relic’s Super Charge ability fires a slow-moving orb of energy that can temporarily knock out the Templar’s otherwise impervious shield. The relic’s charge meter fills up more quickly than standard super abilities do (and again, taking out enemies speeds this up even more), and the wielder should always coordinate with the team to ensure that all fire focuses on the Templar when its shields fall. The fight doesn’t actually begin until someone grabs the relic (and a checkpoint is created here, so if everyone dies while fighting the Templar, you’ll start from the relic grab).

This is a challenging fight. The Templar fires damaging blasts at anyone it has line of sight on, and that’s happening while minor enemies spawn in from all directions. As if that’s not enough, Oracles also spawn throughout the fight. They’re fewer in number than they were during the preceding phase, but it’s important for the team to stay spread out and watchful for Oracles. Everyone can converge on the relic bearer if a cleanse is needed, but that slows the whole process down.

Speed is important in this fight because you want to try to defeat the Templar before it goes into “Enrage” mode. Once Enraged, Minotaurs start spawning in alongside the smaller Vex enemies, and they’re difficult to manage while you’re also battling the Templar. Communication is key. Listen for the ringing gongs. Find the Oracles when you hear them. Leave most of the Vex spawns for the relic-bearer to clean-up unless you’re taking direct fire, since charging the relic’s super meter is the only way to damage the boss.

There’s still one more twist, however. Whenever the Templar’s shields fall, a random selection of players are dropped into a sort of force field that slows movement and stops bullets. You need to shoot through the field to get rid of it, but you’ll blow yourself up if you use rockets or a grenade. You also die instantly if you escape the bubble without destroying it first. If the relic-bearer ends up inside the bubble, the wielder should jump and quickly press R2 for a ground pound attack that immediately destroys the bubble. It’s also important to note that the Templar teleports to a new location every time its shield comes down.

Once the fight is over, you can find a chest in a tiny little alcove that runs along the wall (you have to jump to get to it) to the left of where the Templar is at the beginning of the fight. Beyond that chest is also an alternate route down to the next section, and it actually leads to one of that area’s two hidden chests. We haven’t captured a video of that bit yet, but we’ll update this guide accordingly once we have footage.

Hard Mode tips: Most of the strategies above apply in Hard Mode as well, but there’s an easier approach to taking on this two-phase fight, provided you’re willing to make some compromises and have a capable solo player to rely on.

First thing to do after the Conflux defense phase is have everyone wipe as soon as the Oracles start appearing. Doing so respawns the entire Fireteam up on the platform that you originally entered the chamber from. This is key, as only one person is heading down to where the Templar is for the remainder of this section of the Vault. You can use the same person for both phases or, if you prefer, wipe after the first phase is over to respawn back up top and send a different person down.

For the Oracle phase, the five Guardians up top should all equip long-range weapons, preferably scout rifles and sniper rifles. Ice Breaker is a huge help. So is the raid scout rifle, Vision of Confluence (especially when it’s been upgraded to deliver bonus damage to Oracles). Once ready, the five should spread out across the cliffs just behind the platform that you’d leap off of to get down into the chamber. The idea is to cover as much of the space as possible, to ensure that at least two people, preferably more, have line of sight on every Oracle.

From up there, almost all of the enemies on the ground are no threat at all. The only thing to watch out for are the Hobgoblin snipers that spawn on the floating platforms outside the arena. The closest ones can do actual damage, so take them out as soon as they spawn (but prioritize Oracles, always).

There are three Oracles apiece on the east and west sides of the chamber, plus a seventh one positioned near the front, directly in the middle (close to where the center Conflux spawned). The northwestern-most Oracle is the only tricky one. There’s a small, narrow ledge accessible on the eastern side of the cliffs that has a line of sight on that Oracle, but it’s still tricky.

That’s where your sixth Guardian comes in. There’s a low pillar just to the right of where the Templar sits during the Oracle sequence (when you’re facing it). The sixth Guardian needs to get up on that pillar and then look up to find a very small ledge jutting out of the wall just to the south of that pillar. You’ve got to get up on that ledge — Warlocks and Titans have it easy, but Hunters can pull it off too — and then jump straight up from there onto yet another platform (basically the top of the wall that the small ledge juts out of). There’s a spot up there where the sixth Guardian has a direct line of sight on northwestern-most Oracle and is clear from the Templar’s attacks.

The trick to nailing the second jump is to leap out from the small ledge, away from the wall. There’s a lip just above your head that you need to clear in order to leap up on top. It takes a bit of getting used to, but it’s not too difficult. We’ll get a video demonstration of that here for you soon.

It’s a similar situation with the actual Templar fight, with five Guardians remaining up top while one — preferably the most capable and highest-level member of your group — wields the relic below.

The relic-wielder should mostly stick to the northern end of the chamber. It’s important to keep an eye out for Harpies and take them out as they spawn. When running around on the ground, a simple R2 attack is usually enough to one-shot each one. Not only does that keep the danger level down, it also has the added bonus of filling up the relic-wielders super attack that much more quickly.

While the team of five up top should focus mostly on Oracles, it’s a good idea for the relic-wielder to take those out as well, provided they’re handy. Oracles fill up the super meter even more quickly than Harpies, though they can be tricky to take out with the relic. The best approach is to get a straight line run on the Oracle you want to melee and hit it with an R2 attack when you’re still a decent distance (let’s say a Guardian length) away from it. Too close and you risk slipping right past it. Too far and you won’t connect. It’s something you’ve just got to feel out and get the hang of.

Killing the Templar from there is pretty much the same as it is on Normal. The Guardians up top need to spread out, and be mindful of the Templar’s attacks (unlike the enemies on the ground, it can and will target everyone up top). The relic-wielder should keep on filling their super meter and giving the team up top a shout whenever they’re about to bring the Templar’s shield down. That’s it.

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Descent into the Gorgon’s Labyrinth

Once the Templar is defeated, a large, round door opens just behind where it spawned initially. This is another relatively straightforward path. Just keep pushing forward until you reach the edge of a cliff, an apparent dead end.

It’s not though! You’ve got to take a leap of faith here. Just jump out into open space while looking down. Just make sure to jump a second time as you get close to the floor of the cavern. The drop is more than high enough to kill anyone instantly.

That’s all for this bit! Easy, right? Don’t worry. Destiny will soon punish you for daring to believe the challenge might have let up a bit.

Hard mode tips: Nothing different here. Both the drop and the alternate cave route leading to the secret chest that only spawns when a team prevents the Templar from teleporting are fair game for the descent.

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Escaping the Gorgon’s Labyrinth

You’ve already done some platforming, so how about a stealth sequence? The Gorgon’s Labyrinth is one, big stealth arena. Peer around and you’ll see what appear to be white-glowing Vex Harpies on patrol. These are Gorgons. It’s game over if one catches sight of you, so stay clear. The concept is simple enough: Watch the movement patterns and go where they’re not.

It’s considerably more challenging to do that when you’ve got six players in the mix. There’s only one path out of this space, and there’s no easy way to describe it. Just watch the video above to see the most direct route. The entire team should stick close enough that the green dots on your radar become one, large lump of green. Designate one person to lead and follow him or her.

This may take a few tries, but the route is very straightforward once you know it. Just watch for the Gorgons, move as a group, and stay low to the ground whenever possible.

Hard mode tips: The Gorgon’s Labyrinth is considerably tougher in Hard Mode, thanks to there being more patrolling Gorgons to deal with in general, and a few specific ones that don’t patrol at all and just sit in one spot. It’s important to avoid double-jumping or sprinting whenever you can, as doing so can attract the attention of nearby Gorgons.

All that said, there’s a ridiculously easy route to follow that doesn’t require any double-jumps or sprinting. You can see it firsthand in the video below, but the basic approach: Follow the stream that you start near until you see a patrolling Gorgon move off to the left. Follow behind it, but stay to the right of the path and duck behind the cluster of rocks that are there.

Once that first patrolling Gorgon moves past, walk straight out from behind the rocks and jump — just a single jump — onto the large rock formation that juts up out of the ground at an angle, like a ramp. Snake your way up to the top — no need to jump here — and have one person wait, and watch.  You’re waiting for two particular Gorgons to pass by, first from in front of you (if you’re at the top of the rock, it comes from the path on the right) and second from behind you (to the right of the rock formation that you’re camped out on).

Once the second Gorgon floats past, drop — don’t jump, just drop — off the top-most portion of the rock, on the left-hand side. Follow the path straight ahead as it circles around to the right. Then just go straight until you reach the chamber that leads to the next section of the Vault. No sprinting required during any of this. Just walk and you’ll be fine.

It’s a complicated route to put in writing, but watch this video and you can see how simple it is:

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Secrets of the Gorgon’s Labyrinth (optional)

For the more adventurous players, there are also two chests tucked away deep in the Gorgon’s Labyrinth. Once again, it’s easier to just see the routes for yourself than have them described, so check out the videos.

The first of the chests is very close to the spawn location and can actually be accessed without ever getting close to a Gorgon. You’ll need to platform up a rock wall to find a little hole near the top that opens onto a path. Follow the path until you reach the chamber containing the chest.

The second chest requires a bit more stealth. Watch the video. If you run straight into the labyrinth from where you spawn and climb the collapsed tower, you’re already part of the way there. There are several Gorgon that you’ll need to avoid once you drop back down to the ground. As with the maze escape, just designate a leader, someone that knows the layout and where to go, and stick as close to them as possible.

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Final platforming sequence

You’re in the home stretch now. Escape the Gorgon’s Labyrinth and you’ll come to a wide chasm with a series of disappearing rock platforms floating in the center of it. If you look across the open space to the opposite wall, you’ll see a narrow ledge running along the side of it (the ledge is at a lower elevation than where you start off). That’s your goal.

This is actually a whole lot easier than it initially appears, and it’s a downright cakewalk if you’re a Hunter equipped with double-jump. You don’t need to land on every platform, you just need to cross the chasm safely. This isn’t a Darkness Zone either, so respawns happen pretty quickly.

You should be able to easily reach one of the platforms in the middle of the chasm without assistance, and then jump from there to the ledge without relying on any other platforms. Just be patient, move carefully, watch the patterns, and don’t let failure – yours or a teammate’s – anger you. Out of all the challenges put before you in Vault of Glass, this may be the easiest. But it’s also the most potentially frustrating.

Once you reach the opposite side, just follow the ledge (to the left, from the perspective of where you came into this room). You’ll eventually reach a more open path that leads to a doorway. That’s your destination. Once everyone gets to the end of the tunnel beyond that doorway, the gate into the final chamber opens. Almost there!

Hard Mode tips: No differences here. It’s not even a Darkness Zone, so you don’t have to worry about dying (unless you’re going for Flawless Raider).

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Summoning Atheon

Before you can summon Atheon, the final boss in Vault of Glass, you’ll need to take down two Gate Lords. As with the Templar’s chamber, let’s just take a minute to get a sense of the landscape here.

From the perspective of where you enter the room, there are portals on the left and right sides of the room, with control plates (much like the ones you used to open the Vault originally) connected to each one. Each portal leads to a different point in the timeline, but they’re also visually distinct locations. It’s best to think of the one on the left as the “Mars” portal (since it takes you to a red-orange landscape) and the one on the right as the “Venus” portal (since it takes you to a green-hued landscape).

Right in front of where you enter the room is a deadly drop, with a floating platform square in the middle of it. Just beyond that platform is a large, round space, completely open, with stairs leading up to each portal and another, larger set of stairs leading to the opposite end of the room from where you entered.

To review: Mars portal, Venus portal, central open area, central floating platform. Commit these to memory.

This next bit is a little bit tricky. The basic goal is to kill the Gate Lord inside of each portal. There’s a twist though: Once the first one goes down, a Conflux-like machine spawns in the central open area of the main chamber. At that point Minotaurs start to spawn at the top of the large, wide stairway that’s on the opposite end of the room from where you enter, and they’ll sacrifice themselves to the machine just like you encountered in the Templar’s chamber. Too many sacrifices and it’s game over.

So the idea here is to have two or three players venture into each portal, one at a time, to deal with the Gate Lords, while everyone else remains in the present. Before the machine spawns, you’ll want everyone protecting the portal’s activation plate from enemy Praetorians that try to retake it. Once you’ve got a Gate Lord down and the machine spawns, you’ll need to split up to defend both the portal and the machine.

There are a few ways to approach this. You can tackle each gate and Gate Lord, one at a time. You can also venture into each gate to weaken both of the Gate Lords down to a sliver of health. This minimizes the amount of time that the team stuck in the present needs to defend both the portal plate and the machine that spawns.

However you choose to approach it, everyone should gather around the machine once both Gate Lords are down. Both portals open up and Minotaurs start streaming in from three directions – their original spawn plus the two portals – as they attempt to sacrifice themselves. Just survive, and prevent as many sacrifices as you can. Hold out for long enough and Atheon will appear.

Hard Mode tips: There’s not much about this sequence that’s different in Hard Mode, but there are ways to make it a little easier. For starters, the Gatekeeper. It’s possible to take the Gatekeeper out almost immediately, before it can start teleporting around. When you first reach the chamber (or re-spawn) either remain just outside the arena, in the doorway, or wait in front of the door until it opens (then get into the doorway). Doing so means that the enemies scattered around the main chamber (particularly the Hobgoblins) don’t have a shot while you’re focusing on the Oracle.

Once you’re all set up and in cover, have everyone take aim on the Gatekeeper with their most powerful long-range weapons and count down so that everyone starts firing at the same moment. Six Guardians unleashing the full force of their best guns can take out the Gatekeeper in a matter of seconds.

Once that’s done, gather up at the Mars portal, open it, and send your team through to take out the Gate Lord and grab the relic. Then repeat for Venus while one person defends the Conflux against minotaurs while another person watches the Conflux defender’s back (enemies that spawn near the Mars portal head toward the center, where the Conflux is). Once the second relic is out, everyone groups up in the middle to defend the Conflux against minotaurs from the main stairs and the two portals. Same as Normal.

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Defeating Atheon [updated 10/21/2014]

This is it. The final test. Atheon is no joke. Before we can even begin to discuss strategies, it’s important to understand how this whole fight works.

Atheon has two states. In his attack state, he’ll move around, focus on targets (you and your team), and fire damaging purple blasts, like a more powerful version of what Servitor enemies shoot. He’s also got a neutral state, where he goes completely motionless while he teleports three players – chosen at random – to either the “Mars” or “Venus” locations from the previous step.

Atheon’s not alone in this fight. He’s also got Supplicants spawning in. These look like Vex Harpies, and they’re similarly weak (aim for the red eye), but they’ve got one notable difference: They explode. Supplicants have the standard Harpy ranged attack, but they’ll also try to get in close for a kamikaze explosion that takes out anyone caught too close to the blast. They won’t be able to explode on you if you’re standing on top of a pillar or other raised surface (or camping on the room’s central, floating platform), but their rapid-fire ranged attack is still a threat.

The strategy differs depending on which group you end up with, and we’ll look at each of them one at a time. Note that it’s very valuable to have a Titan equipped with the Defender subclass and the Weapon of Light damage boost on your team, and it’s equally important to make sure that Titan isn’t your relic-wielder.

Away team

The away team has the tougher of the two jobs. Once Atheon zaps them into the time stream, they should immediately let the home team know whether they’re in the Venus or Mars location.

Regardless of where they end up, the trio spawns next to a relic that works just like the Templar relic did. There’s no “Ritual of Negation” to worry about, but everyone who ends up time-traveling – whether they’re zapped by Atheon or voluntarily walking through a portal – slowly goes blind until the relic cleanses them. The blinding effect is constant for as long as you’re in the time stream, so the away team needs to communicate with the relic holder.

Whichever location the away team ends up in, one person should grab the relic while another focuses on shooting Oracles that start to spawn and a third focuses on taking out the handful of enemies. The relic wielder has a few seconds to sprint forward and take on the enemy spawns as well, since the cleanse ability needs to charge. Mars is easier to manage, as there are just three Hobgoblins; on Venus, you’ll find a Praetorian joined by two Goblins. There are seven Oracles to be shot in all, and the Oracle shooter should be able to handle three or four before help is required (they spawn in more quickly over time).

The relic wielder and third away team member should focus on crowd control, with that shooter switching over to focus on Oracles once the Oracle shooter shouts for help. The whole group should also start moving toward the exit portal once the enemies are wiped out, even if there are still Oracles left. Once all of the Oracles are gone — miss one and it’s game over — the away team can safely go through the portal that the home team should have opened by then.

Home team

Once the away team communicates where they’ve been taken to, the home team should head to that portal and open it. Have one player camp on top of the pillar in the middle of the capture plate. Station another near the rear wall. The third player should support the other two from the ground.

Supplicants will spawn from the center area where Atheon hangs out, and the groups will switch back and forth between swarming the Mars and Venus portals. They won’t retake any plates once the portal is open, but the pillar is still a good camping location to draw Supplicant fire from while the other two home team members take them out. The ones that spawn on the opposite side of the room will stay there; they should be the primary focus for the player stationed at the rear wall.

The home team simply has to survive and get the portal open while the away team takes care of the Oracles.

Damaging Atheon

As soon as the away team destroys the final Oracle, everyone goes into a sort of overcharge mode and a timer pops up at the bottom left corner of the screen. During this period, weapons do considerably more damage and Supers/grenades recharge almost immediately. That’s why it’s a good idea for the away team to move toward the exit portal as soon as the enemies are cleared out but before all of the Oracles are destroyed. Every second of overcharge helps back in the present.

Once the away team is back, all but one home team member should head to the floating platform in the center of the room. Supplicants can’t kamikaze that location, and it’s got a direct line of fire on Atheon. The home team-er that doesn’t head to the platform should focus entirely on keeping the Supplicant population down.

As for everyone else, the Titan should erect a Ward of Dawn shield near the rear of the platform. It’s a two-way shield, meaning you can’t shoot out of it, but it provides helpful protection and, more importantly, can be upgraded with the Weapon of Light ability to give anyone that steps inside it a temporary damage bonus. Everyone should get inside the Ward of Dawn shield immediately to get the damage boost.

Meanwhile, the relic-wielder should closer to the front of the platform and opens up the relic’s bubble shield. This is just a one-way shield, meaning you can shoot out and no one can shoot in. It can be kept open for the entire length of the overcharge, since the ability doesn’t drain. All of which means that players can fire away safely from inside the relic shield, while enjoying both the overcharge damage boost and the Weapon of Light damage boost.

While one player deals with Supplicants and the rest lay into Atheon, the relic-wielder should be watching the clock. Once it hits zero, the overcharge ends and Atheon does his time teleportation thing. Since the group of teleportees is always random, it’s best to just stay inside the relic shield and keep firing until Atheon does his time-travel thing. The new home team can immediately fall back inside the Ward of Dawn shield, which is probably still active, while they coordinate with the away team and start the process over again.

You just keep repeating all of the same steps from there. Atheon really isn’t that difficult once you know how he operates and what to watch for. If you’ve come this far, you should have good communication with your team nice and locked down. Just be patient, keep dishing out the pain, and before long the big guy will fall.

Hard Mode tips: While the basic strategy for defeating Atheon remains the same — away team takes out the Oracles to activate the damage boost, heads back to the present, and groups up with the home team on the middle platform — there are a couple quirks to this fight on Hard Mode. For starters, the Supplicants spawn more quickly, and they’re more aggressive. If your team is often getting overwhelmed by Supplicants, it’s a good idea to designate one person to Supplicant watch; while everyone else is shooting Atheon, that sixth person should focus on cleaning up any Supplicants scattered around the chamber.

The other twist is a bit trickier: Whoever ends up on the home team, they’re always trapped in the same kind of bubble that comes up during the Templar fight whenever its shields fall. This means the home team needs to shoot their way out of the bubble before they can start dealing with Supplicants and opening a portal.

While it’s easy enough to adjust to, there is one important fact to keep in mind: If you leave a bubble without destroying it, you die. Which means that you’re doomed if a bubble forms around you while you’re in mid-air; you simply drop out of it and die a few seconds later. It’s always important to get off of that middle platform after laying the damage on Atheon, but once you leap to the back of the room — always the back of the room — be sure to stay on the ground until Atheon’s teleport happens.

Other than that, this fight is exactly the same as it is on Normal. A Titan with Ward of Dawn and Weapons of Light is as big a help here as it is on the lower difficulty. You can dust Atheon in two teleports if everyone gets the timing right and take advantage of the Weapons of Light damage buffs.

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Editors' Recommendations

Adam Rosenberg
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Previously, Adam worked in the games press as a freelance writer and critic for a range of outlets, including Digital Trends…
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