Our Destiny 2 Leviathan Raid walkthrough guide explains how to kill Emperor Calus after clearing the Castellum, Royal Pools, Pleasure Gardens and Gauntlet Trials.
Raids are six-player cooperative missions that are easily the most difficult trials Guardians will face in Destiny 2, requiring a great deal of communication and coordination to complete. Filled with tough enemies and multi-stage bosses, players will have to strategise on the fly just to survive, let alone take down their targets. Those who manage to fight - and navigate - their way through to the end will be rewarded with exclusive max-level loot. Trust us, it's worth the effort!
Now that the normal raid’s been out for a while, we’ve been able to put together a comprehensive walkthrough for beating every encounter in the Leviathan. We’re not done yet though! The tougher Prestige version has launched and features a slew of little tweaks that make it far trickier. We’ve got you covered on this front too, and you’ll find both our normal and Prestige guides in the sections below if you’re looking to tackle Destiny 2’s toughest PVE challenges.
(If you want to be the best at every area of the game, don't forget to bookmark our PVP, Campaign walkthrough and Subclass guide pages - they've got everything you need if you want to get more out of Destiny 2, and will be continuously updated in the weeks ahead.)
Editor’s UPDATE #12: Just below we’ve put together a little section that’ll draw your attention to planned Raid rewards overhaul. If you’re interested in what they have to offer, do make sure to give it a quick read. Otherwise, we’ll continuously update this guide overtime so keep this page bookmarked for all the latest.
Raid Reward Reworks
In Bungie's new year development update it announced that Raid rewards are being significantly overhauled in the coming months.
Here are the planned changes.
- We are updating Raid rewards to make them more unique and interesting. They will now feature mods with Raid-specific perks, and we are adjusting the rewards to ensure a Raid item drops from each major encounter. The Raid vendor will also directly sell Leviathan and Eater of Worlds armor and weapons for purchase with Raid tokens and Legendary Shards.
- We are also adding a new Ghost with Raid-specific perks that has a chance to drop from the Leviathan and Eater of Worlds final encounters. We intend to return to creating more Raid and other activity-unique rewards in the future.
Unveiled during Bungie’s first livestream reveal for the Curse of Osiris expansion, two Raid Lairs are coming to Destiny 2. They’re essentially mini-raids set aboard the Leviathan that offer a totally unique experience to the original Leviathan Raid itself.
The first Raid Lair was released shortly after the Curse of Osiris went live on the 5th of December 2017, while the second lair is touted for a spring 2018 release alongside the second DLC.
If you’re after a complete breakdown of what Raid Lairs have to offer, then make sure to check out our Raid Lair - Eater of Worlds guide. Otherwise, our Curse of Osiris guide contains everything you need to know about Destiny 2’s first expansion.
With each weekly reset comes a brand new set of Leviathan Raid challenges to complete. They work in much the same fashion as normal challenges, as they reward you with bonus Emperor Calus tokens to cash in with Benedict 99-40 at the Tower. Although they’re a little harder to complete, as each challenge is a trickier twist on an existing Raid encounter that’s also prone to failure if something goes wrong.
If you manage to complete these challenges you’ll receive a guaranteed loot drop and a unique emblem for your efforts, so it’s worth attempting them to bag yourself more gear.
Every week we put together a handy guide to tackling each Raid challenge and we’ve linked all the available articles for you below. We’ll continuously update this list, so keep an eye out for the latest!
Prestige Mode: Global Changes
Bungie’s made a few global tweaks to the Leviathan Raid which bumps up the difficulty, but have also left a few things untouched. Below we’ve listed every change and similarity, as well as a few extra points to take note of.
- Enemy Health and Damage - All enemies now deal increased damage and can also take more punishment too. Even smaller foes like Psions can hit you hard and every enemy will require a few extra shots to go down.
- Revive Tokens - These now work similarly to Trials of the Nine. If a player revives an ally, both parties will lose their tokens. This means that you’ll have 3 revives per encounter, rather than 6 in normal mode.
- Power Level - There is no power level increase for the Prestige raid.
- Prestige Gear Rewards - As there is no power level increase, Prestige gear will remain the same as normal, albeit with a purple glow and a different default shader.
- Normal Gear Rewards - There are no normal mode drops regardless of completion.
- Calus Tokens - The tokens you earn in the Prestige raid will not unlock Prestige gear if redeemed with Benedict 99-40.
- No Locked Loadouts - This is pretty self explanatory. You can change your equipment on the fly in the Prestige raid.
Prestige Mode: Every Encounter Change
Almost every major encounter in the Leviathan has been altered to make it trickier. If you’re unfamiliar with any of these sections, it’s worth taking a look at our normal mode walkthrough below to gain a basic understanding of how they all work. Otherwise, here’s how each encounter has changed.
Standard Bearers/Door Opening
- There aren’t any major differences to the Standard Bearer sequences, apart from the fact that the enemies you’ll face will be much tougher.
- The Bathers that spawn in will now be “oiled”. When they go down they’ll leave a small pool of oil that severely depletes your Psionic Protection buff if stood in.
- When you’ve got to shoot the purple lanterns in the center (we’ll refer to this as the “Middle Section”) the Bathers spawn in at a much faster rate.
- If you don’t complete the Middle Section in one go, a member of your fireteam will receive the “Burden of Worthiness” effect. This player must go to the designated plate to continue the encounter. If they don’t, the whole team will wipe.
- When the Psions appear in the Middle Section, four people will see a symbol hovering over their bubble shield. They will also receive the “Burden of Worthiness” effect and must go to the corresponding plate that’s shown up for them.
- There are now two more War Beasts patrolling the gardens, so you’ll have to memorise some new patrol paths. Otherwise, the beasts have gained a little more health, but the mechanics of the encounter remain the same.
- All the enemies are far deadlier, so those on their lonesome will need someone to back them up.
- A Psionic Projection will now spawn alongside the shielded Psion. It can appear in a number of locations around the arena but shouldn’t be too hard to spot.
- Everyone has to run the Gauntlet this time. Once you’ve run it, you’ll gain the “Proven Worthy” debuff meaning that you’ll have to swap places with someone else.
- In the final stage, there are only three orbs instead of four.
- Now, whenever a player melees a Psion during the phase where you’re calling out the icons from the Shadow Realm, they’ll be teleported to the Shadow realm themselves. In turn, a player from the Mind’s Eye will be teleported back to the Throne Room.
Prestige Mode: Rewards
Here's what you'll receive for completing the Prestige version of the Leviathan Raid.
- An Exotic Weapon ornament for the Legend of Acrius shotgun. Go back to Benedict 99-40 to receive this reward.
- You'll be able to equip the Imperial Aura which lasts for a week. It's a shiny gold wave that ripples above your head.
- A golden Glory to the Emperor emblem will also be unlocked.
For a complete breakdown of the Prestige loot rewards, take a look at our Leviathan raid loot and Prestige gear guide.
NORMAL MODE WALKTHROUGH BELOW
Starting the Leviathan raid
To get started, fire up the Director and look over at the Nessus region where you should be able to spot a new destination marked under Nessus Orbit. Simply select the raid destination from here to get going, although it's possible you'll need to restart your client if you're trying the raid out right at launch.
The raid itself consists of a number of Trials that have been created by Calus. You'll make your way from one Trial to the other, beating the enemies and bosses contained within each one. Once you've beaten the lot of them, you'll gain access to the final rewards the raid has to offer.
Recommended Power level and Weapons
Although it's suggested that you have a Power level between 260-280, it is highly recommended that every member of your fireteam is at least 270. It's tough enough in there as it is, and anything less is likely to make life harder for everyone. Back to the grind, although our Power levelling guide has some vital advice that will take a lot of the sting out of the gearing-up process.
Speaking of grinding out gear, there are two weapons that are proving particularly popular for this raid right now: Skyburner's Oath and Rat King. If you got 'em, bring 'em.
The Rat King's damage increase for every other member of the Fireteam who has it, and in this raid every bit of damage you can squeeze out will make a major difference. As for Skyburner's Oath, it does extra damage against Cabal and can even hit shielded Phalanx targets. There are plenty such targets in the Leviathan raid, so it's a bit of a no-brainer if you own it.
Castellum (Standard Bearers) Trial - Strategy Tips
In the Castellum section of the Leviathan raid you'll have to both claim and then defend a collection of Standards. In very simple terms, your fireteam will do well by separating into two distinct teams here. Once team should remain at the starting point and defend it, while the others seek out Standard Bearers to eliminate.
It’s absolutely vital that you have three of your top damage dealers defending the Standards, as with each successful wave complete it gets more and more difficult to fend off Standard Liberators. These enemies are particularly tough to take down, so it’s important to always callout and prioritise them before any other mobs. Don’t be afraid to use your Supers, power weapons and grenades frequently! You’ll generate many Orbs of Light and there’s so much ammo lying around that it’s unlikely you’ll run out.
It’s also of utmost importance that each defender is aware that an enemy Councillor can spawn near the Standards. This enemy shields Standard Liberators after a period of around 10 seconds, making it impossible to stop them from stealing your Standards. You have to eliminate the Councillor in order to remove their shields and you’ll know when a Councillor’s spawned in thanks to a prompt at the bottom left of your screen which states, “A Councillor has appeared…”
Councillor’s can spawn in one of three locations:
Base the list below from the perspective of a defender positioned by the Standards, looking directly down the steps.
- Directly ahead, down the steps, in the center.
- Down the steps, on the left.
- Down the steps, off to the right.
In order to kill a Councillor quickly and efficiently, sprint over to them, get under their domed shield and melee them - they’ll drop in one hit.
We found having two defenders positioned right near the Standards worked a treat, while the other stays slightly pushed forward, calling out the positions of Standard Liberators and whether certain mobs need to be thinned. This defender is also more likely to spot a Councillor earlier than the others and can deal with the threat quicker too.
The other team should head towards the current spawn location and destroy the Standard Bearer. When the Standard Bearer dies, it will spawn a Standard which the team should then bring back to the starting point which the other half of the fireteam has been defending.
It’s worth splitting up a little while searching for the Standard Bearer, and as soon as one of you spots him, make sure to regroup and take them down. We recommend using grenades and power weapons to kill them swiftly. Once they’re down, nominate the best at platforming to take the Standard over to the point, while the others clear the way and rejoin the defenders temporarily.
This process repeats three times. Once all three Standards have been returned to the starting point, a door will open up just behind the defenders point which you should all head through. Once you've passed through it, you'll find the first of the Leviathan raid loot chests, containing a Calus Token and one Legendary Engram.
Royal Pools (Ceremonial Bathers) Trial - Strategy Tips
Before anything else, it’s important that you understand the unique revive situation in this section. When a player goes down, a 25 second countdown timer ticks down. If this reaches zero, everyone instantly wipes and you’ll have to start again. Players can revive each other as normal, but with one twist - each player only has one revive token. If they’re all used up and someone goes down, that’s it!
In the next section you'll see four pressure plates, with a fifth located in the middle. On each of these plates is an orb that provides the carrier with a buff called Psionic Protection which lasts for around one minute, and protects the carrier from taking environmental damage. Guardians without the buff will take progressive damage from standing in the murky water in this area.
The general strategy here is that four members of your fireteam should assume position on a pressure plate each, while the remaining two assist with clearing the enemies that spawn, and reviving any teammates who lose concentration and fall in battle.
In other words, split your squad into two groups of three, taking one side of pressure plates each. Two players on the podiums, one player assisting them.
The aim of this section is to activate the golden chains right next to these pressure plates and make the grey/white stone on them lock into place when it hits the bottom. The catch here, is that the four plate players must have the Psionic Protection buff and be stood on the plates at the same time for this to happen.
While the chains are moving and each plate player is doing their job, tough Ceremonial Bathers will spawn in directly opposite them. They must be dealt with quickly, otherwise it could upset the balance. We find great success in dumping a DoT (damage over time) grenade at their face as soon as they emerge from the water. Get out a Fusion Rifle or Shotgun and pepper them before they can even scratch you - this is crucial to success.
Whenever the Psionic Protection buff is about to expire, the player in question should swap position with their other teammate, passing through the middle building, getting an orb to refresh their buff and immediately getting back on the plate. The assistor is clearing mobs, helping both sides survive and is always making sure that they’re able to rush into the middle, get the buff and replace a teammate who’s buff is about to expire.
It’s all about building an efficient rotation between three players on each side. Constantly communicate your situation to make things as clear as possible. How long your buff has left till it expires and if your Ceremonial Bather is down are two key points to vocalise.
Once enough time has been spent on the plates, dealing with these threats, a series of lanterns will be exposed in the middle building - you’ll hear a distinct audio cue.
Here’s the process you must follow:
- First priority is to clear the middle room quickly of any mobs.
- Three players (Attackers) must gather in the center, standing on the center plate with the Psionic Buff mod.
- The attackers must shoot the glowing purple lanterns hanging down from the ceiling. These lanterns only take damage with the Psionic Buff active, so let loose and watch your health bar!
- The other three players (Defenders) must clear the room of mobs and focus on the Ceremonial Bathers who spawn in. These Bathers are the main priority, so communicate when they’re emerging and take them down as quickly as possible.
- Once each buff has worn off, a Councillor will appear in the center of the room. Quickly take him out.
It’s now a case of rinsing and repeating the strategy above until all the lanterns have gone down. Just keep it steady, be patient and you’ll get through it.
When they've finally been taken out, a loot chest will spawn in the room and will contain Calus Tokens and the potential for Exotic drops too.
BREAKING NEWS! Our Labyrinth guide explains how to access this secret area and find the Aquaduct, Drain and Ventilator chests!
Return to Castellum
If you just loved the first fight with this mechanic, you're going to love it the second time around...
Yet again you need to reclaim three Standards, but note that the dropping-off point has changed this time around. Despite this slight tweak to the formula, continue with the same tactic you used before, with two separate teams taking on defensive and offensive duties.
Once you've finished this second taste of the Trial, you'll be able to open up a loot chest.
Pleasure Gardens (Royal Beasts) Trial - Strategy Tips
The next Trial is very different from the other two. First of all, kill all of the enemies that you can see before making your way towards the massive statue. Two of your fireteam should pick up the orbs here, then charge them up using the light. As soon as that's done, an opening will appear beneath the statue and the remaining party members should grab the pollen inside.
Here's where things get very tricky though. If anyone carrying the pollen gets spotted, a countdown will begin and if it hits zero, anyone out in the open is going to get obliterated. The players who picked up the orbs should therefore carefully guide the pollen holders towards the flower, avoiding the beasts. When they get to the flower, the holders should fire at it with the orb to charge them up.
Once suitably powered up, the guys with the pollen should target one of the Royal Beasts with the pollen. Note that this will inevitably start the countdown we warned you about earlier, so the creatures should be killed very quickly before everyone returns to the pollen collection point.
You're going to have to repeat this process until every Royal Beast is dead, so good luck, keep your nerve, and don't forget to keep the lines of communication open at all times. We'll have more detail on this - with video help so you can visualise this more clearly - in a future update to our Leviathan guide.
Return to Castellum....again
Back again already? Fortunately you should be well practised at this encounter by now. Split off into two teams as before, grab the Standards, then open your hard-earned loot chest.
How to complete the Gauntlet - Gates, Red Circles, Triangles
To get this Trial going, you'll first of all need to leap onto the platforms to spawn a series of enemies. Keep killing them in order to fill the meter beneath each pillar. Eventually, a pair of orbs will spawn which two members of the fireteam should grab. This will teleport them into nearby tunnels.
The teleported players have to race through gates that feature rows of circles. It's the job of the “runners” to shout on comms which of the gates have a red circle. The remaining members of the Fireteam must then shoot out the rows of triangles on the gates that do not have the red circle.
If this is done correctly, the runners will be able to pass through the gate, then chuck the orbs they've been carrying into a fountain. After this process has been repeated three times, the whole Fireteam will be able to take an orb and race through the tunnels, throwing the object they're carrying into the fountain to conclude the Trial.
How to kill Calus - Psions, Force of Will, Projection Barrier
Time for the final fight of the Leviathan raid.
Having cleared the third and final Trial, you'll find yourself in the throne room of Emperor Calus. To start the fight, blast the cup out of his hand but be ready to deal with an enemy spawn.
After the firefight's gone on for a while, Calus teleports three players to a new realm where they'll have to deal with a weird boss projection, while the rest of the team carries on fighting in the throne room. These players should avoid shooting the Psions marked with a symbol.
Back in the nether-realm, the projection fighting Guardians need to call out the symbol they can see on the boss - each player can see a different one. The Throne Room Guardians should then target the Psion with the symbol that is not called out. This will lower the shield around the boss projection.
When this happens, the projection begins a huge onslaught of projectile damage, but once it's over the teleported players will be brought back to the Throne Room. When this happens, everyone needs to race to the glowing platform to receive the Force of Will buff.
Once buffed, keep shooting at Calus until he becomes imume, then head to the next platform and repeat the process. His damage output is significant at this stage, so play extremely conservatively as it's very easy for the team to be wiped out.
There are a couple of different shortcuts in the Leviathan raid. Let's start with the basics:
You start outside of the ship, and will first of all make your way inside and into the Castellum room where you face the fight with the Standard Bearers.
Once this fight has been finished, you'll open a door to the Royal Pools section. This is where you'll face the next raid encounter.
When you've beaten that fight though, you'll have to return to the Standard Bearers, beat the encounter again, and open a separate door.
That all sounds a little bit confusing, but once you've spent even a short amount of time in the raid itself, we think it will all make much more sense.
What about the alternative way of accessing the various Leviathan fights though. Well, you can actually make use of a huge underbelly system known as the Labyrinth to get to areas you've already cleared faster.
This place is massive (and you'll want to check out our Labyrinth guide for the full lowdown), but the following four videos will give you a pretty good idea of how to actually find these shortcuts.
Royal Pools Shortcut:
Pleasure Gardens Shortcut:
Throne Room Shortcut
Destiny 2: Raid Loot
Below we’ve put together a gallery of all the Exotic weapons and armour you can acquire from the Leviathan Raid.
For a closer look at each weapon and armour piece, make sure you check out our Leviathan Raid loot guide as it contains absolutely everything you need to know about this powerful gear.
Destiny 2: Raids and Guided Games
Here's a quick overview of how the system works:
- Players looking for a team to Raid with can see which Clans are currently hosting guests, and learn a little about the team before joining them. It’s essentially the matchmaking equivalent for raiding, and allows anyone to potentially tackle the hardest content in the game.
- The Guided Games feature will not be available for Prestige difficulty Raids though, as they require greater coordination and communication, both of which may be hindered by bringing a stranger along. Only premade groups of six will be able to take on the very hardest end-game content.
Destiny 2: Raid death penalty
In the original Destiny, players who died during a Raid would have to wait 30 seconds before a teammate could revive them. In hard mode (Heroic) players couldn't come back to life at all, and would have to wait until their team had progressed to a checkpoint before they could rejoin the battle
In Destiny 2, each member of the raiding team has a token which they can use to revive a fallen comrade. Note that this token can only be used once, and only refreshes once all team members have completely wiped out. They also refresh automatically once you have passed a checkpoint.