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 raid has been out for a few days we've been able to put together a comprehensive walkthrough for beating every encounter in Leviathan. We're not done yet though! Expect many updates to this article in the days and weeks ahead, and as we refine and improve out strategy advice. If there's anything you think we might have missed, please let us know in the comments and we'll get it added in.
(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 #8: We've made quite a few changes to our massive Leviathan raid guide. We've given the whole walkthrough a much-needed tidy up, and have also added in some very useful advice about how to use the encounter shortcuts via the Labyrinth. The videos describing these shortcuts are only a couple of minutes long, and will get you straight to where you want to be.
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 foutnain. 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
Guides games for Leviathan will go live around one week after the launch of the raid itself. This is presumably to allow people to get on top of the encounters properly before inviting in random players who'll likely need more of a helping hand, being unfamiliar with the regular group's playstyle.
Here's a quick overview of how the system will work when it does finally go live:
- 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.