Destiny 2: Lightfall’s Root of Nightmares raid released in contest mode on Friday March 10th through Saturday March 11th. Now that the raid has been out for a few days in normal mode, we’ve had the chance to complete it a few times. In this article we’re going to go over all of the raid mechanics in each encounter. As such, there will inevitably be some spoilers for the raid, story, and bosses, so if you’re still hoping to tackle the raid fresh, good luck and feel free to keep this open in case you need a hint.
Loadouts and Team Build
Firstly, Root of Nightmares on normal mode is more of a technical challenge than a combat challenge, so feel free to adapt your loadouts to your roles. For example, if your job is mostly running on a timer, you may want to use mobility mods and exotics. If you are looking to help your raid go as smoothly as possible, we have a few suggestions for team builds and weapons to bring. Well of Radiance is still the PVE GOAT super for damage phases, so make sure you have at least one well warlock “wellock” on your team, but we’d recommend at least 2. You will need someone to run objectives in most of the encounters, so we recommend having some hunters with a lot of healing, invisibility, and mobility to take those roles. You’re going to need to kill a lot of ads, and with this season’s artifact mods, void heavy weapons are more powerful and full of ammo than ever. If you find yourself in a role where you need to kill a lot of ads for the team, a void machine gun will be your friend. Having one player on your team with Divinity will help melt tormentors and bosses in almost every encounter. Lastly, if your team is skilled and you want to go for massive damage, you should have one Divinity, one Gjallarhorn, and the rest of the team with Auto-Loading Rocket Launchers.
Encounter 1: Cataclysm
When you load into the raid, move forward, slaying enemies until you reach the first raid banner. Right in front of this raid banner you will see a traveler orb, which will be your first introduction to this raid mechanic you will use throughout the raid. Shooting the traveler orb while standing in the aura will start the encounter and give you a buff “Field of Light” for 15 seconds and everyone will see a timer for “Sweeping Terror” for 30 seconds. If Sweeping Terror ever hits zero, the whole team wipes. So for this encounter, you’re going to want to break the team up into 1 or 2 runners and the rest of the team is clearing ads. As soon as the encounter starts, ad clearers should be killing enemies while looking for 2 shielded psions around the map. They spawn in a few set locations that you will learn quickly. Your goal is to find and melee both psions as quickly as possible. After you’ve punched both psions, you will hear a tormentor spawn in on the right or left side of the central pillar. Call out the tormentor’s location to your teammates and melt it as fast as possible. Ad clearing team needs to punch both psions and kill the tormentor after he spawns, all within the first 30 seconds to avoid wiping to Sweeping Terror.
Killing a tormentor will add 30 seconds to Sweeping Terror and prevent the team from wiping. So if that timer is getting close, communicate who should use a super to finish it off. Depending on how fast you completed this, new psions will either spawn right away, or as soon as Sweeping Terror gets down to 30 seconds again. These psions will be further away from the raid banner as you work your way forward in the room throughout the encounter, punching psions and melting tormentors to avoid that wipe mechanic. Your team will need 1 or 2 runners to handle the “Field of Light” mechanic. We ran this with 1 runner, so we’ll be giving advice for that strategy. Start this off by standing in the light aura and shooting the traveler orb to start the encounter and give yourself “Field of Light” for 15 seconds. Then follow the beam of light that came off of the starting traveler orb to another plate. The correct plate will have a small purple orb that you can shoot to consume your Field of Light buff. Runner(s) then have to return to a traveler orb, shoot it to reacquire the “Field of Light” buff, track down the purple orb it leads to, and shoot that orb several more times until you see the text “His Hatred Halts” which means you’ve completed 1 of 3 phases. Your team should move up in the room then rinse and repeat. Be aware that the room gets tighter and with less cover towards the end so saving a well or two for that final phase is a good idea. We used one runner and 5 ad clearers because the biggest challenge here is that Sweeping Terror timer. If you spawn a tormentor with 10 seconds left, you need 5 guardians and some supers to take it out. Better safe than sorry when it comes to using supers on those tormentors, but good teams will communicate when to use supers, so that no one wastes one. Whenever Sweeping Terror hits 30 seconds, ask your runner if they are close. If they are almost done with their orbs, you don’t need to hit the psions and spawn the tormentor, which will help your team stay alive. Alternatively, if you accidentally spawn a tormentor while his hatred is “halted”, don’t kill it, as doing so will waste that +30seconds while the timer is not active. Instead, have someone kite the tormentor and keep it alive until the timer starts back up again, then kill it to give yourself a long window to clear ads and prepare for the next psions and tormentor. Runners should run something with high mobility and automatic fire to make hitting those orbs easier. Ad clearers should take advantage of whatever builds help them kill ads, stay alive, and make orbs. Damage dealing supers are preferred but Well of Radiance will help, especially towards the end. Our recommendation is to take advantage of the seasonal artifact mods and run a void machine gun. Bricks from Beyond will give you tons of ammo and Void Weapon Channeling and Volatile rounds will make any void machine gun an ad clearing machine in this encounter.
Encounter 1.5 Traversing the Roots
On your way to the next encounter, you will come across launchers that you need to stand in and fire at the crystal to launch yourself across the map. This is a mechanic that will be used a lot in the next encounter so use this time to get familiar with it. Before you reach the next encounter room, you will traverse this section of roots. Jump to the right into this hole, follow the path, defeat the tormentor, and walk up the stairs to claim the first of two free chests in this raid for Spoils of Conquest and chance at another red border weapon!
Encounter 2: Scission
Once you reach the raid banner, stop and gather your team before moving forward. In this encounter, 2 runners will be using a similar mechanic to the runner(s) in the last encounter, but this time one of the runners will be grabbing a light orb and buff and the other runner will be grabbing a dark orb and buff. Standing in the glowing orange aura and shooting the orb will give you and anyone next to you the “Flux of Darkness” buff. So split up into 2 teams, one on the dark orb side and one on the light orb side. To start the encounter, all 3 players on each side will stand in the aura, and the runner will shoot the orb to give everyone the corresponding buff and find out where their next orb is. You’ll see a timer for about a minute for the runners to finish their runs on each floor. Runners will need to use the launchpads to cross the chasm to get to their next orbs. While runners are getting their orbs, ad clearers will stay in or near the aura killing enemies. Eventually your runner will get back and need to reactive their buff. Ad clearers need to be standing in the aura with the runners every time they shoot the orb to get the buff, which you will need to be able to damage special enemies with the matching aura to your side. Once both runners have finished their runs, the timer will stop and a new launchpad will open up to launch the players on your side to the next floor. Rinse and repeat on two more floors. To put it lightly, these launch pads are…not the best. They will sometimes launch you perfectly, sometimes way short and you need to jump and other times you will bump a teammate and fly off a completely different direction. This can be very annoying, especially while on a timer. Our recommendation is to use jump or glide right after launching to extend your upward trajectory, but even with doing this, you can still launch into the wall and die. Runners can use a sword with eager edge to ensure they make it across safely
Encounter 2.5: Darkness Refuge Maze
To make it to the next encounter, you first need to cross a large chasm of platforms with light and dark orbs scattered throughout the area. As you’re crossing this room, a wave of orange light will periodically spread through the area and if the wave comes into contact with you and you are not in a Darkness Refuge, it will instantly kill you.
You will hit a traveler orb for field of light, then run forward to the next darkness orb and shoot that while standing in it to convert your field of light into Darkness Refuge, with a refreshed timer. The Darkness Refuge timer will remain at 14 seconds for as long as you stand in the darkness orb circle. So if you know that a wipe wave is coming soon, you can wait in the circle until the wave is coming and then leave. You don’t need to be standing in the circle to be saved from the wipe however, as long as you have the Darkness Refuge buff, no matter where you are, you will be safe from the wipe wave. This area is not a darkness zone, so don’t panic. It can be stressful to die and go backwards, but just focus on making consistent progress in between waves. There are 2 checkpoint doors halfway through and at the end that will only open once every fireteam member is standing in front of them.
In between the first and last doors, there is another door that can be opened for our second free raid chest. In this location, there is a node on the back of the building that can be shot to open the door to this room, where there is a light and dark node to refresh your buff, and a free raid chest!
Encounter 3: Macrocosm (Planets)
Encounter 3, which the community has unofficially renamed “Planets”, for obvious reasons, is widely considered to be the best encounter in this raid, and we agree with that consensus. This room is aesthetically pleasing, the mechanics work with minimal bugs and the damage check is significant enough to test most raid teams. When we first enter the room, you will see 6 planets on the left, 6 on the right, and 3 in the middle. This diagram shows the layout of the planets as well as an example of what the callouts can be for each planet. There are other versions of this callout system, so be sure to discuss with your team which callouts refer to which planets before you start. For example, our raid team refers to planets 1 and 4 here as “top” and then the other 2 planets on each plate become “left” and “right” but use whatever callout system makes the most sense for your team.
Your fireteam should be broken up into 4 planet movers, which we will call runners, and 2 ad clearers. Ad clearers can hang out close to the rally banner. Before you start the encounter, you will see 2 sets of psions on the left and right of the boss. Groups of ads will spawn continuously from spawn points near those psion locations, so one ad clearer take left and one take right, and clear ads, focusing on the shielded cabal yellow bars first, as the runners will need you to take those out to spawn the colossus that they need for their mechanic. Runners each take one of the platforms on left top, left bottom, right top, or right bottom. Melt the colossus that spawns on your plate to receive the “planetary insight” buff, which will enable you to see the color of the planets on your plate. On the left/light side, there will be one dark planet on each plate that needs to be moved to the dark side, and conversely, on the right/dark side there will be one light planet on each plate that needs to be moved to the light side. Locate the odd planet out, interact with it, and then run to the other side. Bottom left will run to bottom right and vice versa, and same for the two top plates. Once you have the correct planet to be moved, callout the location of the planet you took to your opposite side plate partner. For example, if I’m on the light side bottom, I get planetary insight and notice the top planet on my plate is dark, I’ll grab that planet and while running over to the right bottom plate, tell my partner “left bottom was top”. At the same time, your partner will tell you “right bottom is left”. In this case, I will take my dark planet from the left and deposit it in the left planet of the right bottom plate, and my partner will deposit his light planet in the top planet location of the left bottom plate that I started at. If done correctly all six planets on the left should be light and all 6 planets on the right should be dark. Once you’ve aligned the planets, kill the shielded cabal again to spawn more colossus on each plate. Melt the colossus and get planetary insight again, but instead of looking at the sides, this time we are looking at the three planets in the middle. These three planets will either be two light and one dark or two dark and one light. Runners need to grab any light planet from the left side plates and dunk it on the light plate(s) and any dark planet from the right side plates and dunk it on the dark side plate in the middle. Once you have deposited the correct planet color in each of the 3 plates in the middle, the damage phase will begin. If you’ve completed Vow of the Disciple, this damage phase will seem familiar to that of the Caretaker encounter. To start damaging the boss, your team will need to be standing on a plate that matches the color of his current shield. After a few seconds, he will switch to the other color shield and be immune, requiring your team to switch plates to damage him again, and then finally he will switch back to the original shield color for a third and final plate of damage. He will always start with whatever color there are 2 planets of in the middle and he will always switch to the other color for the second mini phase and then the 2-planet color for the last plate. When the damage phase is over, you rinse and repeat everything from the beginning to activate another damage phase. One you get the boss’s health down to the final bar, he will enter final stand. Make sure you are standing on the correct plate that matches his shield and you should be able to able to melt their final bit of health and beat this awesome encounter!
Encounter 4: Nezarec
Congratulations on making it this far! You’ve reached the Final God of Pain, Nezarec. Disciple of the Witness and leader of the black fleet during the collapse, we’ve been waiting to get our revenge on this guy for a long time. Firstly, let’s talk about what loadouts work well against this boss. The damage check isn’t as intense as previous encounters, but you will still want to be rocking your high damage loadouts for each class. This means starfire welllocks, Cuirass of the Falling Star Thundercrash Titans, Star Eater Scales Strand Hunters, and anything else that can pump out massive damage. Well of Radiance is essentially mandatory for the damage phase. We also recommend having at least one player focus on debuffs, such as Divinity or Tractor Cannon.
For this encounter, we’re going to have two runners, and 4 ad clearers, with 2 of the ad clearers also focusing on training the boss. Runners will be doing a similar mechanic to encounters 1 and 2 where you complete the chain from node to node, so high mobility is desirable for those roles. The goal for the runners is to complete your chain before he activates a wipe mechanic, but there is a way to save your team from a wipe if you can’t complete the chain in time, which you will have to do anyway to activate a second damage phase so it’s important to know how that mechanic works. So runners start the encounter, one on light and one on dark, completing the chain of nodes. Ad clearers should split up into one on the left, one on the right, and two in the middle who will also be focusing on the boss. A few seconds into the encounter, a colossus will spawn at the left, right and center of the front of the room. Ad clearers on left and right and one in the middle should, focus fire on these colossi and burn them down soon as possible as they will do a lot of damage and kill your runners if you don’t. As soon as the encounter starts, Nezarec will start firing off void scythe projectiles that will damage and boop anyone they hit. If left unchecked, this will make it impossible for your runners to complete their chain within the time limit. Therefor, one of the middle ad clearers, preferably with a machine gun, needs to focus on damage Nezarec enough to acquire a debuff called “Nezarec’s Hatred”, which is essentially his aggro for 10 seconds. Run away from him and call out when the hatred is ending to the other ad clearer in the middle who can also grab his hatred to keep it off the runners. Ideally, your runners should be able to complete the first set of node chains before the wipe mechanic. When the runners let your team know they’ve completed their chains, you can now group up on whatever plate you want to use for damage.
You can use the plate we use in this image or whatever plate your team prefers. You may want to drop rifts and/or shields to protect your fireteam in the seconds leading up to the damage phase as things can get pretty hectic. You will know the damage phase is starting once you see Nezarec get hit by a giant beam of orange darkness. Hit him with your debuff, supers, heavy ammo, and everything else you have. If you pushed him to his final stand in one phase, your team is doing great and you should be super proud, if not, nothing to worry about, just rinse and repeat. However, the second chain of nodes is almost impossible to complete within the time limit, so we will have to make use of the wipe prevention mechanic we mentioned before.
Ad clearers in the middle, when you damage Nezarec enough, he will emit an explosion of either light or dark. Make note of this color and call it out to your runners. Halfway through their run the opposite color runner will activate a node on the color you called out, which will activate a refuge zone, similar to the one in the jumping section of encounter 2.5. For example, boss handlers damage Nezarec’s shoulder enough that he gives off a burst of orange darkness, which they call out to the runners. Since the safe side is dark, the light side runner will need to shoot any already active dark side node to create the refuge zone. All players need to enter the refuge zone to acquire the buff, but once Nezarec starts performing the wipe mechanic, everyone can leave and get back to their respective positions. Once the second set of chains have been completed by the runners, another beam of darkness will hit Nezarec and he can be damaged again. Group up on your plate with well of radiance and any supers you have. If you get his health down to the final bar, he will do a short animation, and then be damageable again in his final stand. Burn down his last shred of health and claim victory over the Final God of Pain and your loot for completing the Root of Nightmares raid! If you complete the requirements for the extra red border chest, you’ll receive that, and you can also purchase one red border a week if you approach the relic at the top of the stairs. Congratulations on beating the raid guardian!
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