Grandmaster Nightfalls make their return for Season 19 of Destiny 2 on January 17th. As the pinnacle endgame PvE activity alongside Raids, players have been gearing up all season for a chance at some sweet Adept loot or to knock out the gilding of their Conqueror Seal. The strict entry requirements have even been lessened this season, allowing more Guardians access to this acclaimed endgame mode.
The minimum Light Level requirement for this season is only 1580. Instead of locking Grandmasters behind both the Pinnacle Cap and +15 to the Seasonal Artifact, Bungie has actually lowered the requirements significantly this season allowing for way more people to try out Grandmasters. The maximum effectiveness for GMs is now the previous entry cap of 1595. Contest mode is also still active, providing a constant -25 to your entire fireteam – if you decide to brave a GM at a level lower than 1595, be ready to go toe-to-toe with enemies 40 Light Levels above you.
If you can claw your way to victory and manage to walk away with a Platinum Rank, you’re in for a shower of rewards including Ascendant Shards, plenty of Exotic drops and a chance at a God Roll Adept Nightfall weapon. Additionally, clear all 6 of the available Grandmasters for Season 19 and you’ll earn yourself another notch to your Conqueror Title, gilding it for this season.
Here’s everything you need to know about the line-up of Grandmaster Nightfalls that you’ll be facing in Season 19 of Destiny 2. This includes a breakdown of each Nightfall, what kind of shields and Champions you will be facing and the best tools to bring to ensure success.
Want more Destiny 2 content and articles? You can find more here on KeenGamer:
- Destiny 2: How to Get the Revision Zero – Operation: Seraph Shield Guide
- Destiny 2: How (And When) to Get Every Revision Zero Catalyst
- Destiny 2 Spire of the Watcher Secret Bonus Chest Locations
- Destiny 2: All Devilish Recording Locations in Spire of the Watcher
- Destiny 2 Season of the Seraph: How it Works
Season 19 Grandmaster Nightfall List
Before we go any further, let’s discuss what Strikes you’ll be running in Season of the Seraph. You’ll likely have run these Strikes numerous times, but the Grandmaster label changes more than just the name: higher-level enemies, elemental shields out the whazoo and Champions all serve to make these Strikes more challenging. Prepare to die… a lot.
The 6 Grandmaster Nightfalls for Season 19 include:
- Insight Termius (January 17th – January 24th)
- The Scarlet Keep (January 24th – January 31st)
- Birthplace of the Vile (January 31st – February 7th)
- The Corrupted (February 7th – February 14th)
- The Glassway (February 14th – February 21st)
- Warden of Nothing (February 21st – February 28th)
Each of these Strikes will rotate over the next coming weeks, giving you one week with each Strike. If you want to tackle them all immediately or if you miss a week, you can use the catch-up node on the director to face down any Grandmasters that you haven’t completed this Season. Fair warning, they disappear from that node once you have completed them.
So what will you be facing this Season?
Insight Terminus is a classic Destiny 2 Strike that’s been in the game since the Warmind Expansion. You and your fireteam must venture deep into the core of Nessus to stop a powerful Psion Flayer named Kargen. He’s attempting to use a variant of a machine called OXA (“and who is MSund12?”) to wreak havoc on the planet. You’ll be going up the Cabal primarily, with a few clusters of Vex here and there.
This Strike is one of the easier ones in this Season’s line-up. You’ll need to bring Anti-Barrier (Pulse Rifle + Bows) and Unstoppable (Hand Cannons + Grenade Launchers) Champion Mods to this Strike – to preface, there are significantly more Anti-Barrier Champions so keep that in mind. Vex Minotaurs and Cabal Incendiors are both rocking Void Shields, too.
The main thing to keep in mind with this Strike is to use cover and keep an eye on your surroundings. You’ll be asked to ferry two balls of data that drop from a dead Cabal Ultra as your first major encounter. There’s not much here that can do you much harm as long as you play safe: take out the Psion Snipers that spawn on the left and right sides of the arena first and watch for when the Colossi begin charging their minigun as this will likely end in an OHKO. Additionally, you’ll have to contend with both Overload and Anti-Barrier Champions here.
The end of Strike is where things can go a bit haywire. Kargen will be standing and roaming around the centre of the circular arena with chunks of cover separating you from him. Unfortunately, as a Psion, he can send out a wall of Void energy that can snake around cover – get caught in this and you’ll be sent sky-high and away from protection if you don’t die from the initial hit. Alongside that, Gladiators and War Beasts will almost constantly charge you down and attempt to kill you in melee. To progress the fight you’ll need to stand and charge 3 separate plates which take a while to charge – if you and your team aren’t confident in your ability to survive on your own, group up and tackle each plate one at a time.
Watch out for Kargen’s devastating Void attacks, keep the bruisers at bay and, eventually, the Psion will fall.
The Scarlet Keep
The Scarlet Keep launched alongside the Shadowkeep Expansion. Hashladun, the Daughter of Oryx, seeks to use the Scarlet Keep to amplify her Hive powers and enact wickedness across the Moon. You have to head into the Scarlet Keep and tear down her forces to prevent tragedy from falling on Luna.
This Strike is more tedious than others, especially in the latter half. As a result of only facing the Hive, you need to pack your Anti-Barrier (Pulse Rifles + Bows) and Unstoppable (Hand Cannons + Grenade Launchers) again. As for shield types, Hive Knights will be running around with Arc Shields whereas Wizards will be using Solar Shields, so plan accordingly.
The recurring thing with The Scarlet Keep Strike is a consistent lack of cover. For most of the Nightfall you’ll be rushing through sections of the Keep where Wizards, Acolytes or Knights can spot you from a fair distance away: don’t duck away in time and your head is likely gone. The first major encounter is proof of this: you have to build a bridge by gathering two orbs from the left and right sides of the arena. Each side is swarming with Acolytes and a shielded Wizard guarding the ball – to make matters worse, Cursed Thrall will begin to pop up as this section continues. The best strategy here is to simply take it one side at a time, with one person carrying the ball and the other two defending them against the waves of adds intent on claiming their life.
Aside from a brief encounter with an annoying Shrieker, the next major roadblock comes when you need to stand on three different plates to open a door. Acolytes and Cursed Thrall guard each plate, as well as another Wizard who will be raining fire down upon you. Take them out and you’ll have to defend each plate against a wall of Thrall. Stay keenly aware of your surroundings so you don’t get taken out by a string of Wizard fire or a sneaky Thrall. Step off the plate if you get overwhelmed and be sure to use the limited cover to your advantage.
The fun isn’t over yet, though, as after another annoying Shrieker you’ll have to climb up an elevator. On the ascent, Acolytes hidden within the walls will begin pelting you with bolts that can kill you in one or two hits. If you happen to die on this journey, your Ghost will become unavailable until your team reaches the next floor, so play to the given cover and rotate around as needed. On each of the actual floors, you have to fight Unstoppable Ogres, Acolytes and Wizards. These rooms are broken up pretty well, honestly, so just watch your back as you fight through each room.
Last, and certainly least, is the boss fight with Hashladun. She will float in the middle of the arena, occasionally moving to the left or right so she can get a shot at you. This entire encounter is about moving and neutralising threats before they can snowball into bigger ones. The Thralls are easily dealt with, but the Knights and Ogres are another story: these spawn on the left and right sides of Hashladun every time you get to a health gate and, if left alive, they will rush you down and can easily kill you. Each time you lower the boss’ health enough, have your fireteam be ready to burst down these high-profile targets with heavy and Supers.
Stay alive, keep moving and Hashladun will go down.
Birthplace of the Vile
Birthplace of the Vile was added to Destiny 2 in The Witch Queen expansion. Under the order of Awoken Queen Mara Sov, Guardians must venture into a hidden Darkness City within Savathun’s Throne World to stop the Scorn from using its facilities.
This is one of the few Scorn Strikes in all of Destiny 2, so get ready to bring Overload (Auto Rifles + Submachine Guns + Sidearms) and Unstoppable (Hand Cannons + Grenade Launchers) Champion mods to the fray. The main shield type is Void Shield Chieftans.
Fortunately, this is one of the tamer Nightfalls in this batch of Strikes. The Scorn take a lot of pointers from several other Darkness-aligned races, with the rushing Ravengers being capable of smothering you should you grow complacent or the tough Chieftans acting as a buffer (or debuffer). Perhaps the largest threat in the entire Scorn force are the Scorn Crossbows and the Void Grenades: one is capable of taking you down in only a few shots at blistering speeds while the other forces you to constantly be on guard, even from behind cover.
As for the Strike itself, the first major hurdle comes when you have to (once again) stand on two plates to proceed. A bunch of adds will appear, including those pesky Scorn grenades that will cook you alive should you not get out of them in a second or two. Like with The Glassway, the best way to approach this is to have one Guardian in the fireteam play martyr. Have them guard the plate with Well of Radiance, Bubble or some other form of survivability while the other two clear adds. Rinse and repeat twice and you can move on.
Aside from some tight corridors filled to the brim with different Chieftans (who have randomly assigned shield types) and a stairway choke full of powerful Scorn, you’ll arrive at the final boss room. The boss for this Strike is one of those lovely Scorn Crossbow users. Alongside them is an absolute army of Scorn who will try and get into melee with you, attempting to distract you as the boss takes potshots. When the boss hits a health threshold, he will teleport you to a different set of rooms: you have to kill the major adds in each room to escape. The primary difficulty here is that the cover is pretty useless – either the boss will snipe you from around it or you will be overwhelmed by melee enemies – so the best strategy is to just sprint around the room and keep constantly moving.
Tackle the tricky teleporting rooms and blast the boss into oblivion for your third Grandmaster.
Infamously one of the hardest Nightfalls in all of Destiny’s history, The Corrupted has returned to torment players once more. This time, Guardians will venture into the depths of the Dreaming City. Prompted by Petra Venj they seek to free one of the Awoken Techeuns from Riven’s sadistic influence.
The only enemy types you’ll be facing this time are the Taken and the Hive. As such, get ready to bring Overload (Auto Rifles + Submachine Guns + Sidearms) and Unstoppable (Hand Cannon + Grenade Launchers) as well as Solar, Arc and Void weapons to deal with the numerous shields across the Strike.
The Corrupted is long, difficult and full of encounters that can drain your time if you aren’t too careful. Between the Taken Psions that can rapidly overwhelm you, the shielded Acolytes that make even the low tier adds extremely difficult and the Phalanxes who will boop you into nothing, this Strike is extremely punishing if you mess up.
After the initial bridge section (which can mostly be dealt with by using long-ranged weapons and abilities to clear the field, just keep an eye on the Centurion’s Taken darts) you will have to descend an elevator. Funnily enough, this is a run killer for many teams as there is very little cover, very little floor space and a constant outpour of adds. Pair that with the unbreakable shields native to this Strike and this elevator ride quickly becomes hellish. Before each wave of adds has a chance to appear, be sure to ready the shield-popping orbs with your team by passing them and forth: the explosion from the orbs deals decent damage to the Psions and it will take care of the shields in a single hit.
The fun doesn’t stop, though, as the next annoying bit is very soon after. You have to fight two mini-boss Ogres, one in the normal world and one in the Ascendant Plane – you’ll switch back and forth between the two every few seconds until one is dead. The main difficulty here isn’t even the Ogres or the Shriekers in the Ascendant Plane. Instead, it is the Solar Shield Knights and abrasive Void Shield Acolytes that will charge at you relentlessly alongside the Unstoppable and Anti-Barrier Champions. There’s a real risk that you get caught in one of the side rooms as the planes are switching, accidentally placing yourself between a Phalanx and their shield.
Get through some platform and you’ll eventually arrive at the Techeun herself… which is also the worst bit in the entire Strike. On top of juggling the shield-popping orbs, you’ll also have to contend with shadow Thrall and Taken Knights who can either destroy you in mere moments in melee or snipe you from range with their Boomers. Then, to add even more punishment, the boss herself has the potential to kill you in a single shot or blast you clean off the side of the map. The best way to deal with this is to play to what little cover you have, saving your Supers for the large waves of adds that spawn in after each shield break on the boss.
Whatever happens, though, this Strike will be painful. Very painful. Struggle on through, get through the final trek through the Ascendant Plane and the completion will be yours.
Even though it was just here last season, Guardians are sure to be delighted to know that The Glassway has returned. This is the only Strike on Europa and was introduced in Beyond Light: since then, it has been the bane of many Conquerors and Adept loot wanters. You and your fireteam must work to close a portal to the Vex homeworld opened by Eramis and her lieutenants, lest it spread more Vex onto the system like a plague.
This Strike has a mixture of Vex and Fallen adversaries, which means having to contend with Anti-Barrier (Pulse Rifles + Bows) and Overload (Auto Rifles + Submachine Guns + Sidearms) Champions throughout. As for elemental shields, bring Solar and Arc weapons. The Champions are the bigger difficulty in this Strike, though.
During the first half of the Strike, you’ll be battling primarily Fallen. There are plenty of Overload Captains, Barrier Servitors and House Salvation generals who can use Stasis to slow you down, so be sure to take everything one step at a time. Watch out for the long-ranged Vandals and Shanks who like to squat at the edges of each arena, as only one or two shots can put you down. This is especially the case as you fight against two Fallen Captains wielding Stasis: while you try and deal with them, the snipers in the room will keep you pinned down so that the Dregs can push up.
The next major roadblock is a journey through a room filled with Vex Radiolarian Fluid. To drain it, someone needs to stand on a plate: the main problem is that they will become the main target for the Shanks that will soon descend. Alongside the usual barrage of standard issue Shanks and Tracer Shanks, some Heavy Model Shanks will also join the fight fit with Solar Shields, so be sure to bring at least one Solar weapon so you aren’t just stuck here. The best way to get through this room is to have your strongest Guardian Resilience-wise (preferably a Titan or a character with Well of Radiance/Bubble) play sacrificial lamb on the plate, while the other two provide fire from the back.
Finally, we have the boss room which is where this Strike is awarded its infamy. To the left and right of the arena are an enclosed set of rooms with tight angles and limited visibility. The bosses in question are two Hydras, one of ordinary size and one gigantic one, who roam the entire arena, forcing you into these enclosed rooms. As you deal more damage to them and slowly whittle down their health, more adds will begin to spawn in: Overload Minotaurs and Wyverns are the most dangerous as they will box you into these tight rooms. Keep moving and be prepared at the start of each new health gate as you can often take out the strongest adds as they spawn in. Your biggest battle will likely be against the clock, as it is easy to get complacent and wait out the timer.
Stay focused, avoid the irritating bull rushes from the Wyverns and soon, this Grandmaster will be added to the completion list.
Warden of Nothing
Lastly, for this Season, we have a fan favourite in the Warden of Nothing. This Strike arrived in Forsaken as a charming love letter to the Prison of Elders mode from the original Destiny. Guided by Drifter, you enter the old Prison in the Reef to take care of some old business with the Warden.
The main adversaries here are the Vex and the Cabal. This interesting mix of enemies produces one of the only Grandmasters in the game where you need every Champion mod: Anti-Barrier (Pulse Rifles + Bows), Overload (Auto Rifles + Submachine Guns + Sidearms) and Unstoppable (Hand Cannons + Grenade Launchers) are all required. One silver lining is that the only shield type you’ll have to contend with are Void Shields on the Minotaurs and Incendiors.
The biggest pitfalls for this Strike involve the type of enemies you will be facing down. Long-ranged snipers like Hobgoblins make certain sections a game of cat-and-mouse as you dart from cover to cover, especially when you’re also dealing with the instant kill train cars and other traps along the way. The best way to approach this is to simply learn where the snipers spawn and make them priority number 1. Other adds to worry include the Overload Minotaurs and Unstoppable Incendiors as both Champions are relentless, drawing your attention away at crucial moments that can cost you the run.
There are only two major encounters worth noting here. The first is the room where you must undergo a few activities first undertaken in the Prison of Elders: kill some enemies, disarm some bombs and defeat a boss, standard stuff. It’s the bombs that can become difficult as you are going to be forced to split up your fireteam here and the solo player can quickly get overwhelmed. If you fail to diffuse all bombs the Strike will wipe and you’ll be booted back into orbit. The best way to tackle this is to have someone with a very defensive Super like Sentinel, Well or Bubble take care of the B bomb while the pair of Guardians take care of C.
Meanwhile, the final room drops you in a wide arena with a laughably small amount of cover against the Warden. That small bit of cover is important, though, as it is the only thing protecting you from the room-wide fire attack that the Warden does sporadically throughout the fight. You will be killed instantly if you get caught out of cover during this attack. You’ll also have to fight against Vex and Cabal, which spawn in a pair of Ultras during the last bit of the Warden’s health. If your team is capable, you can burst down the Warden as soon as the fight begins with Heavy and Supers – fail to do so, however, and the fight becomes a lot harder as tons of adds spawn in.
Rewards from Season 19 Grandmasters
So now that you know how to complete every Grandmaster in Season 19, why should you complete them all?
Firstly, you will either gild or earn your Conqueror Title. Simply complete all 6 of the Grandmasters during Season 19 and you will get the option to claim the title for yourself or gild it. Gilding turns a title orange for the remaining duration of the season, as well as adding a number to the title indicative of how many times you have previously gilded it. For completionists, or those just looking for a cool title that shows off your mastery of the game, Conqueror is a great pick.
As for the loot, Grandmaster Nightfalls are one of the primary sources of Adept weapons. Adept loot is a special variant of an already existing weapon. While not a monumental upgrade, the small bonuses and boons you do get from Adept weapons are more than worth it if you play the game regularly.
Each Adept weapon is available for a single week. If you don’t complete a Grandmaster during that week, the weapon will become unavailable to you. Below is a list of the current rotation of weapons, with the available Nightfall listed alongside them:
- Mindbender’s Ambition, Solar Aggressive Shotgun (Insight Terminus)
- Horror’s Least, Arc Rapid-Fire Pulse Rifle (The Scarlet Keep)
- Hung Jury SR4 Kinetic Precision Scout Rifle (Birthplace of the Vile)
- Militia’s Birthright, Kinetic Breach Grenade Launcher (The Corrupted)
- D.F.A, Kinetic Adaptive Hand-Cannon (The Glassway)
- Wendigo, Solar Heavy Grenade Launcher (Warden of Nothing)
The only brand new Adept weapon for Season of the Seraph is Wendigo. Hung Jury SR4 has returned with a suite of new perks and an Origin Trait, but it came back to the game a few seasons ago. Wendigo, on the other hand, hasn’t been around since being Sunset in Beyond Light.
Next, let’s discuss what kind of gear you will be bringing to the table. This will primarily consist of talking about recommended weapons for dealing with the Grandmasters overall. Some Strikes may have specific needs or requirements, but this list is just a general suite of sweeping recommendations that will work in all of the 6 available Grandmasters.
The recommendations will also focus heavily on Exotic weapons as these are universal across all players. Legendary weapons are harder to recommend, but weapon crafting has made that significantly easier. Even still, choose your Legendary weapons based on what Champion mods and Shield types are required as well as what feels most comfortable to you.
Just like the last few seasons, Arbalest is still the reigning king of the Kinetic slot. As a Special weapon, it deals very good damage to everything from rank-and-file adds to Majors to bosses while having an inherent Anti-Barrier to deal with pesky Champions. Pair that with Disruption Break (and Genesis with the Catalyst) and Arbalest is a shield-popping monster which you can bring to any fight.
A surprising shake-up has occurred this season, though, as another contender is coming for Arbalest’s crown. The much beloved Revision Zero is another top-tier Anti-Barrier option, potentially beating out Arbalest as the primary choice. As a Pulse Rifle, it has infinite ammo so you won’t have to be concerned with running out. Additionally, the Hunter’s Trace Exotic perk essentially turns this primary ammo weapon into a mini Arbalest or Sniper Rifle, allowing it to deal good damage on high-health targets. While some may prefer the inherent damage capability of Arbalest, Revision Zero is shaping up to be a great replacement.
Yet another great Anti-Barrier option is Wish Ender. This Exotic Bow is great for destroying Champion shields as well as wrecking low-health targets. It runs on primary ammo allowing you to fire and forget with relatively high damage: it doesn’t have a mode switch like Revision Zero, though, so you should probably pack a good special or heavy weapon to compensate. If you still want to run a Bow in the Kinetic slot but don’t want to take up an Exotic, there is a good suite of Legendary options ranging from Whistler’s Whim to Whispering Slab and Accrued Redemption.
Some other decent options in the Kinetic slot include Outbreak Perfected, which is also a great choice for an Exotic Primary (especially when it can slot Anti-Barrier). Legendary Pulse Rifles are in abundance in the Kinetic slot, too. They can dish out the same Anti-Barrier potential without the need for an Exotic: Piece of Mind, Smite of Merain and more. If you’re in the mood for Overload, there are a few Kinetic options that will suffice, but all of them are relatively close range aside from options like Duty Bound or other Auto Rifles.
Despite receiving a pretty significant nerf, Divinity is still a great safe option for anyone who wants to play supportively. It has inherent Overload for stunning some of the most irritating Champions in the game while also giving your team access to an instant debuff on enemies. The precision bubble will be perfect against the more mobile bosses that can be found in the Corrupted or the Glassway, letting you and your team coast through fights slightly easier. Even after the nerf, Divinity is still a great option.
Just like with the Kinetic slot, Bows are a great option for the Energy slot. If you want to go with Overload Bow, Le Monarque is a crazy strong option thanks to the poison damage it produces. If you can score a critical hit on a Champion, the DOT will ensure you a second stun instead of just one. It can also pair with Volatile Rounds, making it great at add clear and damage on high-health targets. If you want to go for an Energy Anti-Barrier Bow, you can either choose Ticuu’s Divination for some crazy tracking and Solar explosions or the new Hierarchy of Needs for higher damage potential.
Unstoppable Exotic options are unfortunately a bit lacking in the Energy department. Dead Messenger is a great option if you can afford the costly Champion Mod. With the Fundamentals perk, you can bring it to every Grandmaster without worrying about Match Game, while the Exotic itself is very strong. It’s also a wave frame allowing you to stay far away from the action and still secure kills at a safe distance. For the Legendary options, wave frames like Forbearance or Explosive Personality can play around with cover and adapt to the run-and-gun nature of Grandmasters. Meanwhile, the new Wilderflight synergises surprisingly well with Volatile Rounds to create a strong source of damage and add clear.
Linear Fusion Rifles are still standing strong as having the high DPS potential among all Heavy weapons. Whether you use Cataclysmic, Stormchaser, Taipan or the new Fire and Forget, any Linear Fusion can vastly outperform the competition so long as you hit your precision hits. This makes these weapons great to pair with a Divinity user. These are above and beyond the best slot if you’re confident in your aim, but they can fall significantly if you cannot hit those critical hits.
If you want something that still deals good damage without needing to perfectly aim, Rocket Launchers have your back. Gjallarhorn isn’t as strong as it once was after a pretty substantial damage nerf. It is still good, though, but if you are bringing Gjally, also take at least one other Legendary Rocket like Hothead or Bump in the Night. Those Legendary options are also great without Gjallarhorn, allowing players an easier and more forgiving damage option outside of Linear Fusions.
Despite not having access to the Overload mod this season, Machine Guns remain a confident option for those who want to dedicate their Heavy slot to a role other than boss damage. With the right perks and set-up, they can compete for boss damage. Thunderlord remains a great Exotic pick if you want to mow down adds while also having the option to deal with Overload Champions. The lightning strikes it produces are a great way of clearing a room and can give you an edge over some other Machine Guns in terms of DPS. However, the new Retrofit Escapade has been making waves recently thanks to perks like Target Lock and Volatile Rounds.
Leviathan’s Breath is an interesting and underrated Exotic option. After a pretty sizable buff a few seasons ago, it has become a consistent weapon across almost every area of the game: it does good boss damage, good single target damage and can kill adds with extreme ease. It also has built-in Unstoppable, making it a great pick for this season when that mod type is pretty sparse.
And that is everything you need to know about Grandmaster Nightfalls in Destiny 2’s Season of the Seraph. Remember to play safe, play smart and rely on your teammates so that you can all walk out with some new loot or a new title to brag about.
Good luck, Conquerors!