Grandmaster Nightfalls have arrived once again in Destiny 2, and Season of the Haunted is a great time to try them out for the first time. The short Pinnacle grind means that it’s pretty easy to reach the required Power Level of 1585, and Solar 3.0 has added plenty of tricks that can increase your survivability. Here are some tips for anyone dipping their toes into Grandmaster Nightfalls in Destiny 2.
1. Use Minor Spec
There’s usually a better choice for weapon mods than Minor Spec, which increases damage output against red bar enemies. But in Grandmaster Nightfalls, red bars have so much health that anything you can do to chip away at them is going to be helpful. And speaking of damage output…
2. Pay Attention to the Elemental Burn
Acute Elemental Burn increases the damage you receive of the corresponding type by 50%, while always giving you a 25% damage boost with that element. That means, for instance, that if there’s an Acute Solar Burn, you’re getting a free 25% damage buff to all Solar damage sources. Try to spec into this with your Primary and Power weapons, if possible. A good Solar set-up for some bosses is one Guardian with Gjallarhorn plus two with Ascendancy specced out to use Impulse Amplifier and Explosive Light.
3. Slow and Steady
There is a time limit in Grandmaster Nightfalls, but it works similarly to the time limit in Legendary and Master Lost Sectors. That is, once the time limit expires, you can’t revive anymore. That sounds bad, but it’s almost always better to play things at a careful pace because of the Extinguish modifier, which means that if your fireteam all dies at the same time, you’re all kicked back to orbit. Pick your spots, try not to die anywhere that’ll be too hard for your teammates to reach, and focus on clearing out each encounter one at a time.
4. Learn Champion Placement and Behavior
Champions can ruin your whole day in Grandmaster Nightfalls, owing to their ability to take you out in the blink of an eye. Learn or look up the placement of the various Champions in the Nightfall you’re running, and be ready for them. Unstoppable Champions, for instance, tend to be helpless at a distance, where you can stun them and retreat to deal damage. But they can pop up midway through encounters without much warning sometimes, so you need to be ready for them. For anti-Champion weapons, Arbalest with the Catalyst is the undisputed Anti-Barrier king. Scout rifles are a great choice for Unstoppable Champions this season, especially if you have one that fits the Acute Burn. As for Overloads, well, given how unreliable Molten Overload and the auto rifle/SMG mods are, your best bet is probably a generic trace rifle fitting the burn with the mod equipped or Divinity.
5. Keep Your Eye on the Prize
Grandmaster Nightfalls pit a staggering array of negative modifiers and enemies against you, so you have to remain focused on your goals. They are: stay alive, kill the boss, and defeat every Champion along the way. There are some encounters, like the area before you enter the ship in The Arms Dealer, where you can simply bypass the mess of enemies, climb up around the ramp, take out a Champion, and move on. Don’t get distracted, and don’t be afraid to use every advantage you can. For example, also in The Arms Dealer, you can climb up the chain that carries the elevator to the final boss encounter before activating it. This will pre-load the boss once you start the ascent, meaning that you can fire at him before he drops his flame turrets and summons adds (of course, he can also shoot at you).
Play smart and be persistent, and you’ll walk away with Adept Weapons (eh), a Nightfall Memento (ugly), Ascendant Shards (nice), and be one step closer to the Conquerer title, which once acquired may grant you some sense of accomplishment.