The first Destiny 2 raid pits a group of six Guardians against Cabal forces and Emperor Calus. It has a recommended Power level of 270, although the first portion is 260 and it eventually moves up to 280 over the course of the raid. You will want to pack your highest Power weapons to dish out the most damage, and each of the three classes get to shine at one point or another. This Leviathan raid guide will give you tips for each section, followed by the best method. This will cover the Castellum, Royal Pools, Gauntlet, Pleasure Gardens, and Emperor Calus’ Throne Room.
Leviathan Raid Guide
Click on one of the links below to move directly to one of the sections of the Leviathan raid guide.
- The Embarkment
- The Castellum
- The Royal Pools
- The Gauntlet
- The Pleasure Gardens
- Emperor Calus’ Throne Room
One of the biggest differences between this raid and those before it is how it’s laid out. You no longer move deeper and deeper into the raid. Instead, it’s laid out around a central hub called The Castellum. Players begin by landing on an area called “Embarkment” which is the outside of the massive ship that the raid takes place on. You need to make your way up the ramps ahead of you until you get to two launchers that will send you even further up the ship. You will run into groups of enemies while you do this but you don’t need to fight them. They are merely there to welcome you to the challenge, and as a way for Calus to show his power. It’s also worth noting that the Embarkment leads to the underbelly of the Leviathan raid.
The Castellum acts as the courtyard for the Leviathan raid. If you are to ignore the underbelly, you will start in the Castellum and unlock the first section of the raid. After you beat a section, you return to the Castellum and unlock the next section. The process that you use for each section is the same, but the door that you open will vary.
- Split your fireteam into one group of two seekers and one group of four defenders. The seekers should be strong Guardians.
- Councilors will spawn in bubbles at times. Call them out and kill them quickly by running up and hitting them with your melee.
- Standard Liberators are your top priority as defenders. You must kill them quickly. If they are immune to damage, kill the Councilor.
- Standard Bearers are your focus as seekers. Hunt them down and kill them, then pick up the Standard and return it to the plate with the defenders.
- After your fireteam collects and defends three Standards, the door to the section of the raid you are trying to access will open.
- You will see four symbols above the doors in the Castellum. These are Axes, Dogs, Sun and Cup. These symbols will appear repeatedly during the raid.
You will notice some areas on the ground near each door that show the symbols we mentioned. They will have a ghostly apparition of a Standard sticking out of them. Your team needs to break up into two different groups. The first group of two (seekers) will have the job of exploring the Castellum and finding a Standard Bearer. He will need to be killed and has a hefty health bar. Once they bring him down, a Standard will appear and can be brought to the door that was showing the ghostly Standard symbol. Place it there and the real fun begins for the defenders.
The group of four Guardians (defenders) will need to defend the standard from waves of enemies, including special ones called Standard Liberators. These guys will head straight for the Standard and attempt to take it back. Normally, they can be damaged and killed but, from time to time, special enemies called Councilors will appear. These guys are in bubbles that you cannot shoot through, but they are very squishy and can be killed with a single melee if you run into the bubble. Do this fast, as they generate the shields for the Standard Liberators. Standard Liberators cannot be killed while a Councilor is alive.
The icons on the ground will indicate the order in which you need to gather up the Standards, so have someone in the group of defenders let the two seekers know where they need to go. The seekers can also determine this for themselves when they are delivering a Standard to the defenders.
Once you have all three standards in place, the door nearest to the floor panel will open, allowing you access to that part of the raid. This portion of the raid shouldn’t give you too much trouble once the four Guardians defending the Standards are communicating well and taking care of the Councilors.
The Royal Pools
The Royal pools is an interesting area. Veteran players will instantly spot a rotation mechanic that was present in the Oryx raid. It requires good coordination and communication from your team, so ensure that everyone is focused and making the appropriate calls.
Royal Pools Tips
- The water in the Royal Pools will damage you and cause your death. To prevent this, pick up an orb from one of the plates, giving you the Psionic Protection buff.
- There are five orbs. One on each of the outer plates, and one on the plate in the middle room. The only orb to respawn is the one in the middle room.
- Ceremonial Bathers are large enemies that will crawl out from the chains. They need to be dealt with quickly and with your most powerful offensive tools.
- There are three groups of three canisters in the middle room. These hang from the ceiling and need to be destroyed when the damage phase begins.
- A buff called Force of Will is activated during the damage phase, and all Guardians on damage duty must stand on the plate to receive the buff.
- You begin the Bathing Ritual by having five Guardians stand on plates with orbs at the same time. You want it to be simultaneous to keep the timing right.
- The large chains in the middle of the room (where the Royal Bathers emerge) only move when a Guardian is on the plate near it.
Royal Pools Method
Split into two groups of three. This will be your left-side team and your right-side team. To start the Bathing Ritual, five Guardians need to stand on the platforms with the orbs. Before you do this, though, have one person in the center grab the orb, then step out of the water. When the orb respawns, count it down and have the remaining five Guardians step on the plates with the orbs.
Each group of three will be split into Guardian A, Guardian B and Guardian C, at least for this Leviathan raid guide. The Bathing Ritual will be the same on both sides, but our walkthrough will focus on only one side. Just mimic that on the other.
Guardian A will be in the middle room, Guardian B will be on the plate furthest from the Castellum door, and Guardian C on the plate closest to the Castellum door. When the Bathing Ritual begins, Guardian A will move to Guardian B and help them kill the Royal Bather. Guardian A will then take over the plate that Guardian B was on. Guardian B will run to the middle, shoot a couple of enemies, and then grab the orb from the middle plate. Guardian B will then run to Guardian C and help them kill their Royal Bather, then take over their plate. Guardian C will then run to the middle, kill some foes, grab the orb, and then run to Guardian A. They will help Guardian A kill their Royal Bather, and then take over their plate. This will be repeated several times.
After a couple of rotations, Guardians will hear very distinct sound and the chains will lock into place. Be sure any Royal Bathers are finished off, then head to the middle of the room. It’s here that your fireteam will split into two groups again. One group of four will do damage and one group of two will be on crowd control. Split this group up in whatever way makes the most sense for your fireteam.
The group of four Guardians on damage will stand on the plate in the middle. This will give them the Force of Will Buff. It’s at that time that they will want to shoot the canisters hanging from the ceiling. It is, however, essential that you focus on not only the same group of canisters, but also the same individual canister. Focus your fire to take them down. Golden Gun is great here if you have Hunters. Once you destroy a group of three, check the timer on the Force of Will buff. If you have time remaining, focus on another group of the canisters. Once the Force of Will buff hits about five seconds, get off the plate or you’ll be insta-killed by a Councilor spawning on that precise location.
When the damage phase ends, be sure to clean up any Royal Bathers in the middle room, and a second Councilor that decided to spawn in. Grab ammo, and then have you fireteam move back to their original starting points. You will repeat this process until you have destroyed all nine canisters, thus moving past the Royal Pools section of the raid.
This section of the Leviathan raid guide will deal with the Gauntlet. It has a few enemies, but for the most part it’s all about communication and mechanics. The poorly prepared team will get chewed up and spit out here. You don’t need heroes in the Gauntlet, you need everyone to do their job perfectly.
- Choose two runners from your team of six. They should be agile and comfortable with the jumping in the game. Hunters are a good choice.
- The remaining four Guardians will each choose a platform. Each platform contains one of the four symbols we discussed; Axes, Dogs, Sun, and Cup.
- You activate the Gauntlet by having a Guardian step on each platform, although it does not have to be at the same time.
- Communication is vital here. Shame any Guardian who gets the giggles and send them back to the Tower to think about what they’ve done.
- When shooting a button on your platform, always shoot the bottom-most button not called out by the runner in the obstacle course.
- When shooting a button on your fireteam buddy’s platform, shoot the top-most button that wasn’t called out by the runner on the inside.
Have four Guardians stand on one platform each. This will initiate a phase where enemies spawn in front of each platform. The two runners are free to help clear these enemies out for a bit to make sure your team doesn’t suffer any early deaths. Once a few waves of enemies have been cleared, a Centurion will spawn in front of each platform. Kill them quickly. We highly advise you to blast them to bits with a Grenade Launcher on round one and two, and your Super Ability on round three.
When the Centurions are down, your four Guardians who aren’t running will each stand on a plate. The course runs clockwise, so the plates are ordered as Axes, Dogs, Sun, and then Cup. At this point, a Psionic Charge will spawn near the Dogs and Cup platforms. The runners will grab the Psionic Charge and enter the obstacle course.
As an example, the runner who entered the course with their Psionic Charge near the Cup platform will encounter a wall with nine holes in it. One of these nine holes will be one color, and the other eight will be another color. The runner must then call out only the vertical position of the single hole that is a different color. For example, “Cup. Bottom” if the one different colored hole is on the bottom row.
One the outside of the course, the Guardian standing on the Cup platform will see three buttons in front of them. It is their (along with one other member of their fireteam) responsibility to shoot the two buttons that that were not called out. Again, if “Cup. Bottom” was called, the middle and top buttons would need to be simultaneously shot.
If this is done successfully, the runner on the inside of the course near the Cup wall will see an orb. They will jump through the hole with this orb in it. This is what keeps the Psionic Charge that they’re carrying from exploding and killing them. They will then run along the course until they reach the Axes wall.
The Guardian standing on the Cup platform will wait for the runner to pass through the wall. They will remain on their plate until this happens. Once the runner passes through the Cup wall, a Councilor will spawn in with a bubble. This will be in front of the plate the Cup Guardian is standing on. That Guardian will jump off their plate and melee kill the Councilor, and then look toward the Guardian on the Axes platform.
As all this is happening, the runner is approaching the Axes wall. The process is the same for the Guardian standing on the Axes plate and the runner. The difference here, is that the Cup Guardian will look over and help the Axes Guardian with their buttons when the runner calls it out.
This is how it looks in short form:
- Runner enters the course at Cup.
- Runner enters the course at Dog.
- Cup and Axes Guardians shoot the Cup buttons.
- Dog and Sun Guardians shoot the Dog buttons.
- Runners progress to Axes and Sun.
- Cup and Axes Guardians shoot the Axes buttons.
- Dogs and Sun Guardians shoot the Dog buttons.
- Runners progress to Dog and Cup.
- Axes and Dog Guardians shoot the Dog buttons.
- Sun and Cup Guardians shoot the Cup buttons.
- Runners progress to Axes and Sun.
- Cup and Axes Guardians shoot the Axes buttons.
- Dog and Sun Guardians shoot the Sun buttons.
Following a successful round for the two runners, they will exit the course and slam their Psionic Charge in the middle room. This kicks off another round of enemies, including the dreaded yellow-bar Centurion. Dispatch them, then repeat the steps above a second time.
Following the runners making three successful rounds of the Gauntlet, all Guardians will grab a Psionic Charge from the middle and head inside the course. Six Guardians, each with a Psionic Charge, making six Psionic Charges. Each section of wall will have four orbs. Each Guardian must grab an Orb every 30 seconds to avoid detonation of the Psionic Charge, resulting in that Guardian’s death. This means that on the first section of wall, two Guardians must pass through without grabbing an orb. However, they will need to get an orb on the second run to avoid death.
After one lap, each Guardian will exit the course and must slam their Psionic Charge in the middle room. Any dead Guardians must be revived before you wipe, but that’s it. Assuming you collected the required amount of Psionic Charges in the middle, you’re done with the Gauntlet.
The Pleasure Gardens is rightfully thought of as the most difficult portion of the raid, except perhaps the final fight against Calus. It combines stealth, communication and damage.
Pleasure Gardens Tips
- There are six Royal Beasts in the Pleasure Gardens. To progress beyond this section, all six must be killed.
- There is a safe room opposite of the entrance from the Castellum. When the Royal Beasts begin to howl, you have about 30 seconds to get inside before you’re killed.
- There are two prisms on top of the safe room. Two Guardians will grab these and remain on top of the rocks during this event.
- Pools of Light: There are pools of Light on top of some rocks. For Guardians to use the prisms they must be standing in one.
- Pollen: Collected from the safe room and must be taken to plants to become Empowering Spores
- Plants: Glowing. Located around the Pleasure Gardens and used to create Empowering Spores.
Pleasure Gardens Method
The Pleasure Gardens are accessed via a door in the back-right corner of the center building in the Castellum and are denoted by the Dog symbol. Upon entering the gardens, you will see several stone pillars with pools of light, a large statue of Calus’ face in the middle of the far side, and several enemies down below. Clear the area and proceed to the statue on the far side. This is your staging area for each round of the challenge and houses the safe room within it.
Your fireteam needs to split up into two groups. One group of two will be the spotters and the remaining four will be the ground crew. The job of the spotters will be to guide the ground crew safely through the Pleasure Gardens while using prisms and pools of Light to activate spores and defeat certain enemies. The ground crew will roam the gardens to collect Empowering Spores from flowers while remaining undetected by the Royal Beasts.
To start the challenge, the ground crew will stand on top of the plate entrance to the safe room, while the spotters pick up the prisms. This opens the door to the safe room. The grounds crew drops down and each Guardian picks up Pollen.
The job of the spotters is now to navigate across the various rock pillars while guiding the Guardians on the ground to one of two open flowers. They will glow pink when they are active. The Grounds Crew should stick together and move quietly. The Royal Beasts will spot you if they see you, or hear you if you’re too close. The Guardian’s goal is to make it to one of the active flowers. Once they are assembled at the flower, one of the spotters from the top will shoot it with a prism, instilling a buff of Empowering Spores on the Guardians.
The Grounds Crew should then head to the next active flower. Spotters will continue to assist the Guardians on the ground by providing directions and alerting them to nearby Royal Beasts. Each time a flower is destroyed, enemy snipers and Beast Handlers will spawn. It is up to the spotters to take them out quickly so they don’t interfere with the grounds crew.
When a Guardian has been spotted, or after a certain amount of time when the Royal Beasts turn restless, they will begin howling and return to one of their designated flowers. This is where everyone has about 20 seconds to do damage. The key strategy is to damage them but not kill them. Killing a Royal Beast will reduce the available time before they grow restless the next go-around.
After roughly 20 seconds, all Guardians must make their way into the safe room. Anyone left outside when the door closes will die. The safe room can be used a total of three times as indicated by the number of red lights lit inside it. This means you can do four stages of damage, but you must kill the Royal Beasts on the fourth run since you won’t have a safe room to return to.
After the safe room opens again, the spotters head back up top to pick up a new set of prisms. Your raid team will then repeat the process of picking up as many Empowering Spores as possible before damaging the Royal Beasts further. By the end of the third round, your team should be able to kill all six Royal Beasts in a single damage phase. Once they’ve been defeated, the challenge is completed and a rewards chest will spawn near the safe room.
The Emperor Calus fight isn’t that tough. Many fireteams have been taking him out in one phase, but it’s easily doable in two or three phases if you aren’t a top tier team. Expect some wipes while you get a feel for things, but you should be progressing before too long.
- Your team will be split into two groups. One will stay in the Throne room and one will be working in what players are calling the Shadow Realm.
- Coldheart and the MIDA Multi-Tool are both good options for this section. Coldheart is great on Calus, but if you don’t have it, the MIDA Multi-Tool will do.
- Golden Gun and the Celestial Nighthawk are great for Hunters. The Golden Gun will mess Calus up during the damage phase.
- Warlocks can use their Empowering Rifts or Healing Rifts during the damage phase to either keep their team alive, or help deal more damage.
- The Throne room team should be made up of Warlocks with Healing Rift and possibly a Titan who can take damage. These players must be skilled at survival.
- Communication is essential here. You need complete mic silence unless you are conveying information that other Guardians need.
- Titans should go with the Hammers of Sol Super Ability to put some extra damage on Calus when the damage phase begins.
- Guardians in the Shadow Realm need to constantly adjust the line they’re on. This will prevent them from hitting small ramps and being vaulted in the air, which means death.
To begin the fight, shoot the large Cup out of Emperor Calus’ hand. This will cause the room to fill with enemies from the left, right, and center. Split into three groups of two and take out the enemies, then run the room and grab any ammo. You’ll need to avoid Calus’ laser during this time. If you suffer a death, you’ll want to consider a wipe so you can start again with six revives.
Calus will clap his hands and send all six members of your fireteam into the Shadow Realm. Three of you will want to stay, and three will want to run forward and grab the orbs, teleporting back into the Throne room.
The three people in the Shadow Realm may not jump, and must watch the ground in front of them. Calus will periodically try to suck them into his gaping mouth. If your feet leave the ground because you jumped or you hit a small ramp and were sent in the air, you’re dead. That’s pretty much a fireteam wipe at that point.
While in the Shadow Realm, those three Guardians will each see a different symbol on Calus’ head. They need to call this out, and the team in the Throne room will need to kill the Councilor whose symbol was not called out. Again, this will be Dog, Axes, Sun and Cup.
Once the folks in the Shadow Realm call a symbol, they will be dragged forward. They must then kill three Psions and two Psion Projections in short order. The Psion Projections will wipe you, and the Psions will launch you into the air with the attacks. Both are terrible fates.
The act of the Shadow Realm Guardians calling symbols, shooting Psions and Psion Projections, and then adjusting their line to avoid being vaulted in the air, will continue for several rounds. The Throne room team keeps killing Councilors that have the symbol not called out, killing enemies, and avoiding damage.
After a short time, the Shadow Realm team will be just below Calus. It’s then that he will burp and skulls will come streaming out of his mouth. You must shoot these skulls as quickly and efficiently as possible. This will apply a Force of Will buff to your team, and you’re going to want about 50 x Force of Will or more to get in a decent damage phase on Calus. If you want to one-phase Calus, you’ll need about 90 x Force of Will, which is better handled with a different strategy.
In the Throne room, the team will be doing their best to stay alive, and at one point will need to lower Calus’ shield. They must not do this too early, as that’s the trigger to have the Shadow Realm team grab and orb and head back into the Throne room. The two groups should be communicating here so that the shield comes down around 40-45 x Force of Will.
When both teams are reunited in the Throne room, you’ll all need to stand on one of the plates and begin the damage phase on Calus. Here is where Coldheart can help you, as it’s a steady headshot that will stagger the boss. It’s also helpful to have Empower Rift to increase your damage, Golden Gun with the Celestial Nighthawk from Hunters, and Hammers of Sol from the Titans. Also, consider the Rally Barricade from Titans, as this will allow you to avoid reloading your weapons on one of the damage phases.
There are four plates in the Throne room, and you’ll get a damage phase on each one. Coordinate which plate is first, second, third and fourth. Make sure you jump on them at the same time. You’ll need to abandon a plate when Calus is about to attack it, but the attack changes for each phase. Have your team call out when it’s time to move to a new plate. Once all four plates are used, if Calus is still alive, you repeat the process of the Throne room and Shadow Realm again.
You want at least one third of Calus’ health to come off in each four-plate damage phase, but more is ideal. Use your first few runs to decide how many skulls you can get in the Shadow Realm, and how many more you think you need.
Once all Calus’ health is gone, he will enter a phase with a shield one more time. Your team needs to quickly remove this shield to end the battle once and for all. If you fail to take his shield down, he will wipe your team and you must start at the beginning. If you take his shield, you’re done the Leviathan raid and you can now head below ground to grab your loot.
That’ll do it for the Leviathan raid guide from TL;DR Games. If you want more, be sure to visit our Destiny 2 Guide Hub.