Destiny 2’s Lightfall expansion has finally been released and there’s a ton of new content for players to sink their teeth into. Along with a new story, exotics, loot, endgame content, and a build crafting system, Lightfall also introduces our second Darkness subclass, Strand. Of course, one of the biggest draws is the new raid, Root of Nightmares. Taking place on the Witness’ pyramid ship, players will battle their way through hordes of Cabal enemies and battle against a rather terrifying foe. Similar to other raids, Root of Nightmares boasts unique mechanics and one of the coolest boss fights in the franchise’s history. So if you’re looking to hop into this raid for the first time or just need a refresher, here’s how to complete every encounter in Destiny 2’s Root of Nightmares raid.
How to Beat Root of Nightmares in Destiny 2
Cataclysm – Destiny 2 Root of Nightmares
Before beginning this encounter, I recommend throwing on any loadout focused on killing hordes of enemies. This is a very mob-dense room, so expect tons of Cabal along with Barrier Champions and yellow-bar Tormentors. You will need to slay the Tormentors quickly in this encounter, so consider running burst-damage Supers like Nova Bomb, Blade Barrage, or Thundercrash.
To begin Cataclysm, designate four people on mob control and killing Psions with the last two focusing on completing the main mechanic in this encounter. Once rolls have been delegated, have one person step into the aura around the large ball of light and shoot it. This will give the person inside the aura the Field of Light buff. With this buff, you will see a line pointing in a specific direction from the orb of light you just shot. This line will lead you to a smaller orb of Darkness (which spawns at one of the nearby Darkness helices), which you need to shoot while standing on that Darkness orb’s plate. Blasting this will turn it into a ball of light and remove the Field of Light buff.
Your goal in this encounter is to cleanse enough Darkness helices that you move the ball of light all the way to the other end of the room. To speed this up, you will want to have two people juggling the Field of Light buff. This is because you will need to keep running back to the orb of light to refresh the Field of Light buff, which can be difficult since you’re on a pretty strict time limit for this encounter. Instead, it’s better to always have one person waiting just outside the ball of light’s aura so that when the other runner cleanses a plate, the other player can step into the aura, shoot the ball, and obtain the Field of Light buff. You will be leap-frogging the Darkness orb as a duo to ensure that you can complete each of the four sections before the timer hits zero.
As for the other four fireteam members, their two main jobs are killing Tormentors and Psions. The former will periodically spawn throughout the encounter after a plate is cleansed and upon their death add 30 seconds to the Sweeping Terror time limit. If Sweeping Terror ever hits zero the entire raid team will be killed. Your other priority should be killing a pair of Psions inside of a bubble. If the Psions are alive they will prevent the Darkness ball from appearing even if someone has the Field of Light buff. To kill one of these shielded Psions, simply go into their bubble and shoot them. Once both are dead, the Darkness orb will appear for the runners to blast. Remember, the Psion’s location are random, but they are always close to one another. Don’t expect them to be across the room if your cleansing plates at the start of the encounter.
Once you cleanse enough plates the Sweeping Terror timer will vanish and, as a team, you can move up to the next chunk of Darkness helices. Now repeat this process three more times until you cleanse the last plate in the very back of the room. This will complete the Cataclysm encounter.
Scission – Destiny 2 Root of Nightmares
Welcome to the second encounter, Scission. Similar to Cataclysm, you will be cleansing plates while holding a specific buff. The only catch is there are now Darkness and Light plates you will need to cleanse. While you will still get the Field of Light buff when shooting the Light orb, blasting the large Darkness orb will give you a buff called Flux of Darkness. Despite the name, it functions exactly the same as the Field of Light buff, with the only difference is you’re shooting small Light orbs instead of small Darkness orbs.
Keep on your enemy-killing loadouts and split up into two teams of three. Designate one person on each side as the runner, with the other two focused on killing the Cabal. Start with everyone in either the Darkness aura or the Light aura so all three members of each team receive their respective buff. Once you get the buff run to the edge of your side and move in front of the pusher. Just like the jumping section beforehand, shoot the floating diamond to launch yourself to the other side. So the Darkness runner will launch to the Light side and the Light runner will launch to the Darkness side. You will then cleanse your respective plate by shooting either the small Darkness or Light orb and then launching back to refresh your buff.
Just like the first encounter, you are on a tight time limit thanks to Imminent Expulsion. At the start of each floor, a timer will appear that begins to countdown. Once it hits zero, both sides will be forced into the bottomless pit. There’s no way to extend this timer, however, it will reset once you cleanse all the plates on a specific floor. As for the other two members of each team, they’ll need to just kill the Cabal enemies that appear throughout the encounter. Occasionally, you will need to deal with either Darkness or Light-shielded Cabal enemies. Unsurprisingly, these shields can only be broken if you have the corresponding buff (Field of Light/Flux of Darkness). To get this buff, the two add-clearers should try, whenever possible, to stand in the field when their runner refreshes their buff.
After both sides cleanse the last plate on their floor, you will get an announcement about Interlopers blocking your ascent. A yellow-bar Cabal Centurion will arrive so quickly kill him. Now both teams of three should stand on their respective pusher, shoot the diamond, and launch to the next floor. You will then repeat this entire process two more times until the encounter ends. A few things to keep in mind during this second encounter. There are multiple pushers on either side and the Darkness/Light aura will move up as you cleanse plates. Additionally, there will be one Barrier Champion at the end of each floor, so make sure you have a way to stun them!
Cross the Chasm – Destiny 2 Root of Nightmares
Between the second and third encounters, there is a fairly lengthy jumping puzzle. This is all about speed, as players will need to shoot the orb of Light to receive the Field of Light buff. With Field of Light active, you now need to blast a large Darkness orb while inside its aura to get the Darkness’s Refuge buff. This buff lasts 15 seconds and it will prevent you from being killed with the massive wave of Darkness energy sweeping across the room. Your goal is to keep refreshing the Darkness’s Refuge buff as you traverse across the large room. There will be quite a few Cabal enemies, but it’s best to just ignore most of them since you’re on the clock.
Zo’aurc, Explicator of Planets – Destiny 2 Root of Nightmares
One of the coolest boss fights in Destiny’s history, Zo’aurc, Explicator of Planets basically has nothing to do with the Light and Darkness buffs from the previous two encounters. Instead, you will be moving planets to either side of the room so all of the Darkness and Light planets are on their respective sides. To achieve this, split your team up into three teams of two. The first two will stay in the middle of the arena and solely focus on killing everything but the yellow-bar Colossi that spawn.
Additionally, you will want to number each of the six planets on the right or left side of the room. My team numbered them Bottom 1-3 and Top 1-3, however, I’ve seen other groups number each side of the planets with 1-6. For this example, we will be using the 1-6 method since it’s the simplest, even if it requires a bit more memorization.
Now dive the other four players into two pairs, with one going on the upper and lower portion of each side. When the encounter starts kill enemies until a Colossus called Terrestrial Lieutenant spawns on the top and bottom platforms on each side of the room. Each person on the left and right side of the room should kill their respective Colossus. Meaning if you are assigned the bottom right platform, you need to be the player to land the final blow on the Colossus that spawns in the bottom right. Doing so will give you a buff called Planetary Insight, which allows you to see which planets on your side of the room are Dark or Light.
You will now need to ensure that all of the Dark planets and Light planets are grouped together on their respective sides. Which side they need to be on is determined by the Dark and Light planet floating in the center of the room near the back. To achieve this, go to whichever planet in your cluster of three that does not match the other two. So if you have two Dark planets and one Light planet, pick the Light one. Interact with the orb projection below that planet to gain the Planetary Shift buff. With this, you can now drag the planet above the hologram across the room to the other side. Your teammates on their side should be doing the same thing. Make sure to call out which numbered planet you are dragging, because this is where the person on the other side of the room needs to place their planet.
For example, if my planet is Left 4 my partner on the right knows to bring their planet and place it in the Left 4 spot. You can see an example of this number system for one side in the photo above. When moving a planet, focus solely on getting to the other side of the room and placing it. Planetary Shift has a decaying meter, so you cannot just freely run around with this buff. Additionally, the top platform players and bottom platform players should always go to their respective teammate’s side. Meaning, if I am playing in the Bottom Right, I will only switch planets with the person who is Bottom Left.
Once the Light and Dark planets are aligned on both sides you will need to kill another wave of enemies and four more Colossi. This will grant you the Planetary Insight buff once again, only this time the three planets over the damage plates in the middle of the room will be some combination of Dark and Light. Now pick any of the six Light and Dark planets on each side and move them to the center. So if the center has two Light and one Dark planet, you will need to take two Light planets from the Light side and one Dark planet from the Dark side. Now align these planets with the same type of planet shown in the center. You are putting a Dark planet on a Dark plate or vice versa for Light planets. After all three planets have been set, the damage phase against Zo’aurc will begin.
During the damage phase, Zo’aurc’s shield will glow either Light (white) or Dark (orange). Depending on what color his shield is, you will need to stand on the corresponding plate. So if his shield is Dark, your team can only do damage to him while on a Darkness plate. This will last a few seconds and then his shield will change, forcing your fireteam to move to the next plate tied to his shield type. A plate cannot be used more than once during a damage phase. I recommend using a combination of rockets and sniper rifles since Zo’aurc has a pretty big crit spot thanks to the fuel tanker on his back. After the damage phase is over, you will repeat the same steps above until the final stand mechanic triggers.
Zo’aurc’s final stand mechanic is pretty simple, as all of the plates will become Darkness so have your team stand on one and shoot at the boss. He will eventually send a big Darkness tornado at that plate which will kill anyone on it. Move to the next plate and keep shooting Zo’aurc until he finally becomes past tense.
Nezarec, God of Pain – Destiny 2 Root of Nightmares
It’s showdown time! Nezarec is the final boss of the Root of Nightmares raid and it’s a fairly simple fight. Before you begin, you will want to split up into three groups of two. Four of those players will be doing exactly what you did in the first encounter. Getting either the Field of Light or Flux of Darkness buff, cleansing plates, and progressing to the back of the arena.
This is easier said than done because Nezarec will trigger a mechanic very early on called Nezarec’s Hatred. If you have this, the boss will snap his fingers and send you flying skyward over and over again. Obviously, this makes cleansing the plates on either side very difficult, but thankfully there’s a way to stop him from doing this. Enter the two players in the middle of the room. Not only will they be helping deal with all the Cabal that spawn, but when Nezarec’s Hatred triggers you’ll want to shoot the boss’ glowing chest. This angers Nezarec and forces him to jump down into the area with your team.
Nezarec will now run around the room and try to attack your teammates with a variety of attacks like slams, lunges, or launching tracking void projectiles. He also has a wipe mechanic which triggers very early on. To survive this, the two players clearing out Cabal should blast the glowing gold crit spots on Nezarec’s shoulders This will make his wings emit either a Light or Darkness energy from him for a couple of seconds. Call out which of these appears to the runners and have someone from the corresponding side go to the other side of the arena and shoot an already completed orb with their buff on.
So if Nezarec emits a Darkness energy, someone with Field of Light needs to go to a completed Darkness orb and wait for their teammates to reach it. Now shoot the Darkness orb while you have the Field of Light buff to get the Sheltered buff. This will allow you to survive Nezarec’s wipe attack and continue with the encounter.
While the two teams are cleansing their plates, the other ones in the center need to draw Nezarec’s attention away from everyone else. You do this by shooting him in the chest when it’s glowing to get the Nezarec’s Hated debuff. This causes him to solely aggro on you for 10 seconds. Run around the arena until your partner shoots his chest to take your spot and his aggro. You will continue to juggle the Nezarec’s Hated debuff until both sides are completed and you can go to the damage phase.
Now have your team jump up onto one of the elevated platforms in the arena and drop a Well of Radiance or Ward of Dawn. Wait until a big Darkness beam hits Nezarec, as this will make him damageable. This boss will throw out all sorts of attacks during this phase, but if you’re on one of the elevated platforms he should miss the vast majority of these moves. For this phase, rockets and weapons like fusion rifles, sniper rifles, and shotguns work best due to his close proximity. If you plan on hitting Nezarec with a Super, make sure to not touch any of his Void energy as it will suppress you. Once the damage phase is over, repeat the same process above until the final stand mechanic triggers.
Unlike Zo’aurc, there aren’t any gimmicks in this section. Just kill Nezarec before he activates his wipe mechanic and kills the entire team. With some patience and good communication, you should have no issue bringing down this intimidating foe.