Grandmaster Nightfalls are the hardest piece of content in Destiny 2. Yes, they’re harder than Master Vault of Glass and I’ll die on that hill.
Stepping into them for the first time can be intimidating, which is why I’ve put together this guide detailing everything you need to know about Destiny 2’s Grandmaster Nightfalls. Give this a read before you jump into your first one; your LFG team will thank you for it.
- Destiny 2 Grandmaster Nightfall Tips and Tricks
- Destiny 2 Grandmaster Nightfall Loadout Recommendations
- Destiny 2 Best Weapons for Grandmaster Nightfalls
- Best Hunter Exotics for Grandmaster Nightfalls
- Best Warlock Exotics for Grandmaster Nightfalls
- Best Titan Exotics for Grandmaster Nightfalls
- Wrapping Up
Destiny 2 Grandmaster Nightfall Tips and Tricks
I want to preface this guide by saying that I won’t be dealing with any PvE basics. Given that you’re interested in GMs, I’m assuming you already know your stuff, including includes things like what mods to use and what’s meta right now.
If you’re not sure about all that, consider holding off on Grandmasters until you’ve got a bit more endgame experience.
Take Each Grandmaster Nightfall as it Comes
When you’re playing other activities in Destiny 2, whether raiding or doing strikes, it’s not too hard to have a “one size fits all” approach. Generally, you can go in with one singular loadout and find success regardless of what you’re loading into.
That isn’t the case with Grandmaster Nightfalls. Each week, and by extension, each strike needs to be taken at an individual level.
The enemy types, numbers, and elements all need to be taken into consideration while putting together your loadout for any given week’s GM. You need to ask yourself questions about routing, what the boss arena looks like, what mechanics there are, and if there are any damaged gates you need to worry about.
So, make sure you’re tailoring your team composition to suit each individual GM Nightfall. Yes, your team composition, not just your own loadout.
Teamwork is Key, Sorry LFG
You’ve only got three Guardians to work with in Grandmasters. Unlike raids, where you have a team of six, each player is going to have to synergize with the strategy that the overall Fireteam is going for.
That’s why you’ll typically see LFG posts asking for a specific subclass for GMs. There are certain exotics, classes, and strategies that are clearly superior in certain Grandmasters, and with how difficult the content is, you need to be taking advantage of them.
Keep Your Distance
You rarely have a free weapon slot to work with in GMs, but when you do, remember that range is king.
Scouts, bows, and hand cannons with Explosive Payload are, more or less exclusively, the only legendary primary weapon type you should be using.
In Grandmasters, even a regular red-bar like a Goblin will kill you in two or three hits. Every single tiny enemy needs to be treated as a threat. That means no SMG running and gunning. Certain classes can get away with playing slightly more aggressively, like invisibility Hunters, but remember that if you die, you can’t respawn, so you never want to go down where your team can’t revive you. That means keeping your distance from enemies.
Snipers Will Wipe You
Just because you’re keeping your distance doesn’t mean you’ll be safe, though. Snipers, which typically aren’t considered much of a problem in normal content, are some of the most dangerous enemies in Grandmaster Nightfalls. At times, they can be more of a problem than Champions.
I’ve had countless GM runs ended by a tricky wire-rifle Vandal, so when I tell you they hit hard, I’m speaking from experience.
These guys, whether Vandal or Hobgoblin, will one-shot you. There are times that running double Sniper Resistance mods on your armor won’t stop that from happening, so make taking them out a priority.
As you play through a GM multiple times, you’ll learn where and when snipers spawn. When you reach them, hang back with a sniper of your own or a bow and take them out before you aggro any of the other enemies in the area.
Explosions Will Also Wipe You
Snipers aren’t the only regular enemies capable of one-shotting you, though. Any kind of grenade will, on most occasions, do the exact same thing. In particular, Scorn Void grenades and Hive Solar grenades are notorious instant-killers, but all of them will drain your health bar in milliseconds.
Just because you’re in cover doesn’t mean you’re safe, so if you see a grenade coming your way, move immediately. If you don’t see it coming, then chances are you’re already dead.
Grandmaster Nightfall Champions are Built Different
Those are all of the general tips that you need to be aware of when jumping into your first Grandmaster Nightfall, but I want to take a second to talk about Champions a little bit.
In regular content, you don’t really have to spec out for Champions. You should, but you can generally out-DPS their healing potential. If you try to do this in a GM, you deserve to be kicked from your Fireteam, Clan, school, and probably out of your family, too.
GM Champions have a lot more health, you have to kill them for platinum rewards, they have better regeneration, and they deal a lot more damage. In fact, without something like Le Monarque, you won’t be able to solo-stun an Overload Champion before it regains all of its health.
The same thing is true of Barrier and Unstoppable Champions. Each takes a lot more damage to stun and you’re going to have to hit those stuns multiple times on one to take it out.
Thankfully, each week only has two featured Champions, meaning you can run both types of Champion mods to deal with them. Some players only like to take one of the two required mods per player, but I strongly recommend against that approach.
When you’re crafting your Grandmaster Nightfall loadout, make sure you’re using a weapon for each Champion type even if that means you miss out on some ad-clear. It’ll make things so much easier. Plus, bows have the Overload mod this season, so you’re getting a great ranged ad-clear weapon and a Champion stunner combined.
Dealing with so many Champions isn’t all bad, though. Having them dotted throughout each GM means that running an Aeon exotic on one of your teammates will keep your entire squad full of heavy ammo for pretty much the entire strike.
Destiny 2 Grandmaster Nightfall Loadout Recommendations
With all of that being said, what do I recommend for your loadout heading into your first Grandmaster Nightfall in Destiny 2?
Playing the meta is necessary regardless of when you’re doing a GM. I have a meta guide for Season 15 here talking about what’s at the top of the food chain right now that you will find helpful.
Because of the Champion mods this season, we’re more or less stuck only using bows, auto rifles, and fusion rifles, so they’re the weapons you should be looking at. Armor, on the other hand, is a little more flexible.
Destiny 2 Best Weapons for Grandmaster Nightfalls
The best weapons for Grandmaster Nightfalls are:
- Ignition Code
- One Thousand Voices
- Threaded Needle
- Vex Mythoclast
- Cartesian Coordinate
- Chroma Rush
Ignition Code is the one exception to the rule of using Champion mod weapons. It’s only an exception to that rule because it’s a kinetic grenade launcher that can roll with Blinding Grenades. That perk is the only roll you should be using on this weapon.
The ability to blind a group of ads for a few seconds in a GM is invaluable and will make highly populated areas much easier to deal with.
One Thousand Voices
You’re here for Grandmaster Nightfall tips, so I don’t think I need to tell you why 1K and Particle Deconstruction are so powerful.
If you are bringing this fusion rifle into your Grandmaster, make sure you have a teammate using Aeons to counteract the fact that you only have seven shots to work with.
Threaded Needle is a great legendary alternative to 1K for a heavy weapon that deals good damage.
While not as important as your survivability, being able to deal adequate boss damage is something to consider when hopping into a GM, and Threaded Needle allows you to do that while saving your exotic slot for something like Ticuu’s Divination. Just make sure you have a Vorpal roll to maximize DPS.
Again, this is fairly self-explanatory. You’ve got an Unstoppable-compatible glorified auto rifle that gets a base 40% damage buff from Particle.
Vex isn’t as much of a carry here as it is in regular content, but it is still a Tier-1 weapon.
Ticuu’s Divination is my go-to weapon of choice for Grandmaster Nightfalls. It actively irritates me when there are no Overload Champions because of how much I love using it.
Not only does its exotic perk deal insane single-target damage, but it’s also a monster of an ad-clear weapon, all while having the massive range of a bow. On top of that, you’ve got tracking arrows that you can use to prime targets while you’re still in cover.
If you’ve never run a GM with two players running Ticuu’s Divination, do. You’ll see why I like it so much.
Cartesian Coordinate with Vorpal is the best energy fusion rifle in the game right now. It’s also legendary.
It’s great at dealing with Unstoppable Champions and doing boss damage, making it a solid option when you have some wiggle room in your loadout to work with.
This is the only time you’ll ever see me recommend this weapon. While I prefer The Last Breath, Chroma Rush is simply superior for dealing with Barrier Champions on account of its 50+ mag size.
If you need an Anti-Barrier auto rifle, use this one. Otherwise, leave it in your vault.
Best Hunter Exotics for Grandmaster Nightfalls
I run Omnioculous Hunter almost exclusively for my GM runs, mainly because of my playstyle being less aggressive than a lot of other players.
Having access to two smoke bombs is invaluable. Not only does it let me get free revives on my teammates, but I can also smoke them if they run something like Aeons to get easy finishes on Champions. Plus, with Gambler’s Dodge, you’ll have almost 100% smoke bomb uptime.
A good Hunter using Omni will carry a team through a GM. Trust me, I’ve done it.
Best Warlock Exotics for Grandmaster Nightfalls
For the few GMs that call for a Well-Lock (like Lake of Shadows and Devil’s Lair), Phoenix Protocol is a must. Being able to generate 50% of your super back every time you use it will give you a ridiculous uptime on Well of Radiance.
Combine Phoenix with max intellect and you’ll get multiple Wells out in every single encounter, allowing your team to camp areas far more effectively without having to worry about those grenades we discussed earlier.
Another Warlock subclass I recommend for Grandmaster Nightfalls is Chaos Reach (Stasis turrets are also great.). Not for single damage, though. Instead, you’re going to be using it for ad-clear.
Combining Chaos Reach with Geomags for the extra duration will let you beam an entire wave of enemies out of existence in seconds. For GMs like Proving Grounds that have rooms that are full of ads, this is almost mandatory.
Best Titan Exotics for Grandmaster Nightfalls
Ursa Furiosa is the only exotic I ever run on my Titan in GMs, but I have seen Titan mains making other exotics work, just not nearly to the same effect.
While they’re not as good as they were back in the day, Ursas give your team some breathing room to deal with particularly difficult encounters. Having that extra time to wipe out some adds and create space will make some GMs (again, like Proving Grounds) much easier.
Having Ursas will give you more uptime on your Banner Shield, letting you protect your team while also generating a ton of orbs. This gives you the ability to chain supers together. There’s not much that won’t die to a Banner Shield, Chaos Reach, Shadowshot combo.
That’s all I’ve got for you. I’ve tried to make this Destiny 2 Grandmaster Nightfall guide as succinct as possible, so I’m sorry if I’ve left anything out that you deem important.
Make sure you remember that Grandmasters are a pain to clear, even for veteran players, so cut yourself some slack. Persist, persevere, and prepare for a world of pain and you’ll have those GM clears in no time.