Farming Master Nightfalls Is The Most Fun You Can Have In Destiny 2
This past weekend, my clan completed the Deep Stone Crypt for the first time, ran our first Master Empire Hunt, and completed our first 1280 Master Nightfall: The Ordeal. Thanks to double Nightfall reward weekend, we ended up running the Nightfall 10 more times on Saturday to farm Ascendant Shards, the rarest and most valuable upgrade material in the game. Of all the high-level content I have completed in the game, Master Nightfalls are by far the most fun to learn and overcome.
I’m a year-round Destiny 2 player with a clan that tends to show up and go super hard when the yearly expansion drops but quickly fall off by next season. Because of this, pinnacle activities are typically outside of my purview. I would love nothing more than to run all three raids every week and push Grandmaster Nightfalls, but I typically don’t have friends that stick around long enough to see that super hard content and, as a shy introvert, I struggle to motivate myself to find groups in Destiny LFG Discord servers.
When I do have a group available, like right now, I try to push them into the highest level content available. Right now, that means Master Nightfalls. Master Nightfalls are essentially a harder version of strikes. All of the enemies are scaled up to 1280 (20 levels above the pinnacle power level cap), there are all kinds of modifiers added in to make the strike harder, and a handful of enemies are replaced with Champions; powerful enemies that require special skills and tactics to defeat.
The nightfall rotates to a different strike every week and the list of modifiers all get shuffled around. Some weeks you’ll take extra damage from certain element types or while airborne, other weeks ammo will be much harder to find. There are a number of rewards for completing Nightfalls. You can earn a powerful engram for completing 2-3 Nightfalls, depending on the difficulty, and you can earn a pinnacle engram for earning 100,000 points in the Nightfall, something you can usually do in the Hero or Legend difficulties, which are 1220 and 1250 difficulty rating, respectively. The ultimate rewards come from Master Nightfalls, the highest currently available difficulty. In Master Nightfalls you can earn Ascendant Prisms, Ascendant Shards, and exotic armor. This is currently the best way to earn these items, but it’s also the hardest.
I loved completing the raid with my clan, it was challenging and it took a lot of practice and teamwork. After finishing it and running Master Nightfalls, I have to say I appreciate the challenge and experience of Master Nightfalls even more than that of the raid.
In the raid, everyone is expected to bring the right gear and do their job. If one player is under-leveled or unequipped, usually the rest of the team can make up for it. If a player doesn’t do their job, most encounters are forgiving enough that the rest of the group can recover and push forward.
That’s not the case on Master Nightfalls. Only three players can attempt a Nightfall together, as opposed to the six in a raid, and every one of them is equally important to the success of the run. All three players must have a high power level and powerful gear. Equipping the right mods to counter the modifiers is essential, and you must plan for every single encounter. In raids, it’s easy to stumble through combat as long as everyone does their job, but in Nightfalls, the combat requires intense focus and perfect performance.
You can’t just bring your favorite guns to a Nightfall and hope for the best. In this week’s Nightfall, there are barrier champions, unstoppable champions, arc shields, and solar shields. Between three players and nine weapon slots, your team has to work out exactly how you’ll be countering all of those enemy types before you can even attempt to take on the Nightfall. If you don’t have a solar weapon to break the boss’s shield, you will fail and have to start over. You can’t change your gear in the Nightfall either, it’s locked as soon as the activity begins.
I found working out the best strategy with a small team to be an incredibly rewarding experience, even more so than the raid experience. It isn’t possible for one person to cover all of the bases in a Master Nightfall. You have to rely on your teammates to do those things you can’t, and you have to trust them to act decisively when the challenges arise because they are both difficult and deadly. There’s a certain rhythm that develops once your team gets into a successful grove and you can start optimizing the run. Because each week has its own strikes with a new set of modifiers and champions, there’s always a new layout to learn and a new strategy to develop. Developing that strategy and transitioning from novice to master of the course of several runs is unbelievably satisfying. The hardest challenge in the game becomes manageable, eventually even farmable, through repetition and practice. Master Nightfalls are my favorite activity in Destiny 2 and the one I will look forward to learning week after week.
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Eric Switzer is the Livestream News Editor for TheGamer as well as the lead for VR and Tech. He has written about comics and film for Bloody Disgusting and VFXwire. He is a graduate of University of Missouri – Columbia and Vancouver Film School. Eric loves board games, fan conventions, new technology, and his sweet sweet kitties Bruce and Babs. Favorite games include Destiny 2, Kingdom Hearts, Super Metroid, and Prey…but mostly Prey. His favorite Pokémon is Umbreon.
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