Destiny 2 – Root of Nightmares Raid Complete Guide – Everything You Need to Know

Posted By | On 11th, May. 2023

Destiny 2 Lightfall

The latest expansion Lightfall introduces the Root of Nightmares raid into Destiny 2 which has garnered some mixed feelings from the players. As with most expansions, Lightfall also brings a set of exotic weapons, a new power cap, and a bunch of tough enemies. The fights are good and well-designed. The challenges are somewhat relentless until you get a grasp of the mechanics, at which point the difficulty curve freefalls into oblivion.

Although the overall response from the community is positive, largely thanks to a lack of bugs, stunning visuals, and connectivity issues, the Root of Nightmare raid feels devoid of the signature flair and excitement that is often associated with Destiny 2. Previous raids such as the Deep Stone Crypt, Vows of the Disciple, King’s Fall, and Vaults of Glass were more impactful in terms of story and mechanics. The Root of Nightmare’s story is about being struck by the Traveler’s eye beam which in turn leads to wild growths that feel shallow at best. However, don’t let Team Hard in the Paint’s 2 hours 25 minutes raid completion timer fool you. The raid can still be somewhat difficult for new players and this guide will walk you through the more difficult parts of the game.

Destiny 2: Root of Nightmares Weapons Loot Table

Before we begin, let’s take a look at the new exotic gear the Lightfall expansion has in store for us:

Encounter No.NameWeapon TypeElement
First (Survive the Onslaught)Briars’s ContemptLinear Fusion RifleSolar
First (Survive the Onslaught)Koraxis’s DistressGrenade LauncherStrand
First (Survive the Onslaught)Nessa’s OblationShotgunVoid
Second (Enter the Root)Mykel’s ReverenceSidearmStrand
Second (Enter the Root)Koraxis’s DistressGrenade LauncherStrand
Second (Enter the Root)Acasia’s RejectionTrace RifleSolar
Second (Enter the Root)Nessa’s OblationShotgunVoid
Third (Zo’aurc)  Mykel’s ReverenceSidearmStrand
Third (Zo’aurc)  Rufus’s FuryAuto RifleStrand
Third (Zo’aurc)  Acasia’s RejectionTrace RifleTracer Rifle
Final (Nezarec)  Conditional FinalityShotgunStasis

Destiny 2: Root of Nightmares Armor and Gears Loot Table

Encounter No.TypeName
First (Survive the Onslaught)ChestRobes of Detestation
First (Survive the Onslaught)ArmsWraps of Detestation
First (Survive the Onslaught)HelmetMask of Detestation
Second (Enter the Root)ChestRobes of Detestation
Second (Enter the Root)ArmsWraps of Detestation
Second (Enter the Root)LegsBoots of Detestation
Third (Zo’aurc)ChestRobes of Detestation
Third (Zo’aurc)Class ItemBond of Detestation
Third (Zo’aurc)LegsBoots of Detestation
Final (Nezarec)HelmetMask of Detestation
Final (Nezarec)LegsBoots of Detestation

Destiny 2 – Root of Nightmares Gardener Mechanics Explained

The goal here is to create a chain by connecting multiple nodes, which in turn leads to spawning a seed.

  • To initiate the system, you’ll have to enter the seed field and start shooting.
  • There are two categories of seeds. The dark seed which grants the Flux of Darkness buff and the light seed which grants the Field of Light buff.
  • Once the buff is activated, you’ll have to take it to a node indicated by the beam of light leading to it and a sphere on top.
  • You’ll lose the buff once you shoot the node which means that it was successfully activated. Now go back and get and obtain the buff once again. You don’t always have to return to the first node. Once the node-chain is big enough, you can return to any previous node to get the buff.
  • Always remember to grab the light and darkness buffs together with your teammates, at the same time. Because you’ll disrupt the node if you try to obtain it while someone else has it.

Different Stages in Destiny 2 – Root of Nightmares Raid

Now that the basics are out of the way, it’s time to delve deeper into the raid. A single raid run consists of 4 encounters:

  • Cataclysm
  • Scission
  • Macrocosm
  • Nezarec (Final Boss)

The opening encounter for Root of Nightmares is Cataclysm. Entering the Neptune node takes you straight to where all the action is. Let’s see what the encounters have in store for you.

The First Encounter – Cataclysm

Roles and Responsibilities

Gardener – The Gardener’s sole responsibility is to complete the chains. You’ll have two squad members to take up this role for the first encounter.

Add Clear – It’s up to the rest of the team to keep the gardens safe. The first encounter only has Psions and Tormentors which isn’t too hard to deal with, so you should be fine.

Starting the Encounter

The raid begins when a Gardener gains the Field of Light or Flux of Darkness buff by shooting the nodes. Their sole focus should be to grow the chain. If you’re a gardener, simply ignore the rest and keep doing what you’re supposed to do. If you’re not a gardener, protect them at all costs.

  • To complete the first encounter, you’ll have to finish a total of four sets of nodes, which equals a total of 4 cycles. Keep an eye on the Sweeping Terror timer at the bottom left part of the screen as you’ll have to complete the present cycle before it runs out.
  • Once the gardener gains a buff, the rest of the team proceeds to slay the Psions.
  • Killing the Psions will spawn adds, a Tormentor and a Barrier Champion.
  • Focus your efforts on the Tormentor as killing it adds an extra 30 seconds to the Sweeping Terror Timer.
  • The timer disappears once the Gardener has completed a chain, at which point the entire team can focus on defeating the Barrier Champion along with any remaining adds, and proceed to set up for the next cycle/chain.
  • You must complete four chains/cycles in order to finish the Cataclysm encounter.

The Second Encounter – Scission

Roles and Responsibilities

Gardener – Same as before. Your sole responsibility is to complete nodes.

Redolence Slayers – Get rid of shielded Redolence enemies. They are tricky to kill as there are two categories of Redolence enemies, one for light (Redolane of Splendor) and one for dark (Redolence of Decay). You must have the corresponding buff on you in order to kill these new enemies. In case you missed/lost it, wait for the Gardener to finish their run before you proceed to pick up the buff, as shooting the node prematurely will disrupt the nodes.

Add Clear – Focus on killing adds from the get go and keep the heat off the rest of your team.

Layout and Encounter Details

The second encounter is a bit different so here’s a simple explanation.

There are a total of 3 floors and each floor is divided into two sides with a cavern down the middle. Each side has 6 nodes (3 light and 3 dark). Here is a complete layout of all the nodes:

FloorLeft sideRight side
First FloorLight nodes – 2, 4, 6 Dark Nodes – 1, 3, 5Light Nodes – 1, 3, 5 Dark nodes – 2, 4, 6
Second FloorLight Nodes – 1, 3, 5 Dark nodes – 2, 4, 6Light nodes – 2, 4, 6 Dark Nodes – 1, 3, 5
Third FloorLight nodes – 2, 4, 6 Dark Nodes – 1, 3, 5Light Nodes – 1, 3, 5 Dark nodes – 2, 4, 6
  • Divide yourselves into two teams each containing three players. The light team activates the light nodes for both sides and the dark team does the same for the dark nodes on both sides.
  • As a gardener, you’ll have to continuously jump across the cavern in order to activate the nodes in a serial order. First, stand in the glowing aura and fire at the node to activate the 15-second buff. Now stand in front of the piston and fire at the shard. It will launch you to the other side where you’ll have to shoot at the other node to activate it and connect both nodes.

Note: Failing to connect to both nodes activates the Imminent Expulsion debuff that’ll wipe your team, forcing you to start over. However, connecting both networks get rid of the Imminent Expulsion timer immediately.

  • The trick here is coordination between the Gardener and the Redolence slayers. If you’re the Gardener, make the Redolence slayer inside when you’re activating the node. Otherwise, they will be stuck without buff and will not be able to kill the Redolence of Decay and Splendor which in turn puts more pressure on you. They cannot take the buff themselves because it will disrupt the node, so they have no choice but to wait for you.

Note: You can also use the Strand Shackle Grenades to suspend the Redolence of Decay and Splendor enemies. Although, this saves you the trouble of fighting them all together, using the grenades makes the raid much less challenging. So, if you’re making good time, we suggest, you fight them in the ‘old-fashioned way’ just to keep things interesting.

  • Once all the nodes are activated, everyone can focus on taking down the remaining shielded enemies.

Jumping Puzzle

After completing the second encounter, as you’re progressing towards the third, you’ll come across a platforming sequence. It’s actually a jumping puzzle but with a twist. The puzzle also has the wipe mechanic that you encountered before in the first two encounters, making it a bit more challenging than usual. Here is a walkthrough to help you out.

Once you come across the Field of Light area obtain the buff by shooting it.

  • Now descend to the Dark Zone and while the buff is active, fire at it. This creates the Darkness’ Refuge pool that’ll protect (immunity timer) you from the wipe mechanic, which is activated every 45 seconds and shoots out in all directions. Any of your teammates without the Refuge buff from the Darkness’ Refuge will be annihilated.
  • Now this is where it gets a bit tricky. What lies ahead is a set of Light and Dark zones. The goal here is to coordinate among yourselves so that you can avoid the wipe and also safely jump in between the zones.

Note: The immunity timer starts to count down when the wipe mechanic shoots out or if you leave the pool early. In the case of the latter, the timer will end after 15 seconds.

  • Once you reach the halfway point of the puzzle, you’ll come across a large room. It’s full of Cabal enemies. Keep going forward after defeating them. Finally, in the end, there’s a door that opens once your whole team reaches the Refuge.


While you’re doing the jumping puzzle, you can also unlock the Deepsight Resonance Puzzle #2 and the Secret Chest #2.

Deepsight Resonance Puzzle #2 – Once you reach the launchpad that leads to the Cabal, instead of using it, turn around. You’ll see a floating building. After entering it, you’ll spot a node. Connect with it and you’ll get a Deepsight Resonance weapon once the raid is finished.

Secret Chest #2 – After defeating the Cabal you’ll come across a door that leads to a massive arena. Before exiting it, head left and you should notice a Darkness node beneath you. Firing at it opens a new door at the rear of the arena that houses this secret chest.

The Third Encounter – Macrocosm

In the third encounter, you take up the role of Galactus, only in this case, instead of devouring the planets, you’ll be moving them to achieve your goal. This is a special mechanic that’s unique to only the third encounter of the Lightfall expansion and does not appear anywhere else throughout the game. Let’s begin!

Roles and Responsibilities

Add Clear – The only dedicated role here is that of the add clearer who is responsible to kill adds. Like before, all players will divide themselves into teams. One player per plate (two from each team), managing three planets each. The remaining two are for clearing adds.

Starting the Encounter

There are a total of 12 planets, 6 towards the left, and 6 towards the right, and each is split into a cluster of 3 planets. Every team member (other than the slayers) will be responsible for one of these clusters. The goal here is to get the Planetary Insight buff by killing the Terrestrial Lieutenants and use it to align the matching planets. This is possibly the hardest of the three encounters.

First, kill the Solar shielded Chieftains that spawn in the middle. Once they’re down, a Terrestrial Lieutenant spawns, and killing them grants the Planetary Insight buff.

  • The player with the buff will be able to see the color of the planets on their side. Except for two, the rest of the planets on the left all glow white. Similarly, except for two, the rest of the planets on the right side all glow orange and black. Your job is to point out the mismatching planets at which point the other player on your team moves them into proper position.
  • The planet movers approach the called-out planets and pick up the orb under each of them. This grants them the Planetary Shift buff. The goal is to carry the orbs into the right positions. For instance, if you spot Plant R2 and L3 to be in incorrect positions, you’ll have to take the orb under R2 to L3 and bring back the orb from under L3 to R2.
  • After you’re done rearranging the orbs, the planets relocate to their original positions. If the positions turn out to be incorrect, then the planets will revert back to the original locations.
  • Once everything is in order, a set of Chieftains will spawn. Killing them once again will spawn the Terrestrial Lieutenants grants the Planetary Insight buff. However, this time, you’ll have to focus in the middle of the room instead of the sides.

Note that only the players who kill the Lieutenants will receive the buff.

  • The middle section consists of 3 planets. Two of the three planets will be dark and one will be glowing, or vice versa. You’ll have to move the planets in the right locations. Simply out, move the dark side planets to the middle and left plates and move a light side planet to the right.
  • Once you’re done arranging, fire at the crux to begin the DPS phase which is a boss fight. This isn’t your usual boss fight as you’ll soon find out. There are three mini-phases to the fight and during every phase, the boss either has a dark or a light shield. In order to inflict damage to the boss you’ll have to step on a plate that matches the boss’s shield. If the boss has a dark shield go over to the middle and left plates and in case of light shield head to the right plate.
  • After completing the three mini-phases head over to the planet moving plates once again and repeat the cycle.

The Fourth Encounter – Defeating Nezarec

Since this is the final boss, from creating chains to taunting the boos, there is a lot of work to go around here. So without further ado, let’s begin.

Roles and Responsibilities

Gardeners – In addition to completing the chains, your responsibility as a Gardener in the third encounter is to prevent the wipe mechanic of Nezarec from being executed by creating a safe zone for the rest of the team.

Tanks – As a tank your role is to aggro Nezarec by obtaining the Nezarec’s Hatred debuff.

Add Clear – Pave the way for the Gardeners and Tanks.

Also like before, create two teams with three members each (one of each role as mentioned above).

Starting the Raid

The tanks begin the raid by shooting Nezarec in the chest and obtaining the Hatred debuff. They then proceed to shoot him in the shoulders, which should pop with blasts of massive amounts of energy. Notice the color of the blast. Based on whether it’s orange or white, you’ll have to perform the following:

a. If it’s white then a safe haven has to be created around the finished node on the dark side,by the player responsible for the light side.

b. If it’s orange then a safe haven has to be created around the finished node on the light side,by the player responsible for the dark side.

The protected region shields you from the wipe and once it’s over you can continue working on the chain. You can also ask the tanks to fire at the other shoulder, just in case you need more time to finish up the chain.

  • As for tanks, you’ll have to fire Nezarec’s chest to obtain the Nezaec’s hatred debuff. Tanks from both teams have to grab the debuff alternatively. If the debuff timer is about to end on tank A then tank from team B has to fire at Nezarec’s chest for the debuff. You’ll have to keep juggling until the gardeners are done with the chains or the wipe mechanic has begun.
  • As add clear, your sole responsibility is to keep the others safe and let them do their jobs unhindered. At the beginning of each phase, the first wave of enemies will be three Colossus. They pack quite the punch and can affect your teamwork if not dealt with swiftly. Mow them down as soon as possible.
  • The DPS phase begins once the Gardeners complete both the chains. Regroup on the dark side node number 3 since it offers a decent high ground to mount all your attacks. Just empty everything in your arsenal and you’re good to go. No special mechanics are in place.

Best Weapons to take into the Root of Nightmares Raid

The bosses in the Root of Nightmares Raid are quite squishy. On the contrary, compared to the bosses, the adds pose a much tougher challenge, and heavy weapons like Rocket Launchers and Machine Guns are some of the efficient weapons when it comes to dealing with the enemy. With that in mind, here is a list of such weapons that are perfect for the raid, especially if you’re focusing on add clear.

IKELOS SMG, Calus Mini-Tool, FunnelwebIKELOS SMG – Voltshot Trait – Overcharges the weapon after killing a target causing the SMG to jolt on it’s next shot. Other preferable perks include Smallbore, Flared Magwell, Feeding Frenzy, and Rasputin’s Arsenal.     Calus Mini-Tool – Incandescent Trait – Spreads a scorch AOE around the defeated target. The DOT effect spreads to nearby enemies.   Funnelweb – Adrenaline Junkie – Grants the weapon bonus handling and damage after landing final blows.  
Osteo Striga, ForbearanceForbearance – High-Velocity Rounds – Provides reload damage and reload speed boost. Other preferable perks include Quick Launch, Ambitious Assassin, and Chain Reaction. (Not ideal for the second encounter and it’s better to use a tracer rifle).   Osteo Striga – Smallbore – Reduces recoil and increases the overall range. Other preferable perks include Accurized Rounds and Hand-Laid Stock. (Most effective when paired with Warlocks with Necrotic Grips).  
Le MonarqueLe Monarque – Volatile Rounds – Covers the target in void particle. If they take enough damage, the target will explode. Other preferable perks include Natural String, Compact Arrow Shaft, and Snapshot Sights.  
Izanagi’s BurdenOffers great synergy with rocket launchers with the Auto-loading holster perk. Other preferable perks include Chambered Compensator, Accurized Rounds, No Distractions, and Composite Stock.
Thunderlord, Hothead, Witherhoard, GjallarhornThunderlord – Exotic Catalyst – Lets you upgrade the weapon with either a new perk, more stat points, or sometimes, both. A list of preferable perks includes Polygonal Rifling, Armor-Piercing Rounds, Lightning Rounds, and Feeding Frenzy.   Hothead – Clown Cartridge – After reloading the perk grants somewhere between 10% to 50% increased magazine capacity. Other preferable perks included Vorpal Weapon, Ensemble, Black Powder, and Quick Launch.   Witherhoard – – Exotic Catalyst – Lets you upgrade the weapon with either a new perk, more stat points, or sometimes, both. A list of preferable perks includes Countermass, Black Powder, Break the Bank, and Composite Stock.   Gjallarhorn – Exotic Catalyst – For either more perks or stat points. Other preferable perks include Volatile Launch, Alloy Casing, Pack Hunter, and Short-Action Stock.   Note: Only one person needs to carry this weapon s that everyone else receives the damage boosts from the rockets.  
Legendary Machine Guns (Circular Logic, Commemoration, Retrofit Escapade, Unwavering Duty)Circular Logic – Smallbore, Flared Magwell, Feeding Frenzy, Hatchling, and Nanotech Tracer Rounds.   Commemoration – Under Pressure, Feeding Frenzy, Adaptive Frame, Arrowhead Brake, and Bray Inheritance.   Retrofit Escapade – Fourth Time’s the Charm, One for All, Rapid Fire Arms, Target Lock, Appended Mag and Ambush.   Unwavering Duty – Cascade Point, Offhand Duty, Adaptive Frame, Dynamic Sway Reduction, Arrowhead Brake, Ricochet Rounds, Tap the Trigger and Alacrity.

In case you prefer melee combat, then here is a list of Legendary Swords that are perfect for this raid along with their perks, especially the Scission encounter:

  1. Crown Splitter – Jagged Edge, Heavy Guard, Relentless Strikes, and Whirlwind Blade.
  1. Caretaker – Hungry Edge, Balanced Guard, Tireless Blade, Valiant Charge, Noble Deeds.
  1. Half Truths – Honed Edge, Balanced Guard, Eager Edge, and Thresh.
  1. Quickfang – Jagged Edge, Swordmaster’s Guard, Tireless Blade, and Assassin’s Blade.
  1. The Lament – Jagged Edge, Enduring Guard, Tireless Blade, and Revved Consumption.
  1. Throne Cleaver – Tempered Edge, Heavy Guard, Shattered Blade, and Counterattack.
  1. The Other half – Jagged Edge, Balanced Guard, Eager Edge, and Frenzy.
  1. Heartshadow – Jagged Edge, Burst Guard, and Shot in the Dark.
  1. Bequest – Hungry Edge, Balanced Guard, Killing Wind, and Assassin’s Blade.

Best Subclasses to take into the Root of Nightmares Raid

Contrary to popular belief, Arc’s debuffs aren’t as good as they used to be especially when compared to the CC capabilities of Strand and Stasis. With that in mind, Arc/Void Hunter and Solar/Stasis/Strand Warlock are best suited for the Root of Nightmare raid. Here is a detailed overview of all the preferred subclasses and their preferable encounters.

SubclassCataclysm & ScissionMacrocosm & Nezarec
HuntersArc, Strand, or Void with an add clear build.  Arc for debuffs or insane damage numbers.  
TitansAny subclass works for the first two, except Stasis.  Go for Solar Subreaker for the best defense.    
WarlocksArc, Stasis, Strand or Void works for a Warlock. If you’re running a solar Warlock, pick Starfire Protocol.    Use Solar to deal more damage to bosses or Starfire Protocol Warlock with Well of Radiance.  

Here is a detailed breakdown of all the best builds for Root of Nightmares.


Void Nightstalker

  • Stat Priorities – Mobility, Recovery, and Discipline.
  • Class Ability – Gambler’s Dodge.
  • Grenade – Vortex Grenade.
  • Super – Moebius Quiver.
  • Movement – Strafe Jump.
  • Melee – Snare Bomb.
  • Fragments – Echo of Cessation, Obscurity, Persistence, and Starvation.
  • Aspects – Stylish Executioner/Trapper’s Ambush, and Vanishing Step.
  • Preferred Exotic Armor – Gravitation Forfeit, Orpheus Rig, Wormhusk Crown, Omnioculus, and Gyrfalcon’s Hauberk.
  • Preferred Mods – Utility Kickstart, Reaping Wellmaker, and Harmonic Siphon.

Solar Sunbreaker

  • Stat Priorities – Resilience, and Discipline.
  • Class Ability – Towering Barricade.
  • Grenade – Tripmine, Solar or Firebolt Grenade.
  • Super – Hammer of Sol.
  • Movement – Strafe Lift.
  • Melee – Throwing Hammer.
  • Fragments – Ember of Ashes, Solace, Singeing, and Torches.
  • Aspects – Roaring Flames and Sol Invictus.
  • Preferred Exotic Armor – Synthoceps, Loreley Splendor Helm, and Heart of Inmost Light.
  • Preferred Mods – Font of Might, Melee Wellmaker, Classy Restoration, Utility Kickstart, and Well of Ordnance.

Solar Dawnblade

  • Stat Priorities – Recovery, Resilience, and Discipline.
  • Class Ability – Empowering Rift or Healing Rift based on your preferences.
  • Grenade – Fusion or Solar Grenades.
  • Super – Daybreak or Well of Radiance.
  • Movement – Burst Glide.
  • Melee – Incinerator Snap.
  • Fragments – Ember of Ashes, Mercy, Resolve, and Searing.
  • Aspects – Heat Rises/Icarus Dash and Touch of Flame.
  • Preferred Exotic Armor – Starfire Protocol and Sunbracers.
  • Preferred Mods – Ashes to Assets, Well of Life, Font of Might, Classy Restoration, Explosive Wellmaker or Elemental Ordnance, Grenade Kickstart, and Seeking Wells.

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