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Destiny 2: Forsaken Last Wish raid guide: Riven of a Thousand Voices

The longest Destiny fight you’ll ever do — until the next one, that is

Bungie/Activision via Polygon
Ryan Gilliam (he/him) has worked at Polygon for nearly seven years. He primarily spends his time writing guides for massively popular games like Diablo 4 & Destiny 2.

Riven of a Thousand Voices is the final boss of Destiny 2: Forsaken’s Last Wish raid, and she’s very difficult. But don’t worry, getting Riven down to a science is all part of the Last Wish experience. This guide will help you along that journey and hopefully save you a few hours of wiping.

Fireteam and Loadout

Your Fireteam for Riven will need to be far more strict than any fight before. This is a long, difficult fight, and your team will need to be extra coordinated.

Classes and subclasses

  • You should have at least one Well of Radiance Warlock. While the fight is doable without one, it’ll make your life a lot easier on the top floor.Additional Warlocks should run Dawnblade with Phoenix Dive. This is very powerful for add clear and will be nice when dealing with Solar shields.
  • Titans should all run top-tree Sunbreaker for add clear. Having one Code of the Commander Sentinel for energy regeneration could be helpful as well, but only necessary if you find yourself flush with Titans. If you can run an exotic, Hallowfire Heart is the way to go, and will provide you with a ton of extra grenades.
  • Hunters have two choices. Nightstalker with Tether can be helpful for the top floor, but only because it suppresses the enemies — the adds are too spread out to really be able to catch several at once. The other option is Blade Barrage. A talented Hunter should be able to use this Super to instantly clear several groups of enemies with one cast. For experienced players, we recommend using Blade Barrage above all else.


For your primary, you want a pulse rifle or possibly a scout. You want to stay far away from the enemies you’re engaging in this fight, so grab something with medium to long range.

Your secondary is going to be one of two extremes. Some players should run a shotgun, as it’ll be useful on the top floor and in the final heart chamber. This shotgun should preferably be Solar and should only be in the hands of players who are used to being very aggressive, so that they know their limits. The Ikelos shotgun is great here.

Most players should probably run with a secondary sniper rifle, which would also ideally be Solar. This’ll be very helpful for taking out Captains and Ogres. It’ll be a great way to preserve power ammo and still take out Riven’s eyes. The Ikelos sniper is also great here.

For power, there is no way around Whisper of the Worm or Sleeper Simulant — preferably the former. If you don’t have either of these guns, we would not recommend attempting Riven, unless you’re already over 580 power. Go get one and come back.

Phase 1: The amphitheaters

Here we go. The ultimate Destiny 2 battle.

To start the fight, you’ll need each of the players in your raid to take a plate. But first, familiarize yourself with this starting room. Behind the middle plates on each side, there is a large object. This denotes if the side is crystal side or tree side.

Separate your teams into two groups of three. Ideally, you should make sure that the power spread is even on both sides. Separate your highest light players if at all possible. Once all players are standing on a pad, the floor will drop out from under you, and you’ll begin floating into the abyss.

Here, in the middle of the room, you’ll see Riven — she’s a giant dragon (very difficult to miss). But as cool as she is, you don’t have time to stop and stare. Take a hard right and run with your group toward the door, follow the path, jump up onto the ledge, go through another hallway and into the first amphitheater room.

The first amphitheater room

Acquaint yourself with this room. You’ll be spending a lot of time here.

Assign players positions, with one staying on the right side of the room near the door, another standing in the middle of the room behind the pillar and panel — we’ll call this Observatory from now on — and another mirroring the right player on the left elevated area. All players should be facing the giant black curtain.

After a few moments, a wave of enemies will spawn in each room. Two Taken Hobgoblins will spawn on the left and two on the right. The right and left side players must kill these Hobgoblins immediately, and they should almost always take the highest priority if they’re alive. They’re deadly, especially at low light levels.

A large group of Taken Psions will appear in the middle of the room at the same time. The middle player should kill these quickly, with the right and left players helping out after their Hobgoblins are dead.

Once the first wave of adds have been killed, each side will have a different event take place. The order of who starts first (Riven or Captain) is random.

Riven first, Captain second

If Riven pops through the Taken curtain, you’ll know that your team is dealing with Riven first. Riven has two different attacks that she likes to use. You’ll need to avoid them and damage her after she whiffs.

If Riven is accompanied by giant tentacles, you’ll know she’s using her tentacle attack. A tentacle will appear on either side of her head, and shoot Axiom Bolts at players. Have one player run up and bait out the tentacle by standing under it for a few seconds.

Once the tentacle reels back, move to the side and have all players jump into the air before she slams. After the tentacle is implanted in the ground, attack it until Riven reels back or returns to the tentacle position. Keep going until you stagger Riven.

If Riven has no tentacles nearby, it means she’ll be breathing fire. Riven will point her head toward one of the players in the room, and vomit fire toward them. Have the player dodge while everyone else gets into a position to shoot into her mouth.

After Riven has finished her volley, her mouth will glow red, which means you can damage it. Deal enough damage between breaths to stagger Riven.

After Riven has been staggered from either of her attacks, her armor flap will open, revealing her eyes inside. Riven has 10 eyes set up in a specific pattern. Your team will need to learn callouts for this, or have a very nice chart like the one below to use.

We haven’t been able to determine the origin of this image, but we want to give credit to its creator. If you know where this came from, please let us know.

When Riven is staggered, two of her 10 eyes will be glowing. Take note of the two glowing eyes — literally, write down the two eyes that appear because your team will need to remember them — and communicate it to the other side.

For example, if you’re looking at Riven’s eyes in pairs of fives, you should read the eyes left to right. So regardless of height, the farthest left eye is L1, standing for “left eye, position one.” Once you count to L5, the next eye will be R1, for right eye, position one. The eye on the farthest right side of her head will be R5. The full callout will read out as something like “L4R2,” depending on the eyes that glow.

Note that if you don’t do enough damage to Riven to stagger her, she’ll eventually retreat without revealing her glowing eyes. This’ll almost certainly result in a wipe, unless your team has the luckiest guess in the world.

Once you’ve told the other side which of Riven’s eyes are glowing, another wave of enemies will spawn. Clear them out the same way you did the first. But this time, an Eye of Riven — who we’ll call Captain from now on — will spawn toward the back of the amphitheater.

Killing this Captain will spawn a Taken buff — which we’ll call the Nut. One member of the Riven first side will need to pick up the Nut and gain the Taken buff. We’ll continue with what to do next after we explain what happens if you get Riven second.

Captain first, Riven second

If a second wave of enemies spawns after the first — and a giant dragon doesn’t invade your space — you’ll know that you have Captain first. Clear your waves of enemies, but leave the Captain alive for a few moments. Avoid its attacks and wait for the other room to call out Riven’s eyes.

Once you know which of Riven’s eyes are glowing, kill the Captain and move toward the back of the room. The middle player should get off the floor so they don’t get beaten down by Taken Psions.

After a few seconds, Riven’ll pop her head through the curtain. Her mouth will open and a Taken ball of death will be sitting inside her mouth. Use your Whisper of the Worm or Sleeper Simulant to fire into her mouth to deal some damage. (Don’t get greedy. After about nine Whisper shots or six seconds, you should stop.)

After you shoot Riven’s mouth, you’ll need to locate the eyes your teammates called out to you. While the eyes won’t look like they’re glowing to you, you’ll need to trust your team’s callouts. Coordinate with your team and shoot those two eyes until they pop. If you wait too long to do this, you’ll wipe. If you shoot the wrong eye, you’ll wipe. You must be perfect here, as this is the most important mechanic in this entire fight.

Once Riven’s eyes have popped, she’ll reel back and be staggered. The Nut should still be sitting on the ground, and you’ll have time to spare before the buff expires. Choose one player to pick up the buff, and prepare to cleanse the lifts.

Cleansing the lift

After Riven has been defeated on both sides, have one player on each side pick up the Nut. Jump up onto the pillar in the back of the room and look through the Observatory glass into the amphitheater.

The odd player out will spend this first phase clearing enemies for everyone else.

Once everyone is in position, the Nut holder will need to look toward the Observatory. Here, they’ll see one of the many vault symbols in a line — it’s very difficult to miss. This is where the Observatory finally comes into play. While looking through the glass, you’ll see many different symbols spread out around the amphitheater — specifically around the steps and the center platform.

Bungie/Activision via Polygon

Locate the symbol that the Nut player called. Once you’ve found it, direct the Nut holder to the called symbol. This’ll take some time, but you’ll eventually find a language that works for both of you, such as “farthest up stairs,” or “middle plate right.”

As the Nut holder, you’ll see cylinders around the room as you get close to them. These represent the symbols around the room — although you’ll only be able to see that you’re in a position. Once your Observatory player has confirmed that you’re in the correct location, orient yourself fully inside the symbol and hit your grenade button. You’ll know you did this correctly because you won’t be dead.

Have all players run out to the hallway behind the Observatory and into the newly awoken lift.

Amphitheater, part 2

Now that you’re on the second floor, you’ll need to do the exact same thing again — only in reverse. If you had Riven first on the first floor, you’ll have her second on the second floor, and vice versa.

Once it comes time to cleanse, the non-Observatory players will also need to swap roles. If you were add clearing last time, you’ll be using the Nut this time. The Observatory player can stay the same.

After you’ve staggered Riven, called the eyes, dealt some damage, popped the eyes, picked up the Nut and cleansed the lift, you’ll jump into the center of the room to be carried back to the very start of the fight.

Phase 2: The Ogre room

Both teams will pop out of the the lifts and into the starting room — which we’ll be calling Ogre room from now on. All players should run to the center of the room and prepare for a fight. This is where things get hectic.

First, a group of enemies will spawn: Taken Ogres surrounded by Taken Goblins. These Goblins have the very annoying ability to shield the Ogres from all damage, and you should almost always kill them first. This is but a taste of this first phase, setting you up for the future.

For this entire room, it’s best to choreograph your Supers. One player should kill the first wave, then another on the second, and so on. You’ll get a feel for it as you go along, but try coordinating from the very start.

Once the first wave of enemies has been defeated, Riven will pop out of the Taken curtain to the right of the tree. Two Ogres and a heap of Goblins will spawn with her. Your team will need to multitask here and focus on both clearing the Ogres out and staggering Riven. This is why coordinating wave clear Supers is so powerful.

All the while, the boss will be up to her old antics again, trying to either breathe fire on you or slap you to death with her tentacles. You’ll need to stagger her just as you did before, baiting out her tentacles or shooting her red mouth. Once you stagger her, she’ll reveal two eyes and leave.

Things are about to get complicated, and you’ll absolutely need some kind of super memory or pen and paper going forward. This entire process will repeat two more times, meaning Riven will reveal six eyes to shoot and six eyes to remember.

The fourth wave of Ogres will spawn when Riven pops her head out with the Taken ball in her mouth — just like she did in the amphitheater. This starts the light damage phase, as well as the phase where you must shoot Riven’s eyes.

The light damage phase

Assign individual players to each of the six called eyes before the damage phase begins. Our team adopted a buddy system to ensure that the eyes were all correctly popped at the end of the phase, even if someone missed or somehow messed up.

For this sections, our assignments worked like this:

  • The first two eyes called went to Player 1 and Player 2.
  • The second two eyes called went to Player 3 and Player 4.
  • The third set of eyes called both went to Player 5 because Player 6 was responsible for killing two Ogres by themselves.

Here’s a hypothetical example of the callouts:

  • “L4R2” — Player 1 shoots L4, Player 2 shoots R2. They are ready to shoot their buddy’s eye as well in case of emergency.
  • “R3R5” — Player 3 shoots R3, Player 4 shoots R5. They are ready to shoot their buddy’s eye as well in case of emergency.
  • “L1L2” — Player 5 shoots both L1 and L2. All players make these two eyes their third priority, making sure both get popped in case Player 5 has an emergency.
  • Player 6 pops their Super as soon as the Ogres spawn to kill them.

Once the fourth wave starts and players enter the damage phase, a few things should happen. First, Well of Radiance should go down in the center immediately. Next, two tall Titan barricades should go up on both the left and the right side of the player group — if no Titans are available, the entire team should try and quickly focus on the left Ogre, which’ll cause them to lose damage on Riven. The wave clear player should be ready to start killing everything in the room — or at the very least distract them.

After everyone is in place, start shooting Riven in the mouth. You’ll need to get a feel for the timing to this section, as you only have a few shots to get in before Riven will start to kill everyone. After about five seconds, call out that everyone needs to shoot their eyes. This has to be done in very quick succession.

If anything goes wrong on this eye shot, Riven will kill everyone instantly. But if you pop all six eyes, the next phase of the fight begins. Help your wave clear player by killing the remaining enemies in the room before moving on.

This is the hardest part of the fight, and you’ll almost certainly die many times because of missed eyes, wrong eyes or, in rare cases, bugged eyes. It can be frustrating, but once your team starts covering for each other consistently, you’ll get through it.

Phase 3: Popping her cysts

After Riven’s eyes have been popped, you’ll have a moment to compose yourself. Take only a few seconds to collect some ammo and some orbs, and keep an eye on your Creeping Darkness stacks on the left side of your screen. If they reach 10, you’ll die. To reset the stacks, you’ll need to step on a plate — even if it isn’t your own. It’s very easy to avoid: Just don’t stand around collecting things too long or get too greedy.

Once everyone is ready, return to the plate that you started the fight on.

You’ll find yourself falling around Riven again, but this time she’ll be moving around and you’ll be falling much slower. You’ll see some gross, glowing sores all around her body. Use your primary weapon to shoot these cysts until they pop.

This’ll deal massive damage to Riven, and will likely be the bulk of low light player’s damage to the boss. But be careful, as Axiom Bolts come out of her cysts to chase you down. At low light levels, these will instantly kill players. As you get higher up, they becomes far less dangerous.

Balance shooting cysts and shooting Axiom Bolts as you fall down the pit. You can also move around while in midair, which is very helpful for evading Axiom Bolts. Once you reach the bottom of the pit, take a right and start running to your room.

Note: If anyone dies in this phase, they’ll be placed in a door threshold for the resurrection. This can be a real pain, as you may end up with four players on one side and two on the other. It seems to be luck as far as we can tell. If a player dies, be prepared to call an audible, locate the location of their Ghost, and send one of your players to the other side, as needed.

Phase 4: The repeat

Once you’ve popped Riven’s cysts and dealt some real damage to the beast, you’ll find yourself at the bottom of the encounter room again. Run into the amphitheaters and start the entire fight over.

Once you make it through the Ogre room again and pop Riven’s eyes for a second time, you’ll be able to drop down and pop cysts again. After Riven’s health hits the small notch on the left side of the screen, she’ll teleport you into the first of three last stands.

Note: It’s possible to lower Riven’s health to zero before the second cyst stage. If that happens, Riven will stagger without her eyes and she’ll teleport everyone into the Ascendant realm. If your damage is low, it could also take more than two phases to reach Riven’s first last stand.

Phase 5: The last stands

Riven has not one, not two, but three last stand phases. All of them are pretty easy to overcome, but they will absolutely ruin your pull if you aren’t ready for them.

Ascendant Realm

Bungie/Activision via Polygon

When you first drop Riven’s health to the final notch, she’ll teleport you inside the Ascendant realm. This is a jumping puzzle, and your health will not regenerate while you’re in here.

When your group first gets teleported in, have a Warlock drop a healing rift at their feet. Group up on the rift to gain an overshield before moving on.

Your team can move slowly but will still need to move with purpose. There is a hidden timer that’ll wipe you if you stay inside the darkness too long. Keep moving, but you’ll need to stop and deal with Taken Phalanx along the way. Kill them first and then jump forward. Otherwise, you’ll get booped off into space.

Run forward, jump up the platforms, turn left and jump onto a dark ledge. Turn left again and you’ll find more Phalanx above you. Kill them, jump to their platform, turn around, and proceed up until you land on the ring. From here, you can see the Taken Strength in the distance. Run the rest of the gambit, kill the Phalanx, and jump into the orb to proceed.

Damage check

Bungie/Activision via Polygon

Once you’re back in the Ogre room, Riven will enter her second last stand. She’ll open her mouth again and reveal her critical spot. Revive any dead players and shoot her in the mouth with everything you have — Whisper of the Worm is perfect here, as you may expect. Burn her tiny health bar all the way to zero, and the boss will die.

Don’t stop now!

Bungie/Activision via Polygon

But wait! Once Riven’s death animation finishes, you’ll get a long notice on the left side of your screen, basically saying that Riven’s heart wishes for your death. Run into her now-open mouth — seriously — and rush her heart. While you run, your health will be ticking down constantly. After you’ve reached the heart, use whatever you have left to lay into it.

Once Riven’s heart explodes, you’ll receive a key. Congratulations, you just beat Riven! But you have one final run to complete before you can claim your chest and get a shot at the raid exclusive 1000 Voices exotic.

Time to cleanse Riven’s heart for good.