After completing all of Calus’ challenges in Destiny 2’s Leviathan Raid, you’ll find yourself on the big, goopy purple ramp up to Emperor Calus’ throne room. Have your entire Fireteam press their noses up against the door and watch the quick cutscene play.
Once inside the throne room, take a second to familiarize yourself with the environment:
- The room is sloped, with its lowest point around where you spawn and its highest points where Calus’ lounging above a raised platform.
- Around the center of the room, there are four plates, each with the familiar markings from the other encounter: hound and sun on the right, axes and cup on the left.
- If you are a veteran Destiny player, you will also notice spawn doors for enemies at each of the highest points on the left and ride side of the arena and one right under Calus’ podium.
This is a multi-phase fight, so we’ll take it one step at a time. This fight is very difficult and will take time to grasp. Similar to other final raid encounters, like Oryx in King’s Fall raid, Calus requires coordination from six people.
When you are ready to fight the boss, shoot the goblet out of Calus’ hand.
Equip an auto rifle. Shooting is something you will be doing a lot. You need something consistent, fast firing, reliable and with high damage. You can find all of these things in auto rifles like Ghost Primus, Scathelock and Origin Story.
Also auto rifles. All the above applies, and with the scarcity of ammo in this fight, you will need all the ammo you can get. The Prosecuter, The Number and Uriel’s Gift are all excellent Energy autos.
For Power weapons, you want anything that can deal high damage from a distance. This includes rocket launchers, fusion rifles and sniper rifles. Sins of the Past is incredible with its cluster bombs and automatic reloading. Merciless is also great if you use it on the front two plates closest to Calus.
Titans should use Actium War Rig for the automatic auto rifle reloading, Warlocks should use Helm of Tempest for increased Arc ability regeneration or Lunafaction Boots for the instant reloads and Hunters should use Celestial Nighthawk for the extreme boss damage against Calus.
Phase 1: Everyone
When Calus stands up, a legion of Cabal will erupt in waves from the three doors. The first several enemies will be Legionaries, Psions, Phalanxes and War Hounds. Once enough of them have come through, a very powerful Cabal major will enter the arena. (This powerful Cabal will change type each wave but will remain powerful). Have one or two of your teammates use a roaming Super to defeat as many of the powerful Cabal as possible.
Calus will also be shooting a giant laser beam at a random raid player. If he’s shooting you, hide behind one of the many barriers and shoot enemies from there.
Once the room is clear, run around and grab ammo. After a few moments of silence, Calus will clap his hands, teleporting you and your entire Fireteam to a Shadow Realm. The Fireteam will now be on some kind of horribly jagged slide, and at the end there is a giant, spiritual version of Calus’ head.
This is when you will split your team in half:
- Punchers will return to the real world and fight Cabal
- Readers will stay in the spirit realm and fight Calus’ giant head
Phase 2: Punchers in the throne room
Within the dark realm, Puncher should run forward, jump over the low barrier and grab one of the three teleportation orbs. This orb will send you back to the throne room. Assuming the other two Punchers made it to their designated orbs, there should now be three of you back where you started.
Punching War Councilors
Similar to running as a Shooter in the Gauntlet, Punchers must defend themselves from enemies while also communicating with their counterparts in the Spirit Realm. You’ll be fighting the same Cabal waves as before, but there are only three of you. Additionally, four War Councilors, each with their own symbol above their head, will spawn on the four plates. This is where communications with your teammates in the Spirit Realm becomes important.
Each of the three Spirit Realm dwellers will see a different symbol displayed on Calus’ head. They will individually call out the symbols that they see. One of the Punchers will then take a break from fighting Cabal to punch the Psion on the plate with only symbol your teammates didn’t call out. For example, if Readers call “axe, cup, hound,” someone will punch sun. This will kill them and allow your Spirit Realm Readers to progress.
Do this three more times to enter the next phase of the fight.
Destroying Calus’ shield
Eventually, once the Readers have reached their end, Calus will begin channeling a giant ball of energy above his head. This will slowly deal damage to all those in the throne room. While he is doing this, he is covered in a glowing shield. The Punchers need to join forces and shoot Calus until his shield pops. Use a Healing Rift. Stand inside it.
If your team is very high power, you can do this rather quickly. However, for reasons we’ll explain shortly, you want this burn phase to go on for as long as possible without dying. Once he drops his orb, the Readers in the dark world will rejoin you, and it will be time to damage the boss.
Phase 2: Readers in the Spirit Realm
Readers in the Spirit Realm have a pretty simple job: crouch and hold back. After a few moments, ideally after the Punchers have left, Calus’ giant head will begin sucking air into his mouth, pulling all the Readers to their deaths. However, there is a little purple bump on the ground. This will stop you from sliding forward and allow you to stay still.
Calling out symbols and sliding
While the purple bump will not exist forever, it will keep you relatively safe for the moment. As Calus begins sucking in air, watch the center of his forehead. For each of the three Readers, Calus’ head will show a different symbol. Select an order of Readers to call out their symbol and have each Reader call out what they see in order. This should be done as quickly as possible as it will help your Punchers determine who to punch.
Once the Punchers have defeated the correct War Councilor, another purple bump will spawn a little ways down the slide. After about 15 seconds of him sucking in air, the first purple bump will disappear and you will begin sliding toward him. As long as the Punchers have done their job (meaning that you have also done yours), the new purple bump will catch you and hold you in place again. Read out the symbols just like last time. Repeat this until you reach the end.
Psions and Psion Reflections
However, this section is far more complicated than that, because Readers have more to do than just read. After the symbols appear each time, a Psion Reflection will show up on the left and right side of the ramp. Kill these immediately. Otherwise, they will channel an ability that will wipe the raid instantly.
Starting when the second symbol shows, three real Psions will also spawn, equipped with nasty, purple grenades that can lift you into the air, causing Calus’ to suck you up.
The strategy for dealing with these Psions takes a lot of practice, and even when you get it down, it is still a struggle.
- Defeat the normal Psions as they spawn, as they can kill you instantly with their grenade.
- Once they are down or hiding, kill the left Psion Reflection first (because it spawns first) and then the right one. (These alternate spawn order every call, left then right, right then left).
- If done correctly, you should be able to take all five enemies out with one magazine each.
Staying alive while sliding
As if the enemies weren’t enough, the terrain itself is also trying to kill you. The first time through the Spirit Realm per encounter will have a relatively normal slide, aside from a few ramps here and there that will, of course, launch you into to Calus’ mouth.
However, the second time through and beyond, some of the stones will be removed, forcing you and your teammates to huddle up and shimmy as a unit. Movement is very difficult while sliding, so you must line yourself up before the barrier drops to ensure that you have smooth ground to ride on. If you have a ramp or hole in your way when you slide, the raid is likely over.
Once you slide four times and read four times you will be very close to Calus’ head. While there is no symbol this next time, the enemies still spawn. Get rid of the final Psions as quickly as possible and prepare to go skeet shooting. Calus’ will begin vomiting skulls (yes, really) toward you and your allies.
While this seems bad it is actually very good. For each skull that you kill, you will gain a stack of the Force of Will buff, which increases your damage against Calus drastically.
Keep killing for as long as you can, getting your stacks higher and higher. Once the Punchers lower Calus’ shield, he will stop vomiting in the Spirit Realm and a orb will spawn that can return you to the throne room. Grab the orb and head back.
Tips and tricks
Being the Reader takes a lot of practice and can be very frustrating at times. We ran into weird physics interactions when sliding, several of which appeared to be bugs. Bugs or not, the fight is winnable, so you need to make sure that you are perfect to mitigate any possible chance of weirdness.
Being a Reader means that sometimes things will go bad. You have to be OK with that just as your Punchers must be understanding of it.
We do have a few tips to make your time easier. First, as we said earlier, crouching makes sliding around while being pulled in far more manageable, so try to always be crouched. Pulling back can also save your life if you are hit with a Psion grenade and your Punchers mange to punch in time. The barrier can and will catch you. Finally, when shooting skulls, try dropping a Titan Rally Barricade, so that the Readers don’t need to reload. Using this tactic combined with our Readers prolonging the burn phase, we were able to reliably grab 70-plus stacks of Force of Will.
Phase 3: Everyone in the throne room
This is the part where you all kill the boss.
- Now that all of you are together again, group up and, as six, jump onto the left plate that is closest to center — the axes plate. Be sure that each member is standing on the plate and drop everything you have: Warlock Empowered Rifts, Titan Rally Barricades, anything and everything that will help increase your teams damage.
- As soon as your feet hit the plate, begin shooting Calus in the head. If you have enough damage you will stagger the boss, up to a maximum of two times per plate, which will increase the amount of time you can deal damage to him before he tries to kill you.
- Eventually, Calus will raise his fist into the air and cause flames to erupt around the plate you are standing on. As soon as you see his arm move, get off the plate and move to the cup plate instead. Continue damaging him and moving from cup to sun to hounds when he raises his arm.
- Once the bosses reaches two-thirds health, his skin will explode, revealing that Emperor Calus’ is a robot and creating a new critical spot on his chest. While this is all very cool, do not stop shooting him. In his robot phase, he will instead shoot you with a big gun when he wants you to leave.As soon as you see the laser sight target you, run to the next plate. When you have run out of plates, the fight will start over at Phase 1 and a new wave will begin.
- Once you get Calus’ health all the way down to nothing, the fight will have one final thing for you to do. Calus’ will give one final shot at trying to kill you. He will begin channeling a giant orb in his arms, like he did for the Punchers in the second phase This time, his shield is far bigger and if he completes the channel, he wipes your raid.
- Whale on him with everything you have, switching weapons rather than reloading and just trying to kill him. If you can pump enough bullets into him before his channel ends, Calus will fall, and you will have the opportunity to claim your reward.
You can attempt the damage phase up to four times per run, although we beat Calus in just two using our extended skulls strategy. Damaging Calus is also something that takes practice and requires a diverse loadout of weapons. The exotic fusion rifle Merciless was invaluable for us, as was the Celestial Nighthawk Golden Gun. Coldheart and high impact sniper rifles were also very helpful.
Before you enter the treasure chamber, walk up to Calus’ as he has a few choice words for you before he goes. We won’t spoil the treasure room for you here, as you now know everything you need to actually kill him.
Congratulations Guardian, you have destroyed Destiny 2’s greatest threat and claimed its sweetest loot. Time to come back and do it all again next week. Good luck.