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Destiny 2: Crown of Sorrow - Gahlran’s Deception boss (Third Encounter)

Take the big bather out of his bubble

Bungie via Polygon

Gahlran’s Deception is the first encounter in Crown of Sorrows that’s likely to trip up your Destiny 2 Fireteam. It’s a close-quarters boss fight that demands perfection. Players need to prove their mastery against Gahlran’s Deception before they take on Gahlran himself.

This guide will teach you how to remove the Deception’s shield and take it out.

Like all fights in Crown of Sorrow, Gahlran’s Deception relies heavily on the Witch’s Blessing and Witch’s Vessel mechanics. For a refresher on how those mechanics work, check out our Hive Ritual guide.


Bungie via Polygon

Gahlran’s Deception is an enemy-clearing fight. You need to kill a lot of Hive very quickly. But you also need to deal lot of boss damage in a short amount of time. The best loadout in this fight relies on The Mountaintop, a difficult to get PvP Pinnacle Weapon from Season 5. The second best strategy relies on Legendary swords.

We’re going to give you a few recommendations, so you can decide what your team has available to them.

Not everyone has PvP Pinnacle Weapons

Kinetic - Submachine gun (Huckleberry if you want an Exotic)

Energy - Fusion Rifle (Loaded Question or Main Ingredient)

Power - Stryker’s Sure-Hand (the Black Armory sword)

The entire team has PvP Pinnacle Weapons

Kinetic - The Mountaintop

Energy - The Recluse (or another energy submachine gun)

Power - Heavy grenade launcher (The Prospector if you want an Exotic, or the Iron Banner Legendary grenade launcher, Swarm of the Raven)

You have PvP Pinnacles, but the team wants to use swords

Kinetic - The Mountaintop

Energy - The Recluse

Power - Stryker’s Sure-Hand

This final loadout is what we’ve used to clear Gahlran’s Deception with new players in teaching runs or extra character runs. The Recluse and The Mountaintop chew through enemy waves, and leave you with full sword ammunition for the final fight.

Depending on if you’re using grenade launchers or swords, your strategy will change slightly. Read further down in our “Killing the boss” section to see how you need to adjust your play.

The clock phase

Bungie via Polygon

Before the fight starts, you’ll need to shoot Gahlran (he’s the big guy in the evil hat, can’t miss him). Before Gahlran leaves, he’ll summon a miniature version of himself called Gahlran’s Deception.

A Gahlran’s Deception now lives on the three corners of the triangle shaped arena. These are your three sections in this fight. If you’re looking from the door you just came in from the jumping puzzle, you can label the three sides as Right (where the dog statues are), Left (where the lake of purple nectar is), and Middle (where Gahlran was).

Each of the Gahlran’s Deceptions are sitting in an immunity bubble — just like the crystals in the jumping encounter. To get that shield off and kill the boss, you’ll need a Blessed and Normal player to punch the Deception from inside the shield.

Split up your team into your three two-player groups. Assign each group a home section, where they’ll play for the during of the fight.

Here’s the arena breakdown for the Gahlran’s Deception fight Polygon

When one player punches their Gahlran’s Deception, the fight will start. All of the Deceptions except one will disappear, and walls will come up separating the three sections of the arena.

The other two sides not trapped with Gahlran’s Deception will have two different jobs as well: one will get a Witch’s Blessing pool, and the other will get nothing — just normal waves of enemies.

Your Fireteam’s goal is to pass the Witch’s Blessing from section to section until you can lower the Deception’s shield.

At the start of the encounter, each team will get a role depending on if they have Witch’s Blessing, Gahlran’s Deception, or Nothing. The jobs are random and change after each damage phase, so read all three sections before moving on to damage.

All three of these teams are doing their jobs simultaneously.

Witch’s Blessing team

Bungie via Polygon

Starting with Witch’s Blessing means you and your partner need to stay as safe as possible — you have a lot of work to do before you activate the damage phase. If your buff player dies, the pool will re-appear in your area. But you’ll lose a lot of time, which is something you can’t afford.

Pick one player in the two-player squad to grab the buff. Like all the sides, enemies will spawn into the area. But for the Blessed player side, both Blessed and Normal enemies will spawn. Clear the three waves of enemies and the Ogre before you run out of Witch’s Blessing.

When all three sections’ Ogres are dead, a Witch’s Vessel will appear along to wall clockwise from where the Blessing started — to the right of the Blessed team. Both players from the Blessed side need to get in the purple circle of the Witch’s Vessel. When one of the players from the Nothing side is in the circle across the wall, attack the Vessel with both a Normal and Blessed player.

This will swap the polarization of you and your partner, and give the buff to one of the other players on the Nothing side. When the Vessel disappears, it’ll take the wall between the Nothing and Witch’s Blessing side with it.

Make sure each side has a Blessed and Normal player, even with the walls down. Clear another three waves of enemies and the Ogre. These enemies will also be both Blessed and Normal.

When all three Ogres are dead again, another Vessel will spawn clockwise from the Nothing side. Gather all four players from Witch’s Blessing and Nothing in the Vessel’s circle. One player from the Gahlran’s Deception team should also jump in the circle.

Activate the Witch’s Vessel to swap polarization between all the players inside. If you’ve done this right, you’ll have a Blessed and Normal player from each section team.

Nothing team

You’ll know you’re a member of the Nothing team when your Deception disappears at the start of the fight and the Witch’s Blessing isn’t in your section. Kill the enemies and the Ogre boss in your section.

When the first Ogre goes down, have one of your players turn counter-clockwise from your section to get ready for the Vessel. When all three players have taken down their Ogre, the Vessel will spawn. Attack the orb alongside the Witch’s Blessing team to get a Blessing in your section.

If you did this right, the Nothing section should have both a Blessed and Normal player. Clear the wave of enemies and the boss Ogre to spawn another Witch’s Vessel, clockwise from the Nothing section.

All four players from the Witch’s Blessing and Nothing teams need to gather in the Vessel’s aura. Make sure one player from the Deception team gets in before using the Witch’s Vessel.

Deception team

Stand on the pillars to get an aerial view like this
Bungie via Polygon

At lower Power, starting with Gahlran’s Deception is the most difficult job in this fight. You’ll need to clear three waves of enemies and an Ogre while Gahlran’s Deception is chasing you. At low Power, you’ll need good communication between players to make sure the Deception doesn’t sneak up and kill you in a single swing of its axe.

At higher light — around 725 and above — babysitting the Deception is one of the easier jobs. All you have to do is stand on the pillars next to you and kill enemies as they spawn. If you have to get down to heal or avoid the Ogre’s eye beam, the Deception can’t one shot anymore. The Deception side is basically a waiting game. As long as you stand on the pillars and clear your enemies quickly, you’ll be safe while you wait for your friends to rescue you.

Clear enemies, stay away from the Deception, wait for your allies. That’s all you need to do here.

When the wall comes down, and all three sections are open, it’s time to fight the boss.

If you take too long to lower the Deception’s shield, it’ll channel a spell and wipe the raid. You can pop its shield while it’s channeling to break the channel and open it open to damage.

Killing the boss

Bungie via Polygon

When the walls come down (or before, if the boss is already channeling), have one of the Blessed players move close to the boss’ shield, ready to melee. The other two Blessed player can’t deal damage to the boss while Blessed, and will lose their Blessing if they’re too close to the shield when it pops. It’s best for Blessed players who aren’t punching to stay back and kill the Blessed Thralls that spawn in the arena.

With the Blessed player ready to go, send them and all the Normal players in to punch the boss. You don’t have to have all the Normal players rush the boss, but we found it confused its melee attacks and made breaking the shield more consistent.

When you have hit the boss with both a Blessed and Normal melee, the shield will go down and it’ll cover its face. Now it’s time to start killing the boss. Drop a Well of Radiance as close to the boss as you can, and have all the Normal players attack the Deception with their swords. For the highest damage-per-second, use this sword combo: light attack, light attack, heavy attack, repeat.

Bungie via Polygon

By this time, another Blessed player should be standing near the boss. When the shield comes back up, the Blessed player should run in and punch the boss. As long as the Normal players are still hitting the Deception with swords, the shield will pop again and you’ll extend the damage phase. Repeat this process with the final Blessed player when the shield comes back again.

If you’re using The Mountaintop strategy, have a Normal player and a Blessed player run forward and punch Gahlran’s Deception like normal. But instead of rushing the boss with swords, stay back and use a Lunafaction Boots Warlock in a Well of Radiance to hit the boss with The Mountaintop shots as many times as you can. Keep popping the shield until you run out of ammo in your The Mountaintop and your heavy grenade launcher.

Ideally you’ll have done at least a third of its health before it retreats back to its starting position. All players should return to their home sections before starting the fight again. You’ll only get three full cycles to kill Gahlran’s Deception, so make sure you get as many shield breaks as you can in each damage phase.

When you’ve reduced Gahlran’s Deception’s health to zero, it’ll die and reward you with a powerful piece of loot.

Now it’s time to take on Gahlran himself.

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