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Destiny 2: Festival of the Lost 2020 guide

How to get Decoder Ciphers to earn the new Exotic ship, Sparrow, and Ghost

Destiny 2 - tree in the Tower during Festival of the Lost 2018 Image: Bungie
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.

It’s October, and while there’s no Destiny 2: Beyond Light until next month, Bungie launched the Festival of the Lost Halloween event inside Destiny 2 on Oct. 6. Like every year, the Festival of the Lost is a free event for all players.

The 2020 Festival of the Lost sees the return of the Haunted Forest for the third year in a row, but there are now some non-Eververse cosmetics to pick up from space-grandma and long-time holiday NPC, Eva Levante.

Here’s how to unlock the new cosmetics and earn Cipher Decoders in Destiny 2.

How to earn Cipher Decoders, and the Festival of Masks quest

Destiny 2 Festival of the Lost 2020 Cipher Decoders
You’ll need to pick up as many of these Cipher Decoders as you can during Festival of the Lost
Image: Bungie via Polygon

When you first talk to Eva Levante, you’ll unlock the Haunted Forest as usual. But Eva won’t send you in just yet. Instead, she’ll ask you to visit Spider in the Tangled Shore. He’ll teach you all about Cipher Decoders, the most important resource during this Festival of the Lost.

To complete the quest, you’ll need to complete a Strike, Gambit, or Crucible match in-game to pick up a Cipher Decoder and then use it to open an additional chest at the end of the Haunted Forest. We got our Cipher Decoder on our first try after a Crucible match, leading us to believe it’s guaranteed during the quest. But once you report back to Eva after using your Cipher Decoder, things get a bit more complex.

To get all the rewards during the Festival, you’re going to need 45 Cipher Decoders. But, unfortunately, they aren’t guaranteed every time you complete a Gambit or Crucible match or a Strike. They can come from other activities. We’ve been able to confirm one dropping from The Menagerie, and we’ve seen reports of them dropping from Nightmare Hunts, which leads us to believe most other activities will drop a Cipher Decoder. They seem to have a lower than 50% drop-rate.

If you’re looking to farm these, the best course of action seems to be: complete any activity in Destiny 2.

Note that they can cap out in your inventory, so make sure to run the Haunted Forest periodically and use them up.

How to earn the Restless Shell, Tomb Rider Sparrow, and Wrap Speed ship

Destiny 2 Festival of the Lost cosmetic items
The Restless Shell is one of three cosmetic Exotics this Festival of the Lost
Image: Bungie via Polygon

This Festival of the Lost, you can pick up three, mummy-themed Exotic cosmetics from Eva Levante. You can buy the Restless Shell Ghost Shell, Tomb Rider Sparrow, and Wrap Speed ship with the Candy currency, but you’ll need to unlock some Triumphs first.

You’ll get Candy from everything you do during Festival of the Lost, so it won’t be your primary concern. Instead, you’ll need to worry about earning the Cache Grab, Cache Cow, and Cache Galore Triumphs. Each of these Triumphs involve opening up a set amount of chests at the end of Haunted Forest runs using Cipher Decoders (there are five Cipher Decoder chests each run).

  • Cache Grab (Ghost Shell). Open 15 Haunted Forest caches with Cipher Decoders.
  • Cache Cow (Sparrow). Open 30 Haunted Forest caches with Cipher Decoders.
  • Cache Galore (ship). Open 45 Haunted Forest caches with Cipher Decoders.

To complete all these Triumphs you’ll need to run nine Haunted Forests, each with five Cipher Decoders in your inventory. Effectively, you’ll spend a few hours playing Destiny 2’s normal activities, dive into the Haunted Forest to cache in your Cipher Decoders, and repeat the process.

Once you’ve unlocked the Triumphs, you can purchase their respective items from Eva.

You have until Nov. 3 to complete these Triumphs and purchase your new cosmetics.

The next level of puzzles.

Take a break from your day by playing a puzzle or two! We’ve got SpellTower, Typeshift, crosswords, and more.