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How to unlock high-tier Nightmare Dungeons in Diablo 4

Use Nightmare Sigils for a high-level endgame challenge

A Barbarian stands in an immunity bubble after a Nightmare Dungeon in Diablo 4 Image: Blizzard Entertainment 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.

Nightmare Dungeons are the biggest endgame feature in Diablo 4. Once you finish up your Renown farm and really start pushing your character to the level cap of level 100, it’s where you’ll spend the bulk of your time. But you’ll only be able to access these scaling Nightmare Dungeons with Nightmare Sigils, which you can craft all the way up to Tier 100.

In this Diablo 4 guide, we’ll teach you how to push your character into higher tier Nightmare Dungeons by unlocking the Nightmare Sigil crafting system.

What are Nightmare Dungeons and how do they work?

A Barbarian looks at their collection of Nightmare Sigils in Diablo 4, hovering over a Tier 28 Sigil for the Champion’s Demise dungeon Image: Blizzard Entertainment via Polygon

Nightmare Dungeons — the endgame activity with the longest tail in Diablo 4, essentially hyper-difficult versions of the dungeons that already exist in-game — are only accessible via the consumable Nightmare Sigils in Diablo 4. On completion, Nightmare Dungeons award loot and give you an opportunity to level up your Glyphs, which are crucial for improving your Paragon boards.

Nightmare Dungeons (and their corresponding sigils) come in tiers, starting at Tier 1 and scaling past Tier 100. Each have unique “affixes” that can significantly alter the difficulty of the Nightmare Dungeon. For example, one affix for a dungeon may cause lightning to strike you every few seconds, requiring you to seek shelter in an immunity bubble that occasionally spawns. Another affix causes a giant stone pillar to follow you around. If you get too close to the pillar, it will explode, dealing massive amounts of damage to and any other players nearby.

To activate a Nightmare Dungeon, go to your consumables menu and select one of the Nightmare Sigils in your inventory. This will consume the Sigil and transform the dungeon into a Nightmare Dungeon with the specifications detailed on the Sigil you used. Note that you can only have one Nightmare Dungeon up at once, and consuming another Sigil will shut down the currently active Nightmare.

With the Nightmare Dungeon active, you then have to physically make your way to that dungeon in order to enter it.

How do you reach high-level Nightmare Dungeons?

A Barbarian seeks to craft a Nightmare Sigil between Tier 21-25 in Diablo 4 Image: Blizzard Entertainment via Polygon

Conquering early Nightmare Dungeons and using Nightmare Sigils can be quite simple. But reaching higher levels? That’s a bit more complex and obnoxious.

You’ll get your first Nightmare Sigil from completing 10 Grim Favors from the Tree of Whispers — which you’ll gain access to immediately after finishing Diablo 4’s campaign. These early Nightmare Sigils will only be Tier 1. But in order to unlock the ability to craft high-level Nightmare Sigils, you need to first complete a Tier 3 Nightmare Dungeon (or higher).

How to get a Tier 3 Nightmare Sigil

So how do you get a Tier 3 Nightmare Sigil so you can complete a Tier 3 Nightmare Dungeon? There are three options.

  1. First, you can get lucky. Tier 2 Nightmare Sigils can drop in a Tier 1 Nightmare Dungeon, and Tier 3s can drop in a Tier 2 Nightmare Dungeon. However, this grind can be pretty time consuming, and isn’t the recommended way to find a Tier 3 Sigil.
  2. The second option is probably the best for most players. Ignore Nightmare Dungeons entirely in World Tier 3 — outside of any gear runs — and focus on getting to World Tier 4 as fast as possible. Once you’re on Torment difficulty, get a cache from the Tree of Whispers and you’ll have a chance at finding a Tier 21+ Nightmare Sigil. Complete that Sigil’s corresponding dungeon and you’ll unlock the crafting quest.
  3. The third and final option only works if you have high-level friends, but it’s easily the fastest option. Join a friend who already has Nightmare Sigil crafting unlocked and help them complete a Tier 3+ Nightmare Dungeon. Even if it’s not your Sigil that was used, you’ll still unlock the crafting quest.

How to use Nightmare Sigil crafting to reach higher Nightmare Dungeons

A Barbarian seeks to salvage some Nightmare Sigils in their inventory for Sigil Dust in Diablo 4 Image: Blizzard Entertainment via Polygon

Once you’ve unlocked Nightmare Sigil crafting, you’ll have two new options at the Occultist: Craft Sigils and Salvage Sigils.

Let’s start with Salvage Sigils, as it’s the simplest. This works just like salvaging gear at the Blacksmith, but it’s only for Nightmare Sigils that you don’t want. Salvaging Sigils will turn them into Sigil Powder, which you’ll need for crafting.

The Craft Sigils menu looks very complex, but is actually one of the simpler crafting systems in the game. You’ll be able to craft Sacred Nightmare Sigils up to Tier 20 and then Ancestral Sigils up to Tier 100. The best way to think about this is that Sacred Sigils are for World Tier 3 players and Ancestral Sigils are for the wide range of World Tier 4 players.

Each Tier of Sigil creates a more powerful Nightmare Dungeon (which gives more Glyph XP and better rewards upon completion) and also costs more Sigil Powder to craft.

If you need more Sigil Powder, your best bet is to run Nightmare Dungeons. Nightmare Sigils can drop in Nightmare Dungeons, and will have a similar tier level to the dungeon you found them in. If you somehow run out of Nightmare Sigils, you can get more by completing Grim Favors for the Tree of Whispers.

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