Destiny 2's Nightfall is a special, ultra-hard version of a Strike, with a new challenge to face every week.

They're no easy feat, but have rewards can be well worth the effort, and that's leaving the sheer sense of satisfaction aside.

They've changed a little post-release - now focusing on Nightfall scoring instead of time and other modifiers - and here we'll be explaining how to unlock Nightfalls and get Challenge Cards.

On this page:

What are Nightfalls and Nightfall Scoring?

Nightfalls are essentially a hardcore version of a specific Strike that changes upon each weekly reset.

Each week, a new Strike from the roster will be picked out to be the Nightfall for the next seven days, adding considerably tougher versions enemies and a greater number of high-ranking foes like Captains and shielded enemies, too.

From February 2018, Nightfalls changed from being timed encounters to scored encounters. This means that players can beat the Nightfall at their own pace, but for those who can complete it at speed, they can earn additional rewards.

scoring

Scoring works in the following ways:

  • Scoring is team-based, adding together each players' score for a unified total.
  • Scores come from kills and using Supers. Though precision doesn't matter, the types of enemies do - harder foes give you more score.
  • The value of new scores is halved after 15 minutes, and then offers no score at all from 18 minutes - both of which incentivise you to go fast.
  • Scores will also decrease over time, again, to reward players who complete it faster.

Nightfall rewards

Originally intended to release alongside Nightfall scoring, Nightfalls will see Unique Rewards as part of the game's March 27th update.

Until then, you can expect the following:

  • Loot drops up to the Destiny 2 Power Level cap.
  • Completion of a 'Powerful Gear' Milestone.
  • A Nightfall Challenge card, allowing you to add new multipliers in a bid to increase your score in future Prestige attempts.
  • Strike-specific Emblems, which track your score and give you auras and buffs over certain thresholds. Play each week to unlock an emblem for that Strike, and improve your score each time that Strike comes around. Certain high scores are said to unlock bonus Emblems, too.

In short - you'll get something (loot) for simply completing Nightfall, with Emblems and Challenge Cards then given to you as an incentive to improve your run.

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Nightfall Challenge Cards and modifiers explained

Completing a Nightfall will see a Challenge Card drop. Found in the Consumables part of your inventory, this allows you to toggle various modifiers for when you tackle the higher level Prestige mode.

By doing so, you will earn more points. But depending on the modifiers you enable, you could end up having a worse run, or struggling to complete it at all. Be careful!

Modifiers currently in the game include:

ModifierEffect
Void, Solar or Arc Singe Elemental damage to players and enemies increases 25%
Extinguish If the entire team dies, the run ends.
Power modifier Decreases your Power Level, giving you more score in return.

More will be released in future as the new Nightfall Scoring system develops.

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How to unlock Nightfalls in Destiny 2

Before you unlock Nightfall Strikes, you first need to unlock Strikes, defeat two of them, and reach Power level 230.

Haven't unlocked Strikes yet? Complete the story mission 'Fury', and speak to Zavala, unlocking Strikes as an option from your Director.

That unlocks the Strikes milestone, which requires you to complete any two Strikes from the roster - you can do that just by selecting it from the Director and diving into the playlist.

After that, check back in with Zavala for your reward, and the Nightfall milestone will appear in your milestones tab. From there, you'll see that you need to reach Power level 230 or above.

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Once you hit that Power level, go talk to Zavala again, and he'll unlock Nightfalls for you. Access them from the Strikes section of the in-game Director, and you're ready to go.

How did Destiny 2 Nightfalls work previously?

At launch until February 2018, there were a set of modifiers that change how you play, and could increase the time remaining on the clock. If the clock ran out, the run would end.

Old Nightfall modifiers:

  • Prism - Prism is a new way of using 'burns', which back in the first Destiny were a fixed damage type - Arc, Void, or Solar - which did both additional damage to enemies and caused you to take additional damage of that type. Now, under Prism, they rotate periodically during the Nightfall Strike, displaying what's active on the bottom left of the screen. Mastering the use of that damage boost will play a big part in your success, so come equipped with either a varied Fireteam or different elements for weapons and your subclass.
  • Attrition - Health and shield regeneration is severely hampered. Defeat enemies to create 'wells of Light' that can restore health and charge your Super. These act (and appear) in a very similar way to Orbs of Light that are generated from using Supers. It basically means you need to be aggressive (or clear the battlefield from the safety of cover) to get your health back.
  • Momentum - Health and shield regeneration is disabled when standing, so you must sprint to replenish them. This means you need to flee firefights to recover health, but the process is faster than normal shield regeneration - so it's a surprising double-edged sword.
  • Torrent - This vastly increases the recharge rate of your grenades and class ability. This is usually coupled with Zero Hero, and allows you to spam grenades to clear groups of enemies. This is the easiest and most enjoyable modifier, so even if you're not a huge fan of Nightfalls, we'd recommend you give this one a go.

Summer events Solstice of Heroes and Moments of Triumph have arrived - not to mention to surprise The Whisper mission - giving us plenty to get on with until Destiny 2: Forsaken and its new Gambit mode arrives. There's also Exotics and Masterwork Catalysts, such as the Sleeper Simulant and Worldline Zero with Lost Memory Fragments to unlock. Elsewhere, you can learn how to reach Power level cap 400 / 405.


Watch our walkthrough of the game's second Nightfall with Prism and Ring Timewarp modifiers:

Old Nightfall timewarps:

  • Killing Time - Killing enemies will add a small amount of time back onto the countdown timer, giving you a greater chance of completing the Nightfall or hitting any time-based Nightfall challenges. If you're finding yourself consistently low on time and can't get through the Strike any faster, try quickly killing a few more enemies with things like grenades and supers on your way.
  • Rings - Jumping through the glowing rings you find along your path adds 30 seconds onto your timer. Once you trigger the first ring, more will appear, and you will have a minute or so to get as many as you can before they expire, so only activate when you're ready - ideally once you've cleared all enemies nearby.
  • Anomalies - Anomalies are clusters of energy that, when shot, will increase your timer. They tend to appear tucked around the sides of objects, low down off the edges of walkable areas, and high up in the corners. They glow blue, making them a little easier to spot from a distance. Get into a habit of looking behind you in each area, as they like to tuck them away in places you'd miss without turning back. If you're struggling, try to learn their placements on a trial run then replay to do it much faster.
  • Zero Hour - Unlike other Timewarp modifiers, there is no way to top up your countdown clock. In other ways, that means the time you start with is all you have. Get going!

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Matthew Reynolds

Matthew Reynolds

Guides Editor

Matthew edits guides and other helpful things at Eurogamer.net. When not doing that, he's out and about playing Pokémon Go or continuing to amass his amiibo collection.

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