Destiny – New challenge for the week of July 28

Tuesday means only one thing if you’re a Destiny fan: Reset day.

It’s that wonderful time when Bungie’s rotating selection of high-reward activities are rebooted (along with any raid progress made in the previous week), giving everyone a fresh chance at scoring some of the game’s sweetest and rarest loot.

Are you new to Destiny? Don’t know what any of this means? Good news. There’s a Destiny wiki that’s packed with information. Click for details on what Strikes are, and how Nightfall differs from Weekly Heroic challenges.

The House of Wolves add-on also adds a new weekly wrinkle, in the form of Prison of Elders. The multi-round gauntlets are built for endgame play, with the specific enemy types and modifiers changing from week to week.

Here’s a rundown of what’s happening this week:

Nightfall (The Shadow Thief)

  • Epic – This is a standard Nightfall modifier. It just means there are more enemies to fight, and a greater number of Majors (the yellow health bar dudes) on the field.
  • Nightfall – Another standard Nightfall modifier. This one boots the entire Fireteam back to orbit if everyone is downed inside one of the revive-only respawn Darkness Zones.

Arc Burn – All Arc damage is increased.

  • Juggler – Ammo doesn’t drop for your currently equipped weapon.
  • Brawler – Guardian melee damage is increased.

It’s a House of Wolves-only week for Nightfall runners. You either have the add-on or you’re out of luck. We’ve seen this exact lineup of modifiers applied to this Nightfall before, so there are very few mysteries here.

The most dangerous moment of the quest is the mini-boss battle against the spider tank, because its main weapon is an Arc launcher. A good strategy is to have all three Guardians hang a left when they first enter the chamber and defend that corner of the room. The tank can’t easily shoot you there, so the fight becomes a matter of clearing out reinforcements as they rush in, then popping out to lay some damage on the tank (with Arc weapons, naturally).

The final boss is a snap. Enter the chamber through the left-hand door and shoot the boss until he teleports, Then head up to the raised platform at the opposite end of the chamber from where you entered, and rain hell down on the boss (who should appear on the right side of the chamber after his first teleport).

Weekly Heroic (Winter’s Run)

  • Heroic – Standard Weekly Heroic modifier. More enemies show up than you would see on a standard Strike, and they’re more aggressive.
  • Juggler – Ammo doesn’t drop for your currently equipped weapon.

Yawn. Exactly the same Strike as the previous Weekly Heroic. The only difference: instead of last week’s favorable Void Burn modifier, we’re saddled with Juggler. Nothing to deduce here. Just shoot all the thing and don’t forget to keep switching weapons so you get ammo drops for everything.

Prison of Elders

If you’ve got House of Wolves then you can also participate in the weekly Prison of Elders activities. These endgame challenges send players through a multi-round gauntlet in which each round has its own enemy type and Nightfall/Weekly-style modifier(s).

The lineup of enemies, modifiers and, in some cases, bosses for the level 32, 34 and 35 activities changes every week. You can find some general tips for surviving Prison of Elders right here. Read on for a breakdown of enemies and modifiers for each round this week.

Level 32: Broken Legion

  • Round 1 (Hive): Trickle (All abilities recharge very slowly)
  • Round 2 (Cabal): Small Arms (Primary weapon damage increased)
  • Round 3 (Cabal): Exposure (Guardian shields are significantly increased but recharge very slowly)
  • Round 4 (Hive): Arc Burn (All Arc damage is increased)
  • Round 5 (Urrox boss): Solar Burn (All Solar damage is increased)

Fighting Urrox amounts to a deadly game of “Hot Lava.” Every once in awhile throughout the fight, Urrox goes into rage mode, which makes anything that counts as “ground” (including the tops of crates and rocks) burn, causing damage. The trick is to keep hopping for the 10 seconds Urrox’s rage is active.

Defender Titans should save their bubble shield (equipped with Blessing of Light) for these rage moments, as the Blessing upgrade gives you a bonus overshield each time you hop out of then back into the bubble. It’s important to understand the mechanics of how each class jumps, the better to maximize your air time. Pro tip for Hunters: switch to Gunslinger, and turn on your triple jump.

In the spectrum of Prison of Elders boss fights, Urrox is one of the easier ones. Especially with Solar Burn active. Vision of Confluence/Black Hammer/Gjallarhorn is the ideal loadout. If you’re a Hunter Gunslinger and you have the Celestial Nighthawk exotic helm from House of Wolves, use that; the natural damage boost that the helmet offers is compounded by the Solar Burn bonus.

Level 35: Skolas’ Revenge (all modifier descriptions listed here)

  • Round 1 (Hive): Exposure and Brawler
  • Round 2 (Vex): Grounded and Airborne
  • Round 3 (Cabal): Catapult and Arc Burn
  • Round 4 (Fallen): Specialist and Juggler
  • Round 5 (Fallen): Trickle and Small Arms
  • Round 6 (Skolas boss): Brawler and Juggler

Skolas is a Fallen boss and the constant big bad for all level 35 Prison of Elders runs. He’s a tricky one. You can’t even damage him until you take out one of his two special Servitor defenders (they keep respawning), and even then you have only a small window (20 seconds) in which to dish out damage. That’s the first half of the fight; once Skolas is at half health, the Servitor issue goes away.

They’re replaced by Skolas’ “Devouring Essence” attack, which puts one randomly chosen player on a 30-second countdown to death.The countdown can be reset by passing Devouring Essence to another player, but there’s a 35-second delay before the player that gives it up can grab it again. This means that all three fireteam members need to participate in a deadly game of hot potato.

The second half of the fight also features two rounds of mines that need to be dismantled. It’s tricky to juggle dismantling alongside the Devouring Essence hand-offs; frequent, clear communication is vital. Designate someone (preferably a Bladedancer Hunter with invisibility) to grab the more distant mines. You should pretty much ignore Skolas until you can get those taken care of.

If you’re looking for favorable Skolas fight conditions, it doesn’t get much better than Brawler/Juggler. These are great modifiers mainly because neither of them create any major problems, complicating what is already a lengthy and challenging fight. Brawler gives you a great “Oh shit” button to lean on when you’re surrounded and out of ammo, and Juggler is just inoffensive. If you still need a Skolas win to finish out your Moments of Triumph, make it happen this week.