How to prepare for Destiny 2: The Witch Queen
Destiny 2: The Witch Queen will pit Guardians against Savathûn's Lucent Brood.
Destiny 2: The Witch Queen will pit Guardians against Savathûn's Lucent Brood. | Provided by Bungie

How to prepare for Destiny 2: The Witch Queen

Get a leg-up on Savathûn and her Lucent Brood with some pre-expansion prep

Destiny 2: The Witch Queen is less than a week away, but veteran players and those set on grinding to the power cap have two things on their mind: the March 5 launch date for a new raid and farming pinnacle gear ASAP.

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Most longtime players know the drill by now but, for those looking to get in on the Day 1 raid action for the first time or get a head start on the expansion, there’s some work to be done this week. From gathering materials to saving up bounties, farming gear to finishing Triumphs, the last week of any season is probably the most grind-y time for Destiny 2 fans, let alone before a beefy release like The Witch Queen.

The new Exorcism mission is live, Iron Banner is up, and it’s the last week to save up as much experience as you can before Savathûn and her brood dig their claws into the Light. Here’s a look at how to get ready for The Witch Queen, what to prioritize before the expansion’s Feb. 22 release and what to do first once Destiny 2’s next big story beat drops.

Hoard bounties

Popping bounties at the start of Destiny 2: The Witch Queen will give you a slight power boost and mean better gear during the beginning of the expansion.
Popping bounties at the start of Destiny 2: The Witch Queen will give you a slight power boost and mean better gear during the beginning of the expansion. | Provided by Bungie

First off, get to know Destiny Recipes. This site is your best friend if you don’t want to go into The Witch Queen blind. Once you sign in, check out the preseason checklist. While saving up key materials ahead of time is pretty obvious, bounty scavenging is the real trick to getting off on the right foot in any expansion.

The priority here are the 12,000-experience bounties. Those include a well-timed Iron Banner week, the Cosmodrome weeklies, clan bounties, Moon weeklies, Europa weeklies, Nightmare Hunt bounties and Dares of Eternity bounties from the Starhorse (hallowed be their name). This seems clear but, in case there’s any confusion, do not turn these in once you complete them. You’re saving your bounties for when the new season drops to give you an immediate burst of experience. This will boost your relic and give you a few more points of power to get ahead as you go through the campaign.

Once you have the weeklies wrapped up, go after the 6,000-experience objectives. These refresh daily, so you can stack a bunch of them. The goal is to fill up your character’s bounty page. Once you get into The Witch Queen, do some of the campaign to reach the first fireteam experience bonus modifier, join up with a friend (or stranger) and pop all those bounties. Yummy, free XP. It’ll get you far.

Two more important notes: You’ll see some Tangled Shore and seasonal bounties at the bottom of the bounties section for your Destiny Recipes page. Don’t save these up. The activities and areas that go away at the end of the season will disappear from your inventory once The Witch Queen drops, so these are a waste of your time. And if you’re saving up bounties, you’ll already be spending quite a bit of that time on some random tasks.

Don’t do the random bounties, either, unless you’re pressed for time and can’t wait on daily cycles for bounties. The random ones only give you 3,000 experience, which cuts into the gains you could have from adding in another daily objective. Even a little bit will help, though, so if you don’t feel like putting in hours to get that extra daily done, just finish as much as you can and save up.

Farm Artifice gear, GMs and Master Lost Sectors

Destiny 2: The Witch Queen will bring players to a number of new locales, including Savathûn's Throne World
Make sure you take advantage of the final week to get valuable upgrade necessities like Ascendant Shards and Enhancement Prisms as well as better exotic armor rolls. | Provided by Bungie

So you’ve got your XP, you have a good baseline of materials and you’re already chilling on endgame content for this season. The next thing to do: farm the hell out of that content.

Grasp of Avarice is the priority here because of the Artifice mod slot that will move forward into The Witch Queen. You’ll want to get some armor that takes those extra mods, even if you aren’t using the slots in your current build. Grandmaster Nightfalls will get you the Ascendant Shards, Adept weapons and Enhancement Prisms you need for late-game upgrades in The Witch Queen, and Master Lost Sectors will help you farm specific pieces that are integral in difficult solo and endgame content (Cuirass of the Falling Star, anyone?).

This week’s default GM is one of the easier ones and, with Lost Sectors changing daily, you should get another shot at any recent exotics you don’t have. Destiny Recipes also has a handy list of exotics that will likely be top-tier in The Witch Queen, and we’ve put together an exotic weapon tier list for The Witch Queen as well. If you don’t have Divinity yet, suck it up and get it.

Relatedly: Petition to change “Div b****” to “Divinity hero” as we move into The Witch Queen. Divinity users are the best Guardians among us. People that say differently probably still use Blade Barrage in raids.

Prioritize the Legendary campaign once Witch Queen drops

Destiny 2: The Witch Queen will add glaives to the Guardian's arsenal
Put the Destiny 2: The Witch Queen campaign first when the expansion drops so you can get to the Legendary version and the 1,520 power armor set that comes with completing it. | Provided by Bungie

This is probably the biggest mistake new and old players alike make when an expansion or season goes live. Focus on the campaign first and try not to do any content that provides gear that will significantly boost your power until you’re at or near the soft cap of 1,500 for The Witch Queen.

Any powerful gear you get before hitting 1,500 in the first couple weeks is wasted because, well, that gear is the only way to get past 1,500. Bungie also graced us with an opportunity to hit 1,520 without doing any powerful objectives for The Witch Queen: the Legendary version of the expansion’s campaign.

We aren’t sure what the Legendary campaign will look like or how steep the skill curve for it will be, but dragging yourself and a fireteam through means a full set of 1,520 armor. That set gives you 30 power levels to go before reaching the non-pinnacle cap of 1,550. If you and your squad want to be raid-ready on Day 1, the Legendary campaign, and the weapons and armor within, are a must.

Maintenance protection and more for The Witch Queen

Some miscellaneous stuff to consider:

  • Make sure whatever gear and weapons you want to use are on your characters before the expansion launches. Services like Destiny Item Manager will likely be down following the release of The Witch Queen.
  • As a TL;DR, prioritize exotic armor that suits your playstyle after finishing the bounty grind. Armor that supports a void subclass, like Nezarec’s Sin for Warlocks, Helm of Saint-14 for Titans and Omnioculus for Hunters, could be especially useful with the release of Void 3.0.
  • Make sure you have Legendary weapons that take the champion mods for The Witch Queen. So far, we know bows and scout rifles will be anti-Barrier, auto rifles and submachine guns will be anti-Overload and glaives will be anti-Unstoppable. There are also exotics like Bastion, Divinity and Arbalest that have inherent anti-champion mods, so make sure you’ve got those out of your vault and ready to go for the Legendary campaign.
  • Bungie might throw in some additional updates about champion mods and other things to consider on Thursday during This Week at Bungie, so keep an eye out for any changes or new weapon considerations. We’ll have an update for you if those things change, including alterations to our exotic tier list and this prep article.
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Sean Morrison
Sean Morrison is the former Editor-in-Chief of Upcomer, a former editor for ESPN’s esports section and is an adjunct professor at Indiana University’s Media School. Catch him on Warzone, Destiny 2 or Elder Scrolls Online, or just follow him on Twitter.