In Destiny 2 and other MMO-style games, bosses are often the most memorable aspects of the whole game. You can find bosses in any kind of PVE content within Destiny 2, but especially raids, dungeons, and strikes. In this article we’ll take a look back at 10 of the most memorable bosses from all of Destiny 2! We’ll also be including legacy content from Destiny 1 if it’s available in Destiny 2, but only if it still holds up in this game as well. Let’s get right to it!
I’ve ranked the bosses below from good to great.
#10 Fikrul, the Fanatic
Where to Encounter: Nowhere anymore (formerly on the Tangled Shore). However, you can fight his Nightmare form in one of the Nightmare Hunts, as pictured above.
The Fanatic is probably not a boss that tons of people remember, but there’s something about it that’s always been worthy of more attention. The fight itself finds the Guardian challenging Fikrul, the Fanatic in the “Hollowed Lair” strike. The actual fight involves lots of teleporting and being held in stasis, which gave it something unique to stand out with. Plus there was the stormy, dark aesthetic that surrounded the Fanatic. Both of those elements made for a great, largely underrated boss fight that’s sadly been vaulted with the other Tangled Shore content.
Where the Fanatic really shines is his lore. He was the first ever Scorn, and his ability to harness Dark Ether allowed him to spawn undead Scorn and resurrect Scorn and Eliksni alike. This Dark Ether is involved in a lot of minor plot points, and since Fikrul was the master of it, it connects him to a lot more of the story than it might seem like he would be. It’s a shame we’ll probably never get to experience this fight again since it’s been vaulted, but maybe one of these days we’ll find out what actually happened to Fikrul. He was never definitively killed, so who knows where he might be.
#9 Nightmare of Caital, Princess Imperial
Where to Encounter: Duality dungeon
This boss fight, and the Duality dungeon as a whole, are memorable for two main reasons. The first is the deep, hellish red aesthetic that overtakes the entire dungeon. Since the goal here is to explore Calus’s mind and nightmares, this aesthetic is perfect for displaying Calus’s madness and demented state. However, there’s so much more to this fight in particular. The nightmare bosses represent Calus’s greatest fears (or just nightmares), and the story told between him and the nightmare of his own daughter presents greater moral dilemmas than almost any other boss in Destiny 2.
Once you get into the fight itself, it’s easy to forget you’re even playing Destiny. The visuals here are closer to DOOM, but the gameplay brings things back to the Destiny realm. We have all the hits here, between teleporting, activating “buttons” (bells, but that’s what they are), and frantic damage phases with short durations. Fighting Caital in Nightmare form is a unique visual experience with a fun gameplay loop, so we highly recommend it to anyone!
#8 The Sanctified Mind
Where to Encounter: Garden of Salvation raid
The Sanctified Mind might not be all that relevant anymore in terms of lore, but the visuals accompanying the fight make it one of the all-time most memorable in Destiny. There’s something about the Garden of Salvation raid that really stands out visually, and it’s mostly due to how large and open it all feels. The massive environments and larger-than-life enemies made it easier than ever to become immersed in the gameplay. The actual fight here was honestly very annoying and hard to get through thanks to all the glitches (many of which remain today), but the visual experience is worth the annoying problems at least once.
Garden of Salvation really is in a sad situation right now. The weapons are horribly outdated, there’s no reason to ever farm it, and there are so many glitches than many people don’t even want to. But once you get through those problems, the raid is one of the most beautiful Bungie has ever made. Hopefully a future weapons refresh will give Garden some more life, but as it is, you should at least go do one run to see this incredible boss (and to get Divinity).
#7 Taniks, the Abomination
Where to Encounter: Deep Stone Crypt raid
You can’t talk about the most memorable bosses from Destiny 2 without mentioning Taniks. At this point, it’s become a running joke how many times we’ve encountered Taniks in some form. Taniks was originally just a powerful Fallen that acted as a mercenary, eventually leading him to cross paths with the Guardian. After being killed during a Strike in the House of Wolves expansion for Destiny 1, he then came back thanks to the Devil Splicers during the Rise of Iron expansion. Then, thanks to Eramis and the House of Salvation, Taniks was reconstructed once more in the Deep Stone Crypt raid. Nobody knows if Taniks is even “living” or just a machine, but we sure keep trying to kill him to no avail.
Taniks’s presence in the Deep Stone Crypt raid as the final boss was, to say the least, a fun experience. While he wasn’t the menacing, monstrous boss that Oryx was, Taniks served the role of a somewhat light-hearted but still threatening boss perfectly. It also helps that the boss fight itself is one of the more fun in the game. You can entirely ignore one of the mechanics, and none of the mechanics are difficult at all. You can quickly complete Taniks clears and have tons of fun trying out different loadouts on him, while still having enough of a challenge for it to feel rewarding.
Whenever we inevitably see Taniks again, he’ll have a hard time matching the memorable nature of the last time we fought him. But we’re excited to see how he manages to come back again though either way.
#6 Nezarec, Final God of Pain
Where to Encounter: Root of Nightmares raid
Nezarec is known as a mythical being which seeks to cause horrible pain. For years he was treated as a folkloric being, only mentioned in ancient texts or in old stories. But over the last couple years we started to learn more about the truth behind Nezarec, only to eventually discover that he is actually a disciple of the Witness. As a being obsessed with causing pain, Nezarec was naturally one of the more intimidating enemies we’ve ever faced.
The final encounter with Nezarec comes in the Root of Nightmares raid, where the Guardian and their fireteam explore a pyramid struck by the Traveler’s light. In the pyramid, a newly-reborn Nezarec waits for the Guardians, taunting them as they go. Nezarec might be the most disturbed and violent enemy in Destiny 2, especially considering that he has few goals other than just causing pain.
Even in death, Nezarec’s memory is enough to leave a lasting influence. As we move toward what will likely be the last encounter with the Witness, Nezarec will surely have some impact, whether he’s there in person or not. And if not, he’ll definitely remain in our nightmares if nothing else.
#5 Atraks-1, Fallen Exo
Where to Encounter: Deep Stone Crypt raid
Atraks-1 might not be the final boss of the Deep Stone Crypt raid, but he is the most memorable. Everything about Deep Stone Crypt has a strange, cold aesthetic that we love, and Atraks-1 is the best example of that.
The bottom floor of this fight has the same clean, technological aesthetic from the rest of the raid, but then you end up in one of the escape pods into space. The visual of launching through space to chase Atraks-1, just to fight him and then go right back down and do it again is unbelievable. Then, on top of the beautiful visuals, there’s the absolute chaos of the fight itself. While it might be an easy fight these days, when it came out it was anything but. You have to time everything so well in this fight that it becomes a mad dash to reach the right spots and still manage to have time to damage him, then you have to go back through space for each damage cycle. At the time at least, it was one of the most fast-paced and chaotic boss fights in the game.
Even today, Atraks-1 is still a great boss to fight. He’s easier to one-phase, but the aesthetic and overall experience is still just as fun. For the most chaotic fun possible, though, try running it with a group of first-timers. That’s the best way to experience Atraks-1, for sure.
#4 Rhulk, Disciple of the Witness
Where to Encounter: Vow of the Disciple raid
Rhulk is one of the most intimidating foes we’ve ever faced. From his powerful nature in the universe of the game to the way he fights you, everything about Rhulk stands out. To start with, he’s partially responsible with the creation of the Hive. That’s a lot of power to have. As a disciple of the Witness, Rhulk is also considered one of the most powerful beings in the universe, so it’s important not to underestimate him.
When we meet him in the Vow of the Disciple raid, Rhulk essentially just plays with us as prey. It isn’t until you push him all the way back and complete all his tests that he even bothers to fight you. And when he does, he does so in a way different from almost every other boss–he actually walks around. Unlike most raid bosses, Rhulk doesn’t just stand there and let you sit in a Well of Radiance. Instead, he walks around the room and punt kicks people into oblivion if they dare stand anywhere near him.
While Rhulk is not the hardest fight in the game, he is one of the best and most fun (excluding all the symbol stuff leading up to him). You’re almost guaranteed not to forget the first time you encounter him, especially if you pay attention to the fine details which show just how powerful he is.
#3 Oryx, the Taken King
Where to Encounter: King’s Fall raid
The first time you see Oryx rise up over you to start the final encounter of King’s Fall, you’ll understand why he’s the most famous boss from Destiny. Oryx is just one of several bosses from the first Destiny that eventually got brought into Destiny 2. When The Taken King expansion released for Destiny 1 in 2015, it largely saved the game’s reputation after a series of missteps during the first couple years. Oryx and the massive hype the King’s Fall raid brought can largely be attributed with Destiny’s continuing success today, and one time fighting him explains why.
Oryx is a massive, frightening monster of a boss, and he remains one of the most powerful in terms of lore. Even though Oryx is no longer the obvious top of the food chain like he once seemed, his menace remains the same. The Oryx boss fight is one of the most memorable you’ll ever experience in Destiny 2 or any MMO-style game. If you haven’t already experienced the fight, we highly recommend doing so. King’s Fall and other legacy content can be played for free in Destiny 2, so there’s no reason not to!
#2 Riven of a Thousand Voices
Where to Encounter: Last Wish raid
As the last surviving Ahamkara, Riven’s power was always a danger to the Guardians. After completing the Forsaken campaign, the Last Wish raid allowed Guardians to finish off Riven once and for all. The boss fight in the Last Wish raid comes in two forms: the standard or cheese methods. The cheese method involves lots of sword spamming and skips the main mechanic of the encounter, while the normal method is much easier to mess up and requires a full team of knowledgeable players to execute. So, these days it’s rare to find a group to do the normal version. But luckily it doesn’t matter too much.
What makes the Riven fight so memorable isn’t necessarily the mechanics, but Riven herself. She’s so large you can only really attack parts of her at a time, and the whole fight has a grand atmosphere that makes it truly feel like you’re killing one of the most powerful beings in the universe. Raids are supposed to be about assembling a team of Guardians to take out a boss that’s far too difficult for any one of them alone, and the Riven fight feels that way more than any other.
Plus, there’s also the post-fight encounter, Queenswalk, to add to the chaotic feel of the raid. And Queenswalk is no simple encounter. A lot can go wrong in Queenswalk, and nothing is more annoying than having a group fall apart there. Having to do this after the boss itself makes this a unique experience that every Destiny player should seek out.
#1 Savathun, the Witch Queen
Where to Encounter: The Witch Queen campaign
Savathun is perhaps the most complicated character in Destiny 2. She’s been around for a long time, but she came to prominence during the Witch Queen expansion and the story building up to it. Ultimately, Savathun is a cunning trickster who will do anything to get what she wants. And what she wants is to either defeat the darkness or escape the Traveler’s influence altogether. She isn’t necessarily evil, but she’s certainly an antagonist to the Guardian and the Vanguard.
The actual fight against Savathun comes at the conclusion of the Witch Queen campaign. You end up fighting many clones of her throughout the campaign, but the actual fight is one to remember. You fight her in the Throne World in a fight which takes quite a while on Legendary difficulty. Savathun has a ton of health and can kill you almost instantly, which is appropriate considering her infamy. The lightning visuals and frantic, add-filled nature of the fight makes it one you’ll definitely remember, especially when compared to almost every other campaign boss.
In the two years since the Witch Queen came out, Savathun has remained a mysterious presence. Her status was unknown, and while she wasn’t alive and bothering us anymore, we knew she wasn’t really gone. At this point, we’re still in that place. We won’t spoil anything about the current season (Season 22), but she’s had major plot points around her even in the current season. It’s safe to say she’ll be around for a long time to come, in one way or another.