Destiny 2 Season 18 raid: Release date and how to prepare

Destiny 2 Witch Queen Gear Large
(Image credit: Bungie)

It’s about that time of year when every Destiny 2 player starts meticulously scouring the internet for answers, this time ahead of Season 18. We don’t know what’s next, but we certainly know something is coming, this time with a raid in tow.

Details on the next raid for Destiny 2 are still unclear, but that doesn’t mean we are totally in the dark. We've compiled everything you need to know and do in preparation for Destiny 2’s next raid as a part of Season 18.

What is Season 18’s raid?

Destiny 2 Witch Queen Challenges

(Image credit: Bungie)

We don't know what Season 18's raid will look like as of now, though we do know it is a returning raid from the original Destiny. Just like the Vault of Glass, Season 18’s raid is classed as a Legend activity. 

Crota’s End, King’s Fall, and Wrath of the Machine are among Destiny 1’s remaining raids unless Bungie decides to bring back a previously Vaulted Destiny 2 raid. Given that the current season focuses on the Leviathan returning, there's always a chance some form of corrupted, almost nightmarish, version of one of the many Leviathan-associated raids could return, even if unlikely.

Given that the previous major expansion, The Witch Queen, was so heavily focused on the lore of the Hive and Savathun, King’s Fall is the most likely candidate. King’s Fall was also part of The Taken King expansion in the first Destiny, drawing parallels in its name. Crota’s End was also somewhat maligned by the community, claiming it was too short and easy. There were also leaks in early 2022 that substantiate the claims that King’s Fall will return, going as far as to say that Wrath of the Machine was considered, but due to difficulties in production, it was delayed. 

So, if you were to ask us, we’d probably hedge our bets on King’s Fall returning as the raid.

Season 18 raid release date & time

Season 18’s raid will be released on Aug. 26 at 5 p.m. UTC. Check the table below for exactly when that is in your time zone.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Region/countryLocal timeUTC
Australia4 a.m. (AEDT), Aug. 27, 20225 p.m. UTC, Aug. 26, 2022
Brazil2 p.m. (BRT), Aug. 26, 20225 p.m. UTC, Aug. 26, 2022
China1 a.m. (CST), Aug. 27, 20225 p.m. UTC, Aug. 26, 2022
France7 p.m. (CET), Aug. 26, 20225 p.m. UTC, Aug. 26, 2022
Japan2 a.m. (JST), Aug. 27, 20225 p.m. UTC, Aug. 26, 2022
MexicoMidnight (CST), Aug. 26, 20225 p.m. UTC, Aug. 26, 2022
New Zealand6 a.m. (NZDT), Aug. 27, 20225 p.m. UTC, Aug. 26, 2022
United Kingdom6 p.m. (GMT), Aug. 26, 20225 p.m. UTC, Aug. 26, 2022
United States1 p.m. (EST), Aug. 26, 20225 p.m. UTC, Aug. 26, 2022

What is Contest Mode in Season 18’s raid?

Destiny 2 The Witch Queen Strike

(Image credit: Bungie)

Unlike the release of The Vow of the Disciple, Bungie has been far more specific about what to expect in Season 18’s raid. Contest mode will start following the raid's release and will last 24 hours. 

During this time, all players will be limited to a set Power Level, and the raid will feel like a Grandmaster Strike in terms of difficulty. As the next raid is considered a Legend Raid, which means it is returning from the original Destiny, there will be two parts of Contest Mode; the initial clear and the Challenge Mode clear. 

Players are required to complete the raid once before gaining access to a limited-time Challenge Mode in Season 18’s Raid. In this mode, players will need to fulfill certain conditions in each encounter. Should the challenge fail, the whole team will fail the encounter, forcing a full restart. Completing Challenge Mode, which is only available for the first 24 hours, will unlock a Secret Triumph. What is the recommended Power Level for Season 18’s raid?

When it comes to Season 18’s raid, there won't be a massive rush for additional Power Levels, at least not until Contest Mode is finished. This is because the Power Level required for Contest Mode is 1560, which is lower than Season 17’s Pinnacle Cap.

What this means is that anyone who managed to even hit the Powerful Cap in Season 17 can take part. And, if you’re not currently at that Power Level, there are still a few more weeks in the Season of the Haunted to dig into your Powerful and Pinnacle rewards, though our Destiny 2 leveling guide can help.

What should I do to prepare for the Season 18 raid?

Destiny 2 Witch Queen Void Subclass

(Image credit: Bungie)

As the Power Level for the next raid is already achievable in the current season, the amount of prep you can do is limited. As mentioned above, you will want to ensure all of your gear is 1560 Power Level in the current season. 

You might also want to buy a load of upgrade modules. Doing so will allow you to collect some of the new weapons found in the days between the launch of the season and the raid, ensuring they are at the right Power Level. 

One final measure would be to complete bounties from the current season but don’t turn them in. Bounties provide a large amount of experience and will help you climb season ranks while also leveling up your Seasonal Artefact. This would grant you access to several Anti-Champion mods in the Seasonal Artefact, but we do not know if Champions will be present in the next raid. Historically, seasonal mods have been incredibly broken, like Classy Restoration, Oppressive Darkness, and Volatile Flow. So it is advised that you try to stack some bounties for completion. 

How should I build my team for the Season 18 raid?

It’s common practice to maintain an even distribution of all classes in a raid team, which means that most favor two Titans, two Warlocks, and two Hunters. Between those classes, most will try to have a variety of different builds that can provide support, like having a Solar Warlock run Well of Radiance, prioritize damage, like an Arc Titan with Code of the Missile and Fallen Cuirass, or clear waves of enemies, like a Void Hunter with Orpheus Rigs and Deadfall Tether. There could be a shift in the meta thanks to the new Arc 3.0 subclasses, but finding the right build that fits you from our Destiny 2 build guide or Solar 3.0 guide will set you down the right path.

What weapons should I use in the Season 18 raid?

Destiny 2 Witch Queen General Weapons Foundry

(Image credit: Bungie)

While we don’t know what enemy types are or what the raid is yet, there are some weapons you can look to bring as standard in the raid. These weapons are staples of many successful runs.

Witherhoard is the first up. You can plop a puddle at an enemy spawn point and watch enemies crumple as they start to appear. It also doubles up with damage over time by tagging a boss with the projectile and placing a puddle at its feet. While this is happening, you can unload your heavy ammo and crank those damage numbers up.

There's also Outbreak Perfected. Outbreak Perfected is a particular pick for day one raids. It’s all about squeezing the most out of your loadout against bosses with a large health pool. It was common for players to use an exotic heavy weapon for the majority of the Vow of the Disciple’s Collection encounter and then swap to Outbreak Perfected as their exotic primary to ensure they maximize their damage against The Caretaker. If a similar situation happens in Season 18’s raid, you’ll be thankful to have Outbreak Perfected in your back pocket as assurance.

Divinity is another weapon critical in the damage dealt within a raid. It adds a large crit spot to targets, making them easier to hit and increasing the damage to a given target. It also doubles up as an overload mod for champions. All you need is one, and it can add so much to team composition and trivialize some boss fights, like Rhulk in The Vow of the Disciple.

Destiny 2

(Image credit: Bungie)

Izanagi’s Burden is another vital weapon in many Destiny 2 raids, much like Divinity. The long-ranged sniper can load four bullets into one shot with the Honed Edge perk and allow you to dump a magazine in no time. It's mainly used in long-range boss fights, but it also has a place in the midrange. With the inclusion of Palmyra-B to your arsenal, you’ll also find that the combination of Izzy and Palmyra with Enhanced Auto-Loading Holster is one of the most potent and easy-to-use damage dealing duos currently available.

We also think Trinity Ghoul could be a sleeper hit in the Season 18 raid. While little is known about the raid or Arc 3.0, past 3.0 revisions have given exotics new life. For us, that weapon is Trinity Ghoul. It was already a much better weapon after adding its catalyst, but one of its significant downsides was consistently maintaining the perk and how poor the Arc subclass was. If the Arc subclass becomes more viable, so does Trinity Ghoul.

There will undoubtedly be more information that slowly trickles out in the next few weeks, ahead of Season 18’s launch. Be sure to check back and keep up to date with this guide, as we will aim to include all the juicy tidbits of advice you need to succeed in one of the best Xbox shooters.

Ryan Esler