For a little over a month now, my raid group has been trying to perfect the Vault of Glass. We’d already beaten Destiny’s most challenging mission countless times, on both Normal and Hard difficulties. We knew it so well that it was becoming routine. The chance to unlock new gear once per week was a constant motivator, but as a group we needed something more. Cody (D_P_Roberts) was the first to actually say it: “I want to go for Flawless Raider”.
We all knew what we were getting ourselves in to. In order to unlock Flawless Raider, we would need to complete the Vault of Glass with zero deaths. Nobody could leave or join mid-run. Yet as daunting as the task seemed, we were eager to give it a try.
Our group consisted of 8 or 9 Guardians (all regular visitors over at Destiny.Bungie.Org). Over the next 4 weeks, we would get together several nights per week and play through the Vault of Glass. Our early attempts proved what we already knew: this was going to be tough. But progress was being made. Each run allowed us to hone our techniques and develop new strategies. Our formations became tighter, our communication became clearer. We would play for 2-3 hours each session, inching our way closer to our goal.
Several attempts were painfully close. Twice we made it all the way to Atheon only to have someone in the Fireteam drop. We were within seconds of victory on both occasions.
On another night we almost unlocked the Flawless Raider trophy by accident. We were running the raid on Hard mode to earn the weekly unlocks and we ripped through it in under 40 minutes with only 2 deaths.
Last night, we decided to try something a little different. Only 5 of us were available to run the raid. Rather than going to our friends lists to find someone to fill the 6th slot, we decided to just go for it. If nothing else, it would be a good practice run. With that, Cyber-KN, D_P_Roberts, Guardian513, MunKy-058, and myself (CruelLEGACEY) began our first run. After a couple of false starts, we found ourselves in the middle of an earnest attempt at unlocking Flawless Raider.
Running the raid shorthanded, we had to adjust our strategy a bit. During the Conflux/Oracle battle in the Templar room we divided into a group of 2 on each side, while I hung back and sniped from the cliff edge down the middle. We needed to rotate a bit more than usual to make up for the missing firepower, but it went fairly smoothly. As for the Templar itself, we should have brought some wine to go with all the cheese we threw at him. We shoved him off the edge in no time.
After the Templar, things got interesting. Our decision to run the raid a man down began to show benefits. Even a slightly smaller group makes a difference when navigating the Gorgon’s cave. We had a really close call as we made the final sprint towards the exit. I’m convinced we would have been spotted had we been a full group of 6. Then came the “mega man” jump puzzle (AKA “the widowmaker”). This section has caused more deaths during our Flawless Raider attempts than the rest of the raid combined. Once again, our smaller group proved advantageous. Fewer guardians throwing themselves across the chasm means less chance of bumping in to each other and causing a fatal error. Shaken but intact, we made it safely across and headed down the hall towards the Vault of Glass, and Atheon himself.
The doors parted open. The first Gatekeeper dropped before he knew what hit him (Icebreakers FTW!). Our group poured into the room. 2 went left, 2 went right, and I once again stayed near the middle to float between both sides. What happened next is honestly a bit of a mystery to me. Not that I didn’t expect it, but I still don’t understand exactly how my teammates pull it off. We opened both portals simultaneously. D_P_Roberts went in one portal, MunKy-058 went in the other, leaving me, Guardian 513, and Cyber-KN on the outside to defend the synch plates and keep the portals open. I don’t know what happens on the other end of the portals, but like a pair of magical Angels, D_P_Roberts and MunKy-058 both emerge moments later from their respective portals, Relics in hand. We all crashed into the middle and stomped the Vex attempting to reach the Conflux.
This is where we got nervous. During our previous runs, we’d discovered a little quirk of Atheon’s. If your fireteam reaches him without dying, then nobody gets teleported to the past or future. You’re left standing in the room while Atheon freezes defenseless in place in the middle platform. Great as this sounds, it causes problems. Without sending anyone to the past or future, you can’t activate Time’s Vengeance, meaning you don’t get the benefit of the massive damage boost that the relic allows. On top of that, after a few waves of not teleporting anyone, Atheon might suddenly decide to teleport 1 member of the fireteam to the past or future by themselves. This causes a real panic as the Guardians in the present try to quickly work out who has been teleported, which side they are on, and dash through the portal to try and help them quickly enough. It can get real messy, real fast.
As the battle started, a sense of calmed focus settled on to the group. We all knew what to do, it was just a case of pulling it off with no mistakes. The first few rounds progressed as expected. Nobody got teleported. We slowly chipped away at Atheon’s near-impervious armor. As the 3rd round began, still nobody being teleported, I could feel the group getting excited. We were getting close. 4th round, still no teleports. Our attack surged. A volley of rockets hit Atheon from all sides. We kept our attention divided, never losing sight of the supplicants continuously pouring towards us. I noticed a smile begin to form on my face. We were going to pull it off.
Atheon fell during the 6th round. Thanks to a bit of luck, we’d managed to make it through the battle without anyone being teleported. Our plan worked. Our execution never faltered (well, except for the moment during the final battle when I almost blew myself up with my own rocket, but we won’t talk about that). After several weeks and dozens of attempts, our group finally earned its name. We are Flawless Raiders.
Flawless Raiders: Complete Run (CruelLEGACEY’s perspective)
Flawless Raiders: Complete Run (MonKy-058’s perspective)
Flawless Raiders: Gorgon Cave to Atheon (D_P_Roberts’ perspective)
Flawless Raiders: Final Battle (CruelLEGACEY’s perspective)
Flawless Raiders: Final Battle (Cyber-KN’s perspective)