How to Reach Max Guardian Rank in Destiny 2: All Steps and Challenges

From New Light to Paragon.

by Tom Cunliffe
Destiny 2 Lightfall Campaign Screenshot
Image: Bungie

Guardian Ranks in Destiny 2 provide a path for new players to follow and veteran players with complex challenges that separate them from the crowd. Whether you’re a New Light looking to rank up or a Destiny expert wanting to differentiate yourself from the swarm of players with the number six above their head — this guide contains all steps and challenges for every Guardian Rank in Destiny 2 and how to achieve the highest rank.

What are Guardian Ranks?

Guardian-Ranks-Destiny-2
Image: Attack of the Fanboy / Bungie

Guardian Ranks are a way to showcase your expertise in Destiny 2. The first six Guardian Ranks serve as a tool to guide new players and introduce them to the game. Rank Seven and above are known as Advanced Ranks and reset every Season, featuring challenges tied to new and current content.

To access Guardian Ranks, open the Journey section of the menu. Like Triumphs, your Guardian Rank is tied to your account and is not character specific.

How to Achieve Max Guardian Rank in Destiny 2

The maximum Guardian Rank in Destiny 2 is currently Rank 11: Paragon. You must complete every challenge in the previous rank to access the next. Below, you can find every challenge for every Guardian Rank in Season of Defiance.

Guardian Rank 1: New Light

All players will begin at Rank 1; no steps are required to obtain your first rank.

All Guardian Rank 2: Explorer Challenges

  • Complete the New Light quest, “A Guardian Rises.”

Completing the first quest in Destiny 2, which is automatically started when you load into the game for the first time, will earn you Rank 2: Explorer.

All Guardian Rank 3: Initiate Challenges

The Rank 3: Initiate steps are designed to familiarize you with Destiny 2‘s planets and the activities you can complete on them. From here on out, ranks will feature multiple sections with individual tasks.

Explore Nepture

  • Complete “First Contact.”
  • Meet the destination vendor on Neptune.

First Contract” is the first mission in the Lightfall expansion, but don’t worry; you don’t need to own the expansion to complete it. After you meet Nimbus, Neptune’s destination vendor, this section will be complete.

Explore EDZ

  • Land in Earth’s European Dead Zone, otherwise known as the EDZ, and speak with Devrim Kay.
  • Complete three Public Events in the EDZ.

Like all planets, the EDZ (European Dead Zone) can be accessed through the Destinations tab. Select the Trostland Landing Zone, enter the church, and reach the top to talk to Devrim Kay.

To participate in Public Events, look for blue diamonds on the map — set a waypoint, and walk over to the event to participate. A complete orange border means a Public Event is currently in progress, while an incomplete one shows how long it takes before the event begins.

Related: Destiny 2 Lightfall Review

Explore Nessus

  • Land on Nessus and meet the eccentric AI, Failsafe.
  • Complete a Patrol on Nessus.
  • Complete 2 Lost Sectors on Nessus.

Failsafe can be found north of the Exodus Black Landing Zone on Nessus, inside the remains of the crashed ship.

Patrols can be found by whipping out your Ghost and looking for the grey diamond icon. Approach a beacon and interact with it to begin.

Lost Sectors are hidden areas filled with enemies and a boss guarding a chest at the end. You can find Lost Sectors by looking for an icon with two arches above a circle on the map and out in the world.

All Guardian Rank 4: Scout Challenges

Light Subclasses

  • Complete the “Learning Light” quest.
  • Purchase 2 Aspects from Ikora Rey.
  • Purchase 3 Fragments from Ikora Rey.
  • Complete a Light subclass quest from Ikora Rey.

The Learning Light quest can be obtained or continued in the Cosmodrome and will unlock the ability to customize your Light subclasses.

Ikora Rey can be found in the Bazaar section of the Tower. Purchase two Aspects and three Fragments for any subclass here, and pick up her subclass quests. While you only need to complete one to earn Rank 4, you’ll need all subclasses later.

Gunsmith

  • Talk to Banshee-44.
  • Collect Glimmer.
  • Collect 9 Legendary Shards.
  • Complete Gunsmith bounties to earn Enhancement Cores.
  • Purchase weapons from Banshee-44.

Banshee-44 can be found in the main section of the Tower, working behind a counter located to the right as soon as you spawn in. Purchase any weapon you like the look of and pick up a suitable Bounty from him.

Legendary Shards are obtained by dismantling Legendary gear, which are items with purple backgrounds. You can also receive them by dismantling Exotic (yellow) gear, though you should generally keep all Exotics as a new player.

Glimmer is Destiny 2‘s primary currency and the closest thing to money. You can earn Glimmer by doing almost anything, including defeating enemies, completing bounties, looting chests, dismantling gear, and participating in Public Events.

Gear Modification

  • Apply shaders to your gear.
  • Equip an Economic or Tracking mod on your Ghost.

Shaders can be applied by selecting Details on a piece of gear, going down to the Armor Cosmetics section, and hovering over the first option to choose a Shader. You can also apply Shaders to all your gear in the Appearance Customization section of the Character menu.

To attach a mod to your Ghost, open the character menu, hover over your Ghost, and select Details. Tracking mods are equipped in the second section, while Economic mods can be attached in the third.

Related: Best Lightfall PvE Weapons in Destiny 2

All Guardian Rank 5: Adventurer Challenges

Exotic Quests

  • Complete the Exotic weapon mission “Spark of Hope” to obtain Riskrunner.
  • Once the Riskrunner catalyst has been obtained, open Riskrunner’s weapon details and apply the catalyst to the weapon.

The “Spark of Hope” quest can be obtained from Shaw Han in the Cosmodrome or reacquired from the Terminal in the Tower.

Once you’ve completed Spark of Hope, you’ll be rewarded with the Riskrunner Exotic Weapon and its catalyst. To attach its catalyst, view its Details and select the second option under Weapon Mods.

Playlists

  • Acquire 4 Vanguard Bounties from Commander Zavala.
  • Complete Vanguard Ops.
  • Complete 2 Vanguard bounties in Vanguard Ops.
  • Commend 2 other players in Vanguard Ops.
  • Learn about the Crucible from Lord Shaxx.
  • Learn about Gambit from the Drifter.

Whether you wanted it or not, you’ve likely met Zavala already, but in case you haven’t, he’s the big bald blue dude pondering over the edge of the Tower. Pick up at least four Bounties from him and complete them in Vanguard Ops, accessed through the Vanguard section of the Destinations tab.

At the end of a Vanguard Ops and most other activities, you can commend the people you’ve played with by selecting them on the Commendation screen and choosing a card. You cannot commend friends as lovely as they may be.

Lord Shaxx stands valiantly behind the Vault in the Tower Courtyard while Drifter hides in his shady nook near the Annex Landing Zone.

Collections

  • Increase the number of Legendary weapons in your collection to 9.
  • Increase the number of Legendary armor pieces in your collection to 10.

Legendary weapons and armor have purple backgrounds and are the highest quality gear behind Exotics. These can be obtained as random drops, rewards from activities, or can be purchased from vendors. To complete these two Rank 5 steps, you must collect nine unique weapons and ten unique armor pieces.

Guardian Rank 6: Veteran

Gear Progression

  • Equip slot-specific mods on armor.
  • Increase the energy level of a piece of armor twice.
  • Increase the Masterwork level of a weapon twice.
  • Acquire Enhancement Prisms.

To equip mods on armor pieces, select the desired piece in the Character menu, select Details, and choose a mod under Armor Mods. The first mod slot is General and won’t count toward this task.

Increasing the energy level of a piece of armor is also done in the Details section via the Infuse feature found in the Armor Mods section.

To Masterwork a weapon, select a Legendary weapon and then Details. Hover over the Tier X Weapon box in the Weapon Mods section and upgrade your gun to the maximum level. Masterworked weapons will have a golden border.

Enhancement Prisms can be obtained from Nightfalls, the Season Pass, as Reputation rank-up rewards, purchased from Rahool, or occasionally when dismantling gear.

Power

  • Increase your Power to the soft cap of 1750.
  • Complete 2 weekly vendor challenges to acquire powerful rewards.

Any gear you obtain may increase your Power level until you reach the soft cap. Ensure to equip or Infuse your most powerful gear until you hit 1750 Power. You can read more about Soft, Powerful, and Pinnacle caps in our guide.

Vendor Challenges can be found by hovering over a vendor on the Map. Most of these require completing several Bounties from that particular vendor and rewards Powerful gear.

Trials

  • Talk to Saint-14 to learn about Trials of Osiris.

The headstrong pigeon-loving Titan, Saint-14, is located in the Hangar section of the Tower—the furthest icon on the right when opening the Map.

All Guardian Rank 7: Elite Challenges

Rank 7 and above are considered Advanced Ranks and will reset at the beginning of every Season. Strap in, as you’ll absolutely have to earn your stripes to stand out among the sea of Rank 6 blueberries.

Due to other challenges currently being impossible to complete until the Season progresses, Rank 7 is the highest obtainable Guardian Rank.

Lightfall

  • Complete the Lightfall campaign.
  • Increase your vendor reputation with Nimbus in Neomuna to ‘3’.
  • Complete the weekly Lightfall campaign mission in Neomuna.

The Lightfall campaign requires the Lightfall expansion — who would’ve thought it? By the time you’ve completed this campaign, your vendor reputation with Nimbus will already be at three or above.

The “weekly Lightfall campaign mission” by opening Neomuna‘s map after completing the campaign. The mission rotates every week and features Modifiers and three different difficulties.

Season of Defiance

  • Increase your Season Rank to ‘7’.
  • Complete 4 Seasonal Challenges from the current Season.
  • Increase your reputation level with the War Table.
  • Purchase upgrades from the War Table.
  • Defeat 50 targets with the Exotic bow Verglas Curve.
  • Increase your reputation 4 times with the Vanguard Ops, Crucible, or Gambit vendors.

Your Season Rank is found in the Season 20 tab and is raised by earning XP. Completing the four Seasonal Challenges needed for this section will get you there in no time.

Reputation can be increased with the War Table inside the H.E.L.M. by completing its bounties and relevant seasonal activities and quests. War Table Upgrades can be purchased with Upgrade Tokens, obtained through specific Seasonal Challenges and the Awaken, Queensguard” quest, which we highly recommend completing.

Verglas Curve is earned instantly for Season Pass holders or at Season Rank 35 on the free track. Any enemies can be killed to progress this challenge — go nuts!

Reputation with Zavala, Shaxx, or Drifter will all contribute toward your challenge; no need to play favorites.

Seasonal Artifact

  • Obtain the current Seasonal Artifact.
  • Activate 5 perks from your Seasonal Artifact.
  • Increase your Power bonus from the Seasonal Artifact.

The Seasonal Artifact, the Ascendant Scepter, is obtained early in the Lightfall campaign. Earning XP will unlock new Artifact Perks, which can be equipped in the Character menu. Your Power bonus will also automatically increase.

Nightfall

  • Complete 3 Nightfalls while using a subclass that matches the current surge.
  • Complete Nightfalls and earn two Platinum rewards.

Nightfall can be accessed in the Vanguard section of the Destinations tab. The current surge can be found by selecting Nightfall and hovering over its Modifiers.

Platinum is earned when every single Champion is successfully defeated during a Nightfall.

Champions

  • Stun 6 Unstoppable Champions.
  • Stun 6 Barrier Champions.
  • Stun 6 Overload Champions.

Champions can be stunned by damaging them with certain weapon traits or by afflicting them with certain conditions. To learn more about stunning Champions, visit our guide on All Champion Weaknesses in Destiny 2.

Commendations

  • Commend five other players in a Nightfall activity.
  • Increase your commendation score to 460.

At the end of a Nightfall, enter the Commendation screen and commend the other members of your Fireteam. The more you are commended, the higher your commendation score — so make sure to stick around at the end of every activity.

Lost Sectors

  • Complete Legend Lost Sectors solo.
  • Complete a Legend Lost Sector solo without dying.

Legend Lost Sectors are difficult Lost Sectors that feature Champions and more formidable enemies. The featured Legend Lost Sector changes daily and has a recommended power of 1830. Don’t forget to turn your Fireteam to private when attempting these challenges.

Power

  • Increase your Power to the powerful cap of 1800.
  • Earn 2 pinnacle rewards from Gambit, Nightfall, or Crucible weekly challenges.

After achieving the soft cap, earning Powerful and Pinnacle rewards is the only way to get to 1800 Power. Check each Destination weekly to find activities and challenges with these rewards.

Gambit, Crucible, and Nightfall Pinnacle rewards are in the Destinations tab and reset every Tuesday.

Related: Destiny 2 Lightfall Power Leveling Guide: How to Reach 1810 Fast

All Guardian Rank 8: Justicar Challenges

You must visit the Ironwood Tree in the Tower to claim Rank 7 and begin Rank 8‘s challenges. You’ll also receive a sparkly yellow glow for your efforts.

Lightfall

  • Complete the Lightfall campaign on Legendary (split into two parts).
  • Claim 6 reputation rewards from Nimbus.
  • Complete 3 weekly campaign missions from the Lightfall campaign on Legend difficulty and acquire a team score of 100k.

Lightfall‘s campaign can be replayed on Legendary difficulty on Neomuna’s Map, and this challenge can be completed solo or with other players.

Nimbus‘ reputation can be increased by completing their Bounties sold on Neomuna.

Weekly campaign missions are also accessed on Neomuna‘s map, with increased difficulties offering a better chance to earn a high score.

Season of Defiance

  • Acquire twenty Seasonal ranks.
  • Complete ten Seasonal Challenges.
  • Complete the current Seasonal activity or Exotic quest on the highest difficulty.

Seasonal ranks are gained by earning XP, though you’ll likely be well over Seasonal Rank 20 by the time you’ve earned Guardian Rank 6.

There are ten Seasonal Challenges introduced every week, with any week’s challenges contributing towards this challenge.

You can complete ‘The Variable’ (Vexcalibur) mission on Legendary difficulty to complete the final objective.

Nightfall

  • Complete a Nightfall on Legend difficulty.
  • Complete a Nightfall on Legend difficulty with Platinum rewards.
  • Complete a Nightfall on Legend with a score of 130000 or better.

Nightfall on Legendary difficulty has a recommended Power level of 1830. You’ll also need to earn a score of 13000 and defeat every Champion in the featured Nightfall to complete every challenge in this section.

Endgame

  • Complete the “King’s Fall” raid.
  • Complete the “Duality” dungeon.
  • Complete the “Spire of the Watcher” dungeon.
  • Complete the “Root of Nightmares” raid.

The King’s Fall raid can be accessed in the Legends section of the Destinations tab and has a recommended Power level of 1600.

Duality can be accessed on the Moon‘s map in the Derelict Leviathan section and has a recommended Power level of 1600.

Spire of the Watcher can be accessed on Savathun’s Throne World’s map in the Mars section and has a recommended Power level of 1600.

Root of Nightmares is Destiny 2’s newest raid and can be accessed on Neomura’s map. It has a recommended Power level of 1700.

Collections

  • Increase the number of Exotic weapons in your collection to 15.
  • Collect 15 pieces of Exotic armor.
  • Claim a Title.

Exotic weapons and Exotic armor can be obtained through random drops, Legend Lost Sectors, activity rewards, and through special quests, such as Unfinished Business.”

Titles can be earned by completing a set of Triumphs viewable in the Journey section. Vidmaster and Deadeye are arguably the easiest obtainable titles.

Commendations

  • Give or receive 10 commendations in raids, dungeons, or non-matchmade Nightfalls.
  • Acquire a commendation score of 790.

Giving or receiving commendations is, unfortunately, not retroactive like most other Guardian Rank challenges.

All Guardian Rank 9: Vanquisher Challenges

Season of Defiance

  • Acquire 50 Seasonal Ranks.
  • Purchase 8 upgrades from the War Table.
  • Complete 20 Seasonal Challenges.

Nightfall

  • Complete a Nightfall on Master difficulty or higher.
  • Complete a Nightfall on Master difficulty or higher, with a score of 200000 or more.

Lost Sectors

  • Complete five Master Lost Sectors solo.
  • Complete a Master Lost Sector solo without dying.

Dungeons

  • Complete the “Shattered Throne” dungeon.
  • Complete the “Pit of Heresy” dungeon.
  • Complete the “Prophecy” dungeon.
  • Complete the “Grasp of Avarice” dungeon.

Raids

  • Complete the “Lash Wish” Raid.
  • Complete the “Garden of Salvation” Raid.
  • Complete the “Deep Stone Crypt ” Raid.
  • Complete the “Vow of Disciple” Raid.
  • Complete the “King’s Fall” Raid.
  • Complete the “Root of Nightmares” Raid.
  • Complete the “Vault of Glass” Raid.

Power

  • Increase your Power to the pinnacle cap of 1810.
  • Increase your seasonal Artifact Power bonus to +12 or above.

Commendations

  • Increase your commendation score to 1290 or higher.
  • Commend 50 players in a raid or dungeon.

Collections

  • Collect twenty pieces of Exotic armor.
  • Collect 85 Exotic weapons.
  • Claim2 Titles.

All Guardian Rank 10: Exemplar Challenges

Season of Defiance

  • Acquire 80 Seasonal ranks.
  • Complete 30 Seasonal Challenges.

Grandmaster

  • Complete the featured Nightfall on Grandmaster difficulty.
  • Complete a Grandmaster Nightfall with a high score.

Darkness

  • Unlock all Darkness subclasses.
  • Collect 5 Stasis Fragments.
  • Collect 5 Stand Fragments for a single character.
  • Complete a Grandmaster Nightfall with a Darkness subclass equipped.

Commendations

  • Achieve a commendation score of 1,530 or above.
  • Receive 100 Ally and Leadership commendations.

Collections

  • Fully Masterwork 25 Exotic weapons.
  • Collect 30 pieces of Exotic armor.
  • Claim 5 Titles.

All Guardian Rank 11: Paragon Challenges (Max Rank)

Rank 11 is the maximum Guardian Rank in Season of Defiance.

Engame

  • Complete the most recently released dungeon on Master difficulty.
  • [Redacted challenge]

Grandmaster

  • Complete Triumphs needed to acquire the Conqueror Title.
  • Complete Triumphs needed to gild the Conqueror Title.

Commendations

  • Achieve a commendation score of 1,800
  • Receive 200 Ally and Leadership commendations

Collections

  • Claim 7 Titles.

- This article was updated on March 14th, 2023