My fireteam correctly predicted the Atheon Challenge Mode requirement 17.5 hours before the weekly reset. Because of this prediction, we were able to develop an optimized, efficient strategy that considered multiple variables to try and develop the “best” strategy. Simplicity, communication, coordination, timing, weapon loadouts, optimal damage, and other variables were all factored in when developing the strategy. We were able to do this because we had time to do so, we had hours to practice and perfect it. I spent a good part of my day on Monday writing up a full guide so that as soon as we completed the Atheon challenge, I could post the guide as soon as possible. Unfortunately, the post was removed in error and never really saw the light of day. I have received permission to repost the guide.
Using this strategy and our practice, we were able to complete the Atheon Challenge Mode in one phase on our first attempt. Our first VoG completion time was 37:42 including both challenges, and that’s including time spent transferring the checkpoint to another character. Unless Bungie says otherwise, we can only assume that we were the world first Atheon Challenge Mode completion.
Before Atheon teleports Guardians, have 3 people activating the left sync plate and have 3 people activating the right sync plate. This maximizes your odds of quickly activating the correct sync plate outside while you are shooting out of your detainment bubble.
Bungie reduced the number of oracles to six in each portal. This matches the fireteam size of 6 so everybody on the fireteam needs to kill one and only one oracle per Time’s Vengeance. One oracle, no more, no less.
We decided to use a numbering system, but understand that it is not a static numbering system, and you must understand the time when we assign numbers. Your team cannot pick numbers until after the teams have been teleported and after the relic has been picked up. This strategy allows anybody who is comfortable with the relic to pick it up immediately. If you like running relic, you can “prehold” the button to pick it up and if you are teleported inside it will pick it up instantly.
Whoever picks up the relic is always automatically #3. On the outside team, one person should immediately try to call “I am 6”. We went off the “dibs” system, whoever called out “6” first got it.
The #6 callout is really the only callout that is required. I will explain why. There are two people teleported inside who do not pick up the relic. These will be #1 and #2. Both of these people can team-shoot the first oracle and then use the killfeed to determine which person should reload and solo kill oracle #2. These people are also responsible for calling out the time the oracle # spawns. Their callout should be something quick, clear, and simple like “1 is up. 2 is up. 3 is up.” Relic kills oracle #3 with the relic super, which is charged by killing the adds. The same exact principle applies to #4 and #5. Both of these outside players should enter the portal at the same time, as soon as the inside team calls out “3 is up” and both players should shoot oracle #4. Using the killfeed, whoever does not kill oracle #4 needs to reload and solo kill oracle #5. At this point, the original inside team should be leaving the portal and going to the middle island, which allows #6 to enter the portal last to solo kill the final oracle.
With this staggered approach, you can have 5 people out of the portal and on the middle island before the final oracle is killed to get Time’s Vengeance. This maximizes your damage phase time, because 5 people are already in position, able to preemptively place a Weapons of Light bubble on the back of the island, and they should be ready to start shooting him as soon as they get the Time’s Vengeance damage buff.
I will use the above strategy in the real-world example of our first Atheon Challenge completion.
Our fireteam consists of:
Atheon Opens the Timestream
Let’s say that Teh Zombie87 picks up the relic, and he goes down to kill adds like normal. TehZombie87, since he is the relic holder, will be responsible for killing oracle #3. The other two players inside the portal kill oracles #1 and #2. In this example, ThadJarvice called out “I got 1” to indicate he was going to kill oracle #1. That left Eonix to kill oracle #2.
On the outside team, Textbook1987 called out “I got 6” meaning he was going to be the sole person outside the portal, and that means NY Sneakybeaver and Ouch MS should both enter the portal at the same time to kill oracles #4 and #5. The inside team calls out the timing for oracle spawns, so that when they call out “3 is up” , #4 and #5 enter the portal.
At this point, team members #1 through #5 should all be standing in the same spot, which is inside the portal, near the door. The relic holder, after killing his adds, should stand near the door and use the relic super to one-shot oracle #3. Before or after killing oracle #3 is the perfect time to cleanse, with 5 members of the fireteam grouped up. #1 and #2 need to be aware of their positioning so that they stand near the relic holder to get the cleanse after the oracle #3 kill, but behind the relic holder, careful not to block his super shot. #1 and #2 will definitely need to be cleansed at this point before they leave the portal because their screens will be dark.
With everybody cleansed, members #1, #2, and #3 can leave the portal and go to the middle island. #4 and #5 can leave the portal immediately after killing their oracle. Since they are inside the portal a shorter amount of time, they should not need a cleanse inside, they will get cleansed outside on the middle island.
6 enters the portal last, after the callout “5 is up” and the original inside team has left the portal. He kills the final oracle and immediately leaves to join his team on the middle island for the cleanse and damage.
Using the real-world examples above, you can see Ouch MS and NY SneakyBeaver enter the portal after the callout “3 is up”. Textbook1987 remains outside. By the time they call out “5 is up” you can see Eonix, Teh Zombie87, and ThadJarvice all leaving the portal just before Textbook1987 enters the portal. Ouch MS and NY SneakyBeaver leave the portal as soon as their oracles are killed and join the team on the middle island. By the time Textbook1987 kills the final oracle to get Time’s Vengeance, 5 members of the fireteam should be standing on the middle island ready to shoot Atheon. In our example, we had 4 members in position while NY SneakyBeaver was shooting a couple Supplicants before moving to middle island. We placed a Weapons of Light bubble with the Illuminated perk on the back of the middle island, and used a black hole tether. We all used Sleeper Simulants to kill Atheon in one phase. When it comes to damaging Atheon, use a Weapons of Light bubble and a Tether, use Sleeper if you have it, and high impact sniper rifles. Do not use offensive supers like golden gun or hammers, they do not benefit from the damage buff from Time’s Vengeance.
You do not need to kill Atheon in one round, but using this strategy increases your possibility of doing so. If you do not kill Atheon, repeat this strategy every round.
If you get Time’s Vengeance with a member of the fireteam killing more than one oracle, you will fail the challenge.
Study this video to learn and memorize the location of each oracle spawn inside both portals.
The relic holder’s oracle (oracle #3) is always floating top left, for both portals. Oracle #4 is either floating directly above the final steps (Mars) or floating to the right (Venus), however with Challenge Mode, since #4 enters Venus from the portal facing the other direction, oracle #4 is on THEIR left. Oracle #5 is always on the right (YOUR left after you enter the portal). Oracle #6 is always on the left (YOUR right after you enter the portal).
If You Are Having Trouble Killing Oracles
Oracles are not like normal enemies in Destiny. They are not majors or ultras, they are something entirely different and unique – they are oracles. Oracles have unique properties. Did you know that oracles gain health over time, immediately after spawn? This is why it is so important to shoot an oracle as soon as it spawns, because you stop its health gain, meaning it will have lower overall health and die faster. This health gain is so severe that in some cases, it is actually better to be shooting at an oracle’s spawn location, wasting bullets into thin air, than to shoot the oracle the moment it spawns. Don’t believe me?
If you have Vault of Glass weapons, use them. They have an intrinsic perk called Oracle Disruptor that will deal bonus damage to oracles.
For primary weapons, there are different damage penalties against oracles. Handcannons have a 33% damage penalty against oracles and scouts have a 20% damage penalty against oracles. I do not know about pulse rifles, but auto rifles have no damage penalty against oracles. That is why you saw us using Doctrine of Passing (with Extended Mag) to kill oracles. That allowed us to use our special and heavy for Atheon.
It is helpful to your team to call out the oracles as they spawn. “1 is up.” “2 is up.” “3 is up.” etc. This gives the outside team a rough idea of the best time to enter the portal. Entering the portal too early can lead to your screen going dark sooner than necessary.
I know there are other strategies being used, but I really feel like we explored all options and figured out the best strategy to ensure success. I am open to alternative strategies though, so if you feel like there is improvement, then by all means, please let me know.