Destiny 2: How to get Vexcalibur and beat the Avalon mission

Destiny 2 Vexcalibur
(Image credit: Bungie)

The Destiny 2 Vexcalibur weapon is a new exotic glaive that you can get through a secret mission, and like Revision Zero from last season's Seraph's Shield, it's one you'll be playing a lot if you want to earn all the upgrades and catalysts. Vexcalibur continues Bungie's new trend of craftable exotics, but honestly, it's likely to be one of the best glaives in the game, giving you an overshield when you guard, and dealing increased melee damage when you have said overshield.

If you want Vexcalibur for yourself, you're going to have to jump through a few hoops to get the Variable quest, unlock the Avalon mission, and beat its tricky encounters. If you're still exploring Neomuna, you might want to know where to find those action figure collectibles, or the Terminal Overload rotation for some Strand weapons. Either way, here's how to get Vexcalibur, complete the Avalon mission, and find its first intrinsic upgrade.

Destiny 2 Variable quest: How to unlock the secret mission

The first step in getting the new exotic glaive is to unlock the secret Variable quest that allows you to venture into the Vex network to find it. To do this, you need to head to The Gulch area in the EDZ and collect six Vex data fragments scattered across the area within a time limit. Once you grab a fragment, you have a pretty generous 30 seconds to hit the next, which refreshes the timer. 

You can see the locations of all fragments in the video above by KackisHD. You can collect them in any order you want, and once you do, it'll unlock a nearby cave which is indicated by a big Vex portal in the sky above it. Head inside to find a harpy and a Vex portal where you can begin the Avalon mission.

Destiny 2 Avalon: How to complete Node.Ovrd.Avalon

(Image credit: Bungie)

Avalon isn't quite as tricky as previous exotic quests like Presage, in large part because it boosts your power to a minimum of 1790, which seems to be more than enough to deal with it solo provided you've got a little survivability in the form of woven mail, overshields, invisibility, or devour⁠—though I'm sure legend is a lot tougher. There are three encounters, but you'll spend most of the time completing tasks under fire, so being able to mitigate that is a must. 

First encounter: Variant Security Protocol   

Shoot these shapes at the conflux from top to bottom (Image credit: Bungie)

After entering the Vex network and running through some small passageways, you arrive at a drop which lowers you into the Variant Security Protocol. This isn't a boss encounter, but you will be dealing with lots of enemies while solving a puzzle. When you jump over to the opposite platform, the encounter will start, and a conflux will appear with three floating shapes: a cube, a pyramid, and a diamond. You need to shoot these in a certain order—this probably brings back memories of the harpy puzzle from Headlong.

First, though, clear out some enemies to get breathing room; quantum hobgoblins and the minotaurs in-particular. Regular goblins keep spawning no matter what, but the harder enemies only reappear when you enter a code sequence correctly. The three sequences in the first room appear in order:

  • To the right of the node
  • Behind the pillar by the Hobgoblin platform on the left
  • Behind the pillar by the Vex portal at the back right. 

Each subsequent code gets longer, and is random each time. When you input the third sequence, the second room will open, and you'll have to kill a whole lot of enemies to get to it. Watch out for the Cyclops straight ahead, and to the left around the corner. Now, repeat the process in this room. The most important thing to remember is you can retreat back down the corridor for some cover if you're getting killed. The codes for the second room appear:

  • In between the two hobgoblin platforms on the left
  • By the hobgoblin platform in the back right corner
  • Hidden in the drop in the middle of the room; the best way to see this is looking back towards the node from the Vex portal at the rear of the room

Once inputted, a horde of goblins and minotaurs enter from the back right, so get some cheeky grenades or rockets in to clear a load at once. Defeat all the Vex in the next room along with the two big Wyverns, and you're all done… for now. 

Second encounter: Data Nullifier, Corrupted Data Management 

Defeat the Dataholders (Corrupt) and dunk their pink motes in the conflux (Image credit: Bungie)

After a few little jumping and crouching puzzles, you'll hit your first boss encounter, and get to play a lil game of Vex gambit. In order to get a damage phase, you're going to have to kill Dataholders (Corrupt), steal the pink motes they drop, then dump them in the conflux at the centre of the room before the time runs out. Like the Kalli boss from Last Wish, this will open a hole that protects you from getting deleted.  

You'll want a weapon that can clear red bar enemies fast—I found a machine gun was a good choice for this. The sooner you get in the hole the better, since it'll stop you getting blasted by hobgoblins and the wyverns that spawn when there's only ten seconds left. If one walks over to the hole and starts shooting down at you, hug the wall by where it is and move with it. A disorientating grenade launcher can also blind them until the hole seals. Here's the general layout of the fight: 

  • Collect 8 data and hide in hole (one wyvern spawns at ten seconds)
  • Collect 10 data and hide in hole (two wyverns spawn at ten seconds)
  • Data Nullifier damage phase followed by clearing harpies
  • Collect 10 data and hide in hole (two wyverns spawn at ten seconds)
  • Collect 12 data and hide in hole (two wyverns spawn at ten seconds)
  • Final damage phase

Since only four buffs are listed at a time in the left sidebar, you might not be able to see how much data you've collected, so it's probably a good idea to count yourself so you can get in the hole as fast as possible. If you're struggling with survivability, try sheltering towards the side of the arena, or by the raised platforms near where the hobgoblins are, picking off the Corrupt Dataholders so you can collect their data all at once before dumping it. Also be sure to hold your super until that final phase so you can deal damage while enemies are spawning. 

Final encounter: Variant Stalker Brakion, Repurposed Mind 

Brakion's back (Image credit: Bungie)

It's our old buddy Brakion… kind of. For those who did the Pyramidion strike when Io was still in the game, this encounter will feel familiar, especially as the boss arena is all but the same. This fight takes place across three separate arenas, and there's a nice pause in between each where you can change loadout, weapon, or run around picking up heavy ammo (definitely put on some heavy finders for this). 

The first arena is a simple damage fest; take cover from Brakion's laser while you deal with the goblins, minotaurs, and wyverns, then chip his health down until he leaves. Be aware that he periodically teleports around the three points of the arena, so reposition to one of the others for cover when he does. Once you've taken a third of his health off, he disappears and you can portal through to the next room. 

Second phase 

When you arrive, take cover at the back until you've dealt with the hydra and the two wyverns. After this, two cyclops spawn to either side of Brakion, as well as a familiar-looking shape code conflux in the centre of the room. I recommend using a precision weapon and a chill clip or disorientating breech-load grenade launcher for this. The grenades can slow the wyverns as they approach you, opening their weak spots for precision damage. It'll also help you deal with those cyclops without getting too close. I found Le Monarque was a strong pick due to clearing big groups of enemies with its poison as well as synergising well with minotaur void shields.

To get the code for the conflux, head to the right side of the arena and look down through the triangular window. Enter the code and you'll get a 30 second damage phase to do what you can, so make sure you're close to Brakion when you shoot the last shape. Considering the number of spawning harpies you have to kill in this phase, I think Parasite is a great pick for dealing damage. Also save your super for this.

After damage, return to the back of the arena and start all over again. This time the code is on the left side. Repeat the process until you've dealt another third of Brakion's health and he'll leave.

Third phase

The final arena is relatively small, and an aggressive Brakion will chase you around, so there's not much respite. I'd suggest bringing Anarchy or Witherhoard to chip him down as you run around the room dealing with the more dangerous enemies like the minotaurs. Also make sure you grab any heavy ammo and orbs from the previous arena to charge your super—there should be lots left over from all the harpies you killed if you had a finder on. You could even wait for your super to charge for that little bit of extra damage. Once Brakion is down, grab your well-earned Vexcalibur glaive from the Vex milk pillar.

Where to find the Vexcalibur intrinsic upgrades

Vexcalibur is a craftable exotic, and as the season progresses we'll head back into Avalon to get its intrinsic upgrades and unlock its three catalysts. The main difference is that this time we get access to secrets by earning and equipping mods on Vexcalibur itself. When you finish the Avalon mission, you'll get the Vexcalibur: Authorization Code quest where you have to kill Vex with the weapon to unlock the Authorization Override mod.

Slot this mod into Vexcalibur and you can use the shield to pass through those square patterned Vex barriers, making the mission a little quicker, and giving you access to the first intrinsic upgrade: M1R Distribution Matrix II. You can see how to get this near the start of the mission in the gif above.

How to get Vexcalibur catalysts

Vexcalibur has three catalysts (Image credit: Bungie)

As with Seraph's Shield and Revision Zero, you need to complete Avalon on legendary difficulty in order to earn the first catalyst, and considering its power level is 1830, you might not have enough to feasibly try it right now, or a fireteam to take in with you to make it easier. The good news is that, unlike Seraph's Shield, you don't have to find any exo bodies or anything like that: simply complete the mission and you'll get that first catalyst. 

Sean Martin
Guides Writer

Sean's first PC games were Full Throttle and Total Annihilation and his taste has stayed much the same since. When not scouring games for secrets or bashing his head against puzzles, you'll find him revisiting old Total War campaigns, agonizing over his Destiny 2 fit, or still trying to finish the Horus Heresy. Sean has also written for EDGE, Eurogamer, PCGamesN, Wireframe, EGMNOW, and Inverse.