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"I think you could follow a trail of shattered worlds all the way to their home."
Grimoire description.
Grimoire The Cabal.jpg


Expand the Cabal Empire
Escape Oryx, the Taken King
Steal technology from the Dreadnaught
Destroy the Last City

At War with:

The City

Average height:


Average weight:

800 lbs


Massive size
Cleft upper lip
Psychic (Psions only)

Average lifespan:

Very long[1]


The Cabal are a race with a heavy-set, rhinoceros like appearance. They are an industrial, militaristic empire that spreads through organization, efficiency, and corruption,[2] and their occupation of Mars is just a small part of it.[3] Few Guardians have encountered Cabal and lived to tell the tale. On every front they have been found to have already dug in and fortified their installations with razor wire.[4]


"Embrace suffering. Only then can it be conquered."
—Bracus Tha'aurn

Cabal are a highly militarized and violent species, known for their heavy armor and weapons. They will defend their territory until every last one of them is dead.[3] Cabal architecture and construction is large and industrial, with an emphasis on burrowing into mountains for defense.[5] Black smoke and leaking oil can often be seen emitting from their technology.[6] They are in the process of occupying Mars, contesting territory with the Vex, and Cabal ships are bringing armies to and from the red planet.[3]

Interestingly, the Cabal is the only hostile race that does not feature worship in its culture. The Fallen worship their god-like Servitors; the Hive have devoted an entire religion to the Darkness; and the Vex revere the unknown entity that is the Black Heart.


"We have just as much to learn from our enemies as we do from our past."
—Master Rahool

The Cabal arrived in the Solar System at some point following the Collapse. Encountering no meaningful opposition, they established a beachhead at Phobos, constructing massive facilities such as Fleetbase Korus and Firebase Thuria, and launched a ground invasion and occupation of Mars. In the long years since, the Cabal have steadily advanced in the face of withering attacks by the Vex and the Guardians, suffering immense casualties but always able to call on additional reinforcements.

When a Cabal army goes to war it is exiled from the Empire, and is not permitted to return until it has successfully conquered its target.[7] This presumably keeps Cabal troops motivated and loyal enough to endure long-term campaigns, though even the Cabal wear down eventually.[8] Those on Mars show signs of exhaustion as they are currently fighting off endless Vex assaults all while being decimated by Guardians attacks. A Ghost that had infiltrated a Cabal base on the planet took note of visible dissent among their ranks: while some Cabal pledged their allegiance to their Empire and obeyed their ancient orders without question, others did not, and tensions between the two groups may presage a schism.[9] One unit, the Broken Legion commanded by Valus Trau'ug, even mutinied and attacked the Reef without authorization, resulting in their capture by the Awoken. For Trau'ug's treason and failure, Cabal High Command disavowed the entire legion, leaving them to rot in the Prison of Elders.[10]

Prior to the outbreak of the Taken War, the Vanguard speculated that a new task force; a "second fleet", led by the Skyburners was being assembled at Phobos for the purpose of invading Earth. After the arrival of Oryx, the Taken King and his Dreadnaught, however the Cabal were forced to evacuate Fleetbase Korus and other sites due to a Taken assault. In the ensuing hours various detachments across Phobos and Mars suffered enormous casualties against the Taken, with the Sand Eaters losing 58% of their troops, the Blind Legion losing 35%, and the Dust Giants losing 39%. In addition, the entire local Cabal fleet was mobilized, and any ship that was not already on the move by the time the Guardian arrived on Phobos was believed to have been destroyed.[11] Taking these statistics into account as well as the years of warfare with the Vex and Guardians, it can be assumed that well over half the Cabal forces have been wiped out.

With Oryx's arrival the Skyburners were forced to redeploy to reinforce the other battered Cabal, putting the impending campaign against Earth on hold. Following this considerable setback, Primus Ta'aun, commander of the Skyburners, sent a report up the Cabal chain of command suggesting that the Hive technology aboard the Dreadnaught could be co-opted for Cabal use. Ta'aun also proposed any technology recovered could be used against Guardians, as the Primus had begun to realize that the Cabal battle strategy was becoming hopelessly mired in a losing attrition war with the City.[12] His report reached the Cabal Emperor, who ordered Ta'aun to personally board and capture the Hive vessel by any means necessary.[13] In the aftermath of the Battle of Saturn, Ta'aun rammed his warship, Dantalion Exodus VI, into the Dreadnaught to land his troops. While leading a squad through the Mausoleum in an attempt to reach Oryx's ascendant realm, Ta'aun was Taken and transformed into Ta'aun, Hand of Oryx.[14] Ta'aun's bond-brothers Valus Mau'ual and Valus Tlu'urn, either as part of a preconceived plan to force the Hive's surrender or to avenge their lost Primus, ventured into the Dreadnaught's power core and planted explosives at its core. If the core was detonated, the blast would take out half of the Solar System. Fortunately, the two Shield Brothers were stopped by a fireteam of Guardians before the explosives could be detonated.[7] With their leaders gone, the surviving Cabal on Dantalion Exodus VI began transmitting an emergency request for help to the rest of the Empire. The Guardian disabled this signal, but likely not before it reached its intended recipients.[15] Despite a signal being sent to the Cabal leadership, the remaining Skyburners on the Dreadnaught continue to fight a desperate struggle to survive as their beachhead is slowly overrun by Hive and Taken.

Recently on Mars, the Cabal have clashed with the resurgent House of Wolves, who have gathered on the red planet and flock to the call of their new Servitor God Orbiks Prime. With the recent losses, the Cabal were unable to combat the scavengers as they took the Cabal's underground holdouts for their own. The Guardians, guided by Variks, destroyed the Servitor leaving the Wolves broken again and fighting a desperate struggle against the Cabal.

A little while after Oryx's defeat, a New Monarchy agent sent a report to his Executor superior and took note that given the immense loss of leadership—the Skyburners' Primus and his bond-brothers, Primus Sha'aul, Valus Ta'aurc, Valus Trau'ug, and a large mass of lesser Vals and Bracuses all dead or heavily outnumbered. With this, New Monarchy believes that the Cabal Empire will have no choice but to respond to the Guardian's attacks.[16]

Destiny 2 spoilers
Two years after the Taken War, the Cabal Empire would respond to the Guardian's attacks, launching a major surprise attack on the Last City.[17]


"Without victory, we cannot go home!"
—Primus A'arn

While the Cabal are clearly a militaristic race with a penchant for conquest, as evidenced by the existence of the Psion client race, their exact motivation for coming to the Solar System is unclear. They have an apparent fascination with the Vex and Vex technology, as evidenced by their heavy presence at Vex sites across Mars, such as the gate to the Black Garden and the spire that unlocks it. The Cabal also sent an expedition to Mercury to investigate a Vex structure known as Vertigo, but the members of that expedition have since disappeared without a trace.[18] It is unknown if the Cabal have visited any other worlds apart from Mars and Mercury within the Solar System.

The Cabal are capable of very extreme tactics in the name of the Empire, from leveling entire planets for being in the way, to threatening to blow up the Dreadnaught's power core, which would take half the Solar System with it. Cayde-6 considers the Cabal to be war criminals.[7] It suspected that for all their ferocity, however, the Cabal are secretly running away from something terrifyingly powerful, possibly the Darkness itself.[5]

Based on Grimoire analysis, it can be assumed the Cabal's interest in the Guardians are defensive in nature, looking to find ways to neutralize their self-resurrection abilities before committing to war.[12] This can be seen in the Cabal's fascination with the Hive and Vex, both of which have methods to negate Guardian resurrection, and Rasputin's facilities, who possess the necessary orbital firepower to assist Cabal efforts. Psion Flayers have been indicated to have already analyzed certain areas where Guardians cannot self-resurrect, and that the Hive on the Dreadnaught possess means of extending these areas.


The Cabal are a bipedal, hulking, vaguely humanoid species. They appear to be carnivorous, as they have sharp, irregular teeth. They have wrinkled, gray, leathery skin, a tall skull, dark wide-set eyes, and a very high, inverted-V-shaped upper lip that exposes the Cabal's upper gums and fangs.[19] They come from a warm, humid climate so they have to be constantly hydrated within their suits.[6] Therefore, while a tough species, Cabal cannot survive in Mars's blistering environment without climate-controlled suits. If a Cabal loses their helmet, they are done for.[3] Based on past encounters, it is believed that the Cabal lifespan is quite long.[1]

Interestingly, from Grimoire analysis, it is seen that while the Cabal do have females serving in the rank and file, they are indistinguishable from the males in gameplay, making the Cabal androgynous in human eyes. Any physical differentiation between sexes has yet to be investigated.[13]


"While reports have them centered on or around Mars, the true might of the Cabal is still wrapped in speculation."
—Cabal description.[20]

The Cabal in the Solar System are but one arm of a vast interstellar Empire, and in the words of Valus Tlu'urn are "a few scout legions bogged down in attrition war". The nature of the upper echelons of Cabal leadership, including the identity of the leader of the Cabal in the Solar System, is unknown, except for the fact that the Cabal as a whole are ruled by an Emperor with final authority over military decisions.[13]

Various military ranks appear among the identified Cabal leaders:

  • Bracus is a rank seen among Sand Eater Centurions. It is likely a lower rank and subordinate to Valus.
  • Val is a rank seen among Phalanx and Centurion Bodyguards. It is likely a subordinate position to Valus.
  • Valus is a rank reserved for elite Centurions and Colossi, possibly a commanding rank. It is subordinate to Primus.
  • Primus is a rank seen for the commander of the Blind Legion and the commander of the Skyburners. According to Cayde-6 this rank is equivalent to an admiral. It is currently the highest known Cabal rank. It is possible Primus is exclusive to specialized Legions. Sand Eaters and the Dust Giants, which are larger frontline regiments, have yet to show any commanders of that rank.


Named Individuals and Mini-bosses

Solar System Leadership

Major Characters

Minor Characters

Mentioned Only

  • Primus A'arn—Primus of unknown legion; slain by Oryx.[22]

Command Structure

  • Legionary—frontline heavy infantry that form the backbone of the Cabal military. Equipped with jump jets, and armed with either a Slug Rifle (common) or Projection Rifle (rare).
    • Elite Legionary
    • Fleet Legionary
    • Hardened Legionary
    • Imperial Legionary
    • Scout Legionary
  • Phalanx—defensive troops that create impenetrable walls for support. Equipped with a Slug Rifle and Cabal Shield.
    • Elite Phalanx
    • Fleet Phalanx
    • Hardened Phalanx
    • Imperial Phalanx
    • Line Phalanx
  • Centurion—field commanders and special operation troops of the Cabal. Equipped with a Solar Shield and jump jets, and armed with either a Projection Rifle (common) or Slug Rifle (rare).
    • Fleet Centurion
    • Gunnery Centurion
    • Imperial Centurion
    • Line Centurion
    • Scout Centurion
  • Colossus—elite heavy infantry units that lead the battle with their own ferocious size and strength. Armed with a Heavy Slug Thrower and have the ability to fire homing missiles from pods on the back of their armor. Can also unleash a three-hundred-sixty degree melee attack to inflict tremendous knockback and serious damage.
    • Elite Colossus
    • Fleet Colossus
    • Imperial Colossus
  • Psion—creatures of an unknown species that serve the Cabal military and take on the role of scouts or pilots. Has psychic abilities and is armed a Slug Rifle. Can move around quicker than actual Cabal units.
    • Elite Psion (Void Shield)
    • Fleet Psion
    • Psion Burner—specialist unit exclusive to Skyburners
    • Psion Flayer
    • Psion Operant
  • Uncategorized units:
    • Red Guard—large cleaver-wielding Cabal which debuts in Destiny 2.


The Cabal rely upon a thick, black, oil-like substance to run much of their equipment.[3] They possess technology, or potentially individuals which enable them to shape and transform the features of planetoids, much like the Hive, but not on the level of the Traveler. This technology has been used by them to draw Mars's moon, Phobos, very close to the planet.[3]


"Say what you like about the Cabal. They know guns."




  • A cabal is a group of people united in some close design together, usually to promote their private views or interests in a church, state, or other community, often by intrigue. Usually when organizations are labelled "cabal" it is a negative connotation that implies dark or sinister intent.[23]
  • Concept art showed Cabal working together with Fallen, indicating a possible alliance between the two races similar to that of the Covenant from Bungie's acclaimed Halo franchise.[24][25] However, this was later revealed to be concept art of the Taken.
  • Until The Taken King, the Cabal were the only enemy species who did not share a world with the Fallen. The Taken King added the remnants of the Fallen House of Wolves to Mars.
  • Strangely enough the Cabal Colossi are not completely helmeted but have their lower face exposed. This could be a developer oversight.
  • According to a speculative thread on DestinyTheGame based on inference from pre-Taken King mission content,[26][27] the Cabal's original motivation for coming to the Solar System may have been to investigate the Warminds of Earth.[28]


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List of appearances


  1. ^ a b Bungie (2014/9/9), Destiny: Playstation 4, Activision Blizzard, Grimoire: Bracus Tho'ourg
  2. ^ Game Informer January 2014, page 55
  3. ^ a b c d e f Destiny Planet View
  4. ^ Bungie: Cabal
  5. ^ a b Bungie (2014/9/9), Destiny: Playstation 4, Activision Blizzard, Grimoire: Ghost Fragment: Cabal 2
  6. ^ a b Game Informer: The Enemies of Destiny
  7. ^ a b c Bungie (2015/9/15), Destiny: The Taken King, Playstation 4, Activision Blizzard, Shield Brothers dialogue
  8. ^ Bungie (2014/9/9), Destiny: PlayStation 4, Activision Blizzard, Grimoire: Sand Eaters
  9. ^ Bungie (2014/9/9), Destiny: Playstation 4, Activision Blizzard, Grimoire: Ghost Fragment: Cabal
  10. ^ Bungie (2015/5/19), Destiny: House of Wolves, Playstation 4, Activision Blizzard, Grimoire: Valus Trau'ug
  11. ^ Bungie (2015/9/19), Destiny: The Taken King, Activision Blizzard, The Coming War dialogue
  12. ^ a b Bungie (2015/9/19), Destiny: PlayStation 4, Activision Blizzard, Grimoire: Ghost Fragment: Cabal 4
  13. ^ a b c Bungie (2014/9/9), Destiny: PlayStation 4, Activision Blizzard, Grimoire: Ghost Fragment: Cabal 3
  14. ^ Bungie (2015/9/19), Destiny: The Taken King, Activision Blizzard, Enemy of My Enemy dialogue
  15. ^ Bungie (2015/9/19), Destiny: The Taken King, Activision Blizzard, Outbound Signal dialogue
  16. ^ Bungie (2015/9/19), Destiny: PlayStation 4, Activision Blizzard, Grimoire: Cabal Champions
  17. ^ Polygon - Watch the first teaser for Destiny 2
  18. ^ Gameinformer: We Analyze Destiny: The Taken King’s Eight New Crucible Maps
  19. ^ YouTube Bungie at GDC 2013: Destiny Character Development
  20. ^ Destinythegame: Our enemies
  21. ^ Destiny Official Strategy Guide
  22. ^ Bungie (2015/9/15), Destiny: PlayStation 4, Activision Blizzard, Silence of A'arn
  23. ^ Cabal
  24. ^ IGN Destiny Concept Art Analysis
  25. ^ Bungie's Destiny Revealed
  26. ^ Bungie (2014/9/9), Destiny: Playstation 4, Activision Blizzard, The Buried City
  27. ^ Bungie (2014/9/9), Destiny: Playstation 4, Activision Blizzard, Dust Palace
  28. ^ reddit, I think I figured how what the Cabal are really after and why they haven't just blown up our system.