The first Iron Banner of Destiny 2 has brought a fresh batch of PvE players cautiously into the Crucible. Don't be afraid! Come on in, the water's fine.
Destiny 2's first Iron Banner is played on Control mode, which involves capturing and holding territory; the more territory you hold, the more points you'll score for each kill. This is a very simple premise and yet the Crucible is currently proving fruitful hunting grounds for even slightly experienced players, preying on the influx of fresh blood brought in by the event.
Don't be among the prey! Let our Destiny 2 guide help you. You want that fabulous Iron Banner armour and weapons, and you deserve to get it with the minimum of suffering. You get more tokens for wins than losses, so let's do our best to have a good time, win matches, and not let the predators steamroll us, okay?
These tips mostly apply to general PvP, too. Form some good habits now and you can enjoy Crucible much more as you collect your Call to Arms Milestone rewards each week; it's one of the easiest Luminous Engram gets, and therefore an important part of levelling up quickly in Destiny 2.
Don't be intimidated by the Crucible. Use our simple tips below to go from baffled meat to well-honed blade.
Don't rush the capture point: secure the area first
It's much, much easier to defend most zones than to capture them; just set yourself up with a line of sight on the capture zone and wait for some bumpkin to come blundering in. If two of them arrive, well; you've got a grenade, and maybe a rocket, and they're unlikely to be watching for you in their rush to stand on that exposed plate.
Don't be the one on the other side of this equation. When you approach a zone, consider the sight lines; is there a Guardian, or two or more, just waiting to ping you? It's well worth the extra second or two it takes to detour around nearby cover and shoot a defender in the back of the head so you can capture your zone without taking fire. Secure the area before you expose yourself on the capture plate.
Pack the right gear
Throw your favourite pulse rifle in the bin and embrace effective PvP weapons. Don't worry too much about the Power and Kinetic thing while you're learning; just treat them as two primary slots. Generally you want something for close up and something for distance.
MIDA Multi-tool is the most popular scout rifle, but almost any scout is a good idea for your distance option.
Up close, a sidearm, submachine gun or auto rifle is the most effective choice. Most beginner players will find an auto rifle easiest to use.
Certain weapons are dominating the meta right now, so check the kill feed and see what's giving you the most trouble. Look for weapons in the same archetype and have a go with them.
Don't waste your time "helping" to capture a secure zone
Capturing control zones is a real priority and more important than just totting up kills. Here's the thing, though: it only takes one Guardian to capture a zone. Two or three or four of you standing in one zone won't make it capture any faster or win you more points.
Rather than stand on the flag with your pal, you're way better off moving to capture or contest a second zone, or even just moving to a better position for taking out defenders as they move in to attack your poor, exposed buddy doing the capture.
Here's a neat tip if you're not so hot on the shooting part and want to play a support role: if you arrive on a zone along with another Guardian, use your wave or sit emote. They usually get the hint that you're volunteering to make the capture, and run off to do something more useful than stand back to back with you, twiddling their thumbs. You'll both survive longer as a result.
Work in a team
If you mostly play PvE you may be a solo player, and that's fine; I play solo all the time and I don't hate Crucible. But there's no denying that the new, more intense 4v4 PvP format means a good team will absolutely steamroll a group of randos thrown together without comms, and that can be very frustrating. If possible, get yourself in a crew with friends, or pop onto an LFG group, flag yourself as a beginner and find someone to play with. We recommend the wonderful The100.io; post your request to all groups (publicly) a couple of hours in advance for best results.
If you really don't want to chat with strangers, we don't blame you - but you can still have a pretty good time in Iron Banner by playing with an eye on what everyone else is doing. It's always best to work in pairs, so find someone and latch onto them, following close by but not right next to them, so you can catch lone players in crossfire and survive confrontations with more than one enemy.
Please don't go lone wolf just because you're worried about kill stealing. Destiny 2 has ditched KDR as a key metric in favour of "efficiency", which means everyone gets plenty of credit for assists. Staying alive and helping mow down a swathe of foes will earn you streak medals and boost your personal score much faster than racking up unassisted kills but getting taken out constantly because you're always going 1v2 or even 1v4.
There are times when it's worth sneaking off alone and trying for a third zone - if you know all four enemies are engaged elsewhere and your team is holding them off, you can sneak their spawn zone for a cheeky point boost. Most of the time, it's just spreading yourself too thin, leaving your pals undefended and risking obliteration.
Aim to hold two zones at all times
One of the best tactics in Clash is to roam the map in a circle as a team, taking out everything you find. In Control, this isn't as effective; as the four of you are taking A, the other team is taking B and C, and even if you leave one Guardian behind, by the time you reach B it's likely the opposition are moving on A.
You get twice as many points for a kill when you have zone advantage (hold two zones), so unless you're very, very good, you're almost always going to lose if you focus on one zone at a time. A match between balanced teams will generally see one zone held solidly by each, and a constant shift back and forth of a contested zone between them; there's usually one zone on each map that is less easy to defend, which quickly becomes the focal point of a good battle.
Ideally, you'll want one Guardian on each of your two held zones, and two roaming between them to respond to the enemy's attacks. If you're not on voice comms to arrange this, just use your sense; if you arrive at a captured zone and find someone standing guard and no attackers in sight, roam back towards the other zone, keeping an ear out and an eye on your radar - or stand guard if the other Guardian takes to their heels. If you see a threat approaching on the radar, fire before you even catch a glimpse of them, so your teammates know to come running!
This seems obvious but if you're new to PvP the very best tip is to forget trying to earn points and focus on not giving them away to the other team. You can achieve more for your team by making yourself a difficult target than you can charging in to try and make an impact.
In order not to die: stay with one other Guardian at all times. Always keep an eye on your radar and keep cover between you and the enemy. Always shoot from near cover so you can duck back in if you take a hit or two. Reload in cover. Keep moving as you fire. Don't camp in one place. Run away if you think you're outnumbered.
Not only will this prevent you being a burden to the rest of your team, it'll help you learn the maps and how the game is played while you do so. Consider it an apprenticeship, and enjoy the fact that your efficiency score goes up as you rack up assists and streaks from just ... not dying.
Shoot them in the head
Guardians take more damage in the head. Shoot them there. Obviously. If you can hit a Vex tum-tum, you can hit a great big space helmet.