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Destiny 2 Gambit guide: 13 tips to dominate, from the people who made it

Bungie designers Lars Bakken and Robbie Stevens tell us how to take the enemy down in Forsaken’s new mode

One of Destiny 2: Forsaken’s most promising and exciting features is the new Gambit mode. This weekend, on Sept. 1, players will be able to check out Gambit for themselves, thanks to a free Gambit trial.

We spoke with Gambit’s initial design lead, Lars Bakken, and current design lead, Robbie Stevens, to ask what tips they might have for Gambit players.

After all, who better to ask than the people who made it?

How Gambit works

Gambit is Destiny’s first ever PvEvP game mode. Two teams of four players each drop into separate arenas, battling various enemies within those spaces. When the enemies are killed, they drop items called motes. Players gather and deposit motes in a giant, cylindrical bank in the middle of the arena. The first team to bank 75 motes spawns a boss, and the first team to take down their boss wins the round. Gambit matches play out in a best of three format.

The twist with Gambit comes in how players can mess with the opposing team. Banking motes in quantities of five, 10 and 15 will send extra enemies called Blockers to the other team’s bank area. Blockers lock down a bank, making it impossible to deposit any motes until they’ve been defeated. At certain points in the match, players can even invade their opponents’ arena physically, giving them a chance to kill members of the enemy team.

When all else fails, gather motes

According to Bakken, Gambit is designed to be accessible to all players, whether they love to rock PvE or slam into other Guardians in PvP. However, it’s easy to get lost your first few times through the Gambit rodeo. If you get stuck not knowing what to do, Bakken suggests running around the map and killing enemies, as simple as that sounds.

At the most basic level, Gambit is about killing combatants and collecting motes to put into the bank. While the mode can and will get more complicated than that, you’ll always be helping your team in some way if you keep killing and keep banking motes.

Staying alive is the best thing players can do

Other Destiny 2 activities often reward big, stupid plays that result in the death of dozens of enemies at the cost of your own life. Gambit is not one of those modes. Death in Gambit is very punishing, Bakken says, and that’s the hardest thing to wrap your mind around while learning the mode. When you die in Gambit, you lose all of the motes you’re carrying. They don’t fall to the ground or become accessible to allies. They disappear forever.

If you’ve been collecting motes for a few minutes, or if you have a large collection on hand, Bakken suggests playing it safe. Otherwise, you could end up costing your team the round.

Stay moving and multitasking

Stepping on your team’s toes is a great way to lose in Gambit, says Stevens. Instead of crowding your allies, consider where you’re needed most. If you help a group of allies decimate a front, maybe your best move is to head over to the next front instead of collect motes. On the other hand, just because you killed a large group doesn’t mean you should run away and let your allies do all the banking.

Gambit is a team-based game, and teams work best when they’re multitasking together. Watch your team’s movements, and anticipate where you’ll be needed next. Never stop moving in Gambit, and you’ll stand a better chance at winning.

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Keep track of your team’s economy and be a pal

The top of the screen in Gambit will always tell you how many motes your team has in play. It’s important to be aware of this, as it’ll keep you posted on when your invasion portal will become active and when your Primeval will be ready to spawn.

However, you’ll also be able to see how many motes your teammates have. In a team mode like Gambit, there is no reason to get competitive and take motes away from your pals. Communicate when you can, and make sure you watch how many motes your friends have. If you see that your friend has 13 motes and you only have eight, Stevens suggests letting them fill up to 15 first so they can drop a big Blocker on the enemy team.

Don’t get greedy

You may think you already know how important it is not to die in Gambit, but you’ll never quite feel the sting of understanding until you lose 15 motes to greed. While wanting to build the biggest Blocker possible is admirable, it’s not worth losing the motes in the process.

Death in Destiny 2 is easy, especially when going against exploding enemies that can kill you in one quick second. You also never know when you may get blocked or invaded, and Stevens warns against getting overexcited. If you’re going for a big bank, you need to be confident that you can turn them all in without getting killed. While big plays can set you ahead, the risk is great. Sometimes, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Bakken also suggests that you don’t hold onto your 15 motes for too long. There is no reason to push forward once you’re maxed out. Take your motes back and bank them.

Prioritize your enemies and analyze your foes

Each time an enemy front spawns, it’ll come with a wide variety of enemies. These foes will drop a variety of motes based on how difficult they are to kill. While your instinct may be to go hard on collecting motes, it’s important to be a little patient with your killing. Focus on the big enemies first, like Fallen Captains or Vex Minotaurs. Take out the exploding Thrall or other enemy as well before diving in to collect.

Stevens describes one of the worst things that you can do, and an easy mistake for rookie players: Kill some smaller tier enemies, rush to collect the motes, and get blown up by an explosive enemy or beat down by a more powerful foe.

You need to prioritize your fire, or you’ll get lost in your own excitement.

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Know your role

There are plenty of different ways to play in Gambit, but the most successful teams find roles for their players. Do you want to be a Slayer? Run to each front, aggressively taking down big enemies and banking your team’s motes? How about your team’s go-to invader, always ready to cause trouble on the other side? Maybe you’re new to Gambit or even Destiny 2? Bakken thinks you could be the perfect choice to play Banker, taking out enemies from afar and being sure to clear any enemy Blockers over the course of the match.

Before you play a role, you should be sure that you’re set up to do it. Check out our Gambit loadout guide for tips on how to be successful.

Always be blocking

Sending Blockers over to the enemy is a huge part of Gambit. Banking five motes at once will send a Taken Phalanx, 10 will send a Taken Knight, and 15 will send a Taken Ogre with an eye laser that physically moves targets. Knowing your limits on what you can bank fits squarely into our “don’t be greedy” tip, but sometimes you want to send a specific Blocker, not just the highest tier.

Stevens suggests a few different uses for each of the Blockers.

  • The Phalanx is perfect for just annoying the enemy and making their lives more difficult when they want to bank — a perfect stall tactic if you’re behind.
  • The Taken Knight is actually the most lethal of the three, making it a great choice for when the enemy is holding onto a bunch of motes or right before you invade.
  • The Ogre offers the biggest bullet sponge, keeping the enemy team from banking for longer than all the others.

Choose wisely for the situation at hand.

Watch your enemies’ motes and the side text

The Gambit UI will keep you informed of basically everything that’s happening on both sides, according to Stevens. At a glance, you can tell how many motes the enemy has and hasn’t banked yet, as well as text that lets you know what kind of Blocker is popping up on your side. Use this information to your advantage.

If you see that the enemy has a bunch of unbanked motes, Stevens suggests throwing as many Taken Phalanxes at them as you can, slowing their progress and potentially getting them killed in the process. Be prepared to adapt your strategy depending on what your enemy has available. If they just banked a bunch and have yet to collect, that would be the perfect time to start piling Ogres up. Just be fluid in your play, and make sure to maximize the information you have to ruin your opponent’s game.

Be prepared for invasion, and be ready before you invade

Invasion is scary on either end, as it’s fairy limited and you’ll only get a few chances to do it during a match. But a good invasion can be absolutely devastating. To prepare, Bakken stresses that you need to make sure your character doesn’t have motes and has some lethal ammo or Super energy to throw at the enemy team. If you’re getting invaded, you need to be ready to communicate the invader’s location and take down the enemy ASAP.

For more tips on how to invade properly, check out our Gambit invasion guide.

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Adapt your strategy each round

Gambit is round-based, and it runs on a best two out of three system. That means you can fail once without losing the entire match. Like with any round-based game mode, you need to be ready to switch up your play between rounds. Move your weapons around if your loadout isn’t working, or simply adjust the way you bank your motes.

If your enemy dumped three Ogres on you three minutes into round one, Stevens suggests that you should prioritize throwing out level five blockers as frequently as possible, and then try for a clutch invasion. Like we wrote above, the key to Gambit is flexibility.

You’re never out

Gambit is all about getting ahead and keeping your lead, but comebacks do happen. Even if you’re 50 motes down, you can still make it back into the game through the high-value target system. When you’re down, the game will spawn a glowing enemy that drops a shower of motes. Kill them, safely collect the motes and then deposit to help catch back up.

Between the constant invasions during the Primeval phase and the increased motes when you’re down, it never feels like you’re out of the game in Gambit. If you lose big early, don’t lose focus. Bakken and Stevens are adamant that you’re never truly out of the game.

Use your Super wisely

Using your Super correctly in Gambit can be tough, says Stevens. Depending on what you plan to do, you need to make sure that you’re dropping the hammer — sometimes literally — with as much efficiency as possible. Using Nova bomb? Drop it on the Primeval or a enemy front just as it spawns. How about Titan hammers? Maybe throw those at some enemy Guardians during an invasion.

You want to pick up a Super that will let you be flexible, but more on that in our Gambit loadout guide.

Polygon’s bonus tip: Take out the Primeval’s lieutenants

Once the Primeval spawns, a group of lieutenants will spawn with them. These creatures have large health pools, but the Primeval has some extreme damage resistance when they’re alive.

The fight with the Primeval can be very hectic, especially if the enemy team is constantly invading and still sending over Blocker enemies. Take a moment, focus through the chaos, and take out the lieutenants before your set your sights on the Primeval. Once all the lieutenants are down, the Primeval will melt quickly, making it harder for a clutch enemy invasion to set your progress back. If you just try and focus the Primeval, you’ll be trying to chew through a massive bullet sponge.

Be smart and prioritize. Happy hunting, Guardians.