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Destiny 2: PvP tips

Strategies for the Crucible, Trials of the Nine and Iron Banner

Destiny 2 - four Guardians mug for the camera before a Crucible match Bungie/Activision

It might feel like Destiny 2 is running out of things to do. While that may be true at times for campaign-related activities, we all know that Lord Shaxx is always ready to remind you that you can test your skills in player versus player (PvP) combat.

Unless you enjoy battling other players online, your time spent fighting others might only be to grab your weekly clan rewards and Milestones. But perhaps you’d like to dip your toe further into the world of PvP. Maybe you just want to make your weekly Crucible trip less of a nightmare. Well, whatever the reason, we have created a Destiny 2 guide to get your started.

Below are three major tips that will help you get better at PvP in Destiny 2.

Destiny - Crucible screenshot 1920


Remember the buddy system? It was useful when you were a child, and it’s even more useful in PvP combat in Destiny 2. While it’s incredibly easy to run out of your spawn point and into the field of combat, it’s equally as easy to quickly die and hand over points to your opponents. You don’t have to do that! In Destiny 2’s PVP modes, you always have three other players by your side. Make use of them!

Think of things this way: If you and a partner enter a firefight against a single player, that opposing player can only shoot one of you at a time, whereas if you both shoot at them, you double the chance of that player getting hit with bullets and dying. It’s simple math! Even two beginners can take out a more seasoned single player. It doesn’t matter how good you are. Even the best player in the world can only shoot one player at a time. Unless they have rocket launcher, but we’ll get to heavy weapons later.

In broader terms, you should be moving through maps like a SWAT team, systematically traveling from area to area, being mindful of where assailants can be in each room and keeping an eye out on entrances to your location for incoming shooters.

When queuing up with random players, you don’t have the luxury of always being able to communicate with them to make sure you’re working in tandem. As long as you follow behind another player, even without the benefit of voice chat, you still double your chances of both staying alive and killing enemies. Just go where they go. It might not be fun following around voiceless players, but as long as you have their back when they engage in a fight, you increase the chance of them not dying (and giving your enemies points) as well as helping them defeat whoever they choose to shoot at (and securing points for your team).

When queuing up with friends, another distinct advantage you have with voice chat is communicating directly. You can use the ability to communicate in a few ways. But one of the simplest tactics is announcing when you’ve died. This is useful because, when you respawn, your entire team will know your location when you come back. This is especially useful if you’re near that location or just recently died yourself.

If you’re still alive, you’ll also be able to see a big X on screen when teammate dies. This could be your cue to either move to that position to kill of their attacker or to double back to the spawn location to meet up with them. If you just respawned and a teammate just died, you should wait for them to respawn so you can both move together with full health.

The idea is to never go anywhere in a PvP match alone if you can help it. Two heads are always better than one. And in the more challenging modes like Trails of the Nine and Iron Banner, you’ll always see seasoned players moving as an entire unit, like a SWAT team clearing a building. For them, there’s no surprises. The entire team knows where they are going, where enemies are and when to engage and disengage.


Destiny 2 - Crucible screenshot Bungie/Activision

Have you noticed that, when you’re running around maps in PvP, little names appear on the bottom? Use these to our advantage! Each stage in PvP modes has names that coincide with where you are, which should make identifying your placement across the map easier for your team. It’s also helpful for spotting opponents at a distance. It’ll take time to remember them all, but eventually, it’ll become second nature to call out locations as opposed to random landmarks.

Speaking of locations: In a broad sense, most maps are a series of corridors and rooms. Understanding this is helpful in learning a key factor in map design: entrances. As you navigate through rooms and corridors, it’s helpful to know where the entrances are in the area you’re in. The only way an enemy can enter where you are is through the entrance around you. So if you know your relative distance to an entrance, you’ll know how soon you’re likely to run into an enemy.

Being mindful of entrances can help you in a handful of ways. For instance, knowing where an entrance is lets you know when you should stop running and get ready to draw a weapon. Knowing where entrances are can also help you figure out when you might encounter a grenade from out of nowhere.

Being away of entrances also helps you understand where safe spaces are. Think of safe spaces two ways:

  1. If you walk through an entrance, get shot at and are overpowered, the best option is to not keep shooting until you die, but rather, to double back to safety. Each entrance has a relative safe space near it, whether it’s to the sides or around a corner or, in the most ideal case, behind cover that faces the entrance. Knowing where these spaces are allows you to maintain safety. Being behind cover lets you recover shields and health while giving you an advantage over an attacker who might be foolish enough to enter the room after you to finish you off.
  2. In modes like Domination, it’s also a good idea to know where the safe spaces are near capture points. You’ll need to use these if you’re taking fire inside the capture zone or you need some safety when attacking defenders inside the capture zone.


Destiny 2 - Crucible screenshot Bungie/Activision

The only time you truly have the ability to think through what gear you’ll use in PvP is before you enter anything in the Crucible. Before you select any PvP areas in the Director, think about what you want to equip.

You have a handful of decisions. The first one you should think of is your subclass. Which one are you going to use and why? Do you need something offensive or defensive? Are you going to use unique abilities today? Are any of your subclasses needed for Milestones? Choose now because doing it mid-match is not the best time for that.

After you have subclass down, think about what weapons you’re going to run. In PvP, the power advantages of your gun don’t matter, but their unique traits will. So think about what feels comfortable for you, since you’ll be fighting against smart players who can dodge and move differently than enemies in the campaign.

In that same vein, think about what gear has traits that will be favorable in PvP. Perhaps you’ll want gear that boosts your mobility or resilience. Maybe some gear has unique traits that will give you advantages in PvP. There is no right answer here, but be aware of what you’re wearing when entering PvP, since all advantages are based on traits, not power levels.


Destiny 2 - Crucible screenshot Bungie/Activision

The basics above will be enough to get you started. These tips are essentials to keep in mind while playing:

  • Moving as a unit instead of a lone wolf is essential to your survivability and damage output.
  • Being aware of the layout of maps in advance lets you stay alive and reduces your chances of getting caught off guard.
  • And bringing the right gear into a firefight will give you critical advantages.

But from there, what else should you know?

The minimap is a life saver

If you’re not looking at the minimap at all times, then you’re operating at a severe disadvantage. If you ever wonder how enemies who spot you right away always kill you, it’s because they knew you were coming. How? Because they had their eyes on the minimap.

The minimap always highlights the directional position of enemies on the map. Directions flash red when there is enemy movement and fire. As long as you follow the directions, you’ll always find a target.

You can follow the minimap to gain a sense of where firefights are taking place. If you keep an eye on the minimap and you’re aware of the map’s layout, you’ll eventually develop a sixth sense for where enemies are. This is critical for winning firefights, as often, being the first to shoot is what determines a winner.

Keep an eye on the killfeed

The killfeed on the bottom right of the screen keeps a running tally of what team is getting kills, who they’re killing and with what weapon, attack or super move. If you’re having difficulty killing enemies, pay attention to what weapon the enemy’s best players are using.

Do you have that gun? Is it a quest-related gun you can get? If so, get it and try it. You might just be using a weapon type that is not suited for PvP. At the same time, if you see the enemy team taking out your team with a super, it would be best to double back from where you see your teammates dying. And if you’re with someone else, spread out so you don’t get killed at the same time. The best way to combat a super is to let the enemy team waste it.

Pay attention the heavy ammo pickups

The killfeed also shows you when heavy ammo is picked up. Heavy ammo is a rare commodity in PvP modes as it only appears on the map every few minutes. It’s essential to know when it’s been picked up because only one person can have it at a time and that player will have a significant damage output advantage.

Depending on the weapon, that player will have the ability to take out multiple players on your team at once. If the enemy grabs heavy ammo, it’s best to put a little distance between everyone on your team. Even if that person is swinging a sword or shooting a rocket launcher, it’ll be easy for them to take multiple people out if their enemies are close together.

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