Destiny 2 Crucible multiplayer: How each mode works, and how to win

Destiny 2’s Crucible multiplayer has changed a lot. It has smaller team-sizes, it has new game modes, it has new weapons and abilities, and it has vastly reduced the focus on power-weapons and super attacks. As such, it demands a whole new strategic mind-set and knowledge base, whether you’re a newcomer or a returning Guardian from the first game. So it’s time to shake things down and get you ready. 

Below, you’ll find the 12 most important Destiny 2 multiplayer tips (so far) that you’ll need in order to know what you’re doing in the Crucible, and now how to do it best. I’ll be updating the guide as the Crucible grows and evolves with new events and dynamics, so check back whenever it does. But for now, read on, ready up, and prepare to clock up those kill sprees.

Know the event types

There are currently four known modes in the Crucible. They are as follows:

Clash - A traditional team deathmatch. Work with your team to kill the opposing team more times than they kill you, until you hit the time limit or the score cap.

Control – Capture and hold up to three control points in order to increase your team’s score and boost the points scored for kills.

Countdown – An asymmetric attack/defend mode, where on alternate rounds one team must plant a bomb at a designated point and defend it until detonation in order to score, while the other team fights to defuse it.

Survival – A tighter, more strategic, higher-risk variant on a team deathmatch, where each side of four has a limited stash of eight lives to cover the entire team. When all lives are used up, the round is lost. The match is played out over the best of five rounds.

Avoid the clash point

On many Crucible maps, you’ll quickly spot an obvious clash point. It might be a major choke-point through the middle of the map, it might be a wide, connecting area in the middle, possibly holding the central capture point in Control. But whatever form it takes, you’ll recognise it pretty quickly. It will be the meat-grinder that both teams continually throw themselves into in an attempt to break through to the other side. Emotionally, it’s understandable that people do this. There’s nothing to evoke that cinematic, war-movie feeling better than that big, successful push. 

But these pushes are never truly successful. At best, one team will smash through, only to have the clash re-establish itself not long after. And however it goes, both teams will spend a lot of dead Guardians on not gaining very much at all. It is dumb, and you are smart, so do not engage in this. Crucible maps always have loads of alternative, intricate side routes to any other point, so find those, use them, and move smart. You’ll find that you reach objectives a lot more cleanly, and you’ll open up all kinds of flanking opportunities on the enemy team as they remain engaged with fruitless choke. There’s always a cleverer, less obvious route, so find it and take it.

Stay on the ground (or jump smart)

With the amount of air-time and control you can enjoy in Destiny 2, it’s really tempting to jump and fly around the Crucible. But don’t. It will throw your aim off, and leave you really exposed. Ground-based combat is always more successful. Jumping should only be used to make a surprise escape when the odds are stacked against you, and you should always be aiming for cover while you do it. Offensively, it’s only worth jumping if you have an unpredictable aerial skill available like the Warlock Voidwalker’s blink jump, which acts as a series of small, confusing teleports rather than a big, floaty leap.

Use Energy weapons against Guardians using their super

Seeing an opponent trigger their super attack is no longer the end of the world. Not only are Destiny 2’s supers now largely built around doing sustained, ‘roaming’ damage rather than throwing out one-hit kills – leaving the user exposed for a long time if they want to get the best out of their offense – but they also have a major weakness. Energy damage. Energy weapons will burn through a supered Guardian’s shields and health remarkably quickly, so always have a good one equipped and ready, and pull it out straight away should you see a super incoming. Given how falsely empowered the unwary Guardian feels when in a super state, they’ll very often underestimate the danger they’re in.

Don't turn Power ammo against yourself

Power ammo is a really dangerous proposition. And I’m talking for the player picking it up, not the one on the receiving end. Going to collect it is dicey enough, given that its location and spawn time are flagged well in advance, telling every Guardian in the map exactly where you’re going to be, and when, if you do make a run. And given that in Destiny 2, only the player who picks up the Power ammo first gets any – as opposed to the first game’s set-up, where every team-member in the vicinity would get Heavy ammo – you’re going to leave yourself very exposed and without powered-up back-up if you run in there alone. Those valuable seconds you spend opening the ammo box are seconds another player could be drilling you in the back with pulse rounds.

So there are several good reasons why, at the moment, not many players are making a bee-line for the stuff. But this is Bungie’s plan. The idea was always to make Destiny 2’s Crucible a much more tactical, strategic experience, with spammy one-hit kills largely left on the doorstep.

But if you safely manage to load up? You’ll still have to be careful. Having Power ammo is a hell of a temptation to get irresponsible and careless. Know this: just like having your super active, having Power ammo can give you an inflated sense of how powerful you are. Every Power weapon has advantages and drawbacks, and all require skill and situational positioning to use well. So don’t go on an immediate Power spree. Save that weapon until the right moment. Don’t try using your fusion rifle or shotgun out in an open, middle-distance firefight. Wait for more cramped conditions, and sneak around to get the drop on your opponent.

Know the important weapon qualities

Picking the right Crucible load-out is a matter of knowing the stats that matter. Your standard campaign load-out might not work very well in the Crucible at all, and vice versa. Effectively what you’re looking for are the ingredients for a quick time-to-kill, in whatever situation you’re most likely to be using any particular weapon.

Range and Impact are crucial numbers for most weapons, the former dictating how far away you can still do respectable damage, and the latter explaining how much damage a hit is going to do in the first place. Do not make the mistake of thinking a weapon’s overall attack power is the be-all and end-all. Top-line power ratings and character levels are disabled in the Crucible anyway. You’ll also want to keep an eye on reload speed, rate of fire (which will dictate how fast you can deal out repeat servings of that Impact rating), and blast radius on explosive weapons. Loosely, you want to do an equation of Impact x rate of fire to roughly calculate base damage, and then take range, stability, and all the rest into account as modifiers to understand how and when you can use your weapon effectively. 

Know your grenades’ limitations

Another thing that has been downgraded in power is grenades, in order to ensure more prolonged, tactical fire-fights. I still need to do more research on the ins-and-outs of every grenade type, but at the moment it seems that grenades are not the guaranteed kill-maker they were in the first game. Back then, you used to be able to get in a couple of good shots to knock down your opponent’s shields a tad, then throw in an Arc Grenade to finish the job. Not so any longer.

Based on my play so far, a good grenade hit – even using something as meaty as a full attached, sticky Solar Grenade – will only knock down a single shield or health bar, meaning that you’ll have to kill the other one manually. It’s still a good strategy to combine gunfire and grenades on a single target in order to end a one-on-one encounter quickly (particularly if you go in with bullets first, and then use the grenade as a surprise finisher), but be aware that you have to do more work this time.

Don't blame your guns

It’s easy to blame a poor performance on bad guns, but doing so only holds you back from improving. Yes, some weapons are absolute crap in the Crucible (refer back to my talk on weapon stats to help you spot which ones), but don’t be too quick to assume that a loss is the result of your equipment. Some guns take a while to really get a feel for before you can start doing strong and consistent damage – it’s often a case of knowing how to use something rather than simply what to use. Constantly chopping and changing, looking for a quick fix, will stop you from consistently improving through sustained experience. Never forget: if you can get good with an average load-out, you’ll be brilliant once you put a great one together.

Find your team before you find the enemy

This is more important than ever in Destiny 2’s very different Crucible. With reduced team-sizes of four, strength in numbers is a real deciding factor. Yes, one-vs-three, David and Goliath takedowns are possible (and are incredibly sweet when you pull them off), but in general, you do not want to be running in on a whole team without support. The Crucible is about combined fire-power and team tactics, so when you spawn back in after a death, you want to head to your team-mates before you start looking for targets. More often than not, that path will lead to the enemy anyway. Just travel it in the right order.

Know when to commit and when to disengage

Related to the above point, there is no shame in breaking away from a fight in the Crucible. It’s often the best thing you can do. If you feel the tide of a stand-off turning against you (and with practice you’ll be able to spot this very quickly) get the hell out of there heal up, and regroup. In the worst-case scenario, you’ll get to cover, get clear of your attacker, and reset the encounter. But better, you have every chance of finding a more advantageous route to your objective, or surprising your opponent from another angle. And don’t forget, if you’ve been trading shots, your opponent is weakened too. It’s very likely that a team-mate in a better position will be able to finish them off for the tactical advantage. There’s nothing wrong with a shared kill, as long as the opponent goes down and you don’t.

Know how the scoring works

Before you do anything, make sure you understand how all of the Crucible events work, and don’t assume that their rules are the same as a similar variant you’ve seen elsewhere. If you don’t know how to score most effectively, you’re actively damaging your team, and contributing to a loss.

Most of Destiny 2’s Crucible events are objective-based, but you need to understand their nuances. In Control, for instance, it’s not simply enough to hold two out of the three bases. You then need to get fighting, as while you will get a healthy capture bonus for taking a point, the real value in doing so is the score multiplier it gives your team for kills. And in Supremacy, your kills mean next to nothing if you don’t collect the Crest that your downed enemy drops afterward. Ditto, you really have to deny enemy points by picking up the blue crests dropped by your fallen team-mates. I’ve seen (and been on) more than enough teams that have lost a match they should have won as a result of not understanding the objective. It hurts. Do not get hurt.

Support your team

And I don’t just mean in the holistic way that will come from doing all of the above. Certain Guardian classes now have active support abilities (the Warlocks’ ability to put down area-of-effect buffs for health regeneration and damage boosts spring immediately to mind). Don’t forget about them. Use them every time they might be useful. I promise you, they’re tide-turners. In a tight battle over an objective between two equally matched teams, the winner will always be the one that is using support abilities properly. Every time. Warlocks, empower your team against the oncoming assault, and make sure that your allies are doing as much damage as they can do when going into a fight. Titans, throw that shield down and bottleneck the enemy so that your team can take them down on your own terms.