Destiny PvP Crucible Strategy Guide
Destiny PvP Crucible Strategy Guide by Phrasing_Boom
Longtime lurker here, hence the recent-ness of my account.
Due to a combination of current personal boredom, a general love for crucible, and the lack of PvP strategy discussion, I thought I’d go ahead and share my play-style and tactics with the world (or in this case, Reddit). Obviously, the beta nature of the game means that any sort of comprehensive strategy guide is out of the question, so despite the title, it is probably better to think of this as a “Strategy that’s worked for me in PvP *so far . . . *”, but “PvP Strategy guide” is more succinct.
Understanding that there are plenty of players much better than I am, and that a lot of players will approach crucible differently, I’ll start off by saying that if you disagree with anything, preach your criticism loudly (but not too loudly, no all caps por favor). Hopefully this can evolve into a much broader discussion of crucible tactics.
I’ll also share my credentials, and why I feel at least a tad qualified to discuss my in game tactics. At the moment, I have a 2.46 KDR (I have no idea how to check my Win/Loss ratio, but if anyone does please let me know as I consider the WLR to be equally important). My highest match score has been 7385, and my longest killstreak is 19 consecutive kills. I’ve rarely used the interceptor or the turret, and I vastly prefer the warlock (I started the beta as a hunter, I’m less of a fan). A more comprehensive breakdown following this link. I say none of this to brag (although I do like bragging), but simply to illustrate that I’m not just making things up.
With all that said, let’s get started.
A note on reflexes, accuracy, and internet connection
I’ll say up and front I have no advice for improving accuracy or reflexes. Given that it only takes a handful of bullets to kill in this game, I am firmly under the belief that anyone can pull great scores without good aiming, reflexes, or internet. The emphasis is much more on positioning than anything else, and unless your internet connection is really bad, don’t use it as an excuse for dying.
That said, really bad aim can be very costly, and having good reflexes/aim/internet will open a few doors for being more aggressive. That’s about it. If your aiming/reflexes are sub-par, just take note and be more defensive or run with teammates more often (you can still pull great scores this way), or rely on weapons that are more forgiving (i.e. shotguns/auto rifles). I don’t consider my aim to be anything above average, if that’s any consolation.
If you think your internet connection is hindering you ability, try a wired connection to your router (I did this a few years ago for CoD, should probably work nowadays as well).
The Omniscient Guardian
I mentioned earlier that positioning is the most important thing. I still stand by this statement. This advice is useless though if you have little idea of where the enemy is lurking.
The Radar: I’ll say up front that this gives very good information, and paired with a little map knowledge makes you a very well informed Guardian. I’ll also say up front, that if you aren’t checking this thing compulsively (think teenagers and instagram or drivers and their mirrors), you deserve every death and teabag that you get (I go out of my way to teabag users who don’t use their radar, it’s obvious, so just pay attention).
A couple tracker shortcomings. First, it doesn’t reveal any info about elevation. This isn’t a problem on some maps (e.g. Venus), but in some areas it is (e.g. B building on the moon).When in a multiple-level area and enemy(s) are on the radar, I’ve had the most success doing the following, 1) Anticipate and rule out whether the enemy is on your level. If they are on your level, you know which entrances/corridors they can come from, so aim down your sights and double check. 2) If not on your level, well, you usually now know where they are (the only exception I can think of is where there are >2 stories, but only B building on First Light comes to mind). In this case, you can be defensive (anticipate them dropping down or jumping up to your level), or aggressive. I’ll add that I NEVER advise attacking them head on when you are on the lower level (unless your internet is golden and you have cephalopod tentacles for fingers), so try and go around a longer route if you want to take the fight to them. Sometimes jumping up at them works, but if they know what they are doing they will kill you.
The last thing to remember is that if you don’t know which story the enemy is coming from, re-positioning (i.e. leaving) is not a bad idea. I hate getting caught with my Guardian pants down, so even if I’m capping a Capture Point (now referred to as CP), and I’m not certain which level an enemy is coming from, I’ll reposition myself to a better vantage point where I’m less likely to get surprised or will have the better vantage point (for example, going around and hopping to the second floor).
The only other shortcoming with the radar is the non precision nature. It’s octagon-ish setting means that if you aren’t familiar with the map, you really won’t know where exactly the enemy will be. In this situation knowing the maps inside and out really is my only advice. Otherwise, I side with caution and looking for the better vantage point where there is more cover.
Only a few more mechanisms for figuring out where enemies are located comes to mind. The first is the teammate death indicator, which coupled with the kill feed can give you a very good idea of how many enemies are where and what weapons they have.
CPs show a nice indicator for when they are being capped and how quickly, which is a semi useful proxy for how many enemies are where.
Spawns are also fairly predictable. In my experience, spawns are 1) always on the periphery of the map, and 2) USUALLY away from the action (one frequent time I’ve seen this violated is when capping/defending C on Venus, the back area there is still a common respawn point for some reason). For the most part, pay attention to where you spawn when you die. By process of elimination you can usually get a general sense of where enemies are based on teammate location and where the action is occurring/just occurred
Voice chat. I firmly believe a team of communicating mediocre players will beat a team of silent skilled players. Why? Because in my experience, voice chat lets you be more proactive. You know where enemies are rushing before they start capping, and you get more precise information. Obviously not everyone can do this, but if you can take advantage.
Lastly, Guardian Omniscience isn’t just about knowing where enemies are but how well they are equipped. Spend time trying to figure out which enemies have what guns and you will be rewarded handsomely. I mean it. The killfeed is great, since you get real timespecific info without having to put yourself in the line of fire. Some weapons are easy to identify either by their size (rocket launcher), how the player is moving (shot-gunners tend to hug walls and sprint frequently), or some other aspect (snipers, when staring you down, give off a nice big ol’ fat glare). And sometimes, you just have to die to see which players are using what weapons (if you look at the top right corner immediately post-death, you’ll see what weapon killed you). If it’s not immediately obvious why this information would be helpful, hopefully it will be later on in the guide.
The Intelligent Positioner
Okay, so now that you’re an omniscient Guardian, who always checks his/her radar and never gets tea-bagged, the question remains; how do we position ourselves to monopolize the kill feed?
I’ll start by clarifying what I mean when I say defensive and aggressive. By defensive I do not mean camping. I think a variety of design elements have conglomerated to make camping a very bad and unprofitable endeavor in this game. If you’re CQC camping, your position will always be known via radar, and you will get killed and then tea-bagged very quickly. Long range camping is different, since your position isn’t always known. However, given the sniper rifle’s uberobvious permanent cameraflash, it’s easy to tell even at long range where a sniper is. At most, a good camper should get 6 kills in an entire match, one for every enemy player who was killed once, and then never went back to great the camper again.
Broadly speaking, a defensive player lets his/her enemies come to him. He/she still moves around, but he/she anticipates where enemies are coming from and positions him/herself accordingly. For example, a defensive player might hang around the middle corridor on Venus, and move around depending on which direction enemies are rushing B from. Some might call this camping . . . I consider camping to be more corner humping and less moving, but folks are entitled to their definitions.
By contrast, being aggressive is taking the fight to the enemy, again, broadly speaking.
I’ll also say that the aggressive/defensive distinction is probably more of a continuum, and getting hung up on labels certainly won’t help all that much. I’m still going to use the labels though, so go figure.
In my experience, the defensive player will win more one-on-ones. They have better mental preparation, they have cover (usually), usually a small time advantage (it takes time to stop sprinting and aim down your sights), and usually a better vantage point (i.e. they are higher up than you). You could sum this up by saying the defensive player usually wins the one v one.
The truth is, being an effective defensive player means positioning yourself in hot action areas, which sometimes aren’t the safest. Usually this is the middle of the map, where there are lots of corridors and flanking, close to at least two CPs, and surrounded by spawn points.
This doesn’t mean I recommend spending the whole game playing defensively. Realistically, both defending objectives and capping objectives require a reasonable degree of aggressive play (I realize the verbal irony in saying that defending objectives usually requires being aggressive, but it makes sense. Enemies often swarm unguarded or under-guarded flags, so aggressive play is needed). However, when being aggressive, be prepared.
This means running in with an advantage, be it teammate backup, a heavy weapon, a super, a well placed grenade, or attacking from a vantage point. An example of attacking from a vantage point would be attacking A on Venus by running through the middle cave/ramp thingy, since you get elevation and thus, cover (enemies also usually never suspect an attack from this direction). A special weapon advantage also works wonders, shotguns are king in CQC, and as long as there is distance, snipers can be reasonably aggressive too.
All of this can really be summed by the phrase “Be Prepared”. A defensive player with the wrong special weapon isn’t prepared anymore than an aggressive player attacking a sniper with an auto rifle at long range is.
Some of this requires experience. I think it’s very useful to identify frequent situations where you are at a disadvantage. For example, I made the mistake of rushing to defend A on First Light by running through the long corridor of the big central building and attacking A, literally head on with just my rifle. This was stupid for a litany of reasons, and unless I had backup, a super, or a well placed grenade, I would always die. And now, I don’t rush to defend A through that route anymore. It doesn’t work, and handing my enemy kills doesn’t help my team in any way.
This also plays into the idea that you shouldn’t fight battles you can’t win. Be it a weapon disadvantage or being outnumbered or whatever, there’s a variety of reasons why you should know ahead of time whether an encounter is a losing one. Another example; I hate interceptors, and I hope Bungie curb-nerfs them to death. But I rarely die by them, mostly because I avoid them (this is surprisingly easy, since they are loud, move fast, and show up on your radar clear as day). This is kind of simple, and there are definitely better examples (like not engaging a shot-gunner in CQC), but it gets the point across.
That was longer than I expected, but I can’t think of much more to say at the moment. The only other advice I can conjure up (and it certainly isn’t original advice) is to use death as a learning opportunity. Sometimes you will die and it was unavoidable (super usage, bad spawns, etc.) But most of the time, this isn’t the case, and even if something is overpowered or unfair, complaining through the mic isn’t going to make you any better. Be self critical, and ask yourself how you died and how you can avoid a future death of similar circumstances. That really is the only way to get better.
Hopefully this guide of sorts will help out other Guardians, and again, please voice any disagreements. I’m genuinely curious how others have approached Crucible with success, so share away.