Destiny PvP Guide to Getting Good

Destiny PvP Guide to Getting Good by Mercules904

Let’s say you just came into Destiny with Rise of Iron, or perhaps you’ve been around for awhile, but you haven’t spent much time in PvP. Now, however, you’d like to make a go of it, but there’s so much info out there it’s difficult to know where to start. I’d like to help out with that. Over the next couple weeks, we’re going to take a look at how to become a better PvP player, starting from the very beginning. I can’t guarantee you my guides will make it so that you go flawless every single weekend from here on out, but I can promise that your mechanics and understanding of the game will improve, and that’s the first step to becoming a great player.

With that being said, let’s start at the beginning, with a few things you should do before you even jump into your first game in the Crucible.

  • Pick a control scheme that is optimal for PvP. I can’t overstate the importance of selecting a good button scheme, especially if you are playing with a standard controller. Using anything other than Puppeteer or Jumper means you are handicapping yourself in the Crucible. The short story of it is that the default control scheme basically has you wasting a button. When you play multiplayer, emphasis should be put on how many of the necessary buttons you can press without moving your fingers off of the thumbsticks, as doing so prevents you from aiming for a brief moment. With the Default setting, clicking the right stick brings up Player Highlight, which is never something you should be using in PvP. Try switching to Puppeteer, which makes clicking the stick Crouch instead, and watch how quickly you can improve at slide-shotgunning and crouching while strafing. Jumper is a much larger departure from the Default settings and can take a little more work to get used to, but it plays especially well with people who use the aerial aspects of the game and want to be able to jump and aim at the same time. Either one that you choose, you’ll notice an immediate improvement in how easy it is to do maneuvers that high-skill players use that previously appeared too complicated.
  • Play the meta. It’s there for a reason. The meta exists because these guns have the perfect compromise between ease-of-use and fast times-to-kill. You may really want to use your god-rolled Hung Jury in the Crucible, and there’s something to be said for playing with a gun that you’re comfortable with, but a weapon like that can only take you so far. When you do get to higher levels of gameplay, you’ll find yourself landing all of your shots, playing perfectly, and still losing battles, and it’s because the gun is letting you down. MIDA can kill in four shots too, and it can do it more quickly than a Hung Jury, so at some point you’ll have to make the switch if you want to improve. The key is to find a gun you like within the meta, learn how to kill optimally with it (meaning does it take all headshots, or can I hit a couple body shots and still get the fastest TtK?), and then stick to it, practice with it, and get comfortable. The good news is, at this point in time in the crucible, despite how the game has slowed down, the weapon classes are overall as balanced as they’ve ever been. You can basically pick any primary weapon class and find a gun that is competitive (maybe not at the very highest levels of sweaty gameplay, but at a high enough level to be usable in most Crucible experiences, including Trials). You can grab some of the vendor weapons which are great right out of the box, you can use Three of Coins to get several exotics that are powerful, or you can rely on other RNG aspects like the Gunsmith, faction rank-up packages, or just straight drops. Right now the meta is heavy on fast low-impact ARs and PRs, mid-impact HCs, MIDA, and shotguns. Keep that in mind when selecting a weapon. I’ve written a ton of guides on almost all the weapons out there, and I’ve included a few brief excerpts below to get you started in choosing some of the easier to acquire meta-weapons. Please note that this is not an exhaustive list of recommended weapons, but simply a few examples of guns you can use.

Auto Rifles


Arminius-D – Available from the Gunsmith.

Pros – Very high aim assist and mag size. High reload speed. Very fast TtK with body shots (1.00s, 16 body shots to kill).

Neutral – None.

Cons – Very low range and recoil direction. Below average stability.

  • Time-to-Kill: 0.87s (13 crit shots and 1 body shot), 1.07s (17 body shots)
  • Rate of Fire: 100
  • Impact: 2 (15 damage per crit shot, 12 per body shot)
  • Range: 13
  • Stability: 42
  • Reload Speed: 76
  • Mag Size: 63
  • Aim Assist: 80
  • Recoil Direction: 50

Recommended Perks:

  • Column 1 – SC Holo
  • Column 2 – Crowd Control, Hot Swap, Army of One
  • Column 3 – Counterbalance
  • Column 4 – Braced Frame, Smallbore, Rifled Barrel, Hand Loaded

SC Holo again, Crowd Control is the best to me, but Hot Swap is also a strong contender. Counterbalance is the only way to go in the middle column, and Braced Frame is by far the best option too. If you don’t get Braced Frame, you can make do with Smallbore in a pinch, but the vertical kick will be a little more difficult to control. You could also choose to increase the range using perks in column four if you think you can control the recoil on your own.

Assembly II – Available from the New Monarchy Representative or faction rank-up packages.

Pros – Very fast TtK with body shots (1.07s, 17 body shots to kill). Very high aim assist. High mag size. Above average reload speed.

Neutral – None.

Cons – Very low range and stability. Below average recoil direction.

  • Time-to-Kill: 0.87s (13 crit shots and 1 body shot), 1.07s (17 body shots)
  • Rate of Fire: 100
  • Impact: 2 (15 damage per crit shot, 12 per body shot)
  • Range: 15
  • Stability: 32
  • Reload Speed: 69
  • Mag Size: 56
  • Aim Assist: 83
  • Recoil Direction: 60

Recommended Vendor Perks:

  • Column 1 – Your choice of sight
  • Column 2 – Quickdraw or Armor Piercing Rounds
  • Column 3 – Perfect Balance
  • Column 4 – Counterbalance

Recommended Perks:

  • Column 1 – Reflex, SureShot IS, OEG Riflescope
  • Column 2 – High Caliber Rounds, Quickdraw, Armor Piercing Rounds, Lightweight, Extended Mag
  • Column 3 – Perfect Balance, Hammer Forged, Smallbore
  • Column 4 – Counterbalance

RoI marks the first time a 100/2 archetype auto rifle has ever been sold at a full time vendor with the much coveted Counterbalance+Stability Perk roll. It’s not quite as good a Braced Frame or Hand-laid Stock DoP, Arminius, or Soulstealers, but this is still an excellent option for anyone looking to get into using this type of weapon. Your choice of sight for the vendor version will depend on whether you want to boost stability or push out the range with higher zoom. I recommend stability first and foremost, because all the zoom in the world doesn’t help when you can’t stay on target. On a random drop, you’ll want Reflex as the primary option for the increased aim assist and slightly higher zoom, SureShot for just the aim assist, or OEG Riflescope if you can handle it for the highest zoom option. In the second column none of the perks are really necessary for a god-roll, so you can go with either HCR for flinch and range boosts or APR for over-penetration and range boosts, or Quickdraw for faster equip and ADS speeds. Lightweight and Extended Mag are both acceptable as well. In the third column most people will prioritize a stability perk, so Perfect Balance is the best choice to keep the recoil under control. If you can’t get that you can try to max out range with Hammer Forged, or go for a combination of both range and stability with Smallbore. Combine any of those with Counterbalance in the last column (which makes the recoil pattern nearly completely vertical) and that should be enough for most people to handle this weapon.

Pulse Rifles


SUROS PDX-45 – Available from the Gunsmith.

Pros – High aim assist. Very high stability and reload speed. Above average mag size.

Neutral – None.

Cons – Very low range and recoil direction.

  • Time-to-Kill: 0.83s (2.66 bursts. 8 crits)
  • Rate of Fire: 73
  • Impact: 7 (25 damage per crit shot, 17 damage per body shot)
  • Range: 22
  • Stability: 75
  • Reload Speed: 90
  • Mag Size: 27
  • Aim Assist: 70
  • Recoil Direction: 50

Recommended Perks:

  • Column 1 – SPO-28
  • Column 2 – Perfect Balance, High Caliber Rounds, Hammer Forged, Fitted Stock
  • Column 3 – Counterbalance, Hidden Hand, Rangefinder, Headseeker
  • Column 4 – Rifled Barrel/Smallbore

SPO-28 is the best sight for the AA boost (and I just like the optics). If you grab Perfect Balance here, it will push the stability up high enough that you can use Rifled Barrel in the last column, and end up with massive boosts to both. If you aren’t lucky enough to get Perfect Balance, then Smallbore is the best option in the final column, and either of the other three second column options will work. You can even match Smallbore with Perfect Balance to achieve literally maximum stability, but you won’t get as much range as you could with Rifled Barrel. High Caliber Rounds does well on the PDX-45, simply because the RoF is so fast that landing all of your shots will have the other person’s screen jumping almost constantly. Hammer Forged can help with the very low base Range, and Fitted Stock doesn’t give much of a Stability bonus, but it’s still a helpful in tightening up the bullet spread. Counterbalance in the middle will always be the best choice to improve recoil direction, but Headseeker or Hidden Hand can both make the gun more forgiving than it already is. Rangefinder is less useful than the others, but still an option.

B-29 Party Favor – Available from the Crucible Quartermaster.

Pros – Very high reload speed. High aim assist.

Neutral – Average stability.

Cons – Low range and mag size. Below average recoil direction.

  • Time-to-Kill: 0.87s (2.66 bursts, 8 crits), 1.33s (4 bursts, 12 body shots)
  • Rate of Fire: 73
  • Impact: 7 (25 damage per crit shot, 17 damage per body shot)
  • Range: 31
  • Stability: 65
  • Reload Speed: 78
  • Mag Size: 24
  • Aim Assist: 70
  • Recoil Direction: 59

Recommended Vendor Perks:

  • Column 1 – Red Dot-ORA2 or OEG
  • Column 2 – Partial Refund
  • Column 3 – Smallbore
  • Column 4 – Glass Half Full

Recommended Perks:

  • Column 1 – Reflex, SureShot IS, SteadyHand IS, OEG Riflescope
  • Column 2 – Life Support, Outlaw, Feeding Frenzy, Eye of the Storm
  • Column 3 – Perfect Balance, Rifled Barrel, Smallbore, Braced Frame, Hand-laid Stock
  • Column 4 – Counterbalance, Rangefinder, Third Eye, Headseeker

A member of the ever popular Hawksaw/PDX-45 archetype, this Crucible sold variant is basically just a poor man’s version. Compared to other similar weapons, the range isn’t bad, but the stability and mag size leave something to be desired. The aim assist does a valiant job attempting to make up for it, but in a world populated by god-rolls, the perk options here fall short. Smallbore decreases an already low mag size, but you really need to the range and stability boosts, and fortunately Partial Refund offers some help. Glass Half Full is nice perk to have, but realistically does very little in the Crucible. I’m not a fan of the sights, either, but you take what you can get. If you missed out on the previous Hawksaw, and you’re waiting for a great PDX-45 from the Gunsmith, you might as well pick this up to use in the meantime.

If you get one of these from a rank-up package, you’re going to want to look for the Reflex sight to improve zoom and aim assist. SureShot IS or SteadyHand IS can be passable as the increase aim assist and stability, respectively. OEG Riflescope will push out that damage fall off but can be difficult to wield. In column two, Life Support is fast becoming one of my new favorite perks for how useful it can be in clutch situations. Outlaw and Feeding Frenzy are both quite good considering the lower mag size, and Eye of the Storm can be helpful too. In the third column most people will want to improve stability to decrease the size of the burst spread, and I’d like to try to do that without killing the range or mag size. With that caveat, Perfect Balance is the best option. If you want to increase range then Rifled Barrel becomes the best choice. If you can’t get either of those, then you’ll end up with perks that have decent effects but handicap another part of the weapon, like Smallbore, Braced Frame, and Hand-laid Stock. In the last slot Counterbalance is always the best perk for ease of us, with Rangefinder and Third Eye coming in behind it. Headseeker isn’t the most useful on this particular archetype of weapon, but it can still make the gun more forgiving.

Very Low-Impact

The Waltz – Available from the Future War Cult Representative.

Pros – Very high aim assist. Above average mag size.

Neutral – None.

Cons – Very low range, reload speed, and recoil direction. Low stability.

  • Time-to-Kill: 0.80s (3 bursts, 8 crit 1 body), 1.33s (4.33 bursts, 13 body shots)
  • Rate of Fire: 77
  • Impact: 4 (23 damage per crit shot, 16 damage per body shot)
  • Range: 28
  • Stability: 59
  • Reload Speed: 54
  • Mag Size: 27
  • Aim Assist: 75
  • Recoil Direction: 56

Recommended Vendor Perks:

  • Column 1 – SteadyHand IS
  • Column 2 – Lightweight
  • Column 3 – Perfect Balance
  • Column 4 – Rangefinder

Recommended Perks:

  • Column 1 – Reflex, SureShot IS, SteadyHand IS, OEG Riflescope
  • Column 2 – High Caliber Rounds, Extended Mag, Quickdraw, Flared Magwell, Armor Piercing Rounds
  • Column 3 – Perfect Balance, Hammer Forged, Smallbore, Outlaw, Feeding Frenzy, Third Eye
  • Column 4 – Counterbalance, Headseeker, Rangefinder

Finally, we get more weapons in this highly sought after archetype! The sole previous member, the Grasp of Malok, was getting lonely, and it looks the The Waltz may well turn out to be the perfect companion. Stat-wise the two guns are very similar across the board, with The Waltz lagging just a bit behind in most categories. The vendor sold version won’t quite be a game changer straight out of the box, but it does come with a decent combination of perks. SteadyHand and Perfect Balance will help to neutralize the difficult to control recoil of the high RoF weapon, and Rangefinder gives it that little extra boost needed to keep it competitive in the middle ranges. Lightweight, as always, is a perk I enjoy, but it doesn’t do much for this weapon. If you haven’t managed to snag yourself a well-rolled Grasp, then this can be a good placeholder until you do.

If you get one of these from a rank-up package, you’re going to want to look for the Reflex sight to improve zoom and aim assist. SureShot IS or SteadyHand IS can be passable as the increase aim assist and stability, respectively. OEG Riflescope will push out that damage fall off but can be difficult to wield. In the second column almost all of the perks will have some usefulness, so you can pretty much be assured you’ll get something good. Extended Mag and Flared Magwell can both be used to help out with the lower mag size, and HCR and APR both add a bit to the range stat in addition to their main perk. Quickdraw is always a nice PvP perk to have. In column three most people will want a stability or range perk here, so Perfect Balance is the optimal choice with Hammer Forged following that up. Smallbore is a less useful perk because the mag size is already low to begin with, but boosts to stability and range are nice to have. Outlaw, Feeding Frenzy, and Third Eye are all excellent, just not top tier in this situation. In the last column Counterbalance is the most sought after perk for the majority of players, as it helps with the poor recoil direction. If you don’t get that, Headseeker or Rangefinder are decent, but not god-roll material.

Grasp of Malok – Available from the Will of Crota strike.

Pros – High mag size. Very high aim assist.

Neutral – None.

Cons – Below average range and recoil direction. Very low stability. Low reload speed.

  • Time-to-Kill: 0.80s (3 bursts. 8 crit shots and 1 body shot.), 1.33s (4.33 bursts. 13 body shots.)
  • Rate of Fire: 77
  • Impact: 4 (23 damage per crit shot, 16 damage per body shot)
  • Range: 33
  • Stability: 54
  • Reload Speed: 61
  • Mag Size: 33
  • Aim Assist: 82

Recommended Perks:

  • Column 1 – Red Dot-OAS, Red Dot-ORS1, Red Dot-ORES
  • Column 2 – Counterbalance, Rangefinder, Headseeker, Life Support, Eye of the Storm
  • Column 3 – Braced Frame/Smallbore/Perfect Balance, Hand Loaded, Fitted Stock
  • Column 4 – Third Eye, Glass Half Full, Feeding Frenzy, Grenadier, Army of One

Part of one of the most popular archetypes in the current meta, a well-rolled Grasp was the white whale of many players in year 2. Fortunately, the archetype has been padded by a couple of easier to acquire weapons (The Clever Dragon from Iron Banner and The Waltz from the FWC Vendor), but the Grasp still has some statistical benefits like higher base range and aim assist that keep it on top. In terms of perks, Red Dot-OAS will help to increase the aim assist, but this gun doesn’t really need it, so if you have a sight you like, you’ll be good to go. Any combination of Counterbalance and Perfect Balance, Braced Frame, or Smallbore will be great in terms of getting a stable and easy to control recoil pattern. If you can’t get Counterbalance, Rangefinder is probably my next favorite option, as the increased zoom will tighten up the burst pattern a small amount and negate damage and aim assist fall off. You’ll be left with some sideways movement, but pairing it with one of the aforementioned column 3 perks will give you a solid mix of range and stability. In the last column, I like Glass Half Full for the bonus damage, but Third Eye probably has the most utility for PvP. Feeding Frenzy is also a nice to perk to have for the faster reload speed after kills.

Hand Cannons


The Palindrome – Available from the Crucible Quartermaster.

Pros – High range. Above average mag size and recoil direction.

Neutral – Average stability, reload speed, and aim assist.

Cons – Below average equip speed.

  • Time-to-Kill: 0.86s (1 crit shot and 2 body shots), 1.30s (4 body shots)
  • Rate of Fire: 22
  • Impact: 87 (86 damage per crit shot, 57 damage per body shot)
  • Range: 39
  • Stability: 39
  • Reload Speed: 39
  • Mag Size: 9
  • Aim Assist: 76
  • Recoil Direction: 94
  • Equip Speed: 46

Recommended Vendor Perks:

  • Column 1 – TrueSight IS
  • Column 2 – Spray and Pray or Mulligan
  • Column 3 – Rifled Barrel
  • Column 4 – Rangefinder

Recommended Perks:

  • Column 1 – SureShot IS/TrueSight IS
  • Column 2 – Icarus, Outlaw, Hot Swap
  • Column 3 – Rifled Barrel, Hammer Forged, Smallbore, Reinforced Barrel
  • Column 4 – Rangefinder, Luck in the Chamber, Hidden Hand, Third Eye, Reactive Reload

This weapon is proving to be very, very popular in the Crucible, perhaps even the most popular of the new vendor rolls. With a near perfect perk-set right out of the gate, on top of fantastic base stats, this gun may become the most prevalent hand cannon in PvP. Comparing it to Eyasluna head-to-head, the only places The Palindrome falters are the lower base stability (39 to 51) and equip speed (46 to 59), but it more than makes up for it with significantly higher aim assist (76 to 50) and much better recoil direction (94 to 60). In addition to that, it’s sold by the vendor with an AA boosting sight, Rangefinder, and Rifled Barrel. It doesn’t get much better than that. For the vendor version, Spray and Pray or Mulligan will round out your perk tree, and you can choose either one. If you get a randomly rolled version, in the second column you’ll want Icarus for the god-roll, but Outlaw is also a fantastic perk. If you aren’t lucky enough to get Rifled Barrel and Rangefinder, then any of the other perks that increase range in column three will make do, and every option in the final slot is solid. Luck in the Chamber is something of a gimmick, but can basically guarantee you win your battles when it activates. Hidden Hand increases the already high aim assist, and Third Eye is incredibly useful for PvP, even if it’s looked at as a crutch by some players. Reactive Reload is the least useful of the last options in most cases, but pairing it with Outlaw and Hand Cannon Reload gloves makes for a very deadly weapon.

Imago Loop – Available from the Echo Chamber or Undying Mind strikes.

Pros – High range, mag size, and recoil direction.

Neutral – None.

Cons – Below average aim assist. Low stability and reload speed. Very low equip speed.

  • Time-to-Kill: 0.86s (1 crit shot and 2 body shots)
  • Rate of Fire: 22
  • Impact: 87 (86 damage per crit shot, 57 damage per body shot)
  • Range: 40
  • Stability: 32
  • Reload Speed: 33
  • Mag Size: 10
  • Aim Assist: 61
  • Recoil Direction: 95
  • Equip Speed: 36

Recommended Perks for PvP:

  • Column 1 – SureShot IS/TrueSight IS
  • Column 2 – Rangefinder, Outlaw, Hot Swap, Spray and Play, Underdog
  • Column 3 – Rifled Barrel, Smallbore, Reinforced Barrel, Hammer Forged, Braced Frame, Explosive Rounds, Hand Loaded
  • Column 4 – Hidden Hand/Icarus, Luck in the Chamber, Life Support, Third Eye, Reactive Reload, Grenadier, Army of One

As always, the two best sights on HCs are SureShot and TrueSight, since they both help to boost the average base aim assist, but I would say they’re the least important part of a great roll. In the second column, Rangefinder is universally considered to be the very best perk, and no God-Roll is complete without it. Outlaw is a very passable second option, but after that it’s a steep drop off to Hot Swap and Spray and Pray, neither of which are optimal choices. Underdog brings up the rear, but at least it can give you a range bonus in some situations. In the third column, Rifled Barrel is again the universally acclaimed choice, but Smallbore, Hammer Forged, and Reinforced Barrel (if you don’t care about the massive hit to stability) are all very passable second options. If you are trying to get a Luck in the Chamber build, Smallbore and Braced Frame will be your two best choices. Explosive Rounds and Hand Loaded bring up the rear of the preferred perks in this slot, with ER greatly increasing your opponents flinch, and HL giving a small boost to the range stat. In the final column, Hidden Hand and Icarus are my two top choices, given their all around usefulness, but some people will want Luck in the Chamber, depending upon their play-style. Having started to play with Life Support more, I’m really noticing its usefulness and beginning to lean towards recommending it as a higher tier perk. It activates quite often in my experience, multiple times per game, and saved me on enough occasions that I think, despite its random nature, it’s definitely a beneficial perk. Third Eye is always solid in PvP, though some people look at it as a crutch, and Reactive Reload can be put to fantastic use situationally, so don’t sleep on either of those. Grenadier and Army of One are all also okay options, so you really can’t go wrong in this column, unless you get Mulligan.

Scout Rifles


MIDA Multi Tool – Available from Xur or random drops.

Pros – Very high mag size, reload speed, and aim assist. Above average stability.

Neutral – None.

Cons – Very low Range.

  • Time-to-Kill: 0.90s (3 crit shots and 1 body shot), 1.50s (6 body shots)
  • Rate of Fire: 52
  • Impact: 37 (57 damage per crit shot, 38 per body shot)
  • Range: 58
  • Stability: 49
  • Reload Speed: 100
  • Mag Size: 21
  • Aim Assist: 90

Recommended Perks:

  • Column 1 – Your choice of barrel perk
  • Column 2 – Third Eye
  • Column 3 – Lightweight
  • Column 4 – MIDA Multi-Tool

One of the most popular exotic primary weapons in use right now, the MIDA has everything you need to dominate the Crucible. Starting with it’s insanely high aim assist, reload speed, and mag size, the only real downside is the lack of high base range, which unfortunately none of the barrel perks will help. You can choose which barrel perk you like, with Soft Ballistics decreasing the damage per bullet by a small amount but pushing the aim assist up to a perfect 100, or Smart Drift Control making the recoil direction also a perfect 100. Third Eye is one of the most useful perks in PvP, and Lightweight combines perfectly with the increased movement speed granted by the exotic perk.


  • Field Choke, Linear Compensator, Accurized Ballistics all increase the damage per pellet by 2.5%. Aggressive Ballistics increases it by 5%. Soft Ballistics decreases it by 2.5%.

Very High-Impact

Last-Ditch 001 – Available from the Dead Orbit Representative.

Pros – Very high range and max range. Can still hit the range cap using Hand Loaded and Hammer Forged with Accurized Ballistics, Linear Compensator, or Field Choke.

Neutral – Average mag size.

Cons – Below average reload speed. Very low aim assist and equip speed.

  • Rate of Fire: 8
  • Impact: 67 (22 damage per pellet, 264 damage total)
  • Range: 23
  • Max Range: 32
  • Reload Speed: 29
  • Mag Size: 5
  • Aim Assist: 29
  • Equip Speed: 29

Recommended Vendor Perks:

  • Column 1 – CQB Ballistics
  • Column 2 – Quickdraw
  • Column 3 – Hammer Forged
  • Column 4 – Rangefinder

Recommended Perks:

  • Column 1 – Linear Compensator/Accurized Ballistics/Field Choke, Smooth Ballistics, Aggressive Ballistics
  • Column 2 – Hand Loaded, Quickdraw, Snapshot
  • Column 3 – Hammer Forged
  • Column 4 – Rangefinder, Full Auto, Crowd Control, Final Round

The Matador class of very high-impact shotguns was on a short hiatus during year two, but they’re making their return felt with the Dead Orbit Last-Ditch 001. With a tremendously high base range of 23, this gun is capable of killing Guardians with a single blast at distances other shotguns can only dream of. The vendor version isn’t perfect, as it lacks a good barrel perk, but Quickdraw, Hammer Forged, and Rangefinder make a deadly combination. If you get a random roll, you’ll be looking for the aforementioned combination on a good barrel perk, Hand Loaded, Hammer Forged, and Rangefinder to squeeze every last drop out of the 1-hit kill range.

With those examples out of the way, let’s move on to the last couple things you should do before you even start your first game.

  • Pay attention to your Loadout. What perks do you have? What stats on your armor? Try to play to your strengths with your perks and choose perks that help you out. Let’s take a look at our armor for a second. Do your perks help you out in the Crucible, or do you have some tier-9 gear and a helmet with Inverse Shadow on it? For those people who don’t know what I mean when I say tier-#, it’s simply a shorthand for discussing how well rolled the armor stats are. Everybody knows that we have three stats attributed to our armor that each decrease a specific ability cooldown. Intellect is for our Super, Discipline for grenades, and Strength for melee. These three stats also each have a specific tier at which they speed the cooldown up, and those tiers go from zero to five. If you’ve heard people before talking about tier-12, what they mean is that the tiers for Intellect, Discipline, and Strength, when added together, come to 12. You could have four tiers each of Intellect, Discipline, and Strength, or perhaps five tiers of two of them and two tiers of the last. For someone just getting into the Crucible, maximizing their stats to tier-12 isn’t that important. Tier-12 is something the most hardcore players chase, but we’re going to focus more on getting a solid combination of tiers (let’s shoot for 10 or higher) and perks that complement our playstyle.First things first, let’s toss out the idea that our Guardian has to look sexy. Figure out the perks you need first, then move onto finding the best looking gear that has them. Starting from the top, the first priority is we’d like to try and make sure our Helmet has Ashes to Assets, simply because it is the only perk in that slot that will provide us with any use in PvP. Any of the orb pickup perks will due, but if you really like using grenades or melees specifically, maybe try to find a helmet that gives you bonus energy in your preferred ability for the orbs. For the arm pieces, what’s your favorite weapon to use? Try to find a pair of gauntlets that allows you to reload that weapon faster. If you can match that up, then you have the option of several other perks which recharge your abilities or make them slightly more powerful, like increasing melee speed or throwing grenades farther. Any of these will work, but if you can, again try to match them to your preferred playstyle. For chest pieces, increased armor for your subclass is the first thing we need to look for. Some people say one extra armor doesn’t do much in the Crucible, but I say every single hit point of health counts, and it definitely can make a difference. Once we get the armor increase we want, let’s try to find a chest piece that increases the ammo carried for whatever our preferred special weapon is. For leg pieces, the best perk is one that increases either our preferred heavy or special weapon first, and then whatever the second perk is is just a bonus. For artifacts, you just want to make sure you have one that is beneficial for PvP. An Intellect/Discipline artifact is preferred because they can give you more of a bonus towards your stats, but it’s not necessary.Once you’ve got all of these perks, you can use an app like Destiny Item Manager to figure out what the best tier combination is. We’d like to shoot for tier 10 at the least, but 11 is very good, and 12 is perfect. So let’s recap what we’re looking for (bold is a necessity, anything else is a luxury):
  1. Helmet
    • Ashes to Assets
    • Orb Pickup Perk that compliments our playstyle
  2. Gauntlets
    • Reload Perk for our preferred weapon
    • Ability Improving Perk that compliments our playstyle
  3. Chest
    • Increased Armor for our subclass
    • Increased Ammo for our preferred weapon
  4. Boots
    • Increased Ammo for our preferred weapon
    • Agility Increasing Perk for our playstyle
  5. Artifact
    • Jolder – decreased sprint cooldown penalty
    • Gheloen – detailed radar, grants Third Eye
    • Felwinter – lose your super, gain boosts to Strength and Discipline, gain extra grenade and melee charge
    • Silimar – decreased burn and DoT damage
    • Skorri – when your Super is full, allies near you get double Super charge rate
    • Radegast – sword block is capable of reflecting energy and projectile attacks
    • Perun – highlights enemy Guardians with full supers and low health
  6. Stat Tiers
    • Try to get at least tier-10 with your preferred cooldowns (Intellect/Discipline/Strength)

Now that you’ve got your controller, weapons, and armor set up accordingly, there’s one more thing to do before you hop into the Crucible.

  • Get into a party. Its more fun playing with friends, and you’ll have more success. In a game like Destiny, playing with a group can be the difference between victory and rage quitting. I know this is a hard thing to do for a lot of people. Not everyone has friends that are on when they are, and not everyone likes playing with other people, but the truth of the matter is you’ll have a lot more success playing in a fireteam. If you don’t have friends to play with, there are a ton of great resources out there that can help you find people to play with. Don’t want to put in that effort? At least consider joining the game chat when you finally do get into a game! Even casual Destiny relies heavily on communication, timing, and teamwork, and playing with other people who you can coordinate with makes everything run so much better and more smoothly. Plus, talking to other people in game can help you to learn callouts and how to communicate mid-battle, two skills which are necessities at higher levels of play.

So those are the four major things I’d like anyone who is considering jumping into PvP to look at before they even select a gametype.

Things to focus on in game.

  1. This isn’t a twitch shooter, at least as far as primary weapons go. Twitch shooters are games which have a very fast time-to-kill, and players can rely almost entirely on reflexes to win engagements. Headshots are often unnecessary, and the person who acquires their target first usually wins. Perhaps the most well known example of this style of game is the Call of Duty series (the earlier versions more than the later games). On the opposite end of the spectrum are games like Halo. With a very slow TtK, Halo is all about precision and gunskill, and being the first person to shoot doesn’t always mean you’ll be the victor. Destiny is much closer to the Halo side of the scale than to the CoD side. Times-to-kill in this game in general hover between 0.80s and 1.00s, which means that, even after you’ve landed the first shot, your opponent more than enough time to fight back or run away. Reflexes alone won’t make you a great player here, so you’ll need also need a solid combination of strategy and gunskill.
  2. Use your radar. It’s got crazy range and you should almost never be surprised if you can get good at reading it. I know it looks a bit confusing, and it doesn’t show you exactly where an opponent is like it would in Halo or CoD, but it’s a powerful tool once you understand it. The pie slices light up as enemies approach, starting first with the ring around the outside, then a pie slice, then the circle around you means they’re basically at point blank. If the color is bright red, it means they are on your level, if it’s faded red it means they are either above or below you. Learn to keep an eye on this, but don’t just stare at it. Use it to help inform your situational awareness. Players can temporarily disappear off of it if they crouch or go invisible, so look out for those tricks.
  3. Pay attention to where your teammates are. If you see people in an area and they aren’t in combat, you can use that knowledge to narrow down where the enemies can be. Likewise, if you see where teammates are engaging enemies, you know where they are and can figure out a good path around them to flank or assist. If your teammates run into a room and begin engaging enemies, you can use this as a distraction to slip in yourself and clean up some kills, or even as a warning to not go that way!
  4. Learn when to run away. If you’re outnumbered and/or low health, get out of there. Minimizing deaths is key to success. This is one of the key aspects of Destiny gameplay that I see so many people struggling with. If you’re in a bad situation, get out of there! Don’t peak back out at the sniper who body-shot you, don’t stay in a gun battle you’re losing, and don’t feel like a coward for retreating! Running away and living to fight another day is of much more use to your team than staying and taking a death. If you’re dead, you gave the other team points and you now have to waste time respawning and getting back to an engagement. Staying alive means continuing to help your team, and denying the enemy an advantage, even if you had to back away.
  5. Pick a strategy and stick to it. Be aggressive or be passive, but don’t be indecisive. Patience is key. Whichever strategy you want to use, be it aggressive shotgunner or passive sniper, pick it, practice it, and play it. Being indecisive is what gets people killed. If you’re going to charge that corner, then do it, but don’t hesitate halfway through, because now you’re out in a bad position. If you’re going to hang back and snipe, then don’t push halfway up and sit there, because you’re going to get picked off. Aggressive players need to understand that they can be patient too, using measured or calculated aggression. Don’t just blindly run around the map shooting at anything you see. Pay attention to when the enemy is leaving themselves vulnerable and take advantage of that with an attack, but be aware of what’s going on. Aggressive gameplay can force other teams to account for you if you do it right, or it can force your own team to have to make-up for you if you’re doing it wrong. When you’re passive, you’re waiting for the other team to make a move, and then making the appropriate counter-action. Whether this means baiting enemies around corners while you back-peddle or providing sniper support down an open lane, it doesn’t mean camping in the back of the map. You’re there to provide support for your teammates and be a part of a victory, not dead-weight that needs to be carried.
  6. Control ammo crates. This is one of the new most important aspects of the PvP landscape. Denying opponents special and heavy ammo can swing the tide of the game in your teams favor. It doesn’t matter if you have full sniper or shotgun ammo, pick up that special crate anyways. The radius for your teammates to get it is large enough that if they’re around you the will be able to grab it off the ground. You’re mostly doing this to stop the other team from getting it. If you have shotgun and pulse rifle ammo and your opponent has only pulse rifle, you now have more options to attack or defend than he does. If your team has three snipers with full ammo and there team has none, you’ve just made it much easier to get map control. In terms of heavy, wait for your teammates as long as you can. The general method to go by is wait until your teammates have gotten to you, or until you see the outer ring of your radar turn red. You want as many people on your team to get heavy as possible, but a few people not getting it is better than your whole team getting nova-bombed why you wait around the box.
  7. Use your super. Don’t just sit on it waiting for that sick multi kill. A super that saves your life is not a wasted super. This was one of the things that, as a new player, I struggled with the most. I always wanted to save my super for a triple on a control point or use it to smash people waiting around heavy. Those things are great, and I’m not suggesting that you use it the second it fully charges on some guy who you could have killed anyways. What I’m saying is that if using your super kept you alive when you would have died, even if you only got one kill, then it is a worthy reason to burn it. Keeping yourself alive is the name of the game, after all, as you can continue to pressure the enemy and assert map control, and using your super is just another way to do that.
  8. Learn the maps. Private matches are your friend here, but for the most part this comes from experience. Map knowledge can be the difference between a good player and a great one, since knowing where to flank from, which lanes the enemy will choose to push, where the choke points are, and callouts are all standard parts of high level gameplay. There are a ton of great maps out there that can help you to learn this, but the best way to figure it out is just to play. Maybe organize some private matches with friends, or play some rumble with the express purpose of trying to survive while looking around.
  • Bonus Tip: Aim for the upper-chest/chin area with your primary weapons. It’ll help to make sure you’re more consistently hitting the head while being flinched/fighting recoil.

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