Destiny 2 Crucible guide: How to master Shadowkeep’s freshly altered PvP

© Bungie
Written by Dom Peppiatt
Want to dominate in Clash, Control, Supremacy and beyond? Shed some Light on the best Hunter, Titan and Warlock tactics in this out-of-this-world guide.
Destiny 2 Shadowkeep has set Bungie’s shared-world shooter on fire once again. The studio went back to the drawing board for the release of the expansion, and it wanted to make a statement with it. This is the first big content release Bungie has dropped since its amicable breakup with Activision, and the developer clearly wants you to know it’s just as comfortable now as it was when the big publisher juggernaut was behind it.
With Shadowkeep, Bungie altered a lot of Destiny 2’s finer mechanics, and nowhere is that more clear than in the Crucible. The PvP portion of the game is a wholly different beast now to what it was at launch, and unless you’re paying attention, it’s easy to get left behind in the fast-paced arena.
With that in mind, we’ve put together a guide for all those Guardians that want to up their game in Destiny 2’s toughest – but most rewarding – mode. Here’s what you need to know.

1. Use your X axis

"He's above you!" "oh no he isn't!"
"He's above you!" "oh no he isn't!"
Destiny is a unique shooter. It uses vertical sightlines just as much as horizontal ones, and if you don’t learn how to take advantage of that quickly, you’re going to find yourself on the receiving end of Jade Rabbit or Vigilance Wing. Depending on your subclass, you’ll have a range of mobility options at your disposal – triple jumps, sustained hovers and flight.
Generally speaking, you’re going to lose trades where your enemy is on the ground. But repositioning, scouting and popping pre-engagement shots at distant enemies (Scout Rifles are your friend!) are all advanced-level techniques you should be training yourself to perform. Well-timed hovering above doors with a Fusion Rifle or Shotgun equipped is still a valid strat, too.

2. Don’t over-rely on sprint

Sprinting is more likely to get you killed than a gold medal in Destiny 2
Sprinting is more likely to get you killed than a gold medal in Destiny 2
As Destiny 2 expands its Exotic pool, we’re seeing more Leg armour items buff the sprint mechanic. Whilst some of these (reloading your current gun or giving you Super energy in particular) are great functions, don’t be fooled into sprinting into gunfights: you’ll lose.
You can get caught in tricky sightlines, unable to bring your gun up quickly enough to engage effectively. Instead, you’re going to want to sprint to reposition or charge up a melee ability – the current meta dictates that a Titan with One-Eyed Mask equipped is practically unbeatable.
Know where your allies are, sprint when you’re being covered, and don’t expect to win or trade an engagement if you can’t get your weapon up in time. This will help you die less and be a more valuable battlefield asset.

3. Pick your battles wisely

Sometimes, the only way to win a firefight is not to have one
Sometimes, the only way to win a firefight is not to have one
Don’t be afraid to run away. Destiny 2 started life with quite long respawn times, and although the game has sped up somewhat as the seasons have progressed, the core of the game is still about surviving, repositioning, redeploying.
Supers have evolved to be more sustained, multi-kill farming aces up your sleeve. Don’t be scared of running away from Hunters popping an Arc Staff, a Titan activating a Sentinel Shield or a Warlock’s Daybreak. Letting Guardians burn themselves out is a better strat than throwing yourself into a one-hit kill.
Supers are good Super counters – especially if your range outmatches theirs. Don’t pop a Super if you know the enemy team has a Nova Bomb ready to shut you down. Also, if you’ve been knocked out by a powerful Fusion Rifle like Jotunn repeatedly in a match, make a note of the enemy that can off you quickly, and avoid them when you pop the super and become vulnerable for that brief window it activates.

4. Respect the choke points

Destiny 2 has plenty of good places for a firefight, like this staircase
Destiny 2 has plenty of good places for a firefight, like this staircase
Like Halo games before it, Destiny maps are designed with flanking and multiple engagement angles in mind. Destiny 2 meta changes frequently, so know where you’re at risk – long, mid and short-range engagements can all happen, so be prepared. Don’t go into an encounter with two Scout Rifles, for example – chances are you’ll lose to an Auto-Rifle close range.
Most matches will reveal a central choke point or two that will be the focus of most engagements. Getting caught in the middle of the meat-grinder is only going to end in frustration. Instead, think about flanking, think about using grenades to deny areas to enemies, and think about supporting your allies with your support abilities.
Sometimes it is smarter to bed down in one place and let your enemies break themselves on you in waves as you fortify and pick them off. Knowing that an enemy can only approach from two or three avenues is much easier to defend against (and score multi-kills against!) than predicting a radar swoop from up to six angles. Play smart, and keep one eye on the movement tracker at all times.

5. Don’t be selfish

The Destiny 2 fireteam members that frag together, stay together
The Destiny 2 fireteam members that frag together, stay together
The scoring system in Destiny rewards you for assists and kills in equal measure. This is an intentional design decision and is integral to how Bungie wants you to use the Crucible. Play as a team – play to beat the enemy team, not for personal glory. When there are numerous Exotic weapon quests or bounties that want you to score ‘Final Blows’ with certain weapon types, it can be hard not to get greedy.
But laying down buffs (Warlock rifts) and casting barriers (for Titans) are criminally under-used techniques in low level Crucible play. Start knowing when to use your class abilities to bolster your team, and you’ll find fireteams gluing themselves to you pretty consistently.
Don’t be afraid to be flexible, too – is that Warlock on your team clearing up with an Auto-Rifle? Maybe swap to a Scout Rifle to help chip damage off before they swoop in. Is that Hunter clocking headshots half a map away with a Sniper? Get in close with an SMG and help bait the enemies out of their trenches so your ally can pop critical damage without risk.
The very best Destiny players are going to be the most selfless. Don’t be that Guardian that sits at the bottom of the results screen with a tragic K/D ratio because you’re throwing yourself hopelessly into the maw over and over again. Play smart, play cooperatively and be adaptive – you’ll find your stats improving in no time.