Our ‘Destiny’ multiplayer guide will help you catch up in the Crucible

Destiny: Rise of Iron
Each time Bungie releases new content for Destiny, the game undergoes a renaissance of sorts. Players who had moved on to other games return to shoot their way through new story missions, cooperative strikes, and epic six-man raids that test the limits of teamwork on consoles. The game dangles new pieces of Exotic gear as carrots on the metaphorical stick, daring Guardians to “become legend” in pursuit of better guns, better armor, and a higher Light level.

The latest chapter in the Destiny saga, Rise of Iron, balances these activities in such a way that players can level up no matter which activity they’re playing through. In the past, rewards from raiding and completing weekly activities (such as the Nightfall strike) outweighed those from its competitive multiplayer mode, the Crucible. After Rise of Iron, though, you’re free to forge your own path to the top.

Destiny‘s competitive multiplayer suite has undergone wholesale changes in the last two years, and we aim to bring you up to speed with a comprehensive guide to the Crucible.

Overview and game modes


To make its competitive multiplayer balanced and fun for everyone, most Crucible modes do not factor in your gear’s light level. A level-10 Guardian can theoretically stand toe-to-toe against a level 40 Guardian and the winner will be determined by who has the quicker trigger finger, rather than the highest stats.

That being said, lower level Guardians aren’t on exactly the same footing as their more experienced counterparts. Legendary and Exotic items, which are much more difficult (and, in some instances, outright impossible) to acquire at lower levels, still have upgrades that give players an edge, such as quicker reload times. Similarly, each class (Titan, Warlock, and Hunter) is outfitted with three “subclasses,” each of which has its own subset of abilities. Newer players may not have access to as many abilities and upgrades as those who have put in significant time with their class.


The Crucible features several modes, each providing its own objectives, as well as a few special event modes that show up on a weekly or monthly basis.  Today’s Crucible is a far cry from the multiplayer experience when Destiny first launched at the end of 2014: Originally there were four game modes to choose from. There are now 11 permanent and weekly rotating game types.

Here’s a quick breakdown of the Crucible’s standard game modes:


A 6v6 match in which both teams vie for control of three different capture points. The more locations your team controls, the more points you accrue for gunning down an enemy player.

To capture a flag location, simply stand inside the glowing circle that appears around it until a meter fills up. Players also earn points for capturing and defending flags.

Inferno Control

A 6v6 match with radar trackers disabled. Kills are the only way to earn points; however, controlling flags grants bonus score for kills.


Your standard, 6-on-6 team deathmatch. Like Control, It’s just one team of six shooting at another team of six, with each fighting to be the first to reach the match’s point total.

Mayhem Clash

The exact same rules as Clash, except all players’ abilities recharge much faster. That means more grenades, more melee charges, and — of course — more supers.

Inferno Clash

Just like Clash, but with radar trackers disabled. Kills are the only way to earn points.


A series of 3-on-3 matches with no respawns (revives are enabled). Once all members of a team are eliminated, the surviving team earns one point. First to five points wins.


This 6-on-6 match where teams must retrieve a “spark” from the center of the map and bring it to a “rift” near the opposing team’s spawn point.


Free-for-all. Six players. No teams. The basic rule in Rumble? If it moves, shoot it. No one works together in this mode, as everyone fights to have the highest point total once the match ends.

Mayhem Rumble 

Like Mayhem Clash, but with six players and no team affiliations.


Much like Clash, Skirmish is a team-based match type with no objectives beyond the basic “Kill anyone who isn’t an ally” commandment. Unlike Clash, it’s a 3v3 mode, which makes working at part of a team all that much more important.

Downed allies can also be revived in Skirmish, which earns some points in addition to helping keep the team together.


Salvage functions as a sort of mashup of Control and Skirmish. It’s a 3-on-3 match wherein an objective location will spawn occasionally. Players must fight to capture and hold the objective to earn points, and revives are enabled.


Similar to “Kill Confirmed” modes in the Call of Duty series, the Rise of Iron-exclusive Supremacy match requires players to pick up “crests” dropped by players when after they’ve been killed. Players only earn points for a kill after someone on their team recovers the crest off an enemy you killed. Players can also pick up their fallen teammates crests to prevent the other team from scoring.

Zone Control

The exact same rules as Control, except kills won’t earn you points. This means you must win a match of Zone Control the old-fashioned way: by equipping a shotgun, hiding in the corner, and camping the flag until your opponents rage-quit.

Event modes

While the game modes above are usually available — Supremacy, Control, Clash, and Rumble are permanent fixtures, while the other modes rotate weekly —  there are a select number of Crucible “events” that appear less frequently. Here’s a quick roundup of the time-sensitive Crucible modes you might come across in Destiny.

Iron Banner

Remember how we said most Crucible matches did not take players’ level level into account? This is the exception. For one week each month, players can participate in Iron Banner matches, which pit players against each other with their loot fully active. There is nothing fair or balanced about this mode, and generally you can expect to lose unless you have high-level gear. Traditionally, Iron Banner matches are always Control-type matches, but the October, 2016 Iron Banner event substituted it for the expansion’s new mode, Supremacy.

For players who have Rise of Iron, Lord Saladin, Efrideet, and the rest of the Iron contingent appear in the expansion’s Iron Temple social space, offering special quests and bounties that you can complete in Iron Banner Crucible matches. Players will be rewarded with gear themed around the Iron Lords, who are also the main focus of the Rise of Iron single-player storyline.

Trials of Osiris

Like the Iron Banner, Trials of Osiris, is a Crucible variant available for players with The Taken King expansion, which allows players to compete in the Crucible using equipment with light level stat boosts enabled. The elimination-style matches run every week from Friday to Tuesday. There is no matchmaking for this mode, so players must put together their own three-player teams to participate.

Rather than simply choosing to participate, players must buy their way to the mode with an in-game item called a “trial passage,” which can be purchased from a vendor in the Reef social space. Once a team buys in, they play against other teams until they lose three matches or win up to nine. Players can also use consumable items called “passage boons” at the start of the trial, which can enhance the team’s record.

Combined Arms

The Combined Arms playlist doesn’t offer any special rewards, but it offers an experience that you can’t find anywhere else in Destiny‘s multiplayer suite: vehicles. Using only the largest maps in the game, Combined Arms provides players with Pikes (hover bikes similar to players’ Sparrow transports, but with mounted guns) and small tanks called Interceptors to shake up the action.


From the beta to dark zones, here's everything we know about The Division 2

The Division 2, the sequel to Ubisoft's most successful new franchise, arrives on PS4, Xbox One, and PC on March 15. The Division 2 has a new setting, interesting new systems, and much more. Here's everything we know about The Division 2.

These are the must-have games that every Xbox One owner needs

More than four years into its life span, Microsoft's latest console is finally coming into its own. From Cuphead to Halo 5, the best Xbox One games offer something for players of every type.

Your PlayStation 4 game library isn't complete without these games

Looking for the best PS4 games out there? Out of the massive crop of titles available, we selected the best you should buy. No matter what your genre of choice may be, there's something here for you.

Exotic Masterwork Weapons are in Destiny 2. Here's how to upgrade

Destiny 2's new Masterwork gear offers a number of special bonuses. Here is what you need to know about it, including how to find the gear in the game and even create it yourself.

Here's our take on the best game-streaming services currently out there

You can still get your physical video game discs or cartridges at your local store or download games digitally, but another option is even more convenient: Game streaming. Here are the best game streaming services.

PS4 vs. Switch: After weighing the pros and cons, which one comes out on top?

Nintendo Switch versus PlayStation 4: Which one has better overall value? We break down the pros and cons of each platform to tell you which of these consoles is truly worth the money.

Scalebound could be revived for Switch following Xbox One cancellation

Microsoft canceled the Xbox One and PC exclusive Scalebound more than two years ago, but a new report claims Scalebound could have found a new home as an exclusive on Nintendo Switch.

Xbox's app lets you access your console while away from home. Here's how

Microsoft's Xbox allows you to access your profile information and launch media content directly from your mobile device. Check out our quick guide on how to connect your smartphone to an Xbox One.

Here’s how to set up a virtual private network (VPN) on your Xbox One

Online privacy is more important now than it's ever been, and gaming is happening online more than ever before. Here's a quick guide on how to set up a VPN for your Xbox One so you game in safe anonymity.

You're never too broke to enjoy the best free-to-play games

Believe it or not, free-to-play games have evolved into engaging, enjoyable experiences. Here are a few of our favorites that you can play right now, including Warframe and the perennially popular League of Legends.

Among hundreds of choices, these are the best 25 SNES games of all time

The Super Nintendo Entertainment System might be the greatest game console ever made, but what are the best titles for the system? Here are our picks for the best SNES games.

Clear up some space on your Xbox One hard drive for the latest games

Removing and reinstalling games on the Xbox One's hard drive isn't difficult, but it's a process that not everyone is familiar with. Thankfully, our guide will run you through each step.

Here’s everything we know about the zombie-infested, survival horror Days Gone

Days Gone, the first PS4 title from Sony's Bend Studio, looks to offer a different type of zombie game. Here's everything we know about the forthcoming title, from the setting to its gameplay.

Path of Exile’s Synthesis expansion arrives in March, brings new way to progress

Grinding Gear Games announced Synthesis, the newest expansion to online action-RPG Path of Exile. The expansion adds a new map meta-game, new items, and balance changes that improve the lives of wizards.
1 of 3