Most of the time in Gambit, you won’t be shooting other players directly. But you’re always competing with another team of Guardians, so you’ll want to bring your A-game to every match. And that means having the right loadouts, knowing the best strategies, and being prepared with a complete understanding of everything Gambit has to offer.
As a hybrid mode that isn’t just PVE or PVP, Gambit allows you to explore new play styles that straddle the line between both. Based on our early experiences with the mode, here are some of the best ways to ensure your team comes out on top. For more on the game, check out our Forsaken review-in-progress.
How Gambit Works
Destiny 2’s newest game mode is aptly named, as almost every move you make is a gambit that risks your progress and points for a greater advantage over your opponents. Teams of four players compete to defeat enough enemies to be the first to summon a large “Primeval” boss enemy and defeat it, while periodically invading one another’s areas and killing other players to slow the opposing team’s progress. Besides these “invasions” of one player into the opposing team’s play area, the two teams are totally separate.
You’ll spend the bulk of any Gambit match defeating enemies and gathering the Motes they drop. You can carry up to 15 at a time, and although there’s no direct adverse effect for holding onto them, you’ll lose them all permanently if you die, setting your team back significantly.
You’re meant to bank these Motes periodically at the station in the center of the map, getting your team closer to summoning your Primeval. Doing so in increments of five sends a “blocker” enemy to the opposing team’s area, preventing them from banking their own Motes. Banking five Motes sends a small blocker, ten sends a medium, and 15 sends a large blocker that takes significant firepower to defeat. The bars along the top of the screen show not just how many Motes your team has banked (the red and blue bars), but also how many Motes each team’s players are holding (the gray portion of the bar that’s not yet filled in).
The notches on these bars represent the 25 and 50 marks. Reaching these milestones opens a portal to your opponents’ side, allowing one player on your team to invade their space and try to slow their progress. The invading player gets an overshield, and can see their opponents’ locations for the duration of the invasion, even through walls. They invader is sent back to their side if they get four kills (a team wipe), if they die (which drops three Motes for the invaded team to pick up), or at the end of a 30 second timer.
When your team has banked 75 Motes, a large Primeval boss enemy appears. It’s accompanied by smaller, but still tough enemies that provide it with extra protection–taking them out makes the Primeval more vulnerable to damage. Once your Primeval is summoned, your opponents get to invade periodically, and any deaths while an invader is present restore the boss’s health. The first team to defeat its Primeval wins the round, and each Gambit match is best out of three.
The Best Gambit Tips and Strategies
That all may sound rather complicated, but once you play a few matches it starts to seem simple. But don’t worry–you’ll quickly realize just how tactical Gambit can be. The amount that strategy matters varies from match to match, depending on the skill of your opponents, but fighting a coordinated team can be incredibly frustrating if your side doesn’t have its act together. Here are some important rules, tips, and strategies if you don’t want to get your butt handed to you.
Communicate. Obviously it’s possible to solo queue into Gambit matchmaking, but it’s not advised. Playing Gambit with any degree of strategy requires tons of communication, and you’re generally not going to luck into a team of three other random players who all have mics and are willing to use them. Try to form a team by playing with friends, joining a clan, using an LFG site, or finding a Discord server dedicated to Destiny 2 on your platform of choice.
Coordinate when you bank Motes. It can be tempting to bank your Motes whenever you have enough to send the other team a blocker (five or more), or whenever you start worrying about dying and losing them. But coordinating with your teammates on when to bank Motes is absolutely crucial. Sending one small or medium blocker to the other side won’t slow down your opponents much; sending three or four simultaneously is a different story.
Pay attention to how many Motes your teammates are carrying. If you have two Motes and your teammate has 14, don’t dash ahead of them to catch up. Let them fill up on Motes so they can send a large blocker to the other side. And if you see that a teammate who’s carrying a lot of Motes is under heavy fire–from normal enemies or even from an invader–it’s smart to attempt a rescue.
Send blockers with your invader. The notches on the Motes progress bar that represent 25 and 50 Motes are important. Once your team has banked a total of 25 Motes, a portal opens to the opposing team’s map. Communicate with your teammates so that once your team is carrying 25 total–when the grey progress bar passes the first notch–you bank them all together, spawning multiple blockers and opening the portal simultaneously. That way when your invader goes through, your opponents can’t hastily bank all the Motes they’re carrying, giving the invader time to take them out and deny them those Motes.
Likewise, be careful of blockers and invaders arriving simultaneously. If the other team knows what they’re doing and they’re faster than you, chances are they’ll use this exact strategy on you. You have two options when an invader and blockers arrive together: You can quickly take out the blockers and try to bank your Motes before the invader can kill you–which will usually involve burning a Super–or you can turn all your attention to killing the invader and sending them back to their side. Either way, it takes communication, awareness, and coordination among your teammates.
Save your Super and power ammo for invading. Chances are you’ll pick the best one or two PVP players on your team to be the designated invaders. When heavy ammo pops up at stations around the map, let these players pick it up. And if you’re the invader, save your super and your heavy ammo for when you’re deep in enemy territory.
If you have a ton of Motes when you get invaded, hide. Hiding may be relatively ineffective, considering the invader can see more or less exactly where you are at all times. But taking cover can force the invader to expose themselves trying to get to you, allowing your teammates with fewer Motes to take the risk and defeat them. Again, communication is key–“Invader is here, I have 15 Motes, I’m taking cover!” is a valuable callout.
When the other team spawns their Primeval, don’t invade right away. Summoning your Primeval opens you up to more frequent invasions. It can be tempting to head to your opponents’ side right away when that happens, especially if your team is lagging far behind, but it’s unwise. Killing opposing Guardians when their Primeval’s health is full will set them back a few seconds; killing them when they’ve already done some damage to their boss’s health will restore its health, more significantly impeding their progress. It can be the difference between your team losing and catching up for the win.
That said, don’t wait too long to invade once the other team’s Primeval starts taking damage. Given how powerful Forsaken has made us, burning down a boss to zero health can take a matter of seconds with the right loadouts. An invasion even with your foes’ Primeval still at half health can be too late if they’re good. You’ll get a feel for the timing eventually.
The Best Gambit Guns and Loadouts
Before Destiny 2: Forsaken’s release, Gambit was briefly available for a single day for players to try out. The king of the Gambit meta quickly emerged as Sleeper Simulant, an Exotic linear fusion rifle that players of Destiny 2’s Warmind expansion had the ability to acquire. With its powerful and accurate shots, Sleeper excels both at taking down PVE bosses and at sniping enemy players from across the map. Its rounds even ricochet and penetrate targets, allowing skilled players to take out multiple opponents with a single shot.
With Forsaken’s release, Sleeper may soon be considered a relic from Destiny 2’s first year–or maybe not. Given how new this all is, it isn’t yet clear what will come out on top once players have discovered all the new guns and armor Destiny 2: Forsaken will offer. For now, here are some general tips.
Don’t be afraid to pick a focus. Coordinate with your teammates before you starting matching and don’t be afraid to choose a focus area. You can always choose who goes to invade when a portal opens. Those players your team has designated as invaders can spec their loadouts for PVP, while those who will remain behind killing adds can choose equipment and abilities better suited to PVE. Ultimately everyone will wind up doing some of both, but it’s OK to focus on one style or the other.
Your super is crucial. We’ve yet to experiment enough with Destiny 2: Forsaken’s new Super abilities, but suffice to say which Supers you and your teammates choose is important. You’ll want a good blend of add-control supers, damage dealers, and PVP-focused abilities; during the Gambit preview event before Forsaken’s release, Hunters’ tether proved helpful for taking down the Primeval, Golden Gun and Warlocks’ Dawnblade were great for invading the other team, and even the Titan class’s generally underused Ward of Dawn bubble proved useful for taking shelter inside when you were invaded.
The PVP meta is always changing. Are hand cannons or SMGs on top right now? Are snipers viable again with Forsaken’s changes to ammo and weapon slots? Is Sleeper still the best choice for your heavy? These meta dynamics shift and change with the seasons, and with Forsaken having just arrived, you should feel free to experiment and change your loadout if what you’re using isn’t working.
We’ll have more tips and strategies as Destiny 2: Forsaken continues to evolve. For now, have fun in Destiny 2’s most unique challenge yet.