Over the last few years, Bungie has shown a willingness to shake things up in Destiny 2 PvP. Sure, standard Crucible playlists are worse off now than they were back when you could just select what game mode you wanted to play, but that’s just one complaint. We have also received an excellent overhaul to Trials of Osiris and a decent step in the right direction for Gambit. In Season of the Haunted (2022), Iron Banner received a major overhaul. This article documents those changes and provides up-to-date information on the most recent Iron Banner formats.
This is all in an attempt to make Iron Banner more accessible and ultimately enjoyable to jump into. Let’s take a look at exactly what the new Iron Banner looks like and see if these changes accomplish these goals.
Iron Banner Will Be More Like Destiny 2 Holidays
Iron Banner used to be tucked away in the Tower, seemingly an afterthought that could be easily overlooked. Now, when it occurs it brings with it a Tower overhaul similar to events like The Dawning and Guardian Games.
Lord Saladin (now known as Bracus Forge) is present right where Eva Levante usually appears. And rather than twinkling lights, streamers, and other decorations—Iron Banner’s presence is accented with billowing smoke and roaring flames. Oh, and he also gets his own festive theme music to announce his presence and get you in the competitive mood.
How Often Will Iron Banner Occur?
Completing all of the content associated with Iron Banner used to be a much tougher grind back when we only got it twice per season. Now, in Season 20, we’re getting Iron Banner for three separate weeks.
For Season 20, Iron Banner will be active from:
- March 21 – 28
- April 4 – 11
- April 25 – May 2
Week 1 (March 21-28) will feature the Control game mode, Week 2 will feature Eruption, and Week 3 will feature Fortress. Control is the classic Iron Banner game mode. It’s the same as in normal Crucible Control. Just capture zones and survive the Hunt. Eruption rewards players for getting streaks, allowing them to “surge” and eventually gain the “primed” buff until they die. Other than that, it’s a simple team deathmatch style game mode. Fortress is similar to control, but with occasional PVE enemies (turrets and a Cabal enemy or two, usually) spawning on zones. Score points by holding zones, so fairly normal overall.
Surge with Power
“Pressure builds with each enemy felled. No one will be safe from the eruption.” — Lord Saladin
Eruption isn’t a very common game mode in Destiny 2, but it’s always interesting to see. It’s essentially just a “get kills” game mode–the team with the most points from kills wins. However, it has the addition of the “surge” and “primed” mechanics. When you get two eliminations, you begin to surge. Then, when you’re surging, you get 2 points per kill and also regenerate more energy than usual upon kills.
After 5 kills, you become primed. Becoming primed does a few things, but most notably, it starts the Hunt. During the Hunt, your team gains bonus energy. When primed, you also get the same bonuses as being surged (more points and energy), but you get a slightly higher amount of the bonuses.
There is a downside to being primed, though. While primed, you have a 15 second timer that causes you to erupt upon hitting 0. When you erupt, the Hunt (and your streak) end. The only way to reset the timer is to get a kill. While you’re primed, the enemy team will also have a big, obvious marker that leads them right to you. And, on top of that, they’ll get bonus for killing you. It’s like holding the Oddball in Halo–you’re a massive target.
Open the Rift
One major issue with Iron Banner over the last few years is the single use of a modified Control game mode. While it’s honestly a more enjoyable version of Control, it had become extremely repetitive, especially with how often Iron Banner is active. Luckily, that’s not the case anymore since Iron Banner features a rotating playlist of modes (one each week).
Rift is one of the newer (or returning) modes that is not featured in Season 20, but likely will be again in the future. Rift is an objective-based mode similar to Control, albeit with a more singular focus. A Spark appears in the middle of the map. Each team attempts to capture it, bring it over to the enemy base, and dunk it in their Rift. The appearance of a waypoint over the carrier, the ticking clock of the Spark detonating, and the potential sudden death turnarounds all complicate this relatively simple mode.
Even if you’re not a fan of Rift, this development should be exciting. It means that Iron Banner is becoming a true testing ground for PvP and Bungie is willing to experiment and switch things out every season.
Iron Banner features a leveling and vendor system just like most Destiny 2 events. In addition to earning rewards over time via the rank rewards, you’re also able to focus Iron Banner engrams into specific weapons and armor. The rank rewards grant some important/cool items such as a unique emblem (which grants bonus XP in Iron Banner playlists), a unique shader, and various Iron Banner weapons.
The following weapons can be focused at Lord Saladin for the cost of 1 Iron Banner engram, 25 Legendary Shards, and 20,000 Glimmer:
- The Hero’s Burden (Void SMG)
- The Wizened Rebuke (Arc Fusion Rifle)
- Allied Demand (Kinetic Sidearm)
- Roar of the Bear (Solar Rocket Launcher)
- Dark Decider (Arc Auto Rifle)
- Gunnora’s Axe (Arc Shotgun)
- Jorum’s Claw (Solar Pulse Rifle)
- Bite of the Fox (Kinetic Sniper Rifle)
In addition to those rewards, you can also purchase older Iron Banner weapons and armor. The downside is that these are more expensive. Old weapons cost 2 Iron Banner engrams, 25 Legendary Shards, and 10,000 Glimmer. Old armor costs 3 Iron Banner engrams, 50 Legendary Shards, and 10,000 Glimmer per piece. Here are all of the legacy gear items available for focusing:
- Occluded Finality (Arc Sniper Rifle)
- Riiswalker (Kinetic Shotgun)
- Archon’s Thunder (Solar Machine Gun)
- Peacebond (Stasis Sidearm)
- Forge’s Pledge (Solar Pulse Rifle)
- Frontier’s Cry (Solar Hand Cannon)
- Razor’s Edge (Void Sword)
- Iron Remembrance armor set
- Iron Fellowship armor set
- Iron Truage armor set
- Iron Will armor set
- Iron Forerunner armor set
Each day during Iron Banner, a new daily challenge will appear. For Season 20, all you have to do is complete a certain amount of matches as either a Strand, Solar, or Void subclass. Doing so will reward you with a pinnacle drop, just like the normal weekly Crucible challenge.
There are 4 weekly pinnacles available in Iron Banner this season. To complete all 4, you’ll need to play 18 Iron Banner matches. It might sound like a lot, but it’s 4 easy pinnacles to help finish off your power level.
I Am Iron Lord
What would a revamp be without an in-game title to pursue. In this case, you can try to earn a new seal and title called “Iron Lord” throughout the year. You’ll likely have to spend 15-20 hours to unlock it and any progress made will remain through each season throughout the year.
To get the Iron Lord title, here are the Triumphs you will have to complete:
- Jolder’s Victory: Win matches in the IB playlist across all events and seasons.
- Gunnora’s Seal: Acquire IB armor. Each armor piece must be unique to count towards the total.
- Orimund’s Taste: Acquire IB weapons. Each weapon must be unique to count towards the total.
- Orewing’s Spirit: Earn points by completing objectives in IB playlist modes.
- Frostmire’s Will: Complete IB Challenges (weekly challenges).
- Crimil’s Dedication: Reset IB rank.
- Jorum’s Howl: Complete IB matches while wearing at least one piece of IB armor. Earn additional progress for each piece of IB armor equipped.
And here are the objectives to gild the title once you have it:
- Glorious Howl: Win IB matches. Earn additional progress for each piece of IB gear equipped.
- Again, With Feeling!: Reset IB rank (again).
- On Point: Earn points by completing objectives in IB playlist modes while using a Strand, Solar, or Void subclass.
- One and Done: Complete all IB challenges in a single IB celebration (a single week).
- Down, Dear Friend: Defeat Guardians in IB. Earn bonus progress for using IB weapons from the current season.
How to Get the Most Out of Iron Banner
With all of these changes, you may be wondering how to get the most out of your time in Iron Banner. Luckily, this was laid out fairly clearly in a TWAB post from May 2022. Here’s what Bungie recommends:
- Play matches to start earning Iron Banner reputation, with wins earning you a small bonus based on your current rank.
- Like other activities, you should use Iron Banner gear and weapons to earn reputation buffs. You get reputation multipliers for each piece of Iron Banner gear, up to 5 pieces (includes weapons and armor). Keep in mind that you can also equip Iron Banner ornaments instead if you would rather use other gear.
- Equip an Iron Banner emblem on top of this to activate an additional multiplier.
- Lastly, complete the daily Iron Banner challenges to add a multiplier for each individual challenge you finish.
All in all, this is fairly standard for Destiny 2 activities. The only difference is that the revamp has introduced a more gradual ability to stack buffs that can make any end-of-week play incredibly rewarding.
Join the High Ground
The Iron Banner rework has been a long-time coming and it appears to fix many of the issues that have plagued this game mode over the last few years. It presents an exciting test ground for PvP play and will hopefully be far more rewarding for the time spent playing.
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