Destiny 2 saw a rework to Iron Banner in Season of the Haunted. This week-long PvP event has seen a fundamental reputation and reward overhaul, and Season 17's Iron Banner is using Rift as its game type instead of Control. Saying Iron Banner got overhauled would be an understatement.
Competing in the Iron Banner is worth it for hardcore PvP players and even some PvE mains. Some of the best PvP weapons in Destiny 2 are tied to this playlist, notably the Riiswalker Shotgun. And for PvE mains, The Hero's Burden SMG should be on your radar. Let's go over what Iron Banner is, how Iron Banner Ranks work, the rewards tied to this mode, and we'll give a brief overview of how Iron Banner's curated game mode works in Destiny 2.
Updated May 30, 2023, by Charles Burgar: Lord Saladin is back in Season of the Deep to test all Guardians in the Iron Banner. This Iron Banner has brought back the Swarm of the Raven Grenade Launcher and added a new Fusion Rifle for players to chase. We've updated this guide with all new rewards added this season, both from Saladin's reward track and Iron Engram Focusing.
What Is Iron Banner?
Iron Banner is a PvP playlist that appears twice each season. When Iron Banner is active, Guardians can farm the Iron Banner playlist to earn Iron Banner reputation with Lord Saladin at the Tower—this event's vendor. Completing games will grant exclusive weapons, armor pieces, and even a title if you complete enough Iron Banner Triumphs.
Gameplay-wise, Iron Banner is a Crucible match with a different commentator and second reward track. Participating in this playlist will increase your rank with Saladin and Shaxx, and you'll be able to earn Iron Banner and Crucible loot each game. As for gametype additions:
- Control: Capturing all three zones will initiate "The Hunt," locking all capture points for a short time.
- There's a second variant called Fortress where a central point spawns partway through the match, guarded by Cabal turrets.
- Eruption: A variant of Clash where players gain ability and Super energy on kills. Failing to kill a Guardian in 30 seconds results in death.
- Rift: No changes or additions.
When Does Iron Banner Start?
Iron Banner is available twice each season, the first event occurring during the second week. Players can farm Iron Banner for the entire week it's active, and Iron Banner does not override any core PvP playlists. With that said, Trials of Osiris will not occur while Iron Banner is active.
Forging Iron Quest
One quest step requires you to claim an Iron Banner Engram from Lord Saladin. Hold onto your Engrams until you reach this step; it is not retroactive.
When you first step foot in the Tower during an Iron Banner week, you'll notice that a new vendor has appeared. This vendor is Lord Saladin, and he is your main contact for earning Iron Banner rewards. Speaking to him will grant you a quest called "Forging Iron," covering the basics of the event.
This quest has six steps, most of which are quite easy to complete:
- Complete a match of Iron Banner.
- Complete a daily challenge.
- Earn 300 Iron Banner Rank points.
- Collect an Iron Banner Engram from Lord Saladin.
- Complete Iron Banner matches while wearing at least one piece of Iron Banner armor.
- Speak with Lord Saladin.
To complete this quest as fast as possible, equip a Void, Strand, or Arc subclass, then use as many Iron Banner weapons and armor pieces as you can. If you do both, you'll be able to complete the daily challenge and armor steps beforehand. Finding a team is also highly recommended for this quest but not required. The rest of the quest steps will be passively completed as you play Iron Banner matches.
What Are Daily Challenges?
Daily Challenges refer to the Pinnacle Gear objective found in the Iron Banner playlist. Hover over the Iron Banner playlist in the Crucible menu to view the challenge. The first daily challenge requires you to complete three Iron Banner matches with a Strand, Solar, or Void subclass equipped.
You can complete one challenge per character each day. Completing these challenges will also grant a reputation multiplier to all Iron Banner games for the rest of the week (explained below). Due to this challenge system, the Iron Banner Pinnacle bounties from past seasons have been deprecated; Saladin no longer sells bounties.
Iron Banner Ranks
Iron Banner uses the same reputation system as ritual activities—Vanguard, Crucible, and Gambit. As you complete Iron Banner matches, you'll earn reputation with Lord Saladin. Earn enough reputation, and you'll be able to redeem certain rewards from him. Should you reach the rank of Legend, you can reset your Iron Banner Rank to earn additional rewards, notably Masterwork materials.
Ranks in the playlist are as follows:
Iron Banner Rank Requirement
Iron Banner Requirement
N/A; reset is available
How To Increase Your Iron Banner Reputation
Completing Iron Banner matches and playing consecutive matches will be your main source of reputation. Unlike other reputation systems, Iron Banner has a rank multiplier mechanic that encourages you to use gear from this playlist. We'll cover this more in a second. For those looking to increase their rank, there are three ways of doing so:
- Iron Banner Matches: Win or lose, completing an Iron Banner match grants reputation.
- Iron Banner Activity Streak: Play multiple Iron Banner matches in a row to increase the rep you gain from each match.
- Iron Banner Rank Boost: Use Iron Banner gear and complete daily challenges to multiply your reputation gains.
Iron Banner Matches
Completing an Iron Banner match will grant a small amount of Iron Banner Rank reputation. This alone will not be enough to reach Legend at a reasonable rate, so you'll need to focus on building an Activity Streak and utilizing this playlist's boost system to rank up quickly.
Iron Banner Activity Streak
As you play Iron Banner matches, you'll start to earn an Activity Streak. This streak will increase the amount of reputation you'll earn with every game, win or lose. Completing five matches will give you the strongest streak. Streaks grant the following bonus reputation:
- Streak x1: +4
- Streak x2: +8
- Streak x3: +12
- Streak x4: +16
- Streak x5: +20
Iron Banner Rank Boost
Unique to Iron Banner, equipping weapons, armor, and emblems earned from this activity will increase your reputation gains by a considerable amount. Completing daily challenges in the Iron Banner playlist grants a massive reputation boost as well. The reputation gains stack additively with one another and are applied after your current Activity Streak. You can view your current bonus at any time by selecting the Iron Banner playlist in the Director and viewing the "Iron Banner Rank Boost" modifier. The bonuses are as follows:
- Daily Challenge: +50% gains per challenge (max 4)
- Gear: +40% gains per Iron Banner weapon or armor piece equipped (max 5)
- Emblem: x50% gains for having an Iron Banner emblem equipped (max 1)
- This is a 1.5x multiplier, multiplying your rep gains based on your modifiers gained from daily challenges and gear.
- You can find Iron Banner emblems under the "Flair" tab in the Collections menu. The "Competitive" submenu contains all Iron Banner emblems.
Iron Banner armor grants a 40% reputation bonus on its own, but did you know that transmogrified Iron Banner pieces do as well? Applying an Iron Banner skin onto any armor piece will count as having a piece of Iron Banner gear equipped. You can even apply a different Iron Banner skin onto an Iron Banner piece to gain 80% more reputation, counting as two Iron Banner pieces instead of just one.
Assuming you fully gear your Guardians around Iron Banner and use an emblem, you'll gain far more reputation by playing matches. Having a maximum win streak and all of these bonuses is highly recommended if you plan to farm this activity over the course of the week.
Iron Banner Rewards
Iron Banner has a suite of exclusive weapons and an armor set for players to chase. Most Iron Banner weapons introduced in previous seasons are obtainable now, either through end-of-match rewards or through Saladin's various Engram focusing options. We'll showcase Saladin's reward track below and cover all Iron Banner Engram focusing options you can use while this event is active.
Earning ranks with Lord Saladin grants the following rewards:
x1 Iron Banner Engram (subranks count)
x1 Iron Banner (subranks count)
x1 Prime Engram
Pressurized Precision (Fusion Rifle)
Iron Banner Weapon
Swarm of the Raven (Grenade Launcher)
Iron Banner Weapon
Dark Decider (Auto Rifle)
Iron Banner Weapon
Bite of the Fox (Sniper Rifle)
Iron Banner Weapon
Brazen Wolf (Iron Banner Emblem)
Iron Banner Weapon
Rank 16 Completed
x1 Ascendant Shard
x1 Exotic Engram
Iron Banner Weapons And Armor
Weapons (Focused Decoding)
Bite Of The Fox
Roar Of The Bear
Swarm Of The Raven
Weapons (Legacy Gear)
The Hero's Burden
The Wizened Rebuke
Iron Banner Armor Sets
The current Iron Banner armor set is the Iron Companion set, an updated version of the Taken King's Iron Banner armor set from the original Destiny. As for other armor sets, you may obtain them from the Legacy Decoding feature at Lord Saladin. Legacy armor sets include:
- Iron Truage (Year 1)
- Iron Remembrance (Forsaken)
- Iron Fellowship (Black Armory)
- Iron Will (Opulence)
- Iron Forerunner (Season of the Lost)
The only armor sets that are unobtainable are Iron Symmachy (Season of the Drifter) and the Iron Banner ornaments rewarded during the Curse of Osiris and Warmind DLCs.
Control is the current game type, lasting from May 30 to June 6.
Control is a 6v6 game type where players fight to control three zones on the battlefield. Capturing a zone will grant your team two points at every interval (roughly five seconds). Your goal is to hold two or all three flags simultaneously, prevent the enemy team from gaining ground, and grab Heavy ammo whenever it spawns to turn the tide.
Just about every Destiny player knows how Control works, so how does Iron Banner mix it up? The Iron Banner version of Control features "The Hunt," locking all three zones when captured by the same team. This lockout lasts for roughly 30 seconds and greatly improves the points generated by kills. Capture those zones, defend them, and defeat as many Guardians as possible to win.
- Zone Advantage: Holding two points will grant Zone Advantage, accumulating more points per interval than the enemy team. Try your hardest to capture and hold two zones throughout the match.
- Pay Attention to Spawns: Most teams will spawn near their captured zones, but pushing the enemy team's sole flag will flip spawns. If your team is fighting to capture a third zone, prepare for enemies to spawn behind you.
- Use Your Super: Supers can swing an entire match in your favor. Ward of Dawn makes capturing zones easy, and one-and-done Supers like Blade Barrage can help counter defensive Supers.
Fortress is a 6v6 variant of Control. Both teams must compete for zone control by capturing three zones on the map. Unlike normal Control, points are only earned by capturing and holding points. "The Hunt" mechanic is also different in this mode. Roughly halfway through the match, all points will become locked and a central Cabal point will spawn. Players must destroy the Cabal turrets and capture the fortress point. This zone quickly accumulates points for your team while it's under your control. This point despawns once "The Hunt" ends, resetting all other capture points.
This fortress point is critical to winning. Teams that are falling behind can grab the capture point to overtake the winning team. Winning teams will want to capture the point to quickly snowball their score. Capture the points, claim the fortress, and hold the line.
- Zone Advantage: Hold two or more zones to earn more points than the enemy. Once you own two zones, play defensively to ensure the enemy doesn't take them.
- Fortress Aftermath: After the Fortress point leaves the battlefield, all points on the map will reset ownership. Move toward a capture point right as the Fortress expires to get an easy capture.
- Cabal Distraction: The Hunt's central point spawns three Cabal turrets that are quite durable. Let the enemy team fight them, picking off enemy players from a distance using a Pulse or Scout Rifle.
- Perk Buffs: The Cabal turrets can trigger perks like One for All, Rampage, and Surrounded. Use the turrets to trigger these powerful damage perks for some easy kills.
Eruption is a 6v6 variant of Clash that drastically increases the ability energy you receive from final blows. This gamemode is all about building up a killstreak and maintaining it as long as possible. Defeat or assist in killing two Guardians to become Surging, causing you to gain ability energy on kills. Kill five enemies in one life, and you become Primed, becoming a high-value target for everyone in the match. The exact breakdown looks something like this:
In essence, you're trying to go on the longest killstreak possible, gaining additional energy per kill. A high streak will mark you as a priority target for everyone in the lobby, initiating Iron Banner's Hunt mechanic. Defend your Primed players, become Primed yourself, and try not to explode. The first team to 150 points wins the game.
- Keep Moving: The Primed mechanic heavily discourages camping. Actively move around the battlefield, looking for enemies whenever possible.
- Use Solar: Solar subclasses have easy access to healing effects and Radiant. Consider using Healing Grenades or some sort of Restoration effect to stay alive when you become Primed.
- Use Your Abilities: Your abilities recharge absurdly fast in Eruption and lead to easy killstreaks. Make Shaxx proud by throwing as many grenades as you can muster.
- Solar builds can trigger Ignites, Arc builds can inflict Jolt, and Void builds can Suppress or Weaken foes. All debuffs make killing the enemy team much easier.
Rift is Destiny 2's take on one-bomb Assault or one-flag CTF, spawning one flag at the center of the map that both teams must fight over.
For those who never played Rift in the original Destiny, here's who it works:
- Objective: Capture a Spark at the center of the map and dunk it at the enemy team's base. The first team to dunk five Sparks will win the game.
- Modifiers: Respawn after ten seconds, and revives are enabled. Matches last ten minutes.
When the game begins, both teams will spawn on each end of the map. After 15 seconds, the Spark will spawn at the center of the map, typically where Heavy spawns in other modes. Stand near the Spark and hold the interact key to grab it. While holding the Spark, you'll be marked on every player's HUD (even the enemy team) if you're spotted.
You can still shoot and use abilities while holding a Spark.
Once someone grabs the Spark, you'll either defend your Spark carrier or attempt to kill the enemy team's Spark carrier—whichever team got the Spark first. Don't let the enemy dunk at your point, and escort your Spark carrier to the enemy base. Depositing a Spark in the enemy team's base to score. Dunk five times to win. If the time limit expires, whichever team dunked the most wins. Should the time limit reach zero and the game is a tie, three Sparks will spawn on the map. The first team to deposit a Spark wins. If no team can do so in the allotted time, the game ends in a draw.
- Stay together – Fireteams that fight together can easily revive one another if someone goes down, making it much harder for the enemy team to stop your runner.
- Play Support – Stasis users, Boots of the Assembler Warlocks, and Omnioculus Hunters are incredibly powerful in this mode and completely change the flow of combat. If you're playing Freelance and want to increase your odds of winning, focus on supporting your team.
- Focus On Movement – You can use Blink on Voidwalker, Icarus Dash on Dawnblade, shoulder charges on Titan, or use Strafe Jump on Hunter to quickly move while carrying the Spark.
- Kills Matter – A downed enemy can't respawn for ten seconds. If you can coordinate a team wipe, you can give your Spark carrier enough time to safely deposit at the enemy's base.