How Iron Banner Works After Season of the Haunted
The Iron Banner activity has undergone a radical redesign in Destiny 2’s Season of the Haunted. Everything from its reward system to the match rules has been overhauled. Yet, it remains one of the main events in the shooter’s calendar and the only source for many of its best rewards. To learn more about this activity’s new rules and how to use them to your advantage, read this guide!
Updated Iron Banner Overview
Iron Banner is a recurring PvP event. It runs for a week, beginning and ending on Tuesday at 5 PM GMT. During that time, all players can take part in a special PvP mode that runs alongside the usual Crucible rotation and has its own progression system. Completing matches in that mode and fulfilling additional objectives allows participants to progress towards claiming certain rewards. That includes weapons, armor pieces, and cosmetics that are exclusive to this mode. The event can occur multiple times in a season according to a preannounced schedule, with progress only resetting at the period’s end. Players can queue for the matches with a fire team or individually.
The Season of the Haunted brought significant changes to this event. Perhaps most notably, it is not Power-enabled anymore, meaning that higher Power Levels grant Guardians no mechanical advantages. That puts it into alignment with regular Crucible game types and sets it apart from Trials of Osiris, which remains Power-enabled. As detailed later, the entire reward mechanic has been overhauled, and challenges have taken the place of bounties. The regularity with which players get to engage in this activity was reduced from thrice to twice a season to make the occasion feel more special. While further tuning can surely be expected, the altered rules are likely to remain going forward.
Iron Banner Reward System
The reward mechanic now closely resembles the ones in other activities. Just as completing Crucible matches allows players to earn Valor Ranks, playing through activity matches now yields points towards Iron Banner Ranks. There exist sixteen reputation ranks, which are separated into six divisions. Reaching a higher rank yields an Iron Engram while getting to a new division for the first time in a season also provides a Prime Engram. There are also exclusive weapons that can be unlocked upon reaching specific ranks. Reaching the highest rank once yields an Ascendant Shard. After resetting the ranks, combatants can earn them again to get additional weapon variants and an Exotic Engram at the finish.
As before, Iron Banner is overseen by Lord Saladin (also known as Valus Forge due to his new connection with the Cabal). While it is active, this familiar story NPC can be easily tracked down in the central section of the Tower’s Courtyard. He also serves as the activity’s vendor. Once an exclusive weapon or wearable piece has been unlocked, Guardians can ask him to convert Iron Engrams into different versions of those specific items. Alternatively, they can take all their Engrams to Rahool in the same area. He can decrypt Iron Engrams into random mode-related rewards, Prime Engrams into Powerful gear, and Exotic Engrams into Exotic weapons or armor pieces. Random loot can also drop at the match end.
There are several means through which rank point gains from matches can be increased:
- Victories. While simply playing through a match is enough to get some points, winning always gives more;
- Activity streaks. Playing several matches without interruptions (such as starting another activity or traveling to a destination other than the Tower) gives progressively larger extra point awards. The bonus stops increasing after completing five matches in a row, which gives +20 points per match regardless of who wins;
- Utilizing appropriate gear. Each event weapon wielded or piece worn during a match adds 40% to the award, potentially reaching 200%. All items gained from this or previous event weeks count for this purpose, as do items from other sources with the appropriate ornaments attached;
- Displaying a relevant emblem. Similarly to the above, equipping any emblem from this event provides a smaller 10% bonus;
- Fulfilling Iron Banner challenges. Those tasks have fully replaced the earlier bounties and are available to players who have reached the Level Soft Cap (currently 1500 without the artifact bonus). Over the starting four days in an event week, all eligible players will gain access to as many challenges. For example, the first week of the revisited activity offered challenges requiring participants to play through progressively large quantities of matches with Solar or Void subclasses. All of those challenges can be met before the tournament’s conclusion. Each of them grants a Pinnacle loot drop and a 100% bonus to further rank point gains in that week.
The above percentage are all attached to the base 100%. This multiplier is then used on the rank point awards from each match. As a consequence, shrewd participants can accelerate their progress immensely with all of those methods combined, making repeated rank resets during a single instance of this event feasible.
The potential loot for this activity rotates between seasons, with occasional additions. Among the Legendary weapons that could be gained right now, the Peacebond sidearm may stand out the most. It has several potential God Rolls for both PvE and PvP, as well as solid stats. The season’s newly-reissued guns, The Hero’s Burden SMG and The Wizened Rebuke Fusion Rifle, are both dependable and versatile at different ranges. The latest Iron Banner Armor Set is called Iron Forerunner and includes versions for each class. In addition to reliably high stats, each piece comes with a perk that gives a chance to earn an Enhancement Prism whenever an Iron Banner match ends.
Accessing Iron Banner
One thing that did not change is that there are no special requirements for participating in Iron Banner. It is available to everyone, regardless of expansion ownership, so even free-to-play users can join. With the removal of Power Level effects, the event is more accessible than ever, as extensive powerleveling is no longer necessary. The only prerequisite is reaching Lord Shaxx during the New Light quest. Once they have done that, players will be able to speak with Lord Saladin about entering the Iron Banner tournament whenever it is active.
After speaking with Lord Saladin for the first time since the overhaul, players will be instructed to complete the latest Iron Banner seasonal quest. This mission serves as a tutorial, covering all the core mechanics in the revamped mode. Specifically, it involves the following steps, fully contained within the activity:
- Playing through a match;
- Finishing a challenge;
- Scoring 300 rank points;
- Obtaining an Iron Engram from the presiding NPC;
- Filling out a progress bar by playing through more games with activity gear equipped.
Once the quest is finished, all Guardians on the account could play activity matches and trade with Lord Saladin without restrictions. They would gain a fair amount of loot along the way. For efficient completion, players ought to start using as much Iron Banner gear as possible at the earliest available opportunity. That will increase their rank point gains. Every equipped piece of activity-specific gear will also accelerate progress in the final step. Also, players should look up their special objectives in advance and act accordingly. In the first event week of the Season of the Haunted, that means playing as a Void or Solar subclass from the beginning. Later weeks may require other tactics.
Triumph Seal and Title
A new Iron Banner Seal can now be obtained. It comes with the Iron Lord title and is earned by finishing seven Triumphs. Between them, those achievements should demonstrate a total mastery of the renewed event:
- Jolder’s Victory: Score a hundred victories in this mode;
- Gunnora’s Seal: Acquire fifteen unique pieces of Iron Banner armor;
- Orimund’s Taste: Obtain fifteen unique Iron Banner weapons;
- Orewing’s Spirit: Reach goals in the event game mode to earn 300 points. Currently, that means delivering Sparks to Rifts or killing Spark-bearing Guardians (as explained in the Rift section);
- Frostmire’s Will: Fulfill a dozen Iron Banner challenges;
- Crimil’s Dedication: Reset the Iron Banner ranks two times;
- Jorum’s Howl: Play through 160 activity matches with a minimum of one armor piece from this activity. Extra items lower the amount of matches necessary.
Those tasks may seem very demanding initially, but this difficulty is mitigated by two factors. Firstly, past progress in this event still counts wherever applicable. While players will have had no opportunities to reset ranks or fulfill challenges before, many veterans would start with considerable progress in many of those Triumphs. Some may even be completed as soon as they appear. Secondly, all Guardians from one account can contribute to the progress. Thus, each of them can fulfill the four challenges separately, making it possible to complete Frostmire’s Will in a single week. That being said, the Seal can be earned over several weeks or seasons. It will not be reset while the current system lasts.
Rift Game Mode Rules
Another important adjustment relates to the actual game type attached to this event. As of the Season of the Haunted, it has shifted from Control to Rift, though the former ruleset may return someday. This goal-driven competition was previously seen in the original sci-fi shooter title, where it was also associated with Iron Banner. It has very distinctive mechanics, to such an extent that some would-be competitors might find PvP coaching necessary to acclimate to it. Rift has been slightly modified for the present version, but the rules have stayed largely the same:
- There are two opposing squads consisting of six Guardians;
- Those squads have bases with Rifts at the opposite corners of the playing area;
- The Spark spawns right between those bases;
- Guardians are charged with seizing the Spark and delivering it to the opposing Rift. Once the Spark has been delivered, it respawns. If the one carrying it is killed, it drops on the spot where that occurs, allowing enemies to claim it. If the Spark is kept for too long, it explodes;
- The first team to score five such goals wins unless the match runs for over ten minutes. In that case, victory is usually assigned to whoever has finished the most deliveries. If the squad that holds the Spark at the ten-minute mark has as many points as the opponents or falls a single point behind, the match continues until the object is delivered or lost. In case of a draw, three Sparks spawn instead, and both sides are given ninety seconds in which to score goals. Sparks stop spawning after this second-timer runs out.
Killing enemy Guardians gives no points here, though it is bound to become necessary for play. Scoring goals is the sole action that earns points, resulting in a greater teamwork focus. While holding this object, Guardians can still use their guns and most powers, but not their Supers. The Guardian who acquires the Spark is highlighted after doing so or upon being damaged. The highlight is permanent for allies and only lasts a few seconds for enemies. Downed Guardians can be revived by allies. If that does not occur before ten seconds are up, they will immediately respawn on the opposite side of the map.
Iron Banner Rift Tips and Tricks
Players have had some difficulty adjusting to the Rift after its long absence, not to mention other changes. Here are a few things one can do to increase the likelihood of victory:
- Particularly with the current map selection, mobility is king. There are many routes one can take to transport the Spark to its goals, and getting there faster will often be decisive. This does favor the Hunter class somewhat, but all Guardians have some enhanced fast-movement options that should be used often. Armor sets should be picked based on their higher Mobility stats or the ability to equip speed mods (or both);
- Even though kills do not give points, they are still very useful. Gunning down hostile combatants takes them out of play for what might be a decisive interval. Even after they respawn, they may still need to travel across a large part of a huge map to return to the action. It may also distract their teammates as they go to revive them. Carefully time kills and is prepared to exploit them to deliver the Spark while the enemies are in disarray;
- Conversely, you should take care not to get killed in turn. To that end, try and stick together with the group. It may be tempting for the Spark holder to run off, but under most circumstances, the odds of reaching the Rift are higher with backup. If squadmates are close by, they should be capable of providing covering fire to deter hostile assault or a swift revival if you are killed, keeping the downtime to a minimum. This is just one of the reasons why teamwork is especially important in this mode;
- The Spark spawn location is the obvious hotspot in every match. It may be possible for a well-coordinated ambush to get the drop on your enemies and eliminate them, before seizing the Spark and pushing on toward their Rift. Of course, you should try to avoid being caught in such an ambush yourself. Exercise due caution whenever approaching this location;
- While speed can win the battle, good Support is essential for keeping the team in action until then. Support builds such as Warlocks with Boots of the Assembler or any Guardians with suitable Stasis fragments and aspects could prove invaluable while rushing the end goal;
- Since Power Levels are inactive, older weapons that have been sunset can be deployed without any fear of disadvantage. The likes of Luna’s Howl or Exit Strategy are on the table. Generally, the extended selection should be used to pick a gun that best fits your playstyle. Apart from that, the key priority should be finding perks that either provide faster movement or make moving more viable.
FAQ About Iron Banner After Season of the Haunted
Iron Banner is always around for exactly one week, appearing and disappearing with the Tuesday reset. That should give dedicated fans plenty of time to climb towards a higher rank and claim the mode’s exclusive rewards, such as the Iron Banner armor set.
As of the Season of the Haunted, its recurrence has been cut down from three weeks in a season to two. Fortunately, progress on the new Iron Banner Seal will not reset on season end, allowing the majority of participants to work on it without too much haste despite this reduction.
Iron Banner used to be a Power-enabled mode like Trials of Osiris. That has changed now, as developers wished for the event to be more easily accessed by fans at all stages of in-game progress. Power Levels now grant no special advantage, allowing sunset weapons like Not Forgotten and Redrix’s Broadsword to be used freely.
Iron Banner challenges have replaced the previous bounty system. Confusingly, they are sometimes referenced as daily and sometimes as weekly. All eligible players (ones who have reached the powerleveling Soft Cap) receive one challenge at the first four daily resets of each event week. They all require players to play through event sessions in a certain way. Those challenges may be completed by the event week’s conclusion, even though other progress may carry on between weeks. Completing any challenge yields a Pinnacle Reward and a stacking 100% bonus to the rank point award from every match.
Iron Banner emblems are received by participating in the event’s activity. The latest such emblem, Iron Core, requires the player to reset their Iron Banner rank and then reach Rank 10 again. Equipping such an emblem during matches adds a minor buff to rank point gain.