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Destiny 2: Survival guide - tips, tricks and strategies

Here’s how to dominate in one of Destiny 2’s most competitive PVP modes.

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About Ed Thorn

Ed's a huge fan of rushing B in CS:GO and grinding it out in Destiny 2. He will not rest until a new Wario Land is announced.

Our Destiny 2: Survival guide contains strategy advice, tips, tricks and tactics to help you beat the competition.

Destiny 2’s Survival PVP mode is a spiritual successor to the original Destiny’s Skirmish mode. While on the surface Skirmish doesn’t share that many similarities with Survival, it does retain the same sentiment - try not to die. Yes, you could argue that "not dying" is important in almost every shooter, but in Survival mode it couldn’t be more crucial.

It’s a 4 vs 4 mode that’s found in the Competitive playlist, as opposed to the more relaxed Quickplay option. Each team is given a set number of lives at the start of each round, and the aim of course is to run the other team out of lives. It requires serious teamwork and communication to succeed here, and it’s certainly one of the game modes we’re most looking forward to playing when Destiny 2 launches.

To get you up to speed with what Survival’s all about, we’ve put together a brief rundown of everything you need to know about it. When you’re done absorbing all this new information, make sure you check out our Control guide as well as our Countdown guide for more tips on the other two game modes revealed for Destiny 2.

Otherwise, our massive Destiny 2 guide contains absolutely everything you’d need to know about the game - make sure you check it out!

Editor's UPDATE #2: Now that we've had more hands on time in Destiny 2's competitive modes, we've updating this guide with a handy golden rule. You'll find this towards the top of the page. We'll continue to update this page with further strategy advice over time, so stay tuned for more!

How does Survival Work?

Basic outline

  • Two teams of four players.
  • Both teams start with a limited pool of eight respawns per round.
  • If one team member is killed, the team loses one life - and so on.
  • Reduce your opponent’s lives to zero and you win the round.
  • First team to win three rounds is the victor.

Destiny 2: PVP Mode guides

Play the advantage

One of the golden rules of Survival is to capitalise on your team's advantage. If you've got one extra player alive or the opposing team are trailing by just one kill, make sure you grab hold of these things and ensure you use them to bag the victory.

Let's take the "one extra player alive" scenario. Say you've got the man advantage, you'll want to grasp this opportunity to clinch the round by huddling together and going around as a team. The worst thing you could possibly do is to split up - why? You'll be nullifying the advantage you'd just gained on the enemy team and giving them a chance to play catch up.

So, if there's one piece of advice you bring into Survival with you, it's to make sure you're recognising where you've gained the advantage and using it to get the win.

Strategies

  • Remember that your team has a limited pool of eight respawns per round, so don't go full Rambo and start costing your team dearly.
  • Value your own life over taking someone else's. Building a steady man advantage is key to winning in Survival.
  • Stick with your teammates and focus on the same target as it's far easier to take someone down this way.
  • Always try and call out where enemies are! Teams that win are teams that communicate.
  • Keeping an eye on Power Ammo spawn points and their respective timers is incredibly important. If you manage to get hold of some, it could make for a couple of quick kills and an easy round win.
  • If you've got a number of Supers charged, don't go all out and pop them at the same time. Try and only use one or two Supers in a round as you'll want to save them for later if it comes down to the crunch.
  • If your team is on their last remaining lives, don't just give up, and stick together instead. We've been a part of huge comebacks where the opposing team has got complacent assuming they're going to win easily. Stay together in one area and take them out when they funnel in - it's surprisingly effective against a team who thinks they've got the upper hand.
  • Take a decent combination of weaponry into battle. Two scout rifles won't be great for short range engagements, and two hand guns won't be great for long range fights. We've found a mixture of scout/auto and SMG/Hand Cannon is the perfect balance for all types of firefight.
  • Don't underestimate the power of your subclass abilities. If you're a Titan, set up your Barrier in awkward spots where the enemy can't flank you for example. Or, a Warlock's Healing Rift can be perfect for empowering groups of allies in enclosed spaces.

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