Clash is Destiny’s version of Team Deathmatch or Slayer. The only objective is to kill. You win by being the first team to reach 10,000 points.
Honestly, any and every loadout can be successful in Clash. Each subclass and every archetype of weapon has its strengths and weaknesses, and if you play to the strengths of your subclass and weapons within the confines of the map you’re on, you will be on the right track to winning.
Gunslingers excel at ranged, precision shots and their perks compliment that play style. On the other end of the spectrum, Defenders are very strong close quarters and can control particular locations very well with their grenades and super. Bladedancers are very good at slippery/sneaky running and gunning, and Sunbreakers and Warlocks all around are good at pushing into enemy territory and disrupting. Nightstalkers are very good at zone control and AoE damage like Defenders, but they are more offensive. Strikers are to be feared. They have excellent zone control with their lightning grenades, or disruption with their flashbangs, and they also have a melee ability that can almost one shot you. Strikers have a shoulder charge that will one shot you and heal them if you don’t have high armor, and they have mobility that is unmatched by any other class in the game with their ability to titan skate. Not to mention a panic super than is basically a trump card when you are in a tough situation.
As far as weapons go, the different types generally coincide with their intended use. Hand cannons and auto rifles excel at close-mid range, pulse rifles are best mid-long range, and scout rifles cover everything else from the extended mid range-sniper range. Snipers are great at a distance, shotguns are really good up close, and fusion rifles are very powerful if you can predict where your target is going to be. Rockets are still the kings of heavy because they can just be pointed, fired, and deal massive splash damage. Machine guns do have their niche in taking down armored, roaming supers very efficiently and they have more ammo than rockets. Swords, although difficult to use, do have their place. They have the ability to block incoming damage and one hit kill at close range which is very strong if played passively. You can’t be too aggressive with a sword, unless your goal is distraction and you want to tank all the enemy’s rockets so your team can have the time they need to wipe out the opposition.
Even though all weapons have their place in the crucible, some weapons clearly rise above the others. The Last Word is the king of all hand cannons because of its deadly rate of fire and DPS, and the MIDA Multi-tool does everything a scout rifle needs to do very well. The Hawksaw/Suros PDX archetype of pulse rifle is the quickest time to kill but only if you hit headshots, the Reflection Sum/Nirwen’s Mercy archetype is a little bit more reliable. If you want to use an auto rifle, stay away from the slow rate of fire ones. The super high rate of fire bullet hoses like Doctrine of Passing and Arminius-D will do the most DPS as long as you can keep your reticle on your target.
The medium rate of fire auto rifles will still get the job done, just not quite as quickly as the others previously mentioned. As for shotguns, you want to find one with as high range and impact as you possibly can. The Conspiracy Theory-D and Party Crasher +1 are at the top, but the Strongbow-D is another good contender. High impact snipers are very popular now because of revive snipes in 3v3 playlists, but in clash, there are no revives! Lower impact, high rate of fire sniper rifles will still 1 shot headshot guardians, but they will do it quicker as long as your aim is true. One thing the higher impact snipers still provide is damage for finishing off a primed guardian with a body shot or dealing more damage to a roaming super like a Sunbreaker or Bladedancer.
Be sure you pay attention to the map that you’re on. Most maps allow for any play style to be effective, but some are usually more effective on certain maps than others. Take for example Widow’s Court. You would probably want to use a scout rifle/sniper since it is designed for long engagements, but if you are more comfortable rushing, you can bounce from broken building to broken building with an auto rifle/shotgun and still be successful. On the other end of the spectrum, you probably don’t want to use a sniper on Thieves’ Den, but there are a few lanes where you can still get some good kills at a distance and stay safe.
Since the only way to get points is to get kills, the only way to improve your Clash skills is to get better at killing and staying alive. It takes gun skill and intuition to get the kills and stay alive, and that comes with practice, but after you’ve put in the time and become more fluent with Destiny’s PvP, there are certain things you can do to put yourself in an advantageous position over your opponents.
Rule number one: always be aware of what is happening on your radar. You can usually tell where someone is, even with the pie chart style radar. If it is bright red, it means they are on the same plane as you, if it is darker red, it means they are either above or below you. Using your knowledge of the map, you can usually infer where they are and where they are going. Once you know where an opponent is and where they’re going, you can act accordingly to either engage or escape. You want to make sure that you have to proper cover to avoid getting hit, but also a good sightline to deal damage to them. You can put yourself in a place that your opponent won’t be expecting so that you will have to drop on them when they come around the corner or through the doorway. Keep in mind that they will be able to see you on the radar if you can see them so you’re going to have to out-think your opponent and be ready for whatever they do. You need to keep yourself one step ahead. You can use different techniques such as crouching or invisibility to momentarily hide yourself from the radar, but you will have to move quickly because you will still ping red on their radar, just not as frequently.
Another thing to keep in mind is the use of grenades, both how you can use them and how they can be used against you. Lightning, pulse, spike, vortex, voidwall, swarm, solar grenades and trip mines are great for locking down a particular area. This will force your opponent to either disengage and find a different route, or take damage and give you the advantage in a gunfight. Some even have high killing potential if the enemy stays in the area of effect of the grenade. Arcbolt, firebolt, skip grenades and axion bolts track targets around their impact point and deal a set amount of damage. This is great for tossing around corners when you aren’t sure exactly where your enemies are and priming them so that they are weakened. This will force them to run or if they don’t, you can engage with an advantage over them. These grenades typically don’t have very high killing potential by themselves, but with the right perks powering them up or throwing them at weakened enemies who are trying to escape, these grenades are forces to be reckoned with.
Fusion, magnetic, flux grenades, and also trip mines are also referred to as stickies. These grenades cause minimal damage unless they are attached to other guardians. They have high killing potential, but are very difficult to aim and throw accurately. Although with time and practice, you can learn to become quite precise with them. Flashbang, incendiary, and suppressor grenades all have certain utilities that are unique to them and they act like traditional grenades with the capability of bouncing across floors and off walls. They deal damage in relation to how close the enemy is to the epicenter of the explosion and then apply their utility (blinding, burning, and suppression) on top of the damage. They do have killing potential but only if the target is already hurt and/or close to the grenade when it explodes. The final type of grenade is a new grenade and it is a very untraditional: the storm grenade. It deals a powerful, delayed lightning strike where it is thrown and then a series of smaller lightning strikes out from the center. It does have killing potential, but only if the enemy guardian is hit directly by the initial lightning bolt and also with a few of the smaller bolts. It has potential to do a lot of area of effect damage but it doesn’t last as long as the zone controlling grenades.
As always in Destiny, it is better to play as team. When you’re playing as a team, different plays can be made, both offensively and defensively based on your team composition. Combinations of supers such as tethering a team and then a storm caller clearing them out can be very powerful. Another example could be an offensive blessing of light bubble to add some extra shielding to an advancing roaming super. Big plays can happen when a team coordinates and that could swing the momentum of the match enough to ensure a victory. The possibilities are endless as long as you get creative and have communication with those on your team. Don’t forget to pick up those orbs that your team so generously creates. Chaining supers can snowball a match very quickly so make coordinated pushes and communicate where those shiny little orbs are! Pushes, flanks, locking down zones and defending advantageous positions are just a few of the incredible plays a team can make to be successful in Clash. One last potential play you might want to try is a single invisibility smoke bomb from a Nightstalker enveloping the entire team and rushing. It will definitely catch your opponents off guard!
The spawns in Clash are a little bit different than in other game modes. Because there is no central point or objective for the teams to fight over, the fight usually ends up all over the map. This can cause trouble for the respawn algorithm in Destiny. You may find yourself spawning into the same roaming super that just killed you because the game can’t seem to find any better spot to place you at that moment. One way to fight this is for your team to travel around the map together. If your team is all together, it is easier for the computer to respawn you away from the enemy team since there is a distinct difference from where your team is and where the enemy team is. Sometimes, the other team is just too spread out for the computer to find a good spot to put you so you will end up away from them, which is unfortunate, but it does provide you with an opportunity to approach the enemy team from a direction they aren’t expecting. Respawning away from your team is usually a bad thing, but if you can make the best out of a bad situation, it could create a good opportunity for your team to push in or take out some of them while they turn to focus on you. On the flip side, always be watching your back. If you’re pushing an enemy team back, the spawn might flip and they will be coming from many different angles. The best case scenario would be for your team to control the middle of the map and bounce back and forth killing the other team from various advantageous locations. This will keep the enemy respawning in more predictable locations while your team maintains control of the power areas on the map.
One last skill that I want to address is survivability. Theoretically, the team who dies the least is the team that wins so knowing how to survive is the key to securing a victory in the Clash gametype. Engaging and disengaging is a skill that cannot be taught, it must be learned through experience with playing the game. The knowledge of when to engage and how to engage is a very important piece of surviving a gunfight. If an opponent is scoped in on a doorway and predicts that you’re going to be coming through it, then running through that doorway to engage them is a quick way to die. You must anticipate the enemy’s predictions and engage in a different way. If you peek around a corner and see the glint of a sniper, don’t peek it again because they know you are there and already have their sights on you. Instead, jump, shadestep, slide or just run the other way and engage them from a different angle. Only challenge if you know you have an advantage over them and you will find yourself winning many more firefights. Disengaging is just as important as engaging. If you find yourself in over your head and enemy guardians are closing in on you, you have to know how to dip out and run away or you will die. Using mobility to your advantage such as blink, titan skating, or directional jumping will be essential in your escape. Take every corner you can and bob in between obstacles to make sure that your pursuers never have a clear line of sight. Eventually, when you put some distance between you and your pursuer, they will either disengage too, or continue to pursue in which case you can pull a bait and switch and turn the tables on them. Remember, not dying is just as important as getting kills.
Kills are worth 100 points. You can also earn points for different ways of killing. Melee, grenade, and headshot kills are worth an extra 10 points, heavy weapon kills are worth an extra 15 points, super kills are worth 25 points, killing the enemy guardian who is in 1st place nets you an extra 50 points, and then getting kill streaks also awards you with more points (5 streak = 25, 10 streak = 50, 15 = 100). Assisting a teammate awards you with 50 points on top of the points they get for getting the kill.
To get as many points as you can, you’re going to want to get ability kills. Supers and heavy weapon kills grant the most points but getting grenade, melee, and headshots are good too. Every little bit helps. In the long run, teamshotting the enemy is going to be what gets you the most points. Just imagine, if everyone got a shot in on an enemy and the killing blow was made with a headshot, that is 360 points off of that one kill (50+50+50+50+50+100+10=360). Granted, that is not very practical, but each assist is worth half a kill. Even if only one person assists with the kill, it is .5x more than what a normal kill would score. In the end, don’t get too consumed with maximizing your points. Getting a kill is the most important thing and don’t hesitate because it might cause you to die. A kill is a kill and you want that 100 points, but there is no reason to get salty over an assist or a kill-steal because it is actually better for the team in the long run.
I really hope you enjoyed this Clash guide and that it provided some good tips for you as you go into Iron Banner this week. Just remember to use everything that is in your arsenal. Make sure you’re using a loadout that compliments your playstyle, the style of the map and that you are very comfortable and familiar with. Be aware of other guardians and make use of your radar. Communicate and play smart, big plays are powerful and chaining supers can snowball very quickly. Above everything else, stay alive. You won’t win any clash matches with negative K/Ds so practice staying alive instead of pressing out to get that one kill only to get team shot down by the rest of their team. May you battle valiantly, bravely, and wisely! See you on the battlefield guardians!