We are on to week 3 of Destiny 2, and so far minus the issue of only having 2 playlists to choose from, I am loving PvP in this game. It really has been a lot of fun. Last week the Trials of the Nine featured the Countdown game type. We know this week it will be Survival, but Countdown will come up again. Plus, it is always a part of the competitive playlist. I wanted to pass along a few tips that my friends and I are using to really crush it at Countdown (we went flawless in Trials).

First, for those not familiar with Countdown, it is your typical one side plant the bomb while the other side defends the bomb sites game mode.

There are two places the attackers can plant the bomb that the defenders must defend. Once planted, a timer starts. If it gets to zero, the bomb goes off and the attackers win. The attackers can also win by eliminating all members of the defending team.

The defenders win by not letting the attackers plant the bomb before the timer on the round runs out (this never happens), by diffusing a bomb once it is planted, or by eliminating all members of the attacking team.

These are general tips for the Countdown mode that will help regardless of the map. They are not for any specific map.

Building Your Team

Let’s start with the team makeup. I think just about any combination of Titans, Warlocks, and Hunters can work. We always rolled with 2 Titans, and I will explain why when we talk about tactics on defense.

For loadouts, really whatever each of your team members is comfortable with using will work. The meta for PvP is still being defined, but auto and pulse rifles seem to be the preferred choices for most people. With power weapons, there is no question that rocket launchers rule the day. The days of sitting back with Ice Breakers are definitely over. In fact, I cannot recall a single time I have been killed by a sniper rifle in Countdown or any of the competitive matches so far.

The other viable option for your power weapon is Merciless. This fusion rifle melts faces. If you did not buy it from Xur last week when he was selling it, and have not found it out in the wild yet, you are missing out.

I have seen some people do okay with swords, but not as well as in Destiny 1. I have not tested it to be 100% sure, but I think they reduced their range a little bit. Makes it harder to close in for that kill.

Attackers

I definitely believe that the attacking team has the advantage. They have the initiative and the defenders have to react to what the attackers do. Do not let the defending team dictate the initiative.

What I mean by this is that the defending team is forced to cover 2 possible targets. They have to split their forces into 2 groups. They either have 2 groups of 2 or a group of 3 and a lone wolf.

In Destiny 2, it is much harder for outnumbered players to win than it was in Destiny 1. In the original Destiny, if you were faced with a 1v2, there was always the chance to throw a grenade, get an instant kill, and even the odds. You secondary weapons of snipers and shotguns could also sometimes quickly even things up. Those are no longer the case, so you want to force these kinds of mismatches making it difficult for you opponent to overcome.

What my team and I do as the attackers is all 4 of us go to the same bomb site. We do not split up. One of 3 things is going to happen, and 2 of the 3 are very positive for your chances of winning.

  1. The defending team has split up as mentioned above. Now you have a 4v3, 4v2, or 4v1. You can eliminate them, set the charge, and force the remaining survivors to attack, most likely recklessly, to try to disarm it.
  2. The defending team all went to the other bomb location. There are no defenders. Set the charge, and now they are forced to come to you, on your terms.
  3. The defending team all went to the same location. It’s a 4v4 in this case. Simple as that.

Like I said, 2 out of the 3 are advantages for you. The third one is dead even. See why the attackers have the advantage here?

Defending

The attackers have all the advantages, but that doesn’t mean you cannot win as the defending team. You want to hold serve as the attacking team, and if you can sneak away with an occasional win as the defenders, it is impossible to lose.

The best you can do is try to minimize the attackers’ advantages. What we do is split up into a group of 3 and a group of 1. The group of 1 is why we run with 2 Titans.

There is a chance that they are going to end up outnumbered. It’s a good chance, but we need to scout both bomb sites to avoid the attackers getting to plant a bomb completely unopposed. The solo player we try to ensure is a Titan with their Towering Barricade power charged. This way, if they find that they are outnumbered, they can throw down the Barricade and either hold out until the rest of the team gets there or retreat and regroup with the team.

If it is a 1v1, they go on the offensive and try to take down the other player. Then they move the other bomb location, hopefully on the attacking team’s flank.

If neither of the Titans have their Towering Barricade, we try to make it someone with a Super charged or if there is a power ammo pickup, that player gets it and heads to the site. The idea here is that if they find themselves outgunned, at worst they can pop their super or use their power weapon and make it an even trade of 1 for 1.

If all 4 attackers move against our 1 defender, obviously the other 3 of us move to support them. If we find that 3 attackers moved on us, it is 3v3 and 1v1 at the two bomb sites. We’ll take those odds. If only 2 attackers move on the group of 3 defenders, we have a 3v2. We try to eliminate the attackers, while the lone defender does their best to holdout at the other site. Of course, if we find we have a 3v1 in our favor, we move to quickly eliminate that one, and move on the rest of the attackers. If the lone defender can survive, we now have a 4v3.

Final Tips

Communication is key to all of this. It helps a lot that in Destiny 2, Bungie gave locations on the PvP maps names that appear under your radar. This makes callouts so much easier. We do not have to come up with our own nicknames for everything. I only wish they had included the option for private matches, so that we could practice a little bit and spend more time learning the maps.

Again, the attacking team has all the advantages and can dictate what happens. With these tips as the defender, assuming the teams are equal, you should be able to win a little less than half of your matches as the defender. If you can do that, and take advantage of your rotations as the attacking team, you will be a tough team to beat.