Reaching the maximum rank in the Iron Banner is no easy task. It takes time, skill, and a good understanding of how the Iron Banner event works. If you make the right moves at the Tower, equipping your best gear and purchasing the correct buffs, ranking up will happen much faster for you. If you just hop right into the Iron Banner playlist, however, expect to become quickly frustrated by your lack of progress.
Of course, the formula for success also includes making the right moves when you’re facing off against other players, so we’ll be sure to spend ample time explaining our best strategies for the actual PvP part of the Iron Banner. This is much more focused on teamwork and communication than weapons and flank routes, although those are important as well.
Iron Banner Rank
Below you will find a list of how much Iron Banner reputation you need to reach each rank, and what purchases you can unlock once you hit that mark. These purchases are extremely important, as some of them can give you bonuses to the amount of reputation you earn.
- Rank 1 – 100 Reputation – Emblem
- Rank 2 – 1,200 Reputation – Shader
- Rank 3 – 2,400 Reputation – Emblem, Armor, Etheric Light
- Rank 4 – 2,400 Reputation – Class Item, Armor, Weapon
- Rank 5 – 2,400 Reputation – Shader, Weapon, Etheric Light
The Tempered Buff can be purchased from Lord Saladin for a single Mote of Light. This will give you a 12 hour boost to the amount of Iron Banner reputation you earn. The beautiful thing about this buff is that it will give you more of a boost as the event goes on. Below you will find a list of the boost values for each day of the iron Banner event. Keep in mind that these events start on a Tuesday and end the following Monday, so these days are accurate.
- Tuesday – 10 Percent
- Wednesday – 13 Percent
- Thursday – 25 Percent
- Friday – 40 Percent
- Saturday – 60 Percent
- Sunday – 100 Percent
- Monday – 150 Percent
As you can see, even the weekend Guardians can do some real damage if they purchase the Tempered Buff. For players that can put a couple of hours into this grind each day, Iron Banner Rank 5 should be no trouble at all. You might find progress is slow in the first day or two, but as the weekend approaches Rank 5 should be well within your sights.
Emblems, Shaders and Class Items
In the Iron Banner, these things matter. Well, they matter if you are equipping Emblems, Shaders and Class Items that you bought from previous (or current) Iron Banner events. For example, we already had a Hunter’s Cloak, Emblem and Shader that we bought several months ago by ranking up in the Iron Banner, so we equipped those on our current Guardian. The reason for this is that each of these items provides you a 10 percent iron Banner reputation boost, and it’s sequential. This means that if you are using an Emblem, Shader and Class Item you purchased in an Iron Banner event, your bonus for earning reputation is actually 33 percent, not 30 percent (not including the Tempered Buff). We won’t continue to do the math for you, but it’s fairly easy to see that you can make life much easier on yourself before you even exit the Tower.
Iron Banner Bounties
Just like the Vanguard, Queen’s Wrath and Crucible bounties that you knock off each day, the Iron Banner comes with several of its own. When completed these can provide you between 100 and 200 extra Iron Banner reputation. Those are the standard values without the Tempered Buff or the Emblem, Shader and Class Item that we discussed earlier. If you are using all of those items, your reputation reward will be much higher, and it will get better as the event progresses.
It’s worth noting that you can also complete Crucible bounties while you’re playing in the Iron Banner, but these do not count toward your Iron Banner reputation. Feel free to pick them up, but ensure you are giving priority to Iron Banner bounties above all else.
Class and Weapon Configurations
There are benefits to every class and subclass in Destiny, but if you play any amount of PvP you are going to see a lot of Fist of Havoc, and perhaps even more Arc Blade. Yes, the Titan and Hunter classes seem to dominate when it comes to player choice. Part of this is due to the fact that the Super Ability of the Striker and Bladedancer subclasses are great for getting multi-kills, and who doesn’t love those? It’s worth noting, however, that the Defender Titan is actually a really good option for the Iron Banner because it allows you to deploy Ward of Dawn on objectives. This can make a huge difference in keeping your team alive and in the fight.
Another staple of PvP (for now) is the Thorn. This Exotic Hand Cannon is by far the most popular Primary Weapon in PvP, with various Shotguns coming in a close second for the Special Weapons. Heavy Weapons seem to be more varied, as people using Thorn can’t also bring their Gjallarhorn.
Our current load out is Thorn, Judgement VI and The Last Rebellion. All of these have been (or are being) upgraded to 365 damage, and in the case of the Iron Banner, that matters. Unlike the Crucible where damage, armor and levels are all irrelevant, the Iron Banner lets you keep your specific values for those categories. If you are a level 34 player against a 32, you have a better chance of winning a one-on-one fight. If you shoot someone with a Thorn that does 365 damage, it will hurt more than something that only does 331 damage.
We’re not really big fans of telling people what to use, but we like a good mix between a Hand Cannon or Pulse Rifle as our Primary, a Shotgun as our Special Weapon, and a Rocket Launcher for our Heavy Weapon. This gives us good versatility to handle any situation. If Red Death is an option for your Primary Weapon, try that Exotic Pulse Rifle. It is a beast in PvP, and actually helps to regenerate some of your health every time you get a kill. As for Thorn… well, it’s just fun, so use it if you’ve got it.
Winning and Losing
Winning in the Iron Banner is more about having a good team that communicates than it is about levels and weapons (to a degree). We were rolling with a six-person Fireteam and managed to win about 80 percent of our games, but that number dropped significantly as people went to bed and were replaced by random Guardians who weren’t on our TeamSpeak (we weren’t using in-game chat). There is no replacement for effective callouts and like-minded gamers who care more about winning than their personal stats. Every member of our team was willing to take a death to capture an objective, or run across the map to save someone who was in trouble. By calling out enemy numbers and locations, players knew when to Super and where to plug the holes.
Of course, not everyone has a full Fireteam that they can roll with, so be sure to have a mic that will allow you to communicate. Sometimes you get trolls, but for the most part you’ll find players who love that you are calling out targets, and before long you’ll be expanding your list of gaming friends and developing your own squad of killers.
As long as you can put in the time, there is no reason that following these tips and understanding the Iron Banner formula will have you fall short of Rank 5. It’s just a matter of playing smart rather than worrying about who has a Gjallarhorn and who has a Thorn. What weapons you own is often beyond your control, so worry more about the things within it.
For more information on Destiny, be sure to spend some time looking over our Destiny: House of Wolves Guide. We can help you knock off Prison of Elders bosses, Queen’s Wrath bounties, and even the story missions.