Lightfall Crucible Update

Mar 22, 2023 - Bungie

Lightfall has launched and we are now several weeks into Season 20. Lots of updates are live, with everything from an overhauled buildcrafting system to fresh Seasonal weapons and raid loot. While these changes have given both our PvE and Crucible players a lot of exciting things to look forward to, we’re planning some meaningful changes in the activity and rewards structure for Crucible and want to give everyone a preview of what’s coming.

There’s a lot to talk about, so here’s a handy tl;dr of what we’re covering:

Playlists and Offerings

  • Updates to map and game mode weighting (now live).
  • Clash is leaving Quickplay (mid-Season).
  • New Connection-based Matchmaking (CBMM) Crucible Rotator incoming (mid-Season).


  • A data-driven explanation of Fireteam Matchmaking (FTMM).
  • FTMM has replaced Freelance (now live).
  • Upcoming FTMM adjustments (mid-Season).
  • Loose Skill-based Matchmaking (SBMM) settings are changing (mid-Season).

Competitive Division

  • Competitive matchmaking and skill rating explained.
  • Future skill, ranking, and matchmaking system adjustments.
  • Upcoming Competitive rewards (mid-Season and beyond).
  • Quality-of-life improvements (mid-Season and beyond).

Iron Banner and Trials of Osiris

  • Upcoming Iron Banner plans (future Seasons).
  • Trials of Osiris Labs with new matchmaking rules (later this Season).
  • Preview of Season 21 Trials changes.

New and Returning Game Modes

  • Countdown Classic.
  • Countdown Respawn.
  • Countdown Rush.
  • Checkmate.

We want to start with a rundown of items we added in Season 19, and the changes we’re making to them.

Overall Playlists and Offerings

We’ve done a lot of reflecting on player feedback to the Crucible changes we made at the start of Season 19. We recently moved Rumble back onto the Crucible screen full time, and when Lightfall went live a few weeks ago we also made the following changes to the Quickplay playlist’s map and game mode weighting:

Game Modes

  • Increased the likelihood of getting Control as the game mode over Clash.


Increased Weight (More Likely to Play on These Maps)

  • Javelin-4
  • The Burnout
  • Rusted Lands
  • Midtown
  • Wormhaven

Standard Weight

  • Endless Vale
  • Altar of Flame
  • Distant Shore
  • The Fortress
  • Pacifica
  • Radiant Cliffs
  • Bannerfall
  • Eternity
  • Widow’s Court
  • Fragment
  • Vostok

Reduced Weight (Less Likely to Play on These Maps)

  • Disjunction
  • Cathedral of Dusk
  • Twilight Gap
  • The Dead Cliffs (Clash only)
  • Anomaly (added back into the playlist at reduced weight)
  • Cauldron (added back into the playlist at reduced weight, Clash only)

Not in Playlist

  • Exodus Blue
  • Convergence

Upcoming Changes

In Season 20’s mid-Season patch, we will be making another set of larger changes.

Clash will be leaving the Quickplay playlist, leaving only Control—so it reverts to its old name, Control, and it will be replaced by Iron Banner when that is active. Both playlists will continue to use Loose SBMM, but we will be making some changes to the matchmaking parameters.

Loose SBMM will have its skill and connection filters modified so that latency windows will be expanded at the slowest rate, and skill windows will start tighter but can expand more quickly as needed. This should manifest as more evenly matched games with lower skill variances for most players, with the primary fallback being gradually increasing the skill variance as opposed to widening the connection quality.

This does not mean you will never see lag in Crucible. We do not prevent players from manually joining fireteams to which they may have a poor connection, and connections are dynamic so their quality can sometimes degrade mid-game for a variety of reasons. But it does mean that matchmaking will try to only expand connection quality brackets as a last resort once the available skill and fireteam size options have been exhausted.

In addition, we are splitting the current Rotator into two separate playlists. Both of which rotate game modes weekly, and both use CBMM (with no plans to change this):

  • Crucible Relentless Rotator
    • Clash, Rift, and Zone Control.
    • We see this as our main haven for players who want to engage with large team-based gameplay outside of SBMM, and having it will make sure there is always conventional team-based Destiny PvP available to play when Iron Banner is active.
    • The Relentless Rotator will be replaced with Trials of Osiris when it is active.

  • Crucible Party Rotator
    • Mayhem, Scorched, Momentum Control.
    • These are modes that significantly modify the general sandbox of Destiny and play very differently than normal Crucible.

All remaining Freelance nodes have been removed with FTMM in place. See the matchmaking section below for more details.

Competitive Division, Rumble, and Private Match will remain “always on” options.

Additionally, we will be running Crucible Labs starting in the middle of Season 20 to put 3v3 Countdown and a few variations through their paces. More below.

Fireteam Matchmaking

At the start of Season 19, we added a new feature to our matchmaking called Fireteam Matchmaking (FTMM). The goal with FTMM is to keep fireteams mostly matching against other fireteams of their size, making it easier to play as a solo or a duo in 3v3 or 6v6 matches. Matching teams of similar compositions should make matches generally more approachable no matter what your fireteam size is.

Our original hope was that we would have it full time in Quickplay (which has no Freelance node) and be able to test it on Iron Banner by late January, then move it to other nodes in Season 20, and slowly start removing Freelance nodes altogether.

  • Our original few weeks of Quickplay were strong enough when looking at fireteam matchups that we decided to enable it in Iron Banner the first week, and completely remove Freelance from Iron Banner by January.
  • To illustrate, the chart below is from week-two of Iron Banner, when we removed the Freelance node. The chart is based around the player’s personal fireteam size, and shows the kind of composition of matches that were happening:

  • If you ran with a full fireteam of 6, you matched against other full fireteams over 95% of the time.
  • If you ran solo, you went up against a full fireteam 0.2% of the time (that’s 1 out of every 500 matches). To break that one down further, if you were a solo and went up against a full stack fireteam:
    • 60% of the time you were paired with a 5-person fireteam (or filled in when someone from a full fireteam disconnected).
    • 5% of the time you were matched with a 4-person fireteam and another solo.
    • 4% of the time you were matched with a 3-person fireteam and either a duo or 2 other solos.
    • 31% of the time you were matched with 5 other solos or some mix of solos and duos against a full fireteam (roughly 1 in every 1500 matches).

These numbers seem pretty good, and it’s why we removed the Freelance Iron Banner node—no matter what size fireteam you go in with, nearly all the time you are put into a reasonably composed matchup. However, there are two small areas we feel like could use improvement:

  • First, for large fireteams (4+ in 6v6) FTMM will heavily prioritize equivalent fireteam size over all other options, so much so that it prefers to match two equally sized large fireteams with a wide skill delta over two similarly sized fireteams with a narrow skill delta.
  • Second, if FTMM is unable to find a suitable match for a large fireteam within the given time frame (which happens approximately 1% of the time when searching as a 6-person team) it will default to taking the first available match, which sometimes results in the small number of matches mentioned above where a 6-person matches a team of all solos.

To combat both issues, in our mid-Season patch, we will make a change to FTMM in Control/Iron Banner that, if matchmaking was unable to find an equally sized fireteam with a narrow skill delta, will allow it to search for a similarly sized fireteam with a narrow skill delta before holding out for an equally sized fireteam with a wider skill delta.

  • Example: If you are in a 6-person fireteam with a weighted average skill of 150, the system may prefer a 4-person fireteam paired with a duo with a weighted average skill of 200, as opposed to waiting for another 6-person fireteam with a skill of 400. This should improve both match quality and matchmaking times for larger fireteams.
  • This change should also reduce instances of FTMM being unable to find a suitable match before hitting the time limit and defaulting to the first available. In the rare cases where solo players do match against large fireteams, they should almost always have a large fireteam on their team as well.

On the 3v3 front, we removed the Freelance option at the start of Season 20 and added FTMM into the Competitive Division playlist, and we have seen the following team compositions:

  • Full fireteams are matching against other full fireteams 98% of the time.
  • Fireteams of a duo and one solo are matching with the same opponent team composition over 98% of the time.

Since we’ve removed the Freelance node from both Competitive Division and Trials of Osiris, we’d also like to share data purely from the POV of a solo player:

  • If you queue solo, 80% of your fireteams will be all solos, and you will be paired with a duo nearly 20% of the time.
  • If you get matched with two other solos, over 98% of your games will be against another team of all solos.
  • If you are paired with a duo, over 98% of your games are against a duo/solo combo.

We are happy with these numbers, although matchmaking times for 2-person fireteams are a little on the long side, so we may look to revisit the parameters in the future to see if we can improve this.

Competitive Division

Another big feature we introduced in Season 19 was a revamp of the Competitive Division playlist. These were our goals when we built it:

  • All players can find a variety of balanced matches and feel competitive.
  • A player’s PvP rank is a core part of their Guardian identity.
  • Have places in the ecosystem to not engage in the Ranked Play but still have decently balanced matches, or to not engage in SBMM at all.

We designed Competitive Division to be a ranking system tied to your skill (matchmaking rating, or MMR). Here is a graph of the Competitive Division vs. skill for all players with 30 or more games played in Season 19 (around 3 games a week).

The thin black line is the ‘target’ Division Rank for each skill, the thick line is the mean Division, and each dot is a single player. The colors of each dot represent what Division the player is in.

Outside of a handful of outliers, you can see that no one is more than 1000 Division Rank above their Skill. It also shows that it’s probably a little too hard to climb to your target rank, as the average is well below, especially in the mid-to-high skill range.

When we look at the same graph of people who completed 150 games in the Season—nearly 15 a week! The graph looks a lot better for these serious PvP players.

Outside of some real noisiness in the lower skill brackets (there are fewer lower-skill but heavy PvP players), the average lines up well with the target and what we want to see.

You might also notice a few strange dots: medium-to-low skill, but all the way up in the Ascendant or Adept ranks. We were super happy these players called themselves out to us, as we immediately knew there was either a serious bug, or something very fishy was going on. We’ve investigated their individual match history and issued permanent bans for win trading.

For those of you who are interested in how you rank against others, here is the end of Season 19 breakdown in number of players in each Division, which shows the nice bell curve one would expect in a ranked system:

Skill Matching vs. Rank Matching

Competitive Division matches players based on their skill, not their rank. This can feel counterintuitive, but matching purely based on rank can lead to a couple of bad side effects:

1. Smurfing: A high-skill veteran player creates a new account purely to play against lower-skilled/newer players who they can mop the floor with. This, of course, leads to mismatched games and drives newer players away from the game. While this is possible now, the skill system picks up on your Smurfing skills quickly and moves smurf accounts to the proper skill pool.

2. Tanking: This is a high-skill player intentionally losing a number of games in a row so they can de-rank and play against lower-skilled players who they can mop the floor with. Currently, once the skill system understands where they sit, it can be very time consuming to convince it they are much worse than they are when tanking, and it will quickly bring them back up to their former skill once they start playing again.

So, while still possible, in both cases our skill system makes the hassle of playing lower-skilled players much worse than the number of games against them will generate. So, instead, we choose to matchmake based on our internal skill values, which almost all multiplayer games do too.

The approach most modern ranking systems take is to match you based on an internal matchmaking rank (MMR), and throttle or expand gains and losses of the ranking system so it closely follows (but never precisely matches) the internal MMR. As the graphs above illustrate, a vast majority of players are near their target Division if they have played enough matches, so we believe the skill matching and ranking systems themselves are working well—with a few caveats below.

How is skill determined?

We’ve taken a deep dive on this before, but we don’t just look at your stats and pick a random skill. Each player starts out with a neutral skill value, and they play against other players, all of whom have some skill value: neutral if they haven’t played, or some positive or negative number if they have. After the match, it ranks all the players based on a wide variety of internal stats (much more than what we show on the scoreboard), generally weighted toward stats that are correlated with winning.

Once everyone is ranked, it looks to see if there are any players out of place (Guardian A played better than Guardian B, but Guardian B has a higher skill). It takes those two Guardians and tweaks their skill values, pushing A up, and pushing B down. It’s important to note that, like the Elo rating system, our skill system is always relative, and the adjustments are made by looking at the other Guardians in your match.

Over time, it becomes more and more confident in player skill, and will start reducing the amount skill can be pushed up or down after a match. You must play better than your skill consistently over several matches before it will improve your skill, so it can feel like you get “stuck” in your skill, and this translates to your Competitive Division.

Just because we believe the systems are working well doesn’t mean there aren’t things to improve. Based around Season 19 feedback, analytics, and our own observations of Competitive Division over the Season, we are going to be making some adjustments in a future Season.

  • It can feel too hard to climb to your target Division if you aren’t securing enough wins. This is particularly bad if you are at the bottom half of the skill curve.
    • We want the 30-game graph above to look more like the 150-game graph, just with more people.
    • If you are below your target Division rank and have yet to reach it during the current Season, we are looking to add some additional ranking adjustments as well as blend your current Division rank with your skill for matchmaking purposes—so if you place below your target Division, matches should be easier to win when you start your climb, and you should get more for each win.
    • This helping system will end once you get near your target Division, so de-ranking back down will not produce the same results a second time.
  • It can feel too hard to break out of your target Division once you reach it.
    • We are looking at loosening up the confidence of the skill system described above and making it easier to increase or decrease your skill rating and your associated Division rank.
  • The actual skill system is a separate server that does its calculations and skill adjustments out of sync with the scoreboard in the match, so we must do a rough estimate of the skill adjustment in the scoreboard to be able to give a Rank adjustment in the moment.
    • We aren’t currently happy with how this estimate is working, so we are taking a more thorough pass at the scoreboard estimation for skill adjustment and bringing this more in-line with what the skill server is doing.
  • While the overall system is generally getting players to the right place over time, in the moment, some of the outcomes can feel arbitrary, particularly the times where you win, but only gain five Division points. There are a few things happening here:
    • You can feel like you played well. What you don’t see is that you were matched up against an opposing team with an average skill well below yours, making your gains minimal. This is one of the most common ways of only gaining five points.
    • We want to show you an average of the other team’s skills on the scoreboard, so you can have a better idea of both how good your team is (especially compared to you) and how good the opposing team is.
  • If you win, your Division rank will go up, even if the skill system thinks you should go down (this is the another of the ways you can get five points). Conversely, if you lose, your Division rank will go down, even if the skill system thinks you should go up (the losses that result in losing five points).
    • We are taking a hard look at these values. Skill is attempting to judge your individual performance relative to the other players, not whether your team won or lost.
    • We have investigated removing the forced positive or forced negative rank changes, but believe it will feel worse to lose points on a win than it does to gain them on a loss. Alternatively, we could increase the minimum points gained and lost from five to a higher value, but that means you would lose more rank in games where you performed well but didn’t pull out the win than you do currently.
  • Finally, if you are well above your target Division, it scales your gains down, and your losses up. If you are well below your target Division, it scales your gains up and your losses down.
    • This can result in some five-point wins, but we think this is working well right now, based on the graph above.

Competitive Rewards

Now, the other half: What do I get for playing in this highly-competitive Playlist? Currently, you can:

  • Get an increasing Crucible Rank multiplier based on your current Division, which works in all playlists.
  • Get one roll of the Rose Hand Cannon each week per character for participating.
  • Find out where you stand among the rest of the Destiny PvP community.
  • Earn the Glorious Seal by reaching Platinum, or gild it by reaching Adept, as well as a number of other Crucible-related Triumphs.
    • One large note: At the start of Season 20, we shipped a bug where players could claim Glorious or Dredgen titles without completing all of the intended Triumphs. In our mid-Season patch, Glorious and Dredgen Seal and gild claims will be reverted, and the errant Triumphs removed.
      • Any players who have completed all of the intended Triumphs will immediately be able to reclaim their Seal or gild.
      • Any players who were only able to claim because of mistakenly included Triumphs will need to complete the regular Triumphs to reclaim.
      • Veteran players with multiple gilds of Dredgen will maintain their gild counts through this change.

We want Competitive Division to have more rewards to chase for our most dedicated PvP players, and back when we introduced the system prior to Season 19, we promised more information. Today, we have some:

  • At the mid-Season patch during Season 20:
    • Lord Shaxx will have a new emblem for you if you are Ascendant III or higher.
    • There will be a stat tracker that allows you to put your current Competitive Division rank number on PvP emblems.

  • At the start of Season 21:
    • The Rose Hand Cannon will be replaced by a new Competitive Division-only Sniper Rifle for participation in the playlist.
      • We plan to add new weapons to the Competitive Division every other Season.
      • Rose will be available again in a future Season but will be unobtainable during Season 21.
    • Lord Shaxx will have a new Season 21 Ascendant emblem.
      • We are adding a new Ascendant emblem and retiring the previous one each Season.
    • Lord Shaxx will have a transmat effect for all players who reach Silver III or above. Not only is this transmat the first one you can earn directly through gameplay, it also uses some new tech so it can change its appearance based on your current Competitive Division!

    Competitive Quality-of-Life (Mid-Season)

    • Spawn Overshield (AKA Spawn Protection)
      • The overshield that you get for a couple seconds when you respawn was originally tuned for Destiny 2’s launch and has not been touched since then. As anyone who has been killed while respawning can attest, the launch shield values have not kept up with our sandbox.
        • In the mid-Season patch, we are adjusting the Spawn Overshield from 52hp to 150hp (this is separate from the overshield you get when you are revived, which is unchanged).

    Competitive and General Crucible Quality-of-Life (Future Seasons)

    • Spawning
      • Our spawning algorithms and tuning have not kept up with the Time to Kill (TTK) and pace of the game as it has evolved over the years. We are committing to a wide-ranging spawn retune across many maps and modes with the goal of getting players back in the fight quicker, and if possible, near a friendly player, but always in a safe spot.
        • To start with, we are targeting specific maps (Disjunction, Convergence, and Cathedral of Dusk) and modes (Control, Clash, Rift). As these maps play differently per mode, we will be making the following changes:
          • We are adding more spawn locations for each of the maps and modes.
          • We are investigating disabling the backfield spawns for Control and Clash, and adjusting the influence of objectives (e.g., capture zones) and allies so that players spawn nearer to allies and ally-owned objectives.
          • We are also looking at alternate objective locations to make gameplay more central.
          • For 3v3 modes and non-objective modes, we are looking at making laned maps feel more “round” by keeping objectives and spawns more centralized. We are also experimenting with blocking off portions of the maps with barriers.
        • After laned maps are in a better place, we will start working through other maps and modes.
    • Lobby Balancing
      • Now that we have had a chance to look at how SBMM is affecting the PvP landscape in Quickplay and Competitive Division, we are turning our gaze to lobby balancing. Our current algorithm tries to make matches fair by making the average skill of both teams be as similar as possible. What ends up happening at times is the highest-skill players get matched with the lowest-skill players, and they fight all the medium-skilled players.
      • We are investigating a new style of lobby balancing that should make the team compositions feel more even in terms of skill allocations while also keeping the balance of the teams as close as possible.

    Iron Banner

    We had many Iron Banner details in the TWAB last week, but we saved a few tidbits for this blog post.

    While many of us love Rift in a fireteam of experienced players, it isn't currently as friendly to solo players, PvE players, or new players as we would like when we feature a mode in Iron Banner. Expect an Iron Banner-specific twist to address those factors in a future Season, as well as new twists we’re cooking up as we speak.

    We are also looking at ways to decouple the Challenges for "Earn a Daily Reputation Bonus" from "Complete matches as specific subclasses to earn a Pinnacle" in Iron Banner, but don’t have a solution we are happy with yet.

    Trials of Osiris

    We have a couple of tweaks to Trials of Osiris during Season 20:

    • We have enabled FTMM, which heavily prioritizes matching like-sized teams against each other (3 vs. 3, 2+1 vs. 2+1, and 1+1+1 vs. 1+1+1). This gives us many of the same benefits as having a separate Freelance playlist available, without the downsides of directly splitting the population and making it difficult for duos to find quality matches. As with 6v6 FTMM, we will monitor these initial settings and make changes as needed to provide the best quality matches for all players. See the matchmaking section above for data on how FTMM works.
    • We also have a few Trials Labs on the schedule for Season 20. We will be using the Labs following the mid-Season patch to gather feedback on a new Trials matchmaking system which will remove the Flawless pool and ticket-based matchmaking in favor of something different.

    The summary of the goals for the new Trials matchmaking system:

    • Allow players to play with friends without worrying about whether they have gone Flawless.
    • Remove the motivation to reset cards in order to farm or carry.
    • Better protect players who are struggling to find success in the playlist.

    How does the new matchmaking work?

    • We will now have two always active “soft” pools (soft means that matchmaking initially prefers not to blend the pools but will, if necessary to find a good game quickly, so the distinction is not as dramatic as the one between Flawless and non-Flawless in the current system):
      • Challenger Pool - This is where most players who currently play Trials on a week-to-week basis and who want to go Flawless will play. It represents an experience more like the original iteration of Trials in D1, without the focus on making games more difficult as the card progresses or after you have been Flawless.
        • This pool matches based solely on connection. There is no matchmaking based on tickets (wins on ticket), wins (weekly wins), or skill.
        • Players who have any card with no losses (including a card after reset), or those playing with someone in their fireteam that has a card with no losses, will be placed in this pool.
      • Practice Pool - This pool is targeted at new or less experienced players (players who are not yet ready to give going Flawless a shot) and represents a place for them to dip their toes into Trials, without being thrown straight into the deep end.
        • This pool matches based on connection and weekly performance (how well you have done in Trials this week, resets every week).
        • Only players with a Flawed card or those on their first game of the week can play in this pool (everyone in your fireteam must have a Flawed card or be on their first game of the week).
        • This pool has:
          • Stomp protection - If you are consistently struggling, it will reduce your weekly performance rating to give you slightly easier matches until you recover.
          • Farming protection - If the system detects that you or a fireteam member are likely attempting to farm the Practice pool, it will slow down your matchmaking times initially, and if you continue it will lock you into the Challenger pool for the remainder of the weekend, regardless of your card state.

    As always, we will be playing alongside you all in both pools and monitoring feedback on the new matchmaking system as the Season progresses, with the intent to push it live full time in Season 21. Later in Season 20, we will have a more in-depth discussion about Trials, including additional changes that are coming to the game mode in Season 21. As a preview, we’ll be looking at:

    • Updates to Passages
      • Wealth – Will reward extra Trials rank on every win, the amount rewarded increases as your major rank increases.
      • Mercy – Will now forgive two losses if you have not been Flawless for the week, reverts to its old behavior of forgiving a single loss once you go Flawless.
    • Changes to the gilded Flawless title requirements
      • We want to bring this more in line with gilded Glorious, and better reward dedication, along with individual and team skill in Trials.
    • A new Flawless emblem
      • Rewarded for going Flawless without ever trailing in any of your wins.
    • Experimenting with changing the main Trials game mode to be Zone Capture Elimination, which has been renamed to Dominion.
    • A new introductory quest to better onboard players into the Trials environment.

    New & Returning Game Modes

    In addition to the return of the Meltdown PvP map in Season 21, a new Vex Network map in Season 22, and Citadel’s reprisal coming in Season 23, we’re planning to add several new and returning game modes to the Crucible rotation, starting with Countdown in Season 20.


    Countdown is a reprise of the classic Destiny 2 Elimination mode originally featured in Trials of the Nine. In Countdown, two teams go against one another in a single-life battle for control of two Cabal Charges. The Cabal Charges on the map serve as focal points to force the combat and exist as the team-based solution to the stalemate gameplay that existed in standard Elimination. Once a charge is armed via interaction, it begins ticking down its fuse and Defenders have 35 seconds to defuse the charge before it detonates. Elimination’s rules are active and if a team is eliminated, the last team standing gains a point.

    As a part of this reprise, we've brought in variants of Countdown that add features like respawn and multibomb. Here’s what to expect:

    Countdown Classic

    The standard Countdown experience. Elimination team vs. team with a Cabal Charge as a focal point. Once a charge exits play via defusal or detonation, the round ends. The round also ends if a team is eliminated in the arm phase. In the defuse phase, a charge must be defused, or defenders must be eliminated to end a round.

    Attackers: Arm one of two sites and defend the charge until it detonates. Eliminating the defenders wins as well.

    Defenders: Defend both charges from being armed. Defuse any active charges. Eliminating the attacking team can win if any charge isn't in play. Holding off the attack can win rounds.


    • Elimination Rule: Enabled
    • First to 4 Round Wins
    • Revive:
      • Revive Tokens: Enabled
      • Revive Cost: 1 Token
      • Lost Token on Death: Disabled
      • Tokens Per Round: 1
    • Score:
      • Detonations: 1
      • Defuses: 1
      • Eliminations: 1
      • Defenses: 1


    • The Fortress
    • Radiant Cliffs
    • Pacifica
    • Midtown
    • Eternity
    • Meltdown (Season 21)

    Countdown Respawn

    The same experience as the standard Countdown, but with no Elimination rules. Players respawn after seven seconds and can be resurrected immediately by another player spending their Revive Token. Players only have one Revive Token per round.

    Attackers: Arm one of two sites and defend the charge until it detonates.

    Defenders: Defend both charges from being armed. Defuse any active charges. Holding off the attack can win rounds.


    • Elimination Rule: Disable
    • First to 4 Round Wins (6 in 6v6)
    • Respawn:
      • Seconds to Respawn: 7 seconds
    • Revive:
      • Revive Tokens: Enabled
      • Revive Cost: 1 Token
      • Lost Token on Death: Disabled
      • Tokens Per Round: 1
    • Score:
      • Detonations: 1
      • Defuses: 1
      • Defenses: 1


    • The Fortress
    • Radiant Cliffs
    • Pacifica
    • Midtown
    • Eternity
    • Meltdown (Season 21)

    Countdown Rush

    Countdown Rush is a twist on the standard Countdown experience featuring multiple Cabal Charges per round. It also features the same respawn and resurrection rules of Countdown Respawn. When a charge exits play via detonation or defusal, the other unarmed charge reactivates and is available to be armed.

    Once both charges are out of play, the round ends and sides swap. Players earn points via detonation, defusal, and defense. In a defense win, the defending team is awarded points per site defended, meaning if both charges were up, they would get two points vs. one if only one charge was armed.

    Attackers: Arm and detonate as many charges as you can.

    Defenders: Defend both charges from being armed. Defuse any active charges. Holding off the attack can win rounds.


    • Elimination Rule: Disable
    • First to 6 Round Wins (4 in 3v3)
    • Respawn:
      • Seconds to Respawn: 7 seconds
    • Revive:
      • Revive Tokens: Enabled
      • Revive Cost: 1 Token
      • Lost Token on Death: Disabled
      • Tokens Per Round: 1
    • Score:
      • Detonations: 1
      • Defuses: 1
      • Defenses: 1 Point Per Defended Charge
        • 2 Points if Both Charges Unarmed
        • 1 Point if One Charge is Armed


    • The Fortress
    • Radiant Cliffs
    • Pacifica
    • Midtown
    • Eternity
    • Meltdown (Season 21)

    One variation of Countdown will be featured each week in Crucible Labs starting in Week 5.


    • Looking forward, we’re going to be exploring new modes that branch out from the standard Destiny sandbox. Checkmate is a new set of game rules that intends to create a slower-paced experience where players have more opportunity to react to encounters and where power spikes are earned rather than guaranteed.
    • This includes changes to how Special ammo is acquired, ability recharge rates, weapon TTK, and the player’s health settings. This mode is a significant shift from our core experience, so we’re currently targeting the Season 22 timeframe to make sure we have time to tune the many interacting systems.
    • Excitingly, Checkmate is built as a modifier—like we use for Nightfalls—and can be easily applied to multiple standard modes to give us maximum flexibility going forward. As we get closer to The Final Shape, we hope to convert some of our other modes—Momentum, Mayhem—into modifiers too.

    And that’s not all we have planned for new or returning modes this year, but we aren’t quite ready to spill the details on those yet, so that’s all for now!

    We hope this deep dive into our upcoming Crucible updates, matchmaking systems, Competitive Division rewards, and future game mode plans has you excited for what’s to come in the year of Lightfall. Until next time... we’ll be keeping an eye out for those Ascendant emblems and evolving Competitive transmats out in the wild.

    This site uses cookies to provide you with the best possible user experience. By clicking 'Accept', you agree to the policies documented at Cookie Policy and Privacy Policy.