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Gambit: Competitive Cooperative Activity

  • The Drifter invites two teams of four to partake in his Gambit arena, a matchmade PvEvP activity that requires Guardians to eliminate enemies, collect and bank motes, summon a boss and defeat it before the opposing team does!
Quick Lore − The Drifter

The Drifter is a rogue Light-bearer who hosts the Gambit activity and acts as a vendor for Gambit-related items. Aboard his Derelict ship, he has explored the far reaches of the Solar System and beyond, collecting machines, gadgets, and trinkets along the way.

The Drifter, for the most part, is a mystery to many. He has gone by many names, has travelled across the system and embraces both light and dark. 

In recent times, the Drifter has helped us establish a better connection with the Nine, especially through his complicated relationship with the Emissary of the Nine. During the rise of the Kell of Darkness, the Drifter and Eris Morn assisted Guardians with wielding Stasis, a form of Darkness.

Information extracted from Destinypedia & Ishtar Collective. To view lore entries from Ishtar Collective, click here.

Alright, Alright, Alright!

The Drifter is your point of contact for the Gambit activity and is located in the Tower Annex. The Drifter offers a seasonal weapon ornament, bounties, and a Triumph Seal for each season. Rank-up packages are also available which provide additional rewards, such as materials and a new shader, for specific Infamy ranks. 

Gambit in a Nutshell

When the Drifter transmats you to the Gambit arena, hostiles will begin to flood a corner of the arena. Your objective is to clear out each wave, collect and bank the motes that drop from the combatants that you defeat. 

Once your team has banked 100 motes, you will summon a Primeval, a Taken Boss, that you will need to defeat. Defeat your Primeval before the opposing team defeats theirs to win the match.


Banking motes will also send blockers to the opposing team’s bank, preventing them from banking further motes until they clear their bank. All blockers are Taken Majors. There are three different types of blockers that you can spawn:

  • Small Blocker (5 motes): Summon a Taken Goblin.
  • Medium Blocker (10 motes): Summon a Taken Phalanx.
  • Large Blocker (Max 15 motes): Summon a Taken Knight.

If two or more blockers are summoned, they will begin to drain the bank. You will hear an audio alert when this is happening. If your bank is being blocked, work as a team to clear them out as quickly as possible, or your team may run the risk of losing a good chunk of motes! 


Three times during the initial collecting round, a portal to the opposing team will become available. One Guardian can use the portal and invade the other side. The invader’s objective is to eliminate or disrupt the opposing team. Unless defeated, the invader has 15 seconds to do what they can to wreak havoc before being sent back to their side. When your team has summoned a Primeval, the enemy team can periodically send over their invader!

Use long-range weaponry, like a Scout or Sniper Rifle! Gjallarhorn, Xenophage and Eyes of Tomorrow also work great, and heavy spawns quite frequently after clearing out waves.


Killing the Primeval

To destroy a Primeval, you will need to eliminate Taken Wizards called “Primeval Envoys” that spawn at certain health points. This will provide a stack of damage buffs for your team called “Primeval Slayer.”  Rinse and repeat until the Primeval is dead.

NOTE: Prior to summoning your Primeval, it’s best to pick up special and heavy ammo and conserve them for the fight ahead. Unless you are actively invading, you should have plenty of ammo for the boss battle.

Here’s our recommendation for the Primeval Gameplay:

  • During Primeval Slayer x2, use special ammo and abilities (Grenades/Melee). Don’t use your super yet!
  • During Primeval Slayer x4, use your heavy ammo then back to special. Keep some for your next round of envoys.
  • During Primeval Slayer x6, use your super and any leftover ammo.

If you’re in a fireteam, you can communicate when supers should be used, but general rule of thumb is to leave them for last, especially the high-damage supers like Thundercrash, Chaos Reach, Nova Bomb and Blade Barrage.

Gambit Reputation & Inventory

  • Like other vendors, Gambit has its own Rank-up System. When completing matches, you will earn reputation that contributes toward your rank.
    • Each rank will provide a Gambit Engram.
    • When you rank up to certain tiers, you will unlock rewards that can be claimed at the Drifter.
  • Completing matches will be the main source of gaining reputation, though winning matches provides more reputation.
  • Stay in the queue to create an Activity Streak that provides a bonus to reputation gains as you continue to play.
    • Going to the Tower, the H.E.L.M or to orbit will NOT impact your Activity Streak; going AFK or going to a destination other than Social Spaces, Orbit or Gambit WILL end your Activity Streak.
  • Once your Gambit Rank is maxed out at Rank 17, you can reset it. This will allow you to gain additional tiered rewards while ranking up again!

Engram Focusing

  • Drifter offers the ability for players to focus Gambit weapons and armour using the Gambit Engrams earned while ranking up.
  • Gambit Engrams are a virtual currency and live exclusively in the Rank progress bar.
  • You can focus the Gambit Engrams directly into either Gambit armour or weapons.
  • Brand-new Gambit weapons are only available as drops during their introductory Season and are then available for focusing on the following Season. 
  • Effective in Season 20, players can focus Legacy Gear, even if they haven’t yet obtained it!

Legacy Focusing

Weapons & Armour Availability
  • Gambit Armour Sets Available for Legacy Focusing:
    • Calamity Rig
    • Ancient Apocalypse
Gambit Gear Focusing Cost
  • If a player has NOT acquired a piece of Gambit gear previously:
    • 3 Gambit Engrams 
    • 50 Legendary Shards 
    • 10,000 Glimmer 
  • If a player has acquired a piece of Gambit gear previously:
    • 1 Gambit Engram
    • 25 Legendary Shards
    • 5,000 Glimmer

Keep an eye out for reputation boosts! A notification will be posted in-game. Our Destiny 2 Dashboard will also provide a banner notification when reputation boosts are in effect!

Technical Details

Updates to Gambit in Season 16

The following updates have been made to Gambit in Season 16 (February 22, 2022). Information was from a TWAB article: This Week At Bungie – 2/17/2022 > News | 

Core Activity Changes 
These changes are all about enhancing teamwork or making the mode easier to play and understand.
    • Freelance node added. 
        • The modes we have added Freelance nodes to (Iron Banner, Glory, and Trials of Osiris) all feel like they end up with more balanced matches more often, even as they increase and split the number of matchmaking pools. 
        • Bungie is investigating ways to remove the need for Freelance nodes that split the population, and hope to have something for you later this year. 
        • In the meantime, the ability to queue for Gambit Freelance should be very useful. 
    • Rotating seasonal selection of curated encounters starting in Season 16. 
        • In Classic Gambit/Prime, you got a randomly selected encounter from a list of three for each enemy race, on each map. In Beyond Light, due to production issues, Bungie was only able to bring one of the three variations forward into the new activity. Those issues have been fixed, and we are now bringing the missing variations forward. 
        • Playing with the single variation for race/map for a year led to an interesting observation: it’s FUN to know that ‘Hive on Pacifica’ means “Oh, god, those Shriekers” and to learn the spawns and master them over time. 
        • So, no more Shriekers on Pacifica for now, but they will be back later in the year! 
    • Respawn points added to all Fronts (sections of maps where enemies could cycle in or out). 
        • It can be frustrating to always have to run all the way from the backfield after spawning before you are able to help teammates, fight the invader, collect dropped Motes, etc. 
        • It can also be very frustrating as an invader to always spawn at the same location on the same map multiple times in a row, or to have the invader camp the entrance to avoid confrontation. 
        • More respawn points spread throughout Fronts should help you get back into the action faster, and provide for less predictable spawn points during Invasions. 
    • Players always drop half the Motes they were carrying when they are defeated. 
        • These can be picked up by anyone, including invaders! Invaders can also drop more Motes now! 
        • This makes recovering from a ruthless invader (or bad luck fighting enemies) a little easier. 
    • Players can be revived by other players two seconds earlier, and auto-respawn is delayed two seconds. 
        • This change should also reduce the frustrating moments of teammates being forced to respawn as you’re halfway through the revive interact. 
        • When your teammate dies and you run to grab their dropped Motes, stop for a second and revive them, will ya? 
    • All shields have increasing resistance to non-matching damage types. 
    • “Rules of Gambit” node added to the launch screen, and numerous Gambit-specific hints have been added to the load screen.  
        • Gambit can be a bit opaque to newcomers — this should give them a leg up. 
Blockers, Draining, and the Bank

While Bungie didn’t do any drastic adjustments here, they have a few tweaks that they think will increase interesting decisions both when sending and battling Blockers, and hopefully remove the feeling of helplessness as you pour ammo into three Knights as all of your Motes drain away. 
    • 10 Mote Phalanx Blocker has its health boosted a bit. 
    • 15 Mote Knight Blocker gains a Stasis attack. 
    • Mote drain from multiple Blockers continues even if the opposing team is in Primeval phase. 
    • Mote drain is paused if a player is near the bank and engaging Blockers. 
Ammo Economy 
Bungie’s goal for these changes are to make a more predictable and equal baseline of Special and Heavy ammo among all players. They will be watching both feedback and analytics around ammo gain and usage rates, and they will continue to make tweaks if these aren’t enough to make fair matches. 
    • When completing a Front,  a chest containing a small amount of Special and Heavy ammo spawns in the middle of the Front and can be looted once by each player. 
        • It times out 20 seconds after the initial interact, so you still can’t dilly-dally. 
    • Killing a high-value target spawns one normal Heavy brick for each player. 
        • During the Primeval phase, ammo chests spawn in one of the Fronts every 60 seconds. 
        • This replaces the regular Front ammo chests – but you still need to find the time to go grab it! 
    • Limited Special and Heavy ammo bricks to only spawn from enemies if you have finder mods equipped. 
        • Other ammo Exotics and perks, like Aeon Cult still work. 
The Primeval Fight
The Primeval fight is the ultimate challenge of Gambit. It should feel like an epic boss fight and be long enough for the opposing team to get off some invades to counter strong DPS. It should have more to do than simply burning the boss as quickly as possible (and turn in place to kill Envoys every once in a while). Its mechanics shouldn’t be complex but should require about as much tactical play as a high-end strike boss.  
    • Primeval health and Slayer stack bonus retuned. 
        • Burning the boss after three rounds of Envoys should be just as easy as it is now, but burning him after just one or two rounds should be significantly more work. 
    • Envoys now spawn with friends out in the Fronts, rather than in the bank area. 
        • They have reduced health, and are no longer affected by Slayer stacks, and have varied elemental shields. 
        • Killing the Envoys to get Slayer stacks will require movement, dealing with the Envoy’s protectors, and dealing with their elemental shield. 
    • Envoys put an invulnerability shield on Primeval. 
        • You must kill them both to remove it and damage the Primeval, forcing your team to go out and invade. 
    • Envoys respawn at 30% of the Primeval damage done. 
        • This increases by 10% every Envoy respawn, and Envoys stop spawning after the fifth spawn. 
    • The Primeval Servitor boss is removed, since its custom shielding mechanics conflicted with the new mechanics. 
        • The Malfeasance quest starts on the first Primeval kill. 
With the tuning changes above, the Motes phase is significantly quicker, and the Primeval phase longer. You should expect matches to be just about as long as they are now, but Bungie will be watching to make sure they aren’t too short or too long. 

As Bungie said above, a good invader should be able to turn the tide of a match, but a good invader should be no more important than any other equally-skilled team member. They don’t want a single good invader to completely dominate match outcome — and they certainly can right now. However, they still want a good invader to be able to delay a strong PvE team from finishing off the Primeval. 
    • Level advantage is “now” disabled for Invader PvP. 
    • One of the Mote phase invasions has been removed. 
        • Invasions now trigger at 40 and 80 Mote thresholds. 
        • Primeval phase invasions are unchanged. 
    • Invasions can no longer be saved up. 
        • Use it or lose it, pal. 
    • Invader no longer can see how many Motes enemy players are carrying, and player nameplates fade out when the Invader is aiming down their sights. 
        • You can still see players through walls, just not while you are engaging your rocket tracking, or using your sniper zoom. 
    • Bungie found a bug with how the Primeval heal effect was being applied, which depending on the sequence and timing of kills, would heal the Primeval for somewhere between 5 and 35%. 
        • We fixed it, and now invader kills heal the Primeval for exactly 27% every time. 

Gambit is the second of the core rituals (after Trials of Osiris) to get comprehensive engram focusing options. 
    • Focusing 
        • You can focus the Gambit engram into either ‘Gambit Armor’ or ‘Gambit Weapons’ for 10,000 Glimmer and 50 Legendary Shards. 
        • Gambit Weapons includes: Crowd Pleaser, Bottom Dollar, Trinary System, Borrowed Time, and Servant Leader. 
        • Brand new Gambit weapons are drop-only for a single Season, and are then available for focusing. 
        • Bugnie plans to expand Drifter’s focusing options further during upcoming Seasons. 
    • Other Drifter Changes 
        • Bygones/Trust/Bad Omens have been removed from the vendor. 
    • End Match Drops 
        • There is a Gambit memento for weapon crafting that can drop after any match. 
        • Older Gambit shaders now have a small chance of dropping at the end of each match. 
    • Primeval Servitor cosmetic drops can now drop at the end of any match. 
        • The Furtive Shell ghost can now drop at the end of any match.
Gambit Labs
The following Gambit Labs may be featured during the season:
Gambit Labs: Invasion Edition 
There will also be a couple of Gambit Labs that play with some of the core invasion concepts. These will run for one week each and will take over the base Gambit nodes. 
    • Invasion Swap 
        • This Labs variation plays around with who gets to benefit from triggered invasions.  
        • During Motes phase, instead of opening your own invasion portal at 40 and 80 Motes, you instead open your opponent’s invasion portal. 
        • Bungie expects this to completely disrupt the accepted meta for how and when to deposit and invade. 
    • Mote Thief 
        • Fundamentally, the original concept of the invader was Guardian as Taken Terror, overpowered and dangerous — something new to have to fight. While that is very compelling, Bungie does not believe it is the only compelling invader fantasy. They believe the sneaky Mote Thief is worth exploring, too. 
        • Normal Mote drain from having two blockers is disabled. 
        • Instead, every second the invader is invading, one Mote drains directly from your bank to the invader’s bank. 

Loot Pool

Learn more!

Origin Trait: Gun and Run

Rapidly defeating targets with this weapon grants bonus sprint speed. Guardians, powerful combatants, and high-value targets grant this bonus quicker.

Found on any new Gambit weapon obtained after Season 16.

Qua Xaphan IV (360 RPM Void Cassoid Machine Gun)
Laser Painter (Veist Strand Precision Linear Fusion Rifle)
Trust (Solar 180 RPM Precision Hand Cannon)
Albruna-D (Hakke Arc Aggressive Sniper Rifle)
Yesteryear (Omolon Void Adaptive Pulse Rifle)
Dead Weight (Arc Rapid-Fire Shotgun)
Herod-C (Hakke Stasis 360 RPM High-Impact Auto Rifle)
Servant Leader (Rapid-Fire Scout Rifle)
Trinary System (Adaptive Solar Fusion Rifle)
Bottom Dollar (High-Impact Void Hand Cannon)
Borrowed Time (750RPM Solar Submachine Gun)
Bad Omens (Void Rocket Launcher) | 2x Infamy Resets (Retroactive)
Furtive Shell | 3x Infamy Resets (Retroactive)
Antediluvian | Random Rare Drop
Drift Apart | Random Rare Drop
Gambit Memento | Random Drop

Video Guides


Additional Guides

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