Rise of Iron Artifact Review
Now that we’ve had a chance to look at all eight of the new Iron Lord Artifacts, we can start putting together initial reviews of their individual strengths and weaknesses. We’ll also go over the best activities to use them in, and most importantly – what you should be equipping and when. If your list looks slightly different, that’s okay! The Destiny community is still growing comfortable with Destiny’s new meta, so there’s still plenty of time to sharpen your tactics in both PVE and PVP.
Remember, even if you only have one Iron Lord artifact…use it! Any passive buff is better than no passive buff. If you have the time to grind, you can grab three (one per character) every week. Keep an eye out for good rolls, though, since they’re subject to the same RNG stat rolls as any other artifact. Oh, and you can change your artifacts mid-game, which allows you to switch up your strategy on the fly!
If you’re not yet aware, you acquire “Memory” artifacts by completing Tyra Karn’s weekly “Do Good Deeds in the Plaguelands” quest.
Allows your Swords to reflect energy-based projectiles, including Supers, Rockets, and Ogre eye blasts.
Best Use: Private Matches
First, the good news: this is fun. And it has already been the source of some epic clips. You seriously can reflect anything at all, from enemy attacks to Guardian supers.
The bad news: you can definitely still die while using this, and your chances to have fun with it are few and far between. This artifact tears through your sword ammo, and the relative lack of Heavy Ammo in PVP means you get one chance per game to do something awesome, at the cost of a possible 3-6 kills with rockets or HMG’s. I can see it being the source of some incredibly fun private matches, so pick one up if you get a chance.
In PVE, I can’t think of a single situation where you’d be better off using the reflection ability instead of, you know, doing actual damage.
The Verdict: occasionally hilarious, with the potential for some career-ending, montage-worthy PVP clips. Not conducive to gettin’ sweaty.
Melee attacks may turn low level Minions of Darkness into temporary allies in combat, lasting 30 seconds or until you melee the enemy again.
Best (and only) Use: PVE
I’m still waiting to see a clip of a full fireteam of 6 Timur-using guardians sending wave after wave of mind-controlled foes into battle. The reality, however, is that most of the enemies you “turn” with this artifact won’t be that useful, and the useful ones are a bit harder to engage. I mean, you don’t often melee enemies that aren’t “red bar,” or tier 1. That said, if you can snag an Ogre or Minotaur, they’ll do some serious damage for you for a little while. Unfortunately, this is just too few and far between to be a must have.
The Verdict: a good time, but far from essential.
Enemy Guardians with full Supers are highlighted Yellow and all enemies with low health are highlighted Red for easy targeting.
Best Use: PVP/PVE
This can come in handy. And when it’s handy, it’s handy. That said, it’s currently a bit lackluster overall. In PVP, the artifact lets you see guardians clearly through smoke or grenade effects. So, in specific circumstances, this can save your life or ensure a kill. Unfortunately, it’s only low-health guardians, so you’ll have to damage them for this to kick in – unless they have a charged Super, which you can already glean without running this artifact.
In PVE, it’ll be less useful. There are several weapon sights (notably those from SUROS or the new trials guns) that do essentially the same thing, and, well – it just doesn’t do much for your PVE strategy. Unfortunately, this artifact falls short of some of the others.
The Verdict: good in theory, underwhelming in practice.
Sprint cooldown is completely eliminated.
Best Use: PVP
Well, almost completely. You still have a brief sprint lockout after two sprint-and-slide combos. But still, this one’s fun. And it’s good, particularly because you might not realize how much of a change it makes. You can sprint into cover, poke-shot with a hand-cannon or pulse, and sprint out of cover before breaking a sweat. It’s also not bad in PVE for getting out of sticky situations, but it probably won’t change the way you raid.
Or, if you’re a Titan, equip this artifact in tandem with the Dunemarchers, the new exotic boots that increase your sprint speed, your agility while ADS, and sharpen your turn radius while sprinting. Combining this loudout with a First Curse or MIDA and a shotgun is a great way to make your enemies bleed salt from their eyes.
The Verdict: always handy, but particularly useful for encouraging your PVP opponents to rage-quit.
When your super is full, speed up super recharge for all nearby allies.
Best Use: Everything
It’s my opinion that no matter what you’re running – be it PVP, PVE, Trials, or anything else you can think of – you should absolutely have at least one teammate using Skorri’s Harmony. The Super recharge rate is bumped by about 50%, which is a Big Deal. If you’re moving as a team in Trials, this’ll help. If you’re putting down Captains in Wrath of the Machine, this’ll help. The only place this is a bit less reliable is in 6v6 Crucible, simply because of the frantic nature of the gameplay – you’re less likely to regularly be around a teammate using Skorri.
But in any situation where you find yourself next to a teammate often, this is a truly great artifact. And if you combine it with another Super-buffing perk (like Bad Juju, or any of the armor and subclass passives you can think of), you’ll find that you become a Light-wielding machine of destruction. It’s great fun.
Just note that if you’re using it, your own super must be full before the artifact takes effect. This has been particularly useful in Trials, since getting your super even once more than usual during a match can swing the game in your favor. Just know that you do have to be pretty close to your teammate to get this buff to engage. It’s especially useful if it’s equipped by a Sunsinger, since you can hold on to that self-res while your teammates wreak havoc.
The Verdict: excellent in both PVP and PVE – but ONLY when you’re playing with a team. Solo content, not so much.
Lose access to your Super, but gain an extra Grenade and Melee charge, a boost to all Stats, and Orbs of Light recharge both your Grenades and Melees.
Best Use: PVP
Ah, Felwinter. When this artifact was announced, it prompted fears of game-breaking Strikers and Nightstalkers. So far, this does not seem to be the case (which is good). However, this artifact does give you the ability to be a supremely annoying opponent. You get incredibly strong area control, but you also almost always have a grenade or melee to open or close an, er, argument with another Guardian.
I find this works best outside of the elimination playlist (note: I am not an elimination god), because even the “worst” supers for those games – say, a Nightstalker tether or a Titan bubble – are still very effective, and the engagements tend to be shorter with more time available for charge buildup.
Otherwise, I don’t recommend this in PVE. You pretty much always want access to your super, and having two grenades and two melees doesn’t give you the same advantage it does in PVP.
One note: if you’re a hunter, using this artifact with the Frost-EE5 boots should make for a devastating combo. Unfortunately, there are reports that the boots are bugged on the Xbox One, and your grenade charges don’t cool down as quickly as they should.
The Verdict: incredibly fun, occasionally game-changing artifact for fast-paced PVP playlists.
In the Crucible, damage-over-time effects are dramatically reduced.
Best (and only) Use: PVP
Released in anticipation of mighty Thorn’s return to the Crucible, this artifact does just what it says on the tin: reduces DOT. That includes the effects of Thorn, smoke, and burns. Notably, two of Destiny’s most annoying DOT effects – Thorn burn and Firebolt grenades – have already been nerfed, so this isn’t quite the game-changer it would have been a few months ago.
Now, the downside is that if your opponents aren’t making use of any of these effects, this is a wasted artifact slot. And it’s a purely defensive set-up, even if it might let you push against a team that’s got you pinned down, it doesn’t exactly give you an edge. Of course, if you run into a full team of Sunsingers rocking Firebolts and Thorns, this is going to come in pretty handy. In any case, it’s definitely worth having in reserve.
The Verdict: defensive strategy that’s very useful, but slightly limited in its applications.
Gain detailed radar at all times, including when aiming down sights on Primary Weapons.
Best Use: Everything, Everywhere, All the Time. Use it.
Okay, I’m biased. But as of now, this is my favorite artifact. It essentially makes the Hunter exotic Knucklehead Radar available to every class, and – seriously – it is a game-changer. Trying to use Destiny’s standard radar after rocking the detailed version for even one game feels like a major handicap. And combining this with a high-mobility loadout – a Hunter with Bones, a Titan with the Garrison – gives you a huge advantage over your enemies. This is particularly true given the current shotgun meta we’re in (yes, we are in a shotgun meta), since it gives you better chances of either getting the drop on your opponents or escaping a rushing attacker. Plus, you can now engage with your primary without having to go blind when checking cover.
It’s only marginally less useful in PVE. Since enemies tend to be easier to keep track of in PVE, you may want to run a different artifact that gives you a noticeable advantage – say, Skorri’s. But you certainly won’t regret having the detailed radar and ability to plug away with your primary while keeping a weather eye out for danger.
My favorite way to run this artifact is in PVP, in combination with the Bones of Eao, No Land Beyond, and my trusty sidearm. It’s a very mobile loadout that encourages you to constantly change your angles. The artifact means you can quickly move to a vantage point, set up with your No Land, and keep an eye out for pinching shotgunners. And since No Land excels in those mid ranges, it’s much easier to keep enemies from surprising you. When they do, Bones-ing away with your magic dragon boots while peppering attackers with your sidearm is incredibly satisfying. That said, I ran the raid with it last week and regretted nothing.
The Verdict: 100% awesome.