Tips for Iron Banner Rift

First, join game chat. Being able to talk to just one or two teammates can make a huge difference.

Then push towards the center and try to hold it. Defend the lanes and cover the spark. Imagine that the spark is positioned where the B point of a map would be if you were playing Control, and each team’s rift is on either the A or C points. Everyone should be going to the B point (the Spark/center).

Let’s say your team successfully manages to overwhelm the enemy team’s initial push, and you now have complete center control. If you don’t get the spark, but a teammate does, defend them by pushing with or in front of them. Protect the runner at all costs. If they let you pick the route that’s perfect, but with randoms it won’t always happen. If they go off on their own, it’s still your responsibility to help out. Remember to play the numbers game!

A Blink Warlock or Hunter, a Hunter with Bones of Eao and Better Control, a shade-stepping Nightstalker, or a Titan who can skate with Twilight Garrison, will each provide unpredictable movement that makes it much easier to score.

Spark Techniques

Aggressive Push

This relies on the opposing team not dropping back to defend their rift quickly enough, so the runner simply pushes past them immediately after picking up the spark. Very high risk, but the reward is a quick score.

Conservative Push

This strategy offers the best chance of succeedin. The runner’s teammates form a wall, pushing in front of the runner, and sacrificing themselves if necessary to fend off anyone in the way. A well organized, communicating five-man wall is one of the hardest things to defend in Rift, and can generally only be countered by well-used supers.

In order to pull this off, the runner simply hesitates briefly after getting the spark, in order for the teammates to begin the push, and then follows behind. If you’re playing with all random players, the best you can hope for is probably going to be two or three people. Try to stay out of sight.

Flanking

A tricky maneuver in which the runner takes an indirect path to the opposing objective, usually solo and along the outside of the map. As the enemy team reacts to the perceived push coming from one lane, they’ll collapse on that area which leaves alternative lanes unguarded. These can be set up by observing which direction the majority of the team goes after picking up the spark, and then going a different way. In order for it to succeed, the enemy team must either not realize it is being flanked, or be so overpowered by the initial push that they can’t react to it.

Feinting

Starts off as a conservative push and ends as a flank. Basically, you follow the push just long enough for it begin engaging with the defenders, and allow the defenders to see you as part of the push. Once they collapse onto the main push, the runner drops back into an alternate route. This must be done quickly and decisively, or else the defenders will get suspicious that the runner hasn’t been seen again and suspect something is up, pulling defenders back and catching the runner undefended.

TL;DR

If you’re the Spark carrier, wait to see where your team pushes and follow close by. Hold the Spark for as long as possible; points just for distance!

Hold down the pick-up button as the countdown finishes to grab it slightly faster.

If you’re ever in the center and you’re unsure whether your team will be able to hold it or make a successful push, pick up the spark.

Dunk the spark backwards for a bonus of 150 points. If you’re under fire and can’t do that, try sliding, shadestepping, or Titan skating into the rift.

General Tips

Ask yourself…

  • Do you have teammates with you?
    • Are they following you? Or leading the way?
  • Where is the enemy positioned?
    • Have they overextended? Or Fallen back?

If you have your Super up, let someone else pick up the spark unless you’re the only one close by.

Armor of Light can be used on the Spark itself to make it easier for your team to grab it, or even be placed on the opposing team’s rift in order to prevent them from camping it.

Blessings of Light is fantastic to place midway down one of the lanes, which can give all members of the push an overshield for the final leg.

Stormcaller, Gunslinger, Sunbreaker, and Bladedancer can all clear paths through lanes, and Striker/Voidwalker are great for getting enemies who are grouped up.

The team that has more Spark pick-ups, combined with center control, usually wins. Always pick up the Spark.

Defending

If you don’t get the spark and the enemy does, immediately fall back. Pay attention to the areas your teammates are covering, and either provide assistance if all lanes are being watched, or cover a different lane. Six people all staring down one lane isn’t helpful, unless the runner is actually there.

As a defender, you should be making the attackers come through the chokepoints, which gives you the advantage even if you’re outnumbered. Grenades into chokepoints, supers, and teamshotting can all make it so that two or three people can hold off four or five, which leaves the other defenders free to prevent a flank.

One of the biggest issues on defense, is overextending. Think of you and your teammates like a net. The farther away you are from each other, the bigger the gaps are. If you fall back and tighten up, it makes it much less likely that the runner will break through. The worst feeling is having the Spark runner go straight past you.

Mercules904

Author of Massive Breakdowns, Crucible enthusiast, recovering re-roll addict.