Episode 95: The Gambit Episode

Let’s talk about Gambit, and nothing but! This week we walk through each phase of a Gambit round and match, discussing strategies and tactics to most effectively thwart your enemy and help your team, including both solo and fireteam options. Grab those motes!

Massive Breakdown of Gambit Strategies for the Discerning Solo Player or Non-Stacked Fireteams

These are not the only strategies, just the strategies that I've found to help the most without having a stacked team. I usually either run solo, or with some clan mates that have wildly varied skill levels, so this post should not be aimed at a team of Dredgens or other similarly powerful compositions.

If you would like to listen to a full discussion on Gambit, Episode 95 of the Massive Breakdown Podcast, Part 1 and Part 2, can help you out.

Phase 1 - Initial Mote Collection (Waves 1 and 2)


  • Sweeper - Collects as many motes as possible from the first wave and banks. Should deposit a large blocker. Uses short range weapons like Auto-Shotties, Telesto, Sidearms, and SMGs.

  • Secondary Sweeper - Collects any motes left over or unable to be obtained by the primary sweeper, and banks. Should deposit a small blocker. Uses short to middle range weapons like Auto-Rifles and Fusion Rifles.

  • Clearers x2 - Uses Pulse Rifles, Scout Rifles, or Snipers to kill enemies from a distance, ensuring they will not accidentally grab motes that the sweepers need.

As a solo player - Be the Secondary Sweeper. Just try to collect 5 motes and bank. You'll almost always have at least one randy who just wants to slay, and one who just wants to collect, so grabbing 5 motes and immediately banking is a safe compromise.

As a firteam - Have two players who sit back with pulse rifles or maybe a precision scout and pick off as many enemies as possible. Have one player designated as the sweeper whose sole job is to get 15 motes from the first wave and bank them. Have one player who is designated the back up sweeper, and collects any motes the primary couldn't get to, or ones that are leftover.

Have the primary and secondary sweepers bank immediately following the clearing of the first wave, which should put at least 20 motes in the bank and a large and small blocker onto the other side. As soon as all the motes are grabbed from the first wave, the everyone should move to the second location, and everyone should try to pick up exactly 5 motes, except the last person to arrive who will clean up the rest. During this transition, you should be figuring out who among the possible invaders has heavy ammo. If no one does, allow the primary invader to grab the heavy box, and as soon as the next small blocker goes in, they need to invade.

Phase 2a - First Invasion (25 Motes)

As a solo player - As a solo player, I don't make invading my first priority. If you are decent at PvP, you have heavy ammo, and you get the opportunity to activate the portal and no one else is there to invade, you can do it, but very often a randy will camp the portal. Don't waste time trying to camp the portal as well to take it, because then you'll be down two people depositing motes. Instead, try to place blockers as soon after they activate the portal as possible, to make their job easier, and continue to try to collect and bank motes.

As a fireteam - You should designate one person the invader and one the alternate, and they should be prioritized in getting heavy ammo boxes. They preferably would also be the two strongest PvP players on the team. Whichever does not go over becomes the Invader Hunter, trying to kill the invader that may come from the opposing team.

The Invader who goes over first most likely will not have to deal with supers, or an abundance of heavy being in the possession of the opposing players. As such, aggressive pushes with Thunderlord will work, or the more passive Queensbreakers/Sleeper/Linear Fusion strategy can work too. Focus on the player with the most motes primarily, but don't pass up any kills. Every second someone on the other team spends dead is a second they aren't collecting motes or invading. If you choose to use an aggressive strategy, don't immediately run into an open sight line and start firing. Move from cover and only reveal yourself when you know you're in a position to net some kills. Knocking the opposing team back under their invasion line is massively helpful to your team, and you should also be giving call outs back, such as if it looks like they're about to push an invader through or try to block.

Phase 2b - Enemy's First Invasion (25 Motes)

At this point (after your invader has activated the portal) the three players left, two should try to grab 5 motes from the remains of the second wave to place several more small blockers, and the third should get all the rest of the motes, which should tie up the opposing teams bank for the duration of your invader being over there. I know it's tempting, but I would avoid trying to grab 15 motes unless it's absolutely necessary while your invader is on the other side, because if they mess up or get killed quickly, their bank won't be tied up and they will very likely be able to put in blockers and then invade, so you'll be vulnerable and a prime target. Hopefully, when the invader does come over, your team will be prepared for it.


  • Invader Hunter - Usually a strong PvP player or the alternate invader, whose job it is to stop picking up motes when the enemy team's portal is capable of being activated. They need to be 100% focused on killing the Invader quickly.

  • Collector - This is usually the weakest PvP player, and they simply need to collect all the motes that the Invader and Invader Hunter would normally be collecting, and then turtle hard to act as bait or a distraction if they can't bank them before the opposing team's invader comes through.

  • Defender - Depending on when your team's Invader gets back, you could have one or two of these. They should have low mote counts (less than 5, only picking up the motes they need to) and they should be prepared to either defend the Collector or assist the Invader Hunter. If there is only one, the Defender's focus should be on the Collector, making sure that they stay out of harms way.

How to Choose Your Role:

As a solo player - You need to be either the Invader Hunter or the Defender. You should never purposefully try to be the Collector, as you will almost always have a randy that will be trying to get 15 motes at the worst possible time. If you see this happening and they're by themselves, it's probably a good idea to try to defend them. If you already see another player near them, or they're preemptively turtling, feel free to start hunting.

As a fireteam - Sometimes the timing will work out well enough that your Invader can come back and be the Invader Hunter, which means there is no downtime for the other three players. Whoever is the Invader Hunter just needs to make sure they communicate the location and movements of the Invader to the rest of the fireteam, so that the Collector can successfully avoid them, or the Defenders can intercept them.

To be the Invader Hunter:

When the enemy is about to invade (meaning they're just below what they need to invade or they're at it) you need to stop sweeping for motes and move towards one of the two locations that the rest of the team is not at. You should move towards the back of the location, but preferably in a place where you can still see the spot the invader spawns in. The reasons for doing this are two fold:

  1. The invader may spawn directly in front of you, giving you an easy kill.

  2. The invader can only see the players that are in his FoV. If you are outside of his FoV, he will have to turn to look for you, and 90% of invaders won't do that, and instead will bee-line straight for the player who has the most motes.

If the invader does spawn in front of you, engage him immediately. The best tools for killing an invader are: snipers, Telesto, tracking rockets, Thunderlord, linear fusion rifles, or auto-shotties if you can get close enough. Kill Clipped or Rampaged primary weapons can also work well, if you kill a couple adds right before you start the invader engagement.

As a solo player - I like to do a quick emote, just in case anyone is paying attention.

As a fireteam - You immediately need to call out where the invader is so your teammates can figure out what their plan is.

If the invader does not spawn in front of you, and you're on a map with portals, immediately use one. This will shift your location, and you have a 50% chance of it putting you basically right next to the spawn of the invader (Using the lift on Kell's Grave is a little riskier because they can hear that you use it, so that depends on whether or not you see where the invader is before you take it). In addition to making it easier for you to to locate the invader, you're also likely to jump out of his FoV, if you were in it originally, which can make it harder for him to locate you.

If You're Not Hunting the Invader:

You instead may have a lot of motes on you and find that you've become the Collector, it's time to turtle. For the first invasion most players will be using their heavy, like a Queensbreaker or Thunderlord, so stay out of long sightlines, and make sure there are no adds around you. Since you should only be the Collector if you're in a fireteam, make sure that at least one of your teammates is nearby, but not close enough that a single rocket can kill you all. That way any engagements won't be one on one with an overshielded enemy.

If you don't have motes, you need to decide if you want to protect the teammate who does, or help take out the Invader.

As a solo player - It's probably best to stay with the person who has a lot of motes, because you won't have the communication with your teammates to know where the Invader is, and because your randy with all the motes may be suicidal and you need to help keep them safe.

As a fireteam - If a teammate has more than 10 motes and doesn't already have someone nearby, I'll usually stay and defend them, otherwise I'll go and help the hunter.

Phase 3 - Secondary Mote Collection (Wave 3 and 4)

Once the invader is down, the middle phase of mote collection begins in earnest. I try to never hold more than 10 motes at this phase, and as soon as you hit 5 or 10 go turn them in to keep the steady stream of blockers up and make sure you don't get trapped holding too many motes when the second invader comes through. By the time you're done with the third wave, if all has gone well, your invader should be back and you should have enough motes ready to invade a second time. Again, I try to help the invader out by depositing a small blocker right before or right after they go over to the other side. While your invader is over on the other side, the fourth wave of enemies will be up, and this should be the final one as long as you haven't lost any motes. Simply grab your 5 or 10 and bank them, and if you've done this correctly and your invader has played well, you may be able to get your primeval up without giving the enemy team a chance to invade during mote collection a second time.

Phase 4a - Second Invasion (50 Motes)

Sometime during the third round, or possibly the fourth depending on how things have gone, you should get your second invasion portal up. Again, your designated invader should push through, but this time the goal is a little different. The more passive players still want to do their best to kill mote holders, but the job of a more aggressive player is to try to bait out a super or two, in addition to hunting the mote carriers, so that they won't be ready for the upcoming primeval phase. Getting an opposing player to use their Blade Barrage or Chaos Reach can be considered a win, even if you just trade. If you bait it out and survive, it's even better. I've found the best way to bait supers is to aggressively push the highest mote carrier on the other team, which will often trigger them to panic super or make one of their teammates do it to protect them. If you're a more skilled PvP player, you can push and do some damage or show yourself, then briefly fall back to see if you can make them waste a super on where they think you're going to keep pushing to. Try to avoid using your super during this invasion, unless you have some way to gain it back quickly like Shards of Galanor.

Phase 4b - Enemy's Second Invasion (50 Motes)

During the opposing teams second invasion, you want to do basically the exact same thing you did during the first, but try to avoid using your super to kill them unless it is necessary to protect motes. If there's three seconds left on his clock before he disappears, and he's nowhere near your high mote carriers, it's better to die to the Invader and let them go back than it is to use your super to kill them.

The one exception to this is if you have Shards of Galanor and an armor perk that allows you to build more super off of specific types of kills, in which case you can use it because, while you're killing adds before the damage phase, you should be able to build it back up again.

Phase 5a - Primeval Spawn, Initial Envoy Clearing, Invading, Accruing Stacks

If you're the first team to summon the Primeval, several things are going to happen in quick succession:

  1. Your envoys will come up and need to be taken down

  2. You will start to get blockers put on you (large ones if you were beating the other team by a lot)

  3. You will, most times, get invaded shortly after the primeval goes up.

You priorities should be:

  1. Focus the Envoys/Shielding Goblins until the Invader shows up

  2. Focus the Invader until he is dead or gone

  3. If the Envoys/Shielding Goblins were not killed, focus them until they are all down

  4. Clear the adds from around the Primeval ONLY UNTIL you hit the requisite number of stacks, or the Invader comes back

  5. As soon as you hit your needed stacks, the Invader is off the field, and everyone has supers and heavy, burn it

  6. If the Invader comes back and the Primeval won't die in the next 1 second, stop everything and focus the Invader

As a solo player - Usually 5 stacks is about where a single player can do significant damage to the Primeval with Melting Point/Ikelos or Blade Barrage or Chaos Reach. Once your randies see you start to deal damage, they should hopefully follow suit.

As a fireteam - Usually 3 stacks is all you need for a decent fireteam to burn the Primeval in between invasions, as long as they are passably organized.

While killing the Envoys, Invaders, Blockers, and adds, try to avoid using any of your damage dealing supers, abilities, or weapons. For example, Blade Barrage, Chaos Reach, Melting Point, DPS rockets (Cluster Bomb/Twin Tailed Fox), 1000 Voices should be saved for the burn portion. Things like Special Ammo Snipers, Tethers, Telesto, Queensbreakers, low damage tracking rockets (Bad Omens), Nova Warp, etc, can all be used during this portion.

During the primeval phase (before the burn portion) it's very likely an Invader will come over.

As a solo player - You should stop everything when the Invader comes over and attempt to locate and neutralize them as quickly as possible. You will probably have to go through 2 invasion cycles before you can burn, so keep an eye out for the second one.

As a fireteam - You need to have as many people focus on him as necessary to kill him. Teams with a very strong PvP player may only need one, perhaps a second to search for and kill the invader. Less strong teams may need all four people to stop what they're doing and look. Whoever is not occupied with the invader, though, should be focusing the envoys. An organized fireteam should only have to go through a single Invasion with their Primeval up.

Phase 5b - Primeval Invasions

Now, if your team is behind and the other team has their primeval up, your invasions become vitally important.

The first invasion should always be right after they summon, as your goal should be to disrupt them from killing the envoys for as long as possible. If they summoned before you, your teammates who are not invading should also be putting in the biggest Blockers they can. Preventing the enemy team from getting their envoys down slows the increase in damage stacks, and can be a key to preventing a quick burn. Secondary goal should be to try to bait supers, just like in the last invasion of the mote collection phase. If the team is very bad and just immediately starts trying to burn their primeval, then just any kill will work.

Unfortunately, you'll probably only be able to hold them off of the envoys for one invasion cycle. After that, the goal should be to:

  1. If they have not started damaging the primeval yet, bait supers and just get kills to slow them down

  2. If they have started damaging it, get kills to heal the primeval and make them waste their super and heavy on a failed burn

If they continually keep trying to whittle down the primeval, just repeat #2 until your team has enough stacks to burn it all at once. Trying to do small chunks of damage to the Primeval is the sign of a bad team.

If it seems like they are following the strategy of just waiting for invades so they can focus the invader and get their stacks up, and depending on the stacks and organization your team has (if you have more stacks or a better team), it may be better to stay home and just help DPS.

If your stacks aren't high enough to do that yet, you can always go over and just keep them holed up to delay them from starting the damage phase or sending an invader, which can give your team time to whittle it down if the stacks are high enough for three people to kill it. The problem with this strategy is, once your invasion is done, if you didn't bait any supers or heavy usage, the enemy team will almost certainly burn the primeval before you get a chance for another one, so it should be done as a last ditch effort to prevent the burn.

There are three possibilities for invading during the Primeval phase:

  1. If you are behind by a lot, I tend to only recommend invading until your team has their envoys down, and then you need to stay back for the burn.

  2. If you are ahead by a lot, you probably won't even need to invade.

  3. If you are close to even, the first invasion is vitally important to shutting down their envoy slaying. A second invasion will only be necessary if your team needs more time to kill the envoys or does not have the organization to burn at three stacks. The second invasion should follow the two rules above, making sure that your opponents will not be able to organize a burn or whittle it down. Any subsequent invasions should be focused holistically on repairing damage with kills or preventing a burn, as the stacks will be high enough after the third invasion for most teams to burn quickly.

If you are behind or even, what you're hoping is that the opposing team attempts to burn too early, or during an invasion, and you can get them to waste their heavy and supers, before killing them to heal the primeval. If you can do this, your team can win.

If you're basically even, whichever team is more organized will start the burn at a lower stack number. It's the invaders job to try to disrupt that. Fireteams have a dramatic advantage in these situations.

Phase 6 - The Burn

As a solo player - I would recommend clearing adds and waiting for a second invasion (to be focused on similarly to the previous one), then once that invader is gone you should be around 5 stacks, and at that point, begin the burn. Melting Point is vital for this, so I highly recommend running it to guarantee you have one on the team, but Blade Barrage is second to none in terms of raw DPS potential from a single super, so that's also an excellent choice. Chaos Reach is also an exceptional super to use. Hammer of Sol is good, but I've found it to be better that the Solar Titan uses Melting Point and follows it up with the Ikelos shotty. If you don't have any of the new subclasses unlocked yet, Slow-Va Bomb and Celestial Nighthawk Golden Gun would probably be the best options.

As a fireteam - In order to correctly do a super burn, you need all four players to be ready almost immediately following the disappearance of the first Invader (you should have 3 stacks at this point). First you call for the Titan to Melting Point, then the DPS supers like Blade Barrage and Chaos Reach need to activate. Once the Titan has Melting Pointed, he should be in a perfect position to start using the Ikelos shotty to do more damage. If the supers are done and the Primeval still stands (either because someone missed or someone was dead or someone was not ready), immediately switch to your heavy or Ikelos shotty, depending on your loadout, and finish the job. An alternative to this strategy is one that, in my opinion, requires a little more organization and skill, but it needs one Well of Radiance Warlock, one Melting Point Titan, and 4 Ikelos shotties. Basically you pop the Well of Radiance right next to the primeval, melting point the primeval, and then everyone just punches and goes to town on it. The reason I don't recommend this as much is fourfold:

  1. If your timing on the melees isn't right, you can get knocked back by the bosses melee

  2. You have to be more conscientious of clearing adds, as they will surround you and focus fire into the well (including blockers which can push you out)

  3. If you aren't fast enough on the burn or it is timed wrong, it's possible for an invader to get a team wipe relatively easily, as everyone is grouped up all together.

  4. It requires multiple Ikelos shotties, which not everyone has or wants to run.