Destiny 2 Guardian Games Explained: How To Earn Laurels, Medals, And Rewards, And Win For Your Class

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Destiny 2‘s second Guardian Games are upon us, bringing a spirit of competition between character classes to the game for the Olympics-like event. The event is similar to the one Bungie introduced last year, but some of the details about how it works have changed. The alterations can allow you to quickly and efficiently complete goals and earn rewards, if you know how to exploit them.

If you’re new to the Guardian Games, the whole affair can be a bit confusing. It introduces two new currencies–Laurels and Medals–that do specific things. You’ll have to bank a bunch of both in order to drive your class to victory and to unlock Heir Apparent, the event’s Exotic machine gun, and other rewards. Here’s what you need to know about the Guardian Games, including everything you can nab for competing in it.

How To Take Part In The Guardian Games

The Guardian Games are a free activity to all Destiny 2 players, so in order to have access to it, you need to complete the Cosmodrome introduction missions and unlock the Tower. Once you’ve done that, talk to Zavala and choose a class item for the character class you want to compete with in the Games. Make sure to equip that class item–it’s essential to how the Guardian Games works. More on that in a second.

Next, head to Eva Levante and get the new quest called “The Games Begin.” You’ll need to complete it to gain full access to the Guardian Games; the quest doubles as a quick introduction to teach you the ropes.

Earn Laurels To Buy Contender Cards

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Your first step in the Guardian Games (and the first thing you’ll do for Eva’s quest) is to earn a new item called “Laurels.” These are similar to the Motes of Darkness you pick up in Gambit matches, but they’ll appear in all activities you play with other players, so long as those players are wearing their Guardian Games class items. You’ll also create Laurels yourself, which you and other players can pick up.

The idea of Laurels is that they’re markers of doing something cool. Laurels drop when you kill enemies with one of your abilities, like your Super, charged melee, or grenade. They all drop when you kill elite enemies, the ones with the yellow or orange life bars. Laurels come in three colors, depending on the type of character that created them. Each mote is worth more Laurels if it was created by a player who’s using the same character class as you–so Titans get more for picking up Titan motes, Hunters for Hunter motes, and Warlocks for Warlock motes. You earn one Laurel if you pick up a mote from a different subclass, and three Laurels if you pick up a mote from your own subclass. Red motes are Titan Laurels, blue are Hunter Laurels, and yellow are Warlock laurels.

Visit Eva Levante and you can use your Laurels to purchase Contender Cards, which are your real goal in the Guardian Games. Contender Cards are special bounties that give you objectives to complete in specific activities, and doing so earns you your second currency: medals.

Earn Medals To Score Points

Medals are the thing you really want in the Guardian Games. Each medal you earn can be turned in at the podium in the Tower, which will then give you rewards and points toward your class’s overall score. At the end of the Guardian Games, the character class with the most points wins, so this is how you help your team succeed.

Medals have different point values depending on their type:

  • Bronze: 1 Point
  • Silver: 2 Points
  • Gold: 5 Points
  • Platinum: 15 Points

Bronze and Silver medals are awarded for completing activities like Strikes, Gambit and Crucible matches, and Nightfalls. To get Gold and Platinum medals, you’ll want to complete Contender Cards–you get Gold medals from cards for playlist Strikes, Gambit matches, and Crucible matches. Platinum medals are tougher to come by and require completing Nightfall Strikes and taking part in the Trials of Osiris. Platinum cards are also much more expensive, so you’ll need to save up your Laurels to buy them.

Pay careful attention to Contender Card objectives, as you’ll want to knock them out as quickly and efficiently as possible. For the Strike cards, for instance, objectives often require you to kill enemies with a specific elemental damage type, with bonus progress awarded for either precision kills, grenade kills, multi-kills, and so on. Progress is also earned for completing the activity itself.

Apart from Contender Cards and activities, you can also get medals from completing Guardian Games Triumphs, which are found under the Season of the Chosen tab on the Triumphs screen. They’re a quick and easy way to score more medals by doing other objectives, like racking up machine gun kills or picking up Laurels, so keep an eye on them.

Get Laurels Fast: Use The Guardian Games Strikes Playlist

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The big addition to this year’s Guardian Games is a dedicated Strike playlist you can access from the Tower map. This playlist puts you into a matchmade Strike with only members of your particular subclass–so you’ll jump in with teams that are all Titans, all Warlocks, or all Hunters. That means that, during those Strikes, any Laurels created by you and your teammates count for triple. If you’re looking to earn Laurels fast, this is how to do it.

However, the Guardian Games playlist has other caveats. Depending on where your class is in the standings, you’ll receive buffs and debuffs when playing these Strikes. If your team is ahead (the Gold standing), you’ll get better buffs than players with lower standings–but you’ll also have additional challenges. Here’s the list of benefits depending on your standing:

Guardian Games Strike Positive Modifiers

  • Gold: Health, shields, and recovery are increased. Kinetic weapons deal more damage.
  • Silver: Melee abilities recharge faster. Elemental damage increased from Guardian sources. More Heavy ammo available.
  • Bronze: Grenade abilities deal more damage and recharge much faster. Elemental damage increased from Guardian sources.

However, the further ahead you are, the more negative modifiers pile up in this playlist. What’s more, the negative modifiers are thematic depending on where each team is in the standings. If Titans are at Gold and Hunters are at Bronze, then Titans will receive a Hunter-themed negative modifier in their Strikes–and vice versa. The class in the Bronze standing has no negative modifiers; Silver gets one modifier (themed after the Bronze class); and Gold gets two modifiers, one for each of the others:

Guardian Games Strike Negative Modifiers


  • Bronze: Combatant melee attacks deal more damage
  • Silver: Combatant melee attacks deal significantly more damage


  • Bronze: Incoming damage increased while airborne
  • Silver: Incoming damage increased significantly while airborne


  • Bronze: Radar is disabled
  • Silver: Radar is disabled and combatants don’t flinch when damaged

It’s worth noting also that Strike Contender Cards count in the Guardian Games Strike playlist, so if you’re comfortable there, you’ll get the most benefit for earning Laurels in that playlist.

Take Advantage Of The Daily Focus Playlist

This year’s Guardian Games also adds the Daily Focus Playlist, which gives you extra Laurels and other benefits. Each day, the Daily Focus rotates through activities–on Day One, Strikes were the Daily Focus, but expect the Crucible and Gambit to rotate in with each daily switch.

You can quickly determine what playlist is the current Daily Focus by checking the Medal Case, which you’ll receive as part of the introductory quest for the Games. The Daily Focus is also important for the Heir Apparent Exotic catalyst quest, “Contender Catalyst,” so keep an eye on it.

How The Medal Case Works

As part of the quest to get you acclimated to the Guardian Games, Eva Levante will give you an item in your Quests tab called the Medal Case. While this looks like a quest–it even includes a line that says “Step 1 of 1” at the top–it is not a quest. The Medal Case is just an organizational item to help keep your inventory from getting filled up with medals and Laurels, so you can see quickly what you have without having to clear anything else out of your inventory.

The Medal Case can only hold so many medals and Laurels at a time: 500 Laurels, five Bronze medals, five Silver medals, three Gold medals, and three Platinum medals. While it might look like your goal is to fill it up, that’s actually the opposite if what you want. If your Medal Case is full, you’ll miss out on medals, so be sure to empty it. If you’re full up on Gold medals, for instance, you won’t be able to purchase new Gold Contender Cards until you empty it out. What’s more, if you unlock Triumphs that award medals when your Medal Case is full, you’ll lose those medals. So make sure you make frequent trips to the Tower to turn in your medals and empty your case.

How To Get Heir Apparent

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Last year, the Guardian Games introduced a new Exotic machine gun called Heir Apparent. Not only is it a powerful machine gun, but it produces an Arc shield around the user that protects them from incoming damage–at least until it breaks. If you missed Heir Apparent last year (or you weren’t playing then), you can earn the gun by participating in the Guardian Games this year.

How To Get The Heir Apparent Exotic Catalyst

For players who did nab Heir Apparent last year, this year’s Guardian Games adds the gun’s Exotic catalyst as a reward. The catalyst amps up the gun by making the Arc shield more resistant and partially refilling the gun’s magazine when the shield is shattered by incoming fire. To get it, you’ll need to complete a new Exotic quest, which randomly drops when you deposit Gold or Platinum medals in the Tower podium. Note that you have to complete the Exotic quest during the Guardian Games to gain the catalyst.

How To Get The Guardian Games Sparrow

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Once you’ve gone after the Exotic weapon and catalyst available during the Guardian Games, you’ll probably want to move on to other cosmetic rewards. Most Games-themed items can be purchased from the Eververse Store, but there’s also a specific sparrow you can only earn through participation. That sparrow is Color of Speed, and you can grab it from Eva Levante once you’ve completed certain objectives.

Earning Color of Speed requires you to complete a Triumph called “World-Class Point Scorer.” Essentially, you just need to bank medals during the course of the Games. If you’re working on Heir Apparent or its Exotic catalyst, chances are very good you’ll make a ton of progress on this without much effort. You’ll progress especially quickly if you focus on Platinum and Gold medals from Contender Cards, and you can probably knock out the Triumph requirement in a few hours of effort.

When The Guardian Games End (And How Scoring Works)

You’ve got between April 20 and May 9 to compete in the Guardian Games. Each Friday at the 10 AM PDT daily reset, Bungie tallies each class’s score to determine the standings for that week. You’ll want to check out the Tower on Fridays then, as you’ll see some live celebrations of the standings, including fireworks.

The Guardian Games has a closing ceremony that starts on May 7 and runs the final weekend of the event. That suggests we’ll know which class is the winner on May 7, with some appropriate celebration for the rest of the weekend. You’ve still got until May 9 to complete your objectives, but you’ll want to hang out in the Tower for the ceremony during the weekend–there’s a Triumph associated with it if you participate.

Guardian Games Has Some Known Issues

Bungie has pointed out a few bugs and problems to keep in mind while you’re working through the Guardian Games.

  • Last year’s Guardian Games class item won’t work to generate Laurels
  • You must pick up Laurels off the ground–they won’t go to the Postmaster if you miss them
  • Gambit and Crucible matches award Laurels straight to your character; they don’t drop on the ground in those activities
  • Right now, only Laurels you pick up from the ground count toward the Heir Apparent Exotic quest, so make sure to do Strikes or other activities for that step

You can find the rest of the issues on the Guardian Games guide page on Bungie’s website.


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