Hi! I am a Crypto main. I noticed that most online “Crypto tips” articles merely explain the dry mechanics, so I decided to make my own post to explain my Crypto mindset which I believe is valuable.
The drone is versatile and can be used in several very distinct ways. I call these “modes”, and I will explain each of them. A good Crypto knows when to choose each mode, when to switch modes, and when to not use the drone at all and support their teammates instead.
This post assumes you already know Crypto’s raw game mechanics.
I’ll start with a few essential general tips and then explain the “modes” one by one.
- Know your mode. Know why you’re droning. If you are droning, and you aren’t sure which mode you’re in, it probably means you are droning aimlessly and wasting time.
- Don’t drone for too long. Sticking with teammates is more important than droning. Keep track of them while droning, either visually or by occasionally opening the map briefly, and if they are far, you should usually pause droning and close the distance. If your teammates are in a close range fight and it takes you more than a few seconds to join, your team is essentially 2 vs 3, and Crypto is a burden.
- Master throwing the drone while sliding. If you deploy the drone while sliding, Crypto will continue sliding briefly, giving you a small window to see the drone view without ever standing still. This can be very useful in some of the modes. Going downhill makes the window a lot wider and allows you to briefly control the drone while on the move.
- It’s totally OK if the drone is destroyed. The drone recharges (40 seconds), auto-pings for a few seconds before being shot down, and when enemies shoot it down you gain valuable time where they are distracted. So you gain a lot of value even if it’s shot down. Long-lived enemy scanning drones are just a bonus. The only mode where a long-lived enemy scanning drone is viable is the Combat Mode (see below)
- Recall when needed. If your drone just finished its job and is now not in a particular mode, (e.g. right after Decoy Mode or Combat Mode), make use of it or recall it. Drones can be seen from afar and can reveal your position. Post-fight recalling is a good idea. Drones have 30HP, and recalling refills it. If your drone is far, and you are in a particular mode but suspect enemies are nearby and a new mode is needed, it is also a good time to recall. This often happens when transitioning from Radar Mode or Loot Mode to some other fight related mode.
- With practice, the modes become instinctive. 🙂
Now I’ll explain all the modes.
in this mode, your drone is static and looking at the direction of a banner screen. You are entering drone view every 20 seconds or so for only a split second, look at the banner screen, and then immediately exit. Preferably do this while sliding so that you never lose speed. If the number of squads nearby goes from 0 to 1, it might be a good time to enter Scout Mode.
In this mode, you are simply scouting long range and searching for enemies. If the banner screens show 0 squads nearby, this mode is a waste of time and you should be in Radar Mode instead. It is sometimes a good idea to manually ping the enemies instead of getting close and activating the 30m auto-ping system, which endangers the drone and alerts the enemy squad.
This is a variant of the scout mode where your drone is high up in the sky, giving it a huge field of view. You occasionally enter the drone and look around.
The drone is much faster than you are. In this mode, you use the drone to quickly search for loot for yourself or for teammates. This mode is usually useless when you first land, because almost any house you’ll enter will have something useful.
After you have the essentials and are looking for specific weapons or attachments, this is much more effective than looting by foot; you scout with your drone and use your slow human feet only when you find something worth it. Or you simply ping things for your teammates. The drone can ping items!
In this mode, the drone is static and is acting as a tripwire to alert you when someone enters a particular area. Useful to cover your back or to watch choke points.
A variant of Tripwire Mode where you blow up your EMP when the tripwire is triggered.
Deathbox Guardian Mode
A variant of the Tripwire Mode where the drone is watching a death box of an enemy you just killed. When their teammates come close to try to recover them, you’ll know it either through the auto-ping system, or if the drone is taken down. An ult can be used here too. It would be wise to position the drone in a hidden way so that they don’t easily take it down from afar. Mosquito Mode may be a good followup if only one enemy remains and they’re escaping after grabbing a banner.
Revive Guardian Mode
You quickly throw the drone before reviving someone, so that it warns you if enemies are pushing at you, allowing you to cancel the revive early.
Watch My Back mode
You are running away, or you suspect someone may surprise you from behind. You deploy your drone while sliding, quickly rotate the drone 180 degrees to look behind, and then exit drone view. If timed right, crypto will never stop moving, and now you have eyes watching your back.
You can also EMP if fleeing. This will slow down your enemies.
Your drone is trying to recover a teammate’s banner. Simple as that. Works outside the ring too.
You put your drone near your enemies to both detect and distract them, drone out, and then you and your teammates move closer. This mode only works well if your enemies are not too far. The drone will likely be shot down but this is OK. Ideally you recall the drone just before it is shot down, allowing you to skip the 40 second recharge and immediately reuse the drone, usually for another round of Decoy Mode or to enter Combat Mode. If the drone is not shot down you gain eyes in the sky. It’s a win-win.
The trickiest and most rewarding of modes. It is similar to decoy mode but works on a much closer range. You are about to enter combat, or you are already in combat and have a brief window. You throw the drone, perhaps while sliding, and maneuver it very briefly. The goal is for the drone to gain a good view of the battlefield. Don’t over-think it. It doesn’t need to be optimal and should be done as fast as possible. It doesn’t have to be looking at the enemies. They’ll likely get in and out of its view while fighting if it’s covering a good swath of the battlefield.
If done properly, it is a win-win situation; if your drone is attacked, the distraction can be critical for winning the fight. If not, you have a pair of eyes watching the battlefield and you effectively have a *super bloodhound tactical*.
This can be hard to pull off and requires exercise. If you do it with enemies too close, you will get killed while in drone view. If you do it too far, you might be too late for helping out your teammates, or your drone might be shot down when it’s not the heat of battle yet, without providing that much of a distraction.
When done right it can be decisive in winning a fight and is very rewarding.
A sub-type is Opportunistic/Defensive Combat Mode. You have some time but you aren’t really sure where the enemies are coming from or where to put the drone. Look in a reasonable direction and HOLD Q. Crypto will deploy the drone where you’re standing and immediately leave the drone view. It may be a waste but it may scan enemies when the fight starts. It’s better than an undeployed drone! It can be very useful when enemies are about to push.
You have an ult and you simply charge towards the enemies and blow it up. Can be devastating against bunkered teams (Caustic, Watson) because it destroys defences. You will usually want to exit the drone and push with your enemies while the grenade is activating. Consider recalling to save the drone afterwards.
You can also position the drone in a safe place in advance, exit drone view, push alongside teammates, and blow it up while outside the drone view when you are close enough.
This can also be used defensively to distract or harm a pushing team. I sometimes use it while a teammates is being revived. Your teammates are not slowed or harmed by your own EMP.
It is sometimes OK to harm your own shield. I sometimes deploy a drone, leave its view, do a self-harming EMP while charging a shield battery. My shield gets recharged instantly after the EMP and it is effectively a kind of defensive self-bomb.
When used for pushing, this mode works amazingly well if the team is well-coordinated and times the push right. An EMP damages and slows enemies.
This is an active version of the Decoy Mode where you are actively flying around with the drone while enemies are trying to take it down. While the enemy is occupied, your two teammates might push and take them down.
This mode is often a bad idea and new Cryptos often overuse it. Its drawback is that your squad only has 2 fighting members while in this mode. This is the only mode where you do not stick to fighting teammates and use the drone for an extended period of time with enemies nearby. It’s dangerous and should only be used in certain situations.
A good use case is when only 1 enemy member is left and you want to distract and track them so that your teammates shoot them down. Another use case is to actively distract a squad while teammates reposition or flee. In any case, it must be used very deliberately to achieve a very specific goal. If you are just flying around to annoy people, you are doing this mode wrong.
You can spice it up with an EMP. If your teammates are chasing an enemy, it slows the fleeing enemy down and it is often a death sentence. If your teammates are escaping, it slows down their attackers and gives them more room.
Edit: Drone cannot block doors anymore.
Let me know if I missed any “Modes”. I’ll happily add them.