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Welcome to the Gulag, a fight for survival where winning your Gunfight will grant you a second chance… while losing your Gunfight results in possible elimination.
Upon your first death in Battle Royale matches, your Operator will be thrown into the Gulag. In Verdansk, the Gulag is a secret training facility located deep within the bowels of the Zordaya Prison Complex. The Gulag chamber combat zone is updated from time-to-time. For example, in Season Three the Gulag changed to a mock-up of Standoff, a legendary map from Call of Duty: Black Ops II. Rebirth Island also has its own Gulag, which is located below the Prison Block in an area that is not accessible under normal circumstances.
Before studying up on the latest changes to a Gulag, here’s a quick reminder on what happens after a misadventure in a standard Battle Royale, as well as general tips for surviving your 1v1 fight:
Time for a Bit of Argy Bargy: The Gulag Basics
After being sent to the Gulag, your Operator will wake up either restrained in an interrogation room (Verdansk) or outside a dingy cell (Rebirth Island). Outside your personal holding area are individual chambers holding other prisoners who’ve met a similarly grim fate and, in the center, the arena where players face-off in a 1v1 Gunfight to get back to the Battle Royale mode.
At the top of your screen, you will see how many matches are left until you step into the showers along with the names of the players currently fighting.
When it is your turn to enter the fray, your screen will fade to black, then come back with you in the showers. You’ll see the loadout you’ve been given for this 1v1 fight on the right side of your screen, and the match will begin after a quick countdown.
The rules for the Gulag are essentially the same as a Gunfight in Black Ops Cold War or Modern Warfare® Multiplayer:
· Your loadout will be completely random.
· Each round lasts 40 seconds, with the main objective being to eliminate your enemy. If neither player dies at the end of 40 seconds, “Overtime” begins and a flag spawns.
· Either player has a few seconds to capture this flag. Capture time is three seconds.
· During Overtime, you can achieve victory by capturing the flag or by eliminating your opponent.
· If no one defeats the other player or captures the flag, the player with the higher health wins. If both sides have the same amount of health and time expires, both players will be killed.
While You Wait…
Just because you’re waiting for a match does not mean you are confined to your chair or your cell contemplating your fate.
Should you break out of the holding chair, you’ll be able to access a balcony above and around the map. While walking around this perimeter, you can watch the current duel and throw rocks into the pit at both competitors, just like the old Gulag. Rocks do one point of non-lethal damage, meaning that they can take 1 HP (Hit Point) off either competitor, but will not kill them if they have only 1 HP left.
This allows you to potentially help another player – including a squadmate – who is fighting in the Gulag to win their 1v1.
Other than meddling in the current duel, you can say hello to your fellow prisoners by gesturing, using sprays, running around, or giving them a friendly, non-damaging punch.
Tips for the 1V1
First and foremost, the Gunfight game mode, which was added to Season One of Black Ops Cold War, can be an excellent way to train up for the Gulag. By playing Gunfight in Multiplayer, you can get some quality practice for when you have to fight for survival in Warzone.
Upon spawning in for a Gunfight, you will have to adapt quickly to your random loadout. Each season has a different weapon pool, such as a close-quarters weapon selection of pistols, shotguns, and SMGs. After a few Gulag trips, you should have an idea of which weapons are in the rotation, which you can then practice with in Multiplayer or in respawn-enabled Warzone games modes.
In general, having a familiarity with every weapon in the game is a great advantage to have for the Gulag. Because both you and your enemy’s loadouts will be the same, the Operator who has the most knowledge about their loadout’s strengths and weaknesses may ultimately win the match.
Equipment is also not guaranteed; sometimes you’ll have C4 and Flash Grenades, other times, you’ll have nothing but your weapons to work with. When you do have lethal or tactical equipment, a special mention should be made to two equipment pieces: the Throwing Knife and Stim.
Unlike any other equipment piece, the Throwing Knife can be used immediately after spawning in. Keep this in mind, and you might be able to get an unexpectedly swift kill on an enemy.
As for the Stim, it’s a way to instantly gain health while fighting in the Gulag. Remember to use it if you have it as tactical equipment, and it may just save your life.
Speaking of life: you only have one here. Veteran Call of Duty players know this next tip well: “play your life.” In a single-life game mode such as this, rushing forward with reckless abandon may not be the best strategy.
That’s not to say aggressive play will get punished; just keep a watchful eye over your health and don’t make rash decisions that can cost you the chance to get back into the Warzone match.
If you happen to get into an Overtime situation, the flag could be a powerful tool to gain the upper hand against an opponent. Sometimes, it may be better to use it as bait against a needy opponent, rather than an objective you sprint towards and capture. Pay attention to the top of your HUD to see if your opponent is capturing the flag and play the situation accordingly.
Finally, the tiebreaker rule is an interesting one. If neither player takes damage and time expires in overtime, both players are killed. This leads to a bit of potential strategy, as you may wish to make a move and triumph over the enemy before you both die. But remember, don't be reckless!
Map-Specific Tips – Verdansk Standoff
The current Gulag within Verdansk is a partial recreation of Standoff, albeit stripped down with only the map’s iconic central building mostly accessible.
If you’ve played any of its iterations in previous Call of Duty game, this Gulag will make you feel right at home. If not, there will be the full map in Black Ops Cold War, and until then, we have you covered on this simple to understand, hard to master arena.
Operators will start on the end of the street – either near a dark sedan or a white truck – equidistant from the massive tank mock-up at the center of the intersection. Between them is Standoff’s main building, which has an unfinished second floor that can be accessed via interior staircase, a roof overhang (white truck side), or a steep ramp as indicated by a blue arrow (dark sedan side).
The most obvious tactic is to take control of this power position, as it offers commanding views over the street outside of the tank roundabout, unless you angle yourself just right on the roof overhang. It can especially be a great idea for when the Gulag offers long-range weaponry.
However, in addition to the various entryways, your Operator will be exposed from the back while on the building’s interior platform. In other words, if the enemy is not visible from your line of sight on this platform, you may want to watch your back. It’s also possible to throw equipment up, over, and through the exposed roof, which could make for an epic – or excruciating – killcam.
Another route around the bend is an alleyway that wraps around the building, which has a few openings. The most obvious are at the hood of the white truck and near the ramp up to the second floor opposite the dark sedan, as well as a massive hole at the white truck’s bumper. There are also other ways to enter via mantling, specifically a stack of concrete blocks on the dark sedan side, and the white truck itself.
This confined alleyway is just begging for CQB weapons, such as Shotguns, to shine just as much as they do within the main building. However, the slight openings allow for mid-range weaponry to pick off someone sprinting through it.
The final main route is taking the long run across or through the roundabout. Outside of the massive tank, there is a large stack of containers on the white truck side that offer additional cover.
Far and away, this is the best area to get a clear shot down the street with a long-range weapon, at the cost of being completely exposed to the elements. The tank itself can be mantled upon, which can lead to a player using it for cover or, if they are skilled enough, running along its cannon to make a jump over into the alley.
As for the overtime objective, it spawns in front of the main tank, making it possible for someone to hide behind the tank itself and pop out ready to meet an enemy capturing it. The area is mostly open besides the large cannon over the flag, making a quick snipe or a hail mary equipment throw more than possible.
Also, ensure that you are ready when it spawns in, as it can be easy to get lost in one of the three “main lanes” and allow the enemy to jump on it.
Fortunately, each of the lanes have some openings and sightlines that can be learned after a few trips to the Gulag, such as on top of the tank itself. Although we do not recommend deliberately allowing yourself to become a Prisoner of Warzone, it’s a good idea to take some notes on some more advanced lines when you do wind up fighting for a chance at redeployment.
Map-Specific Intel – Rebirth Island
Available in certain modes during Season One and beyond, Rebirth Island’s Gulag is a roughly square arena set under the main Prison Block, with a long hallway running down to each player’s spawn. In the middle of both of these hallways is a metal detector; a loud ping can be heard by both prisoners in the arena whenever it gets tripped.
The other two hallways lead to the entrance of a central experiment chamber, where a previous test has gone horribly wrong. This room is split into two lanes, with yellow privacy dividers creating an open square at the center, and doesn’t have any ceiling outside of three steel beams and an overhead walkway.
All four hallways are dangerous for those looking to avoid long-range combat, since the only cover that can be taken is next to either metal detector or by ducking into the central room. The two lanes in the central room are also considered decent sightlines, but these can usually devolve into a close-quarters fight given the small size of the space.
Because the ceiling of this room is open, it’s possible to lob equipment pieces up and into the space from any of the hallways. This may be a great way to get some intel on an enemy’s presence in that room, or to prevent them from capturing the Overtime flag with style. Just be sure to avoid hitting those steel beams with a piece of lethal equipment along the way.
The other major piece of intel that can be gathered on an enemy’s position is through the metal detectors. However, it’s easy to “bait” someone by tripping these by either running in another direction or waiting to see if they check this hallway... so they may not be as reliable as they seem.
Use these tips, and you just might have a fighting chance at reuniting with the squad and continuing onward towards victory.
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