In Part 1 of our Warzone Meta Breakdown, we went over a few general rules of thumb about the meta changes and loot pool for Season Three. This intro also covered the most basic strategies for a few weapon types, namely handguns, launchers, the Riot Shield, and shotguns.
For this part, we cut straight to the chase and detail the more diverse section of the Warzoneloot pool: the machine guns and rifles that could very well carry your squad to a victory from infil to exfil.
Here’s our general strategies for these weapons, starting with the biggest guns of them all: The light machine guns.
(Remember: blueprints shown here may not have the exact attachments within Verdansk, but you can still equip these exact weapons with their standard configurations for your custom loadouts.)
The LMG category breaks down into standard LMGs and silenced LMGs, and both get a bad reputation for being clunky, high recoil weapon guns with a long reload times.
Yes, that may be true, but an LMG can rip through a rival Operator in just a few bullets or turn a vehicle into scrap metal without a reload thanks to their usually massive clip sizes.
With good timing, planning, and instincts, an LMG can be one of the most powerful weapons in the Warzone. In practice, this translates to having your team cover you when those time-costing reloads need to happen or hiding behind cover to do so when you are alone. Learning to mount the weapon on a wall, ledge, or other object is also a skill that will help unlock the LMG’s true power, as mounting helps deal with this weapon category’s wicked recoil.
It may take some practice, but your standard issue LMG can go from a bulky oddball to a squad-wiping machine by being patient and playing to the weapon’s strengths.
While a regular LMG is loud and boisterous, a silenced LMG, the other type of weapon within this category, fills a niche role for a squad’s arsenal, as it can provide suppressive fire or wipe out a full team at a lower profile.
Of course, the higher-caliber bullets will still make some noise, but the attached Suppressor could let you expend a fifth of a full belt before a squad notices instead of just a single bullet giving away your position.
Again, while it’s not necessarily the stealthiest of options out of all the silenced weapons, a silenced LMG has its place in the loot pool, especially when it comes to Epic and Legendary items like the Gilded blueprint in the LMG Echo family.
For SMGs, speed kills… Literally.
Generally, this category features weapons that fire fast, are quick reloads, and have your Operator less encumbered to move about the same speed as they would with a sidearm or shotgun.
Your standard SMG, which marks the first SMG loot type in Warzone, has a few dozen bullets in the clip that do moderate damage at a decent fire rate at close ranges.
This translates to 4-6 shots to down an enemy with no armor. Anything beyond a dozen or so meters starts to bring you into that 5-6 shot range, and you’re better off using a peashooter to accurately place shots down extremely long ranges rather than a fully-auto SMG.
In short, for these smaller arms, interior or short-range combat are their preferred scenarios for downing enemy Operators.
Long Range SMG
This variant to the standard SMG loot bridges the gap between an SMG and an assault rifle, allowing the Operator who wields it to hit that 4-shot kill range further out than a regular weapon in its class.
That is primarily due to the ammunition it chambers: a 5.56 NATO round is what is usually found in an assault rifle, but for the purpose of Warzone, a long-range SMG technically pulls from the SMG/handgun ammo pool rather than the assault rifle/LMG one.
If you are primarily an assault rifle user, don’t hesitate to pick a long-range SMG up off the ground or from a Supply Box. In fact, you should feel lucky to find one; after all, the only two weapons with this designation – the Dame Fortuna and High Octane – are considered Epic and Legendary loot.
The classic hit-and-run weapon of choice for stealth players, a silenced SMG brings the noise of a low-caliber bullet to an even softer volume, forcing a squad under attack to make their callouts count or face a full party wipe.
Within the silenced SMG subclass, you’ll find weapons that may have their range cut short or their bulk increased, but in exchange get you slightly off the grid for those covert infiltrations.
The same rules of thumb for a regular SMG apply here: force close combat, control that recoil if you are continuously firing it, and always remember to watch your health. However, with this kind of weapon, you may want to designate yourself as a hidden scout that can sniff out other squads, making sure to crouch walk – not run – as you go behind enemy lines.
Thermal Silenced SMG
A subclass so complex deserves to be some of the rarest SMGs you’ll find in Verdansk, as you not only have a silencer on these weapons, but also a Thermal Scope.
Thermal optics will usually slow down your aim down sight speed than other sight types, especially compared to iron sights, but all that added weight is for a reason: it reads heat signatures and lights up enemies within your scope like the sun. When aiming down a Thermal Scope, you could potentially find enemy Operators that are trying to blend into their surroundings, which you can then call out to your teammates.
While Thermal is more suited for longer-range weapons, this optic does bring up another benefit to SMGs: their hip fire spread is small, allowing you to place somewhat accurate shots within a few yards without aiming down sights. In other words, if you are caught up close while wielding this weapon, it certainly doesn’t hurt to spray and pray.
Sniper and Marksman Rifles
The sniper and marskman rifle category is the second most diverse in Warzone, given the amount of depth within the loot pool. However, with any and all of these weapons, two general rules of thumb remain constant: aim for the head and make those shots count.
.50 Cal Sniper
Pound for pound, few weapons can compare to the might of a .50 caliber sniper rifle. Specifically, the Sniper Rifle Charlie family, such as the Witching Hour, can knock enemies flat on their behind with one well-placed shot.
In fact, if the foe isn’t wearing any armor, a .50 cal sniper will take them from 100 to 0 health with a shot to the chest and above… at any range.
More so than any other weapon in this class, the .50 cal designation is a sign to shoot for the moon and land those longshots that span hundreds of yards. Although part of the silenced sniper subclass can also pull this kind of weight, the only thing you should fear when engaging a distant enemy while wielding a .50 cal sniper rifle is another .50 cal sniper rifle.
Bolt Action Rifle
A subclass reserved for an old WWII relic, Ol’ Dusty and his friends are like the “lite” version of the .50 cal sniper.
Because of how old this weapon is, expect to see a bit of drop off in its bullets compared to a .50 caliber one, meaning that you should aim higher than usual with this weapon should you be going for shots about 100 meters or longer.
Furthermore, the reduced caliber of bullet makes it more difficult to hit a one-shot takedown. A headshot will certainly down an enemy at any range, but at longer ranges, don’t expect the same leniency for a one-shot kill that you would get with the .50 cal sniper.
Bolt action rifles are at rarity levels below a .50 cal sniper; it’s a great sniping tool as a first option or last resort, especially if you want to be a more mobile sniper, which is where its main strength lies. But for long-range sniping duties, you may want to swap this out with the .50 cal sniper if you find it.
What is a Crossbow doing here as a rifle? Before you ask that question and get a bolt stuck in you from the waist up and instantly go down, let’s discuss what this weapon is capable of.
It is true that a Crossbow has incredible one-shot kill range, but it isn’t without its drawbacks: namely, a crossbow bolt is affected by the in-game physics more drastically than a regular bullet. In order to place accurate shots with the Crossbow, you much both aim higher than you think for long range shots and lead them to where your enemy is going.
Do you need to break out a protractor to gauge your shot before you hit someone with this weapon? No, but it is definitely a high skill, high reward marksman tool. Coupled with how you need to reload after every shot, this weapon is for those who say they are the best marksman of their group and, if they prove it, can wield it all the way to the celebratory exfil out of Verdansk.
Lever Action Sniper
The fastest rechambering rifle in this category – save for the Crimson Ursa within the silenced sniper subclass – lever action sniper rifles sacrifice bullet caliber for quick follow-up shots.
Its weight and handling statistics also make it a viable weapon for quickscoping: this is when an Operator acquires a target without aiming down sights then, when their crosshair is over a target, quickly snaps the aim button, firing when their reticle or iron sights is on the target, and releases the aim button after the shot is taken.
Although it is a difficult skill to master, it can be used to maximize the lever action sniper rifle’s agile mobility and still-strong damage profile. Speaking of damage, it can down an enemy in a single headshot, making it a unique tool that can be quick on the draw and quick to down Operators.
At the low-end of this rarer sniper and marskman rifle subclass is the Crimson Ursa, a semi-auto workhorse of a long-range weapon. The other two weapons, which are blueprints in the Sniper Rifle Bravo family, are what can rival the .50 cal sniper subclass in dealing significant damage at any range… And with a lower sound profile.
For either weapon within this subclass, the name of the game is to pick off enemies at long range while remaining undetected. Again, a Suppressor can mask the sound of these weapons, but a smart squad will catch on to your antics either by the glint of your sniper scope or after you down one of their allies.
Just like the other rifles in this category, repositioning yourself is important to mastering the silenced sniper rifle, as if the enemy can’t find your sniper scope glint and you are hitting your shots, there is little they can do to stop you.
As you would expect, the assault rifle category boasts the largest variety in weapon types, from the hard-hitting Oden to the fast-firing M13. While these weapons are usually meant for mid-range engagements, the configurations used in the loot pool are so varied, it’s tough to give a single tip that applies to all.
Here’s the full spectrum of assault rifle loot types found in Verdansk:
Assault Rifle (Standard)
Normally, we’d break down the “standard” type of weapon class within a loot pool – see also LMGs or SMGs – as an intro before diving into more specific, higher-end weapons. But not with assault rifles: the two flavors of “standard” weapons have their own quirks, namely that they fire fast and deal lower damage per shot, similar to a long-range SMG.
The above blueprint shows the Rare version of a standard assault rifle, with two similar weapons below it in rarity, and two Assault Rifle Alpha blueprint weapons rounding out the standard assault rifle rarity rainbow.
These weapons excel at mid to short ranges, with their optional single-fire mode allowing for precise shots down range with the flick of the toggle. Reloads won’t take as long compared to most other assault rifle choices, but you may have to keep vertical and horizontal recoil in mind when firing them for more than a second straight.
In general, these weapons are well-rounded tools that are well-suited for taking down enemies at a few dozen meters or less and are solid pickups whether they are on the ground or in a Supply Box.
Burst Assault Rifle
Assault rifles are usually fully automatic weapons, but with burst assault rifles, their primary fire mode is a three-round burst, making it unusual within this diverse subclass.
These bursts can come out fast enough to deal with an enemy at mid-range, yet their strength lies in the long game, as it is able to place accurate shots across long distances. While it won’t directly counter a sniper rifle, a burst assault rifle may help you turn the tide of an engagement if that sniper repositions to get within about 50 meters of you.
Other than its burst properties, this assault rifle subclass acts similar to a regular one when looking at its handling and reload statistics, which are slightly below par to compensate for its superior accuracy. This all adds up to a weapon that has a higher skill ceiling compared to a regular assault rifle, so more experienced Operators may want to find this weapon over a standard one.
Heavy Assault Rifle
A heavy assault rifle is another oddity: it has a slow fire rate in contrast to a standard assault rifle, but the damage per shot is far superior. With enough practice, an Operator using a heavy assault rifle can down an enemy in just a handful of accurately placed shots to the head, neck, and/or upper chest.
These properties put it at around the same effective range as the burst assault rifle. When using this weapon, do not be afraid to fire a shot or two at an Operator that is less than 75 or so meters away, or for a more digestible measurement, across the roof of Superstore or straight down Scrapyard within the Boneyard.
Of course, with great power comes a rather sluggish fire rate and handling statistics. Shot placement is key for heavy assault rifle Users, and when it comes to close-range engagements, you may have to switch to another weapon or roll the dice against a nimble enemy.
Still, this weapon subclass can be a powerful tool within any squad or for a solo Operator and is worth a spot in your loadout if you have the skill to handle it.
Semi Auto Rifle
Rounding out the trio of odd assault rifles is the semi auto rifle category, featuring the Beefeater that is found in the Season Three Battle Pass system.
Every assault rifle, whether it is burst or full auto, can be fired as a single shot weapon with a flick of the fire rate toggle, but this specific category of weapons only has a single shot option. Just like the heavy assault rifle, a semi auto rifle deals high damage per shot, making accuracy king over just putting shots down range.
Because it is a single shot weapon, a semi auto rifle only fires as fast as you pull the trigger. In other words, you could put extremely accurate shots down range – even out to 100 meters – or spam the trigger to deal with an enemy at short to mid distance. The trigger spamming will only help in desperate moments, as the recoil will become tough to wrestle with the faster you make those additional shots.
This weapon is mostly a bridge between the assault rifle and sniper/marskman rifle categories, pacifying the sharpshooter in your squad before they find one of those weapons. However, if you prefer a weapon that can make quick follow up shots and be more effective at medium ranges, it may be worth using a semi auto rifle over a sniper rifle.
Silenced Assault Rifle
This weapon subclass fits the same role as a standard assault rifle; you’ll want to force enemies into mid-range engagements and manage the recoil enough to throw a dozen shots at your enemy without getting off the mark.
However, with the added Suppressor that this subclass includes, your strategies for dealing with enemy squads may shift slightly to a more careful, tactical, and covert playstyle.
Because your shots are slightly masked, it is possible to sneak up on an enemy squad and down one of their own before they catch onto your presence. Just liked the silenced SMG, it will take good callouts on their end for them to detect a silenced assault rifle User.
When using a silenced assault rifle, keep your volume in mind during travel. Driving vehicles and sprinting across Verdansk will certainly give away your position, so you may want to crouch walk, skulk behind cover, and carefully plan your movements to surprise enemy squads that your own fireteam is targeting.
Thermal Silenced Assault Rifle
What is scarier than not knowing where an enemy is firing from? Being unaware that they can see your heat signature to as you try to hide.
Picking up a Thermal silenced assault rifle, which is of Epic or Legendary rarity, puts you in a unique role as a silent scout for your squad, or a solo predator on the hunt for their hapless prey.
The Thermal Optic will help you find enemy players, whether they are hiding in dark corners or behind thick clouds of smoke. Just remember that this kind of sight does not highlight enemies that have the Cold-Blooded perk out of a Loadout Drop, so remember to look out for those non-highlighted humanoid figures within your scope.
Once you acquire a target, it’s best to take them down quickly and quietly, prioritizing those who are trailing behind their squad or who are alone. Then, once they fully bleed out, reposition and get on the hunt again.
This type of playstyle is not only fun, it is extremely effective in Warzone. Still, watch out for enemy players that may sneak up behind you as you scout ahead, lest the hunter becomes the hunted.
We hope these tips add to your squad’s looting and shooting strategies for your next trip into Verdansk. If you want to experiment with any weapons in a more controlled environment, head into Multiplayer or Co-Op in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare and sharpen those skills before beginning that campaign for a Warzone win.
We’ll see you online. Stay frosty.
For a more in-depth look at Warzone, check out our Official Warzone Strategy Guide, which features an interactive Tac Map with over 300 points of interest, along with tips that span from the initial infil to the Gulag.
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