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In Battle Royale, not only will you face your enemies, but also the Circle Collapse, a deadly gas that rolls in waves and limits the playable area within Verdansk.
Similar to other battle royale experiences like the Blackout mode in Call of Duty®: Black Ops 4, the circle collapse in Warzone is your greatest obstacle, acting as a soft wall that closes in during a match and poisons anyone who sets foot in it. As your theater of battle becomes smaller and smaller, there are tactics you must think about employing:
An Example Collapse: Waves Come Crashing In
During Infil, you will see a circle over your Tac Map, which indicates the safe area from the circle collapse. Safe areas are determined at random for every Warzone match; it is extremely rare to be dealt the same collapse patterns in back-to-back matches, which makes knowing and mastering every location within Verdansk important.
After several in-game minutes – this countdown is near the Mini Map on the top left corner of your HUD – the circle collapse, a yellowish-green gas, will begin to roll in.
While the circle closes in, the countdown will indicate how many seconds there are until the circle collapse completes its wave. At that point, a new timer will begin with a new, even smaller, safe area within the current one.
Typically, after the circle collapses four times, the Gulag will be closed. After seven circle collapses, the eighth circle collapse will shift the safe area to a new location nearby, rather than shrinking again. Ultimately, the final collapse will shrink the safe area to a single point. All remaining players must now scramble to finish the fight, or else the collapse will completely engulf the map, shortening the struggle for survival and victory.
Reacting to a Collapse: Slow, Steady, Savage
As a general tip, it’s best to stay within the safe area. However, sometimes you may be caught in the collapse whether by accident… or purposively for a greater strategy.
In either case, the collapse won’t immediately kill you. Those caught within the circle collapse will take periodical damage, although they are still able to reload and use equipment (unlike the effects of a standard Gas Grenade).
If you have a Gas Mask equipped – an item you can find in the Warzone and described in detail in the Inventory section here – then you can avoid taking damage for several seconds. Otherwise, the collapse will continue to damage an Operator until they are downed and, ultimately, die.
Again, the collapse is an avoidable hazard that usually shouldn’t be travelled into. However, some sneakier folks use the collapse to their advantage, trekking within it to avoid immediate confrontation or flanking around a squad.
Similarly, you should keep the following in mind during a circle collapse:
Track the Collapse: Keep track of the increasingly smaller conflict zone; knowing how many circle collapses are left is important as certain gameplay elements, such as accessing Contracts, obtaining Loadout Drops, Redeploying, or using Buy Stations all may not be viable after a certain circle collapse has occurred.
Predict Your Route: If you’re in a zone that is soon to be filled with noxious vapors, you need to plan your escape route. Look to the Tac Map and plot a course to safety, and bear in mind that the most direct route may not be the safest or quickest due to obstacles, enemies, or other circumstances. Use landmarks and thoroughfares to get to the safe area.
Drive Time: Though you can escape the encroaching wall of gas by foot, it may be better to locate a vehicle, and drive out of the gas to safety. Pick a squadmate whose job is to find a vehicle, collect the squad, and get to a safe area.
Safe, Not Sorry: Just because you’re out of the circle collapse doesn’t mean you’re safe; other squads will be actively targeting you. It’s worth locating and hiding in structures or moving much further into a safe area so you don’t need to constantly worry about future circle collapse, and figuring out the approximate location where the collapse will finally reach, and placing a Tac Map Marker there so you can see it on your HUD.
The Last Gasp: If you’ve planned ahead, found a safe area close to the circle collapse, and sought a suitable location (such as higher ground or roofs of structures), train your long-range weapons on enemies appearing from the gas, or moving to escape it. They are likely to be more pre-occupied with the gas than looking for enemies, and you can capitalize on this.
Eighth Gear Shift: The eighth circle collapse, where typically only a few squads are left standing, may leave Operators in previously advantageous positions on the run. When the shift is identified, use those seconds before it happens to plan your next attack and seal the victory.
Advanced Strategy: “Rotating” Around the Collapse
As mentioned in the “Play” section, the most Elite Warzone squads strive for high elimination games rather than hoping their enemies do the job for them.
Part of their strategy for intense and aggressive play is using a technique called “rotating.” There are three aspects of this strategy that we use the acronym “ICE” for, because if you do this strategy effectively, you’ll become a stone-cold elimination machine:
1. Identify: Identifying the circle collapse’s next location and speed
2. Calculate: Calculating your movements and the movements of others by considering constants and variables.
3. Execute: Executing your strategy, changing it when necessary.
In-depth, this is what each point means:
This is both the easiest and arguably most difficult step, depending on your knowledge of Warzone.
Your Tac Map is key to knowing where the Circle Collapse is rolling into and what areas are considered safe.
If you already are a skilled player, this is what you do even before jumping out of the helicopter or cargo plane; we’re just using this same thought process with our boots on the ground.
On top of this, you will also want to note the speed of how fast each Circle Collapse rolls in. Its speed is pre-set based on each round of Circle Collapse (e.g. the first one is quicker than the second), as well as how far it needs to move in from its current location to the next area.
As an example, let’s look at the above image, which is what your Tac Map may look like after completing a Recon Contract during the first Circle Collapse. The white circle is the first Circle Collapse, and the yellow is the second. Remember: this is just an example, and there is an incomprehensible amount of possibilities for where each Circle Collapse could lie from match to match.
Let’s assume that the time it takes for the second Circle Collapse to conclude is 3:30. In other words, it will take three minutes and 30 seconds for the collapse to fully engulf the space between the white and yellow circles, leaving the space inside the yellow circle as the new safe area.
If you are currently wandering in the eastern section of the Promenade, the collapse will move from the border of the white circle to the border of the yellow circle slowly, as there is a small gap between the two. Meanwhile, if you are currently at the edge of the Karst River Salt Mine forest then you better get moving; there’s thousands of meters between the white and yellow circles, which means the collapse will roll in faster to cover that ground.
Again, knowing the space between the current and future safe areas, by using the Tac Map, is key to knowing how fast the Collapse will move in.
Using the above information, now it’s time to craft your rotation strategy.
Depending on where you are in Verdansk, you may choose to move into the new safe area early to get ahead of the rush, or late to pick off those initial movements. Furthermore, you may also choose to move around, or within, the safe area to seek engagements and eliminate Operators to swing the odds of winning in your favor, as the less Operators there are in the lobby, the better chance you have at being the last one standing.
For the most elite Warzone Operators, these are the things they are considering during a rotation within seconds and are constantly recalculating based off new information. In order of what is most predictable to least…:
· Points of Interest. What areas within the new safe zone are beneficial to your loadout, or to other players? Are there highly elevated natural or man-made points of interest for sniper rifles? Or are there plenty of intricate indoor spaces for shotguns? The Atlas chapter will help you calculate this part of your strategy well.
· Number of Operators/Squads. How many enemies are left in the game? You can easily predict how many enemies are still in the game by looking at the top right corner of your screen. However, these numbers could change rapidly if some aggressive squad is out for blood.
· Buy Stations. What Buy Stations are within or near the new safe zone? It’s safe to assume that areas with these Buy Stations will be more active, especially in later Circle Collapses where more Operators have Cash to spend.
· Vehicles. These provide significant boosts to movement speeds, but at the cost of being less stealthy. Enemy-driven vehicles will appear as red on your Tac Map, which may be a piece of key intel.
· Intel Killstreaks. If you have a UAV or Advanced UAV, using it can allow you to see where enemies are and predict their movements. Alternatively, you may want to consider possibilities where an enemy has one of these Killstreaks at the ready. Listen to callouts over your radio to hear them being called in.
· Future Sight. Completing Recon Contracts – or coming across the ultra-rare Foresight Killstreak – will reveal future Circle Collapses. How will you use this intel to predict enemy movements, or calculate your own? Or, on the other hand, if you see an enemy moving closer into the safe area, are they reaping the rewards of these benefits? You might be able to find out if you see a red flare shot up nearby, as that may be an Operator completing a Recon Contract.
· Gas Masks. Do you have a Gas Mask? Then you can maybe wait a bit longer with the Circle Collapse and catch a late-rotating Operator off guard. Then again, what if other Operators have Gas Masks? There is no way to know who has one until they pop out of the Circle Collapse without coughing, so consider this your least predictable variable.
After identifying the circle collapse and calculating your movement, and potentially the movement of others, now you are ready to execute the mission.
No matter what strategy you develop from the first two steps, your execution should always be dynamic, especially if you lack a ton of intel for your calculation.
With all the above said, let’s consider three quick scenarios based on the example collapse:
Scenario 1: East Promenade Out of Position (White Arrow)
Let’s say you have not completed a Recon Contract but you are doing fairly well way out at the East Promenade near the Novi Grazna Hills. Then, after the first Circle Collapse happens, the second is revealed, and you realize there is plenty of ground to cover.
The most basic strategy is to move directly towards the next collapse early. Lucky – or unlucky – for you, Promenade has tons of buildings to sweep through for additional items, engagements, and cover opportunities.
It’s not as aggressive, but at its most basic level, this is rotating; you are getting to a better position within the safe area early, rather than waiting for the collapse to roll in.
Scenario 2: Farmland to Port Rotation (Orange Arrow)
Now let’s place you in the Farmland with a Recon Contract completed and the first Collapse still rolling in.
While you could make a beeline for the safe area, it could be a great idea to move around the soon-to-be deadly zone a bit to look for engagements. Here, we move from one of the houses into a busier section of the area, then move over to a large hill where we can scout ahead or look behind at Operators high-tailing it from the Prison.
Then, we’ll move into Port to set up shop in Vacant, where there is a great power position we can take up on higher ground to pick Operators off.
Scenario 3: Superstore Hot Drop (Red Arrow)
Alright, let’s be honest here: if the helicopters fly straight over the middle of the map, you better believe you, the whole squad, and about 30 other Operators are dropping Superstore.
Fantastic – let’s assume you and the whole squad wipe everyone out, complete a Recon Contract, have a Cargo Truck, are sitting on tons of Cash for a Loadout Drop and UAVs, and there is so much time until the second Circle Collapse that you could theoretically fit in a game of Nuketown Team Deathmatch.
What do you do besides wait for the enemy to come to you? You get aggressive.
From the hot drop, you could move within the safe area to start picking out stragglers coming in from other parts of Verdansk. In the above example, our squad moves straight to the Torsk Bloc, then takes a move towards a natural high point in the Graveyard to see if anyone is coming in from the Zhokov Scrapyard, and scout ahead at the Train Station.
Our squad then moves through the Train Station tactically, either on its roof or from within, and, as the second Circle Collapse is finishing, starts fighting Operators coming in from the East Promenade… Which may include our friend in the first example.
Now, that’s just three examples for three different drops on one potential Circle Collapse location. Because of the endless possibilities for drops and collapses, it’d be impossible to sit down and tried to calculate a strategy for every combination.
Therefore, you’ll have to use ICE on-the-fly, using the information gathered within a match to Identify, Calculate, and then Execute your winning strategy.
Useful Links: Other Guide Chapters: