Modern Warfare 2 multiplayer strategy guide

Want to be at the top of the list after every match? If you’re new to Modern Warfare, you have a bit of catching up to do – some players have been playing CoD 4 for the last two years. We can help with that. If you’re already a CoD 4 fanatic, and you’d like to quickly bring yourself up-to-speed on Modern Warfare 2’s additions, we can help you as well. We won’t pretend to be the best players ever – we get our asses handed to us regularly, just like most. But we have spent a lot of time absorbing advice from Infinity Ward, and much, much more time honing our skills on CoD 4. Plus we’ve been permanently damaging our wrists for the last 24 hours, and we needed to a break – so we wrote this.

Above: We’ve been practicing 

The first page of this guide contains a break-down of the strategies and custom load-outs we prefer for mid-range and long-range schemes. The second page contains our strategies on some of the available modes, and the third page is a list and description of all of the killstreaks, deathstreaks, perks, and equipment you can look forward to unlocking.

Assault Tips

Your most versatile and important custom class will be an assault class. Our current preferred rifle is the SCAR-H with a holographic sight. As a secondary we take the SPAS-12 shotgun - you can use a machine pistol if you like, or a missile launcher for taking down helis, but in our opinion, the SPAS is tough to beat, especially once you unlock the accuracy-increasing grip attachment.

Above: The SPAS-12 is handy in situations like these, though pistols also work 

The SCAR-H devours ammo pretty quickly, so Slight of Hand is a must-have. The other perks we favor are Stopping Power and Commando (longer melee range) – which equates to fewer bullets expended and easier knife kills. Before you unlock the SCAR, however, the FAMAS is your best bet. Its three round bursts deliver a lot of damage and are very accurate. Even with the continuously firing SCAR, you’ll want to tap the trigger in bursts when dealing with long-range opponents.

Above: The view through a holographic sight mounted atop a SCAR-H 

The general strategy when playing free-for-all or team deathmatch is to stay in motion, or at least check your back as often as possible. There’s nothing wrong with squeezing up against a bit of cover near an enemy choke point and camping for a while, but you’re bound to be flanked eventually. Find a rhythm that works – generally you can stake out a bit of territory that is “yours,” and run back and forth defending it. For a better idea, watch this 11 kill streak we scored in a free-for-all match on Rust:

On smaller maps, you may want to use a sub-machine gun. Once you unlock it, the P90, as in CoD 4, is the most deadly. The strategy remains nearly the same, as it does with light machine guns, though you can afford to keep more distance when using the big guns.

Sniper Tips

Being a bitch-ass annoying sniper is a little easier in MW2, mostly thanks to the early availability of the best rifle in the game, the Barrett .50CAL, the SPAS-12 shotgun and tactical insertion. As with the assault class, we’re big fans of the SPAS, and you’ll see why in the video below. As a secondary for snipers, it is brilliantly effective, because you generally only need to pull it out at very close range (someone in your roost).

Above: Sniping is a gentleman’s game, none of this frivolous bullet spraying! 

Tactical Insertion is likewise a wonderful tool, and it’s unlocked pretty early. If you haven’t played with it yet, TI is a flare which sets your next respawn point. Once you die and respawn on your flare, you have to drop another (it only lasts one death). The brilliant thing is that you can hide your flare near your stakeout and absolutely own a piece of the map. Snipe without fear of being shot from behind, because when you inevitably are, all you need to do is wait a few seconds, respawn, and knife or shotgun the invader. Then set another TI and go back to sniping. This technique is especially effective on Afghan, where there are lots of nice bunkers and lookout points. It also works well in Estate – note where we leave the flare in the video below, that’s a great spot…and then note us owning with the SPAS-12, picking off a few guys with the 50-cal, and calling in an AC-130.

As far as perks, not much is different. Sleight of Hand is still very handy (ha ha), Stopping Power will minimize the number of grazing shots, and Commando is hugely useful when someone invades your sniping roost and needs a good knifing. If, however, you like to be invisible, you can always go with perks like Cold-Blooded, Ninja, or Scrambler. Once you’ve leveled sufficiently, you may try One Man Army for the ability to switch classes mid-battle. You can even chain together multiple classes with the One Man Army perk, switching from sniper to close-range to heavy assault freely (though it does take a while to make the change).

One thing you should definitely avoid doing is silencing your rifle. It may be tempting, since it wasn’t possible in CoD 4, but you lose so much power and range that you’ll find yourself winging enemies you should have dropped, and you’ll soon become frustrated. We use the FMJ attachment, which increases bullet penetration.

Riot Shield Tips

Riot shields are excellent tools for team games, though they don’t really have a place in free-for-all matches. While you can kill with the shield (two melee attacks to the face, or one to the back), its primary purpose is to distract enemies while teammates pick them off. If you’re using a riot shield, you are a bullet sponge – soak up the lead, push the opposition back, and try to get them to bunch up. If you do that, your team can wash them with bullets like ants under a faucet.

Above: Screw productivity, we get points for being distractions 

Shields are also useful for defending and capturing objectives, and especially for holding up flag carrier pursuers during Capture-the-Flag.

Below is another video, this time of a death with a happy, triple-killy ending in team deathmatch – mostly accomplished with the secondary shotgun:

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  • Richard Chiodo - July 16, 2012 10:22 a.m.

    I Know This Postis OLD, But I Recently Discovered after Prestiging is Takes Time to unlock a good gun like m9 and to get the tactical knife for "stealth operations, =D" But I Also Discovered UsingThe "First Recon" Default Class Killing With The .44 Magnum via Bullets or /Tact. Knife They Count Towards Kills So In a ay You Can Unlock Tact. Knife For Your Custom classes for Those Stealth Operations.
  • MW2Maniac - March 27, 2011 8:18 p.m.

    the guide is much appreciated i have a question tho i am a lvl 20 although i need to plat more i think you should go wit the AA-12 or striker there my fav shoties my tag is REACHWARRIOR25 i may see you on ty
  • jakub-trust-wasilewski - April 4, 2012 5:38 a.m.

    no offence but sniping is intervention as a must, assult is ak 47 or famas, sub is most defenetly ump 45 with perks marathon cold blooded and ninja, riot is good with spas 12 aldough i prefeare the at4 hs or rpg-7, and light mashin gun as rpd because of its high accurucy and damege. you mostly got it wrong... im 10th and mostly for team games i use uav care pack and emergency air drop. if im going for a nuke i use harrier air strike choper gunner (it lasts longer then ac-130) and well nuke. if stealthy then use big uns like the kill streaks he used which were predator harrier air strike and ac-130. my x box gamer tag is Sinq shadowz and im going to change it to Jinz LoAdZ. im also geting a capture card called the roxio game capture costing 83 pounds with the post or $99 with post so you can messege me and i'm going to do montages and others in around 1 or 2 weeks time at the least a month. peace out
  • Scottster88 - October 13, 2010 7:39 p.m.

    Good stuff here. Thanks. There's a little more info here too that I found useful: Thanks again ^.^
  • andremurphy212 - September 26, 2010 5:19 p.m.

    Does any1 have any ideas as to how to easily get easy FMJ kills with the sniper rifle. I have the Barrett .50 cal w/ FMJ. also, the ACR is damn good at longer range. And dont mess with the SCAR since the accuracy on it sucks ass, unless u r used to high-power rifles. TANGO SUCKA!! -_-
  • andremurphy212 - September 20, 2010 9:28 p.m.

    Instead of tha scar-scavenger combo, the ACR-scavenger combo works alot better, since it fires faster and has a helluva lot more accuracy, so it makes for faster long-range kills. The intervention is good to master, since it has more accuracy than the .50 cal, and it has the exact same power, so all you need to deal with is the bolt action. The riot shield is good for protecting your TI, just in case some1 sees it and waits for u to respawn just to shoot u back down again.(Its hard to find a good TI location...:( btw, the ump45 silenced is good for a rush class... SoH is only good for a sniper, nothing else. scavenger, danger close, and commando are like the most godly rocket launcher class w/ an AR w/the grenade launcher and either the thumper, rpg-7, or the javelin. It always works. u dont hav 2 trust me, just read this over just in case u need a last minute resort. Lemme know if it worked out.
  • Midgetman377 - September 5, 2010 8:41 p.m.

    I've noticed that if you're playing domination, plant a C4 in a box near the flag and move on. If they try to capture the flag, you'll here it say that they're capturing the flag. If you blow it then you can get an easy kill.
  • ChucklesNM - September 4, 2010 1:41 a.m.

    Oh.... hah! Had I kept reading I'd have seen the Pro part of SoH, so now I get...... forgive the ignorance above.
  • ChucklesNM - September 4, 2010 1:31 a.m.

    Miss more shots because of Sleight of Hand???? You mean something else right, doesn't SoH only allow for faster mag changes?
  • ChucklesNM - September 4, 2010 1:28 a.m.

    Thanks Tyler, I'm sure to use most of this. Thanx again. \m/
  • Soapx - August 4, 2010 9:56 p.m.

    I am sorry but this guide is rather useless. i am final pristege in both cod4 and 6 and have been playing Call of duty since number 3. The best gun is the AK but definately for new players start with the famas but grab the scar-h asap. However While using the schar-h you definately need the scavanger perk, stopping power, and ninja. Lets face it as a newer player, you are going to burn through ammo be verry loud and have slow knife reactions. the attachment on the scar-h should be anything other than a sight, the metal sight on the scar-h is beautifull personally i use the silencer. For a sniper it does not mater what you use with it other than sight of hand!! if you dont use sight of hand (pro) i promise you you will die lots and miss far more shots. And for the riot shield , just dont go there. Thanx
  • andremurphy212 - August 2, 2010 7:35 p.m.

    One question... Which game mode helps u level up the fastest??
  • Manguy17 - June 4, 2010 10:51 a.m.

    you guys say you need slight of hand for the scar because it devours ammo quickly, in that case surely you would want scavenger instead? some of the stuff you guys advise seems a bit odd, but ill toy around with it anyway.
  • goldenbullet - May 9, 2010 5:42 a.m.

    Real good, the strategies go well with the stimulus package strategies also. Very good and one tip! always explore the maps like the quarry or the new stimulus maps.
  • mw2freak - April 20, 2010 2:05 p.m.

    Thanx Tyler now I can pound everybody in mw2
  • Merse91 - April 14, 2010 5:54 p.m.

    I HATE getting tactical happens all the time in free for all
  • travissmith - March 6, 2010 11:41 p.m.

    Put The ACOG scope on the Barret 50 cal and use like a assualt rifle you will get many one shot kills its also useful for longshots because its steady and you dont have to hold your breath. I have been playing for 2 1/2 years and this is an awsome set up for ranking up fast Add me to your friends on 360 Travman86 Thanks and good luck to all you players.
  • Matalgirrafe - March 4, 2010 4:21 a.m.

    Commander Crunch I completely agree they just get scared and just empty they're magazine into you, while they're reloading you throw the knife, works every time :D
  • Trayveon11 - February 15, 2010 6:03 a.m.

    everyone should add me on playstation network at Trayveon11
  • ten2oh9 - February 15, 2010 5:20 a.m.

    I miss the days of the first half life multiplayer counter strike - what happened to the good old vertical and horizontal sensitivity settings ??? this only adjusting the sensitivity as a whole is some bullsh*t ... i like my movement to feel heavy/steady but also fast if u can understand that ... but most of all i miss the simple play of everyone moves at the same pace , there wasnt nothing but ur weapons and aim , all this extra crap is ruining online play ... i do like some of it but i prefer the old ways , like the kill streak rewards, lame totally lame - u have enough crap to worry bout - to have to watch out for air strikes n what not , that just sucks ... the perks do make the game interesting but also ruin it , if im quicker to stab u i should kill u not the other way around bc u have a special perk ... but most of all this is a word of advise to all the idiots who have no idea about playing multiplayer games ... u see a guy bout to shoot down a heli or plane thats not urs, do everyone including urself a huge favor wait til he gets his shots off at the thing then kill him , seriously WTF u guys cant think n play at the same time ??? same thing goes for seeing a guy u know is trying to take out a sniper wait a sec then kill him !! to all u snipers theres time n places for it but to spend 60+ dollars on a game to just squat in one place all game , dude get a life winning isnt that important and alos its only a game if u die in COD u dont die in real life so please feel free to run around something amazing might happen like getting better at the game ... thats all for now ....