Modern Warfare 2 multiplayer strategy guide

We've played hundreds of rounds, some against the developers themselves - learn what we know

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.

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 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:


Associate Editor, Digital at PC Gamer
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