Vanguard Zombies guide, Der Anfang objectives, Covenants, Artifacts and more

vanguard zombies
(Image credit: Activision)

The new Call of Duty: Vanguard Zombies experience, Der Anfang is way different than you might be used to. The full Vanguard Zombies Der Anfang Easter egg is delayed and arriving later, leaving  the new adventure streamlined and simplified, ideal for newcomers. However, since there are so many new changes, veteran players might be unfamiliar with how things work, while new players will also likely need assistance learning the ropes.

In this Vanguard Zombies Der Anfang guide, we’ll walk you through how everything works, with everything you’ll need to know to survive. This Vanguard Zombies guide will also detail the new changes, such as the perks, the objective system, and more. 

Vanguard Zombies Loadout 

vanguard zombies

(Image credit: Activision)

While Der Anfang is way different than any other Zombies experience, the ideal loadout you bring with you is similar to previous installments. You’ll either want to bring a shotgun, LMG, or assault rifle with plenty of ammo so you can mow down enemies.

Shotguns are always a great choice for their crowd control qualities, as they can typically take down a zombie in one hit if you’re close enough. The best setup is to have a shotgun and an automatic rifle so you can cover all your bases.

 Vanguard Zombies Artifacts 

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(Image credit: Activision)

Vanguard Zombies Artifacts are sort of like powerups or special moves that you can equip to your loadout. There are four total: 

  • Energy Mine - The Dragon of Saraxis spawns an Aethereal explosive, dealing massive damage to enemies who set it off.
  • Aether Shroud - The Mask of Bellekar cloaks you in Dark Aether, masking your presence from enemies for 5 seconds.
  • Ring of Fire - The Sword of Inviktor sparks a ring of Aethereal flame to boost damage for anyone within its radius for 15 seconds.
  • Frost Blast - The Horn of Norticus summons a frigid vortex, damaging enemies with the initial blast and slowing those that enter.

Not only do these serve as powers you can use during the game, but each Artifact corresponds to a Dark Aether entity who will talk to you throughout the match.


We cover the new Vanguard zombies perks system in our dedicated guide but the main idea is that you’ll want to open up areas of the map to acquire new perks. These perks give you permanent enhancements, with four tiers that can be upgraded. 

 The perks are as follows: 

  • Fiendish Fortitude - Increases health 
  • Aethereal Haste - Boosts movement speed
  • Diabolical Damage - Increases critical damage
  • Venomous Vigor - Boosts regen speed
  • Demonic Frenzy - Boosts reload speed


The biggest change with Vanguard Zombies is the inclusion of three objectives that need to be completed in order to advance rounds. There are three objectives that appear randomly across several locations, each marked on your HUD as you play. By taking the portal that ties to an objective, you’ll be teleported to a new location, with the goal of completing a certain task. Once you finish the objective, you’re sent back to the main hub area.

Here’s a breakdown of each objective.

Vanguard Zombies Blitz

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For Vanguard Zombies Blitz, you simply need to survive the time limit, which is shown in the upper left-hand corner of your screen. Depending on which map you’re sent to, things can get tough quickly, as many of the levels are small and difficult to navigate. You don’t need to earn a certain number of kills to progress - simply survive until the timer reaches zero and you’ll complete this objective.

Vanguard Zombies Harvest

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Vanguard Zombies Harvest requires you to collect Runestones that randomly drop from eliminated zombies. You need to deliver five of these Runestones to the nearby Sin Eater, which is basically a large obelisk. After you’ve delivered five, the Sin Eater will change locations two more times for a total of three. 

You aren’t timed for this objective, which means you can farm kills for as long as you’d like during these sections. Once you’ve delivered the final Runestone, you’ll complete the objective.

Vanguard Zombies Transmit 

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The Vanguard Zombies Transmit objective is essentially an escort mission, wherein you must stick close to an Aether Orb (floating zombie head) to get it to advance to the finish. You have to be within a few meters of the head for it to move, so make sure you stick close. To see the overall progress, check the top left-hand side of the screen. Like Harvest, you can farm kills for as long as you’d like, so long as you don’t fully escort the floating head.

One thing to keep in mind is that you must stick within the large radius of the Aether Orb in order to succeed. If you go outside this radius - indicated by an orange/yellow light - you’ll be instructed to turn back.

Vanguard Zombies Altar of Covenants 

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Another change this time around is the Vanguard Zombies Altar of Covenants, which is a new point of interest in the Fountain Square area of the hub. Here, you’ll be able to purchase a Covenant, which is like a perk that gives you some sort of bonus.

Each time you complete an objective, you’re rewarded with a Sacrificial Heart, which can be spent at the Altar. You have three slots (shown under the Active Covenants section), with several random options that appear after each round at the top. As the rounds progress, the rarity of the Covenants increase. As the rarity increases, the effectiveness of the Covenants becomes stronger.

There are lots of different Covenants that can appear, so we always recommend stopping by after an objective to see what’s available. You can swap them out as you see fit, so long as you have a Sacrificial Heart to spare. Keep in mind, you can have up to three equipped at any given time.

The Covenants that refill ammo or negate item usage are the best, as they can help you when you’re in a bind, but all of them are useful in their own ways. 


vanguard zombies

(Image credit: Activision)

Der Anfang does have a Pack-a-Punch machine, though it isn’t anywhere near as nuanced as previous Zombies experiences. There are three tiers that climb in value, which we’ll outline below:

  • Tier 1: 7,500 points
  • Tier 2: 15,000 points
  • Tier 3: 30,000 points

Ammo mods are tied to Covenants, so the only thing you can do at the Pack-a-Punch machine is upgrade your weapon up to three times total. It costs a lot of points to do so, which can make things difficult in the early stages.

There are no weapon rarities, so the only thing you need to be concerned with is the tier at which a weapon can be upgraded via the Pack-a-Punch machine. There are four tiers that tie to a weapon color:

  • Grey - No upgrade
  • Blue - Tier 1 
  • Purple - Tier 2
  • Orange - Tier 3

As you climb through the rounds, you can actually find weapons that are already upgraded by defeating enemies, opening boxes, or from the Mystery Box. You can obviously also upgrade any weapon yourself at the Pack-a-Punch machine. 

Mystery Box 

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The Mystery Box returns in Der Anfang and it’s found on the west side of the Fountain Square area on the map. It’s 950 points to try your luck and get a random weapon. Much like other aspects of Der Anfang, the weapons will increase in rarity as you reach higher rounds. For this reason, we actually recommend using the box when you get to later stages, as you have a chance of acquiring a Tier 3 Pack-a-Punch weapon, which beats having to spend 30,000 points. 

Since you can’t buy weapons from the walls like in previous games, you’ll want to prioritize hitting the box a few times when you start to have a second decent weapon as you play. 

Match flow 

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(Image credit: Activision)

The overall flow of Vanguard Zombies Der Anfang is vastly different from any Zombies experience, mainly because it doesn’t feature traditional rounds or a main quest to follow (yet). Instead, the only way to advance each round is by completing one of the three aforementioned objectives, Blitz, Harvest, and Transmit.

Each of these objectives are marked on your HUD and at the start of a game and completing one of them will unlock that area of the map. After you finish an objective, you’ll be sent back to the main hub area, and another random task will appear. Once you return, more zombies will fill up the main hub area, giving you a great opportunity to rack up on points. Remember to upgrade your armor at the Crafting Station by spending Salvage you pick up from zombies.

In essence, the main idea is to complete an objective, return to the hub to get stocked up on gear, take out zombies, and complete another objective. Rinse and repeat. Things tend to get old quickly since there are only three objectives to choose from, and no main quest.

Each round is more difficult than the last, and the longer you last, the larger the group of zombies will be. There are two other zombie types to look out for, including the Sturmkrieger (heavy type that shoots at you) and the Boom-Schreier (a red zombie that explodes when shot).

After round 5, you’ll be given the option to exfil.

Vanguard Zombies Exfil 

The Vanguard Zombies exfil process has been simplified as well. Now, after you reach round five, you’ll be able to initiate the exfil process by interacting with the symbol on the fountain in the hub area. After you do this, you’ll need to kill a certain number of zombies to get the exfil portal to spawn.

You aren’t timed during this section, so you can eliminate zombies at your own leisure. Once you’ve defeated the required number of zombies, a portal will spawn in a random location, which is marked on your HUD.

From here, you have 40 seconds to reach the portal. At this point, we advise throwing Monkey Bombs or Decoy grenades to increase your chance of survival. Once you arrive at the portal, interact with it to escape. If you don’t make it in time, you will fail and the match will be over. 

Joseph Yaden

Joseph loves Nintendo and horror games. With the Nintendo Switch, he's ready to get spooky anytime, anywhere. He specializes in covering Call of Duty: Warzone and action RPGs like Dark Souls, so you can bet he's looking forward to Elden Ring, the brainchild of George RR Martin and Hidetaka Miyazaki. You can find Joseph's work at GamesRadar, Digital Trends, Inverse, and PLAY Magazine. When he's not writing about video games he can usually be found petting his cats and listening to some Progressive Metal. He thinks Meshuggah is tight.