This year’s Call of Duty World championship had 32 teams (that’s 128 players) competing for gaming glory – and a $1m prize pot – in downtown Los Angeles.
And despite the huge wealth of weapons and special abilities (or “perks”) available in the latest CoD title, Advanced Warfare, we noticed that the same selections were coming up time and time again during the competition.
So here are the 12 weapons and perks favoured by the world’s most skilful and tactically astute Call of Duty players. If you’re looking to up your game - even just on public servers - bear these in mind.
ASM1 submachine gun
This was the go-to submachine gun for all the pro players throughout the championship. It has little to no recoil and, being highly effective up to medium range with the foregrip attachment, is perfectly suited for both “slayers” (the team members who concentrate on taking out enemies) and “objective players” (who carry out the mode objectives like capturing flags or scoring uplinks). It’s the perfect choice for players who are constantly moving quickly throughout the map.
Bal 27 Assault Rifle
The Bal-27 is the most commonly used assault rifle among the pro players due to its incredibly high fire-rate with minimum recoil and a fast TTK (time to kill). It was the most-used gun by James “Clayster” Eubanks from Team Denial on his road to winning both the championship and the MVP (most valuable player) award. It allowed him to both slay and maintain map control, often staking out the middle channel and preventing enemy incursions: it is what this weapon is best suited to thanks to its medium to long-range effectiveness.
MORS sniper rifle
The MORS sniper rifle was the most favoured long-distance weapon throughout the championship. It’s commonly used with the thermal scope attachment, though some players like Optic Gamin star Matthew “Nadeshot” Haag prefers the variable zoom as it cannot be countered by the Cold Blooded perk. This weapon is perfect in game modes such as Search and Destroy where each team is trying to make the first kill to give them a crucial early advantage. It is also essential for holding map lanes with long lines of sight like Ascend.
This short-range blaster is only employed on very specific maps such as Detroit where a lot of the key choke points involve quick, close engagements; in these situations, it’s an effective counter to the standard ASM1s. This was one of the very few specialist weapons we saw during the championship, though Nadeshot did pull out an Ameli light machine gun to provide suppression fire during a Detroit Uplink match against Faze Red.
When you absolutely, positively have to clear out a space very quickly, Semtex is an effective option. Players will often put this in two loud-out slots, allowing them to lob a couple of grenades for extra potency. It’s especially useful for emptying hardpoints and at the start of maps where pro players will have a rough idea of enemy destinations. While stun grenades can be more effective in most situations, there are often “nade spots” (positions with obscured views) at the start of maps that veterans can accurately lob Semtex over into high traffic areas to gain quick kills.
Stun grenades send out a bright flash of light which slows and disorients opponents. They are the most commonly used equipment in the pro game for a number of reasons. The majority of pro players don’t use the Hardwired perk which counters stuns. These grenades also have a wide blast radius allowing you to locate enemy locations more easily compared with frag grenades. This is especially helpful in the Search and Destroy mode, where grabbing early kills is a huge advantage due to the lack of respawns. It’s also useful when trying to take control of hardpoints.
Reducing the amount of aim and screen flinch that affects your vision when hit, this is the most commonly used perk in pro Call of Duty. It allows players to win more one-on-one gunfights and provides just a touch more accuracy, which is key when playing at the top level.
Blast suppressor perk
This perk allows you to remain invisible on the mini-map while using your exo-suit movement capabilities. This is key if you want to move quickly around the map without being called out by your opponents. It’s great for getting in behind the enemy team or reaching hardpoint rotations as quickly as possible.
Another perk that’s almost universally employed on the pro circuit. It increases your character’s movement speed allowing you to quickly take control of choke points or objectives on the map.
This one prevents you from showing up in an opponent’s thermal scope. It is mostly used in Search and Destroy where sniper rifles with thermal imaging are commonly employed to grab quick long-range kills. Against a skilled sniper with long sight lines, this is often the only way to get to key locations on the map without being killed.
Hardwired is another perk used in very specific circumstances as it requires players to drop the much more widely-used Toughness option. It renders you immune to the stun and EMP grenades often employed to protect base areas and is therefore utilised mostly by objective players, like Chris “Replays” Crowder of Denial, while trying to capture a flag.
Overkill wild card
This allows players to carry two primary weapons instead of a primary and a secondary. Most pros at the Call of Duty Championships used this to let them carry both a sniper rifle and an SMG, the latter with Advanced Rifling as an attach, which extends the barrel and increases range by 25%.
This article was written by Ben Perkin and Keith Stuart, for theguardian.com on Tuesday 31st March 2015 11.05 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010