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How to survive the Gulag in Call of Duty: Warzone

Call of Duty: Warzone introduces plenty of new concepts to the tried-and-true battle royale formula, but none are as interesting as the Gulag. This is a place — more specifically a prison — where two players who have been eliminated can earn a chance to get back into the action. However, they’ll first have to survive a one-on-one duel.

Further Reading

How it works

The Gulag in Call of Duty: Warzone is pretty straightforward. When players are killed in battle, they’re sent to the Gulag and put on a “waiting list.” While waiting, they can aimlessly wander the prison halls, throw rocks at the two competitors down below, or get into fistfights with another player. None of this really matters — it’s just a way to kill time until it’s their turn to jump down into the pit. When their number is finally called, they’re put up against another eliminated combatant in a tense one-versus-one match. Both combatants are given the same random weapon, and 15 seconds are thrown on the clock. Whoever is standing at the end can jump back into the battle royale action.

Conversely, if no one is dead when the timer runs out, whoever manages to capture the flag in the middle of the prison wins. It can be tricky to pull off but is a great strategy for those who know what they’re doing.

Players are only sent to the Gulag once. That means if you die after being sent back into the action, you won’t get a second chance. The Gulag eventually closes as the battle royale match comes to a close, meaning competitors who die toward the end of a round won’t get to take advantage of the unique system.

Play to your weapon

Each round of the Gulag will play out differently from the last, and that’s largely because you’ll be given a random weapon before the start of the match. Unfortunately, this means players who haven’t mastered all the guns in the game could be at a terrible disadvantage. For example, if you’re great with an assault rifle but are clueless with a shotgun, then you’d better pray the Gulag doesn’t hand you an R9-0.

By learning all the weapons in the game — and how to effectively use them — you can keep your edge when trying to fight back into the battle. Don’t try to aggressively rush with an assault rifle, and don’t sit back on your laurels with a shotgun. Adjust your strategy based on your weapon and you’ll have a better chance of coming out on top.

Listen for footsteps

Not confident with a certain weapon or just too scared to advance? Although it’s not usually the best tactic in the Gulag, you can still be victorious by playing conservatively. The Gulag offers a few good hiding spots — just pick a corner, listen for footsteps, and try to anticipate where your opponent is. If you’re lucky, you’ll get the jump on them and land a few solid shots. Even better — if you have teammates waiting in the Gulag, they can actually communicate with you and call out your opponent’s location. Listening to your dead teammates is a much better tactic than trying to hear footsteps in the noisy Gulag, but you’ll have to make do with what you have.

Don’t waste your grenades

Along with a primary weapon, you’ll sometimes get a smoke or flash grenade. Don’t be afraid to use these — after all, the rounds are incredibly short — but don’t throw them away without thinking. If you can’t find your enemy, throw a grenade in their most likely hiding spot. Then you can safely advance and finish the job.

Check your lanes

Many top-tier players suggest pushing toward the center of the Gulag as soon as the match starts. While moving forward, watch the lanes in front of you for movement. As you close in, keep your left or right side covered by a wall and sweep your weapon across the room, checking for the enemy as you do so. This is a great way to eliminate hiding spots for your rival while keeping yourself protected. Plus, you’ll be closer to the flag at the center of the Gulag — the key to victory if your fellow prisoner is playing hard to get.

A finale at the flag

There are a few different ways to play the flag, but it all comes down to what you think would work best in the heat of the moment. The flag only appears after the 15-second timer is up, but once it’s available you’ll need to start closing in on it. Your opponent should be doing the same.

If you’re able to get to the flag first, you have two options — stay put and fight off your rival or back away and trick them into rushing. Staying put is an obvious strategy. After all, you’ll win the round if you can capture it. But once you set foot in the flag’s territory, your opponent will get a verbal alert that you’re starting to secure the point. This will bring them rushing toward you, guns blazing. Fight them off and you’re back in the game.

Or, you could trick them into rushing the flag. Simply head toward the flag, start capturing it, and then back away. They’ll still be alerted that you’re securing the area, so they’ll likely make a beeline toward the center of the map. If you’ve pulled away from that location, then you’ll have a great opportunity to take a shot at your opponent and finish them off. There’s no right way to play the flag — just do what feels best in the moment and play to the advantage of your weapons.

Winning the Gulag is a combination of luck and skill

Even if you play the perfect round, there’s a chance you’ll be defeated by your opponent. Whether it’s a lucky shot, another prisoner giving away your position by hurling rocks at you, or even triggering a C4 with a well-placed throw, there’s a lot left up to luck in the Gulag. The key is to understand the strengths of your weapon, play to your own abilities, and track your opponent as best as possible. Do all these things and — with any luck — you’ll be parachuting back into Verdansk.

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