All who play Call of Duty: Warzone, even gods of the game such as Shroud and JackFrags, will experience defeat at some point. If players are killed before the fifth circle closes, they are taken to the Gulag, a dark and dirty prison where players are forced to fight each other to respawn.
Every player will have won a duel and returned victorious to the Warzone, just as they will have lost and had to watch the other players fight on.
Here are our nine top tips to help you win duels in the Call of Duty: Warzone Gulag.
You can spend the preparation phase running around the upper level of the Gulag and throwing rocks at competing players or spend it doing something that may give you an advantage when it’s finally your time to fight – spraying others.
Using the D-pad on console and holding the T key on PC, you can spray eight different symbols on to any surface including other player models. Sprays are rarely used for meaningful communication in-game but spraying opponents with bright yellow or pink symbols can make them stand out a lot more on the dark Gulag floor.
The jury is still out as to whether this makes a difference to win percentages but player models stand out significantly more when they have been sprayed. Even if it doesn’t make a significant difference to the dual’s outcome, it’s something to do in the prep phase.
Study the map
While this may sound obvious, studying the Gulag map and understanding the most optimal routes in the split second before an engagement could be the difference between victory and defeat.
Essentially, the Gulag has three lanes – left, right and centre with cover in either spawn location. Knowledge of the Gulag map will allow you to take advantage of the cover, choke points and blind spots as well as help you to keep your guard up.
It is worth considering there are three variations of the map so it’s important to know which map you’re on as soon as you spawn so you can adapt on the fly.
Different load-outs, different strategies
When you spawn, you’ll see your load-out on the right of the screen, which will consist of a primary weapon, one item of lethal, and one item of tactical equipment. There are only a limited number of weapons you can spawn with – the R9-0, 725 and Origin 12 shotguns; and the X16, 1911, 357 and .50 GS handguns.
Make sure you consider the weaponry every time you spawn on to the Gulag floor. Shotguns are excellent in CQB so get in close and utilise hip-fire, whereas pistols are better from a slightly further distance where ADS-aim becomes a more important factor.
Rush those lanes
About 90% of the time, rushing is the aim of the game in the Gulag. With so many different hiding spots and routes available, getting the jump on your opponent becomes even more vital. If you stay in spawn, you will most likely be flushed out with lethal equipment or run out of time when the centre flag appears.
You should sprint down one of the three lanes, get behind cover and pre-aim a corner. If your opponent doesn’t show, you know they are on the other side of the map or back in their spawn – either way, it’s extra information for you to use. Just remember, sprinting after this initial step will increase your sprint-out time, meaning it will take longer for you to ADS or hip-fire. Sprint early, sneak later.
Additionally, if you land a long-range shot that weakens your opponent always rush them – failure to do this when you have the HP advantage allows them to start regenerating health. However, the panic that forces them to retreat at that point also gives you the extra millisecond to either use your equipment or outflank them.
Slide, slide, slide
When peeking round corners or rushing lanes, most of the player’s base will have their crosshairs at eye-level with ADS aimed at the upper chest/neck of opponents.
If you’re in an engagement with your opponent, especially in CQB, and you are at a lower height thanks to the sliding animation, the other player will have to take that extra millisecond to adjust their aim down to you. These are crucial milliseconds you can use to get off the first shot or lock-in that aim for the head shot.
Don’t forget equipment
In most Gulag duals a player’s equipment never gets used because the fight is over before the three-second equipment delay ends. If a dual goes beyond this timer and the equipment becomes available, use it. Seriously, use it!
Tactical equipment can give you an incredible advantage in gunfights. A well-placed smoke grenade can conceal your flank or cause your opponent to panic if it lands close to them. Alternatively, stun and flash grenades can give you an advantage in pushing your enemy – at the very least, they act as a portable UAV that gives you information on their location.
Lethal equipment is a different kettle of fish altogether. Claymores and mines can prevent your opponents from flanking you, while Semtex and grenades can take out opponents or flush them out from cover.
The best way to play Call of Duty: Warzone is with friends and headsets. This not only makes the game more fun but also makes it much easier by allowing clearer call-outs and tactics.
If another team member is sent to the Gulag at the same time as you, they can act as a caster, calling out the real-time movement of your opponent and removing the guessing factor of route-taking.
If you don’t have team-mates in the Gulag or access to a headset, you can use the stones players throw as an indicator of your opponent’s position.
Touch the flag
When a dual goes on too long without a winner, a central flag spawns that acts as a capture contract. The first player to capture the central area is declared winner of the fight. However, it takes several seconds for this process to complete once started.
What most players don’t realise is if you touch the flag, you’ll automatically regenerate to full health. If you’re in a Gulag stalemate and have sustained damage, touch the flag so you can get back into the fight at full health – your opponent won’t expect to have to use those extra bullets to take you out.
Practise in Gunfight
While taking these tips into consideration will give you a slight advantage in the Gulag, there’s no better tactic than practising one-on-one fights. The best training arena in Call of Duty is Gunfight – the small player count, one-life game mode.
This mode will not only teach you strategies and tactics that will help you in Gulag duels but will also vastly improve your reaction time. Most Gunfight maps are larger than the ones players experience in Warzone but most engagements will be quick-time, reaction-based fights.
So practise, practise and practise some more.
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