How to play defensively

As you might have noticed, I’ve moved this blog to mw2tactics.net. I hope to see you there!

In a a previous post, titled ‘Basic playing styles’ I distinguish roughly four playing styles: camping, playing defensively, playing stealthy and rushing. Now I’d like to share some thoughts about playing defensively. In my opinion, this type of playing style is often overlooked by players, not only because they will be called ‘camper’ but also because it requires some more patience and sometimes more thought. Read on to gather some tips on how to play defensively in the Modern Warfare 2 multiplayer.

Introduction
Well, I can really sum it up in one sentence: don’t rush into enemy lines, let them come to you! You have to be like spider-like; spinning a web and waiting for a fly to get stuck. And you have to be eagle-like at the same time; overlooking a large area and if when movement is detected, we go after the prey and kill it! Is it that easy? Not really, but it’s not super hard either.

So let’s just make some things clear, so that we fully understand the principles of playing defensively. The word says it all: it is about defending something (area, building, flag, bomb, etc). If you are pushing up towards the enemy (flanking or not), you are not playing defensive. You may very well be extremely cautious doing this, but you are still actively moving towards the enemy. The key point in defensive play is letting the enemy come to you (or killing them on long range). So your movement is limited, confined to a certain area.

Controlling part of the map
One way of doing so is to control a building or corner of the map. This works very well with a shotgun and claymores. Choose a building or portion of the map with few entrances, preferably just two (for instance the central building on Derail). For the first perk, Scavenger is very useful, enabling you to place two claymores (once you collect one of those packages). Here’s a quick video where I take over the central building on Derail. Why this video? Well, you might have seen other videos, perhaps even with a similar playing style, but most of those guys are really, really talented players. I’m most certainly not. Still I’m able to do really well, both for the objective and for my kill/death-ratio. I don’t take any flags in this clip of the game, but my air support and occupation of the center building enables my team to take some flags and to defend from that same building.

There’s a few things I’d like to point out. When I head over to the central building, you see me using a lot of cover. It’s good practice to learn and utilize available cover. Then when I’m indoors, I switch to my shotgun as it is an one hit kill if you do it right. You see me failing with the shotgun three times. There’s no excuse, make sure your aim’s dead on and there’s no doorway partially catching your bullets, and you’re good to go. Notice the claymores. The one at the wide stairs (the ‘B’ entrance if you will) isn’t positioned to kill on every occasion, because of the type of entrance this is simply not possible. But I do know that it HAS to be triggered in order to pass, so I will at least hear them coming and if I’m lucky the claymore will even hurt or kill the enemy. The one on the smaller stairs is positioned quite nice, when they turn for the last part of the stairs they will immediately trigger it, making it very effective (as you see). They are also unable to shoot it without triggering it that way. Only way past is by using a stun or flash (or Scrambler Pro). So that’s a trick you can take with you, a claymore halfway on partially obscured stairs (no I did not invent it, I got killed by it a few times and copied it).

So even if my claymores don’t kill, they are still pretty good alarm signals. There are a few occasions where the claymore goes off without killing anyone. You see me grabbing my shotgun and shooting them. I have the advantage, because I know exactly where they are, when I’m going to go round the corner (response time advantage!) and they only know that I’m somewhere in the building.

Instead of just claymores and shotguns, it was my intention to shoot with the ACR on longer range, defending B and C. But they just keep coming so I’m able to build up my killstreak and thereby giving my team a big advantage. In the end of the clip I get killed, a bit of bad luck I guess. Fortunately I watched a bit of the killcam, so my claymores lasted until I spawned, killing my killer. Payback! We ended up winning, because we were able to keep at least two flags for the rest of the game. I regret not being able to make some kills with my ACR (well I do later on), but occupying the central building and getting a killstreak reward really does work for the team.

So to summarize: choose one enclosed area of the map with good overview and few entrances. Place a claymore near one entrance, make a kill or collect a Scavenger package and place another claymore on the other entrance. Once a claymore goes off, walk up to it with your shotgun, kill the enemy and replace claymore. In between try to make some long range shots (don’t expose yourself too much in front of the windows though).

Recommended video
Here’s a video from Blame Truth on Skidrow, which inspired my video. He demonstrates the effectiveness of this technique in the hands of a superior player, giving some nice commentary as well.

Conclusion
So I suggest you try out this technique and see if it works for you. Remember though, that it’s not about getting the most kills but about winning. It’s defensive play, so use that to defend the flag! Or mix it up a little: you could for instance rush and play aggressive to take over a flag and then switch to your defensive class. Know when to use it and when not to, and you’ll probably end up winning more games and perhaps improving your k/d-ratio as well.

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  1. Your post encouraged me to try that on Skidrow. It worked well enough but my team mates on TDM picked up the scavenger packs before I could and never dropped claymores. 😦

    As I found out, a grenade launcher is a good anti camping tool. There’s almost always an offensive tool you can use against any play style.

    • Thanks for leaving a comment. Too bad it didn’t work out with the claymores! I guess in TDM the team sticks more together, making this a little more difficult.

      The grenade launcher is indeed a good anti-camping tool. That’s the downside of staying in one position; you’re very vulnerable to explosives. Once they know you’re there and they are determined to get you, they will. So I tend to stay in a certain spot for some time, and then move on. This definitely helps to cut down on grenade launcher-deaths.

  2. I cant believe there’s another MW2 blogger out there, good post

    • Yeah, I noticed I wasn’t the only one a few weeks ago. Doensn’t matter though, the more the merrier! Like your blog, quite a few nice posts!

  3. If I had a dollar for each time I came here.. Superb post!

  1. February 24th, 2010

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