The undead war is here
Call of Duty: Vanguard Zombies takes a drastic approach to the mode, completely overhauling its flow and mechanics. But while Zombies may look different, it thankfully plays very similarly to older versions.
To ensure you’re prepared for the revamped undead hordes, here are the best builds to help you wade through Vanguard's Zombies, and how you can make the most out of the new additions.
Artifacts And Their Abilities
Before we dive into the loadouts, here’s a quick summary of the abilities you’ll be using. At Vanguard’s launch, there are four artifacts for players to choose from in Zombies. You’ll pick these before loading up a game of Zombies, and they can have a substantial impact on your run. Artifacts act as abilities that players can use multiple times but must recharge in between uses. Here are the current artifacts as well as their abilities:
- Aether Shroud: Envelops the player in a dark cloak that hides them from enemies for five seconds.
- Energy Mine: Spawns an aether mine that deals damage to enemies in a radius when set off.
- Frost Blast: Creates a vortex that deals initial damage then slows enemies that pass through it.
- Ring of Fire: Creates a ring of fire that increases the damage of players in it for 15 seconds.
How To Use The Altar Of Covenants
The Altar of Covenants is a new addition in Call of Duty: Vanguard's Zombies mode. If you've ever played a roguelite, this system may sound familiar. At the Altar, you can choose between three random covenants out of a total of 11. At any given time, you can have three covenants equipped. These covenants offer varying gameplay modifiers, such as Cryofreeze which causes bullets to have a chance to slow enemies.
Completing objectives gives you hearts, which are spent at the altar to gain covenants. All covenants have different rarity levels that can be obtained, with each level augmenting the effect in some way. You should save up your hearts for the first few rounds, as the chance to buy a rare covenant increases with higher levels. You won't need the extra boost in the early stages anyway. There are a lot of different synergies to try out with these covenants, and we've picked out some great ones below.
Shotguns were the core of Cold War's Zombies meta for some time, and Vanguard isn't looking too different in that regard. While most shotguns will carry you through a fair few Zombies rounds, the starter Einhorn Revolving shotgun surprisingly stands above the rest. When equipped with the 16 Gauge 7-Round Cylinder Magazine, you are practically unstoppable with the right covenants. This magazine is just as fast to reload as a speed mag and can hold up to 18 rounds when pack-a-punched. Here's the full loadout we recommend:
- Weapon: Einhorn Revolving
- Covenants: Dead Accurate, Death Blow, And Brain Rot
- Perks: Diabolical Damage, Aethereal Haste
- Artifact: Ring of Fire
Dead Accurate increases damage when shooting the same enemy multiple times (or any enemy with the legendary version). Death Blow gives you another bullet in your clip when getting a critical hit. The gist of this build is to always shoot for headshots; they'll give you higher-than-typical critical damage and reload your shotgun. Aim well and you'll barely ever have to reload. Ring of Fire further increases your damage, and Brain Rot is just an added bonus that gives the chance to turn a zombie into an ally when you shoot them.
Best Tank Build
While there aren't typical classes in Zombies, Vanguard's change-ups give players the ability to make some pseudo-ones on the fly. If you find that your team needs a damage sponge to soak up the zombie hits, this is just the build:
- Weapon: SMG or Assault Rifle
- Covenants: Bloodlust, Splatterfest, Unholy Ground
- Perks: Fiendish Fortitude, Venomous Vigor
- Artifact: Frost Blast
Bloodlust causes melee attacks to do more damage and heal the player, which can get you out of a pinch. Unholy Ground causes you to do more damage while stationary, and Splatterfest at its legendary level causes enemies that have died by explosions to have a high chance of exploding themselves. Coupled with Frost Blast, these covenants will mean you'll be able to take on and manage full waves of the undead.
Best DPS And Crowd Control Build
Some of the new covenants are designed to match up with others to produce some unreal results. If you're looking to do some massive damage, here's the build for you:
- Weapon: Assault Rifle or LMG
- Covenants: Cull The Weak, Cryofreeze, Mother Lode
- Perks: Diabolical Damage, Demonic Frenzy
- Artifact: Frost Blast
Cull The Weak and Cryofreeze synergize extremely well. With Cryofreeze, there's a small chance that enemies will be slowed when shot. Cull The Weak causes you to deal more damage to slowed or stunned enemies. See where this is going? Combined with Frost Blast, you can nearly always do extra damage to zombies with these covenants. Finally, Mother Lode gives a small chance for thrown equipment to be replenished, further adding to your firepower.