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Season 2 ‘Warzone Pacific’ loadout guide: The best guns, attachments and perks

The Washington Post logo The Washington Post 12/17/2021 Hawken Miller
© The Washington Post illustration; Activision

This article was updated Feb. 17.

The Season 2 update for “Warzone Pacific” introduces a number of changes to the map and two new weapons. However, a slew of minor changes by Raven Software will make you want to rethink which weapons you’ll want to select in your loadout.

The two new weapons released in this season — the KG M40 assault rifle, and the Whitley light machine gun (LMG) — fall into the middle of the pack in terms of viability. They’re usable, but not meta. Anthony Zachman, founder of Call of Duty weapon-testing site TrueGameData, scored them a six out of 10.

In the patch notes for this major update, developers noted they had changed the ballistics behavior of “Vanguard” weapons to better match with “Modern Warfare” (2019) and “Black Ops: Cold War” weapons. Unofficial “Warzone” weapons tester James “JGOD” Godoy noted in a recent video that this usually means updating bullet velocity, travel speed and penetration. Godoy also added that bullet velocity for “Vanguard” weapons had been slower by approximately 20 percent or more previously.

That means “Vanguard” weapons can now better compete with “modern” weapons from “Cold War” and “Modern Warfare” games. A series of nerfs and buffs to base weapon statistics and attachments have also helped settle the choicest weapons.

In another key change, developers reduced the base burn damage of “Vanguard” incendiary rounds from nine to six and instead of decreasing damage range by 5 percent, it decreased overall damage by 10 percent (3 percent for sniper rifles).

You might consider swapping out incendiary ammo from your loadouts now, but keep in mind it does still have the effect of preventing players from re-plating while they’re burning.

Finally, you can now create custom weapon blueprints for “Vanguard” weapons, which saves you the time of having to add 10 new attachments every time you’d like to create a new “Vanguard” loadout.

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Between “Cold War,” “Modern Warfare” and now “Vanguard,” there are plenty of well-rounded weapons to choose from. From those weapons, it’s important to pick one that you are most comfortable using. Remember, our approach is that there is no universal best weapon or loadout, just the weapon or loadout that feels best for a particular player.

Read on below for more detail on loadouts, weapon classes and equipment that will prepare you for your next drop.

Viable primary and secondary weapons

Note: “Vanguard”-eligible weapons are in italics. Guns with multiple versions are noted in parentheses.

Assault rifles: AK-47 (CW), C58, Grau 5.56, XM4, M13, STG-44, Cooper Carbine, BAR, M40, Automaton

The most frequent “Vanguard” assault rifles you’ll see players carrying are the STG-44 and the Cooper Carbine, both feature very low recoil even at range. The STG is a good option for taking down enemies at a distance because it does a good amount of damage relative to its recoil. The Cooper Carbine is likewise a strong option, mostly thanks to its ridiculous fire rate when fully kitted out.

In Season 2, developers added the M40 assault rifle. It has very low recoil when built out with the best attachments. The only downside is that the time to kill is quite low, compared to other weapons with low recoil, such as the Grau and M13.

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Ricky “DougDagnabbit” Hobbs, owner of ModernWarzone, a news website for popular first-person shooter games, noted in a January interview that most engagements in Caldera are longer range, and optic selection should be adjusted accordingly. Even though Caldera and Verdansk are essentially the same size, there are slightly fewer points of interest, and the open areas provide for long-range gunfights. He suggests using the SVT-40 PU Scope 3-6x attachment, as it allows you to home in on distant enemies obscured by tropical fauna.

From the “older” ARs, the M13 and Grau stand out because of their accuracy and fire rates and are solid all-around choices. So too does the C58, which had minor increases in recoil, but still doles out quite a bit of damage (think back to the EM2). In my personal experience playing on keyboard and mouse, the XM4 is harder to control, but downs enemies quite fast if you can hit your shots.

© Activision/Activision

SMG: MP-40, PPSh-41 (VG), Welgun, AUG (MW), LAPA, M1912, Type 100

The first thing you’ll notice is the lack of “Cold War” weapons, with one exception. The high-damage dealing OTs-9 got nerfed into the ground. Additionally, the movement speed of the Raider and SAS combat stock were reduced by 25 percent, which detracts from the entire play style of SMGs.

Of the “Vanguard” weapons I chose to highlight, the PPSh-41 is by far the best secondary to pair with your long-range AR or sniper. Developer Raven Software did nerf the weapon in their Dec. 10 patch, but the high fire rate and accuracy ensures the PPSh will still be a big part of the Caldera arsenal. The MP-40 is a great all-around weapon, and has been packing more of a punch since “Warzone” first moved to Caldera.

The Welgun was introduced in the middle of Season 1. The base model is noncompetitive, but once you level it up to our suggested build (see the “Support” loadout below) it can thrive in close-to-mid-range engagements and does a good deal of damage — if you can manage its notable recoil.

Sniper and marksman rifles: Kar98K (VG and MW), G-43, Type 99, Gorenko antitank Rifle

The Kar98K has earned a sterling reputation among skilled snipers, and the “Vanguard” version continues to grace players with its maneuverability, damage and accuracy. The World War II Kar98K suffers slightly from a higher aim down sight (ADS) speed, but with the Season 2 update, the medium telescopic optic makes it a lot quicker.

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While it isn’t a sniper, the G-43 semi-auto marksman rifle packs quite a punch and will be useful for longer engagements where recoil and muzzle flash reduce the effectiveness of ARs. The Type 99 started Season 1 as a one-shot sniper if you hit your foe in the chest, but that was changed with a Dec. 15 patch. It’s still among the more powerful rifles available, however, even if it’s slower than the Kar98K.

As the name suggests, the Gorenko antitank rifle doles out incredible damage. It doesn’t appear to be a one-shot kill to the chest but rather an armor breaker. The drawbacks are that the ADS speed is painfully slow, and the recoil from the World War II Barrett .50 caliber shoots your reticle up to the sky after every shot, making it harder to track moving enemies.

Shotgun: Combat shotgun, Streetsweeper

Hobbs said that while the combat shotgun can be built to be a one-shot kill with the sawed-off barrel and buck and slug ammo type, it’s struggled to find its place in the meta. Past 10 meters, and the combat shotgun will easily be bested by the PPSh-41 or a similar SMG. The Streetsweeper is included as an homage to past “Warzone” metas. It’s a great way to counter aim-assist on controller, plus it offers an 18-round magazine for maximum mayhem. It’s a good option to consider if you’re just starting out and quick-twitch accuracy isn’t your strength.

LMG: Bren, MG-42, DP-47

If you want an automatic weapon that can deal decent damage with little recoil, you’ll want to look no further than the Bren or MG-42. The Bren is relatively easy to control and outputs high damage. The DP-47 acts more like an assault rifle and can be built for mid- and close-range engagements. I fell upon it by accident in the Gulag round, and was able to quickly delete opponents, nearly delivering a solo win. Plus the pancake magazine looks ridiculous, but in a fun way.

Handguns: 1911 (VG), Diamatti

I wouldn’t include the 1911 in any of my loadouts, but it’s probably one of the best starting pistols we’ve had in “Warzone” because of its high damage mixed with manageable recoil. With the X16 or “Cold War” 1911, I rarely shot anyone out of the sky, but with the “Vanguard” 1911, I was able to shoot two people out of the air after a couple hours of playing.

The Diamatti however is a beast whether it’s the first pistol in your hand or your personally modded version from your loadout. It is always a good go-to ghost perk secondary weapon because it can down an enemy in two bursts if you hit your shots.

Launchers: Panzerschreck, RPG

Have you been on the receiving end of an RPG in Verdansk and questioned your life choices? Well, the new map hasn’t changed anything in the launcher department. They still pack a wallop and are the best way to prevent getting run over by a cargo truck (assuming it doesn’t have a trophy system).

The Panzerschreck functions the same way, and it’s the highest-damage-dealing launcher from “Vanguard.”

Lethal equipment: Frag grenade, Throwing knife, Molotov cocktail, Semtex, Thermite

The promised buff for lethal grenades has made them more potent, but the throwing knife remains a prevalent choice, particularly around twitchy, top-tier players. The knife allows you to take out downed opponents with one throw, then reclaim the knife simply by running over it. It also reduces the required number of melee strikes to down enemies.

I’ve recently added the Molotov cocktail into my arsenal because it provides good area of effect (AOE) damage.

The frag, which is the only other smart option for Vanguard Royale, sticky Semtex and thermite are the other picks. The latter helps more with area denial but is less useful on the wide-open Caldera.

Tactical equipment: Stun grenade, Stim shot, Heartbeat sensor

The heartbeat sensor was pretty much standard issue outside of the Vanguard Royale mode, allowing users to locate non-Ghosted players with ease. While it still performs that function, a significant increase in the time between pings makes it less useful for tracking the movement of opponent’s. At best, now you might get one quick sighting on the sensor before your enemies will be on top of you.

Absent the advanced tech, the stun grenade is totally debilitating to foes, leaving them at your mercy. The stim shot is also worth considering, particularly for players needing a speed boost if they fall behind the closing gas. That can be particularly problematic given how Caldera’s many inclines can make uphill movement sluggish.

The best perks to consider

Perk 1: Cold-Blooded, Double Time

Perk 2: Overkill, Ghost, Restock, Tempered

Perk 3: Amped, Battle Hardened, Combat Scout

The classic perks still work well for the new map. I prefer to start with Cold-Blooded over Double Time because it counters the Combat Scout perk, which highlights you, even through walls, if an enemies damages you. Overkill was typically a no-brainer for Verdansk, but with an improved floor loot system, it might be worth sacrificing a second primary weapon to get Ghost first.

In the Vanguard Royale mode, it might be worth running Restock. You won’t be using the heartbeat sensor for your tactical equipment, so you can replace that with stuns and get a new one, plus a grenade (if you’ve already used one), every 50 seconds. Tempered, which gives you two beefier armor plates that equal three regular plates, is good for aggressive players because you can heal up quickly if you are in a pinch. I personally think Restock or Ghost outweigh the benefits of Tempered.

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People are more split on the third and final perk slot. I personally prefer Amped because it allows you to swap weapons faster, giving you an edge when pulling out an SMG for an unexpected close-quarters gunfight. My second favorite perk is Battle Hardened because it gives you at least a fighting chance if you get hit with the pesky stun grenades, which are much more prevalent in Vanguard Royale. Combat Scout might be a good option for Caldera, where people can hide behind brush and rocks, but it can be countered with Cold-Blooded.

© Activision/Activision

Five great loadout options

Based on interviews, research and “Warzone” playtime, we’ve narrowed down the available guns, equipment and perks into some handy loadout suggestions. (I used a mix of “Vanguard” and previous Call of Duty weapons, so they may not all work for Vanguard Royale). Have other suggestions that have worked for you? Leave a comment, and tell us what you are running in Caldera.

The ‘Vanguard’ meta

Primary: STG-44

  • Muzzle: F8 Stabilizer
  • Barrel: VDD 760mm 05B
  • Optic: G-16 2.5X
  • Stock: VDD 34S Weighted
  • Underbarrel: Carver Foregrip
  • Magazine: 8mm Kurz 45 Round Drums
  • Ammunition: Lengthened
  • Rear Grip: Polymer Grip
  • Perk 1: Vital
  • Perk 2: On-Hand

Secondary: MP-40

  • Muzzle: Recoil Booster
  • Barrel: Krausnick 221mm 01B
  • Optic: Slate Reflector
  • Stock: Krausnick 33M Folding
  • Underbarrel: Mark VI Skeletal
  • Magazine: 9mm 64 Round Drums
  • Ammunition: Lengthened
  • Rear Grip: Fabric Grip
  • Perk 1: Steady
  • Perk 2: On Hand

Lethal: Molotov

Tactical: Stims

Perks: Cold-Blooded, Overkill, Amped

These are the two “Vanguard” guns most professional “Warzone” players are using, plus or minus a few different attachments. The STG-44 is great at longer range and the MP-40 melts enemies within 10 meters, and adds good movement speed.


Primary: Bren

  • Muzzle: MX Silencer
  • Barrel: Queen’s 705mm Royal
  • Optic: SVT-40 PU Scope 3-6x
  • Stock: Queen’s Model 11 BH
  • Underbarrel: Carver
  • Magazine: 6.5 Sakura 40 Round Mags
  • Ammunition: Lengthened
  • Rear Grip: Polymer Grip
  • Perk 1: Tight Grip
  • Perk 2: Fully Loaded

Secondary: Welgun

  • Muzzle: Recoil Booster
  • Barrel: 120 Gawain Short
  • Optic: Slate Reflector
  • Stock: Gawain Skeletal
  • Underbarrel: Handstop
  • Magazine: 9mm 64 Round Drums
  • Ammunition: Incendiary
  • Rear Grip: Taped Grip
  • Perk 1: Frenzy
  • Perk 2: Quick

Lethal: C4

Tactical: Stims

Perks: Cold-Blooded, Overkill, Amped

If you need to get your teammate out of a hairy situation by raining down a deluge of bullets on enemies, then this is the class for you. The Bren doesn’t carry the bullet capacities of other LMGs and it’s not the fastest firing either. But when it connects, it rips. The range and damage it possesses are ridiculous, which makes it a powerful primary option. Pair that with an SMG like the new Welgun and opposing players will be questioning if “Warzone’s” Ricochet anti-cheat software is working. Opt for stims over the heartbeat sensor. You’re not going to be chasing down anyone with this weighty loadout, and the stims can give you a health and speed boost if you get caught in a late rotation or lagging behind the gas.

The movement king

Primary: XM4

  • Muzzle: Agency Suppressor
  • Barrel: 13.5” Task Force
  • Optic: Axial Arms 3x
  • Underbarrel: Field Agent Grip
  • Magazine: STANAG 60 Rnd

Secondary: PPSh-41 (VG)

  • Muzzle: Recoil Booster
  • Barrel: 230mm Bo3P
  • Optic: Kovalevskaya ISO2P
  • Stock: Removed
  • Underbarrel: Carver Foregrip
  • Magazine: Nambu 71 Round Mags
  • Ammunition: Hollow Point
  • Rear Grip: Rubber Grip
  • Perk 1: Tight Grip
  • Perk 2: Quick

Lethal: Semtex

Tactical: Stims

Perks: Double Time, Overkill, Amped

If you prefer an aggressive playstyle, this loadout is for you. Pay close attention to the weapon perks — they help you get in and out of gunfights faster. You’ll be out of luck in long-range engagements, though. Hopefully you’ll have a teammate that can serve that function using our “dome finder” or “meta” loadout recommendation. This PPSh-41 is great for hip firing as well. (Developers increased ADS times on weapons in January, adding to the appeal of accurate hip-fire builds).

The dome finder

Primary: Kar98K (MW)

  • Muzzle: Monolithic Suppressor
  • Barrel: Singuard Custom 27.6
  • Optic: Sniper Scope
  • Underbarrel: Tac-Laser
  • Rear Grip: Stippled Grip Tape

Secondary: Cooper Carbine

  • Muzzle: Recoil Booster
  • Barrel: 22” Cooper Custom
  • Optic: G16 2.5x
  • Stock: Cooper 45RS
  • Underbarrel: Carver Foregrip
  • Magazine: .30 Carbine 45 Round Mags
  • Ammunition: Lengthened
  • Rear Grip: Polymer
  • Perk 1: Tight Grip
  • Perk 2: On-Hand

Lethal: Semtex

Tactical: Stims

Perks: Cold-Blooded, Overkill, Amped

The “Modern Warfare” Kar98K has a special place in my heart, and after some Season 1 updates it works more effectively than its “Vanguard” version. With the increased fire rate of the Cooper Carbine as your secondary, this makes a very strong sniper class with a top-tier support weapon.

Not meta, but it works

Primary: M13

  • Muzzle: Monolithic Suppressor
  • Barrel: Tempus Marksman
  • Optic: VLK 3.0x Optic
  • Foregrip: Commando Foregrip
  • Ammunition: 60 Round Mags

Secondary: LAPA

  • Muzzle: Agency Suppressor
  • Barrel: 7.9” Rifled
  • Underbarrel: Tiger Team Spotlight
  • Optic: Microflex LED
  • Ammunition: STANAG 50 Round

Lethal: Semtex

Tactical: Stims

Perks: Cold-Blooded, Overkill, Amped

The M13 is a great all-around option. Between its recoil, range, and hearty damage output, this weapon can be trusted in the jungles of Caldera or prison of Rebirth Island. Though few people run it, the LAPA features a high fire rate and holds its own well in close quarter gunfights.

A final loadout tip

Raven Software releases their patch notes on their blog and also maintains a public Trello board, so stay tuned for further updates. When the midseason update rolls around, we’ll have another look at our conclusions here and retool if necessary.


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