Modern Warfare 3 Survival Mode Strategy

Posted by on November 18, 2011 at 3:54 pm

Survival mode is one the new additions to Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 and one of my favorites. Think of it as Zombies from Call of Duty: Black Ops but without zombies and having to barricade back up. It’s just waves of enemies coming at you and it’s not just light troops; you have dogs, Juggernauts, suicide bombers, suicide bomber dogs, claymore experts and helicopters. Sometimes it’s all of them in the same wave, sounds interesting doesn’t it? I’ve played Survival mode more than anything else in the game and have learned the best ways to survive. 

The Concept

You an a partner have to survive endless waves of enemies. After each round you are given 25 seconds to re-arm. Every time you kill an enemy you get money. Complete a wave, you get money. There are three stations scattered on the map that you need to be aware of:

Weapons – refill ammo and buy guns and weapon upgrades.
Armor – frag grenades, claymores, body armor and sentry guns.
Air Support – predator missiles, air strikes and Delta forces.

As you level up you get to unlock new weapons, better armor and air support. Everything costs money but don’t worry there is plenty to go around.

Starting Out

You start with a semi-automatic pistol and can easily pick up a shotgun from the first enemy you kill. I suggest that you save ammo by stabbing everyone for the first three rounds. By then you should have enough money to get your first automatic rifle. After this you and your partner will want to work together, like one person getting one side while the other person has the other. Find a place that only has two entrances or a corner that has entrances as far away as possible. Make sure that wherever you find there is shelter nearby for when the helicopters come for you. You will die the first few times you play. This is fine because it’s increasing your level which carries over each time you play so you are able to get better weapons and survive longer.

In It For The Long Haul

Claymores, sentry guns and delta forces, always. Once you find a permanent place you see the routes being taken by the enemies, those routes, place claymores on them, every round. It helps thin everything out. You are only able to have one sentry gun and one Delta team at a time for each person. Find a place to put the sentry gun in front of you a little out-of-the-way preferably in a corner. If you can’t get it in a corner place claymores behind it so it’s protected. Delta teams will just follow the direction of where you and your partner go and they will usually stay in front of you. When they start to die just kill them off and buy a new team, you should have enough money.

Something that you will notice is the enemies will attack your sentry gun and Delta teams usually before they attack you. Watch out though because on the higher waves your stuff can get ran through pretty quick and surprise you with death.

Additional Tips

One of the things I like to do is not buy any ammo refills or weapons and instead just pick up what the enemies drop. Doing this I am able to get a sentry gun and delta force out faster than my partner, this won’t work if both of you are trying to do it, there is just not enough ammo dropped by enemies.

Riot shield teams are better of the two Delta teams, they will duck down and still shoot enemies while being shielded. This will allow you to shoot over them. If you have any other tips or want to share your strategies then let us know in the comments or forum!

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  • tony

    u shud also grab the self revive for each person

  • Berklain

    I’m so jazzed for this. Still haven’t tried the mode. I’ll be taking it out for a spin soon. Co-op n all.

  • SpecAwesome

    Sentry guns are better then the explosive ones, the explosive ones give u damage if you are near where the shot is put, Use the guns that the enemies have until they start using the FAD stay with the ACR 6.8 then and just refill ammo (u easily make $3,000 a round so $750 isn’t that big of a deal) The delta squad is a good idea and if u have one holding a predator missile (for Juggernauts) or air support, if the enemies are in a general area just standing there will kill them all very adjectivally. Dont waist your money on perks unless its slight of hand or extreme conditioning.  Always have self revive and in later rounds armor is a good idea, your secondary weapon should always be a SMG for later rounds and juggernauts.  When you are up in the higher levels (30 & up) You wont have a problem getting to wave 30 easily.

    • yo msms

      but if ur camping in a house or something and place it at a window, it wont hit u (the grenade ones)

      • yo mama

        UNCLEbubles6661 (XBL)

  • rob

    (xbox gamertag = DarkCarnie18) on the map Village, hide in the weapon shack and take advantage of sentrys and squads, also for the choppers and juggernauts use predator missles

  • Here is a useful article that includes 10 Tips for surviving longer in Survival Mode. Must Read.

  • MW3PR0

    Here’s my tips for survival easy.
    1. Never ever buy a gun (light machine gun optional when rich)
    2. A easy way to kill juggernaut is to throw a flashbang then use ur shotgun and start going around it the juggernaut. It is risky but if your skilled u should be alright.
    3. Buy self revive every time you die.
    4. Do the objectives on the bottom left corner for more money.
    5. When split screen go to the weapon shop and press X (for XBOX) to give $500 for your mate.
    6. In the 20+ rounds buy Body Amour or you will have a high chance of dying.
    7. Do not follow No. 2 when 3 jugs, just buy a predator missile and abandon your shotgun

  • Deggy

    PS3: deggyfresh
    Add me, trying to find good people to play with.

    • Beastling

      My name is Wapper78 I am really good

      • Ratboy227

        I’m ratboy227 (I no it sounds gay but don’t feel like makin new 1) I made 2 round 21 on my own and way only lvl 18ish

        • diego chocolate drop

          diego_chocolatedrp. im pretty good 20+

  • Darblas

    good strategy, but need to put more details,like for example in which waves the helicopters arrive and good places to camp in each map. although i still dont have mw3, i had play survival with my friends and it is pretty cool. 

    • theJUG

      You can’t really be specific in which levels different enemies come.  Different maps have different levels.  Some have dogs and others have dogs with C4.  You really just have to play and get used to whats coming.  

  • RobertYo125

    it may cost a lot but i always try to have an LMG for the copters and the juggernots

    • herr666doktor (xbox360)

      LMG is a must – better damage for choppers & jaggernots and also the clip size, you get overran by the waves from constantly having to reload the other weapons.  Striker is very effective against jaggernots… just keep your damage / cover in mind – have to be close for shotgun to do the work..

  • Vquazi

    Depending on which map you do but I think every 5 rounds you get juggernaut (2 Choppers for easy maps) and the juggernauts come as 2 in round 10 and 3 in round 15 and from there a huge amount of dudes try to kill you. My opinion (when you face choppers and juggernauts together) is to destroy the choppers first and maybe foot soilders as that will leave you enough room to kill the juggernauts without thinking about other things trying to kill you.

  • jason

    – get c4 and claymores and plant them in front of the juggernaut’s entry when necessary. 4+ c4 will kill him off instantly. 
    -go to the house with the courtyard behind it, place a sentry gun behind the table in the back nook, get an LMG such as a MK36, get a riot or delta team (preferably riot team) and plant a line of claymores. you will get so many more points by doing this with the sentry gun doing a great deal and also the reinforcements and claymores. keep getting claymores and c4. this method and tips will save ammo so there is less money spent on ammo refills. also, knife as much as you can. shoot helicopters down with your LMG. like and/or reply if this is helpful.

    • Sk8trboi749

      Helicopters can come in at wave 4 or 5. When you survive to later waves, plant c4 in the courtyard to clear out. * put the c4 in the fountain to give it a little extra pzazz… :P

      • bmoneyB75

        In outpost go to the airplane hanger. Use the weapons box to jump onto the barrel in front of the airplane hull hanging from the ceiling. Walk on top of the barrels and box till you get in front of the small door of the hull. Then jump and duck in the door. This is one of the best places to attack the later round enemies. You also will be able to tie out copters safely from here.

  • Shane

    in dome got wave 33 hide in bunker and on seatown hide in big building i got to 31 on that add me on ps3 sdsmith99

  • Herr666Doktor

    Xbox players interested in playing survival, add me and just drop me a message when you wanne give it a go – Herr666doktor

  • Zajac19

    on easy the jugs com on round 10 (just one), 15 (2), 20 (3) and i haven’t really paid attention to the wave after that. Also, when starting, don’t buy riot shield squad until after wave 6 unless you have a good gun, because the heli’s well destroy them. or hide them inside before the wave starts.

  • Lanyardguy

    For Resistance: (Solo, does not work well for low level players or teams)
                          Go to the appartment thing in the middle of the map place a grenade sentry behind the table and put a regular sentry to the right of that (behind G.Sentry’s right). Stand behind the G.Sentry to avoid friendly fire. This way you have the best Anti-Juggernaut situation. Place claymores by the down stairs door and in locations you’ll see them hiding. Crouch by the couch and cover the upstairs door cause guys will pop out and destroy your sentrys.  DON’T buy Riot squad cause that are killed by friendlily-fire. Delta squad sucks anyway for this strategy so don’t buy them ether. This strategy is perfect for regular and juggernauts. You may to replace them every 3-5 rounds but you’ll have the money. A flaw is C-4 dogs cause they will run up and blow up both R. and G. sentry’s defenses so pick them off as they come. Have self-revive on and body armor cause you may down. Recomend you have a Light Machine Gun with grip and (recommend) FAD with .320 GL.  This combo of weapons will save you 4,000 points every 5 rounds due to less bullets used and more ammo stored. The LMG is for juggernauts and Helios. The AR (FAD) is to kill everything else. Run out of 1, use the other. Why i recomend the FAD is cause or its ammo storage. 240 rounds + 1 mag. of 30 rounds = 270 rounds and it takes 5 or less to kill a guy round 10 and lower. You can still use this for teams just its hard with noobs (No Communication, Leaves you while your bleeding out, moves your sentry, and,or, kills you ext.) or just low level players ( Lvl. that are lower and just started. Dont worry. You’ll git there, just don’t be a noob about it.). This Strategy should git you to round 25+ if you play your cards right. My record using this is 35. ( 5 Riot Juggernauts 2 Reg. Juggernauts pulse 3 Helios and C-4 Dogs and enemy(s) Strong point enemy(s) with claymore experts and Reg. enemy(s)). REALLY HARD!!  And when juggernauts are going and no one else is comeing, LEAVE THE HOUSE, The G. Sentry will absorb the bullets and damage the juggernauts. Just funnel them into a line or group and use missiles to kill them off NOT AIRSTRIKES.  This should be helpful to players that need a Lvl. boost.
    PS3 and XBOX  are the same maps so they work on both.
    DON’T BE A NOOB   listen and help and purple smoke is not a care package…
    Please like and Mail Questions to
    Thanks Kelly for starting this.

  • Patkaa28

    yeah survival mode is awesome but had trouble going the distance with it, until I found a guide on how to master it in an hour!

  • Footballtal15

    Try to play with a friend so you will be able to communitate with the better

    • Xkingxfatal

      good thinking

  • raymond

    ok just so you guys also know even on easy if you get far enough there will be points where there are juggernots choppers c4 dogs and c4 foot soldiers and they get hard to kill all at once i would suggest lmg and assault riffle sentreies and delta get wipped out b4 you know it so have body army and self revive when it gets to that point dont even bother buying them and i always have a preditor missile on me they come in very handy against juggernots and choppers and flash grandes help alot with juggernots and i did this on the village and a great spot to heal is in the church and if its just a juggernot after you i found that the bed of the pickup offers protection esp if you lie down to heal the bullets dont go through it

    • paddybhoy1293

      paddybhoy – i got to wave 50 in paris when a juggernat come dwn a use a heavy machine gun and stand face to face with it and just keep shooting and nxt fing u know hes dead and i have time to heal and do it again

  • JayJay

    haha, thanks! I’m german and can’t find any help with the survival mode in my languages. thanks for the advices ;)

  • KartDude

    I’m not that great at survival but me and my friend go alright I think. I mostly play resistance because I think it’s the best map. I haven’t tried this yet but after reading everyones ideas I might as well say this. You MUST do to player for the most effectiveness. Go to the building at the very back of the map (RESISTANCE) and place a Sentry (preferably a G. Sentry as it has the shield on it) to block the door at the bottom of the stairs. Place claymores around the book store and the street incase of enemies overrunning the Sentry to much. Also place a Sentry (Whichever you prefer) behind cover in the same building as the G. Sentry to help the other one out. Get 2 riot shield squad (or Delta Squad if you can’t) and have 1 person Behind the gates and one watching the other route. Your riot shield squads will do most of the work. When the helicopters come get in the corridor. The sentries are so you don’y get flanked. Buy Self revive and body armour in the later rounds: 26+ Hope this helped!
    Ps3: KartDude99

  • Ha01ashmon

    ps3 id: CovuDesolace

  • DFlynn3

    DFlynn3, when the juggernaut’s come, run ahead of them and throw down a few c4’s, u’ll usually kill one and hurt any others nearby. This works with claymores too. If u can find an area with only 2 or 3 entrances  try to barricade 2 with 
    claymores and 
    sentry gun’s and just shoot anyone who comes to the third. And if all else fails then RUN 

  • DudeWhoCan’tTakeAHint

    I should realize that if this is my 4th time posting the same link to promote my site, I really should stop trying.

    • This is not your fourth time posting a link to your site, it’s your second time. I don’t know why your original comment was deleted but you could have easily contacted us and asked why and your comment would’ve been reinstated. 

      Don’t be a douche bag on our website.

  • Backfire_21

    hit and run with the juggernauts work for me. but you have to have an LMG and go for headshots.

  • Daclemons21

    The best place to go is the elevated position to the left of where you start that only has one stair case and over looks the alley where flag B normally is when playing domination. Early on, hammer away with the pistol, shotgun and MP5 until the choppers come out. Hide under the over hang just to the right and fire an entire mag into the chopper and then hide again. Have your partner go out and repeat. Should be done within 5 mags. At this point you should buy a riot shield delta squad and put out a sentry gun that over looks the alley and another that looks into the area where you start. By the time you get to level 13, you should have a LMG and a striker (LMG for the light work and the striker for the juggernaughts (takes about 8 shells for each). Once you get to about level 23, they start sending attack choppers (shoot it down with a LMG) and refocus on the guys coming at your. 

    Starting at level 26, they start sending 3 juggernaughts at a time, C4, strikers and a pred missle take care of that noise. At all times, you need to have claymores, C4, body armor, and 2+delta riot shield guys. If you only have one riot shield guy left, kill him or let him die and buy a new squad. Juggernaughts will go after senturies and delta squads first which will give you time to flash them and then hammer away with the striker. After level 30, there should be 10 claymores and C4 out for each player all over the map. At the very least you will thin out the herd and slow a few of them down.

    Starting around 23, the guy working the elevated position, should go half way down the stairs, take care of the chopper with the LMG and then shoot out of the gated area and the other guy should shoot into the area where you start off. If you start to get over run, set off the C4 and rotate shooting with your partner while the other reloads. Feel free to throw all 4 frags which will take out a few clowns and give you a chance to reload. Once you only have 1 or 2 enemies left, one of the two of you should run out and reload C4, frags, body armor, claymores, and pred missles/delta riot shield squad.

     I have made it to 49 with this stratgey and my brother in law that has never played MW3 until yesterday.  

  • paul2k12

    i got to wave 25 on my own add me SGT BUGS BUNNY

  • Matt

    psn id- BO-W-EN
    add me for survival mode play great team player :)


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