Call of Duty: Modern Warfare is out now and as in Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare before it — and every game since, regardless of whether its warfare was modern, advanced, or infinite— mastering the game depends on building a killer custom perk loadout.
For the uninitiated, perks are passive abilities that allow players to augment their loadout. In Modern Warfare, players have access to three perk slots per loadout. These slots correspond to three varieties of perk: red, blue and yellow. As you gain experience, you’ll unlock a variety of desirable perks.
Let’s take a look at the best perks for your playstyle. Do you want a character with exceptional speed? Do you plan on going stealthy? Want to tank a bunch of damage before going down? All three? Something else? Our Modern Warfare Perks guide breaks down many of the best perks, provides a few recommended builds, and includes the full list of available perks at the bottom.
Before we get started, keep in mind that Infinity Ward has done away with the Pick 10 system. Modern Warfare has gone back to the one perk from each category system. You can’t pick two red perks, for example.
Modern Warfare Best Stealth Perks
Recommended Build: Cold Blooded, Ghost, Spotter
For players who love nothing more than sneaking up behind an unsuspecting opponent and popping a silent cap in their tactical tush, Modern Warfare offers a variety of perks to help you go undetected.
In the first perk slot, Double Time is a must. This perk allows you to move at double speed while sprinting and increases crouched movement speed by 30 percent. Cold-Blooded, makes you undetectable to AI targeting systems and thermal optics, and grants immunity to snapshot grenades. This unlocks at level 29, so you’ll need to stick to Double Time at first.
Either of these perks pairs well with Ghost, rendering players undetectable by Radar Drones, Heartbeat Sensors and UAVs. However, you won’t unlock Ghost until you reach level 24, so you’ll need to make do with a different stealthy perk in the meantime. High Alert slots in well, causing your vision to pulse when you’re visible to enemies outside of your field of view. This allows you to scramble for cover before the bullets start to fly.
The last category sports a pair of perfect perks for sticking to the shadows and keeping tabs on opponents. Tracker and Spotter each help you stay aware of your enemies’ locations. Tracker ensures your opponents leave behind a foot trail and does double duty, hiding the death markers of opponents you knock off. Spotter, on the other hand lets you see through walls to spot enemy equipment, field upgrades, and kill streaks. Plus it allows you to mark them for your teammates. Both of these unlock at pretty high levels—38 for Spotter and 51 for Tracker—so you’ll need to work your way up for a maximally stealthy build.
Modern Warfare Best Speed Perks
Recommended Build: Double Time, High Alert, Amped
[Editor’s Note: Ghost is heavily regarded as the best perk in its slot, dominating most builds. We’re making some other recommendations in case you’re tired of it.]
Two sure fire ways to stay alive in Call of Duty multiplayer are to move faster than your enemies can shoot and finish reloading while your opponents fumble for another ammo clip. Double Time is great for maxing out your speed on foot. This perk doubles the length of your Tactical Sprint, and is available early on.
Tune Up and Amped also help you stay ahead of the competition. The former reduces the recharge time of field upgrades by a third and the latter increases your weapon swap and rocket launcher reload speed.
Modern Warfare Best Damage Perks
Recommended Build: Overkill, Hardline, Shrapnel
You need kills to succeed in Modern Warfare and you get kills when you deal a bunch of damage. There are a few perks that help you more efficiently deal damage quickly.
Overkill unlocks at level eight, allowing you to carry two primary weapons during multiplayer matches. Instead of carrying a piddly little pistol, you can swap between a sniper rifle and a shotgun as you close the distance on the battlefield.
This pairs well with Shrapnel which allows you to spawn with an extra piece of lethal equipment. This perk also ensures that explosive damage delays enemy health regeneration. When an enemy is cornered, Shrapnel is an excellent way to prevent them from getting their health back up.
Ultimately, unlocking a powerful killstreak is the best way to wreak widespread havoc on the map.
Modern Warfare Best Streak Perks
Recommended Build: Scavenger, Kill Chain, Tracker
Three of the perks available at Modern Warfare’s launch make it easier to get Killstreaks or Scorestreaks. If you feel the need to unleash high kill with Chopper Gunner or the Gunship, these are the perks for you.
All three are category two perks, so you can’t build an especially streaky loadout. Instead, you’ll gain access to one early on, then trade it in as you climb the ranks. Hardline becomes available first and it knocks the cost of each killstreak down by one. With this perk equipped, the Heavy Gunship killstreak, which normally requires 12 kills, activates instead at 11.
Kill Chain, which unlocks at level 34, lengthens the amount of time that killstreaks are useful. With this, any kills you rack up during one killstreak count toward your next killstreak. Finally, your Cluster Bomb kills count towards your airstrike. We suspect this one will be very popular with casual players.
There’s also Pointman, which you get at level 49, turning your killstreaks into scorestreaks. If you’re better at racking up large score totals than getting kills, this perk is for you.
Scavenger ensures you don’t run out of ammo as you try to stay alive as long as possible.
Modern Warfare Best Defense Perks
Recommended Build: EOD, High Alert, Battle Hardened
Staying alive is equally as important as dealing damage. There are a few options for players who want to increase their resistance to damage and the speed with which they regenerate health in the aftermath of an attack.
E.O.D. reduces the damage you’ll take from non-killstreak explosives and fire. It has a side bonus, allowing you to hack enemy Claymores, Proximity Mines, C4 and Trophy Systems too. Quick Fix helps you stay alive, increasing your health regeneration when killing opponents or accomplishing objectives. Among the category three perks, Battle Hardened is the most complementary, reducing the strength of enemy flash, stun and EMP grenades.
With these perks equipped, you’ll have a solid chance of weathering most storms.
Modern Warfare Perk List
Here are all of the perks available in Modern Warfare.
Blue Perks – Category 1
Double Time — Double the duration of Tactical Sprint. Increase crouch movement by 30%
E.O.D. — Take reduced damage from non-killstreak explosives and fire. Hack enemy Claymores, Proximity Mines, C4, and Trophy Systems.
Overkill — Carry two primary weapons
Scavenger — Resupply ammo from dead players.
Cold-Blooded — Undetectable by AI targeting systems and thermal optics. Does not trigger High Alert.
Quick Fix — Killing players, capturing objectives and holding objectives will increase your health regeneration rate.
Red Perks – Category 2
Restock — Recharge equipment over 30 seconds.
Hardline — Killstreaks cost 1 less kill.
High Alert — Your vision pulses when enemies outside your view see you.
Ghost — Undetectable by UAVs, Radar Drones, and Heartbeat Sensors. Immune to snapshot grenades.
Kill Chain — Killstreak kills count toward your next killstreaks. Only applies to killstreaks earned this life.
Pointman — Turn your killstreaks into scorestreaks.
Yellow Perks – Category 3
Tune Up — Reduces the charge time of field upgrades by 33%.
Amped — Faster weapon swap and rocket launcher reload speed.
Shrapnel — Spawn with an extra piece of lethal equipment. Explosive damage delays enemy health regeneration.
Battle Hardened — Reduces the strength of enemy flash, stun, and EMP grenades (unlocks at Level 26).
Spotter — See enemy equipment, field upgrades, and killstreaks through walls. Mark them for your team by aiming down sights.
Tracker — Enemies leave behind a footprint trail. See markers at enemy death locations and hide the death markers of enemies you kill.