The sniper rifle is synonymous with skill. A player can take down an enemy in one well-placed shot. It does, however, come with a fair share of risks; although a single shot can remove an enemy swiftly, the weapon’s rechamber and reload time (let alone the tunnel vision and erratic hip-fire spread) may put one at a severe disadvantage in-game.
Yet, the most skilled Call of Duty competitive players in the world know that, through practice and having pinpoint accuracy, a sniper has the capability to decimate an entire team.
Brandon “Dashy” Otell is one such sniper, and here are his tips for mastering the art of sniping in Call of Duty: Black Ops 4.
Meet the Pro
When he isn’t playing in an Assault Rifle role on OpTic Gaming, Dashy can pick up a sniper and change the game to the roar of the #GreenWall, the loyal fanbase of the 2018 CWL Las Vegas Champions.
That’s because before he went pro, Dashy was another member of the Call of Duty community, who gravitated toward the high-risk, high-reward weapon class.
“I took sniping really seriously in Call of Duty®: Modern Warfare 2,” Dashy said. “It’s one of those things where it just came to me. I didn’t pick a class with a sniper, but somebody had an intervention, I picked it up, hit a quickscope, and the whole lobby was freaking out in the final killcam. And I was like, ‘I want to keep doing this.’”
For the next half decade, Dashy became known for his flashy quickscope takedowns – a technique where one aims down sight quickly enough to ensure pinpoint accuracy, then backs out of ADS to keep peripheral vision – as part of a group of competitive snipers.
Today, not even a year into his Call of Duty World League tenure, he was a top-12 finisher at the 2018 CWL Championship and was the CWL Vegas MVP as part of OpTic Gaming.
A Tip for Everyone: Centering is Key
So how did Dashy, a former competitive sniper with years of practice, get to where he is today? Outside of playing alongside some fantastic teammates, he also said that his skills as a sniper translated over into competitive play extremely well.
“Back when I used to snipe,” Dashy explained, “I practiced a lot on my centering. Centering is where you place your crosshairs, so whenever I snap with a Maddox or whatever gun I’m using, it’s natural because it was what I was doing with a sniper rifle all the time.”
If Dashy was able to take this key skill from sniping and translate it over to beating the best players in the world, then why not you?
A sniper is designed so that the first — and hopefully only shot — has to be placed accurately in order to ensure a quick confirmed KIA. For those looking to up overall gunskill rather than just snipe, consider picking up a sniper rifle to really learn how much that first shot is so crucial to success in-game.
Try using some short distance scopes too, such as the Recon or even Iron Sights, to get an overall idea of how different magnification types can affect centering when aiming down sights.
Once you get a feel for accurately hitting a first shot with a sniper rifle, take the next step to a marksman rifle, which also requires strong centering but is a little bit more forgiving. Then, after getting comfortable with first shot placement and centering, go to your preferred weapon role to tie those lessons into other key game mechanics, such as recoil and evasive movement.
A common question in nearly every Call of Duty World League player Stream is, “What sensitivity do you use?”
“I play on Default,” Dashy answered, “But 60% of pros play on Tactical and the rest on whatever. When I first started on CoD and was growing up, I never changed, and it was just comfortable for me. But you could play on whatever you want.”
With that in mind, he did give one specific tip on sensitivity for those who mainly use a sniper rifle.
“To be an elite sniper — like, really really good — I’d say a medium to higher sensitivity is the way to go. Just because that makes you more versatile on the map as a sniper.”
In other words, playing on a one or two sensitivity may make it a lot harder to snap around and make more severe adjustments to where you’re aiming. While a higher sensitivity may be tough to manage at first, it’s still possible to make those small, precise movements in aiming down sight with a bit of practice.
Positioning and Movement while Sniping
The million-dollar question with sniping is whether or not to set up shop on high ground while sticking to a good overwatch spot.
In analyzing Dashy’s way of sniping, he plays more aggressively than a typical sniper. He moves frequently from spot to spot, engaging against enemies even at close range while communicating constantly with his team.
“It is a little more risky,” Dashy explained,” but I’m confident in hitting my shots; I guess you can say it’s cocky, but I’ve put in a lot of hours and know what I can get away with.”
With that in mind, Dashy said that, for those starting out with a sniper rifle, there is no shame in sticking to one spot and getting a feel for how to play with it.
“It’s definitely good to start out; you have to get a feel for it,” Dashy added. “Whatever works for you; you just have to get some momentum.”
Of course, staying in one location for too long may not be the best idea, as plenty of players will catch on to that one individual going back to the same location over and over again. Don’t be afraid to move around once that confidence and skill builds up over time.
And, in the worst-case scenario, just remember to pack a sidearm or pick up a weapon off the ground if those short-range reaction shots while moving about aren’t coming naturally just yet.
The most important tip about sniping…
… is to have fun.
“Just enjoy sniping” Dashy said. “That’s the main thing with all snipers: they just enjoy doing it. Do whatever works for you and enjoy it.”
Whether you’re just picking up a sniper rifle for the first time or a decade-long veteran of hitting longshots, we hope you just have fun while trying to hit that next big clip in Call of Duty: Black Ops 4.
We’ll see you online.