The Basics of Call of Duty®: Modern Warfare®: Killstreaks

Only the most elite Operators will earn Killstreaks, tide-turning tools of battle that can devastate an entire enemy team. Learn what you can earn in Multiplayer in this basics guide.

by James Mattone on October 31, 2019

Along with a loadout and Field Upgrade, an Operator is deployed into battle with up to three Killstreaks.

Killstreaks are earned by getting multiple kills without dying in a game, and upon death, progress toward earning Killstreaks is reset. These powerful tools reward skilled players with the opportunity to turn the tide of battle if used wisely.

While some Killstreaks are easier to earn than others, those that require a bit more effort to earn are the most devastating modern weapons and technology that the game has to offer.

Many Killstreaks appear in the Modern Warfare Special Ops mode. The streaks appear in the Munitions category and can be equipped and earned, although the methods to acquire them do differ. If you familiarize yourself with the Killstreaks in Multiplayer when you jump into Special Ops, you’ll know what Munitions suit your play style.

Here is a breakdown of every Killstreak you can equip in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare… And one that can only be earned:    

Personal Radar (3 Kills)

One of the easiest Killstreaks to earn is the Personal Radar, an escort drone that enables a radar that pings nearby enemies for its owner. These pings appear on the mini-map at the top left corner of the HUD.

While it is a great Killstreak for reconnaissance, be advised that it is a fragile drone that hovers over its user, so it may alert enemies to its owner’s position. Additionally, it can be shot down fairly easily. Still, the intel it provides could be valuable to the user, and they can help the team by communicating that intel to teammates.

Shield Turret (3 Kills)

This manually-operated shielded turret can be deployed onto most surfaces upon activation.

Once it is placed down, its owner or a teammate can hop behind it and control a powerful .50 caliber machine gun with plenty of ammo.

The number of bullets remaining in the belt-fed magazine are shown in the bottom-right corner of the HUD, and when it, or the time meter in the middle of the HUD  runs dry, the turret will be destroyed. The turret can also be destroyed by enemy fire or explosives.

While the front-facing shield provides some protection, a Shield Turret gunner is exposed on their flanks, so it may be wise to have a buddy watch your six.

Counter UAV (4 Kills)

Jam the enemy’s technology with this drone that constantly emits a scrambling signal.

After placing it over a specific area of the map, any enemy within its range will have their mini-maps disabled and, as they draw closer to the center of the affected area, have parts of their HUD incrementally disrupted.

As the name suggests, this Killstreak is a great counter to any UAV-like drones that provide visual intel.

UAV (4 Kills)

While the Personal Radar gives reconnaissance only to you, the slightly harder to earn UAV gives your entire team access to their mini-maps and periodically reveals enemy locations.

A Killstreak that immediately goes into effect upon activation, this recon drone flies around and scans the environment in short sweeps, picking up the locations of all enemies outside of those using the Ghost perk.

Care Package (4 Kills)

Upon activation of this Killstreak, you will be able to throw a Care Package marker on the ground, which will serve as the drop point for an airship overhead to send down a Care Package with a random Killstreak inside.

Once it lands, you’ll be able to interact with it to receive what’s inside, or if you are feeling generous, you can allow a teammate to capture it instead. The Care Package has weighted odds towards less expensive Killstreaks – e.g., the Personal Radar and UAV – but it is totally possible to find an Advanced UAV, Gunship, or even a Juggernaut suit in a package. 

A few words of warning with the Care Package: it can crush you – or an enemy – if someone is standing directly on the Care Package marker. Also, the Care Package could land out of reach if the marker is thrown out of bounds or under a building, and enemies can steal your package if you are not careful enough. 

Cluster Strike (5 Kills)

Designate a mortar strike by pointing a handheld laser at any position within your line of sight. After aiming the laser towards an area and pressing fire, several artillery shells will pepper a circular zone in an explosive barrage.

Using a Cluster Strike effectively comes down to understanding its zone of control. It may be limited, but anyone caught within its blast will have an uphill battle against survival. That includes you, so don’t run through your own Cluster Strike.

Cruise Missile (5 Kills)

Call in a long-range missile to deal death from above.

By activating this Killstreak, your Operator will launch a Cruise Missile via tablet and release it from its air carrier

While it is airborne, you can steer the Cruise Missile to your intended target as well as accelerate its fall with a built-in boost function.

While difficult, it is possible to pilot a Cruise Missile into an enemy Killstreak which, in most cases, will destroy it instantly.

Precision Airstrike (5 Kills)

Throw on those binoculars to designate a twin jet precision strike on a path in your line of sight.

Once you mark the airstrike location, two jets will swoop down one after the other on the area to take out any hostile forces that cross its line of fire.

Much like the Cluster Strike, anyone caught within the path of a Precision Airstrike – including its owner – is up against plenty of explosive power. Be careful when using this Killstreak.

Wheelson (7 Kills)

Deploy and remotely control an UGV (Unmanned Ground Vehicle) from your position.

The vehicle comes with a powerful airburst turret that fires punishing cannon rounds. You have steering, aiming, view-changing, firing, and other capabilities.

Be mindful of its fuel and health reserves as you use it to deliver mass casualties to enemy forces!

Infantry Assault Vehicle (7 Kills)

Call in a light infantry tank, hop in, and begin to demolish the enemy!

While maneuvering the tank, you should be mindful of the vehicle’s health reserves, and the limited time you have to utilize this Killstreak. You can accelerate, brake, steer, and fire the vehicle’s main cannon (with an independent turret to aim). Or, you can switch to the turret gunner’s position and lay waste to the opposition using the 50-caliber machinegun. Bring along a teammate to enjoy all the vehicle’s capabilities at once!

This vehicle is only available on a selection of larger maps, such as Grazna Raid. If this Killstreak is selected when loading into a smaller map, it will be replaced with Wheelson.

Sentry Gun (7 Kills)

The Sentry Gun is similar to a fully-automated Shield Turret, except it is made of stronger material that is more resistant to gunfire and explosives to compensate for a lack of a shield.

Once it is placed, the Sentry Gun will scan for nearby enemies within range.

It can also swivel about 90 degrees to the left and right of its position to track and fire upon enemies, allowing it to cover plenty of space with little effort.

Emergency Airdrop (8 Kills)

What’s better than a Care Package? Three Care Packages!

The Emergency Airdrop drops a trio of Care Packages from a large carrier right near a thrown Care Package marker.

Act fast and be generous with your team to scoop up all the random Killstreaks inside these packages, lest they fall into the wrong hands.

VTOL Jet (8 Kills)

Dispatch a fighter jet to a marked location via tablet with this mid-tier Killstreak that acts in two stages.

Upon initial deployment, the VTOL Jet will drop several missiles on a designated area as a first strike attack. Following its initial missile barrage, it will make a turn back toward the area and hover over it to provide defensive support.

Should you want the jet to defend another area, simply press the same button that activated the Killstreak over a new patrol zone, and the VTOL Jet will reposition and continue providing support.

Chopper Gunner (10 Kills)

Launch a Chopper Gunner and jump into the boots of a pilot and gunner that will bring plenty of offensive firepower against the opposition while it flies over the entire map.

While controlling the Chopper Gunner’s movement, fire away with its high-caliber cannon rounds and several hydra rockets, with the latter being capable of area-of-effect damage that could even destroy ground-based Killstreaks.

The built-in vision system on this chopper can even switch into thermal mode, which highlights enemies by their heat signatures in infrared light.

White Phosphorus (10 Kills)

Cover a strip of the battlefield with a carpet bomb that releases white smoke flare canisters onto a designated area.

After positioning the strike via tablet and dispatching the carrier plane, a jet will fly over and drop White Phosphorus bombs in a straight line.

Anyone who dares to traverse the affected area will become disoriented by the light of the white-hot flames, as well as be burned by the scorching heat should they draw closer to it.

That includes its user, so should you earn it, stay away from this blaze.

Support Helo (11 Kills)

Whistle to your comrades in the sky who are piloting a massive Support Helo with twin turrets.

This helicopter is piloted by a friendly AI soldier who will circle around the whole map searching for enemies and contains two gunners who will fire at-will toward any hostile force that appears on their radar.

Don’t worry about having to direct the Support Helo; just call it in and let it go to work.

Gunship (12 Kills)

This is a heavy assault Gunship that comes with three types of ammunition: a massive 105mm cannon for pure area-of-effect damage, a mid-size 40mm gun for smaller area damage dealing, and a 25mm weapon to knock down individual targets.

Cycle through these weapons as the Gunship circles over the map overhead to eliminate the opposition. Should you need help finding enemy forces, there is a built-in Thermal sight that can detect heat signatures which can be toggled on and off. 

Advanced UAV (12 Kills)

The Advanced Unmanned Aerial Vehicle reveals enemy locations for you and all allies, and shows what direction those enemies are facing.

This is the ultimate tool for battle reconnaissance, so naturally, it’s one of the hardest Killstreaks to earn.

However, with great risk and work comes great reward, as this tool will reveal plenty of intel on the enemy forces for everyone on your team.

Juggernaut (15 Kills)

Call in a care package that contains the Juggernaut assault gear. After dropping a smoke grenade, a crate falls from the sky with an ominous insignia on the side. Access the care package and don the Juggernaut suit.

With the suit, you are able to lay waste to the battlefield with a minigun, while clad in heavy armor which limits maneuverability.

Naturally, the suit plays suitably raucous music, which you can toggle on or off while you’re mowing down the opposition.

Tactical Nuke

Wait, there is one more Killstreak? Why doesn’t this show up in the Killstreak select menu?

Well, welcome to the worst-kept secret in Modern Warfare: the Tactical Nuke.

The Tactical Nuke is a hidden FOURTH Killstreak that is only unlockable by achieving 30 kills in a single life by only using your loadout (sorry! Killstreak kills don’t count!). When you reach the 30-kill milestone, your Operator learns the secret launch code to activate a powerful missile that wipes out the entire area, ending the game immediately. Whoever activates the Tactical Nuke wins the game for their team, regardless of game mode and score.

This powerful win-condition provides a game within the game but is statistically rare. Therefore, it would be wise not to consider this your primary objective in any game mode and focus on the mission at hand first.

But should you come close to that 30-kill mark… Maybe playing for that Nuke might be worth considering.

For those that enjoy playing objective modes, consider changing Killstreaks to Scorestreaks with the Pointman perk.

Equip Pointman, a perk that sits in slot 2, and streaks will now be earned by points in a single life from kills, assists, and objective plays.

Whether your jumping into an objective match or any Multiplayer match, experiment with all the Killstreaks…. Save for the Tactical Nuke, which if you do earn, is an impressive achievement to boast about.

We’ll see you online. 

 

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