Modern Warfare 3 Survival Mode Guide

One of the new game modes Modern Warfare 3 introduced was the Survival Mode, where you fight waves after waves of enemies until you get fragged. You can play it with your friends and family in co-op or join a lobby of online friends and play. Interested in this spec-ops experience in MW3? Read our complete Modern Warfare 3 Survival Mode guide.

It’s a variation of zombie-mode by Treyarch, built on similar concept, but somehow couldn’t catch much attention. May be because there weren’t any zombies, which made it less wanted ? Anyway, if you are new to this type of gameplay, our guide will walk you through every aspect of the game with general strategies about the Survival mode maps.

Modern Warfare 3 Survival Mode

There are lots of new and much cleverer enemies, from standard soldiers to kamikaze dogs. Survival Mode has different Tiers within itself. Tier 1 is the most basic, and they progress on till Tier 4, gradually increasing the difficulty in every Tier.

Weapons & Equipment

Each game you start-off with a few weapons. The initial weapons for their respective waves are given below:

  • Five Seven with 16/96 Ammo, two Flash Grenades, and two Frags, 250 Armor, and the Self Revive ability in Tier 1.
  • USP .45, two Flash Grenades, two Frags, 250 Armor and the Self Revive ability in Tier 2.
  • An MP412, two Flash Grenades, 250 Armor and the Self Revive ability in Tier 3.
  • An M16A4 with Red Dot Sight, a Five Seven, and 250 Armor in Tier 4.

The above are the initial starting weapons for every stage in a Tier. You unlock the Weapons Armory after clearing the first wave, the Equipment Armory after clearing the second wave, and Air Support Armory at the end of wave 3.

After each wave, you have only 30 seconds to get geared up, so make sure to predetermine what you need and what you don’t. You can also pick enemy weapons to save cash if you wish to.

You can read our Survival Mode Weapons Armory guide for more in-depth overview of all the weapons and equipment you will have available in Survival Mode.

Earning Experience

XP will be earned by killing enemies or completing challenges. The following is the list of how much XP you will earn for different types of enemies:

  • Early Infantry (100)
  • Sub Machine Gunner Infantry (125)
  • Assault Rifle Infantry (150)
  • Heavily Armored Infantry (200)
  • Suicide Bombers (275)
  • Suicide Bombers Injured / Self-Destruct (150)
  • Chemical Infantry (150)
  • Attack Dogs (100)
  • Suicide Bomb Attack Dogs (150)
  • Juggernaut (500)
  • Riot Shield Juggernauts (750)
  • Helicopters (600)


The following are the different Tiers and which maps you play in them:

Tier 1

  • Resistance
  • Village
  • Interchange
  • Underground

Tier 2

  • Dome
  • Mission
  • Seatown
  • Carbon

Tier 3

  • Bootleg
  • Hardhat
  • Fallen
  • Outpost

Tier 4

  • Lockdown
  • Arkaden
  • Downturn
  • Bakaara

Survival Mode Strategies and Tips

  • You can stop the shooting for 5 seconds by flashing the juggernauts.
  • It is recommended that you don’t refresh your armor meter by re-buying unless it is very important.
  • Only buy the L86 LSW if you have equipped the Sleight of Hand Perk otherwise get any other LMG.
  • Think before rushing and make sure that you have enough firepower.
  • If you scavenge enemy weapons then you wouldn’t need to buy weapons for a long time.
  • Use knife to save ammo.
  • Make kill zones using minefields of claymore or C4 along with sentry guns and lead the enemies into it.
  • Get two sentry grenade launchers and focus them on one area so that they can easily take care of enemies there.
  • Always keep self-revive, claymore and flashbangs in stock by re-buying as you would need a lot of them.
  • Claymores can help you keep the areas out of your sight in check.
  • Keep those sentry guns inside cover or they will be exposed to enemy fire by the helicopter.
  • Tough enemies can be taken out safely using Predator strikes. It is important that you take out the juggernauts first and a predator can take out 3 of them.
  • The combination of AK-47 and ACR 6.8 works very well.
  • Use the explosive enemies to your advantage as you can achieve multi-kills because of them.
  • The only perks worth spending on are sleight of hand and self-revive.

Tips for the battle

Here are some tips that would help you with the battle:

  • Use enemy weapons instead of buying.
  • You can boost your money up by Killstreaks, headshots and rampage.
  • For taking down a chopper; shoot at its front and take cover when it fires.
  • For taking down juggernaut use grenade or missles (if you have money).

Enemy Descriptions (Wave by Wave)

Following you will see the list of the enemies with a wave by wave description of how they will appear.

  • Model – They are the light armored enemies and killing them yields 100 points.
  • Dog – Well, it’s a dog and you get 100 points to…
  • SD – These are suicide dogs that have bombs strapped to them and you 150 Points to… they should not do that to dogs.
  • MP5 – These are the enemies with an MP5 and light armor. Killing them yields 125 points.
  • AK – These are the enemies with an AK47 and mediocre armor. Killing them yields 150 points.
  • ACR – These are the enemies with an ACR 180 and good armor. Killing them yields 200 points.
  • FAD – These are the enemies with a FAD and Great armor. Killing them yields 275 points.
  • SB – This is the suicide bomber. Killing it yields variable points.
  • Jug – Juggernauts. Just be careful around them. Killing them yields variable points.
  • CExpert – They place claymores and you get 150 Points upon their death.
  • Heli – Helicopter give you 600 Points when you take them down

You can read a detailed strategy on how to survive these maps longer in our Map Strategy Guide.

Haider is a freelance contributor, who loves video games, playing guitar, and aviation. He is a competitive FPS player and also enjoys exotic RPG games like Diablo and Xenogears (his favorite game of all time) ...