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Heist mode is a true-blue Call of Duty gem. It’s a popular mode and for good reason. In our review of the competitive multiplayer portion of Call of Duty: Black Ops 4, we noted that Heist was among the highlights. It carries the same appeal as Search and Destroy where tensions are ratcheted up simply because players are only granted one life per round. But additionally, it levels the playing field for all players. Everyone has the opportunity to arm and defend themselves with the same exact options as their opponents.

With that being said, we want to offer players a guide to combating the enemy in this mode. Granted, nothing is ever surefire. All players vary in skill, and it’s also always difficult to anticipate what the other team will do. This particular Heist guide is for lower-skill or beginner-level players. Our goal is to offer the best tips to keep up with even the most skilled players. Also, this guide will speak generically when it comes to the multitude of maps available in Black Ops 4, but it will detail some of the loadout options and market selections that worked for us, as well as blanket strategies for getting the jump on the other guys. So, let’s first help you figure out where to spend your money.

Round 1

From the outset, players are given $500 to begin the first round. With $500 cash, the first decision comes down to (a) keeping your traditional sidearm and saving the money for future rounds, or (b) spending it. So, let’s take a deeper look at those options.

A. If you’re efficient with the sidearm and can keep your spread of fire focused with each trigger pull, opt to forgo any purchases or put the money towards one of the perk trees. The initial perks don’t offer any real advantage, but later perks that can be unlocked with more cash most certainly do. However, if you simply want to save the money for better armaments, that’s completely valid as well. Cling to your teammates for your best chance of survival.

B. You may have decided that the basic Strife sidearm doesn’t work well for you. Funny enough, we can’t recommend the other sidearm options. They both require even better marksmanship than the Strife pistol to have any impact. This is due to their limited ammo capacity, and the fact that they cost your full $500 to boot. The semi-auto is especially hazardous for players that struggle with sidearms. Each burst of fire can pack a wallop if you’re on point with each shot. But if you’re all over the place, your ammo will be gone in a flash. And because it’s not full-auto, the short stints of fire will not help you when correcting your aim in a flurry.

To keep expense minimal, the best option is to pick up the extended clip for the Strife at $250. I consider myself capable with a sidearm, and even I tend to pick up the extended clip at the start. The most skilled marksman can’t account for the possibility of approaching multiple opponents at once. And reloads are the bane of any competitive FPS player. This will give you 20 shots that you can fire in succession nearly as fast as you can pull the trigger.

Round 2 and beyond

The winning team must win four rounds, so the rounds will continue until that occurs. Keep this in mind as you see how close the competition is, and you are planning/saving for big-ticket items in later rounds. The better you perform in a given round, the more money you are allotted. You earn cash simply for shooting an enemy even if it doesn’t result in a kill.

Of course, winning a round by eliminating the enemy team is great. But what’s even better is snagging the bag of cash and extracting it. This offers your team a big payday for the succeeding round. Something that most players didn’t know or realize is that once a player grabs the bag, it begins to slowly bleed cash until it is extracted. So, the sooner you can extract it, the bigger the bonus will be for your team.


The first-tier perks are largely inconsequential. Using the perk that silences footsteps may help to a degree, but it’s nowhere near as helpful in the traditional competitive multiplayer modes as it is in Blackout. The primary purpose for buying in on the perks early to is to work your way to the final tier.


That makes it important to decide where you want to end up on the perk tree if you intend to invest here. Make sure you take note of the four categories:

  • Mobility: This will allow for faster, more fluid movement across the board.
  • Assault: The final tiers of this category are going to ramp up your defense against explosions, radiation, shock damage, and even the painfully annoying 9-Bang concussive grenade.
  • Reconnaissance: The first perk merely keeps your movements much quieter. I’ve never seen the true benefit of this in Heist mode as teams tend to play more strategically in relation to the bag of cash than hunting players or lying in wait for the kill. The later perk in this tree, Tracker, is hugely beneficial to beginners, however. It highlights enemy footsteps so that players can track enemies from behind and get the drop on the opposition. Additionally, that final perk comes with an acoustic sensor so that you can hear/see approaching enemies.
  • Support: Lastly, the support upgrade offers the ability to more swiftly revive downed teammates and spot enemy equipment and scorestreaks. This could also be of use for a beginner who may not be as proficient in a firefight but wants to gain XP destroying equipment and being available to revive your squad mates.

For beginners, I believe most of the advantages lie in the Reconnaissance and Support perk trees. In terms of probability, more players seem to pick equipment items such as the Seeker Shock Mine and the RC-XD explosive than anything else. Being able to spot these well in advance with the later Reconnaissance perks could be a lifesaver. Additionally, it makes the Assault perks feel like a bit of a waste when most rarely pick Frag Grenades, Razor Wire, Molotovs, or Mesh Mines. I’m only speaking from routine experience with the mode.

Continue to part 2 of this guide.