An Escape From Tarkov Guide, Part 6: The Meta Game
Only a few more pieces left folks, you’re doing great. Hang in there. The previous piece on the Hideout can be found here, where we go into detail on the Hideout and what it has to offer.
So, as with most games now it’s not enough to consider the game in isolation, you also need to think about the Meta Game. So how exactly do you do that in Tarkov?
Well, It’s more straightforward than you’d think.
The term Meta usually refers to the ‘game within the game’, though recently I saw a backronym for this that I think works better: Most Effective Tactics Available, and that’s what you’re going to want to keep in your mind.
There have been multiple Meta’s throughout the game’s life, and I’ve added a few below to give you a flavour:
–Leg Meta: where the most effective way to kill a highly armoured player is to repeatedly shoot the legs. Even when the legs hit zero health further hits still take damage from the ‘global’ health pool. I.e. you can kill someone just shooting them in the knee; where they don’t have any high-tier armour.
–Mosin Meta: While this has now been nerfed in 0.12.7, you used to be able to 1-shot anyone in the chest with a Mosin. Bang. Dead. Adding armour (to a point) did little, and with armour piercing bullets being available, meant it was no real extra protection; it just cost more when you died. Players used to run around with nothing but a Mosin ambushing high-level players for their gear.
–Stun Meta: One of the toughest Scav bosses in the game, Killa, had a stun-lock meaning that every time he was shot he was stunned momentarily preventing him from firing back. Combining leg-Meta with a very-high rate of fire weapon meant it was possible to ‘farm’ Killa risk free. Assuming you saw him first.
I think you get the general gist.
Now these Meta’s are a constantly moving feast, especially with the rate in which Battlestate are patching and updating this game, but it does mean that if you can learn to spot them then you’re chances of surviving can go up significantly.
Of course a lot of these are situational and depend not only on what you’re facing, but also where you are in your own Tarkov journey. One of the most-used guns in the game is the VSS, often classed as the (yes you’ve guessed it) Meta Gun. This is due to it’s ridiculously high rate of fire, low recoil and very effective ammo. It was also waaaay cheaper than the ‘classical’ top-tier M4. As a result It quickly became adopted as the new Meta by mid to high-level players and it’s popularity soared. It’s a good example of players identifying a new effective tactic, and it becoming Meta due to it’s effectiveness.
In the current 0.12.7 patch i’ve identified a number of Meta’s that are working well for me, and probably foolishly (for me at least) i’m going to share them below:
My Gun Meta:
I mentioned this in the weapons run-down I did in the Loadout piece, but for me there are two Meta guns in this wipe: the OP-SKS and the MP7A1-Navy.
The SKS with BP ammo is just the best bang-for-buck gun in the game. Add a 4x and the SKS rail/Blue laser combo and it’s excellent at short and long range. Again I’ve mentioned this previously, but the blue laser allows you to take on Chads wielding full-auto weapons as you don’t have to ADS (aim down Scope) to take them on. I recently got ambushed by a duo on Shoreline beach with this, and came out on top. Hurt, bleeding, but on top.
The other Meta gun has replaced the VSS for me given the slight stability and recoil nerf it received in the 0.12.7 patch, and that’s the MP7A1-navy that you can trade from Mechanic for one bitcoin.
Under 150-200m this gun is an absolute beast, especially when loaded with subsonic ammo. It comes ‘ready’ out of the blocks with a front handle, silencer, scope, laser and torch. The later you can sell for a tidy profit straight out of the gates. It has effectively zero recoil, is deathly silent, can empty a 30-round clip in about 3 seconds and the subsonic ammo shreds top-tier ammo. Once I have my bitcoin farm up (see my Hideout piece here), its the only gun I run when i’m not on Shoreline or woods. It is particularly good in close quarters areas like Dorms, Factory or many areas on Customs.
My Loot Meta:
You need to get out with loot to make profit. But knowing where the best loot is is tricky and often VERY dangerous (another Meta is the Rush Meta, where you spawn and run to high-value loot spawns- something I spent a lot of time doing on Reserve last wipe). I have however been shown two better ways of getting the loots, with less risk than the rush method- and it’s so effective I’ve stopped rushing at all. It is in fact, my new loot-Meta.
The two tactics are this- for Scav runs, do Woods. Yes, yes I know, it IS Woods, and woods is a nightmare to get out alive from at times. However, the Sawmill in Woods is just jammed-full of loot. You’ve also got the pentagram site and checkpoint in easy reach which often both have high-value items. As a bonus there’s also 3 Purple-Keycard spawns on this map and an easy-to-find safe. What’s not to love! Side benefit- since doing this my survival rate on Woods has sky-rocketed.
It’s worth getting over the initial deaths. Trust me, I now survive 9/10 raids (you’re always going to get ganked at some point) and my minimum haul is usually 200k. My record to date is 1.8 mill. For a Scav run. On Woods. In ten minutes.
You can also farm Shturman if a) you can find him, b) he isn’t already dead and c) he doesn’t see you first….
The second is PMC runs on Shoreline where you focus on the hidden stashes. You see, on Shoreline most people run to dorms or docks straight away (and now the Villa’s as well due to Sanitar and his team). But you can make a tidy profit just walking from stash to stash hoovering-up all that’s there. Again, returns vary but I usually get out with 200-500k worth of loot. Best was 800k, but I know people have returned with more than that.
It’s a handy tactic for the early-game as well as you’ll have a number of lower-level missions that require you to kill a load of Scavs. So there’s 8-10 stashes in easy reach of the beach and Harbor where lots of Scavs Spawn, you can then patrol along here, getting the missions and making a tidy profit to boot.
You can thank HayZ for the shoreline idea and ThicKonc for the Woods one.
My Hideout Meta:
Again I mentioned this in my Hideout piece, but given you need to keep your generator fueled up at all times it’s an incredible bonus to be able to recycle the empty containers. If you use the blue Expeditionary ones, they can be turned into Magazine cases in the toilet (don’t ask). Then in turn, they can be turned into lucky Scav JunkBoxes for an 800k sale-value.
There’s also the ability to turn flash drives into intelligence folders, which in turn you can use to get better loot out of the Scav Box.
You see the thing about the Meta Game is that while there may truly be a number or defined Meta approach, a lot of it is situational and depends on you, your play-style and current ability. It’s likely that things such as the weapon Meta won’t even become a concern for you until you’re more than half way through your wipe. Instead, lot’s of mini-Meta’s will appear as you adapt your play style, loadout and tactics to the available resources you have and the situation you’re facing. The key is exactly that though- to adapt your tactics. It’s a mistake to think that there is a best way to play this game. There is no best load-out, no best gun, no best tactic; everything is situational. Instead, experiment, identify what works and use that- but never stop learning and never stop adapting. That’s how you get better, and that’s how you identify your Meta.
As ever, feel free to check out my channel here where you’re able to come and ask any questions you want, or if you just want to watch me fail to put into practice what I preach…..
Next we’ll be looking into some Advanced tactics that I’ve found effective, mostly relating to combat and movement in part 7, here.