Juggernauts, Air Support, and Attack Dogs – The Art of Survival in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3

Blood runs down your face, clouding your vision, making it hard to see the on-coming horde of enemy troops. Your body aches all over from taking far too many bullets while struggling to survive in this forsaken battlefield. You reach for your pistol, but it doesn’t stand a chance against the heavily-armed and heavily-armored juggernaut stomping closer and closer to your fallen body. One step more and he will crush your skull…

The Call of Duty: Modern Wafare 3 Survival Mode ends in just about the same way every time. You run out of ammo, you run out of body armor, and your self-revive is gone — or you have one, but you are surrounded by enemies who shoot you to pieces anyway. Either way, the end is inevitable. With wave after endless wave of increasingly powerful opponents, you know going into it that you will eventually die.

The question is when.

For the Xbox 360 achievement and PS3 trophy hunters, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 gives you a reason to fight your best in Survival Mode. Here’s a guide to unlocking your rewards.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 Survival Mode Achievements and Trophies

The achievements in MW3 can be divided into two categories. On the one hand, you have achievements for your endurance:

  • SurvivorUnstoppableSurvivor (20G) — Reach Wave 10 in each mission of Special Ops Survival mode.
  • Unstoppable (40G) — Reach Wave 15 in each mission of Special Ops Survival mode.
On the other hand, you unlock achievements for earning money and spending that money:
  • Get Rich or Die Trying (25G) — Have $50,000 current balance in a Special Ops Survival game.
  • Defense Spending (20G) — Buy all items from the Survival Equipment Armory.
  • Arms Dealer (20G) — Buy all items from the Survival Weapon Armory.
  • Danger Zone (20G) — Buy all items from the Survival Air Support Armory.
Get Rich or Die Trying Defense Spending Arms Dealer Danger Zone

Birdie Achievement - Call of Duty: Modern Wafare 3Update: There is one more Call of Duty Survival Mode Achievement that I forgot to mention at first: Birdie. For 20G, you must:

Kill 2 enemy helicopters without getting hit in a Special Ops Survival game.

Click here for tips on the Birdie Achievement.

Endurance Achievements Tips for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 Survival

Reaching wave 15 may seem nearly impossible at first, but with a little strategy, you can easily get there and beyond.

The biggest tip is to learn how to work the map. 

At the beginning of each wave, enemies will spawn all over the map. You might think camping in one spot is a good idea. It’s not. You might be able to fight off all the enemies from one spot during the earlier waves, but as they increase in number and strength you’ll die quickly if you try staying in one spot.

The trick to success is to keep moving. As you circle the map, all the enemies will bunch up together as they follow you around. This makes it easy to turn around to kill a few and then run away before the overwhelm you. Just keep circling the map, taking out a few enemies at a time, and you’ll be able to easily, safely kill several waves of enemies.

After you’ve mastered circling the map, the next tip is learning to deal with various kinds of enemies. At first you’ll just have regular infantry, but after a few waves you’ll come across attack dogs (sometimes carrying C4), suicide bombers, juggernauts, and air support (also known as attack helicopters).

To successfully deal with multiple types of enemies in the same wave, you have to set priorities. When you start a wave with attack helicopters, take them out as soon as possible. While it’s possible to shoot them down with sub-machine guns or assault rifles, that’s a risky move, especially when there are hordes of angry troops coming after you. The fastest way I’ve found to get rid of the attack helicopters is with predator missiles. They’re only $2500 in the air support armory and well worth the cost.

After the helicopters are gone, go back to circling the map, killing the regular soldiers, attack dogs, and suicide bombers. If you come across a juggernaut, don’t stop to fight until all the smaller enemies are dead. You’ll stand the best chance to defeat the juggernauts if you are fighting them one-on-one. If you haven’t killed all the other enemies yet, run away. The juggernauts move slower than everyone else, so if you put enough distance between you and them, the smaller enemies will catch up to you sooner, and you’ll be able to take care of them before the juggernaut gets there.

Call of Duty JuggernautWhen you’ve killed all the smaller enemies, it’s time to kill the juggernauts. Like the attack helicopters, it’s probably easiest to kill them with predator missiles. If there are multiple juggernauts in the same wave, you can use your map-circling technique to get the juggernauts close together so that you can hurt or kill them both with one predator missile.

If you are trying to save your cash or don’t have the funds to buy a predator missile, there are some other things you can do to kill the juggernauts. Here are some tips that I find useful:

  • In the later waves, sometimes the juggernauts carry riot shields. If you hurt them enough or get close enough, they will drop their shield. You can pick it up and beat them with it without taking much damage.
  • Flash bangs are also very effective against juggernauts. Toss one through a door or around a corner and then come out shooting and stabbing when the juggernaut is debilitated.
  • Use your most powerful automatic weapon and put as many rounds as possible into the juggernaut’s head.
  • If you are fighting only one juggernaut, you can run up to it and melee it a few times. After you’ve taken a little damage (not too much, though!) run around a corner or some other object to heal up. When you’re healed, come back around and do it again. Do this enough times and you’ll kill the juggernaut. Remember, though, that this strategy won’t work very well if you’re fighting more than one juggernaut.

Another very important tip for enduring the countless waves in Call of Duty Survival is to always hold a self-revive. At $4000 in the equipment armory, the self-revive is pretty expensive, but you’ll need it. You never know when you’re going to find yourself in a tight spot. If you don’t have a self-revive, you run the risk of wasting all the hard work you’ve put into your mission.

When you are down, there is a red meter across the bottom of the screen to show you how close you are to reviving. As time passes, the meter will increase. If you take more damage while down, the meter will decrease. If you kill an enemy while downed, you will immediately revive. After you revive, you should go get another self-revive as soon as possible.

With sixteen maps, you’ll spend most of your time working on these two endurance achievements. The good news is that as you are playing through these levels, working on these endurance achievements, you’ll also be increasing your rank, which will unlock more items in the various armories.

Money and Armory Achievements in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 Survival

You can unlock the Get Rich or Die Trying Achievement during any Survival mission, regardless of your rank. To unlock the armory achievements, you must have access to all the items. This means you won’t be able to unlock the Defense Spending Achievement, the Danger Zone Achievement and the Arms Dealer Achievement until you are rank 50 or higher.

To Get Rich or Die Trying, simply follow my tips for the endurance achievements and spend as little money as possible. It may take a few tries, but you should be able to get there eventually. Just remember to take cover when you are taking fire and let yourself heal before you try to do anything courageous. If you are successful at avoiding too much sustained damage, you will be able to avoid using a self-revive, meaning you won’t have to buy another one.

Unlocking the armory achievements is much easier. The game remembers what you have bought, so you don’t have to buy everything in one mission. Buy what you can as you can, and eventually all your purchases will add up to whatever armory achievement you’re working on.

I’ve written a separate post on the Arms Dealer Achievement.

Putting it all together in Call of Duty Survival

It takes about half an hour (or more, depending on your style) to reach wave 15 on a mission. With 16 maps, this means that you will be playing Call of Duty Survival for at least 8 hours in order to unlock your achievements or trophies. Following these tips will help you minimize the time it takes to reach your achievement goals.

What tips do you have?

Did I forget anything? What have you been doing to dominate Call of Duty Survival? Leave your tips in the comments below.


  1. I am a big fan of using the Delta Squad. They do some serious work and can last for multiple waves. Especially good if you need a breather. However I am not sure if they would be a waste of money since its them, not you, getting kills. I’ll have to look into it further

    • That’s a good point. The Delta Squad and the Riot Shield Squad are both helpful. You don’t have to stay with them, either. After you call them in, you can keep circling the map, and the enemies will be distracted by the support squad, so you can easily sneak up on their flank.

  2. Every map that I’ve played on (with the exceptions of Bootleg and Hardhat) have perfect camping positions. Once you learn your way to your various armories from these points, it is fairly easy to get to wave 15 (or much higher). The biggest trick to doing this is to know the waves with juggernauts and be away from that spot until they”re dropped off. The map-circling technique works wonders on these waves. With the exception of Bootleg and Hardhat, I’ve been able to reach between waves 15 and 27 solo. I would, however, like to know if there is a “happy spot” in either of those two maps. . .

    • Hey, Jeff. Thanks for sharing. Personally, I haven’t had much success with camping in one spot. I always get overwhelmed in the later waves.

  3. I think the best strategy for higher waves is to go near the weapons crate jump on that and post in the hole

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