PUBG Guide To Winning

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Haven't snagged any for yourself yet? Read on...

Feel like you’re on one long losing streak? Here’s our guide to maxing out your chance at scoring some piping hot chicken dinner.

Let’s get one thing straight - you can’t deny that there’s a lot of luck involved in the average round of PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds. You’re contending with around 99 other players scrambling to get armed, get to the next circle, and keep out of everyone else’s crosshairs. It’s hectic, and truthfully there’s no surefire way to make sure you’re the one coming out on top 100% of the time. That being said, there are a ton of simple things you could be doing each game to up your odds of living longer than the guy in the housing complex across from you.

So without further ado, let’s break down what you should be doing if you want to win at PUBG, stage by stage.

The Pre-Game

In more ways than one, the pre-game can get more chaotic than the actual match. 

We’re all familiar with the PUBG waiting room. You spawn in, look around, and immediately start a punching contest with the guy that spawned in next to you. Easy peasy.

However, depending on what game mode you chose, it might be worth it to do just a little bit of prep while you’re waiting for the lobby to fill up and the game to begin. If you’re playing with friends, try to get a rough idea of where you all might want to drop. This is more than likely to change, especially since there’s no way of knowing the exact flight path the plane will take over the map before you’re actually in the sky, but at the very least it’ll give you an idea of what kind of match your team wants to play.

If you’re running a squad with other players who queued on their own, or in smaller groups, go ahead and make sure their mics are working. Pick-up squads tend to be less effective, especially if no one in the group is communicating.

The Drop

Some days, you just want to hear someone blaring "YMCA" over the in-game mic. If it's not one of those days, just hit CTRL+T.

Now the fun starts. Amidst the screaming and random bits of audio that’s most likely going to be assaulting you over your headsets, you’re going to want to choose a drop point. Both maps have particular spots that you’re more prone to finding loot in, but the advantages and drawbacks are the same regardless of whether you’re dropping in the dense woodlands of Erangel or the dry mountain ranges and plateaus of Miramar, so repeat after me:

If it’s got a name and it’s close to the plane, there will be guns, and people will be there.

So with that in mind, it’s down to you to decide just how badly you want a massive stockpile of weapons and ammo within the first five minutes. If you can hold your own in a gunfight, there’s definitely a lot of value in dropping in cities with high initial populations. By the end of the first circle, you’ll most likely have at least one assault rifle and more ammunition than you know what to do with. However, you’ll also have to worry not only about people dropping in your immediate area, but people dropping in further corners of the city or complex you’ve picked. There’s plenty of loot to go around in popular drop zones, so be prepared to get into multiple gunfights.

If you’re going with a more sparse landing spot, maybe an unnamed three house complex as far as you can manage off the flight path, be prepared to be a little less armed than you like. It’s not as unheard of to find an SKS in some random shed in the middle of nowhere, but if you land at a complex that has nothing save for some bandages, a P1911, and a Crossbow, you’re going to have to do a little more running around while you’re looking for more places to loot. More time travelling to other complexes means less time actually amassing loot.

On the upside, you’ll probably run into less opposition the more isolated you are and the further you get from the plane’s initial flight path. So this could be a very viable option if you’re patient, don’t mind a slower loot climb, and want to live longer more reliably.

Landing and the Early Game

If you dropped somewhere populated, things are going to get hectic. Find a gun, fast.

Regardless of where you dropped on the map, your first goal should be to get a gun. That number at the top right of your screen is going to plummet like a rock for those first few minutes, and a lot of those deaths come down to people who are armed picking off everyone who isn’t. Even if you dropped in an isolated corner of the map, never assume that you’re safe. Find a gun before you do anything else.

If you can’t find an assault rifle within the first few houses you search, don’t get discouraged. Being that people tend to drop in concentrated groups when landing, the best weapons to have in the early game are often submachine guns and shotguns for their ease of use in close quarters. If you can’t manage that, at least pick up a pistol, even if you’ve never once pulled your sidearm. In the early game, when people tend to not have as much armor on them, a few well-placed shots from even a 9mm pistol will do the job just as well as anything else.

Once you have a gun, scout out the immediate area. Use your ears. Engagements tend to happen a lot more frequently in the early stages of a match, so you’ll usually be able to track enemies by the sound of them engaging other players. On the flip-side, you’ll also more than likely hear footsteps in your immediate area if you dropped with other players nearby, and listening close can often tell you if someone is pressing in on your location and you need to either play defense or take them out before they take you out.

If you manage to pinpoint another player or squad before they know where you are, it might be worth playing a little more aggressively. Having the jump on other players is often just the advantage you need to come out on top, and taking their loot early will lessen the amount of places you need to loot yourself - meaning less time exposed to other players.


Do you know what's worse than getting killed by another player? Getting killed by the map.

While the chaos of the early game plays out, it’s important to pay close attention to that timer above the minimap on the bottom right hand corner of your screen. PUBG, like many other battle royale games, utilizes a shrinking circle system that gradually pushes players towards a more and more concentrated area of play.

Your minimap shows the active play zone as an area surrounded by a white circle. Stay within the bounds of this white circle, and you’re golden. Get caught outside it however, and you’ll start to lose health. In early rounds, the health drain is manageable - you’ll be able to last a long time outside of the playzone as long as you’ve got healing items at the ready.

Bear in mind, though - being outside the play zone becomes more and more damaging the longer the game lasts, and the further you are from the active play zone.

Keep an eye on your minimap as you move around. If you ever see a straight dotted line on your player marker leading off in a different direction, that means that you’re outside the next projected playzone. Don’t panic yet, though. Once that dotted line appears, you’ll have a small amount of time before the current playzone begins to shrink. So get moving.

If you don’t see a dotted line appear near your player marker after a while, that most likely means you’re inside the current or new play zone, and that you don’t have to worry just yet. It’s still important to get a good idea of where you are in relation to the play zone, though. If you’re close to the edge, you may have an opportunity to pick off players coming from outside the circle, trying to get in. On the other hand, you’ll also have to travel to the new circle if it moves away from your current location.

You may try to avoid that entirely by moving to the exact center of the play zone as soon as you get a chance, but there are downsides to this as well. While you may not have to do as much moving around as a group that sticks to the edge of the circle, you do have to worry about enemies closing in from multiple directions. A central position opens you up to more avenues of attack, so plan accordingly.

Watch your time, and think about where you want to position yourself in a new play zone.

The Mid-Game and Looting

Don't run around picking up everything when you're getting armed. Loot smart.

Things start to slow down a little once you progress from the early game into the mid-game. The playercount has been chopped down quite a bit from its initial 100, and you’ve most likely gone through a few circle moves. This is around when you need to start making sure that you’re adequately looted and ready to move into the late and endgame. Here’s a few things that you’re absolutely going to need:

  • At LEAST one assault rifle with a magnified optic. This is the baseline. Sniper rifles are good, but you should at least have one weapon that fires 5.56 rounds or better and some means of seeing people from further away.
  • Armor. This could very well boil down to a dinky motorcycle helmet and a police vest, but don’t go past the mid-game without both armor slots filled with something.
  • Ammo. You could be sporting a shiny M249 with an 8x scope on it and it would still mean nothing if all you have is two boxes of ammo. Make sure you can comfortably get into a firefight and still have a good amount of ammunition after.
  • A first aid kit or two. These are indisposable during combat, as they heal nearly your entire health bar in a short amount of time.

Grenades, boost items like painkillers and energy drinks, and gun attachments will also help you very much in the long run, but don’t spend too much time without finding these essentials.

While you’re looting from complex to complex, it’s important to remember that while the initial bloodbath that took place once you landed is over, you should still never assume that you’re safe. Other players and teams are moving with you towards the playzone, and could very well be at the next complex you’re moving to, or spot you as you’re moving from place to place.

So have a point of cover to run to at all times, and constantly scan your surroundings - if not for other people, then for signs they’ve been nearby.

Open doors, broken fences, player crates, and flaming vehicles are all signs that there may be other people in your immediate vicinity, and you should proceed with caution. Bear in mind, if you keep coming across complexes with open doors and no guns, it probably means that you’re trailing somewhere behind another team. It may be worth searching through what they left behind, but know that their scraps may not fully prepare you for the long game. You might want to consider breaking off the straight path you’re moving in towards the new play zone. It will be easier to collect loot if you stay off their immediate tail.

Engage enemies with caution - the sound of your gunfire can easily draw other players to your position.

The Endgame

You're going to start feeling the adrenaline pumping once that player count drops below five. Stay cool. 

This is where things start to get heated. The circle’s only going to get more and more claustrophobic from here, and if you haven’t gotten into a single firefight yet by this point, this is probably where it’s going to happen.

You should not be looting any more at this point. If you are, your risk of getting caught off guard is higher than it’s been all match. This also applies to dead players’ crates, even if you killed them. Loot them only if they have something you absolutely need.

If you’ve been rolling around in a vehicle at any point in this match, it’s also probably better that you ditch it by the late game. This late into the match, the circle’s small enough to traverse on foot, and the sound of an engine does nothing more than paint a target on your back for all the remaining players to fire at.

The endgame is where positioning can make or break your shot at that coveted chicken dinner. It’s important to have some form of either cover or concealment available to you at all times. Sticking to a rock, a tree, a ridgeline, or a house makes sure that there’s something between you and incoming bullets, meaning you’re not a nice clean target for another player to turn into a pincushion. Circle movement sometimes makes it so there’s no good place to take cover, however. In that situation, settle for some kind of concealment - a bush, some tall grass, even a patch of dirt that looks a little more like the clothes you’re wearing. These won’t stop bullets, but they’ll slow another player’s ability to identify you against the landscape, giving you those precious seconds you need to get a bead on them first.

At this point in the game, it may pay off to let other players pick each other apart a little more before joining the fray. This means that their health and supplies might be a little more diminished when you jump in to finish them off.

More than anything else, the endgame is where your map awareness needs to be running at 100%. Scoring a few endgame kills means nothing if you’ve jumped out of your concealment and into a hidden player’s line of fire. Keep watching, pick your targets well, and don’t lose your cool.

Some Last Pointers…

  • Keep some bandages on you. They’re not as valuable as first aid kits and medkits while you’re in immediate danger. But if you’ve got a moment of quiet, you should use them to patch up and conserve your more effective healing items.
  • Maintain a high ground. This gives you some better visibility for your immediate area, plus a ridge to duck behind if you’re getting shot at.
  • Don’t panic and go prone. This stance is effective for stabilizing your shots at long range, but don’t fall motionless into the grass when you’re getting shot at. Not only will you have stopped moving, you’ll have made yourself an even bigger target for someone with a bead on you.  Instead, run in zig zags towards cover.
  • Don’t stop moving. You never know when someone’s got your head in their sights. When you’re looting out in the open, try leaning or stepping from side to side with the A and W keys quickly to make yourself a harder target.
  • Don’t ignore vehicles. Gauge when you should use them. While players can hear the sound of an engine for quite some distance, some added speed can help you get to more complexes faster in the early and mid-game, allowing you more opportunities to loot.
  • Flank. When you’re engaging an enemy team, particularly when playing in duos or squads, make sure your entire time isn’t glued to one spot. A thick firefight is a perfect opportunity for some of your squadmates to break off in a different direction, and surprise your enemies from a different angle.
  • Watch your own flank. Similarly, if you haven’t been moving, don’t end up fixating too much on the last place you saw an enemy firing at you. Doing so is a great way to get blindsided.
  • Don’t get discouraged. The great part of battle royale games is the huge number of ways a match can play out. If you lose, take a second to think about how you slipped up during the match and jump right back in. There’s always room to improve, and no two games are bound to play out the same way.
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Stuck somewhere between poet and games journalist. If something pops into my head, it's bound to find its way onto a page somehow. I'm a big fan of good gin and tipsy PUBG.
Gamer Since: 1998
Favorite Genre: RPG
Currently Playing: Absolver
Top 3 Favorite Games:Dark Souls 3 , XCOM 2, Dark Souls: Prepare To Die Edition

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