Champion Hill: Call of Duty Vanguard’s new multiplayer mode, explained

Champion Hill is the newest multiplayer mode coming to Call of Duty: Vanguard. Here’s the lowdown on what to expect – and how to prepare yourself – when the game launches.

Last weekend, PlayStation players were given the opportunity to try out a brand new multiplayer mode being added in Call of Duty: Vanguard. It’s called Champion Hill, a round-robin, limited-lives deathmatch tournament that’s heavy on the action and light on the clock.

Here’s everything we learned about Champion Hill, and what to expect when it goes live with Call of Duty: Vanguard this November.

Champion Hill: the basics

Champion Hill will pit you in teams of two or three in a round robin of eight teams total. As a pair you’ll have 12 lives between you, and as a trio that’s bumped up to 18. If you lose all of those lives, you’re out. If you’re the last team standing, you win. An additional mode for solo players will also be available when the full game launches.

Operators will start with a basic loadout of one weapon and a sidearm, plus $500 cash to spend in an initial Buy Round. You won’t be able to afford much here – maybe an upgrade to your weapon and an armour plate or two – but you’ll be able to browse the Perks, Streaks, Weapons, and Equipment available through four buy stations.

These will be familiar to legacy Call of Duty players – it’s a much more restricted loadout than you can score in Warzone for instance, but classics such as a perk doubling the duration of your tactical sprint are there.

Weapon sets are predetermined, meaning you can’t necessarily bring your favourites with you, but each round of Champion Hill will have an assault rifle, light machine gun, sub machine gun, shotgun, and sniper rifle available to buy.

Weapons are also the only thing you’re able to upgrade mid-round, with a total of 10 upgrades available before a weapon is maxed out. Of course, each upgrade will get more expensive, so be careful with that upgrade button.

Call of duty: Vanguard Champion Hill

Talking tactics

And here is where the tactics of Champion Hill really come into play. Beyond having to outperform the competition in each quickfire round, you’ll be making constant snap decision about which perks to buy, how far you upgrade your weapon, whether you need extra equipment such as trip mines, and more.

What is a fifth weapon upgrade worth against a full set of armour plates? Should you save up for that valuable extra life, knowing you could lose it again almost immediately? Depending on your playstyle and the competition you’re facing, every match of Champion Hill will present a slightly different challenge.

One thing that doesn’t change is the map – well, sort of. I thought the Champion Hill battleground was one of the more innovative parts of the new mode – the way it’s designed really makes you feel as if you’re part of a large-scale tournament, and not simply facing off against one team each particular round.

The open area where the Buy Rounds are held acts as a central pillar to four separate, smaller maps; Airstrip to the east, Courtyard to the north, Market to the west, and Trainyard to the south. While you’re in each, you can actually hear gunfire echoing from the other maps as players face off in their own rounds.

Meaning when the announcer declares a team eliminated, you can often hear the firefight that led to that team’s demise.

Each map also necessitates a different tactical approach. The Airstrip is as large as the maps get, with wider open spaces suitable for mid-to-long range weapons. On the other hand, run-and-gun players will feel at home in the more claustrophobic Courtyard.

Call of duty: Vanguard Champion Hill weapons

Climbing Champion Hill

To win a game of Champion Hill you’ll need to survive through round after round, losing as few lives as possible while eliminating as many lives from the other teams as you can. Each time you win a round – meaning you grab more kills than your opponent – you’ll get an extra bump of cash. If you manage to eliminate a team by taking their last life, you’ll get a cash bonus too.

Wads of cash will also spawn on the ground during each round, as will extra lives. But you’ll need to be careful picking these up – often they’ll just make you an easy target.

If you make it far enough through the round robin to be in the top two teams, you’ll face off in a final battle. Winner takes all.

Over all Champion Hill is a damn fun mode that really benefits from how quickly it runs through. Small maps and 60-second rounds mean you’re never far from the action, and when compared to a multiplayer mode like Warzone where you can wander 10 minutes without seeing an enemy, it’s perfect for players who want to spend a quick half hour gaming with one or two mates.

Champion Hill will launch with Call of Duty: Vanguard on November 5th.