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Cold War Zombies – Which Perks You Should Upgrade First

Zombies Perks have undergone some slight changes in Black Ops Cold War. Here are the perks you need to be giving the most attention to.

Perks are a crucial element of Zombies gameplay. Without them, you'd be rudderless, without enough health, firepower, or speed to take on the ever-growing hordes.

Zombies developers know this and have turned what was once a little bonus to the game into a required mechanic. These perks can help you get to the highest rounds with ease if you know what you're doing, and have become staples of the Call of Duty franchise.

But, in Black Ops Cold War, they've changed.

Cold War Zombies Best Perk to Upgrade First
Cold War Zombies' Outbreak

Now you can upgrade your perks from the Zombies menu, stacking buffs onto the buffs that the series has had for years. It's an interesting mechanic that incentivizes more playthroughs, as you need Aetherium crystals to upgrade them.

These crystals are found in-game and revealed to you after a down or an exfil. But some crystals are better than others; here's our guide on getting flawless and refined crystals fast.

Plus, some Zombies players have been getting lucky; a bug has given one player billions of crystals for free.

But, this new buff system bears the question; which perk should I fully upgrade first?

Which Perks To Upgrade First in Cold War Zombies

YouTuber Caspahz has made a video detailing the best perks to upgrade in detail and offers an insight into the perks you need to be buffing soonest. Here's their list of upgrades you need to keep an eye on...


This one makes sense, really. If any perk in Call of Duty Zombies is the absolute essential to pick up, it's Juggernog by far.

It's remarkably handy even by itself, but when considering its buffs that can be applied by crystals, it's a no-brainer.

Upgrading through Juggernog's tiers will allow some small bonuses; reducing status effects, increasing the effectiveness of armor pickups, even increasing your maximum health by a whopping 100 HP at tier three.

But, most crucially, tier V of Juggernog will help you out of some incredibly tight spots. Any time that a zombie hits you and you would otherwise be downed, as long as you still have some armor, you're saved. Instead of going down, your armor will deplete and your health will reduce to one HP.

Cold War Zombies Best Perk to Upgrade First
Cold War Zombies' Outbreak

Read More: Cold War Zombies Frenzied Guard and Juggernog Bugs Causing Major Issues

This buff offers you one final chance to get away from the horde and recuperate your health. It's an incredibly useful little bonus and one that will no doubt help you out in a sticky situation.

Quick Revive

Quick Revive has undergone some changes since its introduction. An essential for all solo players, it would offer players another chance after being downed, stripping the player of all their perks in the process.

It's since become a little more of a nuanced Cold War Zombies perk alongside the introduction of Tombstone Soda.

However, the effects of its solo games are once again accessible through upgrades.

Small buffs like increased crawl speed and gaining full health after reviving teammates are offered to players for aetherium crystals. It also allows a movement speed buff to those reviving and being revived, which has led to some groundbreaking running speed strategies in Zombies.

But, perhaps most crucially, is the full revive. At tier five, killing an enemy while downed will revive you instantly, and remove only the quick revive perk in the process.

It's incredibly useful to grab, especially as you won't miss out on all of the perks you've gathered in your playthrough. An incredible buff, and one we suggest you grab right after Juggernog.


This is one for the speedrunners. Stamin-Up is a massive help to players, especially those on the bigger maps like the new Outbreak Zombies experience. It's a fan-favorite perk, only made better by its Aetherium upgrades.

Its buffs along the way include an immunity to fall damage, moving faster while aiming, and the ability to use equipment while sprinting. They're incredibly useful buffs that vastly improve the flow of Zombies gameplay.

Cold War Zombies Best Perk to Upgrade First
Cold War Zombies' Stamin-Up

But, its final buff at tier five is one of its most useful. It completely annihilates any sprint speed falloff, so you'll be powering at full speed without needing to stop or slow down whatsoever.

For you impatient players, these buffs are essential. And on maps like Outbreak, you'll need the traversal speed to get from point A to B in a flash.

Deadshot Daquiri

Hear us out.

We know that Deadshot isn't the most popular perk in the game. It was met with confusion upon its addition to the game, with many players feeling it wasn't as essential a perk as the others.

Locking-on to a Zombie's head when aiming was useful for sure, but not nearly as useful as increased reload times or health. And in the days of the four-perk limit, it was hardly worth picking up.

But, times have changed. Not only can you now pick up all perks, but the upgrades that come with Deadshot daquiri are actually pretty solid.

Cold War Zombies Best Perk to Upgrade First
Cold War Zombies' Deadshot Daquiri

Even the first upgrade is great- it offers a 100% bonus of critical damage if the enemy is at full health. This means those one-shot headshots are just a little bit easier.

The other upgrades are great quality-of-life improvements, but the last buff is easily the best. Each consecutive hit on the same enemy will go up by 2% damage, to a total of 20% damage.

Read More: Black Ops Cold War Season 2 Reloaded Revealed By Leaker

Perfect for you SMG users, each bullet that hits the same zombie will keep ticking up in damage until it maxes out. It offers a much easier way to take out zombies in a flash, and that's something not many players would expect of the Daquiri.

Elemental Pop

You might think you know what Elemental Pop does, but maybe you didn't know that with a few upgrades, it can transform into an old fan-favorite perk of its own.

The perk is used individually to imbue random rounds from your weapons with elemental effects, usually acquired from the Pack-A-Punch machine. It's a handy little perk that will randomly take out the zombie you're firing on and can help you out in a pinch.

This is the perk to upgrade next, as its tier five upgrade will add the effects of an older perk. That's right; Electric Cherry is back.

Cold War Zombies Best Perk to Upgrade First
Cold War Zombies' Elemental Pop

Tier five's upgrade creates an electrical charge around the player when they reload their weapon, stunning and killing enemies. The effectiveness of the charge depends on how much ammo is depleted from the weapon's clip, so as to not encourage repeated charge uses.

It's incredibly useful to get you out of a pinch and will buy you some extra time if you're reloading a heavy weapon.

Speed Cola

You may be fascinated to find such an essential perk so low on the list.

The enhanced reload speed perk is incredibly useful and has been a staple of the Zombies franchise since its arrival. And while its upgrades are useful, we can't recommend its immediate upgrade over the buffs of the other perks.

The buffs of the perk are incredibly incremental. You can swap weapons faster, repair barricades faster and even spin the mystery box faster.

Read More: Cold War Zombies: How to Get Insane Weapon XP in Outbreak

But the tier five upgrade, which is touted as the best upgrade to the perk, is simply to fire and reload at full sprint. it's useful, and especially so when paired with stamin-up, but it's not as useful as the damage and speed buffs from the other perks.

Maybe this means the usefulness of the perk has been limited in this game; we'll certainly be picking up the perk regardless, but we can't suggest you fully upgrade it first and foremost.

Tombstone Soda

A recent addition to the game, Tombstone Soda is a perk that allows you to respawn as a shadow when downed and gives you the ability to revive yourself.

Taking on the properties of the who's who perk and almost replacing the quick revive has made it controversial, but that doesn't stunt its usefulness.

The extra buffs offered to tombstone are useful; increasing your downed duration to 60 seconds, dropping a stash preserving your items, and the fifth tier even allows you to keep all of your perks.

Cold War Zombies Best Perk to Upgrade First
Cold War Zombies' Outbreak

These are useful but almost made redundant by a fully-upgraded Quick Revive. If you have the opportunity to simply kill a zombie to get back up with most of your perks, it would be silly not to.

With a fully upgraded Quick Revive, Tombstone Soda is almost made completely useless. It's a great bonus to have in case of an emergency, but certainly not worth prioritizing over the likes of Juggernog or Stamin-Up.

And that's our list of perks worth an upgrade! Of course, your runs are determined by your personal preference, so go wild with your choices. The fun of Zombies is in its variety, so do whatever suits your playstyle.

Here's Caspahz's video:

If you need some more hints and tips to get you through the new map, here's some more Outbreak content;

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