Back 4 Blood: Tips for Playing Swarm Mode

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There are a few different modes that you can play in Back 4 Blood and Swarm mode is one of them. In Swarm, you get to play as a team of 4 who are either The Cleaners or The Ridden and you go up against another team of 4. This mode can be a little tricky to get used to at first, so we've written down some useful tips for playing Swarm mode.


Read More: Back 4 Blood: How to Claim the Battle Hardened Game Pass Ultimate Perks

Tips for Playing Swarm Mode

Tips for playing Swarm Mode will vary depending on which side you are on but there are a few key ones that spread across the entire mode, regardless of who you're playing as. Swarm mode will test all of your skills and you can use quite a few tricks that you have learned in Campaign mode to keep the fight interesting.

If you're enjoying Back 4 Blood but are finding yourself stuck on some parts, head over to our Walkthrough Hub where you can find all of our guides for the game!


Don’t Quit if You Lose

It can be really frustrating when you lose, especially when you put a lot of effort into the match but if you leave after a loss you can be putting the rest of your team at a disadvantage or you can end the game altogether. Your points and cards stack across the rounds, so even if you lose one match, the points/upgrades that you can gain may mean the next match is yours!

Teamwork, Teamwork, Teamwork!

Work as a team and success will be within your reach regardless of which side you're playing on. You will stand strong as a unit that works together because if you become separated (especially as Cleaners) you will be making yourself vulnerable to any and all attacks. If you see a teammate that is about to be overwhelmed, then run over and help them.

If you see that another member's health is low then protect them from incoming attacks as The Ridden or use some of your supplies to heal them if you're a Cleaner. A team that works together has a better chance of winning over a team that does not.


Tips for the Cleaners in Swarm

These tips will be useful for when you get to play as the heroes of the game, The Cleaners. When you play as one of The Cleaners the game operates as usual until the match begins: you pick a Cleaner, a Deck, draw cards then enter the match. However, at the beginning of each match, you get time to run around and scavenge as much as you can hold from different orange crates. You can even find better weapons than the one you start with.

Use Your Cards Strategically

Even though you're stuck with your deck once you lock it in, you will still get the chance to draw some cards from it and choose which ones you want to play. When you're doing this, try to focus on choosing cards that will benefit the entire team if possible. If not, you can always balance it out with cards that give good perks such as high defence or high offense ratings.


Adjust Decks That Don’t Work Out

After a game of Swarm ends you may find yourself realising that the deck that you laid down wasn't well-suited to that specific mode. Luckily, you can build custom decks for Swarm mode too so it's worth revisiting and re-building your decks for this specific mode if you feel like the game isn't working out for you. We have a guide on how to use cards which includes how to build successful decks.

Open All of the Orange Crates Whilst Scavenging

Back 4 Blood Holly opening weapons crate

Even if you cannot carry any more items, you should try to open as many orange crates as you can. This will save you valuable seconds in the middle of the fight as you can just run past an open crate and grab any supplies you need.

Fortify the Area

It's not always possible to use fortifications to protect yourself in Swarm but on certain maps, you will be gifted with lots of Razor Wire, Gas Tanks, and Fuel Canisters. If you're on one such map, try to use them to protect the area surrounding you as Razor Wire can slow down normal Ridden. You can lay down Gas Tanks and Fuel Canisters to act like protective traps that you can shoot to cause them to explode when enemies get too close.

Tips for the Ridden in Swarm


These tips will be really useful when it's your turn to play as the infected zombies that are destroying what's left of the world. The more you play as each type of Special Ridden within Swarm mode, the more you will learn about what it takes to win.

Watch Where You Spawn

You have to be out of sight to spawn anyway otherwise the game will not let you, but you should still be careful about where you're spawning. In Swarm Mode, Ridden can only climb certain parts of buildings so if you trap yourself somewhere when you spawn and you cannot get out then you are an easy target if the Cleaners find you.

Use the Environment to Ambush Your Enemies

Use the environment around you to ambush your enemies, when you're playing as a Special Ridden you will have normal Ridden backing you up and this is how you can ambush your enemies. The environments in Swarm Mode are detailed and often have quite a few places for you to appear from to catch your enemies off guard. Once The Cleaners are distracted by the other Ridden, you can sneak up on them.


Have 1 Big Ridden

You can play as 1 of 9 different types of Ridden within Swarm Mode and the Tallboy set are the heavy hitters of the game. If you have at least 1 person in your team spawning as a Crusher, Tallboy or Bruiser then you can inflict a substantial amount of damage on the other team. However, these Ridden do move slowly so it's not a great idea for your whole team to be this type.

What Is Swarm Mode in Back 4 Blood?

Swarm mode is the PvP mode in Back 4 Blood where a team of 4 players goes up against another team of 4. One team will start as The Cleaners and the other team will start as The Ridden.

Your job as The Cleaners is to survive against the Ridden for as long as possible and your job as the Ridden is to destroy all The Cleaners. After all of the Cleaner team has been defeated, the match ends and their time will be recorded:

Back 4 Blood Swarm mode team win screen

Then, the next round begins and the teams switch sides which means The Cleaners now become The Ridden. The team that once was the Ridden is now Cleaners and it will now be their job to survive longer than the previous team.

Whoever lasts the longest wins.

In Back 4 Blood the Ridden are your enemies but it's nice to let loose and be able to play as them for a while in Swarm mode then switch sides to take them out as The Cleaners again. If you're finding some Ridden hard to beat then we have guides on how to beat Tallboy, Crusher and Bruiser enemies as well as one on how to beat Reeker, Retch and Exploder enemies.