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✓ At a glance
  • We recommend understanding faction abilities, checking cooldowns, and tinkering with aim settings first.
  • Map awareness via communication and the minimap is essential to winning team fights.
  • Focus on headshots and strafe while aiming to put pressure on enemies.

Ubisoft’s area shooter can be challenging for new players, especially due to its lack of skill-based matchmaking. With the right approach, you’ll be able to turn the tide against more experienced teams. We have our list of tips and tricks we’ve learned that will help you get proficient in knocking down foes and securing objectives in XDefiant.

Our top tips and tricks

Here’s our top 10 general tips and tricks that will help you get started with its game modes and maps:

  • Lean into faction synergies with the right abilities
  • Use an enemy’s appearance to predict their attacks
  • Keep track of ability cooldowns to use them more often
  • Use the right aim settings that work for you
  • Try strafing while aiming to improve your accuracy
  • Slide canceling can catch enemies by surprise
  • Customize your weapon according to your playstyle
  • Communication is key, try taking objectives together
  • Check your minimap but don’t always dive into the action
  • Headshots make a big difference
A player stands next to their teammates before starting a match.
Pick from a variety of factions to devise new strategies. Image captured by VideoGamer.

1. Lean into faction synergies with the right abilities

With all the factions in the game promising different playstyles, it can be hard to settle on a favorite. Experiment with all of them to understand how they work together. For example, pairing the Phantoms’ Mag Barrier with the Cleaners’ Purifier flamethrower can let you contest objectives without putting yourself directly in harm’s way. You’ll find more synergies as you work with allies to secure kills.

2. Use an enemy’s appearance to predict their attacks

Agents from different factions are noticeably different in appearance, even if their hitboxes are similar. This lets you figure out an enemy’s chosen faction from a decent distance. If you aren’t able to figure it out, seeing an activated ability will let you confirm this. Understanding factions isn’t just about knowing what abilities your foes might use. They also convey how a player will respond to combat. Phantoms have extra health, the Libertad has bonus health regeneration, and the Cleaners have incendiary ammo. This means you’ll have to vary your approach while fighting these characters. For instance, setting a Libertad opponent on fire won’t necessarily knock them out as they have access to healing abilities.

A player checks their ability cooldown, highlighted in a yellow box.
Keep an eye on that ticking timer. Image captured by VideoGamer.

3. Keep track of ability cooldowns to use them more often

On the bottom of your screen, you’ll see a timer that counts down to when you can use your abilities again. While this can take a while, don’t forget to use them. Abilities can give you an edge against an opponent, especially if you pick an offensive faction like the Cleaners, letting you use an Incinerator Drone or Firebomb to engulf an area in flames. You can also help allies with the Libertad’s El Remédio healing canisters and the Phantoms’ Mag Barrier.

4. Use the right aim settings that work for you

Tinkering with the aim settings and firing some rounds in the training range will help you improve your aim. This is critical because a few missed shots can give your opponent an opening to escape and regenerate their health. In modes like Hot Shot where kills matter, this can cost your team the match if it happens frequently. By adjusting your sensitivity, aim response curve, and dead zone settings, you’ll have better control of your aim. After making some changes, give yourself time to get accustomed to how aiming feels.

A player strafes while aiming to defeat an opponent.
Strafe to make yourself a tough target. Image captured by VideoGamer.

5. Try strafing while aiming to improve your accuracy

Speaking of aiming, strafing (moving the character instead of your crosshair) can help you on two fronts. First, it makes you a harder target to hit. And second, it’ll help you rely less on your mouse or right controller stick and give you another axis to aim. Seasoned FPS players already strafe while aiming so this will put you on an even footing with them.

6. Slide canceling can catch enemies by surprise

Yes, XDefiant has slide canceling. Slide by pressing the crouch button and then jump mid-animation to leap higher than usual. This will surprise enemies and let you land a couple of hits first. While Ubisoft might change how this works, it’s worth trying in a server against some foes. It’s particularly useful when you have close-quarters weapons like shotguns and SMGs.

A player customizes a rifle in the game.
Customize weapons based on your playstyle. Image captured by VideoGamer.

7. Customize your weapon according to your playstyle

Ubisoft takes a page out of Call of Duty’s playbook with its exorbitant attachment system. With benefits and drawbacks provided by each attachment, it can take a while to land on a loadout that feels right to you. But this is time well spent as you will be able to account for your playstyle while crafting your guns. For example, players who prefer landing shots from a distance can manage with a lower sprint to shoot speed in exchange for stability. But a nimble SMG loadout would be severely impaired by such a decision.

8. Communication is key, try taking objectives together

While FPS titles are usually reliant on teamwork and communication, the factions system makes it even more important here. You can rely on your allies to support you with defensive abilities and healing whenever you need it. By calling out for aid, you’ll be able to sustain firefights and contribute in turn. Listening to your allies will also let you flank enemies and catch them by surprise, letting you maximize the returns from offensive abilities and ultimate moves.

A player eliminates an opponent and checks their minimap.
Use the minimap to plan your moves. Image captured by VideoGamer.

9. Check your minimap but don’t always dive into the action

The minimap on the top left is a handy way to keep an eye out for enemies. But remember that Echelon faction members won’t appear here. These will highlight enemies you haven’t seen if they fire their weapons or are hit by an ally. This will keep you aware of the optimal route depending on your loadout. Got a shotgun? Try lurking about in tight corridors. As for sniper rifle and marksman rifle enthusiasts, try looking for sightlines to track distant threats. Spotting an enemy doesn’t mean you have to rush to their location. You can predict their movements and catch them off-guard instead.

10. Headshots make a big difference

While pretty much every first-person shooter game offers you bonus damage for headshots, I was pleasantly surprised by how effective they are here. Even against the hardened Phantoms faction, I could whittle down health bars quickly if I tried to aim for the head. Sure, you might miss some shots. But as long as a few of them land, you’ll take enemies down quickly. Considering that weaker weapons like SMGs need a good number of bullets to down a foe, going closer to land headshots is a strategy that could pay off handsomely. But remember that you are vulnerable to such damage too.

About the Author

Antony Terence

Antony Terence is a Guides Writer for VideoGamer. While he is particularly fond of city-builders, shooters, and strategy titles, he won’t turn down a good JRPG or a turn-based roguelike.


  • Release Date: May 21 2024
  • Platform(s): PC, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series S, Xbox Series X
  • Genre(s): First-Person Shooter, Multiplayer, Shooter