Back 4 Blood PvP guide: How to play Versus mode

a zombie with four arms in back 4 blood
(Image credit: Turtle Rock)

Back 4 Blood's Versus mode is perfect for those of you who always wanted to play as a Tallboy yourself. It's you and the team against four other human players. You’ll start as either a zombie or a human, and then switch sides.

Naturally, Versus is quite different from Campaign Mode. To make your first Back 4 Blood PvP game as successful as possible, it can’t hurt to know a few things about the playable Ridden, the Mutation Point system, and the deadly Swarm.

Back 4 Blood Versus mode explained

In Versus mode, if you play as a Ridden (the zombies) your goal is to kill the Cleaners (the human characters) as fast as possible. If you’re on the Cleaner team instead, your goal is to stay alive for as long as possible. Each team consists of four players, and the roles are randomly assigned.

However, the roles will be reversed when the next round starts. If you played as a Cleaner during the first round, you have to make sure the new Cleaners don’t stay alive longer than your team did. If they can’t beat your score, you win. The first team to win two rounds is the winner.

How to play as a Ridden in Back 4 Blood Versus mode

If you start on the Ridden team, the first thing you need to do is choose your zombie type. There are three species of Special Infected to choose from, and each has three subclasses. Here’s an overview of each playable Ridden class in Back 4 Blood Versus Mode:

This four-armed creature is a small, but highly mobile Ridden. Stingers can cling to walls, jump over long distances, and perform a ranged projectile attack. The Hocker variant can also perform a ranged harpoon attack, but is more vulnerable. The Stalker variant, on the other hand, exchanges its ranged projectile for two melee attacks.

A bulky and slow Ridden type that specializes in suicide attacks. He has a melee attack which can be used to force a Cleaner to kill you up close. If a Reeker gets killed, he’ll explode and harm the vision of all nearby Cleaners. This explosion will also alert a horde of Common Infected. The Exploder variant has a weaker melee attack but is able to trigger the explosion at will, while the Retch variant gets an additional vomit attack.

A bit slow, but deadly in close range. This massive Ridden tank has an equally massive right arm, which he uses as a club to knock down Cleaners. He can perform short forwards bursts to get closer to his targets. The Bruiser variant can also use a massive melee-range slam attack, and the Crusher can use an additional squeeze attack. 

However, choosing a Ridden class is not the only thing you must do before the match starts: It’s also important you spend your Mutation Points on Ridden upgrades. You can either upgrade one of the three classes mentioned above, or strengthen the Common Infected. You’ll gain more Mutation Points by damaging (not necessarily killing) the Cleaners. 

(Image credit: Turtle Rock)

How to play as a Cleaner in Back 4 Blood Versus mode

If you start your Back 4 Blood PvP round as a Cleaner, pick your human character. They're the same characters from the campaign. Next, you pick a preset PvP card deck and select your cards (you’ll get new draws at the start of each new round).

This spawns you on the Versus map. But don't fret: this is just the preparation phase. Use this time to open crates, choose the best weapons, and set up your defenses (barbed wire, traps, etc).

Now you just have to kill the Ridden players and try to stay alive. Beware that the Special Infected are accompanied by the horde (Common Infected AI). As the players usually go all in from the start though (while the Horde is a bit slow), it’s them you should look out for the most.

(Image credit: Turtle Rock)

Back 4 Blood PvP tips: How to win Versus mode

Back 4 Blood’s versus maps shrink over time, making it increasingly difficult for the Cleaners to stay alive. If Cleaners go outside the safe zone (similar to those in most battle royale games), they’ll get hurt by insect swarms. The swarm can’t hurt the Ridden, though.

If you’re on the Cleaner team, stick together. A lone player tends to end up a dead player. As for the Ridden, you should always be on the lookout for easy single targets. 

If there’s more than one type of Special Infected in a team, spending Mutation Points on that Ridden type will upgrade all of them.

If you play as a Ridden, don't underestimate the horde. If you only spend Mutation Points on Special Infected controlled by you and your teammates, it might be hard to overwhelm the Cleaners. A strong horde will distract them, making it easier to land some kills.