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How to complete the Defender: Mt. Zaya Special Ops co-op mission in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2

Protect three objectives while six waves of unforgiving enemies invade.

The Defender: Mt. Zaya mission in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2’s Special Ops is a unique callback to 2011’s Modern Warfare 3 and its Survival Mode. That’s because players are tasked with taking out waves of enemies, and it is even set in the iconic Dome map. Each wave consists of at least 25 combatants, ranging from your standard soldiers, riot shielders, to juggernauts. To make matters more complicated, you will have to watch over three objective points and ensure enemies do not plant and destruct them. This guide will break down how to beat each wave in Defender Mt. Zaya and how to earn three stars from the mission.

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Begin by picking up the best weapons

Screenshot by Gamepur

Before dropping into Mt. Zaya, it is crucial you first pick the Assault Spec Ops Kit. No matter its tier, the kit supplies Assault players with Armor Plates as their Field Upgrade, and it is much-needed considering the number of enemies you are facing. After you have landed, you will be at a facility with countless weapons, ammo, and buy station items at your disposal. Although your primary weapon is a matter of preference, we cannot recommend the TAQ-M as your secondary enough. It comes packaged with a thermal optic, and as enemies typically fly in by helicopter, the scope should help eliminate pilots and everyone on board before they even land.

Stay near specific objectives during the first three waves

Screenshot by Gamepur

The most important thing you need to know is where these enemies are going to plant their bombs each wave. During the first three waves, they first attempt to destroy Objective B, then Objective C, and finally Objective A. You can only earn three stars from the mission if it is done under 16 minutes, so it is best to get to the next objective directly after a wave is over. As previously mentioned, destroying their reinforcements’ helicopters can also speed up the mission a great deal, and getting teammates to help can bolster your completion time even more.

Related: How to complete the Denied Area Special Ops co-op mission in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2

Use a Sentry Turret and watch for mortars in Wave 4

Screenshot by Gamepur

Wave 4 is where things start to get intense, as you now have to watch over Objective A and Objective C. That said, you may want to head back to the buy station before the wave begins and pick up the Sentry Turret killstreak. The item should then be placed down against a wall at the objective you are not defending. Although teammates will likely also oversee the area, this ensures you only have to worry about one objective at a time.

If you decide to guard Objective C, you will want to be on the lookout for mortars. These are typically launched from the woods on the west side of the map, but you should be able to track who is shooting them with your TAQ-M’s thermal optic (as pictured above). The wave is made up of just 25 enemies, so the mortars are certainly the biggest threat.

Find high ground while taking on Waves 5 and 6

Screenshot by Gamepur

Wave 5 is arguably easier than most other waves before it. It’s here you are protecting Objective C and Objective B, so climbing and sitting on top of a building between the two is most beneficial. As shown above, we were able to pick off enemies headed to both by sitting on top of Objective C’s warehouse. Of course, a long-range weapon will be needed for this strategy, so be sure to have plenty of ammo for it on-hand. The wave also features two overpowered gunners with riot shields who are seemingly immune to explosive damage. Thus, teams should look to either gang up on these enemies at the end of the wave or jump onto a structure and shoot them from above.

As one can likely guess, Wave 6 challenges your squad to simultaneously watch over all three objectives, undoubtedly making for the toughest wave yet. Before it begins, you can go back to the buy station and this time purchase the Stealth Bomber killstreak for $4,000. On the off-chance you don’t have enough cash, the Cruise Missile does make a respectable substitute. You can then continue using the high ground between Objective B and C to your advantage, while the killstreak should be used to ward off enemies at Objective A.

Related: How to complete the Low Profile Special Ops co-op mission in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2

Similar to Wave 5, the last wave includes 25 enemies, though there is also a juggernaut that typically starts its carnage over at Objective B. The hulking opponent takes several magazines to finally eliminate, and we highly advise worrying about them once everyone else is defeated. However, if they become too much of a problem, Objective C’s warehouse does hold a supply crate which lends additional lethals. So, whether you have Claymores for Frag Grenades, the lethals can certainly aid in taking down this brutish juggernaut.

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Ryan Willcox
Ryan Willcox is a Staff Writer at Gamepur. He is mostly known to cover free-to-play titles, spanning from Fortnite, Call of Duty: Warzone, to Apex Legends. Outside of games, Ryan's other personal interests are reading scientific nonfiction and running.