I think it’s safe to say that nothing has contributed to making me a more well-rounded player than the Punisher quest line. After finishing securing my very first Epsilon container, it took me a while to reflect on how far I’ve actually come & thought that sharing my experience, hints and tips may help some of you out there.
The Punisher: Part 1
Objective: 15 scav kills on Shoreline with any AKM series rifle
By the time I started focusing on the Punisher series, I was pretty comfortable with looting, extracting and avoiding PMC’s at all costs. My gameplay style was slow, methodical and as efficient as I could manage. I often creeped through raids for the first 15 minutes until fire fights died down, and I could roam my way around more freely. The Punisher part 1 was a small but crucial step in my gameplay; hunting scavs & looting instead of just looting. It forced me to locate common scav spawn points while differentiating low-hanging fruit from high risk areas. Since I loved staying under the radar, I would slap any suppressor I could afford on an AKMNS rifle with a PSO scope. The AKMNS was usually cheaper since the foldable stock was not upgradable while still having a dovetail mount for a PSO, a superb intro optic in my opinion. I started adding a buttpad, B-10 handguard and either a RK-4 or Magpul AFG and Saw Pistol grip down the road which are all great bang-for-your-buck accessories. If AKMS rifles were cheaper (no dovetail mount), I would add a Bastion dust cover and Spector 1×4 sight (which I still use very extensively). PS rounds are cheap and effective
As far as scav hunting, I avoided the resort at all cost (not worth the risk). I’d slow play the start of raids, looking for scavs close by until things calmed down. Then I’d hit shoot down on areas like Cottages, North Bunker by Rock Passage and shoreline side like Crane. Towards the end of raids, Road To Customs and Tunnel are usually good for 2-3 scavs as well. I would avoid shooting sniper scavs until the end of raids as players use them as lookouts for PMCs; shooting them will paint a target on your back. Done correctly, you could do this in 1-2 raids (7-9 scavs per raid) but done more conservatively (3-4 scavs per raid), this still only takes a few raids.
The Punisher: Part 2
Objective: 12 scav kills on shoreline using a suppressed weapon
At this point, I was pretty efficient at garnering 5-9 scav kills per raid so I stuck with my AKM style rifle with a suppressor and made sure to collect half masks as I found them. I had started collecting them prior, which I would highly recommend as you never seem to find items when you need them.
The Punisher: Part 3
Objective: 25 scav kills on Customs with AKS-74U
Personally, I’ve never been a huge fan of Customs for really no good reason. I think it’s a fine map and I’ve had decent luck on it but for some reason, I’ve never felt very comfortable on it. With that (and I’d recommend this in general for lower key gameplay), I started taking the cheapest NVG’s I could find. Scavs don’t spot you as easily and there’s generally fewer players, in my experience (this probably vastly varies by server and area). 25 kills is more than a few raids, even done well, so I tried to do other quests while I did hunted, which night raids helped with too. Attachment wise, I used a B-11 handguard, Suppressor, for stealth, NCstar light for point-firing, Saw pistol grip, cobra dove tail red dot, shade for extra ergo and a Zenit stock, which was usually pretty affordable. I also used a 60 round mag since 5.45 packs a smaller punch, which I really enjoyed. I ran BT rounds, which are a great balance of effective and affordable. You’ll struggle against geared PMC’s but they shred scavs, even with basic armor. I avoided stronghold side at all cost and since Customs is easily traveled, I waited to hunt scavs till 10-15 minutes into the raid. Big Red, RUAF Roadblock, the “T” intersection by Sniper Road block, Bus Terminal and Military Checkpoint were my favorite spots to hit. Old Gas can have 2-3 scavs but it’s highly trafficked so I would only check it if it was late in the raid and it had been quiet. This probably took me 6ish raids comfortably, while doing other quests on customs.
The Punisher: Part 4
Objective: 10 scavs on Woods with a 12 gauge, 10 PMC’s on shoreline with scav vest and balaclava
As with the Punisher part 2, I collected the knives and prior to this but if you haven’t, part 1-3 should net you the knives no problem. The 10 scavs on woods was straight forward. Woods is large and open, so avoiding PMC’s is pretty easy. Combining that was night raids & NVG’s made it a comfortable place to hunt scavs. Scav Bunker is usually good for 3-5 while late in the raid Scav house, Old Station and Eastern Rocks are good late in the raid. I kept it simple attachment wise; MP-153 for semi auto action, rail on top, XPS3-2 sight, 8-round tube and 12 ga. suppressor for stealth. This is 2 raids done comfortably or 1 raid done really, really efficiently.
Now this is the first quest in the Punisher line requiring PMC’s kills. This is where my gameplay really had to change. Not only could I not avoid PMC’s, I had to actively hunt them down. Luckily, most PMC’s tend spend 99% of their time in the resort, so you know where they’ll be. Unlucky for me, my fighting skills were very subpar. I tried rushing resort and it was pretty embarrassing. I was watching every YouTube video under the sun on “Punisher part 4 hints and tips” and nothing helped. I regularly watch Pestily’s Hardcore series and while watching the latest episode, he talked about “playing towards your strengths”, which finally made my lightbulb of a brain flicker on. My strengths were not rushing anyone, not even defenseless scavs. My strengths were sneaking and striking without being seen or heard. I was an ambusher so I started to hunt PMC’s that way. I started thinking planning out common PMC routes, where they’d likely be at a certain point in the raid, if I could get there at that time, then ambush. To save money, betting on I was going to die a lot & that I’d need many kits, I utilized MP-153’s and Magnum buck shot to the legs. A very cheap and NASTY combo. I’d recommend a muzzle break, but it’s not necessary.
For example, given a close spawn, Sanitors Room in the east Wing is almost ALWAYS hit right away, but almost certainly at some point in the first 10 minutes. So given a good spawn, I rush this location, but would sit close by and listen for sprinting PMC’s. Once I heard them turning the key in the door, I’d turn a corner and wildly blast them until I was empty, whether they were dead or not.
Another example is the north gate by Admin, leading to rock passage. Given a further spawn, I wasn’t going to be able to place myself in a good spot where most PMC’s would enter, but I could post up where they’d leave — the gate to Rock Passage. I listened to one PMC run around admin, loot the filing cabinets and as he exited, I secured my 2nd kill.
There are plenty of spots like this; high traffic areas to/from high loot areas. For those of you screaming “CAMPER”, I think quietly hunting and ambushing loud, running PMC’s is different. I’ve been camped many times before and it’s forced me to play smarter, check corners better and be aware of how loud I’m being.
This was a HUGE turn in my gameplay. After 10 kills, I suddenly had some confidence that I could hunt PMC’s if need be. I wasn’t a force to be reckoned with, but I was dangerous.
The Punisher: Part 5
Objective: 10 PMC’s wearing PACA body armor and a 6B47 helmet
First off, this is a great example of collecting guns needed for later quests. You’ll run across PM pistols as time goes on but if you wait until now to look, they’ll somehow disappear from the Tarkov Universe. I found two while killing scavs in previous parts, and I imagine you probably will too. The AK can be crafted at the Gun Bench and you can get M4’s from other quests (kinda rare to find in raid).
I had JUST equipped myself with some new-found confidence, only to be thwarted by shitty body armor. I was stacking as much of the deck in my favor in order to get kills, but now I was forced to fight basically naked. Not great. With that said, stack as much of the deck as you can. I stuck to the MP-153 and Magnum buck for it’s ability to 1-2 shot ANYONE in the legs, no matter the armor. I barted lower half masks and bleach for PACA’s and 6B47’s, kept 5-6 kits on hand & did this entire quest on factory, for a few reasons. Headsets (almost always a necessity in my opinion) are even more crucial here, since you can hear footsteps from half way across the map and sprinting from almost anywhere.
I don’t have the stats to back this up, but there’s a lot of pistol runners on factory compared to other maps, which are easy targets for shotguns. If you wiff the legs and hit the thorax, they’ll drop like a fly anyway.
4-5 PMC’s are a lot easier to manage than 10-14 on other maps.
Raids are quick. Defend your spawn or catch someone running from spawn to the office area, get 1-2 kills, exit, rinse & repeat.
A few notes
You’ll die a lot. It’s gonna happen. But these kits are cheap so don’t sweat it.
Invest in a factory key so you can extract wherever you happen to be.
Learn the factory map offline if need be. Being able to flank a running PMC can be an easy kill if you know your way around.
I hate fighting in the office area, and was able to get all of my kills elsewhere. If you like fighting in the office/locker room, go for it, but know that it’s not the only option.
I started super skittish; killing one pistol runner and exiting. Then I got more comfortable where if I got a quick kill out of spawn, about looking around for a few minutes before exiting. Then eventually getting 2-3 kills and exiting only when player scavs started spawning in. Play to your strengths and stay as long or as short as you feel comfortable. Even if you only get 1 kill per raid, that’s 10 raids that take maybe 10 minutes each? Not too bad.
The Punisher: Part 6
Objective: 15 PMC’s using an SVD
The dog tags can be a pain, but you should be collecting these as you go along anyway. I had way more than I needed since I never sold any so I’d suggest that.
I was really nervous about this one. I was comfortable with getting regular kills, but SVD’s aren’t cheap so I was worried about burning through a bunch of cash. I made an SVD preset with a XRS-DRG handguard, KAC VG for ergo, 20 round mag with SNB with backup 10 round mag, RK-3 pistol grip, TT01 mount, MRS red dot and NCstar light. My plan was to gear up, hit factory and see what happens. I used my 6b47’s I had stored up, switched the PACA for a Korund and HOLY SHIT, what a difference. Class 5 armor was catching rounds, allowing me to pump 2 rounds of SNB into a thorax. It was a night and day difference from running class 3-4 armor. I didn’t die NEARLY as often, and was regularly killing 1 pistol running (taking nearly no damage) and killing at least 1 other pmc. At this point, I knew it was only a matter of time before I had all 15 kills. A few hints and tips:
SVD’s are expensive BUT I routinely found 80-90 durability SVD’s for 60k and with the attachments, had everything for about 100K. Still not cheap, but that’s 10 guns for 1mil. Worst case scenario, you can use Scav runs to farm cash and get kits fairly frequently. I used the diary barter for Korunds, costing me about 100K but that allowed me to stay alive, probably saving me at least 2-4 SVD’s.
I still avoided the office area. Pistol runners are harmless outside of a lucky headshot, but shotguns are terrifying (being on both sides of the battle, many times). So getting up close and personal was a ticking time bomb of a strategy. Keep your distance and play smart. I had routes planned out from each spawn that were short sprints to spots where I could look-out for running PMC’s, stuck to outside of the office, and would exit if I netted a few kills or the raid was dead.
I was happen to spot a pistol running peak out of a spawn, and ducked back in. I decided to rush him and walked into an ambush of 2 naked PMC’s with shotguns, spraying me down with Magnum Buck like an old dog. Shame on me. Play smart.
Getting the 15th kill was absolutely surreal. Sure, I doubled my secure container space, but wanna know what has had a FAR BIGGER effect on my gameplay? My newfound skills, playstyle and confidence. I loved this quest line and almost which it wasn’t over (almost).
Good luck to everyone out there grinding through the Punisher quest line. Play smart. Have Fun and be willing to change and adapt. I watched more YouTube videos for tips and by far the most helpful for me were the videos by GigaBeef (below).