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No matter how many times it’s mentioned, the topic of skill-based matchmaking will never dissipate in Call of Duty. Unfortunately for the players against SBMM, Black Ops Cold War almost certainly uses the feature. There have been numerous clips of the controversial system in action that leave little doubt as to its existence. There have been thousands of calls for Treyarch or Activision to remove or tone down SBMM, but the simple fact is it’s not going anywhere. Fortunately, there are some ways to circumvent the system and get into some easier multiplayer lobbies.

Working around Black Ops Cold War SBMM

Although there’s no official statement from Treyarch or Activision, it’s clear Black Ops Cold War implements SBMM in Multiplayer. The matchmaking pairs you up with similarly skilled players in nearly every lobby, which is the main proponent of SBMM.

call of duty black ops cold war sbmm
Skill-Based Matchmaking is among the most controversial topics in Call of Duty. Image via Activision

If you have a 2.0 kill/death ratio, then you’re likely going to go up against players with a 1.7 KDR and higher. If you have a .60 KDR, your lobbies will feature players with less than a 1.0 KDR most of the time. However, there are a couple of ways around this strict matchmaking. These tips are coming from pro player and YouTuber Attach, who recently posted a video on this subject.

The biggest step to take works for consoles more so than PC. All you have to do is simply turn off cross-play. This will ensure that you only go up against players on the same console as you. While it doesn’t eliminate SBMM completely, it will ensure you don’t get matched with PC players, who are generally more competitive than console players.

Next, you can party up with players of different skill levels. The SBMM in Black Ops Cold War will generally average the party’s KDR and select lobbies around that average. So instead of playing with upper-echelon players, you’ll be in with a wider variety of skill levels.

black ops cold war skill-based matchmaking
Image via Activision

The last tip to avoid SBMM is to use some non-meta weapons, equipment, etc. If you’re running around with a fully-kitted MP5, chances are your KDR and Score Per Minute are going to be high, which leads to tougher lobbies. However, if you choose something like the KSP-45 or QBZ-83, you won’t be able to kill enemies with the same ease as the MP5. Presumably, this will lower your stats by a marginal amount but will eventually lead to easier lobbies.


Joey Carr is a full-time writer for multiple esports and gaming websites. He has 6+ years of experience covering esports and traditional sporting events, including DreamHack Atlanta, Call of Duty Championships 2017, and Super Bowl 53.


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