Escape From Tarkov: Arena – All Classes Ranked

Escape From Tarkov: Arena is a competitive shooter with an unusual progression system for the genre. There are dozens of presets that need to be unlocked, and these are spread throughout a total of four classes. These classes excel in different areas and, although they’re not as game-changing as in a hero-shooter, they considerably change the way you experience the game.

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Gear has always been a crucial part of Tarkov, and in such small and chaotic maps, it is arguably even more impactful than in the classic EFT. Whilst they’re made to be proficient in different areas of the game, some classes are definitely stronger than others.

Given the amount of time it takes to level up a preset past a certain tier, we decided not to count any loadouts past the fourth tier. Just to get to this tier alone will take you more than 20 wins, which would clock in at around seven hours of playtime, and it is highly unlikely that you’ll win all your games. If you try different classes and presets at the start, you will take a lot longer to even get to this point.

4 Marksman

Initial Marksman presets in Escape From Tarkov: Arena.

The Marksman class is essentially split between two options: DMRs (Designated Marksman Rifles) or Bolt-Action Rifles. They are the best class in the game when it comes to long-range engagements but, unfortunately for marksman players, those aren’t as common in Arena as they’d hoped.

DMRs have historically been excellent in Escape From Tarkov. They have powerful ammunition, work fantastically at longer ranges and can still be deadly in close-quarters combat. They are, above all else, the definition of versatility. The issue is, versatility isn’t valued as much when you are playing on very short-range maps. That’s why they don’t work nearly as well in Arena. When you pair DMRs with subpar armors and often no helmets at all, the Marksman player has to bring with him a full-team escort or just be a headshot-machine if he wants to have any hope of survival.

The story isn’t much different in the Bolt-Action Rifle side of things. Snipers are strong in competitive shooters in small quantities, but because in most of them they are a one-shot kill for most parts of your target. In Escape From Tarkov: Arena, that is not true until you get to the literal last tier of this Class. The only way you are one-shotting anyone else with a sniper-rifle is by shooting them in the face, which you can also do with any other gun. Most presets do come with a secondary weapon, but if you are forced to swap to it, you are probably facing someone playing a class which is much better suited for close-range engagements than you are.

Marksman’s best maps and presets

  • Marksman players will excel at maps like Sawmill and Bowl, if they can get to the tower. If they have cover and long lines of sight at their disposal, they can be one of the deadliest classes in Arena.
  • Their strongest presets in tier four are Shade and Blacksmith.

3 Scout

Initial Scout presets in Escape From Tarkov: Arena.

SMGs and short-range oriented Assault Rifles in a fast-moving kit sound like a dream in Escape From Tarkov: Arena, but reality quickly comes knocking when we go down from the first couple of tiers. The Scout class isn’t really divided, it’s more of a mishmash of presets that focus on different things. Some of them give you SMGs with big magazines and leg-meta ammo, others give you smaller mags with pretty decent ammunition. They all share the same problems, though, which only get worse as everyone progresses through their respective tiers.

Scouts should excel in short-range combat with their extremely fast-shooting SMGs and better injectors, but their lack of access to good armors and to almost any helmet impacts them heavily. They’re not killing anyone very quickly unless they’re shooting them in the head, which doesn’t actually work if they’re facing tier four presets from classes like CQB and Assault. Even if they get the drop on someone from those two classes, they’re so defenseless to relatively decent ammunition that they might still lose the engagement.

Perhaps Scouts are just one of those classes that are just meant to get you through the early-stages of the game in a breeze and then become lackluster until the very last available tiers, but their mid-tier presets just aren’t good enough to compete with their opposition in Arena.

Scout’s best maps and loadouts

  • Scouts will feel at home on the maps that have mostly avoidable long-range engagements: those are Bay-5 and Equator.
  • Saboteur and Triton are their best options in tier four.

2 CQB

Initial CQB presets in Escape From Tarkov: Arena.

The CQB (close quarters battle) class is fantastic in Arena. It might be a bit rough at the beginning, with the first couple of presets available, but once you get to the third or fourth tier of loadouts, you will feel like a god. This class has the best armors available in their respective tiers, they have great helmets with face-visors (completely ruining the day for most Scout players) and their guns are nothing to scoff at.

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Having a class built for the exact type of combat that happens most often in Arena has the expected result: it’s great, but it has some flaws. Most maps are filled with very short-range engagements, but some have long-enough sightlines to give this class some trouble.

Headsets aren’t common in CQB loadouts and long-range sights are non-existent in the first four tiers. They also lack a crucial tool for controlling the map: grenades. In the fourth tier of CQB, there isn’t a single explosive grenade available. Flashbangs are quite strong, but blinding an enemy (and often, just partially) isn’t nearly as good as blowing him up or forcing him out of a position entirely.

CQB is a very powerful class in most situations, but it isn’t the best.

CQB’s best loadouts and maps

  • Just like Scouts, CQBs just want to avoid long-range engagements as much as possible. They’ll do great in Bay-5 and Equator.
  • Their strongest tier four presets are Centurion and Mantis.

1 Assault

Initial Assault presets in Escape From Tarkov: Arena.

Assault kind of feels like the jack of all trades, master of most. Just like Scout, it is neatly divided between assault-rifles and shotguns. But, unlike Scout, it just keeps getting better as you progress from preset to preset.

This class has tools to deal with any problem that the Arena can bring. The assault-rifle side quickly gains access to class four armor and helmets, headsets and very decent guns with serviceable bullets. Every preset leading up to tier four has access to an explosive grenade and all the necessary meds. They might lack the gear durability that CQB has, but Assault presets make up for it with lighter kits and, often, better ammunition.

The shotgun route is also great, albeit much more one-dimensional. If you go down this path, you are mostly stuck being amazing at close quarters combat, without much other than an explosive grenade to help you displace longer-range opponents. The thing is, with the way most Arena maps are built, getting control of the center of the map with grenades and a good enough kit to win most duels, you will be seeing the victory screen a lot.

As a sort of perfect middle-ground between all the choices available, Assault is the strongest class in Escape From Tarkov: Arena.

Assault’s best presets and maps

  • This class excels in maps with chokepoints to throw grenades at. They’ll dominate in Bowl and Air Pit.
  • Werewolf and Breeze are their most powerful tier four presets.

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