Home Strategy Prepare for the Blacklist: Remember the basics

Splinter Cell: Blacklist looks to return the series to its stealth roots, while upping the ante on replayability with Spies vs. Mercs. We at T3 will be bringing you plenty of new and inventive ways to hack important databases, and brutal means of defending them. However, there are a few basics — for both sides — that always need reiterating: patience, precision, composure. 

Strike from the shadows, shine in the light

Patience: A Spy’s weapon is not his outright power, nor those tools in his arsenal. It is his ability to strike from anywhere and be nowhere. In Spies vs. Mercs, paranoia is key to victory, but it should not be instantly created. Rather, taunt your heavily armed enemies with glimpses and unsure sightings. Wait until he is at wits end, something all too easy to see, then strike. Timing is everything when going up against an otherwise overpowering force. Reaction matters when the darkness fades.

It comes down to seconds, usually. If you’re playing Blacklist with friends (which you should be), coordinate your strikes to the minutest detail. Everything can come crashing down if one of you attacks too early or too late. If you’re used to reflex games like I am, learning to wait will be the most difficult thing. One opportunity does not rule out other, more profitable ones. Every now and again you’ll need to move regardless of desire. For the most part, though, your ability to stay hidden and watch is the difference between a kill and an untimely end. They have to come out of the shadows at some point. Give them enough robe to hang themselves.


Precision: Coordination is key, but being individually skilled is no less valuable. The trick is finding the balance between the two and attacking with, well, precision. Where timing determines the when, precision determines the how. Do you wait for the Merc to wander off in search of greener pastures, or slice his throat? In the case of the first, you’ve not eliminated a threat, merely delayed it. You gamble that, in his haste and confusion when he returns, dispatching him will be a simple matter. In the case of the second, one threat is gone completely, but his one-two-three friends will be well aware of at least one sneaky Spy, and wanting for blood.

Precision is contextual and must be examined on a moment by moment basis. Precision is fast and effective and silent. Precision is, ultimately, the hallmark of an effective killer, or team of them. The trouble comes when someone’s trigger finger gets twitchy or when patience runs thin. That’s when the third and final point comes into play.


Composure: As a Spy, you need the patience to wait for the perfect moment. You need the precision to complete your objectives with the least amount of effort. You need composure to maintain a cool head when threats approach or the unexpected occurs. Watch the most skilled players in any (e)sport. The ones that walk away with big trophies and smiles on their faces are the ones who can accept their failures with an even temper but get right back in the fight as though nothing happened.

Composure comes down to controlling yourself in the moments before you act. You’ve waited, watched, planned, and planned again. The moment presents itself, and you either flinch or you don’t. Do, and it’s all been for nothing. Don’t, and you can continue the objective. The pressure  increases as the number of necessary hacks decreases. Don’t let the sweat of your hands and the thumping of your heart cause an unneeded twitch or unneeded movement. Let them focus you, heighten your senses. Victory or defeat might ride on it.

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18 replies to this post
  1. I was really looking forward to sharing some insights with T3 and get immersed in the community, unfortunately I’m stuck w/ my laptop for the foreseeable future :(

    • Don’t let that stop you. If you have a strategy that you’ve not seen here or elsewhere, and that you know works, share it. We’re always looking for new and inventive ways to stomp our opponents into dust, and if you find it on XBOX, PS3, PC, PS Vita or Game Boy Color, we want to hear about it.

      • I think you missed my point. I can’t play it because I’m abroad and my laptop can’t run it with a good enough framerate for me to have a good time at it.

    • Ah, sorry. I assumed you had a console, but as Sam Fischer says, “Never assume.”

      To be fair, Blacklist is very demanding and my rig’s having trouble too.

  2. I’m not sure if this is the right place to put it, but it’s sort of related: I miss the Assassin’s creed days :( Watching Wing’s videos for brotherhood genuinely made me a better player, but he only seems interested in Magic right now.

    On a more related note, I’ve been thinking of getting this game for a while, is it worth it just for the multiplayer? (I literally do not put a monetary value on a singleplayer experience in a game, not when it’s available for free)

    • Well, I know WiNG is planning on covering this, as he and I’ve talked about wanting this game for a while. We’ll both be doing Co-op and Spies vs. Mercs coverage, both here and on YouTube.

      As for the multiplayer itself, I’ll say it looks fantastic, but I don’t have enough experience to give a full report yet. All signs point to “Buy it” though.

    • Okay, hang on. You said “I literally do not put a monetary value on a singleplayer experience in a game, not when it’s available for free.” Regarding a multiplatform AAA game that was just released. In what sense is it “available for free”?

      If your answer is piracy, and that’s why you don’t put a value on a campaign, that makes you a pretty despicable human being.

      • Well now that is a tempting offer… playing with the legend himself?
        I may be a while, but would certainly sway the decision :D

  3. It makes me despicable to access something for free not knowing whether or not I’ll like it? Yes, I was referring to piracy, unfortunately I can’t afford to go around throwing money around when it’s possible to get them harmlessly for free with (so far) zero negative repercussions. I am fully aware of the moral debate regarding piracy, and I choose not to waste my money making myself feel like a pillar of society when I could use that money to better use, such as bills, a car, or food. If you would like, you can buy me the game so I don’t have to become even more despicable; I would be more than happy to oblige you. Of course it would be a waste of your money, so why do it? That is the question I ask and answer every single time I pirate a game. You will not change this.

    • That wasn’t your original argument. You said that because it was available for free (through piracy), it has no value whatsoever. Which means that even if you did like it, you wouldn’t pay for it. Supporting the developers is a thing, and disregarding that is what I’m finding despicable. It may have no negative repercussions for you, but people with your mindset are what damage sales.

      To the other guy, where exactly did I insinuate that I came from Reddit? I don’t even browse that site.

      • Okay perhaps ‘no value’ was a little rash, I just wanted to get the point across that I only wanted the game to be rated in terms of it’s multiplayer. I have paid for games before, of course, it’s just that when I do, it’s due to some deal or offer that tempts me to make a purchase. For example I recently bought FTL, Garry’s Mod, Mirror’s edge, and some other games for about £1-4 each. Now while this is supporting the industry and the developers, it is for a very small amount of money, some could even say it was a nominal sum. I would hardly ever pay full whack for a game out of my own pocket, as my money is precious to me, but if it drops to what I could call a reasonable price (reasonable as in how much I want to pay, not how much it might actually be worth to me [for example I would like to play SR:4 soon, but I know that eventually it will be about £7.50 for the game and all it’s DLC, so I’ll wait, even though it’s worth more than that to me]) A five-finger discount really is the best deal in all this, but I do, on being presented with a fantastic offer, make a purchase. It just boils down to a few things: One; there aren’t enough games I want to buy that go on sale, or if they do, they’re priced too high, Two; my desire to play a game outranks my desire to pay more than I’m willing to, and Three; it’s just so easy to get it for free. I can set up a download before bed and wake up with a brand new game priced at £30… The way I see it: yes I just ‘took’ £30 from a company, but no I am not going to put a corporation before my own needs and desires over such a trivial matter.
        Sorry for the length of this post, there was a lot to say :)

    • Then make them shoot at something that’s not you.
      Is the noise sticky still a spy upgrade in this iteration?
      I loved that thing in CT. Stick it into a pipe and the stupid mercs were checking all pipes on the map while you climbed in through the windows… genious

  4. Alright Jamie Sinclair, I’ll get off your case. That argument sounds much less terrible.

    To be fair, I probably wouldn’t pay a full at-release $60 for a video game most of the time either, which is probably why I haven’t gotten a new AAA game myself in years. We’ll see if Steam puts it on sale or something.

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