Home Strategy AC4 Black Flag multiplayer strategy #19: Abilities Guide (loss bonuses)


Welcome to Part 19 of WiNGSPANTT’s Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag multiplayer strategy guide!

When it comes to loss bonuses, they’re uniformly terrible… with the exception of Score x2. That one exception notwithstanding, all the other options offer boosts so minor, they might as well not exist. As such, you generally shouldn’t stress too much about your loss bonus slot; just choose Score x2 and move on with your life.

Ability Switch

  • Deathmatch: 3/5
  • Wanted: 3/5
  • Assassinate: 3/5

If you haven’t yet unlocked Score x2, or you’re playing a game mode where you don’t plan to get kills (perhaps Manhunt defense), Ability Switch is one of the least bad alternatives. It activates almost immediately once things go wrong, and it gives you an easy, free way out of an ability set that may not be working out for the playstyle of your opponents.

Keep in mind you can still switch sets at any time by holding Back + A (on Xbox consoles, Select + X on Playstation), but this method costs Abstergo credits. Plus, it’s basically cheating.


  • Deathmatch: 2/5
  • Wanted: 2/5
  • Assassinate: 1/5

When things go wrong and you have Score x2 equipped, your next kill could be worth over 2,000 points.

When things go wrong and you have Scavenger equipped, you get 150 extra points for kicking missed targets in the head.

Somewhere out there is a guy who purposefully got Scavenger, then won the entire match with boosted ground finish bonuses… but that’s not going to be you.


  • Deathmatch: 1/5
  • Wanted: 2/5
  • Assassinate: 1/5

This loss bonus is even more useless than Scavenger, as it’s designed solely for players who can’t locate or identify their targets. Where Scavenger gives you a score bonus for your troubles, Vision just points you in the direction of your target and kind of wishes you good luck.

Even if you are absolutely terrible at finding your contracts, you should rely on active abilities like Firecrackers instead of this terrible waste of a slot.

Minor Hack

  • Deathmatch: 2/5
  • Wanted: 3/5
  • Assassinate: 1/5

Minor Hack is the mentally challenged little cousin of Animus Hack. It’s only worth 100 points, and you can only kill one person (your target), but it at least serves its purpose. When you activate Minor Hack, you will kill your contracted target, thanks to an instant, long-range assassination ability.

Minor Hack is minorly useful in situations where everyone’s running and jumping around – scenarios where Score x2 wouldn’t be that useful because you wouldn’t be able to catch your target to start with. It also allows you to murder your prey and move on with your life, hopefully to an easier victim.

Score x2

  • Deathmatch: 5/5
  • Wanted: 5/5
  • Assassinate: 5/5

Score x2 has been the best loss streak since Brotherhood. It’s so good, I honestly wonder why Ubisoft hasn’t nerfed it yet. Hell, even Score x1.5 or Score x1.25 would still be a completely solid choice.

If you haven’t figured it out, the ability to multiplicatively increase your next kill’s value is insane. A middling murder instantly becomes solid, and a well-planned execution can easily reach 1500, 2000, or more points. That kind of boost is comeback material, making Score x2 the only loss bonus truly capable of helping you instantly recover from a string of bad luck (or, you know, actual idiocy).

There is no reason Score x2 should ever leave your FFA ability sets once you’ve unlocked it. You should never really want to get in a situation where you need it, but once you do… be careful and you have a real shot of getting back in the game.

You should be warned: achieving a clean stun on your pursuer will cancel your Score x2 bonus. Thus you should avoid stuns if you believe there’s hope of lining up a high-value kill. With that said, don’t go nuts. If you give up 4 stuns, then kill your target for 1200 total points, you would’ve gotten a better score with a 600 point kill and 800 points worth of stuns!

Boost Cooldowns

  • Deathmatch: 2/5
  • Wanted: 2/5
  • Assassinate: 1/5

Boost Cooldowns used to be good, but the bonus was updated in a previous game so that it ends when you get a stun. Before then, you could activate Boost Cooldowns, then rely on stun-building abilities, like Tripwire Bomb and Smoke Bomb, to build up tons of 200-point knockouts.

Now, Boost Cooldowns is a shadow of its former self, pretty much just offering a single round of slightly faster ability usage. I suppose if your opponents were stupid enough, you could combine this with Decoy and Bodyguard to fill the map with point piñata lookalikes. But realistically speaking, that’s a pipe dream. A beautiful, but stupid, fantasy.

Looking for more tips? Head back to the main Assassin’s Creed multiplayer strategy guide index.

2 replies to this post
  1. Boost Cooldowns should be the preferred loss streak for AA, Domination and Manhunt defense. At least, it was in previous games, especially for AA. The runners would die many times, and get it. Then use it prudently to score artifacts upon artifacts. Of course, now it ends as soon as you score an artifact, or capture a territory or get 200 blend points. Even so, a strong contender.

    Ability Switch is also useful for AA defense and also Domination. If you get stunned and someone steals the artifact, you could choose a set with teleport (if you dont have it already) and try to intercept him once you get up.

  2. I’ll have to strongly disagree with several of these descriptions: IMO Minor Hack and Boost Cooldowns and Ability Switch are completely useless. You will basically always profit more in any given circumstance from alternatives.

    I like Scavenger a lot because it gives you quite a lot of points for low efforts. Only 5 loss points are required which can occur pretty fast, while other loss streaks take considerable more “bad luck” to unlock. Out of all it’s the most useful for Manhunt as Hunter and for Wolfpack when you are not playing solo. These ground finishes simply add up to a LOT of points on the long term.

    Score x2 is very nice but how often does it happen when you are not trying to reach it on purpose? Too rare IMO, at least for me. Then you have to setup a really good kill and try to not waste it accidently on a stun to gain any profit from it.

    Vision is very useful in Team modes, especially Domination or AA, when you are playing agressively by going after the objective and die a lot. When activated you can potentially see – depending on the situation – the whole enemy team (every enemy going for the objective), which makes it a Reverse-Revelation (a win streak you have praised before.). Sadly it expires when you take advantage of the effect and kill someone that has be revealed, which makes it less potent than Revelation but still the most useful in those game modes.

    Btw you should include the Team-based modes into your considerations when describing all that stuff, too.

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