The Rat: perhaps the most common playstyle in the whole game. With its high loot focus and combat averse nature, it is the one most new players gravitate towards.

The number one thing that the playstyle is based around is the survival rate. Being a combat averse play style, it has a low-cost requirement due to not needing high tier arms and armour. And although the rat comes under-equipped to fight for the high tier loot in places like KIBA or the resort, the rat instead usually makes their money with the long winding paths they take around the map: looting primarily by quantity rather than quality. Despite going to places that are somewhat out of the way, there are still plenty of loot spawns available and all unlooted because of that fact, with the rat getting excellent map knowledge of obscure spawns. All this, coupled with the high survival rate, makes the rat play style one of the best when it comes to return on investment.

The main qualities of a rat

  • Risk-averse
  • high loot focus
  • stealthy
  • patient
  • excellent map knowledge

Many new players inadvertently play as rats due to a low stash value, and it is the most reliable way to get money with a weak skill set. However experienced and skilled rats also exist: who mastered map knowledge to create their own runs to generate ludicrous revenue, all the while playing a largely stress-free way of Tarkov. These, however, you’ll rarely find, but will most often be in the form of pistol runners with top-tier backpacks and rigs.

New players often mistake wealth as an indicator of skill and progress and are fearful of losing any money whatsoever. They must also remember that by avoiding conflict, you’ll naturally stunt your development as a player. However, ratting can help you learn the basics of the game and fund training raids.

What do I need to do to be a good rat?

As a rat, you primarily need to focus on developing your own understanding of the game. You need to understand the current meta and player psychology to be able to: gauge what level of danger you’re in, when it’s fine to take a risk, what gets overlooked, what you’re most likely to face in this stage in the wipe. Be able to estimate the exact situation based on the few pieces of information you get, with gunshots you must determine: what weapon is being used (expensive or cheap?), frequency (highly modded? Skill level?) and location (High-risk area? Will the players eventually move towards you?). Other sound queues the enemy makes can also give away an awful lot of information: how loud is the enemy trying to be? (confidence level? are they running away or running towards something?), how loud is the enemy actually is (weight, backpack size, ergonomics, wounds), path (checking for loot? Going from cover to cover? checking angles?). While not a complete list, this should at least make you consider what you can infer from limited information.

Combine this with advanced map knowledge; you’ll truly be hyper-aware of all that is going on, you’ll learn the timings of when players arrive, how long it takes them to do their task, and what your window of opportunity is. The spawns on each map are all over the place, so you need to master the locations of all the item static spawns and containers.

It is hard to train skills as a rat, as most skills would be underdeveloped due to the methodical approach to the game. You should take an active effort to work on the following skills:

  • Strength: The light gear of a rat will rarely make you over-encumbered, and the movement bonus is a massive plus for any and every build.
  • Endurance: This should come naturally, as it’s only the distance travelled that matters. Longer sprints mean less time spent in danger.
  • Attention: the more looting you do, the better the loot you get, not to mention just how much faster you will be at it. Should come naturally, but it’s good to train it to elite as fast as possible.
  • Search: Not so important, but still good to have so that you minimise danger to yourself.
  • Metabolism: Don’t waste your training. You’ll rarely have your stomach blacked out to train metabolism, so make an active effort with this one.
  • Perception: Critical for information gathering, however training it by wearing deafening helmets will make it hard to play normally.
  • Covert Movement: Depending on the pace of your playstyle, this skill should naturally level up to suit your demands.

Rat builds

The greatest thing about being a rat is how replaceable your own gear is, with a focus of upgrading over the course of the whole raid. If you die with insured gear, but no one takes it because of how cheap it is. Have you really lost any money?

When making your builds, you need to reach a balance between price, performance and insurance. Achieving low recoil shouldn’t be the primary goal, rather a high ergo if possible. Good ergo will result in you being a lot quieter whenever you aim, hit obstacles with your gun or swap weapons. However, this is hard to do without making the gun look expensive.

A pair of headphones is a must-have. Hearing danger before it comes is imperative. Not all headsets are the same, so you should find one that you like (Veritas made an awesome video comparing each). Furthermore, optimising your equaliser settings to match your own hearing will give you an unparalleled edge above anyone without it.

While it might not seem like much, but wearing a balaclava and goggles can give a small boost for not much money. The balaclava makes you a bit more concealable, and the goggles help lower the distortion you get whenever it rains.

While only useful for a few situations: the SJ6 stim can help at the start of a raid if you want to risk getting high-value loot spawns before anyone else even has the opportunity to reach them.

Putting a XRSU47SU onto a AKS74U gas tube will create a one slot item that can fit expensive scopes and a few lasers.

As an alternative, you can combine the Trax 1, Trax 2 and the Trax bridge together. You get a lot more laser/torch slots, at the cost of not being able to use full size sights.

Keys are a one-time investment that nearly always leads to good spawns and containers. It’s worth eventually building a whole set of keys for each map because your spawn place is semi-random and no two raids are ever the same. Making a full set is a massive investment, so it’s best to buy the keys you’ll definitely use slowly. There are many online maps which show which areas are locked, and by combining that with your experience of where you end up going, you can supplement your raids with potential extra loot along the way.

You might think that everyone would use a keybar: a one slot item which can hold 16 keys; however, very few people actually do. Why is this? Most people end up using the two slot documents or SICC case, as they can also carry other high-value items. Look at the pictures below, and consider which would suit your runs better.

Experienced and more wealthy rats will often mod their guns with mods that are hard to notice but make a considerable improvement in how it performs, for example, muzzle breaks and pistol grips. Furthermore, large guns without folding stocks are unlikely to be looted, especially if they also appear low-value. Here are a few examples:


It might be better not to use the respective meta muzzle brake, as some muzzle brakes can also have silencer attached to them. The NT-4 silencer is very common, so having a KAC QD Compensator on your ADAR/M4 can often lead to an upgrade and space savings mid raid.

My raids aren’t going right. What could I do?

People regularly don’t play exclusively with only the aspects of the rat play style, but rather attempt a hybrid playstyle. I personally believe that this is difficult to do in practice, and one should focus on an absolute. Nearly every build can rat around the map, but not all can chad equally. Just because you’ve focused more on firepower, still doesn’t mean you are open to every single combat opportunity.

Complacency kills. You might find that as you repeat your run for the umpteenth time, you get an arrogant confidence to running it. You’ll begin passing through areas too quickly and lose your greatest strength: stealth. While you don’t have to sneak around at all times, you can at least avoid sprinting unnecessarily. When you sprint you immediately alert the enemy and allow them to track your exact position as you move, all the while making it incredibly difficult for yourself to hear what’s going on with all the running. Not only that, but you cannot scan your surroundings as effectively as everything moves too fast. Sprinting should always be done with purpose. Too often, I see people do unnecessary micro-sprints and compromise themselves needlessly.

Try to learn the timings for each map. Get used to when players should be where on the map. Being able to predict the location, quantity, gear and skill of the players around the map is critical. Especially if your perception skill is still low.

Perhaps change what places you go to? As a rat, you have to be flexible, and perhaps certain areas are more popular this week, and a change of map could do you well.

If your builds rely on the flea market, you could potentially lower your cost per raid if you unlock more items from the traders. So doing a few quests might help.

Static spawns

Being a rat requires an excellent knowledge of static spawns and containers as this is usually the main source of income. Being able to turn a profit regardless of where you go is handy. Each rat has their own set of runs they like to run, and the best way to learn is to practice other people’s runs, whether that be in the form of watching money runs on YouTube or doing a duo raid with another fellow rat to learn their run.

Having a look at online maps like EFTMKG or can give you perspective on how you can improve your runs, by either adopting new paths or by finding more static spawns that you somehow missed before. I recommend learning all the stashes across each map, nearly every kind of item can spawn in them, Loot tables for barrel cache and ground cache.

The PvE based rat

Some rats also like to add farming scavs and raiders into their runs. Finding: arms, armour or rigs in static spawns that you’re happy to swap your gear for is rare. Scavs are easy pickings once you learn their AI and may have some nice loot on them. However when fighting scavs don’t expect to be silent, if there’s another scav around, they will shout and at the worst shoot and nade you, so you do have to be quick. Scavs rarely hide in cover, so when you do finally go to loot their bodies, you will probably be in the open, and a free kill for any enemy. Be especially careful of going too quickly to the body of the scav you killed, they might have just dropped a grenade at their feet when they died.

Instead of going for the fierce chaos in labs, You can hide and farm raiders. Although you don’t have insurance returns on labs, raiders have great loot that you’ll gladly swap for. With plenty of weapon mods, stimulants and grenades, the rouble per slot value you can get is super high. This is more difficult but still relatively out of the way of chads who come in for the PvP and static spawns.

Rat teamplay

Ratting doesn’t work well in teams, as the bigger the group the less stealth and loot you get. However, duo Rats are common as a duo makes PvP encounters less dangerous and looting can be done way faster. It is also a great way to learn and share knowledge, although you still need to be cautious. Despite taking safer paths, talking necessarily might just make you miss a sound queue.

Sample raids analysed


interchange money run

Reserve ratting