Loading into a raid in Escape from Tarkov is always risky. All of the gear you bring with you could be gone in just one shot, forcing you back to the menu to heal your character and start again. But Scavs (short for Scavengers) are meant to give you another option.
If you’re not quite sure what Escape from Tarkov’s Scav mode is or why you’d want to play it, we’ve broken it down in this guide.
What is a Scav?
Scavs are randomly generated characters with randomized loadouts. If you’ve played the game at all, you’ve likely run into a few of them. They’re much more lightly equipped than the BEAR and USEC private military contractors (PMCs) that serve as player characters. They can also be pretty noisy, but they’re no less deadly.
By playing in Scav mode, you can leave your own PMC behind and drop into a raid as one of the AI. That means you don’t have to worry about risking any of your hard-earned gear while you search for fresh loot. You’ll begin with one of the randomized loadouts that the other AI get, which means you’ll have very limited ammunition and no body armor. You’re still lethal, of course, but you don’t have any room to be sloppy.
You’ll be joining a match in progress, so you’ll likely be surrounded. The good news is that other AI-controlled Scavs won’t initially see you as an enemy.
One of the drawbacks of playing as a Scav is that you won’t be able to earn experience for your main character. You also won’t be able to complete any in-game tasks either. Just focus on getting in, getting some loot, and getting out in one piece.
Scavs work just like PMCs only safer
Just like playing a raid with your PMC, your Scav can extract through certain areas. When they do, they pull whatever gear they’ve got on them directly into your stash. Since they come with a pre-determined loadout, even if you don’t find a single piece of loot extracting with a Scav can at least be worth something.
One thing you won’t have as a Scav is a Secure Container. Secure Containers are rugged containers that allow you to keep items even if you die during a raid. Not having one means if you absolutely want to get something out of your Scav’s inventory and into your stash you’ll need to extract safely.
Scavs can also kill other Scavs. As I mentioned above, they won’t initially see you as an enemy, which should allow you to get the jump on them in most situations. Of course, they’ll mostly have junk gear just like you.
Limitations on Scav runs
Scav spawns are on a timer. Once you’re completed a Scav run, you’ll have to wait 20 minutes before you can start again. But as an added bonus, you won’t have to heal your Scav once you finish a raid. That Scav will just disappear and your new timer begins.
The time between Scav runs can be reduced with upgrades to your Hideout’s intelligence center.
Scav runs are always a good idea
While they shouldn’t totally replace your normal raids, there’s never a bad time to do a Scav run. For instance, they’re a great way to warm up for a long night raiding. Since they act as a safe way to get gear, you can always be greedy and continue your search for the next great weapon or attachment. Collect everything you can during these raids, and if you don’t make it out, it’s no big loss. With no investment other than your time, anything you manage to extract is a bonus.
Whether you just need a few extra resources, a break from the stresses of putting your own gear on the line, or you’re on the hunt for a few new guns, Scav runs in Escape from Tarkov are a low-risk, high-reward option available to everyone.