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How to destroy a Mercenary Convoy in Modern Warfare 3’s Zombies

Complete the Interceptor mission and collect a Stronghold Keycard

Image: Sledgehammer Games/Activision via Polygon
Ryan Gilliam (he/him) has worked at Polygon for nearly seven years. He primarily spends his time writing guides for massively popular games like Diablo 4 & Destiny 2.

Mercenary Convoys are random events that can appear in Urzikstan, the giant map that Modern Warfare 3’s Zombies mode takes place in.

You’ll need to find and destroy one of these convoys as part of the Interceptor mission, which is the first and only Tier 2 mission in Act 1 of the Zombies campaign.

In this Modern Warfare 3 Zombies guide, we’ll teach you how to hunt down a Mercenary Convoy and collect its keycard.

How to find a Mercenary Convoy in MW3 Zombies

A map showing a Armored Truck Mercenary Convoy in Modern Warfare 3 Zombies Image: Sledgehammer Games/Activision via Polygon

Mercenary Convoys are — as the name suggests — roaming bands of mercenaries in a convoy of three armored trucks. These are enemies with guns, and can take you out much faster than the shambling zombies, so be careful.

Running into a Mercenary Convoy is random in Zombies. However, there are ways to almost guarantee that you’ll encounter one. But, before you go hunting, you’ll want to make sure you have a long-range rifle. Any kind of rocket launcher is also very useful here, but isn’t nearly as important.

A player aiming at some Mercenaries in MW3 Zombies Image: Sledgehammer Games/Activision via Polygon

The Mercenary Convoys tend to patrol areas on roads, and they’ll appear on your map as three red cars driving along a street. (The in-universe NPCs will call you to let you know when a convoy is near, so you don’t need to stare at your map the entire game.)

I recommend just hanging out around roads, or driving along them if you’re looking to run into a convoy. The best spot to do this is on the two-road highway that bridges the lowest tier area of the map and the middle tier.

A map showing the location of a potential Mercenary Convoy in MW3 Zombies Image: Sledgehammer Games/Activision via Polygon

The highway is a loop in Zombies and you can continue to drive it around and around until you eventually find a Mercenary Convoy — just remember to get off and get gas when you need it. I found my highway convoy just north of Shahin Manor (as shown on the map above), so that’s a good place to start.

The only problem with the highway strategy is that you’re fairly likely to run into some medium difficulty mercenaries, who are much more difficult to kill than the low level ones on the outskirts of the map.

How to destroy a Mercenary Convoy and get a Mercenary Stronghold Keycard in MW3 Zombies

A player picks up a Mercenary Stronghold Keycard in Zombies Image: Sledgehammer Games/Activision via Polygon

Finding the Mercenary Convoy is the hard part of the Interceptor mission. Once you have one in your sights, all you need to do is take a few shots at it. Ideally, that first shot is with some kind of explosive, but the convoy will stop even if it’s just normal bullets.

Once you engage the Mercenary Convoy, you simply need to kill all of the mercs that come pouring out of the clown cars. This is where your long-range weapon is most useful, as it lets you hide behind some cover and take shots until all the mercs are dead. Keep in mind that zombies can and will attack you (and the mercs) while you’re fighting the convoy.

If you’re struggling to take down a Mercenary Convoy solo, you might want to toggle the squad mode on for this mission.

Once you’ve killed all the mercenaries, you should complete the “Destroy Mercenary Convoy” step of the mission. If it doesn’t work, try blowing up the convoy trucks themselves (which, again, is much easier with some explosives).

With the convoy good and destroyed, look for the body of their Sergeant or highest ranking officer. You’ll find a blue keycard floating around their corpse. Grab the Stronghold Keycard to complete the Interceptor mission.

The Tier 3 missions are far more complex than the Tier 1 missions, so now is a great time to extract and make a plan for the next time you go into Zombies.

For more Modern Warfare 3 guides, see how to switch to Tactical Stance, and check our guides on the best SVA 545 loadout, best Striker loadout, best MCW loadout, and best AMR9 loadout.

If you’re jumping into the campaign, find all of the items and weapons in “Precious Cargo” and “Reactor,” see how to earn the Back in the Field trophy and the A Shot Blocked achievement, or check out our walkthrough for “Deep Cover.”