Gears 5 – No GL/Explosion Spam Master Horde Guide

Are you facing the locust horde with the same strategy you would use to collect swag bucks? Can you calculate your kill speed using Fitt’s law? You, my friend, are experiencing the monotonous limbo of spawn locking GL spam; the skill-less experience of detonating juvies and shockers stuck in fences. Transcend the meaningless competition of scoring more points than your boomshot wielding grub buddies by completing an explosion free master run!

Guide to No GL/Explosion Spam Master Horde

Remember the Basics:

ThE – Insert non-explosion gun – doesn’t work. Thats because you didn’t active reload it and you shot that grub in the knee only slightly more than you missed. Don’t forget:

Active Reloads:

  • Hit the bar with timing cuz its a huge boost to damage and firing speed. Not only does this mean a higher DPS, it reduces the time you need to stay out of cover (because you can empty the clip faster).
  • If you miss the timing, simply try again by pressing the reload button (unless you botched the reload completely and jammed it). Emptying the clip automatically resets the active reload timer.
  • Guns like the gnasher and the lancer have quick active reloads. It’s a good idea to wait until you encounter enemies before you initiate your reload in order to take advantage of a full active clip.

Go for the Headshot:

  • Aim for the enemy’s head/weak spot. The damage is substantially higher and quite a few classes get bonus critical damage cards/perks. This applies to all weapons, even the lancer.
  • Enemies killed with headshots are less likely to become “down but not out”, although this is less important since the execution rules poison has been removed.

Stay in Cover:

  • Enemies have unreal accuracy and damage with weapons like claws and enforcers even at sniper ranges. Side stepping left and right like your playing call of duty or battlefront is largely useless.
  • If you need to play this way for aiming purposes, at least be near enough to a cover so you can avoid a team wipe when your buddies try to get you up.

Get it? You can even try combos like scoring a headshot with an active reload, or hitting that active reload while your safe in cover.

Ammo Management

Since the waves won’t be cleared by the onslaught of explosion dweebery, managing ammo can be concerning, especially after wave 20 (Extra Health Poison). Here are some tips:

Ammo Boxes:

  • All the maps have at least 2 ammo boxes that respawn over time and at the beginning of the next wave. Share them with your team mates; no individual character is important enough to need both or more in a given wave.
  • Grab ammo during the end of wave screen (when it shows the player stats for the wave). You can’t shoot or do anything during this screen really, but you can pick up ammo boxes. Here’s why:

The moment the final enemy dies on a given wave, any gun you have that is super low on ammo or empty will gain a small amount of ammo. Picking up the ammo box during the end of wave screen will then top up all your weapons. If you have an empty gun and you pick up an ammo box before the wave ends, you’ll miss out on the free ammo the game gives you.

Share Weapon Lockers:

  • Drop the notion that each person get’s their own locker. Get a four slot locker early and let everyone have a slot for their main weapons. Between the ammo boxes and a four slot locker, virtually everyone will have enough ammo until power is plentiful enough to spare another locker.
  • Pay attention to the kills after each wave. That Marksmen with 20 kills at the end of the wave? Nice shooting! But he/she probably shot 20 bullets. He/she doesn’t need 4 longshots ready to go when 1 on the locker and one in use is more than enough.

Shoot to Kill and Keep Shooting:

  • Don’t waste bullets on enemies that are two far away for you to down or kill. They will likely get back into cover and heal. Focus on enemies within your effective range that you will be able to down/kill.
  • Some bosses require the team to be mobile and will require shooting from the entire team to bring down (Matriarchs for example). Avoid taking these guys out until the team is ready and with you; otherwise you’ll be wasting ammo while they heal.
  • Don’t be the guy that wanders aimlessly. Keep up the pressure on enemies so they aren’t frequently healing, especially the tougher guys like scions.


  • Use executions. Executions are completely ammo free. If an enemy is down and it’s safe, stomp them. Players are can’t take damage during executions in horde, so it can sometimes save you from a grenade or a boomshot.
  • Don’t be the dorkchop that shoots an enemy while a player is attempting to do an execution or doing a chainsaw battle. Your wasting ammo and it’s fun to do executions. Also, some players plan on an execution to avoid an explosion or some other danger; you may have just caused them to go down.

Tips & Tactics

Here are some things that have helped me in my own runs.

Don’t hard Krutch MG Turrets:

  • Dumping power into turrets at the expensive of other infrastructure and team perks can make most waves easier but can worsen performance on boss waves, especially if the mechanic places all the turrets on the red during the wave. It makes sense that the builder doesn’t want them destroyed, but why did the team just sacrifice all the power to have the turrets in the red for the entire wave?
  • Mechanics quit midway too making it extremely difficult and frustrating to keep the turrets repaired and ammo’ed up.
  • If you are not playing a mechanic, don’t build an mg turret. It always works out to be a massive time sink to refill and repair, often gets blown up and is generally just as dweeby as GL spamming. If you are a player that does this, ask yourself: Why? Are you trying to score high to stroke your ego? Are you bad at shooting and need to feel important? If you’re not getting the satisfaction you need from your life or work, there are other ways to deal with it, like counselling. Don’t join my game as a combat medic and build an MG Turret so you can feel like you contributed with a high score when you really just AFK’ed the waves. What happened in your childhood to reinforce these behaviours? Talk to someone dude; you need help.
  • Try placing MG Turrets facing the team behind cover and walls. That way they only get use when enemies break through fences or on sentinels/guardians that can sweep the team by flying in behind us. This is also more effective for matriarchs since the turrets can shoot them in the back when they walk past, and the team can shoot the matriarch if it begins to target the turrets.

Don’t Underestimate Shock Turrets:

  • Shock Turrets are amazing. At level 4 the impact explodes like a shock grenade knocking back most enemies in an area and slowing them down. This can interrupt scion shooting, keep enemies locked in fences, and substantially help clear trash mobs like juvies.
  • Shock turrets are way less expensive to maintain and have massive ranges so can be placed off the front line to be effective. They’re “shockingly” useful for guardians and sentinels since they seem to do decent damage to their shield and keep them from spam shooting. (That pun was lame but you’ll always remember it when you open the fabricator and are deciding what to build).

Frag Grenades are for Rookies:

  • Flash nades are amazing when dealing with one shot enemies like scions for the interruption and stun time. They can trivialise Wardens who will drop their guard and are left wide open for headshots. Plus, if you are class that has the extra ammo perk (marksman, nomad), ammo boxes actually give 2 grenades instead of 1.
  • Shock nades also stun guys, and for longer than a flash if the enemy is stuck in a fence. The damage they do isn’t great, but they can still be useful for preventing healing.
  • Incendiary nades are O.K. for damage and preventing healing but don’t provide the stun. The burn time is decent if you can get a direct hit on enemies like carriers or matriarchs, preventing them from healing while the team waits for them to expose weakpoints. I think the scorcher is the better choice though (leave a comment if you know of an awesome way to use incendiary nades).

Damage isn’t Everything; Play your Class:

  • The experience/score is shared for the whole team. There is no point in trying to compete for damage when the goal is to complete the run. It is more useful to play your class and let the damaging classes do their own thing. I play with this combat medic who uses a lancer and an embar most of the game. His damage is decent, but he keeps the entire team with stim, ends up with 95 revives some games, repairs fortifications with his ultimate, and uses the embar to stun scions and other dangers. Unbelievably useful.
  • Balance damage dealing cards with durability. One-shotting everything is cool, but isn’t useful if your dead most waves. Damage reduction cards can result in massive durability when combined with health increase perks/cards, and don’t forget the team health boost from maintaining taps.
  • Let the mechanic build and use the chat to ask for things. Don’t take matters into your own hand and build a fence where you think it’s best. There are a lot of ways to effectively build a base. If you want to control they way things are built, then play as a mechanic or robotics expert yourself.

Effectively Use & Grab Power

  • Players are always avoiding picking up power for some reason. If you chainsaw a guy, grab the power after. If you’re running to grab the ammo box, grab the power that’s nearby.
  • Combine perks and depositing. I avoid games where there are specific rules for depositing (until wave 20 for example). A simple rule like depositing 1000 power per teammate per wave results in plenty of power for fortifications and keeps the team powerful with perks. Over depositing usually results in weak teammates for boss waves and over perking can lead to a lack of fortifications needed to keep enemies back or keep the team ammo’ed up.
  • Consider giving your power to the mechanic or robotics expert instead of putting it in the fab. Then he can choose to upgrade his perks. It also prevents dweeby players from building or buying selfishly.
  • Avoid buying ammo as much as possible. Buying 3 or 4 weapons would have paid for a locker slot which would benefit the team for the rest of the game, including you.
  • Saving your own power to use as you see fit (like buying yourself a locker) is selfish and the team will be worse off. I notice that some classes often feel entitled to avoid depositing and having a locker to themselves because “tHeY dEaL dAmAgE”. Nobody is that important and I am confident that building a fence somewhere is much more useful than a 5% damage bonus for one player.

Class Suggestions

Nah, play the class you want to play with the cards you want to play with. The important thing is to play your role and refrain from spamming explosives. Good tactics and good playing is the key.

Apparently it isn’t obvious that playing a demolitions class in a no explosion spam game will get you booted because you’re not able to effectively contribute unless you spam explosions. So if you see a game name that is “No Explosions Spam Game” pick a different class. Even the tactician has some cool non explosion builds.

There are some cool combos out there too, like having multiple nomads can be very effective. Nomads do 100% damage to feared enemies and between them they can fear lock enemies stuck in fences for defence and high damage output. Anchors and combat medics can keep the team stimmed and difficult to down even with explosions. This is great for mobile playing during boss waves. Pilots and Marksman combos can keep bosses frozen, useless, and vulnerable. Try out different strategies and bring the fun back to gears 5.

Egor Opleuha
About Egor Opleuha 7137 Articles
Egor Opleuha, also known as Juzzzie, is the Editor-in-Chief of Gameplay Tips. He is a writer with more than 12 years of experience in writing and editing online content. His favorite game was and still is the third part of the legendary Heroes of Might and Magic saga. He prefers to spend all his free time playing retro games and new indie games.

1 Comment

  1. I was expecting a meme post here but this seems to be a legit guide for horde and I learned a thing or two. Most was common sense for me but I’ll admit I’m selfish with power sometimes (especially without a mech or robo expert) but donating ~1k is something I’ve never thought about.

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