Left 4 Dead Wiki

The Left 4 Dead 2 Survivor Mode icon.

Survival Mode is a game mode initially released as Downloadable Content from Valve Corporation; the Survival Pack. This game mode throws waves and waves of the Infected at the Survivors until they get fully overwhelmed via every survivor dying or or getting incapacitated. There is no way to win, as instead the goal is to survive as long as you can and set new records.

There are currently forty-three different maps to play on in Survival Mode, thirty lifted almost directly from the campaign mode, along with a formerly Left 4 Dead 1-exclusive map called The Lighthouse that is attributed to a campaign called The Last Stand, which was released as part of the pack.

In almost every Survival map, several areas are cut off to prevent reaching the saferoom or overpowered holdout spots. Such examples include boarded up doors/ladders and restrictive barriers cutting the area off from the rest of the map. The only map that is not affected by this is The Atrium in Left 4 Dead 2.


Left 4 Dead[]

Each survival match starts with indefinite setup time, allowing you and your team to scour the map for useful items. Teams will find health kits, tier 2 weapons, pipe bombs and molotovs, pills, propane tanks, oxygen tanks, and gas cans scattered around the area. Each Survivor automatically spawns with pills, a health kit and dual pistols.

Setup time ends once the designated radio/button (typically re-using the chapter's radio/button for a Crescendo or Finale Event in the campaign) is used, and will start the timer on top of the screen. A horde will be called as infected start to spawn, and the intensity escalates from there.[1] The AI Hunters gain an area of effect stun on survivors near pounced teammates, twice as long as a Hunter's stun in Versus mode.

Left 4 Dead 2[]

Survival mode gameplay in Left 4 Dead 2 remains similar to Left 4 Dead's survival mode, with the difference being the new items and infected.

More items for the survivors such as Adrenaline shots, Bile Bombs, more varied weapons and weapon upgrades, and the addition of Uncommon Infected and more Special Infected results in a different gameplay experience compared to Left 4 Dead. Moreover, the Jockey, alongside the Hunter, gain the area of effect stun on survivors near pinned teammates, which is twice as long as in Versus mode.

There is a variant of Survival Mode, a mutation called Versus Survival. Following both Versus and Survival formulas, the Special Infected are played by a human team and both teams must compete for a better time than their opponent to continue the game until one team fails. This mutation became an official game mode as part of The Last Stand Community Update on September 24, 2020.


As always, teamwork and staying together are necessary for survival. Beyond that, survival strategies vary from map to map and from team to team. It is possible to obtain a Gold Medal achievement by utilizing just one area of a map, but some may find it more advantageous to move from time to time in order to get more items, ammo and avoid the Tank. And on certain maps, it can be beneficial to stay in motion and run "laps" around the map to prevent infected from catching up. Difficulty increases with time as supplies dwindle, and surviving often involves fending off multiple Special Infected and at times, multiple Tanks.

As with Versus mode (in Left 4 Dead), the melee fatigue cooldown applies.

It is always best to hole up by gathering as much resources and finding the best spot possible before setting off the Horde. For example, preparing special ammo boxes and placing Gas Cans/Propane Tanks in a secure spot can allow the team to grab it quickly in the event of a Tank attack if they do not have any Molotovs on hand.

Once the horde is alerted, the Director will send groups of Common Infected (Uncommons will appear if they can be found in that level; for example, all Hard Rain survival maps will have Worker Infected). The Director will then start spawning Tanks after 40 seconds. The times the Tanks appear are irregular, and the Director can occasionally send two Tanks at the team in conjunction with Special Infected and a horde.

Playable Locations[]

Left 4 Dead[]

No Mercy[]

Crash Course[]

Death Toll[]

Dead Air[]

Blood Harvest[]

The Sacrifice[]

A glitch where survival mode is played in an unsupported map. Used during the "grenade hop" glitch.

The Last Stand[]

Left 4 Dead 2[]

Dead Center[]

The Passing[]

Dark Carnival[]

Swamp Fever[]

Hard Rain[]

The Parish[]

No Mercy[]

Crash Course[]

Death Toll[]

Dead Air[]

Blood Harvest[]

The Sacrifice[]

Cold Stream[]

The Last Stand[]



Left 4 Dead 2- Beat the Rush Achievement Guide

Achievementors "Beat the Rush" Guide for Left 4 Dead 2

Left 4 Dead
None of the Survival Achievements are present in the Xbox 360 version of the game as the Survival Pack is a free DLC.

L4d bronze mettle.jpg
Earn a Bronze medal in Survival mode on any official level.

L4d silver bullets.jpg
Earn a Silver medal in Survival mode on any official level.

L4d violence is golden.jpg
Earn a Gold medal in Survival mode on any official level.

L4d distinguished survivor.jpg
Earn at least a Bronze medal on every official Survival level.

L4d heroic survivor.jpg
Earn at least a Silver medal on every official Survival level.

L4d legendary survivor.jpg
Earn a Gold medal on every official Survival level.

L4D last stand.jpg
Complete one round of Survival on The Last Stand.

Left 4 Dead 2

Beat the rush.jpg
In a Survival round, get a medal only using melee weapons.

PC exclusive[]

Achievement Getting Started.png
Earn a bronze medal on any official survival map.

Achievement On Our Way.png
Earn a silver medal on any official survival map.

Achievement This is Where the Fun Begins.png
Earn a gold medal on any official survival map.

Achievement A Little Hack and Slash.png
Earn a bronze medal on every official survival map.

Achievement Like Lambs to the Slaughter.png
Earn a silver medal on every official survival map.

Achievement Killing Spree.png
Earn a gold medal on every official survival map.

Achievement Golden Freeman.png
Find the golden crowbars hidden in the Left 4 Dead 1 survival maps.

Achievement Supreme Survivalist.png
Survive for 30 minutes on any official survival map.

Tips and Tricks[]

These tips are for general purpose, not for specific maps.

  • Always stick together; breaking off will make everyone vulnerable and severely weaken them.
  • Try to find everything in the map. Throw Gas cans and Propane tanks in places where they won't be shot by accident, so you have a backup supply of "Molotovs" if you do not have any actual Molotovs, or run out of their supply.
  • Place everything you need in the place you plan to hold out in, so you do not have to leave your area for supplies and risk getting attacked easily.
  • Players playing with Bots will be slightly disadvantaged over a team of players. While they have good accuracy, they often don't work alongside the player, especially whilst Infected swarm them. They cannot use any throwables or defibrillators, and are inefficient with healing items, almost never using their health kits if under attack. They cannot rescue teammates easily and the timer ends upon all human players dying.
  • Try to find melee weapons within the map. They are useful when surrounded by Infected or killing distracted Tanks. Most maps tend to have a couple of melee weapons scattered throughout the area.
  • Defibrillators are extremely useful in case the Infected manage to kill a survivor.
  • Have a Molotov handy to deal with the Tanks, especially when the Director sends two of them to your team. Bile Bombs and Pipe Bombs are also useful for getting Common Infected away from survivors.
  • Tanks and hordes spawn at consistent times during the first 12 minutes.
    • Tanks will consistently spawn at 0:40, 1:55, 2:55, 4:25, 5:25, 5:35, 7:05, 7:45, 8:25, 10:05, 10:45, 11:20, 11:30 and 12:50. Take note of the double Tank spawns at 5:30 and 11:30, as well as the long absence gap of Tanks between 2:55-4:25, 5:35-7:05, 8:25-10:05, and 11:30-12:50.
    • New hordes of common infected do not spawn from approximately 3:50-4:25, 9:00-9:35, and 12:00-12:30; this means that, during those times, the only infected that can spawn are Special Infected, making those times ideal for ammo runs, healing, or other actions that would be risky otherwise.
  • Always try to find a spot where you have an advantage of some sort. Consider the following when choosing a place to hold out:
    • Ammunition: Is there an ammo pile or a weapon pickup nearby that you can use to replenish your ammo without having to wade through hordes of infected?
    • Supplies: Are there any other supplies nearby that you can pick up when you use up the ones you're currently carrying (i.e. pills, First aid kits, etc.)?
    • Points of Entry: Where will the infected come from? Try to keep the number of entry points down to two or one, if possible, so that at least two survivors are covering each entrance. How much warning will you have when they come in that way? Will you be able to kill them before they reach you? This is the most important consideration for when you have to fight Tanks, unless you have an escape plan when the Tank comes.
    • Escape Routes: Is there a specific route you can take that will get you away from the infected quickly, or at least give you room to breathe and kill any major threats? Is there somewhere you can go that will confuse the Infected's AI and force them to take a longer route to reach you, buying you some time?
    • High Ground: Where do the Infected climb up? How fast do they reach you? If you fall, get knocked or dragged off, how long does it take to get back up to your teammates, and how likely can those situations occur? (i.e. is there a handrail keeping you up high, or could any passing Smoker bring you down almost instantly)?
    • Line of Sight: How far away can you start killing infected? How long does it take for an infected to reach you after you first start shooting them? This is an especially important consideration when dealing with Tanks, because if you can see a Tank from far away, you can potentially kill it before it even reaches you.
  • Survival mode has similar mechanics to Versus mode. Jockeys and Hunters can stumble nearby players when they pin a target with double the stumble time of Versus mode, and can leave them open for attack or fall off ledges. However, a Smoker's drag does not cause damage to players.


  • Dark Carnival's "Screaming Oak" Crescendo Event from The Coaster can be accessed in Survival mode, but it requires console commands to reach.
    • The Coaster survival map was originally supposed to be officially implemented as a survival map with The Last Stand Update, but was scrapped during development. Despite this, it is still accessible when loaded up through the console and includes all the changes made by the Community Update team, such as the helicopter flyover and the propane tank explosions along the tracks.
  • It is possible to reach the Sacrifice bridge with the help of console commands or glitches, activate the real finale once everyone is on the bridge, and effectively win the campaign on Survival mode by restarting the generator.
  • Using Console Commands, you can load any map in Survival mode such as The Woods, The Hotel, The Apartments, or any others that don't support Survival mode. Unintended side effects like interactive objects needed to continue through the level becoming static, halting progress through the chapter, can occur.
  • In Left 4 Dead, it is possible to use glitches to reach the end saferoom, moving to the next chapter in Survival mode for The Generator Room, The Alleys, The Drains, The Church, The Street, The Crane, The Construction Site, The Warehouse, The Bridge, and The Traincar maps. While it is possible to reach the end saferoom area on The Gas Station, the saferoom door required to load the next chapter is removed in survival mode.
  • If a Survivor is in an area where Infected cannot reach them in Left 4 Dead 2, the AI Director spawns Spitter spit on their location regardless if there's a Spitter in play. This spit will continue to spawn and damage unreachable Survivors still standing, and even if the visual spit is avoided there is another system that directly damages at a longer interval. This has been known to occur inside of maps near the edges of areas where Infected can reach you, killing or injuring teams that were not cheating.
    • Known areas where this can happen include the area near the edge of the roof in The Rooftop and on top of the portable bathrooms on the off ramp in The Bridge.
    • A common reason for this is where an infected is stuck somewhere and can't properly path to the player it's targeting, resulting in the director thinking the player is out of bounds.
  • If you play at The Port, Francis, Louis, and Zoey will not be there like in Versus mode to prevent unfair advantages.
  • In Dark Carnival it is easier to earn the achievement STACHE WHACKER as no Infected will spawn. However, once a score of 42 is obtained, it sets off the Horde immediately and starts the timer.
    • The player can also get GONG SHOW at the same time, but will need to make use of glitches or altered gravity to reach it.
  • In the game files, Survival Mode is often referred to as 'Holdout Mode,' similar to how Campaign Mode is referred to as Coop Mode. Leftover code regarding a game event for surviving 30 minutes as well as textures exist for a potential 'Platinum' medal, suggesting a medal better than gold was planned but likely removed due to the difficulty and/or fatigue of playing for longer times.
    • The Last Stand Update for Left 4 Dead 2 introduced the SUPREME SURVIVALIST achievement for reaching 30 minutes in survival mode as a nod to the scrapped platinum medal.
  • In Left 4 Dead, according to the game's debug information, survival mode's difficulty peaks at 17 minutes where all infected reach the fastest possible spawn time and the maximum respective spawn count.
  • The game files in Left 4 Dead reference 2 missing maps; Freighter, in which you had to start a generator, and Highrise, where an elevator had to be started.
  • Similar to Versus mode, Ellis' and Zoey's bots (Francis instead of Zoey in the Xbox 360 version of Left 4 Dead 2) will pick up a Shotgun instead of Sniper Rifles for balancing reasons.
  • Witches never spawn in Survival Mode as players are usually supposed to holdout at locations instead of exploring, defeating the purpose of a witch blocking a path.


Gameplay Modes
Introduced in Left 4 Dead Introduced in Left 4 Dead 2
Single icon.png Campaign icon.png Versus icon.png Survival icon.png Scavenge icon.png Realism icon.png Mutation icon.png Realism Versus icon.png Versus survival.png
Single Player Campaign Versus Survival Scavenge Realism Mutation Realism VS Versus Survival