A screenshot of new PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds map, Sanhok

7 tips to master PUBG's new Sanhok map

© Mike Stubbs / PUBG Corporation

PUBG's first small scale map is nearly here, and luckily we've already braved the Sanhok islands to bring you these top tips for success.

After months of teasing and a couple of restricted tests, the brand new Sanhok map was playable for everyone that owns PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds this weekend – provided you downloaded the new Experimental Test Server, that is. 

This was the most complete test yet, but now the map feels like it could be in a releasable state for the first time. Placeholder textures were gone, new areas have been added, more playable space is included and an updated map all hint that it shouldn't be long until we get to see Sanhok on the live build.

Of course, once that happens, and everyone gets their hands on the map, the first few matches you play will be chaos. Players will be trying to figure out the best loot locations, how to navigate the smaller map, and will have no idea where the best cover is for late game fights. Normally, you'd be in the same chaotic boat, but we've braved Sanhok for you and have returned with these top tips to make sure that you have the advantage when the map finally goes live.

1. Small compounds are the key

Despite being a much smaller map than both Erangel and Miramar, Sanhok is very densely packed. There are a ton of major locations to drop onto, and most of them have really good loot so it seems worth it. However, you can almost guarantee that unless you go for a very long jump, at least a couple of players will land with you, and that usually means some awkward early fights.

If your sole purpose is to win at all costs, then the massive amount of smaller compounds scattered around Sanhok are the perfect solution. On other maps, these kinds of compounds usually have very limited loot, but on Sanhok you can usually get decent gear from three or four houses – and if you don't, there's almost always another small village just down the road. Play these compounds well and you're almost certain to make it to the late stages.

2. You can reach almost anywhere from the plane

One of the easiest things to forget on Sanhok is just how small it really is. When you open up the map, it looks as large as the other two, but it’s actually just half the size. This certainly changes a lot of things, but one of the most important is that now you can reach almost anywhere on the map straight from the plane. Of course, the exact route of the plane does play a factor, but with most planes being fairly central, almost all of the map is in play. So take a longer jump, head to a remote location and loot up alone.

A screenshot of a compound on Sanhok from PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds
Small compounds like this a great starting points

3. There's almost no time between late game circles

Once you get down to the last few players, the pace of the game picks up a lot. Whereas on Erangel and Miramar you can get around a minute of downtime between circles, on Sanhok that time is more like 20–30 seconds. This means that if you get an unlucky circle, you really need to start moving straight away. We got caught out a few times by this so always keep an eye on that timer.

4. You can wait around earlier in the early game either

The late game circles may force you to move a lot earlier than normal, but in the early game it's almost the opposite. The first circle moves in really slowly, and with a smaller map, you rarely have that far to travel. This means that you can wait until the blue zone is right on top of you before moving. You can even stick around and take some damage, as you'll rarely have that far to go. We found that other players haven't quite realised this either, so you can often get some great looting time with no threats in the early game.

5. Plan your river crossings

There's a pretty high chance that at some point you're going to have to cross a river onto another island. You really need to plan your river crossing, though, as getting it wrong can mean certain death. Now this isn't like Erangel, where you basically have to take a bridge if the circle is closing in on you; on Sanhok you can swim pretty effectively, and usually you'll end up on the other side with decent cover.

If winning isn't for you, though, then you need to take in all the options. There are smaller bridges that are much more open and larger ones that can easily be camped. You need to think about where the plane went, as bridges close to the plane's path will often be occupied, and you need to think about where players will expect you to go. Bridges are death traps, so sometimes going further off your chosen path to a safer bridge is a great idea.

6. The safe zone really is safe (mostly)

One of the most frustrating things in the world is running across the center of the circle to be bombarded with a red zone. Fortunately, PUBG Corp has realised this isn't fun and has tweaked the red zone on Sanhok. Now, the red zone will usually only spawn outside of the safe white circle. That means that if you're quick to move in every time a new circle is shown, you should almost always avoid the red zone. This should mean a few less frustrating deaths, providing you aren't someone who loves playing the edge of the blue.

7. It's all about the apples

This is less of a tip and more of a 'Hey this is really cool' type thing, but you can now throw apples at other players when in the pre-game lobby. That's basically it. They don't really do anything other than bounce off opponent's skulls, but it sure is a lot more fun than just running around and jumping for a good minute. We can't wait to see what kind of crazy trick shots people come up with when this hits the live servers, though. Look out for some YouTube montages in the near future.