slashbinbash.de / Team Fortress 2 Strategy Guide

I've been playing Team Fortress 2 since it became Free-to-Play and I'm about 500 hours in which is not a lot but I'm quite confident in what I do. The thing that makes it unique is the team play and the strategy that is involved. It's basically like a real-time-strategy game in a first person perspective, the classes being different kinds of units, etc.

You have to have a solid opening, spread your field of influence, adapt to different situations quickly, know when and where to attack or defend and use the weaknesses of your enemy to your advantage in order to win. This means that having a good overview of what is happening during a round and reacting appropriately is very important.

Since I'm seeing more and more people playing Team Fortress 2 who are having trouble to understand the game at the most basic level and thus making it very hard for their team, I feel obligated to share what I feel are the most basic ideas of the game.

I want to cover all the basics from a strategic point of view which means that I will be talking about things that will not necessarily improve your skill as a player but that will give your team an advantage and possibly the chance to win the round.

I'm not a pro player by any means, that's why this guide is mainly targeted at players who play on public servers. If you have any comments, questions, suggestions or you think that something needs fixing, please let me know in the comments.

Content
Team Play and Classes
Objectives
Teleporter Priority
Loadout
Trading

Team Play and Classes

As the name suggests, this game is about team play. Your main goal is to contribute something to the team. There are a lot of ways you can do that even if you don't have much skill or experience.

Imagine you are joining a game and you pick the Soldier. The first thing you should do is to go around and see what your team is up to so you can get a feeling for how the round is progressing, where the front line is and what the needs of your team are. Let's say you play BLU, you've already captured the first point on a capture point map, you're heading for the second and you notice that there is no Teleporter near the spawn. After running for a while you get to the front line, people are calling for a Medic and getting stabbed by Spies, groups of enemies are coming your way while enemy Sentry Guns are firing in the background and before you know it you get shot by a Sniper.

The next thing you should do is look at what classes your team consists of by pressing TAB. Chances are that some of the classes that would have been important for the situations I've mentioned above are either underrepresented or missing. How can you help out your team? Simple, pick another class. Focusing only on one class will lead to unbalanced teams and destroy your chance of winning the round. You have to adapt your strategy to changing conditions during a round if you want to win.

Soldier

If you are new to the game the best class you can pick is the Soldier. The rockets deal a lot of damage, you can shoot them from far away and you don't even have to aim very well because of the splash damage they do when they hit an object. As a Soldier you can either attack or defend and most of the enemy classes go down after 2 or 3 hits. Worst case: you kill an enemy that is close to you and you accidentally blow yourself up. No big deal, dying in TF2 is totally fine as long as you contribute something to the game.

Easy targets are weak classes, groups of enemy players and engineer buildings. If you see a Sentry Gun, preferably without an Engineer, you will do your team a big favor if you can destroy it from a distance while they are pushing forward. You can also do easy spy checks by shooting a rocket at suspicious players, most Spies will blow up instantly.

You will have a higher chance of winning a combat situation if you can put yourself above the enemy players, so shooting rockets from on top of crates, containers, buildings and so forth will in many cases give you an advantage over the enemy regardless of your skill with the Rocket Launcher. This is referred to as the high level advantage.
The ability to rocket jump will get you to higher places faster than other classes and you can use it to surprise enemy players.

Soldiers are also good for soft pushes and gaining influence over an area. In most cases enemies will avoid your rockets so even if you can't see or hit the players directly you can always put pressure on the enemy team by shooting rockets at the ground where the enemy players would normally position themselves if they wanted to attack or defend a front line. Since you shoot projectiles you can shoot around corners and shorten the angle at which an enemy can come at you. Reposition yourself while doing that in order to cover more field.

Keep in mind that your Rocket Launcher is positioned on your right shoulder so shooting around left corners is generally safer than shooting around right corners, when the left side of the body is exposed.

It's always a good choice to play the Soldier. You can't have enough Soldiers on your team!

Engineer

If you've picked the Engineer your job is to build Teleporters, Dispensers and Sentry Guns. Teleporters provide transportation for your team, slow classes will get to the front line faster and safer. Dispensers give you metal and provide others a safe place to get health and ammo after retrieving from an attack. Sentry Guns protect your base and hold the front line. The building order is usually Teleporter Entrance, Dispenser, Sentry Gun, Teleporter Exit.

When thinking about the best positions for your buildings consider the following points:

If you're done building and upgrading don't just stand there and hammer away at your buildings. Instead help other Engineers by upgrading or repairing their stuff, remove Sappers and do constant spy checks by firing a few shots at everyone that comes close to your or another Engineer's buildings. If you stand still and hammer away chances are that a Spy will stab you, so only do that if buildings must be repaired.

If you're playing BLU on a 24 player server one Engineer in the team should be enough. If you play RED you'll need at least two.

Medic

If you've picked the Medic your job is to heal as many people as possible and build Uber. Getting Uber will give your team the advantage when pushing forward, taking out an enemy's sentry nest, killing powerful classes like Heavies, Demomen and Soldiers, and so forth. So no matter what you do, staying alive to get Uber is more important than anything else. If suddenly a team mate decides to storm into battle and stand somewhere in the open where he is surrounded by enemies and where you can't heal him from behind a wall, crate or rock, it's a suicide mission. If you follow him there is a high chance of you dying because the enemy knows that you are very valuable to this player but also very weak. So let him go die and heal everyone else around you instead.

Heal other medics that are low on health, heal everyone who is burning, heal people who are retrieving and have lost health, overheal people who are coming from the spawn and going into battle. It goes without saying that you should heal people who are calling for a medic but keep in mind that some of these players might be Spies. In this case try to run through them and if you get stuck it's a Spy.

If you get Uber you don't have to pop it right away but if the situation is tense then it's better to pop than to waste an Uber. If you see that the enemy has popped theirs and your combo can afford to hide or take some damage, wait one or two seconds before popping yours so that you can push back the other team.

Classes to Uber are usually Heavies, Demomen and Soldiers. Look out for good players that have the most frags in your team. They will know when you have Uber, wait for you at a good position and call for a Medic but you can also Uber someone and lead the way. Usually the targets of Ubered players are sentry nests that are too difficult to reach without Uber and enemy classes with Medics.

When you Uber someone always think of an escape plan when the Uber is over, especially if you don't know if your team will push at same time. There is no use in going deep into enemy territory just to get totally obliterated after the Uber has worn off.

An important thing to remember is that Spies and Scouts will target any Medic combo in order to prevent you from getting Uber so you will have to defend yourself against them. A good thing to do is to check your back and sides while healing another person. Don't just stare at the other player's back all the time, there's nothing interesting to see there anyway. This will also prevent you from getting killed by other players who sneak up from behind. In that case run in front of the person you are healing and look in the direction of the enemy players. Most people will instinctively turn around to check what's going on. If that doesn't help pull out your Syringe Gun or Bonesaw and deal with the Spy/Scout yourself.

If you're playing on a 24 player server usually one medic will be enough. It's always nice to have one Medic for each Heavy in the team.

Pyro

If you've picked the Pyro your job is to spy check around and on top of engineer buildings, around the cart on payload maps and along groups of team mates that are walking from the spawn to the front line, since those will be the main targets of a Spy. Always check your back and sides because Spies will stab you, too.

I want to stress the fact that contrary to the class raster you are a defending class. Your first priority should be to protect the buildings of your Engineers from Spies and projectiles or bombs even if this means that you have to stay in close range of your Engineers while all the fun stuff is happening elsewhere. Think of it as being on patrol. Keep in mind that you can spy check endlessly while standing next to a Dispenser. If you have another Pyro on the team or a competent Engineer who can defend himself from Spies then you are a little bit more free in what you can do.

It is important that you put out any burning players by compression blasting them! If you see an enemy Medic who has popped Uber you should try to blast either the two of them into the air and away or if you can get past the Ubered player just push away the Medic as far as possible even if you get killed in the process. Them getting a successful Uber and destroying your engineer's buildings is worse than you having to respawn.

Additionally you can blast away enemy projectiles and bombs and push people away from objectives or your engineer's base. It's very effective around corners and on maps where the player can fall off a cliff or down a hole.

The standard strategy for the Pyro against attacks is burn, blast, shoot with shotgun or a little bit more advanced: burn, kill with axe. Classes like Scouts, Medics, Snipers and Spies should be an easy kill. Only attack a Heavy if he is alone and you can come at him from the side or the back. Make sure to walk around him in the direction that he is turning in order to avoid his Minigun. The same goes for Sentry Guns.

If you're playing on a 24 player server usually one Pyro should be enough but it always depends on the number of Engineers in your team and the number of enemy Spies.

Heavy

A Heavy is basically a walking Sentry Gun and can deal a lot of damage when played right. It all comes down to positioning, knowing when to push, staying alive as long as possible, etc.

One of the most effective strategies that can decide the outcome of a round is a Heavy and Medic combo because when you get Ubered you can mow down an entire team or take out sentry nests. This puts pressure on the enemy and gives your team the chance to move forward. Since the Medic has less health than you, enemies will try to take him out first before they deal with you so if you plan on getting Ubered you should protect your Medic.

Protecting the Medic can mean a few things:

Besides the Medic you should always use Dispensers to your advantage. If the Engineer hasn't built a Sentry Gun yet or it was destroyed, help him out and defend his base while he is repairing his buildings and setting up a new Sentry Gun. You can shoot as long as you want when standing near a Dispenser. The same goes for the cart on payload maps.

Heavies are also good for soft pushes and gaining influence over an area. In most cases enemies will avoid your Minigun projectiles so even if you can't see or hit the players directly you can always put pressure on the enemy team by shooting with your Minigun around corners and shortening the angle at which the enemy can come at you until you're directly pointing at a group of players. Reposition yourself while doing that in order to cover more field.

Keep in mind that your Minigun does the most damage at close range. As soon as the target is a couple of feet away you're wasting more ammo than doing actual damage. When firing the Minigun your moving speed will be even more reduced which makes you a slow and predictable target.

If you're playing on a 24 player server usually one Heavy is enough. It also depends on how many Medics you have, if your team has an Engineer with a Sentry Gun or not, etc.

Demoman

The Demoman has only one objective: to blow shit up. The Sticky Bombs will be your weapon of choice since they can deal more damage at a time than any other weapon in TF2. They are good for all sorts of situations:

Demomen are also good for soft pushes and gaining influence over an area. In most cases enemies will avoid Pipes and Sticky Bombs so even if you can't see or hit the players directly you can always put pressure on the enemy team by shooting Pipes or placing Sticky Bombs at the ground where the enemy players would normally position themselves if they wanted to attack or defend a front line. Reposition yourself while doing that in order to cover more field.

If the enemy team has a lot of Engineers or Heavies it's always a good choice to play the Demoman. You can't have enough Demomen in your team!

Spy

If you've picked the Spy your main objectives are to take down engineer buildings and any enemy classes that are going from their spawn to the front lines, especially Heavies, Demomen, Soldiers and Medic combos. You can also target specific players that are preventing your team from advancing like other Spies, Snipers and players with a lot of kills. Groups of people surrounding an objective like a capture point or cart are also easy targets if they don't have a Pyro around.

Playing the Spy can be difficult tho because he is a very situational class and you have to be familiar with the typical behaviour of other classes so you don't get spotted when you are disguised. There's nothing worse than an obvious Spy.

With the Spy, timing and a lot of practice is the key to success. Some of the things to keep in mind are:

If you're playing on a 24 player server usually one Spy is enough. More than two Spies and the enemy players will get very suspicious and fire at anything that moves or switch to more Pyros.

Scout

As a Scout your job is to annoy enemy players, kill easy targets like Scouts, Medics, Spies and Snipers and do the objective.

The Scout has three major advantages: his speed, the ability to double jump and the ability to capture a point or push the cart twice as fast as any other class. Depending on the map his speed will allow him to be the first on a capture point or cart. This will make him essential for all sorts of situations that involve the objective especially on capture the flag maps.

Since you don't have much health the safest way to approach the enemy is either from the side or from the back. Fire a few shots and retrieve as soon as the moment of surprise has worn off or you're not in control of the situation anymore. Pick up health and ammo and try again, maybe from another direction. For this to work you need to know the map very well.

It all comes down to being a nuisance to the enemy team, distracting them from doing their objective, trying to get their attention while your team is doing a push, etc. You should have a good overview of what is happening on the map so that you can make quick decisions and change strategies instantly.

Picking out and killing specific players of the enemy team can give your team an advantage in certain situations but you shouldn't risk getting killed in the process. For example if there is player who seems to be out of position and away from his group and he's annoying your team mates which have a hard time getting to him it's your chance to run around the map and surprise him from the back.

If you're playing on a 24 player server usually one Scout is enough. It's not unusual to see two Scouts on certain maps.

Sniper

Last but not least, the Sniper. If you've picked the Sniper you should be confident in your skills with the Sniper Rifle and your ability to protect yourself from Scouts and Spies. Don't count on other players to do that for you.

When picking a spot look for a place where you can cover as much distance as possible while overseeing multiple pathways that the enemy team could take, especially the ones that are frequented a lot. Try to find spots where your aim moves horizontally along the map. Any additional vertical movement will make it more difficult for you to hit targets. You can even limit the horizontal movement by picking a position where the enemy players are coming straight towards you. This will give you a higher chance of hitting a moving target.

Your priorities (highest to lowest) should be enemy Snipers, Medics, Heavies, Engineers (including their buildings), Demomen, Soldiers, Spies and Scouts. Here are a few things to consider:

If you're playing on a 24 player server usually one Sniper is enough. More than two Snipers and the enemy players will switch to more Spies, Snipers or Scouts.

Objectives

Believe it or not but the game is about doing objectives. In fact it is essential for your team to do the objective in order to win. The ONLY reason not to do it is if you are getting Ubered by a Medic or you are Ubering someone. That's because the game doesn't allow players who are Ubered to do the objective. In any other case you should be doing the objective!

If you're on the RED team, which means that you are defending, and you don't have any Engineers, you're doing it wrong. If you do have Engineers but there's no Sentry Gun protecting the objective, you're doing it wrong. If you're on the BLU team, which means that you are attacking, and your team only consists of Snipers, Spies and Medics, you're doing it wrong. If you're on a Capture the Point map and no one has even tried to risk their life and stand on the point even for a few seconds, you're doing it wrong. If you're on a Payload map and the cart isn't constantly being pushed by at least one player, you're doing it wrong. If you're on a King of the Hill map and no one is protecting the point, you're doing it wrong. If you're on a Capture the Flag map and you're not either on the way to the intelligence or protecting your own one, you're either playing on ctf_2fort or you're doing it wrong.

Sometimes it only takes one player to jump across the map and land on the capture point in order for the rest of the team to follow because they see that there's a real chance of winning. Most rounds are won by last second pushes in which the team suddenly decides to work together and do the objective. Other times you just have to take a risk, duck behind the cart and push it while Sentry Guns are firing and the whole enemy team is coming at you. It's especially effective if you can capture a point which causes the spawns (either RED or BLU) to move to a different location.

This will increase the pressure on the enemy and motivate your team to push forward or find other ways to attack important enemy positions in order to advance. If you can bring the enemy team to pay attention to you while your team is doing the objective it's fine too.

Sooner or later there will be a moment when you won't be able to do the objective anymore without the risk of dying instantly to Sentry Guns, Snipers, Sticky Bombs or whathaveyou. In this case you need to come up with a plan, use the weaknesses of the other team to your advantage and push collectively.

There's no use in attacking the enemy one by one. Instead wait for your team to regroup while defending your engineer's buildings and then push when you see a good chance. Very often this means that you must push when the Medic pops his Uber so that you can do the objective while the combo is clearing the area.

If by any chance you hear or see that an enemy Sentry Gun was destroyed you need to do a push and keep up the pressure in order to ensure that the Engineer won't have the time to put up a new Sentry Gun.

Teleporter Priority

Basically what it comes down to is this: you need to let other classes pass through the Teleporter first if they are higher in the hierarchy than you. Yes, this means that if you play a Pyro you need to get off the Teleporter if you see a Heavy approaching it.


Image by MindWav3

The Engineer takes the Teleporter first so he can repair buildings, build Sentry Guns or whatever it takes to hold the front line and support the players that are still alive. Heavies and Medics go next. The Medic heals the whole team and keeps people from dying and waiting for long respawn times, seconds in which the other team can be doing a push. The Heavy is the strongest but also the slowest class in the team so he totally depends on the Teleporter. Next goes the Soldier and the Demoman. Even tho they can easily rocket or sticky jump across the map they are important to the match because they deal and take a lot of damage. They are the ones who can hold off the other team and make soft pushes alongside the Heavy. The rest of the classes are very situational so they don't usually need to be at the front line right away. A good team can go without a Pyro or Sniper for a few seconds but if the Heavy and Engineer are missing the enemy team will try to push forward. As the fastest class in TF2, Scouts shouldn't use the Teleporter.

Keep in mind that your team has a limited time to win the round so everyone you slow down at the Teleporter will be late for possible attacks or defenses especially towards captures or at the end of the round when players die more frequently. Of course you can take the Teleporter if you see that no one is anywhere near it but you may give your team a disadvantage by insisting on your turn.

Loadout

Before you start playing with all the fancy weapons in TF2, learn how to play with the stock weapons! The standard loadout will be good enough for many situations you will encounter in this game. If you've mastered them you can pick a loadout that is specific to your play style or one that gives you a clear advantage when dealing with very specific situations during a round.

There are a few exceptions tho. These are commonly accepted alternatives to the stock weapons that are still very effective in general situations without demanding too much additional skill or a different play style in order to compensate for disadvantages.

Scout: Sandman

Soldier: Escape Plan

Pyro: Degreaser, Flare Gun, Homewrecker, Axtinguisher

Demoman: (Melee Weapon)

Heavy: Sandvich, Gloves of Running Urgently

Engineer: Wrangler, Gunslinger

Medic: Kritzkrieg, Ubersaw

Sniper: Jarate, Bushwacka

Spy: Cloak and Dagger, Dead Ringer, Your Eternal Reward

Trading

If you want to trade do yourself a favor and check tf2spreadsheet.blogspot.com for current prices. This is more like a guide than a definite price list but if someone offers you much less for an item than what is on this list, you're probably getting scammed.

This concludes my little guide. I hope that I've covered all the basics. If you disagree with something or you have a question, feel free to leave a comment.

If you are looking for a good video introduction to all the Team Fortress 2 classes check out HiGPS's Team Fortress 2 Introduction