Basic Sniper strategy
The Sniper excels in picking off enemies from great distances. His ability to headshot lets him deal severe damage to foes before they can even get close. His effectiveness increases exponentially with the player's skill; one experienced Sniper can be worth three or more. Important targets for a Sniper include enemy Snipers, Medics, Heavies, and Engineers. The Sniper is one of the weakest classes at close range combat and is often targeted by classes that operate alone, such as Scouts and Spies. If cornered and alone, he is likely to be killed. A good Sniper roams around the battlefield behind his team's combat classes and does not camp a single spot for long.
- 1 Primary weapons
- 2 Secondary weapons
- 3 Melee weapons
- 4 See also
All of your primary weapons rely on precise aiming, so experiment with your mouse sensitivity until you feel comfortable. If it is too low, you will have difficulty aiming at enemies who actively dodge. If it is too high, you will have trouble aiming at more specific targets, like your enemies' heads. If you are firing from a hidden position, remember that the deathcam reveals your location to the enemy. Switch positions often and keep an eye out for any enemies that try to flank you, especially Spies.
The Sniper Rifle is capable of zooming in to target faraway enemies, but is weak in direct combat because it has no splash or piercing capabilities. When zoomed in, the Sniper Rifle accumulates charge that causes it to deal extra damage. Additionally, headshots result in guaranteed critical hits. While a quick, uncharged headshot is significantly harder to land, it will deal as much damage as a fully charged bodyshot. Although you are typically far away from the main battle, enemies can see where you are aiming via a laser dot projected from the weapon; if you want to hide it, aim elsewhere or take cover while charging. When not scoped, the Sniper Rifle is still completely accurate and deals uncharged bodyshot damage, so don't bother to scope if you have to fire immediately.
When compared to the Sniper Rifle, the Huntsman cannot zoom in and fires relatively slow arrows. While these arrows can deal critical headshot damage, they travel in a slight arc, encouraging you to fight closer to the front lines so that aiming is easier. The Huntsman cannot be used to camp an area as easily as the Sniper Rifle, as an arrow that is drawn for longer than five seconds will strain the Sniper's arm, causing the shot to go wide of the crosshair and do minimum damage. Alternate fire will let you stop charging your arrow, allowing you to save ammo, relax the Sniper's arm, and thus avoid this penalty. Certain allies, such as friendly Pyros, can light your arrows on fire, allowing you to ignite enemies from far away.
The Sydney Sleeper applies the Jarate debuff when you land a scoped shot, but cannot headshot. While you will lack some firepower, a weakened enemy covered in Jarate is easy prey for either your teammates or an unscoped follow-up shot. Without the ability to headshot, you are vulnerable to enemy Snipers that use the standard Sniper Rifle and your fully charged shot will only be able to kill the weaker classes.
The Bazaar Bargain is made for consistent Snipers that are able to quickly land headshots after scoping in. While the weapon begins with a heavily reduced charge rate, every headshot kill increases the gun's charge rate to a maximum of 100% faster. Initially focus on landing headshot kills against frail or weakened enemies, then use quick-charging headshots to take down bulky classes such as the Heavy or Soldier.
The Machina's fully charged shot deals 15% bonus damage and, while tricky to line up, can pierce through multiple enemies. However, it cannot fire when unscoped and its tracer rounds reveal your position after every shot. It becomes increasingly more difficult to aim with your scope when enemies are closer, so keep a moderate distance from the main battle and continuously switch your sniping location. The fully charged shot is best utilized when aiming at the bodies of clustered enemies, as a fully charged headshot from the standard Sniper Rifle is already capable of instantly killing an overhealed Heavy.
When using the Hitman's Heatmaker, you will build a Focus meter as you acquire kills and assists. When the meter is full, pressing the reload key will activate the Focus state, where you will have an 25% increased charge rate and won't have to unscope after every shot. The Hitman's Heatmaker is made for accurate Snipers who can land consecutive headshots; bodyshots from this weapon suffer a 20% damage penalty.
The Classic is a callback to the old Sniper Rifle of Team Fortress Classic. It allows you to charge your shot while unscoped, at the cost of moving slowly while charging. However, it can only headshot once fully charged and deals less damage on bodyshots. The Classic's charge mechanics allow you to view your entire, unzoomed screen at any time, useful when tracking a target or watching for flanking enemies. Overall, you gain additional vision at the cost of damage; most significantly, the Classic cannot be used for quick-scoped headshots.
While the Submachine Gun (SMG) is a weak weapon, it is still stronger than your melee weapon when it comes to damage per second and can be used to finish off weakened foes or fight enemies that are difficult to hit, such as Scouts. It is easier to defend yourself with than Jarate when you're operating alone or away from teammates. It pairs well with the Huntsman, due to its close range nature, as well as the Machina, which is difficult to use at close range.
The Razorback will protect you from one enemy backstab before breaking, emitting an electronic sound and disabling the Spy's equipment temporarily. If a Spy decides to backstab you anyway, fight back with your melee weapon while he's defenseless. The main tradeoff is that the Razorback deprives you of a secondary weapon, making it much harder to fight back against a Spy who uses his Revolver. Thus, it works best when fighting near allies, where an enemy Spy would risk revealing himself to your entire team if he were to attack you. The Submachine Gun or Jarate might be better anti-Spy choices if you're operating alone.
Jarate is thrown like a grenade and inflicts a debuff upon its victims, causing all soaked enemies to take increased damage. In large firefights, keep a moderate distance, douse multiple enemies at once, and let your teammates finish the job. You can pair it with the Bushwacka to quickly dispatch foes that get too close. Additionally, Jarate can be used to extinguish burning allies, including yourself, and easily nullify a Spy's Cloak and disguise.
The extra health provided by Darwin's Danger Shield will help keep you alive when fighting closer to enemies. The increased bullet resistance means that you won't instantly be killed by an enemy Sniper's uncharged headshot or charged bodyshot. However, the increased explosive vulnerability leaves you just as weak to the close range classes, such as the Soldier and Demoman, as before.
The Cozy Camper allows you to keep your aim steady when scoped if you're taking damage, great when your enemies notice and are trying to harass you at range. Its innate health regeneration is especially useful when dealing with prolonged damage such as afterburn or bleeding. Additionally, the Cozy Camper lessens all knockback experienced, further aiding precision when aiming. The lack of a secondary weapon encourages you to camp away from the front lines (hence the name!).
The Cleaner's Carbine is weaker than the standard Submachine Gun, but builds up a "CRIKEY" meter as you deal damage. Alt-fire when the CRIKEY meter is filled grants guaranteed mini-crits for eight seconds. Once the mini-crit boost is acquired, pick a weapon to rampage with. If you switch weapons, the Sniper Rifle or Bushwhacka are good choices to use with the mini-crits. If you stick with the Carbine, focus on accuracy instead of firing rapidly, as reloading will consume a little over a second of your mini-crits.
The Kukri is your go-to weapon when dealing with enemies at close range, especially Spies. If you don't need to directly approach an enemy, use your ranged weapons until you are forced to enter melee combat.
When including the bleed effect, one hit from the Tribalman's Shiv does more damage than the standard Kukri, but over a longer period of time. Coating an enemy in Jarate will greatly enhance the damage bleeding does. The bleed effect can be used to track down Cloaked Spies.
The Bushwacka deals critical hits whenever you would normally mini-crit. Use the Bushwacka in combination with Jarate to quickly dispatch of nearby foes with guaranteed critical hits. While the Bushwacka also theoretically works in combination with the Sydney Sleeper, enemies will rarely charge directly at you, making the combo less effective. Be wary when approaching your vulnerable target, as your increased damage vulnerability may allow him to turn the tables.
The Shahanshah deals 25% less damage when you're above half of your maximum health and 25% more damage when you're below half of your maximum health. When cornered by an enemy, use other weapons for close range combat until your health is low enough that you can use the Shahanshah as a strong last resort.