Basic Sniper strategy
From Team Fortress Wiki
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.
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. Other customizable settings on your computer, such as mouse acceleration, can be toggled on or off to increase your precision. 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.
Sniper Rifle + reskins
Your Sniper Rifle's laser dot stays visible no matter where you are aiming. Enemies that see your laser dot will be aware of your presence and may be deterred from coming out of cover. If you want to hide it, aim at a nearby object until you are ready to shoot. When aiming at an enemy, decide whether you want to aim for the head or the body. While a quick, uncharged headshot is significantly harder to land, it will deal as much damage as a fully charged bodyshot. Keep in mind the amount of health your target has; for an enemy with lower health, it may be easier to land a bodyshot, particularly if he is aware of your presence and actively dodging. When not scoped, your 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 a charged arrow that is kept drawn for over five seconds will not follow your crosshair and generally miss the target. Alternate fire will let you stop charging your arrow, allowing you to save ammo and relax the Sniper's arm. Certain allies, such as friendly Pyros, can light your arrows on fire, allowing you to ignite enemies from far away.
The Sydney Sleeper is great if you have less than average aim or find yourself rarely landing headshots. While you will lack some firepower, a weakened enemy covered in Jarate is easy prey for either your teammates or a 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 can land consecutive headshots. With a full bonus, it will charge up to 50% faster, allowing you to quickly take down bulky classes. Uncharged headshot damage does remain the same, meaning you can deal with weaker classes normally. You can safely keep your charge bonus by using unscoped shots at medium range.
The Machina's fully charged shot deals 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'll build a Focus meter as you acquire kills and assists. When the meter is full, your next shot will activate the Focus state, where you will have an increased charge rate and won't have to unscope after every shot. Like the Bazaar Bargain, the Hitman's Heatmaker is made for accurate Snipers; bodyshots from this weapon suffer a damage penalty.
While the Submachine Gun (SMG) is a weak weapon, it is still stronger than your melee weapon 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. Because it deprives you of a secondary weapon, 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. A Spy can still use his Revolver to attack you, making the Submachine Gun or Jarate 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, such as when using the Huntsman. Because you'd be fighting closer to allies, they can cover for your lack of a secondary weapon. Don't rely too heavily on the health bonus to keep you alive; it's still not enough to protect you from an enemy Sniper's fully charged bodyshot or uncharged headshot.
The Cozy Camper allows you to keep your aim steady when scoped if you're taking damage. This and 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. However, the Cozy Camper slows your move speed when you're scoped, meaning it'll be more difficult to adjust your aim. You won't be able to move around or strafe as easily, making the Cozy Camper less useful for covering wide areas. The Cozy Camper can be useful near the front lines, where you can definitely expect to take damage.
The Cleaner's Carbine is weaker than the standard Submachine Gun but gains guaranteed critical hits for three seconds upon killing an enemy, making it less useful for defending yourself. If you can use it to pick off a weakened enemy, use the critboost on other enemies. Use accuracy instead of firing rapidly; reloading will consume a little over a second of your critical hits.
Kukri + reskins
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.
Use the Bushwacka in combination with Jarate to quickly dispatch of nearby foes with guaranteed critical hits. Enemies will rarely charge directly at you, making the Bushwacka-Sydney Sleeper combo less effective. While you cannot easily fend off a Pyro at close range, you can carry Jarate to douse yourself and avoid taking extended burn damage.
The Shanhanshah 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.
Item set effects
|The Croc-o-Style Kit|
The wearer cannot be killed by headshots
When wearing the Croc-o-style Kit, any lethal headshot you take while above 1 health will instead leave you at 1 health, giving you a bit of survivability against enemy Snipers. While you are still vulnerable to charged bodyshots, the Sydney Sleeper charges faster than the standard Sniper Rifle while Darwin's Danger Shield allows you to survive any bodyshot that isn't fully charged, giving you the advantage in prolonged Sniper duels. However, the overall lack of offensive weaponry means that you'll have a harder time defending yourself at close range or dealing with bulkier classes on your own.