Community VS Saxton Hale strategy

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SAXTON HAAAALE!
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Saxton Hale on strategies

This article is about community VS Saxton Hale Mode strategy for the custom-made VS Saxton Hale Mode mod.

Saxton Hale is a very strong character. Although he can only use his bare hands to fight, his fists do a lot of damage and can take out the stronger classes in just two hits. His special rage attack can be used when he takes enough damage, temporarily scaring opponents and making them defenseless while also disabling their Sentry Guns. Hale is also quite athletic, outrunning everyone but the Scout and the Medic who is using the Quick-Fix on a Scout and being able to jump extremely high.

The three other characters in VS Saxton Hale have slightly different abilities, such as Christian Brutal Sniper's ability to use the Huntsman, the Horseless Headless Horsemann's ability to teleport at the expense of not having super jump, and the Vagineer's temporary invincibility upon triggering Rage.

General

  • As this is a modified version of Arena Mode, most Arena tactics also apply here.
  • Stick together! Teamwork here is vital.
    • Communicate! Alert your teammates of Saxton's whereabouts at all times.
  • Try to attack the enemy from afar. He can only use melee weapons.
  • Saxton's punch does about 174-220 damage. A critical hit does 585. This means that only the Heavy and possibly the Soldier can survive a hit without overheal. Pyros and Demomen may be lucky to stay alive with one hitpoint left. If you somehow manage to survive, search for a Medic, or find a Dispenser or Health pack.
    • Under extremely rare circumstances, a class with minimal health (such as an Engineer) may survive a hit from Hale. In this case, immediately retreat and try to find a Medic or some health.
  • With the exception of the Spy's knives, all melee weapons have crits forced upon them. Some weapons that normally would not be granted critical hits have this disability negated because of this.
  • Taunts only do 500-600 damage. Because of this, taunt kills are rarely seen as a legitimate tactic.
    • In VERY rare circumstances, if you can manage a telefrag on Hale, it will kill you in exchange for dealing 9001 damage to Hale. However, since Hale will be moving a lot, telefrags are just as rare as they are in normal gameplay.
  • Some servers give you critical hits after successfully taunting. Be cautious, however - taunt only if you know that Saxton is far away and/or you have someone to watch your back.
    • The High Five! is the fastest taunt in the game, and can be used on all classes, so you should be using it if you have one. If you don't have one, you can use the Director's Vision taunt which is easier to obtain.
  • Momentum is Saxton's worst enemy. Air blasts, Sentry Guns, and other knock back inducing attacks are always good ideas to consider.
  • Never let your guard down. Saxton Hale may sneak up behind you and quickly kill you.
  • Against the Horseless Headless Horsemann Jr., try to stay in one big group or go around in a few strong groups. If you are caught alone in the HHHJ's teleport, it almost certainly means death.
  • When fighting the Vagineer, be sure to have at least one Pyro with the Flamethrower or Degreaser equipped. An airblasting Pyro is possibly a Vagineer's worst nightmare.
  • When fighting the Christian Brutal Sniper, be careful no matter how far you are from him, as his arrows can take you down at a distance.
  • When fighting the Easter Bunny, protect the Sentry Guns and Sentry Nests as the Easter Bunny is more affected by the Sentry Gun knock-back than the other Hales. Also, if the Easter Bunny kills one player, use the eggs that fall on the ground to get critical hits for a few seconds.

Classes

Scout

General

  • Try to stay at a medium to short range of Saxton to get the most damage out of your gun. Your job isn't to do a lot of damage at once, but to do medium damage over time and distract Saxton to help your teammates.
  • Use your agility to your advantage, moving along paths that would take Saxton longer to go around.
  • Despite being as fast as Saxton, be careful when running away from him or running around him. He might get a lucky hit in.
    • Saxton Hale is faster than you while you run backwards. If he is following you, run for a bit, turn around and shoot a few times once you have some distance between you and Saxton, then run some more to regain the distance lost.
  • A Scout will always die in one hit from Saxton unless fully overhealed.

Primary Weapons

  • The Scattergun is useful for hit and run attacks against Hale. The large clip size allows more direct combat before reloading.
  • Using the Force-A-Nature will usually knock back Saxton at close range and will knock you back if you are airborne; this can be effective for escaping, especially if you become the last man standing and you get even more knockback from crits.
    • Be aware of where you knock Hale to. You don't want to knock him straight into your Medic.
  • The Shortstop is useful for dealing good amounts of damage at range.
  • The Soda Popper's hype mode can be activated any time you want to - use it when you are escaping
  • While the Baby Face's Blaster is excellent at escaping, remember that jumping or over-damaging Hale will put you at a severe disadvantage. Get a feel for the weapon's speed and abilities before putting this to use.
  • The Back Scatter can be used to deal a large amount of damage to a distracted boss. Be aware, however, that it is less effective if the boss is chasing you.

Secondary Weapons

  • Your Pistol has mini-crits hits forced upon it, therefore it has a higher damage output than any of your primary weapons.
  • Crit-a-Cola gives critical hits instead of mini-crits, allowing you to quickly deal high amounts of damage to Hale while also providing a speed boost to get away if needed.
  • As an emergency weapon, Bonk! Atomic Punch can help you get away from close encounters. Get some distance between you and Saxton before drinking Bonk as, while drinking, you are completely vulnerable.
  • On a team without Medics, Mad Milk will help your team get much needed health back from close encounters with Saxton Hale.
  • The Pretty Boy's Pocket Pistol is very useful here. The increased health and no fall damage are very useful, the slowed firing speed is not much of a problem, and Saxton's inability to use fire makes it a direct upgrade to the Pistol. It also nullifies the Sandman's negative ability allowing you to be overhealed and survive but still stun him.
  • The Flying Guillotine is very useful for Scouts who can harass him at a range. Its ranged Mini-Crits encourage staying a distance away, and using it with the Sandman will cause even more damage if he's stunned. Also, the bleeding can be used to detect him or for hit-and-run attacks.
  • The Winger's extra damage and added jump height make it easier to not only do considerable damage to Hale, but also maneuver around him and give you access to places that might not have been accessible before.

Melee Weapons

  • The Atomizer is an upgrade in terms of evasion. Watch out for your health, as sustained triple jumps can quickly drain it.
  • The Boston Basher or Three-Rune Blade can be useful if you dart in and out, whacking him when he's not paying attention. Since this is an Arena-like mode, however, aim carefully.
  • The Candy Cane is very useful in this mode; if injured, quickly smack Saxton a few times and flee with the health pickups while he's not watching you. Saxton's inability to use explosives makes it a direct upgrade to the Bat.
  • The Sandman is a direct upgrade from the Bat in terms of attack. You can stun him in order to slow him down and deal damage. However, be aware that even when fully overhealed, you will not survive a hit from Saxton Hale.
  • The Fan O'War is a support weapon; each hit decreases Hale's rage meter by 5%. This can be used to delay his rage in critical situations, particularly after Hale has been backstabbed.
  • The Wrap Assassin can be used to inflict bleed damage on Hale from long distances. However, be aware that melee damage is greatly reduced with this weapon.
    • Be sure to use both baubles at once, as the cooldown timer only starts once both are thrown.

Ineffective weapons

  • The Holy Mackerel or Unarmed Combat are not recommended, as they alert Saxton Hale to every melee hit.
  • The Sun-on-a-Stick is a downgrade from the Sandman, since it deals 25% less damage, and all melee weapons are granted critical hits anyway.

Sets

  • The #1 Fan set (or the incomplete set using normal Pistol) encourages hit-and-run tactics, as the Scout can charge up on Soda Popper, switch to the Winger or Pistol for critical hits, and escape with speed and the Atomizer if needed.

Soldier

General

  • After the Scout, you're the class with most mobility, especially with the Gunboats or Mantreads equipped. Try to stay away from your teammates and act as a backup if your teammates are in danger. Just shoot some rockets in their way and hope that they'll push Saxton back.
  • In this mod, every rocket launchers will deal mini-crits when Saxton is airborne.
  • Shooting rockets at Saxton's feet is a great way to throw him off path and buy yourself time. It can also be used to force him into traps (Like Sentry Guns, Stickybombs, large groups of teammates etc.)
  • Unless they are critical, your rockets don't do much damage, although they provide moderate knock back.
  • If Saxton is too close, you can rocket jump to escape.

Primary weapons

  • The Direct Hit can be good for people with expert aim; hitting Saxton as he superjumps can launch him even higher than usual. Also, it will deal critical hits instead of mini-crits to airborne enemies
  • The Black Box is very useful on a team without Medics as it will heal you when you hit Saxton.
    • Coupled with the Battalion's Backup, you can potentially survive a large amount of damage from Hale.
  • The Liberty Launcher can be a substitute for the Direct Hit for people with average aim; however, the splash radius is also useful to juggle Saxton.
  • The Cow Mangler 5000, though does not have much in the way of damage, makes a good escape-oriented weapon thanks to the infinite ammo. The charged shot, when done in long distance, can help teammates to identify Saxton by lighting him up.
  • The Air Strike is more of a direct downgrade from the standard Rocket Launcher, because there is no one to kill except the boss, in addition to the decreased damage. However, the increased fire speed while rocket jumping is a direct upgrade.

Secondary weapons

  • Your Shotgun can be used to pepper hale from a distance, or inflict more damage to him if you run out of rockets in a close encounter. As with all Soldier weapons, it mini-crits hale in the air.
  • If you have a lot of teammates, consider equipping the Buff Banner to help deal some extra damage to the stronger Hale.
    • Under the Buff Banner's effect, all Engineers revive mini-crits with their Sentry Guns. This can push Saxton away in a pinch.
  • The Battalion's Backup blocks a massive amount of damage from Hale when used. Due to Hale's high damage, it is filled with two hits.
  • The Concheror can be used to heal yourself and your teammates. If your team has either a Medic or a Dispenser, however, it won't be of much use. Then again it is quite likely that both sources will fall in time, which is when the Concheror excels at healing.
  • Against bosses that can superjump, the Reserve Shooter can deal large amounts of damage to him when he's in mid-jump, and help you switch weapons even faster than usual.
  • The Gunboats allow you to do multiple rocket jumps without losing too much health, effectively keeping your distance from Hale without a high cost in health.
  • The Mantreads can increase your rocket jump height. You can escape from Hale by rocket jumping. However, you will receive the same blast damage
  • The B.A.S.E. Jumper can help you avoid fall damage when you are low on health. Be aware however, that your slow descent makes you a good target for the boss. You also take normal rocket jump damage.

Melee

  • In this mod, the Escape Plan's speed boost is very useful. At low enough health levels, you become just as fast as the Scout. The marked for death effect won't be a problem since Hale can take you down on one hit.
  • The Pain Train is a direct upgrade from the Shovel since Saxton uses his bare hands. However, capturing the point is generally looked down on in this mode.
  • The Half-Zatoichi may be useful for health gains if you get close enough to him while he's unaware; try rocket-jumping away upon his noticing you.
  • The Disciplinary Action can be an invaluable method of escape for both you and another teammate.

Ineffective weapons

  • The Righteous Bison isn't much use; while the weapon's infinite ammo is helpful, the penetrating projectiles and inability to be deflected isn't much help. The smaller clip size and slow-moving projectile may also hinder you.
  • There isn't much of a difference in the Market Gardener and the Shovel, as the Market Gardener has crits forced upon it.
  • Surprisingly, the Equalizer becomes one of your least reliable weapons, since it only increases damage while at low health, and the damage for speed trade is not very useful since you can't escape as easily. Consider using the Escape Plan instead.
  • The Beggar's Bazooka is generally useless because of its inaccuracy and the fact that you can't replenish ammo from Engineers Dispensers, who are the main source of ammo in most situations. Additionally, the rocket barrage can be dangerous if it is overcharged.

Sets

  • The Airborne Armaments set is very useful for juggling Hale and keeping him away from your teammates. While the Reserve Shooter's capabilities are increased, the Market Gardener isn't beneficial or detrimental, seeing as all melee weapons deal critical hits.
  • The General's Formals is useful for surviving and being a team player; help others and yourself get away from Saxton! The Mantreads will also reduce fall damage, so use it for that and rocket-jump to high areas.
  • Dr. Grordbort's Victory Pack is somewhat neutral. On one hand, The Cow Mangler won't be as useful seeing that the charged shot won't be very powerful against Saxton. While the Righteous Bison's infinite ammo is also helpful, the projectiles' main property of penetration won't be as useful. On the other hand, the charged shot can help assist in lighting Saxton up, and the infinite ammo allow Soldier more chance of rocket jump and minimize need to resupply ammo. This set is map oriented, as small arena maps will make this set not recommended, while large open maps (such as Watchtower and Nucleus) allow the Soldier to take a position and conduct long distance support all by himself.

Pyro

General

  • While he has little power in terms of damage, the Pyro makes up for it with his airblasting capabilities.
    • Because most bosses rely on melee weapons, you can push them away without letting them hurt you.
    • As a result, you become a valuable teammate for large groups.
  • Stay close to ammo resources, such as Dispensers and Ammo boxes, as you will lose ammo very quickly when firing or airblasting.
  • Beware of maps with water. Saxton can easily drop in to extinguish fire and afterburn damage.
  • An easy way to alert your teammates of Saxton's presence is to light him on fire and make him more noticeable. This is especially useful on some of the darker maps such as Sawmill.
  • You are the Vagineer's worst nightmare. With a nearby Dispenser and a Medic healing you, you'll become an obstacle he can't avoid.
  • Stick near any current prime target: not just Engineer areas but also the more stationary class such as the Sniper or Soldier. If you have a good source of ammo, such as an Engineer's nest or boxes nearby, and you are locked on to the boss, you can generally keep them off any target.
  • The HHHJ's Superjump is actually an instant Teleport. Keep this in mind the next time you airblast HHHJ into a Death Pit as he can teleport out quickly, endagering you or a team mate. However, this teleport leaves him unable to attack for longer than a normal teleport, which your team can take advantage of.

Primary

  • Your air blast can prove to be invaluable. Blasting Saxton Hale around can disorient him, allowing your team to get some easy shots in. In addition, try airblasting him into environmental hazards such as the saw blades in Sawmill or off a cliff such as the cliff in Lumberyard.
  • The Degreaser's faster weapon switch time proves invaluable when in a pinch, and more so with the Reserve Shooter. However, afterburn damage is reduced with this weapon.
  • The Backburner is useful to deal damage since the Backburner deal critical hits from behind. However, it costs more ammo while air blasting.
  • The Phlogistinator is good for dealing massive damage while having the "Mmmph" meter active, since you can deal mini-crits while it is active, but beware that you cannot air blast Hale.

Secondary

  • The Flare Gun and the Detonator are replaced with a "Mega-Detonator", a customized Flare Gun that behaves like a Detonator, but allows for a very large Flare Jump at the expense of greater self-damage from explosions. The flare jump will propel the user a large distance regardless of whether it is detonated via alt-fire or via the flare exploding on contact with an object. You can use it as an emergency weapon to escape from Hale.
  • The Reserve Shooter is very useful if aiming with a Flare Gun is difficult. Since Hale will be airborne constantly, this can be an effective way to damage him at a distance with mini-crits. It pairs very well with the Degreaser, reducing weapon switch time to near zero.
  • The Scorch Shot's knockback can be a good supplement when you are low on ammo for your flamethrower or are using a weapon like the Backburner or Phlogistinator. Keep in mind, however, that the damage and knockback it does is much lower than a primary weapon's flames and airblast so it will not work as well.

Melee

  • Use of the Back Scratcher is based off of many different factors. Are there any Medics/Engineers on your team? Are there health packs on the given map?
  • The Sharpened Volcano Fragment is marginally useful here, if you dart in and out hitting him randomly.
    • However, it may be more useful to just use your flamethrower.
  • The Powerjack is a high-risk high-payoff weapon. Should you manage to hit Hale, you get extra health. Beware if Hale tries to hit you as the increased damage vulnerability makes you easier to kill. The speed bonus is also good for getting away from Hale in dangerous situations, or dodging and attacking with ease.

Inadvisable weapons

  • Using the Axtinguisher or the Postal Pummeler will be just like the Fire Axe, which gives you no positive attributes.
  • The Homewrecker and Maul are completely useless in this mode. There are no Sappers to destroy, nor buildings, and the damage penalty isn't worth it.
  • The Neon Annihilator is useless because all melee weapons have forced crits and it does less damage than any normal weapon.

Demoman

General

  • Always stay in high places and away from your teammates, so you will be unaffected by Saxton's stun. Your purpose is to use stickybombs to protect teammates if they're in danger, not engage in direct combat.
  • You can deal huge damage in a single hit, so you will be one of Saxton's prime targets.
  • With a shield and the Loch-n-Load equipped, you are unable to Stickybomb and Grenade jump. Consider this when fighting Saxton.

Primary

  • Ali Baba's Wee Booties will give you an extra 25 health, which can help you survive a hit from Saxton, but you will lose the capabilities of your Grenade Launcher.
  • Because of the knock back provided by grenades when they come into contact with Saxton, it may be difficult to hit him with all four. Consider using the Loch-n-Load for a higher damage output.
  • The Loose Cannon is a great weapon when fighting against Hale. It deals knockback to him allowing you more time to escape or save a teammate, and does very high base damage. If you time it right you can also launch yourself around to temporarily escape. It is also possible to get a "double-donk" on Hale.
  • Beware that the Grenade Launcher, the Loch-n-Load and the Loose Cannon has less ammo. Pay attention to your ammo while fighting Hale

Secondary

  • Plant stickies near an Engineer's nest. If Saxton gets near, detonate them.
  • If you have the Scottish Resistance equipped, place one sticky near you, so you may escape when Saxton comes after you.
  • Set plenty of stickytraps along map routes used by Saxton. Use the Scottish Resistance or plan it out with fellow Demomen.
    • Alternatively, place a concentrated amount of stickybombs where Saxton will come from. The Scottish Resistance's extra 6 bombs will help.
  • If you are cornered but you have some time before you die, as a last ditch attempt, place sticky bombs near you and detonate them just before you get hit by Saxton. This will kill you, but will deal damage to Saxton at the same time.
  • Equipping the Chargin' Targe and the Splendid Screen can block one hit from Hale. They also grant critical hits on all of your weapons. Do not charge toward Saxton Hale as he can easily circle-strafe and hit you. Instead, use the shields as escaping weapons as Saxton cannot keep up with the charge speed.
    • Note, however, the Splendid Screen is much better than the Chargin' Targe in this mode because of Saxton's inability to use explosives or fire, and of its charge impact damage. A successful shield bash on Hale with send him flying away and give you a small window to get a free Melee attack on him, which is especially useful for weapons that rely on scoring hits.
    • While the Explosives and Fire damage resistances on the Tide Turner are useless, the full turning control makes up for this. The charge, however, does not deal as much damage as the Splendid Screen. Your charge is not refilled on hit either.

Melee

  • The Eyelander, Headless Horseless Horsemann's Headtaker, and Nessie's Nine Iron will give you heads upon hit. Try attacking Saxton with your blade, then when he notices you, run off with your additional speed bonus from your heads. The health bonus will help as well in escaping.
  • The Scotsman's Skullcutter will deal more damage, but escaping from Saxton will be harder. Consider using a shield to accompany it.
  • The Ullapool Caber is best used as a very last resort. Since all melee weapons have crits forced upon them, the Caber will deal 410 damage and propel you upward, possibly saving your life. Use this extra chance to escape and find a better spot. Note also that since this is a variation of Arena Mode, you cannot receive another Caber and it may be best to save it until last resort.
  • The Half-Zatoichi is similar to the Eyelander in this mode in that you gain more health per hit, but it is received as overheal and you cannot get a speed boost.
  • The Persian Persuader converts all ammo into health. This can be useful if you are low on health, but you cannot get ammo for any weapons from Dispensers so ammo cannot be refilled until the end of the round. Also, it will build up your charge more quickly, allowing you to escape from Saxton more easily.

Sets

  • The Expert's Ordnance can be used well by people seeking to deal as much damage as possible. Try to fire a few powerful grenades at him, and when he gets close, make a getaway by hitting him with the Ullapool Caber.
  • The One Thousand and One Demoknights pack is very useful here. You will survive one hit from Saxton, and your Persian Persuader negative attribute is nullified. The 200 health will also give you a higher chance to survive if you didn't have it. Beware that you are limited to melee weapons with this set.

Heavy

General

  • You are the ultimate gunner in your team. Try not to go anywhere alone.
  • Don't rely on your high health to survive. Saxton can beat you down in two well-placed hits or a critical.
  • Stay close to a Dispenser; your guns will chew through ammunition easily and most fallen weapons will be taken accidentally by teammates.
  • Try to stick with a Medic, even though you can survive one of Saxton's punches, you will still have a large chunk of your health gone. A fully overhealed Heavy can easily survive two hits from Hale unless he gets a critical hit.
  • If you get lucky, you may jam Saxton in a corner via your Minigun's knock back. At this stage, simply go to town with your guns until Saxton recovers. Don't go too near Hale as his rage will stun you and you will be unable to use your Minigun, giving Hale an opportunity to get unstuck. Do not stand underneath him as he can use his weigh down ability and dispatch you quickly.
  • Remember that while stunned, you can still melee Hale. This exploit is incredibly useful and can knock Hale far away from you or a sentry nest, giving your teammates time to recover.

Primary

  • If you plan to just stick to one place, consider using the Brass Beast. Aside from the higher damage output, if you're constantly firing at Saxton Hale and you have a reliable ammo source, the knock back against him will be slightly increased.
  • The Tomislav provides fast enough spin up and spin down times needed for a shoot-and-pray strategy: shoot a few rounds, and then hide away.
  • The Huo-Long Heater can be useful if Saxton is attacking you, as he will take extra damage from the flames and will possibly stay back. Its ammo consumption can be nullified by a nest with Dispensers, which is where the gun becomes very helpful in helping your teammates defend. Remember to bring a secondary weapon with you when not near sources of ammo because you will run out much quicker.

Secondary

  • On a team without Medics, consider using the lunchbox items for the Heavy, as health becomes a scarcity in this mode. Even with Medics, nutritious food will help your buddies survive.
  • The Sandvich and Buffalo Steak Sandvich can be dropped. Try to aim them at very wounded teammates.
  • Using the Buffalo Steak Sandvich as an escape weapon can be risky as you need about 4 seconds to consume it.

Melee

  • The G.R.U or K.G.B is often useful with a Medic; you can hit Saxton once or twice, and flee when he approaches.
  • The Warrior's Spirit health loss will not matter much; Saxton will still be unable to kill you in one hit. The damage bonus will be useful stacking with the crits.
  • The Eviction Notice is useful for brawling with Saxton; the forced crits will make up for the weaker attacks, and the attack speed is useful for getting as much damage in as possible.
  • Use of the Showdown taunt is inadvisable, but may not be completely suicidal since it has a long range and is one of the fastest kill taunts in the game.

Inadvisable weapons

  • The Steak is not recommended for your own consumption. Saxton will be able to kill you in one hit if he lands a blow on you.
  • The Dalokohs Bar or Fishcake isn't much use in this mode because Saxton will still kill you in two hits regardless. The chance he will kill you in three is highly unlikely.

Sets

  • The Hibernating Bear set is for dealing heavy damage to Saxton. While your Steak won't be of much help as Saxton will kill you in one hit while using it, the Brass Beast and Warrior's Spirit will let you crush him. Try to stay near a constant source of healing/ammo so you don't end up defenseless. A Medic is recommended.
  • The Black Market Business isn't as effective because the Tomislav will mainly be used for hit-and-runs, not really for direct combat, while the Family Business deprives you of food pickups. Try to memorize where the health pickups are on your stage so you can be healed; Dispensers will be helpful.

Engineer

General

  • Engineers have the most potential when it comes to this mod with a knock-back inflicting Sentry Gun and a healing Dispenser. However, he requires time and resources to accomplish this.
    • Protect your Engineers at the start of the round and they will pay the team back later with firepower and health. A Dispenser is especially important as Health and Ammo or otherwise difficult to find in this game mode.
  • Be careful when camping against the Christian Brutal Sniper. His Huntsman can easily kill you outside of your Sentry Gun's range.
  • Be careful when building a sentry nest against the Headless Horseless Headmann Junior. His teleport ability may allow him to wreak chaos in the nest.
  • Try getting a Pyro with you so he can airblast Saxton if he gets too close to your Sentry nest.
  • Alternatively, get a Demoman to lay a sticky trap to send Hale flying should he get close.
  • Against the Headless Horseless Headmann Junior, try to set up a telefrag - get yourself or a teammate to stand on your teleporter exit, then when the HHH teleports, quickly stand on the entrance. The resulting telefrag will deal exactly 9001 damage to him, and has the possibility to turn the tide of the battle.
  • Remember that if you die, your Sentry Gun will be instantly destroyed, but your Dispenser and Teleporters will survive.
  • Most Hales will use rage on you if your nest is difficult enough to reach otherwise. Try to have an escape route ready for when this happens.

Primary

  • The Frontier Justice is very useful in this mode if you have placed an aggressive Sentry Gun; fire Saxton full of criticals upon hearing your sentry firing.
  • The Widowmaker's abilities are limited due to the lack of ammo in Arena. However, it is possible, but risky, to gain metal by getting close to Hale and shooting. However, do not rely too much on this tactic, since if you run out, you will be completely vulnerable if there are no Dispensers and/or Sentry Guns nearby.
  • The Rescue Ranger can save valuable metal on repairing your buildings after Hale uses rage. The mark for death penalty is largely irrelevant considering Hale kills you in one hit regardless. It's recommended you stick to your Pistol or Wrangler to attack Hale with.

Secondary

  • The Wrangler is useful in dealing a high damage output and for stalling Saxton if your sentry is put in a small tunnel or doorway.
    • The Wrangler, coupled with a level 3 Sentry Gun, allows you to sentry jump to difficult areas where Hale may have trouble getting to.
  • You have an (almost) infinite supply of Pistol bullets, so if the Wrangler isn't available, use this to pepper Hale at a distance.

Melee

  • The Southern Hospitality is a direct upgrade to the regular Wrench, since Saxton doesn't use fire and it makes Saxton bleed - although you probably won't often be engaging in a melee battle with him.
  • The Gunslinger gives you the ability to build Mini-Sentry Guns that takes less metal. Use them as a temporary defense or as an alert to see where Saxton is. This can also be used as an assault weapon to distract him with, and even though it is weak, left undealt with it can still be an effective foe. It can also be used to defend your set up spot before you build a Dispenser.
  • Due to the long trapping time, use of the Organ Grinder taunt is not completely suicidal.
  • Consider using the Jag for the faster build rate, as melee combat is suicidal, negating the damage penalty.

Buildings

  • Hit your buildings while they construct to speed the process up. Many nests are destroyed because a sentry is still building when Hale arrives.
  • Build your Dispenser first. Your team needs lots of ammo and health, and you may not find any ammo packs. Also, all ammo packs are small variants, giving 40 metal each.
  • Your Sentry will stay stunned longer than players. If your sentry gets stunned, it is usually a good idea to bail out and rebuild your buildings from scratch.
  • If you are low on metal, remember that building gibs and fallen weapons can replenish your ammo supply.
  • After building a Sentry Gun and Dispenser, you can build a Teleporter to use as an emergency escape route if Saxton gets too close. Beware, however, as it takes some time to teleport when you are on the teleporter entrance. Also, placing an exit in a safe location can leave you vulnerable.
  • Sentry Guns provide significant knock back. With enough Engineers, you may provide enough force to relocate Saxton.
  • When near a corner with a ceiling or if the map has a low skybox, you can effectively pin him with your sentry and do enough damage to quickly finish him off. This however can be backfired if Hale rages.
  • If possible, get a Medic to heal you while you have your Wrench or Pistol out — because the Medi Gun grants mini-crits to indirect damage (i.e. afterburn and Sentry Guns) to a crit-boosted person, a tremendous amount of damage can be dished out from a sentry in a small amount of time.
  • Depending on whether the server has set hale_ragesentrydamagemode to 1 or not, if your Sentry gets stunned by Saxton's taunt, it will lose about half of its health and you will not be able to repair it unless you haul and redeploy it. When doing so, hitting the sentry while it is upgrading itself will make you lose metal as if you're repairing it, but the health of it will not increase.
  • If you die, your Sentry Gun will be destroyed but not your Dispenser or Teleporters. Keep this in mind when fighting Saxton.
  • If there is a HHHJ present, consider Sentry Jumping to places where the Horsemann can't reach you without teleporting and getting some teammates with you to protect you. This is also a good opportunity to build a telefrag setup, because HHHJ has no choice but to teleport to you.
  • Since the Sentry Gun's attack range is larger than Hale's rage attack, Engineers can position multiple nests of Sentry Guns to protect one another in case of a rage attack.

Inadvisable weapons

  • The Short Circuit is not really helpful because there are no projectiles to destroy and it has pitiful damage. However, if fighting the Christian Brutal Sniper you may be able to destroy his arrows with precise timing.
  • The Pomson 6000 like the Righteous Bison is not that useful as the penetrating projectiles and inability to be deflected is pointless. However, if one is using the Wrangler and their Sentry Gun is destroyed, one can use this as a substitute for long range damage.

Medic

General

  • You are one of the most important classes in this mod with your healing capabilities. Do whatever needs to be done to survive.
    • On the other hand, you are weak when alone. Always stay with a buddy.
  • Due to your high importance to the team, you can act as bait for Hale to chase into a trap. Beware as this is an extremely risky tactic.

Primary

  • ÜberCharge gains from the Syringe Gun can build your ÜberCharge extremely quickly as you gain 5 percent ÜberCharge on each successful hit. Firing needles whilst backing away from Hale can quickly build a full ÜberCharge.
  • The Crusader's Crossbow is useful if played on a large map, such as Watchtower. The extra damage, 10 percent ÜberCharge per hit and critical hits can allow you to effectively snipe him. You should still be using this weapon for quick healing, however.
  • The Syringe Gun is a great way to build ÜberCharge fast. If Hale is running towards you or is running near you, a simple string of hits with syringes can boost your ÜberCharge considerably.

Healing/ÜberCharge

  • Remember that you will be one of Saxton's priority targets, due to the fact that you can heal and ÜberCharge.
  • Heal everyone. Do not prioritize one class. With the exception of a Scout using a Sandman and a Spy using a Conniver's Kunai or Big Earner, any class fully overhealed can survive a hit from Hale, although extremely rare.
  • Do not hesitate to deploy your ÜberCharge on a teammate in danger. One extra person could mean the result of the round.
  • Hale's stun is your largest threat. However you are immune to it while ÜberCharged. Try to predict when Hale will do his rage taunt and be prepared to use your ÜberCharge to save teammates when they are stunned.

Melee

Ineffective weapons

  • Surprisingly, the Medic does not have ineffective weapons, as many of his weapons are either a sidegrade or straight upgrade. If anything, the only negative aspect is being less able to withstand fall damage. Fall hazards that are not instant deaths in maps are very uncommon, however.
    • The Vita-Saw has no valuable attributes. Since this is a modification of Arena Mode, you will not respawn. However, Saxton will kill you with one hit anyway, so it's not a negative weapon either.

Sets

  • The Medieval Medic set can be useful for sniping Saxton from far away. You'll ÜberCharge far less, though, and your Amputator will be essential for healing people, just as important as your Kritzkrieg.

Sniper

General

  • While the Sniper is very limited in offensive aspects, he is the only class that doesn't need proximity to Hale to deal optimum damage.
  • Stay well away from Saxton. None of your weapons receive damage falloff meaning you can deal large amounts of damage to him at long ranges.

Primary

  • The default Sniper Rifle is extremely useful in that it marks Hale, allowing everyone on your team to see his outline. The duration of the glow scales with the charge of the shot, meaning that a non-scoped or non-charged hit on Hale will cause him to glow for 2 seconds, and a fully charged shot for 8 seconds. If you see him trying to sneak up on your teammates, mark him to alert your team.
  • Because all the Sniper's weapons are granted full crits, your unscoped shot (or uncharged in the case of Huntsman) can deliver 150 damage alone. Considering the speed of Saxton Hale, it is in generally preferable to shoot him unscoped/uncharged and to go for body shots if he is chasing you. Fully charged, you deal 450 damage and 465 damage with the Huntsman, meaning that if you have good aim for body shots, you can deal huge amounts of damage to him in just several shots, perhaps even surpassing Backstab damage if you are good enough.
  • A possible, but risky tactic is to use the Sniper's Skewer taunt. The taunts initial thrust is coupled with a stun on the target, meaning you can quickly take down Saxton with the help of another Huntsman Sniper if both players lock him in a taunt chain. Beware, however, of Saxton's Rage taunt.
  • The Huntsman does 50% more damage than your Sniper Rifle, so if you can use it effectively, this is a good alternative to the Sniper Rifle.
  • The faster charge rate of the Sydney Sleeper can be useful, but note the lack of Jarate and ability to outline Hale.
  • The Hitman's Heatmaker's increased charge rate can be useful for Snipers who have an easy time aiming and are in a safe place away from Hale where they can charge it.

Secondary

  • Since all of your weapons have a critical boost, your SMG will have a higher damage output than a Heavy's Minigun. However, it has a low amount of ammo so be careful if trying to shoot Saxton to death.
  • The Cozy Camper can be useful as it provides a health restoration bonus and also deals minor bleed damage when shooting Hale with your SMG.
  • Jarate can be used as a support weapon to reduce Hale´s Rage meter. However, you will lose the damage output of your SMG. Also, this debuff does not apply to the Sydney Sleeper.

Melee

  • The Tribalman's Shiv is useful so other people can track Hale down and to remove Hale's element of surprise. The constant criticals will negate the damage penalty.
  • Since Hale can kill you in one shot, the Shahanshah's damage bonus can only be activated by self damage. This can be achieved through fall damage or non-lethal environmental damage
  • The Bushwacka allows you to climb walls as you hit them with your melee. Use it to get to high places where Saxton would have a hard time to get to you.

Inadvisable weapons

  • The Machina is terrible in this mode: 15% damage isn't very much compared to the restriction that you must be scoped in to fire, and there is nothing to penetrate. Tracer rounds will also help Saxton locate you, especially on large maps. Also, the inability to shoot un-scoped will hinder you a lot while escaping. Against a distracted Saxton, however, it can be useful until you have to run.
  • The Cleaner's Carbine is a straight downgrade from the SMG in this mode, since it fires slower and has a smaller clip size.

Spy

General

  • Saxton's rage taunt can reveal cloaked Spies. Cloaked Spies will remain invisible but a ring of ghosts will still float on top of their heads.
  • Whereas the Spy lacks in direct damage, he makes up for it with his backstab ability.
  • Even though you can deal a lot of damage to Saxton with just one backstab, don't rush at Saxton and madly stab thinking you will get a lucky backstab in. Remember that you are still a frail class. Watch out for an opening, then go in for a backstab.

Primary

  • Using L'Etranger is recommended as it allows the Spy to recharge his Dead Ringer faster and potentially survive an extra hit. It also provides an added second of Cloak time if you happen to be using the default watch. The mini-crits may negate the damage penalty, although you're not likely to kill Saxton with your Revolver.
  • Using the Enforcer should be reserved for when you can stay away from Hale at almost all times, since the 20% firing speed penalty is a major breaker in one on one combat, and you have to be undisguised for the damage bonus to set in.
  • The Ambassador should only be reserved for a true marksman, since its damage is lower than the default Revolver and firing speed is slower.

Melee

  • Always go for backstabs, as the knives do not deal Critical hits.
  • A successful backstab will decrease the health of the boss by approximately 10%. It takes only a few backstabs to deal a devastating amount of damage to Saxton.
  • If you manage to successfully backstab Saxton, a Razorback effect will be applied and you will be unable to stab for two seconds, and a notification of the backstab will show up on both your screen and Saxton's. In order to stab Hale quicker, immediately after stabbing him, double tap the quickswitch key, which will switch to your Revolver and back to your knife, reducing the stab time to one stab per second.
  • The best opportunity to backstab Saxton is when he's about to superjump or when he is attempting to run up to a large Sentry nest, where the knockback will slow him down significantly and make him easy bait.
  • Take note that Saxton will sometimes rage right after being backstabbed. If you watch your surroundings and can evade Saxton while being stunned you can prevent death.
  • Because Saxton Hale is always moving, using the Invisibility Watch to uncloak behind him is difficult to pull off. Instead, use the Dead Ringer to ensure you survive most of his attacks.
  • Using the Conniver's Kunai will add 100 health, which may help you repeatedly survive with your Dead Ringer as you gradually gain more and more health. However this will allow Hale to instantly kill you since you have 60 health, so this is a high-risk, high-reward strategy.
  • Use Your Eternal Reward; Saxton generally won't be fooled by disguises unless they are friendly, and instantly disguising upon backstab can be useful.
  • The Big Earner should generally be used if you want to Cloak often; since Saxton will kill you instantly anyway, the health penalty is negligible. Note, however, that you will be left less health after activating your Dead Ringer.
  • If you are the last surviving member on your team, going invisible will be pointless, as Hale already knows you are the last person. The Dead Ringer can still be used to survive a close encounter with Hale, but don't expect to elude him with invisibility.

Watches

  • The Cloak and Dagger will be replaced by the default Invis Watch.
  • Generally, the Dead Ringer will be more useful for both distracting Saxton and surviving a hit or two from him. Beware as feigning death will not decrease the player counter.
    • Try to be in mid-air when Hale hits you and triggers the Cloak. The hit will send you flying away, making it less likely that he'll hit you again while invisible.

Disguise Kit

  • As Saxton is the only member on his team, your Disguise Kit will be useless against a Saxton who is paying attention. However, disguising as a friendly teammate with the Dead Ringer may fool Saxton into believing he killed a player when you are still alive.
  • Disguising as a friendly Scout can prove useful as Saxton will barely go for Scouts and will instead ignore them. However, a stunned Scout is often a high-priority target as they cannot avoid by jumping or dodging.
  • If you have the Dead Ringer equipped, you can disguise as a high-priority class (such as a Heavy, Medic or Engineer) and act as bait for Saxton early in the round so your teammates can set up.

Inadvisable weapons

  • The Diamondback is absolutely inferior in this mode; you cannot sap anything to get crits.
  • Do not ever take out your Sapper accidentally; you've wasted time and there is nothing to sap.
  • The Spy-cicle is identical to the Knife, with no bonuses.

Sets

  • The Saharan Spy set works well with your Dead Ringer. Upon backstabbing him, you'll disguise immediately. If you don't have a full Cloak meter, try to attack him with your L'Etranger to gain some.
  • The Man of Honor set also works well with the Dead Ringer. Try to shoot him from afar, and then get close and stab him. Ask a Medic to overheal you to compensate for your lack of health.

Strategy: Playing as Saxton Hale

General

  • General etiquette is not to cap the point(s) as one of the bosses unless the situation is desperate. Generally, this is when one or more of the following occur:
    • Your health drops under 2000
    • Opponents are heavily entrenched, especially with a sentry farm.
    • When there are only Scouts on the other team left who are running away.
  • On a server with large amount of players, feel free to use a brute-force approach against the enemy. Chances are more probable that you will catch one or two easily.
  • Air-strafing is generally useful - if you get knocked into the air, you can air-strafe towards your target, and might even be able to stomp him/her.

Health

  • Remember that you are not invincible, especially when playing with a small amount of opponents, e.g. if you only have one opponent your health is about 500. If you cannot charge forward, find another route toward their stronghold.
  • Be careful of chasms such as the pits in Nucleus as they are easy to fall into, difficult to get out of them and, if you do escape, will take a big chunk out of your health.
  • Another thing to be wary of are the other environmental dangers in the map such as getting trapped in a lift door or getting hit by a train. Some of these cannot be escaped from and you become more or less at your enemy's mercy.
  • Fire is useful, especially if you have high enough health, as you can use it to charge your rage meter.
  • Knock back will be your worst enemy. Deal with Pyros, Force-A-Nature Scouts, Heavies, and Engineers/Sentry Guns first before you go after other classes. However, do not be unwilling to go with the flow; you might just get knocked back in the direction of another enemy.

Class specific

Scout

  • Unless you get a lucky hit in, you may find that killing a Scout is one of the hardest things to do. Your best option is to do a rage taunt on him, try to bait him into running into your melee zone or, if he is the last man standing, simply ignore him and cap the point. Beware, however, that capping the point is discouraged in this mode.

Soldier

  • The Soldier is slow, but his ability to knock you back and Rocket Jump away from you along with his high damage potential makes him a formidable opponent.
  • Killing off the Medics and Dispensers on the other team will make him less willing to sacrifice health for mobility, possibly allowing you to ground him.

Pyro

  • Try to herd Pyros away from ammo packs so that their airblast capabilities are slowly drained.
  • Sometimes, the Pyro's airblast can help you as they grant a rage boost.

Demoman

  • Beware of sticky traps as not only will they hurt you, they will also send you flying if in an open space.
  • Be prepared to go after a Demoman after you break his shield.

Heavy

  • Being the slowest, the Heavy can easily be caught up to and killed if alone.
  • Most of the time, however, he is surrounded by teammates. Pick off his team bit by bit until you can reach him or use your rage taunt.
  • Beware of Heavies even when they are stunned as they can melee you away, potentially wasting your rage.

Engineer

  • If the Engineer dies, his Sentry Gun is also destroyed. If both an Engineer and his Sentry Gun are stunned, go after the Engineer.
    • However, it may sometimes be better to destroy the Engineer's buildings as it forces the Engineer to rebuild his defences with less metal.
  • If you find a teleporter, break it. It will either force the Engineer to go and replace it or deny said Engineer an escape route. Breaking a teleporter exit may also prevent a possible telefrag, saving you 9001 hit points.
  • Using the Superjump to reach a Sentry nest and then instantly deploying your rage taunt before the Sentry Guns can respond will allow you to catch anyone up there off-guard without being sent flying.
  • It's best if you find and kill Engineers early on in the round, before they can set up adequate defences.

Medic

  • The Medic is weak, but is usually protected by his team.
  • Get him away from his team and killing him is a matter of dodging his Über-granting needles and getting close enough to him.
  • The faster you get to the Medic, the less time he has to build up an Übercharge.
  • If the Medic activates his Übercharge, both he and his target will by immune to damage and your stun, and the patient will receive critical hits for the duration. If this happens, you should immediately disengage until it wears off unless you can knock either of them into a death pit.

Sniper

  • His SMG will greatly hurt you, but he has a small ammo count.
  • Move erratically to avoid his shots.
  • Beware of the Tribalman's Shiv as it can reveal your location, removing the element of surprise.
  • A group of Snipers can deal devastating amounts of damage against you, as well as marking your outline, preventing any sneak attacks you may attempt. Try to prioritise Snipers, especially on a large, open map.

Spy

  • If you manage to hit a Spy, chances are that they're using the Dead Ringer. If you suspect a Dead Ringer Spy, you can use your taunt to locate him or smash likely hiding spots.
  • If there are Spies around, try not to use crouch to charge a superjump, instead use the right mouse button. Your speed will decrease significantly if you crouch and it will give Spies the perfect chance to backstab you.

Abilities

  • Superjumping may have disadvantages in some situations; a cluster of well-placed Sentry Guns and Heavies can easily send you hovering above ground, making you a floating target, possibly until you die. You are also a sitting duck for a backstab during the countdown. Keep this in mind.
  • Don't forget to use your weighdown when you are being juggled! Hold crouch and look down to activate weighdown, which will make you come crashing down, and if anyone is unfortunate enough to be under you, they will be stomped.
  • If you fall on top of an enemy, they will be crushed to death. However, don't rely on this to eliminate the other team and only rely on it for unsuspecting enemies below you and the lucky kill now and again.
  • Remember to use your taunt! (G). Despite being a taunt, you can still move around and beat enemies to death. However, don't spam the taunt button as it will cause you to do a normal taunt after your stun taunt. You should use your taunt when you encounter:
    • A Scout, as he is the only class that can outrun you.
    • Knock back clusters, e.g. Pyro and Scouts (especially those using the Force-A-Nature). Although they might be a small group, they are your worst opponents as they prevent you from approaching.
    • A cluster of opponents, as well as Sentry nests. The taunt, aside from allowing the boss to quickly dispatch a bunch of opponents, also deactivates Sentry Guns.
    • The last player(s) on the other team that you just can't catch up to.

Horseless Headless Horsemann Junior

  • Use teleport to surprise your enemies before either giving your opponent a quick chop or stunning them with your taunt. All players need to do is hit you with a melee weapon and then you will pop out of them, so it would be a good idea not to have anyone looking at you while you are teleporting so that they do not get their melee weapon out.
  • Right before letting go of the crouch button before teleporting, press your attack button, as this will cause you to chop the person you teleport in to.
  • Remember that you cannot Superjump, so high places (such as the boxes on Granary) are relatively inaccessible, especially if there are Sentry Guns or Pyros that will knock you back if you try walking there. In order to counter this, make sure you have a teleport charge ready, and hope that you will end up in the high place you were planning to go while simultaneously taunting to make sure no one can escape.
  • The Horseless Headless Horsemann Junior's super-duper jump is actually just an instant teleport, like a normal HHHJ teleport, but without the charge time. The instant teleport comes with an increased stun time (4 seconds) to the HHH to prevent quick kills against the opposing team.
  • You can perform the Decapitation taunt. Use it if you get stunned by the Sandman or locked in a taunt-chain.

Vagineer

  • Your taunt will only stun players a small distance away, but it provides a lengthy ÜberCharge. When taunting, go after more damaging targets such as Heavies or Sentry Guns.
  • If you deploy the Übercharge whilst pinned by Sentry Guns, the Charge will protect you from their knockback and allow you to land so you can take them out. Watch out for Pyros though, as their airblast is the Übercharge's only weakness.
  • Remember that your scare taunt has an extremely limited range. Only go for the scare taunt when you are very close to an enemy.
  • Be sure to take out Pyros who can easily air blast you into a corner for the duration of your ÜberCharge, as it does not protect you from pushback by weapons.
  • Sentry Guns are the most difficult enemies for a Vagineer to deal with. Due to the fact that your scare taunt has a limited range, and because you cannot effectively disable Sentry Guns, always go for Engineers first, especially in maps such as Granary where Engineers can build on top of the shipping crates.

Christian Brutal Sniper

  • The Huntsman gives you the ability to pick off difficult targets. Aim for Engineers while out of range of their Sentry Guns.
  • Players often feel safe when they're farther away from you, and may stop dodging. Use this opportunity to snipe distant targets, like Soldiers or Snipers.
  • You should not use all of your arrows immediately. Conserve ammo and switch back to melee if the opportunity presents itself.
  • While your scare taunt range is limited, it is sufficient enough to take out sizable sentry nests. Taunt, then switch back to melee to destroy the sentry quickly. It will take several arrows to kill a Sentry Gun.
  • Avoid using the Huntsman on Spies, as they will most likely be using the Dead Ringer.

Easter Bunny

  • Even if you are equipped with the Bottle, you have the same range as Saxton Hale. Thus, this makes your range treacherous. Use this to surprise your enemies if they are approaching you.
  • You are the weakest Hale against Sentry Guns. Try to head for Engineers first.
  • Use your taunt primarily in cul-de-sacs or in small rooms, where players have fewer chances to avoid your bomb eggs. This may be useful against Sentry nests in areas surrounded by walls.