The term Medic buddy refers to a class that is particularly compatible with the Medic in any offensive or defensive scenario. A Medic "buddy" is different from a “patient,” who is simply the player that a Medic is healing at any given moment. In most cases, any Medic buddy is a strong candidate for an ÜberCharge.
Typical Medic "buddies"
The following classes are ideal choices for a Medic buddy. Traits they share are above-average health, high damage output, and the ability to deal damage to multiple enemies at one time. One of the most important strategic aspects a Medic can have is the ability to adapt to any situation. Keep in mind that some classes may be more useful than others in different situations. For example, a Soldier or Demoman is able to destroy Sentry Guns from a greater distance than a Heavy. This makes these classes preferable as Medic buddies when dealing with enemy Engineers. It is also important to note a potential buddy's loadout choice, as this may affect his suitability to the Medic's current charge.
The Soldier’s high amount of health and raw attack power are a deadly combination when combined with the Medic’s constant healing. Consistently staying overhealed will allow the Soldier to perform rocket jumps to reach the battlefield safely and efficiently. Alternatively, using the Quick-Fix will also allow for the Medic to accompany a rocket jumping Soldier. A Soldier/Medic pair is adept at destroying buildings from mid to long range, dealing splash damage against clustered opponents, and cleanly taking out specific targets. It is important that both members of the pair time any ÜberCharge so that it is deployed only when the Soldier is not reloading.
It is useful for a buddy Soldier to carry the stock Rocket Launcher, as his other primary weapons carry disadvantages that are ineffective for an Übercharge: the Direct Hit's smaller splash radius makes it harder to hit multiple enemies, the Black Box's small magazine size can result in wasted time spent reloading, the Liberty Launcher's decreased damage is ineffective against groups, and the Cow Mangler 5000 does pitiful damage to buildings and cannot accept a Kritzkrieg charge. The Beggar's Bazooka has accuracy problems and must be loaded before firing, but its rapid-fire shots can cause devastating damage at close range, making it a plausible alternative.
Out of all of the nine classes, the Demoman, with his explosives, has the greatest attack potential. Like the Soldier, the Demoman can execute explosive jumps, greatly increasing his mobility. All of his explosive weaponry can be brutal towards large clusters of enemies, making him an excellent choice for a Medic’s Kritzkrieg charge. Stickybombs have a very large explosive radius, allowing multiple enemies to be killed per bomb. Because the Demoman can lay down multiple Stickybombs before detonating all of them, he and a Medic working together are excellent for destroying Engineer buildings in almost any situation. In order to not waste any time, both members of the pair must time the ÜberCharge activation for when the Demoman has loaded weapons.
Demoknights are generally worse buddies than those who use Stickybombs. While the Chargin' Targe, Splendid Screen, or Ali Baba's Wee Booties can help survivability, using grenades and stickies to destroy buildings and crit opponents is almost always more favourable than attacking enemies in melee range, which quickly puts the Medic in danger and undermines the Demoman's primary job of wiping out entrenched positions.
In terms of weapon choice, the stock Grenade Launcher is preferred for any type of Übercharge; the Loch-n-Load must reload twice as often for only 20% more damage and cannot bounce grenades behind objects while the Loose Cannon deals damage slower and less predictably. For a secondary weapon, the stock Sticky Launcher is often the best choice, as the Scottish Resistance's slower bomb priming makes it easier for enemies to avoid the explosives.
The Heavy’s large pool of health points allows him to soak up a lot of damage, making him very difficult to defeat when overhealed. While his large size and slow speed makes him easy to follow and keep track of, they also easily attract the attention of enemy players. A Heavy with the Gloves of Running Urgently equipped can easily keep up with the Medic’s faster run speed, as well as use the mini-crits taken to help build ÜberCharge. When in combat, his significant close-range firepower helps greatly in protecting the Medic. The Heavy’s immobility when firing his Minigun makes him very vulnerable to knockback. When using the standard ÜberCharge, the Medic must sometimes walk in front of the Heavy in order to draw enemy fire. When charged with the Kritzkrieg, his Minigun can shred targets in almost any situation, whether the fighting is inside or outdoors. With any ÜberCharge, the Medic must give sufficient time for the Heavy to wind up his Minigun.
When on the offensive, a Heavy is best off equipping a more mobile primary weapon, such as the stock Minigun or Tomislav. While the power of the Brass Beast can be devastating, the wielder cannot react to threats quickly and will have difficulty utilizing the full extent of an ÜberCharge should they be forced to move during it. Whether a Heavy should carry a Shotgun to protect his Medic while on the move or a Sandvich to provide him with a free health pack depends on several factors, and both can be useful in different situations.
The Pyro is built for close combat and will need to be exposed to enemy fire to deal the most damage. With a Medic providing a continuous source of healing, a Pyro can take a beating while easily incinerating his foes. However, because of the limited range of the Medic’s Medi Gun, following a Pyro into the fray often exposes the Medic to danger as well. As such, it is usually better for a Medic to heal Pyros when in defensive situations, where there is a reduced risk of encountering enemies. If the pair comes under heavy fire without an ÜberCharge ready, it is best to retreat in order to protect the Medic. Pyros are very efficient at destroying buildings and causing chaos when ÜberCharged, especially in narrow spaces. Because the Pyro’s Flamethrower range is so short, the Pyro is susceptible to knock back. Unless a Sentry Gun is just around a corner, it will still be necessary for the Medic to walk ahead of the Pyro in order to draw fire from the Sentry Gun. Because both members of the pair remain vulnerable for the duration of the Kritzkrieg, Pyros are generally not good recipients for it.
It generally does not matter what loadout a Pyro is using when paired with a Medic, though having a Shotgun is more effective at protecting the Medic than using flares. Using the Phlogistinator in combination with an ÜberCharge can utterly destroy the opposition, though the Pyro loses the ability to protect the Medic from projectiles. Using the Homewrecker or equivalent to destroy buildings while übered is not exceptionally more productive than any flamethrower, which can kill the Engineer at the same time as damaging the buildings.
Typical Medic "baddies"
It is generally unwise to choose the following classes as a Medic buddy. These classes are usually not found on the frontlines of the battlefield, where most healing is needed, due to their low health and specific roles. They all lack the crowd control capabilities of the more ideal Medic buddies, making defending the Medic more difficult.
The Scout’s low health and aggressive playstyle usually mean that he will die easily, even when being healed. While a Medic can use the Quick-Fix to match the Scout's fast speed, the Scout cannot provide the same degree of protection that a typical Medic buddy can, especially if he is using a primary such as the Force-A-Nature or Soda Popper. Still, he will often be injured and run back to be healed. These brief periods of time where the two are together are when most Scout/Medic pairs work together. All of the Scout’s weapons run out of ammunition relatively quickly, making a sustained offensive push on the front lines unfeasible. A good Scout is capable of avoiding most damage without an ÜberCharge, making him one of the last candidates to receive it. Should this happen as a last resort, the Scout should stay near the Medic so as to keep the ÜberCharge. Because the Scout’s damage output is so high at close range, he can be a surprisingly good Kritzkrieg target in tight quarters or defensive positions. Even so, an unbuffed Scout may have difficulty dealing with clusters of enemies, making him a poor Medic buddy.
Because Engineers will build Dispensers and stay away from the front lines, having a Medic nearby does not accomplish much. A Medic specifically healing an Engineer would only occur in special situations, such as when an Engineer is trying to repair a Sentry Gun under enemy fire. An Engineer on the front lines that is using the Wrangler bears much destructive potential but is even more immobile than the Heavy, making him an unfavorable ÜberCharge candidate. A more unconventional tactic would for a Medic to ÜberCharge an Engineer as he deploys his Sentry Gun in a key offensive position; the pair can use their invulnerability to shield the Sentry Gun from enemy fire. Engineers with the Widowmaker or Gunslinger can be decent partners in desperate situations, thanks to the increased on-demand firepower provided by these items.
The Sniper tends to sit at the back of the battlefield, so it is rare that a Medic will heal him. Still, there are situations where healing a Sniper may be beneficial to the team. If locked in a Sniper duel, an overhealed Sniper cannot be killed with a fully charged bodyshot or even an uncharged headshot, giving him a strong advantage. A Sniper carrying the Huntsman will often fight close to the front lines and will require healing. Even when at the front lines, the Sniper’s lack of strong close-range weaponry and the long intervals between shots make protecting the Medic incredibly difficult. Because of these reasons, the Sniper is a poor choice for any type of ÜberCharge. It is notable that when under the influence of the Kritzkrieg, the Sniper can effectively deal headshot damage with a bodyshot, and does not even need to use his scope to do so.
Although Medics do regenerate health over time, they cannot use their Medi Gun to rapidly heal themselves. While it is important that Medics heal each other to stay alive, it is unwise to for them to accompany each other as Medic buddies in an offensive push. The Medic, with his moderate health pool and fast speed, has above-average survivability but low damage output. Unless in a desperate situation, time spent fighting would be better spent building ÜberCharge for use on another class.
If the Medics are feeling particularly ambitious, they may be able to pull off the Chain ÜberCharge strategy.
Because the Spy relies on stealth and disguises, healing him while he is disguised as an enemy will usually blow his cover (unless he is disguised as an enemy Spy). Medics should use discretion and heal offensive classes before the Spy. However, since fire negates the Spy’s disguise and Cloak, he should be one of the first classes a Medic extinguishes after encountering a Pyro. Not counting backstabs, the Spy has the lowest damage output out of all nine classes, making him a terrible choice for a frontal assault using any ÜberCharge. Should the situation be sufficiently desperate, an Übered Spy can sap a Sentry without needing to disguise and allow another teammate to quickly take it out.
ÜberCharging another player is typically done with a certain goal in mind. Different situations will call for different classes.
Raw damage and zone control
When attempting to rid an area of multiple enemies, a Heavy or Pyro would be a favorable choice for an ÜberCharge. The Heavy deals respectable damage from short to mid-range, shredding anything nearby. However, his slow speed limits his effectiveness at longer ranges, especially if the enemy retreats or uses cover. The Pyro can deal massive damage when ambushing, meaning that an ÜberCharge can only increase the chaos. While the Pyro is faster than the Heavy, the Flamethrower’s short range renders him even more ineffective against opponents from afar.
To gain an immediate advantage by taking out a specific target, a Soldier or Demoman make good choices. While slower than the Pyro and weaker than the Heavy, both classes have a range advantage and can still damage multiple enemies at once with their explosive weaponry. Their mobility and firepower can allow a team to gain and keep momentum in an offensive push.
Depending on the location of the Engineer’s nest, all four favorable Medic buddies can excel at destroying Sentry Guns. The Soldier can fire rockets at buildings from any range, as buildings do not suffer from damage falloff, but is more easily thwarted by an Engineer repairing the Sentry Gun. At close range, the high damage output offered by the Pyro and Heavy allow them to destroy a Sentry Gun and kill the Engineer repairing it. Demomen are typically the best choice for destroying difficult Sentry Guns, as they can negate a repairing Engineer by detonating multiple Stickybombs to destroy the gun in one blast. At slightly farther ranges, it may be necessary for the Medic to run ahead of the patient to draw Sentry Gun fire and prevent knock back. Because critical hits do not affect buildings, the Kritzkrieg is useless against Sentry Guns.
A typical way to counter an enemy ÜberCharge is to deploy another one on any teammate under fire, as one ÜberCharged player can completely block another’s progress. Remaining charge time after the enemy loses their invulnerability can be used to drive them back, making it more advantageous to deploy the counter ÜberCharge later. An ÜberCharge is a good way to handle an overwhelming number of enemies and can be used on any class as a last resort. It is better for a Medic to deploy an ÜberCharge and waste it than to die while fully charged.
Being a good Medic buddy
The most important thing about coordinating with a Medic is communication. A Medic buddy should use a microphone or voice commands to warn or direct the Medic. If the Medic does not give orders, his patient should take charge of the situation and speak about how and where to use an ÜberCharge.
When being healed, the patient shouldn't rush ahead of the Medic or run off to the Resupply area, especially when he's the only other teammate nearby; a Medic needs to be healing a teammate in order to build his ÜberCharge meter. The patient should always remain near the Medic unless a more viable Medic buddy arrives to fill his place.
Being constantly healed does not make a patient invincible, especially when under heavy enemy fire. A Medic buddy typically should not push too far forward into enemy territory and know when to retreat, especially if the Medic could easily be flanked. If the Medic is behind cover, a Medic buddy should not move very far away, as the Medic’s Medi Gun has limited range. While the Medic does regenerate health, he cannot heal himself. Priority to receive health packs should always go to the Medic, who can then proceed to heal everyone else.
Keeping the Medic alive allows all team members to easily access a source of healing. In return for healing, a Medic buddy is expected to protect the Medic. A Medic will often die rather than pull out their Syringe Gun, as they trust their patient to eliminate any nearby threats. Because of their importance to the team, Medics will often be targeted by Scouts, Pyros, Snipers, and Spies, classes that rely on ambushes or opportunities. It is necessary to keep moving around while looking for any potential threats.