Standard competitive lineup
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The standard competitive lineup is the most common team composition in games following the standard competitive format. Using the standard competitive lineup is not mandatory in any league, but it is used by almost all competitive 6-man teams because of its efficiency and adaptability.
The standard competitive lineup is made up of the following team composition:
- 1 Medic
- 1 Demoman
- 1 Pocket, usually a Soldier
- 1 Roamer, also usually a Soldier
- 2 Utilities, usually both Scouts
The Medic and Demoman almost never change classes within a game. Depending on the map, either or both utilities might spend more time as other classes, especially on asymmetrical maps like Gravel Pit or Badwater. Soldiers most commonly remain Soldiers throughout the entire game, though the pocket sometimes switches to a Heavy, and other switches are not unheard of.
The combination of the Medic and at least one of his partners (generally a Soldier and a Demoman) is referred to as "The Combo". The Combo will usually receive the Medic's Übercharge, and represents a team's location in a map. The Roamer and Specialist classes will move around and look to gain picks, back-cap, or force the enemy medic to deploy an Übercharge to save himself.
Each class in the standard lineup has a specific purpose:
The Medic is the most essential player of a typical 6v6 match. Healing has obvious benefits of keeping team members alive for longer periods of time without making them wait for pickups or returning to resupply. Overheal allows players to win fights more easily, and to possibly win multiple fights. The Medic's ability to ÜberCharge is a keystone of competitive dynamics, acting as one of the most important factors when teams decide to push, hold, or retreat. For other class members in a majority of situations, ensuring your Medic's survival and/or the opposing Medic's death is generally considered worth dying for. The Medic often acts as the team leader, as it is easier to call plays when out of combat.
Medics are limited to 1 in all 6v6 leagues in order to prevent stagnated gameplay and ensure class variety.
Demomen provide huge tactical advantages in a wide range of situations. They are generally either the first or second class to reach the middle point, and once there they can lay down sticky traps to deny areas and use grenades to spam chokes before most of the opposing team even enters the area.
The Demoman's ability to slow enemy pushes, deny chokes and control points, and spread damage in a large area makes him an indispensable team member for pushing, holding, and defending. Because of his high damage output and splash capability, he is the most common recipient of a Kritzkrieg ubercharge.
Demomen are limited to 1 in all major 6v6 leagues in order to prevent excessive spam and area denial.
Since the Demoman can deal the most damage quickly, he often runs with the medic as a part of The Combo. However, he is vulnerable to up-close damage, and as such is often defended by a Scout or Soldier.
The pocket's job is to protect his team's Medic and help him build an Übercharge. Soldier is the most common choice for this role for a number of reasons:
- He can keep up with his Medic via rocket jumps.
- He has solid projectile and hitscan firepower, giving him good combat adaptability.
- He can damage himself intentionally to help build Übercharge faster.
- He has the second largest hit point pool, letting him take damage for his Medic.
- He can use rockets to contribute to spam.
- He can, when the medic is dead or otherwise safe, rocket jump forward and play aggressively.
- He can juggle enemies to prevent them from getting closer to his Medic.
Heavy is occasionally used instead of Soldier. This is quite rare in 5-Control Point maps, as the Heavy moves slowly, but in scenarios where movement speed is not an issue (such as the last control point or on a payload map) or high firepower is required (pushing through chokes or quickly killing flanking players), Heavy can be a very viable choice. Due to his slow movement speed, the heavy is more vulnerable to instant-kill attacks such as headshots, backstabs, or almost any other form of critical damage.
The roaming player functions as his team's offensive muscle class and acts as a backup pocket. The roaming Soldier also functions as a suicide bomber, where the Soldier rocket jumps to the more important players of the enemy team (Medic/Demoman) and tries to kill them early in a fight, or tries to make them use their Ubercharge when they did not intend to. This job is usually relegated to a Soldier because of his ability to reposition himself with rocketjumps and take on the role of backup pocket. Some strategies might call for the roaming player to go for a specific strategic attack involving a class other than Soldier, like running a Pyro on Badlands.
On some maps where utility classes are more desirable and spam is less effective than usual, it's not unheard of to see the roaming slot play a utility class. For example, on Yukon, the importance of Scouts combined with the potency of a Sniper at all three points sometimes leads teams to run one pocket Soldier, two Scouts, and a Sniper instead of two soldiers and two utilities.
Utility slots are usually filled by Scouts, though in many situations (especially when dealing with the last point on a 5-Control Point push map, or in asymmetric maps like Gravel Pit), one or both may play another class. Scouts usually fill this role due to their high mobility, doubled capture rate, and their ability to pick off injured targets quickly with their scattergun. Generally when a map or point doesn't require the mobility of two Scouts then it is acceptable to switch out to another class. Sometimes a utility slot is filled by a roaming soldier, because you still need the mobility of Scouts, and the Soldier doesn't have much space to roam if you are pushed back to last. For example. on Viaduct, Scouts are very useful to have, however a Sniper can be incredibly effective. In this scenario, some teams elect to switch out their roaming Soldier over a Scout.
In most 5CP maps (the most common competitive map type), Scouts are considered the most effective utility, particularly for the mid fight and general combat/transit. In said maps, Scouts are either the first or second class to mid (the other contender being Demoman). They are very effective at getting picks, doing cleanup, and capturing control points. Scouts are also generally helpful for patrolling flanks, both to intercept incoming flankers and pick enemies that are hurt and/or alone. Their high mobility and hitscan damage output allows them to function very well both in solo efforts and when working with other teammates, especially another Scout (who can keep up with him without Medic heals/pickups). One scout will often work in conjunction with the Demoman or roaming Soldier, taking advantage of the damage put out by them.
Of all situational utilities, the Sniper is the most common. Useful both offensively and defensively in a variety of maps, the Sniper can help deny areas and get picks with little setup time and at a fairly low risk to himself, assuming he has backup. He can instantly kill enemy medics with one hit, using either a headshot with no charge-up or a fully-charged bodyshot (both of which deal exactly 150 damage, enough to instant-kill). In open spaces, a Sniper can provide extremely high damage output that give enemies little choice other than to retreat to cover or countersnipe. His biggest disadvantages are his long transit times compared to Scout, his poor capping capacity, and his vulnerability when alone.
The Spy is used most commonly to break a stalemate by killing a valuable target when that target is otherwise well protected. His role is therefore similar to that of the Sniper, but he has the advantage of being able to do his duty even if the target is behind obstacles, walls, and/or team mates. He is most effective if used sparingly, as enemies are more likely to spot and stop him if they anticipate his appearance. The Spy's lack of health and firepower gives him a serious risk of dying after he's been spotted, so backstab attempts are usually followed by either immediate death or narrow escape. This, combined with the fact that the he has to spend a long time in transit and stealth, makes Spy a very high-risk, high-reward option.
Outside of stalemate-breaking pick situations, Spy can also be used to help take down an Engineer nest or provide situational support with the Dead Ringer, which he can use to block doorways, capture points even if there are stickies on them, intercept general spam, or stay alive longer in combat.
Engineer is a standard choice for asymmetric maps such as Gravel Pit. In 5CP push maps, he is used most often to defend the final point in long final-point contests. He provides good area denial, particularly against Scouts – something that Demoman's area denial sometimes has trouble with—and can keep his teammates' ammo stocked and his Medic's health full with a Dispenser. Teleporters are generally a low priority for him as he is unlikely to build anywhere aside from at a last control point.
The primary use of Heavy is to defend the last point. This most clearly comes about when a team wants the type of area denial of a Sentry Gun but does not have the time or stability to build it up. A utility heavy might also be used if enemy Scouts are becoming a problem (which may happen if your team's other utility switches to Sniper or Spy) or to play as a stronger defensive option. Heavy is a more risky choice if the enemy is using a Kritzkrieg, Sniper, or Spy as he cannot reliably evade.
Pyro is usually limited to specific situations in serious competitive play. His ability to defend points with air blast also comes into play in certain areas, most specifically when holding a final point against an Übercharge.
Pyro sees very limited use because of his comparatively restricted capabilities. His Flamethrower deals little damage if the enemy reacts quickly or keeps him at a distance. His afterburn is irrelevant when the enemy team has a live Medic or health packs. His airblast has a low rate of fire and can therefore be overcome fairly quickly, particularly if there's more than one person attacking him. His transit time is slower than Soldier, Demo, and Scout, and cannot deal high damage at long range. In addition to these factors, his Flamethrower's attack can be unreliable in terms of directionality and distance which makes him even more unwieldy.