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, enemies that tend to withstand or avoid direct assaults. 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 has the ability to zoom in on faraway enemies. While zoomed in, the Sniper Rifle accumulates charge that causes it to deal extra damage. Additionally, headshots while zoomed 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. Weigh your options; it may be easier to eliminate a dodging Scout, rocket-jumping Soldier, or charging Demoman with a charged bodyshot instead of a headshot. Even if you may hide away from enemies, the Sniper Rifle projects an obvious laser dot; if you want to hide it, aim elsewhere or take cover while charging. When unscoped, the Sniper Rifle is still completely accurate and deals a solid 50 damage, so don't bother to scope if you have to fire immediately. With that said, this weapon is weak in direct combat because it only damages a single target and has a long reload time.
When compared to the Sniper Rifle, the Huntsman cannot zoom in and fires relatively slow arrows. These arrows can headshot without needing to zoom, but travel slower than bullets in a slight arc. Overall, you are encouraged to fight close to the front lines so that aiming is easier. It still takes a long time to reload, so continue to stay back and take cover after each shot. 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 go astray of your intended target. Alternate fire will let you stop charging your arrow and 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 is a team-oriented weapon that applies the Jarate debuff when you land a scoped shot, but deals mini-crits on headshots instead of critical hits. While you will lack some firepower, a weakened enemy covered in Jarate is easy prey for your teammates or an unscoped follow-up shot. With only mini-crits on headshot, you are vulnerable to enemy Snipers that use the standard Sniper Rifle and your fully charged shot can only instantly kill the weaker classes. Overall, you sacrifice powerful headshots to improve your weaker, imprecise bodyshots. Scoped shots also can extinguish burning teammates, which might aid in saving a life.
The Bazaar Bargain rewards consistent Snipers that are able to land headshots and stay alive. 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. You might find it difficult to initially deal with bulky classes, such as the Soldier, without landing headshots. Focus on acquiring headshot kills against weakened enemies, then enjoy being empowered with quick-charging shots. You lose all bonuses if you die, so don't complacently stay out in the open even once you're on a roll.
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. Because your position is revealed after each shot, 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. Pressing the reload key will drain any Focus acquired to activate a meditative state where you charge shots 25% faster, don't unscope after each shot, but use tracer rounds similar to the Machina. These boons let you fire off stronger, more accurate shots that should take out enemies before they see your tracer and take cover. Bodyshots from this weapon suffer a 20% damage penalty and are unable to instantly take out any of the weaker classes, even if fully charged. The more accurate you are, the more you can ignore this downside.
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. Most significantly, the Classic cannot be used for quick-scoped headshots, leaving you at a disadvantage against enemy Snipers. 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.
The Submachine Gun is stronger than your melee weapon and fairly accurate, but still not great for direct combat. Nonetheless, it is one of your best close range options. Use it to finish off weakened foes or fight enemies that are difficult to hit, such as Scouts. It is easier to defend yourself with the Submachine Gun rather then the Jarate when you're operating alone or away from teammates. It pairs well with the Sydney Sleeper, to finish off enemies affected by Jarate, and 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. However, it deprives you of a secondary weapon and renders you unable to be overhealed, making it much harder to defend against close foes. A Spy will typically switch to his Revolver upon seeing the Razorback, which can still kill you before you react. Thus, the Razorback 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 the form of mini-crits. 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. Jarate does replace your Submachine Gun, making it harder to fend off enemies alone.
The Darwin's Danger Shield gives you full afterburn immunity and 50% resistance to fire damage, but removes access to a damaging secondary weapon. This gives you some protection when facing enemy Pyros that manage to maneuver to your sniping position, but also makes you unable to effectively fight back. Stay closer to the main battle, where you can escape to your team if an enemy Pyro finds you.
The Cozy Camper is a secondary weapon that enhances long-ranged sniping. It prevents flinching when your shot is fully charged, great when your enemies are harassing you with minor attacks that would otherwise affect your aim. To make use of this effect without drawing attention, you will probably need to fully charge your shot before leaving cover. The Cozy Camper also lessens all knockback experienced, further aiding precision when aiming. Its innate health regeneration can help negate damage from afterburn or bleeding inflicted by various long range weapons. The lack of a secondary weapon encourages you to camp away from the front lines (hence the name!).
The Cleaner's Carbine is a weaker backup weapon than the Submachine Gun, but brings potential for more offense. The Carbine builds up a "CRIKEY" meter as it deals damage. Alt-fire when the CRIKEY meter is filled grants guaranteed mini-crits for eight seconds. Find opportunities between sniping, such as killing weakened enemies or dealing chip damage, to build up CRIKEY. Once the mini-crit boost is acquired, pick a weapon to rampage with. If you switch weapons, the Huntsman or Bushwacka work well with 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.
If you are forced to enter melee combat with the Kukri, avoid blindly charging in and try to dodge enemy attacks - your low base health and short melee range leaves you vulnerable to ranged weapons. Instead, strike once the enemy has depleted their ammo and is reloading. If you do not need to approach an enemy, use your ranged weapons until aiming becomes difficult.
The Tribalman's Shiv deals reduced damage but inflicts bleed. When including the bleed effect, one hit from the Tribalman's Shiv does more damage than the Kukri, but over a longer period of time. Despite dealing higher total damage, hitting a healthy enemy with this weapon will usually not dissuade them from continuing to attack you. Land one hit, then back away to supplement the bleed with ranged attacks. The Submachine Gun or Jarate can be used alongside this weapon for consistent, moderate damage. The bleed effect can also be used to track down Cloaked Spies, as they will flicker each time they take damage.
The Bushwacka deals critical hits whenever you would normally mini-crit. It can be combined with mini-crit boosts from your various weapons, including the Sydney Sleeper, Jarate, and Cleaner's Carbine. Out of all of these, using the Bushwacka in combination with Jarate to quickly dispatch nearby foes is most consistent. It is least effective alongside the Sydney Sleeper, as enemies will rarely charge directly at you while afflicted by Jarate. Be wary when approaching your target, however, as the Bushwacka's low melee range and increased damage vulnerability will allow enemies to kill you faster - most notably the Scout or Soldier, who may kill you instantly with a point-blank Scattergun or Rocket Launcher attack.
The Shahanshah deals 25% less damage (49 damage) when you're above half of your maximum health and 25% more damage (81 damage) when you're below half of your maximum health. Use other weapons, such as the Huntsman or Submachine Gun, for close range combat until your health is low enough that you can use the Shahanshah as a strong last resort.