Basic Soldier strategy
The Soldier is a tough, all-purpose assault class suited for both offense and defense. His Rocket Launcher can take on multiple enemies at once, while his backup Shotgun ensures he's never truly out of the fight. Despite being a straightforward class to play, there is plenty of room for a skilled Soldier to be fancy. For instance, although the Soldier is slow on foot, he can rocket jump to cover distances quickly and reach high ground. There are also plenty of weapon choices that alter playstyle, such as the rapid-fire Beggar's Bazooka or team-oriented Buff Banner.
- 1 Primary weapons
- 2 Secondary weapons
- 3 Melee weapons
The Rocket Launcher fires slow rockets that deal heavy damage in a wide splash radius, with greater power at the center of the blast. The Rocket Launcher only holds four rockets at a time, so make each shot count. Lead your targets properly, and aim at their feet to damage them with the explosions. If you run out of rockets, use the Shotgun to finish off weakened enemies, as reloading is slow. You can use the explosion from a rocket to rocket jump at the cost of health, a technique which is commonly used to approach enemies from above and travel faster across a map. Using a rocket to bounce an enemy into the air makes them an easy target for a follow-up shot from either a rocket or your Shotgun.
The Direct Hit promotes landing direct hits instead of utilizing your splash damage. The Direct Hit's rockets are faster and deal more damage, which is great for dueling single enemies. For example, you can instantly gib weaker classes like the Scout, more easily catch other rocket-jumping Soldiers in the air, or overpower immobile Sentry Guns.
However, rockets from the Direct Hit have an extremely small explosive radius. You can no longer spam rockets down chokepoints and have to put yourself out in the open to line up direct hits. You will have a more difficult time holding areas on your own.
The Black Box heals you for a small amount of health when damaging an enemy with its rockets. However, the reduced clip size impairs your immediate staying power; in particular, offensive rocket jumping becomes less effective due to your lack of ammunition and long reload time. Use it in prolonged combat, where you will have time to constantly reload and outlast your enemies. Use the Black Box alongside the Shotgun, for a reliable backup weapon, or the Concheror, which has additional healing properties.
The Rocket Jumper completely nullifies the rockets from your primary weapon, allowing you to practice rocket jumping without taking any self-damage. It has some synergy with the Mantreads and Market Gardener, weapons that require the user to rocket jump into melee range of enemies. Using the Rocket Jumper only leaves you with the Shotgun as a reliable weapon, so it is ineffective in an actual fight.
The Liberty Launcher comes with 25% increased clip size and reduces self-damage from rocket jumps, allowing you to rocket jump more often and still have rockets to spare. Its rockets deal 25% reduced damage, leaving you disadvantaged against other heavy hitters, especially the Engineer's Sentry Gun, in a direct fight. Instead, prioritize light, injured, and retreating enemies while using your increased mobility to avoid unfavorable match-ups. Its high clip size and 40% faster rockets benefit immensely from crit boosts, such as that from the Buff Banner. Fully reloading 5 rockets takes some time, so the Shotgun is also a good choice of secondary weapon.
The Cow Mangler 5000, even with its infinite ammunition, is comparable to the standard Rocket Launcher in damage. It has the special ability to fire the entire clip at once as a charged shot that deals mini-crits and ignites enemies. The charged shot is best used at long range or on groups of enemies, as the damage it deals can be matched by just a few standard rockets and is not worth using an entire clip at close range. In return, the Cow Mangler 5000 deals heavily reduced damage to Engineer buildings and cannot deal critical hits normally (instead only dealing mini-crits though applied conditions such as the Kritzkrieg). However, if you come across a troublesome Sentry Gun, the charged shot can disable it before you switch to the Shotgun or let teammates finish the job. This weapon is ideal for defensive scenarios when dealing with Sentry Guns is very uncommon.
The Original is statistically identical to the Rocket Launcher. However, its rockets travel directly down the crosshair, rather than slightly to the right as those from the Rocket Launcher do. This subtle change means that all shots fired by the Original will be consistently accurate at close range. Whilst left corners will be easier to shoot behind, it will be more difficult to fire around right corners without exposing yourself.
The Beggar's Bazooka has the ability to store up to three rockets, then release them in one barrage. Its rockets have some random deviation and a smaller explosive radius, making individual shots, especially aerials, less reliable. Charge the barrage from behind cover or while rocket jumping to catch opponents by surprise. Additionally, the Beggar's Bazooka cannot collect ammunition at a Dispenser or a Payload Cart while it is wielded, preventing you from freely firing barrages while defending these locations.
The Air Strike grants significantly higher attack speed while rocket jumping but comes with 15% reduced damage and a 10% smaller explosive radius. Each kill you obtain will expand the clip size by one, to a maximum of eight, eventually allowing you to rain down rockets from the sky. The bonus is lost upon death, so be cautious after you've obtained a few kills. Its rockets have an even smaller explosive radius while airborne, so you must compensate by landing direct hits with extra rockets, using the attack speed boost from being in midair. The Air Strike is much less effective in cramped indoor areas, where there is less room to rocket jump. The B.A.S.E. Jumper synergizes well with this weapon, as it keeps you in the air longer and negates fall damage.
The Shotgun is effective at medium range and as powerful as many other primary weapons. If your Rocket Launcher is out of ammunition, the Shotgun is a decent backup weapon for finishing off injured enemies. Alternatively, you can switch to it at close range when you don't want to suffer from your own splash damage. It is a good option for fighting experienced Pyros and Scouts, who are easily able to avoid damage from your projectiles.
The Buff Banner replaces your Shotgun, making you less effective as a solo combatant. Dealing damage causes a Rage meter to fill up; when full, primary fire will cause you to project an aura, giving you and all nearby allies guaranteed mini-crits for a short period of time. The area of effect is large and passes through any obstacle, allowing your teammates to easily follow your charge into enemy territory. Stay near the front lines and use a primary weapon that has a wide blast radius to quickly fill the Buff Banner's Rage meter.
The Gunboats allow you to perform multiple rocket jumps in succession without having to rely on a Medic for healing. They are most effective when you are constantly roaming around the map and do not need your Shotgun to fend off enemies. The reduced self-damage also allows you to more safely bail from a crisis via rocket jumping, even if you're low on health.
The Battalion's Backup acts as the opposite of the Buff Banner, projecting an aura that decreases all damage taken by you and nearby allies by 35%. You can use the defensive effect to lead an attack, hold an area, or counter the crit boosts granted by the Kritzkrieg, Buff Banner, and other sources. The aura also further reduces the damage taken from Sentry Guns to a total of 50% resistance, making it useful for destroying an Engineer nest. Additionally, the Battalion's Backup passively grants 20 points of bonus health, giving you survivability against bursts of damage.
The Concheror is like the Buff Banner, but has an aura that affects nearby allies, increasing their movement speed and allowing them to recover health by dealing damage. The Concheror charges much faster than the other banner variants, allowing you to use the buff more often to maintain momentum. Unlike the bonuses provided by the other banners, the healing provided by the Concheror isn't so effective when used only on yourself, as you can't constantly fire the Rocket Launcher to recover health. Thus, it is best to activate its area buff when near allies. The Concheror also grants health regeneration that increases out of combat, allowing you to heal up a bit between encounters.
The Mantreads are a situational weapon that heavily reduces the knock back you take. This unique defensive trait helps you hold an area and maintain a high ground advantage, especially against common threats such as Pyros, Demomen, and Sentry Guns. Additionally, the Mantreads allow you to deal moderate damage by stealthily landing on a foe after rocket jumping, although it's more efficient to simply kill the enemy with rockets before you land.
When you bounce an enemy into the air with a rocket, you can try to finish him off before he can land and retaliate. The Reserve Shooter is great for doing so, especially since landing an aerial with your Rocket Launcher can sometimes be difficult. However, the reduced clip size makes it an unreliable sidearm in comparison to the stock Shotgun, due to frequent reloading. Make use of its faster weapon switch time to finish airborne enemies off with precision before you become vulnerable.
When compared to the Shotgun, the Righteous Bison deals reduced damage, has a smaller magazine size, and has slower projectiles. However, it is accurate at long range, does not require ammo, and reloads quickly, so it can be used to constantly harass enemies. The piercing nature of shots fired by the Righteous Bison is effective against clustered targets. Although it deals reduced damage to buildings, its piercing shots will damage an Engineer taking cover behind them.
The B.A.S.E. Jumper allows you to deploy a parachute while in midair, slowing your descent. For general purposes, you can combine this with rocket jumping to stay above opponents or travel further horizontally. In combat, this backpack works well with the Air Strike and Beggar's Bazooka, weapons that can fire multiple rockets in one quick burst. You still take standard rocket jump damage and will often attract enemy attention, so keep in mind where you can find healing upon landing. Once you finish your airborne assault, try not to linger in the sights of enemies who appreciate slow targets, like the Heavy or Sniper. As with other bundled secondary weapons, taking the B.A.S.E. Jumper means having no Shotgun, leaving you less effective on the ground.
The Panic Attack deploys 50% faster than the Shotgun, making it useful for a few panicked shots when you run out of rockets. However, the Panic Attack's pellet spread widely increases as you fire consecutively, making it far less effective for prolonged combat than the Shotgun.
The Shovel is comparable to the default melee weapons of most other classes. However, your slow speed puts you at a disadvantage in melee duels. Unless you excessively engage in melee combat when near a friendly Medic, you're better off equipping a different melee weapon.
While at full health, the Equalizer deals half of the Shovel's base damage. However, you generally won't need to use your melee weapon when you are at full health. The Equalizer will grant a dramatic increase in damage as your health decreases, allowing it to be used as a last resort to ambush pursuing enemies. Put the Equalizer away if you want a friendly Medic to heal you normally, as it reduces received healing by 90% while active.
The Pain Train gives you an increased capture rate of two players, equal to the Scout. It comes with a 10% increased vulnerability to bullets, making you a bit more fragile against the Scout and Heavy, classes which tend to be found attacking or holding control points. Only use the Pain Train when actively capturing control points or pushing Payload carts; the increased capture rate is useless when playing Capture the Flag or when on defense.
The Half-Zatoichi heals you for 50% of your maximum health on kill and has the increased melee range and draw time of all swords. The healing the Half-Zatoichi provides on a kill just might be worth fighting at melee range. Try to have a clear opportunity to kill an enemy before you unsheathe it, as switching weapons without obtaining a kill causes you to take 50 damage. Wielders of the Half-Zatoichi are capable of killing each other in a single hit; however, your slow speed puts you at a disadvantage in a melee duel.
The Disciplinary Action has an increased melee range of 75%, giving it a unique niche in melee combat, but deals slightly reduced damage. The main perk of this weapon is that it allows you to strike a teammate to temporarily boost both of your running speeds. Thus, you can use it to increase your mobility without sacrificing health by rocket jumping. Stay near allies so that you can make use of the speed boost more often; it can be used when running to the front lines, retreating, or chasing after faster opponents.
The Market Gardener deals guaranteed critical hits while rocket jumping. While it is simpler to continue firing rockets while airborne, quietly approaching to land one melee attack can allow you to pick off important targets and gain style points. To increase the chances of landing that critical melee hit, familiarize yourself with the mechanics of rocket jumping. Rocket jumping over obstacles or up from low ground can greatly aid in surprising opponents. The Mantreads or B.A.S.E. Jumper can be used alongside the Market Gardener for more maneuverability while in midair.
As your health decreases, wielding the Escape Plan will grant you increasingly faster speed, allowing you to escape attackers with ease. Because it marks you for death, you're discouraged from using it to fight, much less charge at enemies. However, you can use the Rocket Launcher to damage yourself so that you can quickly reach the front lines; if doing so, make sure you don't get picked off by a stray enemy before you can find a source of healing. Sheathe the Escape Plan once you find a friendly Medic, as it reduces healing by 90% while active.