Community DeGroot Keep strategy

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DeGroot Keep
Degroot Keep Castle.png
Basic Information
Map type: Control Point
File name: cp_degrootkeep
Released: December 17, 2010 Patch
(Australian Christmas)
Variants: Sandcastle
Developer(s): Valve
Map Info
Environment: Alpine
Setting: Daylight, Sunny
Hazards: Castle gate, Pitfall
Map Items
Healthico.png Health Kits: Medieval Meat.png ×2
Ammoico.png Ammo Boxes: Mediumammo.png ×4
Map Photos
Loading screen photos.
Map Overview
DeGroot Keep overview.png

This article is about Community DeGroot Keep strategy.

Note: It is recommended to read the main DeGroot Keep article first to become familiar with the names of key map locations used in this article.

General strategy

  • Remember that, in Medieval Mode, most primary and some secondary weapons are restricted, turning most fights melee-oriented. Playing in DeGroot Keep requires a different mindset and gameplay style, with classes that have more access to medieval mode weapons only should be used more.
    • Additionally, slain enemies always drop small health kits. Be sure to pick them up after every skirmish to prolong your survival.
  • It is possible to avoid taking fall damage when exiting the castle while the gate is closed. First, jump to the sign hanging above point A from the opposite wall, and then drop down onto the raised section of ground surrounding the point.
  • When capturing or defending the last point, it can get a bit hectic as both teams are fighting in the same enclosed space. Try to crouch in the corner and use your melee weapon to cause damage to any passing enemy that gets too close. Players usually mistake you for a ragdoll and continue attacking other players.
  • In DeGroot Keep, the rocks around the tower at point B can be traversed by either team to surprise the enemy, although it is harder for the BLU team to scale the rocks onto the point. This is a recommended route for Scouts and Spies.

Class-specific strategies

Leaderboard class scout.png Scout

  • Due to the cramped combat nature of the map, the Boston Basher has a good chance of dealing effective damage against enemies, especially on the final capture point. It is generally a good idea to try to hit as many players as possible to make them easier to kill.
  • The Boston Basher can be used to get to the inner yard even when the gate is closed. To do this, stand on the hill, then jump and hit yourself several times. You will be on the Sniper deck. Jump down and take a health pack. Then you can kill a few enemies there and escape.
  • While the Atomizer, with its lower damage, may not be ideal for combat, the triple jump it provides can make a Scout much more difficult to hit.
    • The Atomizer's triple jump can allow a Scout to shimmy up to the castle's battlements, as seen here and here.
  • The Bonk! Atomic Punch and Crit-a-Cola can give Scouts either temporary invunerability (at the cost of not being able to attack while activated and being slowed down from regular movement speed after consumption) or a temporary damage buff (at the cost of an active damage vulnerability when used) that can let you kill enemies faster than normal.
    • Bonk! Atomic Punch paired with a Sandman or Atomizer can give you the ability to safely do a taunt kill especially on crowded areas such as the control point.
  • The Mad Milk can turn the tide of large fights on points, especially in the cramped space of point C.
  • The Sandman can help allies kill opponents by slowing them, at the cost of lowered health.
    • Equipping the Flying Guillotine is recommended while using any of Scout's melees, as many secondary weapons are unavailable in Medieval mode, and the Flying Guillotine is one of the few ranged weaponry allowed.

Leaderboard class soldier.png Soldier

  • A very risky, but effective tactic on Point C is to use the Grenade taunt taunt. As the blast radius is quite large, it can effectively eliminate all enemies on the point. However, the taunt leaves you very vulnerable to all attacks, especially on a server with a lot of players.
  • The Half-Zatoichi and the Disciplinary Action are the only melee weapons for the Soldier that offer an extended reach. Consider using them to circumvent the naturally slow movement of the Soldier, which makes it tougher for him to get within range for melee engagements. The extra range also allows you to hit enemies without them hitting back at you.
    • The Disciplinary Action also allows you and your teammates to get to the control points faster.
    • Take extra caution while using the Half-Zatoichi, as a single hit from an opposing Half-Zatoichi wielder instantly kills you.
  • The Soldier can use any banners in Medieval mode. While you may not reach full rage very often, one activation can swing battles in your team's favor.
    • It may be more effective to use the Concheror or Battalion's Backup than the Buff Banner due to this, since they respectively give passive healing and bonus health.
    • If using the Half-Zatoichi, killing another player wielding it deals 300% of their health, which is often enough to fill your rage meter.
  • Landing on enemies from the battlements with the Mantreads deals about 90 damage, enough to kill light classes in one melee hit.

Leaderboard class pyro.png Pyro

  • The Back Scratcher can be used for situations that require more power than the average battle.
    • Because of the passive increase in healing received from health packs, the Back Scratcher is extremely beneficial for the Pyro as it further improves longevity. The weapon effectively allows the Pyro to earn 54 health back from fallen packs as opposed to the typical 35 health.
    • The Back Scratcher's base damage is actually among the highest of all melee weapons, surpassing even the Scotsman's Skullcutter, the strongest of the Demoman's "swords". The only weapons to equal or surpass it are the Shahanshah and Equalizer but only when the wielder is heavily damaged, and the Warrior's Spirit which applies a bonus 30% damage vulnerability to the user. Compared to a Demoknight with no heads, the Pyro doesn't have the extended reach or ability to charge, but can deal higher damage, has a higher base speed (or only 3% slower if they equip the Boots), can recover more health after each engagement than taking another head does, and is immune to flaming arrows.
  • The Powerjack increases your survivability and movement speed at the cost of extra damage from foes.
  • Using the Homewrecker is not a good idea, due to the damage bonus against buildings and the ability to remove Sappers from Sentry Guns made useless by the rule-restriction towards buildings.

Leaderboard class demoman.png Demoman

  • Demomen equipped with the Chargin' Targe, the Splendid Screen, or the Tide Turner can charge the large pile of rocks in the middle of the battlefield to launch themselves up to the castle's battlements, as shown in this [1] video.
  • Always consider carrying any of the alternate melee weapons that offer a longer reach. The Eyelander can greatly increase survivability and mobility through taking more heads, the Claidheamh Mòr offers a longer charge duration, the Half-Zatoichi has the ability to refill 50% health with every kill, keeping a player alive for a long time and the Scotsman's Skullcutter deals increased damage. It is worth noting that the speed penalty associated with the Scotsman's Skullcutter is less noticeable in Medieval mode, due to the smaller map size and the ability to charge.
    • Note, however, that the Skullcutter also slows down your charge.
    • Be wary of other Demomen and Soldiers with the Half-Zatoichi equipped, as they can kill you in a single hit.
  • The Ullapool Caber is very effective on the final Control point, as multiple members of both teams will often be fighting there simultaneously once it is unlocked. If charging in with the Chargin' Targe, a full Critical swing is capable of dealing upwards of 400 explosive damage, which can effectively clear the point in a single attack.
    • The Ullapool Caber may also be used to jump onto the Sniper platform as means of getting into the castle without the external Control Points being captured.
    • This is extremely useful for clearing control points, especially the final cap. Remember that you can hit the floor at the end of the charge if there are no enemies in range; it will still crit enemies in range of the blast.
  • If the last point is being contested, a good place to surprise attackers is on the battlements in front of the control point. Charging down toward the nook will effectively surprise and kill any enemies staying in there, as many people tend not to look up when checking for a surprise attack.

Leaderboard class heavy.png Heavy

  • The Sandvich and Buffalo Steak Sandvich are very useful on this map. The ability to heal teammates, as well as the Buffalo Steak's mini crits can make a huge difference in fights. Note, however, that you might accidentally heal an enemy if not careful.
  • On defense, with a bit of luck, the High Noon taunt can pick off enemies moving through the gate to the final control point.

Leaderboard class engineer.png Engineer

  • The Gunslinger gives you an additional 25 health aiding in your survivability. Additionally, the three hit combo can be used on the final control point to kill enemies defending it.
  • The Southern Hospitality causes enemies to bleed, making it extremely effective for Spy-checking in Medieval mode, since Pyros are less effective due to the inability to use their flamethrowers. Additionally, the fire vulnerability is negligible due to the very limited sources of fire-based damage on the map.

Leaderboard class medic.png Medic

  • As a class relatively weaker in health and attack, your real value to the team is your ability to heal several teammates at the same time with the Medicating Melody, especially when they are fighting over a point.
    • If you lead your teammates into the contested Capture points and get killed, you defeat your main purpose for being on the team; follow your team into the points.
  • Your second contribution is your ranged attack and heal with the Crusader's Crossbow, but its practical effectiveness is limited to outside the Keep.
    • On the Battlefield and Battlements, keep one eye out for the enemy Snipers and Medics and their missile fire and keep the other eye out for injured teammates to shoot and heal.
  • On offense:
    • On the Battlefield, always strive to keep several of your teammates between you and the Keep, retreat if the front ranks are beaten back.
    • As RED reinforcements are likely to jump from the Keep's Battlements when you are capping A or B, put your back up against the Keep when taunting (after Spy Checking, of course).
    • While your team is capturing the final Control Point, it is generally effective to fire your Crusader's Crossbow through the gate into the contested point. This can damage clustered enemies and heal allies at higher points due to the range.
  • On defense:
    • On the Courtyard point, standing in the corner with the bench, your Amputator taunt covers the whole Courtyard (except the point itself), but you should have a Demoknight covering you.
    • On Point B, while it can be a bit of a trap, the doorway provides deep cover (after Spy Checking) from which your Amputator taunt can cover the whole point.
    • On the Battlements, your Amputator taunt can cover the entire front Battlement, even if you are standing partway down the stairs for cover (watch out for BLU coming up the stairs).

Leaderboard class sniper.png Sniper

  • When on the BLU team, once the main gate opens (after capturing A and B), position yourself in front of the gate, and fire arrows toward the capture point, ducking to the side out of the gate's line of fire after each shot. People will be clustering around the capture point and it will be easy to hit opponents without much aiming.
  • Conversely, when on the RED team, once the main gate opens, put yourself in a position where you can shoot outwards through the main gate into the battlefield. As most enemies will be rushing in a straight line through the corridor toward you with melee weapons, it will be very easy to hit them as well.
    • Don't try to sit on the point and snipe outwards through the gate. It will make you an easy target for enemy Snipers. The other team can easily melee you to death before you can escape as well.
  • Either the Huntsman or the Fortified Compound should be the default armament for Snipers in Medieval mode. Remember that your arrows can be lit by using available torches, resulting in afterburn damage. This can also be used to tag enemies for teammates using the Sun-on-a-Stick or Axtinguisher.
  • RED Snipers on the battlements should keep an eye out for Demomen charging up the rocks onto the battlements.
    • Consider waiting below for Demomen to charge onto the battlements and headshot them in close-range when they attempt to come after you.
  • Arrows can pass through the holes in the gates and the tower window slits. Use these to remain hidden.
    • Keep in mind this will make you more vulnerable to enemy Snipers, as shooting through a window will give away your position and make you an easy target. There is also very little room for you to aim, as the boxes for the windows are small.
  • Snipers can ignite their arrows using the torches spread throughout DeGroot Keep and outside the BLU spawn.
  • There is a small hole in the rafters on the third floor in the tower of DeGroot Keep. RED Snipers can fall through this to quickly reach the second level on the stairs, which is a good spot for sniping enemies trying to capture the point.

Leaderboard class spy.png Spy

  • Surprisingly, a good place to decloak is right outside of the enemy's spawn. They usually come barreling out of there without a second glance to the side.
  • DeGroot Keep is a great place to practice and use trick stabs as the enemy can only use melee weapons, so their movements are very predictable, making it easier perform stair stabs and side stabs. Strafing to the side and stabbing charging Demomen can shut them down.
  • When you are on RED team, you can use the roof with the Dead Ringer to your advantage. As you fall and feign your death, you can pick up the Health kit that you drop.
  • The Spy-cicle recharges instantly upon being melted, making it arguably a straight upgrade from the Knife, disregarding the ice statues left after a backstab.
  • The Cloak and Dagger can allow you to effectively shut down a charging Demoman that is trimping on BLU with the rock, standing still while on the edge of the roof of the castle can block Demomen and make them take severe fall damage.