Community Ghost Fort strategy

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Ghost Fort
Ghost Fort.png
Basic Information
Map type: King of the Hill
File name: koth_lakeside_event
Released: October 26, 2012 Patch
(Spectral Halloween Special)
Variants: Lakeside
Developer(s): Valve
Map Info
Environment: Halloween
Setting: Nighttime, overcast
Hazards: Pumpkin bombs,
Bottomless pit,
Bomb Head,
Hazards (Underworld): Stygian waters,
Area Explosion
Bot support: Yes
Map Items
Healthico.png Health Kits: Healthbar.png ×8  •  Healthpie.png ×2  •  
Health Cauldron.png ×1
Ammoico.png Ammo Boxes: Smallammo.png ×5   •   Mediumammo.png ×2   •  
Largeammo.png ×1
TF2 crosshair.png Special: Gargoyle Ghost.png   •   Pumpkin.png
Map Photos
Loading screen photos.
Map Overview
Ghost Fort overview.png
This article is about strategy specific to the Halloween variant of Lakeside. For strategy specific to the standard variant, see Community Lakeside strategy.

This article is about Community Ghost Fort strategy.

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

General strategy

This Halloween map features pumpkin bombs, Halloween pumpkins, and the Soul Gargoyle; see Community Halloween maps strategy.

  • This map is almost identical to Lakeside, so strategies that work there will also work here.

Main Article : Merasmus

  • The ability to capture the point will be postponed while Merasmus is on the field, so focus on attacking him.
  • Merasmus has a fairly large hitbox, so you don't have to worry about aiming and timing as much as you have to for MONOCULUS! and the Horseless Headless Horsemann.
  • Merasmus spawns in the corner where the cards of fate display. On spawn, he will push away players and stickybombs before immediately engaging nearby players with his staff. Avoid getting stuck at his spawn point, and don't stick around the ammo refill.
  • Merasmus has four signature attacks. He can float around the map, attacking any players he finds by hitting them with his staff. He can throw a bomb in the direction of the player he's attacking. He can launch a magical spell to a certain number of nearby players, launching them skyward and setting them on fire, or he occasionally teleports to the center of the map to brandish the Bombinomicon and release a multitude of bombs in every direction while floating.
  • Never get close to Merasmus unless he is stunned, you're invulnerable, or you have a bomb head. If he uses his fire attack, it's hard to control your movement while you're in the air, and you will be damaged from the fall. As you land, you may be close enough to Merasmus for him to launch you again and reset the afterburn timer.
  • Merasmus will teleport at random intervals, or after his stun condition wears off. He will always reset his attack mode when doing so.
    • Sometimes, he will teleport to either of the balconies/battlements that Snipers like to occupy, which is somewhat troublesome, as it is a distant and difficult area to reach for any player that's located on the other side of the map when the boss teleports. Most classes also can't get a clear shot at him when he's behind cover and in such an elevated position. Being unlucky (or lucky) with locations he teleports to can have an impact on how much damage you manage to deal to him, especially when he has more health on higher levels and the damage-dealing race is tighter.
  • Merasmus does not travel as quickly as the Horseless Headless Horsemann does and waves his staff to perform his magic attack every few seconds, so most classes can outrun him while he's wandering around.
  • Merasmus will take full critical damage if he is hit while performing his Bombinomicon attack and floating around, or when stunned. Use both of these occasions to weaken him.
  • Don't stand outside near the control point while Merasmus is raining bombs with the Bombinomicon, as a direct hit from a bomb will kill most classes. If you want to get a little closer, the first floor of the large adjacent building (the room with the bottomless pit) is a safe place from which to attack him, as the bombs don't land there.
  • Every time Merasmus teleports, the Bombinomicon will choose two players and transform their heads into bombs. Affected players will be put in third-person Humiliation and speed boosted. If these players can locate Merasmus and collide into him before blowing up, they will cause the boss to become stunned and allow everyone to deal critical damage to him with impunity. The player who collides also gets a short period of invulnerability, crit boost and speed boost.
    • If you have a bomb head on you, watch out for other players and Merasmus' attacks, as you are still vulnerable to damage and can be killed while in this state.
    • Similarly, pay attention to the other bomb-head player. If he just collided into the boss, you might want to wait a few seconds before stunning him yourself to lengthen the vulnerability period. Just do it before the stun wears off, since Merasmus will always teleport away after it.
  • After taking 50% damage from when he spawns or when he last hid, Merasmus will transform into a random prop while spawning multiple other props all around the map. Break them all until you find Merasmus. Hitting Merasmus when he is disguised as a prop may stun him and will always give the player who brought him out of his disguise a short invulnerability, speed boost and crit boost period. Merasmus will also suffer full critical hits due to his stun.
    • Being slow in seeking out all the props (or missing one in particular) is one of the prime reasons for failed attempts at killing the boss. If both teams are cooperating, try to split up, so that each team (or each group of players) is responsible for prop-hunting in their designated part of the map. This isn't all really necessary if Merasmus is only level 1 and both teams are dealing a lot of damage to him, but if you're attempting to defeat him at higher levels (where his hiding heals him faster), being fast in bringing him out of hiding is essential.
  • Be wary of trying to grab the health pack above the pit, especially when the high jump or low gravity card has been chosen on the wheel.
  • The big head and small head fates do not alter the players' head hitboxes.
  • The ledge above and to the side of the bottomless pit is easily accessible to all classes when the high jump card is active, becoming a very good spot for watching over both the control point and the large health pack above the pit. Many low-health players rushing for the pack will not suspect an enemy lurking above them in ambush.

Class-specific strategy

Leaderboard class scout.png Scout

  • Try to avoid using the Scout to fight Merasmus, unless he is in his hiding phase or a gift has spawned for you. A Scout cannot dish out large amounts of damage at once and he has low health - but he can run across the map faster than other classes, allowing him to find gifts and search for props more quickly.
  • While under the effects of Bonk! Atomic Punch, Merasmus may still try to attack you. Distract him!
  • You can rely on your Pistol to deal damage from afar to aid your team, especially when Merasmus performs his Bombinomicon attack, in which case all attacks will become crits.
  • Although it doesn't affect Merasmus, Mad Milk can be used to douse flames on you or your teammates.
  • The Fan O'War is useless, as Merasmus isn't affected by mini-crits.

Leaderboard class soldier.png Soldier

  • Due to the wide range of the rocket blasts, combined with Merasmus' size and increased hitbox, a Soldier has an easy time scoring hits against Merasmus. His damage output against him is average, though, as his weapons don't receive a damage boost (unlike some other classes) and he has to spend a lot of time reloading his weapons.
  • Merasmus' large size makes him a fitting target for the Direct Hit. Linger at medium to close range to take advantage of its extra damage. The faster rocket speed also makes landing direct hits on Merasmus during his Bombinomicon phase easier, particularly from a safe distance.
  • The large pillars surrounding the map's control point are remarkably useful for staying close to Merasmus while being much safer from his magic. Rocket jump to them for a unique vantage spot; your increased height will prevent him from reaching you with any attack other than his bomb volley, and you will be able to spot him throughout most of the map.
  • The Buff Banner is useless in the boss fight because Merasmus is immune to mini-crits. Using the other banners is generally a bad idea as well, as the Shotgun can provide reliable damage while your Rocket Launcher's clip is empty. Without a secondary firearm, you will spend a lot of time just reloading your primary, possibly missing out on periods of Merasmus' stun vulnerability.
  • Remember that your rockets take out props spawned during Merasmus' hiding in one shot, making you more effective at quickly dispatching them than most other classes with weaker weaponry.

Leaderboard class pyro.png Pyro

  • This boss can't be set on fire, rendering most of the Pyro's weapons, and the Pyro itself, quite ineffective. It is recommended to trade away any Flare Guns for the stock Shotgun, as it will deal more damage in this situation.
  • If you are planning on using your Flamethrower, wait until the boss is distracted, preoccupied, or stunned before making your move. His volley of fairly short-ranged magical attacks will take you down rather quickly.
  • Be careful when attacking Merasmus with your flamethrowers while members of the other team are also assaulting him, as you may be killed by collateral damage or poor aim. Try to attack him from a direction where you aren't likely to get hit by collateral fire or even intercept your teammates' projectiles.
    • Since you will need to get close to deal any real damage, another issue that can arise is airborne, bomb-delivering members of the other team getting stuck between you and the boss upon landing. This can lead to Huntsman-equipped Snipers, crucial in the boss fight, being unable to use their bows effectively (as they'll be suspended slightly above ground while stuck and not be able to draw their arrows). This is especially likely on servers where damage between players is disabled during the fight with Merasmus - an abundance of enemy Pyros can block you or intercept your fire more often than either team would like.
  • Remember, you cannot be lit on fire from Merasmus' attacks, and you can extinguish members of your own team. You can take more of a support role by lingering near Merasmus and extinguishing members of your own team when they are hit by Merasmus' magic attack.
  • Feel free to sneak up on and airblast enemies into the bottomless pit in the large building during the fight for the control point. It's common courtesy to not do it while the boss is out and both teams are focusing on him.
    • Certain Spies will be using their Cloak and Dagger to stand (while cloaked indefinitely) on the tiny platform above the pit - in order to body-block and push other players trying to grab the large health pack into their deaths. If such a naughty Spy is on the other team, puff some flames at the platform to reveal them and then return the favor by airblasting them into the pit.

Leaderboard class demoman.png Demoman

  • Both the Demoman's primary Grenade Launcher and secondary Stickybomb Launcher do adequate damage to Merasmus. Lay down stickies and expend generous amounts of grenades.
  • Do not lay stickybombs at Merasmus' spawn point, as he will push them away when he spawns, making the trap pointless.
  • When using sticky bombs, be aware that Merasmus can push away sticky bombs when moving around. Use them when he is stationary or stunned.
  • The Scottish Resistance is especially awkward and unreliable while the boss is moving, due to the extra-long arming time of the bombs. Its faster firing rate, however, might allow you to churn out and detonate more stickies during periods when he is stunned, causing a lot of crit-boosted damage.
  • Be careful when using sticky bombs, as you may inadvertently kill the other team if both are cooperating in taking Merasmus down.
  • The Eyelander and other melee-oriented items are not advised. Merasmus is guaranteed to do more damage in a melee fight than you and does not award heads.
  • Using the Loch-n-Load can assist in fighting Merasmus while he is airborne, due to the increased projectile speed. While it has only 3 grenades in its clip, you may have an easier time connecting the grenades over the default Grenade Launcher. This can complement your Stickybomb Launcher in-between reloading. The stock Grenade Launcher is a better primary source of damage if you find sticky bombs too clumsy in this fight.
  • Remember that your grenades take out props spawned during Merasmus' hiding in one shot, making you more effective at quickly dispatching them than most other classes with weaker weaponry.

Leaderboard class heavy.png Heavy

  • As a Heavy, try to stay near a Dispenser as you will expend a lot of ammo during the fight. You might want to leave most ammo packs for Huntsman Snipers as they also run out of arrows fairly quickly and their damage output is generally superior.
  • Consider pairing up with a Medic, particularly one using the Kritzkrieg, as he will increase both your survivability and your damage output with his critboosts. With a capable Medic, you have a much higher chance of making it through the whole fight without dying once and will need to retreat from Merasmus less often.
  • Every class must remain mobile during the battle with Merasmus, particularly during his bomb volley. The Heavy's slow running speed puts him at a disadvantage when it's time to get away; however, Merasmus leaves a lot of time for players to flee when he's about to use that attack.
  • The Brass Beast is a good choice of weapon to fight Merasmus due to its increased damage and damage resistance.
  • The Heavy is also at a disadvantage during Merasmus' prop-hunt hiding phase due to being very slow in navigating around the map. Use the Gloves of Running Urgently to move faster while seeking out props, unless the other team is actively attacking you.
    • Bringing a Shotgun with you to the fight can also speed up the time for you to check props.

Leaderboard class engineer.png Engineer

  • If a Sentry Gun is placed down, make sure it is wrangled at all times. A wrangled Sentry Gun can be manually fired when Merasmus is out of range, and it will enable the Engineer to choose his targets (namely Merasmus, and not the opposing team.)
  • The damage done by Sentry Gun bullets is reduced by around -4 per round and thus they are fairly ineffective when it comes to damaging Merasmus. The Gunslinger is even less advisable to bring to the fight - it will likely cause more trouble to the enemy team than to the boss.
  • Dispensers placed down are important as the fight with Merasmus consumes lots of ammo that is not readily available when the center of the map gets crowded. Keeping your team healed and restocked ensures everyone can constantly deal damage.
  • Keep your Sentry out of Merasmus' range. He can destroy Sentry Guns in one hit and his magic attack has a wide enough range. An ideal location is on top of the towers around the control point, which can be reached by jumping while the High Jump or Low Gravity cards are active or by using the Sentry Gun's rockets with the Wrangler to Sentry-jump to the towers.
  • Try to stay alive at all costs. Even if you are using your Wrangler, you will lose control of your Sentry Gun if you die, and it will attack any nearby members of the other team who may be trying to attack Merasmus.
    • Alternatively, you can ditch the risky Wrangler and Sentry use altogether and choose to focus on providing support to your team through your Teleporters and Dispenser. In this case, your Pistol and Shotgun can deal some damage to the boss while you tend to your buildings. The Pistol's huge ammunition reserve and a nearby Dispenser mean that you'll never have ammo issues.
  • Teleporters are also very important in maximizing the effectiveness of your team, as they can transport respawning teammates to the front lines, making casualties in the boss fight less hampering.
  • If you don't wish to fight Merasmus at all, then you can use the truce period when he shows up as an opportunity to set up and upgrade your buildings instead. You can also use it to make note of where the enemy team has set up its buildings. Just make sure to hoof it away from any enemy Sentry Guns before Merasmus leaves.

Leaderboard class medic.png Medic

  • Make sure to heal players who have been hit by Merasmus' magic attack. They have likely lost a lot of health from the direct impact and the fall damage, and will keep losing health from afterburn.
  • Using the Kritzkrieg's ÜberCharge at the right moment can mean the difference between beating the boss or letting him vanish. Try to time its deployment so it doesn't overlap with periods of Merasmus' crit vulnerability, and use it on Snipers (so they don't need to bother with aiming for the head) or classes like Heavies, Demos and Soldiers.
  • Do not use the Kritzkrieg's ÜberCharge when Merasmus is stunned or using the Bombonicon; Merasmus already takes full crit damage at these times and the ÜberCharge will be wasted, not offering any additional damage.
  • As always, heal your entire team and not just one member. Take special care of Snipers, since they deal the most damage and are thus very valuable in this fight.

Leaderboard class sniper.png Sniper

  • Merasmus takes increased damage from Sniper primary weapons, making them ideal against Merasmus.
  • Equip the Huntsman and aim for the head. A well-placed, fully-charged headshot deals 1080 damage. A team of Huntsman-equipped Snipers can take Merasmus down quicker than any other team composition.
  • A fully-charged headshot from a Sniper Rifle deals 1350 damage. The much longer charging time of all the rifles, however, means that their damage output is lower than the Huntsman's, especially since you can't get as many charged shots in while the boss is stunned and his frequent teleports can waste the precious seconds you've spent scoped in.
  • Hitting the boss while he's stunned will prove to be far easier and more rewarding; if you time it right, a maximum of 3 fully-drawn arrows can be fired while he's vulnerable.
  • You can always rely on the SMG to deal damage from a distance if you run out of primary ammo, especially if Merasmus is performing his Bombinomicon attack. Also make use of it while you're aiborne (launched by his magic or after delivering a bomb), since you can't fire your arrows while in the air. The damage it deals is rather mediocre, however, so you might want to melee the boss instead when out of arrows, or simply find the nearest source of ammunition.
  • Although it does not aid in damaging Merasmus, Jarate can be used to douse the flames of either yourself or teammates.
  • Be wary when sniping from the elevated areas between the spawn and control point, as enemies can take advantage of the nearby pumpkin bombs to kill you.
  • When fighting the other team, keep an eye out for any enemies trying to occupy the tops or platforms of the towers surrounding the point. They have a huge high ground advantage there but have no room to dodge your accurate, long-range fire; a Sniper is best equipped to dispatch them quickly.

Leaderboard class spy.png Spy

  • The Spy's low-damage revolvers make it rather difficult to take down Merasmus effectively. Either the stock Revolver or the Enforcer should be used when attacking outside melee range; they deal similar damage-per-second, with the stock gun enjoying the benefit of random Crits.
  • A Spy's Knife has drastically increased damage and deals more damage than any other melee weapon (120 without crits, 360 with crits). While you cannot backstab Merasmus, the melee damage remains the same no matter where Merasmus is hit. However, the Spy's low health and necessity to stay near the boss in order to deal large amounts of damage make this melee approach an even trade-off. Try to attack Merasmus only when he is stunned. If there are a lot of enemy players attacking him at once, it may be unwise to use your knife (as you can easily die to collateral damage), unless you were the one to stun him and have thus received temporary invulnerability.
  • A Spy can attempt to distract Merasmus with his Dead Ringer, however the damage resistance may prove futile as the watch will only protect you for a brief moment before giving in. This tactic should be considered only when in desperation to allow your teammates and acquaintances to fight Merasmus.