Community Hightower strategy

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Basic Information
Map type: Payload Race
File name: plr_hightower
Released: July 8, 2010 Patch
(Engineer Update)
Variants: Helltower and Snowtower
Developer(s): Valve
Map Info
Environment: Desert
Setting: Dusk, cloudy
Hazards: Pitfall
Pyrovision Support: Yes
Map Items
Healthico.png Health Kits: Smallhealth.png ×4  •  Mediumhealth.png ×7  •  
Largehealth.png ×1
Ammoico.png Ammo Boxes: Smallammo.png ×5   •   Mediumammo.png ×5   •  
Largeammo.png ×3
Map Photos
Loading screen photos.
Map Overview
Hightower overview.png
For strategy specific to the Halloween variant of Hightower, see Community Helltower strategy.

This article is about Community Hightower strategy.

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

General strategy

  • The knockback from weapons such as the Force-A-Nature or the Pyro's compression blast can be used to push an enemy off the cliff for an environmental kill. This is effective in clearing the enemy cart should it reach the nearby ramp and is especially effective before the cart reaches the first uphill push.
  • The long ramp by your spawn provides the strongest defensive position against enemy teams and their cart. Proximity to the base means reinforcements can arrive quickly, the balcony allows suitable Sniper coverage, Sentry Guns have a vantage point overlooking the ramp nearby, and the nature of the ramp means unattended carts will quickly slide back to the bottom.
  • An ÜberCharged Heavy, Demoman, or Soldier attacking the defenses and/or a Scout with Bonk! distracting the Sentry Guns while the rest of the team pushes the Cart up the ramp can break a strong defense. You can attack from the opposite side of that ramp to avoid getting knocked off the cliff by Pyros and Scouts.
  • Crouching beside the Cart on the platform facing the Hightowers' side will offer protection from damage coming from the enemy base. However, enemies will still be able to attack should they navigate to the other side of the map or if they control the Central Tower. Enemies can use ramps in the area to jump onto the cart and attack any players capturing.
  • The cart will fall rapidly if left unattended while elevated and will kill anyone standing directly below the cart, including ÜberCharged Medics and patients.
  • The balconies near the spawn room are a common but exposed position for Snipers to easily pick off enemies attempting to infiltrate the team's ramp, tower, or crossing. It is, however, directly opposite the other team's balcony where enemy Snipers may use the opportunity to counter. Additionally, Spies that successfully infiltrate the area may hang around in the hopes of killing focused Snipers.
  • The rooms housing the large and medium Health kits on ground level serve as ideal Pyro ambush spots as they are in small narrow areas.
  • The Central Tower is a valuable position at the beginning of the match, fairly valuable at the middle of the match, and very valuable at the end of the match. It serves as an area for Soldiers/Demomen to utilize their ranged attacks against enemies pushing or raising the cart. The top of the tower is also a great place for Spies to jump and airstab unsuspecting enemies who are raising the cart platform. Pyros can also drop from the tower to stage an ambush.
  • The crates near the cliffs can serve as a good ambush point as they have health kits and slightly limit your visibility.

Class-specific strategy

Leaderboard class scout.png Scout

  • Hightower is an interesting map for Scouts, as it has several flanking paths, a large open area with cover dotted around (the rocks in the center, the crates) and also a very exposed final area for the cart (the elevator).
  • Due to how open the map's sky is, it is not uncommon to find Soldiers and Demomen flying in the sky attempting to bomb players. Keep an eye on the sky and try using their high altitude and your outstanding mobility to your advantage by dodging their incoming projectiles. Soldiers can often be found using the Market Gardener, be aware of their landing place.
  • As soon as the round starts, you can rush to the enemy team's ramp to stop their lighter classes from pushing the cart. Should they have a Heavy or other more dangerous classes, you can still potentially deal with them by using the nearby Health kits and open space to your advantage.
  • Be careful of Combat Mini-Sentry Guns placed near your team's cart. This map is a very popular one for offensive Engineers (especially those with the Gunslinger) and could result in your team's lighter classes being unable to push the cart due to a Sentry Gun (in this case, try to work together with someone while using Bonk! Atomic Punch to destroy it, or use your Pistol at long range).
    • It's important to not get stressed out by this as it could be the Engineer practicing Battle Engineer.
  • The Force-A-Nature can work surprisingly well here, as there are plenty of raised areas to knock people off of, and in the best situation, you can blast them off the cliff at the far side of the map to an untimely death. You can also use the Force-A-Nature's triple jump capabilities to reach higher areas without having to use the stairs or ramps.
  • Remember to use the passage behind the elevators that links the starting areas together. This will allow you to slip behind the enemy lines unseen, and also leads you to a Health kit in an alcove should you need it.
  • As soon as your team's cart reaches the bottom of the ramp near the enemy spawn, your own effectiveness at pushing the cart will be severely limited. Instead, try to put your efforts into stopping them from pushing their cart.
    • However, if you have Bonk! you can be a key player to your team, as you can use it to distract the potential Sentry Guns around the ramp so your team can destroy them. If necessary, you can also approach this method from the opposite side your team is coming from, making it much more of an ambush and increasing your chances of success.
  • When the cart has reached its respective elevator, try crouching behind it on your team's side, as this will stop you from being sniped from the enemy spawn, and also means that only a few classes will be able to reliably hit you once you're off the ground (namely Rocket jumping Soldiers, Demomen and Snipers aiming from the cliffs). On the other hand, if the enemy team is pushing the cart up the tower, use the Force-A-Nature or ramps around the area to jump onto it and kill off any players capturing. You may die in doing so, but it will stop the enemy team from winning (and also kill anybody unfortunate enough to be standing underneath the elevator as it falls).
  • The various pieces of cover and darkened areas in this map make Crit-a-Cola fairly effective. When you drink it though, try to employ hit-and-run tactics and run in the direction of your team's area after killing/wounding your target. Otherwise, the glow from the Mini-Crit-boost will draw attention to you and make you a very easy target for more alert players.
  • There are paths that lead to the enemy spawn and the enemy Sniper deck. Though unlikely, you can use these paths to destroy any Teleporters they have set up, and take care of any wrangling Engineers or Snipers positioned on the Sniper deck (by jumping onto the crates outside their spawn, then into the stairwell).
  • Don't forget you can use the ramps around the Central Tower to get to the higher ground. This is key if you want to knock off or kill any enemies firing down from there, as there is very little space for them to move around in, a medium Health kit and the fall will almost definitely inflict damage on them.
  • Using the Winger-Atomizer combination is very useful on this map. Jumping from the Central Tower using the Winger, the Atomizer and perhaps the Force-A-Nature on top will give you a boosted quadruple jump, able to get you almost anywhere on the map and allowing you to chip away at a player below you with the Winger.

Leaderboard class soldier.png Soldier

  • A Soldier has several high points on the map that he can use to his advantage. The Central Tower late in the round is a prime spot to not only help your team push, but also defend the opposing team's cart.
  • As a Soldier, you are very versatile in both terms of defense and offense. Soldiers should make as much use of the Rocket Jump to knock out Engineer Nests and Sniper camping spots as Hightower is very abundant with them. Taking control of the balcony on the opposing team's base can cut off their support when the cart is climbing the final point.
  • You can use the wide open space with the Air Strike to rain down many rockets at once. If you are struggling to stay in the air long enough, or find that the fall damage is too much, the B.A.S.E. Jumper would be helpful as it slows your fall.
  • The Rocket Launcher's knock-back gives Soldier a surprising amount of control on this map. The small balconies and platforms that litter this map allow a skilled player to control large areas with well-placed rockets. Blasting players off of these high perches allows you to keep the high ground and score extra damage from fall damage.
  • A Rocket Jumper's loadout works very well on Hightower, due to the large amount of platforms here. You can use the Central Tower as a base to launch ambushes from above, but do expect some enemy players to try to scale the tower and take you out first.

Leaderboard class pyro.png Pyro

  • Hightower is a favorable map for Pyros because of the short sightlines, multiple flanking paths, tight corners, pitfalls, and routes on this map that allow smart players to be very effective.
  • In general, you should stick to navigating the outer flanks of the map, as both the left and right sides of the map have small walkways or tunnels, which are favorable conditions for the Pyro. Try to avoid going to the crossing as much as possible since enemies can spot you from far away, effectively lowering your chances to ambush an enemy.
  • To counter the unfavorable conditions in the center of the map, you can use the Central Tower to drop down and ambush unsuspecting enemies both in the central crossing area and around the Hightowers. Its access ramps are favorable to Pyros, with tight corners and the ability to airblast enemies off for fall damage.
  • A good place for Pyros to defend from is the ramp in front of Spawn. This spot has easy access to Health and ammo and allows you to airblast enemies off the cliff.
    • If you're not airblasting enemies off the cliff, the Backburner is much more effective as an ambush weapon than the flamethrower.
  • Hightower is a good map for the Detonator - you can use it to launch yourself from the Central Tower to the higher Sniper deck. This is useful for ambushes.

Leaderboard class demoman.png Demoman

  • Hightower is overall an excellent map for the Demoman. There are many long, narrow areas perfect for sticky traps, and the large open spaces with few blockades benefit Demoknights.
  • A Demoman using stickies can very easily stop a group of enemies from capturing the final point; players pushing the cart must stay on a very small platform, leaving them susceptible to blast damage.
  • Sticky jumping is very useful on Hightower. You can sticky jump onto the Sniper decks to take Snipers out and proceed to take out any enemies at the ledge area near their spawn. You can save yourself some time by sticky jumping up from the bottom area to the top area where the lifts are, and you can even sticky jump right up onto the Center Tower to either attack enemies below or on the tower itself.
  • At the beginning of the match, laying stickies near the enemy cart from on top of the Central Tower is good for cart denial, allowing your teammates to get a head start pushing the cart, preventing the other team from being able to access it.
  • If enemies are pushing the cart on the elevator, getting on it and detonating your Ullapool Caber will kill or push away all or most enemies away from the cart.

Leaderboard class heavy.png Heavy

  • Heavies are very situational on Hightower, with Scouts/Pyros favored at close range against the Minigun's rev-up time and Soldiers/Demomen favored at medium/long range due to damage fall-off and slow movement. However, this doesn't stop the Heavy from having the highest point-blank damage per second of any class. With the Tomislav, the Heavy is playable as a standalone or ambush character, otherwise you rely on having support from other classes to stay alive or continually revving your Minigun.
  • Try to stay near the cart at all times, looking behind you and all around to ward off Spies when you're not shooting at enemies. You can even ride on top of the cart with a crouch jump.
  • While pushing your own cart, if you are using the Brass Beast, or have other people also pushing the cart, you will fall behind if you continually rev your Minigun to counter ambush classes. To counter this, stand directly in front of or on top of the cart.
  • If playing without support, look for opportunities to surprise the enemy. Dropping off the Central Tower while spinning your Minigun can be a devastating close-range attack.
  • Heavies can use their large health pool as a great advantage against an offensive Engineer. Miniguns can quickly dispatch Combat Mini-Sentry Gun with ease, and higher level Sentry Guns at close range.
  • As with any other Payload or Payload race map, unless enemy Snipers are constantly targeting you, the healing provided by the cart, (and possibly a lunchbox item) will allow you to mostly soak up long range fire, while your primary weapon's firepower will most likely deter most attackers at close range
  • It's recommended that you avoid primary weapons that increase rev-up time when actively at your cart, since you will possibly fall behind your teammates, becoming much less useful (and more vulnerable).

Leaderboard class engineer.png Engineer

  • Combat Mini-Sentry Guns can be very effective on Hightower. Placing a Mini-Sentry on the opposing team's side of the Central Tower is a usually unexpected tactic. If the enemy team's cart is going up the Hightowers, then you can use a Mini-Sentry and the Wrangler to damage and kill enemies from the opposite side of the map.
  • Building a Sentry Gun on the ramp to the right outside the base can greatly hinder the opposing team's attempts to push the cart. The Sentry Gun will have a height advantage due to the slope and make it very difficult for enemies to successfully push. Be sure to Spy-check as opposing teams will usually use a Spy to sap whilst an offensive group launches a push up the ramp.
  • Engineers who are particularly ambitious may try to construct a Sentry right outside the enemy base closest to the overhanging tower. This will wreak havoc on the enemy team as they struggle to understand how heavy and normally loud units are appearing at their doorstep.

Leaderboard class medic.png Medic

  • A prime spot to ÜberCharge is at the Ramps. Typically, an enemy team will have some sort of defense setup there if the match does not seem to be going their way. Taking a Heavy, Demoman, or Soldier up the ramp while the rest of the team pushes the cart up the Ramp can result in momentum that carries your team all the way up the Ramp. Just be wary of an air-blasting Pyro, as they can push you and your pocket off of the cliff. You can attack from the opposite side of that ramp to avoid getting knocked off the cliff.
  • You can use the arc of your Syringe Guns to easily kill enemies on the final elevator who are covering themselves behind the cart. By standing at the top of the stairs leading from the ground to the raised section of the track and firing from there, you will have a clear line of sight to them, while they will struggle to identify your location before you kill them.
  • The nature of this map means that the location of combat is constantly shifting. Consider using the Overdose and the Quick-Fix to traverse the map rapidly, although the stock Medi Gun is much better for destroying Sentry Guns, so switch to it if you find your team at an impasse.
  • When ÜberCharging a teammate, beware of enemy Pyros - Their airblast can be used to completely neutralize an Über on this map by pushing Medics over the cliff. The Quick-Fix can be used to negate this, at the cost of some offensive power.

Leaderboard class sniper.png Sniper

  • The Sniper nest attracts Spies looking for an easy kill. Be wary if you are going to snipe from there.
    • Also watch out for enemy Snipers.
  • The Cliff House is an excellent Sniper spot for when the enemy team has pushed their cart to the lift section. The enemy team's main priority will be pushing the cart and they'll most likely stay on the higher areas with the cart rather than the lower areas, minimizing the danger of attack.
  • The Cliff House is an excellent offensive Sniper spot when your team has pushed the cart to the uphill section and are trying to break the defenses of the opposing team.
    • However, keep in mind that the Cliff House has the only large Health kit on the map, so you may be caught off guard by an enemy rushing over there for heath. If you're lucky and you notice an enemy approaching, you can nab the Health kit before he has a chance to, then finish him off as he will likely have low health.
  • If the enemy cart has made it to the elevator, consider using the Machina to kill bunched together enemies on the small platform.
  • The Huntsman charges the fastest and allows for the most mobility, and thus is the best weapon to kill Sentry Guns (unless you have a line of sight for using a rifle). A 75% charged Huntsman shot can one-shot a Combat Mini-Sentry Gun, a strong counter to offensive Engineers, which are very prevalent on this map
  • Offensively sniping from a position between the elevators has the best array of sniping points (including a popular spawn gate), but is incredibly exposed. A dynamic Sniper can maneuver around this area and generate a number of unexpected kills while this space is uncontested.

Leaderboard class spy.png Spy

  • At the start of the match, the opposing team will always head for their team's respective cart. This is a great opportunity to get a few backstabs, especially on slower classes.
  • Crouch-jump on the barrels to get to the Sniper perch and get some backstabs. If you are using Your Eternal Reward, grab a disguise and head into the Engineer nest one room over.
  • When in the Sniper perch, there will always be a Pyro or two who will check everybody. When you see a Pyro coming, Cloak before he sees you and hops down onto the lower levels. You can return to the perch or Engineer nest later.
  • When either Payload is at the final stage, there will always be a Heavy who will use his Minigun to suppress the cart from his team's perch. Cloak, head up to the perch, and kill him. Use Your Eternal Reward to blend in.
  • When in the perch, some Engineers will set up a small hub for the Snipers, a hub that you must destroy. You have a few ways of doing this. If you have Your Eternal Reward equipped, backstab a Sniper to gain his disguise. You can use that for cover and take out the Engineer and his hub. If you are using the Knife, stab and sap is the best method of killing off the Engineer. You can then take out the Snipers.
  • The small alley under the tower itself is a popular Engineer spot. The losing team will usually put Teleporters there and the winning team will usually put Sentry Guns there. Use the drop section above the alley for a surprise attack. Be careful though, as a smart Engineer will probably stay with the buildings, knowing of the drop part. Plus, the small alley makes it hard to dodge attacks and hide.
  • You can ambush people easily by jumping off the Hightower onto the wooden bridge below you, and getting some surprising backstabs. You can then run back up to the top of the tower, and repeat the process.
  • With Engineers being so common, and Mini Sentry Guns, too, the Diamondback can be an effective option.