Community Sniper strategy

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Cold Blooded Killer
If your strategy is to build me confidence, it's working.
The Sniper

The Sniper is a long-range support class that focuses on the elimination of key targets. The Sniper generally stays back to avoid heavy fire because he is very frail at 125 health. The Sniper is one of the three classes that can gain headshot bonuses (the others being an Ambassador-wielding Spy and a Pyro who compression blasts Huntsman arrows). Headshots are guaranteed critical hits, and often result in an instant kill when fully charged (with the exception of anyone with a bullet resistance). The ability to do this consistently can set apart an amateur Sniper from an elite Sniper.

Quick Tips

  • Snipers need to be aware of their surroundings because they are often the main targets of Spies and enemy Snipers, both of which he is most vulnerable to. Equip the Razorback, SMG, or Jarate to help with Spies. While reloading your rifle, move from side to side to Spy check the area you're sniping around.
  • Try not to crowd up the class! Too many Snipers can ruin a team's viability. If you're not getting kills as a Sniper, you're not contributing and thus should consider switching classes until there are fewer Snipers.
  • Put the crosshair on a target before scoping to maximize mobility.

General

Keep the dot on a nearby object so enemy players won't suspect you to be there.
  • Since your enemies can see the laser dot of your rifle, consider aiming at a doorway or other obstacle to hide your presence. They will be much easier to hit if they are not expecting you than if they are actively trying to dodge your aim. Alternatively, you can use the Huntsman, which doesn't have a laser dot.
    • In contrast to this, you can use it to discourage enemy advances. Most classes will not willingly walk into a Sniper's line of fire, and will instead take another route. This tactic does not always work well with Scouts, who are fast enough to slip through your aim. Note that the enemy can only see the laser dot when facing an object in the same direction you're facing.
  • Watch for enemy Snipers. An uncharged headshot is a one-hit kill, and expert Snipers can line one up in a fraction of a second. If you want to charge your shot, do so behind an obstacle where you can't be seen, and peek out when you're ready to shoot. This is not a foolproof method, however.
  • Sticking to one point might take your life. The freezecam will give away your position away after a single kill; you should switch to a new location often, especially after killing another Sniper or firing a shot from The Machina (which fires an obvious tracer from your position).
  • Mobility in general is a valued trait for the Sniper. Remember that walking while zoomed is ineffective, as your speed is almost halved.
  • Pick your targets carefully. As a support class, it's always important to help your team out in the most efficient way possible, so look out for high value targets on the battlefield, mainly Medics, Heavies, and other Snipers. By killing targets that would otherwise disrupt your aim, inflict heavy damage, or negatively impact your team, you are being a great support to your entire team.
    • A quick shot against a Medic's patient, or the Medic himself, can force him to use his ÜberCharge early, allowing your teammates to kill the patient before inflicting any damage to your team on the front lines.
      • However, a Headshot with a Sniper Rifle will instantly kill a Medic (unless the Medic is overhealed). Take this into consideration, as you can easily take out support Medics.
  • Disabling the automatic re-zoom option might help you, but it's not a requirement. Some Snipers prefer to not use the automatic re-zoom of the Sniper Rifle's scope after every shot. To prevent the re-zoom, turn off the automatic re-zoom in the "Advanced Options" button on the main menu.
    • Alternately, pressing alt-fire after taking a scoped shot and before the rifle has re-zoomed will prevent the re-zoom from occurring.
  • A fully-charged shot can instantly destroy any Level 1 Building and do major damage to others. Put pressure on enemy Engineers by standing outside the range of their equipment and hitting them with charged shots. Make sure to kill the Engineers first, since harming their buildings will make them fix them back to full health, thus wasting ammo and time. Working in conjunction with a friendly Soldier can easily overwhelm the Engineer's repair capabilities.
  • Crouching shifts your vision downwards while making you a much smaller target (albeit a slower one). This can be useful for getting a better shot on your enemies. Crouching may also throw off enemy Snipers going for a headshot, especially if you have just fired a shot and are retreating.
  • When an enemy is Jumping, it can make it significantly easier to headshot them, as they move in a predictable path (unless Air strafing). Likewise, jumping to avoid an enemy Sniper will only make you a much easier target to hit.
  • Pay attention to respawn timers, especially when facing many enemy Snipers. On defense, you may only have 5-10 seconds to focus on other targets between respawns.
  • When forced into close combat (i.e. encountering a Spy or a Sniper in close range), you have two options: retreat and attempt a quick headshot or bodyshot, or fight with your secondary and melee weapons. A quick headshot is rarely a viable option unless you know you can make it. It's generally more advisable to retreat while firing your SMG or throwing your Jarate. Make sure to strafe while retreating to make your movement less predictable to Soldiers and Demomen. Rushing in with your melee weapon has different results depending on the weapon. The Shahanshah is primarily designed for this style of attack, and the Kukri is also viable. The Bushwacka works exceptionally if you use Jarate. The Tribalman's Shiv is better suited to surprise attacks and revealing Cloaked Spies.
  • When sniping, it's very common for the other team to have one or two Spies attempting to backstab you. You can use walls to protect your back while you snipe if you don't use the Razorback. But keep alert, as a Spy can kill you just as easily with their Revolver or backstab you from the side.
    • If Spies become a problem even after equipping the Razorback, one can equip the Jarate and the Bushwhacka. The Jarate can easily expose enemy Spies and the Bushwhacka allows the player to kill a Spy coated in Jarate with only one hit as opposed to two with the Kukri. For a more offensive and aware Sniper, this strategy is oftentimes more effective than equipping the Razorback as it allows Spies to be eliminated with relative ease.
    • Alternatively, you can stay near your teammates for support, so Spies will have a harder time picking you out.

Weapon Specific

Primary Weapons

Sniper Rifle + reskins

Weapon Kill Icon Ammo Damage
Loaded Carried 0% Charge 100% Charge Critical at 0% Critical at 100%
Sniper Rifle
Stock
Sniper Rifle
Killicon sniper rifle.png 1 25 43-57 128-172 150 450
Killicon sniperriflehs.png
Festive Sniper Rifle
Uncrate
Festive Sniper Rifle
Killicon sniper rifle.png
Killicon sniperriflehs.png
AWPer Hand
Promotional
AWPer Hand
Killicon sniper rifle.png
Killicon sniperriflehs.png
Item icon Rust Botkiller Sniper Rifle.png Item icon Blood Botkiller Sniper Rifle.png Item icon Silver Botkiller Sniper Rifle.png Item icon Gold Botkiller Sniper Rifle.png Item icon Carbonado Botkiller Sniper Rifle.png Item icon Diamond Botkiller Sniper Rifle.png

Botkiller Sniper Rifle

Killicon sniper rifle.png
Killicon sniperriflehs.png
Australium Sniper Rifle
Advanced+ Mann Up Reward
Australium Sniper Rifle
Killicon sniper rifle.png
Killicon sniperriflehs.png
  • Aim for the head. A headshot will automatically crit, and a fully charged headshot is the only thing short of a backstab that can instantly kill a fully Overhealed Heavy.
  • A fully charged Bodyshot can kill Scouts, Engineers, Spies, and other Snipers outright if they are not Overhealed. A fully charged bodyshot may kill a Medic in one shot, depending on damage spread. See Damage.
  • Keeping your back against a wall while zoomed in can protect you from a backstab, but you should still be wary of Spies. On the other hand, keeping your back against a wall will leave you more open to splash damage from rockets.
    • Note that Spies can backstab for 180 degrees around the back of a player.
  • Unscoped Sniper Rifle shots do approximately 50 damage. If a target is too close, you should be using your secondary or melee weapons.
  • Standing still while zoomed in will make you an easy target for enemy Snipers and Spies. Move around and Spy check often to throw both classes off.
  • Do not stay zoomed in constantly. It's easy to miss a player coming towards you with your narrowed field of view, or miss a chance to hit another enemy a few yards away.
  • Positioning is key; you should look for high vantage points to get a good view of the battlefield, or positions where you can easily cover multiple enemy routes. Ideally, you want to maximize your threat to your enemies while minimizing their threat to you.
  • Changing the cl_interp variable to 0.034 in your Autoexec.cfg can help increase the likelihood of hitting a fast moving enemy. See Scripting.
  • Firing through small holes in walls minimizes the space enemies can shoot back through. This makes you a minuscule target, but this also limits the area you can cover.

The table below lists the percentage charge needed to kill enemies with a bodyshot/headshot. Percentages greater than 100 mean you cannot kill enemies with one shot in this fashion.

Note: If random damage spread is enabled, body shot percentages will vary. All classes but the Pyro have gear that can increase or lower their total health, so only use this table as a guide. The Soldier may use the Battalion's Backup, reducing your damage and preventing you from scoring headshots on his affected teammates: Look for a circle around their feet.

Huntsman + reskins

Weapon Kill Icon Ammo Damage
Loaded Carried 0% Charge 100% Charge Critical at 0% Critical at 100%
Huntsman
Unlock
Huntsman
Killicon huntsman.png 1 12 44-58 103-137 150 360
Killicon huntsmanhs.png 150 360 360 360
Killicon flaming huntsman.png

Killicon flaming huntsman afterburn.png

104-118 153-187 210 420
Festive Huntsman
Uncrate
Festive Huntsman
Killicon huntsman.png 1 12 44-58 103-137 150 360
Killicon huntsmanhs.png 150 360 360 360
Killicon flaming huntsman.png

Killicon flaming huntsman afterburn.png

104-118 153-187 210 420
Fortified Compound
Promotional/Craft
Fortified Compound
Killicon huntsman.png 1 12 44-58 103-137 150 360
Killicon huntsmanhs.png 150 360 360 360
Killicon flaming huntsman.png

Killicon flaming huntsman afterburn.png

104-118 153-187 210 420

The Huntsman is an unlockable primary weapon for the Sniper. It gives the Sniper a bow to fire arrows as projectiles without the need to scope.

  • Huntsman arrows take time to travel to your target. Lead your target unless they're headed straight for you. Arrows will always hit to the lower right corner of the crosshair.
    • Arrows arc downwards when fired. The greater the charge, the straighter and faster your shot will fly. Aim your arrows above your target if they are far away, and constantly raise the distance above your target the farther away they are.
  • When under fire, don't stick around to see if your shots hit their mark; duck behind cover! Enable the hit sound in Advanced Options so you can easily hear a successful shot.
  • Occasionally take shots at areas enemies are likely to appear from, even if you don't see anyone there at the moment. By the time your arrow reaches its destination, an enemy may have appeared. This is mostly useful when aiming at common Sniper nests and choke points.
  • A Sniper using a standard kind of Sniper Rifle has an advantage over you, since his weapon doesn't have travel time. Avoid engaging them at medium/long range unless they are under fire or are plainly unaware of your presence.
    • If the Sniper is taking a shot and ducking behind cover in a very predictable pattern, it's possible to time your shots in order to hit him as he peeks out again.
  • Huntsman Snipers have higher mobility and no scope to restrict their field of view. They are also capable of landing near-instant headshots, and have an easier time defending themselves with their primary weapon.
  • The SMG pairs well with the Huntsman; it allows you to finish off an enemy faster if you miss a headshot and instead bodyshot them. In addition, if you run out of arrows, you will have a secondary damage source.
    • If you equip a secondary other than the SMG, keep an eye on the amount of ammunition available. If you run out of arrows, you will only be able to use your melee weapon for direct damage.
  • Remember that the Huntsman loses aim after a few seconds. It is recommended to pull back the Huntsman only when you are certain an enemy is about to come into your line of sight. (alt-fire to release drawn arrows)
  • The Huntsman does not have a laser sight, giving you an edge and an element of surprise on the battlefield. Use this advantage to fire safely behind cover. Make sure to still keep your mobility, though, as the freezecam will still give away your position!
  • Before going around a corner, have your Huntsman fully drawn to be ready for approaching enemies. Alternately, jump around a corner while charging a shot to surprise your attackers.
  • Use alt-fire to gently release drawn arrows without firing. Holding it drawn back for more than 5 seconds will result in a very inaccurate shot that will likely miss.
  • Avoid fighting in wide-open areas, where enemies can easily dodge your arrows. Stick to narrow spaces or mid-range combat whenever possible.
  • Fired arrows have a team-colored trail and will stick in walls for a period of time. This can give away your position.
  • Always attempt to ambush enemies; catching them off-guard will give them no time to dodge your arrows.
  • A friendly Pyro with any Flamethrower, a Soldier with the Righteous Bison, an Engineer with the Pomson 6000, or a torch on DeGroot Keep can light your arrows on fire, even if they're not drawn. Lit arrows have the added bonus of setting your enemies on fire. Switching weapons will cause a lit arrow to go out.
  • Since the Huntsman does similar damage to the Rifle while firing faster, you can use it to put pressure on enemy Medics and Engineers. Team up with a friendly Soldier or Sniper to quickly take down buildings or force a Medic to deploy an ÜberCharge.
  • The Huntsman can do a maximum of 360 damage with a fully-charged headshot. This means you cannot kill an overhealed Heavy without using multiple arrows.

The table below lists the percentage charge needed to kill enemies with a bodyshot/headshot. Percentages greater than 100 mean you cannot kill enemies with one shot in this fashion.

Note: If random damage spread is enabled, body shot percentages will vary. All classes but the Pyro have items that can increase or lower their total health, so only use this table as a guide.

Sydney Sleeper

Weapon Kill Icon Ammo Damage
Loaded Carried 0% Charge 100% Charge Critical at 0% Critical at 100%
Sydney Sleeper
Craft
Sydney Sleeper
Killicon sydney sleeper.png 1 25 43-57 128-172 150 450

The Sydney Sleeper is a craftable primary weapon for the Sniper. While scoped, any target hit will be applied with a Jarate effect scaled from 2 to 8 seconds depending on the charge. The weapon is unable to headshot enemies, but grants an additional 25% charging rate for quicker powerful bodyshots.

  • Snipers looking to quickly support teammates should have good feelings about the Sydney Sleeper. Its Jarate effect causes enemies coated in it to take Mini-Crit damage, which deal 35% more damage to enemies hit on any scoped hit. Snipers that also find headshots difficult should consider using the Sydney Sleeper to still be credit to team.
  • In a heated firefight, focus on hitting heavier classes with charged shots to aid your teammates. Coated enemies will be more cautious before entering a battlefield.
  • The darts are able to Jarate multiple targets, allowing for skilled-based application. Charge up a shot for a long Jarate period on heavier classes, and 'mark' weaker classes.
  • An unscoped shot on a coated enemy will do 68 damage. Use this to finish off attackers.
  • Work with your teammates to eliminate threats. Applying the Jarate effect to an enemy is useless unless there is a teammate there to help finish the job.
  • Although you can't score headshots with the Sydney Sleeper, a fully charged bodyshot still does significant damage and can kill lighter classes while applying the Jarate effect to heavier ones.
  • When playing on nighttime maps (such as Doublecross or Pipeline), use the Sydney Sleeper to highlight enemies that are hidden in the shadows waiting to ambush you or your teammates. Even if they are in a lighted area, the Jarate may discourage them trying to take a sneaky approach towards something.
  • The SMG is a more viable backup weapon when an enemy is coated, so it makes a good companion.
  • The Bushwacka is also a great backup weapon for coated enemies.
    • You can also 'quickscope' close range enemies with a dart and quickly switching to the Bushwacka.
  • Prioritize hitting Spies if you find any, because the Jarate effect will distinguish them from your teammates. This is especially effective if they have the Dead Ringer equipped, as when they "die", their outline will be highlighted by the Jarate effect for the duration of their charge.
  • The Sydney Sleeper is one of the best weapons the Sniper has for taking out Engineer buildings because of its faster charge rate. Fully charged shots can take out all level 1 buildings, and a fully charged shot followed up with a half-charged shot will take out any unattended building.
  • The Jarate application and the massive damage caused by a fully charged shot will often deter enemies from continuing forward while the Jarate wears off. It can be used in a pinch to prevent an enemy rush, usually by marking stronger targets.
  • In close range scenarios with your team, make sure to briefly scope in and hit enemies with your gun. Even if you do not charge a shot, scoping in quickly to tag an enemy with Jarate can prove devastating to your foe if there is a Heavy or Pyro in your group.
  • You are at a significant disadvantage facing against other Snipers. It's vital to follow these few tips:
    • Never try to face a Sniper head on, he can headshot you quickly whereas you must wait a few seconds before being able to kill him. If you are forced to face one head on, use corners and objects to safely charge your shot, and peep out to hopefully make a kill. Otherwise, rely on no-scopes.
    • Take aim when the Sniper is busy or distracted, he is still a threat to your team, and is still your job to deal with him. Take your time either waiting for a chance or taking an alternate route to remain out of their mind/sight. You should be able to safely kill him if this goes as planned.
  • This weapon can be used as a somewhat replacement/combination of Jarate and Sniper Rifle, especially for those who have trouble headshotting, due to being able to both extinguish teammates (with charged shots), and not only coat a single enemy, but a bunch if the shot was a headshot and/or a fully charged shot.
  • This weapon can be useful for starter Snipers who are bad at headshoting

Bazaar Bargain

Weapon Kill Icon Ammo Damage
Loaded Carried 0% Charge 100% Charge Critical at 0% Critical at 100%
Bazaar Bargain
Craft
Bazaar Bargain
Killicon bazaar bargain.png 1 25 43-57 128-172 150 450
Killicon sniperriflehs.png 1 25 150 450 150 450

The Bazaar Bargain is a craftable Sniper Rifle for the Sniper. It starts out with a 50% slower charge rate when scoped-in. A headshot kill caused by the Bazaar Bargain will increase the charge rate by 25%, maxing out at 200% of the normal charge rate. This is represented by a "Head" counter on the HUD, with one head equaling +25% charge. Six consecutive headshots are needed to achieve the maximum charge rate.

  • This weapon rewards skilled Snipers the most, as one must obtain three headshot kills in a single life to begin receiving any benefit from it.
  • For your first few heads, target classes that can be killed with an uncharged headshot (Scouts, Engineers, Medics, Snipers, Spies).
  • Beware of Demomen with the Eyelander; if they manage to decapitate you, your Head count will be added to theirs!

Machina + reskins

Weapon Kill Icon Ammo Damage
Loaded Carried 0% Charge 100% Charge Critical at 0% Critical at 100%
Machina
Promotional/Craft
Machina
Killicon machina.png 1 25 43-57 147-197 150 517
Killicon sniperriflehs.png 1 25 150 517 150 517
Killicon machina penetrate.png 1 25 N/A 147-197 N/A 517
Killicon machina penetratehs.png 1 25 N/A 517 N/A 517
Shooting Star
Uncrate
Shooting Star
Killicon shooting star.png 1 25 43-57 147-197 150 517
Killicon sniperriflehs.png 1 25 150 517 150 517
Killicon machina penetrate.png 1 25 N/A 147-197 N/A 517
Killicon machina penetratehs.png 1 25 N/A 517 N/A 517

The Machina is a craftable primary weapon for the Sniper. While scoped at full charge, it deals 15% more damage and can pierce through multiple targets, but at the cost of generating considerably more noise per shot, being unable to fire un-scoped, and leaving a highly-distinctive team-colored tracer behind the shot.

  • The Machina is best in long corridors and entryway sniping, where the Machina's piercing attribute allows it to hit multiple foes at once. The BLU team entrances on Payload maps, the tunnel and alleyway on Badwater Basin, and maps that funnel enemies down specific routes are where the Machina truly excels. The Machina can kill both a Heavy and his Medic behind him with a well-placed, fully-charged shot.
  • This weapon all but necessitates taking the SMG along with it. As the Machina cannot fire unless scoped, it is difficult to defend yourself in close-quarters combat. Though the weapon is still functional with other secondary weapons, you will be forced to rely on your melee weapon for dealing with enemies that manage to get close.
    • The stock Sniper Rifle will most likely miss when not scoped, so this disadvantage of the Machina is not that significant.
  • You can simulate unscoped shots by holding down primary fire and then pressing alt-fire to shoot.
  • This weapon's power for stealth trade can be countered by using it whilst roaming, so the tracer cannot be used by your opponents to locate you in any one position.
  • The Machina may succeed where other rifles fail; a Heavy with the Fists of Steel active can survive a fully charged headshot from the Sniper Rifle (450 − 40% = 270), but the Machina's extra damage will kill a Heavy under these conditions (518 − 40% = 311)

Hitman's Heatmaker

Weapon Kill Icon Ammo Damage
Loaded Carried 0% Charge 100% Charge Critical at 0% Critical at 100%
Hitman's Heatmaker
Craft
Hitman's Heatmaker
Killicon hitman's heatmaker.png 1 25 34-48 120 120 120
Killicon sniperriflehs.png 1 25 150 450 150 450

The Hitman's Heatmaker, like the Bazaar Bargain, comes with a meter that increases with each kill; in this case, each assist fills the "focus" bar 11%, and every kill 33%. Upon filling the bar, the rifle's charge rate increases 25% and the player does not unscope, but the rifle temporarily fires tracer rounds. Additionally, the rifle is capped at 80% body-shot damage, limiting one-hit kills to headshots.

  • Contrary to popular belief, the player can unscope while in focus mode, and even switch weapons. They simply remain scoped unless the player chooses to unscope.
  • Since the benefits of the rifle are limited to its focus mode, consider a different rifle if Spies frequently prowl your location.
    • This weapon pairs well with the Razorback, as you are vulnerable to backstabs while still in scoped mode. Listen for the sound of your Razorback breaking so you can unscope and kill the Spy. However, you are still vulnerable to the Spy's Revolver, which may kill you before you have time to react.
  • Though bodyshots cannot get one-hit kills, do not be discouraged from using them—if the enemy is under attack or not at full health, you still have a high chance of getting a kill or assist despite performing a less difficult shot.
  • This is a good weapon for a Sniper who likes to stay back from the front lines and avoid risks, in order to fill up his focus. Choose this weapon if you like to aim for headshots and want a bonus to charge rate, but don't wish to carry the Bazaar Bargain's initial charge rate penalty.
  • Activate your Focus when your target(s) moves unpredictably. This will help you line up your shot by staying zoomed in, and comes with the bonus of a faster charge rate for heavier targets. Make sure your back is against a wall if you can while doing this, as Spies will be even more of a threat.

Classic

Weapon Kill Icon Ammo Damage
Loaded Carried 0% Charge 100% Charge Critical at 0% Critical at 100%
Classic
Craft
Classic
Killicon classic.png 25 N/A 38-50 137 137 137
Killicon sniperriflehs.png 25 N/A 150 450 150 450

The Classic is a craftable primary weapon for the Sniper. The Classic will allow the Player to charge their shot without having to zoom in, but the player will have decreased movement speed. It is only capable of getting headshots when fully charged, and deals 10% less damage on bodyshots. Unlike other rifles, the Classic is charged by holding down the fire key, and releasing to fire the shot. The Classic also allows the ability to fire multiple shots without leaving the scope.

  • The player can actually cancel a shot simply by switching weapons to secondary or melee, or by jumping while releasing the fire key.
  • Due to damage penalty on bodyshots, try to aim for headshots as much as you can to maximize the effectiveness of this weapon.
  • Only hold down the fire key when you know an enemy is visible, or you'll be vulnerable with your decreased movement speed.
    • Thus, timing is key with this weapon. Hold down the fire key and release only when an enemy is in your line of sight, or you'll end up wasting your shot.
  • Be aware that you cannot fire a charged shot midair. Look out for classes with Juggling abilities.
  • The Classic is a unique rifle in which it is possible to jump without unscoping or firing a shot. This means you have extra vertical maneuverability with this weapon, even while charging, although you are still limited by slowed movement speed or being unable to fire in the air.
  • Don't be too fooled by the damage penalty for bodyshots, as a fully charged bodyshot is still capable of killing a non-Overhealed Scout, Spy, Engineer, and Sniper in one shot.
  • Its recommend to use the ability to look around you while charging in case someone, especially Spies, try to kill you behind your back or too close to the scope. Remember that you can still headshot even while unscoped, as long as the rifle is fully charged.
  • Due to the Classic's unique ability to fire multiple shots while zoomed in, it'll be easier to pick off multiple targets in a short period of time with this weapon.
  • You are at a disadvantage when facing other Snipers, since you cannot spend the time to charge a shot without being headshotted yourself. Use your abilities to move at full speed while scoped in and fire multiple shots without unscoping to your advantage.

Secondary Weapons

Submachine Gun + reskins

Weapon Kill Icon Ammo Damage
Loaded Carried Point Blank Medium Range Long Range Critical
Submachine Gun
Stock
Submachine Gun
Killicon SMG.png 25 75 8-12 4-6 4-5 24
Australium SMG
Advanced+ Mann Up Reward
Australium Submachine Gun
Killicon SMG.png
Festive SMG
Uncrate
Festive SMG
Killicon SMG.png
  • If you are being attacked, retreat quickly while using your SMG, as it is more suited for close combat than your rifle.
  • It's important to make every shot with this weapon count, due to the low damage output. Aim carefully and keep your crosshair trained on the enemy rather than just spraying bullets wildly.
  • The SMG is useful for spraying wide areas to reveal or draw out Spies who are trying to hide in the vicinity. Once you know a Spy is in the immediate area, fire bullets into likely hiding places and watch for the tell-tale blood splattering and Cloak flicker to show when you've made a hit.
  • The SMG is much more viable if used when Mini-Crits or Critical Hits are in effect, due to its low damage and accuracy.
  • Combining the SMG with the Tribalman's Shiv's bleed effect can be incredibly effective. Hit them with the Tribalman's Shiv to make them bleed, back up to mid-range, and start firing with the SMG. Having two constant sources of damage can quickly drain the health out of any class, but success rate may vary; using this method on classes such as Soldiers and Heavies is not a good idea and should only be used in the worst of circumstances.

Razorback

Weapon Ammo Effect
Loaded Carried Passive Effect
Razorback
Unlock
Razorback
1 0 Immunity to a single Backstab. If a backstab is attempted, the Spy will be unable to attack or Cloak for approximately 2 seconds, and will be unable to switch weapons. The player will be alerted by a loud electrical sound, as well as being zoomed out of their scope if they were zoomed in.
A Razorback breaks after one successful backstab.
  • Keep an ear out for the electrical breaking sound of your Razorback, as it means a Spy is right behind you. Try killing him with you melee weapon, but be quick, because if too much time passes, the Spy can kill (or weaken) you with his Revolver.
  • Only use the Razorback if you know the enemy has Spies on their team and those Spies are actively impeding your sniping. The SMG is very advantageous in hunting down Spies in your area or taking down nearby weak enemies. The other secondary item, Jarate, is excellent for keeping already-discovered Spies visible to your team or making enemies easier to kill due to its Mini-Crit effects.
  • The peace-of-mind of being able to survive a backstab helps sniping on a psychological level, despite its many counters. This can be a benefit to certain new players or Snipers who get backstabbed too often.
  • If you are actively capturing Control Points or pushing the Cart, the Razorback will help protect you from chainstabs.
  • Razorbacks respawn after thirty seconds once they are broken, with the only way to get one faster is to visit a resupply locker, so once it's broken, you have to either watch your back for thirty seconds, or head back to spawn to get a new one.
  • If you are not in a well-defended location, the Razorback is not recommended. Experienced Ambassador/Enforcer Spies will kill you before you realize what hit you. However, it can also deter a Your Eternal Reward Spy due to forcing them to choose between killing you and losing a precious disguise or ignoring you and letting you continue picking off their team.
  • The Razorback excels in Medieval Mode, as Spies will be limited to the use of their knives and disguise kits (unless using Your Eternal Reward).
  • Just because you are immune to one backstab doesn't mean you can ignore your surroundings. If you know there is a Spy in the area, don't let him go so far as to remove your Razorback. Try Spy-checking or warning your teammates.
  • If you have this shield equipped and are being shot, chances are a Spy is nearby and noticed your Razorback. Assuming you don't die, the best course of action is to run for safety, get health, and warn your teammates.
  • As most experienced Spies will simply switch to their Revolver instead of stabbing your shield, the Razorback is best used for offensive Snipers with the Huntsman or experienced ones "quick-scoping" with the Sniper Rifles, as it will prevent trickstabs.

Jarate

Weapon Ammo Effect
Loaded Carried Effect on Enemies Effect on Teammates Effect Duration Recharge Time
Jarate
Unlock
Jarate
1 Incoming damage is taken in mini-crits. Cloak is rendered useless. Can be removed by going into water or being healed by a Medic for some time. Extinguishes flame on yourself and/or teammates. 10 seconds 20 seconds (16 seconds when teammate extinguished)
Self-Aware Beauty Mark
Uncrate
Self-Aware Beauty Mark
  • The Jarate's Mini-Crits do not stack with normal Crits, meaning that you'll either score a Critical hit or a Mini-Crit.
  • Try to throw it at a Spy as soon as you spot him so that he can't Cloak and escape. Jarate renders the Spy's Cloak almost useless, lightly displaying his team color and showing dripping Jarate particles. If you suspect a Spy is in the vicinity, do not be afraid to use your Jarate to spycheck.
  • You can use Jarate to extinguish yourself and your allies if on fire. Throw it at the ground if you are on fire yourself.
  • Be aware that Jarate cannot be thrown through friendly players. Try to avoid having it hit a player who is not on fire that is in the way. This tends to happen in tight areas and hallways, when you can't throw past the friendlies in front of you.
  • Alongside with Pyros, Demomen and Soldiers can also make good Jarate buddies, since they have powerful area-of-effect attacks with a similar range to Jarate. This means they have a better chance of hitting the coated enemy and dealing more damage to them.
    • In particular, Soldiers with the Buff Banner are especially useful, as your Mini-Crits will charge their rage, so that they can grant further Mini-Crits.
  • Jarate is a good team strategy for close-range Huntsman Snipers. Throw them at groups of enemies who are on a Cart or Control Point to help thin their numbers.
  • Combine Jarate with the Bushwacka, which Crits whenever it can Mini-Crit, for reliable Critical hits.
  • Keep in mind that Jarate does count as a projectile, so it can be airblasted by a Pyro back to you. Keep that in mind when trying to take on a Pyro head-on.
    • Similarly, treat Jarate tosses like a Rocket Launcher against an experienced Pyro. Aim for the feet or splash damage to minimize the chance of them reflecting your Jarate.

Darwin's Danger Shield

Weapon Effect
Passive Effect
Darwin's Danger Shield
Craft
Darwin's Danger Shield
50% fire damage resistance. 100% afterburn immunity.

The Darwin's Danger Shield shield renders you immune to afterburn and halves the damage taken from fire.

  • When used with the Huntsman, you can get closer to the battlefield.
    • Alternatively, pairing the Shahanshah with this shield and the Huntsman allows you to make a last stand when things get rough and you must escape.
  • This can give an advantage to Snipers that find themselves getting ambushed by enemy Pyros.
    • This is especially useful for negating flare shots, which would otherwise result in flinching from fire damage that could considerably disrupt your aim.
    • Negating afterburn can also deny enemy Pyros from obtaining critical hits from combos, such as the Flare Gun's crit-on-burning-players attribute.

Cozy Camper

Weapon Effect
Passive Effect
Cozy Camper
Craft
Cozy Camper
No flinching while scoped. Knockback reduced by 20% while scoped. +1 health per second while equipped. Health regen increases to +4 health per second until being damaged again.
  • The Cozy Camper is a good secondary if you often stick to one spot while sniping.
    • The weapon is less effective if you snipe near the front lines. As a result, this is a poor choice with the Huntsman.
  • Be sure to take note of when you are actually taking damage, since you no longer have an obvious visual indicator of the scope moving.
    • With damaging effects that take place over time (such as afterburn and bleeding), you can fire at least one shot before needing to find a health source.
    • Remember, Pyros firing at you with the Flare Gun or the Detonator can take you out in two or three direct hits.
  • Although you suffer less knockback while scoped, you will be forced to unscope while in the air and be subject to aerials.
  • It is extremely easy to become complacent while aiming. Be aware of your surroundings lest someone take you out at close range or with the occasional Kill taunt.
  • The Cozy Camper is well-suited for Snipers who prefer quick shots and pop in and out of scope often. When using the Cozy Camper, do not be afraid to unscope to reposition for a better shot.

Cleaner's Carbine

Weapon Kill Icon Ammo Damage
Loaded Carried Point Blank Medium Range Long Range Critical
Cleaner's Carbine
Craft
Cleaner's Carbine
Killicon cleaner's carbine.png 20 75 8-12 4-6 4-5 24
  • Despite being fundamentally similar to the stock SMG, the Cleaner's Carbine has a CRIKEY bar which, after getting filled by dealing damage with the weapon and activated through secondary fire, gives the user 100% chance of Mini-Crits for 8 seconds. However, it holds 20% less ammo in a clip, fires 25% slower, and grants no random crits.
  • The mini-crits pass onto your other weapons, so if an enemy is out of the Cleaner's Carbine's effective range, switch to the rifle to get a quick, unscoped, mini-crit bodyshot. If an enemy is close by and you have to reload the Cleaner's Carbine, switch to your melee to get an easy kill. The Bushwacka, which deals critical hits whenever it would normally Mini-Crit, makes an excellent choice when paired with this weapon.

Melee Weapons

Kukri + reskins

Weapon Kill Icon Attack Interval Damage
Point Blank Critical
Kukri
Stock
Kukri
Killicon kukri.png 0.8 seconds 65 195
Saxxy
Promotional
Saxxy
Killicon saxxy.png
Conscientious Objector
Craft
Conscientious Objector
Killicon conscientious objector.png
Frying Pan
Promotional
Frying Pan
Killicon frying pan.png
Freedom Staff
Promotional/Craft
Freedom Staff
Killicon freedom staff.png
Bat Outta Hell
Drop
Bat Outta Hell
Killicon bat outta hell.png
Ham Shank
Drop
Ham Shank
Killicon ham shank.png
Necro Smasher
Achievement
Necro Smasher
Killicon necro smasher.png
Crossing Guard
Uncrate
Crossing Guard
Killicon crossing guard.png
  • Two blows with the Kukri are enough to kill non-Overhealed Spies, Scouts, Engineers, or Snipers.
  • Try to use the Kukri in close quarters. All melee weapons have an increased chance of Critical hits, so you should have an easier time killing your enemy.

Tribalman's Shiv

Weapon Kill Icon Attack Interval Damage
Point Blank Critical
Tribalman's Shiv
Craft
Tribalman's Shiv
Killicon tribalman's shiv.png 0.8 seconds 33 98
Bleeding Killicon bleed.png 48 damage over 6 seconds N/A N/A
  • In many ways, the Shiv's Bleeding effect behaves much in the same way as the Pyro's afterburn. However, bleeding has the advantage of not being removed by being submerged in water, or extinguished with Jarate. Only resupply cabinets and health kits can stop the bleeding effect.
  • Use your Jarate in combination with the Shiv for bleeding Mini-Crits. Using this combination results in a one hit on 125 HP classes such as the Scout, Spy, Sniper, and Engineer. This combination is also useful when wearing down heavier classes; if needed, supplement this damage with your primary weapon.
    • Another effective strategy is to use the SMG on a bleeding enemy. The damage from the SMG with the bleeding will quickly downsize almost any enemy (even an overhealed Heavy), but should only be used in severe situations.
  • Overall, the Tribalman's Shiv causes more damage than the normal Kukri but over a longer duration.
  • Due to the post-damage, two hits with the Tribalman's Shiv on lighter classes (Scout, Spy, Sniper, and Engineer) are enough to kill them by the bleeding, unless they find a way to heal themselves within 6 seconds.
  • Cloaked Spies will be semi-visible when bleeding, due to a slight flicker of their Cloak and the blood effect.
  • Spies using the Dead Ringer won't flicker from bleeding, but will still leave the blood effect, revealing their location.
  • Due to the fact that bleeding does not stack, it may be a good idea to hit each opponent once when fighting multiple foes, and then hit each one again instead of focusing on one first.
  • A Critical hit against an enemy with moderate health can be devastating. If you score a Crit against an enemy, you can take the chance to run away and the bleeding will probably finish them off.
  • Additionally, you can pair the Tribalman's Shiv with the SMG or the Cleaners Carbine to increase damage on the victim with the bleeding and the bullets.

Bushwacka

Weapon Kill Icon Attack Interval Damage
Point Blank Critical
Bushwacka
Craft
Bushwacka
Killicon bushwacka.png 0.8 seconds 65 195
  • This weapon can be very effective when used in conjunction with Jarate, due to its ability of turning Mini-Crits into Full Critical hits.
  • If your enemies have the habit of closing in after being hit by the Sydney Sleeper, this is an excellent counter.
  • The Mini-Crit into Crit effect is applicable to any source of Mini-Crits (Buff Banner, marked for death, etc).
  • The Bushwacka is ideal for dispatching Spies who have activated the Dead Ringer. Coating them in Jarate and hitting them a few times will kill them quickly.
  • In conjunction with a well-placed Jarate toss, the Bushwacka can easily dispatch most enemies; even distracted, overhealed Heavies.
  • Be wary about when you pull out this weapon, due to the increased damage you take when it is active. Only wield it if you are sure that a melee kill is imminent.

Shahanshah

Weapon Kill Icon Attack Interval Damage
At Low Health At Full Health Critical at Low Health Critical at Full Health
Shahanshah
Craft
Shahanshah
Killicon shahanshah.png 0.8 seconds 81 49 244 146

The Shahanshah is a craftable melee weapon for the Sniper. It does 25% less damage when the Sniper is at or above 50% health, but does 25% more damage when he is below 50% health.

  • The Shahanshah is good for fighting Spies. Spies fight at close range, so you'll probably take enough damage to make you a force to be reckoned with.
  • The Shahanshah is best used in combination with the Razorback. The Razorback will encourage Spies to use their Revolver instead of their knife. Being hit with a Revolver will easily bring you under the 50% health requirement and improve your ability to fight Spies even further.
  • The Shahanshah is less effective for ambushing enemies, should the situation arise. For example, if you are the only one around and it becomes necessary to stop a capture, you may need to ambush, which is less effective with this weapon.

Taunt attacks

Skewer

Kill Icon Weapon Damage Duration Details
Skewer
Skewer
Killicon skewer.png Huntsman
Fortified Compound
500 4 seconds The Sniper will remove the prepped arrow from his bow, spin it behind him, and then fiercely stab it forwards before yanking it back.
  • The Huntsman's Skewer taunt is the second-fastest taunt in the game, taking a mere 4 seconds to kill. The initial thrust stuns enemy players, while pulling the arrow out kills.
  • You can stun (but not kill) ÜberCharged enemies with the Skewer, causing them to waste precious seconds.
  • You don't need to touch the enemy with the initial thrust to get the kill; the enemy merely must be in melee range when the arrow is yanked back.
  • On the other hand, it is possible to stun the enemy with the initial thrust but not kill them with the retraction. The taunt is sufficiently fast that you should be able to taunt again before the first thrust's stun wears off.
  • Being such a fast taunt, you can use it to kill distracted enemies or enemies that you suspect are charging towards your position, perhaps around tight corners.

Weapon combinations

Cooperative Class Strategies

Leaderboard class scout.png Scout

Cooperating with a Scout is a bit unorthodox due to your completely different fighting styles, but there is still some chemistry to be found with a friendly Scout.

  • If a Scout is using the Fan O'War, your Bushwacka will score critical hits on an enemy marked for death.
  • You provide a great distraction for the Scout. If enemies are reluctant to cross open areas because of you, they will begin using alternate routes to attack, which allows the Scout to more easily ambush them.
  • If an enemy Engineer is using the Gunslinger, destroying his mini-Sentry Guns from a distance with your Sniper Rifle can help a Scout tremendously.
  • The combination of Jarate with the bleeding effect of a Scout's Boston Basher, Three-Rune Blade, Wrap Assassin or Flying Guillotine can quickly kill weaker classes and severely weaken bulkier ones.
  • When using the Huntsman, you will generally fight closer to the frontlines. A Scout can provide a good distraction, giving you more time to pick your targets.

Leaderboard class soldier.png Soldier

The Soldier is a bulky class that can provide excellent protection for you. While there isn't a whole lot you can do to make the Soldier's job easier, there are still some tactical situations to keep in mind.

  • Enemy Pyros can prevent a Soldier from doing maximum damage due to their airblasting ability. Take them out to allow the Soldier more liberal use of his Rocket Launcher.
  • A Soldier using the Battalion's Backup, when activated, can make it much easier for you to take out an enemy Sniper, as you will be immune to Critical hits, making it impossible for him to headshot you.
  • The Righteous Bison can light your Huntsman arrows on fire.

Leaderboard class pyro.png Pyro

A Pyro can effectively eliminate your risk of getting backstabbed due to its' excellent Spy-checking ability, allowing you to snipe without having to constantly watch your back.

  • As with the Scout, the fear of a Sniper will make enemies avoid open areas, which allows the Pyro to more easily ambush them. This is especially effective when the Pyro is using the Backburner.
  • Combining Jarate with afterburn is extremely effective.
  • A Pyro can lit your Huntsman arrows on fire. This is especially effective when you are fighting close to the frontlines, as the Pyro can constantly keep your arrows lit up.
  • A Pyro can use his Flare Gun to harass enemy Snipers, making it easier for you to take them out.

Leaderboard class demoman.png Demoman

Like the Soldier, the Demoman is a bulky class that can protect you with his explosive ordnance.

  • When the Demoman is using the B.A.S.E. Jumper be sure to protect him, as he is an easy target when descending, especially for enemy Snipers.
  • If possible, take out any enemy Scottish Resistance stickies with your Sniper Rifle or SMG, as they can destroy your Demoman's own stickies.
  • You provide good long range assistance to a Demoman, as he lacks any hitscan weaponry. Focus on targets that are outside the Demoman's range.
  • Do not "steal" sure kills from a Demoman who is using the Half-Zatoichi, as he will then be unable to put it away without suffering 50 HP of damage.
  • You can greatly assist a Demoman in taking out an enemy Sentry nest. Taking out the Engineer with your Sniper Rifle makes sure he can't repair or haul his buildings while the Demoman destroys them.

Leaderboard class heavy.png Heavy

Eliminating enemy Snipers is of utmost importance when supporting a friendly Heavy. The Heavy is a slow class with a large hitbox, making him a juicy target for a Sniper. This is especially true when the Heavy is using the Brass Beast.

  • The Heavy's firepower and obvious, intimidating presence will usually draw lots of enemy fire to him. This allows you to pick your targets more carefully without having to worry too much about incoming fire.
  • If you are close to the frontlines with a Heavy and facing a group of opponents, try to hit all of them with Jarate. The Heavy can then easily deal with them with his Minigun.
  • Although the Heavy boasts the most health of all the classes and is usually not likely to die due to afterburn, extinguishing him with Jarate is still a good idea, as it allows him to save his Sandvich for a more critical situation.
  • A Heavy using the Holiday Punch can make enemies laugh, allowing you to easily headshot them.
  • A Heavy using the Natascha can slow down enemies, which makes it easier for you to take them out.

Leaderboard class engineer.png Engineer

While working with an Engineer may not be overly effective, you can still help him keep his Sentry nest alive.

  • If the Engineer's buildings are being sapped, throw Jarate close to the buildings to reveal the Spy.
  • If you have the SMG equipped, you can use it to destroy enemy sticky bombs that threaten your Engineer's buildings.
  • Taking out enemy Medics denies their ÜberCharge advantage, which goes a long way for defending a Sentry nest.
  • Make sure to protect your Engineer when he is using the Wrangler, as he stands completely still while using it, making him an easier target.
  • Jarate greatly increases the effectiveness of the Southern Hospitality. Its added fire vulnerability is mitigated and its bleed damage will be upgraded to mini-crits.
  • The Pomson 6000 can light your Huntsman arrows on fire.

Leaderboard class medic.png Medic

Protecting your Medic from enemy Snipers should be your top priority at all times.

  • While you are not a very efficient pocket for a Medic, the Huntsman paired with the Kritzkrieg can still do considerable damage in the hands of a skilled Huntsman Sniper.
  • Always extinguish the Medic first with your Jarate.
  • You will generally be a fair distance away from your Medic, so try not to rely on his healing and remember the locations of health packs. If you absolutely need a Medic, go to him rather than have him come to you, as his distance from you means he may have to abandon the rest of the team to help you. If he is using the Crusader's Crossbow, stand completely still so he can quickly heal you from a distance and get back to his work.

Leaderboard class sniper.png Sniper

Two Snipers working together is extremely hazardous to the enemy team, as they will constantly have to avoid open areas, limiting their effectiveness.

  • If the other Sniper is using the SMG, equip Jarate to improve its effectiveness.
  • You can work as a Sniper-Spotter pair: one can stay scoped in to keep his shot fully charged, while the other can stay unscoped to call out potential targets and keep watch for ambushes or Spies.
  • A pair of Snipers is especially problematic for a lone enemy Sniper, as he constantly has to worry about a headshot from both of you, limiting his effectiveness.

Leaderboard class spy.png Spy

You and the Spy fulfill a very similar role, albeit in a different fashion. Cooperating with a Spy can maximize the effectiveness of this role and instill fear and paranoia on the enemy team.

  • If you see a friendly Spy on fire, put him out with Jarate to keep his disguise up. If it's an enemy Spy, he'll be soaked in it, revealing him.
  • Communication with a Spy is important: you can wait until he is in position behind an enemy Medic, take out his pocket and then let him deal with the Medic, or vice versa.
  • You can take out a whole Sentry nest with a Spy. Take out the Engineer with your Sniper Rifle and let the Spy take care of the buildings with his Sapper.

Sniping Priorities

Priorities vary and depend on the situation at the time. The following list should often, but not always, be used in order to specify which target is the first to take down. But if there is an easier shot to take, you should take the time to kill that target first. For example, if you have a large number of teammates battling a nearby Medic with a Heavy, sometimes taking out the Heavy first is the better choice since your teammates will be able to quickly control the area and kill the isolated Medic. If you shoot the Medic first, the Heavy might hold his ground by himself long enough for reinforcements to arrive, but it will only prevent them from using an ÜberCharge.

In order of priority, you should be taking out:

  1. Snipers
  2. Medics
  3. Heavies
  4. Engineers

The rest in relative priority order:

  1. Soldiers
  2. Pyros
  3. Demomen
  4. Spies
  5. Scouts
  • Snipers are on the top of the list because they deny your teammates the ability to cross an open space freely and present the biggest threat to you as another Sniper.
  • Medics are next because they have the ability to heal and activate an ÜberCharge. They can also assist the enemy forces by providing overheals in order to survive the brutal fight with your teammates. The Medics are a higher priority when they have an ÜberCharge ready.
  • Heavies are important targets because of their high damage output, and they can deal a significant amount of damage at close to medium range. They are tough enemies who can hold down points, and with their high health, this makes them very difficult for your allies to take down. When you are taking out a Heavy, fully charge your Sniper Rifle, because their large amounts of health could survive your headshot.
  • Engineers are essential to kill because their Sentry Guns can eliminate your whole team. Once he is down, your teammates will not have to worry about the Sentry Gun being repaired. If you can, try to take out at least the Sentry Gun from a distance after you have eliminated the Engineer in order to save your teammates some time and effort.
  • Soldiers can be a dangerous threat if they take notice of your presence - they can strafe and fire rockets at you to prevent a clean shot. Direct Hit Soldiers are especially dangerous. Taking them down will essentially save your teammates the possibility of being wiped out by the Soldier's rockets.
  • Pyros have awkward-shaped heads, which can make it easier to kill them. They have the ability to easily destroy your team in close combat, so they must be taken down quickly and prior to their onslaught. Pyros equipped with the Flare Gun can set you aflame at range and greatly hinder your ability to snipe.
  • Demomen are next in the priority list because their Stickybombs can hold down an area really well, but their location is most likely reclusive in their territories. Once they die, their stickies will disappear, which will allow your team to move forward.
  • Spies are usually cloaked or disguised. If you see one, shoot him before he causes any trouble, but they will become hard to find as time goes on. Thus, you probably should not worry about them, though if you spot a Spy and did not see him die, call out his presence to your team and watch your back. Most of the time, he should not be a sniping priority.
  • Scouts move too fast in most cases for sniping, and you would be wasting your time and ammo trying to snipe Scouts. In fact, the only times you should even attempt to snipe a Scout is when he is capturing an objective (such as the Intelligence or the Control Point), or there are no other larger threats to kill. If you must snipe a Scout, charge a scoped shot and wait until he is in midair and has used his double-jump, then bodyshot him for an instant kill. (Small exception: On 2Fort, Scouts can often pose a great threat to you and your team if they take the bridge's roof. If you time it right, you can often take them out and retreat to cover before an enemy takes a shot at you. This doesn't make them the highest priority (they are little more than a nuisance if they miss their jump), but makes them a more significant threat than most Spies and Pyros would.)

See also