Community Soldier strategy
As the general-purpose assault class of Team Fortress 2, the Soldier is easy to pick up and play but difficult to master. The Soldier is durable, capable of both long range and close quarters attacks against enemies and buildings alike, is quite accurate, and can often access places on various maps others cannot via rocket jumping. However, he is slower on foot in comparison to most classes, and can pose a threat to himself at close range due to potential self-damage. Regardless, the Soldier is a solid "blast 'em everywhere" class, and experienced players can assault or defend key strategic points with ruthless efficiency.
- 1 Quick Tips
- 2 General
- 3 Weapon Specific
- 3.1 Primary Weapons
- 3.2 Secondary Weapons
- 3.3 Melee Weapons
- 4 Taunt attacks
- 5 Weapon combinations
- 6 Class Combat Strategies
- 7 Cooperative Class Strategies
- 8 See also
- 9 External links
- Always take the high ground. You're harder to attack at higher elevations, and your rockets are harder to avoid.
- A team without Soldiers is probably offensively weak. Fill the role to push back the other team and accomplish the objectives.
- Switch over to your secondary or melee weapons at close range to prevent point-blank rocket explosions from hurting yourself.
- Look for rocket-jump shortcuts, especially in Capture the Flag and Control Point gametypes. A simple backcap can take an entire team by surprise.
- Memorize where the health packs are on each map, as rocket jumping costs a significant fraction of your health.
- Try to anticipate where your enemies are going, as your rockets move relatively slowly. Juggle opponents by shooting your rockets below their feet and launching them into the air for a predictable follow-up shot.
- Changing to your Shotgun can be useful for taking out quick-moving targets like Scouts, as its bullets instantly deal damage.
- Avoid directly shooting rockets at Pyros who have a habit of airblasting. Fire rockets beside them to safely deal splash damage, or bait them into wasting their airblast first, leaving them vulnerable. Better yet, use your Shotgun against them.
- When fighting Pyros, don't fire rockets as fast as you can; they may predict when you'll fire the next rocket and reflect it. After firing, delay firing the next shot in order to confuse the Pyro.
- With 200 health, you have the second-highest base health, second only to the Heavy, and can be overhealed to a maximum of 300 health. Next to the Heavy, you are among the most resilient classes in combat; players tend to take Soldiers into consideration far more readily than most other classes due to your overall health.
- Due to the sheer power of your primary weapons, even at medium range, the Soldier is capable of engaging enemies reliably at most distances, giving players more flexibility compared to other classes (eg. Pyro and Demoman). You are also the only class with both an effective area-of-effect projectile (Rocket Launcher variants) and an accurate hitscan backup weapon (Shotgun), giving you a very balanced loadout for almost any situation.
- However, your base speed is the second-slowest, next to the Heavy's. This can give you less flexibility in attacking and retreating on the ground, so always be sure to plan ahead whenever possible. Rocket jumping will help you quickly get to or escape from the field of battle, but for a price in health and ammo.
- While your Rocket Launcher deals massive damage at close range, you may take heavy self-damage if you rely on it for one-on-one battles at point-blank range. Consider using your Shotgun or melee weapon if there's only one opponent that needs to be eliminated.
- One of your greatest advantages over other classes is the ability to rocket jump. By jumping with the aid of your primary weapon, it's possible to reach great heights and cross distances faster than most classes. This mobility is essential in gaining an advantage over the enemy in combat, and negates your normally slow movement speed.
- Rocket jumping vertically can allow you to reach locations normally inaccessible to most other classes, so try to use this to gain a height advantage over other players. The height advantage makes it easier to hit enemies with splash damage from rockets.
- On Offense, you are often one of the best classes to storm into enemy territory. You can easily destroy enemy Sentry Guns at range, take on multiple opponents at the front lines, or even rocket jump straight behind enemy lines to take out unaware targets.
- Your utility is further amplified with ÜberCharges. A standard or Quick-Fix ÜberCharge lets you pressure enemies into retreating and allows you to rocket jump without taking self-damage, while a Kritzkrieg ÜberCharge can annihilate groups of enemies with your critical-boosted rockets.
- When equipped with the Buff Banner, Battalion's Backup or Concheror, you will play more of a team role by buffing your teammates to have an advantage in battle.
- On Defense, consider shooting rockets onto the point, where you are capable of interrupting enemy captures if positioned properly, even taking damage falloff into account.
- Your rocket's strong splash damage is very useful for defending objectives, as enemies tend to cluster on areas such as Payload carts.
- You can fire rockets from a distance to deny enemies from crossing a chokepoint. This should only be done near a friendly Dispenser or an ammo/health kit spawn point, as the low ammo capacity of the Rocket Launcher inhibits the staying power of the Soldier at long range.
- You can help a friendly Medic build ÜberCharge by causing self-damage with rockets. Only do this if there is no chance of a surprise enemy attack. This will be especially useful on maps that are very hard to push in on Offense, such as Dustbowl.
- It should be noted that ÜberCharge builds extremely fast during Setup time on the PC, Mac, and Linux version, so this strategy is only necessary after Setup time has ended.
- It's usually wise to enable the "Automatically reload weapons when you're not firing" option under Advanced Multiplayer options. When this option is enabled, weapons will automatically attempt a reload cycle after each shot, and can be interrupted by firing the weapon again. Due to the small magazine size of your weapons, it's handy to keep them fully loaded in-between and even during some fights, and the single-shot reloading makes it harder for enemies to catch you off-guard. Being able to reload a rocket as soon as you rocket jump to the battlefield will be of great use.
- Your rockets will originate from the left or right of the character model when shot, depending on the orientation (right-handed models will generate the projectile from the right, left-handed models from the left). This can be used to fire rockets around corners without being fully exposed, and must be taken into account when rocket jumping. This does not apply when using the Original, which fires rockets from the center of the screen.
- Falloff damage for rockets is calculated based on where the player is when they explode, not where they were originally fired from. This can be exploited in your favor by closing the distance on your enemies via rocket jumping toward large groups while firing down on them, increasing the amount of damage done.
- Pyros are your main weakness, as their compression blast can reflect your rockets. Be wary when dealing with a competent Pyro, as a reflected rocket can eliminate an attempted push.
- To deal with Pyros, never aim directly at them. Fire at objects near them to cause splash damage, as Pyros can only reflect the rocket projectile itself. You can also bait the Pyro into wasting their compression blast first, then fire at them during its cooldown.
- If you have a Shotgun or Righteous Bison equipped, use that instead and engage at a distance. Pyros cannot reflect Shotgun pellets or Bison lasers, and they are disadvantaged at medium range.
- Rocket jumping allows you to gain access to areas that are normally impossible to reach. It can also be used to access shortcuts, to traverse areas faster, or gain a height advantage over enemy players.
- This negates your slow movement speed, and allows you to get to the front lines about as fast as a Scout. Your overall firepower and health will give you more utility in the early moments of a round.
- To perform a rocket jump, simply fire a rocket beneath your feet while jumping. This will amplify the vertical component of your jump, allowing you to reach greater heights than normally attainable.
- Performing a crouch-jump before firing the rocket will allow you to gain even more height, which is essential to reaching areas that are inaccessible with uncrouched rocket jumps.
- Because a rocket jump merely amplifies existing momentum, it's important to keep your intended direction in mind when rocket jumping.
- In order to aid players, you will take only 60% damage from your own rockets; this translates to roughly 40 self-damage points for each rocket jump. However, this damage reduction only applies when you are in midair when the rocket explodes, so any rockets fired while standing on the ground will do full damage.
- Gunboats further reduce this to about 24 self-damage. Be careful when fighting enemies — rockets that hit enemies will still deal full damage to you.
- It is useful to know where health packs are positioned on the map, so you can regain your lost health once you rocket jump to the front lines.
- Whichever direction you fire your rocket will be the opposite way you are sent flying; firing downwards sends you directly upward, while firing downwards at an angle will send you diagonally upwards. This lets you rocket jump both vertically and horizontally, depending on your position.
- When performing horizontal jumps, try to use nearby objects such as walls to create explosions at the same level as yourself, rather than below. Firing a rocket where the ground and a wall meet will maximize the distance gained.
- Horizontal jumps can be boosted by pogo jumping, which is done by rocket jumping forward without touching the ground while shooting under your feet.
- You can strafe while in midair; this can be helpful in dodging fire directed at you, especially explosives launched by enemy Soldiers and Demomen.
- In conjunction with rocket jumps, air-strafing allows you to maintain a considerable amount of momentum even at the apex of your jump. In order to perform an air-strafe, simply release the forward key and hold a strafe key while turning in the same direction of the strafe. This allows you to strafe around corners or reach areas that are normally inaccessible through other means.
- Take into account the fact that rockets will spawn on the side of your screen that the Rocket Launcher is on. This can affect rocket jump performance considerably, especially horizontal jumps.
- Always take the opportunity to reload the Rocket Launcher immediately after initiating a rocket jump. If performing ambushes or bombing runs on the enemy, it provides you with one more attack against the enemy, or an escape option if things go wrong.
Rocket Launcher + reskins
|Loaded||Carried||Point Blank||Medium Range||Long Range||Self Damage||Critical||Projectile Speed|
|4||20||105-112||50-90||45-60||27-89||270, range does not affect damage. Critical damage does not apply to buildings.||1100 Hammer units/sec|
Festive Rocket Launcher
Festivized Rocket Launcher
Advanced+ Mann Up Reward
Australium Rocket Launcher
- The Rocket Launcher deals strong splash damage and excels at attacking multiple enemies at once. However, it takes a while to reload, especially when its clip is empty. Always keep the Rocket Launcher loaded; with a maximum of only four shots, it's best to be prepared.
- Enabling the "Automatically reload weapons when you're not firing" option under Advanced Multiplayer options can help considerably.
- The splash damage radius of the Rocket Launcher is wide and powerful, allowing you to damage enemies even if there is no direct line of sight. This means you can fire around corners or at objects near cover in order to damage and kill enemies.
- However, rockets are relatively slow-traveling projectiles, so be sure to lead targets to hit where they will be, not where they are. When shooting over long distances, try to lead the target and fire a second rocket at where they are likely to retreat. Doing this will greatly increase the chance of hitting enemies at long range.
- The Rocket Launcher reloads slower than most other weapons, and it's unlikely that emptying the magazine will result in all four rockets hitting enemies. For this reason, try to predict enemy movements and fire one rocket at a time. One of your greatest vulnerabilities is being attacked while reloading the Rocket Launcher, so having some rockets in reserve at all times can greatly increase your chances of surviving an ambush.
- Consider switching to the Shotgun rather than waiting for the Rocket Launcher to reload during a firefight. This will allow you to continue to attack uninterrupted, and keep the pressure up on the enemy. In a one-on-one match with an enemy Soldier, switching to the Shotgun at the right time could be the difference between life and death.
- When fighting classes with low base health, such as Scouts and Spies, rather than using two rockets, fire one rocket, then finish them off with the Shotgun. This will conserve ammo, allowing you to continue to attack or defend.
- Consider switching to the Shotgun rather than waiting for the Rocket Launcher to reload during a firefight. This will allow you to continue to attack uninterrupted, and keep the pressure up on the enemy. In a one-on-one match with an enemy Soldier, switching to the Shotgun at the right time could be the difference between life and death.
- While direct hits do more damage, the splash radius from your rockets will give you more leeway for aiming. Aim for nearby surfaces around your foe to ensure that you deal some damage even if your rocket misses.
- If enemies are too far away, you can attack them with your Shotgun, rather than wasting your rockets. This won't do much damage, but the Shotgun can be reloaded far faster and the hitscan nature of the weapon denies any targets the opportunity to dodge the shots.
- Critical rockets from this weapon are extremely potent. Whether through luck or a crit-boost, a single critical rocket is capable of killing almost any enemy in the game with a single hit, or deal enough damage to force a hasty retreat. Even if the victim survives, critical rockets deal tremendous knockback as well, which can send them away from an objective or into an environmental hazard.
- When under a Kritzkrieg Übercharge, consider using the Shotgun against enemy Pyros. An experienced Pyro may airblast your rockets back at you, potentially killing you or your Medic instantly.
- Try to juggle or bounce enemies by shooting a rocket at their feet. Throwing enemies into the air often disorients them (with the exception of Scouts, who can double-jump), and it will be hard for them to shoot back. This lets you land followup shots.
- With practice, you can land direct hits with a rocket on juggled enemies. A direct hit does far more damage than splash alone.
- Remember that you can be heavily damaged by your own rockets. If an opponent comes close, it is better to switch to the Shotgun, which still deals good damage and will not cause self-damage to you.
- If you have to fire a rocket at an enemy at point-blank range, jump and fire the rocket at their feet. Remember that if you are damaged by your own rockets while in midair, the game will treat it as a rocket jump, and thus will minimize the amount of damage you deal to yourself, while distancing you from the enemy at the same time.
- When trying to clear a control point or the Payload cart, rocket jump above the target area and fire downwards onto it. A key element of this is to reload while in midair, so that all four rockets will loaded and ready to go at the peak of the jump. The high angle of attack will ensure the splash damage affects a large area of the cart or control point, which can be very useful.
- The Rocket Launcher is often the most reliable choice if you intend to act as a Medic buddy. The wide splash radius of the Rocket Launcher's rockets allows you to damage any attacking enemies more easily, and its four rockets with no splash or damage reduction will keep you in battle for longer.
- Because the Original fires directly down the crosshair, it's a bit more accurate than the Rocket Launcher, an advantage offset by the fact that you can't fire around corners as easily as the Rocket Launcher.
- Due to the Original's unique first-person view-model, rocket jumps can be performed without having to compensate for the rocket's off-center blast, which is the case with all of your other primary weapons.
|Loaded||Carried||Point Blank||Medium Range||Long Range||Self Damage||Critical||Projectile Speed|
|4||20||140||112||57||27-89||336, range does not affect damage. Critical damage does not apply to buildings.||1980 Hammer units/sec|
The Direct Hit is an unlockable primary weapon for the Soldier. It is intended for sharpshooting; rockets fired from the Direct Hit travel 80% faster than default rockets and deal 25% more damage, but have a 70% reduced splash damage radius. It also deals mini-crits against enemies sent skyward by knockback.
- The Direct Hit offers a new style of Soldier gameplay. In exchange for losing almost all of your Rocket Launcher's crowd control power, the Direct Hit gives you strong, fast rockets for one-on-one confrontations.
- As its name suggests, remember to aim directly at enemies instead of around them, especially at close range. Unlike other Rocket Launchers, one cannot rely on the Direct Hit's splash radius to damage opponents if you miss, as players can actively dodge the rockets even at medium range and remain completely unharmed. At long ranges, take advantage of the faster rocket speed — targets do not need to be led as much as with the Rocket Launcher.
- If you don't heavily rely on splash damage to kill your enemies, then you can consider the Direct Hit's downsides negated. However, against multiple targets, the reduced splash radius of the Direct Hit is a severe disadvantage, no matter how consistently you can land direct hits.
- Due to the Direct Hit's smaller margin for error, precise aim is important. Simply spamming shots is not a good tactic, as there is a bigger penalty for missing with this weapon. Instead, aim carefully; landing a single, well-aimed shot will sometimes kill your target instantly.
- The Direct Hit's higher base damage lets you kill any non-overhealed low-base-health class with one direct rocket at close range (e.g. Scout, Sniper). If the enemy team has many Scouts, it may be viable to switch to the Direct Hit just to take them out.
- It is also a powerful tool for destroying buildings. Any Level 3 unattended Engineer building will be destroyed with two rockets, compared to three with the stock Rocket Launcher. For this reason, the Direct Hit may be a good choice for destroying Sentry Guns out in the open. Even if an Engineer is actively repairing the Sentry Gun, the Direct Hit can damage it faster than he can repair it.
- The Direct Hit is very effective in tight corridors, since there is little room for your opponents to dodge.
- This also gives you an even bigger advantage against opponents like Heavies, who are already slow, and will have almost no room to dodge.
- The increased projectile speed means that Pyros will have trouble reflecting your rockets. This means that if you're confident in your aim, you may not need a Shotgun. However, be careful at firing at long ranges, because he might be able to predict where it will hit, and if the Pyro manages to reflect a close-range rocket, it will do severe damage to you.
- The Direct Hit deals mini-crits against enemies who have been sent airborne via knockback (but not by jumping). Aim at an opponent's feet to send enemies into the air, then hit them with an airshot for increased damage. This may take some practice.
- Remember that this applies for any knockback, including those of teammates, enemies, or weapons like the Sticky Jumper. In particular, working with friendly Soldiers, Demomen or Pyros can create opportunities to finish off enemies that they juggle.
- The Direct Hit counters explosive-jumping Soldiers and Demomen. With good aim, you can shoot them down if they try to get a height advantage or escape. This is especially true if they are descending with the B.A.S.E. Jumper, as the mini-crit bonus on airborne targets applies for their entire descent as long as the enemy blast jumped.
- The Buff Banner makes the Direct Hit akin to a fast-firing Huntsman. You will be able to deal high, consistent damage against even grounded opponents, since mini-crits don't suffer much from damage falloff. With the damage, you can pick off 125-health opponents with each shot even at long range.
- Try not to use the Direct Hit with a Kritzkrieg Übercharge, as the reduced splash radius makes you less effective at crowd-control compared to your other Rocket Launchers.
Black Box + reskins
|Loaded||Carried||Point Blank||Medium Range||Long Range||Self Damage||Critical||Projectile Speed||On Hit|
|3||20||105-112||50-90||45-60||27-89||270, range does not affect damage. Critical damage does not apply to buildings.||1100 Hammer units/sec||15|
Festive Black Box
Festivized Black Box
Advanced+ Mann Up Reward
Australium Black Box
The Black Box is a craftable primary weapon for the Soldier. On hit, each rocket can restore up to 20 HP per attack (but cannot overheal you) depending on how much damage is done. However, the Black Box can only load three rockets at a time, trading staying power for survivability. You can tank damage and keep fighting for longer than usual, but the smaller clip size prevents you from sustaining fire for as long as with your other Rocket Launchers.
- The Black Box excels at one-on-one battles; with a maximum of 60 health restored per clip, it can save your life. However, your reduced clip will make you vulnerable if your target survives, so make sure to make every shot count.
- The reduced clip size means more time spent reloading. Be sure to keep the Black Box fully loaded — getting caught with only one or two rockets will make it very difficult to fight back.
- When low on health, the Black Box can be used to save yourself. Retreat, hide behind cover, and land shots to gradually gain your health back. Do this until you find a med-kit, Dispenser, or Medic.
- Try to engage Heavies at long ranges. Not only will the Heavy deal minimal damage to you, some of that damage should be healed once you hit him.
- As your aim improves, you'll begin to run out of ammo before you run out of health. Consider using your other rocket launchers if you don't need the extra healing.
- Because the Black Box reduces your raw fighting power with one less rocket, facing multiple foes will be much more difficult. You will not be healed more than 20 health by hitting multiple enemies, and since your foes will be able to outdamage your healing, it is not recommended to face groups of enemies by yourself.
- On Offense, keep in mind that you are a candidate to take down enemy Sentry Guns, often second to a Demoman. Although you can take out a Level 3 Sentry with 3 rockets, if there is an Engineer maintaining the gun, you will not be able to pressure the Engineer as well as other Rocket Launchers can. Remember that the reduced clip size becomes an issue in these situations, and equip other primaries if needed.
- There are several instances to take note of the Black Box's healing effect:
- Enemy Scouts under the effect of Bonk! Atomic Punch will replenish your health if shot.
- Enemies under the effects of a Medi Gun's ÜberCharge will not replenish your health if shot.
- Cloaked Spies will not heal you, but disguised ones will. This can be used to spycheck.
- Spies feigning death with the Dead Ringer will not heal you, which can be used as a warning that the Spy is still alive.
- Since the Black Box is designed to keep players alive and healed, try not to equip the Equalizer — the last-resort tactic of the pickaxe doesn't couple well with the healing abilities of the Black Box. Instead, use the Disciplinary Action or the Escape Plan — the increased speed that these weapons provide you with allows you to reach the front lines faster or flee from battle.
- Consider equipping the Shotgun when carrying the Black Box, in order to offset the smaller magazine size. As Black Box cannot sustain fire for long, pairing it with the Shotgun can finish off any enemies that can't be killed with only three rockets, as well as provide a measure of self-defense if attacked while reloading.
- The Righteous Bison can also serve this purpose, but it does less damage against each individual enemy.
- When using the Gunboats with the Black Box, keep in mind that the reduced Rocket Jumping damage taken can be easily healed by a couple of long-range rockets, allowing players to fire rockets at the apex of their jumps and gain health upon landing should they hit. However, in one-on-one fights with powerful classes, not having a secondary weapon is a large disadvantage. Use with caution.
|Loaded||Carried||Point Blank||Medium Range||Long Range||Self Damage||Critical||Projectile Speed|
|N/A||4||60||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||1100 Hammer units/sec|
The Rocket Jumper is a craftable primary weapon for the Soldier. It deals no damage to the player and carries 60 extra ammo instead of 20, allowing rocket jumping for no self-damage. However, it also deals no damage to enemies, and prevents the player from carrying the Intelligence when equipped.
- The Rocket Jumper is essentially a harmless Rocket Launcher and is mostly useful for Rocket Jump training. However, it has uses outside of such limitations; the ability to perform consecutive harmless rocket jumps gives you a considerable mobility advantage over other players, even Scouts.
- Since the Rocket Jumper does no self-damage, players can fire rockets before hitting the ground after a high rocket jump as a cushion to prevent fall damage.
- You will be at a disadvantage without your Rocket Launcher, which is one of the most powerful and versatile weapons in the game. Keep fights at close range, where your Shotgun and melee weapon of choice are the most powerful, and use your mobility to jump in and out of fights, much like the Scout.
- If only rocket jumping moderately, consider using the Gunboats instead of the Rocket Jumper, as your primary weapon is generally more valuable than your secondary. Only use the Rocket Jumper if you plan to be constantly rocket-jumping, or if you prefer to use your other weapons over your Rocket Launcher.
- The Rocket Jumper can be effective when equipped with the Pain Train. Using the Pain Train allows players to use their enhanced maneuverability to jump behind enemy lines to capture Control Points.
- For a mobile playstyle, the Rocket Jumper is best used with the Escape Plan. Since your rockets do no damage to you, you can use the speed of your rocket jumps and the Escape Plan's increased movement speed when hurt to quickly run towards objectives, and rocket jump out of harm's way if needed.
- However, you are marked for death each time you pull the Escape Plan out, so try to stay out of sight.
- Since you will be frequently rocket jumping with the Rocket Jumper, the Market Gardener pairs naturally with this weapon. A critical swing will kill fragile classes and leave bulkier classes at low health, where a follow-up attack such as another swing or a Shotgun shot will finish them off. Despite your complete inability to fight on the front lines, you can quickly jump in, kill a valuable target, and jump out again, much like a supporting "pick" class.
- Combine this with the Mantreads to gain a source of damage should you miss a critical swing, and negate any fall damage if you land on an opponent. The Mantreads's knockback reduction will also make it harder for opponents to affect your trajectory if they shoot you while you rocket jump. However, this will remove your only source of ranged firepower, the Shotgun, and stomping on an opponent will prevent you from dealing Market Gardener crits, as you have to land to deal stomp damage.
- The B.A.S.E. Jumper is very useful in combination with the Rocket Jumper and Market Gardener, as it extends the window that you can deal a Market Gardener crit. Rocket jumps slowed by the B.A.S.E Jumper will let you deal as many critical Market Gardener swings as you can before landing, which can kill more than one enemy if you float down slopes. However, your slower movement speed makes you an easier target.
- Bring along a sidearm so you have a way of dealing damage at range. Out of all your choices, the Shotgun is the most reliable choice due to its six shots.
- The Panic Attack may work well if you can keep yourself at low health while rocket jumping to cushion your falls, but you will be disadvantaged if an opponent catches you unaware.
- The Reserve Shooter is not recommended, as there is have no way of sending opponents into the air yourself to use the Shooter's mini-crits, and the reduced clip will not help in battle.
- As you will not be able to deal damage effectively with the Rocket Jumper even with help from the Market Gardener, do not equip any Banners with it, as it's not likely they will fill.
- As your rockets deal no damage anyway, equipping the Gunboats with the Rocket Jumper is meaningless, as it reduces your non-existent self-damage.
|Loaded||Carried||Point Blank||Medium Range||Long Range||Self Damage||Critical||Projectile Speed|
|5||20||79-84||38-67||34-45||20-35||203, range does not affect damage. Critical damage does not apply to buildings.||1540 Hammer units/sec|
The Liberty Launcher is a craftable primary weapon for the Soldier. It has a 25% larger clip size, giving you 5 rockets per clip, and fires rockets that travel 40% faster than standard rockets. Rocket jumping with this weapon also deals 25% less self-damage, letting you rocket jump with a lower health penalty. As a downside, each rocket deals 25% less damage.
- The Liberty Launcher trades damage for utility. While it may lack in firepower, the speed and splash radius of the Liberty Launcher's rockets along with its high clip size generally lets it land more hits, making it a "damage-over-time" Rocket Launcher. Its lower self-damage also allows the Soldier to rocket jump more often and lets him re-position or get to areas speedily without losing much health.
- Since this weapon is comparable to a weaker Direct Hit with splash, try to adapt tactics from it.
- Due to its lower damage, make sure to use the Liberty Launcher's projectile speed to directly hit opponents, or go for airshots. Although the Direct Hit works better in this regard due to higher damage, the Liberty Launcher is more forgiving in terms of splash damage if you miss. If the enemy is trying to evade shots, try aiming at his feet. The faster rockets will be accurate enough to deal splash damage to opponents even if they do not get hit directly.
- Like the Direct Hit, aim properly. Spamming the weapon is a bad idea, as it will mess up your accuracy and ease the offensive pressure you apply to your opponent. However, the splash damage compared to the Direct Hit gives more leniency for mistakes.
- Try to be conservative with ammo. The five clips in reserve can be used up quite quickly.
- At long range, the Liberty Launcher fares better than other Rocket Launchers. Thanks to its projectile speed, it is more accurate even against distant targets, and its standard splash radius makes it difficult for enemies to completely evade damage. Since you will focus on dealing damage over time, the reduced damage is negligible at such a range, and you can chip at opponents' health at a distance.
- However, the Liberty Launcher cannot deal large amounts of damage at once. Its weaker rockets make you disadvantaged when there is a high-profile target/multiple foes that need to be immediately taken out by surprise. In one-on-one battles, you may even be unable to kill a Scout with two medium-range shots.
- The lower damage can make it more difficult to destroy Sentry Guns, as an Engineer repairing it can cause you to use four shots to destroy one. Equipping a different primary weapon would be beneficial.
- The five shots of the Liberty Launcher lets you fire four rockets before retreating with a rocket jump using the last rocket. Its lower self-damage damage also lets you rocket jump out of fights when your health is low, whereas the Rocket Launcher could potentially kill you without the Gunboats. Note that the large clip size compounds the Liberty Launcher's already slow reload, so make sure you keep the weapon fully loaded out of combat.
- Outside of combat, the reduced self-damage makes this weapon great for rocket jumping towards an objective. However, the self-damage reduction only works during rocket jumps.
- While the Liberty Launcher won't completely replace the Gunboats, its self-damage reduction frees up your secondary slot. This gives you increased mobility while still being able to wield weapons that either buff your team or inflict damage.
- It is a good idea to bring a Shotgun along. This will compensate for the weapon's lower damage and is a good fallback should you run out of ammo. The Reserve Shooter pairs well too, as the opportunity to blast opponents into the air presents itself often with the Liberty Launcher's five shots.
- The Gunboats will further reduce self-damage taken, allowing for rocket jumps that cost around 10 health each, and essentially turning the Liberty Launcher into a Rocket Jumper that deals damage.
- Ironically, the Liberty Launcher is perhaps the best Rocket Launcher to use with damage buffs. The Buff Banner's mini-crits will negate the Liberty Launcher's lower damage by removing long-range damage falloff, while turning it into a five-shot Rocket Launcher at close range.
- A Kritzkrieg-boosted Liberty Launcher is extremely effective, as you can fire five critical rockets before reloading, and they will deal enough damage to eliminate any non-overhealed class in two hits, even at long range. The increased projectile speed also makes it exceptionally difficult to dodge a hail of critical rockets.
|Loaded||Carried||Point Blank||Medium Range||Long Range||Self Damage||Mini-Crit||Projectile Speed||Afterburn|
Cow Mangler 5000
|4||∞||105-112||50-90||45-60||27-89||113||1100 Hammer units/sec||36 damage over 6 seconds|
- The Cow Mangler 5000 is a craftable primary weapon for the Soldier. Instead of using ammo, it features a "Mangler" bar that gives it unlimited ammo and four shots of team-colored energy blasts that function exactly like rockets. However, laser blasts deal 80% less damage against buildings, and the weapon completely lacks the ability to deal critical hits, having no random crits and gaining only mini-crits from crit boosts.
- When the "Mangler" bar is full, pressing the secondary fire button will slow the Soldier down as he charges up the weapon for about three seconds, after which a single charged shot is fired. This shot has the same projectile properties of a standard shot, but deals mini-crit damage to players and six seconds of afterburn damage at the same rate as the Flamethrower, and disables buildings for four seconds. This consumes the entire Mangler bar.
- In certain cases, the Cow Mangler can be considered a reskin of the Rocket Launcher. If the opposing team is not reliant on Buildings and the server has random critical hits disabled, this weapon can do everything the Rocket Launcher can, although you benefit from unlimited ammo and a charge shot.
- However, your other primary weapons are not immediately disadvantaged if the enemy team has an Engineer. Choose which is best against the enemy team's composition.
- Having unlimited reserve ammo, the Cow Mangler 5000 is superior for rocket-jumping compared to most of the Soldier's other primary weapons. This permits Soldiers to move quickly around the map, limited only by their health, while still being lethal in aerial combat.
- Unlimited ammo can also be useful on maps where ammo packs are scarce, or if your team has Engineers who rely on nearby ammo packs.
- A charged shot with this weapon is helpful in rocket jumping because the ensuing afterburn will make the shot carry the user slightly farther. Just keep in mind that the afterburn will also make the shot deal more damage than a regular shot will.
- The charged shot has many uses, but make use of cover when charging your secondary fire to avoid being a target, especially for enemy Snipers. As with the Heavy's primary weapons, you don't lose any speed if you begin charging while in the air, so you can jump around a corner to surprise enemies with a charged shot.
- If you are not the only Offense class on your team, you can support your team by disabling a Sentry Gun before they push in with an Übercharged teammate. This way, they won't be knocked back by the Sentry Gun's bullets, and other teammates will be safe as they move into enemy territory.
- If you are the only Offensive class, this is ineffective without a Shotgun, as the Cow Mangler does negligible damage to buildings.
- Using your charged shot to kill an Engineer behind his buildings can be better than disabling his Sentry Gun. Engineers will die to a single charged shot if directly hit or dealt enough splash damage. You can disable his Buildings with the same shot if he is close enough to them, though killing the Engineer himself is more important.
- Buildings cannot be repaired or hauled by the Rescue Ranger while disabled by the Cow Mangler 5000. If you identify an enemy Engineer who is using the Rescue Ranger, consider disabling his Sentry and using a Shotgun to destroy it.
- Closely packed groups of enemies can be easy prey for the Cow Mangler's charged shot; try firing one into enemies pushing the Payload cart or capturing a Control Point.
- Firing into spots where Snipers tend to gather may also hit and distract them from shooting.
- The charged shot may be used to ignite Huntsman arrows held by a friendly Sniper. This isn't recommended unless there are no enemies nearby, as it requires a full clip and you'll be vulnerable reloading afterwards.
- It is advisable to bring a secondary weapon other than the Righteous Bison, as the Cow Mangler, as well as the Bison, deal minuscule damage to enemy buildings. Without a non-Bison secondary weapon, a Cow Mangler-wielding Soldier will find themselves nearly useless against enemy Sentry Guns unless friendly reinforcements are nearby.
- Gunboats will allow you to jump around without worrying about ammo due to the Cow Mangler's unlimited ammunition.
- Do not equip the Cow Mangler if a Medic is dependent on you for Übercharges. Should he Übercharge you in order to destroy a building, you will not be able to do so, a Kritzkrieg charge will be wasted on you since you will only deal mini-crits.
- You can experiment with jumping onto unexpected locations and snipe enemies from afar, such as the Speaker horns on Well, or a rocky overhang opposite the first Control Point on Dustbowl. Do be aware that the Deathcam will reveal your location to the enemy if they haven't already should you score a kill.
|Loaded||Carried||Point Blank||Medium Range||Long Range||Self Damage||Critical||Projectile Speed|
|0||20||105-112||50-90||45-60||27-89||270, range does not affect damage. Critical damage does not apply to buildings.||1100 Hammer units/sec|
The Beggar's Bazooka is a craftable primary weapon for the Soldier. Though fundamentally similar to other launchers, it is kept unloaded; upon holding fire, the player can load up to three rockets that fire in rapid succession when released. However, it comes with the danger of misfiring if the player holds fire past three rockets, which causes damage to the player and destroys one of the three already-loaded rockets. Additionally, the Beggar's Bazooka comes with a 3-degree spread limit, each rocket has a 20% smaller blast radius, and you cannot refill ammo with Dispensers while the weapon is active.
- This weapon is best used for close to medium-range ambushing due to its pre-load requisite. In direct combat, enemies can damage you while you load up rockets, while the weapon's spread and blast radius will prevent you from accurately hitting opponents should they retreat. However, its ability to barrage opponents with rockets will make you very powerful at close range; not even a non-overhealed Heavy can survive three close range shots.
- As every rocket has to be loaded before the launcher fires, gain a habit of loading up rockets before the actual fight begins. This makes you less vulnerable before a fight, as you will spend less time preparing to fire.
- Be sure to time your loading well so you can shoot at enemies without letting them dodge your rockets. If you can, take cover as you prepare your rockets, and count the number of muffled pops so you don't misfire. After some practice, you'll be able to memorize how much time you have between loading the third rocket and beginning to load the fourth.
- Should you find yourself being pursued by an enemy, fire at the ground a few feet in front of them. During the delay between pressing the primary fire button and shooting, the enemy likely would've run forward to that spot.
- Though you are unable to fire rockets instantly, you can have a somewhat-standard firing pattern by loading one rocket, releasing fire to shoot the rocket, then instantly holding fire again to repeat the process over and over. This gives you a firing speed comparable with the Rocket Launcher, although you still have to deal with the weapon's spread and smaller blast radius.
- Rockets will rarely follow the crosshair due to its 3 degree deviation. At long ranges, this is more apparent, as rockets will fly way off course. As such, using this weapon for long-range combat is ineffective.
- Overloading the Beggar's Bazooka can allow you to do an explosive jump and then fire two rockets while you are in the air. If you have enough time between jumping and reaching the enemy, you may even be able to load a third rocket before launching your attack.
- If you have enough time between overloading the Beggar's Bazooka and landing to overload it again while still in the air, you might be able to pogo yourself. However, doing this repeatedly is next to impossible.
- You can damage enemies with the explosion from overloading, though this is otherwise discouraged without the Gunboats due to the tremendous self-damage.
- On Offense, you can be the team's close-range powerhouse. With coordination, you will be able to get in close to Sentry Guns using an ÜberCharge and instantly destroy it with three rockets. Meanwhile, you will be a devastating team eliminator under the effects of the Kritzkrieg; all three rockets will kill any enemy in the game, even overhealed Heavies, unless they are under the effects of a damage reduction or invulnerability state.
- On Defense, this weapon is useful for instantly clearing objectives, as a barrage of rockets will severely hurt or kill those who are capturing a point or pushing the Payload cart.
- Beware that you cannot fill this weapon with Dispensers while it is the active weapon. This subtle change means that it is very detrimental in Arena, since ammo pickups are scarce and Engineers will be almost useless unless you're carrying a non-banner secondary weapon. Play cautiously.
- Try to take a Shotgun as a backup weapon for defense, given this weapon's reliance on ammunition and its inability to refill through Dispensers while active. Alternatively, use this weapon with the Righteous Bison, which has infinite ammo in exchange for damage compared to the Shotgun. Also, it is strong at long range, where this weapon is weak.
- Bringing a Reserve Shooter may be ineffective even if you can send opponents into the air, as your barrage will often kill any enemies at close range.
- The Panic Attack can work either way: it may be beneficial if you rocket jump often and leave yourself at low health, but it also requires preloading before it can fire, which further harms your ability to act quickly. Consider these before equipping it.
- While this weapon is still possible to use with any of the banner weapons, running out of ammo means you will have to rely on your melee weapon for damage. This can prove hazardous if your weapon is situational, such as the Half-Zatoichi, with its Honorbound effect, or the Equalizer, meant for ambushes.
- The B.A.S.E. Jumper will increase the air time of your rocket jumps, and allows you to load up and fire rockets while in the air. This can be very beneficial since you can now do rocket barrages on the ground and in the air. Just remember that you will be hurt often due to rocket jumping, lack a secondary weapon to protect yourself with, and enemies (especially Snipers) can easily kill you while you're drifting.
- The Escape Plan is a good choice with this weapon, because you are prone to misfires or accidentally causing self-damage with an extra rocket. Use it and run to the nearest supply closet or to the safety of your teammates when you are hurt. Just be sure to retreat quickly after pulling out the Escape Plan, because it marks you for death when active.
|Loaded||Carried||Point Blank||Medium Range||Long Range||Self Damage||Critical||Projectile Speed|
|4 to 8||20||90-95||42-75||38-50||23-75||230, range does not affect damage. Critical damage does not apply to buildings.||1100 Hammer units/sec|
Festivized Air Strike
The Air Strike is a craftable primary weapon for the Soldier. Upon a rocket jump and until the player lands, this weapon's firing speed increases by 65%, and each rocket produces a white trail. Additionally, simply killing an enemy with this weapon increases its clip size by one; the weapon's clip size starts at four and increases to a maximum of eight after 4 kills. The Air Strike's projectiles deal 15% less self-damage to the Soldier, but also deal 15% less damage to enemies. They also have a 10% smaller blast radius, which is further reduced by 20% while rocket jumping (28% when compared to stock).
- True to its name, the Air Strike is a Rocket Launcher designed to work best while rocket jumping, and its capabilities improve as the player gains kills. It allows one to be extremely offensive whilst in the air, such as bombarding targets or key locations with aerial rockets. However, it takes some time to fully gain its benefits, as you have to earn kills in order to have increased rockets.
- The weapon's lower damage makes you disadvantaged against bulkier classes. Go for weaker enemies such as Snipers and Spies in order to get the increased clip size easily; once you have your increased clip, you can take on stronger classes with less risk.
- On a fresh life, you can rocket jump over enemies to deal decent close-range damage with your three starting rockets. Alternatively, simply hang back and deal chip damage on injured opponents for a slower but safer playstyle.
- The splash damage radius of this weapon can make it hard to hit opponents when considering rockets and their travel time. As splash radius is further reduced while rocket jumping, you will have to lead your targets in order to hit them reliably. It can be wise to manually aim for each shot instead of holding down fire, just for more accuracy.
- The Air Strike is very effective against enemy buildings. Its extremely fast firing speed while rocket jumping allows you to do enough burst damage to destroy buildings before Engineers can repair them. 3 direct hits from the Air Strike are enough to destroy any unshielded building, and since buildings aren't affected by distance falloff, you will be a threat at any range.
- The Air Strike is disadvantaged when you aren't rocket jumping. Although you still have four shots, the reduced damage and smaller blast radius will only hinder you against other opponents. If necessary, keep grounded confrontations at close range, where the weapon's penalties are not as huge.
- Because the Air Strike is reliant on rocket jumps, it works the best on open maps. Small, enclosed maps will lower the amount of air time you have, so pick a different weapon on said maps.
- Ammo conservation can be an issue with the Air Strike, due to its high firing speed in the air, potentially high clip size, and the necessity to land more shots to compensate for its reduced damage. Act smart and rocket jump towards ammo packs while firing, or stay near a friendly Dispenser.
- Once you are at an 8-shot clip, reloading will take very long. Make sure you can get out safely before attempting anything reckless.
- Beware of Demomen with the Eyelander: because both the Eyelander and the Air Strike use the same counter for kills, being decapitated will add your kill count to their head count!
- However, the reverse is also true: killing a Demoman using an Eyelander will add their head count to your kill count, saving you several kills. As such, make Eyelander-wielding Demomen priority targets, especially those with glowing eyepatches (indicating several decapitations).
- This also applies to Snipers wielding the Bazaar Bargain. However, being killed by a Bazaar Bargain-wielding Sniper will not transfer your kills to them.
- The B.A.S.E. Jumper is the most optimal secondary for the Air Strike, as it increases the amount of time you'll have in the air to fire rockets at the enemy, while letting you control your descent whenever you want. This maximizes the efficiency of the Air Strike, and lets you travel long distances above people's heads safely while you look for targets.
- The Gunboats may work as well, as it will reduce the damage done while rocket jumping. However, you won't be able to keep in the air for as long.
- While you can bring a Shotgun of choice to negate the Air Strike's damage penalty while giving you a backup weapon, note that you will be unable to maximize your air time as with the B.A.S.E. Jumper, which is generally more important on an open map.
- Bringing a Banner of your choice can be ineffective, as you need to deal damage in order to use them, something the Air Strike is weak at without constant rocket jumping. However, you can equip the B.A.S.E. Jumper to gain several kills, then switch it for a Banner in your Loadout before going back to spawn; upon touching a Resupply Locker, you will change to your Banner but still keep your clip size, allowing you to charge up your Banner using your extended clip.
- Note that changing loadouts in spawn will freshly respawn you, which will remove your clip size.
- You can be a useful Kritzkrieg target. With an increased clip, you can rain critical rockets at enemies for potentially deadly results. However, remember that a Medic's beam only reaches a certain distance, so either do a small jump or make sure he is at higher ground.
Shotgun + reskins
|Loaded||Carried||Point Blank||Medium Range||Long Range||Critical|
- Due to its hitscan bullets, large clip size and good damage at a distance, the Shotgun serves as a more accurate fallback weapon for your Rocket Launcher, and your ideal medium range firearm.
- Switch to the Shotgun whenever an enemy is hurt by your rockets and decides to retreat, or against targets that are far away. Its hitscan nature makes it more accurate against players that are moving erratically at medium range compared to your rockets, which have travel time.
- Do not underestimate the power of the Shotgun either. Players should be able to take down any class, bar a Heavy (or Soldier at full health) at medium range with six rounds.
- The Shotgun, as a hitscan weapon, has several advantages to the Rocket Launcher.
- Enemy Demoman's stickies can be destroyed using your bullets. While the Rocket Launcher can blast sticky traps loose and scatter them, they are still a threat to teammates, as the Demoman can still detonate them. Destroying the stickies instead can safely clear a path for teammates rather than simply reducing the damage that they might take.
- Your bullets cannot be reflected by enemy Pyros utilizing the compression blast. When you encounter one, switch to the Shotgun; the Pyro should die or be greatly weakened with six shots before they get within Flamethrower range. If they survive all six rounds, try to take them out with a rocket as they close in.
- As the Shotgun doesn't deal splash damage to you, you can save yourself from self-harm by switching to the Shotgun when dealing against a single opponent in an enclosed space.
- If there are multiple opponents, it may be better to simply blast them with your Rocket Launcher and take self-damage, as you may be able to kill several opponents even if you die.
- One direct rocket and one Shotgun shot is often enough to kill light classes in most circumstances. Two rockets and one shell will usually kill Soldiers, assuming that the rockets do not hit the Soldier directly.
- In general, it is highly advisable to bring the Shotgun whenever your loadout consists of a primary weapon with lower clip size or damage, as it will make up for your lack of firepower. Such examples include the Black Box, with its lower clip size, and the Liberty Launcher, which deals reduced damage.
- An extreme example is with the Rocket Jumper, as it cannot deal any damage at all, making your Shotgun your only ranged weapon.
|Loaded||Carried||Point Blank||Medium Range||Long Range||Critical|
Festivized Reserve Shooter
The Reserve Shooter is a craftable secondary weapon for the Soldier. It reduces the player's switch and holster time by 20% and 15% respectively, and will mini-crit targets that are sent into the air by explosion-based knockback. However, it can only load up to four Shotgun shells at a time.
- This weapon rewards precision and situational control of your target with extra damage, which can potentially take out enemies with less shots than a standard Shotgun. However, its smaller clip size inhibits your firepower in direct combat.
- The 20% faster weapon switch and 15% faster holster speed applies to all your weapons. This allows you to capitalize on your switch time by changing to your Rocket Launcher to rocket jump out of a bad situation, for example.
- Since this weapon only mini-crits opponents affected by knockback, equip it if you are confident of juggling opponents using your primary weapon. It is essentially a Shotgun with less rounds if you do not utilize knockback.
- Aim your rockets at the opponent's feet to maximize your chance of sending them into the air, and focus on landing shots in the middle of a juggled target to deal the most damage.
- Note that exterior knockback will also allow the Reserve Shooter to deal mini-crits. Using the weapon to deal with explosive-jumping Soldiers or Demomen can be very effective, as the Reserve Shooter's hitscan bullets are more accurate than attempting an airshot with your Rocket Launcher.
- Pair this weapon with a primary weapon that has a higher chance of sending opponents into the air. The standard Rocket Launcher works, but the Liberty Launcher can also pair well, due to it having five shots and lower damage, which will give you more chances for aerials and can help negate its lower damage.
- The Reserve Shooter can work as a sidearm for any of your Rocket Launchers, but remember that it will be less reliable for prolonged combat if you do not get airshots.
- Pairing the Reserve Shooter with the Rocket Jumper is unadvised, as you have no way of sending opponents into the air outside of exterior knockback sources (such as your teammates).
|Loaded||Carried||Point Blank||Medium Range||Long Range||Critical||Damage to Buildings||Projectile Speed|
|4||∞||54||45||24||135||9||1200 Hammer units/sec|
The Righteous Bison is a craftable secondary weapon for the Soldier. Instead of a spray of hitscan bullets, this weapon fires a highly-accurate and unreflectable laser beam that pierces enemies and buildings. The Righteous Bison reloads very fast and holds unlimited reserve ammunition, while the laser projectile itself is slow-moving, almost comparable to rocket projectiles. Friendly Snipers wielding the Huntsman will also have their arrows set alight if your projectile crosses their weapon's path. As a downside, the Righteous Bison does 80% less damage to buildings, and has a clip size of four rather than six.
- This weapon is rather weak for self-protection due to its lower damage and slower projectile compared to your Shotgun, but excels at accurate long-range covering fire. As the lasers cannot be stopped by anything apart from a surface, enemies will have no choice but to avoid your lasers at all costs, making it a good deterrent weapon for covering teammates' weak spots and holding choke points even if you don't hit anything. This, along with its infinite ammo and quick reload, can be used to stop opponents from approaching, or pester Snipers from a distance.
- Due to the length of the laser, the Bison is also useful for picking off retreating targets, as they will tend to run right into it.
- Lasers are 100% accurate since they travel down the crosshair, but you have to make up for its travel time by leading targets.
- The Righteous Bison's projectile makes it very useful for killing or softening multiple enemies, making it easier for your teammates to clean up. However, remember that its damage gets reduced for each successive pierce.
- Medics and wounded players hiding behind their teammates cannot hide from your penetrating lasers, allowing you to take them out.
- The shots pierce right through buildings, so you can use it to take out Engineers who hide behind their gear. If you're trying to destroy an enemy Sentry that an Engineer is actively tanking, use the Bison to kill the Engineer before taking out the Sentry with your primary. Be awake that he might be able to heal up all damage if he is next to a Dispenser, so you may opt to take that out with your Rocket Launcher first.
- Depending on your playstyle, you may prefer to use the Righteous Bison as your main weapon while you close in. Its effectiveness at longer ranges and infinite ammo lets you save your rockets for when you really need them, and since rockets already do high close-range damage, you can cycle through close and long-range combat.
- Because of the piercing shots and reasonable damage, the Righteous Bison does wonderfully in tunnel fights and maps with long corridors, such as Turbine and 2Fort. Conversely, it does worse on open-terrain maps such as Upward, since it's easier to strafe away from it.
- This weapon is also effective when playing defense on a Payload map, since your opponents will be conveniently lined up around the cart.
- The initial reload speed isn't too impressive, but subsequent reload pumps are very fast. Due to this, it's much faster to empty a whole clip before reloading than reloading after every shot. After all, you don't have to worry about conserving ammo.
- You can see the clip of the Bison at all times, even if you're wielding another weapon. Because of the first pump's slower reload speed, try to keep the clip full during downtime to keep up your suppressive abilities.
- It might be a good idea to equip the Bison if Pyros are giving you trouble, as its shots can't be airblasted. This can be good for dealing with airblast-happy Pyros who keep reflecting your rockets back at you. They'll often forget they can't deflect Bison shots and charge straight into them, frying themselves.
- The Bison deals extremely high damage when paired with critical hits or mini-crits from luck or a friendly buff such as the Kritzkrieg. The high damage and no fall-off coupled with the piercing shots can cut through enemy groups with good efficiency. The fast reload speed and decent firing rate will also make the most of buff durations, making it one of the best secondary weapons for Soldiers who like to coordinate with allies.
- It is not recommended that you equip the Righteous Bison with the Cow Mangler 5000 unless you have a cooperative team as, upon reaching an enemy sentry, you will be completely powerless against it.
- Equipping the Righteous Bison with the Rocket Jumper may also be ineffective for the same reason.
- The projectile nature of this weapon along with your primary means you'll be without a hitscan weapon. You might be better off using the Shotgun in certain situations, such as if you're up against many Scouts, can't lead your shots well, or need more close-range firepower.
- The Bison can be a good backup weapon for primaries with limited clips, such as the Black Box or Beggar's Bazooka. Its reload speed and unlimited ammo can help make up for their need to reload often and their tendency to run out of ammo quickly.
- The Bison can be redundant if equipped with the Direct Hit, since it already has good power at longer ranges and deals high damage if you hit opponents up close. A Shotgun would be better at covering missed shots compared to the Bison, although this is all dependent on your playstyle; you may find this loadout useful if you prefer to keep your distance.
|60% less damage from your own rockets.|
The Gunboats are a craftable secondary weapon for the Soldier. When equipped, the Gunboats will reduce the damage you take from rocket jumps by a further 60%, resulting in roughly 15 self-inflicted damage for each rocket jump.
- The greatest advantage of the Gunboats is that it provides you with considerable mobility without the risk of health loss. This can allow you to chain rocket jumps together to quickly reach your destination, or to ambush enemies with more health. It can also be used to quickly escape losing battles.
- You will completely lack a secondary weapon, so it is a better idea to use this if you rocket jump often, or have difficulty aiming the Shotgun.
- Since your only ranged weapon will be the Rocket Launcher, one common strategy is to perform a rocket jump over the heads of an enemy group while raining rockets down, which keeps you relatively safe.
- Your ability to rocket jump multiple times also lets you get behind enemy lines or quickly intercept pushing groups.
- Firepower is reduced without the Shotgun, so make the most of the Rocket Launcher. Keep this in mind when encountering enemies that can easily dodge rockets, as well as when using rocket jumps to attack enemies from above.
- Because of this fact, beware of Pyros. Competent ones can completely shut you down with their compression blast. If fighting against one, fire at surfaces around them to minimize their chances of reflecting your rockets.
- You will still take full self-damage if your rockets hit an enemy. As such, be aware of firing at close range.
- The Gunboats can be combined with different weapons for varied results.
- Combining the Black Box with the Gunboats may seem counter-intuitive due to the low clip and the lack of a usable secondary, but it can provide an edge in survivability and ambushing when playing as a roaming Soldier. You will also be able to heal up health lost from rocket jumping after a few landed rockets.
- Using this along with the Direct Hit will help you re-position yourself and escape from a bad situation should you miss too many rockets. However, your small splash radius and lack of a secondary firearm will make you vulnerable to groups.
- The Cow Mangler 5000 pairs well with the Gunboats. Its unlimited ammo allows you to gain very high mobility, comparable to that of a Scout. However, this will make you completely helpless against buildings; a single Mini-Sentry can cut your routes off.
- The Liberty Launcher pairs very well with the Gunboats. Due to its already reduced self-damage, you will only take around 9 damage for each rocket jump, making you a very mobile damage-over-time class.
- The Air Strike also benefits for the same reason. Depending on your playstyle, it is generally more beneficial to equip the B.A.S.E. Jumper, which will let you capitalize on your air time and lets you be very offensive in the air.
- With the Beggar's Bazooka, you can survive multiple misfires and effectively rocket pogo in mid air, resulting in the ability to jump farther without the aid of walls and floors. If you manage to maneuver near an enemy, the two or three rockets loaded in the bazooka should be sufficient to kill most enemies. With practice, you can be rocket jumping all of the time while constantly firing barrages, without a moment for your opponents to hit you on the ground.
- Equipping the Gunboats with the Rocket Jumper is useless, as the Rocket Jumper deals no damage to you or opponents anyway.
|3x Fall Damage|| 75% reduction in push force from damage.|
300% increase in air control.
The Mantreads are a craftable secondary weapon for the Soldier. While worn, you receive only a quarter of the usual knockback from enemy explosions, can inflict stomping damage through long falls when falling on enemies, which also negates falling damage to you, and have 200% more air control when rocket jumping.
- Compared to your other secondaries, the Mantreads are very situational. Its knockback reduction can be very useful for preventing attacks from knocking you out of trajectory during rocket jumps, pushing you off key areas, and combating Sentry Guns, but the stomps themselves are rather difficult to plan and are only viable on open maps like Badwater Basin, since only extremely high falls will deal more damage than a Shotgun blast. Your other secondaries tend to give you more utility, apart from the above mentioned.
- As with most other Soldier secondary weapons, keep your primary weapon loaded as often as possible. Your lack of a secondary weapon means you will be fully dependent on your Rocket Launcher and melee weapon for damage.
- The Mantreads can be used to hold high locations, where fall damage would do considerable harm. Examples include the final point of Gravel Pit, as getting knocked off at low health will often get you killed.
- If you fall, you can save yourself by landing on an enemy, since it will negate all fall damage, although this requires some luck and planning.
- Note that the knockback reduction also applies to airblasts, preventing a Pyro from pushing you out of position.
- The reduction in push force acts as like a Quick-Fix Übercharge, though not completely eliminating Knockback. This means you can tackle a Sentry Gun by yourself even if you are within targeting range. You can even rocket jump around it while it fires at you, which would usually send you off-course without the Mantreads.
- Stomp damage is calculated at 3x your fall damage. This means that unless you fall from an incredible height (e.g. from the tower of Hightower to the first point of the Cart), you won't do much damage to your opponent. If you want to benefit from your stomps, constantly rocket jump to high locations and lead your rocket jump against moving opponents.
- Using the Rocket Jumper with this weapon can increase your stomp's usefulness, but this is situational to large and open maps.
- The extra air control can be great for dodging attacks in the air and increasing the chance of landing on someone's head.
- It can also be used to make sharper turns during your rocket jump.
- The Mantreads work great paired with the Market Gardener. The extra air control makes landing close to enemies and catching up to someone trying to evade you much easier.
Buff Banner + reskins
|Buff||Damage Dealt to Activate||Effect Time||Effect Range|
|Allows your teammates near you to deal mini-crits.||600||10 seconds||450 Hammer units|
Festive Buff Banner
The Buff Banner is an unlockable secondary weapon for the Soldier. By dealing damage to enemies, you build up your Rage meter, which takes 600 damage to fill. Upon activating it, the Soldier and nearby teammates will gain a mini-crit boost for ten seconds, so long as they are in proximity to the Soldier with the buff active.
- The Buff Banner sacrifices your personal self-defense weapon, the Shotgun, for a team-oriented buff. It is best used when teammates are about to make a push, or to counter enemy pushes. This can give them enough firepower to dispatch their targets more easily, allowing them to quickly accomplish objectives or prevent the enemy team from accomplishing theirs. However, you won't have a backup weapon for emergencies, so keep to the team-based offensive and stay near your teammates.
- The area of effect for the Buff Banner is large and passes through walls and floors. Use the Buff Banner from a safe position that helps teammates to push objectives. While this will reduce a player's ability to cause damage to the enemy, it also allows teammates to make the most of the buff.
- The teamwork-oriented nature of this weapon is seen most when it's activated, as it becomes more effective the more teammates you have in its range. If you prefer to work alone, you may want to take a non-banner secondary.
- Though it's better to use the Buff Banner when there are many teammates around, the Rage meter is not carried over between deaths. As with ÜberCharges, it's best to use it instead of lose it, especially when alone.
- When you activate the Buff Banner's buff, you instantly become a priority target for the enemy team due to your glow and flag. Stand in the middle of teammates, preferably behind a tall class such as the Heavy.
- Make sure to be out of trouble as you sound your bugle, as you won't be able to attack for several seconds while blowing your horn.
- Unlike crits, mini-crits are still subject to damage ramp-up. Always take into account how far away enemies are, as a buff can help teammates to kill enemies more effectively at close range than at far.
- As a team-based weapon, the Buff Banner can be employed far more effectively if working alongside another teammate.
- If the Buff Banner is used next to an Engineer, that Engineer's Sentry Gun will fire mini-crits no matter where it is on the map.
- Snipers with the Bushwacka equipped will deal full critical hits instead of mini-crits.
- When a friendly Medic Übercharges a teammate, contribute to the rampage by using the Buff Banner. This allows the Medic's heal target to deal increased damage while invulnerable. However, be sure not to use it during a Kritzkrieg charge, as the effects do not stack.
- Since the Buff Banner charges on damage done, aim for opponents that are more vulnerable to damage (eg. a Scout using Crit-a-Cola). Alternatively, use a stronger weapon such as the Direct Hit.
- Any sort of friendly damage buff (such as a Kritzkrieg charge or another Soldier's Buff Banner) will help you charge your Buff Banner faster, assuming you can hit people. It is entirely possible for a Kritzkrieg Über to fill up your Buff Banner, letting you use a mini-crit buff immediately once the Kritzkrieg ends.
- The Buff Banner is best used with Rocket Launchers with either high damage or a large splash radius.
- The standard Rocket Launcher's blast radius will make it easier to build Rage. Coupled with its four shots, it also makes the mini-crit boost more effective.
- The Cow Mangler 5000 has the same benefits, although you will still be vulnerable to Sentry Guns as ever.
- The Direct Hit will do exceptional damage during your buff, which can let you take out one weak enemy with each shot.
- The Black Box will be able to heal 20 health more often with the damage boost. Do note that your reduced clip size will make it more difficult to gain Rage, however.
- The Liberty Launcher's five shots and increased projectile speed will negate its lower damage and make your boosted shots harder to dodge. At close range, the mini-crit's damage ramp-up will essentially make it a five-shot Rocket Launcher for 10 seconds.
- The Beggar's Bazooka will have an even stronger barrage, making you more dangerous at close range.
- If you can get kills, the Air Strike's high clip on kill will make the most out of the buff's damage. However, your lower damage and blast radius will make it difficult to actually get there.
|Buff||Passive effect||Damage Dealt to Activate||Effect Time||Effect Range|
|Protects nearby teammates from crits and blocks 50% of Sentry Gun damage and 35% of other damage.||The player gains 20 additional health.||600||10 seconds||450 Hammer units|
The Battalion's Backup is a craftable secondary item for the Soldier. The Rage meter builds up by dealing damage to enemies, requiring 600 damage dealt for a full charge. Once the buff is activated, all teammates within the vicinity of the Soldier will have 50% damage resistance from Sentry Guns and 35% damage resistance from all other damage. Teammates under the effect of the Battalion's Backup will also be immune to critical hits and mini-crits. Passively, the Battalion's Backup also gives the player an additional 20 health.
- The Battalion's Backup acts as the defensive counterpart of the Buff Banner. It is more effective when multiple teammates are around to make use of it, and best used when the team needs to make a push to accomplish an objective. However, since it boosts defense, it is generally more useful to use as a counter against an enemy push to prevent them from accomplishing an objective.
- As with the Buff Banner, not having a Shotgun can greatly increase your vulnerability against enemies that can avoid being damaged by rockets. Always make sure to stick with teammates and have them assist against such enemies.
- Similarly, it may not be a wise choice to take this if you largely fight alone or with only a few teammates, as the Battalion's Backup becomes more useful the more teammates you can buff at once with its effect.
- The Battalion's Backup can act as a strong counter to the Buff Banner or Kritzkrieg, as it can completely nullify the Buff Banner/Kritzkrieg's effects and protect teammates from an aggressive enemy push. However, this depends on being able to react quickly to the enemy push, as activating the banner takes time during which the enemy can still inflict mini-crits. If you hear an enemy blowing their own horn or an enemy Medic activating a Kritzkrieg, act immediately to minimize your team's vulnerability.
- Since it cuts Sentry Gun damage by half, this also gives you double the time to deal with them. This is especially effective if the enemy team has multiple Sentry Guns set up at one spot.
- The Battalion's Backup grants you 20 extra health, which at times can be the difference between life and death. It can also mean an extra rocket jump, despite your lack of Gunboats. Most importantly, it lets you survive longer while you work for your Rage, especially when you have a Medic.
- This extra health will also improve your tanking ability once you have your buff activated; 20 extra health becomes very beneficial when you have 35% damage resistance.
- The damage reduction also works against your own rockets. You can do less damaging rocket jumps while the buff is active, although this has little benefit unless you are re-positioning.
- Due to the extra 20 health, Health Packs grant more health and Overheals increase your health to 330.
- As always, work with your team to make the most out of your buff.
- If Sentry Guns are a problem, communicate with a friendly Demoman or Soldier to do combined damage while you boost them with 50% Sentry Gun resistance.
- Kritzkrieg pairs can benefit from the damage reduction the Battalion's Backup provides if it's used to push in behind their ÜberCharge, since the Kritzkrieg does not grant invulnerability to the Medic or patient. The Battalion's Backup can give them the extra survivability needed to complete their task.
- Avoid combining the Battalion's Backup with a standard Medi Gun's ÜberCharge; full invulnerability makes damage resistance redundant.
- Pair the Battalion´s Backup with a friendly Soldier´s Buff Banner or Concheror for a very devastating push.
- The Battalion's Backup is excellent for pushing into areas covered by Snipers. Headshots count as critical hits and will be nullified by the Backup's buff.
- However, keep in mind that backstabs will still instantly kill anyone under the Battalion's Backup's effect.
- As Snipers frequently occupy areas with long sight lines, you may find it's often more effective to deploy this in wider-open spaces instead of indoors or underground.
|Buff||Passive effect||Damage Dealt||Effect Time||Effect Range|
|Teammates are healed for 35% of damage dealt and given a speed boost.||Heals the player for up to 4 points every second.||480||10 seconds||450 Hammer units|
The Concheror is a craftable secondary weapon for the Soldier. It builds Rage by inflicting damage like the Buff Banner, and takes 480 damage to fill. When activated, it provides a speed boost and causes 35% of all damage dealt to enemies to return as healing to whoever inflicted the damage. Passively, the player restores up to 4 health every second when the weapon is equipped, which drops if they have been damaged recently. Health regen can drop down to 1 per second, effectively negating any afterburn or bleed resistance.
- The Concheror is a Buff Banner based around healing and speed. Whereas the Battalion's Backup and Buff Banner are both useful for breaching enemy choke-points, the added survivability provided by the Concheror's buff can keep multiple teammates in the fight and on the front lines. The speed boost will additionally keep less of the slow classes from falling behind, making your pushes more effective for the entire team. This makes it especially valuable for the assigned attacking team on certain gamemodes, such as BLU team on Payload.
- The Concheror's other benefits also make it more valuable than simply for pushes: it charges much faster than your other banners (480 damage compared to 600), meaning you can buff your teammates more often. It also replenishes your health over time so long as you are not damaged recently, which improves your survivability, although not against burst damage.
- Just like the other banner weapons, the Concheror's power scales with how much support from nearby teammates you have. However, it's somewhat easier to get away with using this on your own, since the health-on-hit and speed boost can help you survive when alone when compared to mini-crits or reduced damage.
- It's still recommended to take a non-banner secondary if you're not often fighting alongside your teammates, as you will be helpless once you run out of rockets or have to fight against a Pyro.
- The Concheror's health replenishment abilities, unlike the Black Box, can not be used for rooting out enemy Spies, since shooting a disguised Spy will not heal you.
- Keep in mind that the health regeneration slowly builds up to +4 per second, and is reset to +1 any time you take damage. If you're severely wounded and need to rely on the health regeneration, fall back and avoid enemy spam
- If there is a Medic on your team, your buff can take pressure off of him. Other teammates can simply heal themselves up by shooting opponents, lessening the Medic's load, which lets him focus only on teammates who require the most attention.
- The Concheror's speed boost stacks with that of the Escape Plan. Activating the buff while you are at low health and then pulling out your Escape Plan can allow you to run faster than a Scout!
- The speed boost can make it hard for enemies that rely on precise aim, like Snipers or grenade-using Demomen, to predict you and your teammates’ movement.
- The Black Box's healing stacks very well with the Concheror's boost, letting you heal large amounts of health with each rocket.
- Equipping the Concheror with a weapon that deals less self-damage, such as the Liberty Launcher or Air Strike, allows you to heal up health lost through rocket jumping (albeit slowly), while still being able to contribute to your team with your buffs.
|Press "Jump" in mid-air to deploy chute||Decrease descend speed and acceleration|
The B.A.S.E. Jumper is a craftable secondary weapon for the Soldier. When the Soldier is in mid-air, pressing the jump key (default key: ) will activate a parachute, slowing and capping his vertical descent and allowing him to better control his ability to strafe. Pressing the jump key again will deactivate the parachute, allowing the Soldier to fall normally. When you have the parachute deployed, you have 50% less air control.
- The effectiveness of the B.A.S.E. Jumper is largely based on how open a map is. Maps with high ceilings or open spaces (such as Mountain Lab) will benefit the most from this weapon, while smaller, cramped maps (such as 2Fort) will limit your air time; on maps that take place mostly indoors (such as Junction), this weapon becomes even less effective.
- The parachute's decreased descend speed allow the Soldier to cross wider chasms (such as from one balcony of Doublecross to the other), maximize the efficiency of his rocket jumps, and save himself from fall damage.
- However, like the Soldier's banner counterparts, this leaves him without a secondary weapon. Unless you capitalize on your rocket jumps, it might be more effective to bring a Shotgun.
- Be careful around enemy Pyros and Soldiers. The Reserve Shooter gains mini-crits while attacking an airborne target, and if you rocket jumped before deploying your B.A.S.E. Jumper, the game will consider you to be a valid target for a Direct Hit to receive mini-crits on impact. The distinctive sounds these weapons make when firing should help you identify and avoid enemies using them.
- Also be wary of Snipers and Sentry Guns; the former will find you an easy target due to your slowed movement in the air, while the latter's knockback can send you way off course as you drift.
- If the player's jump was an explosive jump, it will be treated as such for the player's entire duration in the air until landing. Thus, weapons that receive boost from a rocket jumps, such as Air Strike and Market Gardener, benefit from it greatly.
- Conversely, you will be extremely vulnerable to weapons that get a bonus on (explosive-based) airshots, such as the Direct Hit and Reserve Shooter.
- The B.A.S.E. Jumper is often compared to the Gunboats; choose which is more efficient in a given situation. The B.A.S.E. Jumper is effective at clearing long horizontal distances and performing special strafing maneuvers, and can negate fall damage. Meanwhile, the Gunboats are useful if you are going to perform multiple rocket jumps in a short spam of time, and allow you to retreat through the air when at low health.
- If the B.A.S.E. Jumper is used to create a longer aerial assault duration, consider these weapon combinations.
- The Black Box will help offset the initial self-damage from a rocket jump, since you can heal up with several landed rockets.
- The Air Strike or Liberty Launcher are useful with the B.A.S.E. Jumper since their reduced self-damage will let you jump more often.
- The Rocket Jumper will allow you to fully benefit from the Market Gardener. With your harmless rocket jumps and good mobility, you can simply deploy your parachute while near an opponent to increase your chances of getting a critical hit.
- Use the B.A.S.E. Jumper with the Beggar's Bazooka so you can rocket jump, load up three rockets in the air (possibly more than once!) then fire barrages on unsuspecting enemies.
|Loaded||Carried||Point Blank||Medium Range||Long Range||Critical|
[4.2 damage × 15 pellets]
Festivized Panic Attack
The Panic Attack is a craftable secondary weapon for the Soldier. It is a Shotgun that has a 50% faster deploy speed, has 50% more pellets, fires its pellets in a fixed pattern, deals 30% less damage, and has a bullet spread that increases the longer it is fired.
- The Panic deploys 50% faster compared to the Shotgun. This means you can pull it out immediately once you are threatened.
Shovel + reskins
|Weapon||Kill Icon||Attack Interval||Damage|
Bat Outta Hell
- The Shovel is a viable option for close-range enemies without the risk of inflicting self-damage by using the Rocket Launcher, or if reloading the Shotgun will take too long. Unlike your other melee weapons, the Shovel has no downsides, so it can be useful to equip if you rarely use your melee weapon.
- Because you are slower than every other class (except for the Heavy or a Demoman using the Scotsman's Skullcutter), running after an enemy is not a good choice with the Shovel. Use it for self-defense instead, whenever an opponent gets too close.
- A tricky strategy is to use the splash damage from your primary weapon to bounce an enemy directly into your Shovel.
- If you're out of ammo in your Shotgun clip (or don't have a Shotgun equipped at all), you can use the Shovel to finish off enemies in corners.
- You can do this forcefully by using the strong knockback of your rockets to throw them into a corner.
|Weapon||Kill Icon||Attack Interval||Damage|
|0.8 seconds|| 33-107
The Equalizer is an unlockable melee weapon for the Soldier. It deals more damage as the player's health decreases; however, Medics will heal you 90% less while you have the weapon out (through Medi Gun variants, the Crusader's Crossbow, or Amputator's Medicating Melody).
- The Equalizer is a high-risk, last-resort weapon that allows you to fight to the death when in the thick of battle. Since enemies will likely focus fire on Soldiers due to the high amount of threat they present on the battlefield, it can be used as a last stand to take out as many enemies as possible if several of them target you at close range.
- Rocket jumping and ambushing enemies is an excellent way to utilize the Equalizer. By using rocket jumps to hide in places where the enemy does not suspect, it's possible to ambush enemy players and score at least one or two kills.
- However, your slow movement speed will make it difficult to catch up to enemies, so do not run into a fight alone with the Equalizer out.
- It's important to know how much damage the Equalizer can do at certain health brackets. Above 121 HP, the Equalizer does less damage than the Shovel, but with low enough health, it's capable of killing almost any class with just one or two hits.
- Critical hits at low health are devastating; it is possible to kill a full-health Soldier in one blow, and a non-overhealed Heavy in two. This makes the Equalizer even more effective if random crits are enabled.
- If you have the Equalizer drawn, you will be healed 90% less by friendly Medics. Sheath your weapon if you want Medics to heal you at a normal rate. Dispensers and health packs are not affected by this penalty.
- You can use the 90% reduced healing to increase a friendly Medic's Übercharge rate. This is best used in conjunction with self-damage from your primary weapon.
- If you intend to keep your health high, take another weapon. As stated above, the Equalizer does less damage at higher health, and it will interfere with receiving health from Medics. It's probably not the best option if you've got many sources of healing available and you want to use them.
- Weapons that reduce self-damage, such as the Gunboats, Liberty Launcher, or Air Strike, allow you to get your health to as low as possible without dying. It may be beneficial to equip them together with the Equalizer.
|Weapon||Kill Icon||Attack Interval||Damage|
The Escape Plan is a craftable melee weapon for the Soldier. It is the speed boost version of the Equalizer; as health decreases, speed increases, but while it is in use and for one second after switching weapons, the user is marked for death and will take mini-crit damage. The boost is only active when the weapon is held, and the mark for death appears even if the player quick-switches and puts the weapon away without using it. Additionally, the player will gain 90% less healing from Medics while the Escape Plan is out.
- The Escape Plan is a tool of escape: the speed increase at very low health gives you a speed close to the Scout. It allows you to reach help and health sources faster in exchange for increased vulnerability when you're already vulnerable to death (due to low health).
- The speed boost that the Escape Plan grants you when you're injured can be used to reach or escape combat just as fast as rocket jumping. If a fight is not going well, simply take the Escape Plan out and retreat; if you are near corners or there are more allies around than enemies, it will be difficult for the enemy to take you down despite your vulnerability. Meanwhile, you can use the speed boost to get to the front lines quickly, or run towards an objective.
- However, be careful about when you draw the Escape Plan. Players can easily gauge your health by looking at how fast your movement speed is, which can in turn cause them to focus fire on you and finish you off at range. The mark for death will also make it easier for them to do so.
- Try to get out of the line of fire before pulling out the Escape Plan; using it when the enemy can still directly hit you will make you extremely vulnerable.
- Learn not to have a habit of quick-switching with this weapon. Simply having the Escape Plan out for a brief moment will mark you for death, which can make you vulnerable when you don't want to.
- Don't be fooled by this weapon's base damage; it deals standard Shovel damage, and a critical hit will still kill all classes but Heavies, Soldiers, and overhealed Pyros or Demomen.
- However, since the Escape Plan marks you for death, it is generally ineffective as a melee weapon. You may be able to outmaneuver your opponent with your speed, but this may still cause your untimely death unless an opponent is determined to fight with their melee weapon.
- Like the Equalizer, you can use the 90% lower healing from Medics to increase a friendly Medic's Übercharge rate. If you want to get healed at a normal rate, simply put the weapon away, or find a Dispenser or health pack.
- If you lower your health with your rockets at the start of the round, Medics healing you will run at your speed, and you can help them get to the front lines faster.
- Since the Escape Plan requires you to be at low health, try not to equip the Black Box or Concheror with it.
- If you engage in melee combat often, have a non-weapon secondary such as the Buff Banner, or use the Rocket Jumper, it may be better to use another melee weapon; you could be left with only one viable weapon to defend yourself with.
- Since both the Beggar's Bazooka and the Air Strike will often leave you at low health due to overloading or rocket jumps respectively, it can be wise to pair them with the Escape Plan.
|Weapon||Kill Icon||Attack Interval||Damage|
The Pain Train is a craftable melee weapon for the Soldier and Demoman. While equipped, it doubles the rate at which the player captures control points, but also grants 10% increased vulnerability to bullet-based weapons (including all hitscan weapons). These effects are passive, and do not require the Pain Train to be active.
- The Pain Train's sole purpose is to help teammates accomplish capture-based objectives more quickly. While Scouts can often lack the firepower required to contest a point, a Soldier can reliably fight off any defenders that try to stop a capture.
- The Pain Train is an effective tool for back-capping, as it grants the same capturing abilities as a Scout. This can work very well combined with the Rocket Jumper or Gunboats.
- While the Pain Train helps you capture objectives, it will give you more problems against Scouts, Heavies, Sentry Guns, and Snipers, classes that tend to be defending objectives. The +10% hitscan damage vulnerability will make their job of killing you easier, as they primarily rely on bullet weaponry.
- The healing from the Black Box can somewhat alleviate the 10% bullet vulnerability from the Pain Train.
- The Battalion's Backup may help you survive longer with its damage reduction and increased health by negating the damage penalty; however, try not to die while gaining rage.
- The Concheror can also help due to its passive healing.
|Weapon||Kill Icon||Attack Interval||Damage||Healing|
|Point Blank||Critical||On Kill|
The Half-Zatoichi is a craftable melee weapon for the Soldier. Similar to the Demoman's swords, it has increased melee range but a slower draw and holster speed. It restores half of the player's maximum health upon killing an enemy, which can grant overheal. However, the Half-Zatoichi cannot deal random crits, and is Honorbound: if the player puts the weapon away before it gains a kill, it will deal 50 self-damage, and if the player has less than 50 health, they will be unable to sheath it. The Half-Zatoichi can be sheathed without harm if a kill has been made, and will also instantly kill any enemy brandishing another Half-Zatoichi in a single swing.
- The Half-Zatoichi can be useful if you attempt melee combat often. Its range advantage will give you an edge against enemies who fight back, while its health on kill can let you rampage from one enemy to the next should they be injured enough. However, since it has a long draw/holster time and sheathing it without a kill damages you, you will have less margin for error should you decide to use the weapon.
- Due to the Soldier's slow movement rate, it's often better to ambush enemies rather than try to attack head-on. Most players can easily outpace an approaching Soldier.
- As the weapon deals 50 self-damage if you don't get a kill and sheath it, it's wise to only use the Half-Zatoichi either as a last resort or if a kill can be guaranteed. Failing to make a kill will leave players highly vulnerable to attacks, as losing 50 health can be detrimental.
- As such, it is often wise to switch between primary and secondary weapons upon spawning, so that if the quick-switch key is pressed, the Half-Zatoichi will not be accidentally equipped.
- A very useful trick when using this weapon is knowing when it actually equips. If you switch to the Half-Zatoichi and use the quick-switch key to change to another weapon before the switching animation finishes, it will not cause you to be Honorbound. This is useful if you have a second thought of when to draw it or if you have already started switching to it.
- If you're careless, consider turning off "fast weapon switch" just in case you do accidentally switch to it.
- If you get caught out in the open with the Zatoichi without a kill, you can ask a teammate to spare the next opponent they weaken in order for you to get a kill. However, it's usually more viable to find a health source to negate the Honorbound damage, then switch off the Half-Zatoichi.
- Landing a hit with this weapon against an enemy holding a Half-Zatoichi will instantly kill them, no matter how much health they have. It can be a good idea to bring the Half-Zatoichi to deal with an enemy who is causing trouble with the same weapon. Since you can also be killed in one hit, the key to dueling other Soldiers or Demomen who are brandishing the Half-Zatoichi is landing the first hit.
- Banners can be charged instantly by killing a single enemy who is also brandishing this weapon.
- This weapon is superb for Medieval Mode, due to weapons being restricted largely to melee weapons. However, be especially careful of other players also using the Half-Zatoichi.
- It is not recommended to equip the Gunboats or Mantreads when using this weapon; since they passively occupy a loadout slot, the Soldier will automatically switch to this weapon if you run out of primary weapon ammo or if you manually switch weapons. It's recommended that you take a Shotgun.
- This weapon's healing bonus means you can take more risks, such as jumping and taking fall damage or attempting to kill an enemy in a heavily populated area. Always only target one person at once, because they may kill you before you can get your health.
- The Concheror pairs very well with this weapon. Its speed boost allows you to catch enemies much easier, and its healing means you can both get away with holstering the weapon (thanks to its constant health regeneration) and receive even more healing from attacking with it (from the buff).
- Similarly, the Black Box can help you heal up your 50 lost health with a few rockets.
|Weapon||Kill Icon||Attack Interval||Damage||Effect|
|Point Blank||Critical||Speed Boost||Duration|
|0.8 seconds||49||147||40%||4 seconds|
Festivized Disciplinary Action
The Disciplinary Action is a craftable melee weapon for the Soldier. It has a 70% increased melee range, the longest range of any melee weapon in the game, and upon hitting a teammate, it gives both the player and the teammate a speed boost for 3.6 and 2 seconds, respectively. More than one teammate can be boosted at once. However, the Disciplinary Action does 25% less damage compared to the Shovel.
- The Disciplinary Action can be used both as a tool and a weapon. As a tool, you can get slower classes, along with yourself, to the front lines faster, or grant them speed during a firefight. As a weapon, its extremely long melee reach will give you an edge over any opponent who fights at melee range, although this is compensated by its lower damage.
- The speed boost is extremely beneficial to you and your teammates.
- Heavies will especially appreciate the speed boost, as they will be able to keep up with the rest of the team, and you will be fast enough to keep whipping him until he reaches the front lines. This also increases his speed while revved up, which lets him maneuver more easily while firing.
- An Engineer hauling a building to the front lines will appreciate the speed boost very much. This can help them deploy Sentry Guns or Teleporters more quickly.
- Snipers with a speed boost will be able to move slightly faster while scoped in, which can give them an edge in Sniper duels.
- Hitting Scouts with the Disciplinary Action will give them a small speed boost, but will still grant you the full speed boost.
- If multiple teammates are in need of healing, but a Medic isn't nearby, use the Disciplinary Action to get the Medic to teammates in need before they die.
- Mid-battle whips can be useful, too; there are few things more terrifying than a speeding Pyro or a spun-up Heavy that can close in that much faster. Consider doing this to Übercharged allies to get more out of their limited charge.
- If there are multiple allies in an area, they'll form a "net" that you can run along with each teammate acting as a node. You'll be able to move quickly around friendly-occupied territory in this way by whipping your way from player to player.
- This can be a good weapon to have on hand if you're holding down a defended area not under immediate attack, especially if it's near a respawn. Whipping anyone you see will get freshly-spawned teammates to their destinations quicker.
- Since the speed boost also affects your air speed, you can whip a teammate, then rocket jump to your destination to quickly gain ground.
- If you're leaving spawn and cannot rocket jump to get to the front lines, pull the whip out and constantly swing it. Often, faster teammates coming up behind you may see this and get close enough to give you a boost.
- The whip may often miss teammates even though you technically hit them (this might even be accompanied by a successful "whipping" noise). You may have to ask your teammates to stand still for a second in order to grant them their speed.
- This is a useful weapon to have with a pocket Medic, as you won't be engaging in melee combat often with a Medic, and if your Medic gets hurt, you can "whip him to safety" with the speed boost to escape the front lines.
- Don't let the reduced damage fool you — the Disciplinary Action can be very useful in melee fights. Since it has the longest reach of any melee weapon, even the Demoman's swords, take advantage of this and keep moving to land hits. It'll quickly make up for the damage penalty.
- The Disciplinary Action also has the curious property of being able to hit enemies to the side or behind you. This can be exploited to cover your flanks and back, but don't expect to save yourself from getting backstabbed this way; you aren't going to be able to kill a Spy in one swing.
- Critical hits from this weapon deal 146 damage, enough to take out any fragile class in one swing. The extended melee range and high base crit rate of melee weapons means this happens often, which makes the Disciplinary Action all the more terrifying if random crits are enabled.
- Don't expect the Disciplinary Action to help with spychecking. Disguised Spies will get damaged by your whip, but they will also be sped up like a teammate, making it difficult to know if they were a Spy unless they get killed or feign death on the first hit. The speed boost can potentially help them gain ground and get a backstab, so keep alert on who you whip.
- While the Escape Plan is ideal for getting you out of combat, the Disciplinary Action is best for getting you and your allies into combat. When deciding which weapon to use, think about which of these traits you consider to be more important: the Escape Plan's boost is more reliable for keeping yourself alive since you immediately gain speed simply by using it, while the Disciplinary Action is more versatile since you can help your team gain ground, although you won't gain anything if you have no teammates to whip.
|Weapon||Kill Icon||Attack Interval||Damage|
The Market Gardener is a craftable melee weapon for the Soldier. The Market Gardener inflicts critical hits for the entire duration when the player is rocket jumping or sent into the air by an explosion. However, the Market Gardener swings 20% slower, and does not roll for random critical hits.
- The Market Gardener is a melee weapon that requires heavy usage of rocket jumping; it is difficult to use consistently, but very rewarding once mastered. Its effectiveness scales on the player's rocket jumping skill, strafing ability, and knowledge of when to swing the weapon; a competent player will only be limited by the size of a map, or outside sources such as Sentry Guns or enemy movement.
- If you tend to stay grounded, picking a different melee weapon would be more effective, since the 20% slower swing speed will only give you a disadvantage. Similarly, if a map forces you to stay grounded often due to a low ceiling (such as Junction), you will be better off using another melee weapon.
- Several things need to be noted while attempting to get a Market Gardener critical hit.
- The most obvious one is the requirement to rocket jump. Any sort of rocket jump will do, even a non-crouched rocket to the floor.
- Strafing is essential for moving towards your target. Once in the air, let go of all directional keys except left ( ) or right ( ) (depending on the direction you want to go). Move your mouse slowly towards said direction, and you will fly in a curve, allowing you to control your trajectory and hence where you land.
- When you have a target and are falling towards him, do not aim to land on his head. Doing so will simply cause you to be "grounded" since you land on a surface (his head), and will prevent you from dealing critical damage (or any damage at all if you're not crouching).
- Aim to land beside your opponent, and swing just before you land on the ground. The moment where you are level with your opponent's head is right when you should swing, as you are still considered to be in the air.
- Take note of the Market Gardener's swing. The actual attack only occurs a short moment after you press primary fire, so you may have to fire early to hit at the correct time.
- Depending on your rocket jump, you can aim for different types of Market Gardener swings. An upwards rocket jump will let you smack opponents at higher ground, while a diagonal rocket jump will cover more sideways distance and let you reach distant targets. An uncrouched Market Garden, or a Matador, can be used when an opponent approaches around a corner; if they pass by, swing as you land to get a critical hit.
- Advanced Rocket Jumps can further enhance your Market Gardening capabilities. A pogo, for example can cover great distances quickly, allowing you to find a target much faster.
- Any sort of explosive knockback, even from enemies, will let you deal critical hits with the Market Gardener. A sneaky trick is to surf off an enemy Soldier or Demoman's own explosives, then whack them with the Market Gardener.
- If you meet any enemies in mid-rocket jump (eg. another Soldier rocket-jumping), you can also deal critical hits to keep the airspace free.
- Beware of Sentry Guns, as their knockback can send you off-course as you try to land.
- The Market Gardener pairs well with the Reserve Shooter's slight decrease in weapon-switching delay, making for easier mid-air attacks.
- It can also be paired with the Gunboats to rocket-jump more often, and thus open up more opportunities to inflict critical hits.
- The B.A.S.E. Jumper will increase your air time, allowing you to swing even more times with a larger margin for error. By deploying your parachute right before you land, you can often have a full second to swing at your opponent.
- Mantreads will reduce knockback as you rocket jump, preventing enemies from knocking you off-course. You can also stomp onto opponents to negate fall damage, although this will prevent you from dealing a critical hit.
- The Rocket Jumper can be used to fully benefit from the Market Gardener. Since your rocket jumps do no damage, you can keep attempting to get a Market Garden crit, and rocket jump away when you're in trouble.
|500||4 seconds||The Soldier throws his weapon, cracks his knuckles, rips a Grenade from his bandolier and pulls the pin. The blast kills him and any enemy within 6 feet.|
|Just like the above description, but with a special "Hallelujah" sound clip that will play before exploding when the Lumbricus Lid is equipped.|
Kamikaze is the third longest-range taunt in the game and deals damage in a splash radius. When this taunt is performed, the Soldier will in all probability die; any enemy players and buildings that are close by will also die or be destroyed, respectively.
- Use the Kamikaze during humiliation. You'll likely die anyway and this can help you take out as many enemies as possible as you go. At the very least, better to die than be killed, right?
- The explosion deals 500 damage to enemies, but only 320 damage to you. You can therefore survive if you have the Battalion's Backup equipped and are fully overhealed.
- If you perform this taunt under a low ceiling, you will survive, but players and buildings above will be killed.
- Wearing the Lumbricus Lid while taunting will play the "Hallelujah" sound clip roughly 1.5 seconds before the explosion, which may be long enough to warn nearby enemies to keep a safe distance away.
- If you are willing to risk it, you can get a Medic to give you an ÜberCharge while running into an enemy Sentry Nest. This will take out any Sentry Guns and Engineers if successful, although the knockback of a Sentry Gun is usually enough to push you away unless you approach from above.
A well-balanced setup consisting of all Stock weapons and either Pickaxe variant.
The Rocket Launcher's strength lies in its overall usefulness, which lets you take care of business with little fuss; its splash is powerful against groups, while its four rockets will keep you in combat for longer. The Shotgun provides an alternative firearm when all four rounds for the Rocket Launcher have been expended. It's a great weapon to finish off weak opponents or dealing with classes at close ranges where explosives will inflict self-damage. The Shotgun is also ideal for countering Pyros that airblast your rockets often, or against Scouts who double-jump to avoid your rockets and splash damage. The Equalizer can provide an additional edge against enemies when both of the other weapons are fully expended, and the Escape Plan can provide a much-needed speed boost in order to escape. The lowered health from Medics gained from holding either pickaxe can also help a Medic gain ÜberCharge faster.
This setup is based around the Air Strike, granting high mobility and potentially good damage output.
The Air Strike, when paired with the Gunboats, does very minuscule damage to the user if they try to rocket jump, making this weapon nearly as useful for large scale rocket jumping as the Rocket Jumper. This setup is also good at evading Snipers who would probably have no problem killing you had you used the B.A.S.E Jumper. If that isn't a problem, the B.A.S.E. Jumper will make every rocket jump you make more efficient, as you have more time to rain rockets down on opponents. This loadout is also good at ambushing as your low-damage rocket jumps/lengthy air time make it very viable to ambush any enemy from the skies without having to worry about what enemy is on the other side of the ambush. The Equalizer on the other hand will be a basic improvement in melee capabilities as using something like the Escape Plan is not needed with good rocket jumping abilities. Meanwhile, if the player is skilled enough, the Market Gardener synergizes well with your constant rocket jumps.
Be sure to watch out in close range scenarios as the Air Strike is weak in that area, and you will also lack a secondary firearm. It is also useful to note how big a map is, as a cramped or small map with make your rocket jumps less effective, hence givng the Air Strike fewer chances to rain rockets down on opponents.
This setup focuses on using the Gunboats to gain a major mobility advantage over other Soldiers.
Due to the Cow Mangler's unlimited reserve ammo count and the Liberty Launcher's greatly decreased damage taken from rocket jumps (combined with Gunboats, rocket jumps cost 9 health each), players can chain consecutive jumps together and reach their destinations very quickly with little concern over either ammo or health, while retaining sufficient fire power to take out enemies. Furthermore, rocket jumps can be executed to fly over groups of enemies to rain pain down from above, or to escape from situations where a normal rocket jump would lead to death.
However, remember that due to the absence of the Shotgun, certain classes like Pyros and Scouts will be much harder to deal with. The Cow Mangler's negligible damage against Sentry Guns will also make it dangerous to combat one, while the Liberty Launcher's lower damage means you'll need more shots to take down opponents.
Recommended for players who excel with the Direct Hit.
Dispatching Sentry Guns becomes much easier with the Direct Hit, and being able to instantly gib 125-health classes at close range is another major advantage. The Gunboats allow you to simply jump out of dangerous scenarios, or when a fight is not going well. If you tend not to rocket jump, the Buff Banner will let you increase the Direct Hit's already incredible damage once you have Rage, which will also charge very fast due to your weapon. The Shovel can deal damage reliably at higher health levels, though it also prevents players from escaping easily when losing a fight.
This loadout will make you powerful for one-on-one combat, but close-range fighting against opponents who can actively dodge will be a problem, since you will be vulnerable after using all your rockets. Fighting groups is also not recommended, due to the Direct Hit's small splash radius.
This set is designed for a more team-oriented support Soldier, who will focus on either offensively pushing in with a team to maximize team effort, or assisting their teammates rather than directly killing the enemy.
The Rocket Launcher's wide splash damage radius allows players to build up the Buff Banner's Rage meter quickly, while the Black Box sacrifices firepower for utility; every hit landed will replenish some health as well as help to build up the Rage meter, making things easier for friendly Medics as they will be able to focus on healing teammates more and the Pain Train's increased capture rate can help to accomplish capturing objectives faster. Carrying the Escape Plan instead can enhance survivability since you can run away at low health and save your Rage, but this reduces your capturing ability.
Remember that without the Shotgun and due to the Pain Train's higher hitscan vulnerability, being isolated against enemies can often result in death, target prioritization and team support is crucial. Stay near teammates and flee with the Escape Plan whenever you feel vulnerable, and charge up your Rage in order to push into enemy territory with your teammates.
This setup is geared primarily towards team support and Sentry Gun elimination on offensive pushes.
The Direct Hit can eliminate Sentry Guns quickly and can deal severe damage even to Wrangled Sentry Guns, due to its increased damage. The Mantread's 75% reduction in push force taken will mean that you will be able to approach Sentry Guns without immediately being pushed back and knocked into the air. The defense buff given by the Backup gives you and your team twice the survivability against Sentry Guns, and the Direct Hit's extra damage will make it generally easier to earn it as well. The Escape Plan will let you run out of trouble should you find yourself being vulnerable while gaining rage.
Team support will be very useful for this set, as even with the power of the Direct Hit, you may find yourself unable to take out more than one Sentry Gun at a time should they be clustered together. Your push will be effective with a Medic, since you can get into enemy territory with your buff active, which will protect your other teammates as you take down several Sentry Guns while being healed.
A loadout more geared towards roaming Soldiers.
The Black Box provides players with a way to regain health while away from friendly Medics and Dispensers. Due to being away from teammates more frequently, carrying a backpack buff will not benefit teammates, so the Shotgun is preferable in that it can provide an additional level of firepower when the Black Box's ammo runs out. The Escape Plan provides a quick getaway when no one is around to provide support.
As the Black Box suffers from a smaller magazine size, try to use mobility to ambush enemies and retreat before they can retaliate; don't get pulled into drawn-out fights where the reduced magazine capacity will become a disadvantage.
This loadout is for Soldiers focused on surviving for as long as possible, through either higher base health or self-healing, which is helpful when accomplishing objectives.
The Black Box simultaneously replenishes health as well as builds Rage for your banners, meaning you can often survive long enough to use your buffs. Though both banners provide effective defense buffs to your teammates when deployed, which to use is dependent on the situation. The Concheror is best used to survive sustained attacks due to its heal-over-time, while its buff will keep teammates alive, speed them up, and increase the healing you gain from the Black Box. It also needs less damage to charge compared to the other banners, letting you use your buff more often. Meanwhile, the Battalion's Backup's 20 extra health will let you survive against burst damage, especially when one has a Medic to grant overheal. Its ability to negate critical hits and halve the damage for Sentry Guns will also make your team pushes even more effective. For your melee weapon, the Pain Train is the best choice for capturing objectives, and the banners will somewhat off-setting your hitscan vulnerability. When on defense, the Escape Plan can be used to make a fast getaway, or the Half-Zatoichi can be used to further improve your health-gaining playstyle by earning half your max health on kill.
As always, the Black Box lacks in clip size, so stay with your team (which you should be doing!) to maximize your survivability. This will help you gain your Rage, and your banners will buff the most amount of teammates possible should you keep within a group.
A good, self-reliant loadout, which is beneficial for Soldiers that may hide in enemy territory, or when a player decides to play on wide-open maps where ammo, health packs, and support are scarce.
Since the Cow Mangler does not require ammunition, it will provide mobility through rocket jumps limited only by your health. The Concheror will help with its much-needed self-heal, meaning that if you are undetected, you can easily retreat to a safe place, heal, and continue your assault, with zero concern for ammo count or health. The Disciplinary Action allows the player to exert longer reach if necessary, which can give you an edge in one-on-one battles, while the Escape Plan provide a much-needed speed boost if pressured, useful if an opponent gives you no time to reload or heal up with the Concheror.
There are several things to look out for while using this loadout: Sentry Guns will be your biggest enemy, as your very low damage to buildings makes you all but helpless against them. Once you are out of ammo, you will also have no damaging secondary weapon to fallback to, making you vulnerable if you run out of ammo and have no health to rocket jump out of danger. Keep attention to yourself at a minimum, and always find time to reload or heal using your self-heal; most of all, minimize your exposure to buildings.
A setup often described as the Trolldier loadout, dedicated to either capturing points when facing an enemy team that continuously pushes forward, or using your extreme mobility to score Market Gardener critical hits on a single target.
Since the Rocket Jumper deals no damage at all, use it in the same manner as the Gunboats and chain rocket jumps together to traverse great distances quickly. If playing on Offense, try to get behind enemy lines to reach uncontested points, using the Pain Train's increased capture rate to capture the control point behind the enemy's back before they can react. Your Shotgun is the only real means of self-defense, and can be used to destroy any Stickybombs that may be placed on control points.
For a more melee-oriented mobile Soldier, the Mantreads and Market Gardener make a deadly combo. The Mantreads will prevent any shots from knocking you off-course during a rocket jump, while a critical hit from the Market Gardener will kill almost any class before they knew what hit them, or severely weaken them for your teammates to clean up. However, do note that landing with the Mantreads will prevent you from dealing a critical hit with the Market Gardener, so it might be a better option to take a Shotgun for self-defense if you are used to getting critical swings.
This loadout gives you incredible mobility, but weakens you to the point where anyone can take you down with little effort. Keep moving to avoid being hit; keep in mind that you will be also particularly weak at long range, so it is recommended not to use this as a serious loadout for actual games unless you can constantly kill single targets with your Shotgun or Market Gardener.
| The Airborne Armaments Setup
Even though the set doesn't provide any bonuses, the combination of these weapons provide many ways to finish opponents off while either you or he is in the air, hence the name.
The five shots and fast-yet-weaker projectiles from the Liberty Launcher gives you more leeway for aiming, as you have a large clip and dependable rocket speed/splash damage. Five rockets also mean more opportunities to send opponents into the air using rockets directed under their feet, which lets you follow up with another shot from your Liberty Launcher, mini-crits from the Reserve Shooter, or a Market Gardener crit by launching yourself up to him. Finally, the five shots also let you rocket jump more often without reloading, which is further benefited by its lower self-damage. The Reserve Shooter, as mentioned earlier, is mainly used as a follow-up for your rockets, so keep attempting it often. The Market Gardener benefits from this set, as the reduced rocket jump damage and large clip from your Liberty Launcher means you can rocket jump more often and attempt more critical swings.
Watch out for your ammunition; your five shots make it easy to simply and carelessly spam yourself out of rockets, especially since you will have to make up for the Liberty Launcher's reduced damage with more shots. Stronger targets will also be harder to take down due to your lower damage. While you have the Reserve Shooter, its lower clip will make it sub-par for self-defense compared to your stock Shotgun, while the Market Gardener is less effective without rocket jumping since it swings slower and doesn't deal random crits.
A loadout best suited for a Soldier who prefers to stay back before mutilating his enemies with mini-crits.
While it cannot be crit-boosted and is weak against Sentry Guns, the Cow Mangler 5000 pairs very well with the Buff Banner. It deals a good amount of damage via mini-crits with charged shots, and is also a useful Rage-builder because of its mini-crits and fire damage. Its infinite ammunition will also be a benefit when charging up Rage or when you are under the banner's effects, as you can simply reload and keep firing. The Beggar's Bazooka can also pair very well with the Buff Banner; three mini-crit boosted rockets at once can be enough to kill overhealed Heavies at close range. This will also provide you and your teammates with support to destroy a disabled Sentry Gun (with the Cow Mangler 5000), and ambush enemies capturing Control Points or pushing the Payload Cart (with the Beggar's Bazooka or mini-crit boosted Cow Mangler). Using the Escape Plan during the Buff Banner's mini-crit buff can assist you greatly for close range battles or in Medieval Mode, mixing speed and power, but time your melee attacks accordingly since you are vulnerable to mini-crits.
Both weapons have flaws in some ways, as the Cow Mangler leaves you vulnerable to Sentry Guns if you don't have team support, while the Beggar's Bazooka leaves you open while you load rockets, and is also less effective at range. As mentioned above, stay back with your teammates and play defensively; once you have full Rage, you can rampage alongside your team.
A good all-around loadout for the team-focused Soldier who wants to be prepared for a little bit of everything, trading sheer power for versatility.
The Black Box is used primarily for mid-ranged fighting in this setup, reliably dealing good damage during smaller fights or in case of an ambush. The steady stream of health from hits will soak up some of the splash damage you'll receive at this range and aids in survivability, keeping you in the fray and lifting some of the burden off of friendly Medics. The Righteous Bison and Disciplinary Action cover long and short ranges, respectively, and will compensate for the Black Box's reduced clip due to their non-reliance on ammo (and quick reload, in the Bison's case.) Both are also great utility weapons and excel when used alongside teammates.
Due to your reduced damage in almost all areas (such as the Black Box's lower clip size, the Bison's weaker close range power, and the Disciplinary Action's lower damage), this combination won't net you as many kills as a stock loadout, but can put you more in a support role where you stay alive in order to aid your team. Try not to attempt anything too reckless.
A loadout set up for a Soldier who is sure of their aim, and will consistently hit enemies with airshots, be it with rockets or Shotgun blasts.
The Direct Hit and Liberty Launcher both have a rocket speed increase, the former more so than the latter, which is helpful for airshots. The Direct Hit's damage increase and mini-crits on airborne enemies make it deadly for players that are experienced with it, but the Liberty Launcher gives more chances for knocking people into the air due to its five shots, while still giving you enough damage to deal with crowds. Both are effective at knocking enemies into the air, allowing them to be hit with another rocket or a Shotgun blast. The default Shotgun provides reliable back-up firepower, without a damage increase against airborne enemies. The Reserve Shooter mini-crits any opponent sent into the air by an explosion, making it more deadly when you get airshots, but it is a less useful fallback weapon with only 4 shells loaded. The Escape Plan allows one to quickly retreat when badly damaged, and the Disciplinary Action acts as additional support for getting allies to the front line faster.
||Dr. Grordbort's Victory Pack Setup
This set lessens the player's burden of finding ammunition and rewards you with the ability to fight for long periods of time, although you will be all but helpless against buildings.
A Soldier with this set will be focusing on killing enemy players more than anything, as both the Cow Mangler and the Righteous Bison deal greatly reduced damage to buildings. Both the Mangler's charge ability and the Bison's piercing shots allow the Soldier to deal heavy damage to various enemy formations, and can often scatter a group of enemies due to the afterburn inflicted by the Cow Mangler, or the constant damage from the Righteous Bison. The Escape Plan is useful for getting you out of trouble when you are low on health, and the Disciplinary Action will help other teammates reach the front lines, since you will tend to stay slightly behind them with this loadout. The Half-Zatoichi, although risky, can be used to pick off individual targets to refill half your health, essentially negating the need to find health packs as well.
Remember that infinite ammo is not infinite clip size; keep your weapons loaded to prevent a forced switch to the Half-Zatoichi, which is honor-bound and causes you to take 50 damage if you sheath it without a kill. Also, you are completely vulnerable to buildings, as both your Cow Mangler and Righteous Bison deal reduced damage to them; leave it up to your teammates to take them down, and help them out with a charge shot.
This loadout is for the Soldier who feels the urge to take on huge hordes of enemies, at the cost of being vulnerable before each bout of firepower.
Both of your ranged weapons start with zero shots in reserve, having a loading mechanism where you hold primary fire and then release it to unleash a barrage of firepower. The three rocket capacity of the Beggar's Bazooka plus the four shot capacity of the Panic Attack means you won't have a very good longevity in terms of keeping your firepower constant compared to other Rocket Launchers and Shotguns, but the Bazooka will fire faster and the Panic Attack loads shots faster, leaving little time for any enemies caught in the crossfire to react accordingly. Also, should you be thrown into close range combat, the Panic Attack can come in great handy, as the less overall health you have remaining, the faster the shots are fired. However, the shots also spread further, making it insufficient in medium to long range if you are damaged. The Equalizer or Disciplinary Action serve as a last resort, should your ammo be whittled away or confront a class that can shrug off your firepower with little threat to their safety, with the former providing power as a last resort, and the latter providing extreme range but less power.
As mentioned above, the automatic firing of both the Beggar's Bazooka and Panic Attack prevents you from actually controlling when your weapons fire (with the exception of the Panic Attack, although you can't stop your shots), and the pre-loading requisite also leaves you open if you are not prepared for a fight. While this loadout comes with much risk, if an enemy is caught unaware, you will have a large advantage.
This loadout allows the Soldier to take advantage of a unique form of rocket jumping called the Overload Jump, where the Soldier uses the overload damage from the Beggar's Bazooka to achieve multiple mid-air jumps, allowing the Soldier to access routes often unheard of, even for normal rocket jumping techniques. This set also allows the Soldier to achieve any necessary trajectory without having to rely on propelling from any sort of surface, thus allowing the Soldier to jump off of thin air, if necessary.
Due to the Gunboat's heavily decreased self-damage, this allows the player to flank their enemies and unleash a salvo of rockets from behind. As multiple overload jumps deal less damage with this set, the player will have more sustainable freedom of travel, and can often travel ridiculous distances on large maps using it. Due to the amount of damage one can sustain from this mode of transportation, equipping the Equalizer or Escape Plan allows the user to either deal a large amount of melee damage or perform a ground-based escape at high velocity. The Half-Zatoichi, while risky to use, will let the player pick off low-health enemies in order to regain some health lost.
This set becomes less effective on maps which limit aerial movement, such as cramped or enclosed maps. Make sure to use this setup where there's room to maneuver. Being caught off-guard can also get you killed since you'll either be lacking health or still loading rockets; if possible, constantly keep firing rockets so you can deny opponents from getting close.
This setup is mostly geared toward airborne attacks, using the B.A.S.E. Jumper in tandem with different Rocket Launchers to rain death from above.
All three rocket launchers can be useful for airborne attacks. The Liberty Launcher, in tandem with the B.A.S.E. Jumper, can allow a Soldier to cross vast distances of the map and heights for little damage to yourself, since it deals reduced self-damage. However, it is the weakest of all the Rocket Launchers, making it less effective against crowds. The other two primary weapons, in exchange for mobility, grant you more firepower. With the Cow Mangler, the player can, after rocket jumping and reloading, charge a shot in the air, and since the reduced momentum while charging is nullified by your rocket jump, you can land shots that you usually can't do simply on the ground. The Beggar's Bazooka can be used in the same way, except you can fully load your three rockets while in the air before firing downwards, dealing high amounts of damage on unsuspecting targets. Regardless of the choice of your primary weapon, the B.A.S.E. Jumper will allow you to deal critical swings with the Market Gardener if properly timed, and can be done multiple times before landing.
Sentry Nests and attentive Heavies will be your biggest issues, since their bullets deal enough knockback to send you off-course as you drift. If possible (with the exception of the Cow Mangler), get in close with the Beggar's Bazooka to destroy the Sentry Gun, or fire at a distance with the Liberty Launcher before continuing your aerial assault. This set will also be less effective on smaller maps, since you have less space to maneuver.
This loadout is a preferred loadout for Mann VS Machine, where constant salvos and quick buffs are more preferred than the sustained-but-slow damage from the standard Rocket Launcher.
Both the Air Strike and the Beggar's Bazooka are amazing rocket launchers for MVM, due to their rapid-fire capabilities. With these rockets, an early-game upgrade to Reload Speed greatly increases how quickly a new salvo can be prepared, thus allowing for a near-constant barrage of rockets, so long as the Soldier knows where to find an ammo pack, or has purchased an ammo canteen.
Since most of the Soldier's points will be invested in their primary weapon and resistances, it is best to not rely on upgrading a Shotgun, and instead equip a backpack that will give the entire team the upper hand against the robot hoards. While the Soldier has various banners, the one that provides the greatest benefit is the Buff Banner, which allows the entire team to deal mini-crit damage for a duration, ensuring that even the strongest robots will be at your team's mercy.
As for melee, the Escape Plan is used as an escape tool, allowing a low-Health Soldier to run to the safety of the team's Medic. Meanwhile, the Equalizer is more of an offensive anti-tank weapon, as a low-health Soldier can simply stand toe-to-toe with a tank and deal up to 107 damage per swing, thus heavily damaging the tank while not having to worry about accidentally getting caught by the explosive blast of his own rockets.
Class Combat Strategies
Scouts depend on fully avoiding damage. While your Rocket Launcher is strong enough to take them down quickly, hitting them will be no easy task. Combating Scouts often comes down to predicting their movements.
- While Scouts are weak enough to be dispatched by a few rockets, few Scouts will give Soldiers the opportunity to do so. Scouts will often use their double-jump to dodge fire and prevent Soldiers from landing clean hits at close range.
- The easiest way to counter a double-jumping Scout is to predict where the second jump will place the Scout, then fire a rocket there to juggle him. A well-placed direct rocket can kill a Scout outright or force a retreat.
- The Shotgun is a useful choice for engaging Scouts, as they cannot dodge bullets as they can with your rockets.
- Using the Direct Hit can be both a blessing and a curse. While a direct contact rocket will almost certainly kill a Scout at close range, landing splash damage in an attempt to juggle the Scout is much harder. Use the increased projectile speed to your advantage, and predict where they will jump.
- If a Scout tries to perform a weapon heckle, there is little that can be done besides trying to predict the range at which the Scout may try to engage at. In general, try to avoid fighting Scouts in open areas where they can use their maneuverability to heckle their targets.
- Open areas can be a benefit for you though, depending on your loadout; simply rocket jump into the skies. A Scout can't do much damage to you in the air, while you can rain rockets downwards at him, and this may be able to take him out if you extend your jump with the B.A.S.E. Jumper and a Rocket Launcher that excels in the air, such as the Air Strike.
- Be aware of Scouts using the Force-A-Nature to force jump or the Soda Popper to quad jump up to areas that are normally only accessible via rocket jumping. Scouts can sometimes follow Soldiers up vertical access points and ambush them from behind.
- The Rocket Launcher can also be used to juggle them; however, beware of Scouts using Bonk! Atomic Punch and attempting to close the distance in order to cause the rockets to inflict self-damage. In such a case, simply switch to the Shotgun and wait for the Bonk!'s effects to wear off.
Fighting another Soldier largely depends on judging where to land rockets for the greatest amount of damage, individual loadouts, and aiming skill with the Shotgun.
- Several weapon matchups can be compared below.
- In general, if both Soldiers are using the Rocket Launcher, the outcome of the duel will depend mostly on aim and dodging. Maneuvering to avoid the most splash damage from the enemy Soldier's rockets will be the key to surviving, as well as trying to place rockets where they will do the most damage to the enemy Soldier. The Cow Mangler 5000 fares the same way, although the infinite ammunition of the weapon can give one Soldier an edge in rare cases.
- A Soldier using the Direct Hit can cause more damage to the other with contact hits, but will have trouble landing splash damage or juggling the enemy Soldier for a mini-crit. Furthermore, corners and obstacles cannot be utilized to land splash damage, which can be a significant problem if the other Soldier is not using the Direct Hit.
- Fighting using the Black Box is similar to the Rocket Launcher; however, it can be harder to finish an opponent off with only three rockets, and its health regeneration capabilities are easily overwhelmed by the raw damage that rockets can inflict. If one or both Soldiers are using the Black Box, the outcome of the duel will depend more on what secondary and melee weapons are being carried.
- Even with its five shots and faster projectiles, the Liberty Launcher will be overwhelmed by the Rocket Launcher at close range due to its reduced damage. However, it stats fare better at medium range, so a Liberty Launcher-carrying Soldier may be able to take out his enemy by keeping his distance and using the weapon's faster rockets to out-damage his opponent.
- A triple-rocket barrage from the Beggar's Bazooka is essentially enough to take out another Soldier at close range. However, the user will be vulnerable while loading up rockets, so it is often the matter of who catches who off-guard.
- Since the Air Strike requires open space to be effective, duels will be dependent on the battlefield. If an Air Strike Soldier has earned several kills and has air space to maneuver, he will have an advantage against a standard Soldier, while being in a cramped space with no kills will have the opposite effect.
- Deciding when to pull out the Shotgun is important, as it can quickly finish off enemy Soldiers after several rockets if both Soldiers' rockets have placed the two very close together. Simply using the Shotgun as a primary weapon can be beneficial too, since its bullets don't have travel time and do decent damage even at close range.
- If a backpack buff item is equipped, the outcome will depend on what type of buff is being carried, as well as whether or not it's active. Furthermore, the melee weapons being carried will be the final decider in the event that both Soldiers are carrying backpack buff items.
- If an enemy Soldier has an active backpack buff, it's often best to simply deny combat until its effects wear off. Fighting an enemy Soldier who has any sort of buff can be hard if both start off on equal footing otherwise. Try to use the Shotgun to gain an advantage over enemy Soldiers with backpack buff items.
- If both Soldiers are carrying backpack buff items, it's possible to negate the enemy's buff by countering with another buff, or vice-versa. In particular, the Battalion's Backup is capable of nullifying any advantage from the Buff Banner, and the Concheror can help to mitigate any mini-crit damage taken as well.
- Melee duels between Soldiers can vary widely. The Escape Plan is often the most-frequently wielded melee weapon for the Soldier, and the outcome will often depend on who lands the first hit as well as the health levels of both Soldiers at that point. The Equalizer follows the same rules but factors in damage instead of speed. The Half-Zatoichi is capable of healing upon kill and has increased range, but has a slower draw speed while posing the danger of getting killed in a single hit if the enemy wields the same weapon; furthermore, the enemy Soldier may simply retreat out of melee range and switch to another weapon due to its Honorbound effect. The Disciplinary Action trades damage for range; this can be an advantage, depending if the opponent has it equipped too, and who deals more hits. Finally, the Market Gardener is dependent on the player's experience and the amount of open space; should one Soldier land a critical hit, it can often be the end of a duel.
- When fighting an enemy Soldier, always try to take the height advantage first and prevent the enemy Soldier from doing the same. The general rule is that the Soldier who has the height advantage is often the winner.
- If the enemy Soldier tries to take the height advantage, try to prevent this using whatever means possible, from hitting them in midair with rockets to using the Shotgun to push them away.
- Learning how to air-strafe can be crucial to survival when fighting an enemy Soldier who has the height advantage. Air-strafing prevents enemy Soldiers from landing clean hits with the Rocket Launcher, making achieving height parity easier.
- The Direct Hit is an excellent tool for taking down Soldiers who rocket-jump often. As mini-crits are inflicted on enemies sent skyward by explosives, a single Direct Hit rocket is capable of decisively dealing with an enemy Soldier.
While Pyros may lack the ranged power you have, their greatest advantage lies in the ability to use compression blasts to deflect rockets and inflict mini-crits on foes using deflected projectiles. One-on-one battles often come down to smart timing of your shots, or switching to your unreflectable secondary weapon in order to take them down. When fighting alongside teammates, always be careful about firing rockets as a skilled Pyro can use your own rockets against your team.
- If using rockets to deal with the Pyro, try to launch them in such a way that the Pyro has no chance to deflect the rocket properly; one good example is using obstacles to land splash damage, which prevents clean reflects. You can also coax a Pyro to airblast early, then fire your rockets during the gap between compression blasts; watch out for the telltale "warping" effect around the muzzle of the Pyro's Flamethrower.
- If using the Direct Hit, be sure to actively dodge the rockets as well since damage can be avoided by staying outside of the rockets' small splash radius. Take note that if the Pyro does successfully hit you with a reflected rocket, it will do way more damage to you due to mini-crits and the weapon's increased damage.
- The Beggar's Bazooka and Air Strike can negate airblasts in some form, since both of these weapons can potentially fire barrages of rockets that are impossible to reflect all at once.
- Only try to fire rockets at a Pyro if there are teammates to provide a distraction. Pyros cannot deflect rockets that they cannot see, so ambushing them or attacking from above can make a huge difference.
- Emphasize caution when pushing in with a Kritzkrieg-charged Rocket Launcher; you can almost certainly take out a Pyro with one rocket, but a single reflected rocket can bring an end to your rampage.
- The best way to deal with a Pyro is simply to use a Shotgun variant, since hitscan bullets cannot be reflected. Try to engage Pyros from outside of their Flamethrower's range and deal as much damage as possible to force a retreat.
- Another trick is to try to goad them into using the Shotgun, and then quickly switching to the Rocket Launcher to attack them while they do not have the Flamethrower out. However, this is very difficult to do against Pyros using the Degreaser.
- The Righteous Bison, with its slow but unreflectable projectile, is very useful against the Pyro in tight quarters and long ranges, such as the sewers in 2Fort.
- Demomen, like Soldiers, rely largely on explosive projectiles and a combination of knockback and juggling to defeat their opponents. Depending on the circumstances, they are easier and harder to defeat than a Soldier.
- A Demoman's greatest advantage over the Soldier is the ability to arc projectiles over obstacles or around corners where Soldiers cannot respond in kind. However, Demomen are somewhat easier to fight in direct combat since their explosives are either time-delayed or must be manually detonated.
- Demomen often rely on using their Stickybomb Launcher in order to deal damage. It has a considerably shorter range than the Rocket Launcher, so the easiest way to deal with itis to stay outside of its range.
- The Grenade Launcher is usually simple to deal with, as it mainly comes down to avoiding getting hit directly by a grenade. Any grenades that hit the ground will automatically detonate after a set period of time, so it's simply a matter of avoiding them when they do detonate.
- The most reliable way to deal with Sticky traps is to use the Shotgun to destroy them. The first projectile for hitscan weapons that have not been fired for at least one second travels directly down the crosshair, allowing you to destroy Stickybombs at a distance.
- The Rocket Launcher can be used to scatter Sticky traps quickly if using the Shotgun will take too long. They will still be active, so try to scatter them in a direction where they cannot harm teammates.
- Like the Soldier, Demomen can explosive-jump by using the Stickybomb Launcher. While they take more damage from such jumps, they can jump farther distances. If using the Direct Hit, try to knock them out of the sky, as a single rocket is often enough to finish a Demoman.
- A Demoman who has the Chargin' Targe and a long-range melee weapon equipped (a Demoknight) can be difficult to deal with without a Shotgun handy. As the Chargin' Targe effectively halves any damage that the Rocket Launcher can inflict, the Rocket Launcher can only really juggle the Demoman, but not reliably kill unless the Demoman was already previously damaged.
- If a Demoman uses a charge to close the distance, try to use the Rocket Launcher to juggle them and stop the charge, or try to stay out of its line of charge. Remember that weapons like the Eyelander and Scotsman's Skullcutter have a surprisingly long melee range, so Demomen can land hits at ranges that may seem safe.
- Fighting Heavies mainly depends on the terrain. A Heavy's Minigun will quickly kill any Soldiers within a certain range given a clear line of sight; however, the Rocket Launcher can be used to inflict splash damage around obstacles and corners, where the Heavy cannot counterattack.
- In general, if obstacles cannot be used to inflict splash damage, try to fight Heavies at long range where their Minigun's damage falloff and spread reduces the amount of damage taken.
- Ambushing Heavies from higher ground also provides a measure of cover. Often, Heavy players will only focus on what is in front of them, and can be dispatched quickly by ambushing them with rockets.
- Letting a Heavy within close range is not advised, as the Minigun will quickly shred any targets at close range and they can simply outlast Soldiers in Shotgun or melee fights. As Heavies are the slowest class in the game, it's not hard for a Soldier to outmaneuver a Heavy, so use this to deny Heavies a chance to close in.
- Spun-up Heavies are easy targets for rockets from the Direct Hit, as they are not hard to lead. Try engaging such Heavies at a distance, especially if they are out in the open and especially if they are using the Brass Beast.
- The Battalion's Backup is an excellent Heavy counter, as it can drastically cut down the Heavy's firepower advantage. Heavies that are preventing teammates from advancing can often be made to retreat by using the Battalion's Backup.
- By themselves, Engineers are not hard to deal with, since they lack the firepower needed to kill a Soldier. Two rockets should be enough to dispatch an Engineer.
- The key to destroying Sentry Guns as a Soldier lies in the Rocket Launcher's ability to deal splash damage. By using splash damage, players can effectively damage a Sentry Gun from outside of its range of fire or from around corners, without the Sentry Gun being able to return fire.
- If an Engineer is constantly repairing the Sentry Gun, attack the Dispenser or fire at nearby objects to damage him via splash damage.
- Once a Sentry Gun is unattended, it will only take a maximum of three rockets to destroy it.
- While popping in and out of cover to attack a Sentry Gun, be wary while reloading, as more skilled Engineers will often leave the protection of the Sentry to ambush you rather than let you harass their Sentry Gun.
- Dealing with lone Medics is not hard, but the real trouble comes from their patients, who will always do everything possible to protect the Medic.
- When dealing with a Medic travelling with a buddy, try to ambush them and use the Rocket Launcher's knockback to separate the pair, then prey on the Medic. Using rocket jumps to gain a height or maneuverability advantage also helps.
- Medics will often refuse combat against a Soldier and retreat. As Medics are the second-fastest class in the game, getting a successful kill often relies on the terrain and whether you can chase him with a rocket jump.
- Experienced Medics will often use the knockback of your rockets to their advantage and surf away to safety. Be wary of this.
- As Snipers fight at long range, the Rocket Launcher is the only weapon that can reliably counter a Sniper. In general, try to fire rockets at objects near the Sniper to inflict splash damage, or simply to suppress the Sniper in order to get closer.
- The Direct Hit is capable of countering Snipers at range, as the fast projectile travel time allows Soldiers to hit Snipers with more reliability. However, proper aim is required due to the significantly smaller splash damage radius.
- Snipers will often take the high ground in order to get a better view of the battlefield. Whenever possible, use rocket jumps to reach these locations, as well as to close the gap faster.
- Never rocket jump in plain view of a Sniper, as good Snipers can often predict the travel arc and land a headshot in midair.
- If a Sniper knows that an enemy is approaching, he or she may attempt to scope in with the Sniper Rifle and land a headshot when the attacker appears. Equip the Shotgun and constantly fire at the Sniper to prevent this.
- The Cleaner's Carbine is more powerful during close-range combat due to to its 8 seconds of mini-crits on kill. Since it needs a kill to obtain the mini-crits, try attacking him first with your primary weapon before he kills someone from your team. If he does have the mini-crits, remain staying out of the firing range as usual, and keep your distance should he be equipped with the Bushwacka during the phase, since it does critical hits in place of mini-crits. Use a damage-dealing primary to try to juggle him around, and finish him with either a second rocket or use the Shotgun, Reserve Shooter, or Righteous Bison if you have any one equipped.
- The key to dealing with Spies is to identify them before they can strike. Check teammates frequently, and always be sure to turn around frequently, as Soldiers are frequent targets for Spies.
- Use the Rocket Launcher to juggle Spies whenever they have been identified. This can often prevent a Spy from getting a successful backstab against teammates.
- If dealing with a Spy at close range, using the Shotgun or a melee weapon can reduce the chances of inflicting self-damage. However, using a melee weapon may give the Spy a chance to strafe and perform a sidestab, or even a facestab.
- The Shotgun is a useful weapon for checking areas for cloaked Spies. Once a Spy's location has been determined, switch to the Rocket Launcher and splash the area to kill the Spy.
- When using a backpack buff item, be wary of teammates who are not being affected by the buff, as this normally indicates that that player is an enemy Spy. Also, be sure to turn around frequently as a Soldier with an active banner is a high-priority target for Spies.
- If a Spy is using the Dead Ringer, be sure to take out the Shotgun to Spy-check instead of the Rocket Launcher, as some Spies deliberately step in the way of rockets to cause them to inflict self-damage.
Cooperative Class Strategies
Scouts are the most fragile offensive class and their weapons are designed for one-on-one battles. This sometimes gives them trouble fighting against tougher classes or groups, so be sure to offer assistance. Your crowd-controlling ability can make his job of cleaning up much easier, while he has his own array of tools to make you more effective.
- The Rocket Launcher's knockback can be used to pin enemies, making them easier targets for the Scout, or to push them away if the Scout is retreating. Its overall damage will also soften up groups, enhancing the Scout's picking ability.
- Soldiers, presenting the most threat in combat out of all classes except the Heavy, can also serve as distractions against enemies, which can create opportunities for friendly Scouts to perform flanks and ambushes. The opposite is true, as the Scout's speed can distract opponents long enough for you to take them out with rockets.
- Both Scouts and Soldiers have a great deal of mobility; Scouts with their speed and double jump, and Soldiers with their rocket jumps. As such, both classes are able to use this maneuverability to conduct synchronized ambushes against unsuspecting groups of enemies.
- Several Scout weapons are perfect for team-oriented attacks.
- A Scout using the Sandman can make enemies considerably easier to hit with rockets. A Sandman-wielding Scout and a Soldier can work in tandem to stun high-priority targets and eliminate them quickly.
- Scouts using Mad Milk can help Soldiers quickly recover their health if used against an enemy group. The Rocket Launcher's splash damage can be used to replenish large amounts of health at a time. This effect can be amplified further for both teammates by using the Buff Banner or Concheror, or for the Soldier himself if he is using the Black Box.
- A Scout using the Fan O'War can make a Soldier's target significantly easier to kill by hitting the enemy and then retreating, making follow-up attacks for the next 15 seconds mini-crits. This can let you kill almost any class in just two well-placed hits.
- Scouts using Bonk! Atomic Punch can distract enemies or body-block bullets while the Soldier deals damage. This is also very useful for taking down Sentry Guns, as it can potentially save an Übercharge from being wasted (or better yet, act as a psuedo-Übercharge if a Medic is unavailable).
- While difficult to perform consistently, a Scout can use the Force-A-Nature's knockback to send an opponent into the air, where the Soldier can mini-crit them with the Direct Hit.
- When using a backpack buff item, remember that Scouts cannot benefit from its effects without restricting their movements, which makes them easier targets for the enemy. If paired up with a Scout, try to fight as close to the enemy as possible.
- In particular, a Scout can use the Boston Basher to inflict bleeding on an enemy, then retreat to inside of the radius of a Buff Banner to inflict mini-crit bleeding or that of a Concheror to slowly heal. The Battalion's Backup can also lessen damage if they hit themselves, although it's probably not a good idea to waste a charge on just that.
- Soldiers equipped with the Disciplinary Action should hit the Scout to boost his speed up; this will make the Scout run even faster to objectives or capture points, while also giving the Soldier speed to get to the front lines.
- If working closely together, make sure both of you have enough space to maneuver. A Scout can dodge more easily in wide areas, while a Soldier can rocket jump in and out if there is a high ceiling. Try not to get into an area which disadvantages either class.
Two Soldiers mean double the projectiles and, oftentimes, double the crowd control. Depending on the loadout of each Soldier, it is possible to cover the weaknesses of either player through positioning or weapon choice.
- When working alongside other Soldiers, try to use each other's rockets to juggle enemies and make follow-up attacks easier.
- Using their mobility, two Soldiers can rocket jump to perform ambushes on enemy groups very successfully. This can significantly amplify the power of an ambush since two Soldiers can land large amounts of splash damage over enemy groups.
- This can also be used to capture points or perform back caps if both Soldiers have the Pain Train. However, unlike doing so with a Scout, two Soldiers have considerably more firepower and can fend off enemies more easily.
- An exposed Sentry Gun will fare poorly against the combined firepower of two Rocket Launchers. If there is a line of sight, it can be possible to spam out an Engineer nest at a distance.
- One of the best ways to work together with another Soldier is to equip two different, yet complementary loadouts.
- A Rocket Launcher and Direct Hit combo can be very effective. One Soldier can juggle opponents with rockets, while the Direct Hit Soldier can finish off juggled enemies with mini-crits. The Rocket Launcher can also help cover the Direct Hit's splash damage reduction, meaning one member can soften bunches of enemies, while the other picks off targets one by one.
- This can also work with the Reserve Shooter, as that also deals mini-crits to airborne enemies. One Soldier can juggle opponents while the other uses the Shooter to finish them off. If both members carry a Reserve Shooter, they can alternate roles, potentially chaining multiple airshots in a row.
- With coordination, one Soldier can weaken opponents with any Rocket Launcher, while another gains kill using the injured opponents to gain a larger clip size for the Air Strike. Two Air Strike Soldiers can be very effective too; even without an extended clip, a combination of eight rockets from both Soldiers will be able to kill almost any class.
- Wielding double Buff Banners can keep both Soldiers firing mini-crits extensively. Once the first banner is activated, the other Soldier can quickly charge up his banner using the extra damage, and the process restarts with the second Soldier activating his own Rage. The other Banners can benefit from this tactic too, although no mini-crits means a slower charge rate; the Battalion's Backup can grant extended protection, while the Concheror's speed and health boost can keep both Soldiers alive and speeding along almost endlessly.
- Different backpacks can also be combined for devastating effect. A simultaneous Buff Banner and Battalion's Backup push creates a nearly two-to-one firepower difference between teams with even numbers, a Concheror and Buff Banner together can allow players to recover large amounts of health, a Battalion's Backup and Concheror combo will severely bolster team defense by providing both protection and health recovery, and so on.
- If one or both Soldiers are using the Half-Zatoichi, one Soldier can use rockets to juggle and pin enemies, while the other Soldier goes in for the kill. Similarly, one Soldier can serve as a distraction to set the ground for an ambush by the other, which can be crucial due to the Soldier's slow movement speed.
- Be sure to watch out for Pyros; even with your combined firepower, a Pyro may still be able to reflect your rockets and deal high damage to both of you. Soldier pairs can overwhelm Pyros using the compression blast to deflect rockets by alternating fire to get rockets through the gaps between Compression Blasts. However, this is also dangerous, as improper timing can result in the Pyro deflecting both rockets at once into a single target.
Due to the Soldier and Pyro's strengths at close range, enemies who face both of you at once will seldom make it out alive. However, Pyros lack the mobility to get in and out of combat like you do; with your support, a Pyro can enter the fray more easily and safely.
- Soldiers can cover Pyros with the Rocket Launcher, which has considerably more range than the Flamethrower or Shotgun. This can help to negate the Pyro's range weaknesses, and helps them approach enemies where their Flamethrower can take opponents out easily.
- Since the Pyro excels at catching unaware targets, help them out by creating an ambush. Soldiers can use high ground to get the attention of enemy groups while the Pyro attacks from behind. This can be especially effective if the Pyro is using the Backburner.
- The Pyro's compression blast is extremely helpful for Soldiers. They can deflect explosives and juggle enemies to make landing rockets easier, as well as extinguish flames from outside sources or the Cow Mangler 5000. If the Soldier's rockets are being reflected by enemy Pyros, a friendly Pyro can also simply send them back.
- Although time-consuming, a Soldier can use the Cow Mangler's charge shot to set himself on fire in order to grant a Pyro's Manmelter critical hits.
- A buff from the Soldier's banners will benefit a Pyro immensely. The Buff Banner will cause all fire and afterburn damage to become mini-crits, the Battalion's Backup will grant more defense to a Pyro burning opponents, and the Concheror will replenish the Pyro's health very quickly due to the Flamethrower's high damage. This is especially noticeable if the Pyro has ignited multiple foes.
- If using the Phlogistinator, a Pyro will be able to survive longer while rampaging with their crits, or simply earn "Mmph" charge more quickly.
- The Disciplinary Action will give a Pyro a boost in speed to either get to the front lines easier, or become a hard target to hit while fighting.
- Pyros will not survive long if they are seen coming. Make sure to keep friendly Pyros supported through either covering fire or distractions, or they will find it difficult to serve their role.
Demomen and Soldiers fill up the role of "artillery" in Team Fortress 2; both are durable, deal strong splash damage that can affect multiple opponents, and will generally fill the battlefield with projectiles. A combination of both classes is no laughing matter, and can often decimate groups or keep enemies from moving forwards.
- A Demoman's greatest advantage is the ability to control his projectiles by manually detonating them (Stickybomb Launcher) or shooting them over obstacles and around corners (Grenade Launcher). While Soldiers can only fire in a straight line, rockets only need to hit a surface to detonate, and are more accurate compared to a Demoman's grenades.
- Use this knowledge to work side-by-side. Cover each other by using direct-fire and arcing projectiles to attack targets as the situation demands. For example, a Demoman can spam grenades to force an enemy's escape in one direction, while the Soldier fires towards the escape route for a kill.
- As a Demoman needs time to lock down areas with sticky traps, cover his close-range weakness by using your Shotgun and Rocket Launcher. This is especially useful if the Demoman is using the Scottish Resistance, as the longer bomb arm time becomes a bigger issue.
- Demomen can set sticky traps to juggle and pin enemies for Soldiers to attack, or vice versa with the Soldier using the Rocket Launcher to knock enemies into sticky traps. Soldiers can also take advantage of friendly sticky traps by using the Direct Hit to inflict mini-crits on juggled targets.
- As both classes can perform explosive jumps, Soldiers and Demomen can perform devastating ambushes by using their mobility to attack enemies from unexpected angles. However, keep in mind that Demomen take more self-damage from explosive jumps, so it's usually wise to allow them to grab health pickups first whenever possible (more so if you're using the Gunboats).
- If both classes equip the Pain Train, a Soldier and Demoman can perform fast back-caps in the same manner as two Scouts. However, in this case, the Demoman brings more flexibility in the ability to lay sticky traps to preemptively deny approaches to enemies attempting to stop the capture.
- If an enemy Demoman is attempting to scatter your Demoman's stickybombs with his own, use your Shotgun to destroy the incoming stickybombs. This will also work if the enemy is using the Scottish Resistance to destroy your teammate's stickybombs; its longer arm time will give you more time to react.
- If you don't have the Shotgun equipped, a rocket blast can scatter enemy stickies, lessening the damage they do to the traps.
- Soldiers and Demomen are among the prime counters against Sentry Guns. Working together, you can take on Engineer Nests well, especially with a Medic in tow.
- A Demoman under the Buff Banner's effects is immensely powerful; one direct grenade or stickybomb will instantly kill weak targets like Scouts. Additionally, any explosives fired or deployed by a Demoman prior to the banner being activated will also inflict mini-crit damage if the Demoman is within the banner's active radius. The opposite is true, as walking out of its radius or the banner expires removes the mini-crit bonus.
- The Battalion's Backup can give a Demoman better tanking abilities, and also allows him to resist Sentry Guns, one of his key targets to demolish. Meanwhile, the Concheror will easily restore a Demoman's health due to his weapon's high damage.
- If a Demoman is using a "Demoknight" loadout consisting of a Sword and Shield, his close range abilities improve at the cost of his ranged power. Make sure to back him up if he charges into danger, as it will happen often.
- Rockets can be used to bounce opponents to make them easier for a Demoman using a shield to kill. It can also knock opponents away from the Demoman if he misses a charge.
- A Demoknight works best when his enemies don't see him coming. Create opportunities for ambushes by being a big, powerful distraction; Soldiers usually generate more immediate attention than a shield-wielding Demoman.
- Be a team player and leave injured targets for your Demoknight buddy to finish off. This is even more important if he uses the Eyelander, as he starts off weak without any heads.
- If an Engineer nest is in dire need of demolishing, it can be effective to ask him to equip a Stickybomb Launcher for the time being to take it down. Make sure to be polite!
- Even with all your explosive power, Pyros will give you trouble with their compression blast. Like a double Soldier team, firing in intervals will give a Pyro little chance to reflect too many projectiles, although it will deal a lot of damage to the both of you if the Pyro is successful. If a Pyro is attempting to push away stickybomb traps or negating a Demoknight's charge using the airblast, it can be smart to run in and fire rockets in order to distract or kill the Pyro first.
The Heavy and Soldier are among the strongest direct combat classes in the game. Although a Heavy may take some time to get to the front lines, a Soldier-Heavy pair can easily kill any enemies that stand in their path, using their hitscan and explosive weapons as the situation warrants to counter any attacks.
- Heavies are often shock troopers that lead a push into enemy territory. His firepower is intimidating enough to kill multiple enemies or cause a retreat, and your can support a friendly Heavy with your equally high splash damage and higher mobility.
- However, the Heavy is extremely slow and will take very long to get to his destination. Help by moving in first to attack enemies, giving the Heavy time to move or spin up his Minigun to deal with enemies as needed. If a combat situation is going poorly, you can simply rocket jump out and warn your partner of incoming danger, which is beneficial since a Heavy will find it difficult to back out of a fight.
- By consuming a Buffalo Steak Sandvich or equipping the Gloves of Running Urgently, a Heavy can move much faster. This added mobility can be used to reach ambush locations almost as quickly as a Soldier. Using this, Soldiers and Heavies can perform ambushes on unsuspecting groups that do not expect either to be there.
- Rocket jump onto higher terrain to cover Heavies from above. The higher terrain gives enemies fewer places to hide, and allows you to spot targets or ambushes for the Heavy.
- Your banners will make a Heavy an even more powerful teammate. Mini-crits from the Buff Banner will shred any opponent at close range in seconds, and makes his Minigun damaging even at range. The defense buff from the Battalion's Backup will improve his tanking abilities even further and prevent Snipers from taking him down with headshots. Finally, the Concheror will help a Heavy maneuver better at the front lines, while replenishing his health as he rampages.
- A Heavy using Natascha can slow enemies down, making them easier to hit with rockets.
- Whenever a Heavy is recovering health by eating a lunchbox item, be sure to watch for enemy pushes, and protect the Heavy as necessary. The Heavy may return the favor later by providing a Sandvich or Buffalo Steak Sandvich via dropping.
- A Heavy with the Fists of Steel can act as a mobile shield for Soldiers. This can be especially helpful if dealing with Sentry Guns.
- Even without the Fists of Steel, a Heavy can provide suppressive fire and tank damage from a Sentry Gun as you take them down.
- Use the Disciplinary Action to increase the Heavy's movement speed, allowing him to get to destinations quicker.
- This also gives the Heavy a speed boost while they have their gun revved. This is especially true with Heavies wielding the Brass Beast, as whipping them brings them back up to the base movement speed for the other miniguns.
- Although both of you can tank damage, be very wary of Snipers and Spies. As the Soldier and Heavy are the slowest classes in the game, they are particularly vulnerable to backstabs, and Heavies are easy pickings for a Sniper, which can instantly negate your front line firepower.
- The pair should always watch each other's backs for Spies, and never focus on only a single direction while fighting. Once exposed, your combined firepower will take down a Spy easily. Alternatively, simply stay near a Heavy using the Huo-Long Heater, although this limits your movement options.
- Always be sure to use the Rocket Launcher or Righteous Bison to suppress enemy Sniper positions. This can allow Heavies to proceed forward more safely. If safe to do, you can also simply rocket jump and fight the Sniper head-on to remove the threat.
Due to their lower health, firepower and mobility, Engineers won't be running straight into combat like you do. However, their ability to create Buildings make them imperative for any team; your job will usually be to protect Engineers and their buildings in order to maximize your team's defensive capabilities.
- You can assist Engineers effectively by guarding their buildings while he is setting up. Buildings are most vulnerable while they are being built, so preventing or discouraging enemies from approaching can make setting them up easier.
- Once an Engineer's sets up his buildings, it is usually a good idea to keep an eye on him until he upgrades them to higher levels. A Level 1 Sentry Gun is rather weak, and attentive targets can easily take them down. His other buildings, the Dispenser and Teleporter, take extremely long to construct and will cost him more time if they go down, which can also hinder your team.
- Soldiers can serve as useful escorts for Engineers who are hauling their Buildings forward. As an Engineer carrying a building moves at about the same speed as a Heavy, Soldiers can keep up with little problem.
- When an Engineer is hauling a Sentry Gun to the front lines, try to suppress any enemies attacking him, since hauling leaves the Engineer completely helpless. However, if the enemy has not noticed the Engineer's presence, it's usually wiser not to attract attention.
- If you have the Disciplinary Action, hit the Engineer to bring his speed up. This will bring the buildings to where they are useful sooner.
- You can also escort a friendly Engineer who has multiple critical hits in his Frontier Justice to the front lines when its time to move up. With your protection, its possible for him to eliminate several enemies safely before he begins building a base.
- If an Engineer is under the effects of the Buff Banner, the Engineer's Sentry Gun will also deal mini-crits no matter where it is on the map. If providing support from the rear alongside an Engineer with the Wrangler, a Buff Banner can help to suppress enemies more effectively. The effect can be shared further with teammates if the Engineer has hauled the Sentry Gun to the front lines.
- Engineers equipped with the Gunslinger will have more health and can build more offensive-based Combat Mini-Sentry Guns, letting them join you in the front lines as a supporting class.
- Combat Mini-Sentry Guns can be a huge pest to opponents and serve as a distraction, giving you ample time to finish opponents off while they are busy dealing with the Mini-Sentry Gun. It will also weaken or deter enemies, especially ones who are weak at range or rely on avoiding damage, such as Pyros and Scouts.
- If the Engineer has a Short Circuit equipped, he can evaporate projectiles while both of you are fighting.
- An Engineer using the Gunslinger can benefit from the Buff Banner, as any supporting Combat Mini-Sentry Guns that have been deployed can inflict more damage against enemies that wander into its range. Your other banners will also help a Gunslinger Engineer more than if he had a Wrench, since he will be in the heat of battle more often.
- A fully built Engineer base (especially one with a Level 3 Sentry Gun) will often be under attack by your enemies in order to push into your territory. Since you possess more firepower, protect the base whenever possible.
- An Übercharged enemy will be one such opponent. Try to use your Rocket Launcher to juggle the enemy or his Medic; the Sentry Gun's knockback is usually enough to push enemies away once they are airborne. Conversely, if they do not currently have Übercharge, try ambushing approaching enemies from behind and using your rockets to knock them around corners into friendly Sentry Guns.
- Spies will also attempt to infiltrate your base and sap buildings in order to disable or outright destroy them. As your primary weapons have a large splash radius, you can simply fire rockets towards a building whenever you suspect a teammate is a Spy.
You are among the Medic's highest priority targets for healing, next to the Heavy and Demoman. Unsurprisingly, you will team up often with a Medic in order to wreck havoc on unprepared teams.
- The Soldier is an excellent Medic buddy. Your Rocket Launcher is powerful enough to deal with enemies that threaten you and your Medic, and your large health pool grants you very high durability when combined with healing, which can also build up an Übercharge quicker. This means you can wander more confidently into enemy territory with a Medic in tow.
- Your firepower means you will make the most out of various ÜberCharges.
- A standard Übercharge will often be used to break through enemy territory, or crack open Engineer nests. Lead the way and blast opponents with your rockets as your team moves in from behind. If attempting to destroy a Sentry nest, make sure to take down the Engineer or Dispenser before his Sentry Gun, as this prevents him from repairing it.
- You are devastating with a Kritzkrieg Übercharge. Critical rockets, including their splash, are immensely damaging and do not become weaker at a distance; a single rocket can instantly clear a contested objective, or stop an enemy push. If a Medic gives you a crit-boost, aim carefully and make each shot count.
- The Quick-Fix can enhance a Medic's mobility since he will mirror your rocket jumps, allowing the both of you to leap in and out of battles. Meanwhile, its Übercharge builds much faster and grants high healing, allowing you to do what a standard Übercharge can with less time wasted building it. However, it carries more risk since you can still be killed during your Übercharge, especially with headshots and backstabs.
- The Vaccinator will make one-on-one battles generally easier, provided your Medic uses the correct resistance. However, groups of enemies will be more difficult to fight, since they will tend to use multiple sources of damage compared to whatever the Vaccinator is resisting currently.
- If you are a Medic's frequent patient, it may be smart to use certain weapons. In general, a primary with good clip size and splash damage (i.e Stock Rocket Launcher, Liberty Launcher) will fare better if he requires you to charge into enemy territory or has a Kritzkrieg charge for you, since they will be the most effective at clearing enemies.
- Since Übercharge builds faster when healing injured targets, you can harm yourself with rockets to assist in building a Medic's Übercharge. This is useful when there is little time to waste, but make sure its safe to do so.
- Medics benefit most greatly from being under the effects of the Battalion's Backup, as they seldom attack enemies as much as you do. If the Medic is pushing forward with a Kritzkrieg ÜberCharge, using the Battalion's Backup can help the pair to survive considerably longer.
- Similarly, a Medic pushing forward using a standard Übercharge can benefit from the effects of the Buff Banner.
- While a Medic's healing will keep you alive, he is very vulnerable himself and can easily be taken out if the chance is given. Make sure your Medic stays close to you, and protect him from threats such as Scouts and Spies.
- Snipers will usually try and take your Medic out at a distance. Constantly fire rockets in his direction to delay him, or rocket jump in and eliminate him completely.
Snipers and Soldiers have conflicting playstyles; you work well at short to medium range, while a Sniper excels by staying back and attacking at a distance. While you may not be able to work hand in hand, you can make a Sniper's job much easier in various ways.
- One of the best things you can do for Snipers is to escort them while they are moving between sniping positions. You can also keep attention off of them as they snipe, since an exposed Sniper is often a dead one.
- Since your rocket jumps let you move out much quicker, use your firepower to clear areas before your Sniper buddy gets there. This keeps it safe for him and the rest of your team to move in.
- In situations where you have to push into enemy territory, generate as much attention as possible using your immense firepower and health pool. This will keep enemies distracted from dealing with friendly Snipers, and they will be able to pick off injured targets.
- A Sniper can follow you to the front lines if he equips the Huntsman. Its quick charge and decent damage can easily soften up enemies for you to eliminate. He will still be vulnerable after every shot, so protect him while he reloads.
- Equipping the Direct Hit can also let you work alongside Snipers to provide long-range support firepower for teammates.
- A Sniper can use Jarate to make a Soldier's targets easier to dispatch. This is effective with Rocket Launchers that have a high splash radius. If a Sniper is in the front lines using the Huntsman and Jarate, this opportunity will present itself more often.
- Jarate can also extinguish you if you're on fire, which can be helpful when there are no friendly Pyros around.
- A Sniper using the Sydney Sleeper can help in the same way, "tagging" enemies for the Soldier from a distance. This keeps the Sniper safe while you gain benefit.
- It can be a good idea to whip friendly Snipers with the Disciplinary Action so they can get into prime position faster. It also increases their scoped speed, which can be useful for Sniper duels.
- Banners can help a Sniper immensely. However, he has to be near you to benefit, so the effectiveness of your banners may vary depending on the Sniper's preferred range.
- Using the Buff Banner will increase a Sniper's damage, allowing him to bodyshot opponents for lower penalty; however, if the Sniper is good at headshotting, this may be negligible. It also allows his Bushwacka to inflict critical hits on enemies for the entire duration of the buff, which can be especially devastating in ambushes.
- The Battalion's Backup is extremely effective for Sniper duels, since it negates critical hits from enemy headshots.
- The speed boost from the Concheror can get Snipers into position quicker, and also lets them move faster while scoped. It can also be a surprisingly potent healing tool; a fully charged headshot will grant the Sniper an instant health refill, even if he is equipped with the Darwin's Danger Shield.
- Enemies who tend to wander into friendly territory will often be a Sniper's biggest issues, such as Scouts and Spies. Depending on the Sniper's playstyle, you may encourage him to keep close to you near the front lines so you can protect him from threats, or simply fire rockets towards his direction if he prefers to hang back in order to cover your team.
- If an enemy Sniper is constantly giving a friendly Sniper trouble, there is little you can do except jump in and eliminate the Sniper or fire rockets to distract him, if positioning allows it at all. It may be more worthwhile to let a Sniper duel play along if its difficult to kill an enemy Sniper, since this also keeps attention off your other teammates.
You are an attention-grabbing class who can scatter enemy teams using your powerful rockets, while a Spy relies on attracting minimal attention to himself, while supporting your team by eliminating single key targets. As with the Sniper, you won't be fighting often together, but your combined efforts can accomplish several notable feats.
- Due to your different playstyles, Soldiers and Spies will generally provide one thing for each other: a distraction. A Soldier who keeps enemy attention on him will grant Spies a larger margin of error behind enemy lines, while a Spy can keep enemies searching for him with his various watches, making it easier for you to move into enemy bases.
- Most of the time, a Spy will place Sappers on enemy Sentry Guns prior to attacks or pushes, making them far easier for you and your team dispatch. You can assist by firing rockets at an Engineer nest, which can keep the Engineer occupied enough for a Spy to run in without much trouble.
- Conversely, Soldiers can attract the attention of enemy groups easily, opening a window for Spies to approach and backstab them.
- Spies using the Cloak and Dagger can warn Soldiers of enemy movements, which can make performing ambushes easier. This can also work with the Dead Ringer, as the Spy can simply feign death and notify his team of what the enemy has prepared for them.
- While your banners won't help a Spy as much compared to other classes, the Concheror can be useful in some ways; if a Spy backstabs an enemy while under the Concheror's effects, it will instantly fill his health up to max. This is less effective with the Conniver's Kunai, since it already grants health and overheal on kill.
- Be sure not to keep to close to a friendly Spy who's occupied with espionage. Your health pool and powerful weapons means you can deal with threats easily, but the Spy's weaker and situational weapons means this is not the case for him. If an enemy decides to engage with you, the Spy's cover will most likely be blown as well.
- Pway a Weal Cwass - A Guide to Soldier in TF2 by PandaPoops
- TF2 rocket jumping 101 by honorablejay
- compLexity TF2: rocket jumping by Jaeger
- Competitive Soldier tutorial by Fragga