Community Versus Saxton Hale strategy

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This article is about Community Versus Saxton Hale strategy.

General strategy (as Saxton Hale)

Saxton Hale Saxton Hale

  • As Hale, you have a lot of health, great mobility, and massive damage, making you incredibly powerful at point-blank range. Your weakness is your lack of ranged weapons, however, due to your mobility it's easily made up for.
  • If you are targeting a high health enemy (such as a Heavy or an overhealed Soldier) and it has been a while since you've used Saxton Punch!, it may be beneficial to wait a little bit for the ability to recharge to deal extra damage.
  • If there are multiple Engineers buildings all built very close to each other, especially Sentry Guns, a Saxton Punch! can destroy their entire Sentry nest. This may also heavily damage the Engineers if there are any nearby, and potentially other members of the RED team (if they were also close). For single buildings, the Sweeping Charge can be used to nearly instantly kill it, as it damages the building for every tick that it is active.
  • Try to use the Sweeping Charge often, either to quickly catch up to pesky Scouts or to reach advantageous areas in conjunction with Brave Jump. It deals moderate damage and knocks people back, which also means you can juggle a Medic and prevent him from escaping, making it easier to take down one of the most consistent sources of healing for the Mercenaries.
  • Prioritise high-value targets over the main combat classes. Below is a list of which classes are important to a team, why they pose a threat to you, and how to deal with them.
    • A Medic's ability to grant Overheal prevents you from killing most Mercenaries in one hit and can provide their team with invulnerability every 20 seconds or critical hits every 16 seconds. They take two hits to kill thanks to their 30% damage resistance against your attacks, and take significantly more knockback, allowing them to surf your punches to safety. Try to knock Medics into walls to deny their escape - a second hit will finish them.
    • Engineers are also of high priority; despite your 50% damage resistance against Sentry Guns, a large Sentry nest can rapidly eat through your health. Try to take them out before they can set up; most will go down to a single hit. If you are unable to stop Engineers from setting up, do not waste your health rushing headlong into their nests; you have two efficient ways to destroy buildings.
    • Pyros should also be targeted for their airblast, which can protect Medics and Engineer nests, and deny you from capturing the Control Point.
      • Try and set up a surprise attack with either Sweeping Charge or Brave Jump in conjunction with Mighty Slam, then pick them off before they can react.
      • Pyros that use the Phlogistinator are usually not much of a threat, as their inability to airblast makes them unable to keep you at a distance. If you find a lone Phlogistinator Pyro activating Mmmph, deny their attacks by standing near them and killing them as their invulnerability wears off. However, if a Medic ÜberCharges them as they do so, it is strongly advised to back off and target other classes until their buffs wear off.
  • While Mighty Slam is on cooldown, it is still possible to hold the button (default key: Ctrl) to accelerate downwards and increase your stomp damage.
    • Utilising this fast fall when possible can compliment your mobility, making you a harder target to hit.

General strategy (against Saxton Hale)

  • Do not spread out too much, as Hale can easily pick off most isolated players. At the same time however, do not bunch together too tightly; Hale can deal significant area-wide damage which can greatly weaken your group if it lands.
  • Saxton Hale's left arm glows if Saxton Punch! is ready; this means the next attack he lands will instantly kill anything short of an overhealed Heavy or Battalions Backup Soldier. Spread apart to minimise the splash damage he will deal, as even the splash damage can insta-kill light classes if you are too close.
  • If you are a Medic, try to bait Hale into wasting his Saxton Punch! by ÜberCharging the player he is targeting.
  • If you are falling to your death, try to make your way to a wall and hit it with your melee to wall climb. If you are successful, this will launch you upwards, and can save your life.
  • If you own the Rock, Paper, Scissors taunt and are the last remaining mercenary, ask Hale if he is willing to engage in a battle of hands. If you win, Hale dies. If you lose, you delayed the inevitable.
  • When wall climbing, make sure you're able to reach that height. Consecutive wall climbs have diminishing returns and if you fall down, you'll give Hale an easy target.

Class-specific strategy

Leaderboard class scout.png Scout

  • As Scout, damaging Hale is quite risky, as your Scattergun's limited range and your Pistol's limited ammo force you to get close to Hale to deal large amounts of damage. Consider equipping weapons that will support your team, rather than focusing on damage.
  • The Baby Face's Blaster is a great primary choice for survivability, as fully charging your Boost meter will let you run as quickly as Hale at maximum speed. Despite your high speed, continue to keep your distance from Hale, as the splash damage he deals can quickly drain your Boost.
  • The Force-A-Nature can be a useful tool to push Hale away before he gets too close, possibly into an environmental hazard.
  • The Soda Popper's ability allows you to escape tricky situations with its extra jumps, such as when cornered. Although damaging Hale is quite dangerous, the HYPE meter can be easily charged while he is distracted.
  • Using the Bonk! Atomic Punch can let you escape what would otherwise be a certain death, or help kite Hale around for the rest of your team to flank or pile damage onto him.
  • The Crit-a-Cola can be a great option if you are willing to fight Hale directly, as its Mini-Crit boost increases your damage at range and lets you keep your distance from Hale. The downside of marking yourself for death is irrelevant, as Hale will kill you in one hit regardless.
  • Considering there is only one enemy for your team to attack, Mad Milk is an excellent choice, as it greatly increases your teammates' survivability.
  • While risky, hitting Hale with the Fan O'War marks him for death for 15 seconds, greatly increasing your team's damage output. Try to sneak up on Hale while he is distracted by your teammates to minimise the risk.
  • Using the Flying Guillotine will allow you to easily deal damage from a safe distance, its short recharge time means that missing is not a very big deal as it will be recharged quickly.
    • The Wrap Assassin can be used together with the Guillotine to deal even more damage from a safe distance. Note that the Wrap Assassin's baubles do extra damage because of the guaranteed crits of melee weapons.
    • If you are more confident in melee battle, the Boston Basher allows you to deal more damage at a higher risk. Try to use it on him when he isn't focused on you. Use the Basher sparingly and only when you can guarantee a hit, swinging the Basher wildly while close to Hale can easily result in your own death. Be very careful, as the guaranteed crits deal more damage to Hale but also to yourself!
    • The Guillotine also pairs especially well with the Baby Face's Blaster, as hitting Hale once with it gives you almost full boost, provided Hale does not run to a health pack to prevent the bleeding.
  • The Sandman is a wonderful melee choice, as its only downside of a reduced max health is negated simply because Saxton kills you in the same amount of punches regardless. The slowdown ability can greatly impede Saxton's ability to catch up to you, which can be a lifesaver when Hale focuses you down.
    • It also pairs especially well with the Baby Face's Blaster, as Hale's speed can increase to the point where he can catch up to you, even with full boost. Slowing him down ensures your safety and can win you the game if you are the last remaining mercenary.
  • In an emergency, your increased mobility can stall Saxton Hale from capturing the control point should it ever become available.

Leaderboard class soldier.png Soldier

  • As Soldier, you can take two hits from Hale before dying, making you better suited to fighting Hale at mid-to-close range. However, your Rocket Launcher will run out of ammo quickly, so you'll need to support your team during your downtime.
  • All Banners are useful in their own ways, and allow you to keep your distance from Hale most of the time. Below are a few use cases for each banner.
    • The Buff Banner greatly increases your team's offensive power, and if used regularly when Hale is still healthy, can be the difference between a win and a loss later in the game. Even if you are not fighting head-on, it allows your team to consistently pepper Hale with chip damage at range, due to Mini-crits ignoring damage falloff. However, in the final stages of the game the Buff Banner is rendered useless due to the permanent Mini-Crit boost on the last 3 players.
    • The Concheror will give your teammates better survivability when fighting Hale head-on and its speed boost will help them outmaneuver or escape him in the early game (however, it will diminish in value as Hale gets lower health and thus a faster movement speed). It is very effective to pair it with a Heavy and a Medic to make sure the Heavy can survive multiple hits against Hale and deal as much damage as possible.
    • The Battalion's Backup is very useful at dampening the effects of Hale's attacks, allowing teammates to fight Hale longer. Combined with a Medic's overheal, it will allow every class to survive at least one hit from Hale. Whilst the 20 extra health gained doesn't mean much on its own, it increases the health received from health packs, which may be beneficial once your Medics are all dead. The Backup's value also does not diminish over time, due to the damage resistance always coming in useful against Hale's attacks.
      • If Hale has Saxton Punch! ready, activating the Backup, but not letting go of primary fire, will allow you to deploy it as soon as he's hitting a teammate. Although it won't stop a direct hit from killing your teammates, the splash damage can be reduced.
  • It is recommended that you use either the Rocket Launcher, Black Box, Original, Cow Mangler, or the Direct Hit with the Banners as they all deal consistent, reliable damage.
    • If you do not have a Kritzkrieg Medic, use the Cow Mangler instead of the Rocket Launcher, as it has effectively no downsides, and does not require ammo to fire. If you are at a safe distance, you can use a charged shot to Mini-Crit Hale.
    • The Direct Hit deals 25% extra damage, which can charge your Banners faster - and will Mini-Crit Hale even if he simply jumps. Note that it does require extra accuracy because of the significantly-reduced splash damage.
  • If you are confident in your rocket jumping skills, consider using the Market Gardener to deal heavy damage to Hale.
    • The Rocket Jumper can be a good option if you can consistently hit with the Market Gardener, as Hale will have a hard time hitting a highly-mobile target that only stops to reload his weapon. Be wary of the fact that the Rocket Jumper no longer has its extra ammo buff, so you will need to use ammo packs or Dispensers more often.
      • If you do not feel confident in your ability to solely deal damage with the Market Gardener, consider using the Liberty Launcher combined with the Gunboats. You will still have a damage option, but also take very little damage from rocket jumps.
  • The Half-Zatoichi heals the player for every successful hit against Hale, making it an excellent option for surviving close encounters.
    • If you are willing to take the risk, you can deal heavy damage to Hale in a melee fight, as each melee swing will push him away, preventing him from killing you - though you will have to land two hits for each hit you take.
  • The Disciplinary Action is a great choice of melee, as on top of the larger melee range it has, allowing for easier wall-climbing (which can allow you to come from the most unexpected of places), it boosts the speed of you and your allies on hit. Although it suffers from a damage penalty, it may still be worth equipping if you find yourself using the increased range and speed boost often.

Leaderboard class pyro.png Pyro

  • As Pyro, your airblast is your main weapon, and can either be used to keep Hale away from your team, or to force him into an unfavourable location (such as an environmental hazard or a corner). If timed correctly, it can even deny Hale's Mighty Slam attack entirely. Use it to keep your teammates safe and prevent Hale from outmaneuvering you.
  • The Flare Gun combos well with other Pyros dealing fire damage. It may be difficult to hit Hale at range, but if your team can consistently keep him on fire, this is a solid option. If he attacks you, use airblast to push him in a predictable direction, then follow up with a flare.
  • The Thermal Thruster can be a good escape tool when you are out of ammo. Note that the increased deploy speed leaves you vulnerable for a short time.
  • While risky, the Axtinguisher's bonus damage to burning targets stacks with critical hits, dealing up to 371 damage. If you are able to hit Hale, the heavy knockback melee weapons deal will keep him from retaliating immediately, and the speed boost will let you escape.
  • The Hot Hand's double-hit can be used to wall climb faster as well as being easier to secure a hit on Hale with if you aren't confident with your melee timing.
  • The Phlogistinator can land guaranteed crits on Hale, but removes your ability to airblast. Consider using this if you have another Pyro on your team or if your team can protect you effectively.
    • Activating your Mmmph grants temporary invulnerability, which can be timed to save you from Hale's attacks. If timed correctly, you may be able to use his knockback to move to safety or deal crits while still invulnerable.
  • The Scorch Shot is another great option, as it can keep Hale on fire for long periods of time (allowing other Pyros to combo him) and can deal significant knockback if you run out of flamethrower ammo for airblasting.

Leaderboard class demoman.png Demoman

  • Your Stickybomb Launcher can deal nearly 1000 damage with a well-placed detonation, or 3000 if they are Critical Hits. Try luring Hale into a hidden trap to take a good chunk of his HP, but be subtle about it, or he may back off or simply maneuver around the trap to kill you.
    • The Scottish Resistance is the most suitable weapon for setting traps, as the weapon's +75% maximum stickybombs per trap offsets the -20% damage penalty it carries in this gamemode.
  • You can utilise any kind of sticky bomb as an instant escape tool. Planting one ahead of time before a confrontation may greatly increase your chance of surviving.
  • Consider equipping the Loose Cannon as your primary weapon to push Hale away when he gets too close or even stunlock him in place.
  • Almost all melee weapons are permanently crit-boosted in this gamemode. Because of this, Demoknight can do lots of damage.
  • Hale's mobility is very high, so charging with one of the shield weapons can help you close the distance. When Hale is distracted by other players, charge at him. If Hale is running at you with a glowing fist, charge away from him before he hits you with Saxton Punch!.
  • All shields will nullify the first punch you take from Hale, but the shield will break in the process, losing the ability to charge. Losing your shield charge can be worth it if you manage to deal lots of melee damage beforehand, but you will have less escape options afterwards.
  • The Tide Turner's main downside of not granting critical hits while charging does not apply to Versus Saxton Hale, due to the perpetual crit-buff on melee weapons. The extra turning control can provide more ways to attack or escape from Hale, making it a very good choice.
  • The Splendid Screen is a splendid choice for Demoknight, as the increased charge recharge rate means that you can more often charge at Hale, and escape. It does not have the same turning control of the Tide Turner, however, so try to aim your charges to where you think Hale will be, not where he currently is.
  • The Chargin Targe is an ill-advised shield, as it lacks any additional upsides from the damage resistances, which mean nothing in this game mode due to you fighting a melee based enemy, not fire or explosives.
    • In addition, whilst some of Hale's attacks are considered different types of damage, the shield already negates that damage, which makes it even more useless.
  • The Half-Zatoichi heals the player for every successful hit against Hale, making it an excellent option for surviving close encounters. If you can hit Hale twice for every time he hits you, you can survive for much longer whilst dealing lots of damage.
  • The Eyelander grants one head for each successful hit against Hale. The increased movement speed can be helpful for evading Hale's attacks or chasing him around the map.
  • Swords in general provide better mobility with regards to wall-climbing, as their increased melee range allows them to more easily strike the floor to gain a height advantage. This can be used to either make a quick get-away or approach Hale from an unexpected place.
  • In this gamemode, swords deal less knockback than other melee weapons. However, their increased melee range can still help you maintain some distance from Hale.

Leaderboard class heavy.png Heavy

  • As Heavy, your poor mobility makes you an easy target for Hale when you are alone, as you have no way to outmaneuver Hale once he decides to target you. With your team's support, however, you can deal heavy damage to Hale.
  • Be aware that Saxton Hale has a 40% damage resistance against all of Heavy's miniguns. Although this doesn't render you ineffective, it is something to consider if you are buffed by the Conch or Hale is drenched in Mad Milk.
  • If you are at full health, you can always survive a punch. You can survive two if you have a Medic overhealing you.
  • Manage your ammo supply carefully, as your Miniguns can chew through all 200 rounds very fast. If you have an Engineer on your team, make sure to check where he places his Dispenser so you can retreat there. A voice response plays if you are low on ammo.
    • Standing next to a Dispenser and peppering Hale with an endless stream of bullets from a distance may not be as exciting as fighting him head-on, but this damage can add up if he ignores you.
  • The Tomislav's tightened bullet spread can be used to keep a longer distance from Hale while suffering minimal damage losses. Its quicker rev-up time also makes it best for making a quick getaway or to quickly pull out another weapon if necessary.
  • If you have no Engineer, or you notice their Dispenser is in a very inconvenient place or keeps going down, consider using the Shotgun as a backup weapon.
  • The Brass Beast's 20% damage bonus is very useful when you are supported by your team, especially when paired with a Kritzkrieg Medic. Try to get to high ground where Hale will have difficulty reaching you.
    • You are a sitting duck whilst you use this weapon, if Hale decides to focus you, simply deal as much damage as you can before dying. You will at some point, so it's better to hurt Hale more than die in vain.
  • The Natascha has a 15% chance to apply slowdown to Hale, making it less viable in close proximity. If you can spray Hale with it constantly, however, he will find it harder to reach his targets, especially if your team is firing several Nataschas at him. As with the Brass Beast, try to reach the location where Hale is not able to easily attack you, such as high ground.
  • The large knockback of melee weapons means that a skilled Heavy can use them to push Hale back, while still gaining benefits from on-hit effects.
    • The Warrior's Spirit grants you 50 HP for every hit against Hale, possibly letting you escape in risky situations.
    • The Killing Gloves of Boxing trigger a 5-second crit-boost to your other weapons on hit, allowing for a high risk, high reward playstyle. If paired with Mad Milk or a Medic, you can punch Hale, then grind through his health with your primary or secondary while surviving his onslaught.
  • The Eviction Notice's increased firing speed lets you wall climb faster and to higher places, and the rapid attacks can also pin Hale to a wall while making it difficult for him to retaliate thanks to its on-hit speed boost.
  • Beware of Hale's Saxton Punch!, as it will kill you instantly unless you are overhealed.
  • The Fists of Steel are rather detrimental when fighting Saxton. Not only do they make you more vulnerable to Saxton's melee-heavy combat style whilst active, but the reduction to healing decreases your survivability even more.
    • Keep in mind however that the reduced overheal means that Medics receive Ubercharge at an increased rate.
  • The Holiday Punch can stun Hale in a laughing animation, allowing your team to get in some free damage. However, if Hale takes too much damage, his stun will be cancelled, knocking back those nearby.

Leaderboard class engineer.png Engineer

  • The Engineer, as well as the Medic, are the big support classes on your team. Each of your buildings serves a very good purpose.
  • Try to hide your Dispenser out of sight in places where Hale must go out of his way to reach or where he won't easily find it. Communicating to your team where you have placed it can be helpful to ensure they have a safe place to retreat to. If it is destroyed, build a new one as soon as possible; your team will soon run low on ammo without it.
  • Build your Sentry Gun guarding locations where Hale is likely to spend time in to slowly chip away at his health as he fights your teammates.
    • Sentry Guns can be rebuilt; your teammates cannot. Placing a Sentry in the open can be a great distraction and waste Hale's time while your teammates use the downtime to heal or pile damage on him.
  • Teleporters can be used as a quick escape tool when Hale gets near.
    • If your team is running out of ammo and you don't have a Dispenser set up, you can convert your Metal to ammo by constructing a building and immediately demolishing it. Each building drops 4 gibs when destroyed (aside from the Dispenser, which drops 5), each gib the equivalent of a medium ammo pack.
    • The Eureka Effect can help you hide personal Teleporters more easily or escape while your Teleporter entrance recharges, but beware of the long taunt animation preceding your escape.
  • Dispensers, Teleporters, and Sentry Guns can be used to physically block Hale's movement on the ground. Barricading doorways or corridors like this can slow him greatly, allowing your team more time to damage him. Remember that buildings alone are extremely vulnerable to Hale's Sweeping Charge.
    • Teleporters are only effective for blocking ramps and inclines where the incline prevents Hale from simply walking over it. Make sure your teammates know where the barricade is, or they may get stuck while fleeing from Hale.
  • The Rescue Ranger is extremely useful for saving your buildings from a safe distance when Hale attacks, as well as maintaining buildings built by other dead or busy Engineers. Be careful when teleporting a building, as it leaves behind a trail towards your location.
  • When using the Frontier Justice, remember that your Sentry Gun will be credited with one assist for every 200 damage dealt to Hale.
    • Level 1 Sentry Guns grant a Revenge Crit between every 5-11 seconds, a level 2 grants one between every 3-7 seconds, a level 3 grants one between every 2-7 seconds, and a Mini-Sentry grants one around every 20 seconds.

Leaderboard class medic.png Medic

  • Medics take only 70% damage from Hale's fist, allowing you to survive a hit.
  • Prioritise the classes closest to Saxton Hale, as they are the ones in the most danger.
  • The stock Medi Gun's ÜberCharge is best used on teammates that can deal large amounts of damage, either if they are about to die or if they are very close to Hale. This can force him away while dealing a lot of damage.
    • Changing targets during ÜberCharge is very important, considering the Saxton Hale player may focus on other teammates close to him when he sees someone being ÜberCharged.
  • If you have a full stock ÜberCharge, try using yourself as bait. Lead Hale away from the main battle whilst your teammates deal large amounts of damage to him. Once he gets close, use the ÜberCharge on yourself and use the increased knockback you receive to make your escape, wasting Saxton's time.
    • This strategy is especially effective when Hale has Saxton Punch! ready, as without overheal you are guaranteed to die from it. In general, Saxton will know about this, so try to ÜberCharge just before he hits you with it to waste the potential killing power of it.
    • You can extend your ÜberCharge while it's going by hitting Hale with the Ubersaw.
  • The Kritzkrieg is a great damage dealer, but as a trade off it makes you and other allies more vulnerable during Über. Considering equipping it only if there is another Medic running the default Medi Gun.
  • Just like in normal gameplay, there are classes that are generally better to heal and ÜberCharge as a Medic, though you should heal everyone regardless. Below is a list with the advantages and disadvantages of some classes.
    • Heavies are generally not a great pocket but is a great target to occasionally overheal completely, due to his immense damage output even with his damage reduction and his big health pool, to the point where with full overheal he can survive 2 punches from Hale, and survive 1 Saxton Punch!. Consider ÜberCharging a Heavy when Hale starts focusing him, as this will either result in the Heavy doing a lot of damage or Hale switching targets.
    • Demomen usually aren't the best ÜberCharge target, as his weapons are more suited to less mobile opponents, although his sticky traps can be deadly if paired with a Kritzkrieg. Demoknight, however, is a wonderful ÜberCharge target, as his melees deal superb damage and can quickly shred through his health. This is amplified by the Eyelander and the Half-Zatoichi, both of which allow Demoknight to better engage Saxton. Also note that your ÜberCharge prevents his shield from breaking.
    • Soldier is a good healing target, as his damage output and health means he can go toe to toe with Saxton often, which is helped if you heal and overheal him. An overheal can allow him to sustain a single hit and then use a rocket jump to escape. A Soldier with the Half-Zatoichi is especially dangerous to Saxton and is a good ÜberCharging target.
    • Pyro is a wonderful pocket, as their decent speed and reliable damage from their Flamethrower means that Pyros can very quickly burn through Saxton's health, especially with the Kritzkrieg. Pyros can also provide protection, as their airblast can throw Saxton away from you, keeping you safe! However, be careful that Saxton is not between the Pyro and you because the Pyro may have to choose between saving themself with an airblast and putting you in danger or dying. The best time to ÜberCharge a Pyro is generally in more enclosed spaces, where they can deal the most damage.

Leaderboard class sniper.png Sniper

  • High areas give a better vantage point on Saxton's head and have an escape route downward if he spots you.
  • Sniper is an easy class to pick off due to his lone wolf playstyle. Avoid the attention of Saxton by hiding in low-visibility spots, frequently changing spots, or having a route to teammates that can protect you.
  • The Sydney Sleeper is a great support tool to shoot Hale from far away and increase your team's damage output.
  • The Bazaar Bargain is highly recommended, as its higher charge rate increases your damage output greatly.
  • The Machina has the potential to deal large amounts of damage, but also has a larger chance of giving away your position to Hale.
  • Although very risky, the Huntsman and the Fortified Compound taunt kill can be used to stun Hale, allowing your team to pile on some damage for free.
    • Saxton Hale breaks out of the stun once too much damage has been done to him, knocking back and damaging those nearby him.

Leaderboard class spy.png Spy

  • Use the Dead Ringer to survive a hit from Saxton. Consider luring him away from your team first to buy more time for them to deal damage.
  • The Kunai and the Big Earner on kill effects trigger on backstab, allowing you to escape more easily.
  • Consider disguising as a friendly teammate with the Disguise Kit to conceal that you are a Spy or gain the Enforcer's damage bonus.
    • Consider disguising as a friendly Scout, as they will commonly use the Baby Face's Blaster, masking your slower movement speed.
      • It also is better for hiding due to the Scout's smaller stature, in addition to the fact Hales will commonly not check their back if they think it is simply a Scout behind them.
    • Disguising as a friendly Medic can also divert Saxton Hale's attention if you use the Dead Ringer, as it can lure Hale into a disadvantageous position thinking they are chasing a Medic, when they are in fact a particularly devious Spy.
    • Disguising as a Heavy or Soldier is ill-advised if you are not using the Dead Ringer, as Hales commonly target these classes due to their high damage output.
  • It should be noted that due Spy's knives registering a hit the moment you press primary fire (default key: MOUSE1), wall climbing is slightly easier and you can gain more height.