Sniper match-ups

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Be polite. Be efficient. Have a plan to kill everyone you meet.
The Sniper on exemplary battlefield etiquette
Class Strategy
vs. Scout.png
Relative merits: The Scout is a dangerous enemy who can close in on you quickly using his speed, double jumps, and tools like Bonk! Atomic Punch. If the Scout manages to approach you, he has a massive advantage. At a distance, he can only harass you with his Pistol but is a difficult target.

Tactics: Pick a sniping spot where you can notice the Scout approaching or force him to take extra time to approach even with a double jump. Check any routes the Scout may take to flank you as well. Instead of aiming at the Scout's small head, consider fully charging a bodyshot instead. At close range, backpedal while firing your Submachine Gun or go for a quick headshot if he moves too predictably.

Useful weapons:

  • A primary weapon that deals full headshot damage is your best choice for handling a Scout who targets you.
  • The Huntsman is especially useful in close range, dealing fatal damage to the Scout on a headshot, no matter the charge.
  • The Classic lets you charge up a headshot while being unscoped, allowing you to be more aware of any Scouts attempting to kill you.
vs. Soldier.png
Relative merits: An enemy Soldier can either fight at the frontlines, away from you or roam on his own, where he might hunt you down. So long as you can spot him, his slow walking speed and arcing rocket jumps are both predictable enough for you to snipe.

Tactics: As a Soldier approaches you, he will probably fire rockets to force you behind cover and mess up your aim. If he starts rocket jumping, predict his trajectory to shoot him out of the air or retreat if he gets too close. A roaming Soldier is more likely to simply get the drop on you; periodically check vertical routes he might take.

vs. Pyro.png
Relative merits: An enemy Pyro's only option at long range is the Flare Gun or its variations, so you can freely snipe them in the open. Knowing this, the Pyro will try to ambush you up close from alternate routes.

Tactics: Keep an eye out for flares shot in your direction, as they can ignite you, significantly throwing off your aim. Otherwise, survey the battlefield as normal and be mindful of routes an ambusher can take to you. Try to have a plan to escape back to your team if caught at close range, where your best options are only the Submachine Gun or unscoped Sniper Rifle shots.

Note that Huntsman arrows and Jarate are projectiles that can be reflected by the Pyro's compression blast.

Useful weapons:

  • Jarate can be thrown down to extinguish yourself. Make sure you're away from the Pyro so they will not airblast it or set you on fire again.
  • The Pyro's best option at long range is to harass you with the Flare Gun. The Darwin's Danger Shield completely negates afterburn, leaving this ineffective.
  • The Cozy Camper completely negates any flinching done by Pyro's flames, allowing you to combat the Pyro more effectively from long range.
vs. Demoman.png
Relative merits: The Demoman's explosives at great at medium range and work from behind cover, but cannot travel much further. At extreme ranges, his below-average mobility makes him a vulnerable target.

Tactics: The Demoman, with his indirect weaponry, is one of the only classes capable of attacking you from outside your line of sight; well-placed explosives can turn your sniping spot into a deathtrap. Keep moving in between your own shots to avoid the splash damage of lobbed grenades and watch out for Stickybomb traps placed where you might snipe. If he tries to sticky jump or use one of his shields to approach you, take advantage of his predictable trajectory to land an easy headshot. If he gets too close, backpedal while firing your Submachine Gun or fire unscoped shots with your primary weapon (excluding the Machina).

Useful weapons:

  • The Submachine Gun has plenty of bullets to remove Stickybombs if needed.
vs. Heavy.png
Relative merits: The Heavy’s slow speed and large size make him a juicy target. At a distance, his Minigun fire suffers from bullet spread, deals minimal damage, and will not affect your aim; allowing you to snipe freely.

Tactics: Remain at least 750 hammer units away; as this will prevent flinching from his Minigun while aiming. One fully charged headshot will instantly kill an overhealed Heavy, well worth waiting for if he has a Medic healing him. If a Heavy somehow maneuvers to your sniping location, run for your life; all your weapons deal pitiful damage against his large health pool and deadly Minigun.

Useful weapons:

  • The Heavy moves slowly enough for you to pick any of your primary weapons. The Sniper Rifle lets you keep a further distance, the Huntsman charges much faster, and the Sydney Sleeper's Jarate debuff lets your teammates easily finish him off.
vs. Engineer.png
Relative merits: The Engineer likely takes a defensive position that you can harass with your Sniper Rifle. His Shotgun and possibly Mini-Sentry give him a dueling advantage, so don't seek him out yourself.

Tactics: Freely take shots at exposed Engineer buildings. If the Engineer comes out of cover to repair it or uses the Wrangler to target you, shoot him too. If he hides behind his Sentry Gun and can't be hit, fire at his other buildings to deprive him of resources.

vs. Medic.png
Relative merits: The enemy Medic can overheal his team, making your uncharged headshots that much less deadly. He should be one of your top priority targets. His Syringe Gun and other weapons barring the Crusader's Crossbow are ineffective over longer distances, but his patients will want to protect him. In close combat, the Medic can chase you with his higher speed and the Syringe Gun is better at close range than your weapons.

Tactics: Do your best to land a headshot or fully charged bodyshot to instantly eliminate the enemy team’s source of healing. Take into account the Medic's second-fastest base speed when leading your shots. Respond appropriately to any enemies that notice and split off to target you, especially if there are any classes that excel at close range combat.

Useful weapons:

  • The Sydney Sleeper charges to full bodyshot damage quickly, which lets you take a much easier bodyshot at the Medic.
  • The Machina's fully charged shot pierces through enemies, letting you target a Medic who hides behind his teammates.
  • If you are forced to directly fight the Medic, weapons like the Cleaner's Carbine, Jarate, and Tribalman's Shiv can help you win.
vs. Sniper.png
Mirror match-up: One of your main jobs is to eliminate enemy Snipers that are constantly picking off your own teammates. The superior Sniper temporarily grants his team reprieve over wide, open battlefields, making their jobs that much easier.

Tactics: A Sniper duel can be decided in just one shot. Establish a zone of control from cover that you can easily re-enter, like next to a wall, peeking above a roof, or even behind an allied Heavy. As you aim and charge your shot, strafe and adjust your crosshair as needed to avoid being a standing target. This gives you a margin of error to land a fully charged bodyshot if the enemy leaves cover, rather than the quick headshot usually desired. After you take a shot at the enemy Sniper, keep moving and don't stay exposed since he now has a window of time to freely fire back.

Predict the enemy Sniper's movements. If there are signs that the enemy Sniper is already watching the area, such as his Sniper Rifle's laser dot or injured teammates, consider moving to another position so you can take the first shot, leave cover while charging your shot so that you are already prepared to fire, or aim for a quick headshot.

Useful weapons:

  • The default Sniper Rifle or its variants are your best options for winning a Sniper duel; the Huntsman has less maximum range and cannot scope in, the Sydney Sleeper's headshot damage penalty means no instant kills immediately after scoping, and the Classic requires more setup and is riskier to use in counter-sniping compared to stock.
  • A friendly Medic can overheal you, preventing you from dying to a 150-damage quick headshot so you can stay out of cover and fire back.
    • The Vaccinator’s bullet resistance can help provide more protection against other Snipers.
vs. Spy.png
Relative merits: Because you frequently focus on aiming at targets that are far away, you may not notice when an enemy Spy is behind you with his Knife, especially if he slips past your teammates with his Cloak and disguise.

Tactics: As the Sniper, you generally work a bit away from your team, so stay aware of your surroundings and Spy check any suspicious teammates that get too close. If someone suspicious enters your sightline, Spy-check them with a fully charged bodyshot. To discourage a Spy from picking you off, stay close enough to your team that they can provide assistance (or vengeance). Do not try to run away with your back facing a Spy, as his higher speed will allow him to catch up to you and backstab you.

The Spy's Revolver gives him an advantage in a duel. If you can't draw him into melee range, try to aim for a quick headshot, which will instantly kill a Spy. If he uses his Cloak to retreat, respond with your secondary weapon if possible - sweep the area with SMG bullets or splash Jarate at where you think he went.

Useful weapons:

  • Weapons such as Jarate and the Tribalman's Shiv can nullify the Spy's Cloak and disguise, making him easy to track down.
    • You would likely use Jarate on a Spy at melee range, where you can follow up with the Bushwacka.
  • If you equip the Razorback, the Spy must use his Revolver, which gives you time to defend yourself or grab your team's attention.

See also