Zombie Survival

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This article is about the custom game mode. For other uses, please see Zombie (Disambiguation).
The official logo of Zombie Survival used in most ZS maps made from 2017 onwards.

Zombie Survival is an unofficial game mode for Team Fortress 2 (not to be confused with Zombie Fortress or Super Zombie Fortress) that is also sometimes called "Medic VS Engineer". The game mode has no officially recognized SourceMod plugin, requiring server owners to create and balance the game mode to their own liking. There are two opposing teams: the Survivors (RED Engineers) and the Zombies (BLU Medics). BLU's goal is to kill all the RED Survivors. RED's objective is for at least one Survivor to still be alive after (usually) 7 minutes of gameplay. If all Survivors die before the end of the round, the Zombies win; otherwise, the Survivors win. When a Survivor is killed, they are switched to the Zombie team, while killed Zombies simply respawn. Zombie Survival was popularised by Muselk, a previous TF2 YouTuber, but remained a basic and unchanged game mode until early 2017. This wiki mainly documents the Rushy Servers version of Zombie Survival, for it is more technically complex than other versions.

In Zombie Survival, Survivors lack the ability to build Sentry Guns, and Zombies are restricted to melee only; however, both teams have access to global perks to help balance the classes. Zombies gain the most perks, including longer melee attack range, a double jump (of which the second jump's height increases near the end of the round) or simply overall higher jump speed, and increased speed also towards the end of the round. Survivors remain mostly vanilla, unless there are two or less of them alive, upon which these Engineers will gain a permanent Buff Banner effect, and optionally a heavy increase in speed. Random critical hits are almost always turned off.

During a 30 second (or 1 minute) setup time, the Survivors are given the opportunity to safely build Dispensers and Teleporters as barricades, methods of escape or tools for killing (in the case of Teleporters) in an area they wish to fortify, without the presence of the Zombies. The Zombies are frozen within their spawn (within which they are ÜberCharged) until setup time is over. Survivors can build outside of setup time, though the horde of Zombies can make building difficult and dangerous.

Gameplay demonstration

Special additions

Bonus rounds

Bonus rounds are defined by the server running the game mode and commonly happen on the last round of a map. Each bonus can have varying effects on Survivors, Zombies or both. Server statistics are usually disabled for the duration of a bonus round, preventing biased data from being saved. Bonuses fall into one of four categories: Silly, Gameplay (makes a significant change to the base game), Engineer (makes the game more difficult for Zombies), and Medic (makes the game more difficult for Survivors). Some common bonus rounds include:

  • A bonus round where Zombies can jump more than 2 times in a row.
  • An Internet meme related bonus round where the destruction of buildings and player deaths emit sound clips (normally Knuckles' "Oh no!" from Sonic Adventure).
  • A low gravity bonus round.
  • Curious Feeling: All players are given tiny heads. The name of this bonus round is a reference to the Medic voice line when experiencing Whammy fate.
  • Early Outbreak: Zombies are unfrozen immediately, and given a speed boost for the first 10 seconds after they have been released.
  • Melee Battle: Survivors are stripped down to their melee weapons, but are given guaranteed critical hits so long as they are not being healed by a Dispenser.
  • No Dispensers: Survivors can now only build Teleporters, but they get passive health and metal regeneration to compensate.
  • Rancho Reign: One Engineer is designated to be the King (tinted yellow), and is given health and metal regeneration, as well as permanent mini-crits. If the King dies, the Survivors automatically lose.
  • Sentries Allowed: Survivors are now able to build Sentry Guns, but they cannot fire and cannot be upgraded. Essentially, the Sentry Guns become extra barricades or distractions, and should not be regarded as having a higher priority over Dispensers.
  • Terrorist Town: An Engineer is selected to be the Terrorist (suicide bomber), and must blend in with other Survivors before they explode shortly after the end of setup time. The name of this bonus round is a homage to the Garry's Mod game mode "Trouble in Terrorist Town".
  • The Classic: A bonus round where the waists of the Zombies' models are stretched, in order to mimic the visual style of Muselk's later Zombie Survival videos.


Juggernauts are an optional feature for Zombie Survival much like bonus rounds. They are Zombies that are tinted green, and only two Medics are selected at the start of the round to have this power. If one disconnects, another will replace them. Juggernauts can't do much on their own, merely having a small speed and health regeneration increase. However, while these green Zombies are close to other Medics, non-Juggernauts can inherit the health regeneration increase so long as they are within the Juggernaut's range. This makes Juggernauts the perfect tool for leading Zombie rushes.

ZS maps

A picture of the "spawn lockout" feature exclusive to Zombie Survival Steel.

Maps with the prefix "zs_" are built specifically for use on Zombie Survival servers (not to be confused with "szf_", "ze_", "zf_" or "zm_"). These maps usually need the help of a server's game mode logic in order for them to run. ZS maps range from optimisations of existing Valve or community maps (buffing or nerfing of defensible spots, moving of health and ammo packs, etc.) to completely new experiences, but they are always subject to heavy rebalancing to ensure the maps are suitable for the game mode. Usually, a secret area or function is contained within these maps in order to peak player interest, and in the case of optimisations, unreachable areas of the original map may be opened up.


Telefragging and stair-trapping

Telefragging is a method of quickly eliminating Zombies utilised by Survivors, and is most effective in narrow areas where Medics must step on the Teleporter exit in order to reach a Dispenser blockage. In order for a proper telefrag to be set up, a Teleporter exit is placed directly in front of a Dispenser, facing away from it, and the associated Teleporter entrance is placed within a safe and close-by area (but not directly behind the Dispenser, this prevents Engineers from using it as cover). In less narrow areas, Medics can easily destroy telefrags by crouching some distance away from the Teleporter exit and attacking it directly. Engineers using the telefrag also open themselves to being killed by the Spinal Tap taunt or suffering a regular death (most prominently for the Engineer that built the Dispenser, since they cannot walk through it).

An example of stair-trapping.

Stair-trapping is a usage of Teleporters prominently used in Zombie Survival and can be performed on most sloped surfaces. By placing a teleporter at the bottom or top of a slope, as close to the middle of the slope as allowed, the increment from the floor (or slope) up to the teleporter may be so great that a jump is required. This is known as stair-trapping and is useful for temporarily denying Zombies access to a defence at the top of a slope. A stair-trap can also be part of a telefrag.


"Rushing" is a term used to describe the grouping up and simultaneous attacking of Zombies, in order to completely overthrow an otherwise impenetrable Survivor defence. The leader of a rush is usually the person that requests one unless Engineers get too close to the group and participating Medics are forced to intervene on their own. It is important to have a microphone for voice chat or know how to effectively use team chat in order to command a rush since players of Zombie Survival often do not listen to calls for Medic.

External links


Notable Zombie Survival server groups