There are nine different character classes in Team Fortress 2, and they key to playing well is understanding which one fits your play style the best. The characters break down into three different categories as follows:
- Assault Classes: The Scout, The Soldier, The Pyro
- Defense Classes: The Demoman, The Heavy, The Engineer
- Support Classes: The Medic, The Sniper, The Spy
Each class has unique strengths and weakness that can be exploited for your benefit. Using the proper character for the goal or strategy you are employing will help ensure your victory.
Here is a guide to each class’s abilities and how you can best use or defend against them.
The Scout has 125 health and carries a Scattergun, a Pistol, and a Baseball Bat. The Scout is the fastest character and the only one that can double-jump. This makes the scout great for rushing an attacking team to capture intelligence or control points before they can get their defense setup. With the Scout you will have to keep an eye on your health because there is not a lot there to work with. So, it is best to dodge and avoid strait on attacks. Instead use the Scout’s speed to get behind an enemy.
The Scattergun is essentially a shotgun that is more powerful at close ranges and has a wider shot. At longer ranges the Pistol is still extremely accurate, but it does much less damage per shot than the Scattergun. The Pistol offsets this by shooting as fast as you can hit the trigger. In addition to Scattergun and Pistol the Scout carries a Baseball Bat.
The Scout’s Baseball Bat is not more powerful than the other melee weapons in the game, but because the Scout is so fast, it can quickly get behind enemies and hit them in the back a couple times for a kill. When defending against a Scout, try to pick them off before they can get close and use the Scattergun or Baseball Bat. Since they have very little health a couple direct hits will finish off a Scout.
The Soldier has 200 health and carries a Rocket Launcher, a Shotgun, and a Shovel. The Soldier is the all around player’s character of choice. They have a solid long range and close range weapon, a good amount of health, and are pretty maneuverable. Because of the Soldier’s 200 health you can increase their maneuverability by “Rocket Jumping.” As you are running forward shoot down at your feet and the blast will launch you into the air. This allows the Soldier to get to higher levels that are otherwise only accessible to a Scout’s double jump, and in some cases areas that are complete inaccessible to all other characters.
The Rocket Jump does do some damage to your health so be careful when attempting it that you’re health is high enough that you do not kill yourself. Used properly the Rocket Jump can give you a great vantage to rain down rockets on your enemies. The Rocket Launcher does a large amount of damage both with a direct hit and as splash damage.
The key is to aim at the feet of your enemies with the rockets. That way even if you miss the explosion when it hits the round will still hurt them. The one downfall to the Rocket Launcher is that it only holds 4 shots at a time. It does reload fairly quickly, but still one needs to be careful to keep it reloaded whenever possible. Both the Shotgun and Shovel are good for close range fights. The Shovel is nice for when defending or capturing a control point and you don’t want to leave that circle.
The Shotgun is good for pretty much any other close range fight when you don’t want to risk shooting rockets into enclosed rooms and potentially killing yourself in the process. When defending against a Soldier be sure to jump, and zig-zag to make it hard to be hit with the rocket and to avoid as much splash damage as possible. If you can dodge the Soldier’s rockets and catch them while they reload then you can finish them off quickly.
The Pyro has 175 health and carries a Flamethrower, a Shotgun, and a Fire Axe. The Pyro is unique in that while it is an Assault character it is also great on Defense. The Pyro’s is extremely deadly at close range, but had no long range weapon. While the Pyro does move quickly it is best to avoid open areas where there is no cover to protect the Pyro. The Flamethrower will set enemies on fire and they will continue to burn for a while even after you have stopped shooting them. It does more damage the closer you are to the enemy and will quickly take down even the healthiest enemies from point blank range.
The Flame thrower does go through ammo quickly though so be sure to pick up more every chance you get. If an enemy is just out of Flamethrower range then the Shotgun is a great choice. As with any other classes’ shotgun it is best at close range but for the Pyro it has a longer range than the primary weapon. The Fire Axe has limited uses but comes in handy occasionally. Against Heavy characters especially, who have a lot of health, the Fire Axe will kill opponents faster than the Flamethrower will.
The Pyro also has another strength. They can’t be set on fire. Other Pyros can hurt them with their flamethrowers, but they do not keep burning like other classes. The best way to take out a Pyro is from a distance. Since they have no long range weapon they have no way defend against Soldiers, Heavies, Snipers, and Demomen who have a longer range. The Pyro and Engineer can make an extremely lethal defensive team. The Pyro can sit by a dispense and defend a sentry from Spies with a continuous stream of flame leaving the Engineer open to work on teleports and sentry upgrades.
The Demoman has 175 health and carries a Grenade Launcher, a Sticky Bomb Launcher, and a Bottle. Has the unique ability to attack targets he cannot even see. With a little practice a good Demoman can land shots around corners and over walls with ease.
The Sticky Bombs are great for defending smaller bottlenecks and capture points, and since 8 of them can be laid out at a time one Demoman can cover defend two or three paths at once. Like the Soldier, the Demoman’s explosives can do direct and splash damage. It takes more effort and practice than Rocket Jumping, but the Demoman can achieve similar jumps using one or two sticky grenades.
The Bottle is a Demoman’s only close range weapon so be ready to use it if enemies get in close. Because the Demoman’s grenades are designed for longer range, strait ahead attacks the best way to approach a Demoman is from behind or the side. Never attach a Demoman head on. One solid grenade shot strait at an attacker’s head is normally enough to finish them off.
The Heavy has 300 health and carries a Minigun, a Shotgun, and their fists. Heavies are the walking tank in Team Fortress 2. They have the most health, the most firepower, and move slowly. Heavy players are great for holding a defensive position or clearing rooms full of enemies. Because of their large amount of health the only real worry a Heavy has is a good sniper and a wide open area with no cover.
When firing the Minigun you move slower and it takes a couple seconds to get it up to revved speed. Fortunately, the Heavy’s secondary attack with the Minigun will get the barrel revved up without firing any shots. This allows the Heavy to start shooting as soon as the trigger is pulled.
However, when the Minigun is revved in this manner the Heavy’s speed drops as if they are firing. So, be sure to balance the need for maneuverability with the ability to shoot immediately. Because of their already high health a Medic paired with a Heavy make for a nearly unstoppable pair.
The Heavy’s Shotgun and Fists are great for close range battles of when the Minigun runs out of ammo. When facing a Heavy try to get a Pyro to take out a major portion of their health and have the whole team focus on taking them down. The combined fire from multiple teammates is the only effective way to quickly take down a Heavy.
The Engineer has 125 health and carries a Shotgun, a Pistol, a Wrench, and a Construction PDA. The Engineer is key to a team’s defense and support. The Shotgun and Pistol are average weapons, but they get the job down when needed. Engineer’s should get use to using their Wrench. Because it not only does offensive damage like all the other melee weapons but will repair any of the constructed items for any of the team’s Engineers.
Engineers can also build a Sentry Gun, a Dispenser, a Teleporter Entrance, and a Teleporter exit. Building each of these requires metal/ammo so the Engineer quickly will learn where ammo crates are located on each map. The Sentry guns are the key to any solid defense. They start with a single barrel chain gun, but can be upgraded to have 2 barrels and, a third time, to add missile launchers.
A fully upgraded Sentry will take out even a Heavy with a Medic backup in seconds. Once built, the Dispenser heals any teammate standing next to it and will refill their ammo. A Dispenser is always handy near defensive points to help keep your team alive and full loaded. If a match goes into Sudden Death then Dispensers need to be the first thing an Engineer builds because their will be no health packs on the map.
For larger maps especially, a Teleporter can be the key to a successful defense or offense. Allowing teammates to instantly move across the map may not be as important as a fully upgraded Sentry and a Dispenser but is still a great benefit to the team. Engineers don’t have a lot of health and their weapons are just average so killing one that is not near a Sentry Gun should be pretty easy.
However, an Engineer defended by a Sentry is another story. If possible, try to take them out from a distance so that you are out of the range of the Sentry. Snipers, Soldiers, Demomen, and Heavies are great for this. If the Sentry is in an enclosed area that is not reachable while staying out of range then a disguised Spy is the best way to take out the Sentry.
The Medic has 150 health and carries a Syringe Gun, Medigun, and a Bone Saw. He doesn’t have a lot of health and the offensive weapons are nothing special, but a good Medic can make the difference in any battle. The Medic is the only class that everyone can call for help.
Just click on the right thumb stick and you’ll call for a medic to come help you. He will then see an indicator above your head letting them know where you are and that you need health. That is where the Medigun comes in. When fired at a teammate the Medigun will restore the health of that teammate, and then once they are at 100% health if you keep firing the Medigun their health will raise up to 150% of the original health level as long as the Medigun keeps firing. As the Medigun restores health it charges up an Ubercharge. Once completely charged the Undercharge can then be used on any teammate with the alternate file button.
The Ubercharge makes both the medic and the person it is used on invincible for a short period of time. The Ubercharge is a Medic’s greatest weapon because it can give a Heavy, Pyro, or Soldier the ability to run into a fully enemy controlled room and clear it out for the rest of the team. When you’re not healing a teammate the Syringe Gun and Bone Saw are your only two weapon choices. Like every other melee weapon the Bone Saw does decent damage when used from behind.
The Syringe Gun is a very unique weapon. It does a decent amount of damage and holds 40 syringes per clip, but it is the one of the few guns in the game that does not shoot exactly strait. The Syringes arc downward after being shot. However, once you get the hang of adjusting for this the Syringe Gun can be a very effective weapon for close to mid-range battles. When facing an enemy team that has a Medic be sure to attack them first.
Even in the face of other, more powerful, enemy attackers it is critical to take out the medic first. This will keep the Medic from healing teammates or using an Ubercharge. A Heavy being healed by a Medic is nearly unstoppable but once you have killed the Medic the Heavy is a nice large target for your team to attack.
The Sniper has 125 health and carries a Sniper’s Rifle, a Machine Pistol, and a Machete. The Sniper has the only weapon with a zoom and because of it they can easily be the most difficult opponent to take out. Because they can attack from such a long distance with the Sniper Rifle there will be many times when a Sniper kills you and you have no idea where the shot even came from.
Aiming while zoomed in charges up the sniper shot so that once fully charged it does considerably more damage not only to enemies but to their sentries as well. And, since it is has such a long range the Sniper can pick off a Sentry Gun in a couple shots from well outside the sentry’s range. One thing to note is that as the sniper rifle charges up a little red or blue dot appears where you are aiming. A quick thinking team will warn you anticipated target to move when they see the dot start to appear.
So, as the rifle charges up aim a little above or to the side of your target in an inconspicuous area and then once the rifle is charged take aim. The Machine Pistol is a great backup to the Sniper Rifle. It shoots quickly, is very accurate for short ranges, and has a decent clip size. The Machine Pistol is great for when you are moving around the map or need to defend your sniping perch.
Since you’re going to spend a lot of time looking through your zoomed sites it is important to remember to use your Machete when someone gets the drop on you. Most of the time this will be a Spy since they can sneak in right behind you and go for a back stab. Other classes will shoot as soon as the see you but the spy will try to get right in behind you. So, keep your back to a wall whenever possible so the Spy can’t get a one hit kill. Then, when you get stabbed bust out that Machete and swing it like crazy. The Spy has to be close to use their knife so swinging that Machete should get you a quick Spy kill.
The Spy has 125 health and carries a Revolver, a Knife, an Elector Sapper, and a Disguise Case. The Spy can be the single most frustrating classes both to play and play against if you don’t understand them. With the ability to go invisible you would think that everyone would want to play as a Spy, but their cloak only lasts a few seconds and they have very little health.
So, an untrained Spy dies very frequently. However, a good Spy will use all of his resources together to be a devastating force against an opposing team. One of the best ways to do this is to disguise as an enemy class and then go invisible and run over to the enemy’s side of the map. Then, when no one is looking, de-cloak. You are now behind enemy lines and no one will suspect you are a Spy as long as you act like they do. Follow the enemy towards their objective and once you see the most deadly team mate get in behind them and use that knife in their back for a one hit kill.
The cloak and run for safety. Don’t have enough cloak to get across the map? Try running backwards disguised as the enemy. Most people will think you just got hurt and are looking for a health pack while covering your tracks. In addition to the one hit kill with the Knife the Spies most devastating attack is with the Electro Sapper. Placed on top of any equipment built by an Engineer is instantly disables it and if not removed by an Engineer will completely destroy even a fully leveled Sentry Gun in seconds.
With a little practice a Spy can go into a defensive position disguised, use the Elector Sapper on a Sentry Gun and then stab the any defending Engineer before they can knock of the Sapper. While most Spies focus on their Knife and Sapper don’t forget about the Revolver. It does significant damage and is accurate at even long ranges. Classes with lower health or enemies already hurting will go down with a single head shot from the Revolver.
Another thing to keep in mind as a Spy is that if you call for a Medic the opposing team’s medics will see your call for help. Even if you don’t need health you can potentially pull an enemy Medic off one of their real teammates leaving them open for attack from your forces. When facing an opposing Spy the easiest thing to do is shoot everyone you see. There is no friendly fire in Team Fortress 2 so while you will waste some ammo you will know for sure that everyone you come across is really on your team and not an enemy that is disguised.
For Spies that are especially good at taking down Sentry Guns/Engineers have the Engineer put a Dispense right by the Sentry Gun and then have a Pyro sit there with their flame thrower going non-stop. The flames will kill the Spy before he can put a Sapper on the Sentry Gun and the Dispense will keep the Pyro full of ammo.