TF2 Soldier Beginner?s Guide?by Blasbo Bibbins
The soldier is the best class to play as if you?re new to the game. He?s tough, he?s versatile and he?s good for just about everything, be it capturing an objective or dive-bombing the enemy team with a volley of rockets. Despite his sluggish speed he can be a surprisingly mobile class, rocket-jumping across the map and quickly covering ground.
In this guide we will explore the rocket launcher, the shotgun and the shovel and their applications in the battlefield, as well as some basic techniques you can use to dominate the enemy team.
Soldier: health, speed and role
The soldier is, as previously stated, one of the more versatile classes. With his weapons he can be a very effective attacker or hold numerous enemies off the objective as a defender. Either way, it is always useful to have at least one soldier on your team, especially if you are attacking due to his offensive power.
The soldier moves at 80% movement speed, making him the second slowest class in the game. Whilst this becomes an issue when trying to pursue enemies who are retreating or when charging with a melee weapon, a soldier can become surprisingly mobile and ambush his foes using his trademark stunt, the rocket jump, which will be explained later.
The soldier has 200 health, 300 when overhealed by a medic. this means that he can tank considerably more damage than most classes and stay in the fight for longer before pulling out or dying. Watch your health though; if it?s red and flashing it?s best to fall back and find some health or a medic.
The rocket launcher
Ammo loaded: 4
Ammo carried: 20
The rocket launcher is the soldier?s primary weapon. It does a lot of damage at close to mid-range with moderate damage fall-off at long range. However, the rockets are not affected by gravity so they fly in a straight line, which helps with aiming. Be careful when firing in small spaces or close to enemies as you take self-damage from your own rockets.
The real benefit of the rocket launcher is its splash damage, which means you don?t have to directly hit your enemies. Whilst splash damage isn?t as deadly as a direct rocket hit can be it helps against players behind cover, pyros who are trying to airblast your rockets back at you or multiple enemies. The best thing to do with the rocket launcher is to aim for the feet. Aiming for an enemy?s feet means they can?t avoid splash damage very easily and the explosion can pop them into the air, making them unable to dodge and therefore vulnerable to follow-ups with more rockets or a few shotgun blasts. Launching an enemy in such a way also allows you to predict where they will land more easily, letting you aim your follow-up shots more accurately.
If a pyro is reflecting your rockets, try to hit it with splash damage rather than risking firing directly at it. Aim to the sides where it is difficult fot the pyro to airblast the rockets and deal it some splash damage before finishing it off with the shotgun. Alternatively, just shotgun the pyro to death as pyros are extremely susceptible to bullets.
Remember to keep your rocket launcher loaded AT ALL TIMES. It?s never good to be faced with a load of bad guys without having one in the pipe (or in this case, four in the pipe).
The rocket jump is a soldier?s best technique. it allows for ambushes, rapid repositioning or spectacular dive-bombs.
To rocket jump, firstly aim at your feet. Then, jump and crouch simultaneously. You can rocket jump by just jumping but you?ll get less air. Try jumping then crouching in midair if you?re new to rocket jumps. With practice you can eventually perform seamless rocket jumps in one fluid motion. Once you have crouch-jumped, fire. You should go flying upwards. If you want to travel in a specific direction, fire the rocket at an angle rather than straight down. Again with practice you?ll find you can eventually navigate a map very rapidly. If you want to practise your technique, you can get a rocket jumper, a special no-damage rocket launcher for training purposes. Note that firing no-damage rockets at an enemy will NOT kill them in any way, contrary to what you may think.
The rocket jump is great for dive-bombing. Rocket jump over an enemy and fire down at him with your rockets. This stunt makes it harder to hit you and also allows you to deal a large amount of damage. Of course be ready to fight any survivors when you land. Should you need to retreat, just rocket jump away. you might catch an enemy with the splash if you?re lucky.
NOTE: DO NOT ROCKET JUMP WITH LOW HEALTH! YOU WILL DIE!
Ammo loaded: 6
Ammo carried: 32
The shotgun is your backup weapon, used when you?re up close and personal with an enemy or if you have no rockets loaded. it?s also your best anti-pyro weapon if the pyro you are fighting knows how to reflect your rockets.
Don?t be fooled into thinking the shotgun is useless; it is one of the best utilities in the game. It is a deceptively powerful gun, two shots at close range being able to kill a weaker class like sniper, scout or medic. The shotgun can also be used to finish off an enemy you knocked airborne with an explosion.
Try to use the shotgun at close range rather than rockets as the self-damage from the rockets could be the difference between winning and losing the fight.
The shovel is more of a last-resort weapon. It is not advised to try and melee people as a soldier as you are slow and they can probably beat you or just mow you down.
The shovel could be used for a surprise rocket jump attack for hitting an enemy as you land. It?s best use though is spy-checking. You can hit any suspicious players and, if it is indeed an enemy spy, kill him easily in about two hits (or one if you get a critical swing).
The shovel is also surprisingly effective against cornered enemies. If you can corner an enemy and are confident that you can beat him to death, beat him to death. It is useful to corner scouts as it reduces their mobility. Be aware that two shots from the scout?s scattergun can kill you just as easily so you may consider just shotgunning him to death instead.
Unaware snipers, snipers attacking with melee or snipers you have ambushed are actually good targets for shovel attacks as you are tougher than snipers. However, if a sniper soaks you in jarate and uses a bushwacka on you, it is best to shoot him before he gets close rather than run a high risk of being killed with a critical hit.
People you shouldn?t try to melee:
Heavies. They can rip you apart at close range with their minigun.
Demomen, especially ones with the chargin? targe, splendid screen or one of demoman?s long-range melee weapons like the eyelander. You should ony ever engage demomen as a last resort or if you want to finish him off. Otherwise, keep your distance.
Pyros. Either you will be burned to a crisp or the pyro will torch you and then kill you in one hit with an axtinguisher. Again, keep your distance.
Medics backed up by another enemy. You won?t be able to get anywhere near the medic, so it is best to shoot or divebomb the medic.
Engineers with a sentry nearby. The sentry will just gun you down. However, if you can ambush an engineer carrying a building (easily recognised by the toolbox on their shoulder and their slower speed) you can easily finish him off and destroy his building in the process.
Backup: medics and critical hits
The rocket launcher when combined with critical hits becomes a weapon of mass player destruction (buildings do not get affected by critical hits). Dealing 270 damage per direct hit with no damage fall-off as range increases, it can level any unprotected player in one or two hits.
Medic-soldier teams are often more preferable than the infamous heavy-medic pair. This is for several reasons:
Heavies are slower than soldiers. A soldier-medic pair can be much more mobile. If the medic has a quick-fix medigun he can also rocket jump with you, greatly improving your speed.
Heavies are inaccurate at longer ranges. The minigun is like a rapid-fire shotgun i.e useless at long range. A soldier can pick of targets with more precision.
A crit-boosted soldier can do way, WAY more damage. Whilst the minigun puts out more damage per second, a soldier with crit boost can decimate a group of enemies with high-damage direct hits or splash damage, incredibly useful for hitting multiple targets and clearing objectives like control points.
As well as this, a soldier packs more offensive punch than a heavy so he is more useful for big assaults or pushing forwards, especially when invulnerable or crit boosted by a medic. it is best to ubercharge a heavy if you are defending rather than attacking.
Medics should use the stock medigun or the kritzkrieg if healing a soldier for maximum effectiveness.
Ready for action
This guide should have helped you get a better understanding of the soldier and his stock weapons. if you still need help or are unsure about something don?t hesitate to ask me. Just leave a comment on my profile and I can always come and help you practice.
Think I missed something out? Want more guides? Don?t be afraid to ask or criticise.