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The Art of Soldiering On...

Discussion in 'Strategy Guides' started by (MP)Ryan, Sep 28, 2008.

  1. (MP)Ryan

    (MP)Ryan New Member

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    Please note that this guide is now largely out-dated. Use with caution.

    I'll start this off by saying that Soldier is my second-most-played class but there are far, far better players out there who use him exclusively. If they would care to add to this thread, it would be much appreciated.

    I'm going to stick to covering three things:
    1. Essential Soldier tips and tricks.
    2. Soldier strengths (and the classes you will kill most easily)
    3. Soldier weaknesses (and the classes you should stay away from).

    Tips and Tricks
    ---------------------
    1. NEVER, EVER take an ubercharge. Ever. Seriously. Pyros and Demos are much better choices for a medic to uber. The only exception to this rule is if you happen to meet a medic with a Kritzkrieg. Critical rockets, for those who haven't had the experience of using them, are pretty much the most powerful weapon in the game (EDIT: I've lied - I've just been informed that demomen grenades and stickies are more powerful. That said, the range and accuracy of a crit rocket makes it a more powerful tool under most circumstances even when compared to the higher damage of the demo's weapons). You are guaranteed an instant kill of every class except a heavy.

    2. Rocket jump is your friend. To do a short-range rocket jump (for small ledges) simply aim at the ground, press jump and fire a rocket. You'll do a short hop into the air. To do a true rocket jump, you must crouch-jump and fire at the same time (press jump, press crouch and fire while in the air). Rocket jumps are used to reach areas you can't reach on foot (obviously). They can also be used to escape from enemies. Be aware that a rocket jump will drain at least 40 health points (unless a medic has over-charged you), so use it sparingly between health packs. Rocket jump is best used to surprise enemies on ledges, particularly on payload maps where they become inaccessible to certain teams depending on the area you're in.

    3. Aerial attacks. Immediately after rocket jumping, you can fire 1-2 additional rockets while airborne. This allows you to fire over cliffs, ledges, and structures. Snipers and engineers don't usually expect ordinance coming from above them.

    4. Dispensers. Like a demo, you chew up ammo quickly. Your rate of fire is also comparatively slower than every other class. This means you must be tactical. If an engy has a dispenser in a place where you can fire from and hit a chokepoint, use it! Pile rockets into the choke point and prevent the enemy from lining up their shots or lingering in it.

    5. AIM! You are not a Pyro - W + MOUSE1 doesn't work for you. Similarly, you are not a Demo - spamming is bad too. You are a tactical class, so act like it. Don't fire at targets - your shots take time to reach them, so if they're moving you will miss. Aim in front of them, at the ground. Bounce them into the air, wait for them to land, then do it again. Similarly, your rockets are not a good weapon against people who have a position above you. Two choices in that scenario: rocket-jump and rain death upon them from mid-air, or switch to your shotgun. As a tactical class, you have enormous firepower in terms of damage, but if you don't play smart you will get hammered by the other classes that can rely on speed.

    6. Conserve your ammunition! Firing rockets indiscriminantly at a target one after the other is usually a sure way to die. Pause between shots. Don't panic - you have 200 health. Aim to do the most damage to the target, and judge your shot. Wash, rinse, repeat. When you've depleted your 4 rockets and an enemy is still advancing on you, backpedal and use the shotgun - your reload is far too slow to use another rocket.

    Soldier Strengths
    ------------------------
    You role is as a tough, hard-hitting thinking class. If you aren't fluidly advancing and retreating as you play, you aren't playing smart. Use your rockets against targets which they will destroy quickly and which will hurt the enemy team the most. Don't waste your firepower on point-grabbing kills without a purpose.

    As previously mentioned, critical rockets will kill everyone in their blast radius except heavies. If a medic has a Kritzkrieg active on you, fire into crowds. And once again, AIM! Don't spam - 4 well-placed rockets fired during a kritz session is better than 7 spammed. Otherwise, the appearance of crits will be difficult to predict and you'll have to rely mostly on luck to have them really be worth the extra damage.

    Your priorities as a soldier are as follows:
    -Killing engineer equipment, primarily teleporters and dispensers. Your rockets are lethal at any range and can be aimed easily. You will take out any dispenser or teleporter in two hits. ALWAYS aim for the dispenser first when attacking an engineer's emplacement. You deprive the enemy of health, ammunition, and most critically the engineer no longer has a source of metal. The best way to kill a dispenser that's being babysat is to fire a single rocket at the sentry, then unload the other three on the dispenser. Don't be afraid to aim at the ground beside it either. The engy will focus on the sentry, and his dispenser will go down. Your next task is to fire rockets BESIDE the sentry so as to damage and kill the engineer. Once he's dead, a level 3 sentry takes 4 rockets to kill. It's fast and easy. Always make sure the gun is unattended first though - there is enough lag between rocket impacts for a single engineer to keep that sentry alive indefinitely.
    -Stopping pyro assaults. Remember how I said to bounce enemies in the air? Pyros hate that shit. If you aim at them, a good one can airblast your rocket back at you. Aim in front of them and it's much harder. Pyros die after two rocket impacts at their feet - time your first and follow-up shot accordingly. You can stop pyro rushes in their tracks with this tactic.
    -Crowd control. See a group of enemies? Fire a rocket in their midst. Those who absorb the brunt of the blast go airborne, and everyone else takes splash damage. It's an effective way to break up a chokepoint, a cart rush, or a group of people actually using teamwork.
    -Cart support. As one of the few classes with effective ranged weapons, you're an ideal buddy for a cart push. Generally, aim at targets far away and let your friends deal with anyone who gets close. Once again, enemy dispensers and teleporters are ripe for the taking so long as you AIM.

    Soldier Weaknesses
    --------------------------
    1. You are slow, unwieldly, and you are going to get worked by snipers. Just know that up front and accept it. Don't do any of that nooblet soldier nonsense and try to rocket the ones shooting at you either - they will dodge. That said, unaware snipers are great targets because, once again, you fire first to bounce them in the air, then again for the kill.

    2. Your greatest weakness is your limited ammunition - 4 rockets per clip can get the panicked soldier in trouble quickly, I've already covered what you should do instead.

    3. Going head-to-head with an active sentry is not recommended under any circumstances, especially one being looked after by its engy.

    4. Good pyros will airblast your rockets. Be sure to sidestrafe while firing to avoid this.

    5. You are not an up-close-and-personal kind of guy, mmkay? Don't break out that shovel under any circumstances. If you do find yourself a little closer than you'd like, the shotgun is your weapon of choice.

    6. Heavies. Engaging heavies at short-to-medium range is bad. Engaging heavies from sniper range is acceptable, but not often terribly effective. Generally while you help to wipe out heavies, you aren't going to be doing it alone, and your 4 rockets probably won't do it unless you're landing direct hits and he has no medic.

    7. Spies like killing you almost as much as heavies and snipers. Watch your six.


    ---
    That's all I've got for the moment.
     
  2. DemiGod

    DemiGod Guest

    Good guide. The only thing I have to say is that

    "You will take out any dispenser or teleporter in two hits (one crit)."

    is wrong. crits don't effect buildings at all.
     
  3. (MP)Ryan

    (MP)Ryan New Member

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    Odd. I know I've taken out buildings with a single crit rocket. Of course, the building could have been damaged in the first place. I'll take your word for it. Removed the crit hint.

    Also edited the comment about crit rocket damage - Synngry just informed me that the demomen grenades and stickies are both higher.
     
  4. Synngry

    Synngry New Member

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    Then why does it only take 1 crit sticky to take out a level 2 sentry, but 2 normal ones?

    Edit: they make take critical Explosive damage (makes more sense) but crit fire doesnt bother them, since its well, just fire.
     
  5. DemiGod

    DemiGod Guest

    it doesn't. If you don't believe me, go to an empty server with a buddy, and test it out. Also remember there's random damage, so do multiple tests to see how many it takes on average.
     
  6. Synngry

    Synngry New Member

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    i may just be bad at counting...
     
  7. Engrishman

    Engrishman Server Admin
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    Just an addedum to clarify a few things:

    Crit rockets do no additional damage to buildings. What they DO is kill the squishy engineer BEHIND the sentry. Which is why it may seem like crit rockets do additional damage to buildings when they actually don't.

    So says the http://tf2wiki.net/wiki/Critical_hit and yes, in playtesting it actually holds up so I'm not so concerned about it. A sentry not being repaired needs 3 direct rocket hits to frag it every single time. I've done this shooting a sentry on top of the Warpath 2nd spawn roof from the ridge. If it gets an engineer that's a whole different matter altogether.

    Also, there are two exceptions to taking an uber over a pyro or demo.

    a) The medic is under fire and will die if he doesn't trigger it and you're the closest guy to him.

    b) If the sentry is on some obscenely high ledge (like the 2nd warpath point roof) that even demomen are having trouble stickying. You can fire at range faster than demos can, after all.

    That being said, I agree 99.99% of the time that a pyro or demoman is a better candidate for uber. Even a heavy is too, depending on the situation.

    Now. If the medic has kritzkrieg, it's a totally different story. You should, as a soldier, practically DEMAND to be kritzed. (Unless there are demomen around who can kick your ass. Like most of the female demo players. *coughEmilycough*) 5 crit rockets, properly aimed (yes, you can get off a fifth rocket after one reload) is radically-game changing.

    Also, as to your priorities list, your number one should be "ALWAYS KILL THE MEDIC FIRST." You're a soldier, a tactical class. You are, beyond a doubt, the de facto medic killer because of the combination of your firepower and your ability to circumnavigate obstacles. You can rocket jump over that pesky heavy and nail his medic in a one-two rocket punch (2 rockets will kill a medic, as they don't have too much life). Killing medics is even more important than killing engineer buildings, because engineer buildings don't ubercharge!

    As to the rest, there's the fact the soldier can fire-and-forget his rockets. Fire around a corner and be gone before the enemy knows you were there. Fire-get behind cover-fire-get behind cover-etc.

    Then there's subtler points to consider, like the fact rockets do less damage travelling over a distance (I kid you not. Rockets at pointblank do much more damage than rockets travelling over a long distance. It's such a wierd damage system) and how the soldier fires from his RIGHT shoulder (sort of like how the medic fires from right to left, though it's more obvious from the medic's stream of needles). As I said, subtle points.

    All in all, excellent, excellent guide, Ryan. I owe at least half of my current 3000 rocket kills to advice in your guide, haha.
     
  8. ScarletBlu

    ScarletBlu New Member

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    Out of 150 soldiers, I'd only Kritz Engrishman and 5 others. It's the same reaction with most unknown-player soldiers:

    "I am charged!"
    *Right Click*
    *Soldier makes the Heavy look like a Sniper*


    Here's a fact: If a Soldier spams rather than aims while I Kritz them, they're on my blacklist until they give me reason to even heal them. Hell, if they're spamming during a critical time like a Kritz, they're probably not hitting anything outside of charge anyways. :/
     
  9. Shwigity

    Shwigity Guest

    No idea why I haven't looked at this before, but being a Soldier n00b, this guide will come in handy.
     
  10. wrathofbong

    wrathofbong New Member

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    I agree. If they are going to pop off a few rounds at approaching baddies, at least send them to the ground 30(ft?) in front so you don't kill yourself/ are completely useless. I love when a trigger happy soldier blows himself up because he was aiming at his foot to stop the approaching pyro.
     
  11. Synngry

    Synngry New Member

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    Good medics don't get hit by rockets unless your 2 feet away or behind us.
    Rockets move really slowly.
    The end.
     
  12. Defy

    Defy Guest


    I have to disagree with you. I use the soldier very often and when i come within point blank range i still make people eat rockets. Its pretty rare for me to have to resort to my shotgun.

    As for ubers...a good soldier can use reg or krits. You can be very useful in any situation especially when it comes to getting on top of high places. Obviously demos can sticky jump but that can be easily avoided by a pyro blasting your stickies away or someone shooting them...if you're a good soldier u can just rocket jump yourself any where with out having to worry about an enemy stopping you.
     
  13. Shwigity

    Shwigity Guest

    I've yet to see a Soldier use an uber as effectively as a demo or pyro. I mean possibly for getting the sentry on top of the point building in Warpath, but if that's the only sentry up a demo should be able to take it down easily as well.
     
  14. (MP)Ryan

    (MP)Ryan New Member

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    The shotgun has 6 shots, does large amounts of damage at point-blank range, and is incapable of harming the user. The rocket launcher has 4 shots, does absurd amounts of splash damage, and often kills its user when fired at an approaching pyro (in particular, the airblast can ruin your day). The shotgun is a much better choice at point-blank range.

    No matter how good the soldier, a demo or pyro will always be more effective at taking out sentry guns - engys can repair rocket damage as fast as it comes in. As for rocket jumps, while they're easier to do while uber'ed, a demo sticky jump will take the person MUCH farther (i.e. for capping the last point on Warpath) and is rarely thwarted by enemies, and rockets must be fired in straight line. No matter where you can get to as a soldier, you must be able to see your target - which means they can see you. A demo, on the other hand, fires in an arc, and can remain safely out of sight if ubered into a strategic location.

    Soldiers are a bad choice for regular ubers because the best soldier uber spree is typically equivalent to a mediocre uber given to a pyro or demo. The potential to inflict real carnage during an uber is much greater for those classes than the soldier.
     
  15. Engrishman

    Engrishman Server Admin
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    I've managed to take down sentry guns when ubered as a soldier. It's tough but not at all impossible. The trick is you have to know exactly where the sentry and engineer are. At all times. And react accordingly.

    Also, if a pyro is at point blank, resorting to rocket knockback could very well save your life. I never use the shotgun against pointblank pyros, because even if the pyro airblasts my rocket, he'll be doing me a favor as the blast will knock me away from his god-awful flames.
     
  16. abidingDude2

    abidingDude2 New Member

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    Eh, if a pyro is point blank i pull out my shovel. Whack them once with it, they will give you a little room, whip out the shotty and finish them off. Using a rocket at pointblank like Engrishman said can save your life, but more often i find it to be the death of me. The reason being, if a pyro is point blank- you are already on fire(taking dmg obs), then you take more dmg from that rocket which is not garunteed to push him that far back- if he does airblast and u get knocked back then you perhaps have falling dmg to worry about ontop of the continueing dmg from the fire. You take some of the same risks by the shovel then shotgun method, but i like to insure that i dmg the pyro more than i dmg myself^^. Of course don't use my method if you are not good at melee'n because you need the garunteed hit with the shovel(which sometimes crit:p note that it critting will not result in the death of you.)
     
  17. wrestling396

    wrestling396 VIP Supporter
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    I find on Badwater/Goldrush it is easier to take out most sentries with a soldier then a demo or pyro because you can shoot most of the time cross map and if done correctly it is killed faster then waiting for a demo to get a uber from a medic.
     
  18. Drivestort

    Drivestort New Member

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    Thanks to this, I just made the best kill streak in a single life I've ever had on any class.
     
  19. Front Toward Enemy

    Front Toward Enemy New Member

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    Soldier is my most played class, and I'd say I know a little bit about how to play him. Here's my 2cents:
    Kill guide:
    Light classes (125-150 HP)
    1 rocket, 1-2 shotgun

    Medium classes (175-200 HP)
    2 rockets, 1 shotgun

    Heavies
    2 rockets, 2-3 shotgun

    There's no need to waste rockets and damage yourself in CQB. Never use the shovel unless the sniper is balls deep in his scope or you're out of ALL ammo (in which case you really suck).
    ----------------------------------------------------
    How to beat the Air Blast:
    Believe it or not, there are pyros who accidentally get a little M2 in their game. There are even some who do this on purpose and can reflect your rockets (as well as nades, stickies, arrows, flares, jarate, and YES, EVEN SNIPER BULLETS). Here's some tips on how to beat them despite their 'skill'.

    DO
    -Attempt to juggle the pyro.
    -Weapons heckle (switch to shotty when its got the FT, switch back to RL when it switches to flare/shotty). You can switch from shotty to RL and fire before the pyro can switch back and AB.
    -You can fire faster than it can AB (unless the pyro reflects one at the max range of the AB, moves backwards and reflects at the min range of the AB).
    -Make use of splash damage. Hit walls next to it. Hit low ceilings or floors. Even if it gets reflected, many times it'll still splash the pyro.
    -Rocket jump away if you are low on health and can't hope to survive the encounter.

    DO NOT
    -Be predictable. Unless you are at long range, AB happens instinctively and can not be used re-actively. If you always jump and fire, wait til you land to fire the next rocket and watch it waste an AB.
    -Panic. If you're face to face, remember you have a shotgun, and your rockets do max damage at point blank, (but they can still be reflected).
    -Charge. It excels in CQB. You do not. It can torch you in under 5 seconds, and don't forget to tack on 60 damage for afterburn.
    ----------------------------------------------------
    Other tips, in no particular order:
    -PROTECT YOUR MEDIC Don't be like me and go Rambo every once in a while...
    -KILL THE DAMN MEDIC FIRST.
    -Learn how to rocket boost/speed jump to travel faster.
    -Never fire all 4 of your rockets at once (unless ubered or trying to nail buildings).
    -Turn on auto-reload.
    -Always switch to shotgun instead of reloading during combat. 5 rockets is less effective than 4 rockets and 6 shotgun shells.
    -Reload behind cover, and get your rockets first.
    -Split/juggle ubers.
    -Watch this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZI29xEnfTzI
     
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  20. King

    King Guest

    Snifle Rifle bullets cannot be deflected, while the Scout's Stun Ball, can. I am a fairly decent Soldier, and I really think that trying to keep your Rockets in reserved that you never use 4 of them is silly. It depends on the player's reference really. I found myself rarely use the shotgun, because sometimes my aim is really bad with it, while move back and reload is a better solution for me. Soldiers sometimes are not the best to protect medics. Roaming is okay, if you are 100% positive that you can kill the enemy before they can kill you. Not sure about how you are faster than the Pyro at launching rockets at each other, but you can use the walls/ceiling to do some spread damage too, not just the ground.