Home Strategy Top Tier Tips: Competitive TF2 in 5 minutes

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Dear Top Tier Tips,

As of now I play mostly on pub servers, but would love to break into the TF2 competitive world, maybe inside a highlander team, or hell create a highlander team of my own, however there is a huge obstacle in my way . . . I don’t know how. With all your infinite knowledge I just know you will be able to help me thanks.



Dear Shadesnow,

So you want to start competitive TF2? You elitist bastard. Learn your place among the unwashed masses or suffer the Death of a Thousand Gibs!

I’m not lying. You will be gibbed from every angle possible and impossible (seemingly), because these guys are at a whole other level. You will hear from every competitive player out there, or most of them, that pub stars don’t hold a candle to competitive players who play regularly. If you’re set on doing it anyhow, here’s my advice…

Competitive TF2: leagues and practice

First, download tr_walkway. This is the best thing you can do to sharpen all the skills needed without the hassle of people saying that obviously they should be doing untoward things to your mother. Master, to the best of your ability, air shots, with Soldier, Demo, Medic and Sniper. Needles, pipes and rockets have a travel time. Learn them and live by them.

Once you have the basics down, there are a few options. You could go to TF2Lobby.com and start playing PUGs (pick up games) with random people. If you find a group that you like and are on your level, think about forming a team. Second, if you have a group of pub stars that are also ready to make the jump, gather ’em up and jump into TF2Lobby as a team. Roll through random teams to get a feel for things and what it really takes to win. If this isn’t your style, go the ESEA (NA), ETF2L (EU) websites and find teammates/opponents there. These are the two main leagues for TF2, and it is through them that you’ll make your way.

Now, with the how to out of the way, here’s the standard setup for competitive Team Fortress 2.

The gist of TF2 competitive rules and traditions

Normally, there are two Scouts, two Soldiers, one Demo, one Medic, with one Scout on reserve to be replaced as needed. One Soldier is “pocketed,” that is, the Medic will heal primarily him and others only as the situation dictates. The other Soldier is a “roamer,” providing flanks and taking out targets outside the Medic and his pocket Soldier’s reach. These are the guys who jump straight to the center point and go for the medic kill off spawn.

The Scouts work as they are intended: annoyance and key target elimination per situation. Their main job is to flank the enemies and capture points. Their mobility allows them to take out targets faster than any class save the sniper or a Kritz Demo/Soldier. Scouts can work in tandem or alone, and their primary target is always, always the Medic, as it is for everyone.

The Demoman is the area denial class. His ability to trap his opponents is invaluable, but due to his huge supply of death dealing devices, and the speed at which he deploys them, only one is allowed per team. His sticky jumps get him farther with one explosion than the soldier, so he is better suited to go after points. Once he’s taken up a position, his job of area denial resumes and the hope is the scouts are close on his heels so he only has to defend for a few seconds.

The Medic is essential and so is their Ubercharge. The most common practice is to use the standard Medigun and push with Ubers when the it’s called for. There are times when the medic is alone and he must deploy his Uber early to escape. An alive but Uberless Medic is far more helpful than a dead one. Kritzkriegs are, as one would imagine, a major aggressive weapon, and usually find themselves deployed at the beginning of the round in a suprise attack or on the final point from either side. The main effect this has is simple: remove the enemy medic and his Uber from the picture long enough to 1) secure the middle point, 2) push for the final point and the win, 3) push out of the final point and begin going on a counteroffensive.

Medics, again as situation demands, are the last line of defense. If/when their patients are killed off, it falls to them to somehow save the game, and frag movies of high quality usually feature a medic clutch situation. Take into account also the counter-Uber that halts an advancement of either/both sides.

The other five classes are used, though not nearly as much. Pyro is perhaps the least played, along with engineer. Both have a distinct lack of mid-long range capability and their firepower is either too slow to bring to bear or too easy to counter. Heavy is next in line, and is an area denial weapon than the demo, due to the high health and damage dealing prowess. Spy is second to sniper, and most competitive players know the ins and outs of spy just in case. A suicide spy, for that’s really the only kind of spy competitive play allows, who takes out a medic and his partner is less important only than a sniper. Speaking of whom, the sniper is the fifth class that pops up in competitive play. Good snipers can take out most opponents at any range, since by the time the other classes get to them, they are fairly likely to have taken enough damage that a quick headshot will down them. Scouts go down regardless, unless overhealed.

I hope this information was of some value to all the masochists out there. If anyone reading has something to add about the comp TF2 scene, let us know in the comments.


9 replies to this post
  1. I’m going to TRY competitive TF2 someday. I guess I can’t call it a joke until I’ve alteast tried it.

  2. Also, you should practice your rollouts, as throughout my comp TF2 experience the team who hits mid first usually wins the game or has a nice advantage.

    • For those that don’t know, the “rollout” is the quick movement to the center point on 5 cp maps or whatever the main, first objective is. The style is different for each class. The medic is relegated to walking. The scout should learn the trick jumps for every map and practice them daily. Soldier’s and demos should learn how to “floor skate,” that is, explosive jump into a surface without stopping on it. Know also how quickly you need to flick the mouse as a soldier and know which corner shots get you the most air time.

  3. I’ve just joined a competitive clan in ozfortress, the Australian TF2 league. I’ll put it this way: It is freaking brutal. Don’t do it if you haven’t got the patience, because you will be playing against people who are much, much better than you.

    Still recommend it though for people who have played enough TF2. Learn competitive rollouts and join pugs. :P

  4. I’ve tried to train myself up so that my friends and I could get into a tourney of sorts, and we met up and practiced quite a bit. On one particular occasion, I was approached by another team who wanted to do some friendly matches, and my group complied. We did not leave that match without tears.

  5. ive just broken into the competative world, im entered in the i43 event as part of a team :D (and scared face :L) and i play sniper, though i do make a good pyro and a ok soldier

  6. I went into the competitive highlander which is much better than 6v6 seeing as how I main engineer. Division 6 went well and we were placed in division 5A… My team and I came in fourth overall and are moving on to division 4 this season. Honestly once pubs bore you then competitive tf2 is good. My friend is good but doesn’t have the game sense to enter highlander or 6’s

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