Community Mann vs. Machine strategy

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This page details non-map-specific strategy for the Mann vs. Machine game mode.

Contents

General Strategy

  • Teamwork is more vital than ever. Make sure to communicate at all times.
  • The robots don't drop ammo, so take note of ammo placements and consider getting Engineers to place Dispensers at choke points. Slain players still drop their weapons, however, so if your teammate is unfortunate enough to die, grab some ammo if you need any. You may also fill up your weapon with destroyed Engineer buildings, most commonly if a Sentry Buster has just destroyed them.
  • Always remember to reload whenever you get a chance.
  • Tanks do not harm players, so feel free to get as close as you want when trying to destroy one. Be careful when attacking a tank in a confined space however, because a turning tank may crush players against walls and kill them instantly.
  • Try to collect all the money the robots leave behind. The Administrator gives the players a bonus $100 if the team takes them all, and more money means more upgrades.
  • If there is a Spy robot and a Tank on the field at the same time, you can evade the Spy by standing on the Tank.
  • Before entering your first wave of the mission, consider your class and its weapons carefully. Once that money is invested into the class and the wave is won, you cannot get a refund on previous upgrades.
    • This makes team composition even more vital as you'll have less power if you switch classes in the middle of the mission. Agree on which classes and weapons everyone should have before starting.
  • Über Medic Robots always spawn with a full Übercharge and will use it if they even take the slightest bit of damage. Either make them waste their Über early before they reach your ally's choke point or destroy them with a single blow.

Scout

  • Due to the defensive nature of this mode, the Scout is at a disadvantage, with low health and short-range weaponry. To counter this, he's given a wider money gathering radius, gets health from gathering money, and respawns much quicker than the other classes.
  • Scouts should always be aware of the positions and amounts of cash around them. In some cases it is wiser to charge enemies head on to collect a large sum of cash behind them, supplying you with more than enough health to either deal with the foes or flee.
  • The Scout's role is not restricted to money gathering; with piercing upgrades his primary weapons can take out whole crowds of enemies at close range. Each of the Scout's primary weapons has its uses: the Scattergun has the bigger clip, the Force-A-Nature has knockback, the Soda Popper can build up periods of mini-crits, and the Shortstop and Baby Face's Blaster can allow you to do damage from a safer distance.
  • Once upgraded, a hit from the Sandman's ball marks a robot for death like the Fan of War, meaning the robot will take mini-crits from your friends' weapons. Both the Sandman and the Wrap Assassin can also be upgraded so that more balls can be hit, meaning more targets being affected.
  • Mad Milk is a great assisting tool, as anyone who hits a doused robot gets a health boost, and upgraded Mad Milk slows down wet robots, making them easier to hit. It can also be used to help root out Spy bots.
  • Using Bonk! Atomic Punch can allow you to serve as a distraction for giant bots, as well as grab credits without fear of being blasted to oblivion.
  • Attempting to take down a Tank may be pointless as a Scout, but if you are nearby when it is destroyed, you can collect a good deal of the money dropped for an incredible health boost.
  • A Scout investing on multiple resistance upgrades added with the health boost of cash drops can prove to be a great distraction tool, allowing allies, even Spies, to give more free hits.
  • The Special Delivery item set can be very useful because of the +25 health effect.
  • It's risky, but you may want to consider dumping all your money into resistances and move speed and using a bat or Frying Pan exclusively. Cash collection becomes a breeze, you'll deal plenty of damage, cash drops will keep you full to the brim with health and in a pinch you can outrun anything that's too big for you.
  • As a Scout, you are usually the only one that can catch up to Scout Robots early in the mission. Since early waves tend to have coupious amount of Scout Robots, be alert if any of them are carrying the bomb and are close to the hatch.

Soldier

  • Upgraded banners can affect all teammates, meaning more ground can be covered rather than clustering around the Soldier.
    • Be aware that Sentry Guns will only deal mini-crits if the Engineer is under the radius.
  • Be aware that Giant Deflector Heavies can destroy your rockets, and worse, Giant Pyros can airblast them. Consider using a secondary weapon against them.
  • Since your rockets may take a while to reach the enemy, remember to fire towards where they're going to go rather than where they are.
  • Soldiers are great investors for the Blast Resistance upgrade. It allows the player to rocket jump more without fear of losing any large amount of health.
  • The Rocket Launchers have a wide variety of upgrades available which makes them expensive to fully upgrade. Invest in fast reload before upgrading clip size as rockets are loaded one by one.
  • The Beggar's Bazooka in particular becomes a devastating weapon because the miss chance is a non-issue -- you're always going to hit something. Max out clip size and reload speed and you might stop an entire wave by yourself.
  • The Half-Zatoichi already fully heals on a kill, so adding a heal on kill upgrade means free overheal. It isn't recommended to use the sword regularly due to the honorbound mechanic, but since no robots use one, it's relatively risk-free for a one on one fight against stragglers. Destroying a tank with the sword does not grant a health boost.
  • An upgraded Righteous Bison can easily take down swarms of enemies. Investing in faster reload and firing speed can turn a Soldier carrying one into a One-Man Army.
  • Consider the Cow Mangler 5000 as your primary weapon for this mode. The Cowmangler's infinite ammo and extra clip are sure to be helpful in taking out large groups of robots without needing to worry about your ammo. Note, however, that the charged shot will still use up all of your clip, even if you've purchased clip upgrades.

Pyro

  • The Pyro's airblast's versatility drastically increases in this game mode.
    • The airblast is one of the few ways to deal with ÜberCharged giants and can be upgraded to make separating a Medic and patient quicker.
    • The airblast can also push bomb carriers away from the bomb hole.
    • The airblast can lift Giant Scouts and Sentry Busters, allowing the player to continuously blast them in one place for easier elimination.
  • Whether dressed in fine suits or plate metal, Spies are flammable all the same. If the Administrator alerts the team to the presence of Spies, start Spy checking.
  • Upgrading the regular Flare Gun to give it an increased rate of fire allows you to stack up critical hits on burning targets from a safe distance. Consider using this against giants and situations where it can be risky to get in close. Upgrading the Scorch Shot in a similar manner can also allow you to knock back targets and keep them from retrieving the bomb. Keep in mind that tanks do not catch fire, however.
  • Using an Übercharge canteen and your Axtinguisher can allow you to stand up to giants and take them down in short order.
  • Because of the Pyro's tendency to get close and personal to deal damage, a Return to Base Power Up Canteen allows the class to have a quick escape and even chasing power.
  • A crit-boosted Pyro can be a reliable and continuous source of damage against Tanks, due to the Flamethrower's high damage rate. Using a Crits Power Up Canteen or pairing with a Kritzkrieg-wielding Medic, a Pyro can deal very significant damage to a Tank.
  • Although the Phlogistinator sacrifices support options, investing in some resistance upgrades and health-per-kill upgrades, combined with well-timed use of the health refill, can allow a Pyro to take on more of a tank role. Along with the crit boost and an Über canteen, you can even take out giants and any Medic bots attached to them single-handedly. Just keep an eye on your ammo reserves, and don't be afraid to invest in some ammo upgrades if you feel you need it.
  • Robots always suffer the duration of an afterburn as their Pyro teammates do not airblast them. A hit-and-run strategy combined with burn damage/time upgrades suits the Pyro well.
  • The Backburner's guaranteed critical hits from behind mean that you can take on an ambushing support role, quickly cleaning up the remains of a robot mob in coordination with a Sentry or Heavy/Medic combo, or softening up an incoming wave to be dispatched by your allies.
  • The Third Degree is invaluable when dealing with Giant Heavies and their retinues of Quick-Fix Medics. Use an Ubercharge canteen to close the distance, then attack the Medics with your weapon to remove the giant's source of healing.

Demoman

  • The robots follow preset paths, so Sticky Bomb carpets are more effective than in normal gameplay. Upgrade for maximum effectiveness.
    • The Scottish Resistance is also a very viable weapon to keep. Its ability to have more traps active in a single time, while being able to detonate off small packs rather than the whole allows the player to cover more ground and lane paths.
  • The Critical Hit Boost Canteen can be used to make fatal sticky traps for giants and chip a chunk of health off of tanks.
  • If you plan on Demoknighting, consider using the Chargin' Targe, as it has higher resistances than the Splendid Screen, and you'll rarely be using the charge ability unless it's to get out of a jam. Having the maximum amount of heads with an Eyelander, maxing your movement speed upgrades, or a combination of the two, can allow you to circle strafe most giants and avoid their devastating attacks while you hack their legs to pieces.
  • Tanks are easy targets for your Grenade Launcher because of how big they are. You can also lay large groups of stickies on their predictable path to take a huge chunk of their health off.
  • If you're good at aiming, try using the Loch-n-Load - it does an extra 20% damage, has faster projectiles, and has the same splash damage radius. Beware of the low clip size, though - it might be a good idea to upgrade either clip size, reload speed, or both.
  • The Demoman's melee weapons can be upgraded to grant up to four seconds of full crits on a melee kill. Combine an Eyelander, Nessie's Nine Iron, or Horseless Headless Horsemann's Headtaker with an Übercharge canteen and go on a robot head-hunting spree!
  • If possible, between each waves, request a Kritzkrieg Medic to allow you to plant critical Sticky Bomb carpets before the next wave starts, as stickybombs don't lose their critical state while planted and Übercharge rates are significantly boosted during this time. Time the charge and your fire rate, reload rate, and clip size so all of the stickybombs you lay will be critical. If your team doesn't have a Kritz Medic, you may want to buy a Kritz Canteen or two.
  • As noted above in the Soldier strategy, the Half-Zatoichi's health on kill bonus stacks, and with the Demoman's shields and semi-unique critical on melee kill bonus, it can be devastating against hordes of bots.
  • As with the Demoman, invest in faster reload time so you don't spend so much time reloading your Grenade Launcher or Stickybomb Launcher.

Heavy

  • Unique to the Heavy is the unlockable ability to shoot and destroy projectiles with his primary weapon. Use this to counter Soldiers and Demomen (esepcially the Giant Rapid-Fire versions of them).
  • Also unique to the Heavy is the Rage upgrade, which builds when you damage robots. Save the Rage for tougher robots like Heavy specials or Giant Robots (especially Giant Scouts), where they're easier to hit and more valuable to knock back. Don't use the Rage on Tanks since they can't be knocked back.
  • Penetrating primary fire makes an excellent upgrade against swarms of robots as your bullets can hit more of them at once, increasing your damage potential.
  • Watch out for Sniper bots! You're easy pickings for them if you stay in an open area for too long.
  • Watch your back when Spies appear. Don't be afraid to give any approaching ally a quick burst or punch, just to be safe.
  • Your Sandvich is just as valuable in MvM mode. Use it to keep you in the fray when under fire, or throw it to a teammate that has taken damage.
  • The Brass Beast can be useful for situations that require high damage, such as waves with tanks or giant robots.
  • Natascha can slow down the horde, making it easier for you and your teammates to mop up the robots.
  • While the Tomislav can allow you to react quicker when swarmed by bots and keep you mobile, the lower firing rate will only hamper your stopping power, especially when faced with giants and tanks.
  • If a tank is going to enter the field, consider grabbing a crit canteen from the Upgrade Station. Combine it with your Minigun's continuous firing ability to effectively deal damage to the tank.

Engineer

  • Before the wave begins, all your buildings cost no metal, build instantly, and automatically upgrade to level 3 upon placement. Use this to your advantage.
  • Ammo and metal are harder to come by in this mode because robots don't drop their weapons when destroyed. This makes Dispensers extremely important, especially for ammo-chewing classes like Heavy and Pyro. Before each round begins, be sure you have a Dispenser set up where everyone can reach it quickly (including you, in case it gets sapped) but not in such obvious sight that the robots target it.
  • Sentry Guns will rebuild at an instant when hauling it to another location. This is a good strategy when the bomb carrier has breached your team's defenses or when taking down a tank.
  • Sentry Guns are vital for controlling chokepoints and dealing big damage to giants and the tank, but they attract Sentry Busters. Keep an eye out at all times.
    • If a Sentry Buster gets too close, grab your Sentry Gun before it explodes, but be careful as it can destroy other buildings near its blast radius and can kill you if you are near it when it explodes.
    • If a Sentry Buster targets your Sentry Gun and you pick it up before the robot activates, the Sentry Buster will chase you instead, arming when it gets near you. This is another tactic you can use to save your Sentry Gun, and it will count for the achievement Real Steal. During a lull, you may also lead the Sentry Buster to your teammates, who can finish it off.
    • If you want to easily survive a detonation from a Sentry Buster, buy an Übercharge Canteen and stand next to your Sentry Gun. Deploy the Canteen's buff when the Sentry Buster crouches, and you and your Sentry will be safe from harm for five seconds. To keep your nest intact, you can also use the above tactic to lead the Sentry Buster away from your other buildings, or pick up a second building to shield it.
    • More Engineers on a team means more Sentry Busters per wave. Sometimes more than one Sentry Buster will appear at once, so be prepared for them.
  • Use a Teleporter to cut the travel time between base and the front lines. It may make the difference between safety and Payload delivery. Investing in the two-way teleporter upgrade also makes it much easier for the Engineer to get out of a Sentry Buster's range, since you can teleport back to the entrance before it gets to you.
    • If a single tank is coming and you haven't upgraded to a two-way Teleporter yet, consider building your Teleporter backwards (exit at the base), then haul the Sentry Gun when the tank passes you by.
    • Do not build your Teleporter exit next to your Sentry Gun and Dispenser, so if a Sentry Buster arrives on the field, it'll be one fewer building to worry about getting destroyed.
  • It is best to build your Sentry Gun near an edge. Not only does it give you height advantage and protection, but the edge will also serve as an escape route from Sentry Busters, as their explosion will not affect targets on lower ground.
    • Be especially careful where to place your Buildings on waves with Soldiers and Snipers as more difficult hordes love to pick off Buildings from across the map. Use the walls and your environment to prevent them from being seen.
  • Consider using your Wrangler if you have one. When you have a 100% upgraded Sentry Gun, the giants will fall very quickly. However, your Sentry Gun is much more accurate than you are, and more efficient as well. Let it take out the regular bots on its own, as Wrangling it against them will increase the likelihood of several getting past you, especially if one of them is the bomb carrier.
  • Use your Frontier Justice to rack up revenge crits very quickly from your Sentry Gun. Close-range crit-boosted shots from the Frontier Justice will deal 180 damage. Multiple shots can chip away at a tank or giant robot's health.
    • Using the Destruction PDA on your Sentry Gun will still give you revenge crits for the Frontier Justice. Doing this between waves is smart because you can instantly rebuild your Sentry Gun to level 3 after you destroy it.
  • In the hands of a decent shot, a Widowmaker can keep you filled with metal. So long as you produce more damage than you consume metal in the shot, you come out ahead, and even the odd bad shot can be made up with a good hit next shot. And it never needs reloading. Maxing out your maximum metal and investing in a pierce shot upgrade can provide you with a near unlimited amount of ammunition if your aim is sharp.
  • Buying an additional Sentry Gun will let you place a disposable Mini Sentry Gun so you can spread more damage with both Sentry Guns.
    • When the additional Sentry Gun is destroyed, any kills it has gotten also get added as revenge crits for the Frontier Justice.
  • Use Building Upgrade canteens to rebuild quickly if your buildings have been destroyed during a wave.
  • The Pistol by default has a large ammo reserve so it can have its fire rate upgraded without needing to invest in ammo reserve upgrades early on.
  • Investing on Wrench attack speed and increased total metal upgrades gives the Engineer a higher chance of keeping his Sentry alive when it takes heavy fire or is being sapped.
  • Faster classes know how to circle-strafe. Your Sentry Gun is not safe if you leave it among a group of robots.

Medic

  • To make the most use out of your canteen-sharing upgrade, use the Medi Gun with the opposite power, i.e. use the stock Medi Gun with the Kritz Canteen, and use the Kritzkrieg with the Übercharge Canteen.
  • Adding to the above, using the Kritzkrieg with an Übercharge Canteen may be better for your funds and time than a Medi Gun and Kritz Canteen. The Kritzkrieg builds Über faster than the Medi Gun and an Übercharge Canteen costs less to buy than a critical hit Canteen.
  • Watch out for Spy and Sniper bots! You're a high priority target, so always be aware of your surroundings, and stay near your teammates for support.
  • Though a faster healing rate always sounds good, remember that a target at maximum health will give less to the ÜberCharge meter. Try pairing the Heal Rate upgrade with the ÜberCharge Rate upgrade to offset this.
  • All classes can purchase health regain upgrades, but the upgrade stacks with the Medic's natural health regain. Use it to shrug off lesser damage and to retreat and recover in more serious situations.
  • If there is a non-Demoknight Demoman in your team, use the Kritzkrieg so you can help him lay critical stickybombs on the field before each wave. It's a better choice than Kritz Canteens because the increased charge rate means you can deploy an Über more than once if needed, and it costs no credits.

Sniper

  • Your role is to eliminate high-profile targets including Medic Robots, Giant Robots, Sentry Busters, and other bomb carriers roughly in that order of priority. Although halting the bomb's progress is critical, your ability to deal tremendous single-shot damage at range means that you should prioritize targets which you can destroy much more quickly than any other class (except for an upgraded Spy).
  • If you are not confident in your headshot skills, upgrade primary weapon damage and charge speed before waves with Über Medics such that you can deal at least 150 damage with a fully charged body shot. This will ensure that the Medics will go down without the chance to deploy ÜberCharges. Even if you are good at scoring headshots, it may be difficult to get Medics' heads in view quickly enough due to their tendency to stay behind their giant partners. Being able to one-shot them in the wheel or arm could mean the difference between facing an Übercharged giant or not.
  • Giants move at half the speed of regular Robots (except for Giant Scouts), making their enormous heads inviting targets, but they won't be an instantly killed like regular ones. Consider Reload Speed upgrades to get more hits on them more quickly.
  • Use Jarate to help teammates take out large groups of Robots or Giants quickly. Upgraded Jarate slows them down, making them easier targets. This is especially useful against Super Scouts.
  • Spy bots will often hunt you down first before going after other targets. If you're in a spot by yourself, keep an eye out for them when their presence is announced, and consider hanging around your teammates until the coast is clear. Alternatively, the Razorback can be equipped during rounds with Spies; it has no upgrades so it costs no credits to use at maximum effectiveness.
  • Investing in piercing shots or using the Machina can allow you to take out multiple targets. This can come in handy when confronted with a Giant Heavy surrounded by Medic bots. In general, the Machina can almost be considered a straight upgrade over the Sniper Rifle in MvM because of its improved damage, built-in penetration, and the fact that you're not terribly concerned about tracers giving away your position.
  • Explosive headshots can also be useful for taking on multiple, especially at chokepoints. However, be careful when targeting groups of Über Medics. Lethal charged body shots are preferable to explosive headshots in this situation, since the explosion may deal nonlethal damage to nearby Medics and trigger Übercharge deployment.
  • The Huntsman can be modified to give bleed on hitting a target. Only one point is necessary in this upgrade, as the smaller bots should be dying fairly quickly, while you can reapply the bleed with repeated shots on giants, which you should be focus firing on anyway.
  • Spy robots will try to backstab you even if you have a Razorback, so you can equip one to draw Spies near.
  • Although difficult and risky, keep in mind that the Skewer taunt can be used to stun and damage Giant robots and Sentry Busters.

Spy

  • The Spy takes a more versatile role in the game mode, from money gathering to eliminating large targets.
  • Unique to Mann vs. Machine, the Spy's Sapper can be placed to disable robots. Unlike conventional gameplay, there's a meter that must be left to fill before they can be used again.
  • Upgraded Sappers can disable robots in a radius and slow down giant robots to make them easier to destroy. Use this to temporarily disable Sentry Busters, counter Major League Scout's exceptional ability to carry bombs around the battlefield, cut off a Giant's healing sources from several Medic Robots, and stab large groups of robots that are separated from the pack in safety.
  • Use your disguise to pick up money that is too dangerous for your teammates to retrieve.
  • Be careful around Pyro robots. You might be accidentally hit by their flames, and once alight, any robot can identify you.
  • An upgraded knife can do major damage to giants. Wait behind where they enter the map and stab them as soon as their invincibility wears off.
    • Be quick to hide or pull out the Dead Ringer as the Giant will immediately try to target you if the stab doesn't kill them.
  • The Dead Ringer is useful as after fake death is triggered the robots will be completely fooled. Retreat and disguise while invisible.
  • Tanks cannot be backstabbed or sapped so focus on the bots and let the rest of the team deal with it or if things get desperate drop cover and unload your Revolver into them.
  • Steel Fist Heavies take reduced damage from ranged attacks, and can sponge in multiple melee strikes before going down. A Spy can eliminate one with a single backstab.
  • A Spy investing in multiple resistances allows the player to stay in the front lines longer.
  • Consider purchasing the +25 Health on Kill Upgrades for your Knife, meaning each of your backstabs will grant you a health boost, giving you a chance to soak up hits before escaping.
  • Robots are likely to detect nearby backstabs, albeit with a small delay. Upgrading Knife's attack speed allows the Spy to backstab more robots, and even land one or two more backstabs to a Giant, before being discovered.
  • Consider having a Canteen with Return to Base equipped to escape quickly if spotted.
  • Whichever disguise you decide to use is largely irrelevant, as the bots will be fooled either way. However, consider using disguises that keep you mobile, such as Pyro or Engie, as it will help you avoid getting accidentally damaged by a stray shot from a bot.
  • You're usually in the best position to take out Medic bots when they come on the field. Sap them to cut off their healing to their patient, then plant your knife into their circuitry before they can recover.
    • Be careful if you're cutting off healing sources of a Giant. Even when disabled by a Sapper, they will still notice a backstab has happened nearby and will immediately target you.
  • The Ambassador is great to use in this mode, as bots travel in predictable paths, and giants especially are slow, easy targets with large hitboxes, ripe for headshots. If a situation is too dangerous to get in close, try sniping your target(s) from a distance.
  • The Red-Tape Recorder makes affected robots run backwards.
  • Keep a mental note of where the two pushes are fighting at all times. Even with a disguise on, you may end up getting caught in the crossfire.

Map Specific Strategy

  • Before each wave, before the robots are released, there will be floating holographic arrows that show the path the bomb robot will take. Use these to plan a defense. Engineers should especially take heed of these arrows to set up more effective Sentry Guns, and Demomen should leave their sticky traps where the robots will go. Most of the team should focus firepower there and locate chokepoints so you can easily pin down enemies.
    • Remember that these arrows disappear when the robots appear, and that the arrow locations change between waves. If your team fails to defend against a wave, the path may change, too. Before a wave, if a teleporter isn't present to take you to the front lines, consider following the path for practice.
    • Enemies may stray from the path to chase down a player, so try to kill them before they take another route to the base.
    • If the robot carrying the bomb is moved off this path and then killed, the robots will go for the bomb and then take the shortest route to the hatch. Keep this in mind.
  • Robots cannot attack or be harmed until they jump into the field, so Demomen and Soldiers have time to leave explosives in the enemies' path.
    • Don't be too eager. If you blast robots too early, you'll only scatter them, making them more difficult to destroy, and the money will scatter and be harder to collect.

Coal Town

  • There are two hazard areas in the map, which Pyros may find convenient to airblast enemies in to.
  • There are many rooftops that players can use to their advantage.
  • The building facing the bot's entry point makes a great sniping position, especially if you invest in piercing shots. Just watch out for Spies, as you'll usually be the first target they come across.

Decoy

  • There are multiple levels which players can use to separate themselves from the robots. Just be warned that the robots might attack you up there as well (especially waves with large numbers of Scouts).
  • There is a ravine in front of your base. If you need time, knock the bomb carrier into this ravine to stall it.
  • If you're going to be fighting in the basin where most of the robots jump in to start, consider a Jump Height upgrade. This will allow you to climb up the rocks on the left side and get to the upper level more easily.

Mannworks

  • Engineers may be able to use the Wrangler on top of the building near the robot entrance to cover the entire field.
  • Due to the map's fairly large entry point for robots, a common strategy is to have Pyros airblast Sentry Busters into a Sentry Gun's sights, keeping them from getting too close to the nest.
  • The large landscape of the map allows enemy Soldiers and Demomen to shoot their weapons even at long distances. Though it may not pose a problem if the opposing group is minuscule in size, the harm it would deliver is grand when a couple of them are able to aim at a single target, commonly at a Sentry Gun or a Heavy. A way to easily counter this is for a Heavy to utilize the Deflector upgrade, and keep close to a nearby Dispenser.


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