Community Mann vs. Machine strategy
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This page details non-map-specific strategy for the Mann vs. Machine game mode.
- 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.
- 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.
A loadout for a more offensive-support Scout in Mann vs. Machine mode. Force-A-Nature can be crucial for moments of when the bomb-carrier is close to a deathpit in Coal Town or within the bomb drop site of the map. Mad Milk should be upgraded to slow robots, as that not only makes fighting giants easier but also gives support to your team that could not been done nearly as efficiently. The Sandman not only stuns robots, but can mark them for death if given the right upgrade. Using both Mad Milk and the Sandman on a giant or Sentry Buster immediately makes it easier for your team finish them off. Upgrades should primarily focus on increasing your offensive potential, such as large clip size, reloading speeds, damage bonus, and firing rate for the Force-A-Nature. Maximum recharge rate for Mad Milk and Sandman would also be recommended.
This set-up for Scout focuses on safely collecting credits dropped by robots and distracting larger robots. The blaster can allow Scout to move at blazing speeds, picking up cash with minimal chance of it disappearing, while also letting the Scout attack from a safe distance. Bonk! Atomic Punch not only guarantees safety while picking up the cash, but also provides the Scout with the ability to distract things like Deflector Heavies and Giant Pyros, giving teammates a chance to strike from an effective range. The Bat is recommended due to how it provides no health or vulnerability drawbacks, further enhancing the Scout's survivability if collecting money outside of Bonk!'s effect. Recommended upgrades involve increasing the Scout's resistances and/or health regen, due to how Scout's role will be to stay alive while leaping straight into crowds of robots if need be.
- 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.
For the Soldier who wants to keep his team on the offensive. The Rocket Launcher's high splash damage is great against crowds and builds up the Banner's meter faster. These are recommended above the other primaries, as they both have the largest splash damage and clip size, two extremely important aspects of taking out crowds with the Soldier. The upgraded banner enables Mini-Crits for the whole team, including Sentry Guns, making it a great damage boost. The Equalizer acts as a last ditch attack in the absence of a Shotgun. Alternatively, the Escape Plan can help you retreat from enemy fire, allowing you to restock on health and ammo and keeping the team on its offensive momentum. After upgrading the Buff Banner, focus upgrading your primary to fill it out quicker. Firing speed, projectile speed, and reloading speed upgrades help you to do the largest possible barrage of rockets. Alternatively, you can focus on rocket damage and projectile speed upgrades first to make sure each rocket is launched at its full potential. ÜberCharge canteens are recommended above others, as your damage input and Buff Banner helps you to make a great push while under its effects. Alternatively, a crit canteen can let you shower crockets onto the enemy, which is enough kill any regular non-Heavy robot in a single hit.
The Tank Buster Soldier, appropriately named in a tanking role, can make a good support role in Mann vs. Machine. The Black Box, given how it will often hit multiple targets, is a great way to keep consistent health during the waves, which helps the Soldier sponge hits to build up his secondary. Battalion's Backup can protect you from 35% damage and mini-crits, while Concheror gives you and your team heal back for your damage. Either of which pair well with your ability to recover lots of health simply from firing into a crowd, letting you tank lots of hits and help your team hold off the robot menace. Disciplinary Action is additional support to your teammates, letting you and a teammate quickly make it back to the front lines, as well as assisting in gathering money before it disappears. Upgrades should focus on resistances and clip size, which maximizes your potential in taking damage, recovering it quickly, and giving a defensive buff to your whole team, proving that the best offense can be a good defense. Crit canteens give you more a offensive presence, clearing out crowds quickly. ÜberCharge isn't recommended, as it stops you from taking damage, acting counterproductive in a set deliberately made for taking lots of damage.
- 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.
A Pyro set for Mann vs. Machine, focusing on overall utility. Degreaser is recommended above other flamethrowers, as its quick-switch is exclusive and vital to quickly assassinating targets. In addition, its stats can be upgraded to out perform the regular Flamethrower, while constant crits from behind using Backburner would be negligible given your ability to use crit with cantenes or randomly, as well as allowing for more airblasts. Flare Gun is the Pyro's most powerful medium or long range weapon against giants, and is a good followup shot after reflecting a projectile. The Axtinguisher is very powerful, doing major damage to any robots that are on fire. This is crucial for when a robot is about to drop the bomb and you need an immediate push to stop it, working very well on giants as well with your fast weapon switch and potential firing rate upgrades. Your canteen can either be ÜberCharge or crits, depending on the wave you're facing. Upgrades should primarily focus on your airblast capabilities, which are especially important in Mann Up mode. Maximum movement speed and airblast power would be a major help to stopping ÜberCharge pushes from the enemy.
This weapon combination for Pyro is capable of crowd control and handling any robot save Giant Pyros, Sentry Busters, and Tanks completely by yourself. Phlogistinator is the main weapon of the set, due to how building easy it is to build 'Mmmph'. Flare Gun is recommended over other secondaries due to how it has higher damage output on giants than any other of the Pyro's secondaries, in addition to building Mmmph at a safe distance. Back Scratcher gives Pyro a boost to medkit pick-ups, complimenting this Pyro's lone wolf playstyle and letting any Medics worry about less people to heal. ÜberCharge canteens are essential to the set, as a lone Über + Crit Pyro combo is a force to be reckoned with. Use them after the end of Phlogistinator's taunt or if you're about to die during it. Upgrades can vary, but should focus on increasing your overall efficiency during the Mmmph's effect. Maximum reloading speed for the Flare Gun is recommended, as it builds Mmmph quickly and reliably deals heavy damage on giants.
- 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.
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A standard, non-melee Demoman loadout. Grenade Launcher is recommended if you plan to focus on large groups of enemies, while Loch-n-Load starts off with more immediate firepower that can be even further upgraded to outclass the Grenade Launcher if aimed well. Your secondary weapon should be decided based on whether you go on offense or defense. Stickybomb Launcher allows for quicker travel and better crowd control, arming quickly and weakening pushes from the robots. Meanwhile, the Scottish Resistance can be crit boosted at the start of a wave to do 2520 to 4942 in a single instant. At worst, if all the stickies hit their target, the damage enough to take out over half the health of any giant. At best, the damage can singlehandedly instantly blow up any robot except Tanks or Deflector Heavies, the latter of which literally becomes weak enough to die to a single pipe bomb afterwards. Your melee weapon should either be a standard damage weapon (Bottle, Scottish Handshake, Conscientious Objector, Frying Pan, and Saxxy all qualify) or Ullapool Caber, as everything else hinders your health, ammo, or versatility. Your canteen should be crits, again due to how powerful Demoman is with them. Upgrades can go into reloading and movement speed, removing the Demoman's initial natural flaws and maximizing how fast you can eliminate targets.
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A Demoknight set can work well in Mann vs. Machine, provided you have the proper upgrades. Your primary is an important part of the set, as it gives you more bulk and control in your charging. The rest of your set has many options, but some shield and weapon combos work better than others. Eyelander (or its alternates) and Chargin' Targe is a classic pair, giving you the peak of bulk and mobility. Chargin' Targe also pairs well with the Half-Zatoichi, as the two together can turn you into quite the juggernaut with your base resistances and ability to heal. Alternatively, the Splendid Screen sacrifices your bulk for more immediate power and mobility. Using it with the Persian Persuader lets you make charges in very short time periods. If used with the Scotsman's Skullcutter, you can kill any regular robot in a single charge impact and swing, discounting the high-health Steel Gauntlets. Upgrades should always focus on giving you crits and health boosts upon each kill, which will help you clear out entire crowds, as well as increasing your melee weapon's strength via firing rate and damage bonuses. If using the Chargin' Targe, resistance boosts will make you excellent at handling Soldier, Pyro, and Demoman robots. Bullet resistance should be invested in as well, as Scout, Heavy, and Sniper class robots will exploit your average bullet vulnerability. If using the Splendid Screen, charge recharge bonuses can let you potentially deal heavy damage without the on kill crit bonus every 4 seconds. Note that maximum recharge rate used alongside the Persian Persuader lets you perform charges almost non-stop, making you the most mobile class of the entire team. Cantenes should focus on ÜberCharge, as crits on kill should be standard while you have no ammo of which to use.
- 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.
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A classic Heavy set, used within Mann vs. Machine. Your primary choice depends on what playstyle fits you when Heavy. Minigun and Iron Curtain are for being able to keep cover around corners while keeping up firepower against the enemy. Brass Beast sacrifices mobility for more sheer power against crowds. Huo-Long Heater chews up ammo quickly, but is very synergistic with any Dispensers an Engineer on your team may have. The Sandvich is recommended above other secondaries, due to how you will never use your shotguns if you mind your ammo, while your other lunchbox items aren't as efficient at keeping you on the field. In addition, having a Sandvich is a huge asset for your teammates, as it can heal your Medics, Engineers, and other teammates at low health, keeping the team's momentum by keeping them alive. The Gloves of Running Urgently maximizes your mobility, and should always be used in this mode as a default if you're taking an offensive role as Heavy. Upgrades should go into your primary's firing speed, which further increases your offensive presence, as well as health regeneration, ammo capacity, and Sandvich recharge rate. ÜberCharge, crit, and ammo refill cantenes are all good options for the Heavy, which one you choose being a matter of the situation at hand.
A loadout that allows Heavies to stall mobs of fast-moving enemies, such as Scouts and Pyros. Purchase penetration and knockback upgrades early. When combined with Natascha's inherent slowdown effect, you will be able to shut down the forward momentum of Giant Robots, while at the same time damaging support units such as Quick-Fix or Über Medics. The Sandvich can be used to quickly regenerate health if you start to run low. If your position is overrun, the Fists of Steel can be used to quickly withdraw while shielding yourself from enemy fire. Alternately, you can use the protection afforded by the Fists of Steel to safely redeploy from location to location, while minimizing damage from ranged weapons.
- 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.
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A standard Engineer loadout, and possibly one of the most important loadouts in any Mann vs. Machine team. Your primary depends on your personal tastes. The Shotgun is reliable and doesn't rely on any factors besides its own ammo, while the Frontier Justice can potentially turn you into a glass cannon should you lose a sentry to a Sentry Buster. Pomson 6000 doesn't require ammo, though its use fluctuates depending on what it's being fired at. The Wrangler is a very powerful tool, as it lets you kill Snipers from afar, handles crowds and giants at a safer distance, and provides additional fire-power against Tanks. Be aware that you cannot move your Sentry while it is being wrangled, meaning if a Sentry Buster exploding your nest is imminent, then switch weapons before it's too late. Your Wrench and its variants are the Engineer's best melee weapon, as it doesn't have the drawback of fire vulnerability, which Pyros will take advantage of, and allows you to move your buildings, a trait essential with Sentry Busters running about. The Jag can be used instead, though it offers less melee potential against Spy-bots. Canteens should focus on instant building upgrades, as they are cheap and vital to maintaining your team's defense should your sentry break. Upgrades can go exclusively into strengthening your Sentry Gun, though faster firing speed for your melee is also extremely helpful, as it lets your Sentry take more DPS during the enemy's pushes.
This layout sacrifices the Engineer's raw sentry power for survivability and personal firepower. The advantage of not attracting Sentry Busters is a niche only possible with the Gunslinger, as Mini Sentry Guns do less damage yet rebuild cheaply and quickly. A second Mini sentry can be built with an upgrade, letting you deal damage near constantly at chokepoints between you and your two Sentry Guns. The Widowmaker, when paired with Metal upgrades, can be a constant stream of Shotgun blasts. Piercing upgrades with the Pistol, while not going to match the power of your Widowmaker, give you a chance to regain metal and release back-to-back shots, all without letting up on the pressure. Your canteen doesn't really matter, due to how ammo refill isn't really necessary while ÜberCharge is too expensive for you to effectively make use of it. Upgrades on your metal capacity and firing speeds will work best with this layout, due to how you'll want to make up for your Sentry Gun's firepower by providing instant barrages of shots from your Sentry Guns and Widowmaker.
- 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.
The Medieval Medic set used with Quick-Fix. The main goal of this set is to completely focus on healing, hopefully to keep your patient on the front lines as long as possible. While the Crusader's Crossbow isn't good for combat, it can help to counter any Sniper robots in the area, as well as heal from afar. The Amputator is probably the Medic's best melee weapon to use, due to how it's a straight upgrade of the Bonesaw with no drawbacks. While Quick-Fix doesn't have overheal, the Medic can provide pseudo-constant ÜberCharge if one gives it healing rate upgrades, making it heal extremely fast, which pairs well with Heavies or Pyros with health-on-kill bonuses. It's recommended that Medic focuses on upgrades to damage resistance and health regeneration. Due to how you will often be a target of the robots, bullet and explosive resistances are recommended to make the most of your natural healing rate. In addition, maximum health regeneration will give the Medic a whopping 19 health recovered per second, healing yourself from 1 health back to full health in a manner of 8 seconds. Defensive upgrades like those in tandem make both you and your patient hard to take down unless under consistent and heavy fire. The canteen you share should either be crits or ammo refill, depending on whom you're healing.
This loadout sacrifices personal survival in exchange for maximum ÜberCharge efficiency. Vita-Saw retains up to 20% ÜberCharge if you die, while Overdose increases your movement speed the higher your meter is. Kritzkrieg has many applications in Mann vs Machine, even more so in certain waves. Demomen can have their stickybomb carpets set up with crits if you charge them before the wave starts, which makes waves with Tanks initially a lot easier. Heavies can clear an entire wave of lesser robots very easily if provided with projectile penetration upgrades. Pyros can take down a distracted giants very quickly if given crits at the right time and place. ÜberCharge canteens are recommended, as using a Kritzkrieg leaves you vulnerable in all the action. Upgrades should focus on the ÜberCharge's duration and charge rate, giving your patient 14 seconds of lethal damage with approximately 30 second breaks between each ÜberCharge. This means that in later rounds, as long as you stay alive with a patient at all times, you can potentially provide critical hits more than a third of the time you're alive, an incredible feat any Medic buddy could only dream of utilizing.
- 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.
With this set the Sniper is fully focused on the Jarate status condition. The Sydney Sleeper can target high risk bots and the upgraded Jarate can slow hordes in addition to making it easier for your team mates to kill them which works wonders against Scout rushes. The Bushwaka is good for when you get stuck in the action making the Sniper a glass cannon against jarated robots at the cost of being less effective against Pyro bots. Invest in the Jarate's upgrades first then on the Sydney Sleeper.
To those that want to do plenty of damage with the Rifle from the start, the Machina is a popular choice. Already being able to penetrate players and doing extra damage on a full charge, the Machina is great for both crowd-control and doing tremendous damage with headshots. Due to the inability to no-scope, the SMG and Kurki can help take care of any up-close attackers such as Spies without giving the Sniper additional vulnerabilities. Invest in the Machina first by increasing its focus speed and damage to make full use of the 100% charge benefits. If the crowds are becoming too much of a problem to wait for a full charge, then purchase projectile penetration.
For the Sniper that wants to fight alongside the front lines, this set can help perform a tremendous amount of damage on key targets while using the secondary to take care of larger low-health crowds. The Shahanshah can help the Sniper fight back if he gets ambushed and is low on ammo, taking advantage of the extra damage on low health. It's best to increase the Huntsman's ammo and the clip size of the Cleaner's Carbine first. A single level of causing bleed on targets with the Huntsman can help finish weak targets. You can also give projectile penetration to both the Huntsman and the Cleaner's Carbine to increase your ability to keep up the critical hit boost longer. However, take note that all four levels of increased firing speed are required to completely offset the slow firing speed of the Carbine.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.