Team Fortress 2 Sniper Guide (Weapons, Roles, Strategies and Targets)

For anyone intrested in dominating enemies from afar, or those who want some advice on improving their gameplay, this guide delves into the roles, strategies, and notes from a expert Sniper in TF2. So grab your rifle, drink some coffee, and get in your campers, because were going to learn about the feared Austrialian marksman of the TF2 team: the Sniper!

This guide delves into the following:

I. Weapons (Descriptons and Benefits)
II. Roles (Traditional, Ghosting, Combat, Support)
III. Strategies (Ghost in the Shell, Laser Pointer, Acupunture Aficando, Jarate Jumbo)
IV. Situations
V. Targets

I. Weapons (Brief Overview of Tertiary Choices)

As a Sniper, your main choice of weapons include:

Primary

Sniper Rifle, Huntsman, Compound Bow, Sydney Sleeper, Hitman’s Heatmaker, Shooting Star, Awper Hand, Bazzar Bargain, Classic, and the Machina

Secondary

Submachine Gun, Cleaner’s Carbine, Jarate, Razorback, Darwin’s Danger Shield, and the Cozy Camper.

Tertiary

Kurki, Shahshannah, Bushwacka, and the Tribalman’s Shiv.

Let’s start with the Primary

Sniper Rifle– the basic stock Sniper Rifle, while not alluring, offers a basic understanding of the main role of the Sniper for new players, as a training tool to allow players gain experience before moving on to more advanced weapons. It is not suggested to use this weapon for advanced gameplay, as players will have more ardous gear wich will render the stock Rifle rudimentary when dealing with enemies

Hitman’s Heatmaker– in my opinion, the next weapon any new sniper should test if comfortable with the stock rifle, when moving up as a Sniper, as this weapons enguards the next main atttribute with the Sniper: stealth. While the Hitman’s Heatmaker is quieter and has a meter entitled “Focus” which when filled, grants the player several seconds of faster charge rate, and remains scoped, allowing the player greater flexabilty for eliminating enemies quickly. However, the Heatmaker deals a damage penalty when inflicting a body shot, and when Focus is active, leaves a traceable line leading to the Sniper’s location between shots.

Shooting Star/ Machina– both the Machina and Shooting Star, serve as deterrants and ” scare tactics” regarding gameplay, as both rifles inflict a massive amount of damage in body shots alone. Snipers who use these weapons, ought to aim for bulkier classes (Soldiers, Heavies, and Demomen), as the Shooting Star and Machina can drop these classes health down dramatically, and frighten players to flee to cover, and allow the Sniper’s team to advance. However, both rifles require being zoomed in to fire, and leave traceable lines to the Sniper’s location, as well as being unable to inflict random critical hits

Classic– the Classic, while dismissed as a “joke” weapon, can inflict massive amounts of chaos on enemy teams, if placed in the right hands. Despite the damage penalty and the need hold M1 to charge the weapon, the ability to charge while unscoped, allows the Sniper to remain aware of his surroundings, and instantly kill lower health classes such as Scouts and Spies, and keep enemy Snipers behind cover. allowing teams to advance. The Classic moreover serves as a harassment weapon, designed to keep enemy combatents at bay while allowing the Sniper’s team to progress.

Bazaar Bargain– Of all weapons the Sniper can equip, the Bazaar Bargain is one of the worst primary weapons that can be used in battle. Even though the Bazaar Bargain can gain incredible charge rates gained on kill by headshot, because it starts off with a incredibly low charge rate, leaves the Sniper with very low damage output early off. Even if the player accquires heads, one missed shot starts them back at sqaure one. Unless players are extremely skilled with headshots, the Bazaar Bargain should be avoided at all costs.

Sydney Sleeper– The Sniper’s main harassment weapon, the Sydney Sleeper is made to support a team, rather than rack up kills. Instead of aiming for headshots on indviduals, players who use this weapon, should aim for large groups of enemy players as the full charge shot applies Jarate to all enemy players in a full radius, allowing teams to use the crit boosts to turn the tide of a skrimish. Snipers can also use the Sydney Sleeper in succession with other Snipers, applying Jarate to high-value targets (Medics, Intel Carriers, etc.), and other Snipers using the crit advantage to quickly eliminate them. The Sydney Sleeper, just like the Classic, serves as a harassment weapon, rather than a damage output weapon.

Huntsman/ Compound Bow – while many players dub these weapons as OP and those who use them as “unskilled”, both Sniper bows can play huge roles in turning the tides of battle, for many reasons. First, equipping the bow allows the Sniper greater mobility in the havoc of combat, allowing him to leave the nest of the battlements, and bring his deadly accuracy to the frontlines. Second, the bows instantanous reload/reaim grants Snipers faster reaction times when dealing with a nearby threat, such as Spies and Scouts, instead of switching to his secondary or teritary weapons, which delays his response. Third and finally, all the Snipers primary weapons have a laser indicator which enemies can use as a warning to avoid certain areas. The Huntsman and Compound Bow on the other hand, do not have the indicator, therefore leaving enemies unaware of the Sniper’s presence, until it’s too late.

Moving on to the Secondary

Submachine Gun– The Sniper’s stock choice when equipping secondary gear, the Submachine Gun lets the Sniper engage nearby threats. Just as with the stock Sniper Rifle, the Submachine Gun is made for training purposes, and should be avoided when playing advanced, as it lacks the firepower to deal with enemies who may have gear which decreases it’s effectiveness.

Cleaner’s Carbine– the more professional appearing version of the Submachine Gun, the Cleaner’s Carbine grants the Sniper the “Crikey” meter. When charged, the “Crikey” meter grants the Sniper several seconds of mini-crits to all his weapons, making him a dangerous force on the battlefield. However, the decrease in clip size, and its fire rate, make the Cleaner’s Carbine slightly weaker than the stock Submachine Gun, despite it’s benefits.

Razorback– although a tempting choice to Snipers who have to deal with numerous Spies during gameplay, the Razorback is not as effective as it was before, as the chances of encountering a Spy who does not know what the Razorback does on a advanced server is slim, and many advanced Spies would simply use their Revolvers to quickly dispatch Snipers carrying the Razorback. Unless your playing on a server where new players are frequent, avoid equipping the Razorback.

Darwin’s Danger Shield– dubbed by many players as a cowardly way to play Sniper, Darwin’s Danger Shield grants the player resistance from bullets, and an extra 25 health, granting the Sniper a slight increase in mobilty. However in a nutshell, such as a player unaware of an enemy Sniper, the Darwin’s Danger Shield is a lifesaver, sparing the player from an otherwise lethal headshot, and allowing them to get to cover. One drawback however, is the increase in explosion damage the Sniper will take with the Darwin Danger Shield equipped, making him an easy target for Demomen and Soldiers.

Jarate– the Sniper’s first form of harrassment and the bane of Spies everywhere. Jarate gives the Sniper a critcal role in team fights, allowing hims to boost his team’s damage output with his crits and prevent them from dying with it’s “life-saving” fire extingushing. Jarate also allows Snipers to keep track of enemy Spies, preventing them from creeping up and getting away cloaked. The only drawback: Pyros can reflect Jarate, turning the tide of the fight for the enemy team.

Cozy Camper– while seen as a useful item to ensure a steady aim, and prevent knockback from throwing off a Sniper’s shot, I highly suggest that this secondary item be avoided. Even though it offers health regenration, it does not offer any reductions of incoming damage. The Sniper still takes full damage from all sources, so an enemy Sniper can still instanly kill you with a headshot, despite your ability to heal over time.

Tertiary

All the Sniper’s melee weapons benefit him a similiar base damage, includeing benefits such as higher damage or increased crit rate. However, the Sniper should not engage in melee combat normally, only as a final resort to elimate threats near him.

II. Gameplay Roles

As a Sniper, many players describe his meta as a support role, staying behind the lines and supporting the team from afar with his firepower. However the Sniper can consist of four primary roles in gameplay: Traditional, Ghosting, Support, and Combat.

Traditional

As the name states, players who tend to follow the meta of Sniper, would do best if following the Traditional Role. The Traditional Role has the Sniper stick to high grounds (battlements, towers, ridges) to gain a bird’s eye view of the battle, and elimnate key threats to allow his team to advance, using either the Stock Rifle or Rifles which pack a punch. While a good strategy for beginner Snipers, this role is extremely diffcult when imposing on advanced gameplay, as it leads to player’s stratgies being very predictable in movement and effectivness.

Ghosting

One of the more challenging roles for a Sniper, Ghosting relies on the Sniper’s ability to remain stealthy and mobile. This strategy involves Snipers moving into position, taking a shot, and quickly moving again before the enemy spots them. While this seems ardous, Snipers who use this strategy are highly effective in combat, as the enemy will attempt to search for the Sniper, giving teamates an oppurtunity to strike. (Note: I highly suggest the use of the Darwin’s Danger Shield as a Secondary when playing this role, as your chances of running into offense classes is greater when your moving from place to place, and the HP and bullet resistance will save you a lot.) The Sniper also relies on melee more often with this role, as he may need to quickly dispatch smaller classes or those who have been isolated from their team, in order to remain hidden. (For this I highly suggest the Bushwacka, as it’s crit advantage can turn the tide of a 1v1 quickly)

Support

The third role a Sniper can play is Support. While the Sniper is made to deliver massive damage quickly, the Support role does not involve the player racking up kills. Rather, the player should use the Sniper’s harassment weapons, mainly the Sydney Sleeper and Jarate, to enhance his team’s combat effectiveness, gaining a kill of their own occasionaly. Players who desire to level up quickly, should avoid this role, unless they wish to use the “Jarate Jumbo” tactic. (See Strategies)

Combat

Personally my favorite role of the Sniper, this role is extremely difficult, and I advise extensive practice with the Huntsman/Compound Bow, as this will be your primary weapon in combat, and I would practice using melee more often before attempting full Combat Role,as the chances of resorting to melee are greatly increased in this role. Snipers who play the Combat role, leave the battlements, and bring his accuracy to the frontlines. The suggested loadout for this role: Either of the bows, Darwin’s Danger Shield, and the Bushwacka. The bows are necessary as the time needed to charge a shot powerful enough to kill takes too long and leaves the Sniper defenseless in the open, where the bow allows the Sniper to keep multiple enemies at bay and aware of his surroundings. Darwin’s Danger Shield’s HP boost increases a Sniper’s survivalbilty when moving into hotspots, as well as the bullet resistance when going into firefights againest stronger classes, such as Heavies. The Bushwacka, granted with inflicting Critical Damage whenever it would mini-crit, grants the Sniper a more menacing role when it comes to one on one combat with other classes.

III. Strategies

As a well-trained Sniper in the TF2 Universe, these strategies are what I’ve seen to prove effective in many situations. (These are suggestions. There are many ways to play as a Sniper, but these are ones I’ve noticed worked well.)

Ghost in the Shell

Similar to Ghosting, Ghost in the Shell requires a Sniper to use his stealth to his advantage. However, instead of moving to and from location to location, Ghost in the Shell, has the player, find a spot on maps, which allow them to view the scope of battle, but make the Sniper diffcult to see for enemies. Some locations which suit this strategy:

Water on 2Fort: Corners work best. In order to see the Sniper, enemies either have to look straight down into the resevoir, drop on the Sniper, or walk completely past the covering on the battlements.

Side Window on Double Cross: A personal favorite, makes the Sniper very diffcult to see, nearly impossible to hit, and gives him a perfect view of the enemy entrance.

These are only some spots which work. If you find more, feel free to test this strategy with them.

Laser Pointer

As I stated when describing weapons, the laser pointer which indicates the presence of a Sniper can be critical with his battle performance. However, this strategy makes the “weak link” the main weapon of the Sniper’s arsenal. Players who spot the laser pointer will avoid certain areas to avoid confronting the Sniper. This strategy has Snipers use the laser pointer, as a determent and scare tactic, targeting key areas or shortcuts, to create chokepoints. This forces enemies to stay behind cover, or take longer pathes to reach the frontlines. Maps which suit this strategy:

Dustbowl: The canyon is a great place to set up shop, as the passgeway for BLU to get to the final control point presents a small gap for you to keep aim, and prevent certain enemies from passing through or causing havoc (Engineers and Pyros, for example)

Gorge: the gap between the shipping containers at BLU spawn, serves a great point to do this strategy. (Note: be sure your aiming at the GROUND in this spot not the WALL. Enemies who see your laser pointer on the wall, will be able to trace it to you, but will look up on the roof and windows as the laser pointer on the GROUND, “implies” you are at a higher vantage point.)

Acupuncture Aficando

This strategy is for Sniper who prefer the bows over rifles, and serves as a shock and confusion (and possibly off) for enemies, as you bank long- range,across the map headshots with the Huntsman/Compound Bow, despite them being short range weapons. The secret: for enemies who are at a greater distance, rushing you, or at a higher altitudeaim for the torso. The Huntsman and Compound Bow’s hitbox can trigger instant headshots even if not aimed at the head. Because enemies who are at a great distance and rushing you, their hitbox moves with them. Aim for the torso, and by the time the arrow reaches them, it will have moved to the neck, and 95% of the time, trigger a instant headshot (The enemy literally “walks” into the arrow). Enemies at a higher altitudes are easier targets, because like the distance technique, aiming at the torso results in the arrow travelling higher, and trigger an instant headshot, or dealing enough damge to where they fall off and fall damage seals the deal.

Jarate Jumbo

The final strategy of this guide, requires the coorperation between a team of 2-3 Snipers, and mainly focuses on quick elimination of key targets. One Sniper equips the Sydney Sleeper, and uses it to apply Jarate on key targets (Medics, Intel Carriers, Dominating Players,Sentry Nests etc.), while the other 2 Snipers, equipped with rifles of their choice, use the mini-crit advantage to quickly eliminate the target. Best used in team fights, or on classes which constantly pair up with Medics.

Disclaimer: These are only SOME tactics which are fit for Sniper, and there are many other ways to play Sniper. If you think to have found a strategy unlike any in this guide, feel free to send me a message to explain your idea.

IV. Situations

This part of the guide covers certain situations which the role Sniper faces consistently, as well as solutions to deal with them:

Rocket Jumpers/ Sticky Jumpers

Even expert Snipers, including myself, hate dealing with these players. Personally, I don’t like to be turned into a landing pad by some Soldier or Demoman, as I’m about to pull a wicked headshot.

Solution: Players who rocket/ sticky jump take a considerable amount of their own health in order to ensure a powerful liftoff, even if they have explosion resistance. As a Sniper, that missing health is your advantage. If a rocket/ sticky jumper is headed your way, all you need to do is land a few body shots on them in flight. This will either kill them before they reach you, or deal enough damage to have them die upon impact. (This works even better with those using the BASE Jumper, as they present a steady target for you to shoot.)

Scouts

These players are constant problems for Snipers as their speed makes it tricky to land a good shot. The fact that every server always has a good percentage of players as Scouts doesn’t help either.

Solution: Equip the Classic when dealing with a small number of Scouts, and if there is a ridiculous amount, try either of the bows or try to fake them out. Scouts, though fast, have the lowest health, so a few body shots will kill them, or cause them to fall and die on impact (Use your enviroment to your advantage as well: I’ve noticed in many 1v1 situations, if I rush behind cover, Scouts will tend to pursue. Rush through doors, behind barricades, buildings, anything that causes them to lose sight of you, to instigate a chase, but instead of running, hide directly in the path which the Scout will follow. When they rush the corner, have your melee ready to take a swing. Scouts are not good classes to instigate melee brawls with, and many will be caught off guard and forced to retreat.)

Pyros

Not in the sense that they will get close enough to burn you, but their ability to airblast your projectiles (arrows and Jarate), if you prefer bows, makes them dangerous to confront one on one.

Solution: If Pyros pose a threat on a server, try to resort to a combat strategy ( I suggest Jarate Jumbo), or equip a secondary side arm to deal with them. Unless you a confident you can risk an arrow to kill the Pyro, do not take the chance.

Demoknights

Although they only rely on their melee to defend themselves, the main threat to a Sniper is their charge, which allows them to close large distance gaps quickly, leaving the Sniper defenseless in seconds.

Solution: No matter how skilled you think you may be, NEVER TRY TO MELEE A CHARGING DEMOKNIGHT. Snipers can deal with simple melees between smaller classes like Scouts and Spies, but are not meant for the agressive one on one combat a Demoknight possesses. Your best bet at surviving is to dive out of the Demoknight’s path, as it is difficult for them to steer mid-charge. If you like risks and want to play with fate, your best bet at killing a charging Demoknight, is with the Huntsman or Compound Bow.

Other Snipers

Although combating other Snipers isn’t difficult, its the AMOUNT of Sniper you could possibly being facing (One time, I had to face against four other Snipers on 2Fort, as the only Sniper on my team. Not a fun experience)

Solution: Never go it alone. Always make sure you have at least 1-2 other Snipers on your team. Teamplay is important as a Sniper, and it’s important to watch out for each other. It could be another Sniper which shot the enemy that you didn’t see.

Wrangler Engineers

It annoys me so much when I see a Level Three Sentry on the Battlements under the control of a Wrangler. SERIOUSLY. The battlements are meant for Snipers. Stay in the intel room…

Solution If this does happen to you often, don’t worry. The main thing you want to do is try to kill the Engineer whose Wrangling the Sentry, and avoid his Sentry’s fire. He will often be hiding behind cover, so you have to lure him out. Try not to aim at areas around the Sentry (Your rifle’s laser pointer!) as it will alert the Engineer of your presence, and make him stay behind cover. Aim at the cover he’s hiding behind and be patient (Your gonna play the waiting game for a while, so get comfortable) When the Engineer comes out to repair the Sentry….well you know what to do…..

Spies

The bane of all Snipers , regardless of skill. Spies are seen as an impossible force which we can’t stop, because we never know where they are, plus with knives which are silent, how are we supposed to know when they strike?

Solution: Don’t fret. For I have created a system which will keep you alive, against even the most crafty Spies. First, make sure you have a fellow Sniper near you when Spies are a constant threat. Try to see what the Sniper’s username is, and commit it to memory. It will serve later. Second, stay near your fellow Sniper, but in an area where Spies can’t reach you easily (Example: the spawn entrance on the battlements of 2Fort.) The reason why, is because Spies will go for targets which they can easily isolate, in this case, your fellow Sniper. Third, go about your business, but keep an eye on the kill feed. If you see your fellow Sniper’s name pop up with a backstab death symbol next to it, you know a Spy is on the battlements with you.

Dead-Ringer Spies

Another Spy which plagues Snipers everywhere, Dead-Ringer Spies can be huge pains if your not attentive, despite the loud sounds they make when uncloaking.

Solution: One simple trick I created practically eliminates the threat of Dead-Ringer Spies. Similiar to the previous solution, if you happen to kill a Spy, check what their username is in the kill feed. Quickly open the scoreboard for the match, and find their name (it should be the TAB key) Their username will appear faded (grayish color), as it should when killed. Close the scoreboard, and open it again. If their username is still faded, then the Spy is currently dead. If their username appears normal (light white color) then the Spy has a Dead Ringer, and is still on the loose.

I hope this part of the guide helps you combat the threats which plague Snipers everyday, and improve your overall gameplay. In the final section of the guide, I will go over targets every Sniper should look for, and common tips which will aid your mission of become a better Sniper.

V. Targets

The final section of this guide covers the types of targets Snipers should keep a keen eye out for in-game, to aid your team in multiple situations, such as Control Points, Payload, CTF, etc.

Medics– The number one target for Snipers in the field. Taking out medics allows your team to push forward, and push points which are being guarded. (Note: It’s common sense to shoot the medic first for all classes)

Moving Engineers– Any Engineer who is rushing across the battlefield carrying his contraptions is a prime target for any Sniper. Killing them leaves the opposing team not only one less defender/attacker, but it destroys the fighting or evasive power of the team when the Level 3 Sentry or Level 3 Teleporter is destroyed by his death

Intel Carriers As a Sniper, you are usually the last line of defense when it comes to the Intelligence. Once the carrier is out in the open, your job goes from support, to full offense. Do everything in your power to kill or push the carrier off to where the intel is difficult to recapture. Keep hidden and do your job.

Defensive Positions A large number of defensive classes can be enough to overwhelm an entire team in moments if they rush as one unit. Snipers must use this time in order to drop the charging classes health dramatically. This allows the Sniper’s team to counter the push, as the enemy will no longer have the health advantage as before, thanks to your efforts

Spies– if you see a disguising Spy (either from the residual smog from when a Spy disguises, or from memory of teammates death) approaching an unaware teammate,you are REQUIRED to defend that teammate. They have no clue their life is at risk, and you can make or break it. Take a shot, and when the dust settles and its the Spy whose dead instead of your teammate, they’ll be grateful to have you on their team.

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