Team Fortress 2 Soldier Basic Gameplay Theory

Team Fortress 2 Soldier Basic Gameplay Theory 1 - steamsplay.com
Team Fortress 2 Soldier Basic Gameplay Theory 1 - steamsplay.com
Actually not a meme.

 
 

Opening

 
So you’ve decided to pick up the most played, most popular, and the single best class in Team Fortress 2. Welcome to the life of a Soldier main. Get ready for people to call you skill-less, an idiot, or a wall hacker. If you’re looking for a guide on how to land extra SICK air shots, or how to market garden, then go to YouTube. 
 
This is not a guide for comp soldier, as he is very different from casual soldier. If you want a competitive guide, go play it instead. No comp soldier guide can teach you how you like to play the class. They’ll only give you what’s “meta”, which sometimes can be a pain. A lot of teams used to hate me in Highlander because I never really liked the Black Box. Not because it’s a crutch, but the 3 rocket count really hurts my spam tactics. Because I’m garbage and can’t aim. Hence, why I play soldier. 
 
This guide is meant to give you an idea on how to play as the rocket explodey man in a casual enviroment for people who are just looking to improve. I’m going to be giving you an idea on when to push, how to play with your team, and what to watch out for. 
 
 

Rocket Jumping

 
It’s impossible to talk about soldier without mentioning rocket jumping. If you’re looking to main this class, I’m going to assume this is why. Rocket jumping is an absolute blast, and is a lot of the reason soldier mains have so much fun with the class. Rocket jumping for new soldiers can be a death sentence, but if you’re conscious about how much health you have, how quickly you can get to med-kits, and the enemy’s current position; then rocket jumping becomes the most powerful tool in your arsenal. 
Some people call scout the most mobile class in TF2. They’re wrong. Soldier can go anywhere he wants, as fast as he wants, and the only restriction is your own skill and positioning. Sure if you’re low health, your mobility gets cut down to your move speed. However, if you run Escape Plan, or are fairly conscious about your position, it’s not hard to get to a health kit and GTFO of whatever situation you’re about to die in. 
You might have noticed me throw around the word conscious twice there. That’s a lot of what being soldier is. Being aware. Because your mobility is directly impacted by your HP, knowing where everyone is and who could pose a problem to your sizeable health pool is very important. This may sound like a lot, but it’s really just understanding the basics of area control. If the enemy team controls an area, be really careful. 
If you find yourself in a situation you don’t like, just leave. This is the biggest advantage of rocket jumping. You wouldn’t believe how many times I’ve walked around a corner, seen an entire team, and just NOPE’d out with a good rocket jump. As long as you’re above around 50 HP (25 with the gunboats), you shouldn’t have too many problems with it. Just be mindful of the ground as what comes up, must inevitably come down. 
 
As a side-note: the only time you should be really careful about jumping is when your medic has Quick-Fix. Because QF launches medics when his patient rocket jumps, it’s nice to let your medic just finish healing you up, and disconnect before jumping. Don’t put your medics into unnecessary danger. If his balls are huge, then drag him with you. Otherwise, keep your little German boy safe. 
 
 

Bombing

 
Sometimes you need to bomb recklessly. Sometimes it’s important to give your life up, so your team can get a way in. This is partly a matter of game sense, and awareness. The biggest factor at work is a mysterious force that was secretly implemented into Team Fortress 2. I will tell you about this secret power, but learning to recognize and utilize it is up to you. This mysterious force is known in whispers only as “Teamwork”. As this is a class based game, ubered heavy rushes cannot actually win every encounter. Sometimes there’s going to be someone on the other team who’s better than everyone on your team combined. It happens. This is where strategy will need to disappear and good old fashioned unpredictability is key. That doesn’t mean bomb in recklessly. That means, “take whatever opportunity you see”. 
Watch the enemy team, watch your team. Glance at the kill-feed. Do you see their sniper getting a lot of headshots on your main players? Find him, watch his team, and wait for them to leave him alone. Don’t give him time to think about the fact that he’s currently defenseless. Don’t give yourself time to plan anything. As soon as you see the chance, move. 
Either 
A) You frag him, and your team gets an opportunity to move up and make some space. 
B) You die like an idiot and you respawn and get to try again 
or the worst option 
C) You frag him, and your team gets wiped anyway because they couldn’t clean up. 
 
Although the numbers seem in the enemy’s favor here, sometimes you’ll get lucky and get a few frags. Best case scenario, you get a really salty message in chat validating your ability to spam rockets at a defenseless target. This is the life of a soldier main. Go in, shoot rockets, probably die. 
 
 

Teamwork and the Flank

 
The magical force known as “Teamwork” is important to every class, but Soldier is the best at supporting your team in every way possible. 
Soldier is one of two classes than can move from flank to frontlines very quickly, and is efficient at both. The other one is Scout. The advantage Solly has over Scooty boy, is that Soldier has 75 extra HP on him. He’s incredibly beefy, does a lot of damage, and can move very fast. This leaves you in a position to cover your team’s weak points. 
Is someone constantly flanking and causing problems for your team? Find his spot and camp it. 
Is someone on the front-lines doing massive damage and your team can’t clean him up? Go help out and just spam rockets. 
Is your medic in constant danger? Camp your medic and realize how easy it is to get a 15 killstreak when you have a healing beam up your a*s. Trust me, you will. If you repeatedly save a medic’s life, he’s going to remember you. Then, he’ll reward you with delicious, delicious uber or kritz. If he’s a ♥♥♥♥, you’ll get the Quick-Fix. 
 
Moving back and forth to support your team is the key to being a good soldier. However, there comes a time when your team is to abandoned. This is when the enemy is stupid enough to leave the flank completely open. 
 
In the words of LazyPurple, 
“I know I shouldn’t do it. I know I shouldn’t flank recklessly. Buuuuuuut…..” 
 
Even though that’s from his Scout video, it applies pretty well to Soldier too. Sometimes the enemy team just leaves a big gaping hole in their defenses. This is the best time to play soldier because you can just rocket jump in, find a nice spot behind them, and shoot rockets at everything. 
Once they find you, move. Just like with any other class, never stay in one spot for too long. It’s just asking to die. 
 
When you’re flanking, you can do a lot of damage to enemy teams. If someone on their team is giving them a lot of support, you can use another secret power. This one is referred to as “bullying”. 
 
Repeatedly kill one player, over and over and over and over. Medic, Sniper, Spy, Engie. Whatever is giving your team trouble. Get behind them and kill him when he’s surrounded by his team. Spawn camp him. Do whatever you have to do to make him mad at you. Some people may find this distasteful. I call it “unparalleled strategy”. 
The results are typically: He switches class to something that counters soldier (or just whatever he thinks he’s good at), he ragequits (best case), or he keeps playing the same class and you get to keep destroying him. If he switches to a hard counter, be mindful of that too. You’re about to have a very, very mad player who’s going to do whatever he can to ruin your game just like you ruined his. 
 
 

Your Weaknesses

 
Soldier has no true counters. The main things that are going to screw you are your positioning, and getting caught off guard. 
 
If any class rounds the corner and runs into an enemy heavy, they’re typically dead. Only Scout can really get out of that kind of situation, and even that’s sort of map dependent. Soldier can rocket jump away, but in a lot of situations you are just going to die there. Snipers are miserable when you’re learning to rocket jump, so get used to getting headshot in the air. It happens. Scouts are going to do whatever they can to make life unfun for you with all their double jumping, and fast movement speed and what-not. 
 
Most people may say that my previous statement was untrue and Soldier has one hard counter, the Pyro. To this I want to awaken all the soldiers to the biggest secret I have yet to reveal. When fighting a pyro one on one, you can actually kill him with the rocket launcher. Pyros have to either reflex a reflect rocket, or predict it. If you take out the predictability, pyros have to rely completely on reflex. Some are very good at this, most are very not. Shoot rockets at weird angles, be okay with getting a little bit of splash damage instead of nice big meaty hits. Most of all, count damage. Any player at low health is going to start getting conservative, which is the best time to switch up your playstyle. Go from predictable easy reflects, to incredibly erratic spam. Never let the pyro get in your head, or you’re going to eat one of your own rockets and die like a chump. 
 
My favorite strategy against reflect happy pyros is to just hold W. If they’re focused on reflecting your rockets, most of them won’t remember that what they’re holding is actually a flamethrower. Close range, it’s a bit harder to reflexively reflect rockets because of the shorter travel time. Letting you safely close the gap, and make the pyro feel like an idiot for not being able to reflect “easy rockets”. Do be careful if your team is around though, because getting teammates killed is a really saddening feeling. Especially medics. 
 
 

Making Soldier your Own

 
As a closing statement, I want to stress how important it is that you find a way you like to play Soldier. Some people like trolldier, some people like to juggle, some people want to get god-like killstreaks, the list goes on. Find what you like about Soldier and push it as hard as you can. 
 
Do you want to run the gunboats? Shotgun? Do you like the direct miss? Do you just want to rocket jump? 
 
Experiment with the weapons. Find what works for you. Soldier is lucky in that he has no Primary weapons that are unusable, and few garbage secondary weapons. Whatever playstyle you want to have, be it overly aggressive or very conservative. This is the true power of Soldier, is his versatility. Understanding all playstyles will make you a better soldier, but make sure to make him your own. This will especially help with his most important gameplay element: his unparalleled unpredictability. 
 
 

Random Crits

 
Before I leave you let me give you this piece of advice about random crits. 
 
Sometimes you are going to get kills you don’t deserve. Sometimes you are going to get killed by something you shouldn’t have died to. Such is the nature of random crits. As a soldier main, you have to remember that every random crit you die to, you deserve. That’s payback for every crit rocket you’ve gotten a 3k with. 
 
Remember always, there is a reason there’s an achievement called “Crockets are such BS.” 
 

By .nv

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