Wednesday, 12 September 2012

GUIDE: (Video) In-Depth Look at Team Fortress 2's Heavy

Hey guys! Remember my Team Fortress 2 pubstar guide that I wrote all the way back in July? Well, it got some good feedback and I just love TF2 so much that I've decided to go deeper. Enjoy the first of hopefully all 9 in-depth class guides, featuring the fattest, most iconic TF2 class, and certainly my favourite TF2 class: the Heavy.


Hey guys. My guide on basic tf2 strategy was a huge hit, so today I’ve decided to go a bit in-depth on my favourite TF2 class: The Heavy.

At first glance, the heavy seems like a relatively simple class. You have a crapptone of health and you just point your mini-gun at the enemy and shoot it till it goes click.
While the heavy is pretty easy to learn, its mastery comes in perfecting your movements, and attacking strategically.

Unlike the traditional FPS classes such as scout and soldier, which require precision aim and twitch reflexes, the heavy relies on being in the right place at the right time. Your obvious weakness is your speed, both in movement and setting up your gun. A good heavy knows how to minimize these weaknesses through proper positioning, tactics, and loadout.

But before we get into that, let’s have a look at the heavy’s arsenal. As I mentioned in my brief guide, I can’t recommended the tomislav enough – even with its spin-up-time nerf. It’s real star attribute is that It is completely silent when spun up, giving away the biggest tell that other players will use to discern your location. Simply put, a heavy whose location is known is no major threat. A heavy that pops out of no-where and fills you with more bullets than a John Woo movie is something to be scared of.

Of course, there are exceptions to this rule. For example, if you have a dedicated medic, or if you are playing on a payload or attack/defend map, you should consider the alternate miniguns. The safest bet is usually the vanilla minigun. It does the second highest damage of all the miniguns, but has no real drawbacks. If you can get a medic to follow you around and watch your back, it’s the best weapon for chewing through enemy teams. The vanilla minigun is also good when you don’t have to, or want to be particularly sneaky, for example, on single-objective based maps like CTF, KOTH or Payload.

I feel that Natascha is a lot more situational than the vanilla gun. It’s particularly useful against a scout-stacked team, or if your team is co-ordinated enough to make use of the slow, but otherwise its reduced damage isn’t worth it. Similarly, the increased damage of the brass beast is not even close to being worth accentuating your already-prevalent movement weakness. It does have a very small niche when you need to protect a stationary objective for a long time, such as in this KOTH map.

The hou-long heater seems overly gimmicky. I’ve used it a couple of times and found that it burns through ammo way too quickly for the small benefit of the fire ring. While the fire ring is great for warding off spies, so is turning around every once in a while…

Secondaries are pretty cut and dry. Even after the nerf, I feel that the sandvich is still an amazing item - especially if your team is medic-less. Just remember that spies and snipers will think all their Christmases have e come at once if they spot you eating in the open, so always get to cover and for god’s sake, put your back up against a wall, when noming your sandvich. With a medic, a shotgun or the family business can be viable, but I still think the sandvich is more versatile.

Melee is even more obvious. The heavy is the slowest class in the game. The heavy also does not really use his melee weapon much, if you run out of ammo with your mini gun and have to switch to melee, you’re pretty much fucked. So, why not fill that useless melee slot with an item that turns you from the slowest class into one of the fastest? The gloves of running urgently, or G.R.U for short, drastically increase your run speed while active, with the drawback of ‘marking you for death’. This mark lasts while you have the gloves out, as well as for a few seconds after switching to another weapon, and it turns all damage done to you into minicrits.

These gloves are amazing. They can get you to the battlefield in due speed or facilitate a hasty retreat – the two things that were previously impossible for a heavy to accomplish. The ‘marked for death’ drawback is something you should be aware of. Whenever possible, switch back to your main weapon a few seconds before arriving at a battlezone, to ensure you’re not taking minicrit damage while trying to fight. Even with a medic, these gloves are worth it as you won’t have to worry about slowing him down as you try to get around the map.

So we've got our loadout set. Tomislav or Vanilla Minigun, Sandvich, and the G.R.U. Now let's have a look at some heavy tactics.

As I mentioned before, the heavy's weakness is his speed and vulnerability while firing. These weaknesses are most prevalent when in large, open areas, so please. Stay out of them. Here's an example of what not to do. I'm playing payload and pushing the cart. Notice that coming up is a very long, open corridor, that is often a popular sniper spot. BAM! I walked right into it. My number one piece of advice? Know your corners. Stay out of the open as much as possible, and try to slink around corners where you can keep out of line-of-sight. It's not just snipers you wanna watch out for, but also soldiers, demomen, and other heavies chipping away at your health. Having good positioning is vital to playing heavy. Note my position in many of these clips, I always keep myself close to cover and close to medpack and ammo spawns, so I can strategically retreat when needed.

Here's a neat little trick that I like to use a lot, jumping around corners. While in the air, you don't suffer from the speed reduction of spinning up your gun. This means you can jump around a corner, and if you are lucky, catch someone completely off guard. I do the jump+m2 at pretty much every corner I come to. You can also use this trick if you have high ground, to jump down at enemies, again, catching them off guard. Drop heavy to the rescue!

Remember that while you are somewhat viable while moving, you are EXTREMELY viable while firing. The best way to combat this? Only fire in short bursts. If you come around a corner and see some enemies in mid to long range, don't sit there trying to chip them away. Shoot a burst at them and then change positions. The longer you stay in one place spraying and praying, the bigger the chance of a sniper picking you off, an explosives class chipping you down, or a spy sticking his knife into your big fat back.

Bloody spies. Spies and snipers are the 'hard counters' to heavies. Snipers are easy enough to deal with - they are all about area control, so you can simply... avoid the area that they control! Spies are a little more tricky. Here's a sound you should memorize. It's the sound of a dead ringer spy de-cloaking. The other spy watches have somewhat less noticeable decloak sounds, but I've noticed, especially in PUB servers, that the dead ringer is by far the most popular. As soon as you hear this sound, do an immediate 180 and fire off a burst. You should spy check at least every ten seconds or so - spin around and shoot anyone who looks suspicious. Remember to look for the obvious spy tells, such as scouts running too slow, teammates who aren't firing their weapons, and seeing teammates who are 'dead'.

I touched on this earlier but I'd like to emphasize it. PUT YOUR BACK TO THE WALL WHEN EATING A SANDVICH. Seriously.

As you may have noticed, the heavy runs dry quite quickly. The heavy is quick to brag that it costs four hundred thousand dollars to fire his gun for twelve seconds, but fails to acknowledge that twelve seconds of continuous firing would use up all the ammo he can carry. As such, you need to be mindful of the ammo placements in the maps. This is not really something I can teach, you have to learn them yourself by playing the maps. I usually back out to look for ammo whenever I have fewer than 100 bullets.

That's about all there is to it. In summary, Use your G.R.U to utilize ambush spots, stay out of the open, fire in bursts, stay in cover when eating a sandvich, and keep an eye on your ammo counter. Good hunting!

Liked this article? Check out my basic pub TF2 strategy guide

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