Tuesday, August 3, 2010

TF2 - Guide to Medicking Public Games – Veteran Level Tactics: Part 1 - Outfitting

The medic serves two very important functions in any match of TF2, the spearhead and the architect. This means that any good medic needs to have balls and be smart. Easy on paper, but most medics don't get the job done with full efficiency. After all, the medic is German, and Germans love efficiency. In this guide, you will learn how to augment your team's success from beginning to end, offense and defense. You will also learn that your life is the most important one on the team, and that when you die, your team is at a major disadvantage. Also, be aware that this guide is for public 24-32 man games, not 6v6 comp.

Item Setup

Weapon Slot
Use the syringe gun. I don't just mean equip it, I mean use it. You can always help your teammates with extra damage especially against certain classes in different situations. But before we get to that, I'll prove to you why you should never use the blutsauger over the standard syringe gun.

Firstly, in most encounters, the medic will be healing someone, preferably a pocket. (More about pocketing later). You probably won't take out your syringe gun. The benefit of the blutsauger is that if you have good aim, you can replenish your health as you battle. But, if you do take out your needles, chances are you're doing it with someone else around, which means you don't have to be the primary DPS (damage per second.) This also means that you're going to need to survive after you or your pocket kills the enemy attacking you. For this, healing up with the blutsauger is a nightmare. The drop in health regeneration will get you killed because by the time you're in the next fight you will hardly be back up to survivable health levels. If you had the syringe gun equipped, you'd be back up to full health in no time. This is especially useful again pyros, where the extra health regeneration can stem the burn damage and hopefully save your hide. There won't be enough situations in a given round where it will be more beneficial to break your healing stream to take out the needles and get health back that way. Remember, good offensive classes target medics (READ: you are public enemy #1), so you need all the survivability you can get. The health regen, coupled with the fact that regular needles are actually a decent defensive weapon when mastered, makes the need for the blutsauger minimal.

*Take out your needles when you're under the effects of your buff banner and the bannered soldier is in no immediate danger. Fire off some rounds into the enemy group for extra DPS and then switch back to medigun to keep that soldier alive and killing.

*Take out 'dem needles when a pyro is charging you or your pocket. Pyros for the most part can't cope with multiple attackers, so put as much DPS on them from as many different directions as you can. The exception to this rule is if you're pocketing a pyro. 99% of the time, unless your pyro is incompetent, a healed pyro will win a 1v1 with another pyro. You can take out your needles towards the end of the fight to finish the enemy pyro off so he doesn't get away, but mostly stay on healing. (More on specific medic combo matchups later.)

*Take out needles to defend cap points. There will be times when your team is wiped out and you'll have the opportunity to surprise the enemy with a needle attack. Surprise needle defenses are especially feasible on servers with random krits, as krit needles are truly deadly. When you see a bunch of players going for a cap, spam needles around it, as some are most likely injured, try to thin the ranks and block the capture as best you can until help arrives. Sure, there's also a time and place not to do this as your death could mean a team wipe (READ: if you're close to uber, run) and the opposing team steamrolling right through after your death. And no, don't do this all the time, but it can work out really well if the gameclock is running down and the last cap needs immediate defending.

Medigun Slot
Paramount to your understanding of how to be a good medic is the following statement. TF2 is a game entirely about medics. Let that sink in, because once you understand that your mistakes and successes usually mean victory or defeat, you're probably going to pay more attention while you play. The above statement is fairly self-evident. If you keep your team alive and pushing forward more often than the opposing team, you'll win. So both mediguns heal, but their uber usage is entirely different in tactics. Also memorize this: while the mediguns earn faster charge from healing teammates with lower health, from full health teammates, uber is complete in 40 seconds, kritzkrieg in 32 seconds.

Uber Medigun
The regular medigun is the better choice most of the time in. This is because it will keep you alive, which is what I'm trying to drill into your head. You need to stay alive and healing. Don't be afraid to pop your uber if you're about to die. Nothing could be worse for your team than to die with your uber. It's also better most of the time because the reason most of your team is cowering behind the corner is there's a sentry nest on the other side. So, uber to take out engie equipment. Yeah, you know that. But what you should know more about both uber and kritz is that when you pop intentionally to push you should be yelling into the the mic, “MOVE UP, GO NOW BEHIND THE UBER, WE'RE UBERING!” Inform your team when you're ubering, especially a regular uber. A well-supported uber will usually win the game. It causes the enemy to panic and soaks up the damage that would have otherwise annihilated your squad.

To rephrase, the regular medigun is more flexible. It can be used offensively or defensively. If you see an enemy uber coming, pop it and you can outlast them and kill them when theirs wears off. You can use it to save teammates about to die long enough so that they can retreat to safety.

And while we're on saving teammates with ubers. Do it! Your job is to keep others alive. So understand that you can spread your uber to a teammate about to take a rocket to the face and your pocket will still have invulnerability momentarily. Just be aware that every time you spread the uber, it burns through the charge more quickly. But it's always worth saving a teammate. TF2 is a numbers game, so if your side has more, they'll win. Plus, uber spreading is a cool party trick.

Der Kritzkrieg
A favorite of point whores everywhere, the kritz can rain destruction and kill far more enemies than a regular uber can. Think of the kritz as a ninja blade: maximally potent in surprise. If you come around a corner and your demo is lobbing kritted spam, you're going to splatter the enemy team like a Peter North cumshot. And if you're truly stealthy, the enemy medic(s) won't have enough time to react and will have been gibbed by the time they're furiously clicking their secondary button. The kritz, just like the invulnerability ubercharge, can turn the tide of a game, especially if your pocket kills enemy charged medics. In general, kritz is better on defense.

Other variables to consider are: how many medics are on your team? If you're the only medic in a large game, you should probably roll with the regular uber as opposed to kritz so that you can stay alive and healing. If there's multiple medics, you could be more risky and roll with the kritzkrieg while the other medic keeps the regular uber. There's no “wrong” way to go. Both kritz and uber have extreme deadliness if used properly, so don't hesitate to try out either type of charge in new situations.

*Another nice thing to do if the kritz medic and their pocket are going into a very busy battle, you could spread uber to both of them while they murder countless enemies in their path, ensuring the length of kritz carnage. This tactic is mostly recommended on defense, but can be used effectively on offense as well to clear out corners. It's an advanced and risky tactic, but it can be devastating. The main risk is that both medics have a very high chance of dying after the ubercharge is finished, and to boot, if the demo/heavy/soldier/whovever didn't kill that many with the kritz, you've just wasted 2 charge pushes.

Melee Slot

The Ubersaw
Don't even bother with the bonesaw. The ubersaw is better in every practical way. If you build a charge off an enemy and then save your skin with it, you'll understand its power. Think about it another way; when you build a charge off a foe, their death directly strengthens your team's chances to conquer the next objective. It's basically a zombifying weapon.

The only real thing that needs to be covered in this section is uber-chaining. Most people scoff at the concept and don't full comprehend the potential of the tactic. For one, uberchains draw the full attention of the opposing team, causing a fantastic diversion for your teammates to breach or flank. Furthermore, you can shame your opponents, as it feels embarrassing to die from some cracked out medics with saws buzzing about like killer bees.

Pragmatically, uberchains can inflict heavy damage. Know your main targets: heavies and medics. Heavies make the best first targets because you're almost guaranteed to get 4 hits off the heavy to continue chaining. And switch to the other person chain somewhat early to prevent dumb mistakes. Uberchains also waste the opposing team's time as medics who choose their targets wisely can keep uberchains going as long as Fabio's hair. Just don't target pyros or go near pyros because of the air blast or waste your time going for scouts and you can keep your chain going long enough to waste plenty of time, preventing the enemy from pushing. Therefore, uberchains are best used on defense to waste the enemy's time.

Many more tactics coming in Part 2, as I go through the medic's life during the course of a match.

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