49 ratings
Beginner's Guide to Operation Gear Grinder (Expert MvM)
By Professor Dante and 1 collaborators
This guide will teach you the basics of what you need to know before you step into Operation Gear Grinder.

It will cover:

Your job as all of the valid expert classes.

What weapons you should use for said classes.

Your basic upgrade order for said classes.

I wrote this guide with the intention of informing those who are new to Expert mode with the knowledge that is required before you enter. I'm tired of having to explain to people with 0 tours why they shouldn't play Spy, Soldier, etc...
What has changed?
I've decided to add this section just in case anything changes. You can expect this to get updated when weapons are changed upon patch release, or it may involve using new weapons. Eventually I'll change the guide itself, but I'll want to play a few rounds before I come to any conclusions.

May 13, 2013

Update - Updated the Phlogistinator to reduce the rate for gaining MMMPH when attacking tanks and robots in Mann Vs. Machine mode.

Problem - After being informed about a change in the Phlog, I quickly joined a game to see the new charge rate... and it is horrendously slow compared to how it use to be. Phlog may not be quite as effective as it used to be.

Solution? - You may try upgrading damage on your flamethrower and using crit canteens. This will spare you the hassle of having to switch flamethrowers, but you may want some help on tanks now to avoid going berserk with crit canteens... unless you have the credits. On the plus side, you'll have airblast now for tank rounds!
Before you begin…
Beginner’s Guide to Expert MvM

Welcome to “Operation Gear Grinder”

Written by: Dante99019 and Enigmas

So you think you can handle the elite robot forces of Mann Up mode’s Expert Tour? Well before you buy a ticket and wait 5-10 minutes in a queue… make sure you’re not going to try to argue with the party as to why a Spy is needed… or why a Kritzkrieg Medic or Buff Banner Soldier is better than a second Heavy. If you do, then you’ll find yourself on the receiving end of a vote kick.

Chance of survival: Minimal

You’re not on Normal mode anymore. If you’re going to play on Expert, then you will need to have the most effective team you can get. Fortunately you are reading this guide. That means you already show some interest in not wasting people’s time. When you’re joining a game of Expert MvM, people shouldn’t have to tell you how to play your class. I’ll tell you how to do that here.

You’ll want to be effective with at least 2-3 of these classes in MvM already. Yes that means study them at least a little. There are videos and guides out there, but I could not find any that I completely agree with. To remedy this, I shall cover the core essentials of each class here.

The accepted team composition of an Expert group is as follows:
• Scout
• Engineer
• Pyro
• Demoman
• Heavy
• Heavy
• Sniper*
WTF SNIPER?!?!?!?!
Don’t worry… this is only for the map Decoy. If you have a good Sniper on your team, then you can replace the Pyro, Demoman, or Heavy slot. Personally, I would replace the Demoman slot because the Sniper is excellent at taking out Medics. If the Demoman won’t budge, then see if the Pyro will go Heavy.

Sniper works on Decoy due to the narrow alley that the enemies are funneled through. It’s the same reason as to why Sniper is amazing throughout the entirety of Operation Mecha Engie. I could also see a Sniper potentially working on Coal Town, but enemies are still spread a fair distance. Mannworks is an absolute NO. Oh and get ready for people to disapprove of your choice as Sniper if you have less than 3-4 tours.
What's my job?
Much like a raid in World of Warcraft, each class has a specific role they must fulfill. There are also high priority enemies that need to be recognized within a wave of robots. Knowing what you need to do as your class is critical. There will also be a difficulty rating for the class to guide you into one that might be easy for you to learn.

Scout – (Hard) Do everything. This class has the highest responsibility amongst any other member of the group. You have to make sure that run away Super Scouts and threatening Giant Heavies, or any other giant for that matter, are almost constantly milked. You also have to make sure that said giant robots are also constantly marked for death as the mini-crits are vital to allow the other classes to deal enough damage before they’re killed themselves.

It’s everyone’s job to pick up the money, but the Scout is the one primarily responsible for money. Miss more than 20$ in a round and your skills will be questioned for it hinders everyone’s progress. A Scout should also provide at least 2 A+ rounds, and money is not as important on the final wave.

You should also help remove any Snipers that are on the map. Other than that, your survival is much more important than the damage that you do. I recommend the Force-A-Nature because the ability to triple jump will assist in your survival.

Engineer – (Hard) Let no Scout by, and keep everyone supplied. Heavies need your dispenser, and they will be very sad if you can’t provide. Your Sentry will also assist by dealing damage to the targets of the Heavies and tanks. You’ll also have to make sure that you watch yourself around Sentry Busters as they are relentless. Saving your Sentry is all well and dandy, but if you blow up your Heavies or your Dispenser in the process, then you really didn’t help at all… in fact you may as well just kill yourself.

When bigger targets, especially tanks, show up, then you should whip out your Wrangler. Your Wrangler will double your Sentry’s firing speed and improve its missile firing speed. It also provides a 66% damage reduction shield that’ll allow it to stay alive for a bit longer than usual. Another key reason for using The Wrangler is to make sure it’s not shooting enemies that have Medics on them. If you want to piss off your Demo or Sniper, then shoot something that has Medics on it because that will result in enemy Übercharges being activated. If smaller enemies, especially Scouts, show up, then let your Sentry do the aiming for you. The Wrangler drains your ammo, and auto-aim is always more accurate than your aim. Oh and ALWAYS HAVE UPGRADE BUILDING CANTEENS! Manually building is a waste of everyone’s time.

Pyro – (Moderate) M1, M2, and Taunt. Sorry M1 Pyros, but you’re going to actually have to do things. Airblasting is critical as a Pyro. This is why you ALWAYS maximize your airblast power first. Airblasting allows you to keep enemies away from the team/Sentry, and it allows you to reset the bomb. Since most enemies are dangerous even whilst being airblasted, Über canteens are CRITICAL as a Pyro.

When tanks show up, you’ll need to switch to The Phlogistinator. The crits provided from this weapon allow you to essentially solo the tank once it passes everyone else on the team. After the tank or tanks are dead, you can then head back to spawn and switch to your regular Flamethrower for the rest of the round.

Trust your instincts. Spies, Snipers, rockets, and grenades still exist in MvM. When you’re not busy with something else, based on what is the biggest threat, you should either help your team get rid of pesky support classes such as Spies or Snipers, or protect your Engie by airblasting projectiles.

Tank > Bomb > Spies > Projectiles > Snipers

Demoman – (Moderate) Make them have to glue each other back together… IN HELL! Now first things first… MEDICS! The #1 priority of the Demoman is to take out groups of Medics in one glorious explosion. If there are no Medics present or in the near future, then blow up as much as you can. While it’s simple in concept, the problem lies in positioning.

The Demoman has 175 HP. He is NOT immune to agro or death. When setting up your stickies in their locations, you’ll have to be on the constant lookout not only for what is shooting at you in front of you, but what is coming up behind you. The Demoman is usually the class that is consistently the farthest forward of anyone else. This means that stray enemies may walk up to the Demoman and give him a piece of their mind. Spies can be a very big problem for unaware Demomen.

Stickybomb placement is also very important. Are you aiming for one big target, or are you aiming for a big group of targets? Can the enemies walk around the stickies? Robots are smart. If you give them the chance, then they will try to avoid your stickies by simply going around them. This is why I highly recommend The Scottish Resistance. You can place down 14 stickies instead of just 8. This allows you to cover a vastly greater area, and I’ve blown up 12+ bots at once because of it. A concentrated group of 14 stickies is also very damaging without crit canteens, and if you’re willing to use one… you can almost one shot a giant medic.

Heavy – (Easy) M1… M1 them ALL! Heavy tends to be the easiest class to get into for new Expert mode players. The goal of the Heavy is similar to that of the Sentry. Shoot everything that moves, and is made of metal. The Heavy will have to just about always find himself next to an Engie’s dispenser due to their limited ammo count.

One of the most important skills as a Heavy is Knockback Rage. When you obtain Knockback Rage, especially maxed out with the addition of Firing Speed and Bullet Penetration, you can use it to push back Super Scouts and other giants. If a giant becomes Übered, then you can use a combination of Knockback Rage and a Crit canteen to still push them back whilst they’re Übered.

Heavies should also use a mix of Über and Crit canteens. Crit canteens are useful for any round that has a tank in it whilst Über canteens are good for any other round. If your Engie is not paying attention and is about to get you killed because of a Sentry Buster, you can use an Über canteen to save yourself. Crit canteens also ignore range; firing at an enemy at a distance will do the same damage as point blank when under the effect of crits.

One final note is that enemies are more important than tanks as a Heavy. If your Pyro is doing his job, he will be able to solo a tank with the Phlogistinator. Help him when there is nothing else to shoot at, but as soon as enemies start to show up, shoot them instead. If the enemies don’t die, then they may kill the Pyro and/or walk right by with the bomb.

Sniper – (Easy) Headshot… BOOM! When playing on Decoy, the Sniper’s Explosive Headshot ability is amazing. Now I say that the Sniper is an easy class, but it’s only easy in concept. All you have to do is headshot Medics, giants, and bomb carriers. The problem is that you actually have to be able to get headshots. If you can’t get headshots, then don’t play Sniper. It’s as simple as that.

As the Sniper, your weapon of choice will be The Hitman’s Heatmaker. With this rifle you can easily do 300-400+ DPS (damage per second) to giants in later rounds. This is because you don’t have to re-scope once you acquire a full focus meter with this rifle. Getting a headshot on one enemy will kill all surrounding enemies, and this will keep your meter filled for a very long time. Also, a fully charged headshot, which takes very little time to get with maxed charge rate, will do 900 damage with max damage.

Jarate is also a good friend of yours. With the Jarate slow, you can help the scout in “milking” the targets that he misses. You’re also essentially marking the targets with it.
What weapons should I bring?
Some weapons are optional, some are requirements. If I put an asterisk * next to a weapon name, that means it’s really the only logical choice. If I put a double asterisk ** next to a weapon, it means YOU MUST HAVE THAT WEAPON! If you don’t have one of the ** weapons for a class, then you cannot effectively play that class. Seriously… you should not play a class if you do not have the weapons required for it. Default weapons are ok in non-critical slots.

Primary – Force-A-Nature (For triple jumps)
Secondary – Mad Milk** (Allows Heavies to heal themselves and it slows Super Scouts)
Melee – The Fan O’War/Sandman** (Marking targets for death is critical. You can also use an upgraded Sandman for the same effect, but the Fan O’War does not require any credits)

Primary – The Rescue Ranger (Can retrieve buildings from a range to save them from Sentry Busters or other dangerous enemies)
Secondary – The Wrangler** (It doubles the firing rate and allows for control of what the Sentry is shooting at)
Melee – The Jag (Faster construction rate + upgraded swing speed = lol try to destroy my Sentry. WARNING: Your Sentry is still not invincible)

Primary – Flamethrower/Phlogistinator** (Use the Phlog when tanks are around, and the Flamethrower otherwise for airblasting)
Secondary – The Scorch Shot (Provides knockback whilst using the Phlogistinator)
Melee – The Neon Annihilator/Homewrecker* (Spies exist… so please help your Engie)

Primary – Grenade Launcher (Allows you to take out pesky enemies like Snipers without using up your stickies)
Secondary – The Scottish Resistance (I'll admit, default works, but I still prefer this)
Melee – The Frying Pan* (You don’t want to lose 25 health, and this thing crits)

Primary – The Brass Beast* (Heavy do damage, Brass Beast do more damage, simple)
Secondary – The Sandvich* (Heals you and your comrades!)
Melee – Gloves of Running Urgently (Move like Scout, Shoot like Sentry)

Primary – The Hitman’s Heatmaker (Allows for high damage output whilst in focus)
Secondary – Jarate* (Robots don’t like getting wet, and you can slow and mark targets)
Melee – The Bushwacka* (It’s a melee weapon that will crit if enemies are Jarated, and its only drawback is 20% fire vulnerability… but you really shouldn’t be getting lit on fire)

What should I spend my money on?
Having the proper weapons isn’t all that you need. Once you’ve got your loadout, you’re going to need to spend some money to upgrade your stuff. I’ll give you a basic list of upgrade priorities here; however, once you’ve become familiar with the Expert mode tour, you may find that altering your order a little bit may be better for you. The priorities are sorted from high to low, and anything with an asterisk * is critical. Anything that isn’t marked with an asterisk * can be bought in pretty much any order once the critical upgrades are obtained.

Scout (This one requires that the player knows what is needed first, it’s very dynamic, and Scouts don’t really need canteens)
Mad Milk Slow*, Max Movement Speed*, Max Jump Height*, Max All Resistances* (Fire can be an exception), Mad Milk Recharge Rate, Health Regen, FaN Clip Size/Damage.

Engineer (Always have Upgrade Building canteens)
Max Dispenser Range*, Max Wrench Swing Speed*, Max Metal*, Max Sentry Firing Speed*, Building Health, Blast Resistance, Two-way Tele (For Pyro).

Pyro (Always have Über canteens, and get Airblast Power first)
Flamethrower – Max Airblast Power*, Ammo Capacity
Phlogistinator – 2 Damage*, Ammo Capacity, Max Damage

Demoman (Consider Crit canteens, but they’re not required)
Scottish Resistance – Max Reload Speed*, 1 Clip Size*, Firing Rate*, Damage, Ammo Capacity
Character – Health Regen, Bullet Resistance

Heavy (A mix of Über and Crit canteens are required)
Brass Beast – 1 Bullet Penetration*, 1 Firing Speed*, 1 Knockback Rage*, (Max these out based on what seems to be lacking for the wave), (Buy Projectile Destruction as soon as Giant Soldiers show up), Ammo Capacity, Health On Kill

Sniper (Canteens aren’t required, but keep your distance)
2 Explosive Headshot*, 2 Reload Speed*, Jarate Slow*, Max Damage*, Max Charge Rate*, Bullet Penetration, Ammo Capacity, Max Explosive Headshot, Max Reload Speed, Bullet Resistance (Snipers will shoot at you)
You're on your way to Operation Gear Grinder!
Alright well you have all the basics you need to know before you enter Expert mode. From here you’ll need to learn the strategies behind each map and wave, but this is where the party should help you. It’s not a waste of people’s time to explain the strategy to you, but it’s a massive waste of time when they have to explain how to play your class. Now go blow some robots up!

Thank you for reading this guide!

You have saved some veteran players from the hassle of dealing with uninformed beginners!

Remember to rate this guide, and comment if you have any questions!

The Neon Knight thanks you!

Oh and here's a bonus clip just for you!
I've been told that my guide is a little "wordy". Alright let's see what I can do...


"Welcome to Expert"

Scout - Mark, Milk, Money

Engie - Dispenser for Heavies, Wrangle Sentry on big things, not for little things.

Pyro - Phlog the tanks, then airblast bomb into pits.

Demoman - Blow up Medics, then blow up everything else.

Heavy - Shoot things that don't have Medics.

Sniper - Headshot things, and especially things with Medics.

Can I summarize it even more?

"Expert Guide"

Scout - Everything

Engie - Supply and Shoot

Pyro - Phlog and Airblast

Demoman - Medics go BOOM

Heavy - M1

Sniper - M1, Apply directly to the forehead

< >
Dark Pit Dec 31, 2014 @ 10:55am 
I'm unfortunatly without a Frying Pan, would the Bottle or the Scottish Handshake work too? :3
The Mighty No. 9 Polar Express Dec 24, 2014 @ 10:32pm 
engie fire rate 3 actually doesn't do anything. The third point is useless so its money can be spent elsewhere.
Littlefinger [EST] Jan 30, 2014 @ 2:14am 
After the Two Cities Upgrade what class can be replaced with medic?
Better_Forget Jun 14, 2013 @ 3:18pm 
noob medic on the clip but the guide was usefoul
Nopast May 28, 2013 @ 8:45pm 
thanks x3
i'll just really need that kinda stuff sinc ei'm usually the pyro xD;
Professor Dante  [author] May 26, 2013 @ 12:26pm 
Oh bugger... yeah the phlog is quite a bit slower, and they may pose some issues. It's been a bit since I last played, but when I get on again, I'll see what the new strategy is.
Professor Dante  [author] May 26, 2013 @ 11:30am 
Phlog Nerf? Let me check the recent patch notes...
Nopast May 26, 2013 @ 7:13am 
Okay, seeing as some friends and me want to tackle expert mode, i've stumbled over this just now.
I've heard that the phlog had some nerfing done to it, does it therefore effect this faq?

Otherwise this was a pretty solid read to have~
Professor Dante  [author] May 9, 2013 @ 4:49pm 
If this was an Operation Mecha-Engie guide, then yes, I would include the spy as a viable and recommended choice; however, this guide is for Operation Gear Grinder which has no engies.
All7ninjas May 9, 2013 @ 4:07am 
Actually, with the introduction of engineer bots, the spy is more viable than ever. He is good at collecting money, (I wonder why that robo-scout is stealing the power source of our dead comrades? Ah well, he must have a good reason.) he can stop large groups of enemies with his sapper, and he can eleminate key targets like medics and giants. Plus, with the dead ringer, he can escape and return incredibly fast if his cover is blown. Im not trying to say that spy is the "ABSOLUTE BEST CHOICE FOR MvM, WE DONT HAVE SPY OMG NUBS WE LOSE", but it can work relatively well.