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'MURICA! - The Beginner's Guide to Soldier
By ShredderZX
At ease, Private! I'll turn you from a maggot into a fighting machine in no time! (Useless pictures included!)
SUN TZU SAID THAT!*
*Sun Tzu did not actually say that.
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Introduction
Listen up, maggot! Tired of being a useless damn hippie? WELL WHAT ARE YOU READING THIS SECTION FOR? CHAAAARGE!
The Basics

Meet the Soldier
Name: Unknown
Motto: "I'm the Rocket Man."
Job: Shock and Awe
Origin: Midwest, United States
The Soldier is a middle-aged patriot with a love for his country (and the 2nd amendment). Guns and America is really all he cares about with an obsession to serve his country.
Official Description: Though he wanted desperately to fight in World War 2, the Soldier was rejected by every branch of the military. Undaunted, he bought his own ticket to Europe. After arriving and finally locating Poland, the Soldier taught himself how to load and fire a variety of weapons before embarking on a Nazi killing spree for which he was awarded several medals that he designed and made himself. His rampage ended immediately upon hearing about the end of the war in 1949.

Abilities/Advantages and Disadvantages
The Soldier is an all-around class, kind of like a jack of all trades. Although he does not excel in certain aspects, he's good at everything. He has high health (200 HP, 300 when fully overhealed), the second largest of all the classes. His Rocket Launcher and Shotgun provides great firepower, both doing around 100 damage at close range. Due to his health and weaponry, the Soldier is capable of playing both offensively and defensively. But, the Soldier is not very effective at long ranges (rockets can easily be sidestepped and Shotguns deal very little damage from afar, and even if they don't dodge the rocket it won't deal much damage) and has slow movement speed (80% forward, 72% backward, 27% crouched, and 64% underwater which means he is the second slowest class) but both of these weaknesses are countered to due to his ability to rocket jump, as rocket jumping can cover long distances fairly quickly and can get the Soldier to high places normally impossible to reach at the cost of a little health. Be sure not to overdo the ability to rocket jump, as if you have low health you won't be very useful in battle.

What is the Soldier's primary role?
There are two types of playstyles when it comes to playing the Soldier, the Roaming Soldier and the Pocket Soldier.

Roaming Soldier
Roaming Soldiers (Roamers) typically use the Gunboats for their secondary weapon because you take a lot less damage from rocket jumping. Their main job is to get picks on key enemy targets, which means he has to kill important members of the enemy team in order to give his team a tactical and strategic advantage. To do this, he has to rocket jump in order to quickly get behind enemy lines and strike. Some important targets include Medics, Demomen, and Snipers. Roamers should also attempt to distract enemies from completing important objectives such as defending so they can give their own team an easier job.

Pocket Soldier
Pockets usually use the Shotgun for their secondary in order to bring them additional firepower along with the fight. Their job is to stay on the front lines, fighting the enemy head-on with teammates (especially a Medic, hence the name Pocket) pushing them back to complete objectives such as capture control points or help Scouts capture briefcases, as the Scout is a fragile class. Pockets are also excellent for defense.

When is the Soldier most effective?
No matter what playstyle, the Soldier can almost always be useful to his team. After all, I have already mentioned before how the Soldier is an all-rounder that can be played on both offense and defense. (Well, maybe Roamers wouldn't be very good defensively, heh.) The Soldier can quickly dispatch opponents at close ranges or in tight, enclosed chokepoints as it is much harder to dodge projectiles. The Soldier is also great in raging battles (i.e. midfights) as he contributes a lot to spam. Oh, and if enemies cannot get away very quickly there is an extremely high chance you will win a fight if you ambush them. The Soldier also important if the enemy team has a sentry nest, as your explosive firepower can easily take down buildings and their Engineers.
Tips & Tricks
Before we officially get started here are some tips to make sure you get the "feel of it":
-Always take the high ground by rocket jumping. It will be harder for enemies to dodge your rockets and easier for you not to get hit. You can also ambush your enemies.
-Help your Medics build charge faster by damaging yourself with your rockets. Only do this if there aren't enemies around, though.
-Your Rocket Launcher reloads slowly. Be sure to make each shot count and don't fire randomly.
-Aim rockets at enemy's feet to make sure they will take at least some splash damage.
-When fighting enemies that move around and easily dodge your rockets (Scouts) it may be wise to switch to your Shotgun. If you don't have a Shotgun equipped, rocket jump to close in on your opponent so it would be harder to avoid your rockets.
-Switch to your Shotgun against airblasting Pyros. If you don't have a Shotgun, rocket jump and rain as many rockets down around him (not directly at him) so it would be much harder for him to deflect your rockets.-As I said, your Rocket Launcher reloads slowly. In the midst of a battle, switch to your Shotgun to finish off targets if you are reloading. If you don't have a Shotgun equipped, take cover, finish reloading, and then return to the fight.
-Due to your firepower and health, you are an important target for enemy Snipers/Spies. Your slow movement speed makes it easy for them to headshot/backstab you. Look behind you when you can if there is a Sniper rocket jump so you can kill him and it would be hard for him to kill you.
-When you are about to get into a fight you know you are going to lose, flee by rocket jumping before it is too late!
Combat
The Soldier is one of the most important classes in direct combat. Paired up with a Medic, you can take down almost anything thrown at you with your high health and large firepower. But, you can't just go into battle blindly without having a plan beforehand, as it would easily get you killed.

Staying Alive
As a Soldier, you must survive for as long as possible! As I said, you are one of the most important classes in combat so your team will need you.
Stick with your team!
Unless you are a Roamer, staying with your team is almost always a must. Sure you are built like a tank and can easily take out weaker classes, but eventually you'll encounter stronger opponents and you'll find enemies in large groups. As a Pocket, you should stay with your team to lead pushes and hold the fight, and improve survivability for everyone as there is strength in numbers.
Retreat if you need to!
If you know you are going to lose a fight, by all means fall back! Use your rocket jump to do this and don't wait until it's too late and you don't have enough health to rocket jump. You can't handle anything, so you should know when to back out of a fight or it might cost you your life.

Being Effective
Attacking
Sure, Soldiers can be used in both offense and defense. But, to be honest, the Soldier is almost always going to be better if he's playing offensively. If your team already has a competent Engineer, it might be wise to go on the offense. After all, with your health, mobility, and firepower, you will be needed in assaults.
Don't overuse your Rocket Launcher!
At times, certain weapons may be more useful than your primary. As I mentioned before, you should switch to your Shotgun against fast, dodging Scouts, airblasting Pyros, and while you are reloading. It is also good to use your Shotgun when you are missing some of your rockets, as the Shotgun as a hitscan weapon. Also, you should use your Shovel against completely oblivious, unaware Snipers.
Tactics & Techniques
Rocket Jumping
Why Rocket Jump?
I have mentioned rocket jumping several times in this guide. Rocket jumping increases your mobility greatly so your low movement speed isn't much of a problem. You can traverse long places in a short amount of time and easily get the high ground, thus giving you the height advantage against enemies. Also, while in the air it will be harder for enemies to hit you but easy for you to hit them.

How can I Rocket Jump?
Rocket jumping is using the explosive knockback your Rocket Launcher provides in order to propel yourself at great distances/heights. In order to rocket jump, face the direction opposite you want to go, jump, crouch, and quickly fire at your feet. You will find yourself soaring through the air. Firing in the direction inches behind you will allow you to go longer. Firing inches in front of you will allow you to jump high but not very far. Holding W while in the air makes it extremely hard to strafe around so it is not recommended, as holding forward while rocket jumping will not make you go longer/faster. The backwards button (default "S") can act as brakes while in the air.

What are the downsides of Rocket Jumping?
Other than losing a bit of health there really isn't any disadvantages when it comes to rocket jumping. The pros definitely outweigh the cons as getting to fights quickly is better than only losing some of your already high health. One correct rocket jump will only have you lose about 40 health and the fall damage is very little. However, with the Gunboats (an unlockable secondary weapon replacing the Shotgun), you take only about 20 damage from your rocket jumps! Even though these health losses are not big, do not overdo rocket jumping as a power class you need to be in battle.

Juggling
What is Juggling?
Juggling is using your Rocket Launcher's explosive knockback to keep enemies in the air. You shoot at an enemy, he goes in the air, and you continue air-shotting him. This can be very hard to do, but at close range it's manageable. I recommend downloading maps such as tr_flinger[tf2.gamebanana.com] and training as a Soldier in MGEMod[wiki.teamfortress.com] to get the hang of air-shotting.

Why Juggle?
Simple. Juggling throws off the victim's aim allowing you and your team not to lose much health. Juggling also limits the mobility of the victim, preventing him from moving around and completing objectives.
Conclusion
Alright, cadet! You just graduated from East Point Military Academy! Now, on to the battle and see how good you are.

Thank you for taking the time to read this guide and I hope you get at least a little bit better on your future endeavors to play the Soldier. Feedback/constructive criticism in the comments below would be much appreciated. Be sure to rate this guide. I plan on making more Soldier guides in the future (i.e. weapons, advanced guide, etc.), but in the meantime be sure to check out my other guides.

Thanks, and until next time
Shredder
15 Comments
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wert36t Dec 19, 2013 @ 6:00pm 
lololo shredder sux at solly
Weekendboss Sep 29, 2013 @ 12:32am 
As a mid-level highlander soldier, I can affirm some of these points.
However, you forgot to tell the newbs how to rocket jump correctly.
Make sure you mention how they should jump, crouch, and fire at their feet IN THAT ORDER.
ShredderZX  [author] Sep 13, 2013 @ 12:40pm 
*sigh*
Shoot around corner
Go back around corner before Sentry reacts
repeat until PROFIT
Phancy Sep 12, 2013 @ 8:01pm 
all*
Phancy Sep 12, 2013 @ 8:00pm 
enough not ebough. And yeah i guess it lal depends, the engie could probably hold out long enough for the sentry to kill the solly, but it all just depends on luck and both players skill level

ShredderZX  [author] Sep 12, 2013 @ 12:28pm 
The Dispenser would NOT heal you fast enough, even if it were Level 3.....
M4DICAS4UR4S Sep 11, 2013 @ 6:41pm 
@Phleshy oh and whats ebough
M4DICAS4UR4S Sep 11, 2013 @ 6:40pm 
@Phleshy Do You Know That a Dispenser Dosen't heal You Fast Enough
Phancy Sep 11, 2013 @ 6:28pm 
True, but if there is a dispenser in the area (there usually is if the Engie is good) then it will constantly be healing the Engie long ebough to hold off the Soldiers attack.
ShredderZX  [author] Sep 11, 2013 @ 6:20pm 
Hmm, you have a point there. But, the splash damage the Rocket Launcher provides would be able to kill the Engineer at 2-3 shots. After that, the Soldier can damage the Sentry.