Team Fortress 2

Team Fortress 2

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Being a useful MvM Sniper
By Pumkin
Having trouble playing one of the most useful class in Mann Versus Machine - The Sniper? Well then, this guide is for you.

Now that I caught your attention by highlighting the most useful class, and intentionally missing out one of the, we may begin.

Before you scroll down and post something like "sniper is bad clas engineer is betr" or "demoman deals more damage" let me ask you one thing. Have you ever killed 12 scouts in 1 shot? No? Well continue reading.

In this guide I will go over some loadouts and how they play on different difficulties. I'll try to keep this guide as simple yet informative as possible. I will also post a random fact about MvM once in a while that may or may not be related to the sniper.

Let's begin.

Usually when you jump into a game of MvM and pick The Sniper you will be greeted with the usual "OMG NO SNIPER" , "we dont ned a sniper" , "WHO WANT To TRADE", but don't be discouraged, you'll soon show them what your trusty rifle (or bow) can do, sweeping the battlefield and leaving no robots standing for your team to kill.

Before you do that though you'll need to assemble a convincing loadout. Reconsider if your usual loadout is the machina, smg, pan and gibus.
Originally posted by Random MvM Fact:
The quickfix can be upgraded to overheal people.
Loadout: Primary
The choice of a primary weapon will decide what play style you will be using.
Your choices are:
  • The Sydney Sleeper
  • The Huntsman
  • The Machina
  • Hitman's Heatmaker
  • The Bazaar Bargain
Why is there no stock sniper rifle in the list you may ask? The stock sniper rifle is great if you have nothing else to use but what makes each rifle special is their bonus abilities. Now to be fair I haven't used all of these because some of them seem like a downgrade from the others. So I'll just quickly go over those that I never used, listing potential usefulness.
Originally posted by Random MvM Fact:
Spies are not announced until they are spotted or stab someone. The icon still appears on the HUD when they spawn

The Huntsman
Penetration is the first thing you want to buy for the huntsman, then depending on how linear the map is you can shoot one arrow to take out a lot of robots. It used to be a lot more useful because it's taunt could stunlock giants, but it was patched in a recent update ensuring infinite sads. It's still a fun thing to use on lower difficulties. Questionably useful on expert.

The Bazaar Bargain
I never used this in MvM, but I'm pretty sure it can be rather useful. Now that I used it I can safely say that this is a very good rifle. Although it doesn't let you fire as fast like the heatmaker this rifle can deal very high damage headshots to giants. Fully upgraded damage and fully charged headshots deal 900 damage in MvM, and the faster you charge (and you charge REALLY fast with 7 heads and upgrades) the faster you can giants and surrounding bots. This rifle is definitely my NEW favorite.

The Machina
Again, I don't remember using this and I'm a bit skeptical about it's usefulness. Even though you don't need to noscope in mvm much the +15% damage bonus doesn't seem like a big trade off to it's indirect down side of "not using the heatmaker". Fully upgraded it should deal about 1080 damage per fully charged shot, however that's as good as it gets.

The Sydney Sleeper
One of the worst and most annoying sniper rifles in the entire game is actually pretty good in MvM. Being a support sniper and jarating everything, also slowing them down in the process from afar can be a useful trade off to not dealing much damage yourself. Even though you can attach an explosive headshot upgrade to it, the headshot won't actually be a headshot, it will create an explosion damaging surrounding targets but the target you headshotted will not get headshot damage.

Hitman's Heatmaker
Ah finally, The Heatmaker. Arguably the best sniper rifle in MvM and also my weapon of choice. This baby and I cleared out the whole battlefield numerous times while the team was busy doing other unimportant things like destroying tanks or chasing scouts. The main advantage of the heatmaker is it's focus ability. Upon killing or assisting in killing enemies you fill your focus meter. Once full you can fire consecutive shots without unscoping. Because of that multiple consecutive headshots are really easy to chain. Killing stuff while focused also adds to the focus meter making it, in theory, possible to stay scoped indefinitely. Upon upgrading firing speed it truly becomes a beast. It definitely gets my recommendation as the BEST primary to use for MvM sniper, especially on expert.
Originally posted by Random MvM Fact:
Upgrades in MvM are affected by the weapon's original attributes. So for example upgrading the rocket jumper's damage will still have it deal no damage in the end.
Loadout: Secondary
I know what you're thinking. "Why is this section here?" "Why would you not just use Jarate?" "Why are you looking at me like that; Why do you need that knife?" Nevermind that.
There's a slim choice of secondary weapons but one thing's certain - Jarate is by far the most useful one. With that said you can always SWITCH weapons during a game, a wave, a life. The reason I'm highlighting this is because people tend to lock themselves to using the same thing and never switching. Ever.
Your choices (in no particular order) are:
  • Jarate
  • Cozy camper
  • Darwin's danger shield (why would you even)
  • Smg
  • Cleaner's Carbine

But wait, there is no razorback in the list? You guessed it! The razorback is literally a waste of a secondary slot, even with the razorback you will be backstabbed, so instead find a high spot to stand on so spies can't reach you. (i.e. a rock, a fence)
Be warned though, spies will try to jump if they can't reach you for more than a few seconds.

Hands down the best thing ever use it etc. I mean, it's essential that you help your team by throwing jarate around at large groups of enemies or giants, prioritize giants though. Do not use it to extinguish teammates because it's mostly a waste, unless it can save his/her life. Buying recharge upgrades isn't really necessary, but buying a slow down upgrade is, again essential. If you have a scout with mad milk you may wait before buying slow down and upgrade your primary first. If the next wave you're playing on has giant fast scouts you are strongly advised to, no, you HAVE to buy a slowdown upgrade.

Cozy camper
"What? Why would you use this thing?!" You may ask. It's pretty useful when you keep getting shot and can't properly focus your shot. It's either this of a uber canteen, so think.

Darwin's Danger shield
Use if if you must, but stay away from harder difficulties.

Please equip Jarate. Thank you.

Cleaner's Carbine
Kill someone, get crits, no scope penetrate instakill 3 bots at once, feel good. But that's about it, it's a pretty useless gimmick and you shouldn't rely on it. Don't use on harder difficulties.

Remember that you can situationally switch between secondary weapons.
Loadout: Melee
I can't say much except you shouldn't melee stuff as a sniper. Unless you're point blank to it and it's isolated from other things.
Choice of melee weapons doesn't matter except for one thing - The Bushwacka. While it makes you more vulnerable to fire damage it does crits when it's supposed to do minicrits, meaning you can deal a lot of damage to tanks when under the effects of the Buff Banner.

Originally posted by Random MvM Fact:
Robots can receive fall damage
Now that you chose an optimal loadout, aka picked the Heatmaker and Jarate, we need to think upgrades. What to upgrade? When to upgrade and how to prioritize upgrades? Let's see, whatever you do your first upgrade has to be explosive headshot. Trust me, you will be most useful that way. Below is my personal preference for prioritizing upgrades and how many of the said upgrade to buy before moving to the next one.

Upgrade Priority
1. Explosive headshot [x2]
2. Reload speed [x2]
3. Damage [x1]
4. Jarate slow down
5. Penetration
6. Charge speed [x3]
7. Ammo capacity [x1]
8. Health on kill [x1]
9. Resistance and anything else


Ideally you'd need to find a good balance between these upgrades.
*After getting 2x explosive headshot you would want to get some reload speed to be able to take out groups of robots easily and quickly. Plus it's easier to hit if you missed if your reload speed is high.
*You always want that extra damage to take out giants easier, but it's not that necessary in the early rounds so you want to upgrade damage only once at first to ensure you can quickscope instakill small robots.
*As your firing speed increases you want to get one ammo capacity upgrade, that way when you pick up an ammo pack you will receive more ammo. You don't really need that much ammo so you don't need to upgrade this any further.
*Penetration is what you what to get when there's a lot of uber medics coming. Not only will it give you the ability to easily snipe the medics through their healing targets but it will also give you the ability to headshot 2 giants in a row when they are close to each other and deal a ton of damage, since the headshot will also add explosive damage you will basically damage them twice each shot.
*Charge speed is always a good thing to have, upgrading it will ensure your focused quickscopes would do more damage even when chaining them quickly, but you shouldn't rely on this, upgrade damage first if you want more quickscope damage.
*You should only buy one health on kill upgrade since you'll be killing a lot of robots you will be getting more and more health you don't need that much anyway.
*You should buy slow down Jarate around wave 3 on expert and whenever there's fast giant scouts on other difficulties.
*If you have that money to spare you could buy some movement speed, but don't overdue it because it's generally useless, upgrading it once is enough.
Originally posted by Random MvM Fact:
The speed reduction of the Jarate does not stack with the one of the Mad milk
As a sniper you should be somewhere at the back where you can't get hurt by crossfire, but that doesn't mean you can't get close and assist your team with Jarate, in fact it means you HAVE to get closer to your team and assist them with Jarate.
Your main job would be taking out medics, which can be easily done with one explosive headshot.

Note: In case of uber medics ALWAYS shoot the medic rather than relying on the explosive headshot to kill him after you shot it's healing target. It doesn't work because the medic will uber before the explosion would hurt him. It sometimes works with multiple medics.

Your other main job, in case you somehow have more main jobs, would be to take out crowds of bots. Snipers can be extremely effective in doing so. All it usually takes is one headshot. Truth is it's a bit hard to hit spastic little scouts, jarating them to slow them down, then headshotting them really helps sometimes.

The easiest targets to hit are bomb carriers because they have a slightly reduced speed from the others. Always shoot the bomb carrier first, you will not only kill everyone around him but you will also reset the bomb's bonus aura thing. Even easier to hit are giants, always aim for the giants if there's a lot of little stuff around them, the explosion will kill them all giving you focus to spam into the giant's face. What? You chose something other than the heatmaker, here's your chance to reconsider.
Originally posted by Random MvM fact:
Sentry busters use the hitbox set of the demoman, even though they have no actual heads you can still headshot them by hitting the head's hitbox right above the middle of the buster.

Picture courtesy of Toomai of TF2 Wiki. Sorry, I didn't ask for permission. Don't sue me.

Your third main job, because let's be fair, everything the sniper does is important, is to take out snipers. Snipers can be the most annoying support classes on the field and letting them take their positions around the map while there's bots pushing into your base is pretty much losing the round. You have to take them out at spawn, when they're in a group. Don't be afraid though, they usually aim for someone else and stand in a group, it being very easy for you to aim a headshot and take them all out at once.
And afraid you shouldn't be because even though snipers prioritize you over anybody else if they see you and they "quickscope-bodyshot" you, they're still pretty easy to take out, although if you will they will not so you have only one shot at the sniper versus sniper duel. Uber canteens can really help in this case.
Not only can they help when dealing with snipers they could also help you get some time to calm down and aim a shot at that crowd of heavies who keep screwing up your aim and take them all out in one shot.
That's about everything I wanted to talk about. If you are reading this you are, probably, pretty awesome and, probably, deserve some award, maybe. Probably not.
Either way thank you for reading, I hope you found this guide useful and worth wasting your time reading it.

I might add some more images or videos to this guide later.
Suggestions and feedback is more than welcome.
Useful maps and resources
This section mostly relates to the sniper class in general but the skills easily transferable between gamemodes. Below are a few useful resources to help you in getting a better aim. I used have a lot more maps but I lost them so I'll just list a few.
  • Walkway[] - Probably the most multi-purpose training map available to date.
  • osu![] - A music rhythm game. Helps improve accuracy and timing. Seriously.

Originally posted by Tip:
I also recommend playing around with the scoped in sensitivity by using the command "zoom_sensitivity_ratio" I find 0.6 works well for me.

Also check out my other guide(s):

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Pumkin  [author] Mar 9 @ 2:45am 
Usually a buff banner does just as well. And yeah, you can just fully upgrade a bushwacker for the tank wave and go to town.
TrueNinjafrog Mar 8 @ 6:10pm 
Proud to necropost, but 1 thing I feel SHOULD be mentioned:

The Cleaner's Carbine + Bushwacka is the best anti-tank loadout. Grind for mini-crits with the Carbine, then slap the tank with critted melee hits at max speed. Amazing DPS. Otherwise, Jarroty good.
acarine Aug 2, 2018 @ 6:46pm 
“Ah finally, The Heatmaker. Arguably the best sniper rifle in MvM and also my weapon of choice. This baby and I cleared out the whole battlefield numerous times while the team was busy doing other unimportant things like destroying tanks or chasing scouts."

"while the team was busy doing other unimportant things like destroying tanks or chasing scouts."

"unimportant things like destroying tanks or chasing scouts."


Heccing Hecc May 2, 2018 @ 10:49am 
can an update be given to the darwins? It should be usefull for flare pyro waves etc... idk.
giggity glue Sep 21, 2017 @ 11:57am 
The fact that you are right physically hurts me.
WOLF Mar 23, 2017 @ 11:32am 
Very nice guide, after 45 tours (And much more game sense than when i start) i'm thinking about play as sniper in some waves of 2 citys, im doing the right things in loadouts and upgrades, but the new people just insist on kik the sniper before mission start :steamsad: Anyway great guide man!
BirbSMB Mar 23, 2017 @ 10:04am 
Thanks for the guide! It really helped me start sniping on 2c. Sadly it is a bit dated, especially since a sniper can build crikey off of a tank. This makes sniper so much better on it, and it should be used on certain tank rounds imo.
marinesciencedude Feb 16, 2017 @ 2:56am 
Still, the explosive headshot is quite overpowered (coupled with a faster charge speed to spread Jarate on everything as of MyM) with the supportive use of the Sydney Sleeper THAT ISN'T SUPPOSED TO KILL PEOPLE AT ALL.
CG Dec 2, 2016 @ 10:53am 
Very useful and true guide, thanks.
The Maggot Guy Nov 19, 2016 @ 6:36pm 
Make a new one! Sydney sleeper needs nerf