Team Fortress 2

Team Fortress 2

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Mann Vs Machine: An In-Depth Guide to Soldier
By Chad and 1 collaborators
A solid outlook on the class of Soldier regarding his several assets to a team that make him a necessity in Mann VS Machine. The entirety of this guide will cover preferred weapon loadouts, helpful tactics, upgrade building, canteen charges, buff choices, and any other words of advice to help you thoroughly complete your job as your team's Mann VS Machine Soldier!
(This guide and all MvM guides to come from me are collaboration efforts between myself and Reimu Hakurei. If you wish to stay tuned into all of the guides we have to offer, make sure to watch the guides BOTH of us put out, as we take turns as to who puts a guide under their name.)
Introduction: The MvM Soldier and His Components
Hello, and welcome to this guide and all it has to offer! Congratulations on taking the initiative to improve your Soldier abilities in Mann VS Machine. By following these directions, practicing the advice they introduce to you, and finding concinitty with your MvM team, you will hopefully see some improvement in your skill as your team's Soldier. Players new and old alike may all have similar questions; "How can I maximize my damage output on the field? What are some weapons that I'd want to use to make the most of my slot on our team, and how can I stay alive longer while still mowing down robots? Why in all hell do I always get boot kicked when other players see my Righteous Bison?" This guide will answer all of these questions and neatly cover the following topics of the nuts and bolts that make an efficient soldier in Mann VS Machine, divided into 12 parts:

1: Your Basic Role as The Soldier
2: Weapons: Primary Weapons (Part 1)
3: Weapons: Primary Weapons (Part 2)
4: Weapons: Secondary Weapons (Part 1)
5: Weapons: Secondary Weapons (Part 2)
6: Weapons: Melee Weapons
7: Upgrades
8: Choosing The Buff That Is Right for You and Your Team
9: The Canteen
10: Enemy Robots: Know Your Enemy! (Part 1)
11: Enemy Robots: Know Your Enemy! (Part 2)
12: Credits/Ending

As the knowledge that must be understood to play Soldier well in MvM is very extensive, this guide is rather long and requires a proper amount of time to suffice in order to read and absorb the material of the guide. Nevertheless, I hope you take the time the guide demands to read it, enjoy all it provides, and, with practice and a bit of luck, succeed at further increasing your Soldier Abilities in Mann VS Machine. Kick back, grab a soda and some chips, and dive into the guide. Good luck, Soldier!
1~Your Basic Role as Soldier
The Soldier in MvM plays a large part in the core of a Mann VS Machine team: damage output. While assisting classes such as the Scout and Medic are busy performing their own specific, supportive jobs, you and fellow Demomen, Pyros, Heavies, and Engineers are entrusted with the task of dishing out brute force to annihilate the heart of the robot army. Thus, putting out as much damage possible onto the battlefield can be easily viewed as the Soldier's greatest priority in most given situations in MvM.

The Soldier is equipped with various helpful tools in order to accomplish this responsibility. Several weapons surpass others in damage per second (DPS), the unit often regarded as most important when referring to a weapon's true potential against the robot horde. The weapon sections will give detailed information on each possible weapon choice for the Soldier and recommend which weapon setups to use in order to build the most damaging MvM Soldier you can have, so more about that when you arrive at that section. The most important thing to know as a Soldier is the following: your main source of damage should always be your Rocket Launcher. Your Secondary weapon, if it deals damage, is not as effecting as your Rocket Launcher. Neither is your Melee weapon.

As you only have 200 health and are a slow target, it is important to realize that you are not as hard to kill as you would otherwise be in a multiplayer competitive game; the attempted carry-over of weapon loadouts and battle tactics from a competitive to a cooperative TF2 environment is often what leads to poor conduct within a Mann VS Machine team due to the fact that you're fighting oodles of enemies in MvM, not just a few. The Soldier is no exception to this rule! When playing Soldier, stand next to other DPS classes. Avoid running in solo. This is a quick way to die, and all the time wasted when you are dead could have been better used dealing damage. Again, staying alive is important as it is a contributing factor towards getting as much damage out there. You have more mobility than a Heavy would, so moving in close to enemies is sometimes a plausible idea since you will be able to draw enemy fire and are not completely defenseless. This does not mean you should be overly up close and personal with enemy robots; it simply means that due to the nature of your mobility and weapon choices, you should be at least closer to your enemies than a Heavy would, since you are not grounded and slowed while you are shooting like a Heavy would otherwise be. Several upgrades allow you to carry out this role of being on the front lines and destroying the bots, all the while managing to survive; this will be covered more in depth in the upgrades section of this guide. Therefore, the Soldier is best described as a high damage, mobile class that should be on the front lines at all time melting robots, equipped with the proper resources to sustain enemy fire and remain on the front lines performing his task for as long as possible.

You will also have a supportive role in Mann VS Machine, and that includes buffing your teammates with Resistances, Mini-crits, or Health-on-Hit Return, depending on which Buff Secondary you choose. The requirements in order to fill your rage meter and deploy these buffs should be met as quickly as possible. This will allow a maximum amount of buffs to be deployed within a time range, giving your teammates the benefits frequently and thus protecting/strengthening the team as a whole. In many situations, the difference between a winning and losing team can be decided by the buffs that team receives from its Soldier. Never underestimate how much faster Mini-Crits destroy a giant from a Buff Banner, and never simply shrug off the bonus of receiving some of the dealt damage as health from a Concheror. These effects prove to be incredibly useful and necessary, especially in later waves.

This more or less concludes the bread and butter of your role as Mann VS Machine Soldier. Remain mobile, constantly lay down a line of fire, and deploy those buffs the second you get them. Remember, DAMAGE OUTPUT IS THE SOLDIER'S MAIN JOB! Without your full assistance, a team's total damage output is drastically lowered, and that team's ability to complete waves begins to falter.
2~Weapons: Primary Weapons (Part 1)
Fortunately for those that may not be the greatest Soldier to begin with, a Soldier's competence in MvM does not rely only on individual skill; it also relies heavily on choice of weapon loadout. With the correct setup and even a minor amount of experience and skill, the Soldier becomes much more effective than he would with a setup that does not work well with your MvM team. That being said, it is important to know the nature of the Mann VS Machine and the style of your team in order to find the best Soldier weapons for you to use.

Listed below are all of the Primary Weapons that the Soldier can use against the robots. Mind you, some are obviously superior to others, as will be noted in their weapon descriptions. This section will be split into 2 parts.

The Rocket Launcher
The original, reliable, well-rounded rocket slinger. Not a bad choice overall, as its versatility carries over from competitive multiplayer. Four rockets in a chamber, and 40-100 damage per rocket, depending on your distance from your target. The only issue with this weapon is the fact that it has no default bonuses; by the same token, there are no negative drawbacks to worry about either, which is nice. However, since the perks of other Rocket Launchers can be obtained simply by upgrading the original one (the Black Box's health upgrade is similar to the health on kill upgrade which can be upgraded onto the regular Rocket Launcher, the Liberty Launcher's increased projectile speed can also be applied to the regular Rocket Launcher by upgrading it, e.t.c.), it may be wise to use this Rocket Launcher instead and simply power it up with upgrades until you have a blend of perks without any negatives. Don't forget that there are some perks of other Rocket Launchers that can't be bought, though. Take, for example, the Cow Mangler's ability to disable buildings for 4 seconds or the Beggar's overload rocket feature; the upgrade station can't sell you abilities like that. Still, this is a good all-around weapon, and the choice is always yours.

The Rocket Jumper
It goes without saying that this weapon won't be of much use to the Soldier in Mann VS Machine. This is a weapon that is primarily used with the Market Gardener to gain the Crit bonus. This promotes individual targeting and killing of robots, which is the exact opposite of what you will be wanting to do in order to complete waves. In addition, despite the deceiving ability to upgrade its damage, the -100% damage penalty carries through even after you upgrade it; this means that under no circumstances will this weapon ever dish out any damage whatsoever. Not to mention, rocket jumping all over the place will often have you take fall damage, and though you can waste cash on health regeneration to remedy this, it is a poor choice of a primary to begin with, since the Soldier's Rocket Launcher is his main source of destruction. Stay away from this weapon as it will only cause you and your team grief.

The Black Box
This weapon is rather useful and can prove a smart choice. In late waves, the +15 health regain is very useful since you will have upgrades and be able to rattle off rockets very, very quickly. This will allow you to heal 30-45 health per second, assuming you land all of your shots within that time range. This weapon can be better in later waves with more bots, since hitting multiple enemies with the same rocket can heal more than just 15 health, replenishing health rapidly. There are few areas where this weapon comes up short, regardless. Giving up an extra rocket launcher clip slot is not a completely fair tradeoff for the Box's small benefit, since even though you can gain multiple +15 health boosts from the same rocket hitting multiple enemies, you will find that if your health is low and you really need multiple rocket hits to bring your health back up, you therefore have low health to begin with and risk death in trying to land rockets needed for health. In addition, though more effective when upgraded greatly in later waves, it is expensive to upgrade the Box to where it needs to be in order to actually be a valuable asset to the loadout. That means that you will feel the pain of missing an extra rocket slot much more in the early rounds where you haven't the cash to be focusing on clip size for its chamber. It still remains a balanced weapon, all in all, and can easily and comfortably take the place of the Rocket Launcher or another Soldier Primary.

The Liberty Launcher
The Liberty Launcher in Mann VS Machine can help or hurt you depending on your style of play and how you generally upgrade your Rocket Launcher. The increased projectile speed allows for less travel time of the rockets, therefore allowing damage to be put out onto the field at a faster rate. Another added benefit is since you already have a significant +40% in projectile speed, you likely won't need to be upgrading this weapon's projectile speed, saving you valuable cash. Fighting Deflector Heavies is now more feasible without having to spend cash on any projectile speed upgrades since the rocket travels faster from the Liberty Launcher. This gives them less time to target it and results in your rockets landing on them more often. However, as mentioned before, increased projectile speed can be applied to any Primary by simply upgrading that Primary's projectile speed for only 150 credits per upgraded dot of speed. While the Liberty Launcher saves you projectile speed upgrade cash, upgrading a weapon's projectile speed isn't too expensive to begin with. Due to this fact, the misfortune that you lose a rocket in the chamber size may be an uneven tradeoff for the extra projectile speed that comes as a default with the weapon. After all, upgrading a Rocket Launcher's clip size doesn't come cheap, at 400 dollars a pop.

The Cow Mangler
This weapon is one of the better Rocket Launchers in MvM. Now, some may be confused as to why this is; after all, if damage output was previously established as the Soldier's most important role, then how can a weapon like the Cow Mangler, which bears a -10% damage penalty and cannot be Crit boosted, possibly be of use in accomplishing this task? Well, it's simple: damage output is not entirely reliant on base damage; rather, it is more heavily dependent on that weapon's other effects. For the Mangler, Being able to stay in a fight for an extra rocket longer can prove to be incredibly important in early waves where money is scarce and clip size isn't what you should be focusing on; it will allow you to finish more robots for every full reload. Since you're a mobile class, standing immobile near dispensers won't be something you should do as you need to be up close to maximize your damage and serve partially as a distraction. Because of this, you will find yourself running out of ammo quickly with any other Rocket Launcher while on the front lines. Time is lost while running off to go get more. The Cow Mangler truly shines here, since you won't ever be needing ammo for it. Combine this weapon with any of the buff secondaries and you won't ever require any ammo at all, period. In many situations, a Cow Mangler Soldier will be able to put out more total damage in a round than a soldier using a different Rocket Launcher because he never needs to stray off his job for ammo and has an extra rocket in his Launcher.
3~Weapons: Primary Weapons (Part 2)
The Direct Hit
If you feel like partially saving cash on damage and projectile speed for your Rocket Launcher, then perhaps you should give this weapon a try. The upgraded +80% Projectile Speed means that you shouldn't ever have to worry about upgrading your Projectile Speed. The +25 damage bonus saves the trouble of having to upgrade 4 dots of damage in order to reach maximum destruction; you only have to upgrade 3. This also gives you access to higher Damage and Projectile Speed for your Rocket Launcher in beginning waves for free. Since in those early waves, upgrading Projectile Speed and Damage are not your top priorities as far as your money management goes, this can be a nice touch. This weapon only has one drawback, but it's enough to severely hinder its effectiveness and practical application against the robot horde: its 75% reduced explosion radius. Though the damage is higher, you will be hitting less targets per shot. Destroying mobs with rockets that have wide splash damage is no longer a real possibility. I can personally say that it's gotten to the point where there was a Heavyweight Champ with a Quick-Fix Medic running towards me a few feet away, and I had this weapon equipped. The erratic and unpredictable movement of the robots combined with the miniature blast radius of the Direct Hit caused me to miss my first 3 shots, finally land a fourth, and then have to reload, and fire 3 more before I finally killed him. This was only one Heavy, mind you. Now imagine an entire wave a robots, and perhaps you'll develop a knot in your stomach. Though it excels in slaughtering tanks and giants, the drawbacks of this weapon greatly impede the Soldier's ability to successfully and correctly play his role in Mann VS Machine. Stay away from this weapon if you can help it; it's not nearly as good in MvM as it is in competitive multiplayer!

The Beggar's Bazooka
This weapon is, for its great versatility, potential, and benefits, considered by myself and many to be the best Rocket Launcher for the Soldier in Mann VS Machine. The 3 rockets that fire from this weapon after it is fully loaded come out in quick succession at a much more rapid rate than would a regular rocket from any other Rocket Launcher. Though listed as a downside, the slight [/previewimg]deviation of the direction of your rockets actually helps you here. If you load your chamber completely and fire into a horde from a medium distance, you will get a spread of rockets over the entire mob, effectively and severely damaging all of the robots in that horde. This weapon becomes even more incredible and borders godlike when you upgrade it in the later rounds. With a fully upgraded chamber size, you can store 11 rockets before having to shoot, releasing an insane amount of blast damage onto your enemies in a very short time frame. Upgrade your firing speed and the rockets will spew out of this beast even faster. With upgraded reload speed, you can load about 3 rockets per second, meaning you'll be putting rapid fire missiles out there almost faster than a Giant Rapid Fire Soldier. Finally, upgrade the Damage and Ammo Capacity and you'll have a weapon that will most definitely make the robots beg for mercy. The only real drawback with this weapon is that it cannot receive ammo from dispensers, though this can be remedied with upgrades to Ammo Capacity, having Ammo Refill canteens handy, or by simply knowing the locations of ammo dumps on the map and positioning yourself relatively close to them. LEARN TO USE THIS WEAPON! IT IS THE MOST VIABLE OPTION FOR HIGHER DIFFICULTIES AND MORE DIFFICULT WAVES WHEN IT IS UPGRADED!
4~Weapons: Secondary Weapons (Part 1)
Now that you hopefully hold a firm grasp on the benefits of certain Primary Weapons and know
what you should and shouldn't be using, we progress onward to the Secondary weapons. While not necessarily incredibly directly damaging weapons, the Secondary items can often prove just as important as the Primary ones.

Here are all of the Soldier's Secondary choices and options:

The Shotgun
Overall, a well rounded, versatile, and useful secondary for the Patriotic American Diehard. Upgrades for this weapon prove to be very cheap individually and greatly increase the effectiveness of the weapon. The best things to upgrade are, more or less, firing speed, chamber size, and reload speed. It's useful for firing several rounds rapidly into a crowd of robots, as the wide spread will weaken and even kill large quantities of enemy bots. It is best used in earlier rounds, as your shotgun up close will do almost, ALMOST as much damage as your early, minorly upgraded Rocket Launcher. This is helpful when you run out of rockets in your chamber when tackling enemies, as you can quickly switch to your Shotgun and continue your damage output for the duration of 6+ Shotgun shells. As waves go on, the Rocket Launcher's damage will be upgraded and will be much more powerful than the Shotgun, even/especially at close range. While you can continue to upgrade the Shotty, there's no way to increase its damage and its efficiency quickly drops in late waves and higher difficulties where damage output is key. This, similarly to the Righteous Bison, is a personal weapon that's used to target individuals and less on mobs. By choosing this weapon you're sacrificing the ability to have a buff Secondary, which are arguably the best Secondaries for the Soldier to choose.

The Reserve Shooter
It should be made clear right from the very start: This is NOT a weapon you should be using. If you're going to choose a personal Secondary instead of one of the buffs, it should not be this weapon. For starters, even in competitive play it is better suited for Pyros. You'll find it very difficult to blast an enemy into the air, pull out this weapon, and go for Mini-Crits. Plus, if you happen to get lucky and land your shot while your target is mid-air, you'll mostly only get one Mini-Crit before he's back on the ground again. And to top it all off, it has half the clip size of its counterpart default Shotgun. Avoid this weapon, no question about it.

The Righteous Bison
This weapon is very fun and, when fully upgraded, can prove to be rather effective. Its upgrades allow it to be extremely effective on mobs because of its penetration of players; this often leads to massacring or great weakening of giant mobs. If the situation somehow calls for it, you can even assist in melting Giants with this weapon; it has high DPS when fully upgraded. It does have many pitfalls, though. It is expensive to fully upgrade. For a sidearm, it's not generally worth it to sacrifice so much cash when you could be using it towards the Rocket Launcher which, while the upgraded Bison has decent damage output, has higher DPS and is much more versatile and effective. In addition, when you choose the Bison, you're sacrificing any of the buffs (Concheror, Buff Banner, or Battalion's Backup), which can prove to be one of if not the most valuable factors of the Soldier in MvM.

The Gunboats
This is another poor choice for the Soldier's Secondary in MvM, as it benefits only yourself. It doesn't help this weapon's cause that the effects you gain aren't valuable at all in this game mode, either. Rocket jumping isn't a goal in Mann VS Machine, and should be used minimally to minimize damage done to yourself by the blast and falling damage as well as keep your efforts concentrated on damage output. Even with the gunboats, you're doing about 20 damage to yourself per blast and 25 for fall damage. Losing 45 health per rocket jump is too much to lose on Mann VS Machine, where health is precious. Not to mention, you should be doing better things than rocket jumping to help your team, anyways.

The Mantreads
The recommendation towards this Secondary is much similar to that of the Gunboats: this probably isn't your best bet for what you could be using as a backup weapon. There are several reasons for this. First off, it again promotes rocket jumping, which damages you for about 60-70 damage per jump. Second of all, you won't be doing too big of a dent on the robots by stomping on them individually, which may not even kill them and can easily result in your death. Finally, though you can just normally drop onto an enemy and hurt them without the need to rocket jump, the damage done when you simply drop onto an enemy from a ledge or balcony is greatly reduced. Similar to all of the weapons listed previously, this secondary is a selfish, personal addition to the MvM Soldier's arsenal and brings nothing to the table for your team.
5~Weapons: Secondary Weapons (Part 2)
The Buff Banner
This is considered by many MvM players to be the best MvM Soldier Secondary, though personally, I believe as long as you are equipped with any one of the the 3 buff Secondaries, you're in good shape. It takes 600 full points of damage in order to charge the Banner completely. With so many robot hordes to fire into with your Primary, your Banner should be charging relatively quickly, especially in later waves where a mere 600 damage is hardly much at all with damage upgrades. Once charged, blow that bugle and release a barrage of Mini-Crits on your enemies! You'll find that enabling Mini-Crits against enemies largely dents their forces; 1.5x damage helps more than you'd actually think. Use this weapon wisely and deploy it as frequently as possible.

The Battalion's Backup
This weapon isn't generally used that much, but don't be fooled: this weapon is hardly as useless as it is perceived to be. It blocks 35% of damage, but perhaps the best aspect of the Backup is the fact that it completely nullifies the effects of Crits on you and your teammates within the buff. As Crits become increasingly apparent in later waves, the Backup can truly shine here. It takes a good while to charge it up, since in MvM, you'll be taking less damage than in multiplayer, ideally. It requires approximately 350 damage to be taken before you'll be able to deploy this, and since you'll probably be doing more damage than you are taking, the Buff Banner may prove to be better in this area since you'll be deploying it far more often. Use this weapon if the situation defensively calls for it; it can save your hind and lead to your victory in several select waves.

The Concherer
This weapon is your go-to choice if you find yourself running out of health too quickly on the field. The Conch charges quickly, filling after only 480 points of damage are dealt. This means it's used more frequently than even the Buff Banner is. Once charged, you can blow the Conch and replenish some of your damage dealt as health. Using the Concheror allows Scouts to not have to equip Mad Milk for the health return bonus, giving the Scout the decision to fill his secondary with a useful substitute such as the Bonk drink instead. This still may not be a good idea, as a great deal of the Scout's Mad Milk comes from the ability to slow targets, and less so from the healing factor. Mind you that there is no damage buff with this Secondary. While healing helps you stay alive, you are just as vulnerable to damage as you would be in any other situation. The Buff Banner may prove to be a better alternative, as long as your Scout has Mad milk, which does the same thing the Concheror does. Regardless, this weapon has its perks and can easily be applied effectively to many MvM Missions.

(By the way, in case you were wondering, the effects of the Concherer and Mad Milk CAN be stacked together, allowing you to regain 95% of your damage dealt as health. Use this stack tactic wisely; it can really help you!)
6~Weapons: Melee Weapons
Now we march onward to the final weapon type the Soldier has access to, the Melee weapon. The Soldier's Melee weapon should never be used as a Primary damage source; doing so is a waste of time and hinders your team's overall effectiveness. Still, the effects to the Soldier himself that some Melee weapons have can be rather valuable. Scroll down and take a gander at all of the Melee options the Soldier has. They can help a great deal.

The Shovel
The trusty Shovel suffers no drawbacks and leaves you unaffected by negative effects. It has mid-damage overall, but you shouldn't ever really be using this if you have it equipped. You're better off taking time to leave the battlefield in search of more ammo when you run out of it than you are whipping this out to ineffectively swat at enemies. It'll likely be your cause of death, too. This weapon is well rounded statistically speaking, but is unsuited for most combat situations.

The Market Gardener
This is likely not your best choice for a Soldier MvM Melee weapon. It is somewhat useful against tanks, but still not hardly as much as the Rocket Launcher would be in its place. The Gardener requires selective targeting and killing; again, this is not like mulitplayer where selectively targeting a single player with the Market Gardener is feasible, as there are many more enemies that need to be quickly dealt with and eliminated. Lastly, robots move in much less predictable patterns than actual online players, making actually landing hits while rocket jumping using the Gardener much more difficult. Stay away from this weapon as it also kills the chance of your Melee doing any Crits.

The Half-Zatoichi
This weapon is possibly the most awful choice for the Soldier Melee; stay away from it at most (if not all) times. Again, Melee fighting is not the soldier's role at all. The fact that you need to gain a Melee kill in order to switch it to another weapon means you have to jump into a mob swinging in order to switch to your rocket launcher, often resulting in a quick death. This weapon is MUCH better in the hands of a Demoknight, who is equipped with the proper tools that increase his mobility and ability to be a melee damager (the Bootlegger, The Charge N' Targe/Splendid Screen, etc). The Soldier is slow to begin with and has few means of remedying this drawback, making him ineffective and a slow and defenseless target for the robots while he holds this sword in his hands. Avoid this weapon, period.

The Pain Train
Okay, remember how I just told you the Half-Zatoichi was the worst possible Soldier Melee MvM? Well, I retract that statement; this weapon takes the title for sure. Its +1 capture rate is useless since you won't be doing any capturing in MvM, and you take an additional 10% bullet damage for enemies. This inhibits your survivability and since you're in the front often, you will certainly have much damage coming to you. Convinced this is the worst choice yet? You should be.

The Disciplinary Action
This weapon isn't really too useful in for the Soldier in Mann VS Machine, though perhaps you will find some use for it. You'll be too busy attempting to halt enemy advances to have time to hit your teammates to boost their speed. Plus, your teammates don't really need that speed boost since it only lasts a few seconds. Deliberately going out of your way to whip your enemies can prove both ineffective and a waste of your time, distracting you from your damage-dealing role as the Soldier.

The Equalizer
This Melee weapon is one of the better choices for the Soldier. The damage increase on low health is nice, though hopefully, you're running away for health if you're hurt, not running in and getting yourself killed trying to act invincible with this weapon. However, for the hundredth time mentioned in this Guide, Soldier Melee combat in MvM is ineffective, dangerous, and a waste of time. Since the Equalizer gains its benefits in Melee combat, which you want to AVOID, the benefit is rather worthless except in rare, "in a pinch" cases. Be careful not to hit your "G" key with this weapon out; the taunt is a suicidal pulling of one of the Soldier's grenades.

The Escape Plan
The Escape Plan is definitely the best Melee option for the Soldier to Choose in Mann VS Machine, for several reasons. The increased running speed can save you countless times when you are about to die. Simply whip out this weapon in a dire situation and dash for cover. Whenever you're low on health and ammo, using this weapon lets you sprint much faster to go find more health and ammunition. This allows you to get back out onto the front lines quicker than you normally would be able to while looking for health and more rockets to fire. The blocked healing drawback to this weapon is negligible, since if your team has a Medic in the first place, he should be primarily focused on a Heavy as his heal target anyway. This weapon still lets you sit next to a dispenser too. Similar to the Equalizer, make sure to keep your finger away from that "G" key, because the taunt for this weapon is a suicidal Kamikaze. I strongly recommend you use this weapon for your Soldier Melee unless you can't help but equip something else.
For the Soldier and every class in Mann VS Machine, how you upgrade your weapons and how wisely you spend your credits determines your output and total "punch." That being said, it's important to know how and when to upgrade which aspects of yourself or your weapons, and also the order in which your upgrade priorities should be placed. The Soldier, or at least an efficient one, spends most of his cash on upgrades directly to his Rocket Launcher; though resistances can prove useful in staying alive against heavy fire, other upgrades allow the Soldier to do that for less since he is generally mobile and can run and jump around to dodge enemy fire.

Your ability to upgrade is heavily dependent on credit collection competence of your team. Teams with good Scouts or Spies that are resourceful in grabbing cash will often find themselves with great amounts of money, resulting in easier waves with more upgrades. Likewise, a team with slow moving classes that ignore money will have trouble completing further waves and wonder why it is so. These are often teams that regard the Scout as a useless class, which he is not. As a Soldier, though, you'll want to pick up cash only if it's near you and you see an oppurtune moment to do so; if it affects your potential to be rocketing damage out or puts your life at risk, it's not a great idea and you should be waiting for your Scout or Spy to do the job for you.

Without further ado, here is the priority list I recommend to you all when it comes to upgrading; realize that due to the fact that wave length of missions vary, the approximated wave when you should be buying certain upgrades is a rough estimate, especially on the Bigrock Missions where you'll have more cash than you'll know what to do with. Each estimated time of upgrade was based off of an average of about 6-7 waves per mission. Please, take the wave estimates of when you have to apply certain upgrades roughly. As long as your upgrades are in order and you are at least somewhat close to the estimates listed here, you're in good shape.

1) Rocket Launcher Health on Kill
Remember when I said that Resistances for the Soldier aren't really necessary 'cause he had other means of survival? Well, this is that other mean of survival. When you face a large mob of robots, firing heavily into it kills some robots and overheals you, giving you the strength needed to continue firing and finish the rest of them off. This tactic is repeated throughout the entire round several times. Health on Kill is something you should always upgrade on the first wave; upgrade 2 dots of Health on Kill and you should be good to go for the entire round.

2) Rocket Launcher Firing Speed and Reload Speed
For all Rocket Launchers, reloding faster lets you shoot faster, and shooting faster lets you reload faster. See where these two go hand in hand? The more you upgrade these two together, the faster you'll be getting out damage overall. You should try to have 2-3 dots of Reload Speed and 3-4 dots of Firing Speed upgraded by about Beginning/Middle of wave 3. Both of these should be fully upgraded by the beginning of wave 4 at the latest.

3) Rocket Launcher Ammo Capacity
Running out of ammunition can be tedious and annoying, as it drags you away from the situation at hand to go find more; and believe me, you need ammo quite often during Mann VS Machine. As such, when running out of ammo often begins to become a major inconvenience, the Ammo Capacity upgrade of the Rocket Launcher comes into play. By around the middle/end of wave 4, you should try to have 2 dots of upgrades on this; 2 dots is all you will ever need as far as ammo capacity goes, even with the Beggar's Bazooka.

4) Buff Duration
The most supportive role of the Soldier is his deploying of buffs during robot waves. Since it will always take a while to charge up that meter and get the buff out to your team, increasing your buff duration allows you to hold that buff effect for additional time before you have to charge it back up again. This can be crucial in waves where a buff effect absolutely needs to be lengthened to survive the horrors the wave has to offer. You should be upgrading 1 dot of buff duration by about the beginning of wave 5. If you have cash in later waves, upgrade that last dot if you have the chance for maximum buff duration.

5) Rocket Launcher Damage
Despite the common urge of many classes to spend that 400 dollars you get in the first wave on damage right away, you should only be investing in damage in the later waves when you have built upon your upgrade essentials first and foremost. You should begin to upgrade damage from the end of wave 5 to the beginning of wave 6. Attempt to have at least 2 or 3 dots of damage by the beginning of wave 7 at the latest.

6) Rocket Launcher Clip Size
This is also a later wave upgrade that is more necessary in those advanced waves with difficult bots and giants. When you upgrade this weapon, you should upgrade it slightly in correspondence with your damage upgrades. For every dot of damage you have upgraded, try to have at least that amount of dots minus 1 for your Clip Size. The same picture that was used for the display of the damage upgrade will be used for the display of this upgrade. Try to have at least 1 dot of Clip Size upgrade by wave 7, along with the 2 dots of damage upgrade.

This concludes the core of what and when you should be upgrading. If you're playing on more advanced rounds, you should have more cash even after you have these core upgrades complete. What you choose to do with these spare credits are up to you, provided the essential upgrades are already fulfilled. You can now invest in upgrades that are situationally beneficial to a certain wave or personal desire. You can use the spare cash to completely and entirely finish any upgrades to the Rocket Launcher that you may not have fully upgraded; you can also put some cash into projectile speed upgrades, which were previously ingnored and is also not a bad choice. Crit and other damage type Resistances can prove to be useful in surviving if the Health on Kill just isn't cutting it. You can also boost your movement speed in order to be more mobile and dodge a higher percent of enemy fire. Use this extra money wisely; it can assist in select situations in Mann VS Machine missions.
8~Choosing The Buff That Is Right for You and Your Team
Now, those of you who are more keen to detail may remember when I said that you're in good shape as long as you're using one of the Buff Secondaries. The reason for this is simple: certain Buffs do better in certain situations than other do. Though you may find that the Buff Banner is often the best suited choice in almost all given situations, there are always certain waves or certain rounds where one of the other remaining two Buffs may prove to be significantly more useful. As such, included below are all of the Buffs, more in-depth description of their uses than was previously included in the weapon section, and prime examples of a moment where using a particular Buff is optimal over the others. Remember, the only thing you can upgrade on a Buff Secondary is its duration, which is rather cheap. That being said, switching Buffs situationally between waves of an entire round can be a practical choice. Waiting no longer, let us begin reviewing each Buff and its distinctive properties.

The Buff Banner

The Buff Banner's Mini-Crits allow for several advantages that would be otherwise unobtainable if you don't equip it. The uses of this weapon include, but are not limited to: destroying Giant Robots at a much faster rate, eliminating large mobs of high damage classes (Heavies, Soldiers, e.t.c.) before they have a chance to harm your teammates, and defeating Tanks quicker than ever. Since a Scout can't mark a Tank for death and the Sniper's Jarate doesn't effect the Tank either, the Soldier's Buff Banner is the only way for everyone to receive Mini-Crits on Tanks. Tanks have anywhere from 10,000 to 60,000 health, often drawing closer to the 60,000 mark on harder missions- and melting it a rate of about 50% faster can often mean the difference between success and failure. Not to mention, this thing charges incredibly quick when you're focused on a Tank and continuously shoot at it, so you'll be able to constantly deploy Buffs on the Tank. Whenever you deploy the Banner, remember that it is supposed to be a team benefit, not an individual benefit. That being said, try to position yourself near teammates at the time you deploy it. Since the radius of the Buff can be rather small, it is important to move to the optimal location that helps as many of your teammates possible receive the Mini-Crits. If you're the only one getting the bonus, then it quickly falls into the selfish category and fails utility-wise to the rest of your team. In some cases, it is better to hide behind cover while remaining near teammates and not shoot at all when you have this Buff deployed; it's better for all of your team except you to receive the firepower boost of the Mini-Crits than for you to die with the Buff deployed. If that happens, then no one gets the Mini-Crits.

Try to use this Buff as often as possible in MvM, as it is more versatile than are the other Buff Secondaries. Since the Banner is proficient at assisting in Giant Robot destruction, eliminating large mobs, and helping consume the vitality of Tanks, the following wave is a perfect example where there is no better choice for a Buff Secondary than the Buff Banner:

As you can see, this wave includes a Giant Heavy and Giant Medic, several Bowmen, Giant Charged Soldiers, Super Scouts, and a Tank. The Buff Banner's Mini-Crits will assist in taking care of the Giant Medic so that the Giant Heavy can be ripped apart, which the Buff Banner will also help with. When the Tank arrives, you will be able to deploy the Banner near constantly and maximize your damage output and the damage output of your teammates on the Tank. The Super Scouts will fall quicker since you'll be hitting them with more powerful shots. Finally, when those annoying clusters of Bowmen and other bots come running in hordes, your teammates (provided you position yourself near them) will be able to inflict 1.5x damage onto these mobs and kill them before they get too far upstream.

While the Buff Banner seems like the golden choice, keep this in mind:
If a wave consists of no Tanks, mostly Giant Robots and only a few, minorly-hindering regular bots, it may be in your interest to choose a different Buff. Your Scout, if you have one, should be able to easily mark the Giants for death with his FoW. As such, Mini-Crits on Giants won't generally be a problem. It might be a wiser choice to choose the Battalion's Backup or the Concheror instead, depending on which one of the two better suits that specific wave.

The Battalion's Backup
Here's where you'll want to be going for a defensive boost for your team. As mentioned before, the Backup, after being filled by 350 points of damage, will block 35% of all incoming damage to anyone in the radius. When combined with the Resistances of your teammates, it can lead to 99% Resistance for a certain damage type if they already have +75% resistance to that damage type. This can come in handy for classes who build dominantly on their resistances, like the Scout. It also grants 100% Crit Resistance to everyone near the Buff. This is very valuable for waves with lots of Crit Bots as well as Giant Charged Robots, both of which appear frequently in Advanced and Expert Level Missions. Don't forget, though, 35% damage block is not complete invulnerability and nowhere near it. If you try to act like an Ubercharged maniac with this deployed without other Resistances, you WILL die and your teammates will feel the effects when you aren't there anymore to protect 35% of damage and Crits. Though not the optimal target for a Medic, this Secondary is best used with a Medic, where you can take lots of damage and regain it from the Medigun, allowing you to deploy the Backup while still maintaining good health.

The Battalion's Backup is the ultimate Secondary for those looking to strengthen their defenses. As the Backup neglects enemy Crit damage and nullifies up to 35% of general damage, an upcoming wave such as the one below would be an ideal wave to utilize the Backup:

In this situation, you can see almost every single class of regular robot here along with several Giants- and almost all of them are permanently Crit-boosted. If you manage to take damage while staying alive and in-tact, your team will be able to fight these bots as if they had no Crit bonus, making them a lot less scary. The only particular downside to using the Backup here is the fact that there are 3 Tanks; the Buff Banner truly helps bring destruction to the Tank, but perhaps you can still defeat them while keeping the Backup equipped.

Overall, this is a good Secondary. I'll go as far to say it's great and useful, but you may find the Buff Banner to help a liiiiiiitle bit more.

The Concheror
I personally regard this as the worst of the Buffs, since your Scout's Mad Milk can do what this Buff can do better and can even slow targets. The 35% health-on-damage return helps your team against difficult mobs and helps your team and yourself in tackling Giants, however. It allows you to face a Giant and continually shoot at it, as your health replenishes rapidly. Alas, the Conch isn't entirely useless, and can help the Soldier sustain more damage against Giants and mobs. Here is one example of a time where the Conch may come into proper use:

The Choice of which Buff you decide to use is ultimately up to you, but make sure to attempt to employ the buff that best suits a given situation.
9~The Canteen
In Mann VS Machine, your small metal containers that you receive after your first MvM Mission (or after you craft one for four scrap metal) referred to as the Powerup Canteen can hold a single type of beneficial effect, varying in price depending on the usefulness of each Canteen type. The Soldier has access to 4 out 5 of the total Canteen Powerups: Teleport to Spawn Canteen, Refill Clips and Ammo Canteen, Become Ubercharged Canteen, and Become Crit Boosted Canteen (the one not included here is the Building Upgrade Canteen, which is exclusive to the Engineer). Though the two most commonly applicable and useful ones for the soldier are the Crit Boost and Ubercharge Canteens, all of the canteens have their uses and can be put to good use in the hands of a skilled player (yes, even the Teleport to Spawn Canteen!) Listed below are the details of each Canteen, how they can be used properly, and how often/under what conditions you should be purchasing them throughout your MvM game.

Crit Canteen
Ah, the big damage Canteen for the big damage Class. Going hand in hand with the Soldier's role of Damage Output, this Canteen will provide you with a short but guaranteed boost to all of your weapons by giving them ability to fire Criticals from them, lasting a duration of 5 seconds. You'll find several uses for this Canteen: Are robots getting by your defenses too quickly in the early stages of a later wave? Use this Canteen to keep them pinned down and help your team's defense last! Does the Tank still have some health left and is about to deploy the bomb? Your whole team laying waste to it, but not quick enough to kill it? Pop one o' these babies, pray, and spray crockets all over the metal beast, and perhaps you just might succeed and avoid a wave restart. Are pesky Uber Medics always the cause of loss for your team? Drink a Crit Canteen and blow those medics to hell with some one-hit-kill crockets before they become a problem! Is there a horde of Crit Bots or a few Crit Giants coming your way? Return the favor and spray some Crits in their faces! After all, you can buy Crit Resistance, but they can't.

The scenarios I included here are just some of the common ones in which I find myself personally reaching for this Canteen. Where this Canteen comes up short, however, is not in its lack of efficiency; rather, it lies in the expensiveness of the Canteen itself. At 100 bucks a pop, the Crit Canteen can easily eat up your cash if you're using it too frequently, considering it costs a hearty 300 credits to fill your Canteen with 3 of these charges. Remember, you shouldn't be leaning too heavily on the Critical Canteen for too much assistance; if you put too much cash into this Canteen, you'll find yourself running low on cash for permanent upgrades in later waves because you continually blew it on the temporary effects of Crit Boosting. Buy this Canteen and use it only when the situation calls, otherwise it'll begin to burn a hole in your wallet.

Ubercharge Canteen
This is your all-around go-to canteen when Crit Canteens aren't doing the job for you because you're being killed constantly. This is probably one of the best Canteens for any given situation with the exception of destroying tanks. For only 75 credits, you can use it to escape, shoot freely, or become a 5 second distraction for dangerous robots that annihilate your team. Sometimes Crit Canteens aren't the best choice since you may be killed while under its effects, or not use it at all because you're already dead. With this though, you don't have to worry about being killed while shooting off your salvo of rockets. Being a Dead Soldier doesn't exactly let you do any damage. Safe to say, Crit Canteen boosts your damage significantly higher because of what it does. It's also more risky as being in a bad position with it activated easily ends with you being killed and a wasted 100 credits. On the other hand, the Ubercharge Canteen allows you free regular damage since you're invincible unlike the Crit Canteen. Both are quite good, but like the Crit Canteen, don't blow too much money on this or you'll find yourself short of cash often.

Refill Clips and Ammo Canteen

You may recall from the weapon section that the Cow Mangler is the only Rocket Launcher that does not require ammo. However, all of the others do, and with robots constantly pouring out from their spawn location, you will find your Launcher chewing up a good deal of rockets in quite a short amount of time. You'll have to go run for more, of course, but what about the situations where running for more ammo hinders your team's damage output in a crucial moment? What about the situations where your team's success depends on you being on the field to defeat a giant, a horde, or a Tank? You certainly don't have time to be ditching the battle for more ammunition. This is where the Ammo Canteen comes in handy.

Simply activate this Canteen and all of your ammo will be replenished in full. It should be noted that the Canteen also fills your clips completely, meaning that it can be used to fire a continued stream of rockets when your Launcher is empty instead of having to reload. This is even more important when fighting a giant or Tank about to deploy the bomb, as the need to reload when killing a bomb carrier about to plant can often be the lack of damage that leads to your team's demise on a wave. Any time you're on the field and for some reason you can't or don't want to run to an ammo box for more rockets, you're instantly refilled and ready to keep on slingin'.

This Canteen also costs a small amount of credits, at 25 credits per canteen. As such, you'll be able to use this powerup more often than the others without a financial strain on your credits. Just be careful not to abuse this Powerup and activate it all the time and keep rebuying more- if you do, then these Canteens will begin to get expensive.

Teleport to Spawn Canteen

Any time you need to instantly return to the bomb plant zone, this Canteen is a low-priced life saver.
There are several instances where you will have the desire to teleport back to the spawn zone. If a Super Scout, the fastest giant in MvM, happens to slip by your team and runs to base, you won't be able to catch up to him. Not even your team's Scout with fully upgraded speed can run faster than a Super Scout. Hopefully, you'll be able to kill him from afar before he reaches your spawn and plants, but if you can't, then you're out of luck. Luckily, you can save your team if you have one of these Canteens equipped. Whether it's a Super Scout, some Ubercharged mobs near spawn, or a Tank that's about to plant, this Canteen can take you right back home to bring the pain. They even give you a little temporary speed bonus.

Since this Canteen can only be used situationally and since it only costs 10 credits each, it's near impossible for the Powerup to hurt your wallet. Feel free to buy 3+ each wave, though you probably won't even use 3 on any single wave.
10~Enemy Robots: Know Your Enemy! Part 1
In any wave in Mann Vs. Machine, you'll encounter a variety of different types of robots. In order to do your damage job correctly, you need to know and keep in mind how long you can survive against different enemies, as well as the proper methods of defeating difficult variants of robots. Since you'll often be up close and personal with your enemies in MvM, telling the difference between how and when to attack can mean the difference between life and death; and remember, you can't possibly be helping your team if you're dead. Different robots require different tactics of disposal. Without waiting any longer, let's run through the varying flavors that these pesky robots come in.

Note: The list below does not include every single type of Robot; it includes only the basic ones encountered most often and the variants that pertain most to the Soldier Specifically.

The Scout
[/previewimg]Appearing in many waves, the robot Scout comes equipped with either a Bat or a Scattergun. You'll see them most often appearing in groups. In the event that they spawn in groups, they're never really a problem if they wield only Bats. In that case, feel free to hang back and shoot loads of rockets into the mass until the horde dissipates. If the entire mob has Scatterguns, however, you'll need to be a bit more careful, as the collective spray of bullets can be damaging in bulk. Be sure to keep medium distance between yourself and them and fire quickly, and they will drop rather fast. Bear in mind that large packs of Scouts can block you into corners if you're not careful, dropping you very fast whether they have Bats or guns. Destroying large batches of Scouts can prove to be an efficient and rapid way to charge your Buff Banner. Though your Engineer's sentry gun will take care of most Scouts, they move quickly. Be careful not to let one slip by and pick up the bomb.

Super Scout
These robots pose one of the largest threats in the game to your team as a whole. The Super Scout moves at double the speed of a regular Scout, is a giant and has 1,200 health, and doesn't slow down when he picks up the bomb. That being said, it is absolutely crucial that as a Soldier you stop him dead in his tracks before he causes any real issues. Fortunately, he is only equipped with a fish to strike at you, allowing you to fire at him from a close to mid-distance without receiving damage back. Just make sure not to get caught in a corner, or you'll die despite the fact he only has a Melee weapon. Deploy your Buff Banner every time these guys spawn to ensure they go down quickly and you should be fine.

Minor League Scout
Though not particularly deadly alone, these robots pose a severe threat to the MvM Soldier when they come in groups and when they spawn with mobs of other damaging bots like Soldiers and Heavies. These Scouts have a Sandman and spam the baseball that can stun you if it connects with your body. If you're stunned, other classes that deal damage will have free shots on you, often resulting in death. Since the Soldier is slower than most other classes, dodging these balls can be quite difficult when there are several coming towards you, especially if you're close to the Scouts. To counter this, use your Rocket Launcher's range and the assistance of your teammates to destroy these mobs of Minor League Scouts before they get close, as they have little power at a distance. Remember to never stop moving when fighting these bots, or you'll be hit before you can say "Bonk!" Increased movement speed can help you dodge the balls better as well, if it seems practical at that time to upgrade speed.

The Soldier
This is a common robot to see in early, middle, and late waves. They rarely come alone, and can spell out trouble when they swarm your team in mobs. They fire and reload at the same speed as a regular Soldier, meaning that you'll have a near constant barrage of incoming missiles when they come in hordes. When you fight them, you'll generally want to avoid being too close, but stay at a distance where you can comfortably fire and dodge. Since rockets take time to travel and they won't always be able to predict your movement, use your mobility to your advantage to dodge enemy rockets. These are easiest to deal with when they're bunched up and not running around all over the place, so tackle them quickly.

All Buff Variant Soldiers
These variants of the Soldier attack with one of three buff Secondaries and can sometimes have an extended timer on how long that specific buff lasts. Though they all spawn with individual buff Secondaries and therefore gain personal benefits, they also assist their fellow robots by powering them up. These robots should be priority when they spawn with or near other powerful robots; similar to every other kind of Soldier, try to take them out right when they jump down onto the field and before they spread out. Have yourself and the rest of your team concentrate fire onto these bots, as they should be taken down before most others. Using your own Buff Banner can often help end the hordes of buffed Soldiers, though it might be best to save your Banner charge for another purpose.

Giant Rapid Fire Soldier/Giant Burst Fire Soldier
Here's where you run into some serious robo-Soldier problems. These two robots are very similar in the fact that they're both giants and have a lot of health, both have a Rocket Launcher that can load several rockets, and can both fire those rockets and incredibly deadly rates. The only real differences between them are that the Rapid Fire has a faster reload, while the Burst Fire has more health, more damaging rockets, 100 percent Crit chance, faster firing speed, and a larger clip size. Both pose a similar threat, however: annihilation of you and your team. They pose a particular threat to Soldier, who is slower and cannot always outrun the rockets that they fire. As such, you'll probably want to follow a battle tactic somewhere along the lines of standing near cover, but remaining at a mid-distance. Fire on him constantly, but once he targets you, run for cover. Once he is distracted again by another teammate, poke back out again and unload. Repeat. Make sure to deploy your buff Banner often on these robots, as they need to be taken out quickly; if they aren't, they can carry the bomb and allow other robots to get through your defenses.

The Pyro
The robot Pyro comes in two types: one equipped with a Flamethrower, and one equipped with a Flare Gun (rarely they wield a Detonator). Neither are an incredible threat, as the Flamethrower Pyros have poor range and the Flare Gun Pyros shoot flares that are easy to dodge and do relatively low damage. Be mindful of the Flamethrower Pyros, however, as they can and often will reflect rockets that you shoot at them. Try to take them at mid-far distances so that if they do happen to reflect your missiles, you're able to dodge them before they are returned back to you. In addition, shooting them from a vantage point above makes it impossible for them to reflect directly back at you since you shot at them from an upward angle. Otherwise, these robots are near harmless. Dispose of them as you would any other hordes, with several bursts of rockets.

Giant Pyro
This Giant usually comes with a lot of health and a flamethrower(though occasionally it can wield a Flare Gun). Moving slowly and restricted to short range, he should never really be a problem. Similar to all Pyros, make sure to beware of reflected rockets. Using the Beggar's Bazooka helps a ton here, since if you fire a large barrage of rockets, he won't be able to reflect all of them.
11~Enemy Robots: Know Your Enemy! (Part 2)
The Demoman
The Demoman is an explosive robot that spawns as often as Soldiers do, coming in large hordes. Together, they can lob tons of grenades onto the field, similar to the way Soldiers can fire large quantities of rockets at you. However, one thing distinguishes Soldiers from Demomen and makes Demomen slightly more dangerous: when Soldiers fire at you, their rockets explode on impact. Demoman grenades, however, continue to roll even if they miss you directly, coating the field in a landmine of pipebombs. As such, Demomen mobs should be a priority for the MvM Soldier, and should be killed as quickly as they spawn. Jump around and strafe to avoid exploding grenades, and destroy the robots before they spread out from their condensed groups. Demomen robots also come in a Demoknight form, which are more or less a joke for the MvM Soldier. Simply keep your distance and fire quickly and you'll be just fine.

Giant Rapid Fire Demoman
There are some more common giants on Normal, Intermediate, and Advanced missions; this is one of them. This guy is a Demo with lots of health and a Grenade Launcher version of the Beggar's Bazooka. Simply dodge his grenades and fire back, and don't get close enough for him to directly hit you. Use cover to your advantage, getting more damage on him when he's busy.

The Heavy
The Heavy appears most often with the classic Minigun to mow down any foes in its path. Heavy robots have a large variety of different types, though they will usually be most dangerous when equipped with the gun. They're not too great of a threat when they're individual or in small groups; simply lob rockets from far away and you'll kill them quickly, since the damage of their bullets is reduced over range. However, they often come in large packs in later waves. In this case, you need to be extremely careful, as you will be pulverized in seconds up close and they can even harm you at a distance since there are so many of them. Never underestimate how much damage these robots do individually and in hordes. Use their slow speed to your advantage by aiming your shots well to deal more damage, and try to use your movement and fire to distract them. Take cover and shoot safely.

Steel Gauntlet
This is probably one of the more annoying types of regular robot you could possibly run into in Mann Vs. Machine. With 900 HP, Steel Gauntlets pose a serious annoyance to the Soldier because his Fists of Steel make him take much less damage from ranged sources, including the Rocket Launcher. Don't let that confuse you, though; you still shouldn't be using anything EXCEPT your Rocket Launcher against these guys. They can easily body block you into corners or confined spaces so position yourself well. Don't get too close, keep on firing, and kill them as quickly as you can, because they're potent and durable bomb carriers.

Giant Deflector Heavy
This robot has it out for you. It doesn't matter if it's a rocket, a grenade, a stickybomb, a baseball, or an arrow- this guy will shoot it down. Couple this ability along with his high damage Minigun, his enormous health, and the fact that he usually spawns with Medics or Giant Medics, and you've got one scary robot. Though he may seem like a nightmare, there are several things you can do to deal with him. Use the Beggar's Bazookas rapid fire and get as close as you can without risking your life to ensure that he at least won't be able to shoot down all of your rockets. In addition, wait until he has his back turned or someone else distracts him, rain missiles onto him, and retreat to cover once you're targeted; repeat.

The Engineer
Though listed as a Support Class in waves, the annoying Engineer Bot can prove to be a real nuisance if not dealt with correctly. He has 500 HP and is more durable than most people would think. As a Soldier, you are a very capable class to destroy him and his tools. Use your ability to carry high damage over long range to defeat his buildings, as the rest of your team (Spy excluded) has a poor chance of doing so. If you're killing his sentry nest, take cover while shooting, or take it out from a distance. Be warned that he has infinite metal so you have to do some strong burst damage to kill his sentry if he manages to set it up.

The Medic
Killing Medic robots is something than can be a real pain to do, especially without good coordination among your team. The bottom line, however, is that these bots need to be wasted quickly and efficiently. They come in two variants, one with the regular Medigun and a Ubercharge ready from spawn, and one with the Quick-Fix with no Ubercharge ready. Uber Medics build Ubercharges anywhere from 2-5 times as fast as a regular Medigun would and deploy the Uber once substantial damage is done to themselves or the heal target. They can threaten your survivability because they are able to protect any damaging robot from your attacks, allowing them to return fire to you with no consequences. Fortunately, there is a solution; since your team's Pyro won't be able to blast every single enemy Medic from their heal target, feel free to launch several rockets towards the Medics yourself. It won't do any damage, but incredibly often rockets placed correctly will send Medics flying from their targets, even while Ubered.

Giant Medic
This robot is the big Medic for the big Giant. Instead of the numerous, normal sized Quick-Fix or Uber Medics that can spawn with Giants, this bot comes with a Quick-Fix and almost as much health as his Giant heal target. Giant Medics come with a full ubercharge and can deploy it at will as they please. He can basically make it impossible to kill an incredibly powerful Giant, which can harm your and your team's ability to survive and destroy enemies. As such, you should be deploying your Buff Banner the second he enters the battlefield and several times thereafter to ensure that he is eradicated before he builds a Quick-Fix Uber. If he pops his Uber, all your hard work done goes to waste and his health is replenished. Focus him down ASAP with your team.

The Sniper
This persistent Support Class spawns usually in small groups of 2-6 and, though they may seem harmless, can really begin to dent your team's effectiveness. They always body shot and never head shot, but their aimbots mean that they never miss a shot once they've locked onto you. Since you as a Soldier are slow moving, you're guaranteed to be hit. You can try to take them out by shooting them from a distance, but this isn't too practical since damage is lowered at long ranges; plus, if you use the Beggar's Bazooka, the rocket deviation makes it near impossible to land accurate shots at very long ranges. You should really let your team's Scout, Sniper, or Spy deal with these pests.

The Spy
Another Support Class, robot Spies will creep around the battlefield and often target you thanks to your slow speed and relative immobility. When the announcer tells you that enemy Spies are inbound, make sure to watch your back, not sit in the same spot for a prolonged amount of time, and be careful. Check the HUD occasionally to see if he has appeared as well. If you hear a robotic chuckle, check your surroundings to make sure you're not about to get stabbed. Kill them if you see them, but leave most of the Spy-Checking work to your team's Pyro.
Well, it seems we've reached the end of the guide. I'd like to thank Reimu Hakurei for all his assistance in proofreading and bettering this guide; the two of us leaned on each other to get this guide to its best and put it out on the workshop as soon as we could. [SL4] Peanut also assisted in perfected and trimming the fat of the guide; many thanks to him as well. Though this guide took a lot of personal time and effort to create, I'd like to thank YOU, the reader, for taking such a long period of time to read up on what it takes to improve your Soldier skills in Mann VS Machine. Hopefully, you've learned a thing or two and are better equipped to help your MvM team to succeed.

Remember, even if everything doesn't come together perfectly at once, keep on practicing and you'll eventually prevail. Though the optimal loadout maximizes your overall potential, bear in mind that some personal skill must also come from you. Try to find people to practice with and play often, and in no time you'll be a great asset to your team.

Don't forget: your main role as a Soldier is to be a well-oiled, mobile, and powerful damage machine. Use your mobility to your advantage and do whatever it takes to ensure that you're doing as much damage at any give time as you possibly can.

Below is the most beneficial loadout for the Soldier to use in Mann VS Machine; employ it as frequently as possible, learn how to use efficiently as instructed by the guide, and soon, you, too, can become an expert Soldier in MvM.
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a filthy casual Aug 28, 2017 @ 8:40am 
Flaming Sep 12, 2015 @ 9:33pm 
This guide is a little outdated, as you didn't dot he airstrike or base jumper
Spectral Tyrant Sep 10, 2015 @ 1:26pm 
Cheers m8, wondered why I suck so much at MvM... Not really, but thanks for the assistance... BOTTKILLERS AND AUSTRALIUMS HERE I COME
Jackal Sep 5, 2015 @ 7:29am 
I don't know if valve has fixed it yet, but if you stand near a dispenser with your secondary, you still take ammo for your beggar's bazooka. (It works for me, at least...) Great guide!
Flaming Jul 26, 2015 @ 6:13am 
One of the best mvm guides I seen, none of the others went into so much detail about the classes.
segfault May 9, 2015 @ 10:41am 
Thanks to this guide, i've passed my first mvm round as solly! Thank you! An interesting thing to remark is that cow mangler is "dangerous" in the sense that you can't see how many rockets you have in store, also, the lack of crit buff is a sever handicap. But anyway good guide!
The Conscientious Muffin May 6, 2015 @ 12:07pm 
That was an amazing guide thank you so much!!!!
PixMacfy Mar 7, 2015 @ 2:55am 
Nice guide, helped me especially on upgrade priorities.
It's a little outdated though (I'm thinking of the buffs secondaries, that were, well, buffed, so conch and B.Backup even more viable options)
fleur* Feb 20, 2015 @ 11:14pm 
i never use solly in mvm but still 10/10
BreEZe Jan 29, 2015 @ 12:18pm 
10/10 it is the best solder guide I ever read