Team Fortress 2

Team Fortress 2

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Operation Madness vs Machines: MvM Playing Tips
By Erikku
Quick tips for use while playing the Madness vs Machines campaign.
  • This guide is aimed at beginners who want quick easy tips to drastically improve their MvM performance. It is not intended for advanced or veteran players.

  • Download and install the Madness vs. Machine asset pack[] to skip the long FastDL wait.

  • Check Announcements, Bug Reports, and Help Discussions if something doesn’t seem right.

    • Please direct all questions and help requests to the discussions board or chatrooms.

  • Campaign servers are moderated similarly to Mann Up servers. Please only report cheaters.

  • If you're waiting for an open spot on a server: Consider joining an empty one and idle AFK. You may get players waiting like yourself to join in as well.

    • When in the server alone you can vote for whatever map and mission you wish to play.

  • Players never kick for “No Reason.” Pay attention to what your teammates say.

  • The best way to improve in MvM is to keep playing the game mode. Practice makes
    perfect. Don’t focus on playing easy difficulties as it won’t help you improve, but don’t play a difficulty way above your head (Expert) as you'll struggle and won't learn anything either.
All Class / General
  • The recommended advanced / expert mission team composition consists of: An Engineer, money
    collector, tank buster (if applicable), crowd controller, medic picker, and giant killer.

Cash Collector
Tank Buster
Giant Killer
Medic Picker
Crowd Control
Mad Milk
Max Damage
Gas Passer
Shield Bashing
Red Money

  • Ready Up (F4) only when you’re certain everyone is prepared and present.

  • Upgrading crit resistance is important if there’s an overwhelming amount of crit bots shown in
    the upcoming wave.

  • Money collection is a team effort even with a designated cash collector. If you see cash and there are no hazards nearby, pick it up!

  • Keep track of the bomb at all times. Avoid taking a teleporter to the front if the bomb is nearing
    the hatch. The sentry gun should babysit the bomb at all times once it gets behind the front lines.

  • Avoid buying back in a wave unless in dire emergency, such as the bomb about to be deployed.

  • Avoid using canteens unless you absolutely need it to save yourself or your team.

  • Feel free to refund on every wave (although be mindful of accolade and speedrun rules before
    doing so) and change your upgrades around (or even change classes) if deemed necessary.
Scout takes on a supportive role in MvM of collecting cash, healing with Mad Milk, mini-crit debuffs
with the Fan ‘O War, and occasionally distracting the robots’ attention.
  • Upgrade resistances, speed/jump, and make use of flank routes on the map to stay alive.

  • If lacking a Medic, consider upgrading Mad Milk recharge and focusing on tankier bots.

  • Cash gives you overhealing up to 700 HP (more than a Medic can give with max upgrades). Collect all the money piles you see. You can ignore red money (which is created by snipers).
    • Keep an eye out on the dropped credit counter and prioritize locating the cash ASAP.

  • The Soda Popper is a great choice in primary weapon for its innate reload and firing speed bonus. It does,however, empty out your entire clip even if you don’t use all of it, so if you ever shoot it, make sure to shoot out the entire clip!

  • When all your resistances, movement speed, jump height, and Mad Milk are maxed: Feel free to
    invest in damage upgrades on your primary to help damage tanks and take out small bots.

  • Avoid equipping the Baby Face’s Blaster as you’ll often be slowed by robot spam.
Soldier is a jack of many trades in MvM with good ability to crowd control, take down giant robots with
ease, support teammates with their banner, and bust tanks effectively.
  • Upgrade one point of Rocket Specialist to stall giant scouts.
    • Further points are cost inefficient and better spent elsewhere. They only increase splash
      damage and projectile speed, neither of which are worth the additional $300-900.

  • WARNING: Pyro robots can reflect your rockets and kill your teammates. Yellow-eyed Pyro
    robots are near guaranteed reflectors. If you must shoot them, shoot from the side or back, or
    shoot at the ground to deal splash damage to them.

  • Equip the proper banner depending on what’s on the wave:

    • Equip the Battalion’s Backup if the wave consists of a lot of crits and/or you need
      resistances but can’t afford them yet.

    • Equiping the Buff Banner works in all other cases.

    • If the Concheror fits your playstyle better, you can use it instead of the Buff Banner, but
      when busting tanks the Buff Banner is the clear winner since tanks don’t attack you.

    • You can switch banners during the wave while waiting out the respawn timer.

    • If your team has multiple soldiers, do not duplicate banners. Use a different banner.

    • Avoid upgrading banner duration as you will recharge it very quickly anyway.

  • The Direct Hit, Liberty Launcher, and Rocket Jumper are hardly ever good choices for MvM.
    Avoid using them.

  • If you are using the Beggar’s Bazooka, do not buy the firing speed upgrade since it already has an
    innate 70% firing speed bonus. Spend your money on reload speed, damage, and ammo instead.

    • Use tap firing (ie spam your left click) in conjunction with upgraded reload speed to rapid fire a near-endless clip of rockets with minimal time between each rocket.
Pyro is also a jack of many trades with the ability to solo tankbust, stall bots with airblast, and contribute great damage to giants robots.
  • NOTE: For Madness vs Machines: The Gas Passer’s Explode on
    Ignite upgrade has been disabled.

  • Also note: The Scorch Shot has been set to function like the the Detonator.

  • Play off robot attention and attack when they haven’t noticed you.

    • Circle-strafing can be effective against certain giants.

    • Corners and blind-spots are effective tactics against hordes.

  • Burn Time upgrade has been disabled as it’s bugged. Burn Damage is not worth the upgrade cost as it only affects afterburn damage instead of direct flamethrower damage. Avoid both of them at all costs.

  • Tank-busting is an important role for Pyro. You may struggle without early damage upgrades. If a
    wave has a tank, focus on flamethrower damage upgrades and ammo capacity. Feel free to also
    pick up some crit canteens if you can afford it and/or the wave has multiple tanks.

  • Due to the way flamethrowers work, aim upwards to the top of the tank to maximize damage. See the below screenshot as an example.

  • Avoid spamming airblast if teammates are focus-firing on giant robots, especially if you have a
    Sniper. You will make their jobs more difficult and may be votekicked for being a nuisance.

  • Avoid using the Degreaser due to the airblast cost, less burn damage, and less need to combo into secondary/melee weapons. It is a downgrade from the stock flamethrower for MvM.
Demoman is a crowd controller with the use of Stickybomb traps and the Grenade Launcher.
  • Avoid playing full Demoknight as you’re losing significant DPS potential. Demoknight works
    most optimally on intermediate missions and on medieval maps (which there are 3 of).

  • Focus on upgrading one weapon rather than both. It’s better to be good at one thing than to be
    mediocre at two. Often you’ll find yourself using only one weapon most of the time anyway.

  • Most teams expect a Demoman to pick uber medics with their Stickybomb traps. Make sure
    you have a medic picker (e.g. sniper or spy) if you’re running grenades only.

  • If you are primarily using/upgrading the Grenade Launcher or Loose Cannon, you may find it helpful to equip the Charge 'n Targe for the free passive resistances it gives, as opposed to a weapon you won’t use.

  • If you have a Kritzkrieg Medic, lay down a crit sticky trap in front of the bot spawn before the
    wave starts. If the bots spawn elsewhere, you can use your Grenade Launcher (or forfeit some crit
    stickies if you’re using the Scottish Resistance).

    • Don’t be too miserly! Know when it’s time to forfeit the crit sticky trap. Chances are you
      will die if you wait too long, which will forfeit all your crit stickies anyway.

    • As a rule of thumb, if you haven’t managed to use your crit nest within 30 seconds of the
      bots dropping down, get rid of it and resume using your Stickybomb launcher normally. You’ll do more damage this way than sitting on your hands waiting to use your crit trap.

  • The Quickie-Bomb Launcher is a bad choice due to its lower damage and emphasis on “sniping”
    single targets.

  • Be careful when using the Half-Zatoichi. Some bots may use it against you, which means they
    can instantly kill you in one hit! (You can also slay them in one hit too if you’re lucky!)
The Heavy excels well with single target damage and tanking damage with his large health pool. His biggest forte is tearing down giant robots.
  • Position yourself at the front line, and/or close to a Dispenser.
    • Do not sit too close to the Dispenser or else the splash effect from the damage you sustain
      will destroy it. Keep a healthy distance away and ask your engineer to upgrade its range.

  • Only buy one point of Projectile Penetration. You will rarely shoot at 3+ robots along a line.

  • Resistances are among the best upgrades for Heavy, as you don’t have much mobility while using your Minigun, so you are a still target to the bots. Prioritize on maxing all of them out. Ignore fire resistance unless Pyros are being a real nuisance to you.

  • Early in the game, you only need up to two health-on-kill upgrades to play optimally. Invest your
    money on other upgrades before maxing out the rest of your health-on-kill upgrades.

  • The rage upgrade halves your damage output when activated. Only use it against giants or boss
    robots that are near a point of interest (e.g. control point, death pit, bomb hatch). You also do not
    need to buy more than 1 rage upgrade since your high damage will fill it up quickly as it is.

  • Once you have sufficient resistances and/or a giant robot is milked, feel free to get up close and
    personal with giant robots. Heavies do the most damage at point blank and the less damage with
    range, so the closer you shoot the robots (especially giants), the more damage you deal to them.

  • Equip a Sandvich as your secondary. If your Medic healing you is hurt, throw it towards them. You can also throw the item down for any of your teammates to pick up for health.

  • Tanks heavily resist Minigun damage. Don’t waste your time on tanks unless the tank is
    dangerously getting close to the hatch or there’s nothing else on the field.

  • The Huo Long Heatmaker, Natascha, and Tomislav have penalties that make them mediocre for
    MvM and benefits that are situational at best in MvM. Avoid using them.

  • The Brass Beast, while a good primary weapon for MvM, will make you immobile while spun-up. Only use the Brass Beast if you can easily survive sitting in one place (preferably next to a Dispenser). If you think you need the mobility to dodge incoming projectiles and/or push forward: use the stock Minigun instead.

  • The best melee weapon choices are the Killing Gloves of Boxing or the Fists of Steel.

    • The Killing Gloves of Boxing grant crits on kill, which can be transferred to your
      minigun if you switch your weapons on time, provided you can score a melee kill with it.

    • The Fists of Steel grants you a 40% damage resistance from every damage type but
      melee, which deal twice as much damage. It is a great weapon to use to escape if you run
      out of ammo or have to relocate, although watch for melee bots that may be nearby.
The Engineer is a mandatory role in MvM providing healing and ammo from his Dispenser, teleports to the front lines, and an umbrella of crowd control/protection with his Sentry.
  • Maximizing your Dispenser range is recommended early in the game, preferably at the start of the mission. Extra range will buff all your teammates immensely and it costs $100 per upgrade.

  • Always try to have a spare building canteen available for emergency rebuilds.

  • Engineer is a map-dependent class. Take note of bomb travel arrows before wave start and
    position your buildings relative to that path.
    • In some maps, most notably on Spacepost and Teien, you may have to move your exit
      Teleporter around as you get pushed back from the front lines or the bomb path changes.

  • The Rescue Ranger is the recommended primary weapon for MvM. It allows you to heal buildings from long range (if you have the metal to do so) and allows you to remotely retrieve buildings from afar.

  • The Wrangler allows you to control where you want the sentry to shoot. It also gives the sentry a
    protective shield and increases its firing speed. The wrangler is especially powerful against giant
    robots that are marked for death, Jarate’d, or if you otherwise have a minicrit buff.

    • The Wrangler shield decreases the heal and refill rate of your rescue ranger and wrench.
      MvM players can work around this by picking up the sentry and immediately putting it
      back down. (This does not work in PvP since the Sentry replays its build sequence.)

  • Avoid placing your Dispenser in a path where a Sentry Buster or giant robot can run over it.

  • Keep your Sentry Gun on the bomb at all times once it gets past the front lines. Bots can slip by your team and will checkmate the bomb on the hatch if everyone is tunnel-visioned at the front (which most teams will be).

  • Do not buy the Disposable Sentry. You will likely forget to rebuild it, and it does not inherit
    regular Sentry upgrades (e.g. building health, firing speed). It is a waste of money.

  • The third Sentry Firing Speed upgrade has been disabled as it is non-functional and does not provide any benefit. (Valve bug).

  • The stock or Jag wrench weapons are the recommended melee weapons in MvM. The others have downsides that significantly make them unviable and provide perks that are useless for MvM.

The Medic not only provides healing, buffing, and charging abilities, but also has the ability to block
damage with his shield, revive teammates, and share his canteens.

  • Overheal teammates during spare moments for more health and faster uber/shield charge.

    • Healing mastery and overheal expert makes your shield recharge even faster.

  • The Projectile Shield does not block flamethrowers (including the Dragon’s Fury) or the Bison projectile beams.

  • Do not run into harm’s way to revive someone. You may end up getting killed, thereby putting
    both you and your dead teammate on the respawn queue (and will be unable to heal or revive
    other players while you wait the respawn timer).

  • DO NOT POCKET ONLY THE HEAVY! All your teammates are equally important and the two of you alone cannot hold the whole wave if the rest of your teammates are dead. Nothing will make your teammates more furious than a Medic who never heals anyone but the Heavy.

  • Don’t follow teammates while tank-busting. Concentrate healing teammates on the front lines.

    • If you are using the Kritzkrieg then it may be wise to use it on someone who is shooting a
      tank if there are no threatening giants (e.g. giant Heavy or Medic) on the field.

    • Never use the Kritzkrieg on the Heavy on the tank. Tanks have a major damage resistance to Heavy primaries. Your crits are better spent on the soldier, pyro, or demoman.

  • Remember that canteens become cheaper when you buy the canteen specialist in addition to
    lasting longer. It may be wise to fully max it out before buying canteens to share with others.

  • Any Medigun is viable for medic, although the Kritzkrieg is the preferred choice for most:

    • Kritzkrieg: Free crit damage to players, 25% faster ubercharge rate.

    • Quick-Fix: Faster revives, faster healing, 10% faster ubercharge rate, less overheal.

    • Vaccinator: Specific resistances, 75% faster ubercharge, multiple ubers, less overheal build rate.

    • Stock: Damage immunity ubercharges, no perks or penalties.

  • If you equip the Ubersaw, you can opportunistically melee sentry busters and melee bots to
    quickly charge up your ubercharge meter (at 25% charge increase per hit).

  • The Overdose grants a 10% speed bonus on a full ubercharge. The crossbow allows medics to
    heal players remotely (much like the engineer’s rescue ranger). Both are good choices for MvM
The Sniper is the king of crowd control with the Explosive Headshot upgrades. He excels at giant damage with his damage upgrades, and has the option to contribute to tank busting or bot stalling.
  • Sniper is the most skill-demanding class in MvM. Consider practicing the class in intermediate
    mode missions until you’re confident enough to take on advanced.

    • If you wish to practice on Valve servers, Ghost Town and the Mecha Engine missions
      (BigRock adv1/2 and Decoy adv3) are great missions to practice your Sniper aim.

  • Bots often travel in predictable paths. Remember to lead your shots at where robot heads will
    likely be at. Avoid playing sniper if your ping is high as you may have trouble landing shots.

  • Your Explosive Headshot does a flat 150, 170, 190 damage per upgrade to every bot within its
    radius. This makes sniper a great uber medic picker, as headshotting a bot with medics attached to it will kill all of its medics. Make uber medics your top priority.

  • If support Snipers or Engineers are on the field, take them out as soon as you can. Most classes are terrible at dealing with those due to where those bots position themselves, so you would
    massively help your team by killing those bots yourself.

  • When shooting at giant robots, fully charge your shot to deal maximum headshot damage, unless there are small bots surrounding the giant robots. Spamming headshots without charging the rifle will burn your ammo very quickly. You also have more time to focus your aim while charging.

  • Most veteran Sniper players use The Hitman’s Heatmaker, Bazaar Bargain, or the stock Sniper Rifle. The Hitman’s Heatmaker is the best choice for newcomers who want to play Sniper.

  • The Huntsman is a poor choice due to lack of Explosive Headshot upgrade. Only use it in
    medieval mode or in intermediate missions if you really want to use it.

  • Use your Jarate every now and then against giant robots, uber Medics, or swarms of robots. If
    you’re using the heatmaker, teammates can charge your focus meter for you by killing Jarate covered robots.

  • Consider buying the slow upgrade on your Jarate if your teammates are struggling to keep Giant Scouts in check.

  • If there are several tanks on a wave or a tank is causing your team problems, you can use the
    Cleaner’s Carbine and Bushwacka together to deal crit damage to the tank. You can max your
    Bushwacka’s melee speed for $800, charge up your carbine, trigger the Crikey mini crits, then
    switch to your Bushwacka and melee the tank. (Bushwacka crits on minicrits.)

    • The Crikey meter on the HUD can sometimes bug out and stop charging, but internally
      the server still increases your meter. You can still trigger the Crikey even if the meter is
      not full so long as the server thinks that it is full.
The Spy excels with dealing large amount of damage to giants, stunning/stalling robots with the Sapper, collecting money, and drawing robot attention off of teammates.
  • Spy is a skill-demanding class in MvM much like Sniper. Consider practicing the class in
    intermediate mode until you’re confident enough for advanced mode.

    • Bigrock is a good map to practice spy on as it offers a lot of places to hide to take cover.

  • The biggest help you can do to your team as Spy is take down the support Snipers and
    Engineers. You can do a better job at that than the sniper and your teammates will thank you for
    taking out the engineer that is shortcutting all the bots across the map with its Teleporter.

  • Spy is one of the few medic picker classes. If uber medics spawn, it is your job to take them out.
    You may use the sapper on them to freeze them in one place if you need to.

  • The Dead Ringer is undeniably the best survival watch. It is mandatory to properly play Spy.

  • All robots will focus an undisguised Spy until their line of sight is broken, the Spy is fully
    cloaked, or the Spy has been disguised for several seconds.

    • A revealed Spy only has seconds before being targeted. Arm the Dead Ringer or break
      their line of sight quickly.

  • Sapping giant robots will make them turn around, preventing you from backstabbing them. Only
    sap giant scouts to slow them or giant robots if they are harassing your teammates.

  • The Your Eternal Reward does not quickly disguise you in MvM like in PvP. Avoid using it.

  • The Diamondback allows you to store up crits from every backstab, which can be handy for
    shooting Razorback snipers (which you cannot backstab) or at a tank.

  • Max your melee speed and (if giant robots are present) armor penetration. Buy at most 2 points of health on kill (unless you use the Kunai, then don’t buy any health on kill since you don’t need it).

  • Since bots target an undisguised spy instantly, resistances, movement speed, and health regen are worthwhile upgrades to buy. Don’t buy fire resistance since you’re as good as dead for if you’re ever ignited (and if you have the Dead Ringer, you extinguish yourself immediately anyway).

  • Never buy crit on kill upgrades. The Spy always crits on every backstab and you will almost never butterknife anything. Do not buy any upgrades on your Revolver.

  • Sapper radius is not worth buying after the first upgrade.

  • Ammo canteens will refill both the Dead Ringer meter and Sapper meter. Alternatively, you can
    carry uber canteens if you find yourself constantly backstabbing giants in an area always patrolled
    by bots (e.g. near the bot spawn dropdown).

  • Assist your Scout in collecting money by grabbing cash piles in areas constantly swarmed by bots.
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Nexo Davix Oct 13 @ 5:58am 
For fuck sake! I read this article 2 weeks ago and I didn't save it. Now my freinds want's to play MvM and I wanted to show him this but I didn't find it. But finally here I am :) Thx
BOX Scribbs Oct 8 @ 7:33pm 
You said that you can max upgrade the bushwakas swingspeed for $400, close but its $800 :L
Erikku  [author] Oct 6 @ 6:59pm 
@Yes Hello - Personally I'm not a fan of the Dragon's Fury because of the single target focus instead of spraying the damage around with W+M1. Still it's a viable Pyro primary.
Yes hello Oct 6 @ 9:49am 
Do you think the Dragon's Fury is worth using? It has better DPS than the other flamethrowers at the cost of crowd control and terrible airblasting. Also unsure if the top of the tank thing applies to it too.
Silverbolt Oct 1 @ 10:50am 
You should mention that medics cannot build his shield while healing overhealed teammates. Also, most mediguns can have a shield ready in 13-15s of healing (8s for the Quick Fix).
CaptainCritz Sep 30 @ 5:42pm 
To me, Airstrike + B.A.S.E. Jumper was always good as well. Not good at assisting teammates exceptionally well in DPS once upgraded.
Demiurgo Sep 29 @ 5:49pm 
Bazaar Bargain It is a very good option when you have accumulated the 4 heads
Thothdj Sep 29 @ 8:40am 
You should probably put for pyro that you need to buy movement speed upgrades, this allows him to circle around giant demos and they cannot keep up.
petko Sep 29 @ 1:30am 
when is the event going to start? or if it alredy started I cant see the servers
Danizk0 Sep 28 @ 12:52pm 
The fact that people play these events just to get a medal is pretty sad