Team Fortress 2

Team Fortress 2

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Potato.tf's MvM Playing Tips
By Erikku
Quick tips for use playing Mann vs. Machine missions in and outside of Potato.tf campaign servers.
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Introduction
Update: 2/2/21 - This guide has been rewritten to encompass general MvM play and current / future campaigns for the Potato MvM Group, and also to make corrections on tips / suggestions for various classes to encourage a less meta focused playstyle.

This guide is intended for beginning to intermediate players vaguely familiar with MvM, and also handy for other players needing a refresher or some quick tips for a specific class.

  • 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 rarely kick for “No Reason.” Other players kick often to communications not being heard.

  • The best way to improve in MvM is to keep playing the game mode. Knowing is half the battle: Starting with guides is a good way to dive into MvM, but much of your knowledge and skill-set will be built up with experience and advice from other experienced players.
All Class / General
  • A good team composition for Advanced and Expert missions consist of a money collector (usually a Scout and/or Spy), an Engineer for ammo/health supply / teleporters, and one or two classes dedicated tank buster (if applicable).

    • A Medic is a great to have for keeping players alive and protected, but is by no means required.

    • Having a Uber-Med picker is highly recommended, but not strictly required.

  • 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 generally 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 (other than Building) except for dire times. Your credits should be concentrated on permanent upgrades rather then temporary (often unnecessary) buffs.
Scout
The Scout tends to be seen as a supportive class in MvM with his role of collecting cash, providing healing with Mad Milk, and mini-crit debuffs with the Fan ‘O War.
  • Contrary to popular belief: The Scout is more than capable of fulfilling a damage role just like other classes and doesn’t have to upgrade resistances from the start to be effective.

    • If you’re feeling confident: Make your primary weapon your main priority in upgrades. The Scout can ease a lot of pressure by contributing a high amount of damage to Giants and Tanks.

    • Playing with less emphasis on resistances involves playing similar to Scout in PvP. Take flank routes against bots and don’t bite off more than chew.

  • Cash gives you (over)healing. Collect all the money piles you see to keep yourself healthy. You can ignore red money (which is created by snipers) if you want as it is already collected money, but will still heal you.

    • Keep an eye out on the dropped credit counter and prioritize locating the cash ASAP, but don't neglect the bomb for it.

  • 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!

  • Avoid equipping the Baby Face’s Blaster as you’ll often be slowed by robot spam.
Soldier
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.

  • Soldiers are generally expected to equip a banner as their secondary. The choice in banner depends mainly on personal choice, but things to consider:

    • The Buff Banner may be needed to help if you’re working with a teammate to take down a tank. Otherwise, the banner is useful for buffed damage against hordes of bots.

    • The Concheror is handy for helping keep teammates alive against Giants, and can prove useful if you want to subtle a damage dealing class in place of a Medic without a significant loss of healing.

    • The Battalion's Backup is handy for waves with a high amount of crit boosted bots, or early waves with low amount of money for crit resist.

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

    • If your team has multiple soldiers: It's best not to duplicate banners. The Buff Banner mixed with the Concheror is a strong combination.

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

  • 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
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.
  • Potato servers have the following changes made to Pyro for balancing purposes:

    • The Gas Passer Explode On Ignite upgrade has been disabled as it is deemed too strong for a minimal amount of effort.

    • Airblasting has had its strength reduced making it difficult to push back Giants

    • The Scorch Shot has been modified to function similarly to the Detonator as its pushback was deemed too strong for minimal effort.

    • 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.

  • Playing Pyro in MvM requires additional thinking as rushing bots head-on will often get you killed. You will need to take advantage of robot AI and aggro.

    • Use flanking routes/maneuvers and attack bots when their attention isn’t on you.

    • Circle-strafing can be effective against certain giants.

    • Camping corners and blind-spots are effective tactics against hordes.

  • Tank-busting is an important role for Pyro. You may struggle without early damage upgrades so make flamethrower damage upgrades your first priority.

  • 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
Demoman is a crowd controller with the use of Stickybomb traps and the Grenade Launcher.
  • A full Demoknight loadout should generally be avoided as it is not as effective as other Demoman loadouts and requires a high amount of positioning and knowledge of bot AI to be effective.

  • Focus on upgrading one weapon rather than both. You'll often 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 hold on to placed crit stickies for too long. 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 Demoknight bots equip with the weapon can instantly kill you! You can also slay them in one hit too if you’re lucky!
Heavy
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.

    • Fire resistance can generally be ignored unless the wave has a considerable amount of Dragon’s Fury Pyros.

  • 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 close to the hatch or there’s nothing else on the field.

  • The 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.
Engineer
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.

  • Try to keep a dispenser up and going as much as possible and have it positioned relative to your team’s position even if pushed back from the frontlines.

  • 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.
Medic

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.

  • 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.

  • 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 by most. Make a choice based off your preference. Just remember that the Kritzkrieg is used by Medics confident in their own protection.

  • 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 from a distance (much like the engineer’s rescue ranger). Both are good choices for MvM
Sniper
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 one of the moreskill-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.

  • Most veteran Sniper players use The Hitman’s Heatmaker or the Bazaar Bargain.

  • The Huntsman is a poor choice due to lack of Explosive Headshot upgrade.

  • 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.)
Spy
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.

  • The Dead Ringer is undeniably the best survival watch as bots always buy death feigns and almost never track you through its cloak. 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.

  • Upgrading Armor Penetration to the maximum is the first priority for Spy players to maximize backstab damage to giants.

  • Sapping robots will make them turn around, preventing you from backstabbing them. This can be used to distract robot attention away from teammates as well as slow Giant Scouts.

  • Use your movement speed, corners, and walls to break line of sight from bots to have them forget your presence and allow you to redisguise.

  • Bots will focus an undisguised spys nearly instantly if not focused on your teammates. While distracted bots will often take two or three seconds to react when distracted.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • You can assist your Scout teammate in collecting money by grabbing cash piles in areas constantly swarmed by bots.
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42 Comments
Bringdown Apr 28, 2020 @ 8:41am 
bruh can I use funy slow gun???????
Wolfycatt(Ana) Apr 27, 2020 @ 12:18am 
Oh I forgot, why is the GRU not mentioned on the heavy's meele? I'm curious, as I still use them even after their nerf.
The trick I found with them is to switch to the gloves right from spawn until roughly 70% of the way to the front lines. Regular walk the rest of the way and you'll have recovered your original health by the time you're fighting again, and you'll have reached the front lines faster than without it. Only useful on longer maps and not too useful with a teleporter, but the TP might break (happens a lot on Bigrock with engi bots breaking the teleporters or making them dangerous)
It's also good to bail out of a situation if you still have a good ammount of health and don't need to run more than a couple of seconds. (although I believe the fists of steel will do that job better)
Wolfycatt(Ana) Apr 27, 2020 @ 12:04am 
Another situation where it's good is when you need to take some pressure away from your team mates. There's some waves where a really large group of enemies will spawn together (sometimes with buffs or crits) and the smaller radius only one upgrade provides might not be enough to take enough pressure away from your team, and they might end up dying or having to fall back.
(As a PS, i've played a lot of advanced and expert matches with not-so-great team mates and most of those sapper uses are probably not worthwile on good teams, BUT on those teams where some stuff is lacking like resistances, medic's shield, etc etc they can be good. Basically, sapper radius 2 and 3 can make the spy more of a crowd controller if needed.)

I hope I didn't flood here too much! This guide is overall very good and I'm definetelly recommending it to friends if they are new to MvM :meadowlovebadger:
[2/2]
Wolfycatt(Ana) Apr 27, 2020 @ 12:00am 
3. Sapper radius (2 and 3) is a decent upgrade to get if the wave doesn't have any giants to focus on and you need to hold a group of robots. Maps like Mannhattan as an example (I know the guide is focused on the Madness vs Machine servers with different maps, but just as an example) you might have to hold off the flank by yourself such as the upper spawn on that map, and it really helps to have a bigger radius to get as many of the flanking robots as possible.
[1/2]
Wolfycatt(Ana) Apr 26, 2020 @ 11:40pm 
2. You should mention body blocking (or sentry blocking) as a strategy for various classes (mainly heavy, engineer's sentry, overhealed scout, spy, medic with shield). You can block the enemy robot's advances with yourself if needed, really helpful against giants. It's also worth mentioning that after 5 or so seconds they will start jumping and climb up the player/sentry in their way. This can be a lifesaver on maps where the bomb goes inside a building with a door and there's giant scouts, or any kind of tight chokepoint.
Wolfycatt(Ana) Apr 26, 2020 @ 11:40pm 
Very good guide! Even as a MvM veteran I've learned some things with it ^^

Most of my nitpicks have been voiced by Toki, but I do have one of two things that I think it's worth commenting:

1. Natasha can be good against waves with giant scouts if your team doesn't have anything to stop them, or isn't "reliable" (I've seen teams where the scout misses the milk, or the pyro gets distracted, etc). It is situational, but not as useless as the other two weapons listed there. I would advice not using it when there's more of other giants besides scout (say a wave with 4 giant heavy's and 2 giant scouts).


sussus amogus Mar 29, 2020 @ 1:14am 
4. Banner duration is, again, something to consider when spare on cash for tanks, although highly unlikely as soldier requires way more money to commit to. The horn takes a considerable amount of time to deploy, which can really drop some overall dps when trying to fight something as tanky as... the tank. While we're here, just as the medic can charge uber on the sentry buster, soldiers can as well with their banners.
5. I've found good success with the GL + Tide Turner + Claidheam Mor for trimping to safety or regularly just being able to turn around as needed. Better suited for more experienced players, as you have less resistance and health.
6. If you have to buy the Projectile Deflection for heavy, do both. I've found poor success in utilising one point. Also aim a little towards their left shoulder, as their rockets/pills come out from their right.
sussus amogus Mar 29, 2020 @ 1:14am 
Good read. Minor nitpicks:
1. Teach players how to read incoming robot waves
2. Scouts can collect Red Cash to heal themselves, which can be handy.
3.The spy is likely the class with the least amount of money you need to commit to, so the sapper radius could still be worth if you're really that spare on cash.
(1/2, hit the 1000-char limit)
Zé Bostola Feb 29, 2020 @ 2:46pm 
Excellent article. I learned a thing or two. Thanks.
InterrobangTF2 Dec 10, 2019 @ 4:27am 
no, visit https://potato.tf