Team Fortress 2

Team Fortress 2

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You and Your Machines - A TF2 Guide to Engineer
By raccoon fingers and 1 collaborators
Are you tired of sitting idly behind your sentry? No More! this guide will show you how to step forwards from behind your sentry and be a useful asset to your team! and if that wasn't enough, you will have even more fun than you've ever had before!
Greetings, welcome to this huge guide on engineer, I will show you how to play with your enemies perception of both TIME and SPACE *Echo* *Echo* *Echo*.. and how to make your little sentry into a dispenser...


All the way from release of TF2 a lot of people have thought about engineer as the guy who just sits there and wacks his sentry with the wrench, and they find him boring because of it. But there's nothing quite like being your own team mate, and that's what this guide is about.

If you want some nice reading music to fit the occasion, you can click here and I'll be nice and open some music in a separate tab for your viewing pleasures.

Before we get started though I would like to give a thanks to Niker for helping me edit this guide, checking my grammar and making sure it's understandable.

Niker also helped me take a couple pictures, along with my other friend Steglad. so thanks for the help again!

If you got questions!
You can either add me on steam or just post them as a comment and I'll put them into the "Question? Answer!" section which will be all the way at the bottom, and will hopefully be slowly filled up over time, Don't be shy!
~~~~ : Foundation : ~~~~
What you will be playing with is a 125 health class with medium movement speed.
He's pretty much at a large disadvantage vs most other classes.

The way I see it, engineer is 2/3 of all the other classes.
but The secret is, your sentry is also 2/3 of an another player too.

And with your basic math skills, I guess you already understand what I am trying to get to.

There's not really much more to say about him, if you want more information like hard numbers and stuff like that, you should rather go to the engineer's wiki page and read up on it there.

So let's get right to the interesting stuff, and start with what each sentry has to offer.
Level 1 Sentry
One of the biggest upsides of the Level 1 sentry is that its visibility and noticeability is the lowest of them all, if you're not entirely sure what the difference between the two is, let me explain. If you bump into a cloaked spy, his visibility is very low as you can't see him, but his noticeability is high because you're clearly 'feeling' him.

a level 1 sentry can be hard to spot if placed correctly and can even be hard to 'feel' as the damage being dealt by is at such a slow and steady pase. you may forget if you're busy doing other things.

The level 1 also has the least particle effects, which can make it even harder to know where they are.

Level 1 sentry particle effects

Since it can be hard to see if placed well and hard to notice because the damage and push-back isn't too high, it makes up for its lower health, it won't get focused as much as a higher level sentry.
Which also means you don't have to babysit it, and you can spend your time doing other things.

Also, it has the smallest hitbox of them all, which makes it the least receptive to damage, especially from weapons with a spread like the minigun or any of the shotguns - we will talk more about that in the hitbox section further down.


Originally posted by Heavy Weapons Guy:
Go ahead, build your tiny gun... then RUN!

Another huge upside is that the time and effort required to deploy one is minimal. A good example is when you're about to lose a round of payload, and you need to stop the cart, you put a sentry down, hit it once with your wrench as you run past it, then run to the cart and body block and try to get all attention on yourself so when the sentry comes up they didn't know it was there and the time it will take them to run out of your sentries line of sight will be too long for them to survive.

To expand on the topic of time and effort. A level 1 sentry is not only the fastest one of the three to build from scratch, but putting it on your shoulder and moving it to the front lines is also way quicker with this version. You can actually get very agressive with a level one sentry.

As a general rule of thumb: if you are moving you sentry up, you will win a 1 vs 1 fight, and if you pull it off correctly you may win a 1 vs 2, but if you see any more enemies you should evacuate.

The level 1 has a single barrel located relatively close to the ground, which makes it possible to use in some spots where the other levels are completely useless.

@Defending pl_barnblitz blue spawn
This picture shows an example of how you can 'abuse' its single barrel. Wrangler is not a good idea with this spot, it was simply used to point out the line of sight the sentry has more clearly.
There's a bunch of spots like that, this one is one of the most fun ones though.

The level 1 is also the most quiet of them all, with the least beeping sounds and the least noticeable shooting sound. Your shotgun, voice commands or pistol are generally louder than it.
Level 2 Sentry

This sentry has way more firepower, twice as much to be exact - its rate of fire doubles.

Many engineer players consider this one their sentry of choice, because of the the mix between high firepower, a relatively small hitbox compared to the level 3 and that that it doesn't have the quad rockets which are a huge giveaway of position.

A high firepower comes with a downside, this version will generally need more babysitting, as people want to focus it down more because it's a bigger threat. In addition, the hitbox is larger, which makes it more receptive to damage and it's easier to notice because of its bigger size and large pushback. To top all that, it's more noisy than the level 1 sentry.

The particle effects for the level two sentry aren't very visible though, these are the same particles as level one's, but there are two of them. Here's a gif to show what they look like.

The muzzle-flash is not affected if it's in a bright or a dark area. The effect itself is different from the one that the level one sentry has. It is actually is twice as big, and since there are two of them, it effectively quadruples the amount of visibility your sentry will get because of its muzzle-flash.

Just to point out, the bullet particle effect seems only to come out of the left barrel, although the hit scan is calculated from both barrels.

There are tricks you can pull off do to overcome the larger hitbox though, since the barrels of the level 2 are located very high on the sentry itself, the legs can be hidden without affecting the damage output. This trick also works with level 1, but in different places as level 1 is shorter than the level 2.

We'll talk about that in the height differences section which is a bit further down.
Level 3 Sentry

This one obviously has the most firepower, but at a cost. It comes in a form of rockets that have travel time. As the sentry doesn't lead by shooting in front of a moving target to compensate for the projectile speed - it rarely hits. However, it can prove useful for people who try to shoot the sentry on corners as it has a pretty high splash damage and will quickly poke down someone who is trying to peak on it.

Not many think about it, but when the rockets get fired, they leave a trail of smoke and it's very easy to point out where the sentry is based on just the smoke. The sound is pretty noticeable too.

The level 3 is generally very easy to spot and will need constant babysitting. Its hitbox is the largest and you've spent quite some time building it up, which means if you don't want that time to be wasted. You shouldn't walk far away from it as it can go down quickly. It does come with a larger health pool than the level 2 sentry though, which compensates for the extra attention you will be getting while having this deployed.
Hiding the hitbox
A huge part of having an effective level 1 sentry is going to be to hide its hitbox so it wouldn't need as much repairing. We'll talk more about that a bit later regardless of what level the sentry you are holding is, you will have the blueprint for a level 1 sentry in front of you.

Hiding the hitbox has some obvious positive effects - your sentry will noticeably take less amounts of damage from weapons with a spread, as less projectiles will actually hit the sentry. And again, it doesn't affect the sentry's damage output as its bullets originate from one point and will hit just as well as a sentry without cover.

On paper, your sentry will take about 80% less damage. But actually there's more to it, if the sentry is hard to hit, people will not bother going for it, even if they know it is there, because they know they can't take it down without suffering from so much damage they would die if someone else comes along and pokes them.
Height differences
Each sentry does have different barrel heights, so when placing a sentry based on a blueprint of a level 1 sentry you need to keep in mind that if it's a level two or three sentry, the barrel height will increase.

This picture shows how much it does with each level.

As an example - this is how a level 3 sentry should be placed to compensate for the height differences between the versions and still keep as much as possible of the hitbox covered without affecting its firepower
These three pictures are taken in the exact same spot.
When should you choose which level?
You can skip this section if you want, it does include some things I did not mention before, but a lot of stuff you've previously read will be repeated. You can take it as a little recap. but If you'd like to read as little as possible, just skip to the next section.

So when should you choose which level?

There are loads of exceptions to the rules, but I'll give you a rundown of what I generally keep in mind.

If you're on the attacking team.

Level 1
You should pick a level 1 if you want to attempt to push their frontline further back, when you want to make a risky move. you want to put the least time and metal into it. And aditionally a level 1 builds much faster, which will repell enemies and help you survive in harsh enviroments. a level 2 sentry takes about twice as long to rebuild when it's moved.

Level 2
You should pick a level 2 if you want to keep the area clear so your team can do their work, but you still want to move up with them as they advance, actively keeping your own front line, but not activly pushing the enemies back too much as the the build time leaves you voulnerable. keep yourself a bit more safe than what you would with a level 1.

Level 3
You should pick a level 3 when you know there's a good choke point where you will not be able to be aggressive and you see that your job is to keep enemies back. The great thing with keeping a level 3 while attacking is that when you finally see a break where you'd have the time to it - either the enemies are dead, busy with an uber, or maybe you know they are going to die very soon, because of a medic using crits. etc etc - you can move your sentry up very aggressively secure a whole area for your team, forcefully moving the frontline forwards sometimes even straight up winning you games. doing this is very high risk, but the rewards are worth pushing your own limits for. have fun!

Defending is a bit more open in my opinion, any level nearly all the time. Just to quickly go over everything:
If you have a level 1, you should keep it more hidden/behind cover. It can’t defend from enemies peeking very well, but it's still good for taking people who overextend

If you have a level 2 you can play as if you have a level 1 or a level 3, it covers doors well, it can be hidden and behind cover. But don't leave it completely to its own engines like you can with a level 1.

Unless you got rescue ranger equipped - you shouldn’t go too far away from a level 3. It covers doors very well, but you'll have to be with it most of the time, which means you can't cover chokes or doors with your shotgun. If you want to be active, you probably shouldn't choose this one.

Don't be stuck in any mindset, try new things. Leave a level 3 sentry in a corner where there's a little health pack or something. Nobody would expect it to be there. They’re running in with low health - KA-BLAM - you got yourself a free kill, maybe you'll get 1 kill, maybe you get 6. Just stay open minded, try new things!
Dispenser and Teleporter.
Dispensers are fat ammo giving medics. They take a long time to build, but are cheap to plop down.
If you don't want to spend time upgrading it you can just put it next to another engineers dispenser. Most of the time they will do it for you over a longer period of time.

If you don't have one, it's nearly always worth putting one down, you can just let it build itself and generate a lot of metal. When you come back to it you can level it up, it's nearly always worth getting this one up to a level 3. There're no downsides other than the time you have to spend to upgrade it.

Another thing I usually do is I put it next to a health kit and/or ammo pack, so if the health pack is missing people wont die from fire waiting for it. You can also use it to block doors, since it has a large hitbox.

With its boxy hitbox, you can place it in between you and incoming projectiles. it could save you from a crit rocket, generally a good thing to keep in mind if you're carrying it and don't have the movement speed to dodge, and happened to be carrying a dispenser. You could also build one, but it's hard to pull off. It's not really that useful, but it's nice to keep in mind if the enemy team is using a kritzkrieg.

Every time you spawn you should place it outside your spawn door. It doesn't cost you anything.
Where you place the exit can change how well your sentry works, as your sentry has weaknesses that can be easily exploited, having a teleporter actually spawning people looking towards the weak spots of your sentry does so it's automatically covered better. if you want people to push a specific way, you can try leading them that way by placing your teleporter so it makes it seem more attractive to go that specific way.

Another great thing to keep in mind is how long the waiting time for each level is,
Level 1: 10 seconds
Level 2: 5 seconds
Level 3: 3 seconds

The huge jump you get from a level 2 is always nearly worth it, leveling it up one more time is not.
~~~~ : Weapons! : ~~~~
A well aimed shotgun shot can deal up to 50 damage on 10 meters range (33 feet), or even 80 damage at 5 meters (16 feet). Considering most classes in this game has between 125 and 200 health - not counting over healing - 80 is a lot of damage, but nearly every class has
bigger damage output and a similar or larger health pool than you have.

The important thing to understand while wielding a shotgun, is that it's not only an aggressive weapon, but also a tool you use together with your sentry to kill and deny your enemies area by either fear or damage.
- If they engage your sentry, you hit them hard with your shotgun,
- If they engage you, your sentry hits them hard.

Your task is to go to the edge of where your sentry has its line of sight and force them into a situation where either they have to
  1. Deal with your shotgun poking them constantly,
  2. Engage you and take the risk going into your territory,
  3. Run away.

@picture: This is an absolutely fantastic spot for doing this as well.

If you take damage, you should go back to your sentry and rely on it, so try to make your time poking them counting for as much damage as possible. If they have taken a good shot or two from your shotgun they will not engage, even a level one does enough damage to finish them off and if they do follow you - it's a good day to be a tiny baby man.

Also, a huge thing with the shotgun is learning how to dance with it. Learning how to move slightly but constantly tricking people, it's hard to explain, and even if I did get words to explain it, it wouldn't actually help much, you're much better off seeing a good engineer doing it.

Here are two really good examples of some footwork from sigafoo.
Rescue ranger (RR)
It's not hard to use this weapon, it's pretty straight forward, although there are some tricks that can be done with it to improve your game.

Spy-checking with this gun is very effective, as when it hits an enemy, it makes a very distinct sound and it also does this on disguised spies.

It is not that good however to actually get rid of the spy since the damage is very minimal. Although it's very accurate, has a very fast travel time, has more damage than the shotgun when it comes to longer range - it's not a fight you should usually take. You can poke a sniper with this thing a couple of times, and maybe kill him if you're lucky, because the crit does 120 damage, so you can finish him off in one shot.

I highly recommend 'leading your shot' when you're healing your sentry with this thing, for example if you see a rocket coming towards your sentry, shoot at it before it takes damage, so right after the rocket hits, your RR will too, healing it nearly instantly again. This is mostly useful because it buys you some time so you can fire the next shot earlier if needed, or have some extra time to reload. It's a small win for you anyway, though if you do it too early you'll waste one shot completely.

Keep in mind that this weapon has a very small clip size. You should save every bolt you have. For example - each bolt heals 75 hp on your sentry, so if it's missing 25 hp it's not worth using a bolt to repair it.

The second big upgrade with the RR other than the long range healing is that it has an infinite pickup range, where if you can see your sentry, you can pick it up. Picking it up is instant, and enables you do move it out of the way of incoming enemy fire - for instance when there're grenades on the floor around it, or rockets flying towards it. You do become very vulnerable yourself if you do so though.

Although it's not very efficient, you can also deny spies trying to sap it by moving it when they are walking towards it with their sapper, but most often, it's more of a tool to take your sentry out of heavy enemy fire and move it to the next place you want to hold without getting killed carrying it in the process.

@defending pl_thundermountain part 1 last cap.
If you don't understand the picture, the one on the left shows the location of the sentry and the one on the right shows where you can pick it up from with the RR. If you find more tricks like this one, please show me!
Wrangler is a tool used to defend your sentry and give it more area denial. This laser pointer has recently became my secondary weapon of choice, as it gives several different utilities that other weapons just don't.

It does provide defense against projectile spam, more passively than the short circuit does.
You can put the shield up and and leave it while you do something else, like getting rid of a spy.

A shielded sentry takes 1/3 of the normal damage, but you also repair it 1/3 while the shield is active, so it may be a metal sponge to repairing it while it's up, definitively worth waiting till the shield is gone before hitting it, especially if it's not under heavy fire.

A spy usually wants to sap your sentry before he deals with you. If he's walking up to your sentry you can send a rocket at his feet doing approximately 100 damage, hitting a few more bullets with the sentry shouldn't be too hard, but if he does get the sapper on before you get those shots in, any primary weapon should be able to deal with him easily, as he will have 30-40 hp left at most.

When it comes to dealing damage with it, it can be a bit tricky at times, either it locks on and hits everything or it doesn't and misses every shot. So it's a fight getting it to lock onto your target. I've found that if a target is moving you should aim a tiny bit in front of them.

Since the turning speed is instant when holding the wrangler, it becomes better than the automatic version at shooting down flying targets most of the time. Some demomen have started using the sticky jumper in combination with a grenade launcher trying to arrive at the sentry and spam it out from both above and beyond before it's able to turn, if you have your wrangler out it's very easy stopping them as 4 grenades is not enough for kill a wrangled sentry entirely, and if you hit them in air, they get pushed back and most likely die.

although it doesn't delete projectiles entirely from existence like the short circuit, you can (if it's a level 3 sentry) shoot a rocket at your sentries feet to push back stickies away from it - saving it from a lot of damage.

They aren't too complicated in my opinion, the only wrench that changes how the game flows in a big way is the eureka effect (I'm not considering the gunslinger a wrench here).

They all got minor buffs and nerfs, some are nice, but if you're just starting out as an engineer, don't think about this one too too much and just go with the default wrench as it's the most solid one of them all.

So here's my quick overview on all the wrenches.

Default Wrench~
Choose the Default Wrench if you want to be aggressive and don't have a shotgun, or if you want to use Frontier Justice.

You should choose the default wrench when you're aggressive with your sentry, moving it up to the front line, but at the same time don't have the shotgun. The logical reasoning behind it being if I don't have a shotgun to hit a spy with, a high damage wrench is the second best.

Southern Hospitality~
(20% fire damage vulnerability and no random crits, but your melee hits make them bleed)
Choose Southern Hospitality if you're maintaining a level 3 and don't have a shotgun, or if you're having issues with 'cloak and dagger' or 'Dead ringer' spies.

This one doesn't let you be as aggressive because it makes you die very quickly to flames, but it lets you deal with spies very effectively, even if they have a dead ringer.

The Jag~
(faster building speed, higher swing speed, less melee damage)
the jag is probably the all around best wrench, with the recent update (juli 2015 update)
it has become insanly quick to put up a level 1 sentry, and leveling the sentry up takes very little time now.

I've played engineer mostly with the default wrench, but after I got more comfortable with the shotgun I started using The Jag. it has higher swing speed which also makes up for the lower melee damage.

The Eureka Effect~
I havent really tested the Eureka Effect after the recent update. so it's something I'll have to write more about when I get familiar with it, it does seem to be very viable for a level 1 focused agressive engineer thoughl. you should run a script on it though, it makes it way better.

I've never really gotten into the gunslinger as I've liked the challange of a level 1 sentry way more, with the update it has changed a lot though, and maybe I'll try it out more now.

Other weapons!
I'll briefly discuss the other weapons I don't feel like needs a full explanation. or weapons I am not comfortable enough with. as the guide is already very long, I want dwell too much into weapon stats, I will just discuss it's uses. I expect you to know what the different weapons do at least to some degree. if you're unsure, you could go to their wiki page.

Widow Maker

(drains metal per shot, but gains metal for damage, works as normal shotgun.)

I prefer the default shotgun, but I've seen engineers do VERY well with the widow maker, it's not as good as the default for spy checking, but it is better when it comes to being aggressive as you don't need to reload it.

Frontier Justice

(half clip size of the default shotgun, and gains crits for kill/assist on your sentry.)

A weapon I can't really get too too in depth about as personally I'm not very good with it and usually I rely on my sentry being up, which makes this weapon a pretty steep downgrade for me. Maybe your play style will go better along with this weapon than mine does.
Keep in mind that this shotgun is longer than the other ones, so hiding in corners may be a tiny bit tougher with this one, as it also glows when you have crits, which makes it very easy to spot.

Pomson 6000

(laser rifle that drains uber and cloak, slow but big projectile.)

Although I dislike its ability to screw over medics, default cloak spies and CnD spies, I don't mind it draining the dead ringer cloak meter, but that's just my personal opinion.
The only reason I use this weapon at times is because it has a very large projectile and it's a
♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥ laser and lasers are fun to use! I don't recommend anyone else to use it other than the times you're having issues with more than one dead ringer spy.

Short Circuit

(secondary that uses metal to delete projectiles on short range)

In my opinion it's just a smaller version of the wrangler, but it has it's places and times, where the wrangler doesn't cover. Although this weapon is hated by many people (and for a damn good reason), as it shuts down most of a soldier and the entirety of demomen. I still feel like it's often needed in public games, where there can be 2+ soldiers and 2+ demomen, but if there's just one of each, have respect for them and use the wrangler instead.

Also, when a medic pair decides to rush through a choke point, you can defend them from damage and CC while rushing forwards with them and deleting projectiles in front of them.

(pew pew pew)

It's a secondary shotgun. It has a surprising amount of damage that is very underrated in my opinion. If you are using the rescue ranger you can use this to cover you sentry, as you would do with the shotgun.
~~~~ : Flavour : ~~~~
Getting their attention
When they wander into your sentry range, your job is trying to convince them to stay there. This is done with your own body. Your sexy, sexy body. :*

This is the time when it's about being smart by being a bit stupid. You want to put yourself in a dangerous enough situation that they would want to shoot at you, but not too deep in so they will get you too quickly, or get you into a corner which from you can't get out. In other words: baiting. You want to do it nearly all the time when you have the opportunity to do so.

Baiting works the best with level 1 sentries in my experience as it won't scare people away, but it will still do massive amounts of damage.

If your sentry has their attention you should try taking it from it instead, it's quite easy getting their attention to be honest, dance in front of them while shooting them, if that doesn't do the trick, you can get closer and jump into their face and poke them even harder with your melee or shotgun. Dance for them!

Fishing analogy:
It's a bit like fishing, you want to pull in the line to bring them closer to the ground (your sentry)
but you at the same time don't want to pull too hard that the line breaks

Keep their hopes up about getting you by not walking too far away. Scream for medic even if you're not low, fake being on low health. Some people actually fall for it, and you don't lose anything for doing it.

Depending on where you put up your sentry, if you get their attention,
  • Maybe they won't even notice it's there,
  • Maybe they notice it is there but are too busy fighting you to know where it is,
  • Maybe they know where it is but underestimate either you or your sentry

Another layer to the whole attention seeking thing we got going on is messing with the enemies. Damage ridicule by putting small but consistent damage onto it, which you can easily do with the pistol or the shotgun. The most important part is that they see you shooting at them.

Here's a gif showing the Damage ridicule

You can also do this with a shotgun, since the ridicules' width is based on damage as well. But then again, if you're closer to their face, people are going to look at you, not the ridicule. Try experimenting with it.
Area denial
Area denial is a huge part of your sentry's job, and you should make yourself aware of its capabilities, even an obvious level 1 sentry can have it in a public game.

Since all sentries have the same range they all cover the same amount of area, what changes in between the versions is how well they cover it, I'd say.

A level 1 sentry is capable of denying an area from 1-2 people,

A level 2 can deny an area from about 3 people.

While a level 3 can deny an area for about 4 people, and it also has the added benefit of denying people to peak around corners better than the other versions due to it's high burst on stationary targets.
Tricks and Tips!
Be your own sentries cover wall
While your sentry is building you can't repair it (unless you've picked it up then placed it again), so if you accidentally (or intentionally) build a very aggressive sentry that is taking minor incoming enemy fire, you can walk on the other side of it, and take a few shots for it.

If you had full ammo when placing it, you will use 130 of your metal, which means you got 70 left after placing it - that's not a lot, but still something. Trading 20-40 of your health for 20-40 of your metal that you would have to spend if you let your sentry get shot while building. In my opinion, it's worth it most of the time. When it's up, you will have 70 metal to keep that little thing going and doing a lot of damage.

Even if it goes down after having scared them of or stood there for a at least 3-5 seconds shooting, they lost way more value. Either they lose the area which gives you time to level up your sentry, or gives you time to move it up one more time if you have team mates with you, or they lost health and have to retreat.

Another thing you should keep in mind about your sentry is that it will spawn with 1 hp. If anything hits it, it will be destroyed, so in the first 2 seconds of your sentries building time is when it's the most important to body-block any damage. If it goes down, 130 metal (-the scrap parts you are able to pick up) will be wasted. But don't be afraid to try aggressive sentries, they can often change the outcome of the game.

Plan ahead
If you plan ahead that you will make an aggressive sentry you can build up your sentry right before an aggressive corner, pick it up and then move it so it has a line of sight to your enemies, this does so it won't spawn with 1 hp. And it also builds faster, way faster!

Small aggression
When you move a level 3 sentry, the initial building process where it goes from a toolbox to a level 1 can be sped up by hitting it with a wrench, me and a bunch of friends tried being 5 engineers hitting one sentry, and it went up instantly. The issue is though, the animation where it goes from a level 1 to a level 2 cannot be sped up (same with level 2 to a level 3), so before you move up your sentry, keep in mind that when you move up a level 3 sentry, it won't start shooting before a demoman has already had a chance to place 4 stickies on its feet.

Watch the score board
This one is HUGE for engineer, especially if you're attacking. Look at who's playing what, and get to know your enemy team a bit - who can mess you up the most. People with higher scores are usually bigger threats to you. When you see maybe top 3 on the enemy team die, or number 1, 2, 4, and 6. - you move your sentry up. And move it up far, because when a sentry is up and being taken care of, it gets very hard to take it down.

To keep yourself away from looking at the scoreboard all the time just memorize the names of the top two players on the other team, when you see them die or if there's a lot of enemies dying in the kill feed, check the scoreboard.

Watch your own team
It's nearly the same as the last one, if a heavy medic is close to the front line and just ubered or if you see that they are rushing in to pop the uber, put your Nike or Puma on and get those legs going, you're pretty much guaranteed that the enemy team will be running away, and enemies running into their spawn or back line is the same as them being dead.

Help out your co-workers!

A sentry with two engineers hitting on it is close to invulnerable, nearly nothing can take it down. When the action gets hot and going, maybe a heavy is jumping the sentry, or an uber combo is pushing in to take down his nest, it's both yours and his interest to keep the sentry up. It gives you space to push aggressive sentries up. Maybe while he has nothing else to do he will level up the sentry just just passively placed in his domain while you're on the frontline doing damage with your shotgun.

Shift working

Continuing on the previous tip - if you notice he is not around his sentry, or you noticed he got killed, take his place for 20 seconds and keep his sentry alive, killing the engineer is often a big part of taking down a sentry, people often write messages like "engineer down" in enemy team chat, to signal that they can easily go for the sentry. However, if you're sitting there, you may be giving your fellow engineer a few kills and gaining yourself a couple assists as well.

Active platforming

Since you can stand on your dispenser, you can use it as a platform to get to some places you previously weren't able to get to. and because the physics in this game are very accurate to real life you can also pick up your sentry while jumping off of it. This can make you very unpredictable, and pulling it of in combat can be very rewarding.

both gifs are from pl_barnblitz

Found on the wiki

I found this great picture on the wiki. I wanted to mention the advantages with high ground and I think they nailed it pretty much. so here's a little screenshot of the wiki and a link to it, all credit goes to them.

I would like to add though, that you can pull the sentry back a little bit to make it harder to hit while still maintaining the firepower. I edited the wiki picture to show as an example.

Keep your children fed

Health and ammo packs spawn every 10 seconds, so when you start building up a nest, pick up the ammo pack as early as possible to get the next respawn as fast as possible. Try to time it so when it respawns you're already standing on it.
~~~~ : Spots : ~~~~
before we get started on the spots I want to point out that there's way too many maps in this game for me to cover them all, so instead of trying to put my mouth over an apple which is clearly too big for me, I'll show you more in depth on the maps I do know. and that way I hope that you see the mindset I use, and maybe you'll take them over to your favorite map and apply them there.

I will also only show you spots I have tried and consistently got to work in some way, or spots that have been very use to use. you're here to become better, and it would be very rude of me to bs you and waste your time with spots I am not confident with.

I will also stay away from spots that engineer usually use, most people know about them already and there's no need in me spending either your or my time explaining things you've already seen and understood.
lets get started!


@ Defending pl_barnblitz first cap
This is probably my favorite spot in the entire game so far. it works with all levels, but remember to move it further down per level as discussed in "hiding the hitbox" be active with your shotgun and you'll rack up kills quickly with this thing!


@ Defending pl_barnblitz first cap
this one is also fantastic, it's hard to take down. it is relatively vulnerable to snipers, but hey, a level one, doesn't cost you nothin'


@ Defending pl_barnblitz Last cap
this is a spot you would generally want to do when they have started rushing in the doors already and the other spots don't work, it's very hidden and hard to get your eyes on in the heat of combat, and if they are this far in they are guaranteed busy with fighting either you or your team mates. this sentry needs you as a frontline, keep your enemies busy so this thing can do its magic.


@ Defending pl_barnblitz Last cap
most people know about this spot, but few know that you can put the sentry even further up than what people usually do. it's less vulnerable to nearly everything. but this one should NOT be upgraded. if the barrel height goes too high it will not be able to hit anything that isn't 5 meters away from it. also, a tip about the normal spot(left picture): if you keep it a level 1, it shots upstairs, and offers way more area denial. worth testing out.

@ Defending pl_badwater first cap
this spot is kind of great, it is hard to get up there but it's worth the effort. but I've found other spots to work better. (referring to the one by the staircase a bit further down). you can also build the sentry on top of the other rock (marked it with an x in the picture). though the spot in the picture covers a tiny bit towards the red spawn area.


@ Defending pl_badwater first cap
you can elevate sentries on some things, this sentry is elevated onto the rock and then has cover from an even bigger rock. it's biggest weakness is the platform behind it. so as a little trick you could put your teleporter up there to keep it crowded. or just stay active upstairs, keep your shotgun loaded.


@ Defending pl_badwater first cap
my favorite spot for the first cap goes to this little staircase, it work with all levels, and covers nearly everything very well, it's a bit weak to people from the top platform just like the spot mentioned earlier, but it shouldn't be too hard to keep it up.


@ Defending pl_badwater first cap
as a last spot that covers the first cap, this one is a bit funny, I'd say more upgraded it is the better it becomes, but it's very vulnerable to anyone not coming from downstairs. so it's a suicide spot, it kills everything at the cart extremely effectively. no one really ever expect there to be a sentry here, but then again, do it if you want to have some fun, not to be effective.


@ Defending pl_badwater second cap
This sentry covers very well downstairs, and it doesn't really need any maintenance, if your team is around they will punish anyone actually trying to get it. you job is keeping upstairs with your shotty and making sure no one can get behind your sentry.


@ Defending pl_badwater third cap
keep it covered, works best as level 1 or 2. it's dependent on your team to be around to some degree. worth a try, see if it works for you.


@ Defending pl_badwater third cap
this is a fun one, if you can stay on the other side of the choke and bait people with your shotty you're probably going to get a couple kills with this one.


@ Defending pl_badwater third cap
as a last resort before leaving the area you could try plopping down a sentry right here. I've had very mixed results with it, mostly depending on if they go up the staircase or not.


@ Defending pl_badwater last cap
This one is an absolute beast, it works with shotgun, it works with RR, it works with every level. it covers nearly everything that can shot on it. and it's really damn hard to take down.
@ Defending pl_goldrush part1 last cap
this sentry is hard to spot, it's very good at taking care of scouts that wants to roam around in spawn as if they want to get there they will either have to suffer from great damage or take the way where everyone can see him running towards spawn. the thing that is also great about it is that it has a cover so the snipers in the windows won't take it down. this sentry is nice because it doesn't need anything as it just picks off what goes too far into your territory.


@ Defending pl_goldrush part 2 first cap

it can be very tricky to take down at times, as it's very hard to hit because hitscan weapons hit the ground in front of it and grenades roll down the hill behind. you can also place it on the other side of the bridge, I've found it more effective at dealing with people coming from the back ally way, but you need to make sure it sticks up enough to shot over the bridge.


@ Defending pl_goldrush second part 2 second cap
This one is a good last resort, it's very hard to spot, and does a lot of damage when they start getting close to the point. before leaving the area drop it down and let it do its magic! don't stay with it


@ Defending pl_goldrush part 3 second cap
this one is easier to spot than the previous one but it's hard to take it down as there's a little ledge on the staircase in front of it that does so explosive damage doesn't actually hit it. as I've tried showing it in the picture. this spot goes well together with Rescue ranger. but is pretty vulnerable to spies. and it may need repairs frequently. it's kind of dependent on being surrounded by team mates (this area is usually full of people, so don't worry about that)


@ Defending pl_goldrush part 3 last cap
very fun spot to use, keep in mind that it has to be a level 1 though. the barrel height on a level 2 is too high and will collide with the sign itself. it's also very easy to place, you don't have to walk behind the sign to do so. you can do it from the front.

@ Defending pl_upwards first cap
This has slowly become one of my favorite spots, as it's very easy to cover and the only big weakness it has is that you may get sniped trying to repair it. just keep it covered with your shotgun and this spot will do very good. can be upgraded, but I wouldn't go to more than a level 2


@ Defending pl_upwards first cap
this is a variation on the previous one, it takes advantage of that a level 1 sentry has only one barrel, and it covers the top of the little hill on the left very well, it also shots people walking on the right side structures(not visible in the picture), but it's very vulnerable to anything walking up the middle, try not to stay in the middle as it would attract people, rather cover it from above preferably on the right side (on the wooden structures)


@ Defending pl_upwards third cap
Spot in the left picture
it's a very nice spot as it covers the ledge along the death pit, and sometimes you'll push someone off the hill with it, several days a go from writing this I pushed a rocket jumping soldier out into the abyss. this spot is decent with shotgun cover, but is better with rescue ranger. and as spawn is right behind it's very quick to change to it. it's mostly vulnerable from the right (where the cart goes). but your team mates will probably be there, so it shouldn't be a big issue

Spot in the right picture
this spot doesn't cover as much as it could have if it was placed a few more meters to the left, but it's very nice if you don't want to babysit your equipment, as this one doesn't get spammed out as easily, but still takes over extenders.


@ Defending pl_upwards last cap
it's not offen you find good spots for you dispenser, usually it just goes down someplace where it's close to the frontline, but still is safe from enemy fire. this spot is amazing though. it blocks the way entirely for spies to get past (if placed right). try placing it then jump down and try passing it yourself, sometimes you can walk on the side of it from the underside. test it out. the good thing is that although spies cant walk past, you can walk through spawn and get past anyway.


@ Attacking pl_upwards third cap
This one is great, it is just out of range of the where the sentries usually are (if you place it all the way back by the wall) but it still pokes anyone that tries to go for a walk. very vulnerable to soldiers, but it's also very effective with wrangler. you can also jump from the sentry on top of a box next to it, which means people will have to choose between either shooting you or the sentry, not both. keep in mind that doesn't work when they have a sentry in the standard spot in this area.


@ Attacking pl_upwards last cap
Left picture: This one can be very hard to spot, and I'm actually not entirely sure what if covers, but it does cover a lot, because every time I get it down I get hitsounds constantly. and on top of that delicious cheese, it doesn't need anything.

Right picture: great for obvious reasons, will need you to be with it and punch it though. there's also a ammo pack right behind it. so you'll get a constant supply.


@ Attacking pl_upwards last cap
people tend to use this spot for mini sentries, but forget completely that it works for level 1 sentries as well. just wanted to point it out it still works, this one should not be upgraded though, as the barrel height will do so it can't shot anything.

@ Defending dustbowl first part cap 1
this is another levitating one, if you slide it up on the little rock it will get some extra height. this is best as a level 1 or 2. cover it with your shotgun.


@ Defending dustbowl first part cap 1
this one requires you to be on the the other side of the little canyon keeping your enemies busy. I've done great with this several times.


@ Defending dustbowl first part cap 2
Surprice sentry! nearly no one expects it to be here, and it can be hard to take down, this one requires you to have a RR ready though. but it will probably get you a couple of kills quickly


@ Defending dustbowl second part cap 1
variation on the usual spot on this map, it's harder to take down, but it's also less aggressive,
it does take anyone that pushes out of the initial choke though. and it also covers behind the house obviously, so all in all, it's a good spot.


@ Defending dustbowl second part cap 1
this is what I usually go with, remember to place it a bit outside the door so it takes people trying to get underneath you through the door. this one usually needs team to cover the rooms underneath.


@ Defending dustbowl second part cap 1
this spot is good if you want to be aggressive with your shotgun, it's hard to notice from ground but do get hit if you walk too close to it still, it also covers the point, it shouldn't be leveled up unless you want to sit with it, and if you want to tank up with a sentry, the previous spot is way better.


@ Defending dustbowl second part cap 2
usually best as a level 3 it's another variation on the usual spot, it's moved a bit further to the side. you can't sit behind it and hit it like the usual spot, but this one covers All the doors by itself, if you want to, I'd go with RR and wrangler together with it. but try not to use the wrangler to offend as it already has view of everything


@ Defending dustbowl second part cap 2
it's a hidden one, punishes anyone that tries to go for the point. good spot if you want to just generally hold the back line or if the enemies are pushing in hard. try to keep it a level 1 as any higher level will easily be spotted here.


@ Defending dustbowl second part cap 2
these are two spots incase you didn't notice, the one on the left covers both upstairs and the middle gap, but is more vulnerable, while the one on the right covers only upstairs but is way less vulnerable


@ Defending dustbowl third part cap 1
I love this one quite a bit actually, be active with your shotgun, or if your team is active you can change to RR. you shouldn't really repair it with your wrench anyway so eureka effect would be nice with this sentry, then you could easily change between shotgun and RR.


@ Defending dustbowl third part cap 2
pokes anyone that wants to cross the bridge pretty hard, but vulnerable to spies and people walking up behind it. sadly it doesn't cover the punish people peaking the tunnel very well. but anyway walking into the canyon is will take quite substantial damage from it


@ Defending dustbowl third part cap 2
3 very nice spots, they each cover different places, personally I like the spot in the bottom right picture, it takes most of the canyon and also punishes people trying to walk on the ledge as seen in the picture


@ Defending dustbowl third part cap 2
this is my favorite, it should at least be a level 2 because the pushback does so people will have a hard time walking in the door seen in the picture, and some people keep pushing against it till they die. which is nice for you
~~~~ : The End : ~~~~
That's the end of this guide. Whatever the case may be, I hope you've gotten something good out of this - entertainment or improvement. Thanks for reading.

Question? Answer!
As said in the introduction, if you have any questions you can either add me on steam or just post them as a comment here and I'll answer them as well as I can.

"What about using a level-1 sentry vs a mini-sentry?"
Question from ilikepho on reddit

although a mini-sentry is very similar to level 1 they make for completely different play styles, there's no coincidence there's a huge flashing light on top of the mini-sentry. it it's silly, and it does what valve wanted it to. it makes you notice the sentry. try paying attention to it next time you're in game. you can't put a mini sentry in a dark area and expect it to be hidden, it will be noticed it it appears on the enemies screen.

it has a smaller hitbox, it costs less. when you put it down it already has full hp. but max health is lower and you can't repair it. and although a level 1 sentry doesn't have as much health as a level 3, you can actually sit behind it and tank up very effectively if it's suddenly needed. that can't be done with a mini-sentry.

although the dps on the mini sentry is lower, it has a higher fire rate, and the pushback per bullet is the same as the level 1 sentry, which means the mini sentry has more pushback.

mini sentry is more for the obvious aggressive play style, where it's more about overwhelming your enemy by being quick and consistent

while a level 1 sentry is more about deceiving your enemies, and outsmarting them. knowing that if your sentry goes down you will be vulnerable and it will take time getting a new one up. but when you get it up onto their frontline, it will be able to do a job no mini-sentry would not be able to do. tanking through a couple rockets, taking some spam. and doing more damage, if you got metal near by, you may even be able to level it up. and you'll have that area locked down.

the cool thing about having a wrench instead of the gunslinger is also that you have way more options to what you want to do.

hope that answered your question!

"what's your standard payload offense/defense loadout?"
Question from Tommo

my loadout doesn't really change much, I usually stick to the default shotgun, wrangler and default wrench. I sometimes change to rescue ranger but it's nearly entirely unrelated to weather I'm attacking or defending. it's more about the map layout and what I want to do. a great thing about the RR that I didn't really mention is that while being on the attacking team you can quickly move your sentry up with the RR. making the window of opportunity on getting your sentry at an aggressive spot bit larger for you. and if they are spamming your sentry with explosives it can get challenging to actually repair the sentry with your wrench when you don't really have that much hp to play with.

I feel like this is a perfect explanation of how I play engineer on the attacking team. thanks :)
Originally posted by Tommo:
Tommo: so on offense do you have sentries to stop overextensions and then if you get the chance an aggressive sentry
Tommo: with dispensers etc to fall back on
Change Log
February 27th 2015 - Initial release!

February 28th 2015 - Spell checking and adding additional content to the QNA section.

March 7th 2015 - minor spellchecking

June 23rd 2015 - minor spellchecking

July 18th 2015 - updated several sections because of the recent tf2 update

July 18th 2016 - Some visual changes and tightened up the sidebar a bit.
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MCR_Boi Jan 20, 2021 @ 3:42am 
engineer gaming
TheEvilDuck Aug 10, 2018 @ 5:04pm 
oh, never knew that, my bad
raccoon fingers  [author] Aug 10, 2018 @ 1:58pm 
@TheEvilDuck I'm not entierly sure, but I believe guides you either like or favorite end up at the top, but it's only client side.
TheEvilDuck Aug 10, 2018 @ 1:49pm 
when I thumbed up this yesterday, it's on the top 3 guides today! I guess I brought back an old guide, oops, my bad...
Draviic Alterius Mar 11, 2017 @ 6:29pm 
Very interesting. Would be nice to see this melded with the Engineer Bible video on youtube. All it was really missing was sentry positioning and now it requires updates being from the pre rescue ranger era
tarantino Mar 11, 2017 @ 12:31am 
This is a great guide, i mean it helped me alot, learnt more about everything for the engineer! Moatly like the spots tho it has helped me at placing my sentries better.
Foshi Dec 1, 2015 @ 5:21am 
Gaah! The basic wrench heals more and is better for dealing with spies and such, but the jags speed is just amazing for..well everything you do with a wrench!
Festive Pybro Nov 30, 2015 @ 8:19pm 
Indepth much?
Dog Nov 30, 2015 @ 5:44pm 
thanks for the 11/10 guide I ussually just mess around and trollgineer but this has made me wanna play a bit more competitively. P.S. any good trollgineer spots :P
Toefuzz Nov 29, 2015 @ 1:40pm 
What should i do if my sentry spot gets taken down and i get killed? how to i recover and build a new spot? (great guide btw):steamhappy: