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You And Cappn Are Gonna Make it Happen (aka Rob's TF2 Guide to Medic)

Robert Monroe

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So here I've decided to do some TF2 guides. Namely, I will be doing them for Medic and Engineer, my two mains aside from Heavy, and if you want a Heavy guide, go look at Milky's stuff.

Anyways, hopefully this topic will enlighten you some on what it takes to be a good Medic. As a Medic, your talents lie not in reflexes, "leet skillz", or good aim, but in your ability to think on the fly, make quick decisions, and strategize.

To start, we will cover the very basics of playing the Medic: HEALING. Specifically, who you are healing and why. While any pubstar can pick up Medic and attatch themself surgically to a Heavy and geeeenerally come out on top, its not always the best way to go (I would know, that's how I started out with Milky). A good medic can seamlessly juggle between Pocketing and Sharing, keeping the whole team happy.

But what IS Pocketing and Sharing, you say? Well, let's define them.

Pocketing is when you continuously heal a single player. Whenever you see a Medic follow a Heavy around healing just him, that's pocketing.

Sharing is the opposite of Pocketing: you don't dedicate yourself to any single person, you heal everyone as they come up and let them go on their own.

Both of these have merits, but the question of the matter is WHEN they have merits.

Since pocketing is what most players are familiar with, and what you see done the most often, we shall begin there. Pocketing is a sure-fire way to keep yourself alive on the battlefield, if you pick the right medic buddy. Heavies and Soldiers are your best bets for starting out the art of field medicine, and as your skills increase you will find that Demos and Pyros are also good choices as well.

However, there is more to pocketing than just healing some shmuck and expecting to be invincible. Pocketing is a life or death choice, as the guy you decide to glue yourself to could mean your success or failure as a medic. Be aware of your teammates when making a pocket choice! That Soldier, does he rocket jump away from you as soon as you heal him? Does that Heavy have tunnel vision and never watch his back? Does the Pyro just W+M1 and never even realizes he has airblasts? Does the Demo never leave the CP, just staying behind spamming stickies? These are all things to consider, because a bad medic buddy just results in two dead players. Make sure whoever you are pocketing knows how to play their class well, and are situationally aware of what is going on around them. You might feel bad for the upstart noob Soldier or Heavy who gets facerolled because he can barely aim his primary weapon, but it will take more than sympathy to help him, and you pocketing him will just result in both of you as little red giblets. Of course this is not to say NEVER HEAL THEM, just do not -pocket- them.

So, what do you look out for in a Medic Buddy? Here's a list of traits I find favorable in the four "core" buddy classes...

-Soldier: Knows how to control his rocket jumps. Which is to say, he doesn't just long jump away from you the moment you overheal him. Also try and see if he's any good with the shotgun. The shotgun is a hugely underrated weapon, and a sign of a good Soldier is one who can go to town with it. Also note his melee weapon habits: most Soldiers pack the Equalizer. If your pocket does, is he prone to whipping it out to slap someone in the face with it? Equalizer blocks healing, so if he does this to you, don't hesitate to abandon him for safer ground. Following a Soldier with his Equalizer out waiting for him to put it away is an exercise in foolishness. Also pay attention to what rocket launcher he is using: ideally you'll want a Soldier using the vanilla one, but any primary weapon will do EXCEPT for the Black Box. The Black Box is the roaming Soldier's weapon, it heals him for damage done, so you're healing him is superfluous.

-Heavy: He checks his Six (back)! The difference between a good Heavy and a Heavy whose just a 300 HP wall for the enemy team to overcome all boils down to how well that Heavy can watch his own back. You do not want a W+M1 tunnel vision Heavy as your long-term pocket, he will get you killed. Also check out your Heavy's loadout: unlike Soldier, Heavy only has a few good pocketing items. Namely, you'll want your Heavy to have the GRU, which makes him move faster and gives you free uber buildup as you race to the frontlines. Sandvich is also important: the sign of a Heavy who truly looks out for his Medic is the Heavy who tosses you his Sandvich with M2. If the Heavy has Dalokah's bar, watch out, because he can't M2 it, and if he has the Buffalo Steak, also be wary, because if he eats that thing he's going to get himself stuck in melee-only minicrit mode (although if he's packing the Fists of Steel and can catch the enemy off guard, this could lead to good results. Hardly standard procedure, however). Most miniguns will work for your Heavy, but if you see him using the Brass Beast while playing roaming heavy, suggest he change his weapon. If you see him using Natascha, definitely ask he change weapons, because an enemy Heavy will tear you a new asshole. The last thing to look out for in a Heavy buddy is how he approaches the battlefield. A heavy that hits the front lines head on is ok, but a truly great Heavy buddy plays like the Spy: he takes alternate paths and sneaks behind the enemy, then wipes them out behind their backs.

-Demo: Is he a DemoMAN or a DemoKNIGHT? Demoknights are worthless as pockets unless you are all alone with noone else to heal. Their charge move separates you from him, they rely primarily on melee attacks, and are generally just suicidal. If they have the Ali Baba's Wee Booties, then they're pretty much set on health anyway. Does your Demo just hang out behind the front lines and spam stickies all over the CP? If so, he's fine without you. Like Soldier, make sure your demo knows how to control his sticky jumps well so you don't get left behind. Furthermore, assess how well your Demo knows how to aim his pipe bombs. Any shmuck demo can spam stickies and get results, but a good Demo can land a pipe in your enemy's face to protect himself. Be wary of the melee weapon he is using, too. A Demo using the Eyelander without a shield is basically just a Demo with 25 less HP. Unless he's racked up heads beforehand, anyway (a Demo with 5+ heads and a pocket medic with the sticky launcher? Terrifying). As a whole, you can't really go wrong with a Demo, it's just a matter of how good the Demo is at utilizing his entire arsenal. A stickyspamming Demonub is fine in a pinch, but don't hesitate to abandon him if things go south and he can't defend himself.

-Pyro: This is the most delicate pocket buddy choice to make. Back in the early days of TF2 (2007-2009), Pyro was as solid a choice as Soldier, Demo, or Heavy for a pocket. Nowadays, things have changed. Pyro has become one of the most utilitarian and flexible classes in TF2, and because of that you should be aware of how your Pyro plays. First and foremost: never pocket a Pyro who does not know how to Airblast. Airblast will save your LIFE. It puts out fires from enemy pyros, it reflects rockets and grenades from you, and if you encounter an enemy medic team, you can separate them. As such, look out for Pyros using either the Vanilla or Degreaser flamethrowers. Backburner only has enough ammo for 4 airblasts (and thats with full ammo), and the Phlogistinator not only lacks an airblast, it has a healing factor for the Pyro. Melee weapons are not as much of an issue, but if you see a Pyro using the Homewrecker, he's probably going to be an Engineer Buddy, and is better suited as that. Any secondary weapon is fine, just make sure your Pyro buddy knows how to use it effectively. As for behaviors you want in a Pyro, just beware of the W+M1 kamikazes. If your pocket runs off into a clusterfuck of enemies to get himself killed, then let him (unless of course you have a full Ubercharge, in which case you may enjoy the scattering of your terrified foes).

Now, you know the basics of what to look for in your partners, so we shall now discuss what is expected of YOU as a pocket. That's right, being a Medic comes with responsibilities of your own, and you can not just blame all your failures on your allies. Being a good medic requires communication with your team. Do you have a mic? You should probably get one. If not, get reaaaaal familiar with the Voice Commands. Using "Go go go!", "Thank You", "Incoming", and "Spy!" are more effective than you'd think. Using "Good Job" and "Nice Shot" don't hurt either. Complimenting your pockets on a job well done encourages them to continue the nice work.

A good medic is also situationally aware. You aren't shooting shit, so you can better focus your attention on the battlefield. While a good pocket is also situationally aware, he can't see everything around him while killing things for you, so you have to watch his back as much as he watches yours. When traversing the battlefield, walk backwards when pocketing someone, looking around in a sweeping motion from time to time to cover your blind spots. If you see something suspiscious, TELL YOUR POCKET AND LET HIM DEAL WITH IT, unless he's already preoccupied, in which case you just tell your whole team. Actually, tell your whole team anyway.

Learn to DODGE. A good medic NEVER. SITS. STILL. Ever. Always run around in erratic movements, duck and jump randomly, dive behind cover and never stay in one place for too long. This greatly reduces your chances of being backstabbed by a Spy and headshot by a Sniper. Furthermore, if you can not dodge, then make good use of your teammates as cover. Crouch behind your pocket (Heavy is especially good at this) and let them suck up the heat. Keep your back to theirs to watch for ambushes from behind. And of course, unless there are more enemies BEHIND you than ahead of you, NEVER RUN AHEAD OF YOUR POCKET. Only other exception is when Ubercharging, you can draw away the fire of a sentry gun to let your pocket get closer for better damage.

This just about sums up all there is to know about Pocketing, save for one issue: the other classes. Why would you ever pocket a Scout, or an Engineer, you may ask? Well, there is always a time and place for things, however rare they may be...

-Scout: Scouts are hard to pocket because they outrun and outmove the Medic. The only chance you'll really have to pocket one is if they're staying in one general spot (such as protecting a CP), where you can follow him with general ease. Don't go out of your way to do so though unless you have noone else around.

-Engineer: A combat engineer using the Gunslinger is actually a fairly viable pocketing choice in the short term. He has good HP, and if he can aim his shotgun and pistol, has decent damage output. The kritzkreig does wonders with him as well. A turtling engineer should only be pocketed to help him tank his sentry gun (eg he repairs the sentry while you heal him). Ubercharging a Ninjaneer can help him get past sentry camps to set up his ambush spot, but this takes a lot of coordination.

-Sniper: Only if there's noone else to heal should you pocket a Sniper, although if he's got good aim with his SMG, he's not the worst kritzkreig patient in a pinch.

-Spy: Same as Sniper. Combine the kritz with good revolver aim for decent results. Otherwise you should avoid healing spies because it blows their cover if they're disguised.

-Medics: As much fun as "chain medics" can seem, its a very impractical and easily defeated strategy. THIS SAID, always heal a dying Medic. Colleagues before Comrades! If there is noone else around, two medics healing each other can escape most danger fairly easily and regroup with their team.

That about covers all there is to know about Pocketing. Now, we come to Sharing, which thankfully is much simpler than Pocketing and nowhere as in-depth. Simply put, Sharing is healing everyone you see, period. Really, you should be doing this ALL the time, even when pocketing someone, because a little topped off Overheal makes everyone happy, and a fully healed group of 3 buddies does better than a single overhealed Soldier or Heavy.

Really, this is where the descision making and strategy element of playing Medic comes in. The order which you choose to heal people and for how much can mean life or death for the entire team. A general rule of thumb is to watch out for EVERYONE'S HP as much as possible and heal whoever has >50% HP, but sometimes there are exceptions. Ask yourself the following questions...

-Can the player heal himself? Black Box Soldiers, Heavy with Sandvich, Pyro with the Phlogistinator, these can all heal themselves fairly effectively. If you see a ton of people hurting for HP, prioritize the ones who can't heal themselves first.

-Do you have dispensers? If there are dispensers near the front line, let people heal themselves there while you focus your attention on the critically injured players.

-How important are they to holding the line/pushing the offense? Engineers, Demos, Soldiers, and Heavies are all key to holding a strong defense and should be healed over Scouts, Snipers, and Spies. Pyros it depends on if they're actively using airblast to protect people. An airblasting pyro should be kept alive as well. Only go out of your way to overheal Snipers and Spies if noone else is around. Overheal Scouts as they cross your FOV, but don't chase them down to max their overheal out.

-FRIENDLY DYING MEDICS SHOULD BE HEALED AT ALL COSTS. The 3 seconds it takes to fully heal a friendly medic is much better than the 10 second respawn he'll face if he dies, and 2 medics healing makes the game that much easier for you all.

-Are there medkits around? It is more pertinent to let classes like Scouts heal themselves with medkits if you are not in need of them yourself. However, if you find yourself taking a lot of heat, ask that your teammates not use the medkits and save them for yourself.

-CLASSES WITH RED HP ARE IN CRITICAL NEED OF HEALING. If you have several players who are in the critical, prioritize based off what I have already taught you: Heavies can fall back and use Sandvich. Scouts can grab medkits. Are dispensers nearby? Soldiers and Demos take highest priority in holding a line/push if they fall critical (except for medics of course), then Engineers tanking their sentry gun, then Heavies, then everyone else.

-Have a moment of quiet and peace? Overheal everyone. Keep them overhealed. Unglue yourself from your Pocket to buff up the other defenders, and maintain their overheal every few seconds. That +50% extra HP really helps sometimes.

Ultimately, though, Sharing effectively comes with practice and experience. It relies on quick healing reflexes and making judgements based off of past knowledge. In due time, you'll get better, and these guidelines will help you along the way.

So, now we come to the next part of playing Medic: the items. Medic has a lot of choices, and almost all of them are viable to some degree, if you know how and where and when to use them. So, let's break it down...


-Medigun: The Medic's standard, you'll start out using this. It charges slow, makes you invulnerable for 8 seconds when you Ubercharge, and all in all gets the job done. It has equal applications for offense and defense, useful for pushing back an attack, for blocking an enemy Ubercharge, and for breaking through a tight Sentry camp. When facing against an enemy Medic team, it basically becomes a game of chicken: the guy who blinks (or in this case, Ubers first), loses. Hold out as long as you can before popping the Uber, but don't hesitate if you or your patient are about to die. A wasted uber resulting in a retreat is better than both of you dying and having to respawn. If you find yourself alone and in danger, don't be afraid to pop your Uber to save yourself and escape.

-Kritzkreig: The Kritz is the opposite of the Medigun. It charges fast, it doesn't make you invulnerable, instead granting critical hits for 10 seconds. The Kritz is a very difficult, but rewarding medigun to use. It will not save you in a pinch escape, so you have to know how to pick your battles and when to retreat before you start dying. Furthermore, with the Kritz, whoever ubers FIRST, wins. If two kritz go against each other, the one who goes first will almost always kill the other. If the enemy medic is using the Vanilla medigun, try and trick him into wasting his Ubercharge, then retreat before you're killed. Once the uber wears off, double back and fill them full of critical hits. The Kritz makes classes like the Scout better pockets due to the extreme damage output, and can decimate entire teams with well placed crit rockets, stickies, or minigun spray. The Kritzkreig taunt heals you for 10 HP, which is miniscule, but if you manage to get to safety, you can spam it a few times to save your ass (especially helpful for putting out a fire).

-Quick Fix: This is the ultimate "sharing" medigun, but it falls flat for pocketing. While it can not overheal, it heals at a stupidly fast rate, making it ideal for keeping an entire team healthy in a short time. The "ubercharge" is just a megaheal at best, so it's not too good for pocketing, but you can spread it among your teammates to keep them all fully healed under pressure. The Quick Fix also makes you move as fast as your patient, so you can heal a Scout to reach the front lines quicker. For the most part, though, the Quick Fix is inferior to the other mediguns. Only use it when you have to heal several players at once and there's no good pocketing oppurtunities (or if you die a lot).


-Bonesaw: The vanilla bonesaw is useless aside from the aesthetically pleasing design. Every other melee weapon has something over it, so only use it if you like to style on your opponents with the classiest taunt in the game.

-Ubersaw: Oh, the mighty Ubersaw. It's a great weapon, but it has misguided many a noobie medic with its ability to add uber on a melee hit. Here's the deal: DO NOT GO OUT OF YOUR WAY TO HIT PEOPLE WITH THIS THING. EVER. Yes, +25% uber is nice. You know what isn't nice? ABANDONING YOUR TEAM. You are the MEDIC. You MEDIC things. You do NOT leave your patients alone so you can chase down the Spy and saw their faces in. THAT IS WHAT YOUR TEAM IS FOR. THEY CAN KILL THE SPY. You can get that 25% uber fairly easily by just DOING YOUR JOB and healing people. Only hit people with the saw if 1: You're alone and you see someone just begging for it (an AFK player, a sniper with tunnel vision), or 2: You have no choice but to fight. Otherwise, leave the fighting to the fighting classes.

-Vita Saw: The Vita Saw saves up to 20% of your Ubercharge should you die before using it at the cost of 10 total HP. This can be situationally useful for the Vanilla medigun, but it really shines with the Kritzkreig. The rapid recharge rate and the fact you can die while using your Kritz charge makes the Vita Saw very lucrative for dangerous situations. If you die, you can keep 20% of your charge (even if you popped it!) and then recharge the other 80% in no time. If you want to know a dirty secret, though, for the Medigun, try this out: If you find your patient separated from you and he dies (either from Sentry knock back or airblasts or whatever), hit your suicide key before your Uber depletes. You'll die, yes, but you'll respawn with up to 20% of your ubercharge left.

-Amputator: The polar opposite of the bonesaw, this thing is tacky as hell to look at. The taunt heal is not the most useful thing, given your other choices of weapons, but if you have a front line full of dying patients, it saves the day. Just beware, you don't get ubercharge for using it. The best application of the Ampuator is combining it with the Crusader's Crossbow for the set bonus of +1 HP regeneration.

-Solemn Vow: The competitive Medic's dream. With this, you can see enemy's HP, letting you prioritize targets and shoot them down accordingly. It doesn't have the situational usefulness of the Ubersaw or the insurance application of the Vita Saw, but what it does do, it does well. If you communicate a lot with your team, this is the way to go.

-Primary Weapons-

-Needlegun: Originally this was the weapon of choice for passive Medics who rely on their HP regen to stay alive, it has since become outclassed by other weapons. Pass it up.

-Blutsauger: The battlemedic's mainstay. It'll heal you for damage done, at the cost of your HP regen dropping significantly. If you're good at aiming the needles, it's a fine choice, but for the most part your team will be doing most of the fighting.

-Crusader's Crossbow: Combined with the Amputator, this outclasses the Needlegun for HP Regen. Without the Amputator, it's... somewhat worthless. If you can aim the bolts properly, it can heal allies and hurts enemies, doing more healing/damage as the distance increases, like the Huntsman. If your aim is good, you can save a life from long distance with it, but if not, it's a waste of space, unless you're going for the set bonus HP regen.

-Overdose: The Overdose does 10% less damage than the Blutsauger or the Needlegun, but as your Ubercharge increases, so does your movement speed, up to 10% more. That's 1% more speed for every 10% ubercharge, making the Medic's top speed potential 117%. The real drawback to the Overdose is you have to have the weapon active (ie using it) for the speed buff to function, but that's hardly a concern. This is my recommended weapon of choice for the Medic, as it allows you to make a quick escape should you have to run while keeping the HP regen of the Vanilla needlegun. The 10% less damage is hardly a concern when you hardly do any fighting in the first place, and the rapid fire nature of all needleguns means the Overdose's overall DPS is nothing to sneeze at.

And this about sums it all up! Hopefully this will make a better Medic out of all you upstarts but of course not as good as me.

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Well with 50 hours as a Medic, most of this stuff I already know, but I love reading this kind of stuff so thanks Rob. :U

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  • 2 months later...

Whilst I already understood most of this stuff, loadouts have never been my specialty. Good to know what's good with what and what's not good at all.

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