Advanced Soldier Guide

This is copied directly from d0gs post on hkcentral.net.

Advanced soldier guide

Foreword:
This tutorial will (hopefully) teach you how to improve your soldier. It's an addon to roverjack's soldier guide and
i recommend you read through his first unless you're allready a decent soldier and know everything there is to know about the basics.
This tutorial has been based on my own limited experience i gathered throughout my tf2 career and will explain how i do things (wich doesn't necceraly mean it -has- to be done like that).

What could you possibly do more as a soldier?

First off, the soldier is the most basic class and the backbone to any good team. He will have a big role in any match wether you are defending or attacking.
He can take any role from capping the intel to defending a point. Tip of the spear to support. Most of those need a different approach then you'll be tending to do and some of them need excessive training to be able to do.


Basic principles:

HP
Never attack with less then 150HP unless you just really have to. Less then that means you'll die from 2 direct rockets instead of 3. 1 direct nade instead of 2. It basicly means you're a tough engi.
Taking a step back to get a medic kit isn't gonna cost you a game. Dying and leaving your medic alone will.

Choosing a location:
Height
ALLWAYS try to get on high ground. It's gonna be alot easier to hit people below you and will make you a harder target aswell.

Escape
Being a soldier doesn't mean you have to attack until they get you. A good location allows 'easy' escape.
It's better to retreat to a medic and come back stronger then before then to get that extra kill and having to spec when your team needs you.

Accuracy and reloading:
Controlled spam.
When you get nervous, anyone is prone to spamming. Unless the updates bring a launcher with 20 rockets, this is possibly the worst thing you can do. Spamming is predictable and will leave you trying to reload when you run into a tough target.
There is, however, controlled spam. Mainly used to deny the enemy to step through a chokepoint. If you do this, you should keep atleast 2 rockets at all times.

A rule i personally live by: AIM . EVERY . ROCKET!
A good rocket hit does more dmg then wildly spamming. You'll have rockets left to return fire or to bail when it's getting a bit hot.
Every spare second should mean you've reloaded a rocket, even during a fight. Try to use every oppertunity to reload.
You can stop reloading half way and fire when you suddenly have to, so no harm done.

Movement prediction
Aiming a rocket doesn't mean you have to aim directly at your opponent. Try to guess where you're enemy will move to. Doorways, medikits, stairs, windows, corners, etc.
Few enemies have the reflex to make an unpredictable move when in the thick of it, so don't be afraid to fire at that doorway or that medikit.

Be unpredictable
An unpredictable movement patern will make you a very hard target. Your enemy will not only have a hard time hitting you. He will have absolutly no idea where you'll pop-up when you're out of sight.
Imagine the face of your enemy when you drop on his head, guns blazing, after you rocketjumped on a higher surface without him knowing.
Just be carefull not to drop in a heavy mating pile.

Keeping distance
It wouldn't suprise me if most of you are frowning right now but keeping ideal distance has alot of benefits.
The ideal attacking distance is on the edge of the shotguns effective dmg range. (Between 5 and 10 in game meters)
This range is the best balance between time to evade rocket/nade fire and your ability to deal dmg.
It also gives you time to retreat from the pyro/heavy coming around the corner.
Any closer will prolly result in blowing yourself up while trying to kill your enemy.
Any further will increase your dmg drop off up till the point that people don't even care about your rockets anymore.


Rocketjumping:

Due to the soldier's lack of speed it is vital to use jumping as a means of movement. It will allow you to get anywhere in the map at a speed and agility that none can match.

The bunny hop:
Technicly this isn't a rocketjump but i didn't really know where else to put it.
Execution: Duck+jump
What makes this skill so important?
Bunny hopping will make you jump higher. Not only when rocketjumping but every airborn action you can do or you're forced into (when you get juggled up, a bunny hop will catapult you 2 - 3 times higher depending on your timing towards the blast)
You'll be a harder target to hit, take less splash dmg and gain a bit of movement speed and range while dodging.
I wouldn't recommend a script to a soldier. Sometimes a small jump is more intresting to do then a high one ( Gravelpit: from A/B to blue spawn)
A script will rob you of that ability cause you'll allways duck+jump.

When you're flapping your arms like a retard…you're doing it right lol. You should clearly see the height difference between the 2 parts of this vid. Looking at this vid myself i realise i should've gotten someone who accually knew what i meant by duckjumping but it does prove it's not to hard to do :3

http://www.vimeo.com/2762382

backwards jump:
A much used jump that is mostly used to evade enemies

Execution: backpedal -> duck+jump+mouse1.
Changing the angle of how you fire a rocket will change your jump trajectory from low but far to short but high.
It is easy to do and will give you the oppertunity to fire at your opponent while retreating at high speed.

Use:
Low but far
will ussually get you out of harms way and is the one you'll use the most when you find yourself outnumbered and outgunned.

http://www.vimeo.com/2753612

short but high
can put you on a good spot for you to defend or even to launch an imidiate counter attack from. It's slightly harder cause you gotta know how high the surface is that you try to reach without looking at it while jumping.

http://www.vimeo.com/2753653

Strafe jump:
A jump that takes alot of practice to perfect but is very rewarding when you manage to. It's a jump that can be executed very fast and when done correctly it will allow you to find the best balance between speed, length and height. Adjusting your firing angle changes the balance between those.
Once the jump takes off it's important to let go of any directional keys but hold down crouch.
For some reason holding a directional key will slow you down, decreasing the distance of your jump.

Execution: forward -> rotate your mouse aprox. 160° to the right+strafe left (strafe to keep your direction while rotating) -> duck+jump+mouse1
(p.s.: this can be done to the left aswell but it's harder (imo) with the same outcome)

http://www.vimeo.com/2753797

Use:
Covering distance.
When performed in rapid succesion, this jump will basicly turn you into a death raining jetfighter at the cost of HP. It goes without saying that it's best to do this while being healed or you have easy acces to medikits. NEVER outrun your medic! It will possibly mean the end of both of you.

http://www.vimeo.com/2753991

Reaching a location.
Basicly every map has a strategic location that'll make your objective easier to complete. Reaching these point is the job of every soldier. It will allow you to use every advantage you have against your enemies while being of good use for your team. Ofcourse there are different ways to get to a certain spot but you can expect the enemy wanting it aswell. It's not a suprise that you wanne stay as hard to hit as possible and a strafejump is ussually the best aproach.
ex.: gravelpit - B roof, Fastlane - Roof on middle point, etc etc.

http://vimeo.com/2763899?pg=transcoded_ … ec=2763899
(I have honestly no idea what they did with the text in this vid. I'll replace this one with a good one in the future)

High jump:
A very easy jump to execute.
This jump is very handy to pick off airborn targets coming your way. It takes a ton of skill to pull off but if you do pull it off your target is gonna make a nice crater ^-^
I wouldn't recommend the use of this jump in other cases cept the one stated above. (This will become clear further down in the airshot section)
Ex.: demo trying to stickyjump over you.
Execution: Jump+duck+mouse1

Walljumping:
Nothing more then performing a strafejump against a wall.
Compressing the blast between yourself and a wall gives you alot more momentum.
You will jump higher, further, faster.
Jumps can easily be combined to allow a rather acrobatic display of speed and agility.
While walljumping seems hard and complicated; it's fairly easy. There's hardly a difference between a normal strafejump and a walljump. The only difference, weither you walljump from the ground or while already airborn, is that you have to place the rocket on a different spot.

http://www.vimeo.com/4590383

Flight control:
A less known skill but a handy one. You can steer yourself in midair up to the point that will make a bird jealous.
Holding down crouch while strafejumping will give you control in the air.
Steer the mouse in the direction you wish to go and aid with strafe keys.
This skill is very usefull.
-Making you a very unpredictable and hard to hit target.
-Reaching locations in a different manner.

http://www.vimeo.com/4590062

Bringing it all together:
When you're comfortable with above mentioned skills, it's time to bring it together.
There are countless uses in every map and it's up to you to find out which ones work for you.
I recorded a few of my favorite ones on cp_badlands/granary.

http://www.vimeo.com/4590849

A simple way of practicing jumps on your favorite maps:
Create your own server and put the next commands in console
Sv_cheats 1
then
hurtme -1000000 (any number is ok till up a certain point)
In this case i will receive 1000000 HP
(you'll be able to stop a train for a while but a backstab still kills you >.>)

Putting impulse 101 in console will give you max ammo again.

You can jump around as much as you want and it's a very nice way to practice those hard jumps.

Another very nice use of these commands is dueling.
You virtually can't kill him but you can practice airshots on eachother without having to run back for HP.

rj_rckteer is imo the best basic jump map around. (pros: you can find a demo on youtube on how to complete it.)

http://www.fpsbanana.com/maps/48222


Advanced weapon firing:

Rockets have more use then plainly dealing dmg. They can be used to stop enemies in their tracks and denying them acces to a location.

Ol' faithfull:
In some cases it is intresting to switch to your shotgun to resolve a situation + you'll have your rockets ready when the need presents itself.
Whip out your shotty when you notice that an enemy is hurt/retreating. You're more likely to hit him and even kill him with the shotty then firing random rockets and hope you hit him. (Very usefull vs scouts)
When you juggle a weaker/weakend enemy. A shotgun blast or 2 will most likely kill him.
And ofcourse, when you do run out of rockets, shooting while retreating is a good way to get rid of your attackers.

Juggling:
One of the handiest uses a rocket has.
Firing a rocket directly at the feet of an opponent will cause him to blown upwards stopping him in his tracks. The better you hit your enemy, the higher he will go.
Juggled enemies can barely move in mid air, leaving them very vulnerable to a direct hit in midair a.k.a the 'assisted' airshot
Exection: Fire at the feet of your enemy. Wait till he reaches his peak and time the rocket so it will hit his feet. (Mainly cause the nerves might get to you in the thick of it. If you do fire to late you will still blast his head off)

http://www.vimeo.com/2762273

http://www.vimeo.com/2757542

When up against weaker classes, it's a good idea to use mr. shotty to put the sucker out of his misery.
A juggle has more use then just killing an enemy. It's also handy against an uber. 10 seconds isn't to long so if you're able to blow him up a time or 2 it will bite a significant chunk out of their uber.
[vid coming in the near future]

Airshot:
The pinacle of the soldier. Airshots are by far the hardest thing you'll ever have to do as a soldier.
Airshots can stop any airborn target in midair and can be used to block an ubered enemy from reaching a location by jumping. Any smart opponent will jump with full HP and in most cases buffed so don't expect a hit will kill them. I've pulled off a nice amount of airshots in matches and the number of occasions that i've killed my opponent can be counted on 2 hands.

(To come back to why you shouldn't High jump to much vvv)
http://www.vimeo.com/2754444

The best way to get better at airshots is to practice alot on certain maps. My 2 favorites are
ctf_bball2 (Pros: good to learn airshots under stress cons: some servers allow other classes then soldier and demo. Skill lvl can be very high)
rl_rocket_shooting (Pros: Easy to learn enviroment that can be hosted on your own pc. cons: Still isn't the real thing)

http://www.fpsbanana.com/maps/66113


Dealing with enemies:

Soldier vs soldier (Thx to dominaire)
(assuming equal skill) at short-to-medium range is really like a series of games of rock, paper, scissors. You're both strafing left and right around one another and jumping. For this example, lets assume its me and d0gs in the ring of honour. Smile We'll assume that neither player is going to RJ during combat, which is unlikely but simpler to model. Basically you can break it down into three rocket options for every "round" of about 2 seconds:

  • I fire at the ground to d0gs' left (A)
  • I fire at the ground to d0gs right (B)
  • I 'fake out' by reloading instead of firing

Lets say d0gs is currently strafing right. As I fire, he can either change directions (A) or keep going the way he's going (B, a double bluff). If I shoot to his left, I'll hit him if he does A and miss if he does B. Sounds obvious so far, but what I'm getting at with the A and B stuff is that there's often a pattern. Human beings are creatures of habit, and it is very difficult for us to behave (dodge) in a truly random fashion, although that is the optimal strategy at the kind of range we're talking about.

The worst thing you can do is never change direction, giving us a pattern of BBBBBB. Those people should be easy to kill, since you can lead them as if they hadn't even seen you. A subtype is those that will dodge left and right in wide sweeps (BBABBA). You'll see those a lot when facing off against an enemy soldier across the moat in 2fort, for example, altho that's at a bit longer-range than I'm discussing.

A lot of soldier players of moderate skill will fall into the trap of changing direction every time they themselves fire a rocket, giving us a pattern of ABABAB. This is also an easy kill, and it'll amaze you how many people do this if you start watching for it.

The third type will move like d0gs in my example. Sometimes they'll switch directions, sometimes they won't. They're not likely to stop entirely, since you need to already be moving to have any chance of reacting fast enough if you see that your enemy fired a crit that's going to hit (that's one of the times to use the defensive rocketjump described in the original post). With this kind of combat between both soldiers dodging randomly and trying to out-psych their opponent, it'll end one of two ways (three, if you count a lolcrit that hits Smile). Either one of the soldiers will guess right 3 times out of 4 (unlikely) or the fight will be resolved with shotties. Basically, nine times out of teh in these fights, the whole rocket exchange is just a big dance in preperation for the shotgun battle, and you're both trying to give yourself a health advantage for when it starts by landing more rocket-splash hits than the other guy. Smile This is why the third option above (the fake-out) is good to use sometimes. If you've got an extra rocket, you can switch back suddenly and fire it during the shotgun part, often surprising your opponent and killing him.

EDIT: What i for one use alot when i see it will come to shotties;
I try to do the best duckjump i can while trying to close the gap as far as possible. While jumping you can switch to the shotty.
Chances are pretty good that you will jump over your enemy's rocket, leaving him guessing what just happend. By the time he can react (Don't expect him to stand still), you can put in a nice pointblank shotty blast ^^
He has a few options but these are the most likely ones:

A. He'll try to rocket you from pointblank
(at which point you should try to keep duckjumping around him to avoid it)
B. He'll switch to shotty himself
(You have a few options here and it kinda depends on the situation)
C. He'll try to shovel you
(Shovel back or create a gap)


Afterword:
I hope you enjoyed this guide as much as i did making it. The videos added were not to brag but to explain my points.
The recent update killed all my demos for some reason so i had to play a nice amount of pickups/matches to get new footage.
The vids in the rocketjumping section are all staged cause i couldn't be arsed to find a nice part to show.
If i left out anything (that isn't included in rover's guide), let me know and i'll add it.
Due to the limited amount of files you can upload on vimeo, i had to leave a few out that i will add in the future.

Last but not least. Never forget what you are
http://adultimum.net/studio/images/TF2_Demotivator_-_Soldiers.jpg

(P.S.:English isn't my first language and it was taught to me by nintendo so plz forgive the typos. It would be apreciated if someone would point them out to me :] )
(P.S.S.: Let me know if the vids have issues)

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