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How to Kill a Sentry: TF2
How To Kill a Sentry
Teammates blindly running through sentry fire? Going up against competent engineers? No worries! This guide will give you the edge when trying to bring down a sentry gun in Team Fortress 2. This guide will be ordered by class, so feel free to scroll down and find your favorite and get reading! Also, be sure to check out my guide on How to Make Profit in TF2 so you can get the items you need to take out those pesky engineers and look like a pro while doing it.
Before we get started, you should be familiar with some basics that will be of great assistance to you in your journey to be a feared assassin-of-engineers. First of all, sentry guns can be repaired, so if you can bring down the engineer, bringing down the sentry shouldn't be a problem. Take note that in most cases, you can position yourself so your weapon can hit the sentry, but the sentry can't see you. Heavies and Pyros are great at this method of killing sentries that are close to corners. If you can so much as clip the edge of the sentry gun, you will do full damage to it. Also be aware that critical hits do not do extra damage to sentries, but if you are able to get a crit with a soldier or demo, you may be able to kill a nearby Engineer with damage from your blast radius. Sentries can only target one player at a time, so use this to your advantage and team up! Now that we've covered the bases, we are ready to learn about each class.
You may not think the Scout is the best class to bring down a sentry... and you're probably right. But that doesn't mean Scouts are useless. Bonk Atomic Punch is a Scout's best friend, and if you're just looking to get past a sentry once, you can speed right though its line of fire. But running away isn't the only reason to use Bonk. If you have teammates at your side, you can drink Bonk and run right into the sentry to distract it while your team flanks it from another side.
Scouts are also useful for picking off engineers, especially when they are moving. If you can run into an Engineer while he is moving his sentry, use every weapon in your arsenal to bring him down. If he does manage to set his sentry down, always target the engineer before the sentry. You have a very small chance of destroying a sentry gun while it is building if you're playing as a Scout, but if you take down the engineer first, he can no longer guard it. Do what damage you can, and your team will do the rest.
One of the best choices for bringing down a sentry, Soldiers carry a wide range of bazookas capable of assisting your team's push. The most notable sentry-killer is the Direct Hit, capable of felling a gun with as little as two rockets. Because of the sheer speed of these rockets, enemy Engineers have little time to react to your assault, and you can often come out victorious with your surprise attack. The Direct Hit can also destroy Mini-Sentries in one hit, so if you have the accuracy, use it to your team's advantage. With this launcher, face a sentry head-on, but stay out of its range if possible.
The Cow-Mangler was created to stun sentries, but I don't recommend using this weapon unless you have a skilled team at your back. If you're a Soldier looking to bring down a sentry, straight rocket fire is generally more efficient than tactics.
The other rocket launchers have the same basic function when attacking Sentries. Three rockets destroy an unguarded level-3 sentry. These other launchers are favorable when you don't have a straight shot at your target. You can fire rockets at the ground beside sentries hidden behind corners to do a good deal of damage. The default rocket launcher gives you 4 shots, so I recommend this over the Liberty Launcher and Black Box if you choose to use this method.
Soldiers are very versatile. Use the rocket jump ability to get a better angle on your target. Make sure you have Gunboats equipped so you do minimum damage to yourself. Remember, if you crouch just before you jump, you can reach greater heights.
Pyros focus on short-range attacks, but there are several ways to destroy a sentry with a flamethrower. For example, any sentry built just around a corner can be destroyed if you can clip the edge of the gun with your flames. Just position yourself in a spot in which the sentry cannot detect you, and voila! Overcooked sentry for dinner.
Another effective way to destroy a sentry is to walk right in front of it, and run around it. If you catch the sentry by surprise, it will try to adjust and follow you. If you time your run just right, you can destroy the sentry before it it able to kill you. All you have to do is run in a circle around the gun while shooting flames. This is most easily done with the Backburner, but the Phlog and Degreaser are also able to pull this off. You can even kill the Engineer in the process of destroying the sentry.
The Maul and the Homewrecker specialize in destroying buildings, but I don't recommend using them in place of your flamethrower. These weapons should primarily be used to remove sappers from friendly buildings. Any other function, in my opinion, is a distraction.
Destroying sentries is a Demo's specialty, and you are probably familiar with several ways to destroy sentry guns as this Scotsman. Perhaps I can open your eyes to a few new tricks as well. The default grenade launcher can be used to lob grenades around corners to take out a gun (or several guns, if they're built beside one another.) The Stickybomb Launcher and Scottish Resistance are also effective when dealing with enemy buildings that are grouped in one area. The Loch n' Load can destroy sentries with two hits. But what kind of strategies can you come up with?
One of my favorite methods of destroying a sentry is the Sticky Jumper + Loch n' Load combo. By placing several sticky jumpers on the ground, I use the blast to propel myself high over the enemy sentry gun. I switch to my Loch n' Load in midair and lob two grenades directly at the enemy sentry. This takes time and patience to perfect, but if you can pull it off, the enemy Engineer won't know what hit him!
Another fun (and slightly less effective, depending on your skills) method of destroying sentries is to charge at one as a Demo Knight. Equip the Splendid Screen, Ali Baba's Booties, and a sword of your choice (I've done this several times with the Persian Persuader). You can charge at a sentry, and shield bump it at an angle so after the first swing of your sword, you are running in circles around the sentry. If you have the Persian Persuader equipped, there is a chance that you'll pick up some free health while you run your circles, and you can essentially just wear the sentry down to 0 health with your sword. Try it!
Heavy, the powerhouse class. Use your brute force to rip though sentry guns. There are few methods heavies can utilize to bring down sentries, but all of them are effective. The first is to walk right into the sentry's line of fire and take it down in a duel to the death. You will take heavy damage, but with a medic's help, you have a good chance of destroying the sentry if you're close enough. I recommend the default Minigun for this method. You an also hit the sentry from a range and wear it down, but don't expect to destroy if the engineer is nearby.
Heavies are infamous for receiving ubercharge because sentries can't survive very long up against heavy minigun fire. Call a Medic and get to it. If you go up against multiple sentries, focus on one at a time, and NEVER jump. In fact, one of the best ways to defend a sentry gun is to airblast an ubered opponent straight up into the air, and the sentry gun will repel him far away. Keep an eye out for pyros that can airblast.
Much like Pyros, Heavies can find sentries positioned directly around a corner and clip the edge of the gun. This typically isn't as effective as the flamethrower, but with proper positioning, you can get the job done. Find a spot where you can see the edge of a sentry and it can't see you, then fire away!
Why would you ever try to take down a sentry as an Engineer? Why? Because you're one cocky s.o.b.
First, let me make a point to say you should always build your sentry first and stay within a reasonable distance to remove sappers if spies get to your stuff. Alright, I'm no longer responsible for any team losing because Engineers are off chasing enemy sentries. If you want to take down a sentry as an Engineer, there are a few methods, none of which are extremely effective.
First of all, if you carry a Wrangler, you can aim bullets and missiles from your sentry gun at an opponent's sentry gun and damage it that way. If not, your best weapon to killing sentries is... your pistol. No joke. Pistol fire does a reasonable amount of damage to enemy sentries, and even if you don't manage to kill it, you keep the engineer occupied (which means his back is probably turned; he's perfect bait for a Spy with Your Eternal Reward). Shotguns will do a modest amount of damage to sentry guns, but you have to get in close to do any real damage.
If you notice the opposing engineer is always building in the same spot, you can work your way up close to it with a discreetly hidden teleporter to assist your team in taking down a nest. Gradually move your buildings closer and closer, and be sure to have someone cover your back (and your front, for that matter.)
You may think Medics that destroy sentries are a rare occurrence, but I assure you, I do it all the time. When you ubercharge a Heavy and he takes out three Engi bases, the Heavy doesn't always get to scrap all the Engineers. Very commonly, surviving Engineers will relocate and try to build again. Don't be afraid to end your ubercharge early if your Heavy doesn't see an Engi trying to rebuild. Two swings from your Ubersaw will bring down a sentry in the process of being built. You can also make a point to slay the Engineer, as he will probably have low health. Your Syringe Gun is surprisingly effective against a sentry at long range. If the Engineer isn't nearby to make repairs, you'll be able to take it down quickly and with no problems. I recommend sticking to the default Medigun to deal with sentries, but the Quick-Fix and Vaccinator can often help you close in without having to build your ubercharge to the max.
Don't be one-dimensional; other classes can take out sentry guns with Ubercharge, too. Sometimes you are taken by surprise and need to activate earlier than expected, and on a class you wouldn't typically use your charge on. The most underrated Ubercharge? A decent spy.
All Engineers fear snipers; at least, they should. If a sentry is built in the scope of a sniper rifle, the Engi can kiss his work good-bye. The Huntsman is the most effective sniper weapon when dealing with sentries. Much like the Loch n' Load and Direct Hit, the Huntsman takes down mini-sentries in just one hit, level-3 sentries in two. If you're using one of the scoped rifles, I recommend landing a headshot on an Engineer. Assuming a medic didn't overheal him, you will kill him every time. Take advantage of any time you see an Engineer fixing his sentry. Usually he will be crouched down. Unfortunately, you are not able to shoot through the gaps of the sentry gun to hit the Engineer, but you can do the next best thing. Aim at his dispenser, and take it down first. If an Engi is fixing his Sentry, his dispenser is secondary to him and you should be able to take it down without much of a fight. When the Engineer stands up to rebuild the dispenser, pop him one in the noggin. You can then focus on the sentry gun. With the Engi down, take time to charge each shot. Two full charged shots and another weaker shot should to the trick.
There are several different methods spies can utilize to destroy sentry guns. You've got the default knife and the Eternal Reward, both with many pros and cons. Your choice should depend on what situation you're in, the skill of the enemy engineers, and your own spy skills. With experience, you can judge when to use each different method.
I'll start off with the Knife. I prefer to use the Cloak and Dagger with all of my loadouts, as the default watch gives you limited cloak time and the Dead Ringer is very loud and noticeable. Stealth is your key to destroying Sentry guns. With the Knife and Cloak & Dagger, you should disguise as a class with the same running speed as the spy. I prefer to disguise as either an Engineer or a Spy. Using this loadout, you can disguise and cloak, get behind enemy lines, and uncloak. Try to sap the sentry first, then backstab the engineer. If you do it the other way around, the sentry will likely kill you because you lose your disguise when you stab. You can also use your disguise to get the drop on a sentry gun. If your team is nearby and the sentry is just around the corner, right straight up to it and start sapping every building you see. The Engineer will have to remove some of the sappers, then you can stab. We can call this the sap first, stab later method.
The second method utilizes Your Eternal Reward, the spy knife that doesn't allow you to disguise until you stab an opponent. I recommend waiting around a corner, then stabbing a slower class. A good Heavy will turn around occasionally, so I try to focus on Demos. You can also find a Sniper that doesn't have the Razorback equipped and earn yourself a free disguise. Once disguised, locate the enemy sentry gun. If you have the Saharan Spy set equipped (Familiar Fez, L'etranger, and YER), your uncloak will be almost inaudible. If you use this knife, stab first, and sap later. Once the Engineer is out of the way, you can sap his sentry and get away without worrying about anyone removing the sapper. This is the stab first, sap later method.
To add on to the previous method, sometimes you just aren't able to get a disguise in time. Maybe your team is close to winning the game and time is short. If you have YER equipped, never fear! Uncloak behind the Engineer's dispenser, and his sentry will not detect you. If the dispenser is close enough to the sentry, you can sap it without having to disguise. Make sure you backstab the Engineer after you sap his buildings, or you're toast. This is more difficult than the other two methods, but you can use the Engi's buildings to your advantage. More on this later.
The no-cloak sap can be done without the help from a dispenser, but it's tricky. You have to have near-perfect timing in order to get away without a scratch, but it's certainly possible. Sentries in the open are easiest to get with this method. Just like the Pyro, you're going to want to run a circle around the sentry. As a spy, you can stay cloaked until the sentry is in the furthest point in its rotation. Uncloak, then run in the opposite direction of the sentry's rotation. If executed correctly, you can sap a sentry gun without taking any damage. I recommend only using this method when the Engineer is gone, as it's difficult enough to pull off without an enemy getting in your way. A single shotgun round can slow you down just enough for the sentry to make dinner out of you.
Defeating the Wrangler
Engineers often use the Wrangler, a device that shields his sentry and allows him to direct the gunfire, to effectively hit opponents out of the sentry's initial range. A good Wrangler can be pesky, but not too difficult to deal with if you know how to maneuver.
Spies are key to defeating Wranglers. No matter what knife you choose, you can hit the Engi from behind and have time to whip out the sapper, taking down all of his buildings. Soldiers and Demos can also be of great use. The Engineer can only shoot at one target at a time, so if you have Soldiers and Demos firing rockets and grenades from either side, you can effectively flank the Engi and bring him and his sentry down. If he had his Wrangler out when you killed him, the sentry will face some cool-down time before it can fire again, so take advantage and take it down!
Many players do not realize that enemy dispensers can serve as a great cover for attacking enemy sentry guns. Projectiles can't pass through dispensers, and sentry guns won't detect you if you're crouched behind one. Spies make great use of dispensers. If you are disguised, even if you are cloaked, you will be able to regenerate health and ammo from the dispenser. If you are a Soldier, you can stand behind a dispenser, peaking out for a quick shot at a sentry before hiding behind the dispenser again. Demos can use dispensers as cover and lob grenades over the top and at the sentry.
You can also get the sentry to kill its owner. Engineers, like Soldiers and Demos, can deal damage to themselves. If the sentry shoots at you and the Engineer just happens to be in the way, well... tough cookies. Scouts that use Bonk are particularly good at making sentries kill their owners. See what different methods you can come up with; I love to hear new tricks!
A Word on Mini Sentries
Mini Sentries are easy enough to destroy if you have a good angle. The ones that are just over a hill are the most difficult to destroy because you can't see them until they are already shooting at you. I recommend destroying them as they are being built, no matter what you're initially focused on. Destroying these pests while they build can save your team a lot of grief. The general mindset of a team is "it's just a mini, someone will get it." Be that someone, and take care of it.
The best weapons to break a mini are the Direct Hit, the Huntsman, and the Loch n' Load. All three of these weapons will destroy a mini sentry in one hit regardless of how much health it has. If you can get close enough, the Homewrecker and Jag will also break minis with one swing. Heavies can make short work of mini sentries as well. Get rid of these immediately; if left alive, the enemy will be able to keep pushing up. Pretty soon you will have to kill enemies in order to get to the mini sentry, and you don't want to have to devote much time and attention to these things. The most efficient way to deal with minis is to expunge their existence immediately.