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Rocket Man - How To Play The Soldier in Team Fortress 2

Updated on April 1, 2015
You are a maggot! (If you don't play the Soldier in TF2)
You are a maggot! (If you don't play the Soldier in TF2) | Source

An introduction to The Soldier

The Soldier - To know him is to fear him. A dedicated patriot, with a big gun, The Soldier is TF2's classic attack and destroy offensive class.

The basic playstyle of the Soldier is easy to grasp - A straightforward assault class that combines high health with a strong primary weapon that has a good area of effect (the rocket-launching bazooka). He also has a handy shotgun for close-quarters combat, meaning that the Soldier is very effective at leading the fight from the front lines.

Although lacking in subtlety, the Soldier should never be underestimated. They provide solid fire, are hard to take down and can use rocket-jumping to reach points on the map inaccessible to most other players.

Many other classes rely on the Soldier to clear a path into enemy lines; his bazooka is extremely effective at suppressing opponents and can be both an excellent distraction and damage dealer.

Soldier weapon types

The Soldier's main (default) weapons are:

  • The Rocket Launcher - A huge bazooka that holds four deadly rockets, two direct hits from this weapon will kill most other classes. The rockets also do splash damage in an area of effect, making it a very easy to use, powerful weapon
  • The Shotgun - In close-quarters combat, the Shotgun is an excellent backup weapon. It fires a spread of pellets and is quick and easy to fire, although it does take a little time to reload. It does stop you blowing yourself up though, and that has to be a good thing
  • The Shovel - The Soldier's melee weapon, the Shovel is a handy backup when you've got an enemy right on top of you. Perfect for fortification through bashing somebody else repeatedly until they stop moving

Soldier strengths

The Soldier is a great all round class, capable in both offence and defense. His main abilities are:

  • Good starter class - The Soldier is an excellent class to start learning TF2 with. They have good survivability, a fairly straightforward main role and quite powerful weapons. Although it is a good starter class, there are also some advanced players who make excellent use of the class by rocket jumping and blindsiding opponents
  • Area of effect rockets - The Soldier's rockets to damage both on a direct hit, and in a small radius around the point of impact; this allows them to damage (and kill) multiple enemies at the same time
  • Lots of health - The Soldier has some of the most health in the game. This gives them durability in the front line and also makes them an excellent buddy for a medic; they use this health to their advantage by continuing when lesser classes would just curl up and die
  • Rocket jumping - One of the most interesting of the Soldier's abilities is the 'Rocket Jump'. By crouching, firing a rocket at the ground at their feet and jumping at the same time, they are able to propel themselves huge distances into the air, allowing them to reach otherwise inaccessible points on the map. Of course, firing a rocket at your own feet isn't the healthiest thing to do, but if you want to make an omelet, you have to break a few eggs (and heads)
  • Take on multiple enemies - Because their attacks are area of effect, a Soldier can take on more than one enemy at a time and survive to boast about it with his comrades
  • Disorients enemies - A well placed rocket can send an enemy flying, especially if they are airborne at the time. Use this fact to disorient enemies so that they can't fight back, and treat them like an enormous, flying clay pigeon that explodes into teeny, tiny bits

Soldier weaknesses

Although he would never admit it, the Soldier does have some weaknesses. Some of the things to watch out for when playing a Soldier include:

  • Slow on foot - The Soldier is one of the slower classes in the game, meaning he can be out maneuvered fairly easily by a Scout, Spy, Pyro or other faster moving class. Because of this slower speed, he should pay careful attention to his surroundings
  • Unwittingly blowing himself up - A Soldier's rockets won't just hurt his enemies, they will also hurt him (thankfully, his allies aren't affected). Because of that, a Soldier should always be very careful about firing a rocket at an enemy close by, lest the explosion mortally wounds or kills him as well. When in this sort of situation, its best to switch to the Shotgun or Shovel to finish the enemy off
  • Ammunition - The Rocket Launcher eats through ammunition fairly quickly and the clip size is limited. This means that each shot has to count, so a Soldier should avoid just 'spamming' rockets in the hope of hitting something
  • Slow rate of fire - The Rocket Launcher is quite a slow firing weapon and takes some time to reload. This means that the Soldier can be caught unawares
  • Rockets can be avoided - Because rockets are slower moving than many other projectiles (comparatively), its easier for enemy players to see them and avoid them. Get around this by aiming at their feet so that the rocket explodes underneath them
  • Rockets can be repelled - Pyros can reflect rockets back at the Soldier by using their 'Air Blast' ability, keep an eye out for this and kill the Pyro first!

Soldier playstyle

To get the most out of the Soldier, try some of this advice:

  • Anticipate where the target is going to be - Because rockets take time to reach their target, try to fire at where you think the target will be, rather than where they are now. You can make this even more effective by aiming at the target's feet, so that the rocket explodes when it hits the ground, catching your enemy in the area of effect
  • Rocket jumping - You can reach astonishing heights by firing a rocket at the ground at your own feet whilst jumping. Use this trick to reach surprising points on the map where you can mercilessly rain down fiery death upon your unsuspecting foes
  • Extra rocket jump - You can reach even greater heights by crouching and jumping as you fire a rocket at your own feet. Do note though that this will damage you quite a bit!
  • Knockback and disorient - Because rockets can knockback enemies, especially those in the air, use the explosive damage to confuse and confound your enemies just prior to turning them into a fine red spray
  • Don't use the Rocket Launcher in close quarters - Because the explosion will hurt you as well, remember to switch your Rocket Launcher for another weapon if you're very close to an enemy
  • Avoid 'spamming' rockets - It is very tempting as a Soldier to fire rockets at random (or semi-randomly) in the hope of hitting something. Try to avoid this temptation - Instead fire when you have a reasonable chance of hitting. You'll conserve ammo this way and it will make you a better player
  • Pair with a Medic - With your high health and good firepower, you're an ideal companion for a Medic, so try to find a sympathetic one that will heal you so that you can bring explosive doom to your enemies!

People that might enjoy playing the Soldier

You might enjoy playing the Soldier if:

  • You like explosions - If large, explosive weapons capable of taking out two or three players at a time are your thing, it's a great choice (and everyone likes explosions, right?)
  • You want an easy to play class - The Soldier is a straightforward class to play, although it can take a while to master them
  • You want to be healed - A Soldier is one of the best targets for a Medic and their sweet, sweet healing energy
  • You want to handle lots of situations - The Soldier is a very versatile class, with their Rocket Launcher for long and medium range, their Shotgun for medium to close range and their shovel for getting up close and personal
  • You like to be durable - With their health, Soldiers can keep going on the battlefield

Alternative Soldier weapons and impact on playstyle

The Soldier has a few alternate loadouts that can have a significant impact on his playstyle:

Primary weapons (replaces Rocket Launcher)

  • Direct Hit - A Rocket Launcher that fires faster rockets and does more damage, but has a much smaller area of effect radius when the rockets explode
  • Black Box - A Rocket Launcher that heals you for a few health each time you damage an opponent, but that has a smaller clip size
  • Liberty Launcher - Fires rockets at a faster speed but reduces the damage they do
  • Cow Mangler 5000 - Does not use up ammunition but needs to be 'charged' between each shot; does not do much damage to buildings; allows a 'super shot' that does mini crits to enemies
  • Beggar's Bazooka - Fires up to three rockets at slight deviations from where it is aimed; trying to load too many rockets will result in an explosion that will damage the Soldier; slow to reload

Secondary weapons (replaces Shotgun)

  • Buff Banner - Charges up with damage dealt; on full charge, the Soldier and allies close to him will do mini crit damage for ten seconds
  • Gunboats - Reduces self damage from rockets significantly, including rocket jumping
  • Battalion's Backup - Charges up with damage dealt; on full charge grants the Soldier and allies close to him immunity to critical hits and reduction in damage taken from other players and sentry guns; also increases the maximum health of the Soldier
  • Craft Concheror - Charges up with damage dealt; on full charge, the Soldier and allies have movement speed boosted and are healed for a portion of the damage they inflict
  • Mantreads - Reduces push force taken from damage and significantly increases any damage you do to a player you land on (splat!)
  • Reserve Shooter - A Shotgun that is very fast to switch to and does extra damage to airborne targets
  • Righteous Bison - A gun that shoots an electric projectile that can hit enemies multiple times

Melee weapons (replaces Shovel)

  • Equalizer - Increases melee damage as the Soldier gets wounded but blocks healing from Medics
  • Pain Train - Increases the Soldier's capture rate but makes them more vulnerable to bullets
  • Half-Zatoichi - Restores you to full health on a kill; once drawn, cannot be sheathed until it kills
  • Disciplinary Action - Greater melee range; on hitting an ally, boosts yours and the ally's speed briefly; does less damage to opponents
  • Market Gardener - Does critical hits whilst the Soldier is rocket jumping but does not allow random critical hits
  • Escape Plan - Increases the Soldier's speed as he takes damage but blocks healing from Medics and makes them more vulnerable to enemy weapons


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