This week’s post isn’t really a ‘tactica’ as much as a discussion, really. I recently picked up Engineer again in Team Fortress 2 – he was the class I first played and introduced me to the game, before I moved on to Scout and found the thrill of high-speed close-range firefights to be far better than errecting buildings and a defensive line. However, I’ve been trying out a more offensive-focused play of Engineer to use him effectively on the front lines.
The loadout itself (pictured above) comprises of the Rescue Ranger, the stock Pistol, and the Southern Hospitality. I’ve found that these three actually work together pretty well, being able to cover each other’s weaknesses (to an extent) and helping the Engineer maintain a presence on or near the front lines. The Rescue Ranger’s healing ability means that you don’t have to worry too much about extending, since you can repair your sentry from a distance and pull it back if needed with the alt-fire ability. It also means that you can keep your Sentry alive for longer, since you don’t need to rely on your metal supply as much to heal your buildings. The pistol, on the other hand, helps to somewhat make up for the Rescue Ranger’s limited damage dealing ability. It’s by no means a primary source of damage, but it works as a finisher / discouragement tool against weakened opponents. Finally, the Southern Hospitality provides a Spy-checking measure that the Shotgun would usually offer, as well as an extra offensive punch against anyone who gets too close when you might be hauling buildings to the front. The 20% fire vulnerability is a bit of a pain, but I’ve found that the offensive close-combat power is a good trade off for this small vulnerability against 1/9th of the classes in the game.
In terms of usage, I like to focus on getting a teleporter up to near the front line first before errecting a sentry ahead of it. A dispenser can then be built near the teleporter, with the sentry to defend you and the Rescue Ranger’s long-range healing ability keeping the sentry alive if the attacking team brings any serious firepower to bear. I’m always firmly of the opinion that Engineer can function well on the front line, and this loadout seems to work that way without having to resort to the Gunslinger.
One idea I’ve heard about a lot is the Rescue Ranger / Wrangler combo, in particular using the two together to tank even an übercharge. It’s certainly something I considered here, but the Pistol wins out for me for a number of reasons. First and foremost is the fact that I find myself moving the sentry gun around quite a lot, which makes the Wrangler a bit useless for a lot of the time. Secondly, I don’t tend to hang around the sentry, and so again the Wrangler isn’t ideal since I’ll likely not have line of sight to any potential targets. I’ve found that, while the shield is nice, this loadout and playstyle seem to work better if I can leave the sentry to do its own thing for a bit and only intervene with the Rescue Ranger when needed.
Another thing I like about this combo is that the Rescue Ranger doesn’t have any spread like the rest of Engineer’s shotguns, forcing me to really work on my aim to hit someone with it. This can only be a good thing as far as other classes go too, and only time will tell I suppose!
Do let me know what you think, and what your preferred combos are for Engineer. As much as I enjoy the Rescue Ranger’s utility features, I do love the Widowmaker and I’m sure I’ll be heading back to that shotgun soon. Leave a comment with your thoughts on Engineer and how his loadouts can make him more dynamic :)