We all know the general image of TF2’s heavy: He is fat, slow, easy to kill, requires no skill, loves his sandvich and above all, loves to say “pootis” while at the same time feeding the enemies you’re trying to kill. It’s no big suprise Heavy has this image because most people don’t know how to play him. But behold, for I am going to teach you the very basics of playing Heavy! And maybe one day, you will start loving that Russian guy, just as happened to me.
The skill in Heavy
Before I say anything else, it is very important to explain what playing Heavy is all about. What his weaknesses are, and what his strengths are and above all, how you can use them to your and your team’s advantage.
So every class in TF2 has its own personal skillset that always differs a lot from the other ones. While the Scout’s skillset mainly involves dodging and knowing how to flank, Soldier’s skillset is more about the famous rocket jumping and knowing how, when and where to shoot your rockets. But what about Heavy? I mean, can that big fatty possibly require skill? Are Heavy mains really a thing? Well, yeah. The problem is however, that Heavy’s skillset is much more “hidden” than the other ones and isn’t really something you can train very easily for a long period of time. If someone asked me to wrap up Heavy’s skillset in two things, I would answer with these things: accurate battle evaluation and Positioning. What I personally very often see is how bad people are at these two things and as a result how dramatically bad they use the Heavy, only to leave Heavy in the dust after a while with the tag “useless rage class no-one cares about”. But what do these two things mean? I’ll try to explain.
Accurate battle evaluation
So, accurate battle evaluation, what in the world can that mean? And moreover: why is this so important for the Heavy? Well, accurate battle evaluation means that you can predict how the battle is evaluating and what is the best way to manipulate it in such a way that your team is going to be out on top. For example: You see that the enemy’s pushing in and that half your team is dead. What is your prediction of what is going to happen, and what choices can you make that will benefit your team? Are you going to stay, trying to hold them back, or are you going to retreat to an area that offers more advantages for defenders? Are you going for a surprise or for a sacrifice? But it’s also about knowing your strengths and weaknesses. Heavy has a lot of health but he is a very big, easy to hit target for basically everyone that can aim. What this means is that you have to think about how much damage you can tank with your 300 hp. It seems like a lot but as it turns out, it can melt away very quickly when you don’t take the right decisions, leaving your team without a backbone.
Being able to make right predictions will hugely benefit your team because you can pick your weapons based on what the situation needs. Weapon choice is key in all of this, because your primary minigun hugely impacts your playstyle and your effectiveness. You really need to hold a certain position and you need a lot of firepower? Take the brass beast. You want to go for the surprise attack or you’re very often dealing with longer ranges? Take the Tomislav. You are stuck in a situation that continually shifts between attack and defense and you continually fight at short to medium ranges? Take the stock minigun. Your team doesn’t necessarily need more firepower but mainly needs a supportive tank? Take the natascha and be amazed by the amount of frustration you can cause. It’s also worth it to consider using the shotgun over the sandvich, especially when you don’t have a medic. The shotgun allows you to be more mobile, dish out damage without the need of revving up and most of all, close gaps. Sandvich is not always best, it all depends on the situation.
But not only weapon choices are important. Other combat-related choices are also important such as considering every step you take, because you’re very slow and every step gives you a different position that comes with different lines of sight.
Which gently leads me into the other skill in Heavy: being able to choose good positions. I can’t stress enough how important it is to think about your positioning as a heavy. Positioning is all about being in the right place at the right time. This means that you have to think about a few things. First being your degree of how exposed you are. Are you standing in the open field, or are you standing in a small room? This matters because one of heavy’s hard counters benefits a lot from open fields. Yes, you know who I’m talking about. The Medic. With his needle gun, he can gun down every innocent man and send them straight to drugs heaven. Combine that with the ultimate random crit curse and boom! None shall pass! Just kidding. It’s the Sniper, surprise! Snipers are a really big threat to heavies. A fully charged headshot can even kill a fully overhealed heavy. That is, when the heavy is not using the Natascha or the brass beast. Due to their damage protection, it leaves the heavy with a very small amount of health after being headshotted, enabling the poor heavy to run away and eat his hard-earned snack for the day.
Which leads me to the next thing about positioning. When you are choosing a position, you have to think about the options you have to retreat or to hide. This is another reason why it is not smart to stand in the open field: the sheer lack of hiding spots. A lot of people that are new to heavy just rush straight into battle and find out after a while that when it’s time for the sandvich, they don’t really have a place to go to. Don’t let this happen to you, omnomnom-spots are very important. Where can you heal up in case you need health? The reason why you have to think about this is because with Heavy, it can take a while before you’re there. Since you can’t magically disappear like the Spy can, you have to think about other ways that work out for you.
And finally, the last thing I want to talk about concerning positioning. A good position enables you to do tons of damage. Heavy’s minigun is very bad at long ranges, however at short to medium ranges it’s very effective. It’s really worth it to think about this because it benefits your team so much! A good spot that gives you a nice, clean view while at the same time being really hard to see for the enemy can grant you so many kills. However the point is, in order to get a good spot, you have to find it. And the only way to find it, is to look around, see how exposed you are, how easily you can escape and how close you will be to the enemy. Just like the Engineer has to think about his sentry placement. He can’t just drop one in the open field because it has a certain range, but at the same time he has to think about whether or not his sentry is effective enough at locking down a certain area. Just as heavy! The only difference between a heavy and a sentry is that a heavy doesn’t have permanent aim hacks, rockets and can actually move while a sentry cannot.
Well, I hope this helped you. Heavy is all about thinking about your actions and knowing your strengths and limitations. When you know these and can put them to your advantage, whole enemy team is babies. No big surprise, everyone’s ded.