Hello! My name is Gativrek and I’ve reached around 100 completed tours on Gear Grinder with many more missions completed by repeating or recycling ticket (leaving before the mission ends) so I’ve had a decent amount of experience playing with friends and mostly playing solo, where this advice falls best.
I’ll try my best to run over advice for each wave of each mission for each class archetype. It is heavily advised that you have some grasp on how MvM works as I will not cover base mechanics such as the bomb and loot. Any feedback and positive criticism is greatly appreciated!
A word I want to give before any MvM advice is that yes, there will be problems and chaos when playing with other people you don’t know. People will disagree, people will get toxic, people will call each other names. It is simply the nature of the internet and the nature of animosity. Even on the comments of this guide there will most likely be some sort of heated toxic disagreement. It is important to maintain your composure and you know, the mute button is always available.
Team Formation pt.1
For a sucessful mission completion, I’ve boiled team formation to a theory instead of using the same old meta that Two Cities can’t get enough of. This is very flexible and has a few classes that should be avoided as they do not reach the same power as others. The class archetypes are Power Class, Medic Picker, Money Collector, Tank Buster and Support. All of them will be explained in detail below.
This section mostly just goes over the Heavy since he is the most common and most powerful class for low amounts of cash. There are many ways you could upgrade the Heavy but my preferred one is a full resistance build since it synergizes incredibly well with Scout’s Mad Milk. Being able to bodyblock and soak up damage by being first in line with an milked giant, high resistances, and some health on kill with a dispenser giving you infinite ammo will allow you to hold the frontline down while dealing excessive damage even with no Firing Speed.
The Brass Beast and Stock are always excellent options for miniguns while the Natascha having some use on waves with Super Scouts, notably Cataclysm wave 2, Desperation wave 2 and Mannslaughter wave 3. Stay away from Knockback Rage upgrades (they lower your damage by 50% and therefore will reduce Mad Milk healing by 50%) and don’t overdo on Projectile Penetration, since you’ll usually only need one since having 3+ enemies in a line is quite rare. It’s also quite common to stack this class since it’s so powerful, you can never go wrong with 2 or 3 heavies.
This is one of the class types that you usually want to have one of, but in some waves such as Cataclysm wave 1 and Desperation wave 1, you could use two. This specializes not only in quickly killing medics, but also quickly killing small robots.
The Sniper is by far the best class in all of MvM for dealing damage. Explosive Headshot with proper placement deals massive amounts of damage to any type of robot while keeping the Sniper safe. He’s one of the classes that can be played on any mission at any wave and still perform incredibly. A few notes would be learn to focus enemy snipers first and learn proper positioning to keep yourself safe. As far as upgrades go, I usually take a single explosive headshot, max out reload while balancing explosive headshot and damage and get some health on kill for sustain. His strongest weapon is the Hitman’s Heatmaker, and the secondary can go either way, some people prefer Razorback for protection, others use Jarate for more Focus and specific situations, it’s a very flexible choice.
While the Demoman is also incredibly strong and able to one-shot any giant present on Gear Grinder, he has his faults of needing quite a bit of cash to work at his best and needing crit canteens to do said one shots. That being said, he will be able to pick meds on any wave independent of the amount of cash he has, but he does need a good knowledge of the wave. His preferred upgrades are Reload Speed balanced with Damage, and from there you can go anywhere. Make sure you’re using Scottish Resistance, since it will increase your DPS by a lot.
The Spy is one of the classes that can replace two roles at once, albeit being a rather risky option. The sapper is a powerful tool able to disable many small robots at once (including Steel Gauntlets) and with armor penetration he’s able to do a good amount of damage against giant robots, upwards to 900+ per backstab, and since he’s constantly in the backline, he’s also a good money collector. His issue is learning how to abuse enemy aggro and not dying as much, so if you’re new, you should avoid playing Spy with the exception of some waves (Cataclysm wave 6 and Desperation wave 5). Make sure you always have the Dead Ringer, since that’ll allow you to get de-aggro’d by robots.
Going off of the last tangent, the Spy works as a Money Collecting class while being able to deal a great amount of damage and stun smaller robots. But when comparing solely as a money collector, he doesn’t hold a candle against…
When comparing simply how effective all the classes are at collecting money, the Scout is far and beyond the best. Having naturally a magnet to get money, getting overhealed for green AND red cash, and being able to dodge projectiles with ease due to double jump. But that doesn’t scratch the surface of how good Scout is in Expert. With a Mad Milk equipped, he’s able to keep multiple heavies alive due to it’s insane healing specially if you upgrade the recharge time. With resistance upgrades, he’s able to soak damage and take aggro off of your teammates. With Fan’O War, he can amplify the damage of your teammates by 1.5x and it’s better than having a Kritzkrieg since it applies to all teammates instead of just one. And that’s without mentioning the Soda Popper… by using https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=2114727049 you’re able to amplify Scout’s damage by a lot, provided you also upgrade his Clip Size and Damage. This turns him into not only unkillable but also able to destroy tanks with Crit Canteens and destroy any other type of robot. Any team with a Scout that knows how to abuse Mad Milk and deal great amounts of damage will have every situation covered.
This category really includes classes that perform poorly in Expert outside of very specific waves and Tank waves, but for the latter, are able to solo on their own. A lot of times you’ll see a heavy go to one of these classes to deal with the tank and let the team focus on something else.
Oh boy, here’s a https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=2130071554 one. I will not be going into detail about why Pyro fails at most other things (specially considering how fragile he is with or without the Passer) except Tank Busting. If you want to discuss that, go to another guide, this is not about Gas Passer love/hate circlejerk. Anyway, with that being said, when a Pyro has a Phlogistinator and a Detonator/Thermal Thruster and is consistent with his “phlog cancels” (using the phlog taunt above an enemy head/above the tank to abuse its uber duration and extra crit duration) he will destroy any tank on his own. There’s not much to say about him, other than remember to aim upwards to hit the tank hitbox twice therefore doubling your damage.
The Soldier is incredibly popular not only in regular TF2 PvP but also in other tours. The reason he’s bad in Expert is that there’s not enough cash to go around therefore Soldier doesn’t get enough upgrades to make him worth, making it so experienced players usually only play him on the latter waves where he will be most effective, usually when you have around 2500 credits to spare, Beggar’s Bazooka becomes incredibly powerful. Another problem that makes people shy away from playing Soldier is that in Mannslaughter, the Pyros can reflect the rockets and decimate your team. With that being said, when killing the Tank he can be quite powerful. The rule usually goes is that the later you are in a mission, the better the Soldier is at killing the tank when compared to the Pyro. Equipped with the Beggar’s Bazooka or the Air Strike he can make short work of the tank depending on how much cash you have left. Very powerful on the hands of a seasoned player.
Team Formation pt.2
With only two more classes left, unfortunately there’s only one that truly fits this role.
The Engineer is by far the best class in MvM. Every team should have one of them and only one of them. His utility is incredible. Let’s go over all he has to offer:
Your main concern when playing Engineer. Keeping the dispenser near your teammates and alive means they’ll have unlimited ammo and a good amount of health regeneration. Make sure you’re keeping this thing alive, but make sure to warn your teammates to not stay too close to it so it doesn’t get destroyed.
Your second most important building. Letting your team go back and forth from spawn to the frontlines (shout-outs to 2-way teleporter) will allow them to get upgrades mid wave and allow the team to get ready quicker, and therefore you can grind a lot faster on those tours. A must have.
While you may think that since this is the least important building you should pay less attention to it, you’re quite wrong. When using the Sentry with a lot of health and the wrangler, the Engineer does an amazing job at body-blocking and soaking damage and of course, dealing a bit of damage aswell. Sentry Busters could bring some trouble against your defense, but knowing how they work is of importance. They start spawning after you’ve dealt 3000 damage in a wave with your sentry, and they’ll keep coming unless THEY destroy your Sentry. It’s common to let it get destroyed so you get less Busters. If possible, you can put your Sentry forward when Busters spawn to use them to kill some robots since they have friendly fire. Or, as a safer method, bring the buster behind your team to safely detonate it without killing your teammates.
Many players enjoy the safety of using the Rescue Ranger, but switching it up with a max Firing Speed Widowmaker allows him to deal incredible amounts of damage not only to robots, but also to tanks. Definetly a worthwhile investment.
With all being said, there’s a lot more things that Engineer enables as a support class. Make sure you learn proper placement and abuse his toolkit to make the most out of him. And with that being said…
Avoid playing Medic in Gear Grinder at all costs. If you decide to play him for beginning to end on a mission you’re causing problems to your team. As far as healing goes, Scout’s Mad Milk and Engineer’s Dispenser is more than enough. As far as shielding goes, while it does deal damage, it’s not worth to throw yourself at the frontlines to get a tiny bit of damage, and Heavy with resistances and Engineer’s Sentry Gun are better defenders since they also deal great amounts of damage back. And lastly, as far as utilizing Kritzkrieg, all classes can buy Crit Canteens and losing a damage class for a medic is not worth it. Just stick to playing damage classes and avoid playing Medic, and not only it will make you worse at MvM, you’ll not contribute to the team.
Desperation (Decoy) pt.1
Above we have pictured a bird’s eye view of Decoy. I will be using some of the names (that I totally made up for this guide’s convenience) to help as we break down each of the waves and what each class archetype should be doing to help the team get a quick and easy victory. The Rocks and Bridge areas are used to retreat to, they will never be the main defending spot, and which one you decide to go for depends on the bomb path which is random every wave. Hatch is a last trump card to hold on.
The biggest difficulty on this mission is the Soldiers which will be Ubercharged by the medics. It’s very common that a overaggressive strategy will get destroyed due to the constant barrage of high damage rockets.
Power Classes can utilize blast resistance to hold them off and give Medic Pickers more time to kill them, or if they get too far out of their effective range, force them to ubercharge and stall for time. It’s best they stay on the Middle, on the side the bomb is going, alongside your engineer.
Medic Pickers can quickly dispose of those duos, but unfortunately with just $400, there’s a big difficulty.
Spies can buy sapper power to sap both and use the Kunai to extend survivability but that’s a great risk.
Snipers can stay on top of the Shack but with no reload speed due to Explosive Headshot being preferred, it’s likely they will leak.
The most reliant option is playing Demoman and staying on Snipers L (named after the robots that spawn there), since no Snipers spawn on the first wave, he can quickly dispose of the robots as soon as they drop and you can easily get cover by holding back. My preferred strategy is to make 2 pockets on the right side and 1 pocket on the left side of 4 stickies each (since we’re using Scottish Resistance), and refresh them whenever you kill the meds. It’s important that you focus on killing the medic over the soldier, and you’ll usually need 2-3 stickies for a medic kill. Reload Speed is the preferred upgrade.
Scout is the preferred Money Collecting class due to him being able to milk the Giant Demoknights. They’re not an issue but serve as big health packs for your heavies. Remember, the more the team starts looking at giants as big health packs, the better job you’re doing as a support. One big note is to avoid standing near Demoman’s stickies to not screw him up with splash damage from rockets, and to also get an upgrade to keep you alive.
Engineers should setup on Middle to give the Medic Picker time to kill the medics instantly. I usually humble everything together on the corners depending where the bomb is going and sometimes utilizing the wrangler to soak up damage (the shield provides 66% damage resistance, which triples the sentries health). Teleporter position isn’t really important on this wave but you could put it on Snipers L for your Demoman in case he dies, and just warn the rest of the team to not use it. As far as upgrades go, I recommend max Dispenser Range and 2 Building Canteens, so your heavies can have a good flow of ammo and health and you can setup instantly twice. Below are some building placement suggestions that won’t make the medics use Ubercharge and can also bodyblock.
Other than that, the rest of the wave is simple. 2-3 heavies melt Giant Demoknights, Pyros are killed before they reach the team and Bonk Scouts are fodder.
This wave is also another one that causes trouble due to the low amount of money that you have (usually 1400). The general strategy is to drop the Medic Picker for another Heavy.
Power Classes will shred everything in their path as long as they have proper resistances. This wave is not a damage test, so my recommendation is to get full bullet resistance and full crit resistance (trust me, those support scouts are infuriating). As long as your Scout milks every giant and if he has slowing milk that’s also a big plus, you’ll just have to shoot the giants. I do recommend one Heavy use the Natascha since it won’t hurt your damage output much and the Super Scouts will be no trouble as long as you can get the initial hit in.
As an Engineer, you should get some Building Health and setup for getting 2-Way Teleporters on this wave or the next wave. If you tell your team you have it, they will use it. With Building Health and using good positioning shown below you can tank the Giant Heavy and bodyblock the Giant Scouts.
The trick is the put your Sentry and Dispenser inside the Tunnel and tell your Heavies to stay near for an aggressive hold. I like putting the Dispenser on the Left Wall of the Tunnel and put my Sentry on the spot shown above. If done correct, the robots will be trapped in between the wall and the sentry. The trick is to make a 90° angle with the walls. As for Teleporter, I put it on the Corridor facing outwards.
Now that sounds like an easy strategy for the wave, but the reason you hold it so aggresively is due to the Support Spies that show up. The first time they come around is usually after you kill the first Giant Heavy, and if held up front, they will mostly spawn in the Corridor. Abuse that and pay attention so they won’t cause trouble and the rest of the wave will be easy.
Usually a simple wave. Hold forward, don’t shoot the Medics and let the Medic Picker take care of it. There are support Snipers but they won’t be trouble to most of your team as the Scout can usually clean them up. Blast resistance is recommended.
Sniper starts being incredibly powerful from this wave. Explosive Headshot slows down and ignores the Fists of Steel resistance, so the Steel Gauntlets are just target practice for this wave. Of course you’ll also quickly dispose the Soldier/Medic duos and the Giant Soldier. But then you’ll face the hidden threat, aimbotting Support Snipers. They’ll usually shoot you first since you have the highest aggro priority. To circumvent this, I stand inside of the Shack and stay on top of the ammo pack and stop moving. That’ll make it so the Snipers can almost never see you and you’ll have the advantage over them, giving your teammates time to kill them. One health on kill upgrade is also useful to keep yourself alive without moving, alongside Reload Speed/Damage/Explosive Headshot.
Same strategy applies for the Engineer, the medics usually pop but you’ll have such an advantage against the bots that it won’t matter much and the Sniper can clean up.
Snooze wave. One of the heavies can switch into Pyro or Soldier and deal with the tanks with no problems. Robot Pyros won’t reflect rockets on this wave so just grab that Beggar’s Bazooka, upgrade one Rocket Specialist, max Damage and max Reload Speed and you’ll be dealing tons of damage by tap firing. As for Pyro, get that Phlogistinator and melt the tanks with full Damage (NOT BURN DAMAGE, THAT UPGRADE IS HORRIBLE!) and some Health on Kill for survivability. Heavies can shoot the bots and giants and you can even play Sniper and help out without putting yourself at danger. Just watch out for those spies.
Desperation (Decoy) pt.2
This wave is either the hardest or the easiest for a newcomer. You can do it multiple zany ways such as full Snipers or playing Demo with Crits, but the easiest and most reliable is to simply go Spy. The big problem is that the Giant Medics, unless overkilled (doing more damage than they have health), will use Quick Fix and be unkillable by non-burst damage. This is very common when Heavies are involved.
The easiest way to make sure that the Medics won’t use their Quick-Fix is to burst them down. The harder way would be using 14 Scottish Resistance stickies with max damage and crits, and the easier way (the one I’ll cover) is playing Spy. Getting Ubercharge canteens, max Damage on your knife aswell as max Attack Speed (and some Resistances sprinkled with the leftover cash), as long as you pop the Uber canteen, you’ll easily kill the Giant Medic. Use the Dead Ringer to get away, disguise, repeat, until the last one. For the last one you won’t have a canteen but it’s fine if you die afterwards, the Heavies can always clean up afterwards.
As always, stay aggressive and the placement of the Support Spies will be obvious, just make sure to pay attention to the audio cues.
Snooze wave. The challenge ended on the last wave. Just go whatever you want and as long as you have resistances and damage output you’ll kill everything if you got your Engineer and Scout backing you up. At the end the heavies do come with medics, but they won’t be trouble, you won’t even need a Sniper, even though he can solo this wave without issues. Once again, watch out for the supports as Sniper, but at this point you can afford some Bullet Resistance if you wish.
You’ll start noticing that the last wave of Expert missions are incredibly easy. Lots of money to go around, and Soldier is at his peak so he’ll work incredibly at not only killing the Tank, with the Buff Banner he can be a cheap Medic Picker. Not guaranteed of course, but it’s a strategy. As long as you got your resistances and health on kill, you’ll be completely fine on this wave. Buy all the canteens you can, and destroy everyone. With 2-Way Teleporters, you’ll have a reliable way to stock up. Just pay attention to those Super Scouts, as one slip up can mean the end of the wave, but you can always use 2-Way Teleporters or a quick crit canteen to destroy them. The tanks come at the very beginning and at the very end of the wave.
And congratulations! You’ve completed Desperation.
Above is once again a map of Coaltown with made-up names so we can read it easier on this guide. Your main defenses will be either on the Stairs or in the Corners (depending where the bomb is going), with the Hallways being a place to regroup if the bomb goes to one of those ways, and if they aren’t, near the Bottomless Pit is usually where the bots end up going. The Hatch is the last ditch effort to not let the robots win.
Below are some examples of where you can setup as Engineer. Keep the teleporter near your setup and use the Dispenser to block spies that spawn on Right Roof from killing your team. Setting up on Stairs or Corners is personal preference.
This is a damage test wave, which doesn’t work too well with the 400$ you’re equipped with. Good team formation and coordination goes a long way.
Power Classes, much like in Decoy, are expected to soak a lot of the damage, but since the biggest issue is the Steel Gauntlets, it is advised to get Health on Kill over Resistances. Upgrading Firing Speed could also work to take care of them more easily, and getting Blast Resistance since 12 soldier drop at the very end also works. Very malleable upgrade path, whatever works best personally for you will most likely work.
Medic Pickers have a field day on this wave. My personal preference is to run Sniper + Spy duo with Spy having the capability to one-shot Steel Gauntlets specially with Sapper Power and Sniper picking up the slack where the Spy fails. The good thing about this strategy is that since there’s no big offensive firepower, the Scout could be scrapped by having the Spy nearby, since Mad Milk won’t be a necessity. Whenever you’re playing Demoman on Coaltown, staying on Right Roof will give you ammo and cover, and you’ll be able to see the robots dropping, even though he’s more of an uncommon pick for this map. If you’re playing Sniper, any time there’s a wave with Support Spies, you can utilize this position to make yourself safe, provided you’re as forward as you can be without falling off:
As Engineer, try to keep your building alive and soaking damage. Be careful picking up buildings since the Snipers will target you and can one hit you easily and make you die and lose your building. As always, max Dispenser Range is recommended.
This is a tricky wave that can be easily solved by an experienced Sniper. As far as the rest of team, the strategy is similar to Desperation Wave 2, have your Scout milk the Giant Heavies, have one of your Heavies run Natascha with some Bullet Resistance, Sentry bodyblocking, things of the sort. The biggest problem is the 16 Uber Medics. They’ll come in two bundles for 8 medics each, and because they’re so grouped up, they tend to OVERHEAL each other. That causes problems because setting their health up to 225 makes them a lot harder to kill and a lot easier to accidently make them uber. A few reliable options include 3 crit stickies, a well placed sapper (while being careful you don’t die yourself), but the best option is running Jarate as Sniper.
The heavies come from both of the left and right flanks and if the Sniper is placed of the Right Roof, he gets the perfect angle to throw Jarate at the robot medics. Being that Jarate makes the enemy take 1.35x damage, and the minimum amount of damage Explosive Headshot can do is 150, and 150 * 1.35 = 202.5, you’ll need one more point of Explosive Headshot (for a minimum of 170dmg and a max of 229.5dmg) to kill all medics in the worst case scenario, as long as they are Jarate’d. The good thing about this strategy is that he’ll also draw the aggro and having a lot of cover to hide behind, it’ll make the Heavies life easier by letting them handle the Giant Scouts on their own. With those giants gone, the wave should be simple enough. You can also utilize the Cleaner’s Carbine to get mini-crits from a further distance, but there’s no guarantee you’ll have Crikey by the time the Giants come unless you’re using it since wave 1.
Oh look, another wave trivialized by Sniper! As long as you have a Pyro or a Soldier to be 100% of the time on the tank, the tank will be destroyed by the time the rest of the robots are dead. The rest of the team (Engineer and Scout, not heavies) can help out too. The reason Heavy does poorly is that tanks have 75% damage reduction agaisnt Miniguns, making Heavy 25% effective against tank. If the Sniper is placed on the Middle Roof he’ll handle all the Soldiers (whom obliterate the frontline due to their long distance damage) and also deal a great amount of damage against the Giant Heavies (whom also reflect projectiles, making Soldier worse).
I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone lose on this wave. Just make sure you have a competent Tank Buster and a Sniper backing you up, and the wave will go smoothly. The Giant Heavies only show up at the very end and the small Heavies that come with medics are usually popped and die even without the Sniper helping. Just keep shooting and pay attention, you won’t have issues.
This is a interesting wave. There’s nothing that special about it, but it does seem oddly paced. Throught the time you’re fighting all the crit Demoknights, you’ll see 3-4 Giant Scouts and the Giant Soldiers paired with Uber Medics. Afterwards, you’ll have to wait OVER A MINUTE until the next Giant Scouts spawn all at once. Very weird, but not difficult in the slightest. Make sure you have some sort of slowing or proper bodyblocking and you’ll succeed.
Also small note that you can abuse, standing on metal awning near the Right Roof at the start of the wave will make the Demoknight aggro on you, with no idea how to reach you, so they just stand still (provided there’s a robot carrying the bomb). You can also abuse this to blow up Sentry Busters from a far, but since it’s so out of the way, it’s pretty niche.
Desperation wave 5 but a bit harder. Same strategy applies that we talked about before, have a Spy with uber canteens and you’ll pass without trouble, if you want to be more spicy you can use Scottish Resistance and blow everything up. As far as other classes, you have a lot of cash so you can get both defensive and offensive upgrades.
The big difference is the Giant Scouts that are added, but they die very quickly due to how powerful you are at this point. They come towards the latter part of the wave, so you won’t deal with too much mind flooding.
Remember when I said that last waves in Expert are easy? This one is at least not boring and leaves a lot to the player to figure out the most fun way to do it. I personally enjoy running Soldier with Air Strike and crit canteens, you can easily dispose of the 6 tanks. Any formation of 2-3 Tank Busters and the rest of the team playing a class that can deal with the smaller robots will do just fine. The Giant Heavies will only show up at the end, so a lot of times they die to the splash damage of people shooting the final tank.
And boom! Cataclysm has been defeated!
Mannslaughter (Mannworks) pt.1
We’ve reached the hardest mission in Valve’s Expert tour. While in Cataclysm I skimmed thru most waves since the difficulty really isn’t there, this part of the guide will probably be the most important to read, considering how the community views this mission as difficult.
Above we have the map for Mannworks. Left, Right and Intersection are defense areas, Intersection being the one you’ll usually fall off to after losing the frontlines. A common beginner mistake is overusing the Building, when it doesn’t offer much advantage. Both Rock, Bigrock (pictured below) and Shack are useful sniping locations, and Hatch/High Ground are last ditch effort defense anchors. The pit is not very useful but if you end up knocking the bomb down there, it will buy you some time. Below are some examples of Engineer building placement and Sniper positions with some footnotes.
Aggressive position to hold when the bomb is going to the LEFT. Remember that the bomb randomly switches pathing before each wave, so make sure to pay attention. Use the trick that is utilized on Decoy, because by making a 90° angle with wall you’ll be able to bodyblock, and the Dispenser will keep your wall of heavies alive. Put the teleporter nearby or on the Building.
Aggressive position to hold when the bomb is going to the RIGHT. Same idea of the left hold, the Sentry will bodyblock if it creates a 90° angle, and the Dispenser on the top with max range will feed your heavies and keep itself safe.
On the Intersection, it doesn’t matter which way the bots came from, they will cross this area, so putting your building anywhere near this area is a good idea. Don’t bother moving your teleporter back, you might even want to destroy your teleporter exit so people don’t autopilot into taking it.
The Rock is the best aggressive position for a Sniper. Full control of the Robot Spawn, nearby ammo and immunity to Spy. If your engi is setup on the right, you can also abuse the Dispenser for free health without Health on Kill.
Above is the view you get from the Bigrock. Very powerful position when you’re backed into the Hatch, and the Engineer can give you his Dispenser and you’re able to dominate from here. It’s not that used which baffles me, considering how powerful it is. A small note, the trees are actually untangible, and your shots will go thru them.
This is the beginning of the end. The sheer amount of effective health on this wave alone causes many teams to crumple on the very first wave. Let’s break it down: every Demoman drops down with 4 Steel Gauntles, protecting the Demoman. The pyros come periodically alone (and killing the hopes of you playing Soldier on this map). As far as upgrades go, there’s not much you can buy as Engineer other than the typical Dispenser Range, Heavies should buy Projectile Penetration to do as much damage as possible, killing the Demomen at the same time as killing the Steel Gauntlets, and Scouts can either focus on their survivability or some damage to help out.
The strongest strategy that I choose to apply almost every time is playing Spy. With one upgrade of Sapper Power, you’re able to slow down the Giant Demoman and shut down the Steel Gauntlets, letting you get free backstabs. Combined with the Kunai, you can sap everyone, get a kill and survive two grenades to the face, giving you ample time to kill the rest of the Gauntlets, and leaving the Demoman to the Heavies. This is a strategy that takes time to get it down to a tea, but it’s worth learning.
Playing Sniper is also a good option, since Explosive Headshot does bleed damage that goes thru the Steel Gauntlets resistance, but without Reload Speed he’s incredibly slow to kill the Demomen.
As far as the Support go, Snipers can be troublesome if your Scout isn’t dealing with them and if you’re on the Left, they come from the Building or the Pit, and if you’re on the Right, they almost always come from the Pit.
If the last wave was a damage test, this is a resistance test. My personal favorite team comp for this wave is 4 Heavies, a Engineer and a Scout. Giving all the Heavies crit resistance and blast resistance and they’ll hold the front line provided the Scout can milk enemies consistently. And since there are only Quick-Fix medics, you should be able to kill them normally. It’s common for the bomb to leak the frontline, and it’s up to the Engineer to keep his Sentry near the bomb so you don’t get backcapped. Other than that, should be a simple wave.
And… here we have the (in my opinion) hardest wave in Valve’s Mann Up. There’s just so much going on this wave, there’s tanks, uber medics and Super Scouts. So ideally you’ll want to have: a Pyro to kill the tanks (max damage upgrades), since Soldier will get his shots reflected by robot pyros; a Sniper/Demo to kill the medics, preferrably Sniper since he can solo the Giants aswell without putting himself at harm; Heavies to bodyblock and hold the frontline down, and if possible with a Natascha; an Engineer to keep everyone alive and bodyblock; a Scout to help damage the tanks and milk Giants. Let’s break down the wave in two:
1. Super Scouts and Tanks: This doesn’t seem that difficult on paper but when you add the fact that you’re gonna split your team it causes trouble. First a few Giant Scouts come, no problem. Then the tank spawns, and you’ll have your Pyro and maybe your Scout kill one of them. If they don’t kill the one that’s going to the bomb path, you have some wonky natural cover with the tank, so that can be helpful depending on what your team prefers. But the problem comes with the small robots. You need damage to kill the Scouts, but you’re so likely to die to the Soldiers and Pyros, and when you die once and a Scout has a bomb, you’re now defending at the Hatch and any death could mean the end of the wave. If you got past the Scouts and Tanks without losing, here comes the second part.
2. Giant Heavies and Support Scouts: I’ve lost so many times because the team wasn’t paying attention to the Support Scouts while I killed the Heavies. Engineers, please protect the bomb with your life using your sentry and ask your Pyro to stick around in case you have a Buster coming. The Pyro won’t do much against the Heavies, he’ll die on first sight. As a Sniper/Heavy you cannot let the Giant Heavy get nearby the Hatch if you’re holding there (which is common because the first part of the wave is easy to get pushed back), because then it’s incredibly easy for the defense to crumble down.
There are some more advanced tech for this wave I won’t be covering to not me too mind floody, but just make sure to communicate and cooperate on this wave and you can do it for sure.
Mannslaughter (Mannworks) pt.2
And after quite a hectic wave, we have something a bit more simple. There biggest advice I can give is to tell your Sniper (or, if you are the Sniper) to focus down on the Reflector Heavies. They can shred from a distance and kill the team before they get near your Heavies effective range.
Other than that, make sure you have resistances (specially for blast) and there shouldn’t be much trouble.
Incredibly diverse wave. The pyros still hold off the thought of playing Soldier, making him useless on the whole mission. It honestly feels like a lite Wave 3, since it doesn’t have Super Scouts. Keeping sure of your priorities is key for the victory on this wave, since you’ll usually want to leave two players at the tank while the rest hold the wave. Until all the Giants are dead, it will be a bit of a struggle of multitasking to keep the team up, but with coordination and knowing your place, you’ll do just fine. The wave pacing goes Giant Soldiers -> Tank Spawns -> Giant Demomen + Steel Gauntlets/Deflector Heavies -> Demoknights + Tanks, with Pyros spawning at every point of the wave.
And with that, we’ve completed Gear Grinder.
Thank you for reading this guide! I’m all up for constructive criticism or advice people would want included in this guide aswell, but knowing I’m talking to the MvM community, I ask that you keep it civilized.
If people think this was useful, I might do one for Mecha Engine aswell, since that’s also another tour people have trouble with sometimes, and no, I won’t do one for Two Cities.
I don’t know what else to put here other than if there are some English mistakes, point them out to me, I’m not a native speaker so I don’t expect it to be perfect.
Also TO-DO: More information on upgrade theory on Cataclysm and Mannslaughter
This is all about Team Fortress 2 – How to Play Gear Grinder Gameplay Tips and Tricks; I hope you enjoy reading the Guide! If you feel like we should add more information or we forget/mistake, please let us know via commenting below, and thanks! See you soon!
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