Mann vs Machine Survival Guide: Engineer
Name: Dell Conagher
Job: Area Denial (Solving Practical Problems)
Play If Your Team Has: No engineers
Best With: Other players
My Canteen: Building Upgrade
My Loadout: Frontier Justice, Wrangler, Southern Hospitality
Strategy: I think an Engie is requisite on every team – getting a big gun on defense is great. However, it’s very challenging. Often an Engie’s kit marks the frontline, and if that goes down, recovery becomes very difficult. If you’re lucky (or clever with your canteens), you can set up a new frontline before the robots make it back to your base.
During the Mann vs Machine preparation period, all of your equipment automatically starts at Level 3 (where during the actual fight you’ll have to build them up manually, or using the “Building Upgrade” canteen). Set up on the frontline, hopefully near some metal, and put your Dispenser down where the other players can get at it – they’ll need all the ammo and healing they can get. Towards the front but around a corner is ideal for a dispenser; a teammate can get constant healing and ammo by standing next to your dispenser and firing around the corner, while your Dispenser isn’t in the direct line of fire.
Keep in mind that most of the support robots are out to get you – spies are evil will target you, snipers can and will take you out if you stand still for too long. The real toughies, however, are the sentry busters. They will find your sentry, and when they’re close enough, they’ll squat down and then explode. To deal with them you need to be quick: the instant you think they’ve locked on (so they’ve started squatting down), pick up your sentry and RUN. If you mis-click or miss your sentry, just go; at that point, your best chance is to stay alive so you can rebuild your sentry as soon as the blasted thing is gone. Alternatively, you can pop an Übercharge canteen, making you and your buildings temporarily invulnerable.
Loadout Strategy: I love my Frontier Justice; when combined with a mini-sentry, it means that you can easily get free crits forever; which is why I take the “+1 Disposable Sentry Gun” powerup (which gives you a mini sentry in addition to your primary sentry). I chose the Wrangler over a standard pistol because let’s face it: my sentry is stronger than any other weapon I could grab, so if the baddies are coming from across the field, I’ll do more damage with my sentry than with a gun. The obvious downside is that you become more vulnerable to spies (because the gun only shoots where you’re looking, and as such doesn’t have your back), but in MvM, you know when there are spies around and can adjust accordingly. I take the Southern Hospitality for spy checking, because it causes bleed; if you hit someone and they start bleeding, you know they’re a spy.
[Edit]Additional Suggestions: While I originally suggested Southern Hospitality, it has been pointed out to me (tactlessly) that the 20% fire damage vulnerability is a problem. I usually set up on a second floor somewhere, so the pyros don’t get close, but I can see the point. If this is a concern, the internet suggests using simply the stock wrench. For the gun the internet also suggested the Widowmaker, but that’s all about taste: I prefer the crits, but I can see the appeal of getting the damage you deal back as metal.
Verdict: It takes a little while to get the feel for a map and the best places to set up your kit; this is the challenge you’ll face even in normal modes for TF2. However, once you’ve played a map once or twice and seen what other engies have done (or played engie before), you should be just fine to jump in. MvM is ideal for trying out new or tough classes, because even if you fail a wave, you get a chance to do it again, trying new things until you find something that works. Remember: as an engineer, your task is to solve practical problems – and the solution is “more gun.”