Team Fortress 2 Heavy guide

Tim Edwards at

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Team Fortress 2 is now free, so everyone with a Steam account owns it. If you haven’t played before, it can be an intimidating, hat-riddled game. Previously we gave you a handle on the basics, items and classes, now we're going in depth on each class.

Today the spotlight in on the Heavy, the giant Russian bear of a man with a great big gun, a great big grin and some of the best lines in the game.

Getting Started

The Heavy is the brute. He’s the player who should be in the midst of the fight, his mini-gun firing solidly, cutting down multiple enemies in a single life. He has some of the highest damage output, the highest health, and his gun decimates enemies at medium to short range. His big fat health pool means that he can survive for a long, long time - and with a few community drops, he can hide behind cover and heal by eating a sandwich or chocolate bar.

A Heavy’s weakness is his slow-speed and big fat head. His minigun takes a few seconds to spin-up and deal damage. When he’s firing, a heavy walks even slower than usual. And his big fat head, fat back, and slow speed mean he’s extremely vulnerable to sniper headshots (which, when fully charged, kill instantly) and back-stabs from the Spy (which, again, will kill him instantly.

A Heavy can spool his mini-gun without firing by holding down the right-mouse button. He’ll walk a little bit slower. It’s useful if you’re defending a capture point and know that enemies will soon be coming into your field of view.

Medics love Heavys. They have a nice big fat health pool, so they’re easier to keep alive. When uber-charged, the Heavy’s minigun is a frightening beast - the Heavy can afford to run in close and let rip from a very, very short range, killing everything in sight.

If you’re attacking, a heavy should be near the front of the action, using an engineer’s teleports to quickly enter the fray. A Heavy should never fight alone - a lone heavy is vulnerable to being overwhelmed. Instead, Heavy should wait until they two or three team-mates to make any push. Team-up with a medic and charge forward - you’ll carve a giant hole through the enemy ranks that the rest of your team can easily flow through. On payload maps, attacking heavies should be stood right by the little Kart, PUSHING.

If you’re defending, a Heavy is best teamed with an Engineer or Medic. An engineer’s dispenser can both heal the heavy, and refill their minigun, meaning a Heavy need never stop firing.

Recommended Items

The Sandvich is a replacement for the Heavy’s shotgun, which lets him heal himself to full over four seconds. While you’re snacking, you’re unable to move or shoot, so enormously vulnerable. And the other team will hear you “Om Nom Noming your way through the snack,” so try and eat out of the line of fire. Once you’ve got the Sandvich, you’re unlikely to use your shotgun again. The sandvich can also be dropped by right-clicking - letting you heal a friendly medic, for instance.

The Brass Beast is a mini-gun that does increased damage, but requires a longer spool-up time, and you’ll much slower when firing. It’s a riskier prospect, because you’re far more vulnerable to surprises. But it’s extraordinary how much extra damage you’ll see yourself do.

The Heavy’s bare fists aren’t particularly useful - the damage they do isn’t great. The Gloves of Running Urgently let you move a little bit quicker when equipped (like the knife in Counter-Strike) while the Killing Gloves of Boxing will give you a brief window of extra-crits if you land a killing blow with them. Aim for the Gloves of Running first. The Fists of Steel let you close to melee distance while taking less damage, but they’re too specialised for normal use.

The Heavy Starter pack gets you Natasha; a mini-gun that does reduced damage but slows down your target, and the Sandvich, alongside a Football Helmet. It costs peanuts. If you like the Heavy, and have just started playing, go for it.

How to help a Heavy

If you’re stood next to a heavy, watch his back. He’s going to die by backstab, or by sniper-shot. So stop shooting at the scout that’s waving a fish in his face and start shooting at the snipers at far range, or check that the suspicious looking sniper isn’t actually a spy by shooting at him.

Remember that if your engineers have put teleporters up, you are always faster than a heavy, so let him get on it first.

How to fight a Heavy

It’s entirely pointless to go one-on-one with a heavy from the front at short and medium range. They just have too great a hit-pool, they do too much damage, and they’re probably being healed by a medic. Instead, back off, and find a way around, hitting them from the side or back. When a heavy is in a firing rage, the player will often be so focused on what’s right at the point of his cross-hair that he won’t notice what’s hitting him from behind.

If he is being healed, kill the medic first. Always kill the medic first.

Stay tuned for more guides for the rest of the TF2 classes!