As a note before the rest of the article, these strategies are fairly open ended, what might work well against one class one day might not work at all the next, so it requires a good amount of finding the comfort spot in any given match. Also, the basics are most important here, so don’t worry about following these to the letter. Also, having others around you defending can be a load of help.
Versus The Scout
If you’re on defense, the scout is going to be a primary victim. As they’ve usually passed into enemy lines, your job as an engineer is to defend. Scouts have low health and weak weapons so they should be no match against a sentry. If you can, try to put the turret at a choke point if you’re specifically depending against scouts, since you don’t want them to be able to flank and attack YOU from behind your turret. As an engineer you should have a decent chance against a scout since you have a shotgun, but you don’t want to have to rely on that.
Also distance: the scout pretty much just needs to be in the range of a sentry for a few seconds before they’re toast, so try to make it so that you can mow ‘em down before they can make it past your turret.
Versus The Soldier
This is likely one of the toughest matchups. A soldier can pop out from behind a corner, fire a rocket, then pop back, so this can be quite a dilemma. Try not to be right against a wall if you can, so that you can’t be hit by a rocket’s splash damage. This is one of the times you might have to put away the wrench and go on the offensive. A lot of times, the soldier won’t expect for you to come out, shotgun blazing, so having the element of surprise is key. This way, you can either take out the threat or hope you can hold out until backup arrives.
Otherwise, you’ll just have to sit behind your turret, constantly repairing. If you have two engineers going at once, you might be able to hold on for awhile, but chances are the rate of your repairing isn’t going to be faster than his rockets.
Versus The Pyro
This can be quite easy or quite hard depending on your location. A pyro can wipe out buildings with ease, but he has to be at close range. Do NOT let the pyro flank you or you’re in trouble. Like with the scout, try to have distance on your side. Basically, it comes down to whether he can burn your sentry from safety or not. This is why you don’t want to be too close to a corner or some such area because pyros can flame around corners without becoming a target for your sentry. In these cases, you’ll probably have to go one-on-one with him.
A good example of this is on 2Fort. In the courtyard area with the ramps leading up to the second floor, you’ll likely find the majority of engineers building. If you have your turret on the platform over the courtyard, you almost always will have your turret sticking out over the edge. Here, the pyro can stand below and BBQ your sentry without being seen.
Versus The Demoman
Like against the soldier, this can be pretty tough. Anyone with explosives can usually take out a turret with ease, and the demoman is no exception. Your only real hope is to go one-on-one since they’re poorly suited to direct, close-range combat. Otherwise, they’ll just either launch grenades towards your turret (even bouncing off walls so that they’re never in sight of the turret) or pop out, throwing down sticky bombs until they have a few in place. Then, if they detonate, they’ll take out not only your turret but mostly likely you as well as your companion dispenser.
Versus The Heavy
This depends. If you have a fully-upgraded turret (as, throughout this article I’ve been assuming you have), you really have 2 options. You can cower behind your turret, wrench in hand, or if your sentry is healthy, you can jump out and directly attack the heavy while he’s under fire from said sentry. When under attack from 2 directions, heavies often find it difficult to choose just one target and both attackers will be more effective, so shotgun for short range or rapid fire pistol from about sentry range.
Most of the time, a medic will be out of sight while healing the heavy, so it’ll come down to whether they’re healing faster than dying. On the off chance you’re just taking on a lone heavy, you should be okay.
Versus The Engineer
This is pretty much only against an actual engineer and not his buildings (after all, you’re not going to be building a turret side-by-side with an enemy engineer), so you shouldn’t have much trouble. Engineers are pretty much slow scouts with slightly weaker weapons, so it’s generally something of a cakewalk.
Versus The Medic
This obviously depends. If the medic is accompanied by someone, use the same strategies as you would against the class that is with the medic, but you’ll have to step it up a notch if you want to come out alive. Again, look for an opportunity to sally forth from behind your sentry and harass the medic and/or partner, since any class teamed up with a medic can be a good match for a sentry gun.
However, when a medic is alone it’s fairly straightforward. They don’t have much power to take out a turret and they rarely can fire on the turret while the turret isn’t firing back, so just apply some general strategies here and you should do fine.
Versus The Sniper
A sniper isn’t altogether too powerful against a turret, but he CAN fire at it while staying out of range of the turret (after all, he has a scope). He can also take you out while you’re repairing the turret and that leaves the turret unmanned where any lone soldier or demoman (or even said sniper, over time) can take it out with ease. Otherwise, if the sniper is for some reason charging a turret, you probably won’t have many problems.
Versus The Spy
In my experience, this causes the most frustration. Unfortunately, the main strategy here is to be paranoid. Very paranoid. Never let anyone near your turret and/or dispenser unless you’ve thoroughly checked their legitimacy. Just have your shotgun ready to shoot at any approaching teammate and you usually can take out the spy before he can inflict real damage.
If, however, the spy gets past you (tricky buggers) he’ll most likely place sappers on all of your buildings and promptly run away, or place the sappers and immediately try to stab you. First and foremost, don’t panic – if you run around like a chicken with your head cut off it’ll be the end of all of your buildings, and probably your life. Call for help, get straight to repairing, and look for the spy. Keep him away from your back at all costs and keep moving. As for the repairing, be calm and deliberate. Two hits with the wrench takes out the sapper, so hit until the sapper is gone, then move to the next building.
Usually, you want to save your turret first, but if it’s sudden death, you’re often better off repairing your dispenser since it is a source of health and metal. Despite the temptation, don’t try to repair your building to full health before moving on to the next building or your other buildings will be nothing but a pile of rubble. Just get rid of as many sappers as you can. The best bet here is to not let it get to you. As frustrating as it may be, just keep going with it and usually you can acquire a knack for noticing spies.
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