Okay first of all, right off the bat, most defensive tactics are just countering whatever the attackers do, and since most of this is covered in the in Offensive Strategy section, I’m not going to melt your eyes (and my fingers) by reiterating all of it. As such the defensive section is considerably more compact, as it focuses more on defence-specific tactics rather than telling you how to play.
So let’s get into it. The first stage is fairly tough to hold out on, but it happens from time to time. CP1 is almost always going to fall, but an effort should be made to hold it for as long as possible. This guide has taken so long that probably know most of how to go about this already, so here’s a couple of pointers. Key targets are any attackers in the choke point between the hills and on top of those hills looking down. The first case is easy to defend, the second is easy for them to attack. Demomen on the hill is what wins the point, so make them a priority. Basically just spam heavies, demos, soldiers, pyros and medics as hard as you can, with a sniper or two for good measure.
Second, teleporters help keep the defence together (build the exits back behind CP1 so they don’t get killed in a rush) and sentry guns are not that useful. An überdemoman will make short work of any buildings he finds, and there will (should) be a lot of said demomen. Buildings on the top floor of the house are often very effective, but not very helpful until CP1 is all but gone. Try and build (and rebuild) them as far forward as you can for as long as you can – there’s plenty of metal to go around.
So CP1 got captured, didn’t see that coming. CP2 is much more defensible, but still difficult. The enemy has a few routes to take, and by using your brains a bit, the defence can lock them all down. The routes are the tunnel to the platforms on the left, the stairs up to the building on the right, and straight along the tracks to the bridge. The left and right can both be easily held against an entire team by a single demoman on each, but don’t be afraid to use a bit more muscle. Both of these areas can and must be held by the defence to prevent enemy flanking – they should be a team priority, and when they fall ensure that you take them back, especially the building on the right. Also snipers on the roof of spawn get great views of the tunnel from CP1 and both buildings.
Most attackers will run up the little stairs at CP1 and go through the loft and engineers love building there, so a medic and soldier or demoman should be patrolling that route. Rocket jump up into the loft and stand on the edge to stay with the medic and there’s a lot of kills on offer. As for defensive sentries, everyone knows the spot on the corner near spawn and it is very effective, so use it. Build right on the corner so stickies can’t stick on front of it. Another sentry at the foot of the building on the right can help too. Especially important for the whole map is a good sniper or two to really restrict the enemy’s movement and discourage them from coming into the open.
Stage 2 is often where the attackers break down. Like stage 1, the first point will almost always fall after a struggle, and the second is greatly geared towards defence. It’s a long walk from spawn so teleporters are crucial, engies. Defenders can run right up to BLU spawn here, and while I strongly discourage spawn camping, pushing them back to spawn with an übered pyro or heavy is perfect for allowing your defence to regroup.
Speaking of regrouping, the little hut on the defenders’ right is a critical location. If the attackers can wrest this from you, it gives them a powerful foothold, whereas garrisoning it yourself turns it into a veritable fort when you start shooting out through the windows. Always set up a sentry at the top of the stairs leading to the front door to kill stray enemies running up the tracks and preventing them from coming inside. Watch your back, as spies will love getting inside and can make a hell of a mess of things if they do.
Snipers are useful again since the whole area is dead straight, but don’t underestimate the effectiveness of demomen. The attackers only have two paths out of spawn – assign one or two demomen to each exit and have them spam it continuously with stickies and grenades. A heavy and pyro can be very helpful for this too, especially with compression blasts. Usually it’s the übercharges that crack the defence, but by using the compression blast to keep them restricted and popping defensive übers as a response can deny the offence any progress.
However if you get overrun and the teleporters are down, the shoe goes on the other foot, and the defenders are restricted to a single exit when coming back to defend, so you are easily pinned down by the attackers swarming around the cart. Once you lose CP1, the gates to the top floor gates drop, and the attackers will try and take full advantage from this powerful position. Like the buildings on stage 1, the defence must make sure that it controls, or at the very least contests, the top floor. Offensive teleporters will always go up here, so get in and wipe them out before the sentries accompany them, then camp inside and keep the enemies out. Medics should be very accommodating to soldiers and demomen jumping up into the windows. Be ready to heal them when they come back to the edge.
Apart from the top floor, the bottom is pretty easy to hold. It’s pretty easy to restrict the attackers to the tunnels from CP1 with a thick sticky and sentry spam (medics and heavies strengthen this a lot), but if they have any sense they’ll pop a few übers. Again, make full use of the pyro’s compression blast to prevent their demomen from destroying all your buildings, and you should be alright. If they manage to get out, your next line of defence is the fort-like building with the bridge. This is what the attackers will be trying to take, so do whatever you can to hold it, and again like stage 1 if you lose control, keep pushing to try and take it back.
Finally if you lose the building too, the cart will most likely be under the bridge somewhere. From here it’s a case of putting up a vicious last stand, while continuing to push back whenever the attack goes quiet. Remember, Forward Defence is far more effective than a backward defence. The further back you get pushed, the more medics, heavies and demomen you should be cranking out, and 2 or 3 sentries is a good number. You probably already know where to put them: one of the little platform on the defenders’ left, one in the small alcove to the right, and if you can spare the engineer one over on the far right behind the rocks watching over CP2. Hopefully you can manage to hold them off (again remember to compress their übers), but if they break through, read on.
Stage 3 offence had some fairly extensive coverage of stage 3, so I won’t reiterate all of it. Like every other stage, you have a good chance to put up a fight at CP1, so make the most of it. It’s a long, open, and obstructed path for the attackers to traverse, so put some sentries around corners overlooking the canal and defending the top sides. The big advantage defenders have here is a close spawn so teleporters are not all that necessary. They can still be useful however to teleport from just outside spawn to the far right corner with the truck, overlooking the exits from BLU spawn.
I know I say it a lot, but it’s true – sticky bombs rule. Spam them all over the attacking exits, and don’t let up. They’re also awesome for distracting any punks who think they can hurt your sentry guns. Other than that spamming a whole lot of soldiers and heavies to plug up the canal should give your team a powerful hold on the map. When they manage to get the cart close to CP1, keep throwing stickies all around it, and try to sneak around and hit them from behind whenever possible. Pyros are great for getting in the offence’s face (and/or back).
When CP1 falls (and there’s a good chance it won’t if you all work together well), CP2 is a tough one to hold. Most of you will be dead and they will get first dibs on garrisoning the buildings, so instead focus on defending the choke point near CP2. A handful of demomen and engineers, again, can do a good job of locking this down, and few good snipers can make life hard coming up the track. Watch out for the window on the left, and get some sentries up on both sides of the choke point.
That will probably not take long to lose however, so make sure the final point goes better for you. The defence will probably get pushed back to the final corner, but try to go no further. Sticky spam the corner to make it hard for them to follow you round, and don’t stop trying to control the little elevated hut at the corner. Try sticky jumping through the hole in the floor on the far left to surprise anyone inside. It makes a great place to shoot down on incoming attackers. Spies are also great to have roaming around looking for enemy teleporters (including entrances). It’s a hell of a long walk for the attackers (especially the slower, scarier ones) without teleporters, so keep them down and you’ll be in with a good chance.
Other than that, throw up 2 or 3 sentries in good spots – that one up the stairs on the right is always good, and around the truck somewhere is nice too. To protect these from überdemoman rushes, have a couple of pyros to make use of their compression blast – it’s great for reflecting rockets from around the corner too, greatly reducing the effectiveness of their soldiers.
From here it really just comes down to playing well. Most of the time the defence will be in command, but it’s those rare occasions when a couple of übers come rushing out at once that determines who will win. If you all break down and get ripped apart by a couple of heavies you probably won’t recover with the long respawns. I know it sounds obvious, but try not to die – don’t do anything stupid when they come in übered, just go and hide for a while (pyros excepted – get among them and blow the medic away). Good luck!