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As a good all-around combat class, Soldier is a class played in both 6v6 and Highlander. His high adaptability and mobility makes him vital on any 6v6 team, though his mobility comes at the expense of some health, via rocket jumping. When his rocket jumping is restricted by low health or cramped environments, he has the second slowest ground speed behind the Heavy. His weapon of choice is the Rocket Launcher, a projectile weapon with good splash damage and range, and he boasts the second highest base health in the game (200).


Main article: Soldier (6v6)

In 6v6, each Soldier will usually fulfill one of two main roles: "Pocket" Soldier and "Roaming" Soldier. The Pocket Soldier focuses on defending the team's Medic, using his high health to block damage intended for the Medic, gain advantageous positions during confrontations, and lead team pushes. The Roaming Soldier plays a fundamentally different role, and is the offense to the Pocket Soldier's defense. Instead of protecting his team, he controls the flank, utilizing his high mobility and health to rocket jump around the map. His job is to set up advantageous battles for his team by creating distractions or killing key targets.

Pocket Soldier

The most basic role of the Pocket Soldier is keeping his team's Medic alive. The Pocket along with the Medic and Demoman form the core "combo" of any 6v6 team. He and Demoman are often the recipients of an ÜberCharge, allowing him to push forward with no fear of damage. Though he is often the third most important pick behind the Medic and Demoman, his massive health pool makes killing him difficult. The standard - "meta" - loadout for the Pocket Soldier is the Rocket Launcher/Original, the Shotgun and the Escape Plan. While the Gunboats does allow him increased mobility during a battle, it reduces his ability to follow up after spending his Rocket Launcher ammo, making it fairly situational.

Roaming Soldier

The Roaming Soldier's main job is to help one of the Scouts on the flank, and create weaknesses in the enemy combo so that his own combo can follow up. He is considered the most "disposable" unit of the team, and will often launch suicide attacks against the enemy combo in an attempt to force the enemy Medic to use his Übercharge - or kill him outright. In order to accomplish this, he must know all the nuances of a map - hiding spots, flanks, rocket-jumping patterns. By utilizing this knowledge, he can remain undetected or out-of-range until an opportunity presents itself. Even if he does not find a chance to attack, he can still relay information back to his team, who can exploit this knowledge to gain an advantage. To maximize his mobility while retaining his firepower, the most common loadout for a Roaming Soldier is the Rocket Launcher/Original, the Gunboats and the Escape Plan.

In higher levels of play, the Pocket Soldier will usually be the main caller; he will lead team plays such as pushes, retreats, ambushes, and even directing ÜberCharges.


Main article: Soldier (Highlander)

In Highlander, there is only one Soldier on each team. He often functions like a Roaming Soldier would in 6v6. As such, many 6v6 Roamer strategies can be applied to Highlander as well. Often used as a mobile pick class, he is mostly run with Gunboats and the stock Rocket Launcher/Original, Black Box, or Direct Hit. A well-coordinated team can organize pick classes to work together for a common goal, like forcing a Medic to use his ÜberCharge or destroying an Engineer nest. In most maps, Soldier is used to control the flank; his job is to prevent enemies from ambushing his team, or ambushing the enemy himself. Some teams will place Soldier closer to his team's combo so that he can defend them with his splash damage.

Rocket Launchers


Weapon 4v4 6v6 Highlander
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Rocket Launcher
Always Always Always Always Always Always
The Rocket Launcher is the default primary weapon for the Soldier, due to its versatility. Its high area-of-effect damage, four-shot clip size, and good knockback make this the best choice for almost every game.
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Air Strike
Banned Allowed Allowed Allowed Banned Allowed
The Air Strike is an unlockable primary. Each kill Soldier gains with this weapon increases its clip size by one rocket, up to a maximum of eight. As a drawback, the projectiles fired by this weapon deal 15% less damage and have a 10% smaller explosion radius. While rocket jumping, its attack speed is increased by 65%, allowing Soldier to rain explosives down on his enemies. He must aim precisely during an "air strike," however - his rockets' blast radius is further reduced by 20% while rocket jumping.
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Black Box
Allowed Allowed Allowed Allowed Allowed Allowed
The Black Box deals the same damage as the stock Rocket Launcher, but heals Soldier by up to 20 health when he damages an enemy. To compensate for this increased survivability, his clip size is reduced, leaving him with only 3 rockets. In order to offset this downside, Soldier may choose to equip his stock shotgun in case he fails to kill his enemies before running out of ammo.

The Black Box is most often used by a Roamer attempting to create a distraction rather than kill enemies, especially in Highlander. First popularized by Vhalin, the Black Box can be used effectively to increase survivability for Highlander Soldiers.

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Beggar's Bazooka
Allowed Allowed Allowed Allowed Allowed Allowed
The Beggar's Bazooka is arguably the most unique rocket launcher out of Soldier's arsenal. Instead of firing rockets and then reloading, Soldier must load up to three rockets, then fire. Loading additional rockets will cause the launcher to overload, damaging Soldier and any enemies next to him. Soldier can intentionally overload, and use the damage to rocket jump across large areas extremely quickly. It cannot be used to fly across the map to bomb enemies, however - each overload jump removes a rocket from Soldier's clip, and its reduced blast radius prevents him from shredding the enemy combo. It also cannot be used at mid-to-long range, as its random projectile deviation makes it highly inaccurate at this range. The Beggar's Bazooka can be extremely powerful when holding a choke point, but is inferior to the stock launcher in most situations.
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Cow Mangler 5000
Allowed Banned Banned Allowed Allowed Allowed
The Cow Mangler 5000 has infinite ammo, and can slowly charge a powerful shot that mini-crits, disables Engineer's buildings and sets enemies on fire. However, it only deals 20% damage to buildings and only mini-crits when it would normally crit, preventing Soldier from making much use of a Kritzkrieg ÜberCharge. In the standard 6v6 format, however, Engineer is rarely run outside of last point holds, and Medics almost always run the stock Medi-Gun, making the Cow Mangler a direct upgrade to the stock Rocket Launcher in nearly all situations. As a result, this weapon is banned in most 6v6 leagues. In Highlander, it can be used to disable a Sentry, allowing Soldier's teammates to follow up without being killed.
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Direct Hit
Allowed Allowed Allowed Allowed Allowed Allowed
The Direct Hit is a primary that rewards precise aim due and punishes inaccurate shots with its reduced spread and increased damage. While it can no longer be used to damage multiple enemies, it can destroy any Engineer buildings in two hits, and mini-crits blast-jumping enemies. The projectiles travel 80% faster and do 25% more damage, but have a -70% reduction in explosion radius.
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Liberty Launcher
Allowed Allowed Allowed Allowed Allowed Allowed
The Liberty Launcher fires faster rockets, has an extra rocket in its clip, and reduces self-damage by 25%, but deals 25% less damage. While the extra projectile speed and clip size make it excellent for catching fast-moving Scouts, and the reduced self-damage can be combined with Gunboats for extremely low Health costs on rocket jumps, its reduced base damage allows enemies more time to retreat or counter-attack. While it deals respectable damage, the stock Rocket Launcher grants Soldier much greater firepower, making the Liberty Launcher a rare sight in competitive games.
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Some consider the Original to be a reskin of the Rocket Launcher. Others argue that the fact that it fires down the player's crosshair (as opposed to other weapons firing from the side of the crosshair) makes it more useful the stock launcher in most situations. It was banned from use in the early days of leagues such as ETF2L, which only allowed the weapon after Season 11. Aside from the mechanical difference in rocket jumping, there isn't much difference between the Original and stock launcher, making these weapons mostly interchangeable.
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Rocket Jumper
Allowed Allowed Allowed Allowed Allowed Allowed
The Rocket Jumper deals no damage, to the user or enemies. It is often used as a training weapon for rocket jumping, and thus sees no significant use in competitive games, as it denies Soldier his main source of damage.


Weapon 4v4 6v6 Highlander
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The Shotgun is the go-to secondary for Pocket Soldiers in the standard 6v6 format. It grants Soldier vastly increased staying power, which allows him to remain in battle after firing all of his rockets.
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B.A.S.E. Jumper
Allowed Banned Banned Allowed Allowed Allowed
The B.A.S.E. Jumper deploys a parachute when attempting to jump while midair. It allows Soldier to slowly glide to the ground, which can negate fall damage, but makes him extremely vulnerable to attacks, as its 50% reduced air control prevents him from dodging attacks while airborne.
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Battalion's Backup
Allowed Allowed Allowed Allowed Allowed Allowed
When activated, the Battalions Backup provides a defensive boost to Soldier and all nearby teammates, with even greater resistance to Sentry Guns. It completely negates the effects of a Kritzkrieg ÜberCharge, blocks critical hits, and grants Soldier 20 extra points of max health. The buff, which requires 600 points of damage to charge, allows Soldier to protect his team during pushes and retreats, but shares a weakness with the other banners: Soldier loses his Shotgun, preventing him from following up after running out of rockets. As Soldier's team size increases, his buff becomes more powerful - as such, it is rarely run in 6s. In Highlander, it can be used for both offensive pushes and defensive holds.
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Buff Banner
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The Buff Banner grants Soldier and nearby teammates mini-crits. It is not widely used in sixes due to requiring Soldier to deal 600 points of damage to charge, but is sometimes used in the slower-paced Highlander. It can be useful during team pushes, or to halt an enemy push, but replaces Soldier's shotgun, reducing his staying power. While rarely used in 6s, it can be used to great effect in Highlander, especially during defensive holds; Soldier and Demoman can use the mini-crits to quickly force enemies off the objective.
Allowed Allowed Allowed Allowed Allowed Allowed
The Concheror, requires 20% less damage to charge than the other banners, When activated, it provides a speed boost and heals Soldier and his teammates by 35% of damage dealt. When equipped, Soldier gains passive health regeneration, which starts at 1 HP/second increases to 4 HP/second if he avoids taking damage for a while. The buff, which requires only 480 points of damage to charge, is extremely useful for improving a team's survivability during a push or hold, but like the other banners, denies Soldier use of his Shotgun. In Highlander, it can be used similarly to the Battalion's Backup, though its protection is less potent than its counterpart.
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The Gunboats reduce health lost from rocket jumps by 60%, at the cost of Soldier's Shotgun. The reduced rocket jumping damage allows Soldier to bomb enemies with a far lower health cost, making it the go-to Secondary for Roaming Soldiers in 6v6 and for many Soldiers in Highlander. For more information on this item, see Gunboats.
Allowed Allowed Allowed Allowed Allowed Allowed
The Mantreads give the Soldier a passive 75% knockback resistance, the ability to deal 3x falling damage to enemies he lands on, and 200% more air control. This weapon is rarely used in competitive play, as the minor increase in movement control is almost never worth losing the Shotgun or Gunboats.
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Reserve Shooter
Banned Banned Banned Allowed Allowed Banned
The Reserve Shooter deals mini-crits to airborne enemies. It has 4 shots in its clip, and deploys 15% faster. While the stock Shotgun is usually superior for the Pocket Soldier, the Reserve Shooter's stellar damage against explosive-launched opponents makes it extremely powerful for a Roamer to follow up with after bombing the enemy combo, as staying power is less of an issue. As such, this weapon is banned in most 6v6 leagues. In Highlander, Soldier's mobility is greatly restricted by Engineer and Heavy, so the weapon remains whitelisted.
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Righteous Bison
Allowed Allowed Allowed Allowed Allowed Allowed
The Righteous Bison functions as an extremely situational alternative to the Shotgun that can only be used effectively when spamming through a choke point. It has four shots in its clip, reloads faster, and fires a single piercing energy bolt. While it can hit multiple opponents, enemies tend to spread out to avoid Soldier's splash damage, and the Bison projectile is slow and easy to dodge. This weapon is almost never seen in competitive matches, as it its damage output is severely lacking.
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Panic Attack
Allowed Allowed Allowed Allowed Allowed Allowed
The Panic Attack is a community-created primary weapon for the Engineer, and a secondary weapon for the Soldier, Pyro, and Heavy.

The Panic attack has a straight 20% damage penalty from the stock shotgun, but it fires 50% more bullets per shot, and deploys 50% faster. At point-blank range, it deals more damage than the stock shotgun, but even at short-to-mid range, it is often weaker, thanks to its reduced accuracy. This weapon excels at clearing out enemies at point-blank range, and can be used to follow up on Rocket Launcher damage near-instantly. However, it is nearly useless at medium range, leaving Soldier vulnerable to Scouts and Demomen, who can stay out of his effective range and attack with little threat of retaliation.


Weapon 4v4 6v6 Highlander
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Always Always Always Always Always Always
Like most stock weapons, the Shovel deals 65 damage every 0.8 seconds, allowing Soldier to do moderate damage when out of ammo. In competitive games, however, melee weapons are almost never used to deal damage, as players will almost always be able to shoot down a melee attacker before he can reach his target. Thus, utility weapons are almost always preferred over straight damage. As the Shovel has no special qualities, it is never used in serious games.
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Disciplinary Action
Allowed Banned Banned Allowed Allowed Allowed
The Disciplinary Action is a melee weapon used as a rollout tool for Highlander play. It deals 25% less damage, but has a greatly increased melee range, making it arguably better than the stock Shovel in a fight. When Soldier hits a teammate with this weapon, both he and his teammate gain a significant speed boost for a few seconds. It is extremely powerful in getting teammates to the front lines, and thus is banned in most 6v6 leagues. In Highlander leagues, however, it is outclassed by Engineer's Teleporter, so it remains whitelisted.
Allowed Allowed Allowed Allowed Allowed Allowed
The Equalizer becomes more powerful as Soldier's health decreases. However, it sees little use, as melee weapons are ineffective in a fight - Soldier will almost always be killed before he can enter melee range. While it can be used to build ÜberCharge with a Medic, the Escape Plan can do the same, and is useful in more situations than the Equalizer.
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Escape Plan
Allowed Allowed Allowed Allowed Allowed Allowed
When deployed, the Escape Plan increases Soldier's speed as he takes damage. The lower his health is, the faster Soldier will run; at 40 health and below, he becomes almost as fast as a Scout. As a downside, the weapon reduces Medic's healing (both Medi-Guns and Crossbow) by 90% while active, and all incoming attacks will mini-crit. This weapon is especially useful to flee from fights when Soldier has open ground to run through, and is the most common melee choice for all 6v6 Soldiers. Additionally, the increased movement speed paired with Soldier's ability to damage himself allows him to perform certain rollouts much faster.
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The Half-Zatoichi heals Soldier by 100 health on kill, possibly overhealing him, but if he deploys and holsters it without landing a kill, he will lose 50 health. If holstering the weapon would kill him, Soldier will be unable to do so. As such, the Half-Zatoichi is rarely used in 6v6, but is sometimes equipped by roaming Highlander Soldiers to increase survivability.
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Market Gardener
Allowed Allowed Allowed Allowed Allowed Allowed
The Market Gardener is used as a pick weapon, most often by Roaming Soldiers. If Soldier hits an enemy while airborne from a blast jump, he will deal a critical hit. This makes it a high-risk, high-reward weapon. If Soldier lands a hit on the enemy Medic, he is guaranteed a kill, as opposed to simply forcing the Medic to use his ÜberCharge. If Soldier misses, he will die and accomplish nothing. The Market Gardener is far less popular than the Escape Plan; unless Soldier can remain undetected until the last second, he will almost certainly be shot down by the enemy combo before reaching his target.
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Pain Train
Allowed Allowed Allowed Allowed Allowed Allowed
The Pain Train increases the user's capture rate by 1 (from 1x to 2x), at the cost of a 10% bullet damage vulnerability. In the standard 6v6 format, Demoman often equips the Pain Train in order to capture points faster, though Soldier can also do so to benefit his team.

See Also