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Now that I (finally) have The Reserve Shooter I've become interested in aerials, the ability to launch an unsuspecting player into the air and then do horrible mini-crit related things to them before they land.

A few minutes experimentation reveals that I'm very bad at it. Specifically, I can consistently get dingalings when using the rocket launcher or the black box, but the hits don't seem to result in the enemy launching waaaaaay up in the air so that I can perforate them with the Reserve Shooter.

What can I do to increase the chances that my rockets will pop enemies into the air?

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2  
Shoot the ground near them. –  BoltClock Jan 30 '12 at 2:51

3 Answers 3

up vote 4 down vote accepted

While it won't provide a full and technical explanation about how to pop enemies into the air, this video shows (in a pretty accurate way) how to do so, using the rocket launcher:

The technique is basically to aim at the enemie's feet. The lighter the enemy is, the easier he'll fly away (you know who I'm talking about). And if you are lucky enough and hit the enemy while he's jumping, he will even fly higher.

Also, as for many other games, watching replays might help to catch the technique. There's a bunch of fragmovies and replays where you'll see the soldier in action, helping you to understand how to improve your soldier's air-popping skill. I'd recommand you that one and this one where this particular technique takes a good part (among others).

There are also videos about the Reserve Shooter's gameplay.

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You may try using the Liberty Launcher. The increased projectile speed should assist you in landing the rocket at their position, especially if they are unsuspecting.

This tactic works primarily for medium classes such as other Soldiers, Demomen, and the Pyro, as lighter classes tend to just explode and the Heavy doesn't move very far. Therefore, unless you are out-of-rockets, its best to just place a rocket where they are going to land as this will kill almost anybody who survived a rocket direct enough to launch them in the air in the first place.

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Direct Hit is even faster –  Joe the Person Jan 31 '12 at 0:42
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Direct Hit has limited Splash Damage. Since you are intentionally missing them to hit the floor, I wouldn't recommend using it for performing Aerials. –  Joshua Shane Liberman Jan 31 '12 at 14:21

Try attacking them at medium to short range (but not melee range). The old hint is to aim at their feet but aim where their feet will be when the rocket connects. My general rule is to shoot where they will be stepping in almost 1 second time and keep in mind, rocket travel distance changes this. Further away, aim further in front of them.

Another suggestion is to jump right before shooting. It gives you a better angle to hit their feet and launch them into the air. Standing at a higher elevation and shooting down onto them, like standing on a box or higher ledge, tends to help to.

I tend to stick to the regular rocket launcher for the splash damage, making launches easier whereas the Direct Hit is much smaller and harder to launch people. The Liberty Launcher will help with its speed increase and lower the chances of the enemy dodging or moving out of the rocket's impact, increasing the chance of a launch.

Also Heavies are harder to launch into the air so generally don't bother trying to launch them and just aim for their fat, squishy belly.

Happy reserve shooting!

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