What are good strategies for countering a dominating sniper? What classes, class combinations, and weapons are effective against snipers?

  • how about getting fire-spammed by a pyro-teammate as team roomba decided to grace us with?
    – erik
    Commented Feb 18, 2011 at 21:37
  • @espais If I could orchestrate that with the other team ... :-)
    – C. Ross
    Commented Feb 19, 2011 at 14:13

11 Answers 11


There are 3 general ways to deal with snipers:

  1. Become better at dodging/avoiding shots. Learn and use terrain to get out of the sniper's view, and also adjust movement to make it difficult to snipe. Don't just run in the open from point A to point B.
  2. Spying. Spies are unrivaled at harassing snipers. A good spy or two will keep snipers constantly spy checking and unable to spend time zoomed in. The Ambassador will take care of those Razorbacked snipers just fine. Also, don't decloak right behind a sniper. It's usually fairly quiet next to a sniper, so its really easy to hear a decloak. To be fair, to go with the tons of bad spies that do this, there are tons of bad snipers that are caught with this. Maybe they should turn down their music?
  3. Counter-sniping. Simply be better than the other sniper. Lock down the other snipers, AND rain down on the other team. Snipers are their own counter.

People such as soliders and demomen never really bother me as a sniper. I see them coming, and a demo will be mostly dead if not already dead on the way down. Mid-air is a great place to shoot people at that. Scouts are annoying, but them along with any class should generally have a rough time getting to you past your team to be a regular issue. Other classes really shouldn't be reaching you.

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    A Pyro with a Flaregun or a Soldier with the <fast rocket-launcher with normal splash radius> can at least help to annoy snipers away from an area. Commented Aug 15, 2012 at 17:10
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    If you really want to kill snipers as scout Bonk is a great way to get past obstacles (the rest of the sniper's team).
    – jw013
    Commented Mar 1, 2013 at 20:13
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    Note: if you want to counter-snipe as a sniper, you must learn how to quickscope REALLY well, or else you'll be dead before you know it... professional snipers can align their dot to your head in less than a second, and an uncharged headshot (or otherwise known as quickscope) will kill you instantaneously (unless you are wearing the Darwin's Danger Shield, where you will retain 6-7 health).
    – Kim Minseo
    Commented Sep 21, 2014 at 13:43

Spy, Scout, and Pyro can all be effective, but the class most hated by the best sniper I know (the ridiculous Flippy_D) is actually the Demoman.

Backstabs can be handled with the Razorback. Pyro and Scout by being aware of any back door, but the Demoman has long range, and can easily spam a Sniper's camping spot, at worst keeping him from getting off a good shot, or even killing him. Additionally his damage does not decrease by distance like the Solder does.

  • That combined with Gnomes answer(Demoman's are shorter) seems to make Demoman the best against a sniper.
    – Earlz
    Commented Jan 7, 2011 at 1:18
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    The Razorback is really a limited use item. As a Spy, I will just pull out my gun and shoot you... the normal revolver/Big Kill and L'Etranger will kill a Sniper at full health in 3 shots from short range. Ambassador is two shot (assuming a headshot for the first shot).
    – user2974
    Commented Jan 7, 2011 at 22:20
  • If you're close to a razorback'd sniper a ambassador headshot then a facestab when he tries to chase you down should also do the trick
    – RobV
    Commented Jan 11, 2011 at 14:22
  • Demoman cannot survive an encounter with a seasoned sniper just because of the fact that rifles shoot faster than grenade launcher (quickscope to the head and a simple bodyshot can kill him) Razorback is pointless, basically all spies nowadays whenever they see a sniper with razorback, they just pull out their Enforcer, L'Etranger or Ambassador and shoot you down in a matter of seconds. Best counter against spies is the Jarate or the stock SMG.
    – Kim Minseo
    Commented Sep 21, 2014 at 13:47

Well, there's a few things I really hate as a sniper. (Keep in mind that although I do have my moments, I'm not an excellent sniper by any stretch of the imagination, so you may wish to take this advice with a grain of salt.)

1): Enemy classes getting into my sniping spot. Nothing irritates me more as sniper then being blindsided by an enemy while I'm looking for headshots. There are two ways to do this. You can either just rush me (scout, or a rocketjump/stickyjump), or sneak past my sniping spot and flank me (which almost any class can do, if you know the map.)

2): Better enemy snipers Yep, the biggest threat to a sniper is another sniper. If you're faster and more accurate, enemy snipers can be some of the easiest kills in the game. (Probably not what you're looking for, but I thought I'd mention it) Also, try sending some rockets/flare gun shots/ stickies towards my hiding place. When I'm scoped in, I don't always notice, and you might get an easy kill.

3): Zig zagging enemies As a sniper, what's harder to headshot? The guy that moves in a straight line towards you, or the guy zig-zagging, bunny hopping, just meandering randomly all over the place? Move left/right and up/down in addition to forwards and you'll reduce your headshot deaths a lot.

4): Spies These deserve a special mention. Although rushing/flanking enemies can be held off if the rest of your team is playing well, often a spy can sneak past them anyway, and just backstab me. Don't be afraid of razorbacks, as a couple of revolver shots will do the trick nicely. (Although, since most spies tend to shy away from razorbacks, I use the item anyway. :P) As a side note, the headshot hitboxes of each class are indeed different, so it's tricky to headshot disguised spies even when they're obviously enemies.

So, which class would I use against an enemy sniper? (Assuming I couldn't outsnipe him)

1)Spy: Snipers are the easiest backstabs in the game, if you can get to their hiding place. Which equipment you use is a matter of choice, but the ambassador can be excellent against snipers (They stay very still when scoped, making for some easy ambassador headshots).

2)Scout: You're vulnerable to charged bodyshots, but you're very difficult to headshot if you move around erratically, and you have a good chance at reaching their hiding spot. The force of nature helps by allowing you to triple jump, and bonk atomic punch will let you rush past enemies to get there. Also, the sandman has a shot at some ridiculously long range stuns.

3)Soldier/Demoman: These are purely for the additional movement allowed by rocket/stickyjumping. You can really zoom around the map when you use it correctly, which can really surprise a sniper. I'd suggest the default kits for both of them (aside from equalizer for soldier).

Other class ideas: Don't even think about heavy unless you're planning to use the fists of steel. Also, brass beast is a HUGE mistake. The movement penalty makes you a sitting duck.

The engineer doesn't have too much long-range capability, although a wrangled sentry is definitely a possibility.

Medics are a high priority target for snipers, although the crusader's crossbow might work.

And finally, flare gun pyros can nail inattentive snipers. Don't forget to use your flamethrower when crossing open spaces, you can mask your head in the flames to confuse snipers.

Well, that's all of my experience regarding sniper hunting, hope it helps.


The three classes most suited for killing Snipers are:

  1. Snipers. Some maps in particular are very Sniper-battle friendly at the beginning. Most payload maps are a good example (see: pl_goldrush stage 1, pl_badwater, pl_upward). Pretty much all maps are sniper battle friendly in the middle.
  2. Spies. Even with a Razorback, a Spy can just shoot you 3 times (twice with the Ambassador, assuming the first shot is a headshot) to kill you.
  3. You wouldn't think Scouts would be, but it's easier for them to get past Snipers due to their speed.

If you must engage, go pyro with flaregun or scout with the sandman. These classes can get close to a sniper.

If you go pyro, remember you can just spray flames around and strafe randomly to make it harder for them to hit.

If you go scout, well, then you are really fast. A sandman hit (or even a miss) might scare them away from their spot. You can use either a bonk or a shortstop after having used the sandman. It will be hard for the sniper to counter the fact that your bonk makes you invincible, and the shortstop is massively overpowered.

Many people would probably recommend a spy. Here is my opinion: A spy can often take out any single target, but will it be worth it? Remember it's called Team Fortress. Taking out one man is not a sensation.

  • True, but the question asks about a sniper that is dominating. If one player is good enough to stall your team's advance, it may be that the best thing you can do as a spy is to take that player out.
    – Steve V.
    Commented Jan 8, 2011 at 4:05

In my opinion if you want to kill easily a dominating sniper I would suggest use the Spy equipped with Ambassador.

This give you the chance to avoid backstabbing him, if wearing Razorback, and hit directly with a nice headshot. Headshot + single body shot is a sure kill.

If you are not an expert spy or the situation around the sniper is really caotic, you can equip Cloak & Dagger so you can hide in a safe corner and wait the right moment to get your revenge.

He will call you lamer, but this is TF2, a rock paper scissors game where all classes have their nemesis (or maybe more than one).


Avoiding open spaces is one way. Go the other way.

Playing as scout and moving erracically can stop most snipers from hitting you. Just get close and give him a meatshot.

If I'm really bothered by a sniper, I might go sniper to beat him, but that's because I'm a good sniper and usually hit him first.

Never underestimate the speed of a sticky jumping demo or a rocket jumping soldier. Just be aware when stick jumping that the sniper can aim right above where you plan your sticky to jump with.

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    My experience from Quake is that rocket jumping (or any kind of jumping), if timed wrong, is the worst possible thing you could do versus a sniper -- at the peak of your jump you're just a sitting duck.
    – badp
    Commented Jan 6, 2011 at 23:22
  • Against a great sniper, perhaps. But against a great sniper, the only thing you really can do is not let him see you. And as soldier, from full health, you can take one uncharged headshot and a low damage jump, so even if he hit you you might finish him. Just hope he has Jarate or a razorback, so you can kill him. Commented Jan 6, 2011 at 23:42

If you want to learn how to counter a sniper as a sniper yourself, I wrote a small tutorial a long time ago here http://www.sniping.chimoosic.co.uk/Tutorial.php It's slightly outdated but contains a lot of the basics. Another good thing to do is practice against really good snipers, which can be found on all sniper servers. Look for maps such as 2fortsniper and maps beginning sn_ in the map list. If you're interested in a more up to date description of a few techniques, give me a shout.


Sticking with the Pyro is a pretty safe bet, as [s]he is the shortest.


Note that yes, the Engineer (second) and Scout (last) both keep below the white line, but neither of them are standing perfectly straight

Happy Hunkering!

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    Shouldn't that be she is the shortest?
    – C. Ross
    Commented Jan 6, 2011 at 22:57
  • Wait, does class actually affect your hitbox?
    – badp
    Commented Jan 6, 2011 at 22:59
  • I would assume so. The heavy is a full head taller than the Pyro. I can't imagine them having the same "headshot" boxes.
    – GnomeSlice
    Commented Jan 6, 2011 at 23:00
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    @badp See here. ♪
    – Grace Note
    Commented Jan 6, 2011 at 23:03
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    @C. Ross -- Fun Fact: The announcements on the start page, when referring to the Pyro, have a 50% chance of using "she" and a 50% chance of using "he". Everyone else is (obviously) listed as male. Commented Jan 7, 2011 at 2:16

I'm pretty unstoppable at Sniper with the huntsman and jarate, the one thing that bothers me a lot is a Soldier at close range.

Close range rockets can almost always mean a quick death. The best tactic is to run, dodge and put some distance between you, unless your jarate chop is ready and the soldier is unaware.

Also Scouts can be deadly if the scout player is highly skilled, though clever tactics can take away a scout's advantage by using bottleneck points to time attacks.

Finally, a skilled sniper at long range with the rifle will usually beat a skilled sniper with the bow, unless one attacks from different positions constantly. Also the bow usually trumps the rifle at close range and they are somewhat even at medium to long range.

  • I had to rollback, not because I was against the new formatting, but because i had added content. I removed the header text formatting, though I prefer it, I know it's offensive, lol. Commented Oct 30, 2012 at 13:49
  • There is nothing more satisfying then head shotting a huntsman sniper with their own arrow. Rocket jumping at a soldier and flaming him up is fun, but no one expects the reflected arrow.
    – Kexlox
    Commented Oct 30, 2012 at 19:40
  • While I've been killed probably 4 or 5 times with a reflected arrow, I have over 1300 hours in Tf2. A reflected arrow is definitely a cool way to kill someone, but it's not a reliable way to kill a good sniper. I usually don't even bother to stutter my timing because it's pretty difficult to reflect them even when the pyro is totally ready and no one is moving. Often I try to jarate chop a pyro to piss them off, though I usually only have a 70% survival rate. The best way for a pryo to take out a sniper is flanking, standing or running straight at a readied huntsman is rarely optimal. Commented Oct 30, 2012 at 20:35
  • I can almost always reflect an arrow. Getting it back to its source is more difficult. The airblast window is so much larger than people give it credit for it's laughable. One of these days I will counter-sandman a scout, and then a huntsman headshot will no longer be the coolest reflect. :) Although, if you could reflect an arrow, and set it on fire, that may retake the crown.
    – Kexlox
    Commented Oct 30, 2012 at 20:52
  • @Kexlox - maybe you have a point, but its pretty unusual to actually kill a sniper with it. While the airblast window can be long, it seems like the timing can be extremely unpredictable especially if there is any lag. It's seem like you have to have a low ping to backblast an arrow reliably. Stuttering the timing of firing something usually defeats a back blaster, if not at first, it will eventually. I think I was killed with a back blasted flaming arrow once, but I don't think it was intentional. Commented Oct 30, 2012 at 21:06

An effective counter to a good sniper is the Croc-o-Style Kit. It prevents being killed by headshots, which gives you ample time to kill the enemy sniper even after they headshot you.

The downside to this set is that you cannot deal headshots, however your rifle coats enemies in jarate (in addition to the 150+ damage dealt). If your target is in battle, either you'll finish them off or your teammates will with your mini-crits.

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