6

I've just found the Wrangler weapon for the Engineer, and, after reading its description, I'm not sure in what situation is could possibly be better than letting the Sentry automatically do its thing.

The disadvantages of using the Wrangler are:

  • It makes me an easy target for spies. Whilst I'm fiddling about trying to aim at people, a Spy can easily back-stab me, and then have plenty of time to sap my Sentry (as it takes a while for the Sentry to go back to automatic mode).

  • Sentries have much better "reaction times" and can detect and shoot enemies much more quickly than I can.

  • A Wrangler-operated Sentry gun has a laser pointer (and a blue/red bubble surrounding it), which gives away my location (and exposes the fact that I'm too busy trying to shoot individual targets to notice someone ambushing me).

  • Sentries never miss their targets, whereas I am likely to miss, since I am human.

  • The Wrangler takes up a spot in my inventory, replacing my Pistol.

  • Sentries, when operating automatically, cannot accidentally shoot their owners, whereas, using the Wrangler, I'm highly likely to accidentally shoot myself if a Pyro/Scout gets too close to me without warning.

So, in light of all these disadvantages, I have to ask: what are the advantages of using the Wrangler (i.e. are there any situations in which it would be better to manually control a Sentry, than to let it shoot down enemies automatically)?

  • 1
    I think sentries actually can shoot their owners, provided the engineer is in between the sentry and the enemy. – IQAndreas Dec 24 '14 at 7:50
10

The Wrangler has a few advantages as well

  • Manually controlling the sentry increases its bullet fire rate. I want to say by double, but I'm not positive about that.
  • The blue/red bubble is actually a shield that absorbs 66% of the damage done to it. For an example of what this means, instead of taking 3 stickybombs to kill a level 3 sentry, it takes 8 to kill a level 3 wrangled sentry. The shield persists for a few seconds after you stop using the Wrangler, so its useful for quick repairs.
  • You can manually aim it at players outside the sentry's normal range. This is great for dealing with snipers.
  • You can manually aim it at disguised Spies.
  • You can use a sentry to "sentry jump" (using bullets or rockets) to reach places Engineers normally can't go. This is because bullets and rockets damage the Engineer who controls a sentry gun.

Incidentally, a sentry gun can shoot its owner when operating automatically. This is actually a high-level trick: By ducking in and out from behind the Engineer's dispenser, you can cause it to turn around and shoot towards said dispenser, usually with the Engineer between the sentry and dispenser.

  • Side note: When you're using the Wrangler on a level 3 sentry, you need to right-click to fire rockets, but they don't seem to reload any faster than automatic. However, you can choose to just shoot rockets if (for some reason) you want to save bullets. – Powerlord Dec 23 '14 at 18:48
  • Ah. I didn't know that bubble was actually a shield. And should I be cautious when my Sentry's on automatic mode? Is it possible that my Sentry could kill me or destroy the Dispenser (without me doing this crouch trick)? – alexqwx Dec 23 '14 at 22:26
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    @alexqwx Sentries can't damage your other buildings or your teammates... just you. Having said that, as a general rule don't walk in front of your own sentry unless you have no other choice. – Powerlord Dec 24 '14 at 0:24
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The main advantage of the Wrangler (other than the enjoyment of controlling your sentry) is that it gives the sentry infinite range. An example: Imagine you have your sentry set up at the back of cp_gorge on the platform overlooking the final control point. From this position you can see the area between the two catwalks through the large metal door. Normally, this is far too far out, even for a level 3 sentry. However, using the wrangler extends the range sufficiently for you to attack the players coming through the door. It is used mostly in defensive situations when the sentry gun is situated out of range of enemy players who threaten the objective.

One other potential use (particularly useful in MvM) is the engineer version of rocket jumping, where the engineer uses the wrangler to shoot sentry rockets underneath his feet when he jumps, propelling himself to great heights or distances like a soldier or demoman explosive jumping. However, this is rarely used.

2

The Wranger has a lot of good going for it:

  • You can choose your targets. Instead of having the sentry waste ammo into an über or a Bonk Scout, have it fire at someone else.
  • You get a shield that blocks two-thirds of damage while aiming it. Have an über Heavy incoming? Turn on the Wrangler between wrench swings to keep its shield up while repairing it.
  • You can fire at things beyond detection range. Are rockets, grenades, or Snipers harassing you from a distance? Use the Wrangler to return fire. You don't even have to worry too much about aim; the Wrangler has a subtle auto-aim function installed. You do have to be aware of damage-distance falloff though; wrangled sentries don't do full damage to things outside detection range.
  • You can use your sentry to rocket jump (or bullet jump). Then perpetuate shenanigans, like building a base on the B or C roofs in Gravel Pit.

The Wrangler is at its best when you're only controlling it for one of these situations. Having it on manual all the time is not where it shines.

1

The biggest advantage is that a wrangled sentry has a shield which deflects about two thirds of damage dealt to it. This can be used to keep your sentry alive if it is under attack, for example if the enemy deploy an ubercharge.

The wrangler can also be used at any range or on any target- good against disguised spies or faraway enemies.

Finally, the missiles from a lvl 3 sentry can be used to rocket jump if you fire them at your feet. Accessing areas of the map that an engineer normally can't reach means you can put teleporters in unexpected places.

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