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Whenever I play TF2, I tend to main Scout a lot, and the way I play it is more like a fast stealth class, by flanking enemies.

However, sometimes I find that I don't fully know my way around some maps when it comes to doing so, or that I'm unable to pull off killing someone from behind, for example.

Is there a way to learn what strategies to use, such as possible pathways around maps or effective loadouts?

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    For loadouts: Watch Youtube videos of competitive players playing. For learning maps/paths: Watch Youtube videos of competitive players playing, and then play the maps in 'offline' mode i.e. Click the '+' on the main menu to create a server and set a password so only you can join. Set the map and join a team. Use this to practice jumps that you want to make – Robotnik Jul 15 '15 at 8:21
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    My advice for loadout: Default scattergun (essential); pistol/flying guillotine; bat/holy mackerel/sandman – imulsion Jul 15 '15 at 9:58
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    Making a list of lesser-used paths in maps would take a long time... TF2 ships with 40+ non-MvM, non-Arena maps. – Powerlord Jul 15 '15 at 14:53
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    Don't use the Holy Mackerel unless you're trying to grab attention to yourself - getting killed by it is humiliating, and will make your victims chase you exclusively as soon as they see you... – sirius_pain Jul 15 '15 at 15:56
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To quickly and effectively make your way around lesser-traveled areas of the map, it all comes down to situational awareness and quick thinking.

If you play a stealthier scout and need to part from your team to flank the enemy, you'll need to be able to scan your surroundings and follow paths that lead away from the main path. You can use BONK! Atomic Punch to give yourself a third-person view, which will allow you to see past corners by angling yourself without actually exposing yourself - this allows for staying hidden while traversing the other parts of the map. Alternatively, take advantage that you are the fastest class and find a hiding spot (or get ready to jump over the enemy to confuse them) so that you may slip away or attempt to make a kill.

Another thing to note is that you should never use the Baby Face Blaster. This is because it slashes the scout's default speed and conditions you to avoid using your air jump and keeps you on the ground, and in many cases your air mobility will be the difference between life and death.

When exploring the map, keep an eye for any buildings you can travel through/around and any other area that looks like it would be ideal for a sniper to hide or for a spy to uncloak - in many cases, the enemy team will not be checking this area unless they are poorly coordinated (walking about everywhere), under pressure from a target in said area, or choosing to roll-out through an alternative route.

To answer your question of strategy: When your team sticks together, they will be the primary focus of the enemy, allowing you to slip past. Make use of double jumps for reaching higher places and avoiding the other team.

As I mentioned before, it is a sin for a mobile scout to use the Baby Face Blaster. I mentioned that it conditioned you to stay on the ground and avoid the use of your double jump, and how it cuts your speed. From the get-go, equipping the Baby Face Blaster will severely slow down your roll-out, as you will not be crossing the map as fast as you potentially could.

If your playstyle revolves heavily around picking off lone enemies who don't know you are there, I would recommend using the Backscatter. At maximum range for its minicrit effect, it can deal 80 damage if every pellet hits (8 damage per pellet, 10 pellets per shot total). At point blank, it deals a significantly higher damage, a total of 140 if every pellet hits (14 damage per pellet, 10 pellets total) - this can instantly kill an enemy scout, engineer, sniper, or spy if they are not using equipment that would put their health over 140.

As always, the stock Scattergun is always a great option too.

For your style, I would recommend three pistols: stock, the Winger, and the Pretty Boy's Pocket Pistol. The Winger can quickly be pulled out to deal more damage than the stock pistol per shot, but cannot be relied on due to its clip size being less than half of that of the stock pistol. The extra jump height can come in handy for climbing the map as scout, but will not truly help in a close-quarters battle. The Pretty Boy's Pocket Pistol grants buffs such as never taking fall damage and 3 health on hit while the weapon is active, at the cost of 20% damage vulnerability. The health on hit can help you heal up when your enemies are distracted, although you need to be a little more careful when you pull it out due to the 20% damage vulnerability when it's active.

Your only options for the bat should be stock or the Sandman, as you will likely be travelling alone and need to maximize your damage output. The Sandman is good for stunning an enemy that's aware of you to take advantage of their helpless phase, but when used on an unsuspecting enemy it could be the difference between a high-damage minicrit shot to the back and a normal-damage shot to their face. The Sandman also lowers your maximum health, meaning it will make you less likely to survive getting shot if you attract the attention of the enemy team.

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    "Never use the baby's face's blaster" false, use it only when you're comfortable as a scout and confident that you know the map well and can control your class accurately, as it is a tremendous boosts when you know where you're going and want to get around a map quickly – Zibbobz Jul 15 '15 at 17:52
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    When faced with a 1 vs. 1 situation, the speed buff of a fully-charged BFB will only truly help against an enemy that has a hard time keeping up with you. A soldier can easily put an end to a BFB scout by using the splash damage of his rockets, whereas it would be significantly more difficult to kill a scout that takes advantage of his default speed and double jumps to confuse the target. I believe that other than for getting from point A to point B a lot faster and for running away, the BFB harms the scout's potential in combat. – sirius_pain Jul 15 '15 at 19:15
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    In a 1v1, maybe. In a full match with multiple targets, where flanking needs to be taken into consideration, where the ability to get to key targets fast is paramount, where the scout's personal life is more expendable than if they can drop the Medic, speed helps tremendously. It would not be good for this player, who is just trying to get used to how Scout plays and familiarize themselves with maps, but not a "Never Use" gun. – Zibbobz Jul 15 '15 at 19:33
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A golden rule to follow as Scout, and any other flanking class, is as follows: don't follow your team*. As a Scout, you rely on the element of surprise for most of your kills, so try to stay away from whatever path your team is taking at all costs. This will also help you avoid the main front of the enemy attack, since most frontline classes like to take the same route.

If you do happen to run into an enemy face-to-face, run away. You can outrun any class besides another scout** by backpedaling, so take some shots while backpedaling, duck behind a corner, and take another route (or double back once you've lost them). You perform much better when you get the drop on someone else.

Also learn to make good use of your mobility. Different loadouts will offer you different mobility options. The BONK! allows you to move with impunity in dangerous situations, the Winger lets you jump higher and double-jump higher, the Atomizer gives you an extra double jump at the cost of some health, the FaN gives you an extra jump, and the Soda Popper gives you lots of extra jumps. These all help you avoid damage, and help you reach locations others can't for ambushes and flanking potential.

The Baby Face's Blaster can also improve your mobility, but rather than giving you extra jumps, it allows you to move faster as you do more damage, at the cost of having a lower base speed and losing half your extra speed when you double-jump. This requires you to be very conservative with double-jumps, and requires you to do some base damage to start, but can be very, very effective once you've gotten familiar with both the class and the map you're playing on.

One last important tip for playing Scout - know where sentries are going to be placed. If you haven't played a map before, be careful going around a corner because there might be a sentry, and it will wreck you. BONK! can help avoid some damage, and get you to places where you can flank, but you should still be incredibly cautious of sentries, as there is little you can do and they will happily tear you apart in seconds even at the lowest build level.

*And teammates? Do the spies, pyros, and scouts a favor - don't follow us. We rely on stealth, and we won't get any of that if we're being followed.
**Or a charging Demoman.

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