I was playing scout the other day on Gravel Pit and ran into my biggest annoyance in Team Fortress 2: terribad medics. In this particular situation, the douche medic was practically glued to a heavy he was chasing around. My team and I frantically called for his help numerous times but he refused to spread the joy. During one part of the match I even ran circles around him, calling medic, lit with 8 health, only to be picked off by some random guy on the other team. Now I understand that scouts seem notoriously bad at getting heals in most servers, simply because we’re generally considered expendable fodder, but seriously? When I’m standing right in front of him, yelling for help, he should realize, “ok, I can stop for a couple seconds to bring him to enough health to stand a chance at getting away and finding a med pack.” Even that would be acceptable.

I also frequently witness bad medics ubering/kritzing only a single target in an attempt to maximize damage and success, at the expense of other team mates. This on the outside might seem like a valid strategy, but it’s really not. One of the best advantages of an uber or kritz is its power to push the other team back. So let’s actually take a minute and discuss that. Ubers and kritz have a few goals once popped. First, you can plan it out well by finding a good demo or soldier and laying waste to an unsuspecting team. This is probably the best thing you can do in the most ideal situations. If that’s not an option, you can use them to hold or gain ground. This is great because it not only buys time for respawning team mates, but if you can gain ground, you force them to come to you, thus gaining a tactical advantage. If neither of those are options, simply popping it to scare the other team and buy time, when they’ve made a push, can turn out well (assuming your team mates aren’t a bunch of ass-hats). All valid options, all better than randomly popping it on a single target with no communication.

I’d also like to note that popping an uber or kritz to save your life isn’t a waste! I’ve seen medics on numerous occasions die with one just because they thought they might get away from the scout with a clan tag. Yeah right, after the first close-quarter shot, you better pop it because if he’s good the next will kill you (and it’s not worth the risk). By the time you’d respawn and run your ass all the way back, you’ll probably have worked up, or almost worked up, a new one.

Next, if you don’t know, there is a proper heal order when fighting ensues. This mostly applies to competitive play, but it’s not bad to know it just in case. The first is lit (aka substantially hurt) friendlies that are taking fire. If you see them, drop your current target and hit them up (as long as it doesn’t unnecessarily endanger your life). Once those players are covered, anyone else lit and not taking fire is priority. The team needs strong soldiers to fight their battles, so having a bunch of hurt players is worse than having one all buffed up. Remember, numbers wins battles. Finally once no one around you is lit, then begin spreading out the heals until everyone’s buffed. But wait there’s more! The heal order gets even more complicated because once no one’s lit, there are still priorities. The demo, soldiers, and heavies should get healed to full. Then buff up the scouts if they’re around, if not buff up the heavy classes so they can move forward. If you have a pocket soldier, hit him up next. Now the team should be looking pretty good. Finally try and touch up the spies, pyros, snipers, and whoever else is yelling for help. If you can learn this heal order and variations on it, you’ll be leagues ahead of most medics and soon to be topping score boards all over the world.

Finally, I just wanted to mention some random notes. First, don’t underestimate the power of weapons. Shotguns and melee might seem harmless most of the time, but they can really lay people out. If you’re following around a heavy class and they’re looking around confused or acting weird, get a new battle buddy. That’s probably one of those that won’t realize a scout has been jumping around batting you to death for the last couple minutes. Speaking of scouts, don’t dismiss the scatter guns potential for destruction. Kritzing a good scout can get a surprising amount of kills and may be a better choice than that soldier who just fell of a bridge and got lost trying to find his way back. Lastly, there is something called a multi-uber and it can be super pwnage. Remember when I said numbers wins battles? Well, if your micro is good enough, you can click quickly between friendlies to spread the uber love and ensure immunity for a number of them. This can be great for getting small groups past a sentry, securing a point, navigating a bottleneck, etc. Just note that it’s not always easy and it does NOT work for kritz. Although if you’re trying to get past a sentry or navigate a dangerous bottle neck with a kritz…god help us.

So there, a couple solid notes on medic that should be sufficient enough to get you on the right track. It’s an invaluable class that needs better players, so learn it, play it, and pwn with it. GLHF.

(For those interested in competitive notes on medic check out this great guide on ubercharged.net)