I’ve found myself occasionally leaping back into TF2 these days. I’m not sure why, maybe I just miss the mixture of arena shooter mechanics and incredible character design/writing. But anyway, with Scream Fortress 2022 in full swing, I’ve had a chance to play all the new maps, and I really really like ctf_crasher.
For those who haven’t tried it, ctf_crasher is the first ‘new’ game mode we’ve received in years. While nominally Capture the Flag, it’s actually ‘reverse CTF’ in that both teams are trying to deliver their bomb to the enemy camp. And whichever character carries their team’s bomb becomes a hulking giant that sets the pace of the push. If they die, the push is lost and the bomb resets; if they succeed…well, they die anyway, but with another victory point for their team. Overall, it reminds me of Stop that Tank! in all the best ways, and was worth reinstalling TF2 to go try out.
Obviously this gameplay mode revolves around the giant, and they were depressingly careful when balancing his stats. I tried every exploit I could think of, from Bonk! to explosive jumping to Quick-Fixing Scouts, but nothing worked. Both teams have to escort their giant to the drop zone properly, which is easier said than done.
So today I thought we could go over what I’ve learned about the best bomb carriers, loadouts, strats, and other considerations to consider while playing this unique map.
Heavy is far and away the best bomb carrier, to nobody’s surprise. The movement penalty hardly matters, and he’s got the firepower to make the most of those minigun crits. Even with very creative teams that try tons of classes, I still see Heavies successfully depositing the bomb more than almost everyone else combined. Even better, while I personally prefer the Tomislav, you can have pretty much any loadout, there’s no wrong answer. (Lunchbox items seem slightly less useful than usual due to healing a fixed amount, but you’re not gonna use your shotgun when your minigun is constantly replenishing ammo.) For melee, I like the Fists of Steel for additional survivability during that final push up the hill.
I had to think hard on whether I considered Soldier or Demoman better for the giant role. Crockets are slightly easier to use thanks to requiring fewer reloads, but I think Demoman takes second place due to his sheer versatility. You can either rain critical explosives on your enemy, or equip a shield/booties for massive survivability (or both.) Consider also taking the Half-Zatoichi to replenish huge chunks of health, though beware that enemies can (and will) equip their own and one-shot you.
But Soldier has his own trick up his sleeve with the various banners. Crockets will build those meters insanely fast, and you can become the pointman for a fully-charged push that turns the tides in your team’s favor. (Concheror is great for the regen+speedboost, though negating crits with the Battalion’s Backup is sweet too). People are also way less likely to expect you to equip the Half-Zatoichi to top yourself off if the chance comes. (If you’re not the giant, equip the Disciplinary Action instead and spend the whole round whipping their ass for a much-needed speedboost.)
I see a ton of people try Pyro, but I don’t see it work out terribly often. He’s so close-range that he has trouble bridging the gap before the enemy giant blasts him to ribbons. The major exception is the Phlogistinator, who can fully-replenish himself at a moment’s notice for a much-needed second wind. Outside being the bomb carrier, make sure to equip the Third Degree and become the best medic slayer in the game mode. Speaking of which…
So lots of people on reddit are saying that Blutsauger Medic giants are among the best in the game. Maybe I’ve just had bad luck, because every teammate I’ve seen who tries it gets obliterated. On paper, the self-regen and relatively-high movement speed sounds great, but I’m just not sure Medics are tanky enough to survive the overwhelming enemy attention. But give it a go and maybe you’ll see something I don’t. Outside being the giant, the Vaccinator is far and away the best medigun thanks to all the crits flying around everywhere. Just remember the intelligence’s dispenser means you’ll be building ubers much slower than usual.
Unlike in normal CTF, scouts are among the worst bomb carriers because of that crippling movespeed penalty. (I even tried the Baby Face’s Blaster, but you just can’t move fast enough to survive the enemy firepower.) However, you’re incredible as a support class thanks to Mad Milk and the Fan-o-War. I wouldn’t play Scout if someone’s already filling that niche, but you’ll definitely earn your pay if your team doesn’t already have one.
In contrast, Sniper’s support abilities are somewhat dampened due to how many crits are already flying everywhere. Probably the most useful playstyle is to rely on the Sydney Sleeper to keep the giant perma-painted, with Jarate for shutting down enemy pushes. (I also had a bit of fun playing pseudo-spy and stunlocking giants with the Stab Stab Stab taunt, but I’m not sure I can call that a viable playstyle.) Machina‘s not a terrible idea if someone’s already on piss duty, it’ll be really easy to land those juicy 500-damage headshots on any giant.
Spy has very little to do in this gamemode, giant or no. The giant’s immunity to backstabs means you’re mostly going to focus on picking off his followers during pushes, and you’re going to suffer a lot of crits to the face while you try to do this. (Triggering Dead Ringer as a giant kills you instantly, which was hilarious but not terribly useful to discover.) If you’re into Spy, just do spy things and don’t expect anything to come easy. Especially due to the lack of buildings because…
I’ve found Engineers almost as rare as Spy, since any giant can pretty effortlessly destroy any nest. The map isn’t helping, as its a short S-shaped route with no good building spots and no need for teleporters. I don’t even have any pictures of a giant engineer because nobody ever tried it. There was a bug for a while where a Eureka Effect engineer could taunt while the bomb spawns and create two bomb carriers, but that got patched, and with it, the only real reason to attempt Engineer on this map.
It was honestly really refreshing to see a new TF2 map with its own unique developing meta. It felt like going back to the good ole days trying loadouts and classes and seeing what worked… I’m not sure how much of our audience has given up on TF2, but I highly encourage you to reinstall and give ctf_crasher a try. Scream Fortress 2022 ends on November 7th, so now is your best chance to see and experience this gamemode with the full populated servers it was intended to have.