Who is the TF2 medic?
“What he lacks in compassion for the sick, respect for human dignity, and any sort of verifiable formal training in medicine, the Medic more than makes up for with a bottomless supply of giant needles and a trembling enthusiasm for plunging them into exposed flesh. Raised in Stuttgart, Germany during an era when the Hippocratic oath had been downgraded to an optional Hippocratic suggestion, the Medic considers healing a generally unintended side effect of satisfying his own morbid curiosity.
The Medic’s real name might be Fritz, the Soldier calls him so in one of his domination lines. This is not confirmed in any way. According to one of the Demoman’s domination lines, the Medic has a wife. Whether the Demoman is a reliable source of information is a different question entirely. The Medic is the only class who wears glasses for eyesight reasons.” –TF2 Wiki
Join me, Lola, in discovering more about TF2’s mad medicine man from four of South Africa’s top competitive medics: Ant “Skiba” Cosentino from Eq; Linda “Seamonkey” Wessels from Operator; Lungisani “Space” Malungani from Ventus and Sean “Beetle” Botha from Severe.
Why did you choose to play medic?
Skiba: When I started playing TF2 I was offered a position in a new clan, and I was looking to get into competitive play. I would have played any class if it meant I could get into a clan. Shot Whisp 😛
Seamonkey: TF2 was my first online FPS, so I chose medic because it was the best way to learn the maps and the abilities of the different classes. I continued playing because it seemed to be a class everyone else disliked.
Space : I played a lot of medic on pub servers so I eventually wanted to try playing it competitively.
Beetle : I chose to play medic because Semper and I have had a lot of practice together and I don’t think anyone else could put up with him as a pocket. Also, when I first joined SA pickups people didn’t want me to play at all, let alone playing medic. It was also a compromise in that way.
Do you enjoy playing medic?
Skiba: Definitely, as long as the team you’re playing with doesn’t take you for granted.
Seamonkey: Yes. It was awesome the first time and it still is.
Space: In general I do, it can be very frustrating though.
Beetle: Medics are always the one to take the blame. It is fun to play medic on the odd occasion, or if you have a team that you really enjoy playing with. So no I don’t much like playing medic.
What sets the medic apart from the other classes?
Skiba: As my friend, Xombie, puts it, “We medics forgo the privilege of fragging…”
Seamonkey: Medic is primarily a support class, and it’s essentially a fully team orientated class. Unlike the other classes, you are often the central part of the team. The system of double reliance the medic has with his team is only seen with this class.
Space: You’re in control of the über, which is a very big deal in 6 v 6 TF2.
Beetle: You are at the centre of the team, you know who is low and who is buffed. You should know which team has the advantage in a given situation. For these reasons the medic makes a good leader. He can co-ordinate the team’s actions to much better effect than most other classes.
What it takes to play medic
What skills do you need in order to play medic?
Skiba: If you can pop übers well, focus, keep your teamies from being gibbed during battle and keep yourself alive in the process, then you pretty much got this down.
Seamonkey: Quick reflexes, good movement, heal strategy and awareness.
Space: I think the focus would be on having quick reflexes and having your wits about you.
Beetle: You need to be aware of your surroundings, your team’s positioning and health points, and most importantly, you need to be able to predict which team mate will require your attention at any given moment.
Medic 101 in your opinion.
Skiba: Keep your eyes open, keep moving, and always think about your surroundings. Heal everyone, all the time, as efficiently as possible.
Seamonkey: Never stop moving and never drop an über and always know what’s going on behind you. Boosting scouts on occasion is a good way to keep the flanks strong, but when it comes down to who needs to stay alive the demo and soldiers take first place. You keep the player alive that can do most damage.
Space: I’d say, staying alive and always try to be healing someone, you’ve got to build your über.
Beetle: Stay out of harm’s way. That is, position yourself in the best possible place and try to be as hard to hit as possible at all times. Sounds straight forward, but it is what sets the top medics apart from the cannon fodder.
What is the medic’s primary role?
Skiba: Scoring assist kill points.
Seamonkey: Keeping your team mates alive and boosted.
Space: Well at the most basic level you’re trying to keep your team-mates alive and utilise your über as advantageously as possible.
Beetle : The medic is of course a support class as it says in the TF2 load out screen. For anyone wanting to know how to support a team, prioritize your healing properly, and then stand at the back and fire needles at the enemy.
What is the medic’s strengths?
Skiba: Regenerative HP and the ability to rocket surf.
Seamonkey : The über, making you and a chosen teammate invulnerable and the ability to boost a teammate’s HP to 150%. The lack of aiming required to heal makes it easier and more effective to be scanning the area around you.
Space: The ability to heal team-mates, regenerative health, temporary invulnerability and guaranteed critz.
Beetle : The medic is a minion master, he doesn’t have much individual strength, so he surrounds himself with inferior classes who take and deal all the damage for him.
What is the medic’s weaknesses?
Skiba: Relatively low HP. Lack of direct weaponry.
Seamonkey: The Medic has no real value without a class to support – and to be defended by.
Space: The medic is generally a weak combat unit and lacks advanced movement options.
Beetle : The medic’s main weakness would be his virtual inability to defend himself. This is quite a big deal when your main job is to survive. Hopefully though, you have a good pocket soldier, who, unlike Semper can protect you from danger.
What defines a great doc.?
Skiba: You’re only as good as your needle accuracy. 😛
Seamonkey: Being an absolute asset to the team (as with any class). You are only as strong as your weakest link.
Space: Without going into too much detail, it really comes down to your decision making, the best medics tend to make the right calls more often than not.
Beetle: His ability to take criticism from his team. His ability to get that extra 25% übercharge from a rushing scout. In my opinion, there is very little that sets a great medic apart in terms of game play. It is what you don’t see, the behind the scenes stuff, that makes a great medic great.
Any advice to aspiring medics.
Skiba: Learn from your mistakes. This class doesn’t leave much room for error. Set targets, achieve them and see yourself progress.
Seamonkey: Try to stay alive as much as possible. Never drop übers – If you have it and you can use it to get away alive, then why waste it? Always make sure you have an escape route planned for when your über ends and keep the healing ramp in mind. Use the healing ramp when a player is low by waiting a few seconds – it will speed up the healing.
Space: I think “easy to learn, difficult to master” very much applies to the class. A simple way to improve is to watch your demos, see what you’re doing wrong and trying to cut that thing (or things) out. And of course, practice.
Beetle : Get a button that makes you lag all over the place. Maybe incorporate a witty line like: “Activate Warp Drive”. This will make you best-loved amongst your game playing peers.
Playing medic in 6vs6
Why do you think the medic is the most vital class in competitive 6v6?
Skiba: Medics are a vital gameplay dynamic. Übers, über timing, and healing power are what makes our game of choice a sport. Our matches would have absolutely no longevity without them.
Seamonkey: Keeping teammates alive means that it becomes a game of numbers, it’s about who has more players or stronger classes alive. Über is used a secondary role for thinning out the amount of players around you or pushing a team back.
Space: The 6 v 6 game revolves around übers, that’s the long and short of it.
Beetle: Try playing a match without a medic, enough said. He is the core of the team, and without him his team is an empty shell. The evidence is in the public servers, 90% of the time the team with the medics wins.
In your opinion, how is the medic’s game-play influenced by the rest of the team?
Skiba: You’re going to have a tough time if your team isn’t doing so well. Adapt and survive.
Seamonkey: The Medic always needs defending and the team needs support. If the team can’t defend the medic properly, it usually happens that the opposing team will have an über advantage, and the losing team’s medic will be unable to keep the team healed.
Space: You rely on your team for survival, the better your team the less you have to worry about. A good pocket helps in this regard.
Beetle: The medic relies on his team 100%. You cannot play medic if you do not trust your team mates, and your team mates must earn your trust. They can make or break your game, by letting a scout slip through or not applying enough pressure on a jumping soldier. But this is where your lag button (see above) comes in.
A little über here, a little über there, when should you do it…?
Skiba: Übering is an artform. One that I haven’t mastered, either. Situationally, I’ll über for pushes, defenses, and if I’m about to be killed by a player that my team cannot handle.
Seamonkey: When our team is ready to push to the next point or when I’m forced.
Space: Usually when you’re about to die or when your team is making a push or defending a push.
Beetle: Some medics prefer to play it safe and über before they really feel pressured, which is probably wise. I prefer to take some chances with my übers, meaning I drop a fair few, but I also manage to save many. It would probably be smarter of me to play more like the “safe” medics with my ping, but my team and I understand each other well enough to take some risks.
… and when shouldn’t you über?
Skiba: If I’m in a spot where an enemy is trying to drop me around my team, unsuccessfully.
Seamonkey : To save someone unnecessarily before a big push or when I have full HP.
Space: Ideally, you want to hold über as long as possible, don’t use it as soon as the other team does if possible. This can often change games.
Beetle : You should think twice about übering when your opponent’s medic has just died and the opposing team is jumping on you like mad to try to force you to do it. There is a reason they want you to über, and taking that chance is well worth it. The worst that can happen is that you die and the übers are even.
What do you do when you find yourself alone and being chased by an opponent?
Skiba: I run backwards, pull needle, and fire. If it’s a scout, I think I have a better than 50% chance of killing him.
Seamonkey: Try and defend myself as much as possible but it doesn’t always work out.
Space : As I’m sure my team-mates can testify, I tend to run away a lot. However, sometimes you’re forced to take your opponent on, particularly in a 1-v-1 situation.
Beetle : I have a secret weapon. The “Long Arm of the Law”. It has served me well in the past, when a scout gets too close, you pop him one in the face and get a nice little über bonus too. I suppose if you don’t have laggy needles they can work too. In any case you should run and cry for mommy.
The medic with his über can turn the tide of battle, this also means he has a giant ‘kill me first’ sign over him, how do you handle this extra pressure?
Skiba: Awareness is essential. If said über isn’t going so well, then you turn and jack it once you hit 40-30% and save yourself. You deliver the charge, the rest is down to your team.
Seamonkey: With a lot of effort, but after a while the pressure becomes a normal thing.
Space: You have to learn to deal with it eventually, it’s simply part and parcel of the game.
Beetle: Unfortunately the enemy team really doesn’t want you to live long. Luckily your team does, so the best way to deal with the pressure of being the ultimate prize kill is to make sure your team is making an impression on your opponents. Get them to go absorb the opposition’s attention and you will be fine.
From your perspective, which competitive map is the hardest to play medic on and why?
Skiba: Granary. Everywhere on that map feels like a giant goddamn kill-box :3
Seamonkey : Gullywash. It’s an absolute mess for a medic. You can take splash damage everywhere at the entrance of the point and you’re easily flanked by scouts.
Space: I dislike pretty much all the big maps and the reason for that is you can be flanked more easily and snipers do better on such maps. I particularly hate Snakewater.
Beetle : For me it is probably obscure. The middle point is a death trap for a medic, like myself, who can’t hide behind a good pocket soldier. The whole map is very open for snipers to ruin your day. And it is very difficult to find a spot on the last point where you are open to receiving damage from somewhere.
What has been your most memorable moment as a medic?
Skiba: Killing an engineer and medic and capping last solo – was stoked. And whenever my captain leads me on interesting and outlandish kritz strats. Xt3rminator’s gotten a couple of aces with me before.
Seamonkey: There are too many memories to really single one out. The most fun I had was when I just started playing TF2 and making silly mistakes and then it was fun when I joined Operator. Being in a competitive team pushes you to play better and making the most of the class becomes a little more of a challenge. Other than that Medic was just fun to play. I liked being involved with the team and saving lives. Medic is fun because you get to play together with almost every class and that is what made it the most fun, working with a teammate.
Space : It’ll occur in the Do Gaming final when I give shoutouts to Alecto, Andy, Ceen, Cyrus, Fair, Kung Fu, Takbok, White Wolf, the guys at Ventus and the TF2 community <3, probably.
Beetle : Probably that one game I played with Severe in which I died less than 15 times. It was ecstasy.
I want to thank all the poor – er, great – souls who play medic, whether it’s on pub or in a clan, we love you! Many thanks to the four medic pro’s who shared their insights. Based on my medic experience, I’d like to add: know your team, know each player’s strengths and weaknesses, and try playing the other classes a bit. This will give you some understanding of what your team mates go through in a match, and will enable you to assist them better. Playing medic is a mental game, keep your focus, don’t lose your cool (even though you will be blamed for everything that goes wrong) and have fun, who else in TF2 gets begged to use it on them? 😉