Playing as the survivors
Introduction: Just like the single player and co-op play, the fundamentals are the same. The game relies heavily on teamwork and sticking together. Being split apart or having a person going off on a solo adventure will usually result in taking heavy damage or worse death. You want to avoid doing that at all cost, since it will make your team lose and no one likes that. You don’t just take damage yourself from wandering off and being pinned down but also cause damage to your team as well. The reason for this is because it lets the Special Infected team to set up better and easier. Although sticking together as a team is always a good idea and is part of being successful in this game, you want to avoid being clustered together. Especially in narrow hallways where you can all get charged, which allows the Spitter to do a lot of damage to your whole entire team. The positioning of the survivors is one of the most important aspects when playing as the survivors. I will not discuss much about the basics such as how bile bomb works and what weapons to use (shotgun for close range, sniper long rage), this isn’t a super noob guide.
Point: You usually want a strong(est) player at point (person in front), because that person will be leading the team, helping everyone behind them, and calling out things. Weaker players at the point usually rush forward and get themselves killed or won’t be able to help their team out. They usually are not aware of their surroundings and will fail to notice infected spawns from the front, the back, or the sides and will not react quickly or accordingly. Decision making is also very important as the point, just as being a skilled player. Deciding to run past the Witch while the infected are spawned, or spawning is not a good idea. Also choosing to jump off the cliff without clearing the Special Infected or not coordinating with teammates is also bad. Those are some the reasons why the point person should be the most experienced or best decision maker on the team. Baiting is also done by the point person because for the obvious reason of being in front of the pack. Baiting is the act of making the infected team to spawn when they think someone is going through a certain point, like doors, hallways, around corners and etc. If you can bait the Special Infected team to spawn you can pick them off much easier or at the very least make it harder for the infected team to get desired results.
Middle: The two people in the middle are responsible for the point and the last person, and making sure commons are cleared and not surrounding anyone. Having a sniper as the one of them is a good idea as well (if point isn’t a sniper) since they have a buffer between them from the front and back. Snipers are not a good choice for clearing out a horde of common infected, so they are great in the middle of the pack. Also being in the middle is good for picking off infected from long distances either from the front or the back. Of course this is only a suggestion and it all depends on the people you are playing with. Weaker players are generally better in middle since it’s harder to wander off by themselves, and they can get help real quick. The danger of putting weaker players in the middle is that they may not help the last person out. If that is the case then putting the weaker player on the 2nd spot is generally a good idea. That way the 3rd person can help the last person out much quicker.
Rear: The last person on the team is optimally a solid player since lesser players can get pulled away and isolated much easier. They also will not be able to defend themselves. You can put the worse player at the last spot if you are very confident with the middle players on the team. The rear person should carry an automatic weapon or a shotgun to defend themselves and clear any commons on them. The role that the last person plays is to support the middle players and defend them from the infected, whether they get charged, smoked, pounced, and etc. They also cover the back which means they clear the commons that are trailing behind and quickly kill Special Infected like smokers who try to isolate them from the team. Never chase a Special Infected for any reasons at all because you are just pulling yourself away from your team and setting yourself up for death. They also should be very vocal since the focus is mainly at the front and your teammates in front won’t catch infected spawn as easy from the back. Also the person at the back is the most common target for the Special Infected team since they are usually the last to enter places, drop down from holes, or cliffs. It would preferable if the rear player is good with solid support from the 3rd person.
Squared formation: If going through a narrow path way it’s often a good idea to have 2 people focusing in the front and 2 other focusing in the back and the flanks (being relativity close by). That way you can effectively take out the infected, but beware of attacks that can come from above you.
Bunching up: When an event starts that triggers mass of common infected, it’s not a bad idea to bunch up in a corner and defend. Even though a Charger or a Spitter can wreak havoc on the entire time, a good team can shut them down or move away from the spit quickly.
Wrapping up: Overall everyone should have good situational awareness and protect each other. Communication is very important in this game and it is preferable that you have a mic and use the in-game voice chat or Skype, or whatever else. It makes it easier for your team to help you when you call out that you are being pounced from a hunter or calling out when an Special Infected spawned or getting surrounded by commons. Playing as a team is very important as the survivors. There is no I in Team.
NOTE: Positioning won’t always be static, and shouldn’t be. Just don’t forgot your role on your team
Playing as the Special Infected:
Playing as the Special Infected (SI) is the hardest to play since you cannot play as them in the single player or co-op aspect of the game. Each SI has different abilities and different roles they play on the team. Learning what they do, using their abilities properly is going to take a lot of time, and practice. Knowing what roles they play and how they should be positioned for an attack will greatly increase your success. Attacking together is very important, and so is team coordination and communication. Due to the nature of the Special Infected and being able to “ghost” into positions, there is no static positioning for them. Also there are many unique places to spawn and different composition of the Special Inflected so no situation or spawn is always the same. Also please don’t attack individually unless an opportunity arises, such as a survivor being far away from their team.
Boomer: As a boomer you usually want to spawn behind an object like a car (from the front or back), and spawn at the very last second since you will not live very long. You can also spawn from very high places and drop down and go on a suicide mission in hopes of booming the survivors or rain vomit from above (try to aim straight ahead and not looking down). Your role as a boomer is to support your team and be a distraction for the survivors. Booming on your victims will disorient them, and hinder their vision. You should be the first person to attack, so your team can set up and attack more effectively. Although a distraction from a hunter, or an initiation from a charger is a good idea too, because it makes it easier to boom multiple survivors (again it depends on the situation). Another great place to spawn is on top of alarm cars since if you get blown up you trigger the alarm to go off. They usually will not shoot you and can get an easy boom if they are close enough. If in a good place near ledges you can stagger the survivors off by being in close proximity and being shot in panic. Another great tip is to be aware that if someone is being smoked, or pounced, it’s a good idea to stay a good distance away so it doesn’t interfere when you blow up.
Spitter: When playing as a Spitter you want to spawn in a place where you can easily can spit from, usually like high places, or behind/front the survivors, depending on where your team attacks. The longer the survivors stand in your pool of green goo the more damage they take over time. Try to spawn with your team at the same time to coordinate a simultaneous attack. An example would be spawning at the same time as a charger and then waiting for the charger to charge then spitting. The sole purpose of the Spitter is to do massive amount of damage. To do this you must get help from your teammates, so try to communicate with you team to set up an attack. A Spitter attacking alone is a sad sight to see (try to avoid this). You should spit on the place where the hunter pounces a survivor, a charger’s charge destination optimally because the survivor will be pinned down, dealing much damage as possible before the survivor moves out your spit. It’s not a bad idea to spit on smoked, and jockeyed victim as well. Try to preemptively spit on the exact spot where you expect the survivor to be pinned down for more damage. The best places to spit on are usually in narrow hallways or rooms because it takes more time for the survivor to move out of there. You can spit from long-range but you have know how the spit volley travels, and landing them is going to take practice. Spitting against a wall or object will cause it to bounce so you can do that if an object is in the way of your direct aim (such as a high fence). Spitting on an incapacitated survivor is very good since you deal damage to that person and anyone else trying to pick them up (delaying them as much as possible). You can also spit on gas tanks and make them go on fire. Spitters can also prevent a survivor from pouring gas tanks into something by spitting on the place and causing damage to them (again causing more delay).
Charger: The role they play is to separate a survivor and deal damage. Charging from narrow hallways, near ledges, behind objects or corners are the best places to charge. High places like on rooftops is very good place as well, since you can drop down and surprise the survivors. If well-timed and aimed you can charge from the roof and hit them below. You want to initiate and try to hit a survivor and separate the team which helps other Special Infected on the team to attack. Don’t be afraid to charge in the middle of the survivor pack since you are very durable and can hit others, but try to not charge from a long distances away. If the opportunity arises you can charge the survivors into Witches, and car alarms. If someone is really low you can punch them and do 10 damage per punch. The punch also does a “cleave damage” so it can hit multiple survivors if they are bunched up. Death charges are the most satisfying things to pull off in this game. To pull this off you have to align your aim towards a window/ledge/cliff that leads off to the very bottom of the map or in deep waters. You can get a smoker to help you out with setting up a death charge (most common way). A good example of this would be on the very first level of Dead Center at the first long hallway, where you can pull a survivor in front the window and have the charger spawn around the corner as the smoker pulls and charging the smoked survivor through the window
Jockey: As a Jockey you want to separate a survivor from the pack and cause rest of the team to come back for them. This allows your team to set up near you for unexpected attacks. If near ledges you can drag them off of it and incapacitate them instantly or do fall damage. Ideally you want to spawn from behind the survivors and grab the last person. Attacking from the front is usually not the best idea unless coordinating with you team for a distraction from the back. You can also drop from a high places and if timed perfectly you can be riding the victim without using the attack button. Once “riding” the victim you can steer them into the desired direction by using the movement keys. They can resist your steering so try to work against them to gain momentum. Another good role they can play is blocking a survivor. Since they are very short they can go unnoticed to a player and block their movement. This move is good for keeping them in the pool of green spit for even longer. If nearby a Witch you can hide behind her to bait the survivor to shoot you. You can also make the Witch more agitated by scratching her and making it easier for the survivors to startle her (don’t scratch her too much because you do some damage to her). If the opportunity arises you can jockey them to the front of the Witch startling her or making another survivor accidentally shoot her. The same concept applies to alarm cars, you can ride them towards one and bait the other team to shoot you and hit the car.
Hunter: They are good damage dealers and good at picking off a single target that are alone. You should spawn from high areas such as roofs or ledges. The higher you pounce from the higher the damage you do to them initially (up to 25 damage max). Pouncing in the middle of all the survivors as a hunter is not very wise, since they are not durable like a charger and can be knocked off by being shoved. Hunters are very good distraction since they are very loud when pouncing around. Use this to help your team setup and attack the survivors. Coordinate with team Spitters to do max damage with the pounce + spit combination. You are also able to jump wall to wall as you learn to perfect the hunter pounce. This might be very disorienting for some players but once getting a hang of it, it’ll be a useful tool to land pounces and making it harder for the survivors to hit you (great distraction). Hunters are silent when standing up so if the whole team is boomed you can walk up to unsuspecting player and scratch them (secondary attack) and do surprisingly large amounts of damage without them noticing.
ProTip: You can insta-pounce without crouching by backing up into a wall and while still backing up, jump. You can then jump off the wall as you would a regular wall-jump. Obviously this is useful for not giving yourself away, but also extremely useful for making quick escapes if shoved off a Survivor. This has been confirmed in both L4D and L4D2. Source taken from: http://left4dead.wikia.com/
Smoker: The best Special Infected to separate survivor from rest of the pack and setting up death charges. You can pull survivor off ledges instantly incapacitating them or cause fall damage from below. You want to spawn behind the survivors and pull the last person preferably, when rest of the team is distracted. When trying to pull someone you should hide behind objects like cars or corners because you are partly covered from gun fire that way. Sometimes you can spawn from the front if you are trying to pull a survivor into an alarm car, or into a Witch. You can also spawn from high places and smoke them from there. This way you can gain very nice cover and make it harder for the survivors to shoot and kill you. Luckily I have a great screenshot of a smoker position and spawn point.
Tank: Despite having the highest HP and a very powerful punch that causes a survivor to fly backwards, charging into the survivors is not always the best choice. You might want to hide behind cover and throw rocks.
The best places to throw rocks would be from high positions like rooftops. Being on top of a roof gives you another type of advantage like being able to drop or cut across to another area of the map with speed. When rock throwing there are 3 different ways a tank throws it and you cannot control which one it will use. The underhand throw you should aim higher and a bit to the left of the target or else you might just throw the rock on the ground and miss. The single-handed, and double-handed overhand throw you should try to aim it where there is no high object in the way such as trees or rooftops. The overhand throw is pretty straightforward, you throw it at the target while aiming high (depending on how far they are). Hitting them with a rock throw from afar takes a lot of practice and hard to do. Use the rock throw when you are out in the open as well if you are unable to catch up to a survivor, since you can be easily juked out in the open.
If the survivors have a Molotov or a Gas Can try to bait them into using them and waste it. If you are unable to do that you can try to incapacitate the person with the Molotov with the help from your team. As a tank catching on fire is the last thing that you want to happen (it slows you and deals a small damage over time). If you do catch on fire try to find a source of water to extinguish yourself.
Wait for support from your teammate before rushing in. If you have the opportunity to rush in try to chase the survivor that is slowed (in the Yellow HP), or limping (in the RED HP).
Punching objects such as certain cars, forklifts, and garbage bins will cause it to fly in the air potentially hitting a survivor and instantly incapacitating them (punchable objects will be outlined in red). To get long-range from outlined objects you should get on top of it and punch it. You can also block it off with movable objects.
You may want to position yourself in a way where you cut of the survivors from progressing any further. So being near doorways or hallways is a great way of cutting off exits.
It will take a long time to learn to use the tank effectively since they don’t spawn all the time and only one person can take control of the tank at a time. You may not even get to be the tank throughout the campaign. Special tank mutations might be helpful in learning to use the tank. Lastly the most important thing to remember is not to hit survivors that are caught by your teammate.
Expert tip: “Curved” rock throw
Other little tips (Infected and Survivor):
Some small tips that might help you become better at L4D2.
Sounds & Captions: Enabling the captions in game is very nice tool to use to alert you of infected spawn, or a horde attack, or when the tank spawns.
Of course you want to rely on your in-game sounds but captions helps in the heat of the battle when guns are firing off and you can’t discern different sounds playing at the same time. If your hearing is not as good or don’t have a lot of fps experience this will help out a lot. With practice you will be able to know where the Special Infected spawned just by the sounds.
Maps & Spawn points: Knowing the maps will help greatly in setting up as Infected and the locations of common spawn areas as the survivors. You will learn all the spots more you play.
Dead stops: Timing your rifle butt to hit a hunter before it pounces and lands is another advance skill set to learn. If done right you can stop a hunter right on its tracks and pick it off easy. The best way to do it is to aim directly at the hunter with you cross hair while its in the air and time you rifle butt just before it lands on you. You can do the same to jockeys, but the timing of it is a bit different. You want to rifle butt the jockey just before it jumps towards you. The next one is not really a dead stop and it has to be done with a sharp melee weapon (like a fire axe). You can cut the smokers tongue as it pulls you, and the trick is to react and turn around fast enough. Ideally you want to turn towards the smoker beforehand (easy to hear smokers from behind), and when you hear the scream and the tongue sound (slurp sound?) from it use your melee weapon, and aim a bit down for a better chance.
Kill steal: As infected try not to “ninja” survivors that are already pinned down. If someone is smoked don’t pounce on them.
Death charges: Be aware of ledges and windows, they are common spots for chargers to instantly kill you. Try to stay away from them and try to bait the charger to spawn. The Charger will usually be assisted by a smoker that will help the charger setup death charges, so look out for that as well.
Getting boomed: Coming back to the importance of positioning it’s critical to know where your teammates are because when the whole team is boomed it’s the best time for other Special Infected to attack and deal damage. Best to get into a corner and melee down the horde of commons, that way you will not be surrounded by zombies. Just be aware that being in small room there is a good chance that a Spitter will spit in the room and deal massive damage. Best to be reasonably spread out and have an out if you are being spat at and reduce damage. Also remember not to fire like a mad man as you might be shooting your own teammate, hold your fire initially and make sure. Also try not to shoot the boomer if your teammates are nearly by. If you have a pipe bomb don’t hesitate to use it.
Boomer and you: As the Special Infected if 3 out of 4 survivors are boomed and you are the hunter, jockey or smoker, try to target the one that is outlined green, yellow, or red and not purple (boomed). This may seem to be common sense but I have seen too many pubs making this mistake, and is worth mentioning.
Tank juking: When cornered or if a tank catches up to you it’s not a bad idea to constantly jump up and down and strafing. You can also jump across from the tank and it will miss you. This can prevent you from getting punched by the tank, and they will often miss their aim with their punches since it has a certain radius and hit box.
Cr0wning Witches 101, bitches: This involves running quickly to her with a shotgun and killing her in one shot (if new to this try to use an auto shotgun just in case). The way to do is to aim directly on her head, or upper chest/neck area, or her back, while getting very close to her. If you aren’t super confident she will give a small time frame before she stands up to shoot her. Take that time if you really need to take careful aim at the Witch. Try not to run in when she is growling and a bit startled, this will usually end up in a fail attempt. You want to approach the Witch from the back if possible since it is much easier pull it off from there. When running up to the Witch you need to beware of the Special Infected as they will commonly setup near her. Also try to clear any common infected as well, since they can slow you or block you. If you do have the clear opportunity to do it and can’t just run past her you should not hesitate for a second and go for it. Don’t take too long to shoot her either, more time you take, more time the infected team has to stop you. You can also crouch or walk to her if you prefer to do that way as well and you aren’t familiar with crowning the Witch (for practice and if 100% sure the infected can’t spawn). The wandering Witches, the ones that stand up and walk around might be a bit trickier to crown. The same rules apply, but you shouldn’t crouch and shoot. Hit and run if you don’t have a shotgun, there are other ways of killing the Witch. You can shoot the Witch from far distances while your team tries to burst her down with gun fire. Light the Witch on fire and run for 15 secs till she dies (don’t look back just run). Initial headshot from a sniper rifle, explosives like propane tank, and the grande launcher will stagger the Witch giving you even more time to kill her.
Mouse settings: This is very underrated but practicing mouse accuracy is very important and you should choose settings that you are comfortable with. Also I recommend using the raw mouse input enabled setting from the game options so it does not get any acceleration from either the game settings or other source besides the drivers. Here is a great article explaining mouse settings: Link here
More things will be added to this small guide as I remember/think of more stuff.
Harblkips: For pointing out death charge setups, dead stops, and boomer interference.
Gravy Train: For contributing tank juking with jumping and strafing, crowning a Witch, jockey movement, and targeting non boomed victims as the infected.
1.1: added credit section with additions/suggestions to the guide
1.2: fixed some writing errors, and highlighted sections
1.3 add more sections, and fixed some errors and inaccuracies.
1.4 updated video for Witch crOwning, and fixed some spelling / grammar errors.
If you have any suggestion, find errors, or want to contribute please message me, or leave a comment. Thank you!
TL/DR: Teamwork and don’t be bad.