How can my friends and I improve our tactics in Left 4 Dead 2?



  • I occasionally play Left 4 Dead 2 with some friends for a couple of hours every month or so. Since we don't play particularly often, we don't have much chance to really get better at the game through practice. We haven't been able to spend time iterating on strategies or improving our teamwork skills.

    Right now, we're in a place where Advanced difficulty is just a bit too difficult and Normal is too easy. We want to play the game feeling like we're a totally awesome SWAT team, up against incredible odds but coming out on top due to superior tactics and awareness. Instead, we feel like frightened civilians running away from a zombie apocalypse. It's fun, but it could be much more with a higher level of teamwork and tactics.

    For example, last night we were failing on the Crescendo Event midway through The Quarter in The Parish campaign on Advanced difficulty. On the 5th try, one of us said "Hey, it looks like that corner below the balcony would be a good spot to hold." On our next runthrough, we were incredibly effective during the event: we maintained good shooting angles, protected each other, didn't get split up, and nobody got knocked out. In short, we felt awesome.

    So to keep getting that feeling, I'm primarily interested in:

    • Formations to establish a good defense when we need to hold a location
    • Formations when on the move, to get from point A to point B and defend each other
    • Different roles each team member could fill at any given moment
    • Terrain details to look out for when we need to make a stand

    What can we be doing to work well as a team?



  • Regarding formations: the best advice is to "corner up" which really means "limit the size of the angle that you must attend to." A wall at your back is a flat corner 🙂

    Again with formations: pick a portion of the available angle of attack and cover it. Leave the rest of the field of fire for your team to handle. Allow and expect your team to get your back and sides. Glance around to make sure they are doing their job.

    Keep an eye out for guns when defending: swapping guns is quite a bit faster than reloading, and you will have unlimited ammo.

    Don't try and kill everything: your teammates can handle it. Even in horde situations, it may be possible to let them handle it and keep your rounds ready for specials.

    Don't shoot your team. FRAG rounds have splash damage and are super dangerous to yourself and the team. On elite, you can kill yourself with a single frag shotgun round at point blank to a zombie.

    On the move: stay close, groups of 2 if you must, never alone.

    On the move: hug the side walls of corridors so you are not blocking your teamates' ability to provide support fire.

    Avoid random running around and charging.

    If your teammate is being pummeled or hunted, resist the urge to go point blank: you are run the risk of blocking shots from your other 2 team members.

    Don't use bile ever. It will call a horde which wasn't there before. HOWEVER it can be useful for gauntlets to buy you time to revive someone or to advance to a switch quickly.

    Bile and fire is a popular combo: but bile calls a horde that wasn't there before, so again: avoid bile.

    l4d2 plays music when there's a horde. It queues up just before. Listen for it. Identify the place where the most zombies come from, and throw either fire or a pipe.

    The tank can/will switch targets based upon damage being dealt. If the tank switches to you, you may be able to kite him away from the team until one of them damages it enough to get him to turn. repeat.

    Infected usually spawn where they can't be seen: therefore visual coverage of an area inhibits infected spawning. One particular place this is helpful is on carnival: the last gauntlet before the concert arena: they spawn endlessly in the right-hand passage to the safe room. Get eyes on it: one person up each passage.

    And finally: hordes and specials spawn based upon time among other factors: the slower you go, the more hordes and specials you have to fight.


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