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Left 4 Dead 2: Tips on How to Play Special Infected in Versus

by: Zidanqiu ; edited by: Michael Hartman ; updated: 4/17/2012 • Leave a comment

Tired of constantly getting pounces that last a full half-second before you're smacked away? Sick of charging toward a completely vulnerable survivor only to smack into a wall and notify everyone of your location? Start using these tips and your zombies will be scary again.

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    Becoming a Successful Left 4 Dead 2 Special Infected

    A team of survivors that know how to stick together can be more nightmarish than the avatars you control when playing as Left 4 Dead 2 infected in versus. Playing carelessly and out of sync with your teammates can result in a game-long streak of useless deaths. Left 4 Dead has always been about teamwork, but successful teamwork can benefit greatly from intelligent contribution on your part. After reading this guide you'll be armed with some useful tips on how to get the most out of your special infected, as well as how to maximize the synergy between you and your team.

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    hunter screenshot   While the hunter is excellent for taking out a survivor who has wandered too far from the pack, he is extremely ineffective on his own. Pouncing into a group of survivors will always result in you being batted off within a second and serves absolutely no purpose. The hunter shines when he's used in ways that assist other special infected, such as:

    • Pouncing a survivor coming to rescue a teammate who's been grabbed by a smoker or jockey when the other two teammates are distracted.
    • If two or more survivors have been vomited on, grabbing one who still has full visibility.
    • Wall-jumping to distract the survivors shortly before an attack. Be careful not to overuse this, for as fast as the hunter is he can still be easily shot down.
    • Pouncing a survivor being chased by a tank (be cautious not to be killed by said tank).

    In some cases it may be worth it to attempt a high-distance pounce for raw pounce damage (for instance, if it would cause enough damage to down a survivor immediately). However, making this a reliable tactic requires practice.

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    smoker screenshot   The smoker is similar to the hunter in that lone attacks rarely do any good unless the survivors are highly separated. However, many maps contain areas that the smoker can use to pull a survivor over a ledge, causing them to hang and dramatically slowing their team down. While these spots can become predictable to players who have a lot of experience with the game, experience of your own can help you pull off these drags without being blown away.

    The smoker can also get a decent amount of damage pulling survivors out through hordes, especially when most of the team has been vomited on. The smoker can also be used to further split a team up if the members become separated by acidic spit (or, if possible, dragging one through the spit).

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    Boomer - Left 4 Dead 2 Enemy

    boomer screenshot   As in the first Left 4 Dead, a well-performing boomer is a major contribution to the team of Left 4 Dead 2 infected. Obscuring their vision along with spawning a horde can not only be a huge mess for the other team, but can open up all sorts of attack options for your special infected teammates. It should be noted that targets who are not vomited on are usually better targets than those who have, as it makes their rescue that much more difficult.

    A big part of using the boomer is knowing when and where to spawn. A boomer that spawns too early against an experienced team will be easily found and cleanly dealt with. As a boomer ghost, you should constantly be moving into the closest and best spawning point so that when an opening presents itself you can pop out and douse the opposing team in vomit before they know what they're covered in.

    Relying on the enemy team to detonate you at close range is a risky, but viable tactic. In a close quarters situation survivors will have a harder time deciding whether or not to attempt to melee you again in hopes that you won't explode, or risk being vomited on anyway. However, in open areas boomers are much easier to bump away and deal with.

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    charger screenshot   Debuting as Left 4 Dead 2 infected is the charger. Unlike most of the other special infected he actually has some viable options as far as soloing attacks, though these options are very limited. There's decent damage to be made when a group of survivors are clustered together with a large open area behind them them. At the very least, nailing all four survivors will not only give you some free damage while they scramble back to their feet, but will provide some nice attack opportunities for your teammates as well.

    Some maps also have spots where the charger is encouraged to attack alone. Namely, places near large drops with no railings. Charging a single survivor through the window of Dead Center 1 can make the rest of the map much harder on the survivors. Some locations with low railings such as the corner on the first dock of The Parish 1 can result in insta-kills as well, if you're able to successfully grab one survivor and strike others near the railing, sending them flying off into the filthy water.

    However, we can't overlook one of the most frequent charger downfalls witnessed in online play: missing. Getting too excited and attempting to charge a survivor from thirty feet away has a much lower chance of succeeding than using the charge as a melee attack. Rather than charging from a distance, quickly close in on your target, aim yourself in the direction you want to take them, and left-click. While it may seem more dangerous to get up close, this method will result in far more success than simply throwing the charger at them.

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    spitter screenshot   As another Left 4 Dead 2 infected newcomer, the spitter can be a walking nightmare (both visually and effectively) in the hands of a player who takes full advantage of all of her opportunities. She can be used to split party members up for other special infected, bring survivors to a halt, delay rescue, or cause a survivor to join the person they are trying to rescue. Spitter spit starts off minor in damage, but quickly ramps up to be devastating if a survivor doesn't get the hint and get out of there immediately.

    When aiming as a spitter, aim for the location that you want the spit to appear in. That is, if you want the spit at Nick's feet, point at Nick's feet and click. Spitter spit drops directly to the ground when it travels its maximum range, so spitting through the air to try to cover more distance is futile.

    Try to keep the movements of the survivors in mind when (quickly) deciding where to spit. If the survivors are cornered up, don't spit in the corner; Spit close enough to the corner that it will damage them if they stay, but far enough so that they have to travel more distance to evacuate their acidic fate. Additionally, be sure to take advantage of survivors who can't see due to vomit, as spitter acid can completely confuse them.

    The spitter leaves a puddle of spit at her feet when slain. While this has little utility if you're far from the survivors, be conscious of it if you find yourself in close quarters with them.

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    jockey screenshot   The jockey is the trickiest to use, but the most rewarding of the Left 4 Dead 2 infected to succeed with. Though absent from the first Left 4 Dead, the jockey's attack opportunities are similar to the hunter and smoker's in that he's not very helpful on his own, but can horribly sabotage the enemy when used in sync with the other special infected. However, unlike the hunter and smoker, the jockey will find it extremely difficult to get even a scratch in without some kind of assistance.

    Some great times to use the jockey are:

    • When a good portion of the survivors have been vomited on.
    • When a survivor gets too far from the pack. More-so if separate by acid.
    • Near a ledge that the jockey can run a survivor over.
    • To foil a rescue attempt during a moment of chaos.

    While it can be risky, quickly grabbing a survivor to pull attention and run the survivors into an ambush can also do favors for your team. Additionally, running a survivor through spitter spit is not only hilarious, but extremely effective. Otherwise, upon grabbing a survivor be sure to find cover immediately and run the survivor to as disadvantageous a spot as possible. This can range from steering your victim into a bathroom, to running the survivor back towards the beginning of the map.

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    tank screenshot   The tank is arguably the most situational of the Left 4 Dead 2 infected. Getting him in an open area against a fully armed and healthy team can be very tricky, while spawning him in a hallway against a poorly armed group can be a piece of cake. However, if there are any absolute rules to playing the tank, they are:

    • Avoid fire as best you can. A burning tank has far fewer options than a non-blazing tank.
    • Only throw rocks if running up to the survivors to punch them is a completely foolish idea at the time.
    • Work with your special infected team.

    As big as he is the tank cannot do it alone; Tier-two weapons (or even a team armed with melee weapons) will make short work of you. Charging into a group of survivors that are completely focused on you is never a good idea, and, unless a teammate manages to step in and assist you, will result the vain death of a tank.

    Survivors who are clumped together can be punched simultaneously, but the damage they deal is clumped as well, so be conscious of the risks of isolating a single survivor versus trying to take out multiple survivors at once. Always be aware of where all the survivors are and who has the molotovs. Knowing when to stop chasing a survivor and swing at your rear or when to evacuate an impending flame-bath will give your tanks a much longer lifespan.

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    Now Take your New Left 4 Dead 2 Zombies out for a Spin!

    l4d2 screenshot   While it may seem easy to apply what you've read here to how you play in-game, it's important to remember to stick to it. Sometimes you really want to execute that useless pounce because they're just so close to you, but a useless pounce is just that.

    That said, attacks don't always go well. If you find yourself being smacked out of mid-air before landing an amazing pounce, quickly evaluate your options and either try to escape, or go for the melee damage if it's worth it. The beauty of Left 4 Dead is that its gameplay can't be systematically broken down against even the most average of players. It's all a matter of playing the game and realizing what does and doesn't work, and hopefully this guide was a great launchpad for doing just that.