by: Aaron R.
; edited by: Michael Hartman
; updated: 4/17/2012
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The tank is the big challenge in Left 4 Dead 2. This monster has a lot of health and can dish out a lot of damage to your squad if you aren't ready for him. I'll cover some basic tank fighting tactics and give tips for the infected in versus.
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Introduction - Left 4 Dead 2 - Tank
The Left 4 Dead 2 Tank is true to his name. He has an obscene amount of health even on easy diffuclty. With each increase he just becomes deadlier. A few missteps when facing a tank will result in a very quick death for your whole party. I'll give you some help to handle this big zombie. With a little practice he'll barely be a speed bump on your way to the safe house. Note that there isn't much of a difference in handling a tank in Versus or Campaign. The section covering versus will just tell you how to play a tank well in Left 4 Dead 2.
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Left 4 Dead 2 - Tank Basics
Tanks are pretty easy to understand. They are big, they have a lot a lot of health and they can really dish out damage.
The tank has two attacks. It can take a big swing with it's arms. Any survivor caught in the swing will at least be knocked down and damaged. In worse situations, you can be thrown away from your group entirely. This situation can be pretty rough, since the tank can continue to harass you before you can recover from the first hit. The tank can also really make you fly, so be careful. Even the AI will score some instant kills by knocking you off of platforms and rooftops.
The other attack is a rock throw. The tank can pick up a big boulder and chuck it at you. This can also cause a lot of damage, but it's not too hard to avoid. Just watch for the arc and try to get out of the way. I always like it when the tank decides to throw the rocks. There's a solid few seconds where the tank hoists the rock up, so you can just unload on him with whatever you have.
Note that in Left 4 Dead 2, tanks die easily to fire. In Left 4 Dead 1, you didn't always want to set a tank on fire because it usually just made him attack faster. This isn't true in Left 4 Dead 2, since all tanks are now slowed by the steady damage. Setting a tank on fire is a great tactic. This should limit it to just one or two incaps before it burns to death. If you can't set him on fire, you can toss a bile bomb to at least confuse him a bit and buy some time (This also should earn you the Septic Tank achievement, more information in our L4D2 achievement guide).
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Left 4 Dead 2 - Tank in Campaign Play
Tanks are an interesting thing in campaigns. They can be your worst nightmare or a minor trifle depending on how mean the AI Director feels. If you've got a molotov with you, then you're fine. Just light him up and watch your distance. He'll collapse in a little under a minute just from the fire.
If you have good weapons, then you can also take him out with just a lot of firepower. The AK-47 or the automatic shotgun should be really effective. He might be able to take down one person, but the other three should have unloaded plenty of lead into him while he did it. Then you can just revive the person on the ground and keep going. If you want some more ideas for good weapons though, we have a full L4D2 weapon guide.
Melee weapons are also very useful. There is even an achievement for taking down a tank with just melee weapons. If you use a shot or just react quickly you should be able to dart around his back and hammer away. He'll go down fairly fast, although this is a really risky tactic. If you get hit once, you probably won't be able to get your momentum back.
Of course, you can do all three. Set him on fire, hit him with everything you've got while keeping your distance and have whoever he's chasing smack him with melee weapons while he runs away.
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Left 4 Dead 2 - Tank in Versus Play
The tank has the potential to be a real game changer in a versus match. If you're careful, then it's possible to do a whole lot of damage or even take out a whole team.
For the survivors, nothing much will change in strategy. There is one interesting new note though. Since it's a human controller, a bile bomb can really mess them up. It will cloud their vision and might give you a few spare seconds. The other note is the "control" meter. In order to prevent an infected player from moving the tank to good ambush positions and waiting, there is a control meter. The tank gets angry the longer it is held back from survivors. If the tank can't see the survivors, then the meter falls steadily. In about 15 seconds or so of no contact, the tank reverts to a second player. If the second player also loses control, then it wiil revert to an AI tank. The AI is stupid. It will charge into fires and will be fairly easy to kill. Keep this in mind. You don't have to hunt the tank, it has to hunt you. Keep your distance and light it up.
For the infected, remember to help your tank. Check for which of the survivors have molotov cocktails. It will show up if you hit "TAB." Try to keep that survivor tied up to give the tank time to attack. Some teamwork here can do a whole lot to help.
The tank should focus on one survivor at a time. If they spend all their time playing tag with the survivors, then they won't accomplish anything. Take one out and then move on to the next. If they're close to a ledge, aim a little high and send them flying off it for a lot of damage or possibly an instant kill attack.
[inlineImage||||]Throwing rocks is only ideal in a few situations. If you expect to be massacred in close combat, then getting into a high location and tossing a few rocks can help. If you can keep the survivors in your sight, then they'll have to stop and use long range weapons to chip away at you. This will probably only serve to cause some damage and buy time for your teammates to help. Don't expect to take them all out, unless they're really foolish.
Keep an eye on your back. A brave survivor might rush behind you and smash away with a melee weapon. This can do a lot of damage to you.
Also, remember that if you catch on fire, you need to just run at them. You won't live much longer, so just do what you can.
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This should give you a good bit of starting information on the tank. Of course the best thing you can do is practice. Once you've handled a few tanks, you'll find the rest are pretty easy. If you want any more specific information on good tactics for L4D2 versus, then you can check out our guide. We also have some information on how to beat the other special infected in Left 4 Dead 2, if you need some more general help.