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Follow the dark path or use the light

Multiplayer Survivor Tactics

Left 4 Dead 2 Walkthrough and Guide

by Mike Hazleton  

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Multiplayer Survivor Tactics

Versus/Survival/Scavenge Mode Survivor Tactics (these also apply to the main game)

Below is a list of tips for dealing with specific enemy Infected, whether in Campaign, Versus, Survival or Scavenge mode. Note that in the latter two, set-piece events and the end extraction do not take place. Also worth bearing in mind is that in Versus mode, certain things (such as damage and health) is changed to even things up in some cases. Also, maps like Hard Rain see aspects altered, like movement speed in water, and the number of Witches is reduced, as is their effectiveness.

Common Infected

The horde can be dispatched using any gun in the game, but assault rifles, shotguns and melee weapons are best. It is a good idea to have players with melee weapons in doors and bottlenecks, crouched so the other players can fire over their head.


The Boomer is very easy to hear, with loud audio cues and music making it obvious when he is in the area. The AI is adept at keeping the Boomer hidden until the last possible moment, which is vital as it only takes one bullet to burst. The key with the Boomer is to ensure that when you hear the music not to have an itchy trigger finger. If you round a corner and the Boomer is there, push it back (using the LT [Xbox 360] shove), move backwards and then shoot when you are far enough away. If too close, its bile will spill onto you and attract the horde while covering your screen. The Boomers can vomit bile on you, though this is rare in the Campaign (but is an established attack in Versus).


Like the Boomer, the Spitter has projectile attacks. However, the difference is that the acid projectiles inflict heavy damage. The most dangerous place to face a Spitter is in a corridor where the swamp of acid will constantly drain your health. You will be incapacitated in seconds if walking through the obstacle.


They Jockey is a new brand of Special Infected that acts like the Smoker because it can forcibly separate Survivors. Running like a Hunter but only able to jump at closer range, it sits on the Survivor's head and steers them into obstacles or away from the group, swiping at the target and inflicting damage as it goes. It can be pushed off or shot. Survivors should be very, very careful when near a Witch as Jockeys specialise in steering Survivors into this terrible foe.

Jockeys are adept at steering Survivors into Witches


Similar in appearance to the Spitter, Smokers return from the original Left 4 Dead and are one of the most difficult Special Infected to kill. They often hide on rooftops or in the distance and use their long tongue to drag Survivors from the group. This is particularly effecting during set-pieces or extractions, as everyone has other priorities at these points. They also love to do this to drag you from heights. You can be saved from a Smoker by either having the Smoker killed by another Survivor (though there are a couple of seconds where the person being dragged off can shoot the Smoker) or from another Survivor pushing you. This will detach the Smoker's tongue, but it will still survive for another attack. The best defence against Smokers is to stay inside buildings as they can rarely pull a Survivor out of a window; the Survivor will get caught on the ledge, making rescue easier.


The Hunters are also superb at separating Survivors who have strayed off on their own. They repeatedly inflict high damage on a Survivor until shot or pushed off. You can here them from a distance and it is possible to dodge their attacks, but only for so long.


The Charger is another new enemy for the Survivors to face, and can look worryingly like a Tank at first glance. It is large and extremely fast once it gets going. When you hear its loud grunting, be ready to dodge. It is quite easy to avoid the Charger's main attack if you have enough warning, after which it will keep running until it hits a wall, at which point it will be stunned. It can only focus on one target, but will knock any Survivors in the way to the ground. Once on top of its prey it pummels them until death, unless killed by another Survivor. Unlike other Special Infected (excluding the Witch and Tank), Chargers take two shots to kill. It should also be noted that Chargers cannot be pushed like other Special Infected (again with the above exclusions), and the only way to stun it is using explosive ammo or other exploding devices (such as gas cans).


The Witch is the most terrifying enemy in Left 4 Dead 2. This is particularly true of the Hard Rain level, where they populate the Sugar Mill. In daylight they wander around on patrol routes, so it's important to keep your distance and learn their path before moving on. In darkness they sit still, making them easier to avoid but also more hostile to noise and light. You can hear a witch from a mile off, and where possible should switch your torches off as soon as this happens. When a Witch knows about your presence it will stand up, arms outstretched to the side, and growl. If the Survivors resume their game and do not disturb it further they will be fine, but linger too long and attack is inevitable. Witches hate light and noise, so torches, explosions and primarily fire should be avoided around them. When set on fire, Witches are slowed, making it a good tactic, but only when planned, as anyone who sets a Witch alight is targeted in addition to the original 'startler'.

Witches have the second highest health in the game, a whopping 1,000 HP on Normal difficulty. If it wasn't for their speed, attacking from range would be the best option, but their reluctance to fight and potential lethalness (particularly on Expert or Realism) means avoiding them should be priority number one. You can use a shotgun from behind to kill it in one, but this takes some practice and should not be attempted by newcomers to the game. This is called cr0wning, and requires a head shot on high difficulties, but a body shot (if you're lucky) on the lower ones.



The Tank is the enemy that ruins most Survivors' chances of escaping a campaign in one piece. Positioned strategically by the AI Director, though mainly causing most harm during the extraction finales, the Tank has 4,000 health on Normal difficulty (four times that of a Witch) and requires at least ten hits with a melee weapon to kill.

Molotovs, Incendiary or Explosive ammunition are the best counters to a Tank attack. When set alight it moves faster if possessed by AI (no noticeable change if possessed by a Human), but will receive constant damage all the while. It can also be made to stumble from an explosion. There are various animations such as when climbing, swinging to strike or picking up a piece of concrete (which it then throws at a Survivor) that allow a chance to melee attack. This is only recommended when the Tank is right on top of you and you have no chance of downing it with bullets, but the high-damage melee weapons can be a life-saver (at least for some of your team) here.

Get the Tank into the open and surround it if possible so you can attack it from distance and out of reach of its deadly melee attacks

General Tips

If you stay together, you will survive. Something to remember about Versus mode is that the pace is relentless and the Special Infected (generally being possessed by human players) are far more aggressive than in the Campaign. They can also spawn very close to you, meaning you can go inside a room with the coast clear only to emerge and find a Hunter waiting outside. If you have to split up, go in pairs so that at least there is one extra player to lend a hand should someone get snagged or pounced on. Bear in mind that four Special Infected able to detain a Survivor cannot spawn at the same time, so there should always be one player free to save the others (other Special Infected that would spawn in this period being Boomers and Spitters).

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