The Support specialist, often referred to as just Support, is usually a key member of a good squad. He typically either holds the front line, attacking the majority of specimens, or assumes the more passive role of maintaining the weld on doors. The Support specialist can output a large amount of damage at close range, generally carries the heavier weapons of the squad's arsenal, primarily the shotgun, hunting shotgun, combat shotgun, HSG-1 shotgun and AA12. His shotgun damage and penetration is significantly improved, and his Grenades inflict more damage as well (but not grenade launchers). As such, the Support specialist can easily rip through large groups of clustered enemies, and deal substantial damage to bigger specimens. The Support specialist has a greater weight capacity than other classes, giving him the option to carry a large variety of weapons. A fully-ranked Support specialist, for example, can carry 24kg of equipment, which may encompass two shotguns and a Katana.
- The Support specialist is more effective in a defensive capacity, where he can funnel enemies through a choke point and take advantage of his shotguns' penetration bonus. In addition, he is up to 2.5 times faster in welding than other perks. A lone Support specialist can lock down an area with multiple weldable doors very quickly, and is much more capable of maintaining a weld against powerful groups of specimens. When a door is about to be breached, the Support specialist's bonuses also makes it easier for him to unweld the door without having it destroyed by the specimens, eliminate the enemies on the other side of the door with a combat shotgun or AA12, and re-weld the door.
- The biggest problems a Support specialist will face are reload time and ammo capacity. The amount of time required to fully reload a shotgun is at least 2.75 seconds, so it is generally better for the Support specialist to keep his distance from specimens during the reloading process. Despite his increased capacity for shotgun ammo and grenades, poor shot selection will deplete his reserves quickly. The Support specialist should try to hit as many specimens as possible with each shell.
- The Support Specialist should take full advantage of his increased weight capacity, and purchase, or have purchased for him, a side-arm to use whenever powerful weapons are not needed, and avoid wasting shells on small individual targets like Clots and Crawlers.
- When using the pump-action shotgun or combat shotgun, the Support specialist should reload immediately after a shot is fired whenever the next shot does not immediately need to be fired, as the reloading process can be quickly interrupted.
- To save as much ammo as possible, remember that the AA-12 has a semi-automatic firing mode if fully-automatic firepower isn't needed.
- Bear in mind that a partially empty magazine on the HSG-1 and AA-12 is counted as a full magazine on the head-up display.
- The Crawler, when found in a group, can be eradicated in addition to the rest of the mobs by a crouching Support Specialist so that his shotgun penetration bonus is used. However if they ever were to snap close, the slow shooting frequency of shotguns generally spell death for a Support Specialist without a reliable side-arm.
- The Hunting Shotgun's secondary fire is one of the most powerful single-hits of all weapons in the game; and it is often effective at quickly finishing a wounded/raging Scrake or Fleshpound. Beware that this will direct a raging specimen. At very short range, headshots, perhaps using the shotgun's iron-sights, can be useful for decapitating medium or large specimens.
- A Siren or Husk, as well as any lower specimens, can be killed quickly and easily with a Hunting Shotgun alt-fire.
- Remember that, as a Support Specialist, welding doors is one of your tasks. You may have games where welding is key to keeping the whole team alive. Do not leave welding to less-suited classes just because you are bored with it or do not find it beneficial.
- Practice welding doors, and unwelding them when zeds build up behind them to clear. Being able to do this without letting the door break can prove quite hard, especially on suicidal and hell on earth difficulties. Listen carefully to what's behind the door--being able to identify what is waiting for you will give you a better idea of whether you should ask for back up when clearing, or if you should ask another teammate to help weld instead of attempting to unweld and clear it.
- At level 6, Support Specialists will start with a Hunting shotgun, which is not the weapon of choice against the smaller enemies of the earlier waves. Consider selling it, which, can buy a loaded Hunting again at no additional cost also when combined with your starting cash, is enough to buy the HSG-1 or Shotgun.
- You can be at the front lines with the Berserker, picking crawlers off of him, or standing near the Sharpshooter and ensuring he gets clean shots without being harassed. Whatever you do if a Field Medic is tanking you should help against big targets, starting by prioritizing Sirens first.
- In the starting waves, check weapon spawns. Your increased carry weight allows you to carry many additional weapons to sell, which will get you your AA12 faster. Level 5 and 6 Support Specialists have the advantage of starting with a shotgun which is more than enough to handle anything in the early waves while solo.
- If your level is too low to carry a second shotgun, it may be a wise idea to get an M79 Grenade Launcher along with your main shotgun, as a Support will get damage bonuses to the grenades (not from launchers), and setting stacked grenades in the right place (and detonating them with M79) at the right time would save you from tight situations.
- If forced to defend a more open area where shotguns are ineffective, being too crafty, Support Specialist can carry a heavier emergency weapon such as Buzzsaw Bow, Husk fireball launcher and even M32 but this means they can not carry a heavy shotgun in their equipment. Buzzsaw pierce through the crowd for stunning Scrakes by a headshot, Husk stuns a Scrake on a well charged headshot also can set off stacked hand grenades and finally M32 can deal huge damage spikes to Fleshpounds also set off stacked grenades.
- A Support Specialist can wield the trenchgun -which can be purchased in previous waves as a firebug for a discount- and still receive penetration bonuses from the perk. While initial damage will be way weaker than using an onperk shotgun and burn damage will be fairly low. It can be ideal for sweeping mainly and harassing Siren instead of dealing damage to anything bigger and reloads slower than the standard Shotgun.
- Keep your combat shotgun and shotgun loaded at all times if possible. Throw a hand grenade to keep the horde busy if you're about to go through a lengthy process of reloading your shotguns or delay it and swap to your side-arm of choice such as MK23 to bridge the reloads interrupted reloads.
- Combine your hand grenades with your shotguns to deal damage to big specimen such as Fleshpounds. At high difficulties all specimen gain enough speed to get away from any hand grenade's explosion radius when their fuse finally spent. As game doesn't offer any option to cook grenades, Support Specialist have to only use grenades when specimen are pinned, busy or going through a narrow choke.
- With the AA12, switch to semi-automatic for smaller targets lined up to stack kills and go full automatic for bigger targets. Conserve ammo by also keeping a regular shotgun, or a pistol like MK23, weight permitting.
- Use the hunting shotgun to finish off big, wounded targets like the Scrake and Fleshpound. Remember that you can't reload the hunting shotgun until you have fired off both shells. However: use alternate fire against big targets to finish them or in narrow corridors packed with smaller targets.
- The Zed Gun MKII's static effect allows you to safely unload your close range damage on dangerous enemies, so consider carrying one if your team is having trouble with big targets.
- To cut weld times at doors that get heavy zed traffic: either purchase pipe bombs or ask a demolitions expert with pipe bombs to set one or two (if more than 1, space them out) behind the door you want to keep welded. If you only have one to put out, put it as close to the edge of the door as possible. When there are enough zeds behind the door, the pipe will explode, giving the support time away from the door without having to clear it.
- If you change your weapon with specific timing after you shoot both barrels of hunting shotgun, you will see that your weapon will be changed before you reload it. However, if you change back to the hunting shotgun again, you cannot shoot for a second until the ammo counter updates itself.
- A common skill to develop as a good support specialist is the right-click aim. Certain shotguns, such as the HSG-1 and the shotgun, drop back to the users side during the pump action, unlike the AA12 or hunting shotgun. As such, the support specialist needs to develop the skill to quickly toggle between right-click aim and the pump action.
- It is worth noting that at extreme point blank ranges, the pellets may not even go through the first target. This is a bug that can be remedied by engaging enemies at at least 5 feet away.
- At level 6, a single secondary fire from the hunting shotgun can kill a scrake on solo at any difficulty.
- Support specialists are best for soloing the patriarch, as the damage output can kill him very quickly.
Earning weld points is a fairly easy task. On solo, trap the last few specimens of a wave behind a door, and make sure you can maintain the weld at 100%. Change your primary fire function to a key such as numpad 0, and weigh it down (opening the steam overlay will have your character continue to weld, while you can simply leave). Over the course of a few hours, you will earn enough welding points for level 6. Alternatively, you can choose the map KF-Aperture and continually unweld the door to GLaDOS' room, which is by far the fastest legit way of farming your weld points.
Helping the Support specialist
Supports generally like enclosed areas where long-range attacks are neutralized, and where specimens are forced to bunch up in corridors. Help the support specialist by choosing maps that offer this kind of terrain. If you can spare some money, contributions towards the cost of the AA-12 are always appreciated, as it is one of the most expensive weapons in the game, even at Level 6.
The Support's shotguns have long reloads, help the Support by ensuring he is not overrun while he is trying to reload his weapons.
|Category||Cartridge shotguns||Magazine shotguns|
|Shotgun||Hunting shotgun||Combat shotgun||HSG-1 shotgun||Vlad the Impaler||Multichamber zed thrower||AA12|
|Ammunition||8 40||2 44||6 42||12 4||6 7||10 4||20 3|
|Individual shot reload.||Magazine reload.|
The basic pump-action Shotgun is a good starting weapon to have. It has a normal spread, allowing for both close and medium range use. It also, like most Support weapons, has a flashlight attached. This weapon is best used for groups of lower specimens, as its slow rate of fire limits its usefulness against stronger specimens.
This gem of a double-barreled shotgun is able to either fire a very powerful shotgun shell one at a time, or both at the same time, causing a massive spike of damage against the target. This is countered by it having a huge spread and its low ammo capacity. This weapon is most effective when used against large groups of specimens or mid-grade specimens. The Hunting Shotgun can also do a huge chunk of damage against stronger specimens as well, such as Scrakes or Fleshpounds, but this can easily rage them (see Tactics below for more details). The Hunting Shotgun cannot be reloaded unless both barrels have been fired.
Horzine HSG-1 Shotgun
This is a good all-rounder shotgun. Capable of either a tight or wide pellet spread and a faster pump-action, holding more rounds than the standard Shotgun with 12 rounds in the magazine, this is a very good "sidearm" to have for picking off those pesky smaller specimens. It also has a very low spread on tight mode, making it a good medium-range weapon. Its main drawbacks are a relatively low rate of fire and the inability to reload individual shells.
This high-powered nailgun is more suited to enclosed, dark areas. This shotgun has an extremely wide spread, giving it a very short range and limiting the damage it can do to a single target. However, its decent fire rate, fast reload speed, and ricocheting projectiles mean that it is very good at clearing corridors of weaker specimens such as Clots and Crawlers or hitting big targets multiple times. It also comes with a flashlight, like the pump-action and the combat shotgun.
This semi-automatic beauty can fire as fast as you can pull the trigger, capable of turning groups of lesser specimens into chunky meat, and even giving the big boys a run for their money. This, however, is strongly countered by it taking a VERY long time to reload (35% slower than the pump-action shotgun), and its high price tag. This shotgun also has the second lowest magazine capacity of all the shotguns.
Coming with both fully-automatic and semi-automatic fire modes along with a 20-round magazine, this weapon is capable of very high burst damage against single targets or rapid clearing of groups. Its spread, while not as small as that of the HSG-1, is still tight enough that it remains viable at medium range. Its main drawbacks are its relatively low damage per shell combined with the AA-12's high fire rate, meaning it burns through its ammunition supply quickly. It is best used against tougher enemies or for emergencies, with a backup weapon on standby for easier targets.
A pump-action shotgun that fires incendiary Dragon's Breath shells. While not technically a Support Specialist weapon, the Trench Gun still benefits from the bullet penetration. This makes it a viable choice for most maps, especially ones full of cramped corridors where the Support piercing bonus combined with its ignition effect can deal an incredible amount of damage per shell. Its primary drawbacks are its slow reload speed, lower ammuniton and the fact that its damage counts toward the Firebug perk, not Support.
Multichamber Zed Thrower
The MZT is a fully automatic combat shotgun with rate of fire comparable to the AA12, but with lower total ammo count and mag size. It also has smaller spread than other shotguns and thus has a longer effective range. The MZT has the third largest ammo reserve of the shotguns at 50 shells by default. The MZT's alt-fire option can knock back enemies which is useful for evading damage, especially when the magazine is empty.
|Rank||Requirements||Shotgun||Grenade||Extra Carry Weight ↑||Welding Speed ↑||Shotgun Discount ↑||Spawn With|
|Weld Points||Shotgun Damage||Damage ↑||Penetration ↑||Ammo ↑||Damage ↑||Capacity ↑|
|1||2,000||25,000||18%||10%||5%||20% (1)||15% (2)||25%||20%|
|2||7,000||100,000||20%||36%||20%||10%||40% (2)||20% (3)||50%||30%|
|3||35,000||500,000||30%||54%||25%||20%||60% (3)||25% (4)||75%||40%|
|4||120,000||1,500,000||40%||72%||30%||80% (4)||30% (5)||100%||50%|
|5||250,000||3,500,000||50%||90%||40%||100% (5)||50% (8)||150%||60%||Shotgun|
|6||370,000||5,500,000||60%||30%||50%||120% (6)||60% (9)||70%||Hunting shotgun|
|Equipment by perk|
|Weapon damage table|