Tank image of a Tank Zombie TankYes.  Why not start with the rare one.   Besides being anal about metal stairs, It’s weird how almost completely true-to-game the intro cutscene is.  Even stranger is how nobody pays attention to that.  Hey buddy!  Any zombie you touch as a Tank, you kill him dipshit.  If you, reader person, punch your zombie teammate, he dies.  The other misconception is the control timer.  You know it maxes out when you get a hit in, right?  You don’t have to charge into the group of four shotguns.  You can stick and move. Pretend you’re Bald Bull from Punch-Out if you have to; a Bald Bull that throws giant-ass rocks.  Some great player Tanks can hold it together for five, even ten minutes.  Just keeping that Tank theme song going as long as possible can confuse the shit out of players while your friends pick the survivors apart.  You know how you hang around in the same spot or run the hell backwards when you see a Tank in campaign modes? Yeah, a great Tank player knows that and will try to recreate that effect for as long as possible…if only by just standing out of view throwing rocks all day. Influencing players to not move forward is your real objective.  Adding damage to that is a given.  Tank is better as an ambush support against expert players than a suicide bomber with no explosives as everybody else uses it.  Think about it over a jack & coke.  I probably won’t make a survivor guide so hey, here’s a tip:  The arms and back are the Tank weak spots, apparently.  Also, Tank HP really hates shotguns and fire while exploding propane buys survivors 3 seconds of stumbling time.  But you knew that already.

sprinklervibes gets props for making this visual guide.
[youtube MEBovQUVVWY]

Written strategy for Tank is as follows:

– The Rule –
Use what you know to INCAP as many players as you can. This can take as many as five hits. If a Smoker or Hunter has done the job for you, stay away and move on to another survivor. Tanks in Versus are weak. Refrain from acting like how the CPU drives a tank. You can’t usually get away with pounding an incapped survivor because nine times out of ten you will be murdered before you can kill a survivor dead. Furthermore, a successful tank attack against skilled players will require help from your zombie teammates to keep from getting auto-shotgunned to death. CPU Tanks (depending on difficulty) can last almost double the lifespan and have stronger punches than a versus mode Tank. You get to drive the weak 4000 health pussy Tank. Usually.

Since there’s not much time to figure out controls and this is rare to play:
Right Trigger – Rely on this if you’re a novice. This is your standard claw punching. Note this control is switched from all other special infected. This and the rock do pretty much equal damage, but you’ve figured out you can punch quicker than throwing shit.
Left Trigger (secondary attack) – Throw a rock. Upon starting the attack, there is roughly a two second delay for the Tank to pick up the rock before he throws it. You can use this time to aim. You’ll have to throw the rock somewhat ahead of the walking path of the player for it to connect. You need to consider gravity in long throws and aim the rock above the player you’re trying to hit. An expert player can melee or shotgun the rock midair and destroy it.

Unfortunately, the hyped thrill of driving the Tank is that of getting an invincibility star in Mario. You gotta put this image out of your head, man. You’re really just a really fat kid with a violent temper tantrum playin’ dodgeball. To play the Tank well, ya gotta know when to dive in and when to chillax, throw rocks, and let your dodgeball teammates beat the shit out of the survivors while everybody wants to shoot the fat kid.

– Observe Your Damn Teammates –
If you see one of your zombie teammates already pinning or constricting a guy, DO NOT APPROACH!!! You will kill your zombie comrade and only give the survivor another chance to shoot at you and become a moving target again. And you just did the survivors a favor by killing one of your own and your buddy now has to wait the respawn time.

– Punt Cars –
Advanced tactic…sorta. Tanks can punch cars, dumpsters, and other large objects across some distance. If you know the map enough and you know the survivors are near objects you can move, your top priority is to punch large things into survivors. A direct hit will knock a survivor down from any health. Oh, and punching anything that moves restores your control meter. Get near something you can move and that can be your primary rock throwing spot.

– When to (Melee) Punch –
If pretty much all survivors are in green health, hang way the hell back and try to sniper survivors with rocks until your zombie teammates make their move or you run low of the Control Meter. You have semi-close to a minute to connect an attack and your meter refills when one rock hits, to which the counter resets waiting for another hit within 30 seconds or so. Don’t panic about the rock throwing. You have more control time than you think. If the survivors are inside, try your best to locate a stray or create one by possibly knocking a guy outside. Then hide or give chase to that new stray. Healthy survivors can outrun you, so if they’re all closing in and your teammates haven’t done their job, you have no choice but to engage in melee combat. Remember, you’re not strong enough to kill anybody from full health unless you catch some kind of lucky break; stick to incapacitating survivors.

– When to Switch Punching Targets –
Again, remember that intro cutscene? Where everybody says “Run & Shoot.” That’s the main strategy to killin’ you. This means you gotta pick your targets wisely.
-If you’re chasing a healthy person who has nothing but straight hallway or open space behind him, switch targets ASAP.
-If you observe there are walls and hallway turns behind the survivor, proceed until he’s incapped.
-If the survivor is really good at turning hallways backwards while shooting, you’re on your own. Throw a rock then switch targets if you have a lot of life.
-If survivor has yellow or red health, you can probably outrun him.

– CPU Control –
After three people drive the tank and lose control, the tank is left for CPU control in the spot that last control was lost. The tank will activate when a survivor reaches it. If your team coordination is borderline best friends, or you just got two lost or really bad rock snipers, you can use this to set up a Tank anywhere on the map and have five special infected on the playing field.

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7 Responses to SCIENCE!!! Left 4 Dead – Rollin’ Infected: Tank

  1. Hilden says:

    The comment about playing the Tank like you’re Mario with an Invincibility Star is spot on. That’s exactly the feeling I get when I play the Tank and it’s rare that I do well with that character. Good advice on how to really make the most out of this Infected. I’ll be taking that one to heart. Nice work!

  2. phneri says:

    Ah. The tank was my last character to acquire skill now. Thank you DJ. Now your lives are forfeit.

  3. Q says:

    I haven’t gotten to play the tank much and really never enjoyed it that much. However, this article certainly gave me some things to think about. Good ideas and I’ll certainly apply them if I ever get a chance to play in a decent game again.

  4. Moe says:

    Your SCIENCE!!! is magiczors! These are the shiznizzle.

  5. Hilden says:

    Moe. You hurt me with your words.

  6. Fallout Bot says:

    Nice playing with you guys tonight. The last mission was a nail-bitingly close. Sorry I had to smack Moe around so much.

  7. Moe says:

    Smack Moe around so much?

    Did you not see me lead my merry band of survivors out of the farmhouse, then all the way around the farmhouse…. might have taken a wrong turn…. or was it a victory lap?… and into the back of the waiting troop transport? Or were you still spawning in the cornfield? Oh, I kid! I kid!

    *smooch*

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