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Snipers: Mean and Unseen

By Joe. - 28th January 2010 - 01:22 AM

Snipers are a very versatile unit in Company of Heroes when used correctly. They are a deterrent weapon as well as a counter. Mastering the art of sniping and micro allows Snipers to release their potential in game, and their fury on your enemies.

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"Heart or head, either way, jerry's dead." - US Sniper


In order to begin your training with Snipers, you need to know some critical information.

The Facts
  • The Sniper initially has an low cooldown on his camouflage ability. After his first shot he will re-cloak quickly. However, the more shots your sniper takes in quick succession, the longer the cooldown before he can re-cloak.
  • A moving Sniper has only a 50% chance to be hit by an opposing Sniper.
  • The highest target priority for a Sniper is another Sniper.
  • A Sniper in cover, facing the right direction, will immediately fire on an opposing sniper within range when ordered to. If the sniper is not in cover, he may dive, run to cover, or display similarly infuriating behavior which only delays a crucial shot.
Now that you have a basic understanding of the Sniper's behavior, let's look at some methods of dealing with other Snipers.

Your Counter-Sniping Methods

The Point 'n' Click
  1. Cloak your sniper (hotkey: C )
  2. Activate hold-fire (hotkey: D )
  3. Select your Sniper (assign a control group: ctrl + 1-9 to allow quick, hassle free selection)
  4. Right-click on the opposing Sniper as soon as he is revealed
This method is the most basic one available to you. On the plus side it is a reliable and highly dependable technique and the one which depends upon the tricky Sniper A.I. the least. However reducing the A.I. influence slows the technique down, making it the slowest of the counter-sniping options.

The Ambush
  1. Cloak Sniper (hotkey: C )
  2. Activate hold-fire (hotkey: D )
  3. Select your Sniper (assign a control group: ctrl + 1-9 to allow quick, hassle free selection)
  4. Position Sniper in cover, within range, and facing in the direction of your targets position. (to set direction: right-click, hold and drag in desired direction)
  5. Deactivate hold-hire as soon opposing Sniper is revealed (hotkey: D )
This counter-sniping method depends upon near-perfect preparation. Your sniper must be positioned comfortably in cover, facing the right direction (with a 45 degree margin of error either side). If this is not the case, the sniper will not take the shot and will instead wallow in the mud before returning to the upright position with no kill and little dignity. This method can be problematic, but perfect preparation will result in a near unstoppable, low risk counter-snipe.

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A particularly tasty ambush.

The Marauder
  1. Cloak Sniper (hotkey: C )
  2. Activate hold-fire (hotkey: D )
  3. Select your Sniper (assign a control group: ctrl + 1-9 to allow quick, hassle free selection)
  4. Keep your Sniper moving in the general direction of the opposing Sniper
  5. Issue an Attack-Move (hotkey: A + left-click ) as soon as opposing sniper is revealed
This is by far the hardest method to make work but has the least preparation required and the best counter-snipe when executed correctly. This is the best technique for dealing with a well micro'd enemy Sniper, especially one which is kept at it's near absolutely maximum range. However it's also the most risky. A notable advantage of this technique is that the Attack-Move can be issued in any direction, to any position on the map. Your Sniper should, if you have executed the move correctly, not have a rendezvous with the dirt regardless of his position, in cover or otherwise.

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A near point-blank counter-snipe.

Great! Now you can deal with Snipers. But, how do you find them? How do you make the hunter become the hunted? Let's analyze some tactics for revealing Snipers.

Revealing The Patient Enemy

While waiting for a enemy Sniper to reveal himself can sometimes work, often times active searching can yield better results. There are two main techniques to reveal an enemy Sniper:
  • The Scout

    The easiest way to achieve an early counter-snipe is with a scouting unit, such as a Jeep or Bike. You move your Sniper to a vantage point before moving a Jeep or Bike in to provide a reveal, allowing you a counter-snipe shot. However, this method can result in the opposing Sniper making a run for it, a situation the Jeep or Bike is perfectly adept at handling. This is a largely impossible method once anti-tank takes its place on the field.
  • The Bait

    Snipers are often used as a deterrent, similarly to nuclear weapons. However, units which are making a nuisance of themselves or are of high value can often become very attractive targets. You can use these to bait your opponents Sniper in, while waiting on the counter-snipe. Good examples of these units are Mortars, Rangers, Paratroopers and any builder unit that is equipped with a flamer or that is laying a mine.

Unit Sniped!
Clicking the "Unit Sniped!" alert will move your screen directly above the opposing Sniper's current position.