Support specialist

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Icon of the Support specialist.

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.

Weapon Analysis


The basic pump-action Shotgun is a starting good 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 slow rate of fire limits its usefulness against stronger specimens.

Hunting Shotgun

This gem of a double-barreled shotgun is able to either fire a very power shotgun shell one at a time, or both at the same time, making a massive spike of damage against the target. This is countered by it having a huge spread and needing to be reloaded after every or every-other shot. 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, but this can easily rage it (see Tactics below for more details).

Horizon HSG-1 Shotgun

This is a good all-rounder weapon. Capable of either a tight or wide pellet spread and a faster pump-action, holding more rounds then the standard Shotgun, and being clip-fed, this is a very good "sidearm" to have for picking off those pesky smaller specimens. This is offset for the same reason the pump-action Shotgun is for dealing with bigger specimens; its rate of fire and damage are comparably low when compared to the other available weapons.

Combat Shotgun

This semi-automatic beauty can fire as fast as you can pull the trigger, capable of making 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 then the pump-action shotgun), and costing more per shell then most other weapons. This shotgun also has the second lowest clip capacity of all the shotguns.

AA-12 Shotgun

This fully-automatic shotgun is everyone's friend at the later waves. Capable of dealing a ton of damage in a short amount of time, this beast will turn anything into red smears, given time. This shotgun also has a very tight spread, allowing for almost sniper-accurate shots. It's fully automatic capabilities are, however, countered by it doing the least amount of damage of any shotgun and costing quite a bit per shell.


  • 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 hunting 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.
  • 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 specimin's 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, and be killed quickly and easily with a Hunting Shotgun alt-fire.
  • Remember that, as a Support Specilist, 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, when combined with your starting cash, is enough to buy the HSG-1. Use that as your main weapon until you can get the AA12.
  • 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.
  • 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, carrying a long-ranged weapon like MK23, M79, Crossbow or Buzzsaw Bow as sidearms is advised.
  • A Support Specialist can get the trenchgun (which can be purchased in previous rounds as a firebug), and still receive piercing and ammo bonuses from the perk on the gun.
  • On the later waves or the Final Wave, you can multi-purpose the perk if your level is high enough to carry 2 heavy weapons. You can either get the powerful L.A.W to help the burden of the Demolition Expert, or choose the M4 203, which besides a grenade launcher, also packs formidable firepower.
  • 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.
  • Combine your hand grenades with your shotguns to deal damage to big specimen such as Fleshpounds and large horde of small zeds.
  • With the AA12, switch to semi-automatic for smaller targets and go full automatic for bigger targets. Conserve ammo by also keeping a regular shotgun, or a hunting shotgun, 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.
  • 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.

Leveling Tactics

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.

Although the leveling "tactic" above is useful for those who might want to skip their welding duties altogether, welding doors is an important part of the perk.

If you want to avoid being on welding duty: stay away from the door and put some distance between all players (including yourself) and the door. If you (or anyone else) is obsessively checking it, or hanging out near it, rest assured you will draw zeds to the door and require welding and clearing.

Helping the Support specialist

Understand that the Support specialist's weapons aren’t very good at long-range shooting, and compensate for this weakness by taking out Husks and Sirens if you can.

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 AA12
Trader Combat Shotgun.png Trader Hunting Shotgun.png Trader Beneli.png Trader KSG.png Trader Vlad9000.png Trader AA12.png
Cost range £500-£150 £750−£225 £2500−£750 £1250-£375 £1500−£450 £4000-£1200
Ammunition 8Hud Single Bullet black.png40 2Hud Single Bullet black.png44 6Hud Single Bullet black.png42 12Hud Ammo Clip black.png4 6Hud Ammo Clip black.png7 20Hud Ammo Clip black.png3
Damage 245-392 500-800 245-392 228-360 245-392 150-240
Ammo Capacity 48-62 48-62 48-62 48-62 48-62 80-104
Hud Single Bullet black.png Individual shot reload.Hud Ammo Clip black.png Magazine reload.

Perk Ladder

Rank Requirements Shotgun Grenade Extra Carry Weight ↑ Welding Speed ↑ Shotgun Discount ↑ Spawn With
Weld Points Shotgun Damage Damage ↑ Penetration ↑ Ammo ↑ Damage ↑ Capacity ↑
10% 10% 10% 10%
2,000 25,000 18% 10% 5% 20% (1) 15% (2) 25% 20%
★★ 7,000 100,000 20% 36% 20% 10% 40% (2) 20% (3) 50% 30%
★★★ 35,000 500,000 30% 54% 25% 20% 60% (3) 25% (4) 75% 40%
★★★★ 120,000 1,500,000 40% 72% 30% 80% (4) 30% (5) 100% 50%
★★★★★ 250,000 3,500,000 50% 90% 40% 100% (5) 50% (8) 150% 60% Shotgun
370,000 5,500,000 60% 30% 50% 120% (6) 60% (9) 70% Hunting shotgun
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