best beginner maps in Team Fortress 2 TF2 beginner-friendly - Badwater Basin 2Fort Granary Badlands Harvest tr_Walkway

Best Maps for Beginners in TF2

Being new to Team Fortress 2 now is a very different beast than even a few years ago, let alone in 2008 when I started. There are over a dozen game modes played on nearly 100 maps, so choosing which you should play to learn the game can be daunting. Luckily, there are some old standbys and new additions you can try out to get into the swing of things and discover the wonderful and wild world of the game. Here are the best maps for beginners in Team Fortress 2 (TF2).

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The Best Beginner-Friendly Maps in Team Fortress 2 (TF2)

Despite the (frankly ridiculous) number of officially available maps in Team Fortress 2, there are five that beginners can use to get to know the game, try out all the classes, and find their main if TF2 jives with them. I’ll list five of them here based on 1800 hours of play, but don’t be afraid to load up Casual matchmaking with almost everything selected and see if you discover a not-so-hidden gem.

best beginner maps in Team Fortress 2 TF2 beginner-friendly - Badwater Basin

Badwater Basin: Best Overall Map for Beginners in TF2

I will never stop singing Badwater Basin’s praises, whether here or in our separate article about the best payload maps in TF2. It is, to me, the perfect Team Fortress 2 map because it offers endless opportunities for all nine classes to flourish, and it’s popular enough that you can always find people playing. Most importantly, it almost doesn’t matter which class you choose because even a new player can add value to the team or at least learn how to do so through observation of the gameplay alone.

Payload is also one of the best game modes in TF2, where shenanigans and tomfoolery abound. And while objective play is highly encouraged, you can always play a support role around the cart and push as the situation allows. Payload is great for learning the back-and-forth of a push: when the Medic uses Uber, how to work around the Ubered character, when to fall back, etc. Badwater itself has tons of side routes and lower-traffic areas to let you get behind the enemy or otherwise catch them unawares.

2Fort: Best Map for Having Silly Fun

2Fort is an absolute classic, but not because it’s home to the world’s best gameplay or its intricate map design. Rather, 2Fort is a place where the absurd is commonplace; stalemates are a constant, and very few people take their time on the map seriously. I don’t recommend you do, either. Use it instead to focus on the fundamentals of the class you’re playing. Sniper battlement fights are legendary (I write with a wry smirk), as are the battles for the big bridge.

There’s almost no wrong way to play 2Fort, and while you can go for the intelligence, there aren’t servers with 300-minute round timers and a 99 score limit for no reason. As long as you don’t take things too seriously, you can have as much fun as you’re willing to manufacture on 2Fort — and plenty more besides.

best beginner maps in Team Fortress 2 TF2 beginner-friendly - Granary

Granary or Badlands: Best Beginner Map for Getting Good in TF2

The go-to maps for new competitive players around the world, Granary and Badlands are easy-to-understand but hard-to-master symmetrical Control Point maps that favor raw skill to fancy tricks or map gimmicks. Any class can be effective on these maps, but their layout prefers the likes of Scout, Soldier, Demoman, Medic, and occasionally Sniper. However, if you play Pyro, Spy, Heavy, or Engineer, you can use the experience to learn how the classes play in a straight-up fight. There are enough enclosed spaces and hide-holes for sneakier players and short-ranged classes to thrive, so long as they have the support of the team.

Don’t think matches on Granary or Badlands can’t descend into foolishness — they certainly can. Depending on what kind of server you’re on, you might run across other players who want to lighten things up or have some silly fun. You can use these opportunities to not only unwind but also to experiment with more… outlandish strategies. What those mean for you will, of course, vary.

Harvest: Best Map for Quick, Casual Matches

One of the original King of the Hill maps, matches of Harvest rarely last more than 10 minutes or so, and though people tend to try harder than they do on 2Fort, things rarely get as sweaty as on Granary, for instance. Harvest is also great for learning the basics of air movement, jumping mechanics, and line-of-sight use. If you aren’t playing the map to learn anything, that’s fine too. The center of it is always chaotic, with every class playing a role in taking back the one central point for their team.

There are also lots of good ways to get into the enemy base and pester the Snipers or others holding out on the second floor of their building. No class dominates Harvest more than they would on any other map, so you can play whichever is your favorite. And like on Granary, don’t be afraid to do something outlandish with either your gameplay or loadout.

best beginner maps in Team Fortress 2 TF2 beginner-friendly - tr_Walkway

tr_Walkway: Best Map to Practice

I’m cheating a bit here because tr_Walkway is a community map and takes a bit of effort to install and get up and running, but if you want to practice your main class’s mechanics in isolation, there’s no better place. The map is exactly what it sounds like: a long walkway, but there are infinitely spawning, customizable bots and moving terrain, giving you the tools to master the basics and understand more advanced tech, should you choose to.

Those are our picks for the best maps for beginners in Team Fortress 2, but TF2 has lots of great options for you to consider.

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John Schutt
John Schutt has spent more than a decade writing about video games in various capacities and wonders constantly why no one has yet stopped him. You can follow him on Twitter @Terrible_Xiant, though he doesn't do much there.