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A TF2Newbs Guide to MvM Item Hunting

Posted on: January 6th, 2014 by Obey

This guide focuses more on the items that can be found in the TF2 MvM game. See the links below if you’re looking for something else regarding MvM. Thank you for all the clicks! 17,000 hits and counting!


  • The official TF2 Wiki has a page of strategies and tactics for playing MvM.
  • This Community guide does a great job in telling you what upgrades you should/shouldn’t purchase in MvM.
  • Go here to learn about the kinds of items in TF2, and how to get more of them.


Table of Contents

0. Updates

1. MvM Game Modes: Mann Up vs. Boot Camp

2. Tours of Duty, and the Rewards They Give

3. Botkiller Weapons

4. Killstreaker Weapons, Kits, Fabricators, and Robot Parts

5. Australium Weapons


0. Updates

Updated August 11, 2016:

  1. Added links at top, incl. upgrade guide.
  2. Added more pictures to break up all the text, and some clearer explanations. Removed price information.

Updated December 26, 2014:

  1. Added: Now all Advanced and Expert Tour Completions grant the same chance of earning an Australium weapon.

Updated September 18th, 2014:

  1. Completing the same Mann Up mission over and over does not consume your tickets, nor does it earn you any items.

Updated July 13th, 2014:

  1. Added this link which provides GIFs showing all of the Professional Killstreak eye effects in every color.
  2. Added this link which shows many of the Specialized Killstreak weapons’ colored sheens.

Updated June 24th, 2014:

  1. The five weapons released during the Love & War Update now have Killstreak Kits that can drop.
  2. Added “important waves” to Two Cities’ Tour mission descriptions.

Updated April 4th, 2014:

  1. Some killstreak kits are now available in Mann Co. Crates, starting with crate #83.
  2. Tour of Duty Tickets are US$0.99 each, and Squad Surplus Vouchers are US$1.99 each in the Mann Co. Store (not the 49 cents and 99 cents respectively I had posted). The tickets had been on sale during my original post.

Updated February 8th, 2014:

  1. (My mistake!) Standard killstreak kits, which drop at the end of every Two Cities’ Tour, are only useable for one specific weapon. This is also true for Specialized, and Professional Killstreak Kits and their Fabricators.
    • For example, you may finish a Two Cities’ Tour and receive a “Black Box Killstreak Kit”, along with your other item drops.
  2. As of the 2/7/2014 patch, the following weapons can now drop killstreak kits and fabricators (and did not before):
    • Lugermorph, Big Kill, Iron Curtain, Frying Pan, Black Rose, AWPer Hand, Chargin’ Targe, Splendid Screen, and Mantreads
  3. (My mistake!) A Tour Badge is earned by completing any one mission of that Tour, not the entire Tour.


1. MvM Game Modes: Mann Up vs. Boot Camp


Boot Camp mode is the free-to-play version. You don’t need tickets to play, but you’re not going to get any item drops at the end of the missions; you still get your usual timed item drops as you play. You can also play Boot Camp mode on private servers, so you can enjoy benefits on those. A change implemented in 2016 allows Boot Camp games to hold more than 6 players, depending on the permissions of the server. I’ve played in games with 10 players. Boot Camp mode is perfect for practicing a new class, weapon, or map.


Mann Up mode is the pay-to-play version, and it has completely different missions (waves of enemies) on the same maps. Mann Up rewards players with item drops and, for those who complete Tours of Duty, special weapons such as Botkillers and Killstreakers! Mann Up mode is only available on Valve-run servers. Players in Mann Up mode are seriously trying to win, and the number of Tours they have on their belt speaks to their knowledge of what works and what doesn’t; unlike TF2, some weapons or methods are useless, and some are almost essential (like having a medic and an engineer, or resistance upgrades on a heavy). Practice in Boot Camp until you’re familiar with the meta, or frustrated players may leave or kick you.


NOTE:  You should already have a Power Up Canteen (or the Battery Canteen is the same thing with a different look). If you don’t have one for some reason, you can craft one for 4 scrap in the Crafting menu.

If you’re hoping to earn a very rare Australium weapon (see below), you need to complete an Advanced or Expert Mann Up Tour, which will require between 3 to 6 tickets to complete each Tour.


Six MvM Maps:

bigrock1  bigrock2

Big Rock (mvm_bigrock) is a very long MvM map that launched with the introduction of robot Engineers into the game.


coaltown1  coaltown2

Coal Town (mvm_coaltown) is an MvM with a single downhill dirt ramp leading to where the robots spawn.

A Boot Camp-only reskin of this map, Ghost Town (mvm_ghost_town), takes place at night with the robots reskinned as zombies. Neither of these have robot Engineers.



Decoy (mvm_decoy) is a short map known for a wooden overpass bridge near the robots’ spawns, and where two bridges cross a deep gulch near the bomb drop point. Robot engineers are never present in this map.


mannhattan1  mannhattan2

Mannhattan (mvm_mannhattan) is one of the Two Cities Update maps. This map features two additional forward spawns (doors A and B) where gatebots–robots with a glowing yellow head–will attempt to unlock, in order to have a shorter route and more bombs to deliver to the bomb drop point.


mannworks1  mannworks2

Mannworks (mvm_mannworks) is a foggy map surrounded by gray rocks, with two robot spawns and a tank spawn set into the cliffs. This map never has robot Engineers.


rottenburg1  rottenburg2

Rottenburg (mvm_rottenburg), the other Two Cities map, takes place in a German-style town. The robots’ paths wind around buildings and over ramps, and the city proper can be confusing to get around.


2.  Tours of Duty, and the Rewards They Give

A Tour of Duty is a collection of missions, across several maps, on official Valve MvM servers. Each tour has from 3-6 missions, and each mission requires a Tour of Duty Ticket. The tickets (which cost US$0.99 in the Mann Co. Store) are tan with a picture of Saxton Hale on them, and are only used up if you succeed in the mission.  “Mann Up” Mode refers to this pay-to-play style, as opposed to free-to-play “Boot Camp”. faq_tourofdutyfaq_squadsurplusEach player has the option, before beginning a mission, to use one Squad Surplus Voucher each. These vouchers are grey with a treasure chest on them (and cost US$1.99 in the Mann Co. Store), and are likewise used up only if you succeed in the mission. If you beat the mission, each player receives one extra standard item drop. (They don’t provide any more robot parts, nor do they provide a better chance for Australiums or other random loot. It’s functionally a six-player Secret Saxton that your team receives when you win.)

Rewards for a Tour of Duty

maxresdefaultThis player completed a single “Two Cities” Tour mission.

The real rewards are earned when completing the Tour.

  When you finish a single mission, you will receive:

  • Credit for that current mission if you haven’t already done it on your current tour
  • You earn the badge for that Tour, if you haven’t already
  • One random item drop (for example, a Mad Milk)
    • Plus one additional random item drop for each Squad Surplus Voucher used
    • All of these random item drops have the usual ~3% chance of dropping a hat or other cosmetic/tool item.
  • (Two Cities tours only) A random number (4 to 7) of robot parts, some of which may be rare


fabricator rl“Two Cities” Tours grant Killstreak Fabricators and Kits.

The other tours grant different varieties of Botkiller Weapons.

All Tours of at least Advanced difficulty have a small chance of dropping an Australium weapon also.


When you finish the last mission in a Tour, you will get the above, and also:

  • You will receive a random Special Weapon or Kit
    • Two Cities Tours grant a random Standard Killstreak Kit, plus one or two random Killstreak Fabricators also (see below)
    • All other Tours grant a random Botkiller Weapon, depending on which Tour you completed (see below)
  • One increment is added to the applicable badge’s Tour Counter
  • (Updated 12/22/14): You also have a roughly 2% chance of getting an Australium weapon as well, if you completed an Advanced or Expert Tour
    • Perhaps Australium weapons are slightly likely to drop soon after Valve pushes a new TF2 update or sale, but who knows?
  • All the missions are cleared so that you can complete another Tour and get its reward again


You will not get the weapon/kit granted by the Tour until you complete every mission in the Tour. Tours are repeatable; you can keep earning weapons each time you complete all of the missions of the Tour, and ramp your Badge’s counter. Be warned: You can complete the same mission repeatedly in Mann Up mode, but you will not get any item drops whatsoever.  But you keep your tickets too, so you can play again.  You do have to have a ticket in order to begin play, however. See below for more information on the reward items.






There are five levels of mission difficulty:

  1. Beginner, the easiest (Boot Camp only)
  2. Intermediate (Boot Camp or Mann Up)
    • “Oil Spill” is the Mann Up Tour
  3. Advanced, the “middle difficulty” (Boot Camp, or Mann Up)
    • “Steel Trap”, “Mecha Engine”, and “Two Cities” are the three Mann Up Tours
  4. Expert (Boot Camp or Mann Up), the hardest mission difficulty
    • “Gear Grinder” is the Mann Up Tour
  5. Nightmare, a single zombie-themed mission (Boot Camp only)


Here is a list of the current “Mann Up” Tours of Duty, in order of difficulty:

“Operation Oil Spill”

  • Difficulty: Intermediate (2 out of 5)
  • Special Weapons: Rust BK Mk. I (common), Blood BK Mk. I (uncommon)
  • Chance of Australium Weapon on Tour Completion: no
  • Number of Missions: 6
    • Map: Decoy
      • “Doe’s Doom”
      • “Day of Wreckening”
    • Map: Coal Town
      • “Cave-in”
      • “Quarry”
    • Map: Mannworks
      • “Mean Machines”
      • “Mannhunt”

“Operation Steel Trap”

  • Difficulty: Advanced (3 out of 5)
  • Special Weapons: Silver BK Mk. I (common), Gold BK Mk. I (uncommon)
  • Chance of Australium Weapon on Tour Completion: yes
  • Number of Missions: 6
    • Map: Decoy
      • “Disk Deletion”
      • “Data Demolition”
    • Map: Coal Town
      • “Ctrl+Alt+Destruction”
      • “CPU Slaughter”
    • Map: Mannworks
      • “Machine Massacre”
      • “Mech Mutilation”

“Operation Mecha Engine”

  • Difficulty: Advanced (3 out of 5)
  • Special Weapons: Silver BK Mk. II (common), Gold BK Mk. II (uncommon)
    • Mark II Botkiller weapons feature Engineer heads, instead of Heavy heads.
  • Chance of Australium Weapon on Tour Completion: yes
  • Number of Missions: 3
      • This Tour introduced the use of Engineer robots, and their teleporters and sentries
    • Map: Decoy
      • “Disintegration”
    • Map: Big Rock
      • “Broken Parts”
      • “Bone Shaker”


“Operation Two Cities”: with notes so you can differentiate between them

  • Difficulty: Advanced (3 out of 5)
  • Special Weapons: Killstreak Kits, Specialized Fabricators (common), and Professional Fabricators (uncommon)
  • Chance of Australium Weapon on Tour Completion: yes
  • Number of Missions: 4
    • The only way to earn Robot Parts is by completing Two Cities missions.
    • Map: Mannhattan
      • “Empire Escalation”
        • Wave 5: 10 Giant Black Box Soldiers start spawning in the 2nd sub-wave, and 8 Giant Bonk Scouts start spawning late
      • “Metro Malice”
        • Wave 1: 8 Giant Rapid Fire Soldiers spawn with 3 Uber Medics each, making a demoman team member almost required
    • Map: Rottenburg
      • “Hamlet Hostility”
        • Wave 3: 3 Giant Super Scouts with a Tank shortly thereafter
        • Wave 4: at end of wave, 12 Giant Super Scouts, and 3 Giant Heavies with 2 Quick-Fix Medics each
        • Wave 7: 3 Tanks in quick succession
      • “Bavarian Botbash
        • Wave 1: 2 Giant Super Scouts in the fist sub-wave
        • Wave 7: Tank, 4 Giant Deflector Heavies, 4 Giant Spammer Soldiers, and 8 Giant Burst Demos, each spawning no more than 30 seconds apart

“Operation Gear Grinder”: the hardest Tour to date

  • Difficulty: Expert (4 out of 5)
  • Special Weapons: Carbonado BK Mk. I (common), Diamond BK Mk. I (uncommon)
  • Chance of Australium Weapon on Tour Completion: yes
  • Number of Missions: 3
    • Map: Decoy
      • “Desperation”
    • Map: Coal Town
      • “Cataclysm”
    • Map: Mannworks
      • “Mannslaughter”


3.  Botkiller Weapons

botkiller heads

Rust, Blood; Silver, Gold; Carbonado, Diamond heads of Botkiller weapons

All Botkiller (BK) weapons are Strange quality, keeping track of the number of the (human player) kills you inflict with them, and they are able to take up to 3 Strange Parts as well. Each time you complete the Tours “Oil Spill”, “Steel Trap”, “Mecha Engine”, or “Gear Grinder”, you will earn one random Botkiller weapon. See above for the list of Tours, which correspond to the types of botkiller weapons (rust, blood, silver, gold, carbonado, and diamond) they reward. There are only 9 kinds of Botkiller weapons at this time, and they are the stock trademark weapons for each class:

  • Scattergun for the Scout
  • Rocket Launcher for the Soldier
  • Flame Thrower for the Pyro
  • Stickybomb Launcher for the Demoman
  • Minigun for the Heavy
  • Wrench for the Engineer
  • Medi Gun for the Medic
  • Sniper Rifle for the Sniper
  • Knife for the Spy

Trivia: The level of the BK weapon is equal to the number of those Tours you completed when you earned the weapon (i.e. your 5th completion of Gear Grinder may grant you a Carbonado or Diamond BK Weapon that is Level 5). BK weapons are essentially reskinned Strange weapons, which are a mild status symbol in the greater TF2 community; players equipped with Botkiller weapons are usually players who have invested more time in the game, and act as a trophy to their skill.  They are tradable, but players can simply invest time and tickets to earn a weapon, unlike unusual hats. Fortunately, when you earn a BK weapon, it is ready to use! That is not the case with some Killstreaker weapons, which are much more complicated.


4.  Killstreaker Weapons, Kits, Fabricators, and Robot Parts

Killstreaker weapons count your current “kill streak” or number of kills that you have made since your last death. The number of kills in the streak made by killstreaker weapons the player possesses is announced in the killfeed in the top right corner after the player’s name (i.e. ” 2 >” ), and at intervals of five, the killstreak is announced to the whole server at the top of the screen. There are 3 ascending tiers of killstreaker weapons, in order:

  1. Standard Killstreak weapons only do the killstreak counter, as counted above.
  2. Specialized Killstreak weapons do the killstreak counter, and also display a colored sheen to the weapon. The color grows brighter as the wielder’s killstreak increases. There are seven possible sheens:
    • Team Shine (Red, Blue)
    • Hot Rod (Pink)
    • Manndarin (Orange)
    • Deadly Daffodil (Yellow)
    • Mean Green (Lime Green)
    • Agonizing Emerald (Green)
    • Villainous Violet (Purple)
  3. Professional Killstreak weapons have both the killstreak counter and a killstreak sheen. Also, they cause a glowing particle effect to the wielder’s eyes when a killstreak of at least five kills is attained, similar to the Eyelander’s. There are seven possible effects:
    • Cerebral Discharge (yellow bolts)
    • Fire Horns (orange fires and a glowing orange pentagram overhead)
    • Flames (pink-red cloudy flames)
    • Hypno-Beam (lavender concentric circles)
    • Incinerator (green-to-gray smoke floating straight up)
    • Singularity (yellow-green dancing lights near eyes)
    • Tornado (gold-bordered dust clouds floating upwards)

Click here to see GIFs of all of the possible Professional Killstreak glowing eyes effects. See this forum thread to see what many weapons’ sheens look like (and to vote on your favorite glowing-eye effect!).


Killstreak kits are the tool items used to make a weapon a killstreak without changing its item quality or other traits. They are keyed to a specific type of weapon, such as a Flare Gun Killstreak Kit. Kits can be applied to a stock item if you choose, creating a separate Unique item in your inventory. Let me say that again: Killstreak kits can be applied to ANY weapon of its type. Yes, you can have a Collector’s Professional Killstreaker Sandvich. Or a Botkiller Standard Killstreaker Stickybomb Launcher. Or a Vintage Specialized Killstreaker Backburner. But as you will see below, only Unique-quality Killstreak weapons can be used in the creation of better ones.


Killstreaker fabricators are tool items used to make even better killstreaker kits. They are keyed to a specific type of weapon, such as a Specialized Killstreak Shotgun. However, each fabricator comes with a list of robot parts and weapon(s) needed to construct the kit. It also shows the specific weapon it is keyed to, and what sheens/effects it will grant. Killstreaks and the kits and fabricators required to make them are tiered:

  1. Standard killstreak kits are found each time you complete a Two Cities Tour.
  2. Specialized killstreak fabricators are commonly found each Tour you complete also. In order to finish the kit, each requires:
    • 24 random Battle-Worn robot parts
    • 5 random Reinforced robot parts
    • 1 Unique-quality Standard Killstreak weapon of your choice
  3. Professional killstreak fabricators are rarely found each Tour you complete as well. In order to finish these rare kits, each requires:
    1. 16 random Battle-Worn robot parts
    2. 6 random Reinforced robot parts
    3. 3 random Pristine robot parts
    4. 2 Unique-quality Specialized Killstreak weapons of your choice

Fortunately, killstreaker weapons, kits, fabricators, and robot parts are all tradable and giftable, so you’re not forced to earn every single part if you don’t want to. Just remember that only yellow Unique Killstreak weapons can be used in construction of kits, even though they can be applied to Strange, Collector’s, Vintage and others. The robot parts are:

  • Common
    • Battle-Worn Robot Money Furnace
    • Battle-Worn Robot Taunt Processor
    • Battle-Worn Robot KB-808
  • Uncommon
    • Reinforced Robot Emotion Detector
    • Reinforced Robot Humor Suppression Pump
    • Reinforced Robot Bomb Stabilizer
  • Rare
    • Pristine Robot Currency Digester
    • Pristine Robot Brainstorm Bulb




An Example: Chung decides to begin a Two Cities tour, and manages to complete the Empire Escalation mission. He finds a huntsman (his random item drop), two battle-worn taunt processors, two battle-worn money furnaces, and a reinforced emotion detector. He has to complete a Tour to get a beloved killstreaker kit. Encouraged, Chung finishes the tour. Besides the other items and robot parts he has found, he earns a Standard Scattergun Killstreaker Kit, and a Specialized Killstreak Black Box Fabricator (Deadly Daffodil) . He’s been playing as Scout, so he applies the Standard Scattergun Killstreaker Kit to his stock Scattergun, giving him a Unique Killstreak Scattergun. Looking at the fabricator, he sees the randomly-generated formula required to earn a Specialized Killstreak Black Box:

  • 1 Unique Standard Killstreak Weapon
  • 13 Battle-Worn Money Furnace
  • 9 Battle-Worn KB-808
  • 2 Battle-Worn Taunt Processor
  • 5 Reinforced Bomb Stabilizer

Chung decides to begin another Tour in order to earn the Spec Black Box. After finishing the Tour of four missions once more, and trading off some scrap for three Money Furnaces he was still missing, he has all of the parts he needs to make the Spec Black Box. When he finished the second tour, he earned another Killstreak Kit–which he will apply to an Ubersaw because he wants to keep his Killstreak Scattergun–and he also got a Professional Killstreak Sandvich Fabricator (Agonizing Emerald, Flames). Chung decides to use the Ubersaw and finishes the Black Box. But he’s not going to use the Black Box to make a ProK Sandvich; he’s going to shop the fabricator around for something he would like to have.


5.  Australium Weapons

aussie minigun

Very rarely (about 2% of the time) when finishing any Advanced or Expert difficulty Tour, you may be rewarded with an Australium Weapon of a random type as well as the standard Tour Rewards. These are Strange-quality weapons with a very obvious golden sheen continually visible.

These are the weapons currently possible to exist as Australium versions:

  • Scout: Scattergun, Force-a-Nature
  • Soldier: Rocket Launcher, Black Box
  • Pyro: Flame Thrower, Axtinguisher
  • Demoman: Grenade Launcher, Stickybomb Launcher, Eyelander
  • Heavy: Minigun, Tomislav
  • Engineer: Frontier Justice, Wrench
  • Medic: Blutsauger, Medi Gun
  • Sniper: Sniper Rifle, SMG
  • Spy: Ambassador, Knife
  • All Class: Frying Pan

The Frying Pan is an oddball among these. Being an all-class weapon (unlike other versions of Frying Pan) it will build and repair buildings when held by an Engineer, and it will backstab when equipped by a Spy; don’t think it’s a do-it-all tool for every class. They just allowed the given animations to perform the essential functions for each class.

If you get an Australium Frying Pan, keep it! There are perhaps a couple of dozen in existence, and they are worth thousands of US dollars!  This is not a joke. With it in your inventory, people will immediately start to offer you lowball trades for it, and you should ignore them.



I hope this guide is useful to you. Ten hours’ time went into the creation of this guide, drawing heavily from the Official TF2 Wiki and the TF2Newbs community alike. But since many of us were confused about what was required to acquire some of the high-end killstreak weapons, I figured a clear document detailing the process would be an asset. I will try to update this document on occasion as needed.

[N] Obey


P.S.: Other TF2 guides I’ve written:

Thanks for reading, and be sure to bookmark!

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