Left 4 Dead Wiki

"Run or shoot?... RUN OR SHOOT?!"
"Why can't that thing be on our side?"

The Tank is arguably the most powerful Special Infected in the game along with the Witch due to his combined brute force and agility. Unless the team works together to take a Tank down, it can wipe out entire squads with or without help.

The Tank is voiced by Fred Tatasciore.

Official Description

Mutated through infection, the Tank's only strategy is brute force. Find the Survivors. Pummel them to death. Repeat. Healthy Survivors can run slightly faster than you. Try to trap them in tight areas, or use a thrown chunk of concrete to stun them.[1]


In Left 4 Dead, the Tank has some hair and his flesh is pale white. His jaw can barely be seen, and his hands are larger, more swollen and his vertebrae is more pronounced. He wears blue jeans.

The Tank received a variation skin in "The Sacrifice" at a specific location in "The Docks". The Tank is shaven bald, has jean shorts, surgical scars, missing front teeth, is bare-footed, has a Marine Corps tattoo on his chest, and what appears to be some sort of leather restraints around his wrists. His hands and forearms are covered with fresh blood. Given his appearance, he is likely a Marine who was infected and turned into a tank. When the train derailed, he broke free of his restraints and killed everyone else inside, but was locked there and failed to exit.

In the comic, the Tank closely resembles his Left 4 Dead counterpart, but is noticeably much more larger and paler in comparison and his eyes are squinted as opposed to the wide open eyes in the game. Most Tanks in the comic are seen clean of blood or any kind of wound. When the Tank is put on fire, his hair gets incinerated, leaving him bald

Extent of Mutations

The Tank is an exclusively male Special Infected who has experienced the most extensive physical mutations of any other class of Special Infected. Evidently, the most obvious trait is his extreme hypertrophy, or abnormally increased muscle mass. Despite his immense size and massive weight, the Tank is able to trail behind a healthy Survivor, and begins outpacing them when they become injured. According to the Left 4 Dead 2 Survivors' dialogues, the Tank is around 10-12 feet tall and 6 feet wide.

The Tank's abnormal muscular growth is most obvious in his arms and upper body but less pronounced around the Tank's waist, hips, and legs. Though the Tank's legs are capable of supporting his static weight (such as when the Tank mounts a rock throwing attack), the Tank's disproportionate anatomy forces him to knuckle-walk, resulting in the Tank's wrists becoming swollen.

The Tank's body is covered with numerous scars and lesions from previous fights, with an especially large open sore on his left pectoral. The Tank's jaw at first glance seems to be missing, but upon closer inspection it is shown to be enveloped within his thick neck muscles.[2] It can be assumed his bones too have become stronger, otherwise the Tank's skeleton would have collapsed under the weight of his own body.

The excessive muscle mass serves as both the Tank's weapon and armor. The increase bulk gives the Tank superhuman strength; a single punch can destroy safe room doors, launch Survivors and objects a considerable distance and he can even rip off chunks of ground to serve as a ranged projectile. This also allows the Tank to take massive punishment from all sorts of weapons, and also protects his vital organs, such as his head as shooting there deals the same amount of damage as if he was shot elsewhere.

Tank Symbol

The United States Marine Corps symbol on the left side of the Sacrifice Tank's chest, instead of the regular gaping chest wound

The Tank has also suffered either heavy brain damage or a rabies-like cerebral infection, resulting in the Tank being in a constant state of unbridled rage, even more so than most other Infected; his immediate response is to attack any human Survivor on sight. Once the Tank has fixed a target, nothing short of death can stop him; bullets and explosives will not make him flinch, fire only slows him down (unless playing campaign in Left 4 Dead), and the sound of pipe bombs and car alarms won't distract him (ironically enough, though, in the Left 4 Dead intro, he is alerted by them). The Tank will even smash down doors, knock away obstacles, and plow through entire crowds of Infected just to bare down on a specific Survivor he has chosen as a target. Despite the extent of his mutations, the Tank along with the Charger are the only Infected that retains some human speech, as he may be heard saying "Noooo!" when he dies.

It is presumed that the energy it costs to run the Tank's enormous body is too much, so that he must wait until the Survivors move close or start attacking to accumulate energy. When the Tank is not able to reach the Survivors (mostly being out of range and sight for a very long time), he will automatically die from frustration. However, this appears to be more of a gameplay standpoint, as to hasten Tank encounters if he gets stuck or is unable to reach them.

Tanks in Left 4 Dead fixate on a single Survivor at a time, pursuing this person until they are dead, whereupon they begin to target someone else. While unfortunate for the victim, it provides an excellent opportunity for teammates to counterattack. Tanks in the first volume also only spawn singly and at fairly predictable times and locations, often betraying their presence by uttering distinctive growls and arm flapping movements from behind their places of partial concealment.

Once in attack mode, their growls increase in intensity and frequency and nearby Survivors will hear the ground shake as the Tank approaches them. Since Tanks lack fine motor agility, a skilled Survivor can dodge around structures and through windows to evade direct attack, open the distance and fight back. A Tank is especially dangerous when the Survivors are ambushed by one in a tight chokepoint.

Left 4 Dead 2

Tank 2

The Tank as he appears in Left 4 Dead 2

In Left 4 Dead 2, the Tank is now bald and his flesh has become raw and red from constant sun exposure along with the usual wear and tear. The open sores present before are now much larger and appear to be festering. It should also be noted that while in Left 4 Dead, the Tank's lower jaw can barely be seen, in Left 4 Dead 2, the Tank's lower jaw is now completely absorbed by his muscle, and only the tongue flops out. The Tank's hands are smaller and less swollen, and his vertebrae are less pronounced.[3] The jeans he wears have also changed, being more of a dark grey.



A burning Tank

Weapons effectiveness on tank2


The Tank has two different ways of directly attacking the Survivors; using his arm to punch the Survivor, or pelting them from afar with rocks. Both of these attacks deal the same amount of damage:

  • Easy - 12 damage
  • Normal/Versus/Survival - 24 damage
  • Advanced - 33 damage
  • Expert - 100 damage

The Tank's sheer strength also allows him to break down specific walls with a single attack of his choosing, including the starting safe room door if unbarred (only in Campaign). He is also capable of killing most of his fellow Infected in a single hit if they get in his way, apart from Chargers, Jockeys and other Tanks.

On all Campaign difficulties, after successfully hitting a Survivor with a punch or rock throw, the Tank will perform a taunt. The duration of the taunt varies with difficulty, and is meant to give the Survivors some space from the Tank if he has hit them in a non-Expert mode (as the attack instantly incapacitates on said difficulty). In Versus, this taunt is disabled as an AI Tank would be too easy to kill.


If the Tank attacks an incapacitated Survivor in Campaign modes, he will deal 75 damage on Easy and Normal, 100 on Advanced and 150 on Expert. The Tank uses a unique attack animation, where he pounds the Survivor with both of his fists. The Survivor struck by the attack will quickly yell for others to get the Tank off them. It is possible for the Tank to not use this animation, though this is a result of his normal attack landing on the Survivor as he moves. This damage is likewise applied if the Tank punches objects at the incapacitated Survivor, but without said quote.

In Campaign modes, if a healthy Survivor stands next to an incapacitated Survivor, he will generally attempt to pound the incapacitated Survivor rather than punching the healthy one. This can be manipulated into dealing free damage onto the Tank, at the cost of him potentially killing said Survivor. In Versus mode, this attack is disabled in place of a normal attack, thus dealing 24 damage to everyone in range.


AI Tanks will always prioritize punching attacks against the Survivors when he spots them.

  • On Easy, Normal and Advanced difficulties, getting punched by a Tank will send the Survivor flying away and briefly stun them. The stun effect is further amplified if the Survivor was struck while jumping.
    • This serves as a double-edged sword; a beneficial Tank punch can allow the Survivor to bypass part of the map (such as Crescendo Events), while a less-than-optimal punch can result in taking a large amount of damage, instant incapacitation or even instant death depending on the map terrain.
  • The Tank can also use this to send specific objects flying. AI Tanks will never actively search for items to punch; they will only punch items if they are between him and his target.

Rock Throw

The Tank has the ability to rip chunks off the ground below him (regardless of terrain) as a ranged attack to reach Survivors out of his punching range. This is less often used by the AI, but is used when the Tank has visual sight of a Survivor but is not able to melee them for some time. With captions active, it is indicated as [Tank Picks Up Rubble].

  • The Tank will become a static target for the duration of the attack.
  • On Expert, he will be far more accurate with these attacks and almost never miss, even hitting Survivors who are not completely behind cover.
  • The rock does not move accordingly, so the targeted Survivor can simply sidestep the incoming projectile once it has been launched.
  • The rock can be destroyed by firing enough bullets (depending on the weapon) or throwing specific items on it.
  • The attack can also move some objects, but by a small margin.
  • After performing the attack, the AI Tank focuses on the closest Survivor to him.


In Left 4 Dead, the Tank's AI is aggressive to all Survivors upon becoming aware of their presence. However, upon incapacitating his target, he will move in to finish them off and will not change aggression until they are dead.

The following causes the Tank to change aggression in Left 4 Dead if he has not incapacitated anyone:

  • Survivor physically touches the Tank
  • Tank loses line of sight of followed Survivor for long enough while he has line of sight with another Survivor
  • If there is another Survivor closer to the Tank after he throws a rock

In Left 4 Dead 2, the Tank's AI is significantly improved. Rather than killing the Survivors one at a time, he will now attempt to incapacitate the entire team.

Along with the normal aggression mechanics carried over from Left 4 Dead, the Tank will change targets if one of the following occurs:

  • Incapacitates his current target
  • Survivor has a Chainsaw equipped and gets in certain radius of the Tank
  • Target is pinned by a Special Infected
  • Senses a Survivor using a mounted gun
  • Senses a bile-covered Survivor (this overrides all other options, and he will attack them even if pinned by a Special Infected)

AI Tanks encountered in non-finale segments and in campaign modes are always passive until attacked or visually spotting a Survivor. AI Tanks in finales, Survival and Versus are immediately aggressive upon spawning.

Similarly to other AI-controlled Special Infected, if the Tank is not aware of the Survivors' presence and struck with a bile bomb, he will not become aggressive.


The Tank has a frustration meter which starts ticking once the Tank spawns, halts when he sees the Survivors, and refills instantly when he hits them. If the Tank cannot reach a Survivor for any reason (such as being hidden or too far away for the Tank to catch up) for a prolonged amount of time, the Tank will instantly die regardless of how much health he has left.


The number of Tanks depends on the server preferences, the game difficulty and the "mood" of the Director. In Left 4 Dead and Left 4 Dead 2, the Tank is usually seen at least once per level. It is possible to encounter two Tanks on the same level, particularly when playing on Expert in Left 4 Dead. This is generally rare however, as the Director is usually more fond of placing two Witches instead, particularly in Left 4 Dead 2. The only exception to this is the first chapters of "Dead Center" and "No Mercy", where no Tanks appear unless playing on Versus. If a Tank does not appear in a level where they may spawn, the chances of one appearing increase in the subsequent chapters. It is possible, but extremely rare, to not encounter any Tanks until the finale.

During a non-finale chapter, the Director will stop spawning Infected when the Tank is actively engaging the Survivors. If the Tank is not engaged, the Director is still capable of spawning hordes and Special Infected. Once the Tank is aware of the Survivors' presence, the Director will stop spawning Infected in a set area past the Tank's spawn point. If a Survivor goes past this area, the Director will begin placing Infected to impede their advance, since the Tank cannot outrun a healthy Survivor.

In almost every finale, a minimum of three Tanks will appear; two during the waiting time in between hordes, and a third when the rescue vehicle arrives. During the waiting time, the Tank that spawns must be killed to continue the finale. Common Infected will not spawn during the fight unless a Survivor is covered in bile or a bile bomb is thrown; Special Infected are unaffected by this restriction and will spawn as normal, often attempting to assist the Tank in handling the Survivors. Due to this, killing off particularly dangerous Special Infected, like the Boomer and Smoker, are vital to avoid being overwhelmed by the Tank. Any Tanks that appear after the second wave will be assisted by all Infected.

There are a few exceptions to the rule however:

  • "The Atrium", where players must fuel Jimmy Gibbs' car with fuel. If the team is fast enough, it is possible to avoid the Tank.
  • "The Port"; two Tanks will appear in the second instance they are spawned, on Normal, Advanced and Expert.
  • "The Plantation"; the second Tank wave always consists of two Tanks on Normal, Advanced and Expert.
  • "The Bridge"; only one Tank will spawn in the middle of the bridge, which can be avoided. The second Tank will spawn once a Survivor makes their way to the rescue vehicle.
  • "The Sacrifice" also plays host to an increased number of Tanks. During the "Port Finale", a Tank will spawn for each generator which must be activated to lower the bridge. During the ending sacrifice, four Tanks will spawn at the same time from a distance.

If the player(s) intentionally avoid going to the rescue vehicle for a prolonged time, the Director will begin spawning Tanks at a higher rate to force them to do so.

The Tank is heralded by a brief ceasefire in finales, where the Horde will stop rushing (unless a Survivor has been covered in Boomer bile), allowing players to catch their breath. In other chapters there are generally fewer Common Infected around, almost making things eerily quiet — a calm before the storm. It is possible that this is because the other Infected have fled, as the Tank seems to eviscerate anything standing between it and its target without hesitation, although the Tank does not intentionally attack its fellow Infected. Another possibility could involve the fact that the Common Infected have no real sense of self preservation, so fleeing from a Tank is not instinctive. Instead, the lack of Common Infected in this situation could simply be to balance the gameplay so that it is not too overwhelming.

Similar to Witches, individual Tanks that appear during the finale chapter before the actual event starts are extremely rare and only occur on certain campaigns (such as in "Dark Carnival", where a Tank can spawn while the team makes their way to the stadium), while in relatively super short finale paths like "Hard Rain" and "Dead Air", a Tank fight before the finale is extremely unlikely.


Tank chasing Bill

In custom campaigns, the amount of Tank spawns is dependent on the campaign creator.

Repelling a Tank

Preparing for a Tank

  • When spawned and unaware of the Survivors' presence, the Tank will often make deep growls or brief huff. This is somewhat uncommon and the growl should not be confused for a Hunter's, which is timed and lower pitched.
  • Clearing nearby Infected can prove helpful as trying to run from a Tank and being slowed down often allows the Tank to catch up to the Survivors.
  • Make sure to have full ammo and have a way of igniting the Tank.

Fighting a Tank

  • When the Tank initiates combat with the Survivors:
    • Common Infected will not spawn during the fight, apart from bile, Crescendo events and panic events such as car alarms and Re: Your Brains.
      • In "The Bridge" (The Parish) level, the horde will resume spawning if the players try to run past the Tank.
      • During normal finales, Common Infected will begin to spawn alongside the Tank if the team intentionally avoids the rescue vehicle for a long amount of time. Outside of this, they will not spawn to assist the Tank unless bile is present.
    • Special Infected will not spawn outside of finales.
  • If a Survivor successfully runs past the Tank, the Director will revert to its normal state, spawning Infected in an attempt to slow the player down.
  • If the team can force a Tank to crouch through a vent, he becomes a sitting duck, as he moves at an incredibly slow pace. Try to use these when possible, as AI Tanks will never attempt to find alternate methods to flush Survivors out.
  • Avoid fighting in places with objects that the Tank can punch. While AI Tanks will not actively go for such objects, he will punch them if they are between him and his target, which is launched forward and gives his attacks more reach and damage.
  • Avoid fighting in places with high elevation when possible, as a punch on a mode other than Expert can send the Survivor flying and causing instant death.


  • Assault and scoped rifles are best against the Tank as they do not suffer from a damage penalty when he is hit by them. Scoped rifles are also able to destroy the rock he may throw in a single hit.
  • Tier 2 shotguns have a 15% damage reduction against the Tank. Tier 1 shotguns remain unaffected. The Tank's large size should ensure that the entire bullet spread hits him at close or medium range.
  • While the Grenade Launcher is unable to stun the Tank without changing the CVAR constant, the Tank takes 300% damage from a direct hit, which kills the Tank very quickly.
  • Operating the Minigun or the Heavy Machine Gun causes the Tank to ignore all other Survivors including the bile-covered ones and focus on the mounted gun operator. This tactic is useful on higher difficulties as other Survivors are able to easily flank and destroy the tank with it being kited around.


Pipe bombs, Oxygen tanks and Propane tanks will stumble the Tank if he's close enough to the center of explosion. Boomers killed close to the Tank will also stumble him, albeit not dealing damage. A Charger can also stumble the Tank if he crashes into a wall or another object without grabbing a Survivor. Despite being an explosive itself, the Grenade Launcher will not stumble him, even when upgraded with explosive ammo.


Due to the massive upper body bulk of the Tank, he moves slightly slower than a healthy Survivor (40 or more health), unless they are impeded by water or not running in a straight line. If the Tank is forced to crouch, he moves significantly slower.

In Left 4 Dead non-Versus modes, the Tank moves faster when burning, so it is ill-advised to burn them unless he struggles to navigate terrain.

In Left 4 Dead Versus and all modes in Left 4 Dead 2, lighting the Tank on fire causes him to move slower. Always try to keep the Tank on fire when possible, as the fire rapidly chips away at his health at the same time and also make it harder for him to reach to the Survivor.


  • Never throw bile bombs against AI Tanks if they are aware of the Survivors' presence, since the bile bombs themselves do not deal any damage to the Tanks and the horde will often be destroyed by the Survivors as they attempt attack the Tank and in worse cases, cause the team to fight a horde at the same time as the Tank. The bile does not blind them either.
  • Although he climbs slower than he does running, he still does so faster than a Common Infected. His large size can also force Survivors out of the way (e.g blocking a ladder).
  • AI Tanks will never avoid fires and often run straight through them while reaching the Survivors.
  • With proper timing, a Tank's melee attacks can be sidestepped. This is generally done when attempting to bypass a Tank.


"The Tank's job is to deal major damage to the Survivors in a short period of time, and to instantly change the pacing of the current game. If the Survivors are not prepared to fight the Tank as a team, they will be split up and inevitably killed individually."

Occasionally, players are able to take on the role of the Tank in Versus mode. The Tank is immediately aggressive much like the finale Tanks encountered at the end of each campaign.

Similarly to AI Tanks, player-controlled Tanks have a frustration meter, which depletes when the Tank cannot see the Survivors but is aware of their presence. This meter will pause when the Tank sees the Survivors, and will be refilled to full when the Tank successfully hits a Survivor with any attack.

Once the frustration meter is depleted, control of the Tank is given to another player if available. If the second player's frustration meter is depleted, the Tank becomes AI-controlled. For this reason, in the Taaannnkk! mutation, the frustration meter is removed as all playable Special Infected are Tanks, effectively defeating its purpose. When players are controlling the Tank, they can break down walls highlighted by yellow cracks. Though multitudes of Common Infected can eventually break down the walls, as can other Special Infected, Tanks can do so instantly and can also break the beginning safe room door (though they cannot be closed once opened).

There was an update for both the Xbox 360 and PC versions of the game where certain objects that can be punched/thrown (cars, dumpsters, etc.) are highlighted in red. The items highlighted in red usually instantly incapacitate a Survivor on impact (except in "The Bridge" finale where the cars only inflict high damage to balance gameplay due to their abundance on the bridge).


  • Avoid crouching through ventilation shafts and windows after Survivors. The Tank will move incredibly slowly whilst taking damage and crouching (from weapons such as the Auto Shotgun especially), almost to a point where he will find it difficult to move at all. Although this problem has been addressed by Valve, it is never a good idea to move though an area where the Tank is forced to crouch or use the button to crouch while the player is a Tank. Attack the Survivors through the window with rocks, or, if they are in a vent, let teammates flush them out.
  • Use alternative routes where possible to "sneak up" on or flank the Survivors. Make sure the route isn't too large so as to avoid the frustration meter from emptying. It isn't uncommon for a Tank player to get around the Survivors to attack them from behind, only to have his frustration meter empty on them as he is getting into position.
  • In a scenario where all of the Survivors bunch up and use auto shotguns, attempt to put as much distance as possible between the Tank and them. Keep them in line of sight (or behind good cover if the player is good at rock throwing), and pick them off with a volley of concrete blocks.
  • Some maps contain walls or other barriers that can only be destroyed when a Tank punches through them. For example, the window on top of the CEDA van in "The Park" can be only destroyed by the Tank (and he can use this to enter the van and attack the Survivors inside), although the windows on the sides work normally (and are not large enough for anything but a Spitter's spit or Smoker's tongue to pass through).

Resistance and Life

  • Even though the Tank has the highest number of hit points of any other Infected (6000 in Versus), a skilled Survivor team can take him out without taking damage themselves.
  • Avoid being set on fire to the best of your ability.
    • Take notice of any Survivors who have Molotovs before you approach, and avoid these players until they are distracted or have used their Molotov.
    • If the player chooses to hit a Survivor that has a Molotov, be sure to incapacitate them as fast as possible.
      • If only one Survivor has a Molotov, it may be prudent to focus on incapacitating them before their teammates to remove the threat of ignition.
    • If the player sees somebody who is about to throw a Molotov, change direction immediately. But if the player is separated from the Survivors, use the Rock Throw to hit them instead.
    • Fire alone kills a Tank after 30 seconds.
    • If the player is set on fire, charge the Survivors. The player won't have much time to attack, so every second counts.
    • If there is water nearby (like in the Boathouse Finale or Port Finale), dip in to put the fire out. This also works in The Sewer of "No Mercy".
    • In late levels of the "Hard Rain" campaign, the player should not worry about Molotovs, due to the levels' flooded environments.
      • The same thing goes to the "Swamp Fever" campaign, as the swampy areas of the campaign would usually douse a burning Tank.
      • Water will also slow down the Survivors, making it easier to catch them up.
  • At one time or another, when the player is next to become the Tank, they might spawn right in front of the Survivors, letting them pick at your health. It is possible that the player will have lost a significant portion of their health by the time you gain control.
    • If this does happen, just charge at the Survivors and attack. Since the Survivors are already in a position to inflict massive damage, the Tank could die as the player tries to run away, so it would be better to deal some damage to them before dying.
    • Conversely, the player may spawn far away from the Survivors, putting them in a situation where their frustration meter could run out before they can even reach the Survivors. Attempt to close in as fast as possible in this scenario.
  • Beware of Survivors with bile bombs. When the player is struck with one, their vision becomes impaired, and Common Infected will attack and slow them down until they either kill all of them or the bile effect expires.
  • Be wary of Survivors with melee weapons. If 2 or 3 of them have Katanas/Machetes/Chainsaws, these weapons can kill the player within a matter of seconds. Target them with the Tank's punches or Rock Throw. Be warned that these Survivors manipulate you into attacking early.


  • The Tank takes two seconds before he can punch again and takes half a second to actually hit them. The actual hit speed is therefore 2.5 seconds. This is enough to continually hit a Survivor, assuming that they aren't launched a long distance. Keep this in mind when under concentrated fire.
  • Avoid attacking in the open at all if possible, because in the open it is much easier for Survivors to evade both the Tank's melee attacks and rock throws. However, Survivor Bots will barely move away from the Tank, so the player can punch them easily.
    • However, if any Survivors are below 40 health, the Tank will easily be able to outrun them. In open areas, they will be unable to escape the Tank, giving the player the advantage rather than them.
      • Keep in mind that the player may need to find cover after incapacitating their target, because their teammates will almost certainly have fled and taken up defensive positions to attack the Tank at range.
  • Using punchable objects effectively can save the player health and time, and can effectively distract Survivors as they try to avoid the objects.
    • Most of the time, the Tank can hit such an object from any side of his body. Use this to save time walking around objects, because the player can just walk up against it and punch the way they need it to go.
    • Use caution when hitting cars and other large objects. If the object hits something in front of it, or if the player walks forward while the object is airborne, the object may hit the player and cause a small amount of damage.
    • Keep in mind that cars and similar objects, when punched, follow the rules of the game's physics. For example, a car that clips into a wall or some other object might spin away at a different angle; if it's airborne, it might even bounce back towards the player.
    • If a car or other large object gets stuck behind a wall or another barrier, or if the player just can't move it towards the Survivors at all, don't waste time trying to punch it. Instead, go back to attacking them normally, or start punching a new object if there's another one handy.
    • Aiming up or down while punching a car or other large object alters the arc that the object moves. In Left 4 Dead, aiming up punches an object up, and vice versa; in Left 4 Dead 2, this is reversed, so aiming down will send the object up. When fighting the Tank in streets and other areas filled with objects that he can punch at them, Survivors will often try to stay on higher ground, so punching cars and other punch-able objects up at them may be the best way for the player to attack them (and will focus their attention on the Tank, giving Infected teammates a better opportunity to help the player).
    • Work with the space available: punch larger objects like cars at Survivors if there is a lot of room for them to try to maneuver, and punch more compact objects like dumpsters if the Survivors are in an alley or some other space where the object could easily hit a wall before it hits the Survivors.
    • These objects can also be moved to make a temporary barrier to slow or stop the progress of the Survivors.
      • Keep in mind that these obstacles will disappear after a short time, making any delay the player causes the Survivors far from permanent. However, it does still provide an opportunity for the player and their teammates to attack, making such a strategy still beneficial.
  • Punch Survivors in different directions to separate them.
    • If the map provides elevated heights, try to punch them off. The resulting fall damage will either incapacitate or instantly kill them.
  • If the Survivors are in an enclosed area, try to attack as many Survivors at once to increase overall damage.
  • Be careful using the swing attack on Survivors in wide open, flat areas, as this merely gives them a chance to get away. The player should charge a Survivor they have punched as soon as they have punched them, and keep going in for another punch.
    • It's a good idea to hit a Survivor towards something that will stop them from flying far away from the Tank, so the player can hit the Survivor again and again while they are down and trying to get up to shoot the player.
      • Be advised that this makes the Tank a stationary target for other Survivors and even, if they're willing to sacrifice a teammate, give them a chance to throw a Molotov at him.
  • Always aim to divide and conquer if the player is in a building or an area with many obstacles. Try to spread the Survivors out by hitting them behind large objects or knocking them out of windows. Separated Survivors allow for other Special Infected to attack and kill them.
    • If the Survivors can't see the Tank, they can't shoot at him, meaning that the player will take less damage during their rampage.
  • Unlike Campaign Mode, attacking an incapacitated Survivor will inflict only 24 damage per hit. Considering incapacitated Survivors have 300 health, it is much easier to simply incapacitate each Survivor one at a time. The other special infected can help to save the Tank's time.
  • Go after any Survivors that are separated from the group, unless the others are extremely low on health. One gun on the player is much better than three.
    • The March 11th update made it possible for the Tank's melee to deal area damage. Previously, his punches are single-target, meaning that even if they are too close, he can only hit them one at a time and will not stand against sustained fire.
  • A few maps contain destructible objects that the Tank can punch, destroying them but sending debris flying in the direction that the Tank was punching. This debris inflicts damage on any Survivors that it hits roughly equivalent to the Tank's rock throw. These destructible objects include the pillars in "The Subway", as well as the boats and the pallets of bricks in "The Docks".

Rock Throw

The Tank's ability to hurl chunks of concrete and punch cars towards Survivors was included when the game developers discovered the tank's threat diminishing greatly at range due to its speed, having only melee attacks as an offense. Hence, survivors would use height and distance in large, open areas to easily steamroll him.

  • The Tank's Rock Throw is usually underestimated. With practice it can be devastating and deals a lot of damage to the group of Survivors at a short amount of time. As a rule of thumb, aim the crosshairs above, and perhaps ahead of the target while throwing. Remember that rocks fly in an arc.
    • Even in close range, the rock throw can be effective because the player can follow it up with a quick melee attack. However, if many of the Survivors are focused on the Tank, the player may sustain a significant amount of damage during the relatively long process of throwing a rock.
    • If a Survivor is running away for distance, the player can slow them down with a well-aimed hit, especially if the player causes them to start limping, allowing the player to outrun and finish them off.
    • If the player has a competent team and are well suited with tossing rocks, they can simply hide behind low barriers or up high and throw rocks at the Survivors while teammates cause havoc. This tactic is often advised if the Survivors are in an area where they can flank the player easily or have powerful weapons such as auto shotguns or melee weapons, bile bombs, or Molotovs.
    • Be aware that if the player uses the Rock Throw, they will be unable to move for a considerable amount of time. More often than not, a crafty Survivor will take advantage of this and throw a Molotov/Bile Jar at the Tank. If the Survivors have melee weapons, one or two of them — especially if one is wielding a chainsaw — can come up behind the Tank and drop his health rapidly if not outright killing him. Keep this in mind if the player plans on using the Rock Throw ability frequently.
    • Although the player cannot punch through walls (with the exception of walls marked with yellow cracks), certain walls allow the player to throw rocks through them if the player is up against them.
  • During scenarios when the Survivors are pinned down by a Horde or some other obstacle, the player can simply stay far away and lob concrete at them from a safe distance. Not only does this make it very difficult for Survivors to throw a Molotov at the player, but if the entire Survivor team is using medium-to-close range weapons, the player can almost rest assured that they will have plenty of health in case the Survivors start moving again. However, the player may kill their allies if they get in the way of the rocks.
  • If the player plans on using the Tank as simply an artillery piece as above to attack Survivors, the player should find odd spots to stand on to prevent them from attacking using Molotovs or bile bombs, such as places up very high, or on top of a fence.
  • The direction that a rock is thrown is not determined when the player starts the attack; it's determined when the attack animation finishes and the rock starts flying. If the player's target starts to move as they start throwing, reorient the camera so that it's centered on where the player wants the rock to go. Since the Tank can't move while throwing, Survivors will sometimes try to take advantage of that, and shoot or even melee him from behind in mid-throw. Turning around in the middle of the animation and throwing the rock at the Survivor behind the player can save them from taking a lot of damage; even if the player misses, they will at least be looking in the direction of the Survivor who thought they were attacking the Tank from behind.


  • It is possible to assist teammates who have already pinned someone, but not directly, since the Tank's attack can usually kill other Special infected and cause great detriment to the team.
    • On the same note, if someone else on the player's team is playing as a Tank, the player should work with them, but give them a wide area to fight, as they could easily kill the player by mistake.
    • If a Survivor is pinned by a Hunter, try to protect him by running towards the other Survivors. The player will want to either punch the other Survivors as they try to run past the player to save their teammate, or have them back off so that they cannot save their teammate. Hunters have good DPS, but are fragile.
    • If a nearby incapacitated Survivor is attempting to save their teammate from a Special Infected, the player can use the Tank's body as a shield to give their teammate extra time to deal more damage. Although this can help, it works better when the incapacitated Survivor and trapped Survivor are the only two remaining, and it would probably be more productive for you to go after other healthy Survivors.
    • If a pair of the player's teammates have pinned a pair of Survivors, it may be a good idea to guard them from the others. Not the most effective since it only works with Chargers/Hunters/Jockeys, but this will reduce the chance of the rivals winning.
  • If the player incapacitates a Survivor, go after another. The other special infected can finish the job.
  • After the player incapacitates a Survivor, punching a large object over them will take away a large chunk of their health. This can help if the player wants to kill an incapacitated Survivor quickly.
  • If playing on a level where it's possible to punch Survivors off of the level, such as chapters 4 and 5 of "No Mercy", the player should do everything possible to knock them off; once they fall, there's no helping them. To do this, punch while aiming the crosshairs upwards and towards the ledge.
  • Separating the Survivor team with the Tank helps other Special Infected pin and kill the remaining Survivors, so they can't come to the group's aid, leaving the Infected team with one less Survivor to kill.
  • If the player's team has good communication in the above scenario, the player should ask a teammate to pin a Survivor while they distance the others. The incapacitated player will not be able to use a pistol while they're down since they are being hurt, and their team needs to deal with the Tank first.
  • If the player gets the indication that you are about to become a Tank, and are currently an un-spawned Special Infected, try to immediately spawn that Infected near the Survivors. This way the Infected team will have an extra AI-controlled Special Infected to help during the attack.
    • Note that in some cases, if the player spawns too far from Survivors, the Infected AI will be idle and not attack.
  • The player can have a Spitter teammate run in and cause the Survivors to separate, allowing the player to rush in while they are confused to deal heavy damage before they realize a Tank is attacking them. By then, the player may have incapacitated one or more of them.
  • During almost every campaign finale, the Tank is summoned at the disposal of the Special Infected team at least twice. It can be noted that in most of the finales in Versus, the completion of the second Tank confrontation is necessary in order to allow the rescue vehicles to arrive. As a result, the Infected team can gradually weaken and crush the Survivors by instructing the Infected player nominated as Tank to camp, giving them better odds of stopping the Survivors, although they'll have to act fast before the Tank becomes AI controlled.

Tank Tips And Tricks Gameplay

As a Tank, most of the time the player is going to have to rely on themselves to kill the Survivors. Though the other Special Infected might help, they are not going to be able to distract them for long. Here are a few tips to get started:

  • Try not to get in the range of mounted guns because they have high DPS. Instead, try to get around them. There's always a way except for in Rayford Port.
  • A Survivor often panics when they see a Tank. Be on the lookout for such a Survivor and chase them relentlessly, unless there is a Survivor the player is more likely to kill, such as a wounded or bile-covered one.
  • A Charger/Boomer/Tank team makes for a good mix. Get the Charger to bring a Survivor as far from the group as possible, then while the Charger is pummeling his victim, have the Boomer throw up on them. The Tank can ensure that the other Survivors do not interfere.
    • However, make sure to spread out beforehand, as the Boomer can explode and stumble the Charger and Tank, freeing the Charger's victim and allowing the remaining Survivors to attack the Tank.
    • Also, if the Charger misses and hits a wall by the Tank and Boomer, it will stumble them.
    • If the Infected team is more spread out before attacking, the player cannot be stumbled by a mistake from their teammate(s).
  • The player will sometimes see the outline of the AI Tank before they take control. If possible, the player should get near the AI before they assume control so they will have a better idea of exactly where they are on the map, and also so they don't lose control of the Tank while trying to get their bearings.
  • In the rare case of seeing a Survivor coming at the Tank with a revved-up chainsaw, punch them as soon as they enter melee range. This prevents heavy damage.
  • If a Hunter or Smoker has a Survivor pinned in a narrow hallway or the other Survivors are grouped up in one place while the pinned Survivor is being killed, stand between the group of Survivors and the pinned Survivor. It'll buy invaluable time for the player's teammate to kill the pinned Survivor if the bullets are hitting the Tank instead of the teammate. Good locations to do this include "The Park" in the hedge "maze" or the alley leading under the highway to the trailer.
  • If at all possible, wait for the rest of the Infected team to spawn and then throw rocks at the Survivors at a place they have to go to. The player may get lucky and hit some of them, which will reset the player's frustration meter and may also incapacitate Survivors.
  • While buying the player's team time to spawn, they should set up and ambush the Survivors. The player should only move from the spot if Survivors are throwing a Molotov, trying to get past them, or shooting fire or explosive bullets at them.

Here are some links for you to use to find more tips.

 	Left_4_Dead_Tank_Gameplay_Tips_and_Tricks 	 			     	Left_4_Dead_-_Tank_on_Fire_Speed_Comparison 	 			  



Left 4 Dead

L4d towering inferno
Light a Tank on fire with a Molotov

L4d achievement tank explosion stun
Stun a Tank with an explosion in the Crash Course campaign.

L4d man vs tank
Single-handedly kill a Tank.

L4d tankbusters
Kill a Tank without it dealing any damage to a Survivor.

Left 4 Dead 2

Tank burger
Kill a Tank with melee weapons.

Septic tank
Use a bile bomb on a Tank.

PC exclusive

Achievement Elephant in the Room
Revive an incapacitated teammate while a Tank is nearby.

Achievement Rocky Horror Picture Throw
Destroy a Tank's rock in mid-air.


L4d all 4 dead
ALL 4 DEAD (30G)
Kill all four Survivors in one life as a Tank.

L4d 20 car pile-up
20 CAR PILE-UP (20G)
As a Tank hit 20 Survivors with a car in the Crash Course campaign.

As a Special Infected, incap someone who is trying to sacrifice themselves.



Left 4 Dead 2 Taaannnk!! - Hard Rain (Part 1)

Left 4 Dead 2's Taaannnk!! mutation where every special infected in a versus game spawn as Tanks!

  • Music Cue: Tank
    • In the game's folder for the Tank's music (\sound\music\tank), there are two files: one named "Tank.wav" and one named "Taank.wav". Taank.wav sounds slightly different than Tank.wav, and is 27 seconds longer. It is played when the Tank appears during a finale.
  • The Tank had a letter written from his perspective in OXM 97. The letter is as follows:
Dear Humans. This is Tank. You probably know me from hit game Left 4 Dead. Well, Tank need to get something off chest. It make Tank sad that as soon as you see him, you start shooting at him. Tank not mindless killing machine. Sure, Tank enjoy smashing human skulls to paste. What 12-foot tall, 800 pound, horribly mutated creature wouldn't? But there is another side to Tank. Tank also enjoy stamp collecting, scrap booking, and updating blog under pen name "Love Muffin". Tank took origami class once at adult-learning annex, but fingers too big, so Tank smash teacher. Got B-minus.
So, when you see Tank on the streets of city, instead of shooting, try asking Tank how day is going. You may find that you and Tank have more in common than you think. Of course, Tank will still smash you, but you will die having made new friend. And that make Tank happy.
  • The handwriting appears similar to Team Fortress 2's Heavy, who shares a similar manner of speech. Though Heavy's first language is Russian and not English, and the Tank simply has poor grammar due to the neurological effects of the Green Flu.
  • He is still capable of grabbing a car or ripping off chunks of rock from the ground despite his fingers being too large.
  • The Tank, along with the Boomer, is one of the only Special Infected that take on physical changes in appearance upon death. In this case, the Tank's skin becomes dried out and scorched if it dies on fire, unlike the other Special Infected who maintain their original appearance upon death even when on fire. This has however been corrected in The Last Stand update and now all special infected will get scorched skin upon dying after being set on fire.
  • In the censored version of Left 4 Dead 2, the Tank is the only Infected that has a fire effect when set alight (all other Infected can be set on fire, however the fire on them is not visible). This is presumably done for gameplay purposes, as knowing when the Tank is on fire is very important.
Floating Tank

A dead Tank floating on the water

  • When the Tank dies in water, it floats, just like other characters do when ragdolling upon death. In real life, thick muscles would have a low buoyancy, and therefore the Tank should sink instead.
  • The Tank was voted number 51 in IGN's All-Time Greatest Video Game Villains.[4]
  • The Tank is called "hulk" in the game files, most likely referencing The Incredible Hulk whose general features also allude to the tank. Both the Tank and the Hulk are voiced by Fred Tatasciore.
    • Graffiti in "The Sacrifice" reads, "Lou F. turned into one of the big ones, " referencing a Tank. This may be referring to Lou Ferrigno, the actor famous for portraying the Tank-like Incredible Hulk on TV.
  • Prior to The Last Stand Community update. The Tank's throwing attack always involved a chunk of concrete, thus it was possible to see the Tank pick up slabs of concrete from non-concrete surfaces, like dirt or wooden floors. After the said update, The Tank's throwing attacks occasionally involve a small chunk of tree instead.
  • In the Zombie Survival Guide trailer, a Tank is shown being hit with a Grenade Launcher by Ellis and stumbled, though he cannot be stumbled with that weapon in-game.
  • Shooting a Grenade Launcher or throwing Grenades in front of an AI Tank will sometimes caused a Tank to "climb" the air and dropped into the ground for a few moments later.
  • AI-controlled Tanks will be instantly defeated if they don't see the survivors for some time, or in the case of the player, they will lose control of the Tank and spawn as another Special Infected (excluding another Tank). This is likely not an in-universe phenomenon and just done for gameplay purposes as a failsafe, since a stuck Tank that the survivors also couldn't reach would cause Tank battle music to play for the entire remainder of the chapter, or if it was a Tank spawned during a Survival-type Finale, being unable to kill it would cause the Finale to become endless. This is currently the only proper explanation for why the Tank died when it can't hit a survivor — simply for balancing reasons, not based on any real-life biological symptom.
  • AI-controlled Tanks are able to cling and climb most places without the need of infected ladders, unlike player-controlled ones.
  • It is unknown why Tanks actively find and attack the Survivors during finales, unlike in non-finale chapters where they must be alerted to the Survivors' presence before attacking.
    • It may be attracted by loud noises or bright lights. For example, in campaigns such as "The Concert", the pyrotechnics and records the Survivors use to get the helicopter's attention may draw its attention, or such as in "Town Escape", it may be attracted by the activated Burger Tank sign. This does not explain other finales where Survivors used a silenced means of communication. This may be simply for balancing reasons — If they could get away to easily without a Tank chasing them, then the game's too easy to beat.
  • Though extremely rare, it is possible for a Tank to notice Survivors from beyond an opaque fence (such as the one blocking the path to The Peach Pit in The Barns); if captions are on, it will say [Tank Yells!] but he will not attempt to attack. The only way to fix this is to attack him, which will start his attacking phase.
  • On Versus, if the Infected can see where a Tank spawns, they will see a blue aura and a name called "Tank". However, this does not happen in Realism Versus Mode. The Tank is also aware of the Survivors' presence when he spawns, whereas those on Campaign are usually unaware until they see them.
  • Just like the Witch, there can only be two Tank corpses in the map. Over two corpses will result in the first ones being despawned. However, there can be multiple Tanks on the map at once.
  • If a Tank punches a car at a Survivor and incapacitates them, and the car remains on their body, it is possible that the incapacitated Survivor will clip inside the car. The Survivor can still be helped back up, and when they get revived, they will teleport outside of the car. Under certain circumstances, the Survivor may also take extra "Tank" damage from the car.
  • If a Versus game allows cheats and an infected player (in spawn mode) types z_spawn tank, they will instantly become the tank, even if they are supposed to become another special infected.
  • The Tank's victory dances involves him punching the air, moving from side to side, gorilla walking in a circle, or slamming his hands on the ground twice.
  • The Tank, when idle and not attacked on Campaign mode, will continually do its "victory" pose if spawned without any Survivors attacking it.
    • Even if a Tank is hit from a Survivor's weapon and the Survivor is out of the Tank's line of sight, the Tank can still find the Survivor(s). This may be for gameplay reasons, to prevent players from safespotting Tanks on harder difficulties. However, he will not retaliate if struck by a Bile bomb if he cannot see the Survivor(s).
  • Typically, when a Tank dies, it will go through one of two death animations: it either dramatically sinks to its knees and falls backwards before becoming a ragdoll, or haphazardly falls over while running. The second version seems to occur if the Tank is killed while moving. The Tank's "fall on knees" animation takes much longer than the "running fall" one. If a Tank is slain using console commands, it will skip this animation and immediately become a ragdoll, which will be launched in a certain direction.
  • When a Tank goes through its death animation, it will still be considered "alive" until the animation ends. This means Survivors cannot walk through the Tank until it becomes a ragdoll, and can still attack it and cause visible "damage". The Survivor who did the killing blow (when the Tank hits 0 HP) will also not respond with their "special infected killed" lines until this animation completes.
  • When a Tank is killed, the Special Infected kill message does not appear, despite doing so in several Mutations.
    • However, if the player stands stand near a dying Tank and someone else delivers the killing blow, that Survivor will get credit for a protection (game will show "[Survivor] protected [your name]"). This will happen even if the player is very far from the Tank and get up close to it as it is falling over if they did not land the finishing blow.
    • Survivors that landed the killing blow will vocalize as if they had just killed a Special Infected.
    • By setting hud_deathnotice_threats to 1, the kill message will appear in all modes.
  • If a burning Tank dies, very rarely it will spontaneously transform into an immobile Charger with an abnormally high amount of health.[5]
  • The Tank is the only Infected in the game that can break through an unbarred safe room door, though the the game will still say "you cannot break down safe room doors". Due to obvious balancing reasons, he can't break through a barred safe room door.
  • During the finale cutscene when the Survivors board the rescue vehicle, the Tank returns to its "idle" position, even though the accompanying Commons chase after the escaping Survivors. The same effect also applies if the whole team is incapacitated or killed during a Tank fight.
  • Cars, dumpsters or other large objects that are punched by a Tank will despawn after a couple of minutes, to prevent Tanks from hardlocking the Survivor's progression if a prop blocks an essential path, such as the exit of sewers.
  • Abandoned coupes, sedans and hatchbacks with headlights left on are unusable by Tanks, despite having a similar mass level to those usable by the Tank. This is because these vehicles are static level props, not dynamic ones like the cars able to be punched by the Tank.
  • If an object launched by a punch hits a Survivor and remains on them, it is possible that the object will continue to drain their health and kill the survivor almost instantly. It happens most often with wide objects which cover the entirety of a downed player (like the cars in "Hard Rain").
  • The unique Tank that spawns during "The Docks" chapter will not spawn until someone opens the trailer's gate, even partially. This can be abused to cause the Tank to spawn but fail to break through the gate, therefore hindering their progress in the chapter.
  • The Tank can be endlessly spawned anytime in Left 4 Dead: Survivors when the player's timer ran out to end the game without being incapacitated, due to the game being remade as a timer-based arcade game.
  • While not including add-ons that change The Tank directly, some custom campaigns feature unique Tank models which include but are not limited to:
    • Tanks in football gear from the "Suicide Blitz 2" custom campaign finale.
    • The final map of the custom campaign "Urban Flight" used to have L4D2 Tanks dressed in the remains of military uniforms. That custom variant was removed and replaced with normal L4D2 Tanks, in order to avoid custom Tank modifications causing Tanks to spawn invisible.
    • L4D1 Tanks in police and military uniforms, as well as the normal L4D1 Tanks, from the "Back To School" custom campaign.
    • Tanks that are reskinned into werewolves in "The Bloody Moors" custom campaign.
    • A unique Tank wearing a conductor's uniform named "The Conductor" in the "Pain Train" custom campaign.
  • In Versus, when a human-controlled Tank attacks an incapacitated Survivor, the first-person viewer will see him attack only with his right arm. In any other point of view, the Tank is seen pummeling the Survivor with both hands.
  • As of the Last Stand update for Left 4 Dead 2, Survivors getting shot by a teammate will mention the Tank when berating. However, due to oversight in the talker script files and the fact Left 4 Dead Survivors lack the friendly fire lines mentioning the Tank, they will not berate each other upon receiving friendly fire damage while the Tank is around.


See image archive for more images…



In Part 1, at the start of the comic, three Tanks appear in a flash-forward during Bill's sacrifice where the latter is sitting down on the floor and lighting his cigarette as one of the Tanks enters the room. Later, while the Survivors await for the rescue in Daughtery Farm, a Tank bursts through the wall to attack them, but is overwhelmed by their firepower, Molotov and propane tank explosion.

In Part 2, the Tank makes a brief cameo, being mentioned by Louis when he explains the Special Infected to Jeff and Annie.

In Part 3, a Tank suddenly kills Lieutenant Mora who was about to shoot Louis. He then grabs the helicopter with Major Everly and a soldier in it and hurls it at the survivors, damaging Louis but giving him an idea as he crashed onto a car. As everyone fights the Tank, Louis drives a car onto the Tank and jumps out before it crashes, Bill then tosses his cigarette onto the leaking gasoline and it explodes, killing the Tank.

After the survivors disband with Jeff and Annie, two Tanks can be seen attacking the military's holdout spot.

In Part 4, when the bridge is being raised in Rayford Port, four Tanks attack the Survivors once the bridge stops moving. This prompts Bill to jump down and go reactivate the generator. He successfully manages to reactivate the generator but is not able to make it back to the bridge as he is punched by a Tank. Without any ammo left, Bill accepts his fate and lights his cigarette one last time before the Tank kills him off-screen.

See also


The Infected
Introduced in Left 4 Dead Introduced in Left 4 Dead 2
Boomer nav Hunter nav Smoker nav Tank nav Charger nav Jockey nav Spitter nav
The Boomer The Hunter The Smoker The Tank The Charger The Jockey The Spitter
Introduced in Left 4 Dead Introduced in Left 4 Dead 2 Cut Infected
Witch nav Common nav Uncommon Infected nav 70px-Screamer nav
The Witch Common Infected Uncommon Infected The Screamer