This mini guide is focused on the situations where you are in a position to either revive someone or free them from a disabler. This is coming from an IB main so whats practical to me, may not be practical for some of the squishier characters but feel free to tear apart my tactics if you disagree :).
Additionally, I play on Legend where friendly fire is a factor. Unlike Left for Dead, friendly fire is still active when you are disabled so don’t go unloading a shotgun into a packmaster if your teammate is in the way, it hurts.
If you are in a position to revive someone, make sure they are not going to be nuked the moment they get up. There are several ways in which you can do this but I find the most effective to be a simple push. A push will knock back immediate threats and normally give your teammate the window they need to get their bearings.
Don’t assume that, once someone has been revived, they are immune from damage for a couple of seconds, until they get up fully. They are not. The moment they start getting up, try and put yourself between them and the closest/most dangerous enemies.
Becoming the meatshield we are all capable of being is the most effective way of preventing further damage on your team.
This is something I see very often with players I would consider a little more experienced. If you see a teammate downed, surrounded by enemies, and have ammo, send a few rounds at the attacking enemies (prioritising the more dangerous ones that you know you can stagger). I cannot count the times that a well placed shotgun round into an overheading SV has been the difference between a dead teammate and a revived teammate. The stagger will normally give you the time to close the distance and employ the meatshield tactic.
Learn your specials and how much damage they do. A gutter runner will output consistent damage and should be pushed/shot off as soon as possible while a packrat does relatively very little damage when unsupported by other enemies.
Below is a very brief summary of my priorities when dealing with specials:
Gutter Runner - prioritise getting this guy off then get in the way of any enemies while your teammate gets up (if you are close). Too many people prioritise killing the runner after it has been shot off, rather than dealing with the new threat of enemies smashing your teammate’s face in while they recover.
Leech - A close leech is more dangerous than a far away one. If you see your teammate being dragged across the map with a clanrat stabbing them up the rectal cavity, kill the rat then deal with the leech. Nothing annoys me more that seeing a teammate run past me to kill a leech on another continent while a chaos worshiper decides I will be their next flesh offering.
Blightstormer - Not a huge amount you can do about this one if someone gets stormed. Just do your best to find the chanting potato and try to stay aware of the enemies being rained down on you.
Packmaster - The bane of my existence during the early days of quiet specials. If it is a lonesome packmaster, follow the same protocol as with a leech and prioritise trash mobs that are poking away. If you are dealing with a horde, it can wipe a team faster than you can say “choke me daddy”. Packmasters do very little damage on their own but often decide to drag their victim clipping and screaming into a hyperdensity horde. If you see this happen to your teammate, you can either leave them to their fate or use a class ultimate that staggers everything (IB taunts and kruber/saltzpyre shouts).
If you hear a Packmaster approaching, notice you have a stagger taunt/shout saved and can identify the direction, take a step back behind your teammates. Your ult is no use if you get grabbed. Use your chums at bait and instantly save them then attempt to take out the packmaster before it has a chance to recover and grap another victim.
Much more situational but if you see an enemy about to bop your friend, and they are looking the other way, shoot the enemy regardless of whether you might cause a little friendly fire. The damage from a club to the back is much worse (on higher difficulties) than a little friendly fire. Situational because you obviously don’t want to put an entire shotgun round into them to prevent a clan rat poke but use some judgement.
Finally, as a general PSA, don’t think friendly fire is ok at all times because the damage is minimal, ESPECIALLY when you are playing with an Ironbreaker. Your friendly fire will trigger their passive armour ability and there is nothing more frustrating then making a decision to trade hits with an enemy, only to be hit by an arrow 0.1s before you connect because some tree hugger wants more green circles.
Hope this helps some new players deal with specials in higher difficulties when friendly fire is an issue and feel free to add some class specific techniques of saving your disabled friends.