Monthly Archives: April 2012

State of the Game: Pyro

Recently, i’ve been playing less and less spy and medic, but more and more soldier and pyro. The combos you can pull off with pyro are almost as satisfying as any trickstab, and it’s always good to get to know what can shut down your main class. Here’s a comment I wrote regarding the role and qualities of pyro. I like this idea of writing the current metagame of tf2, so expect more in the future! :D

Pyros fufill two parts on the battlefield; in a defensive role, they provide a perfect engie buddy in the form of the Pybro, spychecking and removing sappers. Airblast is excessively useful in defusing dead ringer or spycicle. In an offensive role, the puff and sting will straight up murder most classes. In a sense, an offensive pyro performs like a roamer, but faster – whereas a roamer will deal out damage or go for picks, pyro can both finish classes and take light/med classes from full to zero health in seconds.

I main spy, and in honesty I think pyro is -underpowered-. Removing airblast is not the solution, and will just exacerbate the situation; in the sweetest possible way, from what you’ve said and knowing you’re a roamer, it sounds like you’re frustrated by reflects. Thing is, timing is everything – if you spam m2, fine you might get the reflect, but there’s every chance that you’ll miss the timing and receive a rocket to the face. Not to mention aiming at the feet of pyros practically defuses that anyway – either they reflect it into the floor, or they get juggled into the air to be finished with either airshot or shotgun.

In 6v6, if the opponent has uber advantage we will regularly run a pyro offclass to stop the opponent from rolling all over us. The disorientation from the pyro can both defuse an uber and pull a push entirely out of position.

I don’t even know what you’re suggesting with 3. Spycicle is very easily detectable (that hiss on extinguish is very audible), and if i’m not sure if it’s a spycicle spy or not, i will airblast to make sure; disguised enemies are still affected by airblast. If they get pushed, they get pushed for another few puffs into a corner for the immunity to fade, then axtinguish/flare to the face. DR can also be totally defused by igniting and airblasting into a corner. Long range projectiles can be defused offensively with reflects. Hitscan weapons counter the pyro, yes, but this is entirely fair if projectiles are defuseable (which they are!). In a hypothetical 1v1 situation, the only serious problem the perfect pyro has is demoman; the firing speed on the grenade launcher is shorter than the speed of airblasts.

And to your point about putting a pyro at a choke and letting him defend… What exactly is the difference between putting a combo there instead? Your rockets don’t hit? So what? If there was a combo there, the soldier’d just get the health back. Fire more rockets from more soldiers? Pyro airblast has a delay; you can’t reflect everything. Pyro is fragile for an offensive class, and will take a lot of damage. Not to mention there’s only enough ammo for 10 reflects.

As for fun to play against… I love pyros, even while playing spy! Pyros mean that I need to watch my back like a heavy needs to watch for spies. If there’s a pyro coming, get out of range and switch to hitscan, or stagger rockets, or utilise blindspots… They are, and were initially created to be, the ambush class – Fine, their flankings can be shut down by competant players, but that means you need someone to watch for flanks. At long range, the flare gun has made harassment possible to a close range class. It’s a fun class to play (the combos really make for smug feelings), it’s fun to devise tactics against them, it’s fun that it adds a little danger in the game, it’s fun to improve yourself to beat something which is suppose to be your hardcounter (Stair/cornerstabbed a pyro? Get a change of trousers).

So no, in my opinion pyro isn’t broken. Pyro needs a buff, if anything; after the detonator ‘buff’, destroying level 2/3 sentries has become an impossibility; don’t even get me started on trying to get close to a mini sentry, those things practically shut down pyro just like that (You know how many flares it takes to kill those fucking things?). Not to mention a single aware, undistracted heavy will gun you down in seconds. The only problem I have with pyro is groundstalling to utilise the reserve shooter bug; while stalled, the reserve shooter will still deal out minicrits. That’s an obvious bug which needs fixing.

Originally posted: 26/04/12

The Dead Ringer: Defending from and attacking with

Just a repost of a silly little comment I wrote the other day; I wasn’t in the best mood so it ended up as a bit of a rant :p The TF2 community seem to be divided on the DR between ‘It’s overpowered’ and ‘It’s fine as it is’. I personally think people approach the situation wrong, but what do I know? Sorry for the lack of posts lately, i’m revisin’ super hard for my end of years exams D: Hopefully a few more in summer!

‘Every time you kill a spy, start pressing TAB occasionally to see when they ‘respawn’. If it seems too quick, or lasts exactly 6.5 seconds (and sometimes it’s obvious), they’re a dead ringer spy. Mark them on the sheet in your head as DR spy. When a spy dies, remember that he might reappear in about 6.5 seconds and keep double vigilant.

With the fact that pubs are so chaotic (I refuse to play 16v16 servers because it’s just too much of a clusterfuck), an invis cloaked spy could just take a stray shot, be revealed and instantly be gunned down by the enemy. What’s fair about that? DR minimises cheap or otherwise undeserved kills. DR is common knowledge for pretty much everyone now, so if one ‘kills’ a spy, taunt and get backstabbed, you have absolutely no right to complain. It’s like the law; if you break a law, you can’t use ‘I didn’t know it was a law!’ as an excuse, or it’d be chaos. If you get killed by a DR spy for a second time, you can’t say ‘I didn’t know!’. Either you haven’t taken the time to research the weapons in the game, or you’re not paying attention.

As for the feign itself… People complain about this a lot, and I don’t really understand it. The time spent in dead ringer or otherwise cloaked is still time you can’t use to kill enemies. Compare the time it takes to walk from spawn or even take a teleporter, if there is one. So activating a dead ringer takes a spy out of the battle for 6.5 seconds if not ended early. Some maps have three second respawn. So, three seconds and a teleporter. In that instance, it makes absolutely no real difference whether you kill the spy or just activate DR; you’re taking him out of the battle for the same amount of time, you just won’t get a point for the kill. So… Are people just complaining that they don’t get a point for forcing a feign?

On top of all that, in games of less than 9 players on each time, you’re severely hindering yourself, especially if they’re decent. There’s only so many people to disguise as, and on bigger maps you can practically see every member of your team already. Hence, use the invis watch.

Above all, use the DR to anger your opponents. Angry or frustrated opponents make mistakes, are more predictable, and as a result are easier to kill, making them more frustrated. It’s a positive feedback cycle, stopped only when they go pyro.. But if you’re a decent spy, you know how to deal with pyros anyway.’

Originally written: 16/4/12

Got an opinion on the dead ringer? Post it in the comments! :D