Tag Archives: Weapon

I’m sick of explaining why the Machina is a terrible weapon

  •  Upsides only apply on full charge
  •  Fully charged headshots already kill every class in the game
  •  (Assuming damage spread off) Fully charged Machina bodyshots don’t kill any class which the Stock doesn’t except for (unconfirmed) Gas Jockey Pyros and Pain Train Demomen
  •  Penetration kills are down to the movements of the enemy, and so are pretty much unpredictable, extremely situational luck kills
  •  Tracers immediately make you target #1 from the entire enemy team
  •  No noscopes severely limits your effectiveness versus Scouts, stop headshot-noscope combo versus 175hp classes
  •  Penetration shots don’t penetrate buildings

All in all, totally worthless. Use the stock.

Originally posted 27/09/12

Pyro Loadouts!

Right, time to write another post. It’s been a while and in honesty i’m only going to get more afk in the following months, but oh well.

This post intends to help you choose the perfect loadout for your Pyro, and should be updated any time a major change comes through. I’ve been playing Pyro pretty much exclusively for a few months now and i’ve tweaked my loadouts a number of times to try out different playstyles and to keep the class feeling fresh, and there really is a noticeable change when switching loadout; for example by changing your secondary, you can immediately see a difference in how passive your play becomes.

The most important thing here is that you need to define what role you’ll be performing as Pyro, and structure your loadout around that. A common mistake is to choose weapons based on their base traits – fine, but different weapons synergise better with some that they do with others. As an example, Flamethrower/Reserve Shooter is a combination which would possibly -not- synergise well, especially as with the RS you have only three seconds to deal minicrits.

As I touched on in my State of the Game: Pyro post, there are two main roles you can play with the class. The Defensive or Pocket Pyro will help defend an Engie nest or Medic/Offensive combo, reflecting spam and putting out ignited teammates. Of course, it would make sense for an Engie pocket to use the Homewrecker to destroy any sappers planted by spies, especially as their role is more passive and will be centered in one place. A Powerjack will be a poor weapon to choose – an Engie nest will no doubt have a Dispenser situated nearby, so the upside of the Powerjack (+75hp on melee kill) is irrelevant. For that matter, chances are that there will be few enemies within melee range of a level three sentry!

The Roaming Pyro is an infinitely more aggressive role – simply, it involves running around the map, setting up flanks and killing stuff. In a sense, it acts as the polar opposite to the Defensive Pyro – while the Defensive Pyro is passive, the Roaming Pyro has aggression, and as such weapons which work for Defense will have limited effectiveness for Offense and vice versa; the Powerjack in the hands of a Roaming Pyro may save his life if he is not close to a Medic, but a Homewrecker would have little use at all due to its crippled damage.

The best way to craft your loadout is to imagine what role you want to play. Are you intending to be an entirely self sufficient aggressive Roaming Pyro, at the cost of some damage output? Then maybe the Powerjack is for you. Are you a glass cannon; able to deal out massive damage very quickly, but may require healing? Take the Axtinguisher! Most importantly, test out your loadout in its desired role; if you’re running out of health a lot but you’re on a map with a lot of health packs, try out the Back Scratcher. Don’t be afraid to switch out weapons every so often – not only will you find out whether you use that weapon well, you can become more flexible in your play and adapt to situations a lot faster.

It’ll help a lot if you understand the mechanics of each weapon, and how they can synergise with other weapons. For the benefit of people who aren’t yet familiar with all of the weapons, i’ll list the benefits and disadvantages below, along with my recommendations.


Flamethower/Rainblower: Useful in Pyro vs Pyro fights when opponent is using Degreaser and Flare; additional damage means use of this weapon will help you m1 them to death. Using this weapon means being less reliant on your other weapons to finish enemies. Has ammo for 10 airblasts. Recommended!

Backburner: Flanking weapon designed so that the use of other weapons is not required. Crits when behind enemies. Has ammo for 4 airblasts; useful in a pinch, but don’t expect to rely on them.

Degreaser: Extremely versatile weapon which allows for more reliance on other weapons. Reduced effectiveness versus other Pyros. Has ammo for 10 airblasts. Recommended!

Phlogistinator: Useful when Mmph bar is filled, otherwise worthless. No airblast.


Shotgun: Very versatile weapon; unlike the Flare gun, useful against both Pyros and non-Pyros, and has a large ammo capacity. Can deal huge damage, but is limited by its close range. Recommended!

Flare Gun: Gives the Pyro immense range, and crits on hit (90 dmg) with burning enemy. Passive reload means Flare Gun reloads while other weapons are drawn. Ignites players and does 30 damage, but has extremely limited use versus other Pyros. Recommended!

Detonator: Slight variant of Flare Gun; does 45 damage on hit with burning enemy, but can be manually detonated. Promotes more passive play and allows for slightly more manoeverability through Detonator jumps. Passive reload.

Reserve Shooter: Variant of Shotgun; Minicrits airbourne enemies in the three seconds after it is drawn, but has an ammo capacity of three, effectively trading potential aggression for burst damage.

Manmelter: Crits can be stored by extinguishing burning allies: projectile travels faster than flare gun but does not crit on burning enemies. Rewards passive play with aggression, useful if airblasts are a commodity and you are willing to perform two roles. Avoid because Flare Gun already crits on burning enemy hit.

Scorch Shot: At time of writing, effectively worthless. Flare gun crit already deals knockback, and reduced damage means this gun is not worth using. Avoid until buffed.


Fire Axe/Frying Pan/Conscientious Objector/Third Degree/Sharpened Volcano Fragment: Useless, as your flamethrower does more damage and at range. Avoid.

Axtinguisher/Postal Pummeler: Does huge amounts of damage versus burning enemies in exhange for limited effectiveness versus other Pyros; but then using melee versus other Pyros isn’t very smart anyway. Recommended!

Homewrecker/Maul : Passive weapon, irreplaceably useful for pocketing Engineers. Recommended!

Powerjack: Grants health on kill, useful for Roaming Pyros on maps with few health packs or no medics. Recommended!

Back Scratcher: Passively gives extra health from health packs, and a little extra damage to boot. Can be useful in some circumstances, but usually better to use the Powerjack or Axtinguisher.

Neon Annihilator: Damages sappers but takes two hits to destroy them, also crits on wet enemies (such as jarate’d or mad milk’d enemies) at the cost of 20% damage penalty, meaning a smaller crit. Not really worth using over the Homewrecker, unless you’re being pocketed by a Milk Scout, and even then doesn’t do that much damage.

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

Black Rose: A PSA

This post’ll be split into two parts: first, i’ll be showing off my lovely, shiny new knife. Then, i’ll explain why perhaps the lovely, shiny new knife was not worth it.

So, without further ado:

Look at this! :D

Damn straight this thing is good looking! I just wanna rub it all ove–


The Black Rose was put into the game on Monday (14/2/12), with how to earn it only being implemented within the last few hours. To get it, you need to install the f2p game Alliance of Valiant Arms (a shooter not dissimilar to Call of Duty, with hints of Battlefield and Counterstrike in) and play through one whole game. That’s it. It took me about five minutes. The next time you load up tf2, the item’ll be in your inventory.

So what’s the problem? Well, here’s where the PSA part of this comes in; by installing AvA, you agree to install anticheat software (why do they all not just use VAC?), namely nProtect Gameguard.

Now for the above average computer user, the very first sentence will send alarm bells ringing. Gameguard is a rootkit, meaning it burrows into your system nice and snugly, and takes your system like a cheap i’m-not-going-to-continue-this-analogy and dumps the body in the why-am-i-still-talking.

To its credit, the rootkit allows the application to do what it does best, namely sniffing out cheating software (aimbots, wallhacks…) and shut it down. The problem comes with giving a relatively little known company such power. But to what extent does this power extend? Well…

‘GameGuard hides the game application process, monitors the entire memory range, terminates applications defined by the game vendor and INCA Internet to be cheats (QIP for example), blocks certain calls to DirectX functions and Windows APIs, keylogs your keyboard input, and auto-updates itself to change as new threats surface.’


Really, it comes down to trust. But this has happened before, and means a potentially massive security risk to your computer. Perhaps you think the risk is negligable, and there’s nothing to worry about; well maybe it is tiny, in which case, you don’t have to do anything. Then again, a tiny risk is bigger than no risk at all, so if you don’t want this on your computer, this link will show you the proper proceedure to remove it from your system.

If you want to unlock the knife without installing the program, i am informed that you can use steam achievement manager; i’m told that valve have no official stance on it so it’s unlikely that you’ll get VAC banned, but understand that any consequences are on your head.

It’s a shame because I enjoyed the few minutes I spent playing the game (besides the inordinate amount of time it took to update); it’s well designed and seems like a great free alternative to other popular modern shooters. However, as long as gameguard is implemented with it, i’m gonna have to suggest you stay away.

The Ambassador and You

If you read my post on spy loadouts, you’ll know that I consider the Ambassador (or Amby, as it is affectionately known) to be the revolver most worth using, when given the choice. Not only is the crit entirely worth the downsides (-15% damage penalty, 20% firing speeds), you can totally feel really smug and professional when you get that elusive pyro headshot from across the map. It’s like playing CSS all over again.

First off, the absolute basics. Amby will fire perfectly accurately on its first shot (as all bullet weapons will), and will score a crit on headshot, dealing 102hp worth of damage (assuming no vulnerabilities or resistances). This brings about a cooldown 0.95s long, in which time crits will not be performed (regardless of whether you get a headshot). The reload time is 1.16s long. A shot will range between 56 and 15, depending on how close you are to the target.

Noticing the tiny difference between cooldown and reload time gives a pretty obvious tip; upon firing, reload your weapon (or have it reload automatically, if you have the setting enabled). This will allow you to gauge whether your next shot will tear out the skull of your enemy, or whether it’ll just irk him a bit. However, many people find the reload animation to mess with aiming properly; in which case, a fantastic spy by the name of stabby stabby has graciously donated his scripts, including one which removes the ambassador’s viewmodel so it doesn’t get in the way.

Aiming. Of course, you need slightly better aim than your average spy to use this weapon. But then, the average spy will just use the enforcer anyway. You don’t want to be common, do you? Of course not! And they’ll have it coming to them when they’re unable to see enemy health, which is a nerf being tested in the beta at the time of writing. Haha!


A wonderful thing about TF2 is how every class is roughly the same height, although it’s not something you might immediately notice: this diagram explains further, visually. The great thing about this fact is that centering your crosshair on a friendly teammate and keeping it at about that level will give you a benchmark on which you can aim, assuming that the enemy is on the same level as you.

Alternatively, you can compare the head level of a player with various environmental features. This image shows that the head of the scout is roughly level with the red/white intersection on the wall of pl_badwater, or slightly above the ledge. Basically, you need to realise that you will not have the time to find a friendly to get your y axis aiming set up; if you have your gun out for whatever reason, your aim should default to head level.

Now let’s say you have you gun aimed at the perfect axis on which heads lie. You now have two options for aiming in the x axis: either move your mouse, or strafe. I find that strafing works better with closer enemies, whereas aiming with the mouse tends to be less precise, and ends with you aiming too far left and right. And then you die. Owch. On the other hand, if your enemy is a sniper far away, strafing is not sensitive enough; you will need to manually aim for these enemies.

Now, damage output. The damage penalty and slower firing speed means every shot you fire must count. However, also realise that not every shot you need to fire has to be a headshot, and indeed wasting time lining up to get red mist could cost you your life, when a single bodyshot would take them out. As a general rule, light classes on red health will require one or two bodyshots to finish off; this will take 0.7 seconds, and unless they were already aiming at you, they have no chance to retaliate. If you have time, then by all means go for the headshot, but be aware that the ambassador has a very meaty firing sound, which is distinctive to those familiar with the game. Alternatively, a headshot/bodyshot combo on a light class (e.g a razorback sniper) will be more than enough to take them out. Besides, if they use the razorback then they definitely won’t be expecting it. And they’ll deserve it.

There are three classes I avoid when my ambassador is out, and those are the Heavy, the Demoman and the Soldier. The Demoman’s sticky launcher will make short work of you (as will the Soldier’s Rocket Launcher), and has just enough health that he’ll survive a headshot/bodyshot combo, requiring an extra bodyshot. The Heavy has too much health and is too easily backstabbable to want to shoot; additionally, all of these classes are likely to have a medic nearby, which makes your job infinitely harder.

The Pyro is almost perfect to use the Ambassador on; he struggles with anything beyond close range, meaning the average w+m1 pyro can be backpedalled away from while you pop shots at him – two headshots, or a head and two bodies will finish him.

Of course, you could be the best shot in the world, but you need to know when to use your gun. The following are my suggested times to put away the knife and pull out the revolver:

* Behind friendly lines – there’s nobody to backstab, and your gun can still be used to rack up damage on people in the distance

* Down narrow corridors which leave little room for strafing (e.g the tunnel in pl_badwater)

* When being chased by a class which outmatches you in close combat (Pyro!)

* If using your knife would put you in too much danger (Sentry around the corner?)

To finish off, i’d like to show some love towards a map i have a great fondness for; tr_walkway is, in my opinion, the best aiming trainer besides actually going out and playing against real people in a pub or what have you. The sheer customisation allows all sorts; light class, medium class, airshots, backpedalling… On top of that, when you’ve had enough of the ambassador you can use it to train your trickstabs; there is a wonderful slope which just begs for stairstabs.

I’d also like to show some more love for stabby stabby, who I consider to be a human aimbot. I advise you watch his videos and read his annotations, where he will give additional tips.

Happy spying!

Thank you to Fripplebubby for the suggestion!

Thank you 2C3C for reminding me about the viewmodels!

Thank you j0lian for the height image!

Spy loadout: A quick summary

Copying this across, I realise that I haven’t actually written a proper, in depth summary of the Spy’s arsenal. I’ll do it at some point :) Of course, your loadout is personal taste and you should go for what you enjoy playing with, but these are my opinions on how to maximise kredit. Anyway, without further ado:

First, my personal opinion; go for the amby for your gun, the vanilla for your knife and either the dr or the vanilla invis watch for pda which one will depend on both which you prefer using and the situation. Obviously it’s both down to taste and situation (I know a lot of people who swear by the enforcer, but 102hp in one shot is too good to pass up for me), but i find this is the best allround loadout.

The enforcer is a straight upgrade when you use the DR and it used to be my favourite weapon, but again-102hp with a well aimed amby shot beats it hands down. The Saharan Spy set, once you get the first disguise, is absolutely marvellous at taking out sentry nests, and if you use the DR with it the sets downside is only very rarely relevant.

I know a lot of people consider the spycicle the best thing ever, but those ice statues are distinctive (and call out ‘burn that spy a bit longer!’ to every pyro on the map) and while 15 seconds might not seem like long, that’s 15 seconds without your (arguably) best weapon. But by all means try it out.

Other weapons: The Kunai is still a very viable knife to use, but it’s a love it or hate it thing for most people. The big earner is asking a huge health cost for increased cloak, despite cloak regenerating pretty quickly already. Avoid it. The L’etranger is a better cloak regeneration device (And used in the SS set above), although with the damage penalty it has i know a lot of people avoid it like the plague. The diamondback i find doesn’t rack up crits efficiently enough to be worth using, especially when amby crits are both guaranteed and also give you a really smug feeling.

Overall, just experiment with the loadouts; take into account what i’ve said (or don’t), but choose only what you find fun to play with :) I’ll strongly recommend you watch these videos, because stabby is an absolute spy god and makes fantasticly informative videos.

Also, when you unlock the cloak and do-nothing, throw it in a fucking bin where it belongs because it is the worst watch in the universe and i wish death on every scrubber who decides to use it >:CCCC

Originally posted 14/1/2012


Why no self-respecting Spy should use the Cloak and Dagger: An explanation

If you’ve seen me on r/tf2, then there’s a fairly high chance the post was about how terrible the Cloak and Dagger is. Because i’m sick of writing the same thing over and over, here’s one of my more comprehensive explanations. I may come back and add to it at some point, in this current state it feels sort of unfinished.

Why shouldn’t you use the cloak and dagger? Newbs like to use the cloak and dagger because they think ‘Ah! Infinite cloak! I’ll be INVINCIBLE!’ Except, no. You still flicker, and it’s obvious because you’re standing in a very spy-helpful corner; trust me, good pyros know cnds will stand there to regenerate cloak, and will puff a couple flames there to catch people out.

But that’s not why you shouldn’t use it. Everything that cloak can do, other watches can do better. You can travel further with the invis watch, you have more longetivity with the dead ringer, you can’t pick up ammo to speed up regen (as mentioned above).

But the worst part is how passive it makes spies. A CnD spy will cross enemy lines and start counting enemies, waiting for the best opportunity to backstab an enemy. But everytime they see a good pick, they think ‘but something better might come along’. And then you’re in an endless circle of ‘it could be better’, which it never will be. an invis watch spy would have decloaked a while back and stabbed every single one of those people who passed. By having a limit on your cloak time, you’re effectively forced to go and kill threats to you to stay alive, which makes you more credit to team than hiding in a corner.

There’s a reason why people call it the cloak and do nothing. Either use a different watch or change class, if you stay using that watch then you will never get any better.

tl;dr makes you too passive and no advantages over other watches when used aggressively

Originally posted 21/1/12