Team Fortress 2

Team Fortress 2

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VERY long winded analysis of the scorch shot and it's competitive harm
By Bliztank
this is all of my work taken straight from the rgl forums hahaha, so a lot of it is direct and segmented/may seem out of place. i put in some of the prompting arguments for the important bits, way too much deeplore to include all of them so apologies about that.
please help i spent so much time on getting it banned


Do note that many of my opinions changed throughout the course of these essays and they are in chronological order; specifically my thoughts on the darwins evolved with time. Most of this was done in december 2020.
   
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Essay 1: Balance
While I think balance is important, past a basic level of balance, I think it’s much more important to pay attention to the long term implications of certain weapons and the playstyles they result in, as well as interactions with other weapons that are considered unbalanced.

In the case of the cleaver and wrap assassin, I do think they promote an unintuitive sort of play, by providing an easy and ticking damage source without as much need for direct exposure. Akin to the pyro, the scout is a lot more focused on cleanup and close range combat. If the argument is made that the pyro should not have an easy and low risk long range spam option (scorch shot), then the same should be applied to scout. A skilled scout can still get value out of the pistol at a mid-long range distance, but it also requires a certain level of mechanical investment, and doesn’t serve as a potentially indirect spam option.

Let’s take the darwins. It completely nullifies the ability of pyro to pressure the sniper. In response to the scorch shot and it’s uncanny ability to spam with very little mechanical investment and risk proportional to the value, I’d argue it’s fair. I think the scorch shot results in more generalized playstyles, with less focus on individual mechanics that are necessary for a pyro player to improve. It is also extremely unfair and unfun to fight against the stuns provided by the scorch shot.

By removing the scorch shot and the darwins, you would see more dynamic interactions, with a lot more room for human error; while still allowing the pyro to have impact versus the sniper. This results in much more engaging play and counterplay, as the pyro would have to either have to time something such as a detonator shot, or open himself up to more exposure to the sniper with a wider peak to flaregun him.

I think these sorts of contrasts help to paint a clearer image of what is and isn’t intuitive towards the development of a class, which also somewhat ties in to the relative balance of a weapon. There tends to be a correlation between how directly unintuitive and easy a weapon is to get value out of, and how balanced it is.

More than that though, I think it’s important to contrast it with the other weapons of it’s slots, as well the individual playstyles that they each promote, and then make a decision on how balanced a weapon is primarily based off of that.

Weapons that promote healthier playstyles naturally result in a smoother transition from casual to competitive, as players become less reliant on inherently unbalanced and broken mechanics while they learn the competitive roles of their class. So I think the argument of comp being kept similar to pubs is an argument that lacks depth, as it hurts the long term growth of a scene. In most games, you’re going to see some balancing problems, and tf2 is no exception. I do not think that there will be anything close to an ideal level of balance in most cases. So I think the focus should be on how the weapon(s) influence the dynamics of the class and dynamics with other classes as a whole; rather than how fun or unfun they are to play with and against, or how balanced it is on paper.

After quarantine ends, I think it’s fair to assume that there will be a decent share of returning players that will have more real life obligations again, or younger players freshly losing interest due to all the possibilities that they realize and may then start to pursue. So I think it’s better to nip some of these weapons that can be clearly seen as harming the development of classes sooner rather than later; and to focus on the developmental aspect of balance.

So let’s say we get rid of scorch, we get rid of darwins as well
We get rid of the bleeds, we get rid of cozy as well etc
I was gonna type up a bit about cozy but this post is already long enough as it is so I’ll just use it as an example of something that would demonstrate this sort of balancing
Take out an unintuitive weapon, take out it’s unintuitive counterplay, and you solve two issues at the same time.
Essay 2: Why the detonator is different from the scorch shot and shouldn't be banned
I think going from banning scorch to banning det is a bit too much of a leap. The detonator gives control and actual specialized play compared to the scorch, for the price of actual mechanical investment and timing, even if not all that difficult in the long term.
The scorch allows for you to pick up and use it, with a stupid amount of value and artificial versatility for the price of very little investment. A lot of pyros end up using scorch shot as somewhat of a crutch without really developing their own playstyle and become overly reliant on spamming it.

To be able to effectively spam the detonator on a similar level to the scorch, a certain amount of time investment is required to learn how to properly time it’s detonations across range and for each sort of task you’d have in mind with it. Before this point, you would see a lot more inefficiencies and misplays, such as peaking sightlines for longer in the moment to attempt to properly detonate it.

Det in general is a lot more punishing than scorch if improperly used, while also not having an oppressive stun mechanic, and also provides some actually interesting options for play on the class.

I do not think detonator should be banned, and I think the scorch promotes unintuitive play that is neither fun to play, nor to use. Not only this, but it promotes poor playstyles, and I would also reason it also hurts the long term growth of the class.

Other secondaries such as the det/shotty/flare etc promote more specialized sorts of playstyles and mechanics outside of just spam.

For instance, with the detonator you may see controlled spam and timed midair detonations, such as around the cascade rocks to hit people, and are rewarded for smartly using it while not putting yourself in as much risk. Alternatively to this, you can much more aggressively and actively position yourself, even with something such as a bomb.

Shotgun allows for you to deny more efficiently, and promotes a generally protective sort of play, while also being perfectly suitable for a lot of combat engagements.

Flare gun promotes high single target focus and combo plays. While somewhat oppressive, I do not think it is nearly as much of a menace as the scorch is.

Scorch promotes mindless spam, stunning, and in general results in a lack of commitment to and specialization in particular pyro mechanics/roles.

I think the scorch is a bit more pressing than something like flare/det in terms of getting banned, as I believe it trickles into a pyro that’s plagued pyro as a whole for a bit now. This problem I would say, is that there tends to be a lot of a lack of specialization and intuitive play by newer pyros and a lot of pyros as a whole; as they tend to just parrot what they’re told to do by the community and mentors, and tend not to be very proficient at it. By having a secondary such as scorch that a lot of newer pyros can cling to and get a lot of value out of as a crutch, one that also does not intuitively teach good mechanics, the problem is further amplified.

In short, while the detonator can do some things that the scorch can not and vice versa, the detonator requires actual investment to be able to realize it. It is not nearly as oppressive, as there are more options to counterplay against it than oh hey I’m stunned I guess I’ll die now, and is not nearly as broadly problematic. It provides a lot of options, but those options require vision to utilize, and results in very intuitive play, atleast when compared with the scorch. You get a higher potential as a result of being able to control the det, while having a higher floor as well. Is it unfair? Possibly, but scorch is entirely in a different league, and you can argue for days about other weapons that are unfair if you put time into becoming proficient at them.
Short response: the pyro mechanical loop
While the class is bad, I think it’s up to the player to learn to do the most they can despite it. I don’t think that the scorch shot teaches players good mechanics that they may be able to use in compensation for the class’s state. This loops back around, and results in even more lackluster performance and results for players learning the class.

That being said, if the scorch is banned, I think the darwin’s should be too.
Short tangent on the danger shield
I think if the scorch is removed, the main argument for keeping the darwins is also removed.
Speaking from personal experience versus you with the detonator, I only ever recall you running darwins, while I’ve never touched the scorch shot over the course of the season, let alone versus your team.

I suppose that it may be more attributable to you running darwins by default and not switching off of it due to the frequency of the scorch shot, but it has the same effect of negation nonetheless.

And I don’t feel like that sort of negation is fair in response to anything but the scorch shot. Spam from things such as the detonator or flare gun fundamentally require more skill than from the scorch, and there should be a reward on the pyros part; or a punishment on the sniper/enemy team’s part.
Essay 3: Analyzing the decline of pyro's role & skill in highlander
Opposing arguments are bolded.

The scorch shot discussion has always been a little funny to think about because there’s really nothing overpowered about the weapon besides it being annoying to people
The versatility it provides compared to other secondaries, which results in a lack of more specialized play, as well as generalized playstyles. I don’t think having some super applicable jack of all trades option is a good solution to the weaknesses of the class, one which only serves to sugarcoat and hide the issues at that.

"The entire class would have been banned years ago if people screeching “annoying” had ever been an effective argument. Especially considering axtinguisher and puff and sting meta ran the table for years."


I find this point irrelevant. There are other arguments that’ve been laid down that have more depth to them than just the weapon being annoying. It is also unrealistic to imply that the class would ever be banned in highlander, a 9v9 mode with one of each class.

"Pyro has been downgraded so significantly over the years that its role has dwindled to a mere backline watchdog, and if anything the sc meta is the first move in a long while to improve an otherwise extremely range limited class’ utility to further aid the team"

The scorch shot does little to resolve this. It by nature promotes poorer play than the other secondary options. If you already have good mechanics, you can get a stupid amount of value out of it. If you do not have good mechanics, it becomes harder to actually develop important pyro mechanics with the scorch shot. Pyro’s role has indeed dwindled, but the emphasis should be on more divergent and branching playstyles in response to this; a redefinition of the class and it’s roles.

The usage of scorch shot results in more cookie cutter playstyles to try and get the maximum value out of all of it’s many uses. This reduces the importance of individual mechanics, and in my opinion will only lead to further issues with the class down the line. Using a mechanically unintuitive option that promotes less specialized play will not solve the issues of the class.

"But what I found is that there are many circumstances where you can assist in denials, albeit small ones, on maps where pyro otherwise has a limited role. This can be on sniper, or flank, or doing the final damage in a koth midfight where you’d otherwise have no role but to chill in the back"

Again, I feel like having such easy access to all of these options results in a much less dynamic metagame for the class. Detonator allows for you to do similar things, while being more specialized, and requiring more mechanical input and development.

"but not many stop to consider what it brings to a team on an otherwise ♥♥♥♥ class."

It brings an artificial level of enhancement to pyro’s versatility and utility, while requiring a lot less mechanical input. Bandaging an issue is not resolving it.

"Not to mention, the scorch/det are direct downgrades in close range combat to the shotty/flare among others, which is significant when you consider the degreaser already has the lowest dps of any primary weapon and every second matters in trying to protect a combo at range"

I disagree with this. Options can often be more valuable than a higher source of direct damage. Scorch shot gives a mechanically lacking way to control movement via bounce/stun, to and dictate the terms of an engagement. The detonator allows for you to control movement by timing detonations and smartly placing your shots, and also gives you the option to jump in and out of an engagement. The shotgun and flare gun are indeed better for sheer damage, but operating under the framework of secondaries being tools to provide options, scorch and det can easily help out more than a higher source of direct damage.

If I’m going to be honest on this, I find that the degreaser ends up training you to be reliant on the switch speed. There are cases where you will legitimately find value out of it, such as denying a bomb with shotty and the degreaser switch speed on ashville. But my argument is, the less access to an easy spam and back method of secondary usage you have, the less you’ll end up finding yourself in said poor positions. If you are to be punished for making poor decisions, you’ll naturally learn not to make them as much.

I personally find the stock and detonator to be a very effective and synergistic combo, as the weapons play to eachother’s strengths. The secondary being the tool to augment the primary, and the stock being able to effectively inflict a lot more chaos during exchanges. The slightly reduced airblast cost on paper is somewhat insignificant, but the extra afterburn can absolutely make the difference in something such as a detonator bomb. As in that case, you wouldn’t want to find yourself swapping to the detonator from the degreaser to spam it for the extra afterburn anyways.

This sort of loadout results in a very space and chaos oriented style of play, which while not a style for everyone, is absolutely valid in it’s own right. To wrap back around, the detonator gives more options, while being more punishing than the scorch shot if you wish to get value out of it. Yet again, I think this trickles into a larger issue with the typical approach players take to the class.

I’m not a top player or anything, but I think it’s important to have these sorts of more niche and developed playstyles, that aren’t as reliant on the utility provided by the scorch shot.

"Not to mention, it one of very few weapons that can contest snipers at range, if anything else but to force them on to darwins"

The detonator can also fulfill this purpose, while requiring much more mechanical investment and possible punishment/misplay.

The way to fixing pyro’s issues begins with evaluating the average perception and mentality applied to the class (which in my opinion somewhat stagnates innovation), and how various playstyles and roles of pyro fit in with differing teams and components. I think that this whole argument about the scorch shot best represents these flaws.

Pyro has had flawed metas in the past, and I think it’s time to try and tackle the issue in a comprehensive way. By removing the scorch shot, you’ll see more divergent playstyles with the generalized utility of the scorch shot being taken out of the equation. This would only go part of the way, but I think that not jumping on this possibility for change would be a mistake. If people want to see pyro as anything but a backline watchdog, there needs to be something that:

A. Forces an extent of immediate change towards more specialized play
B. A shift in perception that goes along with this

The downgrades given to the class did a lot of harm, and I think it’s time we as a community reevaluate the roles and mechanics of the class; rather than relying on a secondary that stunts long term growth to fix the class’s weaknesses and issues.

I fully agree that it being annoying is not a good enough reason for it being banned. That being said, I think it’s certainly worth discussing for other reasons.
Essay 4: Condensing my arguments
I think most of what you’ve said is fair. That being said, I am focusing on how it impacts play from the bottom up. The main focus on what I’ve said has been on the developmental aspect of it.

Perhaps I’m not entirely right, but from what I’ve seen and the talks I’ve had, I think it certainly does harm the development of mechanics in less experienced pyros to an extent. I feel like this applies much more to the scorch shot meta than prior pyro playstyles and metas.

I’ve seen a lot of players struggling with pyro and actually being able to help their team on it, and I think that looking into the scorch shot is a good way to start resolving this.

I’m not sure if that makes it ban worthy, but I see an issue, and I wish to see that issue discussed; be it a proper reason to warrant a ban or not.

If you already have the mechanics (ie yourself and other top players) it gives you a lot of versatility and spam potential for little cost. But if you do not already have good mechanics developed, I completely believe that it will inhibit you from developing more healthy mechanics.

I get that there’s most certainly been issues like this in the past that could be easily attributable to prior metas, but I feel like it’s more pressing in this case. I think it’s time to try and tackle it in the present and to try and resolve the issues, roots included.

I think that after quarantine ends, we’ll see a decent share of generational shift pyro and player wise, and I’d rather see more healthy growth for the class.
Apologies if I have not conveyed all of this too accurately.

Sidenote: To condense my arguments and for ease of read, these are what I believe to be my main points.

A. The class is weak but two wrongs don’t make a right.

B. To strengthen the class, there should be genuine change in the perceived roles and functions of the class, and how individual players are taught of it and learn to play with various teams.

C. More specialized play will also lead to better performance, and given how the scorch meta has generalized play much more than prior metas, a ban now would force an extent of divergence. This would only benefit the scene from a bottom to top level, while also not dealing much damage to an invite level of play, as stated by frost. Banning the scorch shot won’t really drastically change how pyro will be played in the top level

D. Some would complain about pyro’s role and lack of options/utility to a team. By bandaging this with scorch, you ignore the issues, become complacent with said role, and become a part of the overarching issue with the state of the class.

"Pyro has been downgraded so significantly over the years that its role has dwindled to a mere backline watchdog, and if anything the sc meta is the first move in a long while to improve an otherwise extremely range limited class’ utility to further aid the team"

E. What may happen when quarantine ends given these prior reasonings, which I do not think has been a scenario that could be considered or applied to the past metagames and scene states. With this in mind, I think it’s paramount to nip the scorch meta now.

While this may not warrant a ban from a traditional viewpoint, I feel like it is time to reconsider how and why we ban weapons. And then to begin applying this to other classes afterwards, with this as a showcase for the reasoning and merit of this sort of whitelist management. I feel like it is negligent to base bans out entirely on a basis of how game breaking something is, as by considering the developmental aspects, you have the chance to positively impact future generations of players, and do your duty as a member of the community.
A response to data collection on it's usage
Note: I get a bit direct in this one due to reasons elaborated on towards the middle. I do think in hindsight I jumped the gun a bit; though I do not regret at jumping on the issues I see with the communiy.


I’m just going to say this now so that I won’t be saying this in direct response to however the data turns out.

It is important to have this sort of data to draw more encompassing conclusions and to get an idea of how broken or unfair a weapon is. I support the notion that this should be involved with making decisions on the state of a weapon in competitive play. That being said, I feel as if the sheer statistical aspect is being used as somewhat of a scapegoat in this case.

I say this, as it seems to me like the defense of the weapon has turned into a case of: Look at the numbers, it’s not unbalanced nor harmful to the scene!!!

I do not feel like statistics, whether they support the scorch being fair or unfair, are an adequate response to concerns with the weapon. It seems to me, as if the statistical aspect is being used as a way to generalize concerns with the weapon into a single category, and to displace any legitimacy of an argument being made for the weapon being banned. I believe this to show a fundamental issue with how the community approaches bans.

I believe that this has been seen with other weapons in the past, where weapons, such as the soda popper, are only banned if they are being actively abused by top players.

People bring up theory and concerns with the balance of these weapons, and it turns into a case of:
If I don’t see it with my own two eyes and sheer statistical data, I refuse to believe that it’s unbalanced. This leads to needless delays, purely due to a refusal to compromise from personal viewpoints.

I believe this to be representative of a certain tendency to avoid innovation or meaningful change when it comes to weapons, maps, and other competitive standards.

There will not always be statistics to prove or disprove something, and something does not always need to actively be being abused to be an issue worth resolving.

Map changes should not only be occurring when maps are brought up as being flawed. Innovation should happen on it’s own, and not when a few big names have to tell you that something should change.


I think it’s important to have these statistics, however it should not be an entire basis of an argument. It should be used to support a conclusion, rather than to be a conclusion to an argument in it’s own right. I say this, as meaningful discussion is in my opinion slowing down as a direct result of this project.

The statistical argument may indeed resolve arguments that state that the weapon is annoying/unbalanced, but development of this project should not prevent the other points from being discussed.

If it was being used to support a fair and truthful conclusion, I believe that we would be seeing more back and forth discussion before the statistics are collected. This is what leads me to conclude that the project is entirely reactive, and will not lead to a meaningful resolution.

The developmental aspect for instance, has to be seen with two eyes and theory; or an expansion of the project to every div get an idea of the influence the weapon has on the class outside of invite. (where I fully believe that the concerns with the weapon are more relevant as I have argued for reasons stated beforehand)

I do not see how the project, in it’s current discussed state, is relevant to the argument I am making. I feel like it is very negligent to use the project as a means to avoid responding to it while focusing on the sheer balance aspect of it.

If an argument in defense of the weapon is to be made, it should be all encompassing, and not selective.

As I have said in my prior post, I think it’s time that we revisit the whitelist, and work our way up from there. I believe this to be the best way to attempt to correct the course of innovation and balance in the scene.

That being said, I have in my opinion offered all that I can, and do not wish to discuss this further unless I am needed to directly defend my reasoning. I do not intend this as a post to stir up drama.
Essay 5: The harm of the degreaser + scorch shot combo
I think relatively speaking, we’re going to see a lot less value out of a reliance on the switch speed with other secondaries. I touched upon the degreaser a bit in my second post, which I concur also plays into the issue.

I think that the relative reliance on the degreaser’s switch speed is an issue, however I think that it’s only that unfair when combined with the scorch shot. I think that the degreaser promotes interesting play. The more one uses it, the more they are going to become reliant on the speed for combo plays and the extra saved time.

I’d argue that you’d even see more synergy with stock while running the detonator, if not used entirely for a spam role, at which it is much less potent and requires more mechanical investment than the scorch.

The degreaser gives an increase in potential mechanical ability, while somewhat lessening the importance of sense related functions, which can result in you developing less as a player in the long term. This creates an interesting dynamic between the weapons. That being said, I believe the presence of the scorch serves to destroy this dynamic. I also believe that there is not enough conscious thought put into primary choice.

Without a secondary as spammable as the scorch, there is a lot more punishment for a lot less reward if you end up baiting your team by attempting to secondary spam.

I wouldn’t call it unreasonable to call the degreaser a problematic weapon given it’s influence on past metas in addition to the current one. That being said, I believe that it genuinely is not an issue outside of when combined with the scorch shot currently. I think that a ban on the degreaser would needlessly restrict the playstyle options pyro has and weaken the class a bit too much from a mechanical standpoint, but that is a topic for another day.

I do hope that going forward we see a bit less reliance on the degreaser, and I think that a scorch shot ban will help lead towards a healthy and natural progression from this point.

I’m going to maintain that the scorch teaches poor mechanics compared to the other secondary options due to all of the usages it provides. If a player learning the class is relatively able to do everything, then I do not think they will truly learn nor master anything.
For this reason, I think that banning the scorch shot will be beneficial.
Essay 6: Revisiting the darwins, arguing for it to remain unbanned
The first aspect to be considered is the long range spamability of the scorch shot and detonator. The dynamic we would hypothetically see would be:

Cause: Pyro spamming scorch shot with low risk involved for high reward
Effect: Sniper runs darwins, spam becomes ineffective
Cause: Pyro spamming sniper with detonator, with higher risk for less reward
Effect: Sniper runs darwins, spam becomes ineffective

This in mind, the simple answer would be to ban the darwins as long as the scorch shot is banned. The reasoning being that it benefits timing and more mechanically demanding spam, while not having it completely negated by an unlock. This promotes healthier counterplay.

However, it is important to consider that the scorch shot also can bounce for more damage and knockback. This results in the darwins being almost necessitated from it.

Something like detonator spam is certainly annoying, but is much less urgent in regards to something such as your pyro extinguishing you, due to the lack of bounce and knockback.

This being noted, I feel like the darwins would still be a no brainer choice to run against a detonator spamming pyro. Regardless of the bounce, the tendency to run darwins in response to flame damage via scorch will have trained players to somewhat subconsciously drift towards it.

No matter what sniper players say, I think it’s a matter of when rather than if they begin to lean towards the darwins against the detonator.

The question becomes then, if scorch isn’t present, what spam would you see from detonator pyros?

I propose that secondaries outside of the darwins enable a secondary spamming pyro playstyle to be viable. Without the unfair mechanics of the scorch, the main value in secondary spam would be in harassing the sniper. If you allow the sniper to counteract this, you will see a much healthier mentality with the class, and greater future growth. If you are not able to help your team by spamming, which shouldn’t be the pyro’s role anyways, you’ll have to be impactful by other means. This can come in the form of focusing more on protection, or meaningful aggression. This will result in the skill of the class raising over time.

To accurately answer this whole question, I would like to propose these three hypotheticals:

Is it fair for the sniper to be able to invalidate pyro from being able to spam him from a long range?

Is it good for pyro to be enabled to play in a secondary spamming way to impact the game?

Given that sniper is already the strongest class in highlander, is it fair to let him keep this counterplay?


To the first hypothetical, I would say no

To the second hypothetical, I would say no

To the third hypothetical, I would say yes, as it results in pyro having more of it’s own identity rather than being relegated to sniper spam duty. Spam takes focus away from the actual roles of the pyro. The presence of darwins, combined with a lack of the scorch will result in spam being much less viable.

While this could be seen as making an already weak class weaker, and a strong class stronger, I think this is a net gain for the scene. Pyro benefits from more specialized play, and the darwins plays a key part in this dynamic.
With this in mind, I think that the darwins should not be banned.

I do not think the argument that snipers won’t use darwins versus the detonator will hold up, and I think that’s a good thing. There is certainly reasoning to ban the darwins beyond trimming the whitelist, but there is stronger reasoning in keeping it in. Options are good, and options can force you to change the way you play to be more efficient. This will result in a more dynamic metagame, and dynamic metas are a good thing.

The key problem with scorch is that it actively takes away from conscious thought about other secondary options, due to how much you can do with it.

I think that the perfect balance is found in the scorch being banned, and the darwins not being banned. This will promote a healthy amount of weapon choice in the current meta, and will prevent the detonator from becoming the new go to spam choice. Banning the darwins will lead to the detonator being a dominant option, one that’s used to spam rather than utilizing it’s own strengths found in the mobility it provides. This would only serve to shift the problems of the class.

On the other hand, nipping this spammy style may actually go a decent bit towards fixing up the class over time; assuming that there’s community effort made. I have a hard time imagining that a secondary spam sort of playstyle would be viable whatsoever in this case, and would result in people using secondaries that synergize with their playstyle and primary choice more. I imagine that the detonator would still become the most frequently used secondary, but to a healthier and less oppressive extent.

The detonator will still be spammable, but to an extent where it guides your play rather than defining it. It will be an option, but it will not be the definitive option.

TLDR: Darwins good for the scene even if unfair, scorch bad for the scene. Banning darwins will certainly have an effect on the game on pyro, and sniper to a lesser extent; but not a good one.
Response: A defense of the darwins
I’m not going to respond to the first part, I have listed many differences in my last post and the ones before.

To the second part, I do not think it’s a good thing to reward. It does not bring value to the actual role and mechanics of the class. Aim should be rewarded in more close combat situations that fit the role of the class. Spamming a sniper with scorch/det/flare should not be a role of the class.

To the third part, sniper should not. But, it is important to consider how darwins punishes spam. This is a good thing for the scene. Darwins can prevent something such as crit/minicrit damage from future flares, so it does serve an actual purpose even if a sniper can hit shots while flinching in a high level. This can indeed punish a pyro player for good aim and allow for a sniper player to maintain poor positioning. But I would like to ask, why should the pyro be rewarded for secondary spamming? What health does this bring to the scene outside of promoting a flawed way to play that makes the class seem more impactful while neglecting it’s key roles and functions?

I am again going to bring up the concept of balancing from the bottom to the top. Most invite snipers as you say can hit shots while flinching. The same will not always be able to be said about lower division players. By keeping the darwins in, you’ll see less pyros learn to secondary spam as they go up in the divisions.

The core functions and roles of pyro at any one time fit into these groups:
Protection
Chaos
Space
Denial

You should always be looking to fulfill one of these purposes, and I do not feel like something such as secondary spamming ie vs a sniper to fit in to this dynamic. By giving lower division snipers more options for counterplay where there may be more genuine impact with the presence of darwins, you’ll see more natural progression for pyro players.

Spam with the detonator can still absolutely be good, ie on cascade where it’s better than scorch. But it’s also important to note that with darwins, the situations where detonator or flare spam would be a good play or have impact are much lessened. I can not see this as anything but a good thing. This will promote much more active play on the part of pyro players.

Scorch should be banned, detonator should remain primarily as a mobility option with some ability to control enemy movements and spam to an extent. Flare should remain a good option for combo plays and high single target damage, with the potential of some spam on targets with poor movement and positioning. Shotguns should serve as the main tool for denial. This is a very healthy secondary dynamic where each option has a well defined role. This balance does not necessarily remain if darwins is banned.

Sniper is going to be strong regardless of if darwins is in or not, and I think the other secondaries are what we should be looking at before it. I am concluding that the darwins is actually healthy to keep unbanned, as it will help the development of pyro players in the long term.

By removing one issue here with the darwins, you’d be creating/amplifying another.
Finale: The harm of dumbfire vs control (scorch vs det); defending the det over a potential ban.
You still have to maintain a degree of focus on detonator if you try to spam and that’s easily punishable, no fire and forget spamming. If you’re telling me the pyro should have a zero focus and stunlocking way to spam people, I don’t know what to tell you.

It’s not all about just spamming into a sniper either. If you view the pure spam potential, you see this: Detonator is a bit less consistent, but has more reach and control. You shoot around cover and det it midair to bypass things. It rewards you playing smartly. The scorch shot on the other hand, promotes just shoot directly into a cluster of mass every time, and rely on the stun/bounce. One of these inspired you to think, the other does not.

If you do want to get good use out of constant detonator spamming, it means it’s a lot more time spent timing and waiting tor the moment to detonate to have effective spam. This is time that you aren’t denying or doing your other tasks.

The key idea here is the focus it takes. Scorch gives insane spam value with minimal focus being taken away. This is in no way healthy, and punishes the good pyro, while rewarding the bad. If you have issues with a pyro detonator spamming and don’t do anything off it, that’s on your team, plenty opportunity to have your spy go in or bombers/demo spam to initiate. If the pyro is scorch spamming, all that time spent timing and thinking is negated, and they have a lot more room to be looking around and playing their roles.

It’s never been about the weapon just being annoying. If you’re able to do all of this, while barely impacting your focus, it’s an unhealthy weapon. Pyro is a class predominantly determined by your own focus and mental play. Deciding what to focus on denying and when. When to run a secondary to deal with a certain type of threat and when. If running detonator to spam, where to send it and when, when to detonate it.

You take scorch, you can spam a spot and hit a player, completely ruin their momentum, and leave them in the open to be sniped and picked off. Take a combo aggressing in hazard. You try doing that with detonator or any other secondary, and that happens differently. Should the pyro be able to deny like that without any real risk to himself, compared to thinking about it and potentially trading his life to deny, compared to sticking closer to combo to try to deny jumpers there? You don’t need to make that choice with scorch shot. You analyze the uses of the scorch shot, and you find a lot of cases like this.

The less of a choice you leave pyro to make, the more reliant on the weapon they become in place of actual mechanics and brains. The more worse pyros can do, and the less better pyros have to actually set themselves apart and do things on their own merit. Why should a class based off of focus, have a weapon that negates your own need to focus?

The unfairness of longer range stunning completely imbalances the flow of fights against the pyro, by removing your best means of avoiding damage by the pyro. If you switch to airblast to gain control, you aren’t using your secondary. If you can do everything with your secondary vs something like a scout, there’s much less skill required in direct fights. If you’re using a shotgun, you’re rewarded there.

If you use the detonator, you can control them into your range and hit them indirectly. If it’s a combo class, you can flare them. But none of these cases involve the flat out stalling of a person unless you airblast. There is no counterplay to having your movement removed from a distance. Either don’t touch the ground entirely and play a game of the floor is lava, or just ♥♥♥♥ right off because you’re playing poorly ig, just be better and don’t get stunned l o l! minimal commitment stunlocks are so intuitive.

Put simply, effective usage of the scorch shot flat out ruins the reward of smartly choosing your secondary. Less thinking on a thinking based class aint good chief. I am left to ask myself, is the scorch shot just annoying? I’d think not.

Keep scorch banned, unban darwins. Reward pyros for helping their team with spam, but at a cost if they keep tunnel visioning it. It’s never at a cost with scorch in comparison. Important to maintain the tradeoff nature of pyro play imo. If the sniper is the biggest issue, let the pyro help the team out with it, and let the enemy sniper play around it if it becomes an issue. Then from there, both players keep adapting and adjusting. All of it comes at a cost, a conscious thought the players are left with. Still need to peak longer and or time better to get comparable spam value to the scorch shot is the bottom line. More risk involved.
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6 Comments
Bliztank  [author] Mar 29 @ 4:59pm 
hi
ben. Mar 29 @ 4:58pm 
hello
Jammy Jan 17 @ 7:22pm 
wow
Stupid Jan 15 @ 6:49pm 
hoaly shit
tldr
welle Jan 12 @ 6:13am 
didnt read + ratio