Enter Sandman: A look at TF2’s maligned Scout bat upgrade.

20 04 2009

Ever since the Scout got his class upgrades in TF2 It is the only weapon from TF2 to ever be banned in league play. The only reason for, I can presume, is the fact that it stuns any enemy (even ubercharged) it hits for anywhere from 1-8 seconds depending on distance. In fact, it seems to be the fact it stuns ubercharged enemies is the reason it’s banned. Even though it’s never a guaranteed hit. But I posit that The Sandman, when put in the perspective of the entire TF2 package (including upgrades to all the classes thus far), is actually not the balance-breaker everyone seems to say it is.

First let’s look at the pros and cons of the weapon itself

Pros:
Stuns any enemy. Pretty cool, yes…when it hits.

Cons:
The effectiveness of the stun is dependent on distance. This is important. Trust me.
The ball either has to be picked up after use (dangerous) or you have to wait 15 seconds between each attempt. Waiting is dangerous to a scout as well.
Loses Double Jump. This is more important because a scout effectively loses half his aerial mobility. Using the Force-A-Nature’s recoil as a substitute Double Jump does not cut it.

Now, keep in mind it seems to me people are complaining about the fact that this bat (or more correctly, the ball hit by it) can stun ubercharged enemies, thus wasting the charge. To this I say…stop complaining.

With the speed at which an ubercharge can be made ready, it’s often in many maps that people will tank rush Ubercharged heavies. Especially on the multistage control point maps. The round will start and suddenly most of your defense grid vaporizes under a glowing blue wave of annihilation. In short, The Sandman levels the playing field on this tactic. Something that I’m sure most people aren’t happy with, but oh well.

Furthermore, the bat also adds slightly into a scout’s usefulness that was decreased when the pyro got his(her?) class upgrade. The Backburner is, simply put, annoying on its own. And then you get teams that are half made-up of pyros. Wouldn’t you like the ability to stop them from lighting you on fire, even for a moment? I know I would. Especially if they’re using the Flare Gun (which oddly enough nobody seems to complain about other than it basically being like The Sandman minus the sheer power but plus setting you on fire).

Anyway I don’t really think The Sandman is all that great anyway, I prefer my double jumping. I just kinda like the option to even the odds a bit, once in a while.

And yes I know the irony of telling people to stop complaining when I complain about being rushed by ubered enemies and pyros, so…no need to point that out.

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