In honor of the newest comic revealing the name of the TFC Demoman, I thought I’d take this opportunity to write a guide on how to play him if you ever feel the need to give TFC a try and just embrace the grenades. Greg has so many explosive toys to play with I doubt you’ll even get a chance to try them all out in your first life before your uterus is wrapped around a tree at least ten yards away from your death’s epicenter.
Just like in TF2, I main Medic and offclass Demoman, so I’m significantly less skilled with Greg as I am with his medical teammate. Luckily, I can compensate for that because Greg plays much more similarly to Tavish than New York medic does to German medic.
Let’s go over the basics.
A. Know the tools you are equipped with. Since your job is basically the same in TF2 and TFC, its better for a TF2 immigrant to spend some time learning how the weapons at her disposal differ from what she’s used to. Here’s a breakdown, ordered by default key.
1- Crowbar. The same melee weapon everyone without specialized alternatives gets. Completely useless.
2- Single-barrel shotgun. Yes, TFC Demoman gets a shotgun. But believe it or not, most TFC veterans have advised me against ever using it once I’ve learned how to aim grenades. The single-barreled shotty is pretty useless on any class that gets it due to its low damage output even landing all pellets. But it does technically outrange your other weapons and it won’t deal self-damage, so there’s that.
3- Grenade Launcher. Shoots blue pipes, six shots per clip (yes, that is awesome) and its grenades explode upon contact with an enemy player or after a few seconds in the field. You’ll probably find it much harder to hit things than with the TF2 grenade launcher, but keep practicing because its your best self-defense weapon when you don’t have a hand grenade primed.
4- Pipebomb Launcher. TFC’s stickybomb launcher. Shoots yellow pipes that only detonate when the player presses alt-fire. Does not stick to surfaces, your traps will need to be ground based. This is the toughest thing you’ll have to adapt to. The pipes also bounce for freaking ever, making it tough to gauge where the pipe you shot is going to actually come to rest. But this weapon is your primary, keep shooting those pipes and eventually you’ll get the hang of it.
F- Hand grenade. TFC’s favorite weapon. Prime them so that when you do throw the thing your victim doesn’t have any reaction time, or huck them immediately for the long distance. Explosivewise, plays identically to…
G- MIRV Grenades, except that MIRVs release a smattering of bomblets after it detonates which then themselves explode. Don’t forget this or you’re liable to walk through the hallway you just cleared and eat your own bomblets.
M- Detpack. Requires priming, comes with a 5 or 15-second fuse. Upon explosion completely obliterates anyone in the blast radius. Many TFC maps comes with out-of-the-way Yellow signs usually propped up against rubbish-filled tunnels or grates; detpacks can blow these passageways open allowing your team further options for assaulting the enemy base.
As you should see, Greg has way more explosive toys to play around with than Tavish could even dream of, so there’s almost always something for your current situation. Try everything and learn what works best when.
B. A demoman is only as good as his knowledge of the map. Far more than in TF2 the TFC demoman should spend a good amount of time learning a map before he can hope to be proficient in doing his job on said map. This has to do with learning the best spots to ricochet yellow pipes off so they go where you want them to. One trick I literally spent an hour forcing myself to learn was how to shoot a yellow pipe off a flat ceiling so that it lands exactly at my feet. This has proved invaluable for placing traps.
Of course, when in doubt…
C. SPAM!!! You were tailormade for it! You know how much reserve ammo your primary gets? FIFTY PIPES. Blow through them. Deny the enemy team from advancing as long as you can. Offense or defense, waves of explosions always help the team. Denying the enemy team from using a single hallway is probably the skill floor of the demoman class. That said, trapping multiple exits with stickies is usually possible and effective. You’re also second only to Engineer and Sniper at preventing enemies from grabbing a flag that’s in your line of fire.
So there you have it. A lot easier to get the hang of than TFC Medic, but that certainly doesn’t mean there isn’t a high skill ceiling. As Sutterkane, namesake of the “Sutterkane rule” explained to me: “Laying pipe traps is an art. You want to lay a trap big enough to where it’s difficult for them to juke you, but you also want it to kill them if they are in the trap and not just wound the offensive player. Bank the pipes off of walls, crouch when you shoot them, and/or shoot a pipe straight at your feet. It really takes a lot of practice.”
You feeling up to it?