Initial disclaimer: As you probably already know, there’s not a hell of a lot you can do as an explosive class against an intelligent (or even a braindead) Short Circuit engineer. He’s basically got the love child of the flamethrower and the deflector and it was hand-crafted at birth to screw you and only you. But as a diehard Demoman main I can do little except attempt to adapt to this new challenge, and I’ve slowly found what I believe to be the best possible strategy to use against a turtling level 3 sentry nest guarded by the Short Circuit.

But before we get into that, I’m going to post its stats for reference.

On Fire: Generates an electrical field that destroys
projectiles and damages enemies in front of the player.

Consumes 15 ammo per projectile destroyed.
No reload necessary
No random critical hits
Per Shot: -5 ammo
Uses metal for ammo
No metal from dispensers when active.

There’s a hidden stat: Does not work underwater (This is a particularly big deal on rd_asteroid when engines build in the flooded chambers under the B robot spawn,) Not too useful except on that rare occasion you fight one that wasn’t aware of this.

Anyway, my brilliant strategy for fighting Short Circuit engineers is to ensure my guns are all fully loaded before he sees me and spam my explosive weapons at them until they run out of ammo. Amazing right? But Valve’s half-hearted attempts to balance the weapon into something respectable have elevated this strategy to near viability, unlike before when it could solo the Valve Rocket Launcher. Since the Engineer cannot gain extra metal from dispensers, once he starts shooting he’s losing 5 metal every .15 seconds, with an additional 15 metal lost projectile destroyed. If you are a stock demoman, 4 pipes and 8 stickies will actually outlast 200 metal just from the projectile destruction cost, not even factoring in the firing cost.

Picture by Gen. DeGroot.
And if he’s a roaming Engineer trying to be cute with his lightning gun, don’t forget you’ve got one explosive weapon he can’t nullify. Picture by Gen. DeGroot.

Soldier will have a harder time with just his 4 explosive rockets, but it might be worth taking the shots anyway in the hopes his opponent had less than 100 metal. Remember that Engineers often do not have 200 metal on them, especially if they’ve just finished an upgrade process.

As I warned you before, this isn’t the greatest position you could be in. Enemy players will wreck your day fast due to the amount of time required to burn through the Engineer’s metal, and reloading will be a bitch. But spamming right back at the nest is the best way to hurt the Engineer for the future and I’ve found that it’s often worth the effort for the few times you’re given enough uninterrupted time to outlast his metal and leave his nest totally defenseless. If you can reach the point where you have ammo and he doesn’t have metal (even if his dispenser has metal but he can’t use it without switching away from the Short Circuit), the odds tip slightly more in your favor.