Would you be interested in playing the Scout with the Grenade Launcher as your primary? Or perhaps the Loose Cannon for all you Force-a-Nature fans? It might seem a bit different at first, having to rely on explosives instead of hitscan, but I don’t doubt an enterprising player could find a way to make it work.

I’ll stop beating around the bush. If you have any interest in playing a scout with a grenade launcher, try the Sticky Jumper.

Picture by Medic.
Haha! How many of you guessed from the title this would be a Sticky Jumper article? Picture by Medic.

Several users on SPUF have been complaining (again) about the jumpers, claiming that they’re impossible to use efficiently and should be restricted to offline mode etc. As one user claims: “Sorry, your sticky jumping/point capping demo is useless. Your team would have always, and I mean always, been better served by a demo actually doing his job on the front line.”

I believe that statements such as this represent a lack of creative thinking and an inability to understand alternate team roles. Role-changing unlocks such as the Gunslinger, Huntsman and Sticky Jumper prevent the user from fulfilling their ordinary job on the team; the question is whether they can instead fill a new role adequately enough to justify that loss.  It is for that reason that I enjoy calling the Sticky Jumper playstyle “Scout with a grenade launcher”, because it emphasizes the speed, three-dimensional control and objective-rushing focus of the Scout class. Compare the following arguments not to the stock Demoman I could be playing, but the Scout I could be playing.

Scouts excel at picking, death-matching and objective-rushing. Their mobility lets them locate vulnerable or important targets and their burst-damage primary weapon lets them eliminate that target extremely efficiently. Their 2x cap rate was a transparent signal from Valve that the scout should also focus on completing objectives, though in certain cases (especially pushing the payload) their frailty can be the balancing factor, as being forced to stand near the objective limits their super-important mobility, making them easier targets. In addition, sentries are something of a hard-counter, and a well-entrenched level 3 nest can lock entire portions of the map down from the scout.

In comparison, the ideal playstyle for making effective use of the Sticky Jumper also comes from utilizing your insane mobility. During rollouts, you should be able to reach the contested point faster than the team scouts. The Pain Train gives you the same cap rate as a scout, and the Grenade Launcher allows you to destroy sentries in a way scouts can only dream of. In a game mode such as King of the Hill, where a scout develops a more pick-oriented focus once the point is captured and the team focuses on defense, the Sticky Jumper demo can fly over the enemy lines and target snipers, teleporters and other crucial parts to the enemy offense at their weakest point. At this point they can swap their Pain Train out for a number of playstyle-enhancing melees. Persian Persuader grants sustainability, Caber grants a single pick, and Scotsman’s Skullcutter makes you quite powerful for sustained melee fights if you’re into that sort of thing. Personally I prefer the Persian Persuader because the Sticky Jumper grants doubled health from weapon pickups and lets you grab more ammo from a Resupply locker in seconds.

The Sticky Jumper truly shines on hectic or claustrophobic game modes such as Special Delivery, Payload race, or Arena. These focus more heavily on death-matching numerous pockets of resistance from any given direction, and your mobility allows you to constantly choose the arena of combat or escape if things get too hairy. These traits are shared with the Scout. The main difference between you and scout are that your mobility is harder to control for more reward and requires minute levels of setup time rather than being something inherent (like movespeed and double-jump). But the sentry countering, health regeneration and indirect damage options inherent in the playstyle makes the loadout very much viable at accomplishing a number of the same objectives as scouts.

What I’m trying to establish here is that the Sticky Jumper playstyle should not be discounted just because it’s different from the Stickybomb Launcher playstyle. Criticizing one based on the other is inherently wrong because the player is playing a different team role depending on which he has equipped, and both are quite viable at their chosen focuses. Now, if one were to argue that it’s unfair the Demoman is the only class in the game with several viable playstyles that differ wholly from their original, that is certainly a debatable point. But the playstyles themselves need to be given the credit where credit is due.