Standard Weapons: Scattergun, Pistol, Bat
Valve Unlockables: Force-A-Nature, Bonk! Energy Drink, The Sandman
The Scout’s Scattergun is very similar to the standard shotgun, except of course it does more damage, and it’s a sawn-off shotgun instead of the standard pump action. It can hold 6 shells, and can fire at any time it has at least 1 shell loaded, even while reloading. At point blank range it’s quite a fearsome weapon if the user is accurate enough, and can drop most targets in 2 or 3 shots max at close range. It isn’t much more powerful than the shotgun, but its real advantage lies in the class it’s attached to: the Scout.
The Scout is built for speed and agility, and as such it is quite easy to get in close to your target. So long as you never stop running, stay behind cover as much as is allowable while you close on them, and make liberal use of your double jump ability, you can cover great distances in short times while taking little to no damage. Once you reach your target, the scattergun shines, assuming your aim is good.
Advantages: Very high damage at very close range, decent rate of fire and reload, ability to fire while reloading.
Disadvantages: Rather ineffective beyond medium range (steep accuracy and damage drop-off).
The pistol is a handy little 12-bullet sidearm to which only the Scout and Engineer have access. Its damage doesn’t drop off a lot as range increases, and it’s fairly accurate. It has the advantage of firing fast (about as fast as you can click) and having a short reload to make up for its low damage, and this makes it a great choice to pull out and squeeze off a few rounds when your primary weapon runs dry. Use it at about medium range, where you can dodge your enemy’s fire while filling them with bullets.
While 20 isn’t a lot of damage, it adds up if you can hit your target repeatedly. Most classes have 175 health or less, so you can take half of that away in about 9 or 10 shots (in other words, 1 clip). So when you think about it, plugging 2 clips into someone (a feat that doesn’t take long given the pistol’s firing and reload speeds) can do a lot of damage, and is the perfect choice when chasing down an enemy with low health, especially one that is retreating and not dodging too much.
The pistol also has another skin called the Lugermorph, which has exactly the same stats as the normal pistol, but is only available to those who preordered Sam & Max 101.
Advantages: High rate of fire, quite accurate at medium to long range, easy to do at least some damage, fast reload.
Disadvantages: Low damage at all ranges, small ammo reserve (3 clips).
One of the more unique melee weapons, the Scout’s lightweight, aluminum baseball bat is nothing if not fun. It does about half the damage of other class’s weapons, but hits twice as fast, about two times each second. This makes it great for disorienting the target as they are bludgeoned repeatedly and you circle strafe around them. A single critical hit alone can be enough to take down an injured opponent, so if you land even one, keep digging into them until they fall.
See Valve’s TF2 Stats for current data on the rate of random critical hits with the Bat (among other data available).
The Force-A-Nature (or FaN for short) is an interesting replacement for the Scattergun, unlocked after just eleven Scout achievements. It’s like a more compact Scattergun, holding only two rounds at any given time that can be fired in rapid succession but requires a rather lengthy reloading after one of these volleys.
Comparing the damage of the FaN to the Scattergun gets a bit complicated for a number of reasons. Each FaN bullet (the individual particles blast out in a single shot) does ten percent less damage, but there are twenty percent more bullets per FaN shot (adding up to more damage in general with the FaN, especially up close). The differences in their ‘clip’ size, rate of fire and reload speed complicate things even further. When looked at from a mathematical perspective, analysis has shown a few revealing (and logical) differences. The FaN has the edge in short-term damage, especially in the first two-thirds of a second of the battle (the time it takes to shoot twice with the FaN). By the time a Scattergun is able to get it’s third shot off, it now has the lead in overall damage. So in short; The FaN is better for short surprise attacks, while the Scattergun excels in longer lasting combat situations.
The other main distinction is right there in the name; the Force-a-Nature fires with such force that it will push enemies back when it hits them (much like the Pyro’s compression blast). It also applies a backward force on you if you’re in midair, which provides a distinct feature; the Forcejump. Forcejumps function much the same as a rocketjump or stickyjump (for the Soldier and Demoman respectively) with a few distinct differences. First, it does not damage the Scout when performed (good thing because there’s not much health to be sacrificing in the first place). Second, the Scout may perform his usual double-jump after his forcejump, allowing him a degree of flexibility in choosing a direction. Third, it does not go quite as high as a perfect rocket or sticky jump, but is still just as useful in most of the same situations. Lastly, and I’ll explain in more detail, but it is a bit more difficult to perform and requires some practice to master. To perform a forcejump, you need to get to full running speed forward, aim down at almost exactly a 45° angle, then jump and shoot your FaN at almost the same instant (but shoot slightly after the jump). Do it right and you’ll jump higher than you ever had as a Scout, and you still have your second jump to get even higher.
So as you can see, there are some differences to consider when choosing your primary Scout weapon. If you decide to take up the FaN, be sure to know it’s strengths and use it properly. The fast double-shot it has is great for ambushing unwary enemies at close range. The pushback effect it has allows you to more accurately predict where they will be for your second shot, among many other subtle uses for pushing opponents around (such as when Spy-checking). The forcejump allows you a greater deal of flexibility in choosing your path, as it opens up shortcuts previously only available to Soldiers and Demomen. The one downside though, and it is certainly worth considering, is the lower overall damage it does in the long run (engagements lasting more than about two seconds).
Advantages: Faster shot for better upfront damage, knocks enemy away, can be used to Forcejump.
Disadvantages: Small clip, relatively long reload, can make it difficult to fight effectively while jumping, lower damage in sustained combat situations.
Bonk! Energy Drink
Ammo: 1 (30 second recharge although it recharges whilst it’s used so it’s 24 seconds)
Best range: N/A
Another food item to follow up the Heavy’s Sandvich, the Bonk! Energy Drink is unlocked after getting twenty-two achievements and the third Scout Milestone. It’s a logical addition to the Scout’s arsenal, providing a few seconds of (effectively) invulneraas ability to become a “freakin’ blur” (in third person), after which he returns to normal speed. All this at the cost of a pistol; something definitely worth some thought before bringing some Bonk! into battle with you.
The pistol-vs-Bonk! decision is very much going to come down to what kind of player you are. For those hyperactive Scouts that love to get all up in everyone’s face and spend all their time in close combat, the energy drink is going to save your life plenty of times (especially for retreats) as well as provide safe passage past those pesky sentry guns. On the other hand, you become effectively powerless at long range, so the ninja Scouts may want to pass this one up. One thing’s for sure however – it’s a lot of fun.
Advantages: Easy to sneak past sentry guns and enemies, lifesaver for retreats, good teamwork counter to sentry guns (distract while your team blows them up).
Crit-a-Cola Energy Drink
Ammo: 1 (24 second recharge)
Damage: Increases primary and melee damage to 130% and removes distance falloff
Best range: Short (for scattergun and bat)
When drunk (in exactly the same fashion as the Bonk!) this makes you to both deal and receive mini-crits for six seconds. It is not obtained through any milestones; instead it can be crafted with a Kritzkrieg + a Bonk!.
It is useful for scouts who can consistently hit scattergun shots and are able to dodge enemies well - its can turn 80 damage shots into 100 damage shots, meaning that you can 2 shot heavier classes. However, remember that as you are receiving minicrits, the enemies damage falloff is canceled, so all shots are treate as point blank + an extra 30%, so rockets can effectively 1 hit kill you, and heavies can be quite brutal at long range.
Advantages: Increases damage output, rewards scouts skilled at dodging
Disadvantages: Removes virtually all long-range capability, attracts enemy attention (as your gun sparkles with crit effect), recharges slowly, increases damage taken
Replacing the old aluminum bat with a sturdy wooden one after unlocking sixteen of the Scout Achievements, The Sandman is the first melee weapon to provide a ranged attack. With The Sandman, the Scout is granted a baseball which, when whacked at an enemy (by pressing alternate fire), will change them into the humiliation animation (where they cannot jump or shoot) for one to eight seconds (increased time on longer ranged shots. Be aware though that there is a minimum range, so if you’re too close it’ll just bounce off ineffectively. The ball will automatically regenerate after fifteen seconds, but you can also just pick up a ball (yours, or any other Scout’s). At max range the ball does full on stun where the person stunned cannot even move. It also reduces the scouts max health to 110.
The ball has a similar arc and speed to the flare gun, and can get critical hits (doing a little more damage and stunning for longer). It takes some practice on the aiming and timing of it to get a good long distance shot, but works well at medium range as well (especially in corridors where enemies bunch up). The Sandman taunt is a Babe Ruth-style one hit KO – it’s got a long wind up, but at least it’s silent (until the applause following the contact). You can also score and applause for a very long range hit (we’re talking twenty meters or so). This makes for a possible stun-then-tauntkill combo, which is certain to humiliate and/or enrage anyone you have a personal grudge against.
See Valve’s TF2 Stats for current data on the rate of random critical hits with the Sandman (among other data available).