Go Team! Part Three: The Demoman

By Jim Rossignol on September 20th, 2007 at 1:12 pm.

Defence is the best form of attack. Is that right? No: attack is the best form of attack, and the engineer’s turrets are the best form of defence. So where does that leave the Demoman? Well, he’s the midfielder of death. Neither truly an attacking class or a defensive class, he’s just lobbing damage into the middle of the map and hoping for the best. Most of the time, of course, he’s coming up trumps: how many times has your demise been a grenade in the face?

No other class quite boasts the versatility or the punch of the Demoman. The grenade launcher has two possibilities: pumping out explosive charges, or placing stickybombs, either as fire-and-fergedaboudit mines, or as traps to be detonated later on. As Demoman you’re most likely to be an unsung hero – who else is going to be able to turn a corridor into a death-trap at the squeeze of a mouse-button? Who else bounces a grenade round the corner to take out a turret without risking a follicle on your cell-shaded scalp?

Neat calculated trajectories aside, I suppose playing the Demoman is largely what we’d call ‘spamming’. As soon as I started pumping out the Demoman’s grenades I was flashing back to Quake III team deathmatch – sticking grenades all over the place, just to keep the enemy team at arm’s length. You spamming bastard. Not exactly a precision instrument, you’re just putting out so many tumbling bombs that your foe generally isn’t going to escape – and at close range you’re probably for it too.

But there are other, rather more interesting side-effects of being a Demoman. The first is the to ability sticky-jump. Now, I’ve not played enough to really have found a tactical necessity for this, but being able to get a good sticky jump in has always been one of the joys of a fortress game. Getting more than one person airborne on the blast – well, that’s the art of it. A rooftop vantage point can make those precisely lobbed bombs all the more dangerous.

The second, well, it’s a little more subjective. It’s the sweet fluke of the bouncing bomb. There’s a kind of joy in the randomness of getting a kill you weren’t expecting. As almost any other class, you’re going to fail if you don’t put your ordnance where it was intended to go, but with the grenades, well, you can end up landing them in path of speeding scout, or putting one through a window just as a sniper steps into the frame, or simply dropping them down from a vantage point as engineers are scurrying to set up their defences. Bounce, bounce, death. There’s an epitaph worthy of any gamer’s tombstone.

Finally: the ultimate fighting retreat. Holding off an advancing medic/heavy combo, because you’re the one with bombs. Because that’s the way the Demoman rolls.

The Demoman isn’t the class I’d want to end up with if I were somehow contractually tied in, but hell, he’d be a good second choice.

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18 Comments »

  1. Theory says:

    With only four grenades and slow reload I don’t know if I’d call the demoman a spammer, exactly. But then I do quite like playing him. :-)

  2. Savage says:

    “midfielder of death” – That’s it perfectly said.

  3. Feet says:

    What happened to the spinny dynomite bit from one of the trailers?

    I’m not very good with the demoman for some reason. I hardly ever seem to inflict any damage with him unless I get a direct hit and I haven’t quite got the hang of the mortar arc and how much you have to angle it for how much distance.

  4. dartt says:

    Although he’s categorised as defensive, I think he works best as an attacker. Yesterday on dustbowl we had no end of trouble breaking through their cleverly placed sentry guns at the final capture point but a few well judged grenades lobbed from a safe place soon turned the tide.

    Oh and vapourising scouts with the remote bombs is delicious.

  5. Jon says:

    If I could, I’d swap the grenades for the sticky bombs, I find 4 grenades/pipe bomb thingys too few.

    I am really enjoying the demoman, throwing down stickybombs of death is always fun.

  6. Andrew Farrell says:

    The trajectory is just slightly off from the grenade/machine gun on Halflife, which is the one that’s burned in.

  7. Savage says:

    Spinny dynamite thingy: Probably a game breaker. Demoman could be a class that dominated certain maps, which is why I imagine his ammo is limited the way it is, and his sticky bomb reload is slow.

  8. Tim E says:

    He keeps a smiley close to his groin.

    Winner.

  9. Martin Coxall says:

    I have found that the Demoman is probably the class I’m currently finding most fun to play, that said, his tactical value is rather restricted, so I tend to bring him into play at the end.

    I’m still finding myself strangely drawn to Medic and Engineer if I actually want my team to win.

  10. Yargh says:

    ‘either as fire-and-fergedaboudit mines’ : I’ve never actually seen a sticky-bomb be activated just by someone walking on it.

    One other use I have found for sticky bombs is to clear out a mined area (usually a control point) as the explosion detonates them very nicely. This is not the only way either : well aimed gunfire pushes the bombs around too.

  11. Jim Rossignol says:

    Yes, they are remotely detonated, I am wrong and stupid.

  12. Yargh says:

    I’m pretty sure that’s Valve’s fault for leaving in some snippets of text indicating that secondary fire lays proximity mines somewhere (hint: don’t try this when standing in the middle of your remote detonated booby-trap).

    Also the tip about holding down the fire button to make your bombs go further only applies to the sticky bombs, with grenades it just auto fires them (don’t try this while facing a wall…)

  13. BadMonkey0001 says:

    For all of you who say it’s hard to land a hit with the demoman’s weapon, you aren’t thinking about it right. With all other weapons, you have to aim toward toward your foe. with the grenade launcher, bounce the ground for an incoming running enemy. That’s right, I said point your gun at the ground. Don’t go below 45 degrees unless you’re in really close quarters.

    The bounce is the way you aim – get used to it. The low bounce means that the grenade will find a low arc after the bounce and continue on as a stumbler of doom. Works great on those spin-happy scouts. The other players think you have no idea how to aim and just make their eager, sorry way toward you and the jacks-o-killin.

    Using the ground bounce tactic makes you a good frontal assault guy. You can move in with the offense _and_ take out the Engineer’s handiwork for them as you all move along. The Heavy/Medic/Demo offensive combo is quite the force to be reckoned with.

    For the old-timers, you may recognize the ground bounce as the old Threewave CTF defense tactic. Only now the enemy can’t grapple the hell out of the way ;)

  14. duck says:

    A tactic I always used as a demoman in the qw tf was lobbing a single remote controlled grenade and exploding it in some unfortunate player’s face. I also used the two-grenade jump to get to the (indoor) roof area of “two forts” quickly. Ah, the good old days…

    This game looks quite fun, well worth taking a look at.

  15. Jon says:

    The bounce tactic no longer works are the patch. Grenades only explode on contact if they haven’t bounced off an object now.

  16. Gameraotaku says:

    I have found a good way to kill retreating enemies is to not even try and hit them, just fire grenades into a space or doorway that they are backpedalling into. I have killed so many guys by just firing over their shoulders once I got the timing down.

    And I was saddened to learn of the change to bouncing grenades not exploding on contact anymore. Some of my best kills were bounced grenades hitting guys in the head as they came around a corner.

  17. Ikkonoishi says:

    My favorite moment in the game was breaking an invulnerability bond between a heavy and a medic by hitting the medic and knocking him off a bridge.

    Medic:NOOOO!!
    Heavy:Why no glowing? *dies*

  18. Man Raised By Puffins says:

    I can attest that this tactic is thoroughly annoying if you’re playing as a Medic (I’ve been on the receiving end about two to three times now).