Home Editorial Balance Polycount Madness Week – Day 4: The Scout

Maybe if Don Draper spent more time being faithful to his wife and less time living a double life as an FBI agent, his kids would love him.

I recently watched a movie about the Scout. In the film, he was still very fast. He and his friend Benjamin Affleck would run around Boston, bonking people with baseball bats and occasionally using a Scattergun or Pistol. The Scout was looking kind of ugly though. I think he should see a dermatologist.

What I realized from watching this film, other than that nuns are bad people, is that the Scout remains one of the most fun classes in Team Fortress 2.

If, 8 years ago, someone told you you’d enjoy playing an FPS in which you throw milk at people and hit them with a fish, you probably would have punched that person in the face. But that’s you. You have anger problems.

But for the rest of us, we’d just laugh in disbelief. Yet, 8 years and two diplomas later* we’re fish-slapping our opponents till the cows come home.

What made this item so fun? (Just to be clear, only the fish is fun.)

And, more importantly, what new fish will Valve unlock in the next update?

Holy Mackerel

Let’s just skip the bullcrap and get to the important part: FISH KILLS.

Looks like it's time to hit the hot tub, bros.

In New Jersey, a “fish kill” is a slang term that refers to the semi-common occurrence of going to the ‘shore** and finding that a hundred thousand fish were killed by pollution and are now lying all over the ‘shore. Apparently this term is not in vogue à Boston.

The Holy Mackerel has no tactical purpose. In fact, it is explicitly worse than the baseball bat by simple merit that it announces every hit you score on the enemy team. Imagine the following scenario:

BLU Spy: I wonder where zhe Scout ahz gouhn?
BLU Snoipah: I reckon we’ll never find ‘im, mate.

Scout FISH KILL! Medic

BLU Spy: Quelle espèce de merde.

Having recently finished reading The Art of War, I recall a particularly moving stanza regarding declaring one’s position to one’s enemy: “Don’t do it.”

In summary: the Holy Mackerel is hilarious; use it for trolling, not serious killing.

Mad Milk

Non-milk substance. Just wanted to get that out there. Okay, we can move on.

No wait, no we can’t.

A typical milk-based vampire.

What kind of substance could possibly heal you when you put bullets into your foes? My initial guess was that the Scout was some kind of milk-based vampire, but apparently Mad Milk works for your whole team. Plus the Scout wasn’t nearly sparkly enough to be a vampire (based on my extensive knowledge of the species), so I guess it’s just demonic magic?

Okay, now we can move on.

Mad Milk, to me, is an incredibly narrow item among a slew of other similarly-narrow items. Just a reminder: the Scout now has his choice of 3 drink-like secondary “weapons,” each producing an astoundingly specific effect.

Yes, Mad Milk can, in theory, heal your teammates. The problem is that in most scenarios, when you’re at 15 HP, your default strategy isn’t “try to hit that specific person covered in milk.” It’s usually “run like hell while spamming E until it falls off my keyboard.”

In practice, I’ve found Mad Milk to be useful primarily to put out fires. Yes, in Valve’s infinite wisdom, they’re introduced two additional things that weaken afterburn damage this update. (A cookie to whoever names the second.***) That said, I routinely found myself returning to the default Pistol in most situations. While dousing enemies in vampiric darke magiks is fun, it doesn’t get the job done like bullets in the face.

My only caveat is that Mad Milk may be more viable in combination with the Short Stop, since the Short Stop would otherwise share the Pistol’s ammunition. And we all know how plentiful Pistol ammunition is.

The Short Stop

Speak of the devil, it’s the Short Stop!

With the Short Stop, I think Valve truly struck a home run. And I don’t mean that in a punny “the Scout likes baseball” kind of way. The Short Stop is the perfect middle ground between the Scattergun, the Force-a-Nature, and the Pistol.

The Short Stop says it slows enemies, but I’ve never noticed this effect. Instead, I’ve noticed a hidden attribute: it puts enemies in graves.

With 4 shots per reload, this gun falls exactly halfway between the two primary weapon loadout options. However, the Short Stop unloads buckshot and reloads faster than the Scattergun, making it excellent for keeping up constant pressure.

Yes, it does less damage. And no, it can’t help you Force Jump. (if you don’t know what that term means click the link NOW)

But it’s a very fair trade-off: rapid, mid-range damage in lieu of close-range burst damage. If it actually slows any part of the enemy other than the heart, I have yet to care, because at the end of the day, one chucklenut is going to be sleeping with the fishes (him) and another is gonna be slapping with them (me).

I highly recommend the Short Stop for encounters in which flanking specific enemies is difficult, or where a large number of your enemies are undesirable to engage at point blank range, especially now that Degreaser Pyros are a little more difficult to weapon-heckle.

Begging for Hats

Blah blah blah, I don’t have this hat, blah blah blah.

*TopTierTactics.com is intended for readers over 21 with college degrees. Or at least 14 Boy Scout merit badges. Either one is fine. Please e-mail proof of degree and/or Eagle Scout status to WiNGSPANTT before reading each article.

**In the Garden State, “shore” is an abbreviation demarked by shore. It stands for “Are you sure you want to go to this dump?”

***Void where prohibited. Must be 13 years of age or older, and posses 11 or more merit badges. Not to be combined with other offers. If you are pregnant or nursing, or may become pregnant, discontinue cookie use immediately. No purchase necessary. For legal purposes, “cookie” refers to malicious software that tracks your Internet activity. Approximate odds of winning are 1 in 5.

18 replies to this post
  1. Scout update… well i only have experience with the Short Stop and the [b]Holy Fish of Trolling + 10[/b]… er.. I mean the Holy Mackarel.

    The Short Stop fails a bit at the slow department… maybe it’s like a placebo effect that if you hit someone with it, you know they are slow to dodge, but as for real slowing down targets… I have yet to see. Then again my tf2 just updated so I’ll have to test it some more sine it was the most recent weapon on my list.

    The [b]Tuna of Shamefull striking + 8[/b]… as you said, its an awesome weapon if you like slaping people in a mafiosi style while giving up your position, followed by the usual amusing “HAHA FISH KILLED ZELOLZ” (yes because scout trolls may be the dire offspring of something bizzare). But yeah it is amusing as hell and does relatevely the same damage as the regular bat… it just has the quirk of making funny noises while delivering swift fishy justice to enemies and showcasing your heroics to the world, before all hell rains on you.

    As for the mad milk, just wainting for random drops to make it since I have an extra vintage jaraté waiting to be turned into sweet lactose dark magic, so i can’t give much input.

    The full set is nice for the extra health and all but I still prefer my Force jumping and pistoling anyday… still amusing depending on the situations.


    • Yup, I was given an old Champion 12ga single shot with a moeltardey pitted 30″ barrel. The hinge pin was very loose so the gun rattled like the doors on a Model T Ford. I made up and fitted a new hinge pin from a length of air hardening drill rod. The gun is as tight as new now, but from the absence of markings I don’t know the chamber length and am almost entirely ignorant of 12 ga chamber lengths or how to determine them. Who to ask to find out what chamber length is this old barn gun likely to have? The only certainty is it ain’t 3″. I know there are 2 3/4″ shells, were there 2 1/2″ shells?Gerry N

  2. Well i don’t know about you guys, but unlike the other classes for the scout i find that 25 extra hp is a lot considering that he is annoying to hit like hell (well apart from the soldier with the magic critical rocket of doom). I found out that it is possible to kill the bane of scout (Natasha wielding Heavy for me) @ mid range just because of the 25 extra Hp plus the new Shottystoll (Shotty+Pistol, cleaver eh?) and ye the Holy Fish on Antioch(…) is just a awesome reason for ROFLMAO and to induce chronic rageness on the others.

    • We have a winner! Unfortunately due to your inability to furnish evidence of college graduation and/or Eagle Scout status ahead of time, you are ineligible to receive a cookie at this time.

      • I kinda saw that coming. But if you wait several years, that graduation thing will be present.

  3. I dislike the Shortstop. With the Scatter or FaN, the Scout has to put himself in danger to dish out real damage. With the Shortstop, he can, as you say, constantly pressure you with good damage while at mid range. Mid range also happens to be the easiest and second best place to avoid damage (best being flying around someone’s head).

    In other words, the Scout doesn’t have to put himself in anywhere NEAR the danger required by the Scattergun or FaN to kill you. And as the fastest class in the game, he can KEEP that distance and low level of danger. It feels less like he’s requiring a tradeoff (closer = dangerous, but much higher damage) and more like they’re just dropping a tiny bit of damage for the ability to not die.

    I did the calculations after the update and, as I recall, the Scattergun has 164 DPS at point blank, while the Shortstop has 144 DPS. It’s not much of a tradeoff, honestly.

    • Definitely a good point. At many times it does feel “too good” though I’m sure in competitive play the surprise of dying in 2 shots is better than constant mid range pressure. After all, a good Medic buddy can absorb the hits while building Uber… that said, I’m surprised it has the “slows target” modifer on top of its strong damage and decent accuracy.

  4. Does the cookie come with milk? Mad milk?
    Nice article WiNG. I usually have strong opinions and when I used the milk surprisingly I missed my pistol D:
    and seriously when shooting someone with the shortstop or getting shot by it I see/feel no change in speed. I swear they didn’t program that effect in.

    Also though the shortstop’s damage is only a little less then the scatter the pellet disadvantage makes up for it. Each pellet the shortstop has does 12 base damage (compared to 6 per a pellet of the scatter) and it only shoots 4 pellets. Missing a single pellet cuts your damage drastically especially when random spread factors in. The scatter gun shoots 10 pellets each dealing 6 base damage. Though there’s a 12 damage difference the scattergun’s damage is more spread out making it more effective at longer ranges. I would classify the shortstop as a close range weapon.

    Well anyways I have a question:
    Does the shortstop take away from pistol ammo?

    ….well finally to wrap this up I think valve did a good job with the scout polycount package.

    • The Short Stop uses pistol ammunition. So if you’re using both you will run out of ammo quick. It is similar to using the FN p90 and the FN 5-7 together in Counterstrike (or the UMP/default CT pistol).

      Yeah, I just went there.

  5. hey WiNG i managed to get all the hats with haxz i mean luck (no i really mean luck someone traded me the fez for the fish) but anyway i got all the hats and i just made a video of the spy items but i cant upload it till the 11th

  6. Sorry for the double comment but I forgot to ask: Are you gonna review the G.R.U for the heavy and the Vita Saw for the medic? Since the last update they can be crafted I wanted to know your opinion of both items =)

  7. as part of the set, the milkman provides the polycount scout the ability to live. he’s traded off higher damage per shot of the scattergun and fan for a mid-range weapon; stored his pistol in his locker for a bit of extra survivability(putting out fires, and often ive found myself having escaped an encounter by next to NO HEALTH as a result of having milked the opponent before they became aware of me.); the mackerel is just a fish, enjoy it. the milkman adds to this +25hp and is ABSOLUTELY ASTONISHING how great it is. that extra health really makes the scout survivable. you’re not going to be 1shot from a direct hit rocket or anything a demo has, but in return your firepower is a little lacking. the milkman scout is ideal for supporting his team, and mid range harassment due to the shortstops pistol accuracy.

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