Home News The Shogun Pack Update: A blade to fall on


A recent Steam poll revealed that 98% of users thought the Demoman needed more melee weapons.

With yesterday’s release of the Shogun Menage à Trois for Team Fortress 2, Valve added four new weapons to the game, along with four hats. While some players debate the continued efforts of Valve to cash in on preorders for third party software, I’ve already stated my case on such matters. Instead, we turn to a matter on which there is no debate:

These items are bad.

“But WiNG,” you quaver, “they’re not so bad! They’re just situational!”

While this may be the case, situational didn’t become a synonym for useful, the last time I checked. After all, keeping a life jacket under my bed is situationally useful, in the situation that the midlands of New Jersey flood to above the third story of my apartment complex. Keeping a loaded gun in my car is useful in the situation that crime occurs in New Jersey. You get the idea: as probability of a scenario approaches zero, so to does the value of an item that relies on that situation.

So, let’s discuss the situation at hand.

Conniver’s Kunai

What it does: When equipped, the Spy has only 60 health. Upon successful backstab, the Spy is healed/overhealed for an amount equal to his victim’s current life, up to a maximum of 180 HP.

Useful situation: Cloaked, you manage to make it behind the enemy team without getting hit by a single stray rocket, flare, pipe, sticky, bodyshot, arrow, or melee attack, all of which would instantly kill you. You backstab an enemy, putting you at 180 health, which immediately starts ticking away. Someone spots you, but before they can warn the team or kill you, you get another backstab, putting you back at 180 life. You repeat the process until no foes remain, ending your 11 kill streak with a revolver duel against the final pursuer. You survive, left with only 1 HP, thanks to the Conniver’s Kunai.

Situation likelihood: Same approximate likelihood of Half Life 2 Episode 3 or Half Life 3 being released in the next 2 years.

Fan O’War

What it does: Dealing only 10% of the Scout’s normal melee damage, the Fan O’War “marks enemies for death” on hit, causing the target to take minicrits.

Useful situation: You’ve made it into a flanking position as Scout, only to discover your worst nightmare: a Natascha heavy. Since you have the Force-a-Nature equipped, you don’t think you can kill him, so you double-jump over his head, marking him for death. Landing behind him, you fire the FAN into his backside, launching him across the map with a mini-crit meatshot. Using your microphone, you say only one word: Pull. Friendly buckshot fills the air, rending the Heavy limb from gigantic limb.

Situation likelihood: Odds are similar to chance that Americans will realize Charlie Sheen is not a newsworthy story.


What it does: When this samurai-themed blasting horn is blown by the Soldier, nearby allies gain 20% of their damage back as life.

Useful situation: It’s Dustbowl 2, point 2, and there are only 11 seconds left on the clock. You allies are surrounding the capture point, but are hesitant to push forward, because an enemy Pyro recently set everyone ablaze and killed both of the team’s Medics.* While a friendly Engineer has built a level 3 dispenser, there’s not enough time to wait for its sweet but slow healing spray. Tooting your turn-of-the-century conch, you lead the charge, as allies pour around you, instinctively trusting a Soldier to be a source of healing. Your team sucks the enemy dry of HP like a flock of blue-skinned vampires and secure victory.

Situation likelihood: Remember that time, when you were 9 years old, when you were watching the lottery drawing on TV? It was the Pick 6 and you picked 5 in a row! Remember that? Man, that was neat. This gameplay situation is twelve orders of magnitude more unlikely.


What it does: Upon killing an enemy, the user (Soldier or Demoman) is instantly healed to full health. However, the Zato cannot be switched out once drawn until it is responsible for a kill. If used against another player brandishing this sword, it will result in a one-hit fatality.

Useful situation: You encounter another idiot running around with this sword.

Situation likelihood: Unfortunately, this situation is extremely likely.

Implications for gameplay: No comment.

*Just kidding. Nobody plays Medic, especially not more than one person simultaneously.

28 replies to this post
    • lol, no, it’s not a waste. I’m still trying to get the hang of it, obviously this piece is a little exaggerated for the sake of humor. So far I have been getting my ass handed to me, dying to random rockets in one hit. I tried using the DR but then when people hear it decloak survivability is low with only 60 hp!

      Maybe Valve will buff it a bit, but if not I’ll just keep practicing. I thought L’Etranger was terrible at first but it does have its uses.

  1. If that FaN scout switches to his pistol after firing his FaN, he will do 240 additional damage over 2.04 seconds (before needing to reload). That 20 damage per pistol shot with no distance drop off (because mini-crits rock) should make short work of the Heavy.

    Assuming that the Heavy started at 300 health and took 160 damage from the FaN (10/12 pellets hit) it will take 7 of those 12 pistol shot connecting to kill the Heavy.

    That seems pretty good to me.

    • Great video by stabby, though like you pointed out, there was nothing special that knife let him do. He could have done just as well or better with the other knives. There were few portions where having 180 life saved him, but ultimately having 60 life is what did him in!

    • Based on that video, the only thing the Kunai seems to be good for is surviving a stab made at low health. For example, he would have survived if he didn’t miss the stairstab at the end.

      • Man oh man do I wish I landed that stab.

        I think WiNG is correct in saying that the normal knife would have done about as well given the skill-level of the opposing team.

        In subsequent rounds against perfectly decent players, however, I’ve found the knife to be perfectly viable. That’s good enough for me. It’s nice to have a new toy that’s more challenging in most situations and doesn’t feel at all cheap (no disrespect, Saharan Set).

        Really, when using the DR I tend to be running around with ~60 health about as often as I’m at full health or over-healed with the Kunai, anyway…pausing to run for health packs sort of negates the aggression the watch allows for.

  2. I have the new knife, and (having not play with it yet ((bleeping work!))) my first thoughts are how hard it will be to come in behind the enemy like Wing’s take, but that’s just it, imagine for me, you get good with this knife, and in doing so avoiding enemy fire and literal fire (a la Pyro) and you chain stab their team. Now let’s take what you learned from having only 60 hit points and change to the regular knife, or TER. Not only will you be better at achieving “Matrix-like dodging bullets” abilities but the hope is you’ll live longer and die less frequently. Of course, the chances of that happening is astounding, like Wing beating Binerexis by 13,360 points in ACB again. The weapon I want to try is the fan o’ war, just sounds gimmicky lol. I think the concept sounds cool, but I’ve been wrong before.

    • Agreed. The only possible upside to the knife is that right after you stab anyone, you will be in a better position to escape than with other knives. But that’s about it.

  3. for the Half-Zatoichi ‘s stats are actually pretty good, slap the chraging targe on it and you can basically get a full heal whenever you need to. (and just think of it on degroot keep?!?)

  4. Currently (although they’re trying to fix this in beta to see reactions) a kill needs to be made with the Zatoichi out, not with it itself. So you can fire a rocket then switch to it to get a kill and heal, or switch to it, blow your load (of stickies) then waltz off into the sunset with full health on you.

    Regardless of how effective it is, the Kunai is made for getting those riskier stabs, where there’s someone behind you who’ll pump you full of lead, gunpowder or whathaveyou afterwards, but getting enough health to make it out instead of dying as if you’d used the regular knife. Its a weapon seemingly built for either bad Spies who don’t check their back, or Spies who’d rather get lucky on an infiltration than have to get lucky and not have a second enemy come around the corner (and infiltration is notably easier on some maps then others). Also, in comp play where infiltration is near assured with the C&D in use, it helps to give you time to fire of another shot or two after the stab (as you’d die thanks to communication if you were discovered with the regular knife, the health reduction makes little difference).

  5. I play spy aggressively, and using the Kunai means I die even if someone farts on me.

    I’ve always wanted an eyelander-esque knife that buffs you as you perforate some backsides, but this seems pretty useless to me.

    Oh well – maybe it works well for other people.

  6. I’ve been watching vids and trying the kunai myself, and oddly enough, the only way to get better or at least to the base to start off is playing the spy. Trying all the watches, all the knives there are, as each will train you in it’s use area and for revolvers and watches, also finding the right weapon in the wrong place to make all the difference in the map.
    It indeed is kinda like the YER, going extremely defensive and staying out of sight before your first stab, but of course there are differences. And there are what makes it a YER for these situations where the enemy team is just attentive enough to check their backs for undisguised spies, but will ignore “Team mates”.
    I found it also rather amusing to stab somebody, preferably a soulless monster with a flamethrower, then piercing the skulls of their medicine wimmen with the handgun of choice whilst their STD guns can’t* harm you because you’ve got awesome ancient japanese magick.

    *not before you give their load to somebody’s mom

  7. The only other way I could see the Kunai as being useful, would be during payload. You’re going in for the stabs, when a heavy starts shooting you from behind. As you stab away, you keep getting health refills, allowing you to take the fat man’s bullets.

    • Yes I was just in a situation like that. Except it was a demoman’s volley of grenades. And I died anyway when I ran out of people to stab.

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