Two plus two is four, and here we are for the fourth time to discuss melees, this time for Soldier. This article has a theme. It’s digging. Yes, you can dig with a pan and a sword, shut up. Let’s just jump in and study the art of melees – how to use, when to use and why use a melee at all.
Stock weapon for Soldier is Shovel. Reskins are Frying Pan, Conscientious Objector, Freedom Staff, Bat Outta Hell, Memory Maker and Ham Shank. As in real war, shovel was used to dig trenches. However, in your time of need when anything helps you survive the enemy attack, a shovel can be used to bash the enemies’ skulls in. Bonus point if it had a sharp edge or something. Anyways, in TF2 you don’t dig trenches so you can only hit people with it. It has no special things going for it, as usual, so keep your focus on this – Soldier with his melee is the second slowest class in game. If you are not rocket jumping around, reaching enemies can be hard. In melee fights, mobility is just as important as the weapon itself. So, why use Shovel at all? No big reason. It deals reliable damage and that’s it. You don’t use it often. Better go for some utility.
The most similar weapon to Shovel is Market Gardener. And yet so different. It can’t deal random crits like Shovel (which you should NOT rely on) but it has a spectacular upside to it – while you are rocket jumping, your melee deals crit damage. 195 damage takes down 7 out of 9 classes instantly. However, it is easier said than done – to actually deal crits, you need to be able to properly rocket jump, predict the enemy movement and airstrafe accordingly and to top it all, hit the enemy before you touch the ground. It is not simple, but kills with it are pretty amusing and often look good, pro, stylish, women swoon over it and so on. STAR_ is a popular… dude who uploads TF2 videos, probably most famous for his Market Gardening skills. It’s a fun weapon, a bit gimmicky sometimes. Can be considered a straight upgrade in no-crit servers.
You know what else is good for digging? Pickaxes. Equalizer is a pickaxe. It’s called like that because it equalizes your health and your melee damage – if you have a lot of health, it will deal less damage (33 lowest). If you have a small amount of health, you will deal lots of damage (113 highest). Simple as that. And it can random crit. The downside is simple, too: you can’t be healed by a Medic while you have Equalizer out. It’s not a significant downside, but hey… it wouldn’t make sense if they could. If they had healed you, you would have dealt less damage. Anyways, it’s a nice weapon and it suits the mad Soldier – last stand and everything. But you are still the second slowest class with your melee out… keep that in mind. Comes with a suicidal killtaunt.
You might be thinking: “I want speed, dammit!”, think no more: Escape Plan is here. Try to resist the urge to rename it to something like “Diamond Pickaxe”, “Plan B” or “French Warfare” because those names are overused and making fun of French stopped being funny long time ago (no it didn’t). It functions like Equalizer, except the melee damage is switched with movement speed. It sounds too good to be true, right? Equalizer and Escape Plan were one weapon before, which was… pretty, pretty good. Maybe too good. Today, you can only choose one of the benefits with same downside. But recently, Escape Plan got another downside to it: you are marked for death while using it. Beware of afterburn and use it smart. Comes with a suicidal killtaunt.
Disciplinary Action is another melee that gives you speed. It is also one of the funniest melees in-game. It’s a whip. It deals 25% less damage. On the other hand, it has extra range. Longest melee range in game. This is insane. People can’t hit you if you backpedal, you can hit them. Another thing: hit a teammate with this weapon, they get a speed boost. It is crazy actually, boosting a Heavy to reach the frontlines fast can be game changing. Use it all the time, if you don’t, you hate fun. RUN FASTER, MAGGOT.
Now come the weapons you share with Demoman. First one is the Half-Zatoichi. In spirit of samurais, Asia, honour, blah blah, you instantly kill anyone who has this weapon out. Just like that, bam. When you do kill someone, you get your full health back. Crazy, right? Imagine a tense fight, you and your opponent are both low on health and you draw out your sword. Cut the fool. Get all your health back. Yeah. Of course, what makes it insane is the fact that it can random crit. Not really fair to the opponent, really. The downside to this weapon you can’t put it down until you kill someone, so you don’t exploit the bonus too often. If someone steals your kill (only valid time to say this in TF2), try not to insult them too much. Use if you are very confident in your melee skills and if you want to piss off people by making their effort to kill you useless. In the end, they’re dead and you move on like nothing happened.
Second one is Pain Train. It’s pretty intimidating – a piece of wood with a nail in it. Scary stuff. When you wear this, you will take 10% more bullet damage from everyone, all the time. However, you capture points and push carts at double speed, just like Scout. This is often used by better players in competitive and such, because 10% more damage taken is not that significant. On the other hand, if you are not experienced enough with Soldier in general, you might want to put it away for some time. Downside is not big, but it can hurt you if you never capture. And for the love of God, don’t use it on CTF mode, there is no capture speed there at all. Good for ninja capping and that sort of stuff.
That’s all. To wrap it up – pretty much use anything you want, as long it’s not Shovel. Speed melees are your best bet, primarily Disciplinary Action and Escape Plan. Good luck!