When I first made this blog, I was planning on having a lot of posts just dedicated to single weapons, like how the first post ever was about the Half-Zatoichi. However this hasn’t really happened, so now I’m going to try to incorporate more of them into our standard rotation. Because Valve has added some very cool weapons with unique stats into TF2.
My favorite is the Crusader’s Crossbow! Unique from the Syringe Gun unlocks in the Medic primary slot, it fires a single bolt (which recently became a bolt and not an arrow during the July 10th Update) that can heal teammates or damage enemies, dealing/healing more the further it flies. If this sounds like a long-range healing tool, you are right. But there are several other uses for it that people don’t give enough credit, and here are my favorite:
1) Long-Range sentry picking. During a battle, your teammates are focused on killing the other enemy teammates. It’s not uncommon for them to miss a sentry in either immediate range or further. Fortunately, you suffer from no such tunnel vision because you are a medic, and you’ve learned that complete awareness of your surroundings is like the only thing keeping you alive at any given moment.
If you’re fighting for a midpoint, and you realize your teammates are getting picked away by an unattended mini-sentry on the opposite side, and you have a syringe gun equipped…too bad. You can rush it, lose all your health and almost certainly die, or concede the point until a teammate gets around to killing it. With the crossbow, you can retreat and plug it for 1-2 simple arrows, problem solved. The crossbow is impossibly easy to aim when facing non-moving targets, which is why it’s also not bad against certain snipers, but this is a far more dangerous use since you’re in their optimal range.
2) Spy-checking. When the crossbow hits a teammate, you’ll hear no sound and a green +150 or smaller number appears. When you hit an enemy, there’s a squelching sound. This applies even to spies of any nature.
If you suspect somebody is a spy and want to make sure, shoot him with an arrow. If there’s a squelching sound, he’s an enemy.
3) Healing teammates you can’t normally. The crossbow ignores the normal rules for Medigun healing. That means it can heal cloaked friendly spies and Soldiers with the Escape Plan out. The former is very useful if a Cloak n Dagger spy is hiding somewhere behind enemy lines, and you can obtain line-of-sight but certainly not reach him. When communicating with your spies, this can be a great boon to both of you.
(Note that the Escape Plan part is considered a bug, so there’s a chance Valve will patch this. But for the time being, it works.)
4) Self-Defense. Once you’ve gotten the play time I’ve had with it, you become perfectly capable of defending yourself. I can land three crossbolts on an ambushing scout, and let me tell you that will convince an enemy to flee the premises. I’ve found that Syringe Guns very rarely persuade an enemy to flee unless the odds are significantly in your favor, especially due to the “kill the medic at all costs” mindset of TF2. But something about the bust damage of the crossbow gets to people’s head in the thick of the moment. Considering the extreme difficulty Medic has with defending himself regardless of the primary, I don’t see much of a downside to self-defense with the crossbow. Accuracy just become much more important.
Ultimately, it’s the sheer versatility that attracts me. The others deal damage to enemies, as previously mentioned, but the crossbow can do so much more than that. It really opens doors as Medic that you just couldn’t even think about before. Now Valve just needs to fix that reload glitch (Switching weapons before the reload animation finishes cancels the reload and negates the 40% reload speed).