Let’s face it: The new Soda Popper is pretty sweet. The new movement mechanic activated from hype that causes the Scout to have up to 5 jumps after getting off the ground has a far better purpose than farming situational mini-crits. It still does good damage without the mini-crits. I believe the weapon was buffed rather than nerfed, since there still isn’t a damage penalty that doesn’t allow you to land two good meatshots identical to the Scattergun’s damage.
But besides that, what we’re overlooking right now is how it affects the old Popper-Cola Combo (Soda Popper + Crit-a-Cola of course). The Soda Popper doesn’t generate mini-crit hype anymore but now the Crit-a-cola got buffed once again to make it finally viable to use. Albeit the Crit-a-Cola in the past 2 years has been fighting to get a chance in more player loadouts with a 25% speed buff, longer effect duration and altered damage-taken percentages, I think it has finally became feasible when the damage-taken came to a safe 10%, while still keeping your offensive mini-crits.
And these changes to the Popper-Cola combo have made it into an interesting new sub-class of Scout.
For the majority of it, the best part of the combo is the increased movement speed rather than mini-crits. Paired with 6 jumps, the Scout literally transforms into a soaring Boston Bird. Sure, the Winger makes the Scout jump higher, but nothing beats the speed which you need to either rush a point or make an escape, or even dive-bomb your opponent. Heavies, Soldiers and Demomen are no match for the Popper-Cola Scout when he’s soaring over and flanking over their heads in all directions. He’s just too high, too quick to hit.
Taking no more than 10% extra damage is too a plus; I don’t need to be afraid of taking too many hits to kill me within the 8 seconds of the Cola’s effect.
You get to keep those mini-crits too! You deal more damage to take out your opponent than what you take from them.
Your increased speed also charges your hype meter a little bit faster if you want it as soon as possible.
As far as melee weapons go, The Atomizer is completely useless since you don’t gain another jump during Hype mode. Sandman’s pretty good to stun and jump-shoot everything, and the Candy Cane is pretty good with the combo since Demomen and Soldiers will try but fail to do their best to airshot you. Boston Basher and the Three-Runed Blade can make you jump higher when you swat it in the air but doesn’t serve so much since you have all the height you really need. Stock and everything else is all gravy.
All in all, the new Popper-Cola combo is a lot of fun to use and one should try it at least once.