Sniping for those who hate scopes…

Vlepsophobia, the fear of scopes.

I never told anyone this, but I have a phobia. Vlepsophobia. The fear of scopes. Actually, that’s a lie, although the word I used is theoretically correct. But ever since I started playing First Person Shooters, staring with Left 4 Dead at 5 frames per second, moving onto Garry’s Mod and settling down in Team Fortress 2, I have always been troubled by using the scopes provided on certain weapons. It’s the tunnel vision, I think, that puts me off. Anyway, today, we’re discussing what to do if you want to snipe but hate peering down a scope.

The Obvious Answer

Of course, the first thing people think of when it comes to not having to scope in yet still being able to do impressive headshots is the Ambassador. Just look at it. It’s huge. It’s a cannon. It’s terrifying. It blows holes in people’s heads just as easily as a Sniper Rifle, but is used by his arch nemesis, the Spy. Alright, it’s not that simple, as a headshot with the Ambassador only does 102 damage, no matter how hard you try. But this is a gun that can headshot you for more than half your health! Unless you’re a Heavy or otherwise buffed in terms of health. To top it all off, this monster belongs to the same guy who can turn invisible and instantly kill you with a knife to the back. Thankfully, the Ambassador has a cooldown, otherwise there wouldn’t be a single person in the Badlands without a hole in their head. Those with bling in mind may want to consider the Australium variant, while those wanting something looking slightly silly ought to have a look at the Festive Ambassador.

Personally, I think Spy is compensating for something.

The Other Obvious Answer

The winner of Fastest Taunt Kill in TF2, the Huntsman is what the mid-to-close-range Sniper uses. Really, that’s a huge oxymoron, as Snipers are always supposed to be killing folks from a mile away, and truthfully, if your aim is really up to scratch, you can shoot people from anywhere with whatever rifle you want. The key difference is that the Huntsman doesn’t have a scope and uses a projectile instead of ol’trusty reliable hitscan bullets.

But if you’re willing to forgo a large amount of ammo (13 shots compared to 26) and the reliability of hitscan, the Huntsman is amazing. It charges faster, you can move faster, it moves stupidly (although not infinitely) fast and it has a hitbox on par with the rocket launcher, making spamming it down long corridors an amusing way to pass the time, particularly if you get a Pyro or a laser weapon to ignite your arrows first. If you prefer aiming, unfortunately, the arrows will curve downwards, depending on how long you charge the shot for. Charge the shot for more than 5 seconds and your arrows won’t hit anything.

The Huntsman comes in a Festive variant. Fun fact, the end of the light-bulb-headed festive arrows carries a tag, wishing a merry Christmas to all those hit by it.

All reasonable answers to the question…

The Hot Answer

So, we’ve covered the two obvious choices, let’s look at the hot answer. Yes, we’re talking about flare guns. You know, the majority of the Pyro’s choice of secondary loadout. Yes, they’re projectiles, but they do far more damage than hitscan at long distances. ¬†You’ve got four choices: The Flare Gun, The Detonator, The Scorch Shot and The Manmelter. All four weapons will ignite the enemy on-hit, while the Flare Gun and the Detonator will do extra damage (crits and mini-crits respectively) upon landing a second hit. The Scorch Shot will knock back enemies and the Manmelter, um, has a faster projectile and can extinguish allies, rewarding you with a guaranteed crit.

There are lots of ups and downs on all the projectile-based Pyro secondaries, as well as the general downside of making life harder when dealing with fellow Pyros, but let’s be honest, you’re impressed when you’ve been hit from a mile away by a Pyro of all things.

The Silly Answer

There’s always a silly answer, and today’s silly answer is not really that silly when you think about it. The Crusader’s Crossbow is the perfect combination of healing and damage. Alright, at point blank, it only does 25 damage, but land a long-distance shot and we’re looking at 75 damage and huge amounts of healing if you hit an ally. Like the Huntsman and the Flare Guns, it also passively reloads, meaning you can change your mind and not worry about it. The Crossbow also offers target practice mid-game, as you can practice your aim by healing allies from a distance as you close in to heal them with your Medi Gun. Of course, from a combat stance, the Crusader’s Crossbow isn’t a powerful weapon, but come on, we’re talking about Medics here!

If shooting giant syringes (formerly giant arrows) isn’t fun, why not spice it up by firing sharpened candy canes at people?

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