I can hear the Soldiers screaming at me already. They’re charging towards me in their fancy BLU uniforms… Oh wait, I just Kritzed a Demoman instead of Ubering a Heavy. All that’s left are gibs. Yes, after much consideration, I have realised that the Demoman is just as, if not more versatile than the Soldier. Let’s have a look at why.
Soldier’s a tough nut to beat. He’s got high health, low speed and mobility. Demoman has slightly lower health, slightly higher speed and mobility. Both are high damage classes. But there are things both classes can do that the other can’t.
Health is always a big thing. When you have none, you die. When you have lots, you’re generally a Heavy. Soldier has never really had health-altering weapons until the recent changes to the Battalion’s Backup and the Concheror. The Black Box and the Half Zatoichi both offer reasonable healing, but that was it, plus the half Zatoichi is a shared weapon. Demoman has always been more fluid with his health, what with the health buffs that the various melee weapons of his offer, not to mention the shields and booties. There’s the running head-collector theme with many of Demoman’s melee weapons, giving him extra health and speed on each head he collects. The Persian Persuader though allows Demoman to stay alive for much longer, the only downside being he runs out of ammo quicker, much more of an issue on attack than on defense, due to access to resupply cabinets. The only area where Soldier still rules when it comes to health is the Black Box, as Demoman lacks an on-hit healer.
Mobility is the second biggest must for any power class, which is why Heavies struggle. Speed is half the issue; Demoman is naturally faster than Soldier, and the various shields increase this in a hilarious way. Soldier’s main speed boosts come from melee weapons, one needing an ally to work and the other making it risky to use. The Shields may cost the Demoman the most powerful weapon in the game, but the grenade launcher is pretty damned powerful too. Combined with explosive power like the Caber or health from the Persuader, a good Demoknight is as much a presence on the field as a Pyro, despite having gimped himself.
Mobility-wise though, Demoman out-does Soldier in spades. Sticky-jumping, while more hazardous, is easier to master, while maintaining the fact that the Sticky Launcher is really powerful. Sticky jumping is an issue with the Scottish Resistance, an issue that Soldiers don’t lack with rocket jumping, but if you use the Sticky Jumper, you become INCREDIBLY mobile, only truly beaten by Soda Popper/Winger/Atomizer Scouts. While Soldiers can use the Rocket Jumper, they sacrifice their main form of power, while, once again, Demomen maintain their grenade launchers and a portion of their damage output.
Another place where Demoman has Soldier beat is in the sub-class category. The Demoknight, while incredibly annoying, is a struggle to kill due to their tanky resistances. Half-Demoknights, using a grenade launcher of sorts, are a force to be reckoned with if they’re using those charge turning scripts which I believe are kinda unfair. Demomen are unstoppable forces no matter what. What does Soldier have? The Trolldier loadout. And that’s pretty much it.
There’s only one place where Soldier still shines, and that’s in the world of buffs. Demoman has never been able to properly buff his team mates the same way Soldier can. And for Soldier’s sake, he should stay like that.
Don’t worry, Soldiers, I love you nonetheless.