Misha the Heavy Weapons Guy gets a lot of bad press. Especially on this blog. I’ve seen articles trashing him and saying he’s failed as a class in TF2. They point out that, compared to classes like the Soldier, he has less weapons to choose from and few reliable ways to cover his main weakness, lack of speed. They say he’s boring to play and requires almost no skill. Poor Heavy has been hit hard by such critics.

But slow down, all you Jarate-throwing Huntsman Snipers! No class in this game is a “failure.” The point of Team Fortress 2 is that you are part of a team. Every class has their place. Pyros burn stuff, Scouts capture stuff, Medics heal stuff, Engineers build stuff. What does Heavy do? He rumbles along like a tank and blasts the living crap out of stuff.

I think a lot of people are missing the point with this chap. No, he’s not very fast. Even with those special mittens (you know, those Gloves that induce Urgent Running. What’re they called again?) he can only manage average human pace. But what’s wrong with that? The reason he can’t go fast is because he’s carrying a 150-kg minigun. Why don’t you try running with one of those in your hands?

If you don’t know what a real minigun is capable of, watch the second Terminator movie. It’s on Netflix and it’s freakin’ amazin’. Anyway… this is not a weapon to be underestimated. It can make mincemeat of an entire enemy team. If that’s not enough, Heavy also has a powerful melee weapon: his bare hands! Yep, he’s the only class in the game who uses his bare fists to kill “little men.”

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He also has a shotgun, but so do three other classes. Many replacements for the shotgun are edible items, notably the Sandvich. When activated, it gives you a massive dose of Healthies and initiates one of the most distinctive lines in the game, “OM NOM NOM NOM.” (That’s also Medic’s ringtone, by the way.) Most of my favourite voice lines are Heavy’s; he is so comical but so devastating at the same time. Like a Terminator mixed with Toa Matau from Bionicle. Well, at least to me.

So this chunky Russian has plenty of firepower and the ability to heal himself by eating. Some say that’s all there is to him, along with trying to reach the front line behind all his teammates. They ask where the skill in that is. Oh, skill there is, my Bushwhacking friend!

Having a Heavy by your side gives you a real advantage, so it’s important that he stays there. A good Heavy must be able to predict when to step into the open and spin up their gun, then duck back under cover. They must keep a source of ammo handy and know where pickups are, because even the rotating monster can run out of bullets. They need to deal with frontal attacks and watch their back at the same time, looking out for Spies and Snipers and looking after the Medic that’s healing them. They need to know when to run for cover and heal with the Sandvich, when to push forward, when to retreat. All that takes experience. It requires you to use his strengths to their fullest advantage and overcome his weak points, while working with the rest of your team.

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Dead Soldier in 3… 2… 1…

Yeah, some of the other classes are pretty interesting. Spy and Sniper have unique methods of killing. Demoman and Soldier can do propelled jumps. Engineer can make things. But when I’m playing TF2 and my Sentry keeps going down, or my Flamethrower can’t airblast all those rockets fast enough, or there are too many Scouts running around, it is the Heavy that I turn to. I switch to Heavy because I know I can use his skills to turn the tables on the enemy.

There’s something more important though. This is what I think the critics were missing. They may like having a truckload of fancy-pants cosmetic junk to decorate themselves with. They may like being able to stab a guy in the back and steal his face. But when it comes to raw, ear-bursting lunacy, nothing can beat Heavy and his baby. No other class allows you to rock up to a battle, power up a gigantic gun and send all your enemies through Davy Jones’ Insinkerator.

I switch to Heavy Weapons Guy because he is fun. And in a video game, isn’t fun the whole point of playing?

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