So a lot of talk on the forums over the past few months has pointed out that the stock melee is underpowered, reskins included. But why is it? Because there are better unlocks out there? From what I can tell, a general consensus agrees that stock melee weapons across all weapons are underpowered compared to other unlocks, such as the Axtinguisher and Bushwaka. Better yet, those same people also claim that the rest of the melees should be balanced around said unlocks, rather than stock. Now, although I do not agree with them on that case, I’m not saying they are wrong. I just find it… intriguing on why they say that. Now, as I have nearly 200 hours as Scout (not the most, but my next class, Sniper, has 50, so be it), I’m going talk about the Stock melees as the Scout. Personally, I use the Holy Mackerel during pub play, which is nothing more than a reskin of the bat. I use the Boston Basher during competitive play, of course. Let’s dive right in, shall we?
The stock bat (as well as all of the reskins). Weaker than other class melees, it deals a base damage of 35, but makes up for it by attacking faster twice a second, leading to up to 80 DPS with ramp-up. It can kill light classes within two seconds, and a heavy in four. Considered very weak, however in some cases it is your best option rather than reloading.
Next, a classic: The Sandman. Cough up 15 HP and you get a ball that can stun opponents, and can insta-kill most classes when paired with the Flying Guillotine with its guaranteed crit against stunned players. It might sound good and all, but personally, when you’re a light class, giving up more is asking for a death wish, especially when up against your counters, Direct Hit Soldiers, and Loch-n-Load Demoman.
Next, the Candy Cane, a weapon with a bit of skill-indexing built into it. Upon a successful kill, your victim drops a slight health pack. That’s dandy and all, but you’re more prone to dying before you can get your meatshots off, as you’re more vulnerable to explosive damage. So this is no beginner’s weap; dodge well, and you can get a lot of use out of this holiday candy. Personally, I’m still learning to dodge shots, so this stays in my backpack for the time being. And fish.
Moving on, the Boston Basher/Three-Rune Blade. A very simple weapon: If you land a hit, your victim bleeds for several seconds. If you miss, then you hit yourself. Again, this is for more experienced users only; not only is Source melee hit registration notorious for being wonky, but also the fact that even top-level players miss from time to time; the risk of killing yourself when your team needs you most is not worth the bleed, from what I have seen. Like other players in the comp scene, these weapons are found intentionally used to deal self-damage to help build a Medic’s Ubercharge.
And the most under-appreciated weapon in the Scout’s arsenal, the Sun-on-a-Stick. Clocking in at a -25% damage penalty, guarantees crits on burning enemies. However, the requirement of a Pyro to have synergy with is a bit of a hassle, as a decent meatshot along with the fire damage done on the target is enough to finish him off, rather than having to switch to the weapon and get in close range, something the Pyro has already done. As consolation, the Huo-Long heater can attract some Scouts as the role of Spy protection. Maybe.
Aaaand the Fan-of-War. With a whopping 4 damage per hit, this weapon marks targets for death for 15 seconds. Although I have never seen it done, I imagine that when team work is present (I’m thinking HL lobbies), this can be used to take down a Heavy/Medic in PvP, but otherwise is mainly used in Mann vs. Machine mode to take down Giants. It’s great and all, but you’re out of luck if you run out of ammo; good luck killing someone with that.
Same goes for the Atomizer. It swings 30% slower and is 20% weaker than stock, so it’s not meant for actual combat. Instead, you are granted the ability of triple-jump, costing you 10 health apiece. Now, the extra mobility is find and all for the hard-to-counter jump-over-your-head technique, but for that one time you do get hit, you’ll be wishing you had that health back when you’re met with a freezecam.
And last but not least, the Wrap Assassin. Similar to the Sandman, but this time you get an ornament that inflicts bleed. At 15 damage, the initial hit hurts more than a standard hit of 11, and the 8-second bleed gives off another 40. Overall, a free 55 damage serves as a nice compliment to support teammates or your meatshot, but then again you might as well just run stock to get that damage off sooner.
So, there you have it, my attempt at justifying Scout stock melee, and why stock prevails. Maybe.
Now, don’t get me started on other classes: The Sticky Launcher is a Tricky One.