Ever since the War! update there have been Demomen who decided to equip a shield instead of their trusty Stickybomb Launcher. Over the years new shields were added, as well as new secondaries and melees designed to be used with shields. New playstyles have developed and some people use shields on a day-to-day basis. Since the addition of shields I’ve seen many Demomen using a shield, often in very different ways. In this article I’ll attempt to provide a classification of shield-using Demomen.
The Grenade Knight
First of all there’s the Grenade Knight. This is a Demoman who uses their shield for the resistances and advanced mobility, but not for getting kills. Almost all of their frags come from their grenade launcher, and they usually equip a safe melee weapon which they barely use. Since they only focus on grenade kills, they will either equip the chargin’ targe for increased resistances or the tide turner for increased maneuverability. If they use the Claidheamh Mòr it’s solely for the increased charge time. They never use the Eyelander, Half-Zatoichi or Persian Persuader.
A Grenade Knight with good aim and prediction skills is a dangerous enemy, but like a normal Demoman he has a close-range weakness. Strafe unpredictably while moving in to avoid direct hits from pills, and use non-fire, non-explosive methods, such as secondaries, melees or airblasts, where possible. Keep in mind that he might use his charge to flee when getting at low health, so take note of exit routes.
The Hybrid Knight
The Hybrid Knight uses both his melee weapon and his grenade launcher to get kills. Unlike the grenade knight they might use the Eyelander, Half-Zatoichi or Persian Persuader, but any melee is on the table.
A Hybrid Knight is fought similar to the Grenade Knight, but you have to consider if you can outplay him in melee range, if he hasn’t charged at you already. Next to using his charge for quick exits he’ll also use it for getting melee kills, so you’ll have to be mindful when rounding corners or retreating from a fight with a Hybrid Knight. When encountering a Hybrid Knight you have to take note of the items he’s using. If he uses Half-Zatoichi you could try to lure him into pulling out his melee. If he uses the Persian Persuader you might want to take him on from a distance to make him waste his ammo, he only has twenty pills in total.
The Pick Knight
The Pick Knight is found somewhere between the Grenade Knight and the Hybrid Knight. Unlike the Grenade Knight he will use his melee for getting kills, but only as a last resort or to kill an important enemy. His melee choice is similar to that of a Grenade Knight. When fighting a Pick Knight he might charge at you when he’s about to die instead of using his charge to get out, but other than that he’s fought exactly like a Grenade Knight. When playing Medic, Engineer or leading your team, Pick Knights could stop lobbing grenades to get a suicide pick at you for their team, hence the name.
A pure Demoknight is a Demoknight who doesn’t use a grenade launcher and relies solely on his melee for getting kills. They won’t use their stock melee, the Ullapool Caber or the Pain Train. Their play style depends on their loadout, but focuses on getting in your face and clobbering you to death. If they use the Splendid Screen or Tide Turner they might try to charge you while in melee range. If they use the B.A.S.E Jumper instead of the Booties you’ll have to occasionally check the sky above you, as they might try to surprise you. If you don’t kill him before he’s in melee range you’ll have to knock him back, shoot him at point blank or start a gentlemanly melee battle. Since pure Demoknights can only melee you’ll always be safe from them near friendly sentries.
The Suicide Knight is a subclass of the pure Demoknight. He doesn’t care about dying and is happy to get one kill before death. He won’t charge away during combat, so you’ll have to kill him or be killed. You often see them using the caber, the Scotsman’s Skullcutter or the Claidheammoh Mòr.
The Demopan is another subclass of the pure Demoknight. He can be recognized by his distinct loadout: a Bounty Hat, the Dangeresque, too?, the Chargin’ Targe and a Frying Pan. He fights like a pure Demoknight, but is somewhat gimped due to his melee choice. You shouldn’t underestimate a Demopan and treat them as if they were pure Demoknights. Since the Demopan meme was created on SPUF in 2012 Demopan players could have one to two years of experience. Also, you should try to avoid all pan swings as the pan seems to have a random critical hit chance of 75%.