Why do Medics stick to Heavies?

A Heavy is a Medic’s best friend. Always has been. You see, he’s basically a giant wall you can hide behind that moves around. But he’s also slow and painful and all that. Really, people give Heavy a bad name, that he’s fat and stupid and an abomination, that he should be removed or completely reworked or whatever. That’s cruel.

Heavy is a simple class, designed for newer players to get in to the game, and for somewhat competent people to play if they need a brick wall or something quickly. He’s not got a high skill ceiling, but you have to have someone with a low skill ceiling otherwise they get the crap kicked out of them by everyone who knows how to play. Also, although Heavy’s skill ceiling is low, he’s not unstoppable – any decently skilled player knows how to kill him and the best Heavies are always beaten by the best Soldiers and Demomen.

But I’m straying off the point of this article.

To many, Heavy is a nuisance. But in the middle of a Scout-Engineer-Demoknight-filled Valve server, a Heavy is a beacon of hope and protection. A giant bullet sponge in the middle of a bullet storm. A lump of fat and flesh in an ocean of fast-moving bastards and sentries. You get what I mean. Heavies are almost completely designed to become gigantic meat shields should a Medic stick with them for a while. Suddenly, on a team that previously had no strength at all, there is a form of pushing power like no other.

A Heavy-Medic combo is very strong, but it’s still vulnerable. Kill that Medic and that Heavy will quickly die soon after. Heck, you don’t even need to kill him, just keep them separated. Airblasts, knockback from rockets, all sorts will stop a combo dead in their tracks. Alright, a Heavy-Medic combo on a payload cart is annoying to deal with, and multiple combos on a cart is also pretty bad, but at the same time those Heavies need to push through the 5 or so sentries around final point.

But as skill level increases, as does your choice in pocket. Soldiers are far better pockets for Medics. They have a rocket launcher that can quickly kill most other classes in just a couple of hits, they’re faster and more mobile and they have the shotgun, which is great for scaring off any Scouts who want to come by and kill your Medic. Demomen are also great pockets, since they output tons of damage and are great at destroying sentries – the most common roadblock to an objective.

So why do newbie Medics always insist on pocketing Heavies, rather than varying their choices? It’s rather simple really, and it’s not just because Heavies are easier to play at lower skill levels, although that has a lot to do with it. The thing is, just by looking, a Heavy seems more powerful. Heavies are designed to look big and imposing, both to protect allies and scare off enemies. If you’re a newbie playing the game for the first time, no matter your class, you’ll be drawn towards friendly Heavies.

Newbie Medics healing Heavies is to be expected. Heck, it’s recommended by the in-game tips. But Medics need persuading to heal others. So next time you see a newbie Medic glued to a Heavy, why not switch to Demoman or Soldier and give them some other options?

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