I’ve written about Pyro before (I’ve written about a lot of things before), but lately I’ve been playing him more and more, even outside of silly MvM matches. The Scorch Shot. The current secondary in my Pyro loadout. I’ve always considered Pyro to be the Anti Medic, but I know that opinion is wrong, because there’s a VAST amount of aiming required if you’re going to be able to actually set anyone on fire – flame projectiles have weird effects and can even just fuck you up for no reason. But while the similarities between Medic and Pyro are best kept to a different article.
Anyway, I have a job to do today. I’m going to try and persuade you to try the Scorch Shot. It was added in the Pyromania update and is one of the few unlocks to see much use in a Meet the Team video – most of the time they just use stock. Really, the first giant selling point of the Scorch Shot is the taunt. It’s so dramatic. Doesn’t look stupid or cutesy like most of Pyro’s other taunts. Alright, it’s not as effective as the Haduken taunt, but it’s ranged and only slightly slower and still does damage if you miss, so that’s good.
Apart from the awesome taunt, the Scorch Shot has other things that separate it from the other flare guns and shotguns. There’s plenty of things that it shares too, which really we should cover first. It’s a flare gun. It has the same projectile speed as the other flare guns. It does mini-crits against burning targets, same as the Detonator. And you can explosive jump with it. Not like the beta one or any sort of flare jumper, but oh well.
Alright, I should be honest, you can’t explosive jump very far with it. Valve has thrown on a -35% self damage force penalty on it, so it doesn’t seem too much like the Detonator. But people don’t use the Detonator for doing damage, they use it for those sick jumps. It’s similar for the Scorch Shot.
The Scorch Shot doesn’t do much damage at all. Burning damage is set at 3 damage per tick, 4 if you get a minicrit. The base damage is 20, for a total of about 80 damage if the victim doesn’t put the fire out. It has a -35% damage reduction on it, for heaven’s sake. Normally that’s enough to scare off any newbie. Every new Medic would equip the Vita-Saw the second they had it if it had a downside other than -10 health. Damage and health are the two things that scare people off from using new weapons.
But damage isn’t the point of the Scorch Shot. You don’t use the Scorch Shot because you want to kill people, you use the Scorch Shot to infuriate the enemy team with long distance, reliable knockback. The knockback from the Scorch Shot, even at point blank, is pretty strong. If you hit someone who is on fire, they’ll go flying. If you hit a long distance shot, your victim will go flying. If you do both, they’ll fly into orbit. You see, Pyros use Airblast normally to knock people back, but that means being basically in melee range. The Scorch Shot allows you to knock people back from the safety of your own base and it works great against Ubers. No one wants to try and airblast an Ubercharged Medic/Heavy combo.
The Scorch Shot shines the most in Mann VS Machine. Again, it doesn’t do much damage until you upgrade it, but with increased firing speed and ammo, you basically get a minigun of knockback. You can pretty much stunlock even the largest of robots. Even if there’s a giant Heavy about to deploy the bomb, you can STILL knock them back with the Scorch Shot. It’s impressive. I’ve completed Wave 666 with 4 Scorch Shot Pyros, an Engineer and a Sniper, that’s how good it is.
Really, when you think about it, the Scorch Shot is a more skillful Degreaser that works at a distance. And doesn’t give you a stupidly good weapon switch speed boost. It has the mediocre damage of normal fire with the annoying-ness of the airblast, but does both at the same time. The only thing it can’t do is reflect projectiles, but it CAN destroy stickies on the ground. Oddly, the Flare Gun is the only Pyro secondary that can’t do that.
So why should you be using the Scorch Shot instead of the Flare Gun or Detonator? I don’t know. I don’t like forcing people to use weapons. What I DO like though is that people try new weapons out. Go on. You’ll enjoy it.