Shotgun heavy is an odd beast. While he’s a valid and viable subclass, he’s also decidedly a joke because he’s forgoing his ultra-powerful minigun. Not to mention his signature weapon, the Family Business, is completely unremarkable, serving only as another basic shotgun with one of the few examples in TF2 of boring stat alterations.
But really, because of this Valve is free to do more of the same just because it couldn’t possibly hurt. No heavy shotgun’s coming anywhere near the Sandvich in terms of viability, even if it were a Widowmaker that also healed Heavy for the amount of damage dealt. Shotgun heavies don’t need gimmicks because they are already a gimmick. Years ago one of EvilBrain’s many alts made a thread dedicated to answering questions about shotgun heavy (he was a fan of alternate playstyles) and I asked him about two hypothetical shotgun builds:
The Multinational Corporation
+15% damage bonus
-33% clip size
The Summer Lemonade Stand
+66% clip size
-30% damage penalty
His response was quite interesting:
“I can see The Multinational Corporation being a high risk/high reward item similar to the Bazaar Bargain. Honestly I would not as my philosophy for Shotgun Heavy is stay in cover always and take potshots. Though it would be useful for highly aggressive close quarters flanking Shotgun Heavies, it would be pretty hard to deal with the lower clip. You can take down maybe 1 or 2 people before having to reload making it only useful for skirmishes or picking off stragglers.
The Summer Lemonade Stand would be my ideal shotgun. It fully allows you to pick off enemies and harass without having to sacrifice time that can be spent shooting instead of reloading. One of the issues I had with the Shotgun was that I found myself constantly reloading during fights. Even with the 2 extra shots the Family Business gave me it still wasn’t enough.”
It’s really fascinating how four completely different playstyles are encapsulated in the alteration of a mere two stats. This may speak to something about the versatility of the shotgun itself or the inherent limitations in a beefy glacier who restricts himself to it, but in a game where a singular class can differ wildly from an uncountable amount of gimmicks, it’s interesting to look at a subclass that operates on a different plane of design.