When the Sandman debuted during the Scout Update, Valve broke new ground regarding ranged melee weapons. Not since the Direct Hit has Team Fortress 2 been given a more spammable immediate-range weapon that crits like crazy, since the Sandman’s baseball shares the bat’s increased melee crit chance.
However, perhaps because of its unusual design, there have been a number of bizarre exploits associated with this weapon over the years and a few of these are still in the game today.
5. Hitting the ball through thin walls. Setup gates, windows, just random walls that happen to be narrow enough; the scout can actually stun people in all sorts of places he shouldn’t be able to. Here’s a video showing a medley of broken places just on the first stage of cp_dustbowl:
Just release the baseball as soon as you run into the wall. There are videos all over YouTube of players abusing this glitch, it’s one of the easiest exploits to accomplish on this list.
4. Snipe-stealing the jack in Pass Time. PASS Time comes with the mechanic whereby one can steal the jack from the carrier by hitting him with a melee attack. Since the Sandman was coded as melee, that meant scouts had a unique ability to remotely steal the ball and drastically change the tide in their favor.
This one was just fixed during the leap day update. Not exactly the scout nerf we need, but it helps.
3. Disrupting the Kamikaze explosion. This one is pretty minor compared to the others on this list, but you can save a Soldier from blowing himself up by stunning him while he taunts with the Equalizer/Escape Plan. It only cancels the explosion part, so arguably you may also be saving the oblivious friendly teammates about to get gibbed. Depending on your point of view, this may be considered a downside.
2. Destroying friendly teleporters. To prevent griefing (the irony…) Valve has code in place to destroy a teleporter if the game registers that a teleporting player collides with a solid object. Turns out that for the longest time, Sandman balls counted, meaning that if a scout crouched near a teleporter and spammed his sandman ball at the teleporter it would be destroyed:
Valve patched this soon after, and the fix was so obviously spurred by this particular video that they completely missed syringes doing the same thing…
1. Helping the soldier create mines. This one was loads of fun when it came out. If a rocket hits a rolling Sandman ball before the ground, the rockets just hovers there, waiting for an enemy (or friendly) to run into it. Angle it right and you can get the rocket to coast along the ground as well. Move over Demoman, there’s a new trapper in town!
Valve fixed this one really fast. But I think it’s safe to say there’s going to be more Sandman exploits as the game gets bigger and newer different features are added. I can’t fault Valve for occasionally forgetting about the unique projectile melee that leaves a physics model in the world.