Weapon Unban Discussion

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  • Whitelist Cup Results
    Based on the recent survey, players are interested in having a cup solely focused on testing out whitelist changes. This thread will be used to discuss which weapons players feel should be unbanned for testing, and which should stay banned. The Season 10 Survey will have a section solely dedicated to which weapons players would like to see tested to be unbanned.

    Air Strike Results S8
    The only weapon currently confirmed to be unbanned for testing is the Air Strike, with the Season 8 postseason survey results having a 25 vote difference if the weapons should be unbanned.

    Since some players may not have been playing Competitive TF2, or even TF2 in general when the current weapon bans were placed, I have included the historical logic as to why the weapon was banned. If there is a reason I missed, please let me know and I will update the weapon.


    Crit-a-Cola - While this weapon has received numerous changes over the years, it’s case still remains the same. Giving the Scout, an already good class at dealing damage, the ability to deal even more damage is not a very good idea. Combining Crit-a-Cola with an uber completely removes the trade off of taking more damage to deal more damage.

    Mad Milk - Having an easily spammable ability for both the user and their team to heal 60% of their damage in a fight was deemed too overpowered.


    Air Strike - In the past, the Dead Ringer allowed for it’s cloak meter to be filled with ammo packs and scrap metal. This would allow Air Strike Soldiers to repeatedly trigger the Spy’s feign death and get 1 extra rocket, instead of the intended use of getting a real kill to get 1 extra rocket. This would allow for almost uncounterable bombs by Soldiers with a maxed out Air Strike, providing little counter play.


    Scorch Shot - This Pyro secondary is commonly seen as a Swiss Army knife of pyro secondaries. It’s easily spammable, deals fairly good damage with its initial hit and explosion afterwards, and denies ubers from range with little to no counter play.


    Short Circuit - Another weapon that has undergone multiple changes since it’s banning. It was originally used by Engineers on Payload offense as a way to deny both Soldier and Demoman spam on the cart, as well as countering Demoman solo ubers to destroy their sentry gun. The ability to remove 2 classes from doing their job for virtually no effort was deemed too powerful.


    Machina - The Machina is similar to the Diamondback where it rewards Sniper for doing what he would already be doing: charging shots, but to the extreme. Fully charged Machina shots deal 173 damage bodyshots, which just barely does not kill unbuffed Pyros and Demomen. In addition, fully charged Machina shots penetrate players, which removes the ability for medics to get out by being body blocked by teammates. The Machina’s downsides are almost completely irrelevant in HL as well since comms are good enough most of the time that the tracer rounds don’t matter. Also some feel not being able to no scope is irrelevant because you can simply quick scope the 50 damage bodyshot you would normally do. With so much upside and very little to no downside, it was banned.

    Jarate - With the Jungle Inferno Updated on October 20th 2017, the Razorback was nerfed to no longer allow Snipers to be buffed. It was determined that Jarate would be the go-to sniper secondary. With it’s short cooldown, low risk/high reward, and the ability to spam it indefinitely on most Payload last points it was determined to be worthy of a ban.

    Darwin’s Danger Shield - The Darwin’s allows the sniper to completely ignore the afterburn flinch, negating one of Sniper’s soft counters for virtually no downside.


    Diamondback - Provides too much benefit to Spies for simply doing what Spies already do, stab players and sap buildings. Giving the Spy 2 free 102 damage shots for sapping a teleporter, or being able to backstab the sniper behind his team, then being able to deal 102 damage from any range.

    This thread is intended to generate discussion regarding which weapons should be tested to be unbanned. The Season 10 Postseason survey will have a page dedicated to polling the community as to which weapons should be tested in the cup. The format for the cup remains to be decided.

  • a cup would be great so ppl can see how aids all of these weapons are! great idea

  • This might sound ridiculous but having every unlock tested could be insightful. Most players know why all the listed unlocks are banned but it feels like a waste of a cup to not test everything and only test 2-3 unlocks. And even if it is a bad idea, no one is being forced to play anyways so why not go for it?

  • @Starfruit66
    I think testing every unlock and your latter question bearing the attitude of “why not?” both share a similar issue.

    For starters the hope is presumably to have players take the tests seriously to obtain an accurate assessment of the previously banned weapon and how it changes gameplay (better or worse). If this is well handled remains to be seen, but the greater a departure from traditional league play the harder this attitude will be to retain (or obtain).

    Next, if every banned weapon is tested, beyond creating a messy web of cause and effect (did that push fail because one soldier was on air strike or because the short circuit deleted the demo’s ability to agrees?) you also will almost certainly overshadow some of the changes trying to be analyzed.

    IE: Mad milk turned out to be just as broken in team fights as expected. Air strike?…. No impression.

  • I think Air Strike, Darwin’s, and Scorch Shot are the only weapons on the list that are just kinda annoying and not game-breaking imo, they could be tested.

    From what I said in the original thread on banning Scorch Shot and Darwin’s:

    You’re gimping yourself by running the darwins. The only situation darwins would be useful would be if a pyro chases you down like post-uber and you try to melee him to death. Sniper has an advantage to win that fight only the pyro doesn’t go for the melee fight, which most pyros are too stupid to do in my experience. My pan will out dpm your flamethrower, but you have more hp than me. I have to hit you three times with the pan, but you only have to hit me twice with the powerjack. If you die to a pan sniper, unless he has more hp than you, you’re just bad. Plus, if scorch shot is banned, you can shotgun me to death. […]

    At the end of the day, banning cozy camper or darwin’s won’t change the fact that sniper is OP. You can still sit in pocket on product, get juggled, aimpunched, set on fire, etc. and you can still hit a full charge bodyshot on their medic to drop him, without any secondary. We’ve literally already tried banning the sniper secondaries before in prolander and sniper is just as OP in prolander. These reaching bans out of spite and frustration don’t solve the problem, and unless we are confident these bans are very likely going to change the meta of the game for the better, we should avoid them. That goes for all potential weapon bans, not just sniper secondaries.

    I think I was a little wrong, as I didn’t expect so many pyros to run detonator and actually be able to hit their shots, but I think my point still stands, that it ultimately doesn’t change anything in the grand scheme of things, banning the scorch shot + darwin’s just moved the goalposts back a little further: pyro still annoys people by setting them on fire from halfway across the map and sniper is still OP as fuck.

    The only difference now is that snipers are like 100% on the Cozy Camper now, which imo has a more general upside/OP aspect to it compared to the Darwins. The darwins was actually better for everyone else imo because it prevented the sniper from being on the cozy camper and getting free health regen + no flinch. No sniper would tell you the darwins was better than the cozy camper, there’s so much more upside to getting to hold your shot in to drop the med and not missing due to a scout hitting you for 3 damage. The darwins only cancels out 1 type of spam that can fuck your shot anyways, you can still get flinched by bullets or getting juggled by explosives, the cozy camper eliminates the bullets and gives you regen.

  • ctrl + f ashville “Phrase not found”

    can’t really talk about air strike without ash i feel, seems like it would be the most aids on that map

  • @tua said in Weapon Unban Discussion:

    I think Air Strike, Darwin’s, and Scorch Shot are the only weapons on the list that are just kinda annoying and not game-breaking imo, they could be tested.

    Full agree

    @spring-rolls said in Weapon Unban Discussion:

    ctrl + f ashville “Phrase not found”

    can’t really talk about air strike without ash i feel, seems like it would be the most aids on that map

    That’s the main situation people reference, but I really don’t think it is nearly as game-breaking on ashville as people make it out to be–nor do I think it’ll be a staple for soldiers on ashville
    It is probably the weapon to test tho out of anything on the list

  • It seems like a waste of time to me. All of these weapons are banned because they are overpowered in some way and there’s not really any reason to retest them. None of them have been changed much since they were banned.

  • unban darwins i miss trolling pyros

  • You still have to maintain a degree of focus on detonator if you try to spam and that’s easily punishable, no fire and forget spamming. If you’re telling me the pyro should have a zero focus and stunlocking way to spam people, I don’t know what to tell you.

    It’s not all about just spamming into a sniper either. If you view the pure spam potential, you see this: Detonator is a bit less consistent, but has more reach and control. You shoot around cover and det it midair to bypass things. It rewards you playing smartly. The scorch shot on the other hand, promotes just shoot directly into a cluster of mass every time, and rely on the stun/bounce. One of these inspired you to think, the other does not.

    If you do want to get good use out of constant detonator spamming, it means it’s a lot more time spent timing and waiting tor the moment to detonate to have effective spam. This is time that you aren’t denying or doing your other tasks.

    The key idea here is the focus it takes. Scorch gives insane spam value with minimal focus being taken away. This is in no way healthy, and punishes the good pyro, while rewarding the bad. If you have issues with a pyro detonator spamming and don’t do anything off it, that’s on your team, plenty opportunity to have your spy go in or bombers/demo spam to initiate. If the pyro is scorch spamming, all that time spent timing and thinking is negated, and they have a lot more room to be looking around and playing their roles.

    It’s never been about the weapon just being annoying. If you’re able to do all of this, while barely impacting your focus, it’s an unhealthy weapon. Pyro is a class predominantly determined by your own focus and mental play. Deciding what to focus on denying and when. When to run a secondary to deal with a certain type of threat and when. If running detonator to spam, where to send it and when, when to detonate it.

    You take scorch, you can spam a spot and hit a player, completely ruin their momentum, and leave them in the open to be sniped and picked off. Take a combo aggressing in hazard. You try doing that with detonator or any other secondary, and that happens differently. Should the pyro be able to deny like that without any real risk to himself, compared to thinking about it and potentially trading his life to deny, compared to sticking closer to combo to try to deny jumpers there? You don’t need to make that choice with scorch sho. You analyze the uses of the scorch shot, and you find a lot of cases like this.

    The less of a choice you leave pyro to make, the more reliant on the weapon they become in place of actual mechanics and brains. The more worse pyros can do, and the less better pyros have to actually set themselves apart and do things on their own merit. Why should a class based off of focus, have a weapon that negates your own need to focus?

    The unfairness of longer range stunning completely imbalances the flow of fights against the pyro, by removing your best means of avoiding damage by the pyro. If you switch to airblast to gain control, you aren’t using your secondary. If you can do everything with your secondary vs something like a scout, there’s much less skill required in direct fights. If you’re using a shotgun, you’re rewarded there. If you use the detonator, you can control them into your range and hit them indirectly. If it’s a combo class, you can flare them. But none of these cases involve the flat out stalling of a person unless you airblast. There is no counterplay to having your movement removed from a distance. Either don’t touch the ground entirely and play a game of the floor is lava, or just fuck right off because you’re playing poorly ig, just be better and don’t get stunned l o l! minimal commitment stunlocks are so intuitive.

    Put simply, effective usage of the scorch shot flat out ruins the reward of smartly choosing your secondary. Less thinking on a thinking based class aint good chief. I am left to ask myself, is the scorch shot just annoying? I’d think not.

    Keep scorch banned, unban darwins. Reward pyros for helping their team with spam, but at a cost if they keep tunnel visioning it. It’s never at a cost with scorch in comparision. Important to maintain the tradeoff nature of pyro play imo. If the sniper is the biggest issue, let the pyro help the team out with it, and let the enemy sniper play around it if it becomes an issue. Then from there, both players keep adapting and adjusting. All of it comes at a cost, a conscious thought the players are left with. Still need to peak longer and or time better to get comparable spam value to the scorch shot is the bottom line. More risk involved.

  • I agree with previous statements, I think the only ones worth debate is the airstrike, dawrins and scorch shot. I could be twsited into also the short circuit, but even with the anime ball its still has its same problems of removing two classes. I do think its worth trying to unban all three for the test cup rather than one at a time

  • please do not undo the best thing I did as a head admin

  • hl’s ban list is well maintained right now. i don’t see the worth in testing anything but the three aforementioned weapons, and even then, those are questionable since at least two have been banned recently.

  • bro i stg who are these chucklefucks that keep getting the ‘let’s unban the airstrike!!’ ideas in their head every 2 years like fucking clockwork??? what is it with this weapon in particular?

    -ugc banned it when it had 3 rockets
    -ugc tested it after it got brought back to 4 rockets and kept it banned
    -ugc re-tested it at least once, if not twice, after the initial ban because of mouthbreathers who cannot stand the idea of the air strike not being in comp play and near-unanimously kept it banned

    why does this keep happening?? how many times do i have to relive the nightmares?? are we really just programmed to engineer our own destruction? this shit actually feels like the demon king in a fantasy story that awakens every 1000 years

  • also @tua counterpoint: just also ban the cozy

  • @Alto I mean UGC season 25 was literally over 3 years ago now. A significant part of the community has started playing since then. We have different maps in the pool now and different metas. How long does it have to be until it’s okay to take a look back at things? 5 years? 10 years? Obviously I’m playing devil’s advocate here, but as someone who never played in UGC and had never even heard of it being tested before, I voted to test it. Why not, if we’re testing other weapons?

    And as for the cozy, I will reiterate: all sniper secondaries are banned in prolander aside from the carbine and the sniper is just as powerful, if not moreso. Banning all the secondaries on sniper imo just comes across as spiteful and doesn’t really change the outcome of HL being sniper-dominated. You’d have to fundamentally change the class or map pool to do that. It’s like making the 9ft tall guy in basketball wear wooden shoes because he’s too good and ruining games, so now he scores 45 points a game instead of 50. The same problem still exists and the game of inches at that point is pretty much impercievable to everyone except the sniper.

    The problem with sniper is his primary weapon, not the secondary, and no amount of tweaking to his secondaries will change the meta or player experience in any meaningful way

  • @tua I don’t want to knock the approach of being skeptical about item bans, but it is always the air strike that gets brought up and it always stays banned. it’s never anything else. no one ever wants to get frisky with the crit a cola or thought that perceived weakness of spy post amby nerf could be mitigated with a diamondback unban. it legitimately feels like there is a shadowy organization of soldier illuminati that spread air strike propaganda on a schedule. I’m exasperated at this point more than anything.

    and as for sniper, I don’t want to be uncivil but you’re simply categorically wrong?? besides the fact that playing sniper with less players in a server will always be weaker than in HL, and besides the fact that running sniper in 7s is a choice and you are actively making tradeoffs for it (immediate combat strength for pick potential/area denial) and that anything that damages what sniper contributes is going to have a large effect on play/counterplay, besides the fact that HL and 7s are completely different gamemodes and you shouldn’t be drawing parallels, sniper will be weaker when he has less options, ESPECIALLY those that are passive and take no actual input to use. it doesn’t come across as spiteful, its the most centralizing class in the mode, the biggest impediment to fast gameplay, an ever-present problem when designing new maps, and you’re telling me that removing one of the only counterplays in the moment to not insta-die (aim punch) isn’t impactful but instead spiteful?

    Also, your basketball example is terrible on like 6 different levels but the main one is that lowering a player’s performance across the board by 5 points is EXACTLY what a nerf should do to something overpowered. Should we lock snipers to the huntsman? Should we make it 8v8? Should we require mandatory amputations at the knee for all 9ft tall basketball players? Should we eradicate the bloodline of every single sniper player?

    No, we give this class a light hit that still allows it to maintain its role while removing frustrating edge cases and annoying passive power that requires 0 skill to use and eliminates all counterplay for someone who ends up in a sightline. It’s not a spiteful nerf, it is the ideal nerf.

    I consider you a very intelligent person most of the time but that entire paragraph is literally putrid.

    The problem with sniper is his primary weapon, not the secondary, and no amount of tweaking to his secondaries will change the meta or player experience in any meaningful way

    so then why not just unban jarate if its going to be meaningless and sniper will still be OP? it doesn’t matter right? of course it fucking matters, just because something passes a threshold of strength doesn’t mean that everything over that line is meaningless. if anything, since long range instakill is core to sniper’s design philosophy and hitting it too hard would fundamentally change the character (bad idea for a dev/designer), the optimal answer is to remove excess strength in his kit while keeping the core of his gameplay untouched. a cozy ban is, once again, an ideal way to rein sniper as a class in to slightly more tolerable levels by removing power he doesn’t need while keeping his primary strength the same. that philosophy is the same reason i want the toys banned, and advocated for a scorch ban as well, so i’m not just trying to spite snipers. i’d advocate for the outright removal of sniper’s secondary slot (rifle/melee only) if i could.

  • Ban the det or unban the scorch shot its the same shit diff toilet

    for sniper just ban all the secondaries.

  • Air Strike:
    Bad idea to unban. 6s can keep this weapon unbanned because the base jumper is blacklisted and its harder to start snowballing with the weapon. If this weapon gets unbanned and I have to fight against base-jumper pencil soldiers shooting 8 unsurfable rockets into my head ill scream. The dead-ringer aspect isn’t even super relevant, the soldier on the better team will naturally have a much easier time getting the bonus rockets and then make the losing side play against cheesy 8 clip 285% fire rate soldier strats.

    Honestly every ban on the current whitelist feels remarkably deserved and reasonable. I actually think the better course of action with a whitelist cup would be seeing what happens to the game when the wrangler gets removed. I don’t think it has ever been seriously considered because of the worry that it would make engineer “bad”, but wrangler is one of the most directly responsible unlocks for slowing down the game so it could have a positive effect overall.

    Also ban every sniper unlock except the classic.

  • @tua Just ban all sniper primaries except for huntsman. Now the class is no longer op.

    Also if this

    “Air Strike - In the past, the Dead Ringer allowed for it’s cloak meter to be filled with ammo packs and scrap metal. This would allow Air Strike Soldiers to repeatedly trigger the Spy’s feign death and get 1 extra rocket, instead of the intended use of getting a real kill to get 1 extra rocket. This would allow for almost uncounterable bombs by Soldiers with a maxed out Air Strike, providing little counter play.”

    Is the only reason for the air strike to be banned then it shouldn’t be. You’re gonna rely on an enemy spy feeding into you with dead ringer? That’s not why the weapon is banned.

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