The main argument I’ve seen since my initial response to this thread in defending the scorch shot from being unchanged in the current whitelist is that “you can’t ban a weapon for only being annoying”. But I think the initial concerns with the weapon have been missed.
While I’m glad we can all agree that it’s one of the most annoying unlocks in the game to face in the current whitelist, I feel like the main issues with the weapon have been overlooked and it can come down to why it’s so annoying and those reasons that warrant a ban.
Pyro is, and always will be, a specialist class. I feel like this is obvious, but it should be reiterated. What Pyro excels at can’t be matched by almost any other class, but comes at a cost of being more poor to other aspects of the game. A majority of the defending arguments in this thread from the Pyro players come from “Pyro is already weaker at most points in the game, and the scorch shot helps alleviate this weakness”. Although I do want all classes to edge more towards being applicable in more situations, I think the scorch shot brings too much to table, on top of what Pyro already excels at, to stay in competitive play. I do not want the pillar for banning the weapon to be “It’s too low risk for its reward and makes the class look like a low-skill ceiling joke”. Instead, I believe the major concern that should spearhead the ban is the overwhelming effect it has at all points in the game in comparison to its counterparts that see much less limelight in the current meta. These effects include, restated from my original post:
"spam splash (for full afterburn ticks + initial impact), long-range spy check places a Pyro couldn’t normally (from safe distance), pop-up/stun on direct with extra damage, stop all momentum with directs, flare jump, and clear stickies is such an overpowered secondary where if you’re not using it you’re really just being a detriment to your own team".
I would also like to couple these advantages brought by the scorch shot with the buffs since Jungle Inferno/MYM to the overall class that include increased afterburn tick damage from all flame sources (including scorch), and the abundant airblast buffs (Pyro’s most important mechanic in competitive play). I know the flamethrower changes have been seen as nerfs, but I consider them to be overall buffs outside of damage ramp-up and I won’t talk about the flamethrower here because of this controversy.
The scenario that @Alto brings up, arekk would run scorch shot and just spam it at flank and the second he got a hit b4nny and blaze would push off of it, because those 20-30+ hp margins the scorch shot can essentially give you for free is enough for top-level players to take a fight that’s 60-40 or even 50-50 and flip it into an 85-15 or a 90-10 is seen in almost every map in the pool where just putting a Pyro on the flank with scorch shot, or just spamming it from safe distance without even leaving the combo, can turn what would normally be coin flip fights into one-sided guarantees and at no cost to the Pyro to his team. You could also swap out the scorch shot with detonator, or even stock flare, but it’s the insane splash (pointed out here from @Catalyst), momentum-stopping power/damage on direct that the scorch shot brings that the other options do not. You would be hard pressed to give a reason why shooting a detonator to hit behind a corner is more beneficial than hitting the ground with a scorch shot (they have the same blast radius on impact/det at 110 HU).
I would also like to bring up @Melon’s argument and couple this with @Alto’s
the scorch/det are direct downgrades in close range combat to the shotty/flare among others, which is significant when you consider the degreaser already has the lowest dps of any primary weapon and every second matters in trying to protect a combo at range. Not to mention, it one of very few weapons that can contest snipers at range, if anything else but to force them on to darwins.
Hitscan classes that are basically aimbotting, a spy with mind control, and projectile classes running 80 different instances of the source engine on a giga-array to calculate the best projectile angles in real-time. On that team, pyro does not need to kill anything. Anything a pyro can do in terms of damage, another class can do better
The argument that shotgun/stock flare is an upgrade in close-range is mitigated by the fact that pyro is normally close to other classes that outscale his own damage at this range, while these classes being safer to do so. The skillset for pyro in competitive is not this damage-dealing class that rivals scout, sniper, and demoman, and his niche is in afterburn and airblasting. The shotgun/flare may prove useful in a small number of engagements where these other classes are dead/not around and could ultimately save your team, but in the long term of a round or even a whole match they don’t come close to how the scorch shot changes the entire situation for the enemy team.
In higher levels of play, you’re even more hard pressed to find a reason to run an alternative to the scorch because your teammates generally have higher DM and are more suited to these situations and can stop them before you would need interfere with shotty/flare. Why would you equip an item that may not even see much light of being used or has an even bigger niche to one that is applicable to almost every situation? The fact that the shotgun, the generalist hitscan for most classes, is being outshined by an unlock for being even more generalist and even game-changing should be the biggest red flag. Just running the scorch shot can easily mitigate close-range fights from happening in the first place by hitting enemy flank members, spies, and damaging the enemy combo, all from safe distance, and ties back into how the game changes just from this one weapon.
So when it comes back into banning the weapon for being annoying, it stems from the overall impact and how much you see the scorch shot and its effects throughout every single game. It’s the overwhelming amount of power on a small-scale that can turn what would be 60-40 or coin toss fights into guaranteed ones and how it can shut down multiple classes in the larger scale. No other pyro secondary, or pyro unlock in general, comes close to the impact the scorch shot has, and not using it in the current whitelist is really just throwing.
and about banning other unlocks if the scorch gets banned, idc lol