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Highlander Demoman Guide

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#1 foungi



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Posted 21 April 2014 - 04:27 PM

1. Introduction

A drunk Scott? With only one eye? Who doesn't look like a Scott at all? But most importantly loves explosives? Sounds like the perfect character to me!

This guide hopefully gives you a rough overview of your weapons, mindset and positioning as a demoman in Highlander, as well as some advice on deathmatch in general. I'm aiming for something close to kkaltuus Heavy guide, but doubt i'll reach the same quality. Weapon ratings are out of 10, and are indications of how useful of said weapon is in highlander.
Before we start: Switch on hitsound and damage numbers, if you have not yet!



2. Weapons

2.1 Primary weapons

The Grenade Launcher:
Arguably one of the most difficult weapons to aim with in the game, the Grenade Launcher is your stock choice as primary weapon. When used properly, it combines high damage output with area control. It is perfect for spamming around corners without having to overextend, since the rollers deal up to 64 damage. On the other hand, it has two major downsides. Firstly, it takes 1.24s to reload the first grenade, and 0.6 for the consecutive ones, so make sure that you are fully reloaded when your team or the enemy team want to push. If possible, always reload your whole magazine and keep at least one grenade loaded. Secondly, as already mentioned, it's hard to aim. Even though it's your primary weapon you should mainly use it for spamming chokes and as a last resort in 1v1 situations. Also airshots.
Weapon rating: 7

The Loose Cannon:

Until the Loose Cannon was introduced in the Mecha Update, there had been no real alternative to the Grenade Launcher. Now there is, so let's compare the two: the Grenade Launcher deals about 100 damage upon normal hit, whereas the Loose Cannon either deals up to 77 damage for directs/mid air detonations, or even 141 damage when perfectly double-donking an enemy. If you put in enough effort in mastering the aim, you'll most likely get similar or better damage with the Loose Cannon. Additionally you can treat it like a second sticky launcher and detonate the bombs mid air. The big downside is the durability and the damage that comes from the rollers. In order to spam chokes with the Loose Cannon, you need to be pretty close, and the low damage output does not weigh up that risk. Another upside though is the knockback, that can save your team's excrement-tube on maps like upward, steel and koth in general. In the end it's down to taste whether you pick the Loose Cannon (like Seagull in esea) or the Grenade Launcher, though most demoman, myself included, prefer the latter.
Weapon rating: 6.5


Ali Baba's Wee Booties/Bootlegger:
The only time where you might want to use this weapons is when you're going for a caber pick in the beginning of the round, as they give you 25 health more. Since you're a Demoman and there are no Demoknights in Highlander, these are not even worth thinking about.
Weapon rating: 3.5

Use this weapon if you wanna be a dick and play hardcore pick class Demoman on tf2c. It has a different arc compared to the Grenade Launcher, so i don't recommend it as practice weapon. Fun on pubs, useless in competitive.
Weapon rating: 3.5

2.2 Secondaries

Stickybomb Launcher:
Best weapon in the game, borderline OP. Even though it's a secondary this is your real main weapon. Perfect for controlling chokes, destroying sentries, forcing enemies to pop early or stopping them from pushing. You can also deal horrendous amounts of damage and decimate enemies whilst using the Kritzkrieg. It's your teams life insurance while stickying up your retreat, and creative sticky traps can be gamechangers. A single Sticky deals between 60 and 120 damage, and you've got 8 of those. Use this weapon to put up traps, either obvious ones, in order to hold the enemies back, or hidden ones, to go for picks. You should know the most common Sticky traps for every point on every map, and it's ideal if you have your own, creative spots up your sleeve. Alternavively you can M1(M1M1M1)M2 spam chokes, if your team supports you and gives you a good angle. When fighting against anything but scouts and soldiers in 1v1 situations, this will most likely also be your weapon of choice, at least while you're rather new to demoman. The only real flaw is again the reload time, with 1.09s for the first and 0.67s for every following sticky. So similar to the Grenade Launcher, don't have an empty magazine, pick up all the ammo you can find and that the Engy doesn't need, and reload multiple projectiles at once. Lots of new players never found out that you can charge stickies up to 4 seconds, in order to fire them further. Long range Sticky sniping is essential, as it helps your flank players to get picks and delays enemy pushes (plus it makes your damage stats look good).
Weapon rating: 10 (or rather 15)

The Sticky Jumper:
Needless to say, this weapon is only used during suicide rounds while trying to get the enemy medic on maps like badwater or lakeside. Some egocentric demomen who want to show off their huge junk also use it 24/7 in Centers, but they ruin the experience for everyone, so don't follow their example (#notahypocrite). Apart from that it's good for practicing Grenade Launcher-aim in pubs.
Weapon rating: 3

Scottish Resistance:
Even though it might seem like an upgrade considering the massive wall of blue text in the weapon description, it's significantly inferior to the Stickybomb Launcher. While giving you more stickies and the ability to detonate traps seperately, the Scottish Resistance slow's down the arm time by 0.8s to a ridiculous 1.72s. This weapon is close to useless for spamming chokes and defending yourself. The only scenario where it might be used is when you're defending a last point on 5cp maps and want to put up multiple traps. Apart from that it's a straight downgrade, and you just don't run it. Actually, forget what i said about 5cp maps, just don't use it but rather make some scrap out of it.
Weapon rating: 3

Chargin' Targe/ Splendid Screen:
You are not a Demoknight, so these weapons are not relevant at all. Don't even think about it.
Weapon rating: 0


2.3 Melee

Ullapool Caber:
General advise: if you in a melee situation as demoman, you've already made a mistake, and you should not expect to survive against other classes, since they can reload quicker than you and shut you down close range before you can say „I'm drunk“. The Ullapool Caber gives you the chance to take at least one enemy with you. 9/10 times you use it you'll die as well, so it's just a small consolation, but that's still better than nothing. Apart from that, it's pretty useful for the aforementioned suicide rounds in the beginning of an attack.
Weapon rating: 6

The Bottle as well is a solid choice for your melee weapon, as it might give you the chance to kill a scout that you just hit with a pipe, without having to reload. On the other hand though, you'll most likely die anyways if you're in short range combat as demoman, and the 65 damage don't make sure that the enemy dies. That's why, in my eyes, it's slightly inferior to the Caber.
Weapon rating: 4

Pain Train:

It's pretty obvious that it only makes sense to run this weapon on 5cp and Koth maps, and the x2 cap time can indeed make a difference. But as demoman, hitscan classes, especially scouts, are your weak spot anyways, so why make it easier for them? I'd advise you to only run it when there isn't much time left for your team to cap the point.
Weapon rating: 4

Freakin risky, but if you can magically avoid getting stuck on your melee weapon, it can be good, but it's not at all recommended, though I don't know whether there are some scripts or anything that can help you.
Weapon rating: 1

All the other melees:
You are not a Demoknight, so these weapons are irrelevant. Don't even think about using them!
Weapon rating: 0

Preferred Competitive Loadout

- Grenade Launcher
- Loose Cannon

- Stickybomb Launcher

- Ullapool Caber

- Bottle
- Pain Train

3. Positioning and Mindset

As Demoman you have to be aware that you are part of the Combo. The Heavy will get most of the heals, but you still need to stay around the Medic. All the rest is basically summed up in two rules:

1. Control chokes
2. Don't overextend


As easy as that might sound, it's hard to force yourself to follow those rules after you've had a taste of how much damage and death you can rain upon your enemies.
Even though your Medics leash on you is longer than the heavys, since it's not your job to protect your Medic, don't run away neither. You need to be able to quickly reconnect with the rest of the Combo when you/the enemies push.
Always keep in mind that corners are your friend if you have them trapped up and are watching them, but your mortal enemy when you get too close. Peeking around corners on your own is dangerous and in general not worth the risk, even if it's called who's behind them. A Scout, Soldier or Heavy in your face will kill you. A watching Sniper will kill you, and a Pyro will at least cause you some major trouble. Not to mention hostile sticky traps. Long story short: stay passive when you're not pushing and make sure that you stay alive so you can keep your team safe by spamming chokes with pipes and putting up traps.
When it comes to attacking, you'll quickly notice that centers are pub-like from time to time. Medics who are new to competitive will probably want to push with the Heavy, because they're used to it and because it's easier to coordinate. On the other hand, an experienced Highlander Medic will most likely give his Uber to you. Whatever the case, be clear about it beforehand. Ask your Medic what he's going to do if you don't feel confident enough to announce a play yourself, and center your approach around it. If he wants to Uber the Heavy, your job is to stay as safe as possible while pushing in behind Medic and Heavy. Deal damage to fleeing enemies, trap up the hostile Combos retreat so that you can kill them after their uber faded. If you're not being focused by the Sentry, kill the engineer if possible and damage his Sentry to support your heavy. Most importantly though you have to survive the Uber Exchange so you can follow up with damage and help your team establish dominance over the hopefully gained territory. If necessary, call for a flash.
If your Medic decides to give you the uber, the rules are similar. Deal as much damage as possible, preferably kill the engineer before the Sentry, sticky off their combo and make sure you won't go down 3 seconds after the Uber faded. Choose a goal for the uber (kill the engineer/the sentry in uber vs uber scenarios, kill the medic if they're close to uber but don't have it yet, kill as many players as possible if you have 50% uber advantage or more). Don't be too eager on getting the job done though, since your death will slow down your team significantly.
All of this can be applied to Quickfix as well.

If your Medic is running Kritzkrieg, it's you who takes the lead:

70%: tell your team that you're close to having it and that you want constant calls about the positioning of the enemy combo
80%: start reloading all your weapons and get into position, but don't present yourself to their combo yet. Heavy and Pyro should be with you because demomen suck at defending medics, and it's too time consuming during a kritz charge.
95%: if everything is going as planned, you know where their combo is and they are in your reach. Charge your first sticky and tell your Medic to pop as soon as he reaches 100%
100%: kill everybody, masturbate to the damage numbers and the flying giblets.

The hostile Medic of course is a priority pick, but if he just respawned and hasn't reached 30% of his charge yet, he's not really worth bothering. Instead try to get 3 or more kills. A numerical advantage will serve your team more in those situations than only their Medic being down. Again, don't overextend.
If you want to have fun as Demoman, you need heals. Your Medic is more likely to give them to you if you are in Mumble and talking to him, even when Mumble is not mandatory.
In general: The more you stay alive, the more damage you can deal. Getting huge plays is not your job, and you should only go for them if there's a really good chance you're gonna make it or your team is in dire need (for an uber to get forced for example).
You should also always check the logs to find out what you've died to and why your team lost even though you did well. Even though you're one of the most important classes, you cannot always carry a team.


4. Deathmatch

The Demoman has one big flaw: he does not have a single hitscan weapon in his repertoire. This means that you have to learn the arc of your pipes and stickies, get a feeling for the arm time of your stickies and most importantly, study other classes. You can't click at them, but you have to click ahead of them, think one step further and predict their movement. That might sound complicated, and it is in the beginning, but you'll quickly do it subconsciously. Now let's go into detail.
To learn the basic Sticky and Pipe (and Loose Cannon) arc i recommend trying to airshoot Bots tr_walkway_rc2. You can download the map, put it into your tf/maps folder, and then create a server ingame by clicking on the plus and selecting tr_walkway_rc2 as map, then join RED. By hitting a button next to the main floor you can activate the launch pad and send your enemies into the air. The map also has some other cool features you might want to check out.
The next steps are, depending on your taste, playing pubs with sticky jumper for pipe aim, or with the bootlegger for sticky aim, or playing mge against friends/strangers. Before playing against a stranger on an mge server ask politely whether it's okay for you to use the Sticky Launcher, since many players don't like it in mge. If not, use the sticky jumper. The best classes to play against are Scouts, Soldiers and Pyros (if allowed on the server). MGE is not about winning, but about learning and playing, so pay attention to why you lost and try to improve, instead of ragequitting.
Facing certain classes:

A good soldier will wreck you, if you don't have the time to set up traps beforehand, so avoid these situations in matches, but prepare for them in MGE. He'll most likely jump at you. Try to get a mid-air-sticky or an airpipe onto him, and sticky up where he might land, to limit his options and deal some damage. Make sure you don't waste all your pipes on missed airshots, but rather wait for him to land. He's easily predictable in his last few meters of flight, so just shoot at where he's gonna touch the floor. Afterwards, you have to hope that one pipe is enough. Try to dodge unpredictably, since he as well relies on movement patterns at mid range.


Your Kryptonite. He'll kill you in a split second when he's in your face, so don't let him get there. Sticky off your retreat, and try to force him into certain areas between stickies, because that's where he is predictable. A lot of scouts overestimate their movement and jump a lot. If you can force him to jump or even double jump, that's where you can easily get a pipe onto him. Always have one pipe loaded for that scenario. Eiter he's gonna run away now, or you can get the missing 20 damage with stickies.

Not as intimidating as you might think. Detonate your stickies in mid air, because that makes them harder to reflect. Also try to not fall into a pattern while shooting pipes, because that makes it easier for him to get a reflect as well.

Strafe left and right in order to make it harder for him to track you. Get some obstacle between the two of you, and spam stickies.

One of the silliest 1v1s in the game. Just be random, don't give him the chance to predict you. Pro advice: it's hard to deal with things zigzagging towards you as demoman, so if he's currently using his stickies, just run forward and he'll miss the first few shots.

Keep him at distance with stickies. He can be a problem if he's close, so don't let him get there

Needless to say, he's gonna kill you at long range. Spam rollers in his general direction and get close when he's not in scope.

Shouldn't be a problem when you know he's there, unless he has some crazy Ambassador aim going on. If he suprises you you're most likely dead anyways.

Just kill them. Not much to say really.


Now go and have fun blowing stuff up!
If you have any further questions, feel free to add me.
Some haters say demoman is easy, just spam M1 and M2. I'd like to remind them that other classes mostly only use M1.

Edited by foungi, 21 April 2014 - 05:27 PM.

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#2 naknak


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Posted 12 June 2014 - 01:23 PM

I would add:

The most effective demomen are the ones constantly softening (not necessarily killing) targets and calling out damage that their teammates can capitalize on. That requires distinguishing high damage from low.
Use tf_dingaling_pitchmaxdmg and tf_dingaling_pitchmindmg (lower pitch for higher damage and it's in Hz; I use 30 and 400 respectively) to get an audible indicator of damage dealt. You don't see numbers unless the damage happens within your field of view (which ought to be the exception).

Equipping Loch-n-Load is defensible in very specific situations. Hitting a sentry in the window on Badwater third, standing below and out of its range (near the medium health) can't be done with pipes, for example. It's still a 1%-of-the-time weapon, but ranking it equal to booties is being too harsh.

#3 Waffle


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Posted 19 July 2014 - 10:34 PM

Thanks for the guide naknak. 

#4 mizx


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Posted 21 July 2014 - 12:28 PM

Thank you foungi for the guide. Definitely going to try some new tactics you have in there (vs heavies for example...)


Naknak, thanks for the dingaling pitch cvars. Didn't know there was such a thing but I already know I am going to love it. Heavily annoys me when I can see a small bit of someone and can't get the damage indicator...now I'll have to get down the pitch sounds :)

#5 mizx


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Posted 26 July 2014 - 06:54 PM

I would also recommend changing tf_dingaling_pitchmaxdmg to 120 (give or take a few points). By default it is on the high end of 255 I believe, which is generally not the best when using demo's stickies and grenade launcher, since you won't get 255 unless you are kritz'd.

#6 elevens



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Posted 08 July 2015 - 05:34 PM

Another thing to mention is to slow down. often, you might want to play more aggressive after a fight, and you will walk in with a pipe and 3 stickies. demo takes time for his stickybomb launcher to reload, and people often  forget that

Edited by elevens, 08 July 2015 - 05:35 PM.

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#7 ninjaMooCow


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Posted 28 September 2015 - 12:08 PM

Pinned this.  Great guide, great conversation guys.

#8 Maz



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Posted 08 October 2015 - 11:24 AM

Nice guidee :)

#9 Tury


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Posted 06 November 2015 - 08:27 PM

This is incredibly outdated considering the major changes in the past few updates and weapon bans. 

#10 labbe999



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Posted 17 January 2016 - 11:34 PM

Quick question what is your option on the quickiebomb launcher?

#11 CbIHoK



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Posted 28 January 2016 - 08:33 PM

No idea about half of this things before, srsly. Thx a lot, Foungi!

Edited by CbIHoK, 28 January 2016 - 08:33 PM.

#12 Kengur


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Posted 05 February 2016 - 07:35 PM

No idea about half of this things before, srsly. Thx a lot, Foungi!

Just kill them. Not much to say really.



Like this stuff. Totally new school.

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