Traxantic got me thinking about the mostly unused Paintrain with his skip jump on Badlands last.
The Paintrain/Gunboats combo essentially makes the roamer into a 3rd scout by giving the solly double cap speed, a boost in mobility but conferring a slight vulnerability with the 10% extra damage taken from hitscan. In theory, the rollout works on maps with flanks and tight chokes as losing a solly gives the heavies a disadvantage in any open spam battle. It also needs an open map for RJing to be effective, and it’s good on steep terrain as sollies are a lot more mobile vertically than scouts. The soldier can also get to middle at the same time (or even before) the scouts, giving a huge advantage in the initial mid fight. This itself can win rounds, and even matches.
The easiest place to imagine the rollout working is when you’ve taken the mid but can’t push, and you’re holding choke and house. The demo/medic/solly trio holds around the forward train spamming enemies peeking into choke, while the scouts watch valley and bridge as usual. The roamer can protect the scouts from a solly peeking into house, and also spam the enemy scouts back into the resupply, allowing your own scouts onto balcony. This commits the enemy scouts to run behind in search of them, and prevents the enemy heavies pushing the choke due to the scout threat behind. From here, the roamer has several options.
- He can jump the enemy medic with support from a scout.
- He can call for the heavies to push and sandwich the enemy from behind (if they fell back to trash or left of spire).
- He can jump onto spire, forcing the enemy back from choke (scouts are busy dealing with each other). This allows the heavies to push and delay the uber as long as possible, and maybe even forego using it (if they stayed at choke).
This give you an alternative playstyle to the usual choke push as illustrated in the nice picture-with-arrows created by nvc below. If they aren’t expecting it and you play it right, they are forced to give up ground without you having to use your uber.
The demo/solly/medic trio are forced to play tight with the roamer freed up. You are overloading the flanks to make something happen there.
There are two correct counters to this approach.
One is for the opponent to send an extra heavy to deal with it. If they do catch on and send a heavy to backup the flank, you should aim to apply enough pressure to create an opening to flank, but avoid straight up toe to toe if possible. With the extra mobility you have more of a chance to flank than the opponent, however in a straight up 3v3 battle you are more likely to lose due to the extra vulnerability. You should be looking for other ways to flank around if possible. If all else fails, head back to the combo where you can initiate a standard push with a rocket jump, coordinate a jump on their medic with a teammate while holding or after a soft push.
The second counter is for them to use their heavy advantage aggressively to push uber to uber. In this case, you’ll need to fall back and re-push with a sandwich attack between the heavies and flank classes (+ points if you held uber on the retreat without anyone dying).
Of course, you could argue that the above playstyle doesn’t require a Paintrain to pull off, and you’d be right in some cases. It’s really situational and you need to weigh up whether you’re more likely to be countered against the chance of a backcap.
Remember, if they don’t know you’re using the Paintrain and you’re alone on the backcap, you have a psychological edge over the enemy as they are more likely to think it’s a scout capping. They may only send 1 or 2 back to deal with it, and you can use this edge to surprise them (e.g. hide in a gay spot and jump down on them).
I would say using the Paintrain is situational, but when you do, I’d almost always use the Gunboats. You need the extra mobility to consistently attempt any backcap and move on to the next point. I say consistently as it’s really not worth using a Paintrain just for the “Oh I’m stuck behind enemy lines, might as well try and backcap” situations. If they all come back for you a shotgun isn’t going to help you survive either way.
Gunboats -> maybe Paintrain
Paintrain -> always Gunboats.
For these strategies to be effective you would need to work on new ways to push for almost every point on every map. However, I believe it’s worth it if your team is already established with their standard tactics, as it’s always better to have a wide variety of choices on your strategy as it increases your range of play.