Gun Mettle Alchemist

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A fair amount of time has passed since the release of Gun Mettle. With it came a series of core mechanical changes that made the Engineer dynamic much different than it was in years past. Many of the changes reflect the modern state of the PvP meta--in which speed and mobility are emphasized above all else. Engineer was not alone in these changes. Speed and mobility based changes were also present for the Spy--namely the Dead Ringer & Big Earner. However, that is another article entirely. For now, let's focus on our friend Dell.

What changed?

  • Construction boosts (wrench hits, redeploys) from multiple sources is now additive instead of multiplicative. Calculations are based around a 1x base building speed.
  • Increased base wrench construction speed on hit boost by 50%. Buildings now build 2.5x faster instead of just 2x (additive of 1.5x + base speed)
  • Teleporters and Dispensers redeploy +50% faster (2.5x without wrench boost, 5.5x with wrench boost)
  • Building pick up speed penalty reduced from 25% to 10%
  • On Wrench equip change, buildings no longer self-destruct unless the building type is changed (i.e. Only Sentry explodes when switching from Wrench to Gunslinger)
  • Building repair costs increased from 20 metal to 33 metal to repair 100hp per wrench hit (from 5HP per metal to 3HP per metal)
  • Level 2 and Level 3 Sentries have less passive damage resistance against Heavy miniguns. Level 2 Sentry Minigun resistance changed from 20% to 15% and Level 3 Changed from 33% to 20%
  • Mini Sentries can now be repaired
  • Mini Sentries can now be wrench construction boosted
  • Mini Sentry base build speed decreased. Mini Sentries that are wrench boosted build slightly faster than previously.
  • Mini Sentries start at 50% health on construction and gain health during construction instead of starting at 100%
  • Metal gibs from destroyed Mini Sentries no longer grant any metal

  • Ammo and Repair given to a shielded Sentry is reduced by the strength of the shield (66% reduced) when shield is active

  • Engineer death keeps the Wrangled sentry shielded and disabled for 3 seconds, same as when Wrangler is switched away. Previously Engineer death caused disable state for only 1 second

Pomson 6000

  • Uber and Cloak drain decreases over distance from target. Decreases start at 512 Hammer Units (Hu) from target and reach 0 drain at 1536Hu

Jag

  • With the change to Base Construction boost, Jag bonus has improved. 30% increase of 1.5x makes a total of 1.95x (total of 2.95x when base speed is added)
  • Added +15% swing speed.
  • Added 20% repair penalty. Repairs will give up to 80hp per swing instead 100hp per swing.

The Short Circuit

  • Projectile destruction has been moved to alt-fire at the cost of -15 per shot. There is a 0.5s cool down between attempts and refire
  • Cannot pick up buildings when the Short Circuit is deployed

Eureka Effect

  • Previous penalties have been removed and replaced with the following
  • Construction hit speed boost decreased by 50%
  • 50% less metal from pickups and dispensers

What do these changes mean?

A number of changes here have different impacts on various aspects of the game. Some changes, such as "Construction boosts (wrench hits, redeploys) from multiple sources is now additive instead of multiplicative. Calculations are based around a 1x base building speed." are meaningless to competitive. Meanwhile other changes, such as "On Wrench equip change, buildings no longer self-destruct unless the building type is changed (i.e. Only Sentry explodes when switching from Wrench to Gunslinger)" have changed what it means to be an Engineer down to the very core. Many of these changes render much of my information within the Engineer's Guide to Engineering dated. However, much of the information in that guide is still relevant and a suggested read to those who have not yet. In this article, I will address the changes in that article that have since become dated.

An Engineer's Guide to Engineering - GMA

Wrench or Gunslinger?

...It's obvious when to use the Wrench or Gunslinger, isn't it? Not necessarily. And so often, people don't even THINK of which to use. They fall into the pitfall of what I like to call monkey-see-monkey-do...the round ends, you set a decent time, and go BLU. What's the first thing you do? You go into your loadout screen and go into your Gunslinger loadout...

Back when this was written, it made an implication then that is no longer relevant today. And that is that a wrench is no longer a commitment. With the introduction of wrenches not destroying all of your buildings on swap, we are given a new realm of possibilities. Anymore, an Engineer is not defined by his wrench, but by his dynamics of wrench swapping.

Types of Rollouts - GMA

The pretenses of rollouts from then and now have been abolished. An Engineer's first life, especially in a 5CP/KOTH situation, used to have little long term effect. Initial lives typically involved setting a tele down or not setting any buildings down and running headfirst into combat to die. But now, with the ability to keep buildings on swap along with faster move speed while carrying buildings--the dynamic of a rollout is born anew.

I'm going to propose a mock rollout scenario. Let's say we want to do a drop-and-forget. Most of the time in Defense, 5CP, and KOTH, we consider the teleporter entrance to be most important--but is it really? Just as a Medic micromanages his players and their health, an Engineer micromanages his buildings. Just as Medic has healing priorities set on his teammates, Engineer should have build priorities on his buildings.

Never think for now, always think for 30 seconds ahead (if not 60). How can we maximize our potential with our buildings while still going into a combat situation? Most would tell you to save all your metal on rollout for two minisentries. But for what? Minisentries are useful, but only reactively--and their long term potential for a hold is little to none. What of teleporters? Teleporters too, are reactive, but in a more limited capacity. They rely on both the entrance and exit being up, or otherwise they sit idly by. Therefore, dropping an entrance in a rollout is really a "commitment" to dropping an exit: one of wasting 250 metal during a rollout. This means that we are effectively eliminating ourselves from the midfight; scouring for metal, positioning the teleporter--it is not timely nor proactive.

But, what of the dispenser? Of our building set, it is the most proactive. Dispensers are our source of metal. And, when left alone, they stockpile over time. Thus, we should capitalize off this. At what point could I do a drop-and-forget to maximize the amount of idle time that allow my dispenser to generate a good pool of metal? Don't overthink it--it's all the way at the beginning. At spawn.

A dispenser drop-and-forget at spawn in 5CP/KOTH is one of the most powerful long term actions. The time it takes to drop the dispenser, travel to mid, engage in combat, and respawn (or return to spawn post mid-fight) is enough to allow for a large pool of metal to accumulate.

As an added bonus, the likelihood of it being tampered with is low at spawn. This is a low enemy-traffic area and a high teammate traffic area, meaning compromise risk is little to none. And, even if it were, it is a drop-and-forget, and your time invested as a player is minimal..

Futhermore, in relation to speed, no matter what route or approach you decide to take on respawn, you will pass by this dispenser, wasting no time in having to go out of your way to pick it up. It's right in front of you. But, what to do with it?

KOTH

With the new changes in place, especially with those of the Jag, leveled guns have seen a rise in usage in modes such King of the Hill. Leveled guns are not inherently bad in KOTH. Because KOTH is small, space and ground is valuable. Using a passive level 3 to hold ground is extremely useful. Furthermore, level 3s are powerful to use for on-point holds. It requires more commitment and resources by the other team when they attempt to push back into the point.

That said, one downfall of leveled guns on KOTH is simply that metal is scarce, and that the areas are small. There is not a lot of breathing room and time is of the essence. Scouring the map for metal means you are wasting a lot of time and have less of a presence with a lower leveled gun. You are making yourself more susceptible to death and wasting all the time and effort that goes into the gun. Therefore, it is recommended that in KOTH, an Engineer should never rollout with any wrench other than Gunslinger. BUT he should play with using leveled guns later as an option.

First Life - Using the above mentality of a "drop-and-forget" dispenser, we open up a new realm of possibilities. Anymore, regardless of intent, a rollout should include an Engineer dropping a dispenser near spawn and then running into combat. It isn't until the post mid-fight do options open up.

Second Life - During respawn (or return to spawn if you got out alive), evaluate the situation.

If your team has won their fight and is holding the point, there is more need for a dispenser and teleporter and not a leveled gun. Your resources are best put on the front lines. In this situation, remain Gunslinger--drop a teleporter entrance, pick up your dispenser, and carry it into its hold position. Make use of the metal to quickly upgrade your dispenser and place a tele exit.

If your team does not own the point, a leveled gun is not a bad option by any means. Going wrench (ideally Jag) is preferred. Carry the dispenser into a passive hold location, and make use of the metal to quickly build a leveled gun while your team composes themselves for a push. Use the remaining resources to drop a teleporter, then upgrade the dispenser, then teleporter--time and metal allowing. This allows for a quick nest without the Engineer having to be mobile. A leveled gun securely will hold your position and will be ready to go on a forward hold once you have secured the point.

5CP

"5CP holds a multitude of possibilities." Because it does, your rollout and loadout should be as open ended as your gamemode. In my original guide, I suggest one of three types of rollouts--Aggressive, Neutral, and Passive. But given our new flexibility and emphasis on speed, we instead should be focusing on always being ready-to-go.

First Life - When rolling out, find a convenient location by your second capture point to place a dispenser. Like in KOTH, let this be a drop-and-forget. From here, continue with your team to engage in the midfight. A fair number of situations can come from a 5CP middle fight:

If your team secures middle and has momentum - This being that your team has gained a massive number advantage and your Medic is still alive -- continue onward with the team. This is a time for free ground. Keep playing forward until the momentum is lost. Play accordingly on respawn or hold

If your team secures middle, but lacks momentum - This is a good opportunity to work on a holding pattern for middle point--if you have died, take advantage of being able to switch wrenches. Pick up your dispenser at the second point and carry it to mid. If you have not died, consider travelling back to second to grab the dispenser and place a teleporter entrance.

If your team does not secure middle, but is able to hold second - If you are able to get out of middle point to second, this is a good time to secure a makeshift nest with the dispenser. Make use of the metal to keep minisentries up, and the rest to upgrade the dispenser. Once your team has regrouped and is ready to push, take the opportunity to push with them. If you have an opportunity to pass back by first spawn, be sure to get teleporters ready from first to second for your team.

If your team wipes at middle - Consider second a wash. You are likely to lose your buildings at second and will need to begin building at last as a preventive measure.

Payload

Once a conventional rollout scenario, Payload, too, has been given new options and alternatives. However, all options considered, the old conventions are likely still the best bet.

For defense, it is often finding a location that you can quickly build at and having your team suicide such that you can get a nest quickly set up.

If a setup location is very metal scarce, a possible rollout alternative would include rolling out with the Eureka Effect and using a drop-and-forget dispenser at spawn and running to the nest location to drop an exit, thereafter returning to spawn under Jag. From here, build an entrance and take the dispenser through to the nest location and resume setting up.

In rare occasions where teams do not like to have a first point hold, Engineers occasionally may go mini-sentries instead. Depending on which points a team capitalizes their holds on, this might be a worthwhile option as the Engineer can get out and swap wrenches without sacrificing any buildings his teammates are using.

For offense, a general rule of thumb for the Engineer is to drop a mini out of spawn and then try to clean up around the cart and begin to push it. It's usually expected to stay on the cart and drop minisentries from metal on the cart. It's also advised to plant a drop-and-forget dispenser early on. This dispenser can later be carried forward and used for makeshift forward holds with either minis or leveled guns.

Attack/Defend

For defense, it is exactly like payload above with a wrench rollout. Specify a location that you wish to build and have your team suicide for metal in that general area.

For offense, depending on the map, there are two main strategies to consider that mostly depending on whether or not you can build in spawn. If you are able to build in spawn--you are given setup time and should have plenty of time to build a level 3 sentry. There is no harm in doing so as you are restrained for the setup time anyhow. Once deployed, you can either continue moving the level 3 to your advantage or switch to mini-sentries once it goes down, depending on the situation at hand. If you are unable to build in spawn, it is typically better to roll out with minisentries.

Again, as with other modes, a drop-and-forget dispenser is powerful here, allowing for makeshift forward holds.

Capture the Flag

Because CTF has been in rotation for sometime in UGC competitive, I am going to opt out on writing details for this section. Any observations would be purely theory craft with no gameplay basis to back them.

Loadouts - GMA

With the introduction of wrench hotswapping, all previous loadout suggestions are rendered moot. No longer is Engineer defined by his wrench--but by his versatility. Wrenches are no longer a foundation, but now just another piece to the puzzle. I will do my best to define each puzzle piece--but it's up to you the Engineer, to put those pieces together.

Fundamentally, Primaries and Secondaries roles relative to wrenches have remained the same. As such, I will be covering the role wrenches serve, but will not be covering primaries and secondaries. Refer to my previous article, the Engineer's Guide to Engineering for these.

Melee

Jag - Once cast aside for it's negligible upsides for its hefty downsides, the Jag now has become the king of wrenches. Its downsides of lesser damage and lesser repair-per-second are offset by its faster swing speed, allowing for timely and aggressive builds and rebuilds. All-in-all, at present, most Engineers are pigeonholed into incorporating the Jag into their arsenal.

Recommended usage - Default wrench choice for setup and nest maintenance.

Wrench - The tried and true of Engineer melee. Prior to Gun Mettle, stock wrench was among one of the best options for any Engineer. Even now, it's still a solid weapon, but unfortunately no longer the hero Engineer needs.

Recommended usage - Use Jag instead

Southern Hospitality - The wrench plus bleed. The SH is beneficial for its bleed attributes, which may come in handy for dissuading spies and to a lesser extend, some bomber classes, the Southern Hospitality is a trade off of gun survival.

Recommended Usage - If heckling is a problem, consider using the Southern Hospitality after setting up with the Jag.

Eureka Effect - The Eureka Effect is the bipolar wrench. Each time I talk about it, it seems to change. At present, it fulfills a very niche role. For times with setup allowances, the EE is useful in situations where metal is scarce.

Recommended Usage - During Setup time, do a drop-and-forget dispenser at spawn. Run to a setup location to drop a teleporter exit. Eureka Effect back to spawn and make use of the Jag to setup a teleporter entrance and to take the dispenser through.

Gunslinger - While some core mechanics have changed, the Gunslinger still fundamentally serves the same person. For petty heckling and denial, the Gunslinger is an easy go-to for fast and shoddy setups.

Recommended Usage - During time crunch situations, team momentum, or metal scarce locations with minimal or no setup time, Gunslinger is suggested.

Miscellaneous Changes and Information
  • Building repair costs increased from 20 metal to 33 metal to repair 100hp per wrench hit (from 5HP per metal to 3HP per metal)

For sake of consideration, with the increased cost of building repair--one should be more mindful when Rescue Ranger bolts are an appropriate means of repair as opposed to wrenching. Balance your bolts and wrenching for best metal management

  • Teleporters and Dispensers redeploy +50% faster (2.5x without wrench boost, 5.5x with wrench boost)
  • Building pick up speed penalty reduced from 25% to 10%

The ability to more quickly redeploy support buildings (namely the dispenser) in addition to more quickly move to and from with them puts huge emphasis on saving the dispenser for faster nest redeployment in forward and back positions both.

  • Level 2 and Level 3 Sentries have less passive damage resistance against Heavy miniguns. Level 2 Sentry Minigun resistance changed from 20% to 15% and Level 3 Changed from 33% to 20%

As an excerpt from Engineer's Guide to Engineering - Location, Location, Location explains...

Height & Forced Spread: Height advantage is always favorable...Heavies are not [mobile]...remember that height is distance and distance is spread. While sentries themselves are unaffected by this, there are weapons that are. The minigun is just such an example. With forced spread on a minigun, the effectiveness of an ubered Heavy becomes significantly less threatening--in some situations, to a point of zero effectiveness at all versus a sentry. 

The increased damage versus sentries here puts all the more emphasis on capitalizing on spots that Heavies can not take advantage of.

  • Mini Sentries can now be repaired
  • Mini Sentries can now be wrench construction boosted
  • Mini Sentry base build speed decreased. Mini Sentries that are wrench boosted build slightly faster than previously.
  • Mini Sentries start at 50% health on construction and gain health during construction instead of starting at 100%
  • Metal gibs from destroyed Mini Sentries no longer grant any metal

The minisentry behavior and dynamic has changed slightly. Before, it was a drop-and-forget to turn one enemy into two. Now, with it being inherently weaker, and slower to build, the Engineer is more committed to his mini, attempting to keep it alive or deploying and repairing in a combat situation. No longer is it two enemies, but a slightly more obnoxious one enemy.

  • Ammo and Repair given to a shielded Sentry is reduced by the strength of the shield (66% reduced) when shield is active

While the wails of many Engineers could be heard the day this nerf took place--unfortunately it was for the best. As much as I loved being able to pop up a wrangler shield for 225 Rescue Ranger Bolts or 300 RPS by wrench, the potential and commitment to tank was one that dominated the Engineer's playstyle to turtling rather than survival and mobility. Post Gun Mettle--this change in addition to the mobility and speed buffs emphasizes more of an Engineer's survival and readiness to get out and redeploy elsewhere.