Admit it: Every so often, you suspect you’re carrying your team... How about motivating those lazy sons of bitches to put on their war face and fight?
— Buff Banner publicity blurb
The Buff Banner, also known as the Bugle or simply Banner, is an unlockable secondary weapon for the Soldier. It is a tattered, battle-standard flag mounted on a small backpack and accompanied by a dented brass bugle. The war flag itself – which is rectangular and colored faded yellow with a brown starbust design and moves realistically – remains hidden in the backpack until it is activated, at which point it will appear on a pole mounted to the pack.
Equipping the Buff Banner adds a "Rage meter" to the Soldier's HUD, which is filled by dealing damage to enemies. The Rage meter becomes full after the Soldier has dealt 600 damage in a single life, at which point he can sound his bugle to rally his teammates. Telefragging an enemy results in a fully charged rage meter, regardless of the previous charge or the type of class killed. Switching classes, dying, or unequipping the Buff Banner will empty the Rage meter completely.
During the 10 seconds following this rallying call, all hits made by allies positioned within 450 units of the Soldier, including his own, become mini-crits. Buffed players within the radius emit team-colored rings of light from their feet, and their weapons brighten similarly to a crit boost. It is possible to delay the release of the banner after the trumpet call, and thereby delaying the buffing effect, by holding down the primary fire key; left mouse button by default.
Though players only receive the buff while positioned within the buff radius, the source or sources of their damage need not be within the radius, so traveling rockets, pre-laid stickybombs, Sentry Guns, and afterburn will deal mini-crit damage as long as their creator is buffed when the damage is actually dealt. Likewise, a damage source created within the buff radius will not gain a mini-crit benefit if its creator no longer has the buff when the damage is dealt.
The Buff Banner is automatically given to any player who obtains 17 Soldier achievements.
Damage and function times
|Damage and function times
|Charge fill damage
|Values are approximate and determined by community testing.
As a crafting ingredient
|| Banner of Brothers|
Buff 5 Steam friends at once with the Buff Banner.
|| The Boostie Boys|
Buff 15 teammates with the Buff Banner in a single life.
Buff 4 or more teammates as a Soldier at the same time in a single wave.
December 17, 2009 Patch
- The item was added to the game.
December 22, 2009 Patch
- Fixed the Buff Banner not working when +reload has been forced in console.
- Fixed inconsistent Rage generation with the Buff Banner.
- Fixed the player keeping their rage setting when the Buff Banner isn't equipped.
- Fixed resupply cabinet not clearing the rage and the buff status effect.
January 6, 2010 Patch
- Soldier Rage bar no longer resets when touching a resupply cabinet.
January 13, 2010 Patch
- Increased the rate of the Soldier's Rage generation by 40%.
- Reduced the duration of the Soldier's Buff Banner effect from 14 seconds to 10.
April 28, 2010 Patch
- Added jiggle bones to the Buff Banner.
September 30, 2010 Patch (Mann-Conomy Update)
October 6, 2010 Patch
- Soldiers no longer maintain their rage level when changing loadout.
February 3, 2011 Patch
- Updated flag model with optimizations and LODs.
March 10, 2011 Patch (Shogun Pack)
- Updated bugle model with optimizations and LODs.
June 10, 2011 Patch
- Fixed a bug that caused players to see the wrong backpacks on some classes.
January 11, 2012 Patch
- Fixed incorrect player animations for the Buff Banner.
March 15, 2012 Patch
- Fixed Soldier buffs and rage meters not always being reset.
December 20, 2012 Patch (Mecha Update)
January 16, 2013 Patch
- Fixed Strange Festive Buff Banner not always tracking usage.
- Added The Festive Buff Banner to the list of items allowed in Medieval Mode.
July 10, 2013 Patch
- [Undocumented] Added "Mini Crit!" next to the health bar when under the effects of the Buff Banner.
November 12, 2013 Patch
April 1, 2014 Patch
- [Undocumented] Fixed crit boosted glow not showing.
November 20, 2014 Patch
- [Undocumented] Updated model.
- There are two unused textures for separate "attack" and "defense" banners in the game files, which depict an explosion with an orange background, and a shield with a green background, respectively. Why the defense concept was not included on release is unknown, but the concept has since been given to the Battalion's Backup.
- In the VPK, there exists a BLU version of the Buff Banner flag (listed as c_buffbanner_blue).
- The bugle was originally issued to American monkeynaut Poopy Joe as a means of calling for help before it was acquired by Mann Co. under entirely innocent circumstances.
- The bugle is actually used in this way at the end of a round on the Special Delivery map Doomsday. The sound of the Buff Banner's bugle can be heard as the rocket begins to crash after prematurely running out of fuel.
- The Buff Banner has separate, unique calls for both the RED and BLU teams. The Battalion's Backup also shares this feature.
- The Buff Banner has text on its back, reading "Screaming Eagles". This is a reference to the United States Army's 101st Airborne Division, nicknamed the Screaming Eagles, and is also a phrase used by the Soldier.
- The Festive Variant of the Buff Banner has the "Screaming Eagles" text replaced with "Smissmas".
- It also replaces the skull patch with one that appears to have an image of the Pyromancer's Mask with two candy canes acting as crossbones.
The unused attack explosion flag texture.
The unused defense shield flag texture.
- ↑ WAR! Update comic, news-paper clipping easter egg