Charging is the alternate fire of the Demoman's shield variants. It causes the Demoman to let out a thundering scream while initiating a charge attack, making him rush forward with a huge burst of speed.
If the Chargin' Targe, Splendid Screen, or Tide Turner is equipped, a "Charge" bar will be added to the bottom right of the player's HUD; if the bar is full, pressing the alternate fire button (default key: ) will initiate a charge attack. It is possible to start a charge anywhere, even while airborne or underwater; however, the player cannot charge again until the "Charge" meter is full.
When a Demoman charges, his base speed increases to 250% (450 Hammer units) until the charge ends. This speed can be affected by outside modifiers, such as having several heads while wielding the Eyelander, or the speed penalty from holding the Scotsman's Skullcutter; however the player cannot exceed the maximum speed of 250%. While charging, the Demoman cannot jump, and is forced into a mostly-fixed straight trajectory (although he can turn very slightly to change the angle of his charge). Wearing the Ali Baba's Wee Booties or Bootlegger triples the user's turning strength, although this is still limited to slow turns. Using the Tide Turner grants full turning control, allowing the user to turn corners or avoid obstacles during a charge.
Once a charge is initiated, the player can cancel it at any time by swinging their equipped melee weapon. The charge cannot be canceled by firing the user's primary weapon (such as the Grenade Launcher), as the user will simply keep moving forward. Crashing into a solid surface, enemy or enemy building will also stop the charge. Regardless of how it is stopped, the "Charge" meter will fully deplete once the charge ends, preventing players from "conserving" the meter.
Once the meter is empty or is canceled, the Demoman will cease all momentum and stop in place. If the user ends in the air, all forward momentum is kept and they will continue to fly forward in an arc that obeys gravity.
The "Charge" bar will refill over time when depleted; the Chargin' Targe and Tide Turner take 12 seconds to recharge, while the Splendid Screen takes 8 seconds. The meter cannot be replenished using ammo crates (except when having the Persian Persuader); however, it can be replenished through respawning or touching a resupply cabinet.
There are three separate sounds the Demoman can make while charging, which can be found on the Demoman's respective response page.
Effects of Charging
Charging also grants a boost of strength to the Demoman's next melee swing, which increases the longer the player charges. This is shown by a corresponding color change of the "Charge" meter as it depletes.
- When the meter is white or green (charge meter has started to deplete), a melee attack will only do normal damage.
- When the meter is yellow (25% charge meter depleted, essentially half of the charge distance), striking will deal mini-crit damage.
- When the meter is red (60% charge meter depleted, more than 3/4 of the full charge distance traveled) the melee attack will be a guaranteed critical hit (unless the user is equipped with the Tide Turner, which will only grant a mini-crit).
The Demoman's shield and held weapon will also spark and emit a team-colored glow as the charge goes on (similar to being under the effects of a crit boost); while this aesthetic also affects the Demoman's primary weapons, it does not grant them a damage boost in any way.
Orange Charge meter. Swinging a melee weapon now will deal a mini crit.
While charging, any enemy in the direct path of the user will suffer from a shield bash, provided the player does not end the charge prematurely by attacking. The player can only affect one enemy with each shield bash, even if multiple foes are crowded together in the same spot.
Shield bash damage scales according to distance, with low-distance bashes dealing minimal damage, and full-distance bashes (charging more than 0.90 seconds) dealing full damage and strong knockback which sends the victim flying backward. If the player bashes into an enemy at mini-crit/critical hit distance, the player has a small window to swing in order to get the damage bonus gained by charging.
If the player is equipped with the Eyelander, Horseless Headless Horsemann's Headtaker or Nessie's Nine Iron, each head collected will add an additional amount of damage to the shield bash (+5 per head with the Chargin' Targe and Tide Turner, +8.5 per head with the Splendid Screen). Damage is capped at 5 heads since it is the buff limit of head-collecting weapons.
Shield bashes do not deal any damage to enemy buildings.
As charging is a momentary speed boost and can grant guaranteed critical hits, it is useful in both defensive and offensive situations.
- Charging allows a Demoman to escape from dangerous situations, as no other class in the game can travel as fast on foot. This is a notable advantage compared to Demomen wielding the Stickybomb Launcher, as they have no way of retreating quickly apart from using an extremely damaging Stickybomb jump.
- However, do note that equipping a shield sacrifices the extreme power of the Stickybomb Launcher, so pick the weapon that has the most utility in a given situation.
- The ability to remove debuffs by charging can allow a Demoman to survive longer, and can even be used to bait enemies into using their debuff-inducing weapons early and force them into cooldown. Such examples are the Mad Milk and Jarate, which both take 20 seconds to recharge.
- If defending an objective during Overtime, charging can be used as a last-resort move to stall an enemy's push by quickly touching the objective, which may give your teammates enough time to kill opponents and win the game.
- A Medic using the Quick-Fix will also gain a speed boost if you charge while being healed by him, allowing you to pull him out of trouble.
- A full-distance shield bash and critical swing deals 245 damage combined (280 if using the Splendid Screen), allowing a well-timed charge to kill any class other than Heavies or overhealed Soldiers in one blow.
- The huge boost of speed allows you to easily get into melee range or chase down retreating enemies. This is more apparent against victims running backward in a straight line, as they simply create more distance and give you a bigger opportunity to land a critical hit.
- Charging also lets you minimize the amount of time in enemy sightlines, allowing you to run through Sniper-heavy areas and into enemy territory. However, do note that your straight trajectory still makes you predictable prey for an experienced Sniper.
- Charging can be used to access flank routes, especially on maps with upward slopes or small gaps too far to jump across. This can open up opportunities to prey on enemies who hang behind the front line, most notably Snipers.
- Experienced players can use almost any type of slope to perform a jump known as "Trimping", allowing them to cover distances that can surpass even explosive jumps. The details of trimping are explained below.
As the player keeps all their momentum if their charge ends in the air, charging up sloped surfaces lets the player do a Charge Jump. The simplest version involves charging up specifically designed slopes (such as the rocks on Degroot Keep), which flings the Demoman upwards.
Charge jumps can also be performed while submerged in water; aiming upwards and gaining enough speed will shoot the user up into the air, traveling in an arc relative to how fast they left the water.
Trimping, a more complicated but much more effective charge jump which involves the Tide Turner and the physics of the Source Engine, can also be performed. To do this, the player is required to:
- Approach a sloped surface while moving, then jump and charge at the same time. (The steeper the surface, the closer to the base the player should be.) Alternatively, crouch-jump before hitting the surface.
- Strafe by moving the mouse left or right. As strafing players gain speed, the Demoman will gain a massive burst of speed, and will "surf" along inclines that would usually be impossible to walk up.
- Using the speed, it is possible to charge off the surface, sending the user flying into the air. It is also possible to chain multiple jumps by strafing and surfing off other inclines.
If mastered, trimping allows a Demoman to travel abnormally large distances, allowing him to ambush enemies or escape without the use of an explosive jump.
While trimping can be performed with the Chargin' Targe or Splendid Screen (optionally combined with the Bootlegger or Ali Baba's Wee Booties), the player's lack of full control over charging makes trimping with said weapons much less effective.
- If the player manages to "impact" a friendly teammate with a shield bash (most commonly if the teammate is right next to a wall), the "charge impact" fanfare will still play despite players not being able to hit teammates.
- The trail left by the Demoman while charging is identical to the "phasing" effects granted by ingesting Bonk! Atomic Punch.
- The three various charging sounds are a combination of two sounds already found in-game: some of the Demoman's death screams when he is killed by a critical hit, and the sound effect which the Stickybomb Launcher uses when charging up to launch a Stickybomb, only sped up.