Versus Saxton Hale

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This article is about the official game mode. For the community version of the game mode with the same name, see VS Saxton Hale Mode (custom game mode).
The nexus and control point of Tiny Rock.
What is VS Saxton Hale? It's in the name! You fight Saxton Hale! Or you play as Saxton Hale and fight the Mercenaries. Are you ready to face 23 enemies at once? ‘Cause they surely aren’t ready to face you!
— Publicity Blurb

Versus Saxton Hale, also styled as VS Saxton Hale or VSH, is a community-created game mode added in the Summer 2023 Update with the July 12, 2023 Patch. It features Saxton Hale (as the BLU team) pitted against the RED team's mercenaries in a large-scale arena.

Gameplay

When a round starts, one player is chosen at random to play as Saxton Hale on the BLU team, and the rest are assigned to the RED team with one goal: to kill Saxton Hale on behalf of their new boss, Gray Mann, who acts as the announcer. The gameplay is similar to Arena mode; players have one life and are unable to respawn once killed. Players who join a server after a round starts must wait until the next one in order to participate. There are no protected respawn areas or resupply lockers on the map, but health kits or ammo boxes can be found across various locations.

Both Hale and the mercenaries have an arsenal of abilities that can be used against each other. Saxton Hale (BLU team) wins when all the mercenaries are killed; Mercenaries (RED team) win when Saxton Hale is killed. Each game also has a 4-minute timer until the middle control point unlocks, when the control point unlocks, mercenaries or Hale can also capture the control point and win the game. Saxton Hale's health is visible at all times near the top of the screen.

Both Saxton Hale and Gray Mann are voiced by Matthew Simmons.

Saxton Hale

As Saxton Hale, players have several different abilities to help take on the mercenaries. These abilities display most of their information on the HUD. A regular melee hit from Saxton does 195 damage (157/117/77 damage to buildings depending on their level) and creates a small explosion (75 Hammer units/s) that damages anything nearby for 50% of his damage (97 damage to both players and buildings) and his health scales with the amount of players on RED he is fighting. Saxton Hale can use all-class taunts, several of which have unique animations on Saxton.

Saxton Hale has a set of attributes that persist throughout the round. By default, Hale has a 25% resistance against all damage sources (including Crits) and knockback forces, and has a 3x damage multiplier for his only primary weapon. Random critical hits are disabled on-wearer, and Hale has an increased melee range and a bound multiplier of 1.2x and 1.1x, respectively.[1]

Saxton Hale can stomp players, similarly to the Mantreads, dealing a flat 195 damage to the player landed on (as long as he falls at a speed of 500 hammer units).[2]

Saxton Hale cannot be impacted by fall damage, nor can he be healed by a Medi Gun or through health kits. Saxton has a 3x control point capture rate multiplier, but is additionally not able to pick up flags from any team.[1]

Initiating the Flippin' Awesome or Skullcracker taunt as Saxton acts as a taunt kill against the mercenary it was used on.[3][4] Additionally, the Rock, Paper, Scissors taunt can insta-kill Hale should he lose, regardless of the amount of health he has.[5]

Saxton Hale's movement starts at 107% speed (322 Hammer units/s) when moving forward. Saxton's speed ramps up to 520 Hammer units/s as he takes damage, reaching max speed at 25% of his health left.

Saxton's Health

Graph displaying the changes in Saxton Hale's health

Saxton Hale's health is dependent on the number of opponents he faces[6]. If Saxton Hale has only one opponent, his health is set to 1000. Otherwise, the formula for Saxton Hale's health is 40n2 + offset, where:

  • n is the number of opponents on RED team.
  • offset is equal to 1300 for 5 opponents or less.
  • offset is equal to 2000 for 6 opponents or more.

The formula result is rounded down to the nearest multiple of 100. Saxton Hale's health is determined at the end of setup time.

RED players Saxton Hale's Health 
1 1000
2 1400
3 1600
4 1900
5 2300
6 3400
7 3900
8 4500
9 5200
10 6000
11 6800
12 7700
13 8700
14 9800
15 11000
16 12200
17 13500
18 14900
19 16400
20 18000
21 19600
22 21300
23 23100
24 25000
25 27000
26 29000
27 31100
28 33300
29 35600
30 38000
31 40400

Sweeping Charge

Sweeping Charge HUD icon

Saxton charges up his fist as he yells out in preparation for a rushing punch that knocks opponents away and slams them into walls for extra damage (default key: R). The charge can be held for as long as desired, making Saxton's fist glow blue and freezing him in place, even while in the air. The charge attack can be used to send Saxton in any direction that he is facing, allowing him to reach high places if needed. The charge attack has a 10 second cooldown and does 55% of the target's total HP with damage falling off with distance. Additionally, the charge attack deals damage to Engineer buildings every tick that it is active; effectively destroying them almost instantly on contact. Saxton moves at about 467% speed (1400 HU/S) when using the Sweeping Charge.

Saxton Punch!

Saxton Punch! HUD icon

Saxton starts a 30 second countdown from when he spawns, slowly charging up a devastating attack. When fully charged, this attack turns Saxton's left forearm bright red with critical hit sparks all over it. Saxton also gives an audio cue when the attack is ready, alerting the mercenaries. Upon striking an enemy with Saxton Punch, a shockwave is sent out, damaging every enemy around the target based on their proximity. Saxton Punch automatically applies to the next melee hit when available and does 326 damage before going on cooldown.

Mighty Slam

Mighty Slam HUD icon

When Saxton becomes airborne, he has the ability to perform a ground pound, slamming himself back down to the ground with great force. This ability ignores knockback and is triggered by holding the crouch button while in the air (default key: Ctrl). Upon hitting the ground, a big shockwave is sent out in every direction from the point of impact, and every merc close to the landing site takes damage based on their distance from the point of impact. The big shockwave from the slam can easily destroy any buildings on its range as it does double damage to them. This ability is on a cooldown for 15 seconds, however, Saxton can hold the crouch key while on cooldown in midair to fall faster.

Brave Jump

Similar to Scout, Saxton has the ability to perform a double jump, although his second jump allows him to reach significantly greater heights, far beyond any classes' typical abilities (even the Soda Popper's six HYPE jumps or rocket jumping). Useful as a general mobility and evasion tool, this ability launches Saxton forward and upward with no cooldown, only requiring the player to touch the ground to be performed again.

Mercenaries

As the mercenaries, players have a few abilities to aid in fending off Saxton. All classes have voice lines specific to Versus Saxton Hale, although all of the new lines are voiced by James McGuinn rather than their official voice actors. These trigger automatically under certain conditions.

Wall climbing

Every mercenary has the ability to scale surfaces with the use of a melee attack. Upon striking a surface, the player is launched upwards to reach advantageous positions with ease.[7]

Last Mann Standing

When there are 3 mercenaries left, all surviving players deal mini-crit damage. When there is 1 mercenary left, the last surviving mercenary deals full critical hits.[8]

Gameplay changes

Some existing gameplay elements (such as classes, weapons, and buildings) have had changes of varying degrees:

Pictogram plus.png  The Force-A-Nature deals increased knockback, which applies within a range of up to 600 Hammer units.[9]
Pictogram plus.png  The Direct Hit and Reserve Shooter always deal mini-crits on Saxton Hale while he is in the air.[10]
Pictogram plus.png  Landing a successful hit with the Market Gardener while rocket jumping deals damage based on player count. The formula used is (maxhealth / mercs) / 2.5, where maxhealth is the health that Hale started with and mercs is the number of players on the RED team that were alive when the round started. This number is multiplied by 3 due to being a critical hit, then multiplied by 0.75 due to Hale's innate 25% crit resistance. This always deals a minimum of 500 damage and causes a crowd cheering sound effect to play.[11][12]
Pictogram plus.png  Telefrag damage is calculated the same way as the Market Gardener, but (maxhealth / mercs) is multipled by 2 instead of divided by 2.5.[13][12]
Pictogram plus.png  Sentry Guns are awarded 1 assist for every 200 damage inflicted to Saxton Hale.[14]
Pictogram plus.png  Medics have a 30% damage resistance against Saxton Hale's attacks, 100% faster Übercharge rate[15], and are knocked back with an extra 300 Hammer unit force.[16]
Pictogram plus.png  The Hitman's Heatmaker has an added 7x Focus multiplier for each hit.[17]
Pictogram plus.png  Spies take 50% less damage from Saxton Hale while cloaked.[18]
Pictogram plus.png  The Diamondback receives 2 critical hits every time Saxton Hale is backstabbed.[19]
Pictogram plus.png  The Conniver's Kunai gives a minimum of 180 health and a maximum of 270.[12]
Pictogram plus.png  Melee weapons for all classes (except the Spy) deploy 25% faster, have guaranteed crits (except for the Market Gardener and Holiday Punch), and have a 60% increased melee range in a 350 Hammer unit proximity between Hale and the player (the Disciplinary Action and Demoman's sword weapons are unaffected by this range increase).[20]
Pictogram plus.png  On-kill effects are now triggered on-hit instead. Demoman sword weapons,[21][22] the Killing Gloves of Boxing,[23] the Warrior's Spirit,[24] the Candy Cane[25], and the Powerjack are triggered every hit. The on-kill effects of the Ali Baba's Wee Booties and Bootlegger also trigger on every melee hit. Spy knives trigger on every backstab,[12] the Bazaar Bargain triggers on every headshot,[26] and the Air Strike triggers on every 250 damage done to Saxton Hale.[27]
Pictogram info.png  Demoman's shields provide a one-hit immunity against Hale's primary attack; after absorbing an attack, the shield breaks and the player loses any effect from the shield, like the ability to charge.[28]
Pictogram info.png  Weapons and cosmetics utilizing Pyrovision are forcibly disabled in order to prevent Saxton Hale from playing Heavy voice lines.[29]
Pictogram minus.png  The Rocket Jumper and the Sticky Jumper have their bonus reserve ammo removed.[30][31]
Pictogram minus.png  The Scottish Resistance's stickies feature a 20% damage penalty.[32]
Pictogram minus.png  Demoman's sword weapons deal reduced knockback.[33]
Pictogram minus.png  All Miniguns deal 40% less damage.[34]
Pictogram minus.png  The Natascha has an 85% reduced chance of triggering the slowdown-on-hit ability.[35]
Pictogram minus.png  Sentry Guns have a 50% damage penalty.[14]
Pictogram minus.png  The Wrangler's damage reduction does not apply to attacks from Saxton Hale.[19]
Pictogram minus.png  Backstabs do not instant kill and instead deal damage based on player count. This is calculated in the same way as the Market Gardener.[12]
Pictogram minus.png  After a backstab, Spies cannot cloak or attack for 2 seconds.[12]

Strategy

Main article: Community Versus Saxton Hale strategy

Maps

Main article: List of maps

Versus Saxton Hale maps carry the vsh_ prefix; community maps are identified with an italic font.

Name Picture File name
Distillery Vsh distillery.png vsh_distillery
Nucleus VSH Vsh nucleus.png vsh_nucleus
Skirmish Vsh skirmish.png vsh_skirmish
Tiny Rock Vsh tinyrock.png vsh_tinyrock

Update history

July 12, 2023 Patch #1 (Summer 2023 Update)
  • Added maps: VSH Distillery, VSH Nucleus, VSH Skirmish, and VSH Tiny Rock.

July 20, 2023 Patch #1

  • Updated vsh_distillery, vsh_tinyrock, vsh_nucleus, vsh_skirmish
    • TF_Bots now function in Versus Saxton Hale.
    • Fixed first-person spectators not seeing Hale's arms glow when he uses his abilities.
    • Fixed players dropping Player Destruction pickups.
    • Fixed Hale sometimes holding Necro Smasher or Sandvich.
    • Fixed Hale's "Dispenser Down..." line playing for any type of building destroyed.
    • By community request, added Pyro VSH lines, performed by James McGuinn.
    • Updated VSH voice lines for Spy.
    • "Behind you" and "Above you" now play exclusively for the player the line is addressed to.
    • Reduced the frequency of Hale's on-kill lines with more than 20 players currently alive.
    • Mad Milk recharge rate returned to stock value.
    • Demoman's Swords now deal less knockback than other melee weapons.
    • Demoman's Shields will now break when absorbing a Hale punch.
    • Fixed a bug relating to sending a class-restricted duel to Hale during Setup.

July 20, 2023 Patch #2

  • Enabled Versus Saxton Hale (Community) support for Valve matchmaking servers.

July 25, 2023 Patch

  • Fixed VSH and other player-destruction gamemodes leaking their HUDs into one another.
  • Fixed Saxton Hale's weapons showing up as being carried by an incorrect/invalid player in VSH.
  • Fixed Saxton Hale's weapons sometimes showing up as invalid in VSH.
  • Fixed a crash that can occur when changing from VSH to another map.
  • Fixed a crash that can occur related to MP3s on VSH maps.
  • Updated vsh_distillery, vsh_tinyrock, vsh_nucleus, vsh_skirmish
    • The script no longer forces mp_winlimit and mp_maxrounds to 0.
    • Community servers now can expand the Script by creating a new file at scripts/vscripts/vsh_addons/main.nut.
    • Community servers now can select the next Hale via SetNextBossByEntity, SetNextBossByEntityIndex and SetNextBossByUserId functions.
    • The Diamondback now gains 2 guaranteed crits upon backstab.
    • Hale's attacks now pierce through damage absorption of the Wrangler shield.
    • Hale will now receive an instructional notification if they haven't performed a Brave Jump during the first 30 seconds of a round.
    • Fixed bugs related to Your Eternal Reward's on-backstab disguise.
    • Fixed Festive Eyelander not gaining heads on-hit.
    • (Hopefully) Fixed Hale sometimes appearing to hold the Necro Smasher or the Sandvich.
    • (Hopefully) Fixed some players being unable to punch as Hale ("A-posing").
    • Fixed Hale disappearing when the game tries (and fails) to gib him.
    • Both sides dying simultaneously now counts as Stalemate.

July 28, 2023 Patch

  • Fixed VSH Casual servers using "mp_winlimit 2" instead of "mp_maxrounds 25".

August 31, 2023 Patch

  • Updated vsh_distillery, vsh_nucleus, vsh_skirmish, and vsh_tinyrock
    • Failing to capture the point in 3 minutes after it opens results in Stalemate
    • Powerjack, Ali Baba's Wee Booties and Bootlegger on-kill effects now work on-hit
    • Hale's abilities now get affected by Vaccinator resistances
    • Fixed Ubercharge rate bonus applying only with the Ubersaw
    • Fixed self-damage counting towards Airstrike bonus rockets and Frontier Justice revenge crits
    • Fixed Natasha and Huo-Long Heater having incorrect damage penalty
    • Community servers now can expand the Script even further by creating a new file at scripts/vscripts/vsh_addons/main_pre.nut. While previously added main.nut gets executed last, main_pre.nut gets executed prior to most of the Script.

Unused content

  • Saxton Hale's model includes two unused bodygroups, one that hides his hat (which in turn shows his hair), while the other hides the Australium Macropus buckle on his shorts.

Notes

  • No voice lines are present for identifying Saxton Hale as a disguised Spy; attempting to identify Hale as one instead triggers a generic response.
  • Saxton's default taunt functions as the High Noon taunt.

Bugs

Saxton holding a Sandvich after using Sweeping Charge.
Screenshot of 2 equal teams of mercenaries in the map Skirmish. Note that Saxton has not spawned.
  • Saxton's player model may sometimes become entirely invisible, leaving only particle effects floating in the air where his model should be.[36]
  • Inspecting Saxton as he is performing the Saxton Punch or Sweeping Charge ability may show him equipped with a Hale's Own Sandvich instead of the Fists. When performing the Mighty Slam, it may appear a Hale's Own Frying Pan.[37]
    • On rarer occasion, a Sandvich model in Saxton's hands may appear on the Spectator cam after inspecting him when he uses an ability. It does not show in third-person view and stays in his hands, but disappears upon switching the camera to another player then back.
  • Backstabbing Saxton with the Your Eternal Reward (or Wanga Prick) without having disguised during that round may list the disguise's weapon or name as unknown.
  • Every time a player uses the command autoteam in the console, they are automatically assigned to BLU and then immediately back to RED and a message is displayed in chat.[38]
  • When Colorblind mode is enabled, two Jarate symbols appear above Saxton when soaked; the top being the default visible to all users, the bottom being the colorblind symbol.
  • Occasionally, the game creates equal teams on RED and BLU, resulting in Saxton Hale not spawning.
    • The Hale portrait still shows up at the top part of the HUD.
  • Sometimes, a player may appear as Saxton Hale despite not being chosen as Saxton Hale.
  • It is possible to earn the Heavy achievement Communist Mani-Fisto as Saxton Hale.[39]
  • If Saxton Hale is killed by the Spy-cicle while in the air, the statue assumes the reference pose.

Trivia

Gallery

Saxton Hale Taunts

See also

References

Pictogram comment.png When updates release, the code will likely have shifted a few lines or have moved somewhere else entirely.

  1. a b scripts\vscripts\vssaxtonhale\bosses\saxton_hale\saxton_hale.nut
  2. scripts\vscripts\vssaxtonhale\bosses\generic\passives\head_stomp.nut:L34-40
  3. Video demonstrating the Flippin' Awesome taunt
  4. scripts\vscripts\vssaxtonhale\bosses\generic\misc\taunt_handler.nut:L107-124
  5. Video demonstrating a Rock, Paper, Scissors victory against Saxton
  6. scripts\vscripts\vssaxtonhale\bosses\generic\misc\setup_stat_refresh.nut:L14-20
  7. scripts\vscripts\vssaxtonhale\mercs\merc_traits\all_class\melee_wall_climb.nut
  8. scripts\vscripts\vssaxtonhale\mercs\merc_traits\all_class\last_mann_standing.nut:L16-23
  9. scripts\vscripts\vssaxtonhale\mercs\merc_traits\single_class\scout_stronger_fan.nut
  10. scripts\vscripts\vssaxtonhale\mercs\merc_traits\all_class\airborne_minicrits.nut:L24-27
  11. scripts\vscripts\vssaxtonhale\mercs\merc_traits\single_class\soldier_market_gardener.nut:L26-36
  12. a b c d e f scripts\vscripts\vssaxtonhale\mercs\merc_traits\single_class\spy_backstab.nut
  13. scripts\vscripts\vssaxtonhale\mercs\merc_traits\single_class\engineer_telefrag_scaling.nut:L18-21
  14. a b scripts\vscripts\vssaxtonhale\mercs\merc_traits\single_class\engineer_sentry.nut; Awarding assists to the Sentry Gun based on damage is done to allow Engineers using the Frontier Justice to get revenge crits
  15. scripts\vscripts\vssaxtonhale\mercs\merc_traits\single_class\medic_uber_rate.nut
  16. scripts\vscripts\vssaxtonhale\mercs\merc_traits\single_class\medic_resistance.nut:L25-29
  17. scripts\vscripts\vssaxtonhale\mercs\merc_traits\single_class\sniper_focus.nut
  18. scripts\vscripts\vssaxtonhale\mercs\merc_traits\single_class\spy_invis_res.nut:L24
  19. a b https://www.teamfortress.com/post.php?id=206934
  20. scripts\vscripts\vssaxtonhale\mercs\merc_traits\all_class\melee_buffs.nut
  21. scripts\vscripts\vssaxtonhale\mercs\merc_traits\single_class\demo_head_collecting.nut:L25-42
  22. scripts\vscripts\vssaxtonhale\mercs\merc_traits\single_class\demo_katana.nut:L22-30
  23. scripts\vscripts\vssaxtonhale\mercs\merc_traits\single_class\heavy_kgb_crits.nut:L24
  24. scripts\vscripts\vssaxtonhale\mercs\merc_traits\single_class\heavy_warriors_spirit.nut:L25
  25. scripts\vscripts\vssaxtonhale\mercs\merc_traits\single_class\scout_candy_cane.nut:L24-29
  26. scripts\vscripts\vssaxtonhale\mercs\merc_traits\single_class\sniper_head_collecting.nut:L21-26
  27. scripts\vscripts\vssaxtonhale\mercs\merc_traits\single_class\soldier_airstrike.nut:L29-37
  28. scripts\vscripts\vssaxtonhale\mercs\merc_traits\single_class\demo_shield.nut:L32-54
  29. scripts\vscripts\vssaxtonhale\mercs\merc_traits\all_class\no_pyrovision.nut:L14-25; Hale is technically a Heavy with Voice Pitch shifted to 0. Pyrovision overrides that shift enabling Heavy's lines.
  30. scripts\vscripts\vssaxtonhale\mercs\merc_traits\single_class\demo_jumper_ammo.nut:L24-28
  31. scripts\vscripts\vssaxtonhale\mercs\merc_traits\single_class\soldier_jumper_ammo.nut:L24-28
  32. scripts\vscripts\vssaxtonhale\mercs\merc_traits\single_class\demo_scottres_nerf.nut:L25
  33. https://www.teamfortress.com/post.php?id=206724
  34. scripts\vscripts\vssaxtonhale\mercs\merc_traits\single_class\heavy_minigun_nerf.nut:L25
  35. scripts\vscripts\vssaxtonhale\mercs\merc_traits\single_class\heavy_natasha_nerf.nut:L25
  36. Video of Saxton being invisible
  37. Video of Saxton carrying a Sandvich
  38. GitHub Issue which demonstrates the autoteam bug.
  39. Video of Saxton Hale getting the Communist Mani-Fisto achievement
  40. Creator confirming the reference