The Dead Bible: Focus Targets & Calling


For this post I’m going to focus (heh) on something that I feel is very important for the Demoman and is something that most people getting in to the class don’t take into consideration.

As the class that can do the most damage the quickest it’s incredibly important that you are a vocal contributor to your team, I’m not asking you to main call, you will just be someone that can give direction to the team during a fight.

This is slightly more advanced that what I originally anticipated for the Demoman Bible series but I feel very strongly about this subject which is why I feel the need to bring it up.

So let’s begin.

WARNING: Some of the information in this blog may be incorrect due to the demoman changes.

The objective

The main thing you are wanting to achieve is to make your pushes/mid fights a lot more lethal and efficient. For example the majority of teams can struggle on a last push because they have no real direction  on the push. Are they focusing the last point or are they going for kills? Your role here is to make sure that the calls are being followed. If the call was to get on the point make sure you let your team mates know that the point is covered with your stickies and it is safe to start capping. If it’s a call to go for kills it’s important that you call a target that you can reach easily, it’s optional if you want to call the damage, sometimes it can be bad as fellow players could stop shooting at that class if it’s called as weak as they would probably think that you can take care of the rest.

Something that I really stressed in my 10 Commandments Blog is the following passage:

“If you play demo but you don’t communicate then you are creating too much work for your team. There really is no exception to this, call your damage or play a class that does none.”

Now I have merced and played for a variety of teams, the majority of which have had some fantastic Demomen that contribute to the calls and what to focus on, when I used to play roamer and I was already made aware of what was damaged whilst I was jumping in, or who I should jump on based on my teams position so they can follow up quickly. Many times I’ve seen teams where there is no call for who to go on or what to do, this creates an awkward fight where people are just taking 1v1s that they can’t win and then moan when they don’t have support. This is an attempt to try and fix that problem.

The Focus

First lets take a look at mid fights as they can have a completely different requirement compared to a standard push mainly because with a mid fight it’s a lot more important to gain the man advantage and ground advantage. If you kill one player that’s pretty much an instant turn around for your team, on last defences it doesn’t necessarily mean you will win the resulting push. Now let’s take a look at a few examples (I’d recommend opening these in full screen as well):

Badlands 4G Focus Middle copy

If you notice there are no damage numbers appearing, this is because I missed everything.

In this situation here it would be correct to focus the Demoman on the left, at the moment from what we can see he is the only one that isn’t overhealed as the enemy medic came straight out of the house to middle. This will put their Demoman at a similar HP to mine, giving him a sticky hit of around 50 will drop him to 100 – 120. This means any more additional spam will drop him lower and force him to rotate into house. From that point on they will have a middle without a Demoman for a while.  If he drops to choke his medic may be forced to heal him leaving the players in front vulnerable. A mistake that is commonly made is when a roamer goes aggressive on a demo, forcing him in to choke, they will either dive to kill him or everyone rushes over to try and take him out. This is wrong, if this ever happens just go over the point and take control of their train, I’ve seen many teams go to far and then get smacked by pipes and start losing valuable players.

Now you will need to take in to consideration your position and that Demomans position, you’ll notice that he’s moved off balcony which means that getting back to the HP in house will require him to go on slope or meet up with the medic.

Alternative options would have been the Medic behind the train, but as you will be shooting blind it’s not a good recommendation. Other times there can be a soldiers & scouts sitting on top of the train, that would be a better option to go for than the Demoman as they are clear targets and they could also interrupt your roamer, giving him the support that’s required would mean that you can move forward and apply more pressure when they are distracted.

Badlands 4G Focus Middle #2 copy

Luckily I did fuck all this mid so I can use my newly found hindsight to tell you what we should have done

So in this more forward situation we have a few things to note, our roamer has flown in but has gone a bit too deep, however he has managed to grab the attention of almost everyone on their team apart from the dickhead that will probably kill me in the top right. So here the best option would be to go for the two players that are disconnected on the left hand side, you again will take the Demoman out of the picture meaning their re-push back onto you will lack a lot of firepower. You’d also be taking out the pocket soldier which again will certainly hurt them. If these two players are taken out swiftly you can then start to move forward onto their train leaving the rest of your team to take care of the soldier that has jumped behind.

The focus with this situation as well can change depending on where your roamer jumps, as I said before you can see that he is now jumping around to choke, if he was jumping on their train then it would be beneficial to try and focus the scouts & medics to follow up on his damage. As he jumped far away you would only be able to follow up if you were to compromise your position, this is however an option but only if there is a substantial player loss on their team already.

We lost that mid, it’s probably because I did more damage to myself then I did to the enemy team.

Another situation

Gullywash Middle #1 copy

Mix^ probably had one of the best scout partnerships I’ve seen, they were always together, unfortunately they missed a lot.

Now Gullywash is a good example of focus targets as the fight isn’t always forced to one location resulting in targets being separated from each other. In the example above we have 3 players in our choke with heals and 2 scouts to the right of us without heals, let’s break this situation down a little bit:

We can either try and focus/bully the scouts to our right out of the mid fight, this will either force them out to a more defensive position or they will go to their medic which will pressure them a bit more as the medic will have more work to do.

Alternatively we can try and take out the heavies first before the scouts flank us and take us out.

Also take note of our position, if the scouts go under valley we will be very exposed and pressured further as there will be players unaccounted for, we are both in a situation where a respawning player can go behind us from choke as we are on each others chokes.

Gullywash Middle #2 copy

It’s kinda hard to explain, but when you play the game more you read these situations a lot quicker, it’s a shame that this ability doesn’t transform into a useful skill in real life.

Our next move was to apply pressure on them in our choke which Tek started by jumping. To support him (but to avoid over-committing)  we dropped down to our valley to get a better position. I was able to support from valley without too much pressure and it also gave us a safe point for our teammates to get heals. Losing height advantage here is ok as the angle you get from this position means you can spam them without exposing yourself, you also get partnered up with any respawners at big door.

As well from the image above you can get a look at what we were faced with, we can see every player in front apart from one scout, the soldier in valley will be low as he was knocked off the point by Tek and has been spammed by myself, as Tek is also on the medic & demo I shouldn’t need to support him as the situation there is won for him anyway, what I need to prepare for are their players trying to get a pick on our medic to even the situation.

The resulting fight was in our favour and we won middle, now all the choices we had in front of us could have all worked or they could have all failed, there are various factors determining which would be the better choice, one of the key things that will really help you is a clear mumble, no cluttered comms and people only giving you the information that you actually need. If you make a choice to go aggressive over the point and you don’t hear that your roamer has no ammo or is weak etc. then you’ll be going aggressive alone.

Last pushes…

Okay, I did have a lot planned for this section but that was like 8 months ago, I just wanted to get this out as I’d imagine this blog will be even less used by myself unless I gain the motivation to start it back up again.

In regards to last pushes you can apply the same thought process above, however you still need to take the objective, the most efficient and quickest way to make your last pushes better is to state what you are going to do when you go into last. There are a number of things that are worth thinking to help you make a decision:

Are the ubers equal?

If they are you can consider just going for a trade with a pocket soldier, once you’re in the pocket can then decide to either make them multi, just move out, or try and get a pick on the flank. For example, if you’re going in top left on Badlands last, the soldier can perhaps drop down to the floor and get a pick on the top right.

What is the point capture rate? Could you send a scout on to it without committing? (e.g. Badlands last)

This part is quite important, especially for maps like Badlands, logjam, process and Gullywash, they all cap quite quickly so you can go for a push put a scout on the point and force the enemy to dive to block the point. It’s very noticeable on process last as the defenders are normally a quite far away. So you can just push in, block the combo from blocking the point and just have a scout sitting on it.

Do they have anyone on offclass? Do you see all their players? Will this heavily affect who you push in with?

A very important factor, if there’s a player missing on Badlands then they could have a spy, or they could have a Pyro standing by an entrance ready to air-blast you. If this is the case with a pyro I’d recommend to go in with two scouts to push on last as they can take a pyro out quicker. This also applies to maps like Gullywash and Logjam, if you push in without knowing this you can end up using your uber without forcing their medic.

You will need to look out for snipers as well, there are a few maps though where you don’t have the option on seeing what their set up is until you enter the point, main examples being granary (r.i.p), Snakewater and process.

One thing worth mentioning, listen out for any audio queues that will let you know what classes they are running, some teams make a mistake of having a heavy hiding but giving him a buff so he says thank you.

Can you get in without using uber?

If you can this is a very good option to take, the closer you can get to them without using it the better, only go for this option if you can see most if not all their players from a safe distance. Notable maps: Badlands, Gullywash and Sunshine

Are you able to get a pick before pushing?

For some maps this is a vital question as they can be very hard to push, especially if you’re playing against a team that have a very organised defense or a good off-class set up. If this is the case, suicide a scout or someone into go sniper, spy are some choices. Notable maps: Snakewater (THE worst map to push last on vs. a good off-class lineup) Process, Granary, Badlands, fuck it, every map.

Are you winning or losing? How much time is left?

Obvious question, but if you’re winning or losing will normally decide what kind of push to take, if you have time to offclass, etc.

Do you even need to push?

Kinda self explanatory but if you’re winning and you are on their last, take a look at the time, if there’s a lot of time left it might be worth just trading spam without pushing to waste some time, if there’s 5 minutes left then it might be best to not push at all depending on your lead. The last thing you want is to wipe on last and they push you back. Not pushing means they have to push out vs. you with all 6 of your team alive which is incredibly unpleasant.

Using these examples and applying them quickly before you push will greatly increase your success rate on pushing last, if everyone understands what they are meant to be doing when you go in the better, you won’t have situations where you have half your players focusing on the point and the other half being blocked by an incredibly skilled Pyro that has mastered the art of holding down the M2 button.

Closing thoughts…

That is pretty much everything I can think of at the moment in time, I apologise that it might not be very good quality but there are a lot of life things happening for me that require a lot more attention.

I have also stopped playing demoman due to a lack of motivation to play the class, I will now be playing pocket soldier instead as I find it more enjoyable. Not only that but I’m shit at demo now anyway.

If you enjoyed reading this please follow my steam @

I sometimes do Q&A sessions on there and map run through’s.



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1 Comment

  1. Thanks for putting in the effort, the community as a whole is lazy as fuck and I think you are helping some new demos so thanks on my behalf


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