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Slowdown or Slow is a gameplay mechanic that decreases the speed of a player for a set time. This effect can be applied to a player when under attack by certain weapons or as a penalty for using a certain item.
The Slowdown effect has no falloff distance; players hit from any length will always be slowed down. However, the mechanics of bullet spread make the Slowdown effect more difficult to apply on players who are farther away.
On Hit: 100% chance to slow target
Every bullet that hits the target will slow them down to approximately 113 Hammer Units per second. Differences in class or normal running speed will not change this figure.
Slow target movement by 40% for 0.5s
The target is slowed down by 40% of their maximum speed for 0.5 seconds. Unlike Natascha, this Slowdown effect is scaled by the victim's maximum speed. Because the Shortstop lacks a constant rate of fire, the slowdown cannot constantly be applied and is more subtle.
The Sandman's secondary fire launches a baseball that can stun the target. The stunned target will be slowed and cannot use any weapon for the duration of the effect. If the baseball is launched at the maximum ranged distance, the victim will be completely immobile and be not be able to move at all for the duration of the effect.
Weapon Slowdown Uses
The first use of the slowdown effect would be to diminish your opponent's ability to flee from a fight, allowing you or your teammates to finish them off. The slowdown effect will also cause airborne targets to lose momentum, perhaps preventing them from jumping across certain gaps. Defensively, the slowdown effect can be used to prevent certain enemies, such as Pyros or Demomen with the Chargin' Targe, from coming too close to you. The Scout can escape from a lethal situation by using the Shortstop to slow his pursuers.
-15% movement speed on wearer
So long as the Scotsman's Skullcutter remains in the Demoman's loadout, his movement speed will constantly be lowered from 280 units per second (93% of normal speed) to 238 units per second (78% of normal speed), rendering him only marginally faster than a Heavy.
On the map Harvest Event, there will occasionally be a ghost belonging to Zepheniah Mann wandering around certain areas of the map. If any players are near the ghost, they will be frightened and have their movement speed reduced. The Horseless Headless Horsemann in Mann Manor can scream and give the players a similar effect.