I haven't played with any of the new stuff yet and I'm terrible at assessing weapons on stats alone, so no comment there yet. I also can't make up my mind about the heavy and demo changes.
I think it sucks a fat one that valve made the changes to demo stickies about a couple of months before i52 happens. Teams have been playing with a certain meta for nearly a year in the run up to this lan and then valve are like "lolnope, let's change one of the core principles of 6s that the game has been based around for like 7 years now without giving anyone any warning, no way to change it back* and generally give a big 'fuck you' to everyone who's put hours and hours into maining Demo competitively". i52 might be the last big TF2 lan (although tbf they've been saying that since like i46
), I know valve stopped caring about comp TF2 years ago but this is a bit of a middle finger to the whole thing. Not to mention that the changes were made during the last few weeks of the ETF2L + UGC Highlander seasons.
In the end both 6s and Highlander will adapt and survive (Highlander probably moreso than 6s) but the timing of the change is pretty horrific. Although I'm half expecting valve to change stickies again shortly, so we'll see what happens.
* (There MAY actually be a way to change it back but it involves using a plugin that is essentially an equivalent to Promod in other games. And if there's one way to kill a dying 6s scene even faster it's segregating it into promod and non-promod communities, so I'd be very surprised if it's adopted by any league.)