I think there are players who have trouble with CTF, or would like to increase their understanding of how the game plays. I hope this thread will be informative in this regard. So I’m going to start with a list of what I think is paramount in general CTF games. I didn’t write this in order, so much as made sure to address both sides of a given element. I originally posted this on Waypoint.com’s forums as a part of my “Spartan School” thread series. As they go on there will be more ten commandments like this, though the discussions will remain there, I will post those ideals here. So let’s rock and roll it.
The Ten Commandments of Capture the Flag
Commit to the Role: There are two main roles in CTF; offense (with its sub-roles) and defense (also with sub-roles). The dedicated role player will increase success for his team by eliminating the worst questions to ever utter in this gametype: “Who’s supposed to be watching the flag?” and “Is their anybody trying to get their flag?” Choose your role and commit to it. A team of specialists will always beat a team of ‘mercenaries’ (doing whatever for personal scores). Make sure your Loadouts pertain with your given role, edit them when the game starts if you must!
Prioritize your Actions: Decision making is a sorely ignored concept in this community, and it shines in objective games like this. Making sure the flag stays home, or the enemy flag is pulled closer to your base, means bypassing: Personal vendettas, K/D, unnecessary vehicle usage, and that sweet Assassination that requires you going out of your way. If it doesn’t help defend or attack, you are doing your team a disservice (note that in certain cases, the aforementioned examples may in fact assist in the two main goals of CTF!).
Defense is Denial: Merely keeping the enemy from touching the flag is the basics of defensive CTF, but just as important is denying the circumstances leading to such an event as well as denying elements that escalate things after the fact. Deny the enemy confidence in a route not being supervised. Deny them an escape vehicle (often what they rode in with). Deny them their cover fire when the flag is taken. This is a less obvious but very important facet of defensive CTF.
Offense is Stealth and Guile: Although there is a charm to riding in a jeep, three Spartans deep, guns and horn blazing… it probably won’t get you a flag against a versed team. What will get you to touch the flag and more importantly get it away from their base is stealth and guile. Be silent, non-obvious, and fast. Avoid needless battles. This means, *gasp*, watching enemies walk past you and letting go of a potential stat-padding kill. Channel your inner Solid Snake, imitate Sam Fisher on his best days, be the ninja. You want the enemy’s reaction to be, “How did they get in here?!”
Restart the Timer: When the flag is away from the enemy base, this is when things get crazy. The enemy team will (ideally) defend the flag as a full unit, making things difficult. The way to keep things in your favor is to put your health aside and touch that flag. You will die, but restarting the timer gives your team more time to mount a plan or put away the enemy (at this point the game is more along the lines of ‘proxy slayer’). Touch that flag and when you do, get it as far homeward as you can get. Every foot counts.
All Hands to Away Flag: When your flag is away nothing else matters, get to your flag and set a perimeter. The enemy scoring must not happen if you have the power to prevent it. Use anything and everything at your disposal and destroy anyone heading toward the flag. You do not want them to touch it. This means even abandoning an offensive run, IF getting the flag home would take more effort than the enemy needs to score themselves. Denying points, in a way, is more important than scoring. You will have another chance to capture the flag, you can never undo an enemy score.
You’re a Target, But Not a Victim: You have the flag, and you may have to make a run rather than get a ride. Nowhere to hide in this version of CTF. Be the warrior. While not putting yourself in unnecessary danger, you can use your public awareness as a beacon, a trap. People will not expect an especially aggressive Flag Carrier, even after the magnum upgrade. Lead enemies to close quarters where the flag is ultimate. Assist your teammates in covering you out in the open with pistol shots (though never ever walk opposite your base). Remain a dangerous member of your team.
Don’t Idolize the Enemy Carrier: He has your flag, that’s nice. You know what’s more important? Potential rides and enemy cover fire. The Flag Carrier is slower, armed with a pistol, and always on the map. He isn’t going anywhere far. What you need to deny (there’s that term again) is what would make his job easier. Use his fears against him; there are places a Flag Carrier will run to habitually (small enclosed areas, as if he’s hiding) which are better places to slay him than in the open – now the flag is harder to save for the enemies! Keep him in mind, but acknowledge denying the score doesn’t mean killing him immediately.
Be the Driver: When your teammate has the flag, the dread of all enemy forces is the idea that his ride is either waiting or on its way. Nothing quite matches seeing a flag on a jeep or ATV coming home, because this is almost a sure score. Important as this is, you still must commit to your role. Let offense team handle this, unless you are certain the enemy has poured all their manpower into defending their flag (which means your flag is safe unsupervised at this moment). A jeep or ATV driver meeting the Flag Carrier is very important.
When World’s Collide, Look at the Big Picture: There are very tense times when the objectives offense and defense, for both teams, converge into an all out shoot-fest; this is when both flags or Flag Carriers are in close proximity. This is a time where hard decisions must be made, and right and wrong isn’t so clear. The only real advice is to look at the big picture and keep the objective in focus. Is the whole team in this area, perhaps wait for their flag to respawn. Who’s minding the vehicles? The power weapons? What can I deny the other team? What will benefit mine? Always have your eyes on the big picture.
I hope these commandments are worth considering, and your game improves with them in mind. These aren’t definitive, either, in the end we must all find our own way.
…I think these ideals are a damn good start, though. See ya later, but not too much later!