Three Strategies for Pushing Badlands Last

February 3, 2011

I actually drafted this a while back so it’s a little outdated, but this might help newer teams who are struggling to push the last point on Badlands. You also have the quick push from bottom right but I won’t go into that here, as that is usually only used as a quick maneuver when the enemy has not had time to set-up in defensive positions.

Tactic A:
Standard, balanced push

  1. Soldiers push main with medic, Medic ubers
  2. Soldier A jumps left forces enemy uber
  3. Soldier B jumps right pressures demo, calls jump timing
  4. Scout A runs through bottom right while demo is pressured, supports Soldier B or runs onto point depending on situation
  5. Demo stickies point from main or assists damage on combo or demo if jumps are unsuccesful
  6. Scout B runs onto point from main, forces enemy to jump down on point
  7. Demo kills all

(If Scout A is running onto point, Scout B goes top and chooses a side to assist cleanup)

Pros: Earlier pressure on enemy demo
Cons: Jumps have less chance of success than standard push, may not force uber
Sentries deny jumps
Commits 100%

Tactic B:
Passive push, used when both have uber but we do not want to commit 100% for whatever reason (sentries, heavies, etc.)

  1. Soldier A pushes top with medic onto enemy combo with uber, forces enemy uber
  2. Soldier B pressures demo (jumps from main or from top right, depending on sticky trap location). Calls when demo is pressured
  3. Scout A runs through bottom right while demo is pressured, supports Soldier B or runs onto point depending on situation
  4. Demo stickies point from main or assists damage on combo or demo, important to stay alive for when enemy jumps down
  5. Scout B runs onto point from main, forces enemy to jump down on point
  6. Demo kills all

(If Scout A is running onto point, Scout B goes top and chooses a side to assist cleanup)

(BACK OUT if not enough kills are made. BAIT enemy team in following with the retreat, both scouts go

for backcap)

Pros: More reliable and earlier force of enemy uber
Easier to tank sentry for demo to kill
Easier to retreat and repush
Cons: Harder to pressure demo, roamer has no uber flash + less health

Tactic C:
Aggressive push, used when enemy does not have uber and we do or enemy DM is far inferior to ours

  1. Soldier A pushes top with medic onto enemy demo
  2. Soldier B pressures combo (jump or from top) with demo from main, forces uber (BACK OUT if uber is triggered much later, repush with focus on enemy combo)
  3. Scout A runs through bottom right while demo is pressured, supports combo or runs onto point depending on situation
  4. Demo stickies point from main or assists damage on combo or demo, important to stay alive for when enemy jumps down
  5. Scout B runs onto point from main, forces enemy to jump down on point
  6. Demo kills all

(If Scout A is running onto point, Scout B goes top and chooses a side to assist cleanup)

(BACK OUT if not enough kills are made. BAIT enemy team in following with the retreat, both scouts go

for backcap)

Pros: Easiest pressure on demo thus highest chance of scout getting on point
Cons: Hardest to force uber, roamer has no uber flash + less health
Risky strategy


The Importance of Communication

September 2, 2010

Teamwork is a core skill, and one of the most important aspects is in the communication between your team members. If the calls are bad or non-existent, then teamwork will fall apart as no-one will know what the others are doing. On the other hand, if there are too many calls it becomes hard to filter out the important information. Player’s can lose focus on their deathmatching if they have to try too hard to decipher calls, or may miss information completely.

Examples of things you should be calling:

– Positions of enemies, and whether they are flanking, jumping, passive, retreating, or powering into you.

– Kritz or uber?

– When, where and which target you are focusing on. Make sure to call their position so a teammate can help you out.

– When a target is low, and how low he is. Also make sure to call their position so your team can follow it up.

– When you rocket jump or play aggressive and leave holes in your defence.

As an example, I’ll list the things I’ll try and call as I get to mid as a scout:

– How I’m approaching mid (depends on the demo and the other scout’s route).

– The positions of the enemy demo and scouts.  Will also call if any of those classes are missing (could mean a very aggressive demo jump or a sniper/spy/heavy/pyro).

– Non-standard approaches from the enemy team (badlands valley, granary ramp etc).

– What my intentions are and the outcome of my actions (e.g. defending an aggressive scout in valley, he’s low taken 100 damage, moving on). However you need to be careful not to overcall here, you do not need to call out everything you do, like “hey guys, I’m running around valley”; but just the things that may be important to your team.

– Who’s jumping where from the enemy team. Your teammates may not see the jump so you should call it to give them time to prepare.

The key is cutting out the fluff but still relaying useful information to your team which they can act on. It’s no use muttering to yourself or raging that their medic is on 1hp, this doesn’t help anyone out. Try your best to keep emotions on the backseat and comm calmly. What exactly you call really only comes from experience, but the above should serve as a quick guide to get you started.


APB

July 16, 2010

So the GA addiction didn’t last long. Playing APB as crim on the Patriot server.

TF2 post will be inc soon.


Global Agenda

June 29, 2010

Just got this, quite addicted at the moment. Not sure how serious I’ll take it but knowing me I probably will T_T


Playstyle and Team Chemistry

June 11, 2010

Seems to me a lot of teams don’t really think about this when recruiting. How someone plays is just as important as how much of a dick  they are in dictating teamwork, which is the most important part of TEAM Fortress 2.

One problem we had in our old lineup was our mentality, we were all aggressive minded players. If left to our devices on mid, you’d get the demo pushing up to sticky aggressively (their choke, medpack, demo etc.), our scouts pushing in deep, and when the sollys arrive they’d pretty much jump in instantly. We tried to curb this with tactics and positioning but hey, when you’re adapting to non-standard play or faced with difficult, split-second choices you generally do what’s in your blood. You can change your aggressiveness when you have time to think about what you’re doing, but sometimes you over do it and play too passive etc. etc., and it can take a long time to change your fundamental mindset.

When it worked it was like magic, 6 down in 5 seconds hey let’s push to last. But it could equally fail just as easily. Our demo pushed up far and did tons of damage, and this style works with scouts committed to defence.  But we also had a beast scout who was in the clan for a long time back when it was still div 5-6 skill, and his playstyle was to carry the team by meatshotting everything on the field. Our demo died a fair few times, causing frustration in the initial battle.

When the demo survived he was heal hungry pushing up and doing work. But equally our soldiers were heal starved from trading spam, and couldn’t jump in to assist. But we still did so a lot anyway as we were aggressive minded, trying to get in before the spam starts. Again, when that succeeds it’s perfect but when it fails it’s hey we just wiped. It would often be soldiers killing one before dying, rinse repeat. You can see this from the match results at the time, our soldiers would bottom frag 90% of the time. Problem here again is that our medic is forced quite deep to keep up with heals, and he’d also die quite often.

We didn’t know at the time why we’d roll some rounds but fail hard on others, and didn’t know why our demo and medic died so much. Frustration built up until eventually, blame started to be shifted around to the scouts not knowing how to play, the soldiers bottom fragging to the medic dying too much etc. The team started to fall apart.

What you really need for your team is a style. Most teams run with a “main carry” (lol dota) who get the bulk of the heals, and the rest of the cast supporting that. You can’t have a whole team made up of carries jumping around everywhere (unless you’re Xensity) and expect to be consistent. Sure you’ll roll a lot of teams but you’ll fail just as much. The main reason for this is heal distribution,  medics can only heal 24 hp/s on targets in battle, which is not enough if everyone is getting lit. Of course, the best setup is to rotate the “carry” according to what is best in that situation, but a lot of top teams have their “go to” guy who get a good proportion of the heals. Complexity have their scouts, EG has Reptile, FB has Exfane, etc.

This was all a while back but we learnt our lesson, now when we recruit we try and take into account the trialee’s natural playstyle on top of everything else. This makes it easier to get them to adapt and gel with our team’s style.


Stairs

June 2, 2010

Stairs

The theme is obvious, but it’s the way it’s put… Subnormality is seriously sick, if you can read the tiny text.

I have an idea for an update so I’ll make one this week.


So WTF Do I Watch Now?

May 25, 2010

So Lost and 24 ended. WTF do I watch now? Can anyone hook a brotha up?

ps. No gay vampire shit please.


Playing the Roamer as a Third Scout

May 24, 2010

Traxantic got me thinking about the mostly unused Paintrain with his skip jump on Badlands last.

Paintrain/Gunboats Rollout

The Paintrain/Gunboats combo essentially makes the roamer into a 3rd scout by giving the solly double cap speed, a boost in mobility but conferring a slight vulnerability with the 10% extra damage taken from hitscan. In theory, the rollout works on maps with flanks and tight chokes as losing a solly gives the heavies a disadvantage in any open spam battle. It also needs an open map for RJing to be effective, and it’s good on steep terrain as sollies are a lot more mobile vertically than scouts. The soldier can also get to middle at the same time (or even before) the scouts, giving a huge advantage in the initial mid fight. This itself can win rounds, and even matches.

Badlands

The easiest place to imagine the rollout working is when you’ve taken the mid but can’t push, and you’re holding choke and house. The demo/medic/solly trio holds around the forward train spamming enemies peeking into choke, while the scouts watch valley and bridge as usual. The roamer can protect the scouts from a solly peeking into house, and also spam the enemy scouts back into the resupply, allowing your own scouts onto balcony. This commits the enemy scouts to run behind in search of them, and prevents the enemy heavies pushing the choke due to the scout threat behind. From here, the roamer has several options.

  1. He can jump the enemy medic with support from a scout.
  2. He can call for the heavies to push and sandwich the enemy from behind  (if they fell back to trash or left of spire).
  3. He can jump onto spire, forcing the enemy back from choke (scouts are busy dealing with each other). This allows the heavies to push and delay the uber as long as possible, and maybe even forego using it (if they stayed at choke).

This give you an alternative playstyle to the usual choke push as illustrated in the nice picture-with-arrows created by nvc below. If they aren’t expecting it and you play it right, they are forced to give up ground without you having to use your uber.

Counters

The demo/solly/medic trio are forced to play tight with the roamer freed up. You are overloading the flanks to make something happen there.

There are two correct counters to this approach.

One is for the opponent to send an extra heavy to deal with it.  If they do catch on and send a heavy to backup the flank, you should aim to apply enough pressure to create an opening to flank, but avoid straight up toe to toe if possible. With the extra mobility you have more of a chance to flank than the opponent, however in a straight up 3v3 battle you are more likely to lose due to the extra vulnerability. You should be looking for other ways to flank around if possible. If all else fails, head back to the combo where you can initiate a standard push with a rocket jump, coordinate a jump on their medic with a teammate while holding or after a soft push.

The second counter is for them to use their heavy advantage aggressively to push uber to uber. In this case, you’ll need to fall back and re-push with a sandwich attack between the heavies and flank classes (+ points if you held uber on the retreat without anyone dying).

Why Paintrain?

Of course, you could argue that the above playstyle doesn’t require a Paintrain to pull off, and you’d be right in some cases. It’s really situational and you need to weigh up whether you’re more likely to be countered against the chance of a backcap.

Remember, if they don’t know you’re using the Paintrain and you’re alone on the backcap, you have a psychological edge over the enemy as they are more likely to think it’s a scout capping. They may only send 1 or 2 back to deal with it, and you can use this edge to surprise them (e.g. hide in a gay spot and jump down on them).

I would say using the Paintrain is situational, but when you do, I’d almost always use the Gunboats. You need the extra mobility to consistently attempt any backcap and move on to the next point. I say consistently as it’s really not worth using a Paintrain just for the “Oh I’m stuck behind enemy lines, might as well try and backcap” situations. If they all come back for you a shotgun isn’t going to help you survive either way.

Basically:

Gunboats -> maybe Paintrain

Paintrain -> always Gunboats.

Extra Notes

For these strategies to be effective you would need to work on new ways to push for almost every point on every map. However, I believe it’s worth it if your team is already established with their standard tactics, as it’s always better to have a wide variety of choices on your strategy as it increases your range of play.


Medic Ubercharge Mechanics

April 27, 2010

OK, another nerd post, this time dealing with the ubercharge. It’s basic stuff but I figure it’s easier to have it all written down in one place.

Charging Uber

The uber charges at 2.50% per second when you heal someone not at full overheal or during setup time. It’s a fairly common misconception that it charges faster the lower health you are, this is not true. It charges at the same rate whether you are on 1 hp or at 149% buff.

The uber charges at 1.25% second when healing a fully overhealed player.

It’s important to know this so you can keep track of enemy uber. The more accurate you are, the more often you will know you have an advantage and you get more opportunities to push. Even a 5s uber is enough to start a push on some points.

It’s kinda hard to keep track of this accurately during a match, so until you’re used to it, the easier way to think about it is:

5% per 2 seconds

10% per 4 seconds

25% per 10 seconds

50% charge in 20 seconds

75% in 30 seconds

Full charge in 40 seconds

But eventually, your goal is to keep track of enemy uber down to the 2.5% or second. It will become second nature after some practice especially if you’ve played Quake before, as it’s really not that different to timing item spawns. Keep track of the round time when the enemy’s uber fades or when he respawns – you can calculate from there. This is another reason why it’s important to always call a medic pick, if people stop doing it shout at them. Once you get good you can also see whether anyone spawned with the medic and guess whether he had anyone to charge, making your estimates more accurate (unless ofc people call their team is near their spawn). But of course, you must always know the fastest possible time they can have uber. This is what makes or breaks picking their medic at 95% charge or whether he ubers you back off the point.

Basically, if anyone asks “Do we have uber advantage?” you should be able to say how much you’re ahead or behind accurately.

Uber Drain Rate

It’s important to know this in uber vs. uber battles as it forms the basis of your decision on whether to stay and fight or run and live. In Buick’s words:

“Another thing that you need to be keen on is uber management, you NEED to let your team know that you multi-ubered and how many times (targets) you did. You need to do the math in your head and let them know exactly how many seconds each team has left on their ubers. If you see the opponent multi-uber count how many new targets he
hit, do the math in your head, and prepare your team to swoop in the split second it drops. It’s unacceptable to just say “we ubered, oh they ubered” and then not speak until it’s over. When both teams uber it’s war within a war.. I can’t count how many times I’ve seen a medic uber, multi 2 new people and not realize that he needs to get out of danger MUCH sooner than usual. Instead he realizes it once the uber starts flickering and it’s far too late then, he’s as good as dead if he went too far in.”

(http://communityfortress.com/tf2/blog/an-evening-with-keith-smerbeck-part-2.php)

Anyway, the base drain rate during ubercharge is 12.50% uber per second (uber/s). This means you hold uber for 8 secs + 1.5 sec of fade time.

However, it gets quite complicated when you multi:

Robin Walker clarifies the issue:

——————————-
Hi Stuart.

You pay a 50% base drain cost for every extra person being affected by the uber. So the formula is:

Drain amount = (base drain) + (0.5 * base drain * (num ubered players -1))

You only pay 50% for the extras because we wanted to still reward juggling.

Robin.
——————————–

In other words, this means:

Uber 1 person: 12.5% uber/s = 8 seconds of uber

Uber 2 people: 20% uber/s = 5 seconds of uber

Uber 3 people: 25% uber/s = 4 seconds of uber

Uber 4 people: 31.25% uber/s = 3.2 seconds of uber

Even though you won’t uber more than 4 people, like ever, just in case:

Uber 5 people: 37.5% uber/s = 2.67 seconds of uber

So in general, you can tell when their uber will run out and make a decision from there.

Once you get used to this, you can be even more precise. The uber only drains faster if a medic keeps multiple people ubered. If a medic ubers 2 people but lets one drop halfway, he starts off with the faster drain rate (20% u/s), but goes back to the base drain rate once the uber on one person has faded (12.5% u/s).

i.e.

Uber person A and B = 20% u/s

Person B stops flashing, only A is ubered = 12.5% u/s

This could mean the difference between an extra second on uber which can be significant.




Theories on Soldier Play at Mid

April 26, 2010

Spam

Better coordinated and more accurate spam is more likely to win you mid,  giving you the overall health advantage which you can convert into position advantage to push the other team off the point. At lower levels of skill, play is decided on picks and uber, meaning you act only based on who you’ve killed and which side has the uber. Higher teams will evolve this, and also act on health and position, focusing on low hp targets and punishing opponents who overextend.

Health

Putting classes at low health basically curbs their aggression. In other words, you can control where the enemy will be and what they will do depending on the classes you spam.

At low health:

  • Soldiers cannot rocket jump or go aggressive, forcing them to take cover and stopping their spam
  • Scouts have to look for health, restricting their movement (they will be near medic, health pack or respawn)
  • Demo cannot push, limiting his dps range and forcing him to stick with the medic
  • Medic has to fall back. The whole team has to then either fall back further to stay with the medic, or stay forward with no heals.

(Don’t) Hit the Medic

Ideally then, you want to plant spam on the medic as it gives the largest benefit. However, most of the time this is not a good idea as he should be positioned in a way where it’s difficult to deal damage to him. Even if he is exposed it could mean they are going ultra aggressive, in which case you need to focus on the threat like jumping sollys, rather than trying to spam the medic. It is only really feasible to focus the medic if he is both exposed and they play passive or he is low. Let your demo spam the medic using rollers or high pipes, he will call medic low if he gets some nice hits, then maybe you can catch him with a rocket to finish him off.

Hit the Pushers

The next thing you ask yourself is whether they have any heavies pushing up. A demo pushing onto mid uncontested can lay some serious hurt into your team or trap off a whole area if he isn’t contested. You need to prevent stunts like this by making sure any heavies think twice before pushing forward by putting them on low health.
This also goes for any jumping sollys who have to be dealt with quickly. If it takes longer than 3 or 4 seconds to kill him this puts your team at a disadvantage not so much because of the damage he does, but due to most of your team having to focus him, giving their other heavies free reign to push up and deal terrible terrible damage. Good teams will use the jumping soldier to distract the other team to initiate a push rather than sending him on a solo kamikaze mission onto the medic and praying he gets the kill.

Hit the Combo

If no-one rocket jumps from the beginning and it’s a standard mid battle, your focus should be on the enemy combo. This forces their medic’s heals onto the soldier almost non-stop,  and restricts their push as well as limiting healing on the other classes on their team. If you hurt a solly to say 50hp, it takes roughly 6 secs before he’s at 200hp again. That’s 6 seconds of either the medic healing only the soldier. If the medic spreads heals the solly will stay low, limiting their pushing power.

Hit the Scouts

If their heavies are all very passive and there is no immediate threat, look to hit their scouts with a rocket or two. Even if you splash a scout with a rocket it helps immensely in scout vs scout battles. Only do this if it’s not possible to force the medic to heal one target (e.g. too long range, behind cover etc.)

Position

You can work with the demo to deny areas to the enemy team. An example of this is on granary. By stickying and planting rockets around their medkit you stop them moving out that way, forcing them into the tight space behind their crates. This makes it a lot easier to damage them together with splash, and makes your rj pushes that much more effective. This is situational as it’s almost always more beneficial for a solly to spam a person than an area, but in some cases it’s worth it. The best case scenario is if you can get both a key target and an area.


Initiating the Push

As I said before, this is basically it:
Good teams will use the jumping soldier to distract the other team to initiate a push rather than sending him on a solo kamikaze mission onto the medic and praying he gets the kill.

Before jumping, make sure you have enough health and know the other heavies in your team are ready to push (enough health, in position, etc.). You need to know the most effective place to jump (usually high ground such as their train on badlands or their crate on granary) or where their medic is if they are playing non-standard (ask if you don’t know).

If you aren’t the jumping soldier, make sure you soften their team up with spam while doing your best to not get hurt yourself as it will hinder your ability to push when needed.

This is why spam is so important, it increases the effectiveness of your jump depending on how well you did in the first 5-10 seconds at mid.

NB: Of course, everything written here is based on standard scenarios, by all means jump on their medic early to surprise them. Just don’t do it all the time or they get wise to it and it’s going to be 5v6 on mid.

The tl;dr version:

The Primary Roles of a Soldier at Mid are:

  1. Spam enemy or a position
  2. Initiate the push
  3. Protect friendly medic

The Secondary Roles of a Soldier at Mid are:

  1. Assist demo/scouts
  2. Suicide on key classes

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.