Team Tournament Strategy Guide
Friday, October 25th, 2002, 3:55 PM
Ah, Halo team multiplayer… one of the best ways to pass the time with a group of friends… or enemies. Many of you have been itching to have team tournaments and the guys at iGames have answered your requests with the Halo Winter Season team tournament. The challenge has been made, the gauntlet thrown down. So, how can you prepare your team?
First, read the rules. Don’t just read them for the game type information; you need to learn the rest of it too. For example, you need to know that you’re not allowed to bad mouth your opponents. But you wouldn’t know that if you hadn’t read the rules. Now that you have read them, we can get into more detail about what you’re really reading this article for: game strategy.
Prior to the tournament, you need to practice as much as possible, playing the tournament game types over and over again. But don’t just play as you normally do. Practices are meant for trying out new strategies. Working out the kinks in new strategies can be a lengthy and occasionally frustrating process, and some of your ideas might seem ineffective compared to your normal style of play. But you need a wide range of skills and strategies to win any serious competition. The primary thing that separates a championship team from a merely good team is the ability to adapt to a bad situation. This requires good communication, teamwork, and leadership. If you all are good individual players but lack experience playing as a team, a well-practiced group of opponents with an understanding of team strategy will send you home disappointed.
You don't want to go home disappointed; you want to go to E3. You've registered for the Halo Winter Season. You and your teammates have turned off the phone, ordered some pizza and barricaded yourselves in a room with your Xboxes and TVs. You're ready to practice some new strategies, but you're drawing a blank. You need a wise word, a guiding hand, a swift kick in the ass. Well, we at Bungie live to serve, and I've taken the liberty of writing up some strategic guidelines for the three qualifying rounds of the Halo Winter Season. But don't take this as some sort of gospel; remember, your opponents can read this article too. Adapt these guidelines to your own playing style. Practice them, refine them and make them your own. Find a strategy that works for your team and your chances of victory go up exponentially,
Qualifier #1: Team Slayer on Hang ‘Em High, no motion sensors
The first qualifying tournament in the Halo Winter Season is a Team Slayer game on Hang’Em High. Fifty kills to win, no motion sensor, with generic starting equipment. That means assault rifle, pistol, and some frag grenades. I suggest trading up to a shotgun or plasma rifle immediately. Don’t drop the pistol; you’ll be using it the most. A shotgun will be your friend close in, but an under-utilized strategy is also available with the plasma rifle. Get yourself a teammate who has a shotgun. Then, attack someone who isn’t facing your direction with the plasma rifle. The stun effect of the rifle means it will be extremely difficult for him to defend himself. Your buddy with the shotgun can do cleanup – once the guy’s shields are down, a point-blank shotgun blast should do the trick. Remember, you're playing for a team here; it doesn’t matter that your shotgun buddy gets the kill. After you take out the poor bastard, both of you should switch to a pistol and use that until you come up closely to an opponent. When shooting your pistol, always shoot the same guy as your partner – they die much faster. You know you did well if you win the game and most of your team has high assists.
So, you have your weapons - what now? The first thing you need to do is avoid the central open area of the map. Realize that anybody down there is pistol fodder. Also realize that you should take pistol potshots at anybody down there that you didn’t drop earlier. It's tempting to remain hidden and snipe targets as they come to you. However, remember that this is a 50 kill game with instant respawn. That’s not a lot for a 4-on-4 game. The idea is to get your kills quickly, and you can’t do that it if you’re hiding in the corner. Odds are that if you move around a lot, you’re going to find a lot more targets.
There are some other really good strategies that I’m sure you’ll figure out. My personal favorite is whoring the invisibility. This works best if you have a shotgun. The invisibility allows you get extremely close to people where the shotgun can do the most damage. Since you only need one or two shots at close range to kill a player, the momentary visibility caused by shooting your gun will go away quickly. A side benefit through all this is that your opponents cannot get the invisibility if you have it constantly.
Finally, the biggest threat you will face is a group of two or more opponents who work well together. If two people get a bead on you with their pistols, it doesn’t take long for you to go down, especially if they're pretty accurate. There are two things you can do in this situation. First of all, you should be doing it to the other team like I said before. Second, you can solve the problem by grabbing the invisibility and the rocket launcher, and having some fun with splash damage. A few well-timed Double Kills and they may not stay so near to each other in the future.
Speaking of the rocket launcher, you probably normally don’t want to get it unless the other team is spending a lot of time in close proximity to one another. People with the rocket launcher make great targets for pistol snipers on the other team, although getting the invisibility helps enormously in that regard. Just don’t kill yourself or your team members with your shots. I recommend your team designate a “rocket guy” who has the job of controlling the rocket launcher. No one else should be using it but the rocket guy. Designated roles like this are extremely helpful, as long the player with the role stays alive to perform his duties.
Qualifier #2: Team Crazy King on Derelict
This game has three key elements that you must master in order to win. First, you must control the hill in an intelligent way. This seems obvious at first glance, but it isn’t. You have the normal requirements of a Crazy King game – know the hill locations, know the shortest paths from each hill to the other hills, etc. However, and this is something everyone forgets, it is extremely bad to have your entire team standing on the hill - unless you like giving your opponents free killtaculars. When you're all clustered on the hill, you are rocket and/or grenade bait. Granted, the reverse is true – if your opponents feel like giving you killtacular opportunities constantly, be sure to take them up on the offer. But when your team controls the hill, make sure that only one or two guys are on it, and when those poor bastards get owned by the opposing team's rockets and grenades, have immediate backup waiting in the wings.
The second key element in this game is to control the weapons. In my experience, most people use the plasma pistol very poorly. Since you start with it, though, you should know how to use it. I find an effective tactic is to hit a player with a charged blast. This drops their shields. Run at them as you're firing, and do a little jumping melee attack to their face while their shields are down. Very satisfying. However, to own this map you really need the shotgun and a rocket launcher. Very simply, fire a rocket at the hill, followed by a grenade, followed shortly by you and your shotgun for cleanup. If you have a teammate help you with the shotgun duties, then the hill is yours. Just be sure not to kill your teammates – ask if the hill needs clearing before you do this, or your teammates may not like you much.
The final key element that you must control is the powerups. The supershield spawns in the center, and the invisibility spawns off to the side on the second level. The best strategy is to grab both, sit on the hill, and don’t move unless spotted. You’ll contest the hill, and their team will swarm trying to find you. This will give your teammates a chance to kill all of them at once with a well placed rocket or grenade. If you manage to survive until the hill moves, make your presence known with a melee attack or two to the back of your opponent’s head while they're trying to figure out where the hill moved to. Even if you don’t win, you’ll still have loads of fun.
Qualifier #3 – CTF Blood Gulch, 150% Health
This game is all about speed. If you don’t win very quickly, you'll be stuck in a drawn-out battle where it will be difficult to defend and attack at the same time. Since you only have four team members, you can’t split your guys as effectively as in a big CTF game. The key is that you don’t have to defend your base much if your offense is constantly pounding their base. If you can start the game effectively, you can be in a commanding position for the duration.
The best way to start is for two guys to grab shotguns, jump in the jeep, and take off. A third guy immediately teleports and attempts to grab the rocket launcher; once he's got it he can take care of any guys coming through the enemy teleporter. His primary responsibility, though, is to light up any incoming enemy Warthog – make it fly, and make sure anyone riding is dead. He then gets the Warthog, and waits for the flag carrier as an alternate ride. Meanwhile, the fourth guy is the sniper. He picks up a sniper rifle and defends the base. Only a really good sniper should touch this, and you should know beforehand which person on your team is going to be the sniper.
If you’re really good, you’ll get two guys in the jeep, one guy through the teleporter, and the other guy should be an easy target once your two teammates in the Warthog arrive at their destination. They should not screw around – one guy gets the flag, the other guy covers him. Again, know beforehand who is doing what. On your way out, be aware of your surroundings – know if the teleporter is the right bet, or if it is clear to take the warthog. If your teammate is dead, take the teleporter. You’re an easy target in the warthog, and you have a friend (the rocket guy) waiting at the teleporter. Take the teleporter, move immediately away, and have the driver pull the warthog up so it blocks the teleporter. This gives you some time to load up and stops anybody from chasing you immediately. This is good for letting your shields recharge. Once you’re ready, take off. The gunner should be firing at the teleporter constant until it's out of range to soften up your pursuers. However, you should easily get to the base and win the game.
There are three other things to keep in mind during this. First, you should always know where both flags are at all times. If your team’s flag is not in your base, you should find it and return it no matter what (unless you are just about to score yourself). Second, if your team has the enemy flag, you should be supporting them, taking fire for them, covering them, etc. It doesn’t matter much if your flag gets taken because you don’t need it to win the game. You're only in trouble if your flag is taken and your team loses the enemy flag. Finally – for the love of all that is holy, don’t kill your teammates and don’t suicide! It isn’t worth it in most any circumstance. Respawn time is already 10 seconds, but the suicide/team kill penalty is another 10 seconds! Twenty seconds can make the difference between a win and a loss.
Now you should have a basic understanding of some of the strategies you can use in the Halo Winter Season. Now you need to apply your knowledge. If your opponents use these strategies against you, will you be ready? If they come up with a particularly inventive counter-strategy, will you have anticipated it? To win a team tournament, you'll need a team in every sense of the word – working efficiently as one to defeat the enemy. You can't expect to win without practice. So get to it!