TagPro Neutral Flag Guide by Jackals
Neutral flag is my favorite game type in TagPro, and I’ve played a lot of it both in pubs and competitively. I’ve never written a guide on NF before, but I’ve written snippets here and there on strategy. This will be more of the same.
The obvious goal of NF (just like CTF) is to score more caps than the other team (or first to 3 in pubs). In CTF, this is usually most effectively accomplished with 2 balls on offense and 2 balls on defense. Ultimately, a capture occurs when both offense and defense prevail against the other team’s offense/defense. This concept translates quite well to NF, with some major caveats.
Firstly, instead of a 2o/2d strategy, each team (on a very fundamental level) alternates between offense and defense as the flag is exchanged. This requires a much more balanced approach to a player’s skill than in CTF — players are required to both carry and defend with skill, risk giving the other team a capture, or failing to convert your own scoring opportunity.
Secondly, map awareness is much more important in NF than in CTF. In CTF, you know where the flag is (or will spawn) in order to grab; additionally, you are aware if the other team has a scoring opportunity and can defend against capture rather than making a risky grab. In NF, the flag “grab” point is either static in the middle and shared by both teams or constantly moving with the flag carrier. Obviously, without an illegal zoom-out script you cannot actually see the entire field. However, by using communication and/or reading the movements of the balls you can see, one can extrapolate what is happening in the parts of the map you cannot currently see and make the appropriate moves.
An example of this defensively is upon spawn. Many players will rush out of base immediately in search of the flag. This often carries a lot of momentum. A skilled flag carrier will use this momentum against the defender, usually by using a boost or bomb, to pass them for a capture without giving the defender a chance to react. Thus, it is important upon spawning on defense to slowly exit the base, giving yourself time to adjust your position should the enemy FC come flying from off-screen toward your goal.
Offensively, the generally good strategy is to block well ahead of your FC and leave at least one person behind the FC. This prevents a clean counter-attack if a defender makes it past the blocks and pops your FC.
Now that we’ve gone over general strategy, here are some tips&tricks:
- In a 1v1 situation with no one behind you to keep them from scoring, spiking is usually the better choice than trying to juke your defender. If you win, you might make it to midfield before the next challenge. If you lose, they score.
- Powerups are king in NF. If you can, let your FC get RB/JJ. Non FCs should get TP. If you are FC without a good scoring chance and you see a teammate with RB on spawn, spike yourself. He has a much better chance to cap than you.
- If you are going to die anyway, die to the enemy tagpro. Don’t die to the enemy juke juice.
- Gate control is huge on Cloud. It is big on Command Center. It’s ok on Volt/Shine.
- On Ricochet, if the enemy FC is closer to bombs than you, try to get in the bomb path. You can also try to neutralize the yellow boost in the far corner.
- If you have the flag on your side of the field and the entire other team is ahead of you by a lot, wait on your side of the field near a boost for the other team to approach so you can boost past. This means at least one fewer defender to get around.
- If you are the last man standing 1v1 on team tiles, do not commit to a static (non-boosted) defender. Let him commit to a direction. If he isn’t moving very fast or has a wall to use, he can quickly change direction.
Mechanical skill goes very far in NF. Most bombs/boosts can be used in multiple ways. Learn how to use corners to quickly change speed/direction. Get a spin script so you can see your spin, learn how your spin interacts with walls, and exploit that interaction to fool defenders.
Tips by Risktp
- Follow your fc at a distance rather than trying to block for them. This might be a controversial opinion about neutral flags, but I personally hate when people try to block for me in neutral flag maps. Most pub players can shed a weak block quickly, and then you’re fucked if your the fc because you have little time to react. Just follow up closely behind your fc in case they get tagged.
- Learn how to use handoffs when you are close to the goal line. If you’re getting closed in on and you have a teammate nearby, go toward the defender closest to your teammate. Similarly, learn how to read when your fc is about to get tagged and be prepared to react quickly to get the handoff. This one generally tends to be more useful on Ricochet, Volt, and Cloud.
- Keep at least one person behind the flag at all times, in the case of Kite two people need to be behind the flag. One person works for Ricochet, Volt, Command Center, and Cloud because of their shape, the flag carrier has to turn to get to the goal line. Kite is different, a flag carrier can go straight diagonally at the goal line and keep their momentum. Position two people in the chokes, or have one stay by the boost aimed at one choke and another defender covering the boost’s blind side.
- Powerups are crucial. Any one of the three can change the game in an instant and result in a cap.
- Learn the boost/bomb routes. All of the neutral flags, Kite to a lesser extent, have boosts and bombs that can be used to launch yourself toward the goal line, it’s important to be able to use them.
- Use the buttons on Cloud, Volt, and Command Center. Getting on the gates on Cloud and Command Center can be important to score caps. Controlling the gates on Volt are infinitely more useful for defense, but are still occasionally helpful offensively.
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