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How To Defend

Introduction to Article:

There's a lot to say about the art of defense. There are many individual techniques, as well as team tactics. So this could be part I of a long series, if I ever find the energy to write the other chapters...

Anyway, this should cover basics, and give beginners a good idea of what defending really is.

About Defense

Defending is very difficult. However, many beginners think defending is easy -- they think it is their best chance against more experienced players. But "digging in" is not the way to victory. The first casualty of such an attitude is your state of mind. "They are better than us! We can only hope to hang on..." How right!

I am telling you that defending is NOT easier then attacking, it requires other techniques, and it shouldn't be what ALL of your team is doing ALL game long: all of you for some time, or some of you all the time, but never all of you all the time.

case 1: Some players defend, hold their positions while the rest of the 
	team attacks (tries to attack) on the other side.
case 2a:all the team (what is left) has to defend because the enemy
	has more surviving players than your teams.  This happens.
case 2b: You're actually waiting to counter-push, and you're not really 

I. Waiting for a counter push

When you'll reach a certain level, and maybe certain fame, on local tournaments, you'll see that teams in front of you will tend to "defend", i.e "dig in", find obstacles and wait for you. Good! Exactly what you want: knowing exactly where each of your opponents are, (ten meters away from their station) and that whatever happens, they won't move. Back up a bit, shift some of your players (you can even forget about one side: THEY WON'T MOVE.) and hit where it hurts. Wooof. Easy max.

Choosing to wait doesn't mean you don't want to go far on the whistle. You do. When you walked the field (if you didn't, go do it and then come back) you found places where you were protected enough, while still having good angles at "them". You found some others, maybe better, but a bit further. You decide not to take the risk. That's the difference between attacking and not attacking. In that case, waiting, "defending", is just going where you can be effective, but not taking the risks needed for an early advantage.

Place your teammate in a way each one can be protected by the other. If one of you is out of sight, he won't last long because you won't be able to help him, even if he is in a castle complete with towers and dragon. Usually, two or three places/angles are very important. Put a player in each, then make sure the aliens from outertown won't get them easily. Place a second row of defenders, and keep one or two to drift behind, ready to reinforce a weakening side or to kick a push.

II. Blocking

You're the newest on the team? Maybe a little overweight? No offense, but that makes you the typical blocker of most teams. Your job is to guard one wing while your slim teamates run and attack on the other side. Your orders? "None shall pass". It's you and your buddy, and you have to stand against 4 or 5 hairy ghosts who have decided it wasn't going to be your day.

Ok. You don't stop them. Well, if you do, bravo. But actually, you just have to slow them down long enough for your teamates to break through. Immediately sounds easier, doesn't it?

You already know what the worst mistake would be: to stay where you are. Look at what your opponents would like to do -and don't do it. They want to know where you are, and how many of you there is.

So move, don't spend all your time behind the same shelter. Shoot from one place, then crawl to another while they are still shooting where they think you are. Hopefully, when you raise your head again, you'll be able to shoot from an unexpected angle.

There will be a lot of pressure on you, loads of paint coming at you. Don't panic. While they empty their loaders, they don't do anything dangerous for you. Stay calm, and watch for crawlers or such. Don't let them feel at ease, so be unpredictable and they won't dare to advance.

If you're behind a barricade in an open space, with no opportunity to move away, you can still be unpredictable. Shoot from the right, then from the left, then from the left again but at a lower level. And if all of a sudden, many guns start shooting at you, it is probably to prevent you from seeing the guy who's running at you, so be prepared. Stick your head out a split second to check if someone is truely coming at you and get ready to pop out and nail him when he'll be 5 meters away, while he'll still be running and not yet aiming. Pop out, shoot, drop down close to your barricade. Scratch one bogey.

III. Some vicious ambushes

When you're blocking, you are more or less guarding a border. When you set a trap, you want your opponents to come at you, and sometimes even to go further. You're not the prey defending itself, you're the hunter! In a certain way, you are attacking with a more "guerilla" style, weakening your adversaries push.

III-A The bait and the hook

This works on wide fields with some cover. Place a bait far from your opponents. Have him look foolish and defenseless. Have him look tasty. The opponents will come in for an easy shoot, and that's where you hook them.

                 O1         O2      The opponents are still far away
                        .              when the bait (B) starts shooting
                         .      .      and attracting their attention.
                          .     .      They'll think there's noone
   H                      .    .       between B and them. The hook
                            .   .      (H ,B's teamate) remains hidden,
                             .  .      and waits. He must not be on the
                              . .      way between B and the Os,
                                .      or he'd get walked upon!
                                       The opponents move in on B,
                                       slobbering, but ignoring H and
                                       thus leaving their side openned.
       . . . . .  O1         O2        H has a clear shot at O1. Splatch.
   H                                   Which leaves O2 in dire straits:
                                       he's caught between two
                                       different angles, and shouldn't
                                       last more than 5 seconds.
                                       At least, that's the plan...

III-B The bait and the hook - phony retreat style

Same thing, but you'll need some good hiding places for the hook(s). Here, the bait starts differently, and the hook(s) may be located between the bait and the opponents.

-------------------------           O       O       O     The bait (at least one, abviously,
                                       but no more than 2) has gone a lot
                                       further than in the first example
                                       Which means the field must be
                                       long enough. Foolishly, he starts
                       B               shooting at the Os. Very soon,
                                       he'll look like he's not going to be
                                       able to stay long. The hooks (one
             H           H             might be enough, depends on the
                                       number of players on each team)
                                       stay low and hidden. The
                                       opponents must get the feeling
----------------------                 that the Bs are the only
                                       opposition they're meeting.You
                                       want them to feel confident.

                                        The bait looks afraid, he falls
                                        back there's the trick- behind
                                        the hooks. Very confident,
                                        running at that prey who shows
                                        them its back, the Os rush in.
                                        Exactly what you wanted them to
                                        do. They'll be running in the open
                                        or stand behind shelters
                                        protecting them from B's paint,
                                        but not from the shots of the
              O       O       O         H's. And B will also turn around
                                        to participate in the feast.
             H           H              Maybe you won't eliminate all of
                                        them, but you'll hurt them bad,
                        B               and stop them on YOUR ground.

III-C The bait and the hook - zombie style

Most of the time, this "ambush" is not something you have prepared. The opportunity just appears, often when you're losing ground and the game looks rather messy.

I won't "draw" any scheme for that one. It looks like the "phony retreat" one, but the hook (usually only one) remains hidden, hoping that the Os will pass by him unawared. When he'll be in their back, he'll decide wether he wants to stab them in the back, or go on the other side of the field or whatever.

One tip: very often, when a team is finishing off their opponents and circling their station, they forget to look in the corners:

!   |                          because everything went so quickly
!   |                          they're not sure how many of you are  
!   |                          left and they usually think that the
!   |                          last of you must be near to your
!   |                          station, trying to defend it, and they
!    \                         want to participate in the elimination.
!      \                       Happens all the time.
! Z       ------>  O

III-D Double

Remember I told you "NEVER two of you behind the same shelter"? Well, do it for once. But one of you remains hidden. When his buddy will eventually be eliminated, the opponents will think that shelter is clear, and might even want to use it!

But it means that until his teamate's suit changes colors, one of you will remain inactive, possibly for a long period of time, which is rarely good.


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