Halo Diehards Basic Team Strats: 4 – Neutral Bomb
Posted by CHa0s:
Although the weapons, team number, respawn patterns etc. may change, much of the following experiences will translate over to Halo 4, just as it has from Halo 2 to Halo 3 to Halo:REACH, etc. New to “Basic Strats”? These are developed for beginning teams and all information may not apply for established, competitive teams.
Once you have experienced Halo matchmaking with a team that is on the same page, it is baffling how few people are willing to spend some time developing strats together. Random groups of friends are thrown together each night and many of them do quite well just playing by instinct, slaying skill, and perhaps drawn to each other by nature as their playing styles mesh. Perhaps a group of five happen to start hopping on at the same time, not realizing that one is a power-weapons hog (those valuable players who know when a weapon will respawn and nab it, therefore never giving the enemy the opportunity to use it against you), one is a beast with the DMR, one is highly defense-oriented, one highly offense-oriented, and one is so good at intel and callouts the entire team knows what’s going on at all times.
But many times, these teams wind up with three out of five being highly-defensive, or even all defensive. Or perhaps there are four slayers working separately to pad their stats, and one objective-oriented who can’t get the team shooting where they need, when they need it, as the slayers compete to finish that kill over there, where the enemy would’ve been better off left alive (will get to that in a bit).
Pit a team of slayer-oriented players against a team with similar slaying skill who is heavily objective-oriented, and you will see the total demise of the slayer-oriented team. The members of the losing team might be baffled, discouraged, even express anger during the game and after towards their teammates. They can’t understand why the stats show their team got more kills, yet the objective-oriented team seemed to have the upper hand and finish with the win. Sometimes even in quite a short time.
Neutral Bomb is perhaps one of the most complicated objective games for a team to excell in. One bomb or flag is a fairly simple concept – one team is on offense, one on defense – even so, many teams struggle with getting on the same page for this gametype. Multi-objectives, where each team has their own bomb or flag, gets a little more complicated as teams are divided and must play offense and defense at the same time, making it even tougher for teams to establish who plays offense and who plays defense, and when. Neutral Flag, although similar to Neutral Bomb, requires each team to bring the objective back into their own base, not push into enemy spawn zones to obtain your objective. Only in Neutral Bomb must a team be able to morph from offense to defense as the game changes, pushing through enemy territory where the enemy can randomly spawn right in front of you, to obtain your objective: planting the bomb.
Many of the concepts introduced here can be applied to those other gametypes as well, but may be absolutely necessary to pull the win against an evenly matched team in Neutral Bomb.
Every map and gametype has in common first rush strategies that involve obtaining power weapons and gaining the upper hand in map control, and Neutral Bomb is no different. In this example we will use Asylum.
The closest first-rush objective to first spawn on Asylum is the sniper rifle. Players grabbing this should always keep in mind that the other team’s sniper has a clear line of sight from his sniper rifle spawn to yours and may have gotten there first. Secondary power weapons include the shotties and sword, and even the needler, especially if you are in a gametype that has jetpack – - however, if a team is working together and communicating, the jetpack-needler can be taken out in short order (another reason callouts are key).
No matter the gametype, it is widely recognized that holding the middle on Asylum is a position of power.
Players who have practiced holding the middle on Asylum will probably begin to notice a pattern in enemy respawns: kill them on the left, they often respawn on the right, even if it’s right in front of a member of your team. If a team is communicating and on the same page with respawn patterns, this can be used to great advantage when it comes time to push the bomb. If your team is at the mid-line and repeatedly killing the enemy, they will often respawn just on your side of the map, removing them from a position between your bomb carrier and the objective.
Because these things are random and cannot be controlled with complete certainty, it is even more important to communicate with your team so just the right timing can be used to push the bomb. As with every map and gametype, members will have a better chance at survival if they are covering each other’s backs and calling out everything that moves.
In Neutral Bomb, when your team has the bomb, everyone should switch to offense. When you lose the bomb to the other team, your entire team should switch to defense. There are some exceptions to this blanket-statement, which we’ll get to later, but whether or not your team has the bomb, holding center is key.
From the ring on Asylum, you can see most of the enemy’s respawns, and you can certainly kill or weaken any members of the opposing team as they move out from those respawns – - this is why holding ring is an obvious position of power on the map.
Although if the enemy has the bomb and you know it’s coming into your side over by your “car” (carbine spawn, right mid-map), if you are paying attention to where your guys are and how many enemy has been killed in the last few seconds, you will know approximately how much support that enemy carrier might have with him. If you’ve been holding mid and have just watched four of your guys die in a push, you will know they are going to spawn behind you and be between the enemy carrier and your bomb-plant. If this is the case, and you trust your guys to have been paying attention that the enemy bomb-carrier is at car, you can turn your attention to the enemies’ respawns on their side, effectively killing or weakening them before they can come to the aid of their carrier.
Gamers who do not understand map control might rush towards the enemy carrier, leaving mid open for the respawned enemy to take as their own. This can be a huge mistake. Not only are you in cover when holding ring while the enemy must cover open ground to get to you, any pressure you can put on the enemy as they try to move through mid-map slows them down and distracts them, if not killing them and making them start over on their side. Go to jail? Do not pass go? Or how about spank ‘em and give them a five-second time out? heh heh.
Pushing the bomb
I cannot count the number of times I’ve assisted in pushing the bomb and all we needed was one more teammate with us to pull it off. Instead, that teammate was off on the opposite side of the map chasing down an enemy player. In objective gametypes there is a time and place to pick and choose when to kill. When your team has the objective, that time and place is between your carrier and the enemies’ bomb plant. I realize it’s hardwired in by this point to chase down the bad guys, especially if you’ve already done him damage, but if you’re off screwing around with some Timmy whose playing hide-and-seek in your pillars (under snipe bridge), you aren’t helping your team pull of the objective.
Timing is of the essence. It’s a good bet to push on a side where you’re team has just cleared a couple of the enemy, especially if your carrier has backup with him. Before clearing the side and pushing the bomb, if you can get someone to sneak up into their snipe spawn (right side) or rocks (left side), this helps increase the chance the baddies will force-spawn on the opposite side. Thing is, your slayers have to keep this in mind, and move into positions where they can cover the sneaker and help keep them undiscovered if members of the opposite team are navigating through that territory.
When these things are kept at the forefront of your mind, you begin to see patterns. You will find, as bomb carrier, that it is best to move forward before the enemy is completely dead but you are fairly sure your team will take them out. In this way, you will have more time to plant the bomb and move back into a position to cover it before they have respawned and swarmed their bomb plant.
Slayers should not forget that in objective, they are the support players, and keep this in mind as they choose where to place their attention. If our bomb is pushing through their rocks, and you know an enemy has just killed one of our own in our rocks and is pushing towards our base, leave him. The guy he just killed can engage him in a second; the first priority is supporting your bomb carrier in planting that bomb.
Bomb carrier should never move forward alone unless he sees an opportunity to sneak in.
It is understandable that some may experience discomfort in trying these strategies, or even thinking about them. When one is bomb carrier, there is a panic to keep moving. When one is slaying, there is a drive to kill anything that moves. But I assure you that if you practice these things a few times, you will begin to see the logic, even if at first you fail.
Another way to push bomb is to take your entire team and punch around one way or another. One way to accomplish this if you “own” ring, is to push over their snipe bridge and into their sniper spawn with your entire team as described above. The timing for this is when they have two or more dead. The reasoning behind this is the amount of cover your team has in doing this, and field of vision they have in team shooting the enemy as they clear the enemy base and kill respawners. In this scenario if no one has called out that an enemy has dropped down below turret or behind sniper, the bomb carrier might drop down and push through their shotty cave to avoid enemy fire and grenades.
The trick is in the timing, but the entire team has to be on the same page for it to be pulled off with great success.
One exception already explained to the above strat ideas are when bomb carrier finds an opportunity to push ahead alone and remain in cover while his team engages the enemy and prepares to push forward. This works best if slayers keep the enemy from moving into a line of sight to see your carrier by team shooting.
Another exception is if someone gets the opportunity to move into the enemy’s base, forcing them to spawn to either side. If the team is paying attention, as your teammate moves into their base the rest of the team follows, killing any enemy on the side they’re pushing and forcing spawn on the opposite side. This also has a lot to do with timing and must be practiced before you “get it”.
These concepts are not meant to be the end all of Neutral Bomb strategy, merely a pointing out of some possibilities that make sense when a team is working together.
Failure does not mean the strategies do not work, it means your team can keep trying until it starts to make sense. Once teams understand how different strategies work, they can tweak them to fit their dynamic. Many teams will not push past initial failure towards understanding and more effective gameplay, instead continue to repeat the same behaviors and patterns both as a group and as individuals, never becoming more effective as a team but merely continuing to prevail against only those teams that are less skilled.
It can be difficult to find a group that will work on developing strats as a team if you decide you are serious about bringing your gameplay to another level. But there are several Halo communities out there and if you introduce yourself and make it clear what you seek, you may find others who are doing the same. Best of luck in finding your team!
Want more? Keep checking back here at Halo Diehards: plans for the future include developing strats for Halo 4 and competing against other teams on sites such as bigteambattle.net and Halo Community.