Halo Infinite‘s Capture the Flag, or CTF, is a classic multiplayer mode of the franchise where two teams try to score points by grabbing the enemy’s flag and bringing it back to their base. The rules vary, but generally speaking, each capture is worth a point, and it’s impossible to score when your team’s flag has been taken.
The simple rules of CTF lead to some intense strategizing. Winning takes brains as well as brawn. Here’s a few tips that will help lead your team to victory.
Forget about the flag
The most important strategy CTF beginners should learn is that Halo CTF is more about controlling space and the map’s powerful weapons than it is about grabbing the flag. It’s possible to get lucky and capture the flag by grabbing it randomly and hoping you don’t get spotted on the way back. But effective CTF strategy doesn’t rely on luck. Instead, a team of good CTF players will try to establish strong map control.
Map control is a cornerstone of basic Halo tactics. It’s based on the premise that taking over certain vital areas of the map gives the team holding them a massive advantage. For example, a player with a rocket launcher on high ground can look down over a large area of the map, and, by pointing out enemies to their team or killing them outright, has effective control over that area. If they’re defending, no enemy Spartans are likely to survive if they go anywhere near that player, even if they’re gunning it in a Warthog. On offense, a coordinated CTF team will deny more and more space to opponents until they create a safe route for their flag carrier.
Most points in this mode are scored when one team has control like that. If you’re in a CTF match and the other team reliably kills your flag carrier and walks away with your flag easily, they probably have effective map control. Instead of guessing whether it’s safe to take the flag or sticking by your base hoping to catch opponents off guard, try getting to a better position and keeping track of the enemy team’s whereabouts. It’s much easier to score points and defend the flag if you have more information.
Another crucial aspect of controlling the map is grabbing good weapons like the Skewer, the SPNKR rocket launcher, and the S7 sniper rifle. Those weapons make it easier to defend larger swaths of territory on defense, and on offense, enable a good team to both safely take the flag and protect the flag carrier. A nice bonus of grabbing the power weapons is that it deprives the enemy team as well.
Drop the flag
One of the most common amateur mistakes in CTF is flag carriers who don’t drop the flag when they’re found by one or more enemy Spartans.
It may seem counter-intuitive, but dropping the flag is often the most reliable way for flag carriers to score points. Here’s a few reasons why: firstly, flag-carrying Spartans either take a movement penalty, or when sprinting, are revealed to everyone on the other team. That means escape is unlikely. Another compelling reason to drop the flag is that opponents are often caught off guard when a flag carrier launches a counterattack. Even if the flag-bearer loses their fight, the attackers will at least be weakened, leaving a nice opportunity for a teammate to finish them off and take the flag themselves before the timer resets. It could be argued that it’s better to rely on teammates to escort the flag carrier and shoot pursuers, but you can’t bet on that, and it’s better to have another gun in the fight anyway. So unless you’re just a few feet away from scoring a point, consider dropping the flag and standing your ground.
Have a plan
Once in a blue moon, you’ll be able to make a sneaky play for the flag and safely run it back to your base, getting lucky enough to avoid the enemy team. But generally speaking, it’s best to have a clearer strategy. Does your team have a sniper rifle, or a power-up like Active Camouflage? It’s a good time to attack and take over territory, subduing the enemy team with superior firepower and allowing your flag carrier to have a safe walk back for an easy point. Is your team dead or dying? It’s probably best to play passively and wait for strength of numbers instead of throwing your life away trying to make a heroic play.
Many players new to Halo CTF are a bit like little kids playing team sports—the whole team clumps up near the flag. That’s usually not the best way to go about scoring points or defending. It makes the team vulnerable to grenades, and it’s extremely bad news if everyone is killed at once. If your teammates are endlessly grabbing the flag and getting shot to pieces before they get 10 feet, run escort duty for them—kill enemies moving toward your flag carrier and make yourself a nuisance while your teammate focuses on the objective. If you’re escorting the flag or defending it, you should engage enemies before they get close, making them think twice about pushing into your territory or giving your flag carrier precious seconds that let them traverse the map safely.
The opposite will also happen. You’ll probably get games where no one on your team seems very interested in the objective of the game and instead spends their time killing the enemy team. In that case, make the flag your priority, and let them worry about map control. They are often more effective teammates than those who are solely focused on the flag.
If you take another one bit of advice from this primer, it should be that Halo CTF is more about which team can consistently control space on the map than who is best at sneaking into enemy territory and grabbing the flag. Remember, it’s about creating a safe lane for the flag carrier’s return on offense and denying those safe lanes to opponents on defense. Players who run for the flag and hope they don’t get shot on the way back will always lose to players with a basic grasp of that concept. Gain map control, grab power weapons and power-ups, and try to keep track of other players. You’ll be a huge help to your team.