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I just finished this graphic, and I'm so pleased with it, I decided to write an article specifically so I could use it.

Anyway, if you didn't read the previous article, Chalkboard articles are where I go over strategies I found useful in Team Fortress (Classic), along with other team based first person shooters, such as Battlefield 2 (and vietnam), Unreal Tournament, and other Quake Mods.

A mini disclaimer is in order here. I am not a World Class gamer. I'm pretty good, I can rock alot of public servers. But compared to harden clan-only veterans, I'm a benchwarmer.

Still, even a minor league athlete may have some pearls of wisdom, especially for a general audience. I invite any and all to add to my lessons, or dispute them. I won't get bent out of shape or anything... as long as you keep a respectful tone, of course.

This article focuses on Backchecking.

Backchecking is a hockey term (and maybe soccer, but I didn't play enough of that to learn the right term). It's a great choice for a first lesson in advanced team warfare, because it applies to so many situations, and because it can put even the worst player in a position to come up huge for his team.

Consider the direction that CTF (capture the flag) teams go in relation to hockey teams. Both teams are trying to push the puck towards the other teams goal. Both teams have to dedicate some men to this effort, but not too many to leave their own end unprotected. This is the basis of offense and defensive balance.

Attackers are used to heading into the heart of the enemy. Because of this, they are expecting to engage their opponent head on (in a very vague sense, like when you look at the map from a bird's eye view). Attackers do not expect to suffer an attack coming from their own defenders, whom they leave behind. Backchecking is resistance from behind the target. It is effective because attackers are rarely flanked, so they often will take an enormous amount of damage before they stop thinking two dimensionally. Even if they do catch on, it is very difficult for an attack to maintain any sense of timing or coordination when it is constantly being harassed from awkward angles, even before it gets to enemy chokepoints.

In case I am still painting a foggy picture about how effective this can be, picture this: You are leading a small squad of soldiers to raid a castle. You're halfway up the walls of the fort, when you start taking fire from the moat you had crossed over rather easily before. You're out of position, and you have to regroup. Provided you can get yourself out of that situation, your assault will be shorthanded to say the least.

To backcheck effectively, look for areas where you are isolated, where you can see a path into your own base your back is covered, yet the backs of enemies appear frequently. Simply follow the enemy into your base, and fire at will.

It is good to find one or two reliable spots per map to do this from, but at the same time, when enemies start coming into your line of sight, blasting away at you, you know it may be time to find a new spot.

Some people may find this to be camping. While it is a fine line, I believe if you're consistantly finding a new spot, and not setting up camp in just one or two, you're doing a good job monkeywrenching the enemy offense.

During your team's flag touch, midfield backcheckers are also in prime postion to defend their flag carriers, or pick it up after it's brought out from the teeth of the defensive configuration (IE: away from sentries & heavyWeps).

Like I said before, a very basic strategy, and not one that is likely to catapult a player into the top of the points standings for the round. Nor does it gain a player a better understanding of the more vital and intricate workings of offense and defense. It will, however, allow the unskilled players to contribute to the team effort.


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