Think about your game. Discuss strategy with your teammates before you start. Even if you are just playing a walk-on game, the idea of a preplanned strategy can’t be overstated.
If you are a new player, here is a basic strategy run-down. Because of the complexity of speedball, you’re going to find hundreds of ways to approach a game. Don’t take this advice and these descriptions as the “end all” to paintball tactical decisions. If you are new, learn them and head to your local field armed to discuss appropriate strategy with other players.
For the purpose of learning, let’s assume you are playing 5v5 or 7v7.
A “Front” player’s goal is to grab the opponent’s flag. Fronts will run forward of the other players on your team who will be providing covering fire. The biggest mistake that beginner players make is starting everyone as a “front” player. Everyone gets on the field with the personal goal of getting the flag. It’s not going to work. Designate a front player to get the flag.
“Back” and “mid” players are the opposite. They stay in position, cover major traffic lanes at the beginning of the game, and spray a ton of paint toward opponents. You’ll need back players to initially lay down paint that will take out the other team’s rushing front players. Other than providing covering fire and spraying anyone that pops their head up or out, back players communicate and provide information on player positions to front players.
Back and mid players can fill in key bunkers that are lost when someone on your team is eliminated. As a back or mid player, your goal should be to secure lanes that your teammates can safely move up. Additionally, you’ll want to watch your flanks and remember to secure the snake side of the field.
Starting Box Decisions:
The first step is to decide who is going to be a front player and who will be playing back/mid. You’ll want to make sure that you have a clear idea which bunker everyone is traveling to, who will be running where, and where to expect people diving. Make sure players traveling the furthest distance from the box have the right of way.
Your first option is to just stay at the box and pour paint down lanes you expect your opponents to be. Spend a few seconds shooting before moving, and then move to your predetermined bunker. You should know who is playing in the back or middle for your team. If your team has decided that you will be playing the back or back-center, this should be your initial strategy.
You can also run to your bunker while shooting down range. It’s not as fast as sprinting and diving straight for a bunker, but it is a good way to provide covering fire that keeps your opponent’s heads down and sightlines off while you and your teammates move into position. Start shooting right from the start and run into position.
If you’re going to play from the front, your best bet is to cross your fingers and run for it. Don’t hesitate, don’t shoot, just sprint and dive to your position.
After You Are In Position
It’s time to talk to your teammates. Determine how many players are left on the other team. Determine which bunkers are occupied by your team and the opposing team. Hopefully, you’ve walked the field before the game and you understand which bunkers are the most important to hold. If you’ve lost a teammate at an important bunker, you need to call up a rear player to hold that bunker.
After you’ve secured the bunkers you want, look at the lanes you have covered. If you have superiority over a specific lane as a back player, you’ll want to communicate that to fronts and move teammates down the field and toward the flag. Constant communication is the key. Remember, if you aren’t shooting or moving you are talking and sometimes you need to move, shoot and talk at the same time.
Basic Mid to Late Game
If you are in position well, this part gets easier. When you have a numbers advantage, play aggressively. If you don’t have an advantage, stay on the defense until things are evened up. If you have more players, you can look for weak bunkers and attempt bunker them. If you have fewer players, you’ll want to lock up all lanes and pin down movement. Just a few backs can effectively lock down opponents for some time.
Those are the basics.
There are 100 ways to end the game or to progress from the mid to late game stage. The basics always hold true. When a player goes down, you need to bring a back to replace that position. You need to designate players at the start of the match, determine where each person is heading and where the vital lanes are, decide on a starting strategy, and—once you are in position—communicate.
That’s it for now.
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