This is the first strategy discussion post in a series of many yet to come, so be sure to check back!
Ironworks is the first in a new series of QuakeLive ctf maps which is considered to be actually quite playable, so I figured it might be interesting to discuss some of the different possible tactics, starting with the defense.
In this post I will share what should be considered as my own personal opinion, and I invite everyone who wishes to share their own insights, to do so in the comment box below!
Ironworks: a map for attackers?
Ironworks is the first map in the quake series to break with the tradition of CTF maps that are very heavily defense oriented. First of all, Ironworks has health items (Red Armor in particular, but also the Mega Health) which are very easily stolen by enemy attackers. Secondly, as soon as the enemy flag carrier leaves the base using the high exit, a cap is not far away. The fact that there are no jumppads in mid, makes it even more difficult to kill the Enemy Flag Carrier when he’s strafing his way to a fast cap.
Even when an enemy flag carrier decides to leave low, the enemy team has to react very quickly, since a good attacker will cross the map in no time.
One or two defenders?
The advantage of having only one defender is obvious: more attack power and thus more chance of stealing the flag. Considering the fact the map already leans more towards offense, you’re bound to cap sometime when 3 attackers rush into enemy base.
That being said, personally I feel more comfortable with 2 defenders on this map. 1 flag defender and one mid player who plays more defensively.
There are several reasons for using two defenders:
- Attackers are often stacked as they can easily pickup the Red Armor when going through the teleporter. (Additionaly, with a single jump it’s possible for the attacker to quickly climb out of the water, making a surprise attack even easier).
- If the EFC (Enemy Flag Carrier) leaves high and nobody’s up there to stop him, he can easily cap since there are no jumppads in the center of the map.
- A second defender can easily drop down from the high grounds to pickup the Red Armor. This not only gives the defense an extra boost, but it also prevents the enemy team from taking the Red Armor. The fact that he has to go through base to reach mid again doesn’t really make him waste a lot time either, as he’s immediately ready to defend again once he climbs out of the water.
- You just lose your own flag less!
Positioning yourself as flag defender
Positioning yourself as a flag defender isn’t easy. The enemy has many ways to enter the base, making it hard to predict where the next attack will come from.
If you stand on the armorshard-sidewalk, enemies coming from above can easily steal the flag and take the jumppad without you having enough time to kill them.
Standing on top, around the grenadelauncher entrance, makes it “easy” for attackers via water to grab the flag and leave low.
Therefore I switch spots during the game. When I am on the shards I make sure I have a lightning gun and railgun (which is not that likely as they are both kind of far from base). When I am on top I spam granades into water when I know there’s an enemy incoming. A great tip is to listen for the teleporter being used, so you can anticipate attacks from the Red Armor room even before they jump into the water.
What should the mid defender do?
The mid defender’s job is to annoy the midplayers as usual. Railing from grenade launcher and help the attackers to grab the quad every two minutes.
Also, the mid defender should try to time the Red Armor and get it when the time is right, i.e. when his team is not leaving with the enemy flag and the base is safe.
Considering this map is still very new, the tactics are still in the process of being tested and trialed in the many pickups and clan wars happening every day. What’s definitely sure concerning Ironworks is that it’s a very fast paced map in which efficient strafe movement and flexbility are key, for both defenders and attackers.