View Full Version : A Basic Guide to GvG Flag Running

David Holtzman
02-08-2006, 03:28
What is the flag and what does it do?

The flag is an important object in GvG. The flag is a carry-able object, meaning it requires both hands and causes a slowdown of 20%. Flags are used to capture, or “cap”, the Tower Flag Stands (commonly refered to as “the stand” or “the flag”) that reside in the middle of the GvG Battlefields. To capture a flag stand a person carrying the flag simply needs to click on the stand. This will cause a message to appear in the screen that your side has captured the stand. If your flag remains in control for a continuous 2 minutes, your team will gain a 10% morale boost. If the other teams caps after you, or “overcaps” then they need to hold it for two minutes. If you overcap them (sometimes called “recapping”), the process repeats.

What is a Flagger and what does he do?

A Flagger is, surprisingly, a person who runs flags. The process of capping, overcapping, and recapping the flagstand happens quite often throughout most GvGs. Since the flag spawns in the base (with the exception of the Imperial Isle, where it spawns just outside), and since in general it is a poor idea to allow the enemy morale boosts, it is necessary to have someone run back to base for the flag and then run it up again. Since this happens a lot, the end result is a need for a dedicated flag runner, or “Flagger” (the process of running flags is also called “flagging”).

The primary purpose of the Flagger is to gain morale boosts. A good Flagger should know that his main focus is maintain team morale and monitor enemy morale. This leads to the Flagger having certain essential duties:

1. The Flagger needs to know when he has captured the flag. A morale boost in GvG is always beneficial, but there are many situations in GvG in which a morale boost may be actually required for victory. For example when your team is assaulting a turtle and needs rez sigs returned, or during a drawn out fight at the flagstand where you and the enemy have equal kills. Since a morale boost is gained precisely after 2minutes, it is sometimes possible to delay the enemy Flagger a certain amount of time. This is a dangerous tactic since it opens up your backline to heavy assault. Therefore it can only be safely attempted if you know you only have to delay the enemy Flagger for a short amount of time. The only way to know this is to know precisely when you capped so you can time 2 minutes after it.

2. The Flagger needs to know when the enemy has captured the flag. Just as your team can delay the enemy Flagger, you must be aware that the enemy can delay your flag running as well. Therefore the time you have left to cap plus the time the enemy can delay you determines how long you can stay with the 8v8 fight at the stand. You need to cap by 1:59 after they cap, so the only way to know how long you can stay is if you know precisely when the enemy has capped.

3. The Flagger needs to be aware of where the enemy Flagger is. The Flagger is constantly running flags, so it makes it difficult for the spike caller to know precisely when the enemy Flagger is available for damage. Knowing when the enemy Flagger is in range is in general the job of the friendly Flagger.

4. The Flagger needs to watch out for when the enemy is being sneaky. The enemy will often try to be clever, like by sending a warrior with the guild thief into your base. Since the Flagger is constantly going back and forth between your base and the stand in the middle of the field, it falls to him to make sure there are no enemy dots floating around and being mean to things like your NPCs or Catapult or even your Flagger!

5. The Flagger needs to be in control of whether a catapult (friendly or foe) is repaired, and where the repair kits are (catapults which are actually trebuchets are often referred to as “cats”). A Repair Kit is much like a flag, except it spawns outside the base and can only be used once. Also, it only spawns on a few select maps. It is used to repair a Catapult which when repaired can launch its shells into a base. Note that in general it is a poor idea to repair the catapult firing into your own base, since by shooting it at your Flagger the enemy can secure morale boosts and at Victory or Death can fire it to kill advancing NPCs.

The Flagger should make sure he knows where both kits are at any given time, and should be on the lookout for the enemy trying for a sneaky repair on the catapult firing into your base (referred to as Your Cat). He should also be aware when he can be spared to try his own sneaky cat repair (on Their Cat), and whether or not he should attempt this.

6. The Flagger needs to alert the team when he is entering into danger by pushing to cap a flag. The enemy in general wants morale boosts, and doesn’t want you to get one. If they pick up your flag while it is on the ground, it will automatically be returned to its spawn. If your Flagger is dead, he automatically drops anything he was holding (Note: changing either armor or weapons while holding an object will cause the object to drop). This means that the enemy will probably try to kill your Flagger very hard. If your Flagger has pushed into the enemy without warning anyone, he will most likely die before your monks have time to realize that he is in range for healing.

Tricky ways to run a flag.

Now that we know what the flag is and does, and what the Flagger is and does, the question is: how exactly does a person run the flag and get a morale boost out of it?

Front Loading.
Front loading is most commonly seen as an opening move to the flag game, although it can occur at any point in time where two allies are in the base together. In this move the Flagger waits back in base for a new flag and sends someone else off with the first one. This lets the Flagger skip the initial run back to the base, and cuts the flagrunning time in half. This means the Flagger can easily overcap the flag and put some time between his cap and the next time the enemy can possibly cap. The longer this time is the easier it is for your team to delay their Flagger a bit and force a boost.

Front Loading is not without risk, however. Having the Flagger wait back means he is probably out of range of your team, meaning he cannot use his skills to support you. Depending on your team build and what you are fighting, it may end up being extremely dangerous to leave your Flagger behind. There are also situations in which the person holding the front loaded flag cannot cap initially. This means that your Flagger will have to spend a great deal of time not really doing anything back in your base. In general it is a better idea to have your Flagger doing something productive than not doing anything at all.

Delegated Flagging.
Delegated Flagging is a move in which the Flagger tells someone else to run the flag. This can be wholly or partway. For example the flager may run the flag 90% of the way, but want a warrior with his better armor to push the final 10% into all the damage. Or, a Flagger may not be able to run flags at all, say he has the only Heal Party and cannot leave the field. In this case someone else may have to run the flag 100% of the way (or the new Flagger could delegate himself to a warrior for the extra 10%).

The advantage to Delegated Flagging is that the most efficient person for the job is always running flags. In places of high damage you have a person with damage mitigation running it. When you need the Flagger’s utility skills he can stick around and someone less needed can run.

The downside to delegated flagging is that flag switching between people can be risky, and it always adds time to the flag cap. It takes 1 second for the dropping or picking up animation to occur, and this time is added onto the flag run. Also, when you drop the flag the enemy has a chance to pick it up. This returns the flag and resets the run, which can lead to the enemy forcing a boost.

The most common time for Delegated Flagging is on maps with a catapult, where the Flagger sends someone else off with the flag while he secures the Repair Kit.

Double running
Double running is a move in which you designate two people to run the flag. The Flagger runs the flag from the base to halfway, where the next person picks it up and runs the cap. Double running is the fastest way to run flags safely, but takes twice as many people. This can be very useful to counter the enemy using delays on your Flagger, such as snares. Or, it can be used to counter the enemy using flag tactics to speed up their flag run, such as front loading or their own double running. However by spending twice the resources running flags you can harm your team’s abilities to survive or achieve kills.

Other jobs for a Flagger.

Since the Flagger is designed in general to run off by himself and survive the process, he usually makes a pretty good scout. When scouting he can take on most types of enemy builds and if not kill them, at least slow them down or if need be retreat alive. An important note for scouting for sneaky enemies is to make sure to check the edges of the map. Some times enemies, especially if they are losing, will try to hide a gank team at the edge of the map where you won’t see them as easily. To counter this strategy, make sure your Flagger knows he needs to be able to see to the edge of a place before it can be considered clear.

Team Support

A Flagger also needs to know how to use his build to support his team effectively. Depending on what he is running, he can add both a lot of offensive pressure to the fight and a great deal of defense. When the Flagger is at the 8v8 fight he can relieve midline players from defensive roles by using his skills in place of theirs. This will allow you to do a stronger offensive push than you normally would be able to.

Not running a flag.

There are times when you want to avoid running flags as much as possible. While in general flag capping goes on immediately and repeatedly, it does not actually have to. No run from the stand and back takes more than a minute, so Flaggers actually have a great deal of leeway time to spend. By refusing to overcap the flag immediately, you can maximize the time your flagger is there. You can also use this trick to defeat some of the enemy’s flag tactics. If they are double running, for example, this will maximize the time one of their members sits in the base and does nothing.

This tactic can be very dangerous, however. By refusing to overcap the enemy you also make it easier for them to delay you and force a boost. The less time until their boost, the less time they need to delay you for.

There is a time when not running the flag is much less dangerous, however, and this is the beginning of the game, before anyone has capped. Since the enemy hasn’t capped yet, you don’t need to worry at all about them delaying you. There are advantages and disadvantages to running at this point in the game.

Advantages to not capping
First off, not capping means not running. What this means is that your Flagger will be there to fight with you in the 8v8 fight. He can provide a lot of defense and a lot of utility, in addition to adding whatever sorts of damage he has. It also forces the enemy to cap first if they want to start the flagging game. Once they cap, you can immediately overcap and be a glag ahead. This in general can be ridden for a boost if played correctly.

Disadvantages to not capping
One disadvantage to not capping is if they can kill your flag carrier or somehow return your flag. This will allow them to cap without being overcapped, and thus be a flag ahead. This could force you into double running which would weaken your fighting team at the stand. Another problem is that while your team has the benefit of your Flagger, their team has the same advantage. The extra defense he provides may be enough to keep the enemy alive, or the extra offense or utility may be just what they need to gain kills on you. By not capping, you stall the flag game and allow him to stick around supporting the team. It may end up that you cap the flag not to gain a boost, but just to make their Flagger go away!

Flagging in a split

Flag running in a split can be very nasty for the flagger. With teams running all over the map it can be very hard to tell where it is safe to go. Mostly this comes down to judgment based on experience, but there are a few things to look for.
1. Know where the enemy splits are, if they have them. If your team splits to counter their split, or vice versa, make sure you know where those splits are. Be very careful of them pincering you to gain a boost.
2. Know where your splits are. The more of your teammates that are there, the safer it is for you to run the flag in. Make sure your team is supporting you at the stand if you need it.
3. Watch out for map gimmicks like lava, teleporters, catapults, etc. Remember that in these zones you are especially vulnerable, so be careful in there.
4. Watch your minimap! This is one of the most important things to do as a Flagger, and is especially important during a split when enemies can come from both sides.

02-08-2006, 03:45
Good overall, although I think a final task for the flagger is also to disrupt the enemy flag running, if you can afford the detour. If you are able to criple/snare the enemy flag runner behind the main enemy line, its beneficial to your team, this is especially potent in dual running tactics.

This either forces an enemy front line person to drop back to support the their flag runner or potentially you can delay the cap long enough to force a morale.

02-08-2006, 07:54
Good guide for starters but IMO this guide doesn't include the style of flagging some of the very top guilds uses.

For example - The Last Pride don't have specific flagrunner and flagging is one of the main reasons for there success.

If you look into EviL's running, they're most of the time running the flag with a char who's got best position for the running. Many times one of the warriors are sent to base and the main group is basicly holding back, meanwhile still keeping up some pressure on the enemy team. The moment where EviL wins majority of there matches is simple overcap system. They already have a second flag next to the stand waiting when the enemy caps - so they can cap straight over and start immediately strong 8vs7 push. When they don't have a designated flagger but instead 6 guys who can pretty much go straight offence at given moment, they have significant advantage - which many times leads to teamwipe and game win.

This is very working tactic as majority if the teams fails to understand how they play.

Everyday the usual flagrunning build is going more and more supporting than offensive. Latest build the flagger is almost a 3rd monk with longrange support skills like: Heal Party, Extinguish and Aegis.

I'd like to encourage guilds to try different systems of flagging because they're rare and most of the time very confusive.

David Holtzman
02-08-2006, 08:04
Good guide for starters but IMO this guide doesn't include the style of flagging some of the very top guilds uses.

Well of course not silly, it's supposed to be a "Basic Guide" :tongue: Anyone in the top, say 100, had better not need one of my guides to flag.

For example - The Last Pride don't have specific flagrunner and flagging is one of the main reasons for there success.

An excellent example of delegated flag running.

Everyday the usual flagrunning build is going more and more supporting than offensive. Latest build the flagger is almost a 3rd monk with longrange support skills like: Heal Party, Extinguish and Aegis.

An excellent point. I tried to stay away from putting up builds in the guide for exactly this reason. Flagger bars change with the times. Used to be a flagger was the one who went out and killed NPCs. Nowadays as you say he's used mostly for pure party support.

I'd like to encourage guilds to try different systems of flagging because they're rare and most of the time very confusive.

For more advanced guilds I absolutely agree. Running a team build where everyone knows the tricks of flagging and can effectively run is by far the most effective and efficient way to play at the moment. However, for the newer, less experienced player I think having a dedicated flagrunner would be very beneficial. There's no better way to learn the tricks of flagging than by doing it.

Aurelia Dark
02-08-2006, 09:19
Thanks, an interesting article for folks like me who can win matches but can never really put there finger on specific reasons why they might have lost.
Will stop people from thinking which skill to click instead of looking at the purpose and methods too

02-08-2006, 12:50
Yeah, pretty good from a HA player! ;)

I'd like to repeat a few things. Always communicate with the main team where their runner is, is it going to get flag or coming back, when you're out of combat. Generally, you don't want to be late with the flag, unless you think there's a good chance to stay in combat and support your team's offense to score some important kills and perhaps prevent the opposing team's flag running. Also, as a flag runner, you usually know the opposing team's running pattern better and it's a good idea to command own team on full offense when it's best.

Never try to run the flag in as a soft target, unless it's 100% secure. That's the most common mistake the average teams make. It's not rare that it leads to monks comsuming all energy to try to protect the carrier, and after that a team wipe. Also, it's not wise to try to run the flag in when half of your team is dead. :D

Good teams will harash your running process and send in people to come after you when you leave the main battle. Ask help in time, but not monks unless it's absolutely needed. Leaving one monk in the main combat is very risky.

In the end, tip to all inexperienced guilds. Always try to grief the opposing team's flag runner. Most of them are just used to running flags and get confused when someone gets in their face. :P

David Holtzman
02-08-2006, 13:33
Yeah, pretty good from a HA player! ;)

Maybe if you guested me more I could become a GvGer =p

Parker Bsb
02-08-2006, 13:58
Good guide David. One thing I noticed was slightly lacking was discussion about alternate routes to running.

IE on wiz/hunters/warriors it is actually faster to run the flag from your back gate to the stand. However you have to run thru their lines to do this in most cases so it is used in extreme situations only.

If you'd like I can try to dig up pictures of all the halls (I used to have them on my PC somewhere).

Edit: Dave you ever wanna GvG hit me up we are usually looking for a guest or 2 :wink:

02-08-2006, 19:35

David is on my friend's List. Also, you see him guesting further down in the vent channels with Wood, on occasion.


02-08-2006, 20:55
Good guide David! I'll echo Parker in saying that we would love to have you guest with us. Feel free to drop in on the DII vent channel as well.


David Holtzman
02-08-2006, 22:59
Good guide David. One thing I noticed was slightly lacking was discussion about alternate routes to running.

Actually, it's totally lacking in discussion of routes at all =p

I thought about putting a section with routes for various maps, but in the end decided it wasn't all that worth it. 4 new GH per chapter would rended it out of date quickly, and routing isn't so much a question of the map as a question of the location of the other team. I'll think about it though, and maybe add on a section.

Edit: Dave you ever wanna GvG hit me up we are usually looking for a guest or 2 :wink:

PM me some time, it's a rare occassion when I'm not up for guest GvG (usually because I am already guesting).