Gameplay

Capture the Flag

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The Capture the Flag icon.

Capture the Flag (CTF) is a multiplayer gametype where teams compete to capture a flag from an enemy base and return it to their own. Many variants of this game-type exist, with the most common variation being the number of teams and flags. More variants can be created by altering individual settings.

Overview[edit]

A blue team player protecting the flag.

In Capture the Flag, teams compete to capture and return the opposing team's flag to their own base.

Flag offense and defense[edit]

Flags are located at their spawn points, usually held in the teams' respective bases. Players need to defend their flags from the enemy team while trying to take the enemy's flag from their base. While carrying a flag, a player (becoming the "flag carrier") cannot fire their weapons, but they can melee using the flag. When a flag is dropped, either at the carrier's own volition or because they are killed, the flag enters a countdown. At the end of the countdown, the flag returns to the base, and the process could be accelerated by friendly players standing around it. The countdown can be reset by enemy players holding the flag again, even if briefly. Respawn timers are commonly longer in CTF than in Slayer, giving more time for players in the offense to capture the flag.

In games other than Halo: Combat Evolved and Halo Infinite, the flag melee can kill a fully-shielded enemy player with one hit, though the setting can be tweaked in custom game settings.

In Halo 4, rather than being wielded with both hands, players now carry the flag with their left hand and wield an M6H magnum in their right, regardless of whichever weapons they are carrying. Players pick up the flag automatically by walking into it, but can no longer drop it; once a player has taken the flag, they are stuck with it until they score it or are killed.

Scoring[edit]

Upon returning the enemy team's flag to their own base (or the "flag return point"), a player scores a point for the team. The enemy team's flag automatically returns to the enemy base and can be taken again. In certain variants of CTF, players cannot score if their own flag has been removed from its spawn point.

Victory condition[edit]

The team that first reaches the score limit (3 points by default) wins the game. If neither has reached the score limit at the end of the time limit, the team with the most points at the end wins. If there is a tie, the game may enter overtime and the team that first scores the next point wins the game. Alternatively, if a team is holding the enemy team's flag at the end, the game may enter sudden death. During sudden death, the flag must be taken to its return point or its spawn point, the result of which decides the victor of the match.

Tips[edit]

The flag-wielder can choose to melee the opposition with the flag.
When you are attempting to get the flag,
  • Know where your opponents are positioned before grabbing and alerting them.
  • Choose a route that your opponent will think you are least likely to take.
  • When available, use vehicles like the Warthog, so that the flag carrier can make a speedy getaway. Deny the enemy team from pursuing in their own vehicles and destroy all of their vehicles.
  • Attempt to "spawntrap" the other team. Make sure the whole opposing team is eliminated before grabbing the flag. This allows you to enter the base without any resistance. Grab the flag and runoff, and as the enemy team spawns, your team will cover you.
Cooperation between players is the key for winning.
When you have the flag
  • Flag juggling is when the player drops and picks up the flag over and over again. The flag must hit the ground before it can be picked up again. Normally, you run slower when you retrieve the flag, but when you flag juggle, you run slightly faster, at the cost of letting your enemy know where the flag is currently is if they have not known already.
  • Do not always take the shortest route back to base. Enemies can easily predict your route that way. Try making detours and changing direction, but make sure you know where you are going.
  • Do not take a route that leaves you exposed from all corners, even if you have teammates escorting you. You are always an easy target for a sniper.
  • If a single pursuer is chasing you, do not be afraid to drop the flag and kill them. Hanging onto the flag would just leave you helpless.
  • Communicate with your teammates. This allows them to cover you and get free rides back to base.
When protecting a flag
  • Staying in the flag base can help, but the closer you stay to your teammates, the bigger the target you pose to your opponents. Beware of opponents clearing the room with grenades before they rush to grab the flag.
  • Place a sniper to guard the flag from a safe location. However, snipers should be adaptive, helping the team push forward, eliminating opponents which may ambush them. Sniping is the most effective way of eliminating key members of the opposing team such as Warthog gunners, other snipers, and opponents with power-weapons. Pace your shots to avoid running out of ammunition at a crucial time.
  • Stay in a location where you have a clear view of your flag, but hidden from enemy view.
  • On maps with vehicles, you can use them to block doorways for a makeshift stronghold, or to block the flag itself by parking over it, making it more difficult to grab.

Variants[edit]

Built-in variants[edit]

Halo: Combat Evolved
Title Description
CTF The first team to capture the enemy's flag and return it to their own base 3 times wins the game. You must have your own flag to capture.
Assault Teams alternate offense and defense every 2 minutes. Carry the enemy flag into their base to their flag station. 5 assaults wins.
CTF Classic The first team to capture the enemy's flag and return it to their own base 3 times wins the game.
Invasion CTF Carry the enemy flag into their base and plant it at their flag station. 3 successful assaults wins, but you only get 5 lives!
Iron CTF All players start with health at 200% and both teams have Scorpion tanks. 3 flag captures wins the game.
CTF Pro 3 flag captures wins the game, but your flag must be at home to score. Start with Grenades, Pistol, and AR.
Halo 2
Title Description
Multi Flag CTF Defend your flag while launching a coordinated attack on your enemy's flag. 3 captures to win.
CTF Classic Defend your flag while capturing the enemy's. 3 points wins, flag must be home to score, flag may be returned.
1 Flag CTF Take turns on offense/defense. A capture wins a round. Flag may not be returned. Rounds last 3 minutes. First to 3 wins.
1 Flag CTF Fast Intense 2 minute rounds of alternating offense/defense. A capture wins a round. Flag may not be returned. First to 3 wins.
Halo 3
Title Description
Multi Flag Every team has a flag, and may capture when it is away. 3 captures to win.
One Flag Only one team has a flag. 4 rounds, and teams take turns defending the flag.
Tank Flag A variation of Multi Flag where the carrier is very tough, but very slow.
Attrition CTF Highly tactical CTF. Very long respawns, but teams respawn on captures.
Halo: Reach
Title Description
Capture the Flag Invade your opponent's stronghold, seize the enemy flag, and then return it to your base to score.
Multi Flag CTF Invade your opponent's stronghold, seize the enemy flag, and then return it to your base to score.
Neutral Flag CTF Invade your opponent's stronghold, seize the enemy flag, and then return it to your base to score.
One Flag CTF Invade your opponent's stronghold, seize the enemy flag, and then return it to your base to score.
Halo 4
Title Description
Capture the Flag Steal the Enemy Flag, Score Points!
Halo 2: Anniversary
Title Description
Multi Flag CTF Capture the Enemy Flag while defending your own.
Classic CTF Capture the Enemy Flag while defending your own. Flag at home to score and return on pickup enabled.
One Flag Classic CTF Alternating Offense / Defense. A flag capture wins the round. Most flag captures wins the game. Flag return on pickup enabled.
Warlock Classic CTF Capture the Enemy Flag while defending your own. Flag at home to score and return on pickup enabled.
One Flag CTF Alternating Offense / Defense. A flag capture wins the round. Most flag captures wins the game.
Neutral Flag CTF Capture the neutral flag and return it to your team's base! Keep the other team away from it!
Gungoose CTF Use a vehicle to steal the enemy flag and score points!
Halo 5: Guardians
Title Description
Big Team CTF Capture the enemy Flag while defending your own.
Capture the Flag Capture the enemy Flag while defending your own.
Capture the Flag HCS Capture the enemy Flag while defending your own.
Neutral Flag Fight Over a Neutral Flag That All Teams Need to Capture.
Super Fiesta Capture the Flag Capture the Flag with random weapons. This is madness!
Halo Infinite
Title Description
Arena:CTF Capture the enemy flag while defending your own.
BTB:CTF Capture the enemy flag.
Ranked:CTF BR loadouts, Friendly-Fire enabled, Motion Tracker disabled. Capture the enemy flag while defending your own.
Arena:One Flag CTF Only one team has a flag. Teams alternate attacking and defending the flag.
Arena:Neutral Flag CTF Steal and capture the forsaken flag.

Popular variants[edit]

Multi Flag CTF[edit]

There are two teams based on opposite ends of the map. There are also two flags, each one in the corresponding bases (or there can be only one if the game is "attack and defend, or Neutral Flag). The objective of the game is to capture the opponents' flag three times to win the game while protecting your own flag from enemies at the same time. Unlike slayer games, the total number of kills does not count toward the score. For example, a team that captures the flag three times, but gets no kills, still wins the game. To score, the player with the flag must run back to the designated capture point.

Assault[edit]

Exclusive to Halo: Combat Evolved, teams alternate offense and defense every two minutes. One team needs to carry the enemy flag into the enemy base. The game variant has been replaced by Assault since Halo 2. In Invasion CTF, players only have five lives each.

Arena CTF (CTF Classic, CTF Pro)[edit]

In this variant, the friendly team flag must be at home for players to score. This is normally played on smaller, non-BTB maps.

One Flag CTF[edit]

A Multi Flag CTF match generally features maps with two identical bases, each containing the team's specific flag. One Flag CTF isn't quite as tightly bound, and features more asymmetrical type maps, giving one base better cover and protection and the opposite base maximum exposure and much less cover. This would result in an unfair match-up for the Arena CTF variants; instead, the game features the teams taking turns playing offense and defense.

Neutral Flag[edit]

Teams fight over a neutral flag centered in the middle of the map to bring back to their respective base.

Unlocks and rewards[edit]

Halo 2[edit]

Medals[edit]

The following medals can be unlocked in the Capture the Flag gamemode.

Icon Name Requirement
Awarded after you grab the opponent's flag in a Capture the Flag gametype. Flag Taken Taken the opponent's flag.
Flag Returned Medal.svg Flag Returned Return your flag to your base.

Achievements[edit]

Main article: Achievements (Halo 2)

The following achievement can be unlocked in the Capture the Flag gamemode when playing Halo 2 on Windows Vista.

Halo 2 (Windows Vista) Title Unlock requirement Games
H2V Achievement Rainman.png
Rainman
Play every available game variant, with at least 3 other players, to the end of each game.
Halo 2 on Windows Vista

Halo 3[edit]

Medals[edit]

Main article: List of Halo 3 and Halo 3: ODST medals

The following medals can be unlocked in the Capture the Flag gamemode.

Icon Name Requirement
Flag Kill.gif Flag Kill Get a melee kill with the flag.
Medal earned for scoring in a capture the flag game. Flag Score Capture the opposing team's flag.
Awarded when you kill the flag carrier. Killed Flag Carrier Kill the opposing flag carrier.

Achievements[edit]

Main article: Achievements (Halo 3)

The following achievements can be unlocked in the Capture the Flag gamemode.

Halo 3 (Xbox) Title Unlock requirement Games
H3 Achievement Flag Dropped.png
Flag Dropped
On a Legendary map, get 2 Flag Carrier kills during any ranked or social match.
Halo 3 (Legendary Map Pack)
H3 Achievement Defend This.png
Defend This
On a Legendary map, get a Flag Melee kill during any ranked or social match.
Halo 3 (Legendary Map Pack)

Halo: Reach[edit]

Commendations[edit]

Main article: List of Halo: Reach commendations

There are no commendations related to the Capture the Flag gamemode.

Medals[edit]

Main article: List of Halo: Reach medals

The following medals can be unlocked in the Capture the Flag gamemode.

Icon Name Requirement
Flag Kill!.png Flag Kill Kill an opponent with a melee attack using a flag.
Flag Score!.png Flag Score Complete a scoring flag capture in a Capture the Flag game.
The Killed Flag Carrier Medal in Halo: Reach. Killed Flag Carrier Killed the opponent flag carrier in a Capture the Flag game.

Achievements[edit]

Main article: Achievements (Halo: Reach)

The following achievements can be unlocked in the Capture the Flag gamemode.

Halo: Reach (Xbox) Title Unlock requirement Games
HR Achievement Return to Sender.png
Return to Sender
Successfully return two flags in a matchmade CTF game.
Halo: Reach (Defiant Map Pack)
HR Achievement Don't Touch That.png
Don't Touch That!
Prevent the attacking team from touching the flag in a matchmaking 1-Flag CTF game.
Halo: Reach (Defiant Map Pack)
HR Achievement Stick it to the Man.png
Stick it to the Man!
Stick and kill the flag carrier with a plasma grenade in a matchmade game.
Halo: Reach (Anniversary Map Pack)

Halo 4[edit]

Commendations[edit]

Main article: List of Halo 4 commendations
Flag Victory

Win a match in any Capture the Flag gametype in matchmaking. Completing this commendation will unlock the Vanguard "Converge" (CNVG) armor set

Tier Required # Rewarded XP
Novice 5 250
Proficient 10 500
Adept 25 750
Expert 50 1000
Master 150 2000
Deadly Flag

Kill enemy Spartans while carrying the flag in any Capture the Flag gametype in matchmaking

Tier Required # Rewarded XP
Novice 3 250
Proficient 5 500
Adept 7 750
Expert 15 1000
Master 30 2000
Carrier Takedown

Kill an enemy flag carrier in any Capture the Flag gametype in matchmaking

Tier Required # Rewarded XP
Novice 10 250
Proficient 25 500
Adept 50 750
Expert 75 1000
Master 100 2000
Defender of the Flag

Earn any of these 2 medals: Flag Defense, Flag Assist

Tier Required # Rewarded XP
Novice 10 250
Proficient 25 500
Adept 50 750
Expert 100 1000
Master 250 2000
Capture the Flag Mastery

Complete all of the following commendations: Flag Victory, Deadly Flag, Carrier Takedown, Defender of the Flag. Completing this commendation will unlock the "Flag" emblem

Medals[edit]

Main article: List of Halo 4 medals

The following medals can be unlocked in the Capture the Flag gamemode.

Icon Name Requirement
H4 - Flag Capture.png Flag Capture Deliver the opponent's flag to your base.
H4 - Flag Runner.png Flag Runner Capture 2 flags in one game.
H4 - Flag Champion.png Flag Champion Capture 3 flags in one game.
H4 - Flag Assist.png Flag Assist Help a teammate capture a flag.
H4 - Flag Carrier Kill.png Flag Carrier Kill Kill an opponent who is carrying a flag.
H4 - Flag Defense.png Flag Defense Kill an opponent who is close to your flag.
H4 - Flag Kill.png Flag Kill Kill an opponent while holding a flag.
H4 - Flagsassination.png Flagsassination Perform an assassination while holding a flag.
H4 - Flag Joust.png Flag Joust Kill a flag carrier while holding a flag.
H4 - Flag Driver.png Flag Driver Drive a flag carrier close to your capture point.

Achievements[edit]

Main article: Achievements (Halo 4)

There are no achievements related to the Capture the Flag gamemode.

Halo 5: Guardians[edit]

Commendations[edit]

Main article: List of Halo 5: Guardians commendations
Flag Mastery

Flag Mastery.pngMaster all Capture the Flag commendations.
Reward: 2500 XP + 1 Requisition Pack

Carrier Takedown

Carrier Takedown commendation.pngKill an enemy flag carrier in any Capture the Flag gametype in matchmaking

Tier Required # Reward
1 10 100 XP
2 30 200 XP
3 60 300 XP + Commendation Reward Pack
4 110 500 XP
5 210 1000 XP + Carrier Takedown Pack
Mine!

Mine! commendation.pngReturn your team's flag in any Capture the Flag gametype in matchmaking

Tier Required # Reward
1 10 100 XP
2 30 200 XP
3 60 300 XP + Commendation Reward Pack
4 110 500 XP
5 210 1000 XP + Mine! Pack
Defender of the Flag

Defender of the Flag.pngProtect your team's flag in any Capture the Flag gametype in matchmaking

Tier Required # Reward
1 10 100 XP
2 30 200 XP
3 60 300 XP + Commendation Reward Pack
4 110 500 XP
5 210 1000 XP + Defender of the Flag Pack
Capture the Flag Mastery

Flag Victory commendation.pngWin a match in any Capture the Flag gametype in matchmaking

Tier Required # Reward
1 5 100 XP
2 15 200 XP
3 30 300 XP + Commendation Reward Pack
4 55 500 XP
5 105 1000 XP + Flag Victory Pack
Patriot

H5G-SpartanCompanyGameModeCommendation-Patriot.pngCapture a flag, assist in capturing a flag or kill with a flag.

Tier Required # Reward
1 500 100 XP
2 1000 200 XP
3 1500 300 XP and 1 Requisition Pack
4 2400 500 XP
5 4900 1000 XP and 1 Requisition Pack
Flag 'Em Down

H5G-SpartanCompanyGameModeCommendation-Flag'EmDown.pngEarn one of the following medals: Stopped Short, Flag Joust, Carrier Kill, Flag return, Flag defense

Tier Required # Reward
1 1000 100 XP
2 2000 200 XP
3 3000 300 XP and 1 Requisition Pack
4 4800 500 XP
5 9700 1000 XP and 1 Requisition Pack

Medals[edit]

Main article: List of Halo 5: Guardians medals

The following medals can be unlocked in the Capture the Flag gamemode.

Help.png This section needs expansion. You can help Halopedia by expanding it.

Achievements[edit]

Main article: Achievements (Halo 5: Guardians)

The following achievement can be unlocked in the Capture the Flag gamemode.

Halo 5: Guardians (Xbox) Title Unlock requirement Games
Flag Monger Complete 5 matchmade games in Capture the Flag.
Halo 5: Guardians

Halo Infinite[edit]

Medals[edit]

Main article: List of Halo Infinite medals

The following medals can be unlocked in the Capture the Flag gamemode.

Icon Name Requirement
Halo Infinite Flag Joust Medal Flag Joust Kill an enemy flag carrier while holding a flag.
Halo Infinite Stopped Short Medal Stopped Short Kill an enemy flag carrier who is about to score.
Halo Infinite Goal Line Stand Medal Goal Line Stand Return a flag near the enemy flag stand.

Achievements[edit]

Main article: Achievements (Halo Infinite)

The following achievements can be unlocked in the Capture the Flag gamemode.

Xbox Steam Title Unlock requirement
Halo Infinite Achievement Running Laps achievement art Halo Infinite Steam Achievement icon for numerous multiplayer-related achievements Running Laps Capture the flag twice in a matchmade Capture the Flag game.

Trivia[edit]

  • John-117 and his squad of SPARTAN-IIs played Capture the flag with Tango company on Reach.[1]
  • The CTF weapons glitch can be done in CTF games. When the player exchanges a flag for a weapon, then exchanges the weapon for the flag, then drops the flag, leaving the player with three weapons.

Gallery[edit]

Sources[edit]

  1. ^ Halo: First Strike, page 157-160