3 tips to help master Overwatch's new capture-the-flag (CTF) mode

Overwatch events are always full of stuff for players to enjoy, and Year of the Dog, the Lunar New Year celebration event, is no different. As usual, there are new skins and other cosmetics, but fans of the capture-the-flag, or CTF, mode from last year's Year of the Rooster event will be pleased to know that Blizzard has significantly improved the gameplay balance of it in this update.

In addition, they also added a limited time competitive playlist for capture the flag, so if you're a player looking to dominate and rise through the ranks, we've got a small guide just for you. Here are three tips that will improve your chances of winning.

1. Never attack without tanks

In this new version of capture the flag, players are allowed to instantly grab the flag, but cannot use any of their movement abilities while holding it or they will drop it. Because of this, heroes like Tracer or Genji can no longer quickly get the enemy flag out of their bases as they could before. These types of heroes usually require those abilities to avoid damage, so they will be much easier to kill when holding the flag now.

This means that you'll need your tanks to accompany you during attacks on the flag. The damage blocking abilities tanks have (such as Reinhardt's barrier or D.Va's defense matrix) can keep you alive while you go for the flag, and then also protect you as you run out with it. Therefore, communicating with your allied tanks and coordinating attacks will improve your chances of winning.

2. Know when to fall back and regroup

Because players can now take flags from their spawn points instantaneously, it is imperative that your team never gets wiped out completely, leaving your flag defenseless. As both your team and the enemy's meet in the middle of the battlefield, keep an eye on the kill-feed in the top right corner. If your team ever has two less people alive then your adversaries, communicate with your team to fall back and regroup with your respawning friendlies.

Often times, playing conservatively and reducing as many deaths as possible allows you to mount effective defenses, especially if you have naturally defensive heroes on your team like Bastion or Torbjorn. Attacking is obviously important, but protecting your own flag can be the difference maker in close matches.

3. Always have a Lucio


Lucio (Image credit: Blizzard Entertainment)

Lucio's speed boosting abilities are practically made for capture the flag. Giving allied flag carriers a speed boost will allow them to escape significantly faster, with the added benefit of also making them harder to hit for enemies. If you're a good Lucio, then you should be choosing him every match in capture the flag, and if you aren't, you should see if a player on your team is willing to play him.

A highly effective strategy you can do with Lucio is to allow tanks to take the flag, and then speed boost them to safety as they shield themselves from damage. Lucio enables this by turning the normally slow tank heroes into a high speed blob of armor and hitpoints. Where normally their slowness would allow enemies to burn through their high health and protection abilities, the speed boost ensures the tank will be in and out before any meaningful damage can be done to them.

Your thoughts

If you've played it, how have you found ways to win in Overwatch's capture the flag? We want to hear from you in the comments.

Overwatch is available on Xbox One and PC for around $60.

Brendan Lowry

Brendan Lowry is a Windows Central writer and Oakland University graduate with a burning passion for video games, of which he's been an avid fan since childhood. You'll find him doing reviews, editorials, and general coverage on everything Xbox and PC. Follow him on Twitter.