Unreal Tournament Advanced Combat Strategy Guide

UT 99 Advanced General Strategy Guide from a DM’rs Perspective.

Its late. Very late. 3 am actually. I was about to start up Unreal Tournament and go kick some noob butt, but then I realized. Damn. Do I really get satisfaction out of fragging right now since its 3am I would be fragging all the high pinger’s. Well, I can say that it is very fun to get double kills and multi kills, and of course those ultra kills and those monster kills are the best. It is sometimes even fun to just try and go for godlike, or brutalizing the competition but I will wait till tomorrow and try this on some US based UT noob’s because I always feel like a bully going after the high pingers.

Ok what is a noob? Believe it or not, all good players once didn’t even know what a noob was. Back in 1999 I was playing BBall at the college rec 3-4 nights a week when I first started playing UT. I guess the high octane in UT attracted me, just as a fun game of 5v5 pick up BBall. So one night I asked, what is a noob? And someone said “you”. Haha. I was a little amazed that some nerd playing online games had the balls to call me a “noob”. But nonetheless, the same competitive drive that led me to have the ability to letter in 3 sports in high school as a sophomore, and that led me to red shirt briefly on a college basketball team kicked in. Fast forward 10 years, my knee is (was it's 2023 as of this update) shot from a car accident in 2003, at 6’5 270 the doctor says I can’t ever play bball again until I get below 255, but the irony is, bball is the way I always stayed below 245.. So luckily, UT has maintained itself as my main competitive outlet, replacing bball completely. and no one really calls me a noob anymore. =).

About being a noob. Now, I would like to redefine what a noob is in 2010, now that pretty much no one can call me a noob anymore. Not saying I am the best, but I can frag anyone and I don’t think there is a player in existence that can godlike me without hacks, and believe me when I say that because I have hosted servers and tracked logs to see who is who. My equipment is super old now, and my connection not what it once was but I think now in days, I can attempt to redefine what a noob is since I (even though semi retired) am one of the better UT99 fraggers in North America. So what is a noob to Me?

A noob is

  • A player who plays dirty.

  • A player who plays without honor.

  • A player that plays without sportsmanship.

  • A player who insults other players.

  • A player that continuously makes excuses or blames their team.

  • And the biggest noob’s of all are players who use hacks.

  • A player that used to have a q in the second to the last letter in his name because he violates several of the above rules…and all his cronies.

So even if you are new, if you follow these rules you are not a noob to me. And if you find yourself being bullied around by a so called 1337 player (elite player) then tell me all about it on the contact forum, and I promise you when I am bored one night I will attempt to track this player down and make a noob of them. If I find them, I will even send you a fun screen shot of them getting owned. You have to include the aliases they use, and the servers they play on, and the times they like to play. And give me a few weeks, because I like to be sneaky about my ownage and will wait until the time is right. J But if you are being called a noob a lot, and you are not doing anything in my noob definitions above well then read on because I am about to spill it all for you new players.

General Movement.

There are a few schools of basic movement strategy in my eyes. Aimers and movers. Of course, when a player gets super good these two basic types of styles tend to start to merge. But I believe all players start out as one of these two types.

Aimers play with the feet relatively stationary, and of course prefer the sniper rifle and weapons where aim is very important. They really focus on aim, not so much of movement of their character. Then there are movers. Movers like the traditional spammer weapons and they move while they spam. They usually don’t have great aim at first. Much of this may be attributed to mouse sensitively.

To get good, you have to develop the style that you are not as good at. I started as a mover with a mouse sensitivity of 5-6. Yes that is crazy and yes I was a spammer. I played assault the base first, so I had to learn how to be a mover. I think this early game type favorite helped me become a player that is constantly on the move. I learned to move in ways where I could avoid damage, and to collect powerup’s. This is key. Collect powerup’s and avoid damage. You obviously need to learn how to do both if you want to be good. My mouse sensitively ranges now between .75 and 1.25 depending on my graphics display rate and the general feel of my setup. I also have a button on my mouse that lets me change the speed of my mouse on the fly. Useful for sniping long distances. My .75 mouse sensitivity might seem too low to those players who are movers, but if you learn to dodge everywhere you go, every other step you take around the map, you will also learn that dodging helps you turn faster if you time things right. So again, figure out which one you are, and try to work on your skills for the opposite type.

Collect Powerup’s.

All maps have powerup’s. Some more than others. The goal is to HORDE these powerup’s. Not only the powerup’s you want, but all the powerup’s. Any powerup you don’t get yourself, is a powerup that can be used against you. One reason I am so hard to beat is free for all DM matches, is I horde as many powerup’s as I can reasonably control. I have developed multiple paths to all the powerup’s and multiple trails to horde them. I can run the paths backward with one eye forward letting shock combos fly at anyone that enters my range of engagement. Some basic strategy guides say to spec good players and learn their paths. Sure this works a bit. But let me tell you, as a good player this really pisses me off and I have had to learn how to deal with this. If I notice a player has predicted my path two or three times in a row, I will change my paths to one that is not a favorite, yet is still still effective. Then being as competitive as I am, I might even stalk the player camping my route and pick on him/her until he/she leaves the server.

Sometimes, if a whole area is flooded with players who seem to know my path, I will resort to a micro path. A path that eliminates the high spam area and I will just concentrate on hoarding all the powerup’s and fragging all the players in that micro region of the map. A good example is Deck16, a map I played exclusively at TNN Deck16 only server for over a year and a half. Normally, I like to horde the shield belt, the regular shield, the boots and the amp all at the same time, and if I am playing 1v1 the thy pads too. But if there are too many players in the pit area, I try to avoid that area all together, and stay between the lower flak cannon area and the ripper area in the long corridor hall. I will attempt to horde the amp, and the belt from this micro path. Trust me, it’s very effective. The only real players I have trouble with on this map, are incredibly accurate snipers who camp the top sniper/thy pad area, and only really because its very hard to get to them up there while maintaining a high frags per hour count.

Avoid Damage.

OK this is just common sense, but so many new players just can’t get this one down. Run from players that have a position advantage, and attack players when you have a position advantage. Don’t drop down or run into the middle of an area that is flooded with other players attacking each other. Rather, wait until most of the players are looking away from where you will be, and attack the player that will be able to see you first. Unless you are really bad, you will probably get him. When you do this, try to use a instant death weapon, which gives the person you are attacking no retaliation unless you miss. I use the shock rifle, or rockets, or sniper rifle and go for a head shot but newer players should stick the the instant death weapon they are best with. If you can frag fast enough, the others players will still be busy and wont pay attention to the noise your little battle made. You will then be behind them, have a free shot at their back, and they will be so engaged with each other that you will have an advantage to frag these players before they engage you.

Hostile Engagement.

If you do find yourself in the heat of a battle, always attack the best player first, as he is mostly likely to frag you the fastest. Then the next best player and so on. If you find yourself in a position where you think you are better than all the players around you, then you can do what I like to do. Attack the better player first, and then attack the second best player.

To the first player you attacked (especially if corners and blind spots are involved) you will appear to be retreating, and you will be showing weakness. Human nature, especially human nature in the heat of a UT frag battle is they will follow you since you have shown weakness by not continuing the attack, maybe they are thinking you have become an easy target with your back turned or maybe thinking you are running because you are scared or low in health. So after you have taken a shot at the second player, turn and run toward this first player so that just as he is attacking you thinking that you are running from him, you are right back in his face with a shock combo. This also works if you preload rockets and let them fly as you turn to face the player chasing you.

Then the process repeats itself for the second player, who may now see that you have engaged the first player and now like the first player you attacked, the second player may now falsely be thinking you have become an easy target and that he can shoot you from behind, just as the first player though a few moments ago. But no, you actually are planning the whole thing, so after you frag that first player with your instant frag weapon of choice, you have now put distance between you and the second player, just enough distance for a nice shock combo near his head. J This works great, trust me.

I talk about shock combos, because that my instant frag weapon of choice, but this strategy really works good for all instant frag weapons as long as you use the element of surprise to your advantage. This strategy also works great when more than two players are involved, as long as they are not to close to you and as long as they are not great intermediate range or long range frag players (snipers and good shock combo’s).

I really need to give credit to the CTF game type for this multiple engagement strategy though. I did it in DM too, but it really became critical for me when running the flag in CTF. In an open map, it just becomes about keeping players at a distance, and fragging them when they make the mistake of getting in too close. I admit though, this tactic kind falls apart when playing against a lot of close range spammers, this may be while good players have always complained so much about spammers. Its hard to engage multiple people when you can’t dodge due to damage lock-down being enabled on a server, and multiple players spamming flak, and rockets all around you.

The Element of Surprise.

Here is a little tip on how to use the element of surprise even when people are looking right at you. Dodge. I hope you know how by now. Just double tap a direction key of choice and you will dodge sideways or backward or flip forward. So when you are fighting that first player in the example above after you have fragged him, keep on the same direction facing away from the player who thinks you have forgotten about them because you back is turned, wait until just the right moment then dodge to the right or left or dodge flip around with your weapon of choice blazing away. Again, an instant frag weapon is best. The other player will be in the “this is an easy frag” mode because he is looking at your back. But when you flip around and dodge, you have the advantage for a good second or two. But it does not end here yet, as soon as the player lines up their sites on you again, you dodge right back the other way. As long as you had decent health when you started this frag engagement, and as long as the other player is not full of shields and health, you can probably frag them this way.

Avoid Damage with Movement and with the Element of Surprise.

Movement really is key in my book. You can really avoid lost of would be frag deaths if you just learn to react to the different weapons is different ways.

If you are being sniped at (you can hear the bullets ricochet off the ground around you) you need to be side to side, or back and forth and definitely NOT in strait lines. You need to find cover as soon as possible because it is sometimes hard to find the location of a good sniper. If you are in the open keep moving, pull out the sniper rifle if you have it, turn to face in the direction you think the shots are coming from (while you keep moving back and forth or side to side) hit the zoom button half way, half way is good enough to help locate a player while keeping the field of view big enough to not become disorientated yourself, and zoomed enough to help you find the player. Look for shells flying, or gunshots sparks in a dark area, look in the typical places snipers like to hide, then when you find the player take aim and hope he isn’t as good a sniper as you are. Sometimes I even dodge to one side then kneel and take a bit of time to aim well at the persons head hoping for a quick head shot.

If you are being attacked with a shock rifle, get as far away from the secondary fire orb as possible, dodge to the right or left and run toward the player NOT away from them. This works because most people try to run from a good shock combo artist so the player is least expecting you to run toward them usually. As you run closer, switch to an intermediate range weapon such as the mini, the pulse gun, or even the shock rifle for quick shock combo retaliation.

If you are being FPS spammed close range with the mini or pulse, try and lead the player in one direction, and as your console tells you that you are being hit, switch directions promptly. An even better strategy is to dodge the opposite direction. Do this over and over again until the attacking player is fragged. If you are near a corner and you have rockets, switch to a the rockets and go around the corner preloading the rockets as you run/dodge, as soon as you get a bit of distance around the corner turn and wait for the player to come around the corner and blast the sucker apart.

If you are being attacked by rockets, this same tactic works, but generally you need to run like hell away from someone with rockets because if they know how to use them, then you will be fragged in short order, and if they don’t they will become a suicidal kamikaze and they will frag the both of you in short order. Get it? Run! If you are too close to run, hope you have rockets yourself or another powerful close range weapon and dodge as they fire and fire as soon as possible or if you have rockets fire a split second after they do. Hopefully your dodge will save you and you will be able to aim well enough during the dodge to frag them. I said to wait until they fire above because often a close range rocket fight will end up in one person killing themselves so wait to see if they do, then when you fire you have pre loaded another rocket or two, and if they have killed themselves you will not damage yourself with your own rockets, and you will have preloaded enough rockets to instantly frag all but full shield health players.

If you are being attacked by the flak cannon, run run and dodge because it is very hard to aim the flak cannon at a player that is running from side to side. Mainly keep your distance by putting distance between the two of you. The exception of this rules is of course if you have or are carrying a short range spam weapon yourself. Then you can dodge away from the line of site of the player attacking you then face toward them and go in for the kill. This works great, but if you miss it’s their turn. So it can backfire. If you have followed my advice above then you have shields and other powerup’s so you can usually live through and attack or two.

If you have a redeem shot at you, (common in CTF games) pull out the shock rifle and combo the redeemer in the air before it gets to close to you, or use the mini to shoot its tip, or as a last resort use the sniper rifle to aim at the tip. All the while though you should be moving toward an area of cover, try to find a cover area with multiple angles, stay in open until the last moment, until you know where the redeemers is going to explode, then when you are as sure as you can be, dodge so that there is a solid object blocking the redeemers explosion radius. The redeemer is deadly, but has one fatal flaw, it need a direct line of site from its center damage to get you. So just get behind some solid object, even ducking works. For example when someone explodes the redeemer on the floor in Liandri, and you are on the lower ledge you can duck to avoid the blast radius.

Use Elevations to your advantage.

When I play, I almost always like maps where there are lots of different platforms, and I almost always try to stay near a ledge that I can jump down from. Liandri, Tempest, and Desk16 are a few of my favorites for this. As a matter of fact the lack of lots of ledges is one reason I didn’t like lots of the UT2004, and UT3 maps. I use elevations as an escape path, and without them I find myself getting spammed close range by some spoiled kid who's parents bought them a $3000 gaming machine with super high FPS who uses the FPS to get in close range with me and FPS spam me so much its almost unbearable. But hopefully I am playing a map with ledges to escape, so If I am near a ledge, I can dodge off the ledge and put lots of distance between me and the close range FPS spammer attacking me, and I can do it fast. As I am in the air dodging I switch to my intermediate weapon of choice (the shock rifle for me) and I let a shock combo fly as I land in the general direction of the attacker. Even if I don’t get him, this sudden burst of action and the retaliatory shot will usually slow them down for long enough to get into a better angle for attack.

Boot Escapes.

Use the boots to escape attacks. I like to keep boots as long as possible. I try not to use them unless I am being attacked. If I am in a flat area, I run away from the player to lure them to follow me for a split second then I jump toward them and switch to the rockets and become an area bomber. If you don’t have the rockets, many other weapons work well too. The pulse, the mini, the flak, the ripper alt fire and even the elite jump combo if you can pull one. (Although, with the jump combo its best to jump away from a player if on flat ground unless there is lots of distance between the two of you.) If I am not in a flat area, I jump on to a higher ledge and shoot them from above. Or if I am on the high area, I jump down the lower area and bait them to follow, as soon as they jump down I jump back up and shoot them from above, or if I need to I run to get more health, powerup’s or a better weapon.

Hammer a Noob!

If you don’t have any good weapons don’t forget the hammer works great combined with good dogging skills, especially in close quarters. Bait the player to follow you around a corner, or use a corner to trap them in and close the gap to hammer them. It’s always a good way to show that player who is boss when you can frag them with the hammer wile they have a good weapon. And the secret it, its actually not a disadvantage, the hammer works great in close quarters and is actually my weapon of choice rather than a single enforcer. With the hammer you keep people away from you because almost all players will run from a hammer because they don’t want to be humiliated. And if you know how to hammer launch, it is a good tool to get to a higher spot fast, or get some out of reach powerup. For instance, an enforcer with an amp is just as deadly as the mini without the amp. So if you are stuck with no good weapons and see the amp, use the hammer to get the amp and switch to the enforcer until you get a better weapon.

CTF Bonus Section.

I am not CTF pro. In fact, it really is the last game type I decided to master. I started with Assault, then DM/DOM, DOM died out so did assault and I was left with DM. At night, it has been hard to find a full DM server since 2005 so after I came out of full UT retirement a couple years back I started playing CTF. Ironically, it was the very first game type I ever played, but I hated it so I moved to assault after only a couple of nights but now it looks like I may end my UT career as mainly a CTF’r. Unlike Assault, Domination, and Deathmatch. I have a unique perspective in CTF. I came into the game already an elite fragger, so it has been interesting learning things the new players learn, yet being able to frag with the best of them. Certain insights I will never know. Like in Assault I knew where I could stand and spam, but as I got better I gave that up an opted for another weapon. In CTF I never experienced those new player tactics first hand, so I am missing some part of CTF player evolution. However, let me share with you some things I have learned.

Translocator Secrets.

Use the translocator to escape when you are in a really bad spot. Use the translocator to get behind players for an easy frag. O big maps launch your translocator across the map. Throw your translocator on the ground switch to the hammer. Aim where you want your translocator to fly, alt click at that spot you just picked, then charge your hammer up with the main fire button, kneel down pointing the hammer at the closer edge of the translocator and release. Let your translocator fly for a few seconds. You can also launch your translocator with a shock rifle both primary fire and even with an accurate combo. The combo works the best, but is inconsistent for even the best of players.

Never Never Never.

Never return your flag until you are certain no on is around, you are better off keeping your distance and covering a teammate who is willing to return it. If you do return it, don’t run directly in there, use the translocator to get as close as possible.

Never follow the enemy flag runner directly, use the translocator to get in front of him, or on his side. The side is actually best, but it take advantaged skill to land long distance shock combos, or highly accurate snipe shots.

Steal the Flag!

If the other team is about to capture the flag even if you can’t run the flag, steal it and hide. Or steal it and hide it and go frag the runner. This might backfire if you die, and the map is to big to get back before it returns itself.


Tell your teammates where the flag is. I am not a native CTF’r. But I am a great DM’r. So often when I play CTF, even though I am trying, I really have no idea where exactly the flags are. If I am playing with someone who always tells me where the flag is with his binds, then I can go there, and because of my DM skills, I can make a huge difference. So, communicate!! You never know, maybe some of those noobs on your team really are elite DM’rs who are just lost playing CTF.

Listen to Sounds.

This is probably the biggest thing that has helped me personally get much better at CTF. I use to be tone death to the sounds of the flag being taken or returned, or teammates with binds “take their flag”. I have finally started to hear these warnings, and it has made me much more aware of what is going on in CTF.

The End.

Ok that’s good for now. All this theoretical strategizing is making me want to frag some noob’s. If you would like me to write about a specific topic, use the contact form or leave a comment.

First written and posted way back in 2006!


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