Granary Tactics

How to Think About Playing Granary*

I feel that scouts have much less control in Granary, as compared to say Badlands. The flow of the map is very staggered, with teams holding in particular areas before they are ready to push through narrow chokes. When these pushes occur it is naturally the heavy classes that go first through the narrow entranceways, with their medic behind them. Because of the nature of this map being as it is, I feel it causes lots of scouts to feel though they play awkwardly on it.

Tag along behind the heavy classes as they move from CP3 to CP4, or to push onto CP5. All the while looking out for them with thoughts such as: 'They are pushing on the right with uber, theres not much I can do, but I can watch their back to make sure no scouts come behind.' Or perhaps: 'they are pushing on the right, and the left is totally open; I should go and check the left to make sure we don't get flanked, making sure to play defnensive so to stay alive' (see screenshot for pushing CP4).

I think a lot of scouts are lost on granary for what to do, and part of this problem is thinking they need to be doing something when actually there is nothing valuable they can do. Watch this clip of (5:20 – 6:20) of Stefan. This is a perfect example of what I have been discussing. Sometimes the best choice is to do nothing. Don't constantly peek. What do you expect to see? A freaking alien invasion? There are six players out there in some combination of the nine classes of TF2: rest in peace in this knowledge (no aliens).

This example illustrates my post 'Sometimes You're Useless', which could be crudely summed up as stay alive while you're useless, and good oppertunities will open themselves to you. This is exactly what happens in that clip. Notice how much time he spends not doing anything. When I saw this play here for the first time it made me so happy, I need to see more scouts chilling out and taking stock of the game and less of the hyperactive non stop running about.
Middle Point

A general point to remember for granary mid point is that there is a lot of movement potential to be taken advantage of. The area is very multi-layered, with ledges on the crates and the ramps at the back etc. As a scout these can be difficult to use effectively, but when utilised properly they can be used to great effect.

Defensive Top

The first way I'm going to suggest to approach the middle point is to play defensive top. Push up to the doorway which leads to your ramp on mid. Be careful when moving through the opening as many demomen will be there early and place a sticky anticipating your arrival.

Often it is best to wait a second to see if he will do this. Once up on the ramp stay there; don't move on to the crates yet. Wait for some of the initial spam which is inevitably thrown about right at the start, and watch to see what the enemy players are doing. Then, at the appropriate moment, react to what you see. It should also be noted you are in a good position to call any important information to your team.

So, what kind of things might you see and then how would you react to them? It's a difficult task to try and outline and describe this as every mid point fight will be unique. I will do my best to describe some general scenarios you may encounter and suggest some viable decisions to make against them.

One scenario you may encounter is a scout pushing hard right side (left from his perspective) and runs past the garage door, pressuring the demo or whoever is by the health pack. Your first reaction will obviously be to call it; then whether or not you decide to drop down will have to be somewhat situational. Your presence and shots from above may be enough to keep him back and prevent him from going to aggressive on your demo or whoever is there. If not, and he is set on rushing hard on some suicide mission, then you might want to drop down. Alternate agressive stances by the enemy scout(s) could be through the crates or straight across the point.

Dropping down may seem like a natural decision, but I don't think it is always the best option, it may allow soldiers up on the crates to fire rockets down on you for example. A better decision might be to use that moment, where at least one enemy player is clearly occupied doing other things, to create some pressure and distraction of your own in any gaps you may see.

For example the second you drop down a soldier may jump up to your teams left crate. If you are on the floor there you are vulnerable and not very helpful. If you stay up then you can start attacking the Soldier, often he will be intent on going for your Medic, giving you time to get a free meat shot and take him down as fast as possible.

If one scout is top what about the other guy?

It is fine to play both scouts top at the start. However, you don't want two scouts being overly defensive. If there are two of you up then decide which one of you will drop down more easily. If a scout does decide to rush across the point, in this scenario one if you will want to drop toward him.

One top one bottom right

Another option is to play the other scout defensive bottom right. This has the advantage of freeing the scout who plays up top. If both of you are up top then, as I already said, one of you should be designated to be the one to drop and deal with scouts. Playing the other scout bottom has the advantage of one scout beintg natually in position.

Playing bottom right you want to peek along the right side as soon as possible, be very careful as often one scout will come along here and you will be in a 1v1 situation. If this happens do not try and 1v1 unless you get a 100+ damage meatshot almost instantly and have a chance to finish him very quickly. The reason you dont want to stay in 1v1 is that the soldiers will likely be arriving any second.

Peeking right will allow you to see if a scout is coming that way, he may be attempting to push right into you, or go between the gap in the crates. If he tries to push into you then fall back into your garage and play very defensively from in there. If he goes between the crates don't chase him, back up and move left toward the point to deal with him there.

The big danger playing bottom right is the soldier that will likely go on the crate just above you. So long as there is a soldier there you are very locked in position. Your presence in the garage should still prevent any players from running along that right hand side toward your team, so you still retain limited usefulness. You want to get out as soon as it is safe to do so, however, and start doing some damage and gaining presence/position.

To Recap

So unless a big opportunity presents itself for you to go aggressive (hard call to make), you don't want to be pushing but waiting for opportunities to present themselves and blocking up any chinks in your own teams positioning. If you're going up top there are plenty of plays for your other scout. Both of you can go up top, this is perfectly viable though you need to be careful that you aren't too passive: you can sit back but at least one of you is going to need to get forward, going on the front left crate for example.

One last option I will suggest is for the other scout is to go aggressive on the enemy demo. He needs to be going bottom (not top ramp) for this to work. There is a brief moment at the start of the round where the demo arrives before the soldiers and medic, getting one or two good shots on him to make him low can be decisive in winning a mid point, preventing demo aggression and allowing your heavies to take positions. Be careful of the enemy scouts who will try to defend their demo, and as always be careful of enemy scouts rushing your own demo.

Pushing the Left

A big danger here is if the heavies decide to push this way (right from their perspective), in which case you're in a precarious position. As long as you're quick you should be able to spot this in time to back off, and then perhaps go between the gap in the crates and on to the point. The disadvantage of being on the point is that it leaves you very exposed. It has the advantage however of being very positionally strong if you can avoid damage, putting you in a place to be able to dish damage to anyone who wants to come close.

Playing on the left can also be done by going straight on point first and then moving left as was played in the short clip by Bybben.

Fourth (cp4)

Pushing onto the fourth point once you have won mid is one of these scenarios where you aren't very useful a lot of the time. This is where I see many scouts getting impatient or thinking they have to be doing something active, like pushing into garage on the left and getting picked off when a soldier suddenly appears or whatever.

If you're standing still, you may not be active but you are still doing something. I am going to suggest when pushing second one scout stays back here [screenshot below], perhaps sitting on this roof, but just in this area is fine.

What you are doing here is a number of things all illustrated in the screenshot. In this position you are available to watch the drop down. Some times, when your heavies are on the point pushing in, a soldier/scout will come out of the garage and go through Z. If you are watching for this, don't go to stop it but communicate it to your team. Trust me, so many times I have done this and saved my team from being surprised. Usually if your team get the call in time they can easily shut down and kill the player in Z before they have a chance to do anything.

Another dangerous aspect for your heavies pushing in is, rather than going through Z, players might just come right around and push in the door (Red arrow) behind your heavies. If they are preoccupied with what is going on in the point and not checking behind them, a single scout behind can be devastating. Being in the position here you can stop this from happening.

If you have one of your scouts here, the other can mix it up. One possibility is to play the garage on the left. The key here is to go in at the right moment. If your heavies start to make progress on the point, enemy players defending the garage may fall back to help defend the point. This is a perfect opportunity to rush in, whenever the opponent is trying to deal with one threat they often have to drop another task (i.e. defending garage). Then they will be sandwiched between your heavies coming on the point and you coming in behind through garage.

Don't feel like you need to rush the garage part. If you are playing shots off a scout in the garage but not doing much, your presence there is still keeping that player occupied and allowing your heavies to not be overwhelmed on the point.

If you are defending the point, you simply want to be using the same knowledge in reverse. Prevent scouts and enemy players from coming in behind in the garage, and fall back and communicate to your team if they push in that way. Now and then you can play risky and go for either a back cap, or for some frags, by exiting through the drop down (green). If the enemy team is pushing the point and garage isn't being attacked, then you can push out and worry them from behind to take some pressure away from the point.

Important note: You don't have to follow these tactics to the letter. Feel free to be crazy, creative and insane. Rules are made to be broken, but I believe before you can break rules and be creative you will benefit from having firm ground from which to base new ideas on.

(*A note: I would like to have put more effort into this post and refined it more. I just don't have time for this game any more. I loved it with my heart and soul. So, rather than leaving this post unpublished I thought there maybe was at least some useful information in it...)


In the Werks

It's been a little while since the last post... over the last week or so however I have been working on and thinking about a Granary tatics article, which I hope to finish soon and publish as soon as it's good enough.

While you're waiting for that here's me playing heavy :-)

See you in Process...



Play to practice, not play to win

Whenever you go into a game, have a specific element of your game you will be practicing. I will give some examples of what you might decide to practice so you know what I mean:

- Practice on your focus, i.e. to stay intently focused on the game for the entire 30 minutes, down to the last second

- Aim: as a whole, or you can get really specific, e.g. head into game with the intent to practice your aim under badlands middle

- Movement

- Team-play: as a whole, or specifically practice team-play with your scout partner

- A specific tactic you worked out with your team

- To just relax, have fun and enjoy the game

Playing to practice and playing to win are different things. I think you will progress much better if you go into games with the intent to practice specific elements of your game. I think a lot of people make the mistake of going into game either playing just to win, or with the idea that they can be practicing every part of their game at once.

Now you can build up a picture of where your strengths and weaknesses lie, and turn your practice playing into a much more powerful and beneficial activity.


Being aware of who’s aware of you!

When you are moving into a new area, pushing the last point on Granary for example, take in who is aware of your presence. Sometimes you can come in on the opposite side of the main team a few seconds after they push, and no one will notice you come in because they are so occupied with the push on the other side. If this happens it is going to change how you play considerably, compared to if you’re spotted right away and the opposition is prepared for your approach.

If I come in and haven’t been spotted (e.g. Soldiers are pre-occupied), that is a great time to try and jump on the Medic and force uber early/take him out. If on the other hand the enemy soldiers are aware of you, jumping straight at the Medic would be a decidedly bad idea.

That is just one highly simplified example of how being aware of who is aware of YOU, can and should influence your play. Just take a second to look around you and take in who’s spotted you and who hasn’t.

I would be genuinely interested to hear some comments back on this one. Is this something you do all the time anyway? You tried it and you do, or maybe you don’t find it opens up any opportunities you didn’t see before?

I wish a happy Christmas and New Year to all,

nub out.


Sometimes you’re useless

I see many players who have a certain restlessness, an idea or feeling they should be doing something all the time. On Granary capture point four for example, when your team is building uber getting ready to push last. It’s at these times I see scouts taking unnecessary risks like peeking round corners or checking the top entrance to last which is just a death trap. In these kind of situations peeking round corners can sometimes gain you a quick kill, but more often than not it’s a quick kill for the other team. That isn’t to say you should totally change your game and become a passive player, sometimes doing something a little risky like taking out the player who comes too close can help change the game.

As scouts we are fast, agile, cap double speed and have the ability to deal a lot of damage. This means we’re capable of seizing opportunities no other class can. An opening the opposing team leave when pushing we can take advantage of, get behind and win an entire round singlehandedly. But to take advantage of opportunities like this we have to be alive!

There is no hard fast rule for when you should or should not just sit and wait patiently, as with everything it’s ultimately situational. Nevertheless, I believe you can really improve your game if at certain times you learn to accept the fact you are useless, and focus on staying safe and alive. You can then be comfortable in the knowledge that in thirty seconds from now a beautiful opportunity will likely present itself to you and you will be alive and ready to seize it – rather than dead and looking on helplessly as your re-spawn timer counts down.

It’s something to think on at least.