In Grifball, the entire point of the game is to move the ball down the court. Teams have found great success doing that through excellent tanking, launching, or trick running.
Our Grifball FAQ defines runners as:
The Runner (aka “Trick Runner”, aka “Grif”) – This is the guy who carries the ball and is responsible for scoring. It’s also his job to function as a quarterback for the team and make callouts for his teammates. A vocal runner is usually much more successful than one who is not. Some teams have a dedicated runner, while others expect every player to be able to run the ball, if needed.
In Halo 4, passing opened up a whole new book of strategy for Grifball. We talked with some of the top players in the game to get their tips and tricks for effective ball running in Halo 4:Gonafets115:
1. Once you have the ball, you have the option to call what the team overall does to try and get that goal. You’re basically the quarterback and your team’s actions will revolve around your movements. Same for the other team’s, which is why baiting them into your tanks is something you must learn to do.
2. Figuring out what type of runner you are is a must. Are you an aggressive SOB with an ability to punch everything, or are you a conservative guy (like me) that prefers to throw the ball to the team when the going gets tough? This can help your team figure out where they need to be. Do they need to help you kill people, or do they need to get ready for a pass?
3. There are a few things that you should always try to avoid. First, never run over your own plant when enemies are nearby because if you lose that ball, they have an easy goal. Second, never go for a punch when there are at least two people ready to cut you down because most likely you will die. Third, never run forward the whole way to getting a stiff arm, like mentioned above, because that is so simple to adjust to.
4. Use your radar. It will obviously point out if someone is behind you or in a blind spot and it can really be your guide showing you which path is the best to take.
5. Patience is a virtue. Getting punch crazy because you haven’t scored yet or getting overzealous because you’re near the goal (especially when you have tanks in the area) will more likely than not result in death and more likely than not in a turnover as a result. I’d rather win a 45 minute game than lose a 15 minute game because I didn’t wait for my team to compile the right amount of consecutive kills.
As soon as you pick up the ball, you instantly become the most influential player in that game. You’re stronger, faster, you are literally holding victory in your hands, and most importantly. everyone knows where you are. Use that to your advantage. A runner who knows how to move around the field can often score without the need for a stiff arm.
Now, I’m not sure how you blokes and blokettes run Grifball outside Australia, but from my experience, and the way we play, have a dedicated runner, while awesomesauce, is not exactly necessary. Since Halo 4 brought in throwing, having everyone on your team knowing the basics of running is paramount. Having said that, I’ve always liked having someone on my team who I can rely on to slap down the opponents when they get out of line.
Being a runner is all about moving with the flow of the game. Timing slaps isn’t something you can give sure-fire instructions to. Each player you encounter has a different way of trying to take you down, so you have to treat each person as a new encounter. The only way you can get better is by practice. Take chances. It’s not a tournament match, so have a go at those high-risk plays, and you’ll find that you can hit that Mario-bounce-360-wall-hop-slam-dunk you’ve always wanted to do. How can you push the boundaries if you don’t find out where they are?
Something that plagues many runners is a lack of patience. Whether you are a runner who favours punching or one who prefers to let the tanks carve the path, patience remains a vital part of running.
The first thing it should be noted in is stiff arming. If you change straight at the defender from the off at a distance, then they will have time to prepare and most likely kill you. Be patient; watch the distance between you and the defender, make sure it isn’t enough for him to lunge you and allow a bit of room when doing this as the range of lunges can be unpredictable and the last thing you want to do is lose possession. In a one on one you play a mind game, and as the man with the bomb you should be the one leading that game; he wants what you have, you don’t need to risk giving him it. When the time is right go for the punch or if it isn’t right fall back, another opportunity will present itself in time. If you do go for it though, commit yourself. You are faster than them do close that gap but watch for the potential hawk dive or hammer bounce and avoid it.
In the teamwork side of running, patience is also important. If your team is struggling to get that extra bit, closer wait for them. It may take a few pushes and the pushes may be stopped but stay behind the tanks. You don’t have to be a passive runner to see that one vs three won’t go well, so don’t get annoyed at how long you are waiting and jump into them. Being impatient and randomly running forward not only presents the risk of the enemy killing you, but your own tanks could cause problems too. After all, if you are getting tired of waiting, pass it to a teammate and you can go and tank for a bit.
Lastly, communicate with your team. While it may not have much to do with patience, it is still important. You can see the whole field from behind and they are working to give you the opportunity to score so shout out the man they may have missed, warn them you are running through or are going for a punch because without this how are they meant to help you? You can even call for launches from them.
Overall be patient, communicate, and remember: your teammates are much more useful than your overshield and speed boost.
If you decide to hug the wall when running, be careful when you reach the corners as you can get pinned in by opposing tanks, who can queue up and cut you down. Ensure you have a tank to protect you and you’re aware of how the defence is forming up against you to take you out.
Dont take risks, let your tanks do their job and protect you
The #1 way to lose the ball is to run around willy-nilly punching everything you can. Punches can be used effectively but the chances are that if you’re punching someone every 10 seconds, soon enough you’ll put yourself in a situation where you will lose the ball.
And finally…Messiah Muffin:
Obviously stiff arming is a big part of running, but I’m going to focus on running without throwing a punch. I’ll teach all you mistiming-and-poor-connecting scrubs how you can play smart. So this is Muffin’s guide to pussyfooting!
Pussyfooting was a popular tactic for some on Halo 3 and Reach, on teams with considerable tanking strength who could rely on their team to get them in. If you’ve got this then you should be golden, just stay behind your tanks and don’t try and run in front of their swings, but even without the tanks being a punch avoiding runner can be useful.
While a punch runner looks to go after players, the job of a pussyfooter is to get around them. Try and exploit the space on the court – and your speed – to open up gaps in the defense to make runs through. Try to outmaneuver your opponents. If the defense goes sprinting to cut you off and you make a quick turn the opposite way, they’re going to have an issue.
Always remember your team. Even if you don’t go for bomb kills, it doesn’t mean you can’t get people killed. Lead chasing opponents into your tanks or cause a distraction to allow them to get the free kills. You can also use your teammates as screens to make runs behind, cutting off the defense. Remember that the radar isn’t just for tanks: use it to help you find your team and the enemy locations around the court.
For the passive player, passing is your new best friend. On Halo 3 and Reach if you were stuck in a bad position waiting for support, punching or luck was your escape route. Now when things get tricky you can try and toss the ball to a teammate to retain possession. It also allows you to find teammates in good attacking areas, especially if your running is leading the defense around. Not everybody on your team needs to be a runner but at least everyone should be comfortable to catch the ball and pass it onto the team’s runner if needed.
And when the time comes, remember that sometimes all you need is to throw your caution aside and go for it. If you see a gap, try to make the blistering run through. Try to jump over the top of get a teammate to launch you through. Being able to take advantage of a gap in the defense is what makes a good runner in any sport.
Next time, we’ll look into the top passing tips. If you have more Grifball tips, be sure to share them in this thread.