A Chaser is a player whose job is to stop enemy Cappers from making it back to their base with the flag. Pathfinders are often used for this role, although any class piloting a Shrike can also be an effective Chaser.
Chasing is a very challenging role in Tribes: Ascend for a variety of reasons. The most difficult part of chasing is catching up to the enemy Capper who is often moving at 250 sanics or more. Cappers have their entire route to gain speed whereas Chasers must accelerate to similar speeds in a much shorter time. Because of this, HiRez has added several items to the game specifically for Chasers (See Loadout below). Next are some helpful tips for chasing.
- Think Like a Capper - Usually flag chases are races of death between Pathfinders. To efficiently intercept and disrupt enemy flag cappers, a bit of reverse thinking is necessary - what would I do if I wanna grab the flag? Try to play a few matches as a capper on each map to get the gists.
- Learn Your Opponents Routes and Styles - When playing regularly as a chaser you will find yourself against a various amount of cappers each with different routes in styles. The first thing to learn is routes. In what direction will my opponent be coming in? How fast will he be going? How long will his return route take before he is back to his flag stand? These are the questions you should be asking yourself when you step into the shoes of a chaser. Many cappers follow a basic route with their own variation so pay attention and you will be able to see them coming before they get there. No capper is the same and each like to use different armors for capping. The most popular is the pathfinder. However, some cappers use armors like the infiltrator using their cloaking ability to get the grab, and juggernauts blowing through all your defense and still having a significant amount of life left. Find out what they are going to be using and adjust accordingly.
- Find your position - There are 3 basic positions that you will find yourself playing in as a chaser. The easiest to learn is playing on a hill behind or next to the flag. Since you're on a hill you can ski down in any direction to fall in behind the enemy capper and blast him to bits. The disadvantage of this is that he will have more health than if you were defending the flag stand and his grab is pretty easy. I find the second method more popular: flying a little behind the flag and spamming it with explosives as the capper comes in. The disadvantage of this position is that if he gets through, you will not be in a good position to chase him and will have to catch up. The last position is by far the most difficult and most dangerous position. Body blocking. When the capper comes in you will want to fly in front of the flag stand (relative to the direction the capper is coming in) and use your disc and body to hit the capper as he flies in. Disadvantage is huge if you miss, you are in the worst possible place to begin the actual chasing and don't have a good idea of the direction he is heading. Even the best chasers mess this up and it is no easy thing to accomplish. You also have to position yourself when blocking to avoid any grenades or discs that the capper throws on the flag to clear it. One explosion hits you and you're off course. However the effect is just as deadly if you manage to block him. He is left with absolutely no momentum to actually grab the flag making it an easy kill. The last position is best used when you have your capper coming in for the capture and need the flag at your base.
- Play smart - The first point which frustrates good chasers to no end. DO NOT RETURN THE FLAG RIGHT AWAY. Obviously there are many exceptions to this. If the flag is in the enemy base, or enemies are around the flag you should always return it. However, what I mean is when the flag is off the flagstand and in an area where no enemies are around, DO NOT RETURN. The idea is as follows: one chaser will stand around the flag in the field and wait to return it. The rest of your team will clear your flag stand. Now the chaser standing around the flag will wait for one of two things to happen before he returns it. If an enemy appears and goes for it, or your capper is almost at the flag stand then the chaser should return it. While the flag is in the field many of the cappers will go for that position instead of your actual flag stand. Giving you extra time of having control of the flag when you return it and they have to start a whole new route to grab it. Also when you return the flag before you capper caps there is a small amount of time that someone will grab it before he gets there. Being smart with returning the flag is the difference of a win and a loss in many games.
Another point is playing smart is how you chase down the enemy capper. It is not always best to follow the capper right off the flag stand. He will have more momentum then you and unless he is a bad capper you won't catch up to him. What you want to do is cut him off and make a route to pull in behind him on the way to the flag. That way you can get up to the same speed that he has and make an easy kill.
Weapon choice for Chasers is purely personal preference, however there are several pieces of equipment which have been added to the game specifically to make chasing easier:
- Compact Nitrons are a variant of Impact Nitrons which provide less knockback (and therefore speed) but are smaller allowing the Chaser to carry one extra.
- Thrust Packs are not designed specifically for chasers, but the quick boost they provide is invaluable in getting up to speed quickly.
- Rage is a perk which grants the player double energy regeneration for 10 seconds if they are nearby when the enemy grabs their flag. This allows the chaser to use their jetpack more freely than they would otherwise be able to.
- Lightweight is a perk which permanently reduces the player’s mass by 30%, but at the cost of a significant health regeneration delay. This is advantageous for Chasers because they do not care about health regeneration (since their only objective is to catch the Capper and typically no one is shooting back at them).
There are several VGS Commands which are useful for allowing the Chaser to communicate with their team.
- VFQ – I’ll retrieve our flag! – This command is used to inform your teammates take you will play chaser, or that you will chase the current Capper.
- VFS – Our flag is secure. – This command is used by Chasers to let the team know that they have stopped the enemy Capper and the flag will be returned momentarily.
- VAF – Get the enemy flag! – This command is used to tell your team that the enemy is getting close to capping and someone needs to perform an E-Grab (emergency grab) to prevent this. It is also used if the enemy flag is dropped and someone needs to get it before it is returned.
- VVB – Is our base secure? – This command is used to ask if there are enemies near the flag stand and whether or not it is safe to return the flag.
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