Competitive Strategies

This page details some of the more advanced strategies utilized in competitive Versus play. Some make use of advanced techniques. For stage specific and item specific strategies, refer to the relevant main pages.

For a collection of competitive events and groups see Competitive Play.

Environmental Awareness and Positioning

Positioning is crucial; awareness and effective use of a level layout is essential in competitive play. Many of the towers feature hazards that are lethal to players. Paying careful attention to the location and movement of hazards can mark the difference between players in a competitive match.

Terrain Advantage

Many levels feature areas that present distinct advantages and disadvantages to players. Walled corners can provide cover from arrow attacks at the cost of limiting movement options. Floored pits from which there is only one escape path should generally be avoided as the limit the player's options greatly.

High Ground Advantage

Generally speaking, the player with the high ground will have an advantage afforded by the easier ability to stomp opponents. Approaches from above present a double threat of arrow fire and stomping risk that makes high ground desirable.

Area Denial

Players will often seek areas that provide multiple avenues of retreat or otherwise favor areas that provide offensive or defensive advantages. Such strategies can be countered with area denial tactics such as using Bramble and Bomb Arrows to force opponents into areas and situations where they're at a disadvantage. Restricting an opponents movement options can create openings for easy kills.

Exploiting Screen Wrap, AKA Mix-up

Screen wrap can be frequently utilized to surprise unsuspecting players with arrows wrapping from the opposite edge of the screen or surprise hyper jumps. Standing near an open edge of a level is risky as it requires the player to pay attention to action on opposite ends of the screen.

Arrow Play

Seeking Arrows

The seeking properties of arrows should always be considered as it is easy to underestimate the degree to which they seek; what appears to be safe positioning can actually be open to attack when accounting for arrow seek. Arrow fire can be intercepted by treasure chests and other objects which the player should be aware of as it can be both a benefit and a hindrance.

Bolt Arrows can be especially hazardous as they will seek targets from great distances and may adjust their flight paths many times during their extended flight.

Arrow Horde

Gathering and hording all the arrows in a level can leave opponents unarmed and at a disadvantage. Players should avoid needlessly firing arrows and do what they can to collect arrows in their vicinity.

A full quiver of Standard Arrows is colloquially referred to as a "picket fence" for the way that the inventory resembles a white picket fence.

The Sprinkler

Refers to erratically firing arrows in all directions regardless of the opponents position. Can be effective in countering approaches as it quickly covers the area surrounding the player leaving no safe space for the opponent.

Disco Inferno

Derived from the colloquial name for Laser Arrows, refers to numerous Laser Arrows bouncing around a stage. Laser Arrows become exponentially more difficult to avoid the more that are fired, though this is true for all players and can present just as much risk to the person firing them.

"Tink"-ing Arrows

One of the best ways to protect yourself from arrow shots is to "tink" the incoming arrow with your own arrow. Arrows that hit each other will bounce off each other and enter a non-lethal state, allowing you to protect yourself without dodging and entering dodge cooldown. It's especially effective on Sunken City, as it's the best way to avoid being staggered by bolt arrows. A tinked bolt arrow is removed from play as well. One thing to be careful about with tinked arrows though is if they tink high enough off of the ground, once gravity regains control of them they'll soon become lethal again and falling arrows can be easy to forget about or lose track of.

Baiting and Luring

Refers to tactics aimed at provoking opponents into action, for example luring them into aggressive attacks or forcing a defensive dodge. Once an opponent commits to an action they become easier to counter due to having fewer responsive options.

Aim Feign

Refers to feigning a shot by aiming and then cancelling the shot by ducking or dodging to bait an opponent into acting.

Stagger Shot

A stagger shot is a simple counter to dodge catches and an effective baiting strategy. Fire a single arrow at an opponent forcing them to dodge catch, then follow up after a short moment with another arrow that will strike during the opponent's vulnerable dodge cooldown.

Shot Baiting

Arrow advantage can sometimes matter a lot in TowerFall, so it's often a good strategy to try to bait the opponent into firing arrows at you that you have a plan on how to evade, so you know you'll be safe and will be able to pick up the arrow afterwards. Combining jumps, ducks and tinks from a good range from your opponent can be a good way to do this.

Using Chests And Grounded Arrows As Bait

Chests and arrows that have hit the ground or walls often become high-focus points and players will race to these locations to grab the loot before the other player. It's a good opportunity to anticipate what your opponent is going to do and try to plan a Hyper Boop or other offensive action to punish their greed.

Offensive Strategies

Arrow Spam

An amateurish though effective strategy when possessing a large number of arrows is to spam arrows at an opponent maximizing the likelihood of attaining a kill; even if they dodge catch, the sheer number of arrows is likely to overwhelm them if fired during a long enough interval.

Fade Away

Refers to dropping from a ledge in close quarters combat whilst firing arrows to secure a kill and avoid retaliatory fire.

Dive Attack

Refers to aggressively fast-falling from above to stomp an opponent. Variations involve firing arrows whilst falling and dodging downwards near enough to the opponent to secure a stomp mid-dodge, or otherwise catch any arrows fired in retaliation; if the dodge falls short of stomping the opponent then tap-cancelling can help to fall faster with the added risk of being vulnerable to arrows. Best avoided when the opponent has plentiful arrows as the maneuver can easily be countered with concentrated upwards arrow fire.

Spike Trap, AKA the Halberd

Refers to firing directly upwards at a falling opponent. Can be an effective counter to opponents falling from a high ground advantage attempting to stomp a player, and especially so when an opponent gives chase falling off of platforms to follow a player downwards; pausing to fire upwards will often catch the opponent off guard. Attempt just after falling past the screen wrap for best effect.

Hyper Stomp, AKA Hyper Boop

Refers to utilizing any dodge cancel maneuver in an attempt to stomp (or "boop") an opponent; the added momentum of the dodge cancel helps to catch the opponent off guard. Useful when out of arrows, don't have a good angle for a shot, or just want to take the opponent by surprise. However, it's important to remember this leaves you vulnerable to being shot, so if your opponent has arrows, isn't dodging or in dodge-cooldown, and will have a good angle to repel your approach, it's best to hold off unless you think you can catch them by surprise.

Hyper Boop Stagger, AKA the Ryko

Similar to the Stagger Shot, an arrow is fired to bait out a dodge by the opponent. While the opponent is stuck frozen catching the arrow, finish them off with a hyper boop since you know where they'll be and they can't shoot back (unless they miracle grab out of the catch). Useful as a stagger alternative when you only have 1 arrow or have low arrow count and don't want to worry about whether the opponent will stall their dodge or not.

The Hornet

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Refers to dodge-cancelled jumps over an opponent and firing an arrow downwards at them during the pass over as if stung by a swooping hornet. It's a quick maneuver that can catch an opponent off guard. It is also a relatively safe maneuver since you'll be traveling in a direction perpendicular to the shooting axis, making it hard to be hit by an arrow.

Crescent Moon

A crescent moon combines a stagger shot with a hornet maneuver, either firing forward at an opponent before dodge cancelling over their head, or conversely firing backwards at the opponent after the hornet maneuver. A full crescent may refer to firing at opposite ends of the dodge-cancelled jump.

Jousting

Refers to two players hyper jumping towards each other at equal height, firing arrows mid-flight and colliding in the center. Most often occurs at the beginning of a round wherein opponents are facing each other without any obstructing obstacles. Once players learn to joust they can get a little joust-happy since new players who don't expect it can be taken by surprise and finished off at the start of the match. A simple way to counter jousting-from-spawn on many maps is to do a short hop and shoot an arrow at the height they're hypering at you. If both players choose to Joust the outcome can be pretty random.

Defensive Strategies

Evasion

The speed afforded by dodge cancel maneuvers creates valuable evasive options. Arrow fire can often be safely avoided by dodge cancelling away from the attacker or perpendicular to the arrow's flight path. When unarmed and facing an armed opponent it is generally advisable to evade in hopes of retrieving fired arrows that miss their mark.

Avoid the Scruff

When unarmed opponents fall into close combat quarters they have no option but to attempt to stomp each other. Such battles quickly become erratically desperate, offering neither player an advantage and thus are generally best avoided.

Color Chameleon

Depending on the color of the archer and the stage environment it is possible to camouflage oneself to gain a defensive advantage. Crouching will extinguish the light an archer emits making them even harder to see. The effect can be further enhanced with the Looking Glass powerup and during the Dark Orb darkness effect.

Chest Defense

Arrows will seek unopened treasure chests in the absence of other targets and will pop a chest open when striking it. In battle, unopened chests can be utilized defensively, blocking arrows that would otherwise strike the player.

Shield Camping and Shield Burning

Standard competitive play using the Tournament Rules variant includes the Symmetrical Treasure variant which means chests on opposite sides of a stage will have the same contents. If a shield is found in a chest a player may guard the remaining shield in order to prevent their opponent from attaining it. Alternatively, the player may choose to burn their shield by way of self fire or other damaging means and then quickly take possession of the remaining shield for them self.

The same camping strategy can be employed to prevent opponents from attaining other powerups, though shields generally possess the highest value.

Miasma Stall

A strategy sometimes utilized when engaged in a stalemate or if the player is at a disadvantage is to stall the match by evading until the sudden death miasma begins. Fighting near the miasma can increase the chance of death and if both players die to the miasma the round is forfeit. Miasma Stalling can also be leveraged offensively. If one player has all the arrows (even better if they have a shield) on certain maps it can be in their interest to just wait in the middle of the map at high elevation for the miasma to come, forcing the opponent to come into the middle where they'll have no chance to run away from a full quiver of arrows. It depends on the map and how open the middle is whether Miasma Stalling is in the interest of the defensive or offensive player.

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