Capture the Flag

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The bridge area in the center of 2Fort.
The bridge area over the crevasse on Double Cross.
I got it, I got it, I got it!
The Scout capturing the Intelligence

Capture the Flag (CTF) is a game mode which features both RED and BLU teams with their own Intelligence briefcase (known as the flag). The goal for both teams is to capture their enemy's Intelligence continuously until they have reached the game's capture limit (default limit is 3) whilst preventing their enemy from achieving the same. If no team completes the capture limit before time runs out, the match will enter Sudden Death mode (unless either Intelligence has been taken and is still in play, in which case Overtime occurs until both teams' Intelligence are secured again).

Intelligence

A RED Scout carrying the Intelligence.

The Intelligence, also known as the "intel," "flag," or "briefcase," is the eponymous flag and objective of the Capture the Flag game mode. It is a team-colored briefcase sporting a complicated numbered lock pad on the front and papers protruding out of its joints. Once picked up by an enemy, the case begins to glow in the carrier's team colour and will emit paper particles and a long team-colored trail.

Gameplay

During a Capture the Flag round, each team is given their own Intelligence located within their section of the map. It must be retrieved from this location by the opposite team and returned to a defined point, usually the opposing team's capture zone where their Intelligence is stored.

The Intelligence can be taken by any enemy player that walks up onto it, but can not be interfered or moved by a friendly player. It will then appear on their back and the Announcer will notify both teams that the Intelligence has been taken. The Intelligence indicator located on the HUD will then point in the direction of the carrier who must make their way out of the enemy base and back to their own. Carriers are visible to their respective team players as they emit a green, yellow or red glow (based on their current health) that can be seen through walls.

While carrying the Intelligence, players become more vulnerable. For example, a player cannot use Teleporters. The Medic's ÜberCharge cannot be used on the Intelligence carrier nor can a player pick up the Intelligence while under its effects. Scouts are also unable to drink Bonk! Atomic Punch while holding the Intelligence, and may not pick it up while under its effects. Spies are unable to pick up the Intelligence while Cloaked, but can pick it up while in disguise although this is automatically removed. Furthermore, the Spy cannot disguise or Cloak while carrying the Intelligence, and will automatically drop it if they do. Finally, the Intelligence is dropped automatically if the carrier is killed or enters a resupply area.

Once the Intelligence is returned to a capture point, the successful team will gain one point shown in the Intelligence indicator, and will receive ten seconds of crit boost. There is no need for the capturing team's own Intelligence to be on their capture point at the time of the capture.

The Intelligence can be dropped manually if the player carrying it presses the drop-item button (Default key: L). Once dropped, a clock-like timer ring will appear over the Intelligence. When the default 60 seconds have passed without an ally picking it up again, it is automatically returned to its original position in the team's base. If an ally picks up and subsequently drops the intelligence, this timer will reset. Teams are required to defend the dropped Intelligence during this period or face losing it. Should the Intelligence carrier be killed by certain environmental hazards that prevent the dropped Intelligence from being touched, like the bottomless pits on Double Cross, it will be forcibly returned to its original position. This functionality is inherent to the map's code and not the intelligence itself, and thus has to be added to the map manually by its creator. While Valve official maps all share this for specific bottomless hazards, not all custom maps may utilize this function.

Soldiers equipped with the Rocket Jumper and Demomen equipped with the Sticky Jumper are unable to carry the Intelligence.

Strategy

Main article: Community Capture the Flag strategy

Maps

Main article: List of maps

Capture the Flag maps carry the ctf_ prefix; community maps are identified with italic font.

Name Picture File name
2Fort Ctf 2fort bridge ss.png ctf_2fort
Double Cross CTF DoubleCross RedBase.png ctf_doublecross
Sawmill
(Capture the Flag)
CTF Sawmill Center.png ctf_sawmill
Turbine CTF Turbine Center.png ctf_turbine
Well
(Capture the Flag)
Ctfwell04.png ctf_well

Related achievements

Leaderboard class scout.png Scout

Belittled Beleaguer
Belittled Beleaguer
Kill an opposing player that has your intelligence while holding theirs.


Round-Tripper
Round-Tripper
Capture the enemy intelligence 25 times.
No-Hitter
No-Hitter
Steal and then capture the enemy intelligence without firing a shot.


Triple Steal
Triple Steal
Capture the enemy intelligence 3 times in a single CTF round.

Leaderboard class pyro.png Pyro

Cooking the Books
Cooking the Books
Ignite 5 enemies carrying your intelligence.


Leaderboard class heavy.png Heavy

Crime and Punishment
Crime and Punishment
Kill 10 enemies carrying your intelligence.


Leaderboard class engineer.png Engineer

Trade Secrets
Trade Secrets
Kill 20 players carrying the intelligence.


Leaderboard class sniper.png Sniper

Have a Plan
Have a Plan
Capture the flag in CTF.
Robbin’ Hood
Robbin’ Hood
Take down an intelligence carrier with a single arrow.

Update history

October 8, 2007 Patch (Pre-Released)
  • Sudden Death only starts in CTF mode if both flags are at home.

October 10, 2007 (Initial Game Release)

  • Added Capture the Flag mode.
  • Added map: 2Fort.

November 7, 2007 Patch

  • Fixed exploit that allowed players to teleport with the intelligence.

November 20, 2007 Patch

  • Updated server log entries for flag captures to detail the number of captures and the tf_flag_caps_per_round value.

January 25, 2008 Patch

March 20, 2008 Patch

  • Updated CTF mode to remember the player who stole the intelligence from the enemy base and reward that player if the flag is captured by someone else.

June 19, 2008 Patch (Pyro Update)

  • Added map: Turbine.

February 24, 2009 Patch (Scout Update)

  • Fixed obscure bug where spectators were able to carry the flag.

April 20, 2009 Patch

  • Scouts now drop the Intelligence if they're carrying it when they start phasing.

August 13, 2009 Patch (Classless Update)

  • Added map: Sawmill (Capture the Flag).
  • Capturing the flag in a CTF game mode now gives the entire capturing team 10 seconds of crit-boost.

December 17, 2009 Patch (WAR! Update)

  • Added map: Double Cross.

October 6, 2010 Patch

  • Your Eternal Reward no longer disguises the Spy if they are carrying the flag.

January 19, 2011 Patch

  • Added a glow effect to the team intelligence entities when they’re not being carried.

April 15, 2011 Patch

  • [Undocumented] Intelligence no longer appears on the backs of players who are carrying it.

May 5, 2011 Patch (Replay Update)

  • Fixed the briefcase not being drawn on players when it's being carried in CTF maps.

June 27, 2012 Patch (Pyromania Update)

  • Friendly players glow when carrying the flag.
  • Fixed rare cases where flag could fall out of the world.

Bugs

  • Occasionally, the status on the bottom center of the HUD will not change when a player takes or drops the Intelligence.
  • Rarely some bomb-related responses can be pronounced when player carrying Intelligence is killed.
  • If a player has the Intelligence and then the map is reset, the next round will have the player who had the Intelligence continue to glow until another player has picked up the intelligence or that player has died.

Notes

  • The Neutral Intelligence briefcase is a white-colored version of the standard briefcase that appears in the game files. It remains unused by Valve in official maps, however, it was included by them for use by Community developers in custom game modes (such as "Single Flag CTF", FortWars, and "Achievement Servers"). Most recently, Valve employed a version of the neutral Intelligence case as the initial pickup for the new Special Delivery game mode: the intelligence remodeled into an explosive suitcase.
  • As placeholders during early stages, Valve used modified versions of Team Fortress Classic's flags, which can be still be seen in the game files, featuring the faces of TF2's development team. The face that appears on the red flag is that of Robin Walker, the co-creator of the Team Fortress series, while the blue flag bears Charlie Brown.
  • Some Achievements related to The Intelligence can be obtained in Doomsday, a map for the game mode Special Delivery.
  • There is an option that allows servers to specify the length of a crit boost on a successful capture, or to disable it entirely (tf_ctf_bonus_time).

Gallery