The Art of the Backcap

The backcap is an under-appreciated skill these days. It seems like nobody ever sends a brave lone gunman to scout ahead and take the next point milliseconds after you finish capping this one. And while this loss of a fundamental strategy is sad for the state of TF2’s metagame, it can be quite fun if you’re willing to be the team’s backcapper.

Backcapping, as the name implies, involves racing ahead to the next control point once determining (or just hoping to God) that your team can take this one alone. The two most popular classes to backcap are scout and spy, with roaming soldiers and Demomen taking a close second. It requires a level of trust in your teammates (I’ve been betrayed by a lone scout who abandons mid with a millimeter of captime left just because he’s that clueless, leaving me high and dry) and the knowledge that you will facing any potential defenders completely alone. If you aren’t prepared to bust through a sentry, DM a Pyro and stay out of a Sniper’s line of fire, you aren’t ready to backcap.

Personally, my favorite backcapping loadout is Demoman with Sticky Jumper/Grenade Launcher/Pain Train because his mobility allows him to reach the next point at a breakneck pace, oftentimes faster than even a Scout could have. Whereas scout would be severely hampered by a sentry and spy would need to spend significant time positioning himself for the sap (time that ruins the whole point of the backcap), Demoman can knock the sentry out with two pills and then cap at 2x speed, leaving a few jumper bombs on the ground in case he needs to jump away in a pinch. Since backcapping isn’t a fulltime gig you can always trade back to the Stickybomb Launcher whenever you start to assume a more traditional role. But regular readers will know I have a pretty hefty bias towards Demoman so I’m not going to discount the ability of the other classes at backcapping; hell I even once saw a Eureka Effect engineer who pulled off the most amazing backcap I’ve ever seen.

Picture by Witchyyy.
Picture by Witchyyy.

I guess my point is, if you consider yourself something of an offensive player but don’t often attempt backcapping, you should really try to get proficient at it. The challenge is high-risk/high-reward and you’ll have to rely almost entirely on yourself to pull it off, but that’s part of the fun of it. And there’s nothing quite like solo capping last after an explosive duel against a knot of defenders and their sentries.

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