Header image by DJ KamBer.
It seems like Team Fortress 2 players come up with a new sport every time I take my eyes off them. Remember that 6v6 frying pan only tournament? And The Beginning’s 5 jumping competition? Well, now we have dodgeball.
The United Dodgeball League two day cup kicks off on September 22nd, when Pyros will start scurrying around airblasting rockets at each other’s faces in 2v2 matches. If that wasn’t the same weekend as EGX, I’d be one of them. Of course, jumping long predates TF2 and it turns out people have been playing rocket dodgeball for years, but I only find out these things exist when someone puts on a tournament.
Here are the tournament details in full, and here are the details in brief: “Players will compete as pairs to volley an increasingly fast crit-rocket with the other team. Failing to return the volley results in death & a point for the opposing side.”
It’s a variant of TF2 dodgeball known as speedball, which looks like this (I love that TF2 dodgeball is established enough to have variants). Sorry it’s grainy, but there’s a real dearth of high-quality dodgeball videos out there:
The winners will get some loot crate keys, but that seems incidental. It’s passion that drives dodgeballers, both to play and write staggeringly detailed guides.
I believe the techniques that guide lays out mainly apply to plain old dodgeball rather than speedball, but they’re so good I can’t resist mentioning them anyway. There’s a part of me that longs to master “orbiting the rocket”, to perfect my “dirty backshot upspike” and to practice speeding, circling and statuing. There’s a whole language here, an entire world tucked away in custom TF2 servers. It’s brilliant.
If you’re as enamoured with the whole idea as I am, you’ve got till September 19th to find a Pyro pal and sign up.