Capture the Flag
I got it, I got it, I got it!
— The Scout capturing the Intelligence
Capture the Flag (commonly shorted to CTF simply) 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).
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 color and will emit paper particles and a long team-colored trail.
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. Once picked up by a player, the Intelligence 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. Additionally, certain conditions may result in the player being unable to pick up and carry the Intelligence.
- Intelligence carriers cannot use Teleporters.
- The ÜberCharge of the Medi Gun cannot be used on the Intelligence carrier, nor can a player pick up the Intelligence while ÜberCharged by this weapon. (The charges from all other Medi Guns can be activated and work on both the Medic and the patient, even if one of them is carrying the Intelligence.)
- Scouts are unable to drink Bonk! Atomic Punch while holding the Intelligence, and may not pick it up while under its effects.
- Soldiers equipped with the Rocket Jumper and Demomen equipped with the Sticky Jumper are unable to carry the Intelligence.
- Spies are unable to carry the Intelligence while Cloaked, but can pick it up while in disguise, removing their disguise. They cannot disguise or Cloak while carrying the Intelligence.
- The Intelligence is dropped if the carrier is killed or enters a resupply area.
- Engineers that use the Eureka Effect can teleport via the weapon's taunt, but the Intelligence will drop at the spot the Engineer teleported from.
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.
If the Intelligence carrier is 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.
Capture the Flag maps carry the ctf_ prefix; community maps are identified with italic font.
|Cooking the Books|
Ignite 5 enemies carrying your intelligence.
|Crime and Punishment|
Kill 10 enemies carrying your intelligence.
Kill 20 players carrying the intelligence.
- 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.
- Fixed exploit that allowed players to teleport with the intelligence.
- Updated server log entries for flag captures to detail the number of captures and the
- Added map: Well (Capture the Flag).
- 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.
- 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.
- Your Eternal Reward no longer disguises the Spy if they are carrying the flag.
- Added a glow effect to the team intelligence entities when they’re not being carried.
- [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.
- Fixed a client crash related to the CTF HUD.
- Fixed the CTF HUD not updating properly.
- Fixed the Medic not being able to deploy a Quick-Fix/Vaccinator charge while carrying the flag.
- Fixed being able to carry the flag with the Rocket/Sticky Jumpers.
October 6, 2015 Patch (Invasion Community Update)
- Added map: 2Fort Invasion.
December 17, 2015 Patch (Tough Break Update)
- Added map: Landfall.
ctf_foundryto Casual Mode.
December 3, 2020 Patch (Smissmas 2020)
- Added map: Snowfall.
December 2, 2021 Patch (Smissmas 2021)
- Added map: Doublefrost.
October 5, 2022 Patch (Scream Fortress 2022)
- Added maps: Crasher and Helltrain.
December 5, 2022 Patch (Smissmas 2022)
- Added map: Frosty.
- 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 a 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.
- 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"). Valve later employed a version of the neutral Intelligence case as the initial pickup for the Special Delivery game mode, with the intelligence being remodeled into an explosive suitcase.
- Certain custom flags used in community-made maps such as 2Fort Invasion and Helltrain also follow this trend, with matching neutral versions that go unused.
- 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 Special Delivery game mode.
- There is an option that allows servers to specify the length of a crit boost on a successful capture, or to disable it entirely (
The RED Intelligence briefcase.
The BLU Intelligence briefcase.
The RED Intelligence briefcase on 2Fort Invasion.
The RED present on Doublefrost.
RED Coal Core on Helltrain.
RED and BLU Barrel on Crasher.
The RED present on Snowfall.
Carriers will emit a stream of paper particles.