(or "Deathball FAQ combed from other sources on the internets with some of my own observations, but no one ever reads the Guides on Giant Bomb so I decided to make a forum post instead.")
So there's this rockin' mode you might've played around with in Anarchy Reigns/Max Anarchy called Death Ball, but you have no idea why you're losing? Neither do I, but maybe we can at least share some knowledge about what this mode is and how you can better strategize beforehand (assuming you aren't just playing with random shmucks without a clue).
What is Death Ball?
Death Ball is an online battle involving a giant glowing green ('Murican-style) football, and two teams of 4 angry freaks apiece wanting to slam that ball in the back of the net by any means necessary. Whether you shoot it, slam it, run it into the net, you have 10 minutes to put that ball in your enemy's goal more times than the enemy can do the same to your own to win the match.
So who should I use when playing this game?
If you look at the character selection screen, you might notice a tiny colored bar next to your character's name. This is to demonstrate that each character contains a certain "element" of either Fire, Ice, Lightning or Poison. The list goes as follows:
If you feel like playing super-seriously, then make sure your team is composed of one of each element. I'll explain why in a moment.
Okay, I picked a character and everyone finally readied up. So what do I do?
One of you needs to grab the ball. Whoever does not have the ball needs to block everyone on the opposing team. Get one person to defend the runner and intercept any potential tacklers, and another two to just wail on the defense and keep them busy.
While you hold onto the ball, you will notice a bar at the top of the screen filling up in your team's color. When it passes the arrow, the enemy's goal is open and you can run or toss the ball inside of it for a point. Either hang back and wait for the bar to fill up, or charge straight into the enemy's side and quickly jam it in as soon as the goal opens, depending on the faith you have in your team to run interference for you in the middle. If you do choose to hang back, be prepared for at least one character to rush you before you can fill up the meter. Do not be afraid to punt the ball ahead into an empty corner or pass it to a teammate if there are no viable options at the moment.
If you are on defense, assault the ball carrier as best as you can, anticipate when they fire off a 360 Attack so you can dodge it, then smack the enemy until they cough up the ball. Treat it like Team Deathmatch, just give higher priority to whoever has the ball before they sneak into the backfield where you can't reach them in time. If you control one of the 4 aforementioned bigger characters, use their grabs to incapacitate the enemy for several seconds. If you can catch two enemies at close range, that's literally half their team unable to move for maybe 5 seconds.
Oh lord they just launched a Superstar Shot we're so screwed!
That's not a question.
How the fuck do I do the Superstar Shot? Is it an insta-win tactic? That's such Big Bull-shit!
Calm down. When the meter at the top of the screen fills up completely, the ball carrier can launch a "Superstar Shot" and send a slow-moving but supercharged ball at the goal. This is where the "element" comes into play. When firing off a Superstar Shot, it can only be blocked by someone matching the element or character that fired it, everyone else will get smacked by the ball and left aside on its way to the goal.
Even with this in mind, there are some bigger characters whose shots simply cannot be blocked by any means:
- Big Bull
These guys are balanced by having the distance of their super shot reduced to maybe 1/3 of the field before running out, so they can't simply hang back and wait for the meter to fill up.
If all else fails, resort to your own Terms of Enrampagement.
What's that about enrampagement?
You know how you smack enough bad dudes around, you start getting all glowy? Push both analog sticks down to enter Rampage mode. On offense, this means you pretty much are untouchable except by someone else with Rampage activated, so if you pick up the ball you can practically run straight into the goal before it runs out. Or, if you're really feeling frisky, use your Rampage to wipe out the enemy team so they have to spend precious time respawning while your team waltzes into their goal. If you're on defense, Rampage can be used to block a shot of any element (except the aforementioned unblockables) and delay an enemy who also has their Rampage activated, but unless you're really desperate you probably shouldn't pop your Rampage just for that, especially if you were smart and have one person of matching element on the team who can block the shot.
Any other advice so I can start winning?
Yes, that is a perfectly valid question and not a place to store things I forgot to mention above.
- Both Ai Rin and Zero's Superstar Shot splits the ball into one real and one fake ball. The only surefire way to defend against it is to stand just outside your goal and hope they converge into one before touching the goal line. Alternatively, don't let them build up a Superstar Shot.
- Fei Rin is fast and has a very long range divekick. Use her to chase down the ball carrier if you can. Also, she's got an ice element, so few characters can defend her Superstar Shot.
- Try to learn the physics of the Death Ball, weird as they may be. A plain, regular pass into the goal is much faster and sometimes better than a Superstar Shot.
- Beating up people is fine, but make sure at least one guy on your team is marking the ball carrier. I've seen enemies lose sight of the same Sasha player taking the ball and running it into the goal for 5 unanswered points because they were too busy wailing on the other team.
- A scummy but useful tactic is to group up around the person with the ball and mash 360s until the holder has their Superstar Shot available. Use this to your advantage if you don't care about being liked or having your sexuality questioned over voice chat.
- Jump passes are less likely to be intercepted. If you have the ball and you want to pass it to a teammate, wait until you see the word "PASS" over an allied player, then jump and throw them the ball.
- On defense, grab the ball carrier if you can instead of just wailing on him. They will automatically fumble the ball after the grab and they have to sit there and watch the animation instead of moving. Just hope that one of your teammates is there to pick it up afterwords.
Thanks for your advice!
No problem. Now enjoy Death Ball until the online community for this game dies out.
If you have any comments on things I have missed, please let me know.