This is a page discussing Nerf tactics, ranging from advice on how to shoot further, choosing a proper blaster based on needs and how to use surrounding terrain to an advantage.
Do note that, like other projectile-tagged games (paintball, laser tag, airsoft, etc.), many Nerf strategies and actions are decided by the thought of fear. This is why retreating and falling back are common in Nerf offensives. The main things that create the fear are the rate of fire and the amount of ammunition. One of the most important factors in winning a Nerf battle/war is to never let the enemy know how much ammo one has.
If one is playing a game that requires a base, a good tactic is to put all spare ammo/blasters/parts in it. Make sure none of the enemy infiltrate the base or the consequences can be losing - big time. One player on the team is usually assigned to stay there with a Vulcan EBF-25, a Rhino-Fire, or another large, heavy blaster with a high ammo capacity.
Work with your team to take full advantage of your situation. If you have a large team, or there are few ways to cross the field, join in larger groups to overwhelm opposing forces. Often times, however, there will be many more ways to cross the battlefield, and your team will most likely be smaller. In this situation, break up the group as much as possible, sending a maximum of three people per small route, while the rest of the team holds larger routes defensively. This allows a smaller team to encircle and eliminate a more concentrated force that will most likely collect in the larger routes. It is best to know the surroundings where one is fighting (especially indoors); this helps players know hiding spaces and areas with physical advantages. Spots like these include hills, stairs, fences, balconies, etc. One thing to note about hallways or routes is their maximum firing potential. In most indoor hallways, only one or two people can effectively fire at the same time. The same rule applies when moving near the boundary of the battlefield. Only send as many people down an area as can effectively fire at an enemy in that area, otherwise you are likely to be slower, and if the people in front are hit, those in back will be vulnerable. It is also useful to get a rapid fire blaster and wait around a corner. When one's opponents come around the corner, you will have the first shot. A small mirror can also be used to check to see if there are opponents around the corner, but a more effective technique is to wait on the other side of the wall that forms a corner, hitting the enemy in the back while reducing your visual profile as much as possible. Dry-firing when one is out of ammo may cause the opponent to flinch, giving one ample time to flee; this is not recommended with modified blasters. This will not work with muzzle loaded blasters.
A place with a narrow path where the enemy has to go to reach their goal is the perfect place for a defensive position. The best of these are narrow stairs where one has the higher ground. If outdoors in a wide area, stick to one's base. Defensive strategies can also compliment offense. Even if there is no particular point to defend, a defensive line can be used to split up enemy forces or deplete their ammo supply.
It is best for one to learn to walk quietly since it is very important for stealth. In indoors, wear socks but do not slide across the floor. Also indoors, walking slowly is better than tip-toeing on creaky floors. For stealth outdoors, do not step on twigs, dead leaves, rocks, or woodchips. Step, not slide on grass and pavement. "Strafing" is when a player moves from side to side, facing at the enemy, shooting at him/her. Doing this for a while will make the enemy predict your movement, so don't get carried away! A good way to avoid getting hit is to stand sideways, while turning to shoot. This cuts your profile down by about half, making them half as likely to hit you.
"Rushing" is a term used to describe a Nerfer or a team of Nerfers running quickly and openly to the opponents position. This can work quite well in one-on-one situations, especially if war allows shields on blasters. When using shields, hold it as far away as possible and towards the barrel of the enemy's blaster.
The best way to defend against a rush is to counter-rush. The enemy will usually only be expecting to let off one shot; approaching them and disabling their ability to get a shot in will often leave them a bit confused on what to do next. Two rushing teams may lead to melee battle, if it is allowed within the war.
In this method, a densely packed team of Nerfers, typically armed with more powerful blasters, such as Rhino-Fires, Vulcans, or Hail-Fires, use heavy firepower to disorient the enemy with short and powerful attacks. They then surround the enemy and may engage in melee battle if necessary.
Funnelling is a tactic in which the team is divided into 2 parts offense to 3 parts defense (although roles should be picked based on skills and equipment more so than numbers). The defense holds a line in the largest major routes, while the offense attempts to secure minor routes on the side. If the offense is successful, the enemy team will have no choice but to try to overwhelm the defense in the center. When all of the offense is in position, the defense caves in, but still holds the area. This will result in the enemy team falling deeper into the now bowl-shaped defensive line. The offense then emerges behind the enemy team and takes defensive positions pointed towards the collected enemy team. If done correctly, this leaves the enemy team surrounded and without cover. If the plan fails, the entire team can recover quickly by rushing, taking advantage of their already forward position.
Blading works best on smaller fields where there are less routes to travel. Similar to funnelling, blading shares the goal of entrapping the enemy. While not always as effective, it is easier to recover from and requires less communication. The tactic works by sending your team in a diagonal line across the field. The most powerful members of the team should be on the edges, with the weakest parts of the line in the middle. This leaves the enemy no choice but to attack the line, often focusing on the middle. When the enemy is within the bounds of the line, collapse your team on top of them and redistribute the team. This leaves your enemy surrounded an all but one side, where there is a wall or boundary. Note that the line described here is not a straight formation, but rather a loose description of the cover positions of your team.
Generally an unsuccessful tactic, streaming is mentioned here simply to point out it's weaknesses. The tactic is often used when players have multiple lives and must go to a respawn point. After an initial push, many teams start streaming, even if unintentionally. This happens when players immediately rush back to respawn and return to the front after death. This leaves only a fraction of the team at the battlefront at a time. Usually this is enough to hold a position, but not advance it. Games can become slow and deadlocked, as both teams stream their troops to the front. To counter a streaming enemy, it is best for dead members of your team to wait until they can respawn together. This causes your side of the front to be weaker, and the enemy will attempt to push through and gain ground. As they advance, your enemy will be often without cover, a perfect time to respawn the vast majority of your team and engulf the small advancing force. This will completely overwhelm the enemy offence, and allows your team to perform another push, which will often allow you to gain much more ground than you lost while your players were dead.
This tactic works well to break deadlocks that involve minimal streaming. Often two highly defensive teams will hold unmovable lines in the middle of the field. This creates a trench-like situation where neither side can advance. This can all change by using a suicide break. A small portion of the team is equipped with lots of shields and melee or rapid-fire weapons, and they slowly advance into a more forward position. Then, all of the suicide breakers (you don't need many, but you should have more than one. You would be amazed at what two suicide breakers can accomplish) rush forward, shields outstretched, attempting to do as much damage as possible before death. The rest of the team begins advancing as soon as the breakers are halfway to their target. While the breakers will most likely die, the enemy line will be mostly destroyed. This can allow your team to advance rapidly, and may sent the enemy into streaming.
Firing longer distances while retaining proper accuracy
Learning to use blasters more effectively is key to these tactics. Knowing how a blaster works, like how to unjam it in the event of a jammed dart, will reduce "down-time" in a Nerf war.
Using both hands on the Nerf blaster is very helpful in any situation. It's best not to try anything fancy like firing while the blaster is sideways, because this will ruin accuracy. Have both elbows locked straight out if using pistols, or lick the second arm while bending the first for longer blasters, with the Nerf blaster pointed at the designated target. Keep both feet firmly on the ground to hold a proper stance. Simply standing and firing a blaster is a poor decision, as it can cause one's arms and body to shake. A bipod accessory like the pop-out bipod is recommended to steady one's aim to allow them to hit their target effectively.
Holding one's breath
A basic rule of firing with good accuracy is to control one's breathing, because aim will move up and down as one breathes. When one is preparing to fire, they should look down the iron sights of the blaster, hold their breath, then gently squeeze the trigger. When using an air-powered blaster like the Magstrike AS-10, pull the trigger quickly to avoid losing air. Pulling the trigger too hard will cause the blaster to shake slightly and possibly knock a dart off course. Some people like to fire when they have inhaled and are holding the air in, while others like to fire when they have exhaled and don't have any air left; this is all up to personal choice. Pick one of those two states, then fire.
When firing anything fully automatic, or anything that keeps firing when the trigger is held down, it is best to fire in short bursts of three to four shots. Doing so will make one's aim much more steady. It will also help to prevent from wasting ammo. This tactic can be used with blasters such as the Stampede ECS, Vulcan EBF-25, Magstrike AS-10, RapidStrike CS-18, and the Rapid Fire AS-20.
If one has extra time to set up their shot, kneeling instead of standing up can be a great benefit to one's accuracy. Kneeling helps to limit how much one's body shakes. It also helps make one a smaller target. If the blaster has any form of a shoulder stock, detachable or nondetachable, use it. If not, one should stiffen up their arms as if they were standing. Have one hand on the trigger and the other firmly on the barrel or forward handle of the blaster to help support it.
The fastest an most accurate method of kneeling is to lunge, with the leg opposite their dominant arm in front, your back leg touching the ground on the foot and knee, and your front leg bent ant touching the ground with the foot only. The front leg can then be used to support the non-dominant arm when aiming a two-handed blaster.
Laying down makes you a smaller target to hit. When laying down, one should support the blaster with their elbows. Again, if the blaster has a form of a shoulder stock, use it. If it has a form of a bipod equipped, like the pop-out bipod, use that instead. A rule of thumb with laying down is that the less contact one has with their Nerf blaster, the less their blaster will shake; the less the blaster shakes, the greater the accuracy it will have.
If a target is moving, one should compensate for the time it takes for the dart to hit its mark. If this is not done, one will surely miss their designated target. This "leading" of the target is best done by aiming slightly in front of where the target is moving to and firing at a precise time. This time depends on how far away one is from their target. Another technique for leading targets is aiming where the target will eventually reach and firing, as if they were almost walking into being shot.
A rule of note for leading targets is that Nerf darts don't easily reach long distances. Aiming up slightly will cause the dart to reach further distances.
Try using a foregrip for enhanced accuracy in a close or tight space. Foregrips are not very effective at aiming over a long distance, as the tight grip will make the blaster shake as the player focuses on a target. In addition, if the blaster (such as a Retaliator, RapidStrike, or Centurion) has a clip that sticks out far below the clip intake, the clip can double as a grip. Placing one's hand on the bottom of the magazine will help steady shots and reduce strain on both arms.
Shoulder stocks are of great use in a Nerf war, as they help steady aim in a similar fashion to a foregrip, the difference being that stocks work best at long range, whilst foregrips assist more in short range.
Users of shoulder stocks tend to press the end of the stock into their shoulders. This presents problems with certain stocks, such as the Recon, Praxis, or Spectre stocks, as their construction is not quite as robust as other stocks. With enough pressure, these stocks may begin to flex, throwing off aim and making the user feel uncomfortable. Applying minimal pressure to the stock when in use alleviates this problem while still steadying the user's shot.
Be sure that the stock you are using is large enough to reach your shoulder. Otherwise, the stock simply adds bulk to the blaster, and will reduce accuracy if the user attempts to awkwardly hold the blaster in an attempt to use the stock.
Sights are on the top of the blaster, meant to help the player pinpoint their enemy. They do not work like real sights, so it is best to aim slightly above your opponent to hit them. Pinpoint sights and scopes do not work like on real rifles and are mainly used for looks.
If one finds that an enemy is staring down their scope at them, one can be confident that they will miss, especially at longer ranges.
By far the best sights are the tactical rails on the blaster itself. A Recon CS-6 flip-up sight, when the pinhole part has been removed, can be an effective sight for blasters with lower velocities. Removing the flip-up part completely makes for a great sight for midrange assault blasters that naturally take an accuracy hit for a boost in rate of fire.
Some mods can be made to the blaster itself that can increase accuracy. Minimizations, or mods that remove unused parts of the casing, can lighten the blaster, making it easier to get a target in your sights. This is especially useful for scout/assault blasters that need to be able to quickly target and eliminate an enemy in midrange. Another modification is porting, or drilling holes in the tip of the barrel. This modification works by reducing the amount of 'muzzle blast', extra air that escapes violently and unpredictably from the barrel, blowing darts off course. It should be noted that this mod only works on air-driven blasters, and has no effect on the performance of blasters using flywheels or other types of propulsion that do not involve air pressure. Care should be taken when porting to be sure the barrel is free of burs and other obstructions from the drilling, and that the barrel is long enough to be ported effectively, as porting closer than the tip of the dart will cause a severe drop in power. If the ports are not uniform, the dart may still drift, however the drift will be much more predictable.
Using surrounding terrain to an advantage
Putting backs to walls
To use film as an example, gunfighters in old Western movies characteristically sit in the back of a saloon, facing the door and with their back to the wall. This is a prime example of using one's environment to prevent from being shot at, as it would be impossible for one to be sneaked up on from behind. It also helps to keep one alert for opposing forces to walk in on them and be able to fire as soon as they enter the room.
Another example of this is being at the end of a hallway. If one stood at the end of a hallway, their enemies would have to line up in the hallway to be able to fire at them. Nobody would be able to approach them from behind, as there is a wall behind them. Again, it is important to consider the maximum firing potential of the hallway. Not only would your enemy be forced to come in from a single direction, but you will only need to take out one or two people in order to easily pick off the rest.
In outdoor wars, it is best to find an area that forces one's opponents to shoot at them from as few directions as possible. Forts and gulleys (a U-shaped rock formation) are very useful for this.
One thing that must be taken into consideration when putting one's back to a wall is an escape route. If one is overwhelmed by enemy Nerfers, it is important to be able to escape without having to go through them. Ideal escape routes are either very hard to reach or spot from the other direction or guarded by teammates.
Other ways to use the environment
Being higher up than one's opponents is also a great advantage. This allows for being able to see much further and being able to fire on opponents from above; towers and trees work well for this. Having a blaster that fires long distances is the key to being up in higher places.
Always take cover behind something, remaining in the open is a bad idea.
Camouflage and hiding are more ways to make the most of ones environment. Hiding in woodland or rocky areas for outside battles, or in closets or bedrooms for indoor battles can be very effective. Wearing dark clothes for nighttime battles can also be a lot more effective than it seems.
In outdoor battles, wind can be a great factor in accuracy and distance, since the darts are so light. In these cases, always know where the wind is going and estimate if it will hit your target. The saying "practice makes perfect" makes an excellent suggestion to how to get used to it.
Common Mistakes when using Terrain and Cover
While using terrain and cover is vital to staying alive in a nerf war, sometimes the way we instinctively use cover is not very effective and can sometimes actually be detrimental. Here are the most common mistakes when using the environment, along with the dangers they pose and how to avoid them:
Sticking too close to the wall-
Commonly known as "Cover Hugging", this is one of the most common mistakes, particularly in indoor wars. Staying close to a wall when using it as cover is a good idea, but many people get too close to the wall, pressing their bodies against it, and actually hindering their ability to defend themselves. Pressing your body up against a wall will prevent you from quickly and easily turning to aim a blaster around a corner. If you are attacking, an enemy player can much more easily ambush you, as the wall and your blaster will obscure your view, making you unable to see them first. If you are ambushing, by all means, press yourself against a wall, as this will make it easier for you to attack unsuspecting cover huggers. If you are not, however, then keep some distance from the wall. A good rule of thumb is that if you can't push your blaster to your chest while keeping your elbows pointed out, then you are too close to the wall.
Back against the barricade-
You see this a lot in games and movies- where a character sits behind a barricade, with their back against it, and turns around to shoot. Obviously, this must be how you hide behind something, right? Unfortunately, while it might look cool, this technique is useless. Turning your head around and holding your blaster sideways over the top will completely ruin your accuracy, not to mention make it impossible to get up and run away in time when someone comes around the side of you. If you want to actually hit anything, you will need to turn your entire body around, a slow process that leaves you partially exposed in the meantime. If you are seeking cover behind a short obstacle or barricade, it is best to squat/kneel with your side to the barricade. This allows you to use your weapon upright and with much more stability, and also get up and run away quickly. If you are hiding behind something taller, there's no reason why you should need to do either of these, as you can just crouch behind it.
Prone on a flat surface-
Once again, an improper technique reinforced by it's use in the media, this is probably the worst things you could do in a nerf war. While laying prone is useful in some situations, such as utilizing a small hole or port in your cover, or ambushing someone going down a hill, it is extremely detrimental in an open field. Going prone is a bit of a tradeoff. You get increased stability and a reduced profile from the front and back, but at the cost of mobility, firing arc, and a larger profile from other angles. This means that if you are prone and looking up at your enemies on a hill, or underneath cover, you can make better distance shots and be much safer doing so. Going prone will kill you, however, in a flatter or more open area. Your enemies will be able to flank you with ease and shoot you from the top or sides, and you will be defenceless due to your narrower firing arc and lower mobility. If you need stability for a distance shot, try crouching or using a wall or obstacle.
Whether you built the fort or are just using it as a hidie-hole for you and some of your team, you should be careful that your fort is truly a fort and not a prison. A lot of people like to pick forts with only one way in and out. This makes sense because it is easy to defend a single point. The problem is that many times there are other points that need defending that aren't very obvious to the defenders. These points will definitely be obvious to the attackers, however. Many forts are made from barricades and low walls, with their entrance in the back. Iven if the walls aren't low enough to quickly jump over, they will almost always be able to be shot over. If the attacking team makes it to the back, then you are in real trouble. You can defend the back entrance, but at that point you have just made all of your base into cover for your enemy, as they shoot at you from over top your barricades. Using taller walls does help with this, but eventually you are going to run out of ammo, and when you leave you can be certain that there will be a ton of people right outside your door. If you don't want your fortress to be a prison, have a front door, not a back one, and make an emergency escape route somewhere. Using tall walls is completely optional here, as having a front door means that defending your doorway and defending your base/attacking your enemy is done from the same angle. Sometimes the best forts aren't even enclosed, but instead just a semicircle of barricades with a gap in the middle.
Choosing a suitable blaster
Using real life as an example, soldiers generally do not have many weapons on them at once. They may have a large weapon, such as a rifle, shotgun, or sub-machine gun, and a sidearm, which is usually a pistol. They may carry grenades on them as well. Carrying more than two weapons and a few extra accessories will only slow down a person and will not benefit them. If a player wants more than two blasters, try carrying them in a tactical vest.
Choosing the large weapon depends on how big the Nerfer is. Some blasters are heavier and bulkier than others, making them difficult for smaller people. Larger people will be able to carry a Vulcan EBF-25 with no problem. The Stampede ECS is another choice; it is not as bulky as the Vulcan, so smaller people can use this as well. Other popular choices are the Alpha Trooper CS-18, Longshot CS-6, Longstrike CS-6, Recon CS-6, Spectre REV-5, Praxis, Nitron, Pyragon, Rampage, Retaliator, Hail-Fire, and the Diatron.
As for sidearms, any small blaster can fit this description. The most popular choices for sidearms are the Nite Finder EX-3, Maverick REV-6, Barricade RV-10, Barrel Break, Reflex, Jolt EX-1, Vigilon, Proton, Strongarm, Firestrike, Triad EX-3, Sharpfire and the Strikefire.
The most common primary blaster are the Longshot CS-6, Recon CS-6, Raider CS-35, Hail-Fire, Rampage, and Retaliator. The most common secondary blaster would be the Spectre REV-5, Stryfe, Strongarm, Firestrike, and the Triad. Use different stocks, barrels, and attachment to create the best blaster for one's objective. A small blaster with a reverse tactical rail, such as the Strikefire, is very useful because it can attach to any blaster with a tactical rail.
Another thing is always carry extra darts. One can store extra darts in a vest strap or a back pack. Nerf sells accessories such as the tactical vest or Ammo Bag Kit for this purpose, although it is easy to make your own with fabric, duct tape, or other materials that are on hand.
A melee weapon, such as those from the N-Force series, can be used if the war allows them. These can also be held in the back of a tactical vest.
Using ammunition to maximum potential
This means being able to judge the path of a dart or an XLR disc correctly, and shooting each particular type of ammunition to increase range and accuracy.
Suppressing fire is a strategy in which the user fires multiple darts over the head of a hiding enemy. This way if an enemy is behind a barrier where they cannot get up without getting hit. This strategy works best with old darts that don't work all that well. The objective of suppressing fire is to prevent an enemy from leaving cover. Therefore, it is unnecessary to fire a relentless storm of darts, as this simply wastes ammunition. A common mistake when suppressing a target is to fire as fast as possible. In reality, one must only fire intermittently, in order to keep an enemy from safely moving out of cover. This will conserve ammunition, allowing one to beseige an enemy or hold a point for much longer.
For darts, shooting at a slight angle upwards is always beneficial, because it improves range by ten or so feet. Also, if the blaster is thrusted forward slightly as it shoots, it will shoot a bit further. When all this is taken into account, one can shoot a Nerf blaster that would normally fire at thirty feet to almost fifty feet, albeit with a decrease in accuracy. Also use this tactic when using a sight. Note that if one modifies their darts, they must make sure the host approves of their darts or else they face a potential ban from the war and future wars.
Streamline Darts are notorious for having poor accuracy with almost any blaster. Elite Darts are similarly inaccurate, however they are often superior to streamlines in terms of velocity. Stefans, hard-tipped darts, and weighted streamline or elite darts are often the best darts to use, as they provide superior accuracy and velocity, while retaining the ability to be loaded in a clip.
When using clips and/or drums, always have a back-up (usually a six dart clip) for when one is reloading, in case of enemy attack. Get used to reloading fast for less down-time. Learn to single-load clip blasters, allowing you to fire when reloading or without a clip. Most Nerf starters waste ammo very quickly. Ammo dumps are generally a good idea, as they allow players to get more ammo when they need it. Ammo dumps are best located inside of bases, so that only one team can access it.
For discs, shooting very slightly upward works great but any more than that is a terrible idea, because the discs glide and cut through the air. Shooting up will make the disc suddenly stop once its force can't match the air resistance. Also, when high up with windy weather, shooting a XLR disc is not the best idea, as the disc will immediately fly high into the air and land somewhere random.
With discs, it is better to shoot straight, as all Vortex blasters have a range of at least sixty feet, if not more.
Discs provide a difficult but ingenious strategy of shooting them at an angle, which makes them cut and curve the air. This allows for users to shoot enemies that are hiding behind things and makes it difficult for the enemy to dodge the disc. A second strategy is ricocheting discs against walls and other terrain, because the discs bounce off everything they hit. This allows users to hit people who are hiding behind barricades. Ricocheting will be much more effective if fired sideways.
To be effective in a nerf war, one must be prepared with the proper equipment, communication, and knowledge of the environment. Never plan out your strategy's details beforehand- there will certainly be miscommunications and changes in the situation that will bring about defeat. Don't get stuck in all the pre-planned strategies, as the scenario can change in a moment's notice. Know how to use yourself and your teamates effectively, and never establish a formal command. But of course, the most important tactic is to enjoy your war. After all, if you're not having fun, why are you fighting at all? (Unless you're getting paid as a nerf merc, but everyone knows that life is never that awesome.)