NOTE: This guide is not for experienced players. This simply covers the basics of CTF, as the rules are not explained in the tutorial or elsewhere.
Hello all! I figured since there isn’t much in the way of explanation for how CTF works, I’d write something up real quick.
CTF stands for Capture the Flag, as you should probably already know. The “flag” in this case is a Core: A little glowing ball that sits above your fortress. The color of your Core will be the same as your team color (red, blue, green). Instead of sockets around your fortress, you will have egg-shaped containers that open when you hover over them. This is where you deposit the enemy core. You pick up the enemy core the same as a unit: by hovering over it and pressing space. You will then need to bring the core back to your base and place it in a receptacle to score. You cannot score while the enemy has your core. When you score, you will see the enemy fortress bar take about 33% damage.
The core can be picked up like a unit, but it can also be dropped. When you drop the core, it can be picked up by a friendly or enemy airmech. You cannot pick up your own core while it is still in its starting position at your fortress, but if it is anywhere else on the map, you can grab it and return it to the starting position.
If you are killed while carrying any core, it will respawn at the fortress it came from.
You start off with zero credits, but your money still gradually increases throughout the game, allowing unit production.
If both sides have captured the enemy core, no one can score, but the cores can still be placed in receptacles. They will stay there until picked up by a friendly unit. When you retrieve your own core, the enemy core in the receptacle will automatically score.
Your energy runs out much, much faster when carrying the core. When your energy is depleted, you cannot use special abilities and you move slower.
It is always best to attack the core with an ally present to shoot down enemy pursuers.
If an enemy pursuer has low health and yours is full, you can fly over a neutral outpost where they will be killed by gray seekers.
When your energy runs out, it is often prudent to drop the core and let a nearby ally grab it while you recharge at a nearby outpost.
You will hardly ever be in ground mode in CTF. Bring a loadout full of Anti-air units. (HAAT, SAM, Seeker, T99, etc.)
Your recharge rate is much slower while carrying the core, allowing enemies to destroy you while you are hovering over outposts.
It is almost always better to drop the core upon death then to keep it, as that provides at least some small chance of an ally acquiring it.
CTF is fast paced, but be willing to defend sometimes.
Watch your radar carefully.
Bring a fast mech like the Striker or Neo.
Choose a pilot with appropriate buffs like fuel management, air speed, and damage resistance. Anyone with boosts for ground mode or unit efficiency isn’t going to help much.
Don’t bring socket-powered units like moneymakers or lunchboxes, as there are no sockets in CTF.
Outposts can still be captured and used as forward bases and recharge stations.
Patience and speed are your greatest allies.
EDIT: More tips, courtesy of DarthYip:
If you’re defending the core carrier, try and put yourself in the line of fire of your pursuers to prevent the carrier from being shot down (while shooting at them of course).
When grabbing the enemy core at their fort, the first player can draw enemy AA fire, while the second grabs the core.
AA can be placed along probable “flight paths” the enemy will take when grabbing your core and fleeing. This provides more continuous damage as they try to escape and when their energy drops their speed.
If the enemy has lots of AA surrounding their fort, you can still tank push to clear them out.