HL2DM 301 - Introduction to 1 vs 1 Strategy

By [VDuS] A Seagull

Edited by [VDuS] Drag0 and [CBE] Rasky_26


Many people who are otherwise very good at HL2DM seem to have bad habits in 1vs1 matches. This course was written with the purpose of helping those players overcome their mistakes.

Some things to know before reading:

There is no cheap or universal strongest weapon in this game, regardless of what you have been told.

Though HL2DM is unique with its situations that allow for instant kills leading to upper hand changes, there are many similarities between it and other competitive games. Two players still fight over resources (items in this case) using weapons and various tactical positions.


The key to being good at 1on1ing in HL2DM is basic. Beat your opponent with whatever weapon is strongest on that map.


Many players would say the control point of this map is the supercharger. The real control point is over the staircase, which has the key to beating every strategy on that map: smg nades, orbs, health kits, and a shotgun. Due to the proximity that most fights involve, it is extremely difficult to dodge a well placed nade. Nades are one of the most effective weapons on lockdown, but it depends on the playing style of your opponent. If you're fighting a mag whore, spam him out with orbs while you systematically move around him, taking his resources and wearing his health down. If he's a hardcore spammer and uses nothing else, then take his resources. Work on collecting around him, and try to confront him after he's used up some of his firepower.


The orb's main point is killing quickly. However, there is a very nice side effect that isn't commonly recognized: the scare effect. If you fire an orb into the stairs from the back mag and your opponent is in the front mag, they're generally NOT going to try to take the stairs, which allows you to maneuver into a better position and/or allows you to take the stairs. If they move to the stairs, then they'll probably get taken out by the orb - if they dodge it then they're a smart (lucky?) player, if they catch it then you'll know exactly where you are and have an effective "wallhack." In other words, use orbs to control and distract your opponent. Use them to cut off their routes.

Factors That Make a Strong 1v1 Player

Here is a list of the most important factors (descending from most important):

1. Weapon Choice

Determining which weapon will benefit you the most on a map and using it accordingly.

2. Resource Control

This could arguably be the first, as you can't use your best weapons if you don't have that resource under your control!

What do I mean by controlling resources? Going back every 20 seconds to grab that shotgun. Going back every 30 seconds to grab that orb. Going back a little early so you can save some time in case he's already there. Making sure your opponent never gets it, or if he does he's weak enough to where you can essentially take him down.

Starve your opponent of the map's resources. He can't kill you if he doesn't have anything to kill you with!

3. Adapting

You'd be surprised at how many people don't adapt in this game. YOU MUST LEARN TO ADAPT. Some guy will be losing 2-8, but then he come back on top 26-12! How does he do it?

He'll see what the other guy is doing and countering it with an adapted style of play.

Take lockdown_r3 for instance. If he's mag whoring the back mag while you're coming from shower, use the new hall, come out at front mag, hit an orb bounce to the back mag.

Scenario 1: Maybe you are a big magnum fan, it's your favorite weapon. But you get matched with a guy who also likes the magnum, and to your dismay is much better with it than you. ADAPT! You cannot just will yourself to be better than he is at the magnum, so think up strategies. How can you overcome him? Can you get him with an orb or nade? Can you hold his resources (In this case the magnum) after you have killed him?

4. Knowing what is good and what isn't in a given situation

If you don't know what's generally the best possible thing to do in a situation (Although there sometimes isn't an absolute best depending on your playstyle. Some choices may work better in the imminent time frame, but another choice might lead to an easier time killing him the next time you meet), how can you even plan on winning? The other player might expect you to take the best choice to kill him, but you can throw him off by not doing the technical "best choice," and instead do something that's less effective. This may be more effective than the technical, most effective maneuvers because your opponent wasn't expecting it!

Scenario 1: You throw an orb towards the back magnum from the front magnum. He dodges the orb and goes under the charger. This is exactly where we want him to be. We'll always know exactly where he's going, and he has no idea where we could be going. We know he could only go three ways: to us(we'll see him, as we're camping out in front of the mag room and he'll have to cross our view), to the shower (we'll see him, he'll take some damage), back to the back mag, or up the ladder (we would very likely hear him hit the ladder sound as it's extremely loud, and from that ladder he could also head back to the shower). We can go to the orbs via long hall (lots of cover), can go to the charger (not much cover), back to the back mag (not much cover) or up the ladder (where we could attack him from the charger room, or head back to the shower and come back in a minute or so). If you keep track of his past actions and armor, you're very likely to know what he'll do.

5. Know what your enemy will most likely do

Do some background research before you 1vs1 the player. Is he a mag whore and loves using it? Then you might expect he'll pull out the mag to try and finish you instead of a smg nade or something else more efficient. Or he might just try pecking you off from range, but you can practice counters/think of counters prior to the game and see what happens.

Also, learn from your opponent's habits. If his habit is to crouch under the stairs after you spawn at the shower in lockdown, then try to rush over there later to throw off his timing, as he's likely conditioned his play style into his opponent's timing on crossing into the charger side of the map. Throw off your timing, you throw off his play style, and he'll have to adapt and play in an uncomfortable condition.

This is also where beginner's luck kicks in. Player #1 (now known as just #1) might expect this otherwise decent player to do the best possible choice (nade Player #2, now known as #2, down), so #2 runs away. Instead, #1 pulls out his magnum and kills #2 from behind as he is getting away. #2 expected #1 to just nade in front of him and finish him with the shotgun, to which #2 could counter by throwing a prop, but instead #1 just stayed where he was and magged him down. This may have worked once, but #2 now realizes that #1 is a beginner and can likely counter his every move.

Your enemy doesn't have unlimited attention. He can't be thinking about everything all the time. Throw stuff at him that's unexpected. Pull out your ar2 as you come from the charger and you see him, he'll expect you to throw an orb while you pummel him with primary fire. When he changes to another weapon, throw an orb. While he expects the orb and tries to catch it, you could already be pulling out your smg to throw a smg nade before you switch to the gravity gun to catch his thrown orb. He might expect you to switch to the gravity gun at first, but when you pull out your smg he might be a little freaked out.

That example might seem a little bit complicated, but that is the level of thinking you want to work towards. It might not be a primary thought, but it's probably in the back of their head.

For a successful 1vs1 a player must always be prepared for the worst and the unexpected. By employing the techniques discussed above, you should be able to elevate your competitive level and your thought process, thus making you a better player.