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Kill Denied: The Founder Defense

Written by DX
Last updated on 2007-05-29

  • Subject Type: Physical Concept, Strategy, and Tactic
  • Subject Level: 5 [Highly Advanced]
  • Recommended Progression Level Range: Fluid
  • Recommended Caliber: Hardcore
  • Recommended Game Type Families: OHK, OHS

The term "founder" and not "commander" is used for this concept, due to the need for it to be executed by a warrior with great experience. In most cases, the most experienced player[s] is/are a team's founder[s]. Keep in mind that there are exceptions. The Founder Defense works best with more than founder, though if there are say two, only one should attempt this dangerous defense. A founder and a normal commander is another setup that works well. This is more of a role than a defense, but unlike other roles and defenses, it needs to work at several levels from concept to tactic.

The hidden role within the role of founder

Most founders have a high level of power over their teams and generally have a or the role of command. This article assumes that you are a founder-commander and that you have among, if not the, highest level[s]of experience on your team. In this case, a founder is an invaluable leader and often a deadly fighter. However, there is another aspect to being a founder that is little-known even among some of the greatest water warriors of all time. I discovered the Founder Defense in 2005, but didn't really understand it and did not know how truly critical it is.

The Founder Defense is the ability to physically deny enemy kills. Not verbally contest, but physically prevent. The role is similar to that of an overarching guardian, watching for the mistakes and dangerous situations of your own team. This is an active role; you have to be on alert at all times, for a mistake could occur in the blink of an eye. You also give up the ability to score kills. You may actually be able to score a few while acting as the denier of kills, but it is not your first priority. Your number one priority is to use your skills by any means necessary to stop the enemy from making kills on your team members. Doesn't sound too hard, but think about this: you can be perfect a thousand times, but it only takes one slip-up to lose a war.

Positioning and weakness in the line

One of the most common and scary situations is when your line is under attack and a hole emerges. Say you cease to have a center and an enemy sees a chance to roll up one or both flanks via the center. If you are acting as the denier of kills, you must block the center if at all possible. It is not a choice, it is your number one duty. If you have to sprint through thorn bushes, then do it. When you place yourself in the exposed position, you then have to hold it until conditions permit another move. This may mean fighting multiple enemies at once. The Outnumbered Defense may help, but you don't have the option of dying. A founder using the Founder Defense cannot, under any circumstances, afford to die. The reason is obvious in 1HK, but even in 1HS, your entire team may be wiped out during your respawn period. Back to the example. Say you've successfully brought the center engagement to a stand-off and the enemy is retreating. One of your guys is fighting on the left and has his back wide open to attack. One of the enemies you just fought sees this and makes his move. At this point, you must cover both your man and your center. You'd want to yell a warning, support your guy as he falls back, and then plug the center again, all at lightning speed. Being a commander as well, you need to make orders based on what you have just done and how the enemy responds, all in real time. You may have just denied several kills against your team if you executed your moves well. However, this is far from over.


If your team is running away, your place is directly at the rear. You must engage the pursuing enemy and gain breathing room. Again, you cannot afford to die. This often includes holding off the entire enemy team, so you'd better have a capable gun and know how to run fast. Now you know why this works best with at least two founders or a founder and commander: one of them can lead the retreat while the other covers the rear. Depending on the way the enemy reacts, you may need to call-off the retreat and actually counter-attack. A witty enemy might use a False Retreat or False Charge to get you to make a bad call. They may also try a pincer, so you've got to know when to run for it. Successful defending here means that both you and your team escape unscathed. Die here and your team may be shot from behind.


You don't need to worry about attacks. While you may lead one, once engaged, your job is to watch out for mistakes. It is easy for regular members to accidentally advance too far and get isolated, or try a flanking maneuver that takes them way out of supporting range. These are very dangerous situations that any good enemy will try and exploit. You have to support your isolated guys before the enemy reaches them. Often you are nowhere near the area. Speed and agility really help here. If you do find success, you probably need to return to another part of the line ASAP, since your absence may be giving the enemy an opportunity for an Overrun or Press/Push-based advance.


It is also your job to yell and/or whisper warnings. Tell your guys to stay away from the sides in a bottleneck, tell them to speed up an advance through sketchy terrain, to keep quiet, to watch their backs, to take a different approach, to avoid an ambush that only you have caught sight of, etc. You also need to search for the enemy and alert your team when you have visual or audio. A great example of this is when my team, the Ridgewood Militia, was sitting on the Upper Bluff, trying to see the enemy across the brook. We had heard sounds over there, but couldn't get visual due to the thick reeds covering the banks. I wasn't looking there, I was constantly looking around elsewhere. Guess who popped up in our totally vulnerable rear? The enemy team Waterbridge walked up a mere 50ft away, but did not yet notice us. I got our act together and ordered a sprinting charge directly into the enemy, who recoiled and ran for it. We came away with a kill, but could have come away killed just as easily.

Physical Ability

Having physical ability really, really helps here. For example, I have ridiculous agility, reflexes, acceleration, speed, reaction time, and an uncanny ability to find enemies and sense impending danger. I can fight several enemies at once while being a pain in the ass to hit. Physical ability makes it easier to do more and to do it well. The most effective Founder Defenses are those backed by warriors who are capable of exerting powerful influence and delivering swift counters in real time. People like this also tend to not die. I personally have gone on long streaks of not being hit [4 wars is the current record]. The Waterbridge founders on the otherhand, while being more difficult to hit as time progresses, have seen more than one war with a hat trick of deaths. Being in command period is risky, so any physical attribute can be an advantage.

An important and often under-appreciated job

I use the Founder Defense in every war. My co-founder, Nibordude, probably scores double the amount of kills I do. In fact, most of the team outscores me. However, over the course of the past 18 wars, I have saved over a hundred enemy scoring opportunities through quick and decisive action. I take a lot of shots and have to move more than would seem necessary, but shutting out enemy kills is worth it. Some warriors get cocky when they go on a killing hot streak, but they should never forget the hidden force that keeps the team "safe". It should never be taken for granted. Credit is rarely if ever given for denying enemy kills, but other members' kill records would not be possible without the role. If you are not a founder or commander capable of using the Founder Defense, you should have newfound respect for those who do, if your team has such an individual. Of course you could save your fellow "guardian of kill denial" a lot of work by simply not making mistakes in battle...

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