Before entering competitive NEOTOKYO, it is recommended that you have at least a few hours under your belt in public games, to understand the basic fundamentals of NT. If you're brand spanking new, I suggest you read the NEOTOKYO Comprehensive Guide first.
After that, ensure that you have a decent enough microphone to communicate with others over voice chat, preferably Discord. This isn't a hard requirement, but it is strongly preferred for people to be able to communicate with all members of their team. One mute can withhold vital information from the rest of their team.
PUGs (Pick Up Games) are (ideally) a player's first introduction to competitive NEOTOKYO. In the ANP Discord, you can enter the pug-queue channel to sign up for a PUG. Depending on the available players, you may be entered into a set of 3v3, 4v4 or 5v5 (Will expand into detail later)
To initiate a PUG, enter the #pug-queue channel in the ANP Discord and type /pug. Other puggers will also /pug into the queue, until the desired amount of players enter the queue. When everyone is ready, enter the PUG server, the Discord voice channel, and start playing.
PUGs are often used as practice for players competing in tournaments, or for players who enjoy competitive playstyles. Sometimes, PUGs are organized for mapmakers to test their maps outside of the pub environment. Teams are set up either by scramble, captains, or ad-hoc ingame.
Tournaments involve a series of bracketed matches which are scheduled in advance. These games are usually streamed and casted on the ANP twitch. As opposed to PUGs, Tournaments are more competitive, organized, and sweaty.
Swiss format is where each round of a tournament the opponent a team will face will be on as relatively "equal" footing as possible. For example, after the 3rd round there are two teams that are each 3-0, and they are the only remaining teams in the tournament who are undefeated. These two teams would face each other that round. In the same round, two teams who are both 1-2 face off against each other. This format typically runs 5 weeks long, but can run longer depending on tournament organizers. At the end of the tournament, the team with the best win/loss ratio takes the tournament.
The Summer Skirmish is a 3v3 "Round Robin" tournament. Round Robin is a format where each team will play every other team once. So for example, in a tournament with 8 total teams, your team would face all 7 other teams. Once all matches are concluded, the team with the best win/loss ratio wins the tournament.
You may sign up with your own team, or a team that invites you. Your team should consist of players you can get along and build proper rapport with, and at least consist of players who main a certain class or can be flexible in class selection when the need arises. As opposed to PUGs, you are required to only play with members of your team (Or mercenary).
As opposed to PUGs, for tournaments you are required to only play with members of your team (or at most 1 mercenary). For times when you cannot field enough players to play a match (ex: only 4/5 players available) a mercenary is often used. A mercenary is any player that is not signed up with your team that the opposing team allows to play on your team for that match.
Team coordination is another vital part of teambuilding; utilizing your players strengths while mitigating their weaknesses is crucial. Making a plan at the beginning of a round is a good idea, but keep it simple so as not to barrage your teammates with commands and confuse them as to what the plan is. Remember, no plan survives first contact with the enemy.
Information is an extremely powerful tool in competitive play, and communication is the tool you use to relay it. Sharing information is often called "calling", "calls", or "making calls". This means that you should only speak when it is appropriate to do so (as in no irrelevant discussion or speaking when a teammate is last alive unless requested).
As a general rule of thumb, when killed a player will recite:
This allows for the players still alive to react accordingly to this information. For example, if an enemy is critically low on health and alone, a teammate may rush for that enemy to "trade", resulting in an immediately equalized playing field and XP for both teammates. Or perhaps there are two enemies in a location, your team will most likely rotate to defend any pushes from that location.
Another aspect of communication is detailing where you are and what things look like, especially early in the round where its vital to identify what play the enemy is making through process of elimination. For example, if your team is playing on Rise, and they report that the enemy is absent from Server, Conference and Office, the enemy are most likely playing in Pillars, Construction, and/or dropping down.
How do you track which enemy you hit, how much damage you did, and who killed/damaged you?
Enable the developer game console by going to Options -> Keyboard -> Advanced -> Enable Developer console (~)
The game console (Bound to Tilde `~) will track how much damage you dealt, received, and to/from who and what their class is, and display this when you are dead. It also tracks who killed who, and by process of elimination, who is left alive. This can be important in a 1v1 situation, when you need to discover who on the enemy team is left alive, what gun they are using and what their remaining health is and relay this to your last standing teammate.
A playset is the amount of players both teams can have at once.
A 3v3 is a group of six players evenly split into teams. This usually occurs when not enough people are available for a 5v5, or when specifically chosen for a tournament. This is a tighter knit game, usually taking place on smaller maps such as Envoy or Oilstain.
Usually, a 3 person team will split and cover one lane of the map, or group up and attack a specific objective, such as the Ghost or a coveted area such as the warehouse on Threadplate. Communication is vitally important in a 3v3, as one person going down severely limits overall map coverage as opposed to higher playercount sets. Knowing where a group or single player is attacking or defending will be the difference between victory and loss.
A 4v4 is a group of eight players evenly split into teams. This is common in PUGs or a scrim. Each team has enough players to reliably cover all three lanes, with added reinforcement for one lane or for one player to skirmish/"play for picks".
A 4v4 is a little more open in terms of how a team can play against their opponent. As opposed to a 3v3, a 4v4 team can reliably defend several positions at once, but does not have the dynamic attack/defense capabilities of a 5 man team. Even if one person goes down on a team, a 3v4 situation is easier to recover from than a 2v3 in a 3v3 playset.
A 5v5 is a group of ten players evenly split into teams. This is the most common and desired competitive format, as it allows a team to be as offensive and defensive as they want. This also allows for them to play on as big or as small of a map as they want. This is also about as high as most competitive matches can get before enterin pub territory, barring 6v6.
5 players on a team allows for different playstyles to shine without lacking in certain areas. 5 players can cover the three lanes on a single map with three players, with the other two players on one lane acting as a spearhead, or leave one lane undefended and have four players rush one lane while having one player defend a certain lane depending on the map. The possibilities are endless for your team, and the enemy team. However, five players in one lane or area can end up to be catastrophic, especially when a wayward frag lands in the middle of them. It can also end up to be a loss when all players of a team are looking down one area and neglecting the others, leaving them open to a flank. At most, two players looking one way is optimal. If a teammate of yours is looking one way, you should cover his flank and cover other areas where enemies can come from.