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In 2554, the Red Army introduced Grifball to the world. By 2557, all other sports had been abandoned.
The game is played as an Assault variant, on a customized version of the Foundry map using Forge (Grifbox, the new Sandbox Crypt variant). Players are given infinite usage of the Gravity Hammer and Energy Sword as a means to attack and defend the other players in the game as they help their ball carrier plant the bomb in the opposing team's goal. While the arena lacks any obstacles, the game becomes extremely intense and strategic as the game relies heavily on teamwork and a bit of luck. The game is played like a Rooster Teeth-inspired game of Rugby, and often results in players getting several multi-kills up to Killionaires and occasionally an Extermination (usually due to exploding Bombs). A well-timed Gravity Hammer strike during the start-of-round "bomb rush" can also claim four—or seven, for that matter—lives at once.
On March 6, it has been included in a special unranked "Double EXP" hopper in Halo 3 matchmaking. There is no set rotation for Grifball, although it has appeared many times afterward in Halo 3 matchmaking. It is now an official playlist in Halo: Reach, Halo 4, and was a permanent playlist in Halo 5: Guardians, until May 1, 2018, when it was removed from the permanent playlist due to low population counts, and poor feedback. Grifball is currently playable during seasonal rotationals.
- "In Season 4 of Red vs Blue, Sarge is taking potshots with a sniper rifle at his orange soldier Grif, whom he hates. He’s having a great time and blurts out 'This is the best game since Grifball!' That was written about two years ago [ca. 2005] and we always wondered what kind of game Grifball would have been. That’s why the ball carrier turns orange – everyone in the game is constantly trying to hammer-smash Grif and even if he scores, he explodes. Either way, Sarge wins." - Burnie Burns
- "It came about when we were making the Red vs Blue D.I.Y. video for the map pack release. There was an extended version of the script that had Donut and Grif making Forge creations on Foundry to go along with Simmons’ rail gun invention. Grif’s invention was going to be the laziest game type possible, where you basically walk into the middle of the room, pick up a flag and plant it two feet away. That scene really wasn’t that funny after the flying dumpster gag, so it was cut – but I had already made the game type. I started messing around with it while we were uploading the video." - Burnie Burns
During Week 2 Highlights of GBWL08, the ball-carrier (A.K.A. Grif) did NOT die after scoring. The Grif dropped the Bomb and rode the Hammer shock wave away from the explosion to safety. When the video ends, Sarge is heard crying in the background, "I'm so sad, I don't think I can go on. End it now, end it now."
Grifball is a simple game, akin to modern-day rugby. Two teams of three-four players square off in a simple arena in which each team has a goal. The object is to take the ball in the middle of the court and put it in the other team’s goal.
- Scoring a goal earns one point and ends the round.
- Each match consists of 9 rounds, with a three-minute time limit for each round.
- Each player has a Gravity Hammer and an Energy Sword (secondary), with infinite energy for both weapons. On certain maps, the 7 Wood will replace the Gravity Hammer.
- Damage is set to 200% with player health set to 10%. One direct hit will kill a player.
- Dead players respawn in three seconds at their own goal.
- The ball carrier has a 2x Overshield, 150% speed, 150% damage resistance after a period of time in which these charge up, and turns orange, like Grif.
- Friendly players can hurt each other, making use of the radar encouraged.
- In the unlikely event that a player finds themselves thrown outside of the arena (beyond the wall), teleporters situated beyond the playing field have been provided. These teleporters will drop you outside the map, killing you instantly. You will respawn back at your goal. Play is not suspended when a player goes out of bounds. It is the player's duty to return to play.
- If a ball carrier goes out of bounds, they must return to play within 30 seconds (judged by time on Save Film) or they forfeit the entire match. If they leave the ball beyond the wall, it will reset within 15 seconds. Play is not suspended while the ball or ball carrier is out of bounds.
There have also been some variants of small rule changes for change of game play for the Double EXP Weekend, here are some examples:
- The bomb carrier was gold, not orange, resulting in the ball carrier becoming Grif's Sister, Kakaina, Referred to as Sister by other characters. This would still be a Grif regardless of whether it was orange or yellow (this was a mistake by Bungie in one of the Double EXP Weekends, and has now been corrected).
- The bomb carrier has a faster recharge.
- There are only 5 rounds, with a 3-minute time limit each.
Tips & Tactics
- Table on weapon tactics (The normal writing is what you are holding, the bold writing is what your opponent has).
|Bomb||Energy Sword||Gravity Hammer|
|Bomb||Detonate it||Try to punch the sword wielder as he lunges or before he lunges. Timing is key. If you are in mid-air, face the sword and punch, you will likely bull-true.||You should be able to punch them unless you have low shields. Continue advancing until you have the lunge; backing out may cause death.|
|Energy Sword||The Lunge nearly always works. A useful tactic may be to jump up and back slightly if approaching head on and use the sword's superior lunge distance to ruin the carrier. You will be killed if you lunge as they punch.||If you both sword parry, you should melee, instead of slicing the second time, as it is faster.
Melee first to parry the Lunge, then Melee again to kill
|Back out of range as they hit then rush and lunge at them.|
|Gravity Hammer||Find your connection (varies per game). Swing as he approaches; back and sidestep and turn towards "Grif" as you swing. This tactic, known as the Hammer of Dawn, eliminates the carrier with one hammer, or if you fail, causes him to stop mid ball lunge and propels him backwards.||
Rush and attack at the right time.
|Back up to avoid the splash damage, then move forward and side-step as you swing after he has made his Hammer strike.|
- A common and sometimes effective tactic is to jump above your enemies during the initial rush for the bomb and hammer them. You have to time it just right or they will most likely hit you first. Remember that both you and they are moving forward, time your swing so that they run straight into the splash damage. This technique often results in betrayals but if done right will kill the opposing rushers and get you the bomb.
- A good counter against 'Grif' is to jump above him and slash with the sword. Only experienced bomb carriers will counter this as most are looking forward and not up.
- When holding the Gravity Hammer, if you wish to head towards the enemy's spawn area, face the wall behind where your team spawns, and repeatedly slam the hammer down and jump whilst facing the floor while moving backwards. This is an excellent way to speed toward the bomb, or enemies bomb drop. However, it leaves you exposed to an enemy's attack.
- When using the sword against the Gravity Hammer (this is ill advised if you are unskilled) wait for them to swing, and while their hammer is still down, get close and lunge. This takes some practice, but it is an effective way of racking up kills with the sword.
- Don't stick together; the enemies will just get a multi kills with one hit or two, or you may betray each other due to the splash damage. Instead, spread out and take every direction so it's one on one.
- Keep the enemy at a distance, lest they rush in and score. Remember to always keep your goal protected.
- You do not need the full nine (five in matchmaking), just attempt to get five (three in matchmaking) scores. If you have the ball and full over shields, you can "wave ride" as it is commonly called by jumping over a player, on the other team or yours, and at the cost of your shield you can be flung across the map. Sometimes you will just be propelled upwards but, using this tactic you can go from your side of the field to the goal. It is possible to wave ride multiple times if you are in the air long enough to let your shields recharge. Using the Sword against the ball carrier can be more useful than the Hammer because of having no possible way of wave riding.
- You don't need to wait for the reticle to turn red to swing in Grifball. Swinging just before it turns red will still get you a kill because of the lack of shields when not holding the ball.
- At the beginning of a round, don't rush the bomb with everyone else on your team. Instead, stay off to the side of the bomb. That way, you can grab the bomb almost unchallenged after most people are dead after the opening rush, or run to their spawn area as they spawn.
- Your radar is your life. Watch your field of vision but always be aware of your surroundings, including crouched opponents who wish to evade detection.
- A recent technique that appeared in the Grifball Tournament was known as "wall jumping." In which the ball carrier (AKA Grif) would jump on the small ledge behind the goal before scoring in order to evade pursuers.
- Another way to score is to wait about 3 steps behind your team at the very beginning. Usually, most of your team, and your opponents, will perish in the beginning rush. Once that is over, grab the bomb and punch the few remaining players on the opposite team (if an opposing team members lunges towards you with an energy sword and you punch them usually you will lose your shield and the opponent will die) and before they have a chance to respawn, you will have scored. (Note: this does not work as well with experienced players on the other team as they also usually wait a bit back as well.)
- Try to figure out who the host of the match is. If you have the ball, and are being ran at by the host, you will have to punch earlier then you would if you were facing a non-host.
- If you are not careful you can cause many betrayals with the Gravity Hammer. Be sure to watch where you swing, especially during the initial rush for the bomb.
Launches are a way of propelling you and your teammates forward quickly.
- Starting launches-Launches performed at the beginning of a round to send your teammates to the ball quickly.
- Inside/Outside-In this launch, the two on the outside swing their hammers, as the two that spawn on the inside jump forward, propelling the two on the inside straight to the ball.
- Spawn Bonk- In this launch, you will have to remember a number system. When you spawn, the guy on the farthest left is #1. The next guy to his right is #2. To his right, #3. And the guy farthest to the right is #4. #1 will simply run forward with a sword, as defense in case you don't get the ball. #3 will jump forward, as #2 and #4 swing their hammers to launch him to the ball.
- Ball Carrier Launches-these launches will help launch your ball carrier so that he can score quicker.
- Primary Launch-This is the most common launch for an actual match. The launcher faces sideways, and the ball carrier runs directly in front of them. As the ball carrier passes the launcher, they should jump forward, and the launcher should swing their hammers. This launch can also be done with two launchers, where the launchers are facing each other, and the ball carrier runs in between them.
- Shotgun or Snake in the Grass-in this launch, the launcher will face towards the ball carrier. The ball carrier will run straight towards him, and the launcher should jump over his head. As the ball carrier passes under the launcher, the ball carrier should jump forward, and the launcher should swing their hammer.
- Mario- the launcher faces away from the ball carrier. The ball carrier should jump and land on the launcher's head, then jump forward again. At this point, the launcher should swing their hammer.
- Two Launcher Weave-two launchers will face towards where they are launching the ball carrier (away from the ball carrier), in a line. The ball carrier will weave in between them and jump forward as he passes the launcher closest to the score. At this point, the front launcher should swing their hammer, and the back launcher should swing immediately afterward.
- Lone launches- These launches can be performed when you don't have a teammate near you to launch you.
- Flowers- This is a launch to be performed as you pick up the ball. Perform a hammer jump, while holding the button to pick up the ball. This will send you flying way up into the air, and anyone can swing their hammers from anywhere on the court to try to propel you. NOTE: This can be performed if you are host of the match but it is much harder to do.
- Hammer Propulsion- A very simple, fairly obvious launch. Just face away from the direction you want to launch, jump backwards, and swing your hammer.
- The original name Grifball was going to be "Halo Rugby" but was later changed when Gustavo Sorola thought the original title was weak.
- Every couple of seasons, the map variant for Grifball changes.
- Originally, vetoing was disabled on Grifball playlist, as there were no variants available. Now, however, it is possible to veto in the Grifball playlist. They have added some player creations to the Grifball playlist, such as Mayan Grifball, Grifballupthere, and Aerial Grifball, on their own respective courts.
- The multiplayer map Sandbox has Grifbox, a Sandbox crypt variant specifically made for Grifball.
- Grifball was the only Double EXP Weekend event that was entirely Assault based.
- McFarlane Toys produced a Grifball action figure in orange Recon armor.
- The maps for Grifball always contain some exploit, whether it be getting the bomb carrier outside of the map, or lodging the ball somewhere unreachable.
- For those that don't know the rules of Grifball, Rooster Teeth made a video about the rules starring Sarge, Caboose, Tucker, Simmons, Church, and of course, Grif.
- In a "Things to do in" episode of Achievement Hunter, AxialMatt (who would officially join Achievement Hunter in 2014) presents a Minecraft version of Grifball. Later, the staff of Rooster Teeth use AxialMatt's arena during one of the "Let's Play" episodes of Achievement Hunter to play a Grifball match in Minecraft. Geoff Ramsey, the voice of Grif, was part of the Red team (as Grif is a Red in Red Vs Blue).
- Xbox marketplace offers several Grifball related props for Xbox Avatars: The Grifball Prop, Grifball T-shirt, Grif Spartan Armor, Energy Sword Prop, and Gravity Hammer Prop.
- On March 17, 2013, the Grifball playlist had an update in honor of St. Patrick's Day in which the ball carrier turned green instead of orange.
- There is an Easter Egg in Halo 4's Spartan Ops that has Sarge and Grif talk about the UNSC having Sports Equipment for Grifball.
- GrifballHub: Respect Your Roots-AGLA Winter League 08
- GrifballHub: Respect Your Roots-AGLA Winter League 08
- Toys 'Я' Us
- Achievement Hunter Things to do in.. Minecraft - Grifball
- Achievement Hunter Let's Play Minecraft Episode 22 - Grifball
- Xbox Marketplace, Avatar Store - Halo Collection
- GrifballHub: Go Home Grif, You’re Drunk: St. Patrick’s Day Grifball Matchmaking Screenshots
- Achievement Hunter RvB Easter Egg Number 5
- Grifball Wiki
- American Grifball League of America
- National Grifball Association
- Rooster Teeth's Grifball thread