Fig 7b: Quiet of mind, strength of heart, and many socks

Sock Ninja Strategry

There's also a good Sock Ninja guide at the HvZ forums.

This following guide is written by SFSU and FAN player Sean Wright

The Way of the Sock Ninja

Sock Ninjas are an archetype in the game of Humans Vs. Zombies, which at its most basic definition represents abandoning the use of other weaponry (Nerf blasters, foam melee weapons, etc.) for the exclusive usage of socks. In many situations this lends the human using this layout to be effective in multiple situations. Whether it be providing backup for other humans in a group or sprinting ahead as a scout, the sock ninja can be very creative changeup for your normal gameplay.

Personal Thoughts

I have played Humans Vs. Zombies with San Francisco State University and Foam Action Network for almost a year now and so far my favorite arsenal is this one. I think of this archetype as the middle ground between a swordsman and a shooter: you probably won't peg zombies or other players from the same range as a nerf blaster, but you definitely will hit them before a sword does. Sock grenades are also a great supplement to your own playstyle, whether it be a blaster heavy Tank or a blade crazy Swashbuckler.

Sock Ninja Weaponry

First things first, a sock ninja must bear the weapon of his/her name: the sock. While your particular game rules and regulations may vary, the basic design for a sock/sock grenade is to take a sock and roll it up on itself, securing the result with rubber bands/duct tape/velcro. As a sock ninja in the Foam Action Network games I’ve instead opted for making multiple smaller sock grenades from a single large sock. While I’ve found many stories of ninjas playing using only a few large sock grenades, if you can spare the time and money, build yourself a good supply of them.

While you may choose to run with socks only I personally advise if allowed that you carry some kind of backup weapon, whether it be some form of blaster or melee weapon. While socks are a nice reliable primary weapon, there can be some comfort found in the thought that should the worst come to pass (running out of socks, delay in grabbing more) you can resort to another weapon that is ready to go.

Sock Ninja Aspects

A ninja is swift, discreet, and lethal in definition. While this may lend favor for many, you do not need to be an athlete to be a sock ninja. In terms of importance here are what I think is good for a sock ninja.
Endurance/Speed
This is good to have, but not very high in necessity. While it is good for conserving round by simply running, more often than not HvZ games are designed that you will eventually have to confront your undead foes. I run at an average/slightly above average speed, but unless you can run faster and longer that at least half of the zombie horde, I don’t see a strong reason to focus on this.
Accuracy
I would rate this as second highest in terms of importance. Since they are not blasters, your weapons will rely on your skill in throwing them to be useful. A sock grenade is only as useful as the arm that is throwing it. If you are very good at pegging zombies with a single sock grenade, it also allows you to conserve even more ammo, rather than having to throw multiple socks at one zombie to stun it (although it is very fun to do)
Mentality/Stealth
The number one important aspect of playing a sock ninja. Now why is it that mentality and stealth are together? It is because they coincide. If you are panicking the situation is more likely to escalate against you rather than in your favor. A panicked sock ninja is more likely to waste his supply, scream like a banshee (especially worse in group situations), and blow his/her cover. If you want to play s sock ninja, you must have an inner calm.

Sock Ninja Tactics

This section will be broken into three parts: large, small, and solo tactics. Sock ninjas shine in many situations, but do note that there are no true living heroes in a zombie apocalypse. Don't let one epic moment determine your entire playstyle, it will lower your chances of remaining alive later on.
Large Groups (Total 5-more)
If you want/need to work in a large group, say for a mission or otherwise, good positions are in the back or sides: Even more so if your group has a good mix of blasters and melee. Your throwing skills will lend best when keeping zombies from hitting the shooters from a blind spot. An alternate tactic would be to work as a scout, moving with the group but a few yards ahead. This way you can help them avoid large groups of zombies and keep from getting overwhelmed. However, always be ready to break off from the group. Normally there will be a lot of talking, yelling, and overall loud sounds in large groups, which is good for communication, but bad for mentality and stealth. Should things go south do not be afraid to split off to avoid getting tagged. Better to run and fight another round that fight and die.
Small Groups (2-4)
A good place for a sock ninja to be inserted. Small groups tend to be more mobile than larger groups and can carry just the right amount of ammo needed to hold their own. If you are a sock ninja in a group, keep your head on a swivel. You won't have as many people to keep an eye on your surroundings, and more people that are alive with you, the better. Alternatively, you can also do the same and work as a scout, although in this case you can also work as bait for smaller zombie concentrations, luring them away from the group and meeting up later or bringing them to the group for a quick stun.
Solo
Probably the strongest and weakest tactic for sock ninjas. You can be very mobile, but you are also at your most vulnerable. This particular playstyle is where I must stress mentality and stealth the most. If you play solo you can most likely avoid many confrontations with large groups of zombies if you play smart. In this case don't be afraid if the situation goes bad to bug out and head towards another group of humans. You only have two arms: Don't think you can take on six zombies if they are within charging distance of you.

Sub Archetype

Sock Assassin (Socks and Melee)
This is the loadout I have used so far at my Humans Vs. Zombies games for the past four gatherings and is the one that has allowed me to live the longest in my HvZ career. While your game rules may vary, I use a large supply of smaller sock grenades (personally dubbed shuriken/shotgun socks) a Nerf Strikeblade (with a slight length modification), and two Zombie Machetes. Throw on an Assassin's Creed hoodie and you've got yourself the assassin of the zombie apocalypse.

Final Notes

The sock ninja is one of many ways of playing Humans Vs. Zombies, but every weapon system is different and every one has its strengths and weaknesses. There is no perfect path to living in HvZ, so don't feel bad if you get tagged. Playing a zombie ninja is just as fun as playing a living ninja. If you want to give this archetype a try in other Nerf games, be sure to check with the games' administrator/moderator(s) to see if it is alright. Other than that enjoy, have fun, and play safe!

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