Finding a Team When You’re Playing Solo

When looking for a team as a National Cyber League (NCL) solo player, the first question you should ask yourself is “What are my Team Game goals?” Defining your goals will help you find a team that is right for you. Three common Team Game goals are having fun, learning, and being competitive.

Team Goals

Finding a team that is there to have a good time competing in NCL is a great goal. After all, some of the best NCL memories are made laughing with your teammates.

If you love to troll, if “accuracy is meaningless” is your motto, or you get a kick out of “Rick-Rolling” other players with your team name, then a lighthearted, fun NCL team might be for you.

Placing learning as your top priority is a noble goal of the Team Game, whether you are looking to learn or share your knowledge with others. Teams that focus on learning often have members of mixed skill levels where everyone is willing to share what they have learned. This is one of the best Team Game goals for newer players because, it can help you expand your knowledge very quickly.

So, you want to join a team that will be fighting for a top spot? Well, you are in luck because every season there are high-ranking solo NCL players who are looking to fill out a winning roster. Some competitive oriented teams may be choosy over who to invite. Do not let that discourage you, because if you are looking for a competitive team, chances are there is a team looking to pick up a competitive-minded player like you.

Once you have decided what type of team you are looking for, you now need to gather that team. There are two main ways to start or join a team as a solo player, the Cyber Skyline Slack or university and local cyber clubs.

Slack Teams

The most popular method for finding a team as a solo player is the #ncl-team-search channel on the Cyber Skyline Slack server. Every season, there are many players who are searching for a team to join in this Slack channel. Typically, you will find posts from teams looking to fill out a roster or solo players listing their goals and searching for a team. Most team posts will ask for players with certain skill sets and category specializations. If you find a post by a team that sounds right for you, contact the original poster and ask to join their team. If you post, be sure to include your Team Game goals and your favorite categories in the channel, team captains may approach you to join their team. Lastly, don’t be afraid to start your own team. Even as a solo player, you can start a team and invite others who are looking to find a team for the game.

Here are some good posts from the Fall 2019 season:

Looking to join a team that focuses on learning instead of ranks. I'm a first-time player, ranked around 700s in the silver bracket. I want to learn about web application and enumeration. Completed more than 70% on password cracking and cryptography.
Hey everyone, I'm looking for a team to work and learn with. I don't know everything but I want to share and learn. I placed 475 overall and was in silver bracket.
If anyone would like to join our team (we currently have 2 including myself and are in gold bracket), we would love to have anyone of any experience. We aren't particular, just doing the team game for fun.

Local Groups

An alternate method of finding a team is to ask people in your area who may be interested in cybersecurity. This could be your university IT professors, fellow students, members of IT clubs, or your friends. One of the advantages of finding a team locally is that the team is likely to meet in-person for the Team Game. If you are at a college or university, there may already be an NCL team on campus that is looking for more members; you’ll never know if you don’t ask. You can also search your area for cybersecurity or IT clubs and reach out to see if they compete in NCL. Additionally, you can ask any cyber-enthusiasts you know if they are registered for NCL and would like to form a team.

Reaching out and asking others about joining an NCL team may seem daunting at first, but there are many ways to find a team and participating in the NCL Team Game is one of the most rewarding parts of competing in the NCL Games. The Team Game promotes communication, leadership, and collaboration skills. Having an NCL Scouting Report from the Team Game is a great way to show potential employers that you know how to work in a team.

Lastly, no matter what team you join, the NCL Team Game is always a great experience, so remember to learn and share what you can with your teammates and always have fun doing it!

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