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Halo Infinite’s Players Love Shooting You After You’re Dead

Is it poor sportsmanship? Good fun? Something else entirely?

We may earn a commission from links on this page.
A Spartan aims a pistol at another Spartan on the Live Fire map in Halo Infinite.
Screenshot: 343 Industries

For years, the teabag has been the go-to competitive Halo taunt: you can condense an entire victory speech within a few seconds. You’ve likely experienced, if not doled out, a teabag at some point while playing Halo Infinite. Possibly you’ve even bought the teabag gun charm for some extra burn. But I’ve noticed a different phenomenon from my opponents that appears to be done purely to brag. But unlike a teabag, the barb only lands after a match is done and the victor is crowned. You also can’t really do much against it.

When you die in Halo Infinite, a camera will hover over your body, showing the match play out from a third-person perspective for a few seconds before you respawn. After you lose a particularly tense firefight (sad trombone), your opponent empties their weapon into your dead body. Sometimes it happens after the end of a game. You’ll lay down your arms, because the match is over. They’ll shoot you dead, even though it has no bearing on the scoreboard whatsoever.

Of course, such behavior has existed in every prior Halo game. But I’ve really started to pick up on it more in Halo Infinite, in no small part due to the game’s postmortem camera, which lasts 10 seconds and offers no way to speed up your revive. (Non-masochists can use the shoulder buttons to tab to third-person views of their teammates.) And I’ve started to wonder: What gives?

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My initial read is that it comes from a place of poor sportsmanship. The teabag is a taunt, near-universal in its intent, a quick way to say, “Gotcha!” But when people start shooting you—either after a mid-match gunfight or in the few seconds of post-match control—the intent is less clear. In many cases, I see it come from a team, or from an individual player, that I’ve been trouncing. There’s the unmistakable sense that I’ve gotten under their skin, to the point where I can almost hear the obscenities through the screen. (I don’t use a mic.) The act of shooting me after I’m dead seems retributive. It’s poor sportsmanship. Obviously.

Or so I thought. You often see people do it in ranked matches, too—not opponents, but your teammates. Since ranked is the only playlist in Halo Infinite that allows for friendly fire, after a match is over, you’ll see teammates shooting each other. No repercussions. No hard feelings. It’s clearly just for kicks. What’s retributive about teammates horsing around?

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So I’ve found myself at somewhat of an impasse, one exacerbated by the fact that I can’t grok any possible strategic angle either, at least for those who do it in the middle of a match. “Teabagging in FPS games is a really bad strategy since it leaves you vulnerable to counterattack,” one researcher who published a study on the science of teabagging told Kotaku in 2017. But the continue-shooting-your-body-after-you’re-already-dead-bag (we can workshop that) is even less of a sound strategy. If you do it in the middle of a game, you’re not just leaving yourself open. You’re also wasting ammo for no good reason!

But the motivation here, at the end of the day, matters not. Whatever the impulse, there’s a non-teabag taunt in Halo Infinite, and it doesn’t seem to be going anywhere any time soon. Now, if only it had a name…

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