Duel might look similar to normal deathmatch for the unexperienced player, but it is a very different playstyle. The main skills are strategic play, prediction and timing opposed to Free For All, where the main skills are aiming and guarding important areas, aka camping.
Although the maps played in duel are very different there is a general scheme in every map, because except Grinder every popular duel-map has every weapon, 1 pair of pads, 1 armor and 1 shield. It is always about denying your opponent access to the defensive items, mainly armor and shield. There are 2 reasons why you should want to do that. You keep your opponents health down and yours up.
Thatīs why in duel itīs not so much about getting frags, itīs about armor and shield control. Once youīve got that the frags will come alone.
The best way to control both at once is to stay at the armor until about 15-10 seconds before the shield respawns. Then you have to get shield and get back to the armor before the next armor respawns. In order to do that you need a very good shield timing, this is probably one of the most important skills in duels. I will explain some timing tricks later.
This strategy requires the armor to be out of sync with the shield. You donīt want the armor to respawn just as the shield respawns, so you shouldnīt always take the armor immediately. If you wait until 15 seconds before the shield respawns you have 15 seconds to get the shield and 15 seconds to get back to the armor, which is more than enough time in most maps.
Of course it isnīt easy to control both armor and shield, because your opponent will try to get at least one of them. Furthermore in most maps there are only 2-3 ways from armor to shield, so itīs easy to get ambushed and with UTīs strong weapons your armor advantage is usually gone with 1 hit, so you have to be very careful when going from armor to shield.
Even if you made it to the shield you still wonīt be safe, because unlike armor the shield is very accessible in most duel maps, so you canīt really defend it for long. Thatīs why your shield timing has to be as exact as possible.
If your opponent is low on health after the shield attack you can try to get a frag, but you shouldnīt forget about armor. The best time to try making a frag is between the 2 armor respawns, because you have 27,5 seconds time before you have to return.
Here is a short illustration that should help you to understand what I am talking about: