Since "Duke Nukem 3D" the items in first person shooters don´t vanish forever when they are picked up, but they come back after a specific time, which is also called respawning. To deny your opponent access to the items the best thing to do is to be at the place where the item respawns the second it respawns. Because it is always the same time between pickup and respawn you don´t have to rely on luck to achieve that, but you can time the respawns.

                                                 "The armor in Codex respawning"

Here are some respawn times of items you should know:

Item: Seconds:
Shield   55
Armor     27,5
Boots     27,5
Pad     27,5
Ammo   27,5
Vitals   27,5
Health   18,33

There are several methods for timing items.
The most obvious but also least accurate one is timing by your feeling. Although this sort of timing gets better the longer you play you will never be accurate on the second.
A much better method is to use a clock attached to the monitor, a program that times for you, such as a midi timer controlled by the windows hotkeys or someone standing behind you to time the items for you. All of this is certainly a great advantage but it often isn´t allowed in tournaments, so you shouldn´t get used to those methods.
The only solution left is to use the gametime, which is shown at the bottom in the scoreboard. There you can always see the remaining time in the game. So you just have to look at the time when picking up an item and you can calculate when it will respawn.
If you pick up the shield at 8:30 for example, then it will respawn at 7:35. To make it easier you can leave away the minutes and just memorize the seconds, because only the powerups Damage Amplifier and Invisibility have respawn times longer than a minute and duels are played without powerups.
Only looking at the seconds also makes the calculation a bit easier. Instead of substracting 55 seconds you can just add 5 seconds and you´ve got the respawn time.

                                                                  "next shield at 54"

The shield is the only item I am timing on the second in duels, because I just can´t memorize different times at once and most of the time I don´t even have to. The only things worth timing besides the shield are armor and boots. Because you will guard the armor most of the match you won´t need to time it. And because boots have the same respawn time as armor you only have to pick up armor, then immediately pick up boots and the next time the armor respawns you know that the boots will also respawn soon.

You should be aware that when playing without timelimit the remaining time is replaced by elapsed time, so you have to substract 5 seconds instead of adding them.

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