Matt Pryor
Matt Pryor
Matt is a graduate of Southern New Hampshire University. He appreciates all esports titles but primarily focuses on Fortnite and Call of Duty. Matt continuously analyzes gameplay and plays the games himself to better understand in-game decisions by the best players in the world.

Fortnite: Arena Mode Explained - Hype, Bus Fare, Storm Surge, Divisions & More

A series of ranked icons from Fortnite's arena mode appear on a purple background. The text "Fortnite Arena Mode Explained" is shown atop and below them.
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ESTNN breaks down Fortnite’s Arena Mode and provides prospective players a guide to follow.


Competitive Fortnite Battle Royale is objectively one of the most complex esports on the circuit today. While other genre titles like PUBG and Apex Legends follow a similar formula, Fortnite has many factors to consider before diving into the chaos. After Epic Games released their iconic Battle Royale title in 2017, the phenomenon began. Fortnite transcended all games before it and captured the interest of the entire world. As fate would have it, competitive Fortnite became a driving force for those who wanted more than just public matches.

Fortnite’s competitive landscape underwent many changes and adjustments over time. Eventually, the developers released Arena Mode as a separate playlist geared more toward competitive players. Today, ESTNN will address many of Arena Mode’s most important parts and give readers with some tangible to reference.

What is Arena Mode?

Epic Games introduced Arena Mode in Chapter 1 - Season 7 for willing players to dip their toes into the competitive Fortnite. The Arena playlist became the go-to for players who wanted to test their building, aiming, editing and rotating abilities against opponents in their designated region. Players could now understand specific mechanics available only in competitive Fortnite like Storm Surge, Siphon and moving zones. Arena Mode also grants access to higher-level tournaments like Cash Cups and the game’s flagship Fortnite Champion Series (FNCS) competitions. Players must progress through a ranking system to reach these incentives.

Ranking & Point System Explained

Three blue and gold icons appear as the ranked emblems for Fortnite's Arena mode, with the point requirements below them. In the background is Misty Meadows from Fortnite.

Arena Mode’s ranking and point system can be confusing to newer players on the scene. The developers reworked the Arena Mode point system in Season X, which has held steady since then. There are three leagues in Arena Mode - Open, Contender and Champion. Players start their journey in Open League and must accumulate “Hype” points each game to progress through the various divisions. Those points come from eliminations and placement per game.

Once reaching Champion League, players become eligible for Fortnite’s in-game monetarily prized tournaments. All rankings reset every season, at which point the grind starts all over again. Fortnite Chapter 2 - Season 6 offers three Arena Modes - Solo, Duo and Trio. Here is a comprehensive breakdown of the different divisions and point values in each of those:

Solo

  • Open League: Divisions 1-4
  • Point Threshold: 0 - 1,499 Hype Points
  • Bus Fare (Match Start): 0 points (Division 1-3), -10 points (Division 4)
  • Reach Top 25: 60 points
  • Reach Top 15: 30 points
  • Reach Top 5: 30 points
  • Victory Royale: 60 points
  • Each Elimination: 20 points

Contender League: Divisions 5-7

  • Point Threshold: 1,500 - 5,999 Hype Points
  • Bus Fare (Match Start): -20 points (Division 5), -30 points (Division 6), -40 points (Division 7)
  • Reach Top 25: 60 points
  • Reach Top 15: 30 points
  • Reach Top 5: 30 points
  • Victory Royale: 60 points
  • Each Elimination: 20 points

Champion League: Divisions 8-10

  • Point Threshold: 6,000+ Hype Points
  • Bus Fare (Match Start): -60 points (Division 8-9), -70 points (Division 10)
  • Reach Top 25: 60 points
  • Reach Top 15: 30 points
  • Reach Top 5: 30 points
  • Victory Royale: 60 points
  • Each Elimination: 20 points

Duo

  • Open League: Divisions 1-4
  • Point Threshold: 0 - 1,499 Hype Points
  • Bus Fare (Match Start): 0 points (Division 1-3), -10 points (Division 4)
  • Reach Top 12: 60 points
  • Reach Top 7: 30 points
  • Reach Top 3: 30 points
  • Victory Royale: 60 points
  • Each Elimination: 10 points

Contender League: Divisions 5-7

  • Point Threshold: 1,500 - 5,999 Hype Points
  • Bus Fare (Match Start): -20 points (Division 5), -30 points (Division 6), -40 points (Division 7)
  • Reach Top 12: 60 points
  • Reach Top 7: 30 points
  • Reach Top 3: 30 points
  • Victory Royale: 60 points
  • Each Elimination: 10 points

Champion League: Divisions 8-10

  • Point Threshold: 6,000+ Hype Points
  • Bus Fare (Match Start): -60 points (Division 8-9), -70 points (Division 10)
  • Reach Top 12: 60 points
  • Reach Top 7: 30 points
  • Reach Top 3: 30 points
  • Victory Royale: 60 points
  • Each Elimination: 10 points

Trio

  • Open League: Divisions 1-4
  • Point Threshold: 0 - 1,499 Hype Points
  • Bus Fare (Match Start): 0 points (Division 1-3), -10 points (Division 4)
  • Reach Top 8: 60 points
  • Reach Top 4: 30 points
  • Reach Top 2: 30 points
  • Victory Royale: 60 points
  • Each Elimination: 7 points

Contender League: Divisions 5-7

  • Point Threshold: 1,500 - 5,999 Hype Points
  • Bus Fare (Match Start): -20 points (Division 5), -30 points (Division 6), -40 points (Division 7)
  • Reach Top 8: 60 points
  • Reach Top 4: 30 points
  • Reach Top 2: 30 points
  • Victory Royale: 60 points
  • Each Elimination: 7 points

Champion League: Divisions 8-10

  • Point Threshold: 6,000+ Hype Points
  • Bus Fare (Match Start): -60 points (Division 8-9), -70 points (Division 10)
  • Reach Top 8: 60 points
  • Reach Top 4: 30 points
  • Reach Top 2: 30 points
  • Victory Royale: 60 points
  • Each Elimination: 7 points

What is Bus Fare?

Bus Fare exists as a proverbial entrance fee into Arena matches beyond Open League Division 3. It is the only aspect of Arena Mode where players can lose points. Bus Fare increases as players progress through the ranks and reach -70 points in Champion League Division 9.

Storm Surge

Competitive Fortnite features many discernible differences from public matches. One of those is Storm Surge, a mechanic designed by Epic Games to urge fights and caution against passive gameplay. Arena Mode players need to deal enough damage to stay above a certain threshold to cover themselves during each game. Those who slip below the Storm Surge threshold will receive 25 damage every ten seconds until they can deal more damage or a pre-determined number of players fall in the lobby. Storm Surge begins during the third zone if the match reaches all of those pre-requisites.

This mechanic typically only applies to tournament lobbies with a lot of players. Here are the Storm Surge player counts you’ll want to know:

  • Third Zone - 70 players remaining
  • Fifth Zone - 50 players remaining
  • All Remaining Zones - 30 players remaining

Siphon

Siphon is another notable mechanic available only in the Siphon Limited-Time Mode (LTM) and Arena Mode. This feature grants a health bonus to players who earn an elimination. It can be helpful in situations where there are no other healing options available.

Material Cap

Standard Fortnite matches allow players to carry 999 wood, metal and brick. That same notion does not apply to Arena Mode. Instead, the Arena material cap is 500 of each type, meaning players can only have 1,500 materials at any given point.

Moving Zones

A Fortnite map showing a moving zone in Arena mode, with most of the map covered in purple with lines through it.

Competitive Fortnite has moving storm zones after the fourth closes. When the map reveals zone five, players will notice that it moves into the storm as shown above. When time ticks down, the zone will start moving, which forces competitors to stay ahead while avoiding storm damage. At this stage in the match, the storm deals ten damage per second. Moving zones continue until all players fall or zone nine closes. Once the ninth zone closes, there is no escaping the storm and matches often come down to a heal-off, where the person with more healing items takes the win.

This article should act as your guide to competitive Fortnite and Arena Mode. We will update this guide with more critical information.

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