On Friday, the second half of the Secret Skirmish was played. The tournament, which featured randomly paired duos on day 1, finished off with a six-game solo competition with $400,000 in prize money on day 2. All players who participated in the duo portion of the tournament also competed in the solo event.
If you missed the duos event and wanted to catch up on some of the incredible action that happened Thursday afternoon, you can check out my recap of the duos event here (link).
Rule Adjustments - 7.40
The morning of the tournament, Epic released the highly-anticipated 7.40 patch. The patch, which fixed many of the glaring issues in the competitive Fortnite scene, is highlighted below:
Hand Cannon/RPG Combo Nerfed - For more than a month, the meta of competitive Fortnite had been to loot both a hand cannon and an RPG, creating an unstoppable combination of material breaking power and splash damage. To combat the combo, Epic lowered the structural damage of the hand cannon and limited the RPG drops to only supply drops for the legendary variant and vending machines for the epic variant.
Clingers Replace Grenades - Brought back after being vaulted for two months, the clinger was a staple of competitive Fortnite in the Summer Skirmish. The clinger is less effective now, and it will be interesting, to see how often players pick up clingers in competitive matches.
Infantry Rifle - The “headline” news of the 7.4 patch, the new Infantry “M1 Garand” Rifle looks to be a cross between the heavy AR and the hunting rifle. The weapon comes in common, uncommon, and rare variants and does 41,43,45 damage respectively. The weapon also features the fastest ADS to first shot accuracy of any gun, making it a good weapon to switch to quickly and get off an accurate shot.
Pop-up Cup rules added the Default Playlists - While the Infantry Rifle headlined the update, the most critical aspect of the update from a competitive standpoint was the introduction of four rule changes from past pop-up cups:
- Players receive a 50 health point boost with each enemy killed
- Eliminated players drop 50 of each material upon death
- 500 material cap on all materials
- Planes can no longer break through structures
For a more detailed look at the 7.4 update and how those changes affect competitive Fortnite going forward, click here.
Tournament Rules and Info
The point system of the Secret Skirmish was as follows:
+1 point for every kill after 7 eliminations
The solo event kicked off with MonsterDFace as a guest commentator. MonsterD has competed in past skirmishes and offered great insight to why players made certain decisions based on the situations they were in.
Roatdw, a player who had only competed in the Winter Royale before this weekend, lead off game 1 with five quick eliminations before half of the lobby was gone. He was taken out just as early but walked away with solid 2 points.
Aspect and Armond each had seven kills apiece thanks to their usage of the heavy sniper, a weapon that saw a lot more usage in the solos event than in the duos. Both players used the heavy sniper to quickly break down walls on healing opponents and jump into their box before they had time to react, then switching to another weapon and finishing the opponent off.
72hrs ended up in a great position to win, as he had absolute high ground over the rest of the lobby. He used his height and health to his advantage, waiting for Armond to make a mistake and quickly capitalized when he did with a quick shotgun shot that ended game 1 for good.
Game 2 featured the reemergence of Butter, the player who was not even supposed to play in the tournament but earned a spot by showing the commentators his skills after testing the servers. Butter, a great story but not a professional Fortnite player, lasted until the top 15 in game 2 and hit a nice heavy snipe late game to earn his third and final elimination of game 2.
With four players left, Pearl had established a great position on the rest of the lobby, and the result was similar to the last game. Like 72hrs, Pearl waited for the final players (Psalm, Kyzui, and Pate1k) on low ground to take each other out and patiently cleaned up the scraps.
Game 3 end game was located where greasy grove used to be, which is now an icy lake that when stepped on freezes the feet of players, limiting their movement ability and putting them at a significant disadvantage against players who haven’t touched the ice.
Tfue was having a great game, having already earned himself a point with his three eliminations and in great position sitting built up atop center of the circle. As quickly as he was praised by Zeke for being in such good position, he was hit with a heavy sniper shot and then spammed with the grenade launcher, falling to his death.
Vicaros had one of the best plays of the solo event, editing vivid down from a story above within the final minutes of the game to secure one of his seven kills of the match.
Like games of the past, the player who held the high ground in the final circle generally had the best shot of winning the game. This time it was Saf, the co-winner of the duos event who maintained his high ground for the remainder of the match and took out Vicaros to win the third game of the event.
One of the best parts of competitive Fortnite is that each skirmish, new players who have not been given a chance to compete on the national stage are given the opportunity to play at the premier level of competitive Fortnite. Ghost Aydan went from an unknown to the king of 1v1 wagers after his performance at PAX West. This week it was Kyzuis turn, as he showed the world his skills with this succession of kills on his way to 7 total and a fifth-place finish.
The game ended in a 1v1 between Vivid and Blootea. Vivid had the high ground and health advantage but was out of materials. He dropped to the low ground, a smart play if you are entirely out of mats, and baited Blootea into attempting to challenge him. As soon as Blootea dropped, Vivid was ready, as the two exchanged shotgun blasts with Vivid coming out as the game 4 winner.
For the third game in a row, the broadcast began at Junk Junction, as both Vivid and Marksman had consistently been landing at the location. The two battled it out, with Vivid winning the editing battle and emoting after he took out Marksman. It was not the only use of emotes on Friday, as Thwifo used the "Take the L" after killing multiple opponents.
The game finished in a battle between Tfue and Bizzle, both ranked within the top 3 in my Fortnite Top 55. Tfue attempted to shoot Bizzle out from high ground, but the veteran was able to land without taking fall damage and sprayed down Tfue to win the fifth game of the event.
Game 6 featured one of the most impressive kills of the day. Jcudi, who had only 50 health points, killed a full-health XXIF by sticking him with two clingers.
Roatdw was again having a great game, with five eliminations and what looked like a great chance to win the final game of the day. Instead, he let his nerves get to him as he missed an easy shotgun shot as well as a few edits on his way to being eliminated for the final time on Friday.
The final match of the skirmish ended with Bizzle running out of mats, dropping to the low ground and slaying the final two players on his way to a second victory Royale in a row. To kill the remaining opponent, Bizzle shot out the wood stair that would have caught the falling Vinn1x and potentially changed the result of the match and the tournament.
Observations and Themes
- Heavy Sniper replaces Hand Cannon - Players complained so much about the hand cannon that Epic was forced to nerf the weapon on the morning of the tournament, making it virtually unusable in competitive Fortnite. As a result, players in both the duo and solo events turned to the heavy sniper as an alternative to the hand cannon. In duos, teams would carry both the heavy sniper and RPG, with each player carrying one, in order to use the two as the hand cannon and RPG were used in the past. In the solo event, players seemingly ditched the hand cannon and RPG completely. Players instead carried the heavy sniper in order to quickly break walls. Instead of timing the RPG shot, players simply used the heavy sniper to break the wall of a base and then hop inside and kill the surprised player with their shotgun.
- No Planes in Solos - While a few teams used the new, nerfed planes in the duos event, planes went untouched in the solos event. Solo players seemingly felt that planes are now not useful in solos, as they are not effective enough anymore to make up for the target they put on your back, especially in solo events.
- High Ground wins Solo Events - As you probably learned from the game recaps, high ground proved to be more important than normal on Friday. Nearly all of the winners of the solo games controlled high ground when there were under five players left in the game. This is not a surprise and is directly related to the hand cannon nerf. The hand cannon of the past allowed for low ground players to quickly shoot out players in high ground and reset the fight quickly. This is not a possibility anymore, or at least right now, and low ground players paid the price for not anticipating the importance of high ground in competitive Fortnite after the hand cannon nerf on Friday.
- Infantry Rifle Ineffective - Very few players were seen with the new infantry rifle in their inventories on Thursday, a sign that many players do not feel like the weapon is a viable option in competitive play. This is not a big surprise, as the gun is seemingly a unique addition to the game and was not necessarily meant to be one of the stronger weapons in the game, only coming in common, uncommon, and rare variants.
Coming soon I will release an updated list of rankings with the results of the Secret Skirmish included in the algorithm. Also, be on the lookout for a stock report on some of the biggest names in competitive Fortnite based on how they played this past week, only on ESTNN.