What follows is a brief rundown of the three game types which are allowed to players on Xbox Live and various ways of coping with them.
This game type would be more aptly named “Last Man Standing” as it makes little difference how many of your opponents you damage or eliminate, the survivor is declared the winner, and each other player is awarded a loss. You do however earn more credits to spend at the shop if you knock out another player or two. An advantage to playing this game type over the others is that it can be a lot more challenging. But Battle Royale’s greatest asset is that it gives you the chance to meet and talk to more players than the other game types do, and the atmosphere is usually pretty friendly. Because the four players involved will likely have vastly different arsenals and strategies, these games can also be highly unpredictable, and therefore pretty fun.
Built to last
This is where having a few balanced arsenals can really pay off. Defense skills which erase the attacks they block can strongly discourage individual players from attacking you. Including some long ranged attack skills can keep you out of the mix and still dealing damage. And an environmental erase skill can be a lifesaver. In a four-way game, there is often at least one player using stat boosts such as Heat or Acquisition, but these can backfire horribly if anyone has Armaros or any other stat reversal skill.
The long haul
Because the objective here is to outlive everyone else, you will notice that most players are much more cautious, and those who remain reckless never go the distance. It is sometimes a waiting game to see who makes the first move and how the other players respond. Thus for the first minute or two of this game most players do not venture far from their spawn. During that period, take the opportunity to get yourself set up with a high enough level to spit out your favorite attack while keeping ready a defense skill for the inevitable attacks headed your way. But be wary of burning through your skills and aura too quickly. In a Battle Royale there are often enough one or more players with erase skills waiting to cut down everyone’s level or destroy other player’s freshly spawned skill capsules.
Play smart, not brutally. For two players to gang up and beat down a weaker player makes no sense for either of them. Neither isn’t but the slightest bit closer then to being the victor. And just how much encouragement do you think the new player will have to continue playing if he is the first one defeated each and every match? It makes much more sense for players to watch carefully for the first couple minutes and figure out which among them is the strongest or in the best shape, and there is no shame whatsoever in everyone eliminating the biggest threat first. Along this reasoning, if you see a weaker player boldly chasing down a stronger one, don’t shoot the poor sap in the back. Watch and see how it pans out for the two of them, or give the little guy a helping hand. After all, when the bigger of the two threats is eliminated, you should be able to quickly turn against and dispose of the lesser one.
Use every advantage you have. Effectively utilizing your surroundings can make all the difference in proving whether you are the butcher or the beef. Duck behind a fence or stack of crates when someone fires an Ice Lance at you. Get under an overpass or stairway when a Killer Satellite gets a bead on you. If you are either diagonally above or below your opponent, lob a few Big Bombs in his direction. Watching your back is crucial in a Battle Royale, and keeping it to the wall can be to your advantage. It can be dangerous putting yourself down a dead end alley or deep into a corner, but doing so while two or more players are after you with Psycho Blades can keep them hitting each other as often as hitting you. I would not however advise tucking yourself back into a corner to hide and snipe. You will be found, and keep in mind that many attacks can penetrate walls and other obstacles. So you can still be attacked by players you cannot see. The number one rule of this game is to never, never, never stop moving, but this goes double for when you are out in the open.
In a one on one game, players test their cunning against but a single opponent. One of the advantages to playing this game type over the others is that, by comparison, these games are usually finished very quickly. In a 30 minute period, you may be able to play as many as eight or ten games, that is if neither player is interested in stalling. Another big advantage to this game type is that so long as both players are of about the same ability level, they each have a 50/50 shot at winning.
When fighting against only one other player, the best arsenals are often extremely focused or themed and consist of a good percentage of low aura cost skills. Close range attacks like the Flame Sword at the very start of the match can be decisive if your opponent was not lucky enough to come up with a defense skill in his opening hand. For this reason, some players use an Excalibur / Bravery Decision arsenal. Another effective arsenal is that which contains little to no aura and many zero aura cost skills. You also might be able to get away with using more status altering abilities such as Frostbite or Speed Up. Whatever your theme, push it as far in that direction as possible, and you can often lock your opponent down solid.
Though not every player uses environment altering skills in each of their arsenals, they each should have some means of erasing those laid by their opponents. This is even more critical in a One-on-One match as players do not have the luxury of up to two allies which may each themselves have one or more environmental erase skills at their disposal. With that said, environmental effects can be game breakers, and using them on occasion may certainly be to your advantage. Now, when both players in a One-on-One match are using said skills, it becomes a race to see which of them can set theirs down first. Only one environmental skill can be in play at a time, and attempting to cast a new one must be preempted with the removal of the older one or the new one will simply evaporate as you set it down. You can of course remove the skill in play with an erase skill, but you may easily be able to walk over and simply eat it like an aura capsule. If you can stand on a surface, elevated or otherwise, and have the environmental crystal highlight in your skill description box, then you can reach it and dispose of it. If you cannot get to it without jumping or falling past it then don’t even bother; they cannot be plucked from the air. “Well how did they get there in the first place?” Good question, as you can no more place an environmental effect in the air than you can grab one from it. Experienced players will look for a sufficiently elevated and destructible surface on which to jump to, land on, or walk to and place the skill. They then get off that surface and destroy it with an attack skill and viola, a floating environmental crystal. A slightly less secure way of setting up an environmental effect is by flying to an otherwise unreachable platform with a skill like Skywalk and placing it there. In a future installment of this guide we will discuss the various stages in some detail and look at the ideal locations for placing environmental effects.
What are you waiting for?
From the start gun, you should be playing aggressively. If you have a decent start hand, take a couple of practice swings at your opponent. If those pan out in your favor, lay into him even harder. As you only have one opponent, you don’t need to worry about getting shot in the back, so make your move already.
A Tag Team match is one in which up to four players are able to split their number between an “A” and a “B” team and see which of them can get on best together. Usually these battles are two-on-two affairs, but two-on-one or three-on-one are not out of the question. Launching one like this though against an unwary and outnumbered player is just bad form. Obviously the main draw for a Tag Team match is the chance to play with a friend of yours rather than only against him. And if the teams are of equal skill, like in a one-on-one match, they each have a 50/50 shot at winning.
If you have a buddy with whom you enjoy playing, why not partner up? The trick is arranging things days ahead of time. Though not essential, it is very much in a team’s favor to have complementary arsenals. You might try some in which you use environmental effects such as Reduce Entropy to restrain the skill uses of the opposing team but which do not adversely affect your partner. If you like using rain attacks, have your partner use Frighten to ensure that those attacks make contact. Or you could try targeting your partner with stat or level boosts and letting him take point with some beefy but costly attack skills (make sure that you have set the details to enable partner lock in this case). Figure what play strategies might work best for the two of you with those arsenals before entering the match, and when you do start battling, things should ideally go smoother than butter on silk.
To work effectively as a team you must let one another know exactly what you are doing, when you are doing it, and why. Knowing things about your partner’s status can be quite useful as well, such as if he is at a high enough level yet to use his attack or defensive skills, and just what that environment skill that he is holding is going to do. You can also shout out warnings about what the other team has or are preparing to do, such as, “Oh crap, he’s got Excalibur!” or “Heads-up. They are both headed your way.” It should go without saying that desperately calling for help is sometimes in order and that when one player is knocked out, he should relay his coordinates to his teammate. You can revive a KO’d teammate by stepping on his immobile body and hitting any of your skill buttons. You will pick him up exactly like picking up a skill capsule, and by hitting the same button once more you will bring him back to life. He will reappear in his spawn area with a new life cap half his previous one. There is no way for players to heal themselves above their life cap.
To get the most out of your efforts, you must concentrate them in one of several ways. Various strategies can be employed, and all have their upsides and downsides. It can be easy to gang up against an opponent and leave him for dead, only to have his teammate run over and revive him. You could set a mine up on the body and then chase after the other player together, or you could stay behind to guard the body while your partner chases the other player down. It is also sometimes a good idea to bring both opponents down to but just a few HPs before dealing either one of them a final blow; this way it will be much harder for them to revive one another as you should be able to kill them within a few second of one another. If using erase skills, you might concentrate most of your efforts on one player, and when he is sufficiently screwed, turn your attentions on his teammate. Just make sure that your actions compliment those of your partner. It can be a real bad idea to run up to the opposing team in the hopes of taking each of them out with your Mist Blade while your partner is running back to his spawn to restock.