A guide to combat building in Fortnite

The Fortnite Battle Royale meta has evolved significantly since the game's release in September 2017.
A guide to combat building in Fortnite
During the first few weeks, people avoided building wherever possible – nobody had nailed down the mechanics, and the most you’d see is staircases up the sides of mountains and buildings. Since then, Epic Games have introduced the Builder Pro control scheme to allow players to build much quicker and more fluidly. Now, combat building factors in a whole lot more, with almost every close range fight turning into a battle of the buildings as both players compete for the height advantage. But combat building is still a tricky skill to get to grips with. To make it a little bit easier, I've put together this short guide on how to best use buildings to score those victory royales.

Harvest enough materials

This first step seems obvious, but it’s easily forgotten when you’re in the middle of a game: as soon as you find a weapon, you need to gather materials. Nearly every house will have cupboards, wardrobes and tables that can all be destroyed in one hit for 4-6 materials each. So you'll want to get into the habit of swinging at everything you can inside buildings when you’re looting, followed by taking down trees before entering highly populated areas. Wood is the best material to use in a battle as it completes the quickest. Aim to have at least 300 wood before engaging in a fight in the open.


Use walls and floors to protect your stairs

The main way to push someone and gain height advantage is to rush them with a single staircase, building as you run. As it’s only supported by one piece at ground level, though, the staircase can be shot out easily. So get into the habit of building a wall, followed by a floor underneath your staircase as you run. That means your stairway to heaven will take double or triple the amount of time to shoot out, and by the time it does come down, you should be pumping shotgun shells into their face anyway.


Use the Builder Pro button layout (on console)

Thanks to the Builder Pro control scheme, players with a controller can almost reach the speeds possible on PC, making combat building a whole lot easier Circle/B brings up the building menu as usual, but each of the four pieces is assigned to a button on the top of your controller. Pressing the left trigger once will select a staircase, followed by the left trigger again to place it. If you want to use the tactic for the walls and floors mentioned in the tip above, simply hit left trigger, right trigger, right bumper in a fluid motion. Having the pieces assigned to these buttons means you can keep your thumb on the right analog stick and look around as normal.


Learn how to edit pieces quickly

Editing pieces can be crucial in the middle of a battle. You can create quick getaways for yourself, catch your opponent by surprise by editing a window so you can shoot them while they hide and heal, and bait players out. There’s a wide range of layouts for wall pieces: learn to use them on the fly they’ll become very useful in a pinch. You can also stay in the edit mode to make your pieces transparent to you only, so you can easily peek through walls without anyone seeing you.


Shoot out their foundation

In the chaos of a build battle, players often get so caught up trying to outbuild their opponent that they forget to actually shoot their gun. This is where common sense can be applied: simply shoot out their structure and let them fall to their death. If a structure doesn’t have a piece connecting it to ground level, it will crumble, so if your opponent has ramped up at you from a distance and is building a maze of stairs and paths above you, try to safely hop to the bottom without them noticing. From there, you can put a few bullets into the weak foundations and send them falling to their death. You may not be credited with the kill every time, but it beats dying, right?