Article 1 – Part 1
An In-Depth Guide into the Competitive Scene of 2020 Brawl Stars – Today’s Focus: Tanks
Preface: Welcome to Article 1 of my series, “An In-Depth Guide into the Competitive Scene of 2020 Brawl Stars.” In Article 1 I dissect every Brawler currently in the game by grouping them into “Brawler Classes” and breaking down each Class’s roles and impact in game. Today’s focus (Part 1) is on the Tank class of Brawl Stars! Please leave any thoughts, feelings, or suggestions in the comments below!
TL;DR: Skip over the next two paragraphs [to “Brawler Classes”] if you only wish to read the content related to this article’s title.
Learning Your Brawler(s): The first pillar of Brawl Star’s triple-dimension structure. Before we dive into the different maps and game modes of Brawl Stars, we have to start with what makes Brawl Star’s just like any other game – Learning your character! Let me give an example of why this is the first and MOST IMPORTANT part of any live-action game. If you cannot aptly control your character, which I will refer to as Brawler mechanics for the rest of this Series, then you will never become a good player. Even if you have a perfect understanding of all of the different maps and the best team compositions to use, not being able to stay alive in a game or aim without auto assist (Auto Aim) will place you so far behind the pack that the game will be frustrating to you and to your teammates. So with that being said, the first step to becoming a skilled Brawl Stars player is understanding WHAT YOUR BRAWLER does, and WHAT THEIR JOB is based on their kit.
Unique Kits: For those of you that don’t know, a “kit” is the gamer word to refer to a heroes’ characteristics, skills, moves, or abilities that separate them from any other character. This is undoubtedly Brawl Stars’ most simple-and-refreshing game aspect. Every single current Brawler in the game has two “moves,” their auto, or basic attack, and their super. Some Brawlers have Star Powers that may enhance a mechanic, but there are only two ability buttons in the game, period. Thankfully this makes it easier to break down and separate the Brawler types, which if you are still reading we will get into now!
Brawler Class(es): There are 4 Primary classes I am going to assign all 32 Brawlers to. This is similar to other MOBAs like League of Legends that have 5 universal roles, but Brawl Stars lacks the “jungle role” due to game design. Additionally, I will break down each Primary class into 2 or 3 sub-classes. Today’s break down is on the Heavier Brawlers of the game! Here we go:
Tanks: Probably the most explanatory of all the classes, a “Tank” is any brawler with a high amount of health (HP.) In Brawl Stars this number is 6000+ HP (this refers to Brawlers at max level 10) This makes the following Brawlers fall into this Primary Category: 8-Bit, Bull, Carl, Darryl, El Primo, Frank, Pam, Rosa. I will also add Shelly and Bibi into this category as their Band-Aid and Batting Stance star powers let them take up to 7040 (Shelly) and 8036 (Bibi) total damage. I separate Tanks into two sub-classes:
Defenders: (Tank Subclass I)
Overview – True to its name, a Defender’s primary job is to defend their allies and objectives. In other MOBAs, a Defender would be the equivalent of roaming support – which are independent enough to protect themselves, but excel when working with a partner. And while similar to the Support class, Defender’s usually lack the utility kit of a support, are not mobile enough to be a true support, and lack passive effect support abilities. Defenders tend to rely more on using attacks or dealing damage to enemies to “support” their allies. They are experts in zoning (a medium skill cap mechanic in which a player uses their kit to prevent or deter an enemy from moving a certain direction or from making an aggressive move,) and ultimately prevent their teammates from suffering potential damage or deaths just by being there. In other words, Defenders prevent or distract their opponents from attacking their allies, and by doing this help their teammates to deal with more damage or secure objectives.
Included Brawlers: (Batting Stance) Bibi, Carl, Frank, Pam, (Shell Shock) Shelly and 8-Bit.
Roles of a Defender: Defenders have two main responsibilities.
Defenders should serve as the barrier between their enemy and ally. This gives Defenders more of a stationary and passive role, as they should never go on offense (aggressing towards the enemy) except in extreme situations like when the enemy team has started the countdown in Gem Grab. Defenders should rarely isolate themselves from their teammates, and instead stay within 2-3 vertical tiles of their nearest teammate at all times. Taking this positioning can also deter enemies from advancing to close to your teammates in their respective lanes, and will you help any long-ranged allies you have to apply more pressure and damage. While playing this role it is CRUCIAL to avoid all damage, so utilize mechanics like wall peeking (firing around corners and retreating to avoid damage) and juking (practicing erratic movement patterns to dodge attacks) in your personal lane matchup. When an enemy does decide to advance on your ally, having full health enables you to intervene in their fight and turn that lane into a very brief 2v1 situation.
A Defender’s second role is to protect their allies and help with objectives. Defenders accomplish this by serving as a shield (body blocking damage from an ally), guarding allies with their defensive based attacks, or by deterring enemies from approaching (as stated in Role 1.) In objective based games such as Gem Grab, Brawl Ball, and Present Plunder (compared to kill based games like Bounty, Heist, and Seige) acting as a shield for an ally can be game-winning. Protect your gem carrier, ball carrier, or gift carrier, when they are in danger or in positions to score. If a goal can be scored or if the gem carrier will die otherwise, sacrificing yourself for them is the go-to play (and as an added benefit they will love you for it!) Save your enemy repelling abilities (Bibi’s home run, Shelly’s super, Frank’s super, Carl’s super) for the opportune play making moment when multiple enemies line up or you can help secure an objective. Holding onto your super as a Defender acts as a constant deterrent for any opponent wishing to approach an exposed ally or objective. A retreated Brawler is a defeated Brawler, and holding an objective (gem spawn) or giving your long-ranged allies some breathing room to operate is worth far more than getting a reckless kill ever can. Overall, play patient and wait for your moment to help your team as a Defender and your win rates will soar!
Synergies: While this list is prone to change based on map selection, Defenders typically excel in compositions including: 1-2 Marksman, 1-2 Snipers, 1 Bruiser, 1 Aggro, 1 Controller, 1-2 Harass, and 0 Utility.
Bruisers: (Tank Subclass II)
Overview – In many MOBAs such as League of Legends and Arena of Valor, there is a common way to build (using item customization to enhance your character’s attributes) and play tanks that allow tank-based characters to be far more aggressive. Brawl Stars is no exception to this archetype known as Bruisers, tanky characters that yield high damage output. Contrary to Defenders, Bruisers are the bully of Brawl Stars that often chase down enemies, pressure opponents, or ambush (waiting in a bush for an enemy to walk into you) opponents. The Bruiser class features high health Brawlers with movement enabling, or kinetic kits and star powers.
Included Brawlers: (Home Run) Bibi, Bull, Darryl, El Primo, Rosa, and (Band-Aid) Shelly.
Roles of a Buiser: Bruisers have two main responsibilities.
Bruisers should typically fill the “Aggro” lane or position in 3v3 maps. An “Aggro” is essentially an aggressive Brawler whose goal is to take an extended position closer to enemy territory, and to then hold the position until a play can be made. These Brawlers excel at winning lane (either killing or forcing an opponent to retreat) by having high DPS, gap closing abilities, or other good dueling traits. After winning a lane or attaining an advantageous position such as cover behind a chokepoint, look for the chance to assist teammates. It is imperative that Bruisers don’t force plays, or they will get punished and either die or lose control of their lane and the objective. When the moment is right, such as when a teammate weakens an enemy or an enemy overextends, look to continue harassing or gank (approaching an opponent from an unexpected direction to trap them between you and your teammates) that exposed individual. Bruisers are often the cavalry in a team-fight, coming in to heavily damage or finish off weakened opponents. Look for any opportunity your teammates give you, and take your chance to strike.
A Bruiser’s secondary role is to pressure or zone the enemy. By taking an easily defended position, Bruisers can destroy the opponent’s rhythm by forcing them back. Bruisers are so threatening by nature, that if they control a choke point they can almost single-handedly Spawn-Trap (not allowing the opposing team outside their spawn by controlling all major exits) the enemy team. Successfully zoning or spawn trapping the opposing team will give your team total control of objectives and let your teammates gain advantageous positioning. On the other hand, if your team is struggling to gain control or if a teammate has just died, it is also the Bruiser’s job to not give ground past a certain point. Compared to a lower health marksman or thrower who must retreat heavily in a 2v3, a bruiser has the close combat skills to maintain middle ground and allow some control to be maintained. Bruisers are essential to successful team fights and for gaining and maintaining team positioning.
Synergies: 1-2 Marksman, 1-2 Snipers, 1 Defender, 1 Aggros, 0 Controllers, 1-2 Harass, 1 Utility.
An In-Depth Guide into the Competitive Scene of 2020 Brawl Stars – Focus: ADCs
Preface: Welcome back to Article 1 – Part 2 of my series, “An In-Depth Guide into the Competitive Scene of 2020 Brawl Stars!” Today I break down and dissect the long-ranged class of Brawl Stars – ADCs, as well as explain their roles and impact in the game. Please comment after you finish reading. I appreciate all thoughts and feedback and personally read every single comment that I get! I hope you enjoy!
TL;DR: Skip over the next four paragraphs to [“ADCs”] if you only wish to read today’s title related content.
Brawler Classification: After reading Part 1, you may be wondering how and why I organized and assigned the 32 Brawlers to the classes that I did. Let me explain my methodology: In Brawl Stars there is a somewhat strange way that the developers assign “type” or “class” to the Brawlers they design. While they maintain a certain level of structure and consistency, the Brawl Stars Dev Team also takes into consideration the unique kit of that specific Brawler. The best example of this is Bibi, whom is classified in game as a “Batter.” True to her character lore and animation, Bibi’s class is very suiting, yet it deviates from Brawl Star’s otherwise consistent Brawler classifications. Here is a list of all the current in-game Brawler classes: Heavyweight, Fighter, Sharpshooter, Thrower, Healer, Batter, Sniper, Dashing Assassin, Skirmisher, Support, Toxic Assassin, and Stealthy Assassin. Most of these are easy to understand groupings, but some (Skirmisher) relay confusing interpretations. This is why I decided to break Article 1 into easier-to-understand groupings, and it also allows me to draw comparisons to the patterns of other MOBAs.
Class Crossover: Here is how I compare the relationships between the in-game Brawler classes and the classes I have created for this series:
Tanks = Heavyweights & Batter (10)
ADCs = Sharpshooters & Snipers (6)
Supports = Healers, Supports, & Throwers (8)
Fighters = Fighters, Skirmishers, & Assassins to an extent (9)
I find it interesting to see the balanced number of brawlers-per-class. This shows the success the Brawl Stars Dev Team has in keeping the meta equal and refreshing.
*Note: I list 8-Bit as a Tank, although he is a hybrid ADC. One could easily change the number of Tanks to (9) and ADCs to (7) because of this*
(Detour aside, let’s get into today’s topic!)
MOBA ADCs vs Brawl Stars ADCs: For those of you whom are unfamiliar, the term “ADC” is short for “Attack Damage Carry.” In MOBAs this typically makes ADCs characters that deal with physical damage (rather than magic damage) such as snipers and sharpshooters. This is where my comparison between Brawl Stars and other MOBAs ends, and here is why: Brawl Stars is unique in the fact that it only has one form of damage – base damage. While there are other damage-related stats like shields (Damage Reduction) or 8-Bits damage-enhancing turret, there is only one form of dealing damage. In other games like League of Legends or Mobile Legends, there are various forms of damage dealing including physical, magic, and true damage. Once again, Brawl Stars has only “hit your opponent and they take damage.” Simple. However; this changes the way Brawlers are classified in Brawl Stars.
ADCs: Rather than being called an attack damage carry because their auto attacks deal physical damage (comparison to other MOBAs for all your TL;DR folks,) an ADC in Brawl Stars is simply a Brawler that has long-range and high DPS. This makes ADCs the true firepower of Brawl Stars. Having potentially team-wiping damage and supers, these Brawlers are also fragile. ADCs in Brawl Stars have low-medium low HP, medium long-long range, and are typically easy to maneuver (fast base movement speeds, kinetic based abilities, etc.) These prerequisites make Colt, Leon, Rico, Bea, Brock, and Piper all fall into this Primary Category.
*Note: As much as 8-Bit appears to be one, he has too much health and is too immobile to be a true ADC and is classified primarily as a Tank instead*
The most important skill to learn to be a successful ADC is survival. Practice and grind mastering techniques like teasing (weaving in and out of corners or from behind an obstacle to bait enemy fire as you heal or reload) and baiting (leading enemies into allies or traps by having low health and instigating a chase.) Secondary mechanics such as wall peeking or dancing (mirroring your target’s movement patterns to land more subsequent shots) will increase your damage output by astounding amounts but are less important than staying alive. To study and work on advanced Brawler mechanics check out this incredible video by KairosTime! I separate ADCs into two sub-classes:
Overview – Marksman are long-ranged brawlers that utilize burst fire patterns (an array or barrage of bullets per attack.) Marksman are aggressive-based backliners that look for every single chance to deal high damage to an enemy. Having slightly more health and better utility (faster speed, invisibility, etc,) marksmen make better duelists than Snipers do and can often go toe-to-toe with Fighters or even Tanks under the right conditions.
Included Brawlers: Colt, Leon, and Rico. This is also 8-Bit’s secondary class.
Roles of a Marksman: Marksman have two major responsibilities:
As previously mentioned, Marksmen have extremely high DPS and should utilize it. Their primary role is to eliminate, damage, or force back their enemies. All Marksman are equipped for killing – Colt has a wall breaking, high damaging super with speed or attack enhancing star powers, Rico has trajectory-based, high DPS attacks with damage and speed enhancing star powers, and Leon has a flank enabling super, high movement speed, and sustain or chase down aiding star powers. With these battle-ready kits, it is a marksman’s primary job to threaten the enemy. Marksman can threaten their opponents in two ways – attacking and positioning. The key to being a top tier Marksman player is making every single attack you fire count for something. Your first goal should always be to threaten, or to force your opponent to either hold position or fall back. Having high DPS, landing even 2 or 3 shots out of your barrage will deal with ample damage to an enemy. Keep pressure on the enemy team with continuous attacks, forcing them back and harassing them so they cannot heal when damaged. This is much easier said than done. As a marksman, you CANNOT die, ever. Because Marksman possess the highest damage per second in the game (tanks are a close second but cannot match the damage of Rico & Colt’s supers) any time wasted respawning is crucial damage and control your team is losing. The only exception to this rule is if you can absolutely guarantee a kill on 2 or more enemies, setting your team up for a crucial objective like scoring a goal or starting the gem grab countdown. Even with Leon’s assassin based style, kill trading is not worth sacrificing the pressure that Marksman impose on the enemy team.
Your second goal, following being a threat, is to damage or kill your enemies. It is imperative to remember that this is your second goal (note my word choice) because you have to refrain from dying. This barrier is what creates perhaps the highest skill cap in the game among players. Anyone that has watched Jack Chepo play Rico knows the sheer devastation he brings upon his enemies. This is due to one extremely difficult thing to master that Chepo has, well, mastered! Recognition. The best players in the world know and can recognize the exact split second they are given an opportunity, and this is the difference between whiffing an entire Colt super or wiping an entire team with Colt’s super. So when and how do you know that you have an opportunity?
Rule number one is to be safe. If there is a chance you die before even finishing your entire super animation, you don’t have an opportunity.
Rule number two is to wait for your enemies to make a mistake. This is the reason Tara can solo carry games, and Marksman should play the same way. Wait for your adversary to overextend, to greedily go for a gem, to try to flank your teammate at the wrong time, etc, and then make your move. Always hold your super for that moment that two or three enemies stack up on one another unless you can GUARANTEE a safe kill.
The final rule is to recognize when a teammate sets you up. The best example I can conjure is when an ally Bo places clever mines that your enemy later steps on. You and your enemy did nothing to create the opportunity; your teammate set it up. Frank, Tara, and Gene are also excellent for setting up teammates. Co-player cooperation, or chemistry, is the golden ticket to playing Brawl Stars at the highest achievable level. It often takes extreme repetition and verbal communication to develop, but once gained having chemistry with your teammates will get you Rank 35 Brawlers, near-perfect Power Play results, or other prestigious accomplishments. Check out some Pro Gameplay from Bobby and OG – who are renowned for their unrivaled chemistry. They are two of North America’s best players and it shows in these leagues.
Takeaway**: Recognition is key.**
Synergies: While this list is prone to change based on the map selection, Marksman typically excels in compositions including: 0-1 Defenders, 1-2 Bruisers, 0-1 Snipers, 0-1 Harass, 0-1 Utility, 0-1 Aggros, 0-1 Control.
Overview – Ah Snipers, the all-time favorite of gamers for their ability to one-shot their opponent from afar. They never see it coming and it never gets old. Mechanically, Snipers differ from Marksmen in their single-shot basic attacks. While still possessing the potential to drop their enemies from full HP to zero HP, Snipers require pinpoint precision and careful positioning to capitalize. Marksman, in comparison, can afford being more forward-moving and aggressive. Snipers are the masters of multi-lane harassment, and also have the unique commodity of having time. That concept sounds confusing to even me, so let me explain: Snipers possess the longest range of all brawlers in the game (tied with throwers,) so with proper positioning, they will always have ample space between themselves and their adversaries. By having more space between yourself and your opponent, you gain increased reaction time to dodge, plan attacks, and to observe (this is a key role to being a top tier sniper that many players don’t understand or do.) Positioning is everything for a Sniper, as having low health and few escape mechanics (excluding Piper) make them incredibly vulnerable in close-combat situations. Maintain advantageous back-line positions though, and you’ll find Snipers can carry games.
Included Brawlers: Bea, Brock, and Piper.
Roles of a Sniper: Snipers have two important roles to fulfill:
Snipers share the same primary responsibility as Marksman. Having nearly the DPS potential that Marksman have and even longer range, a Sniper’s main focus should be forcing the enemy team back by keeping a threatening demeanor or by dealing damage. *Note: The next paragraph is copy and pasted from “Roles of a Marksman – Role 1” with slight modifications.*
As previously mentioned, Snipers have high DPS and should utilize it. Their primary role is to eliminate, damage, or force back their enemies. All Marksman are equipped for killing, being able to completely wipe out all brawlers in the game in anywhere from 1-4 shots (with the exception of Sponge Frank.) With their health-chunking attacks, it is a Sniper’s primary job to threaten the enemy. Snipers can threaten their opponents in two ways – damaging their enemies and by controlling key positions (chokepoints) . The key to being a top tier Sniper is making every single attack you fire count for something. Your first goal should always be to threaten (forcing your opponent to either hold position or fall back.) Having high DPS, landing just 1 shot will deal ample damage to an enemy and force them to either engage or retreat.
*Important Note: In a nutshell, this is what teams battle for in competitive or high-level games. This ebb-and-flow battle to force the enemy to give ground or take an undesired engagement is the essence of competitive Brawl Stars. High caliber players suffer very few deaths when compared to recreational players, and it’s because they aren’t competing for kills. Rather they compete for CONTROL. Whichever team has better positioning almost always controls the objective (gem spawn or bolts) and will, in turn, win the game.* As a Sniper, keep the pressure on the enemy team with continuous attacks, forcing them back and harassing them so they cannot heal when damaged. This is much easier said than done. As a Sniper, you CANNOT die, ever. Because Snipers possess such great burst potential, any time wasted respawning is crucial damage and control your team is losing. The only exception to this rule is if you can absolutely guarantee a kill on 2 or more enemies, setting your team up for a crucial objective like scoring a goal or starting the gem grab countdown.
The second responsibility that Snipers have is to Observe. Because of the spacing and time (explanation under “Snipers – Overview” that Snipers possess, it gives them the ability to observe the battlefield. Compared to other classes like Tanks and Fighters that are in near-constant combat, Snipers have time to analyze the battle and notice patterns. The best examples of observing and reacting among the Sniper class are watching high-level Brocks and Pipers that break cover or terrain at the correct time. In situations like on Snake Prairie (Bounty) where tanks are prevalent and your team is in the lead, smart Brocks and Pipers will use their supers to destroy bushes. This forces the enemy team to give away their position and walk through open clearings to have a chance at taking back the lead, setting your team up to win the ensuing teamfight. In Brawl Ball: supering the goal as Brock to force back enemies and destroy terrain can set up a teammate looking to score. As Bea, using your super to slow the enemy team can allow a teammate to run past the enemies team and score. Observing the movement patterns or fighting patterns of your teammates and enemies is extremely difficult to master, but separates the elite from the average Snipers. Observe the dodging pattern of your enemies to land more successful shots on them. Observe the aggressive patterns or intentions of your teammates and give them support. As a Sniper, it is nearly impossible to win a game by yourself. But if you have even one teammate that you base your decisions on, you can and will win a high percentage of games. If you want to become great as a Sniper, learn to adapt to the playstyle of your teammates. Aggressively support them when they fight, or play passive and for control when they are objective-focused.
Takeaway: Good Snipers go with the flow.
Synergies: 0-1 Defenders, 1-2 Bruisers, 0-1 Marksman, 0-2 Aggros, 0-1 Control, 0-1 Harass, 0-1 Utility.
Big Hats off for Xavior For providing this valuable resource.