Brawl Stars is a mini MOBA that pits two teams of three against each other in a number of objective-based modes. Its game types currently include kill-count Bounty, gem-collecting Smash & Grab, attack versus defense Heist, soccer-esque Brawl Ball, and the free-for-all solo mode Showdown. While its different modes and maps keep the event rotation fresh, Brawl Stars’ many different characters offer even more variety through their unique playstyles and strengths.

In this series, we’ll provide tips on how to effectively use each character and play to those strengths. Whether you’re new to the game entirely or are just looking for tips on a recent unlock, we hope these guides will help you find your next favorite brawler.

Note: Brawl Stars is currently in soft-launch and receiving frequent balance adjustments. Some of the specific data below may change as Supercell updates the game, but the overall advice—based on a brawler’s core abilities and playstyle—should remain valid.

Shelly: The Everyman’s Shotgunner

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Shelly is the starter character in Brawl Stars: everyone who downloads the game begins with Shelly, and she is the only brawler not earned via brawl boxes. Because of this, she’s both a strong character who can hold her own in solo matchups and a well-rounded brawler across most game types. Since every player has access to Shelly, you’ll come across her frequently in lower trophy games, but she’s powerful enough that she’s a common fixture even in higher level play.

Shelly’s primary attack is a shotgun burst that fires in a triangular arc which spreads out more the farther it travels from her gun. Although the animation of the shot appears to contain many shells, Shelly’s maximum damage is five times her current attack power, which is the amount of damage a single shell will do to an opponent. If you’re standing right next to an enemy when you shoot them and they take the full brunt of Shelly’s blast, she will do that max damage to them. However, if they’re on the outskirts of her range and are just clipped by the shot, they may only take one shell’s worth of damage.

This means Shelly is most dangerous in close quarters matchups where she can hit an enemy with the full force of her shot. This is easiest to accomplish—and most devastating—when she’s able to take her opponent by surprise. Utilizing bushes for sneaking across the map or simply hiding out until an enemy draws near will get Shelly into her ideal offensive range. From here, she can easily ambush enemies retreating from teammates, or simply attack directly: her attack power is high enough that two well-placed shots can take out many brawlers at full health.

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Despite her affinity for up close confrontations, Shelly can also control from a distance thanks to her shotgun’s range and spread. She can escape most pursuers that aren’t long-range snipers by shooting behind her as she runs, or she can poke popular map choke points and hiding spots from a fairly safe distance. Tapping enemies with the edge of her shot usually won’t kill them, but it still does enough damage to deter them from hanging around or pushing forward.

Shelly’s Super, Super Shell, works similarly to her standard attack except it has a wider spread, slightly longer range, and both breaks walls and knocks back any enemies it hits. Like most stun attacks, this will cancel an opponent’s Super if they are in the middle of using it, making it a powerful area and attack denier. If used offensively, Shelly’s Super can usually buy her enough time to get a normal shot or two in on an enemy before they recover, potentially killing them off in one fell swoop. Defensively, it can buy her or her teammates extra time to flee, knock down walls that projectile brawlers like Dynamike are hiding behind, or push enemies away from key areas of the map.

Best Game Modes

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Shelly is truly useful in every game mode, although she especially excels in Showdown and Smash & Grab. Her high attack power up close allows her to break open crates and grab elixir quickly, as well as threaten or snipe elixir from longer range players. Her shotgun covers enough distance that she can hang back and play defensively when she needs to regroup, and its spread can clear bushes in one shot. Because her attack does not travel through enemies, she can do the most damage focusing on one opponent at a time. If two enemies are facing off and distracted in Showdown, she can tap them from afar and then move in to take out the winner.

In Smash & Grab, Shelly is something of a jack of all trades. She can be a gem carrier if there’s not a better option on your team, thanks to her ability to defend herself, but she also works well as a hidden guard near the enemy’s spawn who can take out opponents running back with gems. Her range and spread can cover the gem spawn of most Smash & Grab maps, allowing her to provide point coverage similar to—but slightly less effectively than—Poco. She’s a great counter to Mortis and Crow who are common opponents in this mode, since her wide attack and Super knockback can easily hit even faster brawlers.

Our least favorite mode for Shelly is Heist: while she’s certainly usable in this game type, she doesn’t have enough range or area control to play defense without abandoning the safe. On offense, while her Super’s wall breaking can prove valuable, she has to be able to get in close to actually charge and use it. With a well-coordinated team this shouldn’t be an issue, but new players might struggle to find an opening.

Our favorite maps in each mode to use Shelly:

  • Bounty: Terracotta Square
  • Smash & Grab: Hard Rock Mine
  • Heist: Kaboom Canyon
  • Showdown: Stormy Plains
  • Brawl Ball: Backyard Bowl

Brawler Matchups

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As mentioned above, Shelly is a great counter to speed-based brawlers Mortis and Crow thanks to her wide spread and Super knockback. Any brawlers that have to get in close to be effective—like El Primo—will be at a disadvantage to Shelly’s intensely powerful focused shotgun attack. While Bull has a higher damage potential, Shelly outranges him and can poke away his health before he gets too close. She can take out Nita’s bear and Pam’s healing station quickly, as well as Jessie’s turret from the right angle.

Like any mid- to short-range brawler, Shelly needs to be aware of snipers like Piper and projectile throwers like Dynamike. If she’s able to get in close, she will dominate these characters—especially due to their lower health—but actually reaching them across the map or around walls requires thoughtful sneaking and dodging. Until you’re comfortable with movement, long-range Bounty maps that favor snipers—like Shooting Star and Star Gulch—are not recommended for using Shelly, and Showdowns that are filled with Barleys may require more defensive play than usual.

Personally, we prefer playing longer ranged specialists like Brock or Ricochet, but it’s hard to deny Shelly’s benefits. She’s an extremely well-rounded character that can excel on almost any map or game mode and can typically survive solo encounters without teammates to back her up. This makes her a great pick for players without a pre-made team or who want to build trophies quickly via Showdown. Her shotgun spread makes it easier to hit opponents even as you’re learning how to aim, but its high damage allows for devastating encounters once you’ve mastered it. Shelly’s a fantastic starter character that will continue to grow with you as you progress through the ranks.