It’s a dog eat dog world in Fortnite. Not literally, because there are no dogs in Epic Games’ massively popular FTP battle royale extravaganza. But since the winner is the last man or woman standing, even if you’re better than John Travolta at staying alive, eventually you’re going to have to sharpen those skills at eliminating the competition.

We’re here to help. Combat in Fortnite isn’t particularly difficult or revolutionary, but it does help to know what you’re doing before you drop out of the Battle Bus for the first time. We’ve been putting in the matches, and yes, dying often, to get you some tips, hints and cheats to hopefully get you that much closer to your first win.

How the controls work in combat for Fortnite on mobile

Fortnite

While we covered this in part in our movement and controls guide, it’s worth going over the basics again specifically with an eye on combat. The thumbstick on the left moves your character, while simply tapping on the screen will fire a shot at whatever is in your crosshairs. There’s also a dedicated shoot button on the left, but you’ll probably never use it. You can hold and drag on the screen to look around and aim.

On the right-hand side, you’ll find three virtual buttons: one for switching between standing and crouching, one to jump and one to zoom in if using a sniper rifle or crossbow (the better to head shot you with, my dear). The one that will become a lifesaver is the jump button, as simply jumping around when under fire makes you that much harder to hit. There’s a reason top players like Ninja look like Tigger sometimes as they bounce around.

To pick up a weapon, simply walk over it and it’ll be added to your quickbar at the bottom of the screen, where you can swap between weapons with just a tap. If your bar is full, you’ll have to go into your inventory (using the backpack icon) to drop one before you pick another one up.

There are no melee weapons in Fortnite, but in a pinch — like if you run into enemies so quickly that you haven’t found any guns yet — you can swing your pickaxe at people at melee range. It doesn’t do much damage, though.

Types of weapons and rarity

Fortnite

There are no character stats in Fortnite, so the amount of damage players do to each other is a function of the type of weapon, its rarity and the distance at which it strikes, as damage drops off some over long distances. If you’re the obsessive min-max type, there are wikis with all the relevant numbers, but in general, weapons can be found in a rarity scale that is color-coded and should be familiar to anyone who’s ever played an RPG:

  • Common – gray
  • Uncommon – green
  • Rare – blue
  • Epic – purple
  • Orange – legendary

The rarer the weapon, the more damage it does than a more common weapon of the same type. Pretty simple. Some weapons also can only be found in certain rarities.

As for the types of weapons in the game …

  • Assault rifles
  • SMGs
  • Pistols
  • Shotguns
  • Sniper rifles
  • Launchers (grenade and rocket)
  • Crossbow

Each category except for crossbow has several different varieties.

Ammo and reloading

Fortnite

Almost every weapon in Fortnite requires ammo that you’ll find either laying around or in chests just as you do with weapons. The trick is that you don’t always find the type of ammo with a weapon that can use it, so it behooves you to pick up as much as you can.

For your current weapon, you’ll see the ammo count listed with a slash; the number on the right tells you how many shots remain in the magazine, while the number on the left tells you how many more bullets or shells of that type you have once this clip is empty. You’ll also notice the total ammo counts down in the squares in your quickbar. Reloading is done automatically just by tapping on the screen when you’re out of bullets, provided you have more of the correct ammo type, but it does slow you down and render you unable to fire for a time, so magazine size is important.

The crossbow is a notable exception, as it has unlimited ammo. However, you still have to “reload” it after every few shots.

Shields and healing

One excellent way to stay alive in Fortnite is to acquire shields. Your shield level is represented by a blue bar near your health meter, and it starts each match at zero. You gain shields by finding blue potions and drinking them; small shield potions can only raise your level to a maximum of 50, while large shield potions can get it all the way to 100.

Eventually, you’re going to take damage, but you can heal that with bandages or a medkit. Bandages can only heal you to 75 percent of max health, while a medkit can heal all the way to 100. There’s also a legendary healing item called a chug jug that restores you to full health and full shields.

The important thing to note about healing is that you have to stay still for several seconds while using a healing item, and moving prematurely means you’ll have to stop and start the process all over again.

More combat tips and hints

Fortnite

  • When in doubt, keep moving. A stationary target is a sitting duck in Fortnite, and at least running or jumping makes you harder to hit.
  • Don’t forget to loot foes you kill. Anything in their inventory just ends up laying on the ground once they are digitized.
  • The heads up display for mobile gives you visual cues the console/PC versions of the game does not, including footsteps when enemies are close enough to be heard and arrows that show you from which direction damage is coming. Always pay heed to those hints.
  • Having the high ground or cover is always good, and both is even better. Just remember that any cover in Fortnite can be blown up or shot to pieces.