Even though Brawl Stars (Free) has enough of its own sensibilities going on, it’s not totally immune to participating in the hottest trend in gaming circa 2018. I’m speaking, of course, about battle royale, the genre that Fortnite turned into a pop culture phenomenon and spawned everything from tons of imitators to a pretty good new Call of Duty game mode.
It wouldn’t seem to be an obvious fit for Brawl Stars given how everything in the game is simpler and faster than what you’d expect from battle royale, but the team at Supercell managed to figure out a way to roll it into the game in a way that makes perfect sense. It’s called Showdown mode, and it’s the second mode you unlock after starting to play. In fact, in the game’s Trophy Road, you’ll find it at just 30 trophies, which means you only need to win a handful of Gem Grab matches before you’ll be able to play Showdown — and even better, unlike some other modes you’ll encounter later, you’ll be able to play it any time you want after it becomes available to you.
So what is it about Showdown that makes it battle royale and what do you need to know to start winning matches? So glad you asked.
How Brawl Stars Showdown is Like Most Battle Royale Games
The most obvious way that Showdown mode in Brawl Stars qualifies as legit battle royale is the object: to be the last player (if you play in Solo mode) or duo standing. Unlike Gem Grab, which has a very obvious central objective that makes eliminating other players simply a means to an end, you need to be the sole survivor to win a Showdown match.
The playing field also shrinks over time, but in a much simpler way than in many battle royale games. The Showdown arena is square-shaped, but after a match begins, poisonous clouds gradually start advancing from all four sides of the board as you play. If you’re at all familiar with the genre, you know you want to stay clear of those lest you meet an early end.
There’s even loot, in a very uniquely Brawl Stars fashion. At places around the map, including a tempting cache of four right in the center, you’ll find chests. Instead of opening them, you’ll actually have to blast them open — and they start with enough health that it takes multiple shots — but inside you’ll find special gems called Power Cubes that will boost your health and attack power. These are super valuable commodities in Showdown as the closer you get to the end, the more certain it is that the enemies you still have left to face have some of these power-ups as well, so not getting any loot almost certainly means you’ll be outgunned. And that definitely fits the battle royale spirit.
Bonus tip: Loot those defeated players, too – Every eliminated player will drop the Power Cubes they’ve acquired, so be sure to stick nearby after a kill to pick them up unless you expect another player to be lying in wait.
There’s also definitely a certain camping element, albeit one that isn’t quite as prevalent as you might find in, say, PUBG sometimes. Because the tall grass from other modes is present in Showdown too, it’s very possible to run afoul of players simply hiding and waiting for you to run into them. The difference here is that because each match is so fast-paced, it’s not something that really slows down play, but rather leads to furious shootouts as you either wander into an already occupied patch or someone does the same to you.
What Carries Over From Other Brawl Stars Modes
Along with the aforementioned grass, cover works the same way in Showdown as well, so there are walls that will block shots — unless they are blown away by the Super move of a Brawler who can destroy them. Speaking of which, Supers work in exactly the same manner as well, and your regular attack has the same three-shot limitation before you need to wait for your ammo to refill.
Bonus tip: Toughest chest in the West – Be wary of exposing yourself too early in a match while attempting to lot a chest. It’s very easy to fire all three shots you have and still find a chest with a little remaining health, leaving yourself easy pickings for an enemy. Then you died for nothing, and that’s never fun.
Healing? Yep, that’s done the same way as well. There are no healing items, so if you find yourself low on health, you’ll need to avoid combat for a bit to heal back up. That’s a bit trickier once the poison clouds start shrinking the battlefield, obviously, but it can be done.
Why You Should Play Showdown
There’s every reason to think that you might be getting a little tired of battle royale games by now, especially if you live in a household with children who have contracted full-on cases of Fortnite fever like yours truly.
Be that as it may, there are some compelling reasons to give Showdown a serious shot if you are enjoying Brawl Stars overall.
- It requires the least time commitment
No matches in Brawl Stars are very long, and that’s part of what it makes it so perfect for mobile. Yet in Gem Grab, each match has definite early and late game stages, and the ebbs and flows possible when someone who is carrying a bunch of gems gets eliminated means that sometimes matches carry on longer than you expect (which, admittedly, is also what makes them so darn fun sometimes).
Not so in Showdown, where having just 10 players in solo matches or five teams in duos means things are settled quickly. If you need your Brawl Stars fix but only have a couple minutes, Showdown is the perfect way to get it.
- It’s also the fastest way to level up
Winning trophies in Gem Grab is basically an all or nothing affair, and it’s easy to lose a couple just by playing on a not so great team. In Showdown, you can earn some just by having enough wits about you not to be one of the first eliminations, and even if you consistently finish second or third in matches, you’ll still be earning trophies a lot faster than in other modes.
The caveat to that is because things are even faster paced, you’ll run out of tokens to earn even quicker, but that seems like an acceptable trade-off under the circumstances.
- It sharpens your skills for other modes
There’s no question that the rapid decisions you need to make in Showdown and more frenzied firefights can help you in Gem Grab. It’s really the perfect way to learn to master specific Brawlers without worrying that you are letting down your teammates by not playing as they’d expect (especially if you do solos, obviously), so the advice would be to come to this mode when you unlock new Brawlers and not try to learn them on the fly in 3v3 play.
More Showdown Tips and Tricks to Master Brawl Stars Battle Royale
If you’ve read this far, you undoubtedly are feeling the battle royale spirit enough to give Showdown a serious go, so let’s get into a final set of tips and tricks to help you outlive other players. Then, of course, the final showdown is in your hands, or at least your fingertips as the case may be here.
- Five seconds of
Actually, I’m not 100 percent sure how long it is, but at the start of every Showdown match, there’s a brief period of time where everyone in invincible — you can tell because every Brawler will have a sort of white glow around them. Don’t waste shots firing at others during this time, and use it to make your way toward a chest that you can’t see anyone else going for.
- Chests are cover too
They definitely don’t make chests like they did for this game mode. Because chests can take a lot of damage before granting their loot, you can also run behind them to soak up enemy attacks just like you would a wall. Even better yet, your opponent might destroy the chest while you are standing right next to it, giving you a free Battle Cube without firing a shot.
- The map is bigger than you think
It’s true that the Showdown map doesn’t cover a ton of real estate, but it’s also not quite as tiny as you imagine it is. Even after the poison starts floating in, you can definitely find areas, especially along the perimeter, where you aren’t as likely to get into firefights. That can be crucial when you need to heal.
- Death is not the end in Duo
You can’t revive teammates in a Duo match, but you also don’t need to. If your partner gets eliminated, just hold out for 15 seconds and they will respawn right by you. That goes the same in reverse, too, so don’t leave the match until both you and your partner are down for the count. The problem is that you respawn with no Power Cubes, and thus are likely to be pretty weak compared to players who have lived the whole time, but two guns in a fight are still better than one.
- There’s more than one map
Getting a handle on a map is always a good idea, but that knowledge is only good for as long as that map is in play. There are multiple Showdown maps that rotate, so be sure you know which one you’re currently playing before you charge into something you don’t expect.
- Watching is learning
In another nod to the expected battle royale traditions, there is a spectator feature in Showdown once you’ve been eliminated from a match. If you’ve got the time, it’s not a bad idea to watch the rest of a match play out, because sometimes the best way to improve is to watch players better than you duel it out to the finish.