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How to Host a Fortnite Tournament: Complete Guide

Fortnite is a very unique game, where the largest segment of
its player base is under the ages of 18 (according to Newzoo, individuals between
10-25 made up 53% of the player in 2020). For many organizations that cater to or
are looking to cater to this younger audience, Fortnite has been seen by many
as an excellent way to captivate them to further promote their own products or
services. I have received many emails in the past months about specifically
Fortnite tournaments.

The question I always hear is “how do I run a Fortnite
tournament?” Fortnite as an esports title can even seem problematic to avid
tournament organizers as the industry standard for this game is all over the
place. Although it is evident that the standard battle royale format is most
popular, most of the time this isn’t a doable option (more information about
this section below).

  1. You need to determine what format you would like the tournament to focus around
  2. Create clear rulesets and a well-planned schedule
  3. Setup all pre-event preparation required
  4. Provide a lot of hands-on support and regulations during the live event.

During this article, I will be going into the details of how to host a Fortnite tournament. This article will specifically focus on elements that are unique to Fortnite and not so much tournament organizing as a whole. If you are interested in learning how to host an online esports tournament, check out this in-depth article that explains just that. If you have any questions that pertain to a physical tournament (or any question in general), don’t hesitate to email me at uzair.hasan@esporthow.com.

Be aware that this article is extremely long and you aren’t intended to read all of it (unless you desire). Instead, go through the pros and cons chart to determine what format you are interested in and only read content pertaining to that format unless otherwise stated.

Table of Contents

Types of Fortnite Tournaments

Fortnite is a harder game to host a tournament for specifically because there are many different formats to host Fortnite tournaments. Not to mention managing the logistics for most of them are messy and require you to run a few tournaments before getting a full grasp of how to execute it proficiently.

Once you determined the format you would like to use, click the “Quick Jump” button at the end of each section or scroll down to the rules section. The rules section will explain how the tournament would look like in practice and what information you need to incorporate into your rulesets to ensure things are regulated and players aren’t confused.

Note The titles of these formats are how I thought was best to write them. These aren’t official names, but I’d say they describe each format fairly well.

➤ The most resemblance to standard Fortnite gameplay

➤ Highest level of tournament integrity

➤ Most popular amongst popular tournaments (usually coming after heats to reduce player numbers)

➤ Easy for tournament organizers to regulate

➤ Open to solo, duos, trios and squads

➤ Requires a large number of participants playing at the same time to create a good experience

➤ Requires tournament key from Epic Games which isn’t accessible by all

➤ One key = one game hosted at a time

➤ Ideally should run a few rounds to determine victors

➤ Multiple games can be hosted at the same time

➤ More engagement between players than the other public battle royale formats

➤ Open to solo and duos

➤ The easiest format to cheat in

➤ Requires many referees verifying that no player/s is cheating and needs to be ready to resolve disputes as they arise

➤ Good for younger players who aren’t competitive savvy or good in a large live tournament to reduce numbers

➤ Used by tournaments such as EGLX and Dreamhacks (to a degree)

➤ Open to solo, duos, trios and squads

➤ Arguably the lowest level of integrity, especially when enough games aren’t allocated to remove anomalies

➤ Least player-to-player engagement from all formats when hosted on live servers

➤ Players must take and submit screenshots of end-game results, otherwise the data is lost (unless you take the measures I listed in this article to track information)

➤ Unique game mode – Preferred by some players over battle royale

➤ End-results based on the sheer combat ability of the players, instead of luck with loot or positioning

➤ Matches are quick

➤ Very action-packed games

➤ Exact rules can be programmed into the map/s

➤ Can do FFA, 2v2, 2v2v2, 2v2v2v2, 3v3, 4v4… 8v8 (realistically can do any 16-player combination, even uneven teams)

➤ Some players prefer battle royale over box fights

➤ Games must be played a number of times to get a good result

➤ Less skilled players (or players looking to camp or rely on luck for fun) won’t like this game mode and may quit the tournament mid-way (happens all the time)

➤ Setup on creative is more work and regulation as all players have as much controllability as the hosting party

➤ Requires host to find map code/s with the exact programming they desire OR outsource a builder team to create one for them

➤ Unique game mode – Preferred by some players over battle royale

➤ End-results based on the sheer combat ability of the players, instead of luck with loot or positioning

➤ Matches are quick

➤ Exact rules can be programmed into the map/s

➤ Can do FFA, 2v2, 2v2v2, 2v2v2v2, 3v3, 4v4… 8v8 (realistically can do any 16-player combination, even uneven teams)

➤ Some players prefer battle royale over zone wars

➤ Games must be played a number of times to get a good result

➤ Less skilled players (or players looking to camp or rely on luck for fun) won’t like this game mode and may quit the tournament mid-way (happens all the time)

➤ Setup on creative is more work and regulation as all players have as much controllability as the hosting party

➤ Requires host to find map code/s with the exact programming they desire OR outsource a builder team to create one for them

➤ Can work together any formats to enhance the experience for players

➤ Creates more integrity if done correctly

➤ Need enough players to make the transition

➤ Takes additional time and requires more rules to incorporate multiple formats into the tournament

➤ Incorporating very different formats together, unless intended to be, could be a turnoff to players (such as box fights into public heats)

Custom Matchmaking Matches

Undeniably, the most popular way to play Fortnite is the standard battle royale format, where up to 100 players jump into Battle Royale Island in either solo, duos or squads in an attempt of being the last player standing. In this tournament format, players/teams are provided points based on when they died relative to all the other players/teams (coming 1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc in placement) and points based on the number of kills by the player/team.

This format is the best for tournaments, however the reason why it’s not in every tournament is due to a few factors. The biggest reason is that it requires a custom matchmaking key which can only be retrieved from Epic Games after being approved due to special circumstances (usually through private communications, connections with employees at Epic Games or receiving approval upon sending a tournament request) or by being part of Fortnite’s Support-A-Creator program. I talk in more detail about how you can acquire a tournament code below.

Another issue is that smaller tournaments don’t create a good battle royale experience as there are minimal action and combat situations for the participants. Although it’s still an option to run, from my personal experience as a frequent Fortnite and PUBG Mobile tournament host, the players in the battle royale genre mostly complain of the lack of players when opting into this format with an insignificant number of players. Usually, less than 40-50 players won’t cut it, but even than 50 is only half of what the players are usually used to playing with in battle royale.

Not to mention too large tournaments, especially taking place in a physical venue, either won’t have the equipment to host all their participants into a battle royale or there are too many attendees and the organizers want to reduce the number of players through a different tournament format before having only the top players in their tournament qualify into this format.

For this format to work best, you ideally want to run at least 4-5 rounds per pool of players. This helps remove point anomalies such as the best players dying early due to a misplay, etc. The last thing you want is players feeling like the tournament’s structure was the reason for not winning and I’ve had heard complaints in the past from players about losing due to lack of rounds.

If this is the format you are interested in moving forward with, click the “Quick Jump” button and proceed to the rules section for this format.

Public Battle Royale Servers: Head-to-Head Points Battle

Tournament organizers that want to still provide the battle royale experience without hosting their own battle royale would opt into this format. A head-to-head points battle requires either solos or duo players to queue up together in a lobby for them to inevitably compete with each other for points.

So, if you had solos playing head to head, they would queue up as a duo but drop in different locations and play the remainder of the game as a solo to gain points through kills obtained, assists and placement (1 st , 2 nd , 3 rd , 10 th , 50 th , etc). Duos going head-to-head would do the same thing but would queue up as a squad.

Typically the solos/duos aren’t allowed to interfere with each other through griefing each other (such as by destroying other’s structures and builds) or kill steal by last hitting the opposing party’s target. Due to those factors, this format has the highest requirements for experienced and attentive referees than all the other formats. You really want at least 1 referee per active game, and that’s the minimum because if a dispute arises, they will have needed to pay attention to resolve it.

Additionally, this format brings a lot of uncontrollable elements into play as the solos/duos are competing on live servers. Each game will have a varying group of players, they will be dropping into different locations and unlike the other formats, there is easy optionality of griefing and getting away with it due to the nature of this format and it being foreign from the actual gameplay and structures.

Not to mention that the solos/duos will be outnumbered in every fight (solos will be facing other duos and the duos will be facing other squads) which further hinder the players from adopting an aggressive playstyle if that is what they are most comfortable with. This format, however, benefits strategic players and highly skilled players who know how they can gather the most points while outnumbered.

Just like the Custom Matchmaking Matches, each head-to-head should be replayed at least 4/5 times. Some tournaments run them in heats, meaning within a certain time block. Heats provide the benefits of a lot more time control for the execution of a tournament, but inevitable sacrifice competitive integrity. You need to make the call on what you value more, and that will be based on your duration restrictions (especially for live events).

As far as heats go, you can run a more efficient format, especially if the event is restricted in time, if you don’t have enough skilled referees to handle this and if the event is online (or has enough equipment). This is referring to the format below; Public Battle Royale Servers: Heats for Points.

If this is the format you are interested in moving forward with, click the “Quick Jump” button and proceed to the rules section for this format.


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