Controller players absolutely dominated Solo FNCS. Here’s why.

Controller players had a big advantage during the Solo FNCS open qualifiers. Here’s why the tournament climate is positioned to favour controllers for Season 2…

We’ve all seen the controller versus keyboard and mouse argument, probably multiple times at this point. I can barely scroll past Twitter nowadays without seeing players of differing inputs barking and bickering at each other regarding the merits of aim assist.

This season, Chapter 2 Season 2, has ushered an entirely new era of controller dominance. Don’t believe me? The numbers don’t lie. Look no further than the Solo Fortnite Championship Series Invitational, where last weekend Epic hosted an open qualifier round. The top 100 players from opens get their shot at the main event which kicks off this weekend

Want to take a guess how many of those top 100 players are on controller? A vast majority.

No, there isn’t a speck on your screen – you read that right. Roughly three out of every four players that qualified were playing on the sticks. NA-West was the biggest offender in this regard at a whopping 88 out of 100.

Now that I have your attention, we can finally discuss the why. Why are controller players having an unprecedented level of success, when not one year ago it seemed as though every top tier controller player was making the switch to keyboard and mouse (or at the very least contemplating it)?

Let’s break it down bit by bit:

New Tournament Format

Just last week, Epic introduced a new tournament format for both their solo and duo tournament playlists:

Image courtesy of FortniteTracker

At first, you might think this new structure is more placement heavy since you start receiving points in the Top 75. But after a surface level review, we see that’s simply not the case. Since eliminations are worth 4 points apiece and you don’t rack up major placement points unless you are one of the last three players alive, this tournament structure heavily favors eliminations.

Elimination forward tournaments means less stacked endgames and w-keying is the easiest path to success. Generally controller players are seen to have an advantage in kill-centered events.

No More Traps

Traps are gone [insert crab emojis here]. Epic sneakily removed the admittedly overpowered floor trap with the introduction of Season 2, leaving one of the most powerful w-key repellants nowhere to be found.

Once again, we’re building the narrative that this season has promoted aggressive play styles as the most successful method to success. Removing traps plays into that notion flawlessly.

Expansion of Aim Assist Tools

Aim assist is a necessity in a game where hybrid inputs compete at the same level. With that said, Epic expanded the aim assist settings at the beginning of Chapter 2. The introduction of Linear and Exponential gave controller players a new level of control (ha, pun) over how their input reacts to close, mid, and long-range opponents.

I will concede that aim assist did take a hit when Legacy was removed two months ago. But controller players definitely got the long end of the stick overall.

Spam-friendly Loot Pool

The theme of Chapter 2’s loot pool is minimalistic. Removing a bulk of the weapons we saw in Season X means fewer variables and more consistency – especially for spam weapons like the SMG.

The loot pool (less the SMG) can now fit on one cheat-sheet:

Image courtesy of FortniteTracker

Oh and let’s not forget these two pesky words: Mythic Weapons. If you’ve ever been smacked upside the head with Midas’ Drum Gun or Brutus’ Minigun, just know that there isn’t much you could have done to counter if the weapon was wielded by a controller player.

Seriously, this season’s meta doesn’t give you much wiggle room when tossed a predicament like this.

Take Advantage!

All things considered, I would have been more surprised if controller players didn’t absolutely crush their competition. The perfect storm only comes once in a blue moon, so if any of you L2 spammers are out there: take advantage of this while you can.

I believe that Epic will work to find that perfect balance to allow both controller and keyboard to succeed. They’ve already taken some baby steps towards pulling away from the w-key meta. Cash cups have already seen a decrease in elimination weight but FNCS remains under the previous format

Do you think controller is in a healthy state or should Epic act more aggressive in their perpetual balancing act? Let us know on Twitter or Discord.

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