We’ve all been there – walking out from spawn and taken down by a long range brawler, over and over again. In this guide we’re going to try to explore different ideas for how to prevent this depending on your matchup, your brawler, and your positioning.
We’re going to start this out by talking about the strategy behind long range brawlers, they go into different techniques to counter them, and end with specifics on individual brawlers
Table of Contents
A. Understanding Long Range Brawlers
B. Basic Strafing Methods
C. Using the environment
D. Advanced Tactics
E. Brawler Specifics
A. Understanding Long Range Brawlers
This guide is mainly focusing on how to deal with the 4 low-health, long range brawlers – Colt, Brock, Ricochet, Piper. In order to better understand how to counter these brawlers we have to talk about how to play them effectively. Only once you understand what decisions they are making will you be able to predict when and how you will be shot at. First, we have to examine their main attacks. I’ll be putting them into two categories: Burst and Multi-Shot.
The two burst brawlers are Brock and Piper. Both deal high damage when their bullets connect with their targets, but suffer from slower reload speeds, and projectiles that are easy to miss with. Their attacks require good prediction, because they cannot fine tune their attack after firing.
The two multi-shot brawlers are Colt, and Ricochet. Both deal significantly less damage per bullet, but don’t let this lure you into a false sense of caution. When they can connect all of their bullets their damage is extremely high. Their reload speeds are pretty fast allowing them spam attacks more than burst brawlers. Their attacks require good initial aim as well as good tracking to get the maximum damage.
Individual Comparisons (based on non-upgraded stats).
|Brawler||Health||Attack type||Damage per bullet||Max damage per attack||Reload Speed (s)||unique mechanic|
|Piper||600||Burst||130 – 420||425||3||increasing damage|
Burst Aim (Prediction) vs Multi-Shot Aim (Tracking)
Prediction and tracking are two very different skills both involved in getting your shots to connect with the opponents. These skills are important for every brawler to a certain extent, but long-range brawlers rely on good prediction and tracking skills much more than others. Understanding the ways that a good long range brawler will be trying to aim at you is fundamental to learning to dodge their shots.
Prediction is much more intuitive in Brawl Stars than tracking because it works in the same way as prediction in many other games. Prediction is shooting where you expect your target to be, rather than where they are right now. A burst brawler that only shoots where people are currently standing won’t be very effective. The key to prediction is to determine where your target will be in the time it takes your bullet to reach them, and to shoot there. This requires a lot of game sense or understanding of the enemy team’s short term objectives. For example, an enemy could be trying to kill a certain member of your team, trying to complete the main objective, trying to regain positioning for their team, protecting a teammate, or trying to fall back to safety. You can generally gauge by their current health, movement patterns, and attacks which of their objectives they are trying to achieve. This takes a lot of practice and isn’t something that can be easily taught in a guide, but to best understand prediction aim you have to understand this. If you haven’t already, start being mindful of this, and you’ll eventually get better at it.
Tracking is less intuitive in Brawl Stars because unlike in may other games, once you begin shooting you cannot change the angle of fire. Instead, you have to mimic their movements to keep them in range. Because of this, a player’s ability to effectively track their shots to do the maximum amount of damage is severely limited. While shooting, players can still walk around, and multi-shot brawlers need to use this to their advantage to keep people from walking out of range of their bullets. Some forethought must go into thinking about how your target will react to being shot at – they may try to retreat behind a wall, try to run out of range, try to move perpendicular to you to try to dodge the bullets. A good multi-shot brawler will anticipate their target’s reaction and adjust their position mid-attack to maximize their damage.
B. Basic Strafing Methods
– Constant Movement
The easiest form of strafing is to be constantly moving. Brawlers should avoid staying still whenever they are out in the open. By constantly moving even in just a simple, predictable, in-place circle strafe, you make it much harder for lower skilled brawlers to hit you. Unfortunately, it’s not hard for higher skilled brawlers to easily predict and counter this. If you make the patterns more random, you can (to a degree) stay unpredictable which makes prediction a lot harder.
Another basic form of strafing is keeping a zig-zag pattern when approaching brawlers. Brawlers should try to avoid walking in straight lines, and movement perpendicular to long range brawlers is the most effective. In order to reduce predictability, try to vary the angle and time spend zig-zagging. Remember: a zig-zag that is completely perpendicular to the enemy will be a better dodge than one that’s at a 45 degree angle, but you’ll gain less ground the more perpendicular you are. Again, this is a tactic that is much more effective against lower skilled brawlers, but it is still somewhat applicable to higher skill levels, especially if you can mix up the pattern. This tactic makes tracking especially hard because the opponent probably will struggle to match your movements with their own in order to keep you under fire. .
C. Using the environment
– Avoiding “hallways”
There are many situations where your positioning on the map affects your ability to strafe or dodge bullets. One common feature, for lack of a better term, are the thin “hallways” that often appear on the vertical edges of maps. Long range brawlers, especially multi-shot brawlers, benefit greatly from these because they can shoot the entire length of the “hallway” while you are approaching, for very easy damage with little room for error. Avoiding these, or making sure that ranged brawlers are distracted from them is very important.
– Using cover
Horizontal walls are extremely useful for protecting yourself against enemy brawlers. Popping in and out from behind cover is a really great way to counter multi-shot brawlers, but it can be risky against burst brawlers. Long range brawlers almost always benefit from destroying cover, so unless you can outrange your enemy, you should be careful about destroying cover that your team might need to create a defensible position.
D. Advanced Tactics
– Counting Bullets
Although counting bullets isn’t exactly a dodging method, it is an effective way to avoid damage. Counting bullets is especially useful against brawlers with low reload speed like Piper. If you see that the enemy is low on bullets, take it as a cue to regain map control, or to engage the enemy. This is also crucial to 1 on 1 fights for deciding when to focus more on dodging bullets and when it is less important, as well as deciding whether to continue fighting if you’re low on health.
– Reflex Dodging
The most instinctive tactic for dodging is to move away from the bullet the moment you see the shooting animation and the projectile. You should, obviously, try to move in a direction that will ensure that you won’t get hit. The key to sidestepping bullets effectively is moving perpendicular to their path to move out of the way as fast as possible. Some projectiles are too quick to be dodged by reflex, and it is very hard to consistently see every projectile’s trajectory and move accordingly.
– Pattern Dodging
There are many patterns to identify throughout a match that will help you overcome enemy brawlers. Some players rely heavily on either prediction or tracking, other players tend to shoot as soon as they can while others wait for you to get closer for safer damage. Throughout a match you can try to identify these patterns and they will help you decide how best to strafe or dodge to effectively avoid enemy fire.
E. Specific Brawler Mechanics
Piper has the highest damage per single bullet in the game, but a slow rate of fire. Dodging her bullets is one of the best ways to counter her.
Piper’s basic attacks deal more damage the further they travel, so it’s is sometimes a legitimate strategy to simply run towards her and taking damage along the way, especially for brawlers with higher health. Generally, however, it is easier to just dodge her bullets. They key is to be moving or ready to move perpendicular to Piper’s line of fire. With good reflexes, you can dodge these pretty well. If you are less confident in your reflexes, a zig-zag strafing technique will make it much harder for a Piper to aim at you.
Piper’s super lets her jump out of battle and drop 3 bombs behind. This ultimate is used primarily as an escape tool, so it is very unlikely that you will be forced to dodge this. In the event that you do need to dodge it, simply move away from her position and you should be able to dodge it. Pipers generally want to use this to back out of a fight and reposition.
Brock also has a single high damage bullet, and a slow rate of fire. Dodging his rockets is especially important because his super, once charged, can be devastating.
Brock’s basic attacks travel a long range, then explode, so it’s generally best to stay spread apart from your teammates. However, Brock’s bullet speed is quite low, so dodging his basic attacks shouldn’t be a big issue if you’re focused on it. The key, like with Piper, is to be moving or ready to move perpendicular to his line of fire. With good reflexes, you can dodge these pretty well. If you are less confident in your reflexes, a zig-zag strafing technique will raise the odds of the enemy missing.
Brock’s super is his bread and butter ability, quickly recharged (though not as quick as other dps brawlers), and deals massive damage. There are 9 missiles in total, and all have a larger explosive radius than Brock’s basic attack. The first two missiles of his ultimate will reach the far side of his ultimate’s circle, so the first course of action is to decide if you have time to make it out of the aoe or if you should run back inside and try to avoid the most damage. On the contrary of Barley’s mechanics, Brock’s missile explode faster the further away they go from his position, this means if your group is stacked together from mid-long range from Brock with his super ready, reposition immediately.
Colt is also a high dps character, who can do incredible damage if all of his bullets connect with the opponent. Again, knowing how to dodge him is critical to be able to beat him consistently.
Colt shoots 6 bullets in a straight line. To dodge his attacks, you either need to strafe perpendicularly away from him, or lead him to miss you in the first place. It can be useful to try vary your reaction to surprise him and keep him from strafing in time with your movements.
Colt’s super is very similar to his basic attack, but the bullets travel faster, break walls, and go a further range and penetrate brawlers. Dodging his super isn’t as easy as dodging his basic attack because bullets travel much faster, and it is easy to get stuck in “hallways”. Break out of the “strafe lock” or dodge it entirely.
There is no dodging this guy – (just kidding), but Rico can be super annoying. He will consistently hit you, unless you are out of the bullet spread, and over time the damage adds up.
Ricochet’s basic attack is the one with the most range in the game, to help him shoot off of walls. This being said, he has a large spread, and bullets are not very accurate, so odds are he won’t hit you with his entire clip. The zig-zag method can be used to bait Rico into missing you, but in general, you will get hit by stray bullets. It’s much more important to minimize the damage. Having walls to your side or behind you can be dangerous because his bullets can bounce off the wall and and hit you with more than a few bullets. Because of this mechanic, Rico is very strong in maps like bone box where there are “hallways” where he can position his shot to hit as many bullets as possible. At close range, all bullets will probably hit, or most of them will, which means that you will have to out damage him or be prepared to dodge most of the bullets to win the fight.
Ricochet’s super is very similar his basic attack, the only difference being that the projectiles have higher speeds and higher range and have penetration. Similarly, in open space from range it will only hit a few bullets, but if positioned to bounce in a “hallway” the ultimate can deal massive amounts of damage. Again, from up close, most of the bullets hit, doing massive amounts of damage.
F. TL; DR
- There are two types of damage – burst and multi-shot
- Burst requires good prediction of where you will be, while multi-shot requires good tracking skills.
- Circle strafes and zig-zag strafes are good basic methods to become harder to hit.
- One should avoid “hallways” and maximize usage of cover, especially against multi-shot brawlers.
- Some advanced tactics should be counting bullets, reflexively dodging bullets, and identifying patterns.
- Scroll up to the final section for more info on specific long range brawlers.
In conclusion, I think it’s important to use these tactics when countering long range brawlers. My goal in this guide was to hopefully make you think differently about how you should approach countering these brawlers, or to think differently about how people may be countering you. Map positioning, which I only briefly touched on, could easily have a whole guide about it.