Every round in Battlerite is a blank slate. Your performance in previous rounds has no impact on your performance across future rounds (except for psychological momentum, but that’s more of an abstract concept that’s beyond the scope of this post). Each round is a self-contained experience.
But that doesn’t mean each round is a static experience.
The wonderful thing about Battlerite is that there’s an ebb and flow to the gameplay. Though every round is a blank slate, no two rounds are the same — and that’s because Stunlock cleverly designed the game to move through three different “phases” that each emphasize a different aspect of gameplay.
There’s no established term for this, so I’m just going to call it game flow and act like it means something, but ultimately it doesn’t matter what we call it. All that matters is that you understand what it is and how to take advantage of it.
Phase 1: Mid Control
As soon as those gates first drop, there’s only one place where you can go: the middle. And within five seconds or so, you’ll reach the middle of the map — at about the same time the enemies are reaching it too.
Thus begins the first phase of game flow.
This first phase is like a Mexican standoff: everyone stands at range, fully loaded, sights aimed, and the first person to make a mistake gets blasted — except in Battlerite, you’re spamming your M1s and shifting into position, hoping to take control of the middle space so that you’re ready when the middle rune spawns. If you play too aggressively early on, you’re going to have to retreat — and give up that middle ground.
Your goal during this phase is to fight, but you should be fighting in a way that keeps you near the center and forces enemies away. You don’t have to stay directly on top of the rune, but try not to stray too far. It’s all about maximizing your chance of breaking the rune when it spawns, as well as collecting those delicious orb pickups when they appear.
The real goal-behind-the-goal is this: every time the rune and the orbs spawn, you want to come out ahead in health and energy, meaning you need to grab as many of them as you can whenever the opportunities arise.
Phase 2: Energy Management
When the orbs are gone, what are you supposed to do? You have anywhere from 20 to 25 seconds before they respawn, and that’s a long time to be doing nothing. So, as you might expect, this is when a lot of the combat happens.
Thus begins the second phase of game flow.
There’s a whole lot to be said about this “combat” phase, but the most important aspect (in my opinion anyway) is the building and spending of energy. Not just your own energy, and not just your teammate’s energy, but the enemy’s energy as well.
During this combat phase, your main goal is to build your energy meter as quickly as possible — or more accurately, you want to build your energy meter faster than your opponents build their energy meters. Energy expands your ability kit (giving you more options on the battlefield) and unlocks your ultimate, which is the most effective way to blast through someone’s recovery HP. That’s how you win rounds.
And as you know, there are only two ways to gain energy: hit your abilities or pick up energy orbs. We already covered orb control in phase one, so during this phase, you need to be hitting more abilities than your opponents do. Every hit you make, energy. Every hit you take, energy for the opponent. People humorously say that Battlerite boils down to one thing — “Hit your shit, dodge their shit” — but now you know just how true that statement is and why.
In essence, proper energy management is the key to success in Battlerite. Yes, there are other gameplay aspects that play into all of this, but all of those things play second fiddle to this truth: he who builds energy fastest dictates the flow of the round.
Phase 3: Ultimates
Eventually, all of that energy building will reach a climax: somebody is going to ding a full energy meter. It could be you, it could be your partner, or it could be an enemy. If it is an enemy, you won’t be able to see it on the HUD but their champion will speak a voice-acted line as indication.
Thus begins the third phase of game flow.
Once you realize that somebody has their ultimate, you need to shift gears. If the ultimate is on your side, you start positioning yourself so that you can unleash it to maximum effect at any moment. If the ultimate is on their side, you need to start saving every single hard out you have.
If phase one was a Mexican standoff, then phase three is a Mexican standoff on crack. This is when tension is at its peak. If you mistime your ultimate, you instantly go from advantaged to disadvantaged. If you pop your outs too early or too carelessly, you’re doomed. “One mistake and you’re dead” has never been more literal than now.
Once ultimates have been used, you can relax a bit and shift back into one of the other two phases — at least until everyone’s energy is built up again.
Incorporating Game Flow Into Your Play
Even though game flow is defined as three separate phases above, the truth is that these phases aren’t exactly distinct. Rather, all three phases occur at the same time all the time, but the priority of each phase grows and shrinks over the course of the round. And the further you are into a round, the murkier it becomes.
For example, mid control is important no matter what, but it’s not always the most important phase. If you have an energy advantage and your enemy has blown all of their outs, you can give up mid control to push that advantage. Similarly, if you whiffed a bunch of abilities and you’re vulnerable, you can give up mid control to give yourself some time to reset cooldowns.
There isn’t an exact science to this. A lot of the time, you won’t even be consciously thinking of these things during battle. The game constantly flows between the three phases (hence why I like to call it game flow) so even though all three phases are crucial to keep in mind at all times, it’s up to you to know which phase has most priority at any given time.
If you’re still confused on how to apply these concepts, here’s a good start:
- At the start of a round, never be the first to initiate.
- Try to grab every middle rune in every round.
- Only use your ultimate right when an enemy uses an out.
- Listen for enemy “ultimate acquired” sounds.
To be clear, this is NOT what high-level pros necessarily do. It’s not even how I myself play. These tips are just stepping stones that are meant to help you “get to the next level” so to speak, from chaos to intention. Once these things become second nature, that’s when you may want to start breaking these rules and experimenting.
A Note on Sudden Death
Over the course of a round, which is 2 minutes long by default, you’re going to pass in and out between all of these phases — but eventually time will run out, and when it does, everything goes out the window and you’ll have to switch gears into a Sudden Death mindset.
We’ll talk about that in more depth in another post. For now, suffice it to say that Sudden Death is a different kind of game that requires a different kind of strategy. All of the above mainly applies to pre-Sudden Death play.
Got any questions? Do you agree with this “game flow” theory? Or is it a bunch of hogwash that has no practical use in actual gameplay? I’d love to hear your thoughts.