Improving as a player involves two things: identifying mistakes and fixing mistakes.
No player is perfect — not even the ones who are mechanical gods — and everyone makes mistakes. These mistakes come in many forms: poor ability usage, bad aim, not tracking enemy cooldowns, improper positioning, attacking suboptimal targets, not realizing when an enemy is vulnerable, not knowing champion matchups, etc.
Improving as a player simply means making fewer mistakes. To make fewer mistakes, you have to first identify your mistakes, and then break the habits that lead to those mistakes. You cannot improve in a meaningful way if you don’t identify your mistakes, otherwise practicing just ends up cementing your bad habits even further.
Of the many ways to identify mistakes, replay analysis is the most effective — and we’re blessed to have a functioning replay system (Odeum) that makes this easy.
Choosing the Right Replay
Watching someone who’s better than you can be useful for learning new tricks, but in this guide we’re focusing on your mistakes and what you could do better.
When choosing a replay, always prefer ones where you lost. You may feel anxious at the thought of watching yourself lose, but trust me, you have to grit your teeth and get over it. The most important mistakes to fix are the ones that lead to losing.
Replays where you lost 1-3 or 2-3 in rounds are best because everyone was likely around the same skill level. The problem with 0-3 stomps is that it generally means you made too many mistakes, and it can be hard to discern which mistakes lost you the rounds. In 1-3 or 2-3 matches, the mistakes that led to the loss tend to be clearer.
The First Pass
Keep in mind that replay analysis is itself a skill: the more you do it, the better you’ll get. At first it may take 30-60 minutes to extract everything useful from a replay, but when you get good at it, you’ll be able to do it in under 10 minutes.
Watch the entire replay from start to finish to get a sense of the match. If you don’t have the patience for that, at least watch the rounds you lost. As you go through, jot down timestamps when you spot mistakes so you can review them in more detail on the second pass.
What kinds of mistakes should you look for?
- Positioning. Look at where you are in relation to teammates and enemies. Did you leave your healer’s side? Did you jump into the middle of two or three enemies? Did you run around a wall when you should’ve run to your healer? Did you push too far? Did you fall back too far?
- Target selection. Look at who you engage and who you attack. Are they at full health? Do they have shields? Are their teammates right next to them and available to help? Did you ignore the guy with tons of missing health and no outs? Did you jump to engage when another enemy was right next to you? Did you tunnel the enemy next to you when you should’ve helped your teammate?
- Cooldown management. How are you using your abilities? Make note of every time you use a defensive cooldown so you can review it on the second pass. Also look for moments where you could have used an offensive cooldown but didn’t. These can be hard to spot, so look specifically for moments when an enemy is vulnerable (no outs).
- Orb control. If you aren’t comfortable with orb control, mark down whenever the orb spawns. You’ll want to revisit these moments later to see what exactly you were doing at those times, and often you’ll find that focusing the orb would’ve been smarter than whatever else you were doing.
- Counters, reflects, ultimates. Every time you hit a counter, a reflect, or get surprised by an unexpected ultimate, mark that down. It’s not simply a matter of “I shouldn’t have hit that.” The root of the issue goes deeper than that.
The Second Pass
If the first pass is about finding when you failed, the second pass is about determining why you failed. For a shallow kind of study, you can go to each marked scene and ask yourself “Why?” until you understand what drove you to make that mistake.
“Why did I space there?” might teach you that you panic too easily and need to hold your mobility spells. “Why did I attack him when she’s open?” might teach you that you need to retrain your target selection habits and practice attacking enemies with black health (i.e. no recovery health).
There are a lot of root issues that can lead to these mistakes, and it’d be impossible to cover all of them in a single article, but here are some key ones to consider and fix ASAP.
Mistake: Being Out of Position
Of all the “most important things” in Battlerite, positioning is the most most important thing. A difference of one inch to the left or right at the start of a round can have far-reaching influence over how the rest of the round plays.
Good positioning is hard, and I’d be a liar to say I know everything about it. Positioning is contextual. What works in one match may not work in the next. The way you move as Ashka versus Bakko isn’t the same as how you move as Ashka versus Croak or Destiny. This is because every champion has different abilities, cooldowns, and areas of influence.
You want to be in a spot where you can put out pressure without receiving pressure. You want to be where you can escape to a safe spot in case an enemy aggresses hard. You want to be near your teammates, you want to be near the orb, and you may or may not want to be near walls depending on whether enemies have wall mechanics. Weighing all of these different wants, plus many more, is how things get complicated.
What you can do is watch how you move, watch where you jump, and keep asking yourself “Why?” to pinpoint where your thought process is going wrong. If that was a bad jump, where else would you jump instead? Bad positioning is hard to remember while you’re playing, but painfully obvious when you’re viewing a replay.
For a good starter resource, check out the triangle method to positioning. It’s not always the best way to play, but it offers a safe foundation on which you can build.
Mistake: Lack of Map Awareness
Map awareness is knowing where every player is on the map.
Obviously you can’t watch a replay and know exactly what you were aware of at the time. What you can look for, however, is who you choose to attack and how you move around the map. It’s easy to tell when you have tunnel vision, for example, because things are happening in one place but you’re in an irrelevant M1 battle somewhere else.
And don’t forget to watch your healer’s location and whether you’re staying within range to be healed. Do you feel like you never get healed? Replays will prove whether or not that’s true. Most likely you’re making it difficult for healers to keep up with you. Watch how often you stray from your healers, why you don’t return to them, and what else you can change to make their lives easier.
It helps to watch at 0.5 speed for this (use the slider at the bottom right).
Mistake: Using Abilities When You Shouldn’t
By now you should know all about not wasting defensive cooldowns, but just because you know it in your head doesn’t mean you know it in your hands. Watching a replay will reveal just how often you misplay your defensives — but don’t feel bad, because we all do it.
During the first pass, you should’ve marked every time you used a defensive cooldown. For each one of those moments, ask yourself:
- “Did I really need to use this here?”
- “Did I use it in the right direction or on the right target?”
- “Could I have used a less costly defensive cooldown instead?”
Counters, in particular, are easily misplayed. Are you casting when you think they’ll attack? Or are you casting in reaction to animations? Try not to counter until an animation happens. Blindly countering and hoping to get hit is a fool’s game.
Regardless, rewind about 10-15 seconds and watch the chain of events that lead up to using the defensive cooldown. It’s easy to think “I need to stop wasting my outs” will fix it, but maybe you were forced to use an out due to overaggression. Look for ways you could’ve avoided the situation that led to you feeling like you had to use an out.
Outs aren’t the only problem.
For example, watch how you use Snipes, Shadowbolts, Panic Flasks, Steady Shots, Chaos Grips, Charged Shots, Seismic Shocks, etc. One reflect or counter at the start of the round can ruin the rest of the round, and it’s a problem easily avoided with cancelcasting.
These long-cast-time abilities leave you vulnerable, so casting them when melees are beating on you or when you’re out in the open can be a big mistake, but sometimes it isn’t. Compare the times you are punished to the times when you aren’t punished, and ask yourself why you got clobbered this time but not that time, then ask yourself what you could’ve done instead. Sometimes the answer is as simple as “I should’ve walked up and used M1.”
Every ability, offensive or defensive, should be used with purpose. If you’re randomly casting because you don’t know what else to do, figure out what else you can do.
Mistake: Not Using Abilities When You Should
When you first start playing Battlerite, it’s easy to forget that you have certain abilities. If you don’t use your whole kit, you’re going to struggle. If you’re Raigon and stuck in Lucie’s Crippling Goo and forget that you have Dragon Palm, that could be the difference between the round won or lost.
More importantly, you have to use abilities optimally.
For example, consider Ashka and Flamestrike. For maximum pressure, common sense says to use it every time it’s off cooldown so you can dish out as much damage as possible. But if you cast it and miss, then it’s worse than if you hadn’t casted it because now it’s on cooldown and unavailable. An Ashka who uses Flamestrike whenever it’s ready is going to miss a lot of them, whereas an Ashka who waits until the enemy can’t dodge it will land most of them, which ends up doing more overall damage.
Watch your replays and spot all the times you needlessly cast Flamestrike, Disabling Shot, Tazer, Gust, Shatter, Toxin Spit, etc. Then look for all the moments where an enemy was vulnerable but you couldn’t punish because your punishers were on cooldown.
Similarly, there may be times when you should’ve used a defensive ability but didn’t, whether because you forgot you had it or because you didn’t think to use it in a certain way. For example, if you’re Lucie and your replay shows an enemy Oldur using his ultimate to stun and kill you, you might think there’s nothing you could’ve done. But wait, Clarity Potion! You maybe could’ve tossed a Clarity Potion in the air right before impact, which would’ve freed you from the stun and possibly let you live.
These little moments can make or break rounds.
Mistake: Poor Tracking of Cooldowns and Energy
Counters. Reflects. Ultimates.
When you trigger a counter, the problem isn’t so much one of reaction time, although it is possible to avoid counter hits with reactive cancelcasts. Instead, it’s probably because you failed to track the counter cooldown in your head.
Jump to a timestamp where you hit a counter. Rewind until you find the previous time the enemy used countered. You’ll notice it’s usually around 10-15 seconds between counters, and that’s because the average counter cooldown is 8 seconds. Count to 8, then wait for the counter. This is also true for reflect abilities, which have an average cooldown of 8 seconds (except for Blossom’s Gust, which is 15 seconds).
But counting during an actual round can be hard because it detracts from all the other things you need to do: moving and positioning, picking good targets, tracking orb respawn, etc.
Here’s something else you can try: Watch the entire replay, focusing on a single champion with a counter. Every time they counter, note how much “stuff” happens before they counter again. We already knows it’s about 10-15 seconds, but this helps you get a “feel” for how long that actually is during a match. It’s a lot shorter than you think.
As for ultimates, watch a few matches and note when the first ultimates occur — usually around 30-45 seconds into the round (or about two orbs). Watch replays until you get a second-nature feel for how much stuff happens in that time. That said, tracking energy is harder than tracking cooldowns so I wouldn’t worry too much about this until you’re more advanced.
Mistake: Neglecting Orb Control
Now it’s time to visit those orb-related timestamps. You should know by now that orbs are too important to ignore, so don’t skip analyzing your orb control mistakes.
What are you doing when the orb spawns? Fighting somebody in their spawn? Being chased back into your own spawn? Or just standing around with your pants at your ankles? Rewind about 10 seconds and figure out what you could’ve done differently to secure a good position for the orb spawn. Need to push up? Need to back off? Need to save an important cooldown for bursting the orb?
How are you breaking the orb? Are you mindlessly M1ing it while an enemy Ruh Kaan is casting Shadowbolt? Are you using your combos? For example, as Jade, you might time your Snipe to fire just after the orb spawns and clean up with M1s. If your combo isn’t available, such as Ashka’s M1 > Flamestrike > M1, ask yourself why not. Is it because you just wasted Flamestrike?
How are you controlling the orb? If you’re Bakko or Ruh Kaan, for example, you have tools to bring the orb to your team’s side and make it harder for the enemy to break. Are you forgetting to do this? Are you executing it properly? Are you not in position in time to pull it off before the enemy can get to it? Learn more in our post on tips for middle orb control.
What about greens and yellows? Are you picking them up? Are you going too far out of your way for them and leaving your teammates to die? Are you stealing them from teammates who need them? They’re important.
Mistake: Ignoring Enemy Patterns
As you rank higher and start matching against the same players over and over, there’s one more way to analyze replays and make fewer mistakes: study enemy patterns.
I learned this tip from Dewizzle, one of the more informative Battlerite streamers to watch, who frequently analyzes his replays while in queue. At his level, he doesn’t just watch for his own mistakes but also picks up on enemy patterns for next time.
This is an advanced skill with big results. Once you can spot a particular player’s patterns with a certain champion, you can apply what you learn to that champion in general. For example, if you can learn someone’s core Shifu pattern, you’ll lose less often to Shifus overall. And if you know how someone plays, you can adapt your own play to overcome them.
Focus on One Mistake at a Time
I’ll end the guide with this: you don’t have to study all of the things above in every replay you watch. That’s too much. You’ll just feel overwhelmed and end up confusing yourself by trying to fix too many things at once.
Pick one mistake. Watch a replay. Timestamp every instance of that mistake. Go back and analyze it deeper on the second pass. Figure out what you would do differently next time, then go into your next match with that particular improvement in mind.
It may take many matches before it actually sticks, but this kind of focused practice will accelerate your skills. Just take it one at a time.