Feature Article

How To Not Suck With Fortnite's Kinetic Blade

Fortnite's incredible new katana weapon requires a bit more finesse than last season's Shockwave Hammer.

Fortnite Chapter 4 began by introducing the beloved Shockwave Hammer in Season 1, and now Season 2 has swapped that blunt instrument for a more elegant weapon: the Kinetic Blade katana. This thing is incredible, and, like the hammer before it, will very often be the deciding factor between victory and defeat this season.

There's a big difference between being just decent with the Kinetic Blade and being great with it. Anybody can spam the yeet attack and get lucky sometimes, but once you actually know what you're doing with the katana--meaning you know not just how to use it but also when--then you'll be slashing and throwing your foes all over the place in no time. Fortunately, you don't have to do this on your own. Below you'll find a complete breakdown of this weapon, from our full explanation of the mechanics down to the combat scenarios in which you'll need to pull it out.

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How exactly the Kinetic Blade works

The Kinetic Blade fills the same niche that the hammer did, as a tool for quick movement that also has some serious combat capabilities when used correctly and in the right situations. But in more literal terms, the Kinetic Blade is a whole new gameplay mechanic that doesn't work like the hammer did at all, really. So we're all starting fresh with this thing, which requires a bit more finesse than the hammer did.

The Kinetic Blade can do two things: a dash attack, which will propel you forward pretty quickly and does 60 damage, and a two-part knockback attack, which does 35 damage on the first hit and 70 on the second. And the second hit will also send the target flying back from you, causing fall damage if you're elevated enough.

That knockback attack, by the way, is not a combo--you only need to click/pull the trigger once and your character will automatically do the entire knockback sequence. So try not to button mash with the Kinetic Blade or else you might accidentally lock yourself into the lengthy animation a second time when you don't mean to.

Like last season's Shockwave Hammer, the Kinetic Blade is primarily for mobility as you move around the map. You can and should use it as a weapon, of course, because that fall damage is no joke with all the height added to the map this season, but you'll use it for getting around pretty much constantly. While each dash won't take you as far as the hammer did, it takes half the time to recharge--and you can use it to dash straight up in the air three times in a row, letting you get much better height than the hammer ever did.

The best way to use the Kinetic Blade as a weapon against other players

When it is time to fight, you shouldn't use the Kinetic Blade as your primary weapon most of the time--guns are still far more efficient at deleting your foes in most scenarios. But there are occasions during every round of battle royale in which whipping this thing out is the right thing to do. Namely: whenever you're about to fight someone near a big ledge, like on Loot Island, the top of a skyscraper in Mega City, any of the castles around the map, or any of the many cliff faces on the island.

For these situations, the Kinetic Blade is a King of the Hill weapon--that's referring to the children's game rather than the TV show. So what it's really good for is just clearing people off of your hill, whether it be the house on the Loot Island, the top of a skyscraper in Mega City, any of the castles around the map, or just an actual hill. Players do have plenty of methods for surviving getting yeeted this season--like the Aerialist augment and the Kinetic Blade itself, which can do the dash attack at any time when you're in the air.

But even if you don't finish them off, clearing your opponent off the high ground and taking it for yourself is a great way to turn a fight around in your favor. And the Kinetic Blade is perfect for that.

The best place to practice this way of using the sword is on the Loot Island that spawns in mid-round. Instead of using a zipline to get up to it, use one of the rifts that litter the ground beneath it and dive in at the roof of the house that sits on it. If somebody is hanging out on that roof, hit them with the knockback attack and fire up your best taunt emote while they fall all the way back to the ground. But even if they pop a glider or get a sword dash off to save themselves, they're not on that roof anymore, and you are. Advantage: you.

High-ground battles aren't the only main combat use for the sword, though. It's also great for, well, scaring the crap out of people. A big element of success in any competitive multiplayer game is aggression--when you surprise somebody and get them on their back foot, that's usually good for you and bad for them. So while dashing at somebody who's already shooting at you will frequently be a bad idea, using the dash to start a fight has a great chance of throwing your target into a panic and making them easy pickings.

And while most folks will reflexively use the sword to try to flee when they're overrun by an opposing team--that's usually the right thing to do, for the record--it's got decent combat potential in those situations because of the aforementioned panic factor. It won't necessarily even the odds, but it might give you a real shot--we've already lost track of how many times a panic dash right into somebody's face has saved us when we thought we were seconds from death.

If you've made it this far, you should be ready to take on the world with the Kinetic Blade. Just remember not to use it as a crutch when it's time to fight--spamming sword attacks is a surefire ticket to your digital grave. Knowing when to use it is half the battle.

Phil Owen on Google+

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