Fortnite: how to win without building

Image credit: Epic Games

Fortnite has taken the world by storm since adding its free-to-play Battle Royale mode, and one of the reasons for this is its unique building mechanic. Allowing you to create cover from materials you've harvested within the match, building is a tricky system to get to grips with - so be sure to check out our guide on how to improve your Fortnite building skills.

For those looking to get their Victory Royale without constructing a single wall, know that it's tough to do so - but not impossible. Read on for our tips on how to make the most of your firepower to take out those pesky enemies and their makeshift structures.

Of course, boiling Fortnite down to combat and negating building can make the following tips feel basic in nature - but they'll keep you competitive if you're just starting out, or help you towards a win without building if you're looking to challenge yourself.

Are you feeling lucky, punk?


Landing in a populated area could prove fatal

Tactical decisions in the Battle Royale genre begin before you've made the jump to the battlefield, and Fortnite is no different. When you're on the battle bus, assess how confident you are when engaging enemies and pick your landing spot accordingly.

Landing into a populated area may be stressful, but if you're lucky enough to find a decent weapon early enough, it can make a huge difference to your early-game confidence by getting a couple of early kills.

Similarly, there's no shame in landing further afield - in one of the map's less-populated areas. If you're looking to loot up quickly and safely, this can be a great way to grab some weapons and items - although there’s not as many options as the larger towns. Just remember, when you're further from the map's centre, your looting time is more limited - especially if the storm closes elsewhere.

Know your arsenal

Try to sort out your arsenal as quickly as possible

Try to sort out your arsenal as quickly as possible

Fortnite's tools of destruction are numerous, and many are suited to different play styles. Each weapon comes in various tiers of rarity, from common (white), uncommon (green), rare (blue), epic (purple) to legendary (gold).

Silenced weapons will help keep your location hidden, but for our money it's a good idea to keep a shotgun handy - particularly the tactical or heavy varieties. These fire more quickly, and therefore allow more of a margin for error if you miss a couple of shots. Shotguns are ideal for close-range skirmishes, and they can be perfect for ambushes and negating them if an enemy gets the drop on you.

Scoped weapons, as you'd imagine, are ideal for longer-range battles, particularly the assault rifle with a thermal scope. On PC with mouse and keyboard, this is ideal, but our preference is to keep an assault rifle handy as they're ideal for mid-to-longer range engagements on console.

Tools for the job

If you can't build, just squat in someone else's old construction

If you can't build, just squat in someone else's old construction

Weapons aren't all you need to hunt down on the battlefield. Health and shields are your most precious commodity, and a variety of healing items make Fortnite more forgiving than some of its contemporaries.

While a Chug Jug can replenish your health and shields entirely, it takes a long time to use. With this in mind, don't neglect bandages and small shield potions. These can heal chunks of health and shields in seconds, and you can carry plenty of them within your inventory.

Keeping health high is a no-brainer, but it's worth keeping the Chug Jug (or other, larger healing items) for later in the game as an insurance policy. There's nothing worse than being in the top ten with just a slither of health, so try and keep at least something in reserve.

Edge of glory

Survival of the fittest

Survival of the fittest

When approaching the storm, keep yourself to the edge. This allows you to survey the playing area, but keep checking behind you (i.e. outside of the storm) to keep an eye out for stragglers that would otherwise surprise you.

In any case, it pays to stay mobile and do anything you can not to draw attention to yourself. If you're looking to win without building, avoid hitting structures and trees - these cause movement and sound which can draw enemies to your position.

Of course, if you're looking inwards from the play area's edge, there's plenty of tell-tale signs that there are enemies around. Look for trees wobbling and or falling, or the shimmering of building occurring on the horizon. 

Attack attack

Sometimes going in full throttle isn't advised...

Sometimes going in full throttle isn't advised...

If you do spot a fort or two in the distance, don't be afraid to avoid it. If you can see it, there's a good chance someone else can, and sneaking in to pick off survivors of a battle is a sound strategy.

There's also the small matter of an opponent already being in a defensive position, likely with the higher ground. If you can sneak around, do so - they'll need to leave the safety of the structure if the play area moves. 

If you can't, of course, then bring the entire thing crashing to the ground by destroying the base. This can give away your position so keep moving, but with any luck you can bring it down and maybe score a cheeky kill from falling damage in the process.

Above all else

Just make sure to enjoy yourself

Just make sure to enjoy yourself

While these may sound pretty straightforward, Fortnite is a game perfect for building (or not building as the case may be) new strategies on the fly. Being able to hop straight back into a game with minimal fuss means there's no real penalty for experimentation, so go wild and have fun!

Of course, if you're looking for a Battle Royale fix without having to construct ramps and stairs, there's never been a better time to jump into an alternative like Apex Legends, Blackout, or PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds.

(Image credits: Epic Games)

Lloyd Coombes
Freelancer & Podcaster

Lloyd Coombes is a freelance tech and fitness writer for TechRadar. He's an expert in all things Apple as well as Computer and Gaming tech, with previous works published on TopTenReviews,, and Live Science. You'll find him regularly testing the latest MacBook or iPhone, but he spends most of his time writing about video games at Dexerto.