Brawl Stars is a mobile MOBA that sends players into 3v3 or 1v9 real-time, short-burst multiplayer matches.
While the game is currently only soft-launched in Canada on iOS, as the next online outing from Clash Royale developer Supercell, it has already built up a significant player base.
Whether you’re a legitimate Canadian trying out the game or a mobile tourist who’s just visiting, we’ve put together some tips below for any first-time brawlers. These tips won’t go into in-depth strategies for using specific characters: that’s a guide for another day.
Know your enemy
After you play through the tutorial and have learned the basic controls and goal, we recommend reading up on the different brawlers in the game. You can learn about them from the Brawlers menu in-game or our character guide.
While the best way to learn a character is by playing him or her, you won’t have access to most brawlers for quite some time. Yet you will encounter a variety of challengers on the opposing team.
Barley, for instance, has a large area of effect Super that covers the ground in flames. Jessie has a stationary, but breakable, turret that will attack you from range. Make a mental note of brawlers’ attacks and Supers so you’ll know what to expect when facing them.
Try both control schemes
In the settings menu – accessible via the gear above the Event list – you can choose between “Tap to move” and “Joystick Move.”
Tap to move is the default option the tutorial will teach you. Tapping sends your character to the location you selected. To attack, you have to swipe and release in the direction you want.
Joystick Move gives you direct control over your movement via a virtual joystick. You drag on the screen to move, and tapping will cause you to attack. You can still swipe and release to attack if you prefer.
The Joystick control option is arguably better for precise movement. It makes it much easier to correct your position quickly and to dodge attacks narrowly. You can also attack in quick succession with multiple taps.
However, you must keep your finger on the screen as a joystick in order to attack. In the Joystick control mode, the first finger you place is always for movement and the second finger will attack.
This means if you’re standing stationary and release the screen, then need to quickly attack, you’ll have to use two fingers to do so. If you’re still learning the ropes and are standing still when attacking, the Tap to move option may initially be easier to use.
Pay attention to range when learning a new character
No matter which control scheme you choose, we recommend using the swipe to attack option often when you’re playing a new brawler.
If you swipe and hold before releasing your finger, you will see a ghostly white line or cone in the direction you’re aiming. This is your brawler’s attack range: it indicates how far their attack will reach and the spread it covers.
For instance, Colt’s range is a very long, straight line. Shelly’s range is a shorter, wider cone. Colt is more of a sniper while Shelly is a closer-range shotgunner.
The more you play, the more you’ll simply know your range without swiping. But this tactic can help you both learn the distance to play a character as well as from how far away an opponent using that character can reach you.
Practise leading your shots
When using the swipe-and-hold attack method, you can easily see where your bullets will end up. However, attacks take time to discharge and reach their targets and most players are constantly on the move.
Because of this, it’s beneficial to learn to lead your shots, predicting where players are headed and shooting there instead of where they currently are.
A good game type to practise this on is Smash & Grab or Heist. In these modes, you know areas your opponents will be targeting (the crystals or the safe), so it’s easier to predict their movements and aim for their destinations.
You can also use this tactic when being chased: shoot behind you while moving forward and an opponent that is pursuing will likely walk into your projectile.
Consistently leading shots successfully takes practise and is learned with time as you become familiar with both your characters’ attack patterns and enemy movements, but it’s one of the most useful skills you can master.
Watch the circles around enemies and teammates
Every character in a match has a blue or red circle around their feet at all times: this simply indicates which team they are on (blue is friendly, red is the enemy).
If you see a second blue or red circle around a character, it means their Super attack is filled and available to use.
If they have a yellow circle around them, they have selected their Super attack and are likely about to use it. They can deselect the Super by tapping the button again, but if you see a yellow circle, assume a powerful attack is imminent.
Keep in mind once you tap the button, you still have to attack to actually use the Super. This is true even for something like Poco’s healing ability, which requires you to shoot since it will heal any teammates you hit.
Because this yellow circle is basically a huge highlighter that screams “Super incoming!” if you want to surprise someone with your Super, try not to hit the Super button until just before you use it. You can also hit this button early without intent to use it to intimidate another player into potentially backing off.
Play bots until you’re ready to Brawl
Brawl Stars has three match types across its four game modes: Bot Brawl, Co-Op Brawl, and Brawl.
Bot Brawl places you in a match with nothing but bots. Your team will be you and two other bots while the enemy team will be three bots. This is the completely you-only mode where you can feel free to try out crazy tactics or quit early without it impacting anyone.
Co-Op Brawl puts you on a team with other real players but your enemies are still bots. This is a good way to get a feel for playing with actual teammates while still being able to practise on AI opponents. Brawl is the fully-human, 3v3 (or 1v9) match-up with all real players. This is typically going to be the hardest and least predictable mode, as human players will use strategies bots won’t. Brawl is the best way to learn the game and get better, but it’s also recommended that you practise in the other two modes first before diving into it.
The good news is that all three modes award EXP and coins, so you can still level up and work toward new brawl boxes even when battling bots. Brawl is the only mode that awards trophies for winning (or detracts trophies for losing).
Check in daily to earn coins
Coins are a critical part of advancing in Brawl Stars: for every 100 coins you earn, you can open a Brawl Box, which will contain either a new brawler or Elixir to upgrade your existing brawlers.
There are a few ways to earn coins: first, every time a new event is revealed—the timer in the upper-right corner of the current event shows how long until it is replaced by a new one—you will get 8 coins simply for revealing the next event. You don’t even have to play a round to get this reward.
Second, playing the current events will award coins—whether you win or lose, although you get more coins for a victory—up to a certain amount. When you hit that amount (60 coins for event #1, 40 for event #2, etc.) you will stop earning coins until the next event is revealed.
Third, levelling up your account awards coins. Your account is levelled up through the EXP you earn simply by playing. Again, you win EXP whether you win or lose, and even when playing bots.
Finally, you earn coins for ranking up your brawlers. When you win a Brawl (the 3v3 mode against real players), the brawler you used will earn trophies. When they earn enough trophies, they will rank up, awarding you coins.
So, once you’ve earned all your coins for a current event, you can still earn coins that day by playing games and levelling up both your account and your brawlers.
Try out different brawlers
As you open Brawl Boxes, you’ll inevitably unlock new brawlers. Even if you’re enjoying your current character, always try out new brawlers as they become available.
All of the brawlers have unique skills and playstyles. Trying out each may reveal someone you unexpectedly like even more, but it will also help you learn that character and how to counter him when he’s on the opposing team.
You might also find game mode-specific favorites. Someone you love on Bounty might not be as useful on Heist and vice versa. We personally love using Dynamike on objective modes but rarely use him on the deathmatch-esque Bounty.
Using different characters also, as mentioned above, helps you earn coins by levelling up a wide variety of brawlers.
You only regen health after not attacking for a time
You’ll probably notice your health regenerating occasionally when you’re not being hit. However, this only occurs when you haven’t attacked for a few seconds as well.
If you’re low on health, step back and stop shooting to give yourself a chance to heal. Refill your ammo and your HP.
Work with your team
In every mode except Showdown, you’ll be matched up with two other players as teammates. Stay aware of your teammates, support them, and use their skills to your advantage.
If you have a Nita on your team, stay near her bear for extra defense. If you have a Jessie, lead enemies to her turret. If you have a Poco, be aware if his Super is available and retreat to him when low on health.
Similarly, use your abilities to help your team. If you’re playing a character with a wide spread of attack, help check bushes for hidden enemies before a teammate rushes in. Toss area of attack projectiles where they’re headed to clear the way. Don’t worry about getting the final blow for a kill: share the effort and the victory.
Just try to stay aware of what your team is doing and come to their aid whenever possible. Although there are “star player” call-outs at the end of games, matches are won by teams, not individual players.
Keep the game mode in mind
The event / game mode type you’re playing determines the match’s victory conditions.
Bounty awards one point for each kill a team earns. Each time a player makes a kill, their “bounty”—the stars above their head—increases. Killing a player with a bounty awards your team their stars. So, a player with a 6-star bounty will award the opposing team six points if they die.
Smash & Grab features a central area of the map that produces crystals every few seconds. The first team to pick up ten crystals starts a countdown, and if they manage to keep their crystals until the countdown ends, they win the game. You can knock crystals out of a player—and then pick them up—by killing them.
Heist pits one defending team against an offensive team. The offence is trying to destroy the safe on the defense’s side of the map. Once the safe’s health reaches zero, the offence wins. If time runs out and the safe is still standing—even with one point of health—defense wins.
Showdown is the free-for-all mode that pits 10 players against each other. The only goal is to survive as long as possible by not dying to the hands of another player or the poison cloud that is slowly spreading throughout the map. In-map Elixirs can be picked up from crates or killed players for match-only upgrades.
For both Bounty and Smash & Grab, be aware of how many stars or crystals you are carrying. If your team is winning and you have a lot of either, don’t dive into the fray and be aggressive for no reason. Hang back and try to stay alive since your death could turn the tide of victory.
Similarly, help protect teammates with lots of crystals or a large bounty. If a teammate is hiding, don’t lead enemies to them. Help defend without giving away their position.
Heist’s strategy depends on which team you’re on, but the safe is the focus either way. It’s best in any game mode not to die too often or take too much damage, but if you have to sacrifice yourself to get some hits on the safe, go for it. The safe will not regenerate, but you will.