At the end of 2020, after considering feedback from the community Epic announced that they are standardizing the Fortnite Champion Series (FNCS) format to Trios for all of 2021, with more info coming in the new year. They are ready to share more details on FNCS for 2021, including prizing, format, broadcast plans, gameplay adjustments, and additional tournament offerings. Epic break it down below.
Our overall goal is to create better consistency throughout the year and tie the 2021 seasons together for a more cohesive experience. The pinnacle of Fortnite Competitive, FNCS, will have $20,000,000 in prizes this year – compared to $17,000,000 in 2020 – as well as format tweaks after considering player feedback.
Let’s take a closer look.
The FNCS format will be familiar to most players with several tweaks to account for player feedback. Scoring will continue to be a balance of eliminations and overall placement.
- Players will compete in a single cross-platform player pool. This allows players on different platforms to play together as teammates.
- Weekly Qualifiers will have an additional Round to pare down to the final lobby more gradually. See details below.
- Once qualified to the Semi-Finals, teams will be locked and not be able to play in additional Qualifiers. This means if a team directly qualifies to the Semi-Finals in Week 1, that team won’t be able to influence Week 2 or Week 3’s Qualifiers.
- Semi-Finals and Finals will be played out on separate weekends to better manage both player fatigue and tournament operations.
- All prizes have been shifted to the Finals.
- The top three teams from each region’s Finals will auto-qualify for the next season’s FNCS Finals. Note: This change requires that all three members of the team remain together during the next season.
- FNCS Champions and other consistent top performers will earn the opportunity to be invited to the mid and end-of-year prize competitions.
- Slightly different scoring formats for single lobby vs. multiple lobby gameplay, to account for increased level of competition and the increased challenge of obtaining eliminations in the later stages.
FNCS Chapter 2 Season 5 Schedule
Qualifier 1: February 4-7
Qualifier 2: February 11-14
Qualifier 3: February 18-21
Bye Week: February 25-28
Semi-Finals: March 5-7
Reboot Round: March 12 & 13
Finals: March 12-14
Qualifiers Format (Three weeks)
Each week, top performing teams will progress through different Rounds of competition culminating into a 33-team field in the final stage. The top 10 teams from each region in the final stage will move on to the Semi-Finals. Series points will be awarded to teams that advanced to Round 2.
EU Example (Check the Official Rules for your local region coming next week)
Additional Qualifier Path – After three weeks, the top 102 teams in series points will also advance to the Semi-Finals for a total of 132 teams in each region progressing in the tournament.
Semi-Finals (March 5-7)
Once teams advance to the Semi-Finals, they will be placed into four groups in their respective region. Each group consists of 33 unique teams. The top 8 teams from each group will advance to Finals. Teams that placed 9th-16th in each group will compete in the Reboot Round.
EU Example (Check the Official Rules for your local region coming next week)
Reboot Round (March 12 & 13)
Teams ranked 9th – 16th in each Semi-Finals group will move to a special consolation round, the Reboot Round. The Reboot Round is a winners-take-all single match where the team that earns the Victory Royale will be awarded a qualifying ticket to the Finals.
Finals (March 12-14)
With the competition down to the top 33 teams in each region, our Chapter 2 Season 5 FNCS winners (and new wielders of the Axe of Champions) will be determined across 12 total matches in two days (6 matches each day). Additionally, the top 3 teams from each region will automatically qualify for the Chapter 2 Season 6 FNCS Finals.
FNCS Prize Pool
With the format explained, let’s break down our plan for distributing the $20,000,000 over the course of 2021.
Epic plan to have four FNCS seasons in 2021, each with a $3,000,000 prize pool, for a total of $12,000,000 in FNCS prizes for the year. The distribution across all regions for the $3,000,000 prize pool is currently based on the most recent competitive participation and regional game population. Epic have provided a chart below and will continue to monitor and evaluate data before each season to make any necessary adjustments.
Current Season FNCS Finals Prize Distribution by Region
Epic also have plans for mid and end of year competitions where Epic will bring together the top performing FNCS players in each region in multiple competitive formats to compete for an additional $8,000,000 in prizes. They will have more to share about these events as Epic get closer to the middle of the year.
Epic will be expanding our official coverage of the FNCS this season by adding separate broadcasts for French, German and Spanish speakers in the EU server region. NAE and BR coverage will continue, but Epic is also adding new coverage for the NAW and OCE regions. By increasing our FNCS global coverage, Epic can now focus our broadcasts on each previously mentioned region’s final lobby for the Weekly Qualifiers along with all Semi-Finals and Finals days.
The FNCS OCE broadcast will be presented by our friends at the Australian Open (AO). The AO has highlighted OCE players in previous years with the AO Summer Smash featuring Fortnite. This partnership will span across all Qualifiers and into the Finals. Expect great coverage of the FNCS OCE competition, exclusive interviews, and other content that ties into the AO tennis tournament coverage in February. Stay tuned to AO social channels for more details.
Competitive Gameplay Changes
Epic are continually evaluating ways to adjust the competitive experience in both the immediate and long term. Our goal is to continue to make adjustments that help showcase the highest level of talent competitive Fortnite has to offer.
The changes to competitive playlists before FNCS starts include:
- Addition of Lever Action Shotgun
- Vaulted Rift Fish
- Vaulted Shockwave Grenades
- Removal of Elevators and IO Guards
- Sand tunneling will remain in competitive playlists and tournaments as long as it remains in the core playlists, as it is a major feature of this Season’s map.
- They have made adjustments to the amount of Bars players start with in competitive playlists. They will continue to monitor how the Bars system fits in competitive, and will make adjustments as necessary.
More Ways to Compete and Win Prizes
In addition to the $20,000,000 FNCS related prize pools, Epic have more ways to compete for an opportunity to win prizes.
Epic noted that more competitions were coming in our blog earlier this year, and they have finalized a few more. Solo Saturdays are weekly Cash Cups for Champion level players to show their skill, compete for the opportunity to win cash prizes, and potentially get on the radar of players looking to fill out their FNCS Trio. There will be intentional overlap with FNCS to provide players who may have already qualified, or didn’t make it to Round 3 of the FNCS Qualifier for that week, an opportunity to jump into a cash prize tournament.
More Trios Cash Cups and LTM Tournament Adjustments
Trio Cash Cups for Champion level players will now be every Monday, instead of every other Monday, to provide teams a consistent weekly tournament to prepare for FNCS, as well as a chance to try out a new team combination. After careful reflection and considering player feedback, the LTM’s Epic had previously planned to hold on the alternating Mondays with the Trios Cash Cups will now be held on Sundays to support a wider audience of participants. They are also shifting the prize pool originally allocated to these LTMs to both the Trios Cash Cups and Solo Saturdays, and the LTM Tournaments will instead be focused on fun, no-stakes formats for the rest of the season.
Console Exclusive Competitions
Epic held several console exclusive tournaments last year and saw a lot of positive feedback from the console community. They will continue to add more console exclusive tournaments in 2021 with dedicated prizing.
Epic have even more unannounced competitive events coming later this Season; be sure to check in-game for our latest competitive offerings.
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