Epic Games warned Fortnite players about exploiting the game’s functions and promptly started discipling those using the heal-off strategy.

Competitive Fortnite is objectively one of the most challenging esports to master. The game encompasses many tough-to-master mechanics while being more complex than most Battle Royale titles on the market today. Naturally, a school of players helped design a strategy to circumvent Fortnite’s storm damage component. Dubbed the heal-off, some competitors utilized this controversial tactic to succeed in Fortnite tournaments. 

Unfortunately for those players, Epic Games has said enough is enough. After tweeting a reminder that exploiting a game function is punishable, the developers began dropping the hammer. As a result, it seems the journey of heal-off players has ended effectively in Chapter 3 Season 3. 

The Fortnite heal-off strategy — a brief history

Qrei’s success in FNCS

The journey of the heal-off stretches back many seasons. In fact, those with knowledge of how this strategy works might remember a Polish player named Qrei. This player made a name for himself using the heal-off, where he’d gather healing items and withstand storm damage. Eventually, his team would earn Victory Royales without a single elimination. 

As a result, Qrei’s efforts saw him qualify for the final round of an FNCS qualifier in Chapter 2 Season 6, etching him in Fortnite history. Since then, Epic Games has made it their goal to stop this strategy from being successful. The developers soon adjusted Cozy Campfires so players could not easily withstand the storm damage. Regardless, Qrei and other players found ways to keep winning. 

Epic introduces Storm Sickness in Chapter 3 Season 3

Fortnite Storm Sickness
Storm Sickness warning

This season, Epic decided enough was enough. The new season saw the introduction of Storm Sickness — a mechanic designed to thwart heal-off attempts in Fortnite. To briefly summarize Storm Sickness, players who suffer 600 storm damage will begin taking triple the usual storm damage. Epic believed this would put an end to the healing loyalists both in public and competitive matches. 

However, that was not the case. Instead, the heal-off players continued adapting to every obstacle thrown at them. While the details are murky, Epic Games now deems the polarizing strategy as an exploit.

Epic issues reminder regarding exploitation, seemingly targeting heal-off players

This weekend, Epic Games reached its breaking point. The Fortnite Competitive Twitter account issued a formal warning to all competitors about exploiting game mechanics:

“A reminder for our competitors, intentionally exploiting a game function (e.g. an in-game bug or glitch) in a manner not intended by Epic in order to gain a competitive advantage is against our rules laid out in 8.2 of all rule sets.”

Epic’s statement regarding exploits

While the message was unclear, most assumed Epic directed the comment at heal-off players in Fortnite. Soon after, those who chose to ignore the warning ultimately suffered a 14-day suspension and disqualification from two consecutive FNCS seasons. Competitors flooded social media with complaints about these punishments shortly after Epic sought out the offenders. 

Qrei disqualified for heal-off from Fortnite FNCS during Qualifier 3

Qrei safely qualified for round two of the third qualifier while utilizing the Fortnite heal-off method. However, upon attempting to queue, he found no option to continue the tournament. Then, Qrei discovered he and his teammate were no longer on the leaderboard. Despite campaigning Epic Games for an answer, nothing of the like would materialize. 

The Polish player called this the end of an era, as others shared tweets of Fortnite’s dreaded punishment splash screen. Qrei began the #FREEHEALOFF, which received some support, and later added that some heal-off players did not receive any discipline

Another Fortnite heal-off loyalist — Vontrex — shared an in-game warning for “exploiting” during Qualifier 3. He, too, lost the ability to compete in round two. 

Is the heal-off strategy officially over?

Unfortunately, Epic Games did not clarify why these players were banned. The only similarity is that many of them play Fortnite the same way. It’s certainly no coincidence that Qrei and Vontrex — two prolific heal-off players — received the same in-game message during the FNCS. 

It’s challenging to say whether or not the Fortnite heal-off will continue to be viable. Epic Games has labeled the method an exploit based on these tweets. Furthermore, the developers have used it as a reason to eradicate these competitors. Ultimately, we’ll have to see what more, if anything, comes of this situation as the Fortnite heal-off elites beg for answers. 

Stay tuned to esports.gg for more Fortnite news and updates


Matthew "MJP" Pryor

| Twitter: @MJP_FN

Matt “MJP” Pryor began following esports in 2008 when Halo 3 was on top of the world. He is now a Fortnite fanatic who has watched the game’s casual and competitive development since the 2019 Fortnite World Cup. Matt plays the game often while reporting on everything from skin collaborations to tournaments and everything in between.