Top Fortnite streamer Tyler 'Ninja' Blevins has criticized Epic Games for the timing of their updates coinciding with the Winter Royale tournament, saying "it's not what I qualified for."
The Winter Royale is Epic's first ever open tournament, boasting a $1 million prize pool across the NA and EU competitions, which players qualified for through the in-game playlists.
Anyone could qualify, meaning it levelled out the playing field by not using any invitationals, but Ninja was among the few who placed high enough to make it in.
However, on December 11, the new Infinity Blade was added to Fortnite, but instead of being in its own limited time playlist, it was added to every single mode - including the Winter Royale matches.
The Infinity Blade is a single spawn weapon, which grants players double health and shield, and even regenerates health and shield upon every kill. It gives the player who wields it a higher jump and the ability to smash down builds instantly.
Combined with the addition of the plane at the start of Season 7, as well as some major map changes, the version of Fortnite which is being played in the Winter Royale finals is vastly different to that which qualifiers were played on, as Ninja explains.
Ninja was somewhat empathetic to Epic's predicament: "We qualified for this when Risky [Reels] was still in it, obviously the snow map, that's understandable, they're not going to delay a whole Season for this tournament."
But, like many competitive players, Ninja thinks the inclusion of new planes and the Infinity Blade was a step too far, saying "to add the sword and to have these planes, in this tournament, it's just not what I qualified for."
Ninja also said that the addition of the Infinity Blade and planes was a direct cause for some players not qualifying.
GGs to everyone who qualified today! I did not so I will be hosting a viewing party for the finals :D Love doing those anyways with some drinks and epic additional commentary!— Ninja (@Ninja) December 11, 2018
Planes and swords were what caused a HUGE amount of top players to not qualify and for that I am sry :(
The problem for Epic lies with the balance between new updates which the majority of the casual player base can be excited about, with the needs and wants of the competitive community.
Not having the Infinity Blade kept separate in its own LTM would have been a simple solution to this, but Epic clearly wanted it to be a main feature of Season 7.
Other pro players, such as Ghost Gaming's 'Bizzle' and FaZe Clan's 'Avxry' have also been vocal about just how detrimental this new update has been for competitive Fortnite.