Tips and tricks to get good at Knockout City

by Mitch Reames

Fans of dodgeball have a new game to try. If you haven’t already given Knockout City a shot, the new game developed by Velan Studios and published by EA, is worth a try. It’s free to play up to Level 25 where the game will then cost $20 to continue.

The closest comp for the game is probably Rocket League. It’s a game familiar to classic real-world sports with some interesting twists that give it a unique nature. There are even some aspects that feel similar to a shooter like Call of Duty as well.

Read more: Knockout City is a breath of fresh air, contender for next popular esports title

The game has been out only two months, so it’s certainly in an era of trial and error. Nobody really knows the perfect way to play the game and it’s been fun to experiment with new playstyles against a player base that is still figuring it out as well. With that being said, here are five tips to help you become a better Knockout City player.

Pass like you’re an amalgamation of Magic Johnson and Steve Nash

Dishing out assists is the best strategy for new players to learn. The game is dodgeball, but when you catch the ball, the other person isn’t out like the real world game. Instead, you catch it and the ball powers up a level allowing you to throw faster than you would be able to just throw on your own. But catching is obviously riskier than dodging.

That’s where passing comes in. When you pass, the ball also reacts as if you’d caught an opponent's throw giving you more power. You’re going to have a ton more success throwing a ball that was passed to you than one you just picked up off the ground.

Plus, passing allows for unique angles. Someone has to be looking at you to catch, so if you have someone's attention, pass to a teammate and they have to turn toward them to catch it. With the added speed, that becomes difficult.

You can bounce throws off a teammate that already has a ball for quick charge or use an approach my team calls the “gatling gun” where two teammates feed one player to just send a barrage of fast balls at the opposing team.

Learn the best throw for individual areas on each map

There are three types of throws a person can do with a dodgeball in the game. The first is a normal powerup throw that goes straight. The second is a curve throw where the ball will arc in a half-circle running parallel to the ground. The third is a lob shot where the ball goes up and comes down with quite a bit of force.

Individual areas on each map are made for each type of throw. Take Galaxy Burger, one of the six maps in the game. The middle is a large circle with two levels. It’s a good spot for beginners to start with the curve shot using the pillar in the middle to disguise the throw. While trying to target an opponent on a different level, the lob shot works wonders.

Galaxy Burger map walkthrough:


Each map has these individual areas that other shots work well on. Galaxy Burger’s are probably the most obvious, but experimenting with other corners that curve shots are disguised on will help deliver you plenty of knockouts.

Play some single-player matches

The main mode for the game is 3v3. And that’s always going to be the core mode. But when it comes to learning the maps and getting timing right, the slower 1v1 mode is actually really nice.

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You can’t hide behind teammates here or even use the special balls (we will get to that), so the 1v1 mode is a perfect practice ground. This is the best place to figure out what types of shots work where. If the opponent is surprised when there is no one else to focus on, it’s a safe bet that a similar shot in the more fast-paced 3v3 will be a good bet as well. It also helps you learn the different ball spawns, some of the unique pathing you can take on maps and how to time your catches.

Get good with each of the special balls

There are five special balls in Knockout City. They, along with the maps, are what change each game to keep it fresh. Only one will be active at a time. Here’s a quick rundown:

Multi-ball: three balls at once. Great for passing to teammates or charging up a barrage at one person. It’s arguably the most independently overpowered special ball in the game as it’s near impossible to catch or dodge three straight throws. Perfect for the aforementioned “gatling gun” strat.

Cage ball: Puts opponents into a cage rolling on the ground for about six seconds. At this point, they can either be hit easily or picked up and thrown off stage. The best bet depends mostly on the map, but if you get good chucking them into the abyss, it’s definitely the most fun. Beware though, if you cage them next to their teammate they can also pick them up and turn them into a weapon against you. Best to use when they are separated and near an edge already.

Read more: How community support is pushing development of Knockout City’s esports scene

Bomb ball: If multi-ball isn’t the most busted it’s bomb ball. Once picked up, a fuse starts ticking before the bomb detonates. Unlike other balls, this one does come with friendly fire, but if you get the timing right to throw it right before it explodes, there isn’t any counterplay your opponent can have. Plus, it can hit two people at once.

Sniper ball: Personally, I have a love-hate relationship with the sniper ball. I love that it’s shaped like a football, and throwing darts is a blast. But it takes a long time to power up, and the line it takes is pretty obvious for opponents to deal with. If you can catch people in the open, it’s damn hard to catch but it’s not too hard for a player to just get out of your clearly defined line of sight.

Moon ball: Honestly offers the smallest change to the game of any ball. The moon ball takes away your gravity, allowing for some unexpected angles and also pops people up high after they are hit. But other than that, it’s a normal ball, it just makes things a bit floatier. Still fun though.

Don’t be afraid to slow it down

This adage works in a couple of different ways. For one, the ball speed. When you are in a catch war with an opponent, catching becomes more focused on rhythm than actual reaction. By disrupting that rhythm and holding the ball an extra few beats, you can win in tough spots.

Second, when you are behind someone, a slow throw is often best. Most people will get notified a ball is coming and blindly turn that direction and hit catch. If the ball is actually moving slowly, it can actually get more hits than a normal charge shot. This strategy is particularly effective when you’ve been passing a lot during the game. It offers a similar function that a changeup does for a pitcher in baseball.

And finally, don’t rush into engagements. This is a team game, and if you’re going 1v2 or even 1v3, you’re probably going to lose. Wait for a teammate to respawn, take a longer path to the action to pick up a special ball or look for an opportunity to strike. Patience is a virtue in life and in Knockout City.

Lead image credit: Velan Studios

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