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Tetris 99

Tetris 99: How to Become a Tetris Master

Here are 10 ways to improve your chances at winning a game of Tetris 99 on Nintendo Switch.

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Tetris 99 has surprised us by waking the multiplayer dragon they'd been carrying inside all this time. There's no better game for a battle royale than one which has been preparing its multiplayer mechanics for decades. On top of this, the versatility that Nintendo Switch offers to play handheld or on the big screen will only make it better.

Thousands of players have tried the game, which is free for those subscribed to Nintendo Switch Online. Nonetheless, only those who have been practising for years and know tricks like T-Spin, or those who are able to tell how their game will turn out, are able to win these 99-player duels. If you wish to reach that level, read this guide to Tetris 99 with advice on how to get to #1.

Learn the T-Spin


Years ago, Tetris changed their game and let us move the blocks around once they were at the bottom to make them fit correctly. These tricks work better with the T-shape block, which can slide into impossible gaps for the T-Spin. It can be mini, simple, double or triple depending on how many lines it clears. All T-Spins give you more points than clearing the same amount of lines in a traditional way. For example, a double (clearing two lines) is worth more than a Tetris (clearing four lines), and in this duel that means sending more garbage for your rivals to deal with.

There are lots of tutorials on YouTube on how to do a T-Spin and you can always use them to learn, but we are giving you a basic method. First, start at the beginning of the game when blocks fall slowly. Place an S-shape block lying flat between the third and fourth columns starting from the right, and then continue placing blocks to its left without making mistakes. Once you've completed one or two lines, as soon as you get a T-shape, try to fit it in the gap between the S-shape and the right wall. Get in there sideways at first and once it reaches the bottom twist it so it lies flat. All done!

Using the S-shape is the best way to learn because you can clearly see the gap and how you can fill it with the T-shape. You'll start to understand how to use other shapes once you've taken this in. You must remember how to build that gap so you can fill it later.

Make up and memorise your moves


There are only seven kinds of tetriminos, so the total amount of possible combinations is not high. By practising, you can memorise many moves and discover which blocks fit better together for each situation. Ideally, you'll end up making up and memorising your favourite moves and they will come naturally when you get four or five blocks together. It's important to keep in mind two or three different moves to build walls and make T-Spins.

Get your defence ready


Tetris 99 is a battle royale game in which you have to both attack and defend. You can't always keep your blocks at the bottom because that means you'll lose defence capacity. If you're not going full-on attack, you must keep a tidy screen with an empty column with a stick saved, so you can counteract a rival attack before you get six or seven lines of garbage.

Stay with randoms if you're not good enough to compete


In Tetris 99, there are four combat strategies available that determine who you're targeting with your garbage: K.O., randoms, attackers, and badges. You should start with randoms because it allows you to play neutrally and avoid confrontation. K.O. works well too, but it has a few risks. Attackers will get you in trouble as it makes you a target for many people, and selecting badges means confronting the leaders, which can end badly for you.

Keep your bottom clear


It's essential to not make mistakes in Tetris, but it becomes even more important in multiplayer mode. Leaving gaps can ruin the entire gameplan. It has two consequences: it stops you from making good moves, and having to fix each line will slow you down. Keep your blocks together with no gaps and clear the bottom every time you make mistakes or get garbage. Don't delay it because the more lines you have to clear, the higher the pressure will be.

Tetris 99

Avoid simple lines, try Tetris or T-Spins


Amateur players tend to clear lines one by one fast because they panic thinking the blocks will keep building up. Every time an elimination occurs, there's a slight break which your rivals will use to create harder moves. Trust yourself and try to make up more complex moves: Tetris, T-Spins, or at least a triple line. Oh, and don't forget that combos multiply damage if you clear a few sequential lines.

Drop the blocks instead of placing them


Tetris 99 shows you how the block will be placed before it reaches the bottom, so you don't have to wait for it to fall. Use the top button on your d-pad to drop them, because placing them means waiting and, once again, that will only help your rivals.

Tetris 99

Dropping the I-block in the middle or on the side?


Once you get the hang of it, it's your turn to think how to tidily build up your blocks so you can drop some Tetris on your rivals. You'll probably wonder whether to leave an empty column in the middle or on the side. If you leave a gap on the side, it's easier to join the other columns altogether, but if it's fast or you're too high up, it might be hard to bring the stick all the way to the side. On higher levels, this is impossible because the gap doesn't allow you to T-Spin, so you must do it in the middle.

Think some tetriminos ahead


As usual, Tetris 99 allows you to see the next six blocks you're going to get, so you can plan your moves ahead of time. By doing this, it's easier to determine the shape of your build, avoid mistakes and garbage, and design gaps to get Tetris or T-Spins lined up. Don't obsess with having one attack or defence model, adapt to whatever comes by looking out for the upcoming tetriminos. Colour code is very useful because you can know which block is coming by side-eyeing the panel. Once you master the game, you'll be playing with the fourth or fifth block in mind and not just the next.

You don't lose till you quit trying


Never quit, even if your blocks are at the top. Veteran players have been able to win games where all seemed lost by struggling to fit blocks that didn't appear to fit. Keep in mind that garbage is usually tidy and, if you can make it, you might get a good run and be able to send all that garbage back to your rivals. It is possible to be at death's door one second and have an empty screen the next.

And that was our Guide to Tetris 99 with 10 suggestions on how to play better, be competitive and win games in this gripping new free-to-play game for Nintendo Switch.

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