One of the most memorable experiences of a Canny Valley player stepping into Twine Peaks is experiencing people screaming “IT’S A JAIL BUILD, NOOB” at them for actually playing Fortnite like it’s intended to be played. Today, I’ll be taking you through what a Jail Build in Fortnite is, how you can Jail Build, and (I can’t believe I’m typing this) the ethics of a Jail Build.
What is a Jail Build?
Here’s how it works. Every defense-based mission in Fortnite has “waves” of husks, and Jail Builds take advantage of how these waves are designed. The first wave is always the easiest and least complicated. It’s always full of the weakest husks, and more husks won’t spawn unless you start killing that first wave.
The Jail Build is a type of fort that relies on dealing no damage to this first wave of husks, while also keeping them away from the objective you’re trying to protect. Since this first group of husks is never damaged, more husks never spawn, and you never get to encounter the big bad Smashers and Takers.
You can keep the husks away from the objective using different methods, but the most efficient ones trap the husks in an enclosure of stalling traps such as Freeze Traps, Wall Lights, or Sound Walls. Note that Tar Traps should not be used here. Freeze Traps are okay but unnecessary.
There are many types of Jail Builds, and the one I show in the video above is commonly used. The ramp I am standing on has a Floor Launcher below it that flings husks onto that little platform that they are trapped on. They are then trapped there forever, dancing because of the Sound Wall – that is unless someone starts shooting them.
FAQ: Why are people screaming at me?
The Jail Build relies on all four players not damaging the husks. This includes having a BASE that damages husks. Now, the Stonewood, Plankerton, and Canny Valley missions will always have players using their guns and damage traps to defend the objective – the way the game is meant to be played.
As you step into Twine and start encountering seasoned Twine players using a Jail Build, you naturally go for your guns. It is extremely satisfying to shoot rockets into that box of husks, but that just spawns the next wave of husks. Now you have Mist Monsters (followed by a Mini-Boss) coming up and propane tanks being hurled, but your fort isn’t built to handle those threats. All it can do is box the first wave of weak husks and keep them engaged.
This will almost always result in the mission failing, which is why people get mad when you shoot zombies in Twine. Does it mean you can no longer use your guns in this PvE shooter game? No, but I’ll get to that in the last part of the article. Here’s how you can Jail Build too.
How to Jail Build
Let’s start with the most common Jail Build used in Twine Peaks. It is pretty easy to build. First, let’s look at the box on the left, the one protecting the main objective (the red column). This box is lined by three edges and two corner pieces that form a surrounding barrier that throws off the husk AI and makes them approach the other box instead.
Somehow, Fortnite’s husk AI is made so that husks will try to bypass those little walls rather than trying to break them. This will make all of them – even the ones that spawned from the left – try to get to the objective through the right side. When they climb the ramps and jump down into the box to the right of the objective, they will be trapped there for good. The walls in that box have Sound and Light traps that can stall all husks until the end of the mission. Note that the floor in this box is modified diagonally to give the husks minimal space to move around and attack different walls.
Depending on how you perk your traps, you might have to replace these wall traps if the durability runs out. You can easily do that while still standing outside the box.
What to do during the rest of the mission
The four players need to stand away from the trap box until all husks have dropped in, and here’s where it gets boring. The issue that a lot of people have with this playstyle is that once you’ve built this simple structure and trapped all of the husks inside, you have to do absolutely nothing for ten minutes.
You can’t even farm, because the Storm closes in quickly during Retrieve the Data missions, where these builds are used more often. Some other missions such as Evacuate the Shelter have also been getting Jail Builds specific to the size of those objectives, but they are pretty unnecessary and don’t make sense when the mission is already so easy, especially with traps resources getting scarce in high-Twine. One can also argue that Jail Builds are basically an exploit because there’s no way a “real zombie” would bypass those little walls (or would they?)
The “ethics” of Jail Building in Fortnite: can you shoot husks?
When people shout at that one player who wants to shoot in a public mission (and play the game how it’s meant to be played), who is right? On one hand, the player in question has every right to shoot, and on the other, their actions are technically resulting in the mission failing. Who is in the right here?
If you enjoy playing the game, you’ll like my answer: the shooter is in the right. The answer also has nuances, because the two playstyles are fundamentally very different. The shooter is in the right IF they never agreed to a Jail Build. Players who only want to Jail Build should play in Private mode, or keep refreshing public missions until they find one where everyone agrees to it.
Why doesn’t the same logic apply to shooters?
Because damage builds function differently. Jailing in private doesn’t cost you any extra resources or effort. Damage builds have a huge resource cost if you’re doing it in private. With damage builds, having other people on your team is also a huge advantage: people can tackle different spawn points, the game is built to give your teammates PL buffs, you can avail the 4-defender limit instead of the 3, and everyone can use their own gadgets. Some gadgets like Adrenaline Rush help the entire team, too.
The game asks you to defeat husks right from the tutorial to the Daily Quests you get every day, and it’s pretty obvious that Epic never intended Jail Builds to be a playstyle. Thankfully, they have addressed the issue and are working on a nerf. For more details, check the Fortnite: Save the World community manager’s comments on Jail Builds from this Reddit post.
Jailing should only be for public missions where every single player accepts to do it, or in private where it costs the same resources and no one is forced to play accordingly. Also, not everyone knows these builds and you aren’t even expected to, considering 99% of the stuff in the game – weapons, traps, defenders – exists to damage and not to stall enemies.
Remember, the entire Jail Build is at the mercy of that one teammate who wants to shoot. If you are that teammate, go Rambo and happily spam the gazillion guns that Epic has given you to damage husks. Once you make it clear to your team that you will not participate in an AFK build, there’s pretty much nothing they can do.