Winning a game of Fortnite is impressive on its own. Winning a game of Fortnite with no weapons is bonkers.
The last person standing in the 100-person survival shooter wins it all. Most of the time, this takes a combination of gun skill, fort-building finesse and tactics. It isn't a thing a lot of people can brag about, but the people who can brag about it wanted to make it a little harder for themselves.
For months, players have been trying to game the biggest game around with no-weapons challenges. That means winning Fortnite with no shotguns, no grenades, no sniper rifles, no nothing - just a pickaxe, which does minor damage, but is more of a tool than a weapon.
Fortnite YouTubers in particular are getting in on the no-weapons challenge with varying degrees of success. Back in January, YouTuber Ali-A decided he'd try to win a game using only materials, buildables, shields, med kids and bandages, which he said in his video is "arguably the hardest challenge in the game". It's a pacifist run, essentially.
His go at it was wild. As the map got smaller, his opponents all slowly and meticulously killed each other, shooting at him when they had the chance. He stayed alive, though. With two players left, Ali-A barricaded himself in a brick fortress just a few metres outside the playable area. As the opponent fired, he continually rebuilt his fort. In the final moments, the opponent destroyed his fort, sending him falling to his death at #2.
A lot of other YouTubers have tried their hand at winning without weapons. A month before Ali-A, YouTuber Lachlan's attempted a no-weapons run, which he calls the "pickaxe challenge", and also landed at #2. He just couldn't measure up to another player with a gun:
Lachlan ended up nearly pulling it off with a fellow Fortnite YouTuber, Vikkstar123, but their only rule was "no guns". They spent a lot of time hiding in bushes and, in the end, resorted to grenades and bombs. The last opponent died in a trap. It wasn't exactly a pure no-weapons run, but it sure made them sweat:
Fortnite YouTuber Muselk and his teammate hid a lot and ran from opponents in their no-weapons challenge. Muselk had a really cool technique of hiding under forts he built instead of inside them as a sort of fake-out. In the end, the game came down to Muselk versus three others. He stayed in the playable area while his opponents, somehow, did not. In the end, he tossed out a few grenades - which, yeah, are weapons.
As players get better and better at Fortnite, I've seen fewer and fewer people pull off the holy grail of Fortnite wins. And a pure no weapons run is so rare on its own (if you've done it, I want proof in the comments). The truth is that I can barely win a game of Fortnite with the game's best weapons. Watching someone employ so much game knowledge to outplay opponents with no real offensive power is frankly miraculous.