A tiny little game called Fortnite: Battle Royale, about which you may or may not have heard, continues to be a global sensation, further trouncing early predictions that Epic's free-to-play cash cow is just a flash in the pan. Or maybe it's just a very, very long flash.
Either way, young and adult gamers alike continue to board the battle bus by the millions each day, fighting it out in the hope of securing that tasty chicken dinner... oh wait, wrong battle royale. One of the most definitive aspects of Fortnite are its multitude of skins, so we're taking a look at the rarest ones you may not even ever see.
What Are Skins?
This should be pretty well known by now, so unless you're not a gamer who happened to bumble into this article, or have by some trick of astronomical chances only ever played titles that didn't have skins you'll know this. That said, we like our bases covered, and some explanation is needed as to why some of these skins are rare today, even though they might have been easy to get in the past.
Being a free-to-play title, Fortnite generates revenue by getting players to purchase v-bucks with real cash that they can then spend on in-game cosmetics. These include skins, which change the appearance of your in-game character, and they cost various amounts of v-bucks. Some are cheaper and thus more common - some skins can be earned without spending money too, these are arguable the most common - while more expensive ones will appear less. Some skins are no longer available simply because they're older, or were part of a limited promotion.
Since skins are essentially an in-game status symbol, most people want to parade around in the newest and fanciest ones. This means that older skins, even if they were cheap or easy to get, may become 'rare' insofar as few people choose them anymore. In other cases, a skin may have been trivial to acquire, but was only available for a brief amount of time, or was attached to some kind of real-world event making them exclusives that cannot be acquired anymore. A number of things affect a skin's rarity. Many of the skins on this list made it here for different reasons, so let's dive into it!
The Rarest Skins
Purple Skull Trooper
The Skull Trooper skin is one of the more common-rare skins - it only appears occasionally in the item shop so you can't just grab it whenever, but it is fairly cheap so when it is available it isn't hard to get. It's basically everyone's first rare-ish skin. However, it comes with a special purple variant that is only available to people who bought the Skull Trooper back when it was first added to the game in 2017. If you grabbed the regular variant sometime later when it popped up again, the purple version will be forever out of reach.
Putting skins behind paywalls is one thing, but this was a little ridiculous - during the Beta test of Battle Royale's mobile version, a special skin was offered to customers who bought a new Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 or Samsung Note 9 and also played the Beta. These were pricey devices at the time, and the promo only lasted as long as the brief testing did as well. Samsung users can still get an exclusive skin, but that's a different one! Glow was offered as a later Samsung promo and was given out alongside a wider range of devices, making it less rare, but that isn't available anymore either. Not only was Galaxy a pretty damn expensive skin at the time, it isn't even available anymore.
Way back in the days of Season 2, Fortnite got its first Battle Pass. This Battle Pass system has since become inseparable from the game, and each pass continues to add a bevy of new exclusive cosmetics unlockable by climbing the tiers. The first one was capped at 70, and players who reached that far were awarded with the fearsome Black Knight skin. Being a Battle Pass unlockable, this skin is no longer available by any means, and Season 2 was long, long ago. Not only have player numbers sharply increased, making the amount of folks with this unlocked relatively low, but even among them, few choose to wear it. It's called Black Knight, but it may as well be a white raven.
In case you think Black Knight is a sign of being a Fortnite veteran, wait until you hear the unlock criteria for this one: Renegade Raider is a Season 1 skin that was only available during this early era of Fortnite, unlockable for 1,200 v-bucks to those players who reached level 20 before the season ended. Anyone sporting this outfit has been playing since the very beginning.
Aerial Assault Trooper
Would you have thought a skin may become rare because it was worse than the others on offer? The Aerial Assault Trooper is as old as the Renegade Raider, hailing from Season 1. It was unlocked at Level 15 and cost the same amount of v-bucks, but because most players considered it to look boring compared to the Renegade Raider they bought the other one instead. As a result, few players own this, and fewer yet equip it. You may very well play hundreds of hours without ever seeing it. The Recon Expert is another one of these Season 1 skins that doesn't look particularly interesting and was therefore overlooked by many players, only to become super-rare.
This skin was one that you'd see appear in a lot of marketing material for a while, and had many nicknames among the fans due to its obvious similarity to Keanu Reeves as he appeared in the film John Wick, but changed just enough not to be a copyright infringement. It was also rather hard to get - players had to max out the Season 3 Battle Pass, which consisted of 100 Tiers. We run into the same reasons as before - Season 3 was a while ago, fewer people played back then, and getting to Tier 100 was no easy task. Of course, we now have an actual, licensed John Wick skin, but that is merely an imitation of The Reaper. The Dark Voyager was the Tier 70 reward of that same season - more common, but still pretty rare to see these days.
Another skin tied to a hardware promo, the only way to get the Double Helix was if you were quick to order the Nintendo Switch Fortnite bundle back in 2018. A couple of these still pop up on sites like eBay, but go for exorbitant prices. What stings in particular is that this is a very unique, detailed and cool looking skin. We're pretty sure most of the lucky players that have it never unequip it!
This was a skin released as a cross-promotion with Sony to market the PlayStation 4 console. Certain console bundles including the system would also come with this skin, which was then later packaged with individual DualShock 4 controllers as well, making it more affordable. However, both the consoles and the controllers sold out really fast, and after the promotion ended there was no other way to acquire the skin.
Taking the cake when it comes to hardware promo skins, the Honor Guard was - and thankfully still is - available to owners of the Honor View 20 smartphone. The device had some pretty limited availability early on and a colossal price tag. Though a global launch has made it more available, it definitely hasn't gotten any more affordable.