If you find yourself wishing you got picked on a little less while playing Tetris 99, the latest free update has added two ways to engage in friendlier rounds of its block-clearing battle royale experience. Tetris 99 now includes a new team battle mode and options for playing in private, password-protected matches of either the team mode or the core 99-player free-for-alls.
The new team battle mode splits the lobby of 99 players into 4 separate teams. The teams don't necessarily start off balanced in size, but the smaller a team is, the more attack power it has when being attacked. If a player's eliminated early on, they can still spectate the game and send "likes" to teammates. You do need to stick around until either your team wins or until its last member is eliminated in order to receive experience points for the match.
From 11 p.m. PT on December 12 to 10:59 p.m. on December 16, Nintendo will be running another Maximus Cup event that's solely focused on the team battle mode. Recently, these Maximus Cup events have been laid-back affairs that let players earn special themes, but this one will let players compete to earn My Nintendo Gold Points. Each match will reward event points based on your team's placement (50 points for first place, 25 for second, 5 for third, 1 for last). After the Maximus Cup is over, the 999 players who've earned the most points will each receive 999 My Nintendo Gold Points—worth about $10 USD and usable on Nintendo eShop purchases.
If you've missed out getting some of those special themes in previous Maximus Cups, the update has also added a new way to get a few of them. Now, the special Game Boy Tetris, Splatoon 2, Fire Emblem: Three Houses, and Super Kirby Clash themes can be unlocked with tickets, which players can earn by completing Daily Missions.
It'll be fascinating to see what new strategies emerge in the new team mode, and the private match option is just begging to be used for an all-out brawl between the world's top competitive Tetris players. If you find yourself struggling to survive long even in team battles and don't have friends to practice with, USG's tips guide on Tetris 99 can help you learn some top tetromino attack techniques.