The 2023 Apex Legends Global Series Split One Playoffs ran from Feb. 2 to Feb. 5, that includes 40 groups from all 5 main areas, culminating in TSM profitable their third worldwide match and the primary 2023 ALGS LAN. The meta shifted drastically within the span of six months between the match and the 2022 Championship, with previous defensive staples phased out in favor of recent aggressive playstyles and compositions that totaled greater than half of Apex’s playable characters.
In 2022, the ALGS discovered itself dominated by three legends particularly: Valkyrie, Gibraltar and Caustic. However, because the meta shifted with patch buffs and nerfs resulting in the rise of Seer in regular compositions, solely Valkyrie survived the altering tides, with a brand new dominant trio of legends representing nearly all of groups in 2023. Compared to earlier LAN occasions, nonetheless, the brand new meta is extra dynamic.
In the primary break up of 2023, a number of distinctive compositions that allow a wider vary of technique and decision-making have been utilized on the highest degree of play, a development seen worldwide from all qualifying groups. More legends have been acknowledged and researched for his or her worth on Worlds’ Edge, Storm Point, or each maps. Although Valkyrie stays a continuing, the supporting picks round her exemplify a extra numerous and versatile meta, one that may proceed as 12 months three of ALGS goes on.
Using knowledge collected from Split One and the regional finals, this 12 months has showcased 14 completely different legends performed in all areas, with just one character breaking the 70 % choose price barrier.
Valkyrie continued to reign because the primary choose for the overwhelming majority of the groups, with all however APAC-N’s Crazy Raccoon utilizing the Winged Avenger within the Split One Playoffs group stage. During the grand finals, Valkyrie had a 100% choose price for 4 out of eight video games, showcasing her continued relevance in 2023 for her utility supplied each throughout and outdoors of fights.
Despite Valkyrie taking one legend slot for nearly the entire groups heading into the grand finals, the eight video games featured 14 of the 23 payable legends, whereas 2022’s Championships solely had 11 (10 should you don’t rely Fnatic’s Lifeline misclick). The rising variety of viable legends is owed to the dramatic shift away from inflexible defensive compositions, thanks to at least one North American workforce that revolutionized how fashionable Apex is performed.
FURIA drive professional scene to acknowledge Seer’s potential
FURIA first popularized the composition of Seer, Horizon, and Valkyrie within the 2022 Championship, with professionals like TSM’s ImperialHal and Albralelie altering their tune on the Ambush Artist going into 2023. Jordan “Reps” Wolfe performed as Seer for all of TSM’s Split One Playoffs run, resulting in their first place end.
Seer had a 22 % choose price all through the 2022 Championship, whereas 2023 discovered him at above 60 % for all 4 days of competitors. 26 out of the 40 groups attending the 2023 Playoffs used Seer in at the very least one composition throughout Split One and the Regional Finals.
Conversely, Gibraltar was solely utilized by two groups, an enormous decline from the mixed 70 % choose price at 2022’s Championships to lower than one % in 2023. Only three groups selected him through the group stage, with one single choose at grand finals.
The notable meta improvement behind Gibraltar’s fall from grace is how his downfall was initially facilitated by the general public’s realization of Seer’s skills, and never by direct adjustments by Respawn. Gibraltar’s final two nerfs had been on May 10, 2022, when fortified legends misplaced their headshot injury discount, and Mar. 9, 2021, when Dome of Protection misplaced the quick heal passive trait, alongside exceeding Gun Shield injury punching via to Gibraltar himself.
Gibraltar’s skills, as soon as considered the sport’s finest, had been made out of date because of compositions that discovered methods to poke holes within the Shielded Fortress’ defenses. Long vary have interaction instruments from the likes of Valkyrie and Horizon eradicated the necessity to combat at shut vary, the place he thrives with Dome of Protection. What was as soon as a secure combat reset is now simply contested by Seer, who stops any therapeutic and might push Gibraltar out with the well being benefit, as popularized by FURIA. Defensive Bombardment was sometimes seen as a deterrent whereas Dome was up, however Seer can even eradicate the protection window through the Ultimate along with his tactical. Even if the ult is used offensively, Wattson’s development because the predominant protection legend negates the airstrike fully, leaving Gibraltar weak when pitted in opposition to the brand new meta.
With Season 16’s Seer nerfs, Gibraltar might discover a higher area of interest for himself slotted into the Support class. But FURIA’s fingerprints had been everywhere in the Split One Playoffs, regardless of not being current on the match, and people season 16 adjustments are simply as prone to encourage extra groups to experiment with off-meta legends and compositions.
Smoke and Electric Screens: Bangalore and Wattson’s rise
Bangalore, Seer and Valkyrie proved itself as the most well-liked composition of the Split One Playoffs, accounting for 27 % of the choose price. Bangalore’s latest rise might be attributed to a number of areas respectively recognizing completely different strengths in her package that allowed for experimentation and facilitated her rising reputation.
EMEA had a number of groups utilizing the Professional Soldier throughout Split Two of the 2021-2022 ALGS, additional forcing Gibraltar’s downfall with Rolling Thunder as a combat initiator. APAC-N’s high groups paired her up with Bloodhound for skewed fights with Digital Threat sights and Seer scans. Bangalore additionally serves as a solution to the rising variety of controller gamers in all areas, as her Smoke Launcher disables aim-assist along with offering cowl for the workforce or blinding the enemy.
In the highest 5 gamers leaderboards in response to particular person kills for every area, 14 out of 25 use controllers as their most well-liked enter, and North America’s high 5 are all controller gamers. Although mouse and keyboard has its personal unique benefits like the flexibility to maneuver whereas looting deathboxes, aim-assist remains to be extremely valued on the highest degree of competitors. Bangalore serves as a solution not solely to the rising numbers of controller gamers, but in addition to the brand new aggressive meta. She now serves as a well-liked defensive choice, with professionals and informal gamers alike in settlement about her utilization over previous meta staples.
Wattson ranked because the most-picked defensive legend coming into Playoffs, with 20 of the 40 Playoffs groups working her in at the very least one map. The composition of Wattson, Crypto, and Valkyrie earned a 3rd place spot within the 2022 Championship and the Static Defender had a 15 % choose price all through the match.
Wattson has not acquired any vital adjustments because the final worldwide occasion, however as Bangalore rose and Gibraltar fell in reputation, Wattson’s Interception Pylon grew in precedence because the primary defensive choice. Functionally, it serves the identical goal as Gibraltar’s Dome of Protection after which some: safety in opposition to Bangalore’s Rolling Thunder, Horizon’s Black Hole, Valkyrie’s Missile Swarm and extra. Serving as workforce anchor, Wattson was the third most-picked legend within the 2023 Split One Playoffs, with six completely different workforce compositions used to allow her success.
Crypto and Valkyrie nonetheless held because the premier Wattson composition, used as a fluid passive-aggressive composition that scouts out and takes zones by drive with Crypto’s EMP. Wattson’s Ultimate permits groups to create new bunkers from beforehand unholdable positions, with Newcastle giving further everlasting safety to the Interception Pylon, a luxurious that Gibraltar’s short-term bubble can not compete with. Loba-Wattson compositions allowed for fast rotations and assured loot, together with final accelerants to maintain the Pylon up. Even with Bangalore and Bloodhound, Wattson discovered nice utility mid-fight as enemies discovered difficulties avoiding her fences in Bangalore’s smoke.
Wattson’s rising worth within the present meta is because of her broad flexibility and viable use in a large number of compositions, traits that Gibraltar, her defensive counterpart, lacks when pitted in opposition to offensive legends and skills. Although each legends carve area out for groups to retreat and reset to, Wattson’s keep static till destroyed, whereas Gibraltar can solely create short-term cowl from Dome. Her passive can cancel pushes made out of enemy Crypto EMPs, whereas Gibraltar loses dome fully for his 30 second cooldown. Wattson affords groups further counterplay in opposition to the present meta, alongside enabling new legends, like Newcastle and Loba, to bolster compositional strengths and shore up weaknesses from any angle. And along with her choosing up the brand new Controller class perk that permits her to seek out future rings, she would possibly turn into much more common subsequent break up.
The Element (6) of Surprise: A potential precursor to the brand new meta
While Fnatic by chance picked Lifeline within the 2022 Championship, Element 6 purposefully picked the Combat Medic for sport one of many Split One Playoffs finals 2023, working her with an previous meta staple: Revenant and Octane. With the rise of Seer, claiming and defending a constructing or nook within the zone grew to become far more essential since groups had no Gibraltar bubbles serving as free combat resets. Although Valkyrie has changed Octane because the premier legend for rotations and discovering god spots, Octane’s velocity and Jump Pad nonetheless discovered a distinct segment goal.
Revenant’s Death Totem permits groups to push with impunity, gaining the higher hand in a combat with out risking third events or giving up their spot within the ring. If profitable, the RevTane composition finds the primary knock, and the workforce then capitalizes on their numbers benefit. If despatched again to the totem, the workforce regains management of their constructing and might safely reset, as Seer is unable to interrupt the therapeutic or reviving of Lifeline’s skills.
Element 6’s distinctive picks draw many parallels with FURIA Esports’ 2022 Championship run, the place they first popularized the composition of Seer, Horizon, and Valkyrie, meant to be a bunker-busting anti-meta composition which enabled them to thrive off fast kills as an aggressive edge workforce. Although solely used as soon as within the grand finals, the skilled and informal scenes have seen broad success of the composition, with Revenant taking a number of patches and nerfs to Death Totem earlier than falling out of viability.
The aggressive meta of Apex Legends continues to drastically change, with every season and break up bringing new content material and groups bringing new concepts to their areas. Element 6 might not have discovered the success they wished in grand finals, however the ramifications of their picks draw consideration to the way forward for aggressive Apex.
Season 16 launched on Feb. 14, bringing forth legend changes and a whole overhaul to the category system. With the 2022 Championships and 2023 Split One Playoffs every that includes a brand new set of dominant legends and workforce compositions, groups could have all of Split Two to apply what might turn into the dominant meta for the remainder of the ALGS—if there’s a actually “dominant” meta in any respect.