Thursday, 7 March 2019

Through The Apex: A Beginners Guide To The Early Pro Meta

As we go past the first month of Apex Legends, we’ve been fortunate enough to have already seen a number of tournaments being played. The biggest events so far have been the two days of Twitch Rivals Streamer Challenge and DrDisrespects CodeRed tournaments. Kings Canyon have so far run over everyone in their path, as a combination of Dizzy, King Richard, Mendokusaii & Ninja won day one of Twitch Rivals and both CodeRed tournaments and Scott’s Totts consisting of Mendokusaii (Again), Nmplol & OverpoweredOW on day two of Twitch Rivals. With so much tournament play being had so early in the games cycle, it’s given us a great example of what the professional meta could look like in both the best legend compositions and the best guns in the game.

Going off these tournaments, we’re going to take a look into the favoured compositions and how teams have used them in the early going. With there being no private lobbies available at the moment, we will be looking at the meta surrounding the Pubstomp/Kill competitions that the two tournaments based their scoring off.

The early competitive meta has quickly focused around two legends in Bangalore and Wraith. These two combined together well as part of a squad due to their mobility and aggressive play style. The first legend added to create a popular composition is Bloodhound and its a trio that's perfect for Pubstomp/Kill competitions. They can hunt down squads quickly as Bloodhound's Eye of the Allfather allows for enemies to be detected in the local vicinity and his Ultimate Beast of the Hunt provides him with a speed boost that works well with Bangalore’s Smoke Grenade. Eye of the Allfather makes Bloodhounds vision go black and white, but also gives targets a red outline to allow clearer vision of enemies. Bangalore's gets the same red outline to see enemies caught in the smoke for an advantage in a firefight. This allows Wraith being able to phase out, re-position and provide clean up support with Bloodhounds Tracking ability and Bangalore's ability to see targets in her own smoke.

All three can also use their abilities defensively if caught out of position as Bangalore’s Rolling Thunder Ultimate is a great tool to zone opposing teams away from you and force them into area's of the map that would give you an advantage. While her Double Time speed boost passive, means that she can avoid being hit when trying to find cover when under fire Wraith’s Voices of the Void detects when she has been seen and Into The Void creates a Void Tunnel that can allow your team to travel through the warp without taking any damage.

Four of the top five in day one used this composition to rack up points and the overall winners of Kings Canyon used it perfectly with Ninja and King Richard staying together with Bangalore and Bloodhound while Dizzy roamed on Wraith to get depleted squads, while being close enough to support if required. This has then become one of the default compositions early on and it's likely to be the one we see most often during these early stages. 

A variation of this composition was used on day two of Twitch Rivals when Bloodhound was replaced by Mirage as he was a Kephrii’s main. The legend swap meant that the ability to track was lost but Kephrii showed smarts but not only using Mirages Psyche Out decoy ability to Bamboozle his targets but cleverly using his Vanishing Act ultimate aggressively to stealth in with a speed boost and reappear behind enemies when they weren’t expecting it. It’s a composition that gave  and effective alternative to the one provided by Kings Canyon.

One legend that has slowly crept into the pro meta is Support legend Lifeline. After seeing Seagull play her in day one of the Twitch Rivals tournament, she has slowly picked up steam as a legend that fits in well with Bangalore, Bloodhound and Wraith. Her passive Combat Medic allows her to heal herself and revive teammates 25% faster than any other Legend in the game. With the added barrier from her D.O.C Heal Drone (Drone of Compassion) allows you to take no damage if positioned correctly when picking up downed allies. 

To even out the above, her Care Package Ultimate is the longest build up in the game. Which is why when she is is a part of your composition, it’s key to let her have any Ultimate Accelerants your team finds. Care Package lets Lifeline to call for her drop pod of supplies, allowing you the opportunity to increase your chances of finding rare and epic items. While Lifeline doesn’t have any offensive abilities, her added support will help your teams chances of surviving firefights as she doesn’t receive negative multipliers in regards to her aim and ability to take down targets.

This was shown when Kings Canyon made it 3-3 for tournament wins. When the combination of Dizzy, King Richard and Mendokusaii, added Lifeline into their composition in place of Bloodhound when winning The second of DrDisrespects CodeRed tournaments. Mendokusaii, who's normally a Wraith player, picked her up and managed to combined her abilities well into their composition. Using both Bangalore's Smoke Grenade and Lifelines Combat Medic passive at times when they needed to either heal, revive or out position in their games. They used the Bangalore/Lifeline/Wraith combination perfectly to run through the tournament. 

While these four legends plus the occasional sprinkling of Mirage have been played the most so far, there’s enough opportunities for the remaining three to strut their stuff, especially when Respawn introduces private lobbies and with Respawn’s first meta patch change just being released

Caustic’s Nox Gas has area of effect damage. Meaning that a well placed Nox Trap or thrown Nox Grenade can cause plenty of damage, especially in tight corridors such as Bunker and his Nox Vision passive provides him extra vision in his own gas clouds and makes him immune to them as well. That said your teammates aren’t so lucky to receive those benefits. 

Gibraltar’s Dome of Protection negates all inbound and outbound damage. While Ultimate Defensive Bombardment, which name might trick you, is similar to Bangalore’s Rolling Thunder, with the exception that it provides a ton of on hit damage, compared to Bangalore's Crowd Control. Gun Shield is also an effective ability, that provides extra an extra 50 shielding to his upper body and can be disabled whilst aiming. Once broken, Gun Shield can be regenerated quicker by using Shield Batteries or Cells. These defensive abilities can allow for Gibraltar to take the majority of the focused damage, allowing for the rest of the team to take down the enemy team.

Finally, everyone’s favourite sadistically happy droid Pathfinder. His scouting abilities show a lot of promise down the line, with insider knowledge allowing him to find the next zone by hacking into a survey beacon gives teams the opportunity to plan their route ahead of time and Zip line Gun which allows Pathfinder the ability to place his own Zip-lines. Giving your team the potential of a tactical edge in being agile to manoeuvre into new positions in a short period of time.

It will be interesting to see how the first meta patch changes the pro scene, when the Battle Pass is released. With Caustic, Gibraltar and Pathfinder having all been provided with more accurate hit boxes and with Caustic’s abilities getting buffed alongside Pathfinder who will now have 12 Survey Beacons instead of 10. This goes alongside nerfs to Lifeline who will no longer receive the chance for level 4 items in her Care Packages and Wraith’s Into the Void's Cool down is now up from 20s to 25s. 

These are small changes but ones that the community had asked for, so it’s a good start by Respawn and hopefully one that will continue to improve the professional and casual scenes. 

(Follow @haloofthoughts for more Apex Legend content)
(Picture Credit: Respawn)

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