Thursday, 2 January 2020

Halo's 2020 Apex Legends Global Series Preseason Power Rankings 9 - 15

By Arran "Halo" Brown

The Apex Legends Global Series has finally been announced and with two competitive LAN events in the X-Games and the Apex Legends Preseason Invitational, plus Global Loot Leagues $25k regional online tournaments in the books. It's now time to look a look at the future and predict the top 15 teams who should be in contention for a portion of the $3 million prize pool that EA and Respawn have put on offer.

To set the parameters of these power rankings, I will be using the three major tournaments played so far as my place markers for where I believe teams are ranked in the entire scene. These will be updated as the season progresses, meaning that teams will move up and down based on their performances. This does mean that we will be looking at players from Apex Legends three major regions Europe, Korea and North America to begin with. However, teams from other regions will be eligible to enter these as we get into the season.

The first part will be looking at the teams that I rank from 15 to 9 based off their tournament results/performances so far. While I have rated my top 15 teams at the current time, there are a few honourable mentions to the team who are in my opinion, close to breaking through.

North - Maybe the team that underperformed the most but were without star player Matafe, who is no longer with the team. If they get a strong IGL, North will greatly improve their eligible roster and should perform up to the level that most expected at the Apex Invitational.

Fnatic NA - Have shown some good signs of being able to hang with the best teams but their inability to pull out wins in good positions gets the better of them. If they can work this out, Fnatic NA will be a very strong team.

Bcj, Gdolphn & Snip3down - This is a trio that recently announced they would be playing together for the ALGS. While it is unsure what organisation they will play under (there has been no announcement by Reciprocity so far) it is a stacked roster. Bcj and Gdolphn will be sharing the IGL role and while Bcj is the team's main fragger, Snip3down was the X-Games Apex Predator and Gdolphn is no slouch in that department either. This has the making of a top 10 roster, potentially top 5.

NRG - Dizzy mah have retired and NRG may not have had the best results but it would be crazy to rule out Aceu and Mohr. This will be greatly enhanced if the rumours of former C9 IGL Frexs joining the roster are true. Aceu is one of the best players in North America and backed by Mohr and Frex's highly rated IGL ability, NRG has the chance to bounce back if they sign Frex as their third.

15. Fnatic EU 
Oliver “Badoli” Kurtuldu, Joshua “DcTzr” Jones, Matthew “Dids” Didehvar & Nikola “N1kola” Svensson

Once upon a time, under the name of Klanen. Fnatic EU was one of, if not the best team in the scene and came into the Apex Invitational with their original roster of DcTzr, Dids & N1kola and fairly high expectations that they would perform well. They were actually my pick to win it all but they struggled in the Group D and found themselves having to play catch up quickly through the lower bracket after they finished 15th with only 9 points. 

It was here that Fnatic EU found their form and showcased just how good they are. They completely stomped the Round 1 C&D lower bracket winning the group with a 9 kill, 1st place finish in round 2, followed by a 9 kill, 3rd place finish in round 3. It was more of the same in Group 2B where they recorded back to back wins in the first two rounds securing 50 points and an easy qualification to the losers bracket round 3. Despite looking strong and back in their best form, Fnatic EU then flopped in round 3 and was eliminated from the tournament in a disappointing 33rd place overall.

It left the roster with some decisions on how they can improve as a team and lead to them trailing main fragger Badoli in place of DcTzr for the Global Loot League online tournament. Fnatic EU had to go through the kill race qualifier and managed to perform well, finishing 3rd overall in the classified standings. In the GLL EMEA finals, Fnatic EU seemed to show some of their previous form. On day 1 of the tournament, Fnatic EU consistently placed around the middle of the pack but was able to secure a good number of kills along the way. In Round 6 they finally awoke and recorded a 2nd place to finish day 1 in a decent position. Any momentum they had quickly disappeared on day 2 with the team struggling to find any rhythm. The would have finished worse than their 8th place overall, had Badoli not managed to pull out a miracle solo victory in round 10 

Fnatic EU has a lot of potential but they have regressed under the original trio of DcTzr, Dids and N1kola. It makes sense that they have now added Badoli to the roster, but it is unclear at the current time how this will work and whether Fnatic EU will continue with a four-man roster or if DcTzr’s will need to find a new team shortly. Fnatic EU has the talent to be a top team and showed this at times in the Apex Invitational but they need to prove that they frag with the best in the scene as a group and not individuals.

14. K1ck eSports Club
Giulio “Cybe8” Bavaresco, Rui ”Nightyz” Silva & Amagow “Matrixx” Iljas

I am going to be 100% honest here, K1ck was not on my radar as a team to look out for at the start of this Preseason. Their performances at both the Apex Invitational and the Global Loot League finals turned my opinion on its head, as they have not firmly cemented themselves as one of the top teams in the scene based off the first two major events they have been involved in. K1ck had a very strong run at the Apex Invitational where they finished in the top 5 of their group in stage 1 and 2 of the winner's bracket, which they then followed up with an 8th place finish in the winners final to make it to the Grand Finals. In the final’s themselves, K1ck struggled to get going and outside of a top 4 finish in round 4, they were unable to record a top 10 finish to end up a respectable 17th place.
As a result of their performance at the Apex Invitational, K1ck received a direct invite to the Global Loot League EMEA finals and despite a poor round 1, they came back with a strong 8 kill in round 2, followed this up with a 9 kill 1st place in round 3 and finally a 7 kill 3rd place in round 4. Once again though, K1ck struggled in day 2 of the GLL finals as they had in the Apex Invitational Grand Finals and only recorded one further top 4 placement in round 9.

If K1ck can work on their decision making in important situations and show that they can be more consistent in pressure situations, they may well be the dark horse for several on and offline tournaments in 2020

13. Alliance
John “Hakis” Hakansson (Stand In), Philip “Lowley” Olsen & Simon “Vaifs” Bellini

It took Alliance a few attempts to find a third to join Lowley and Vaifs but they may have done this in IGL Hakis, after an incredible performance at the Global Loot League EMEA qualifiers and finals. They finished a comfortable 1st place in the kill race qualifiers in the final classification and continued this form in the finals as well on their way to an unexpected 5th place overall. This would have been 2nd overall had Alliance not been disqualified in round 10 for breaking an out of bounds healing rule. 

While the X-Games with Dennis “Lazxr” Wadenfors and the trial experiment with Badoli as a stand-in at the Apex Invitational both failed. The addition of Hakis could prove to be a move that makes them a contender instead of a perennial dark horse. While nothing has been confirmed by Alliance yet about his signing, they would be losing a trio that instantly clicked and played off each other well at the GLL finals, as well as potential titles in premiers and majors. 

12. FlyQuest
Trenton “Lou” Clements, Bowen “Monsoon” Fuller & Zach “Zach” Mazer

FlyQuest has had a productive preseason and firmly implemented themselves as a top 5 team in North America. During the Apex Invitational, FlyQuest had a steady and consistent run through the upper bracket by obtaining one placement finish in each tournament stage to secure a place in the Grand Finals. However, they struggled here and only managing a 2nd place in round 9 to finish 17th overall.

At the GLL NA finals, FlyQuest seemed more composed and came in with a chip on their shoulder. The won round 2 with a 16 kill performance and followed this up with a 4th place in round 7 and a 2nd place in round 11 to help secure a 6th place finish and a nice springboard for the start of the ALGS.

FlyQuest maybe the most aggressive team when it comes to engaging in team fights and it helps and hinders in an equal balance. If they can control their balls to the wall mentality, then this is a team that could take a Premier or two at the very least and allow us to see Monsoon bust a move on the LAN stage.

11. Pepega Squadron (Formerly Third Impact)

Sebastian “Ballong” Eketrapp, Viktors “Forsak3n” Bernevs & Markus “Fjeldern” Fjeld
The Pepega Squadron as they are currently known are the only unsigned trio to feature on my Preseason power rankings and they quietly had a few good Preseason. The Apex Invitational did not start well for them as Third Impact missed the 10th place cut off fir the upper bracket by 2 points. They managed to consistently score enough points in each lower bracket round and reached the Grand Finals.

In the finals, Third Impact's performance improved as they finished n the top 10 in all but 2 rounds, including three rounds with a top 4 finish. While they didn't win a round in the finals themselves, they were able to use their rotations and positioning well to keep themselves in almost every round, racking up an impressive 13th place overall.

The team returned to their previous name Pepega Squadron after their contracts ran out and received a direct invite to the GLL EMEA Finals. Pepega Squadron wasted no time in stamping their name in the tournament, winning a 3v2 against LG, using their third now famous dive formation and followed that up with a 4th in round 2, and two 2nd places in rounds 8 & 10. While they struggled in the middle rounds, Pepega Squadron finished a very respectable 7th and should have put their name on the radars of organisations looking to move into the scene, especially because Forsak3n is eligible to participate in the ALGS, despite being from Latvia, due to his permanent residency in the United Kingdom

10. G2
Sebastian “Mimu” Vesala, Aaro “Rette” Halli & Niko “ZeroNothing” Suomienen 

The Preseason started brightly for Mimu and ZeroNothing after they stood in for Reciprocity NA and achieved a 2nd place finish at the X-Games. They then moved on to the Apex Invitational with Rette as their 3rd and were one of the more inconsistent teams in the first 2 days, showing some incredible highs but worrying lows. They made the Grand Finals via the lower bracket but still could not find a constant rhythm until back to back wins in rounds 4 and 5. Despite being 1 win away after this front winning the entire tournament, G2 struggled again and ended up finishing a respectable 7th place.

They were then given a direct invite to the GLL finals but finished a very disappointing 12th place and it may be a case if the less said the better. G2 are an Incredibly talented team, Mimu and ZeroNothing coming close to a LAN win. Although this trio did run it up during the Pro Leagues, I do wonder if they will be able to piece it all together this season. One area they must show improvement is in their victory fist bumps.

9. Rogue

Mark “Dropped” Thees, Jordan “Huskers” Thomas & Chris “Sweetdreams” Sexton

When I think of Rogue, the first words that come to mind is improvement and potential. Having played in all three major events this Preseason, Rogue have firmly placed themselves as the 3rd best team in North America with their performances. 

After a shaky X-Games that only saw them achieve two second-place finishes on their way to a 7th place finish, they showed a lot of potential at the Apex Invitational with a strong performance in the winner's bracket up until an 18th place in the winner's bracket final. They bounced back immediately in the lower bracket Finals in 1st place. They went into the Grand Finals hot and had two straight top four places but dropped off quickly after this to finish 10th overall.

They improved further at the Global Loot League online event after receiving a direct invite to the finals. They started poorly on day 1, however, they made the necessary adjustments in day 2, finishing in the top 4 in 3 out of the 6 games, ending the tournament 3rd overall. While TSM & Sentinels are ahead of Rogue right now. Rogue has shown that the gap is not as big as we may think and they have every opportunity to continue to close it.

While the level of talent at the professional level is deep, these are the teams that I feel could make the best dark horse runs at the major offline events in this first year. While these rankings will change based on performance throughout the season, it would be a huge mistake to underestimate the mentioned teams at any point.

Teams 1-8 will be announced in a follow-up post tomorrow evening.  

(You can find more Apex Legends Global Series related content on Twitter @haloofthoughts) 
(Picture courtesy of EA & Respawn)

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