Friday, 31 January 2020

The Hot List: The Teams To Watch In The European Major Online Qualifiers Final

The first official Apex Legends Global Series online tournament reaches its conclusion on Saturday 1st February when the last 20 teams from Europe left standing will battle it out to prove which one of them is the regions top dog and the team that the rest of the world will need to keep an eye out on in the lead up to the major. While all 20 teams have reached the first ALGS major taking place in Arlington, Texas in March. The real battle is not only for regional supremacy but to see which of these teams will book their place as one of the top five teams to gain a bye past the Majors Open stage and get their attendance fully paid for by EA and Respawn.

Online Tournament #1 has been a roller-coaster ride so far. Shots were fired from North American teams about how the European region seemed easy, sparking the beginning Europe vs North America rivalry and the knockout stages provided some of the biggest upsets we have seen in professional Apex Legends to date. With an unforgiving best of three, single-elimination format, the top teams have had to prove why they are some of the best teams in the world, that they can handle not only the professional style of play that they are used to but can also the different tactics from unsigned rosters who are eager to show that they too can contend with the best of them. It was a tough weekend for North American organisations with only seven signed rosters in the region making it to the finals. 

The top European organisations, on the other hand, had a lot more success despite the fact they had to contend with constant crashes throughout the qualifying rounds. Alliance, G2 and GamersOrigin were some of the big names not making it through and with the crashes in Semifinal 2 causing the European finals to be delayed until Saturday. It has given the European finalist the chance to recuperate but myself to provide an in-depth preview of what’s to come from the final 20 teams that will be representing the region in March.

Ad Hoc Gaming

Matej "Matafe" Fekonja, Franco "Xeriffer" Korompai & Mark "Zipeth" Christensen

The organisation that Matafe, Xeriffer and Zipeth have been signed to has finally been announced and the arrival of Ad Hoc Gaming as one of the best teams in Europe definitely matched the statement this trio made this past weekend. The story behind Matafe’s journey to play professionally and his ability to play at the highest level are both well known, however, outside of myself picking them as my Wildcard team for this tournament, there was surprisingly little hype around this roster coming into last weekends tournament. 

This might be Matafe’s team but it is clear that Xeriffer and Zipeth have clicked as a team having only been scrimming as a team for around a month. Not only do they listen to Matafe's shot-calling but have contributed some big highlight-reel plays such as Matafe's 1v3 semifinal clutch and the Ad Hoc Gaming outplay against BDS esports in the quarterfinals where both Xeriffer and Zipeth stole the show. 

Former AeQ and now TBA manager Dominik “Johnknacker” Schweizer deserves a lot of credit for building this roster. Not only finding an organisation that would look to sign and relocate Matafe to allow him to become an eligible participant but to know that two under the radar players his former AeQ player Zipeth and former Nagano 1998 Player Xeriffer would be perfect additions. I expect AHG to continue to take names throughout these finals and now have every chance to not only finish top 5 but to win the entire tournament.


Dan "rpr" Ušić, Mikkel "Mande" Hestbek & Can "Taisheen" Öztürk

The North is finally here! After being unable to compete with their original roster due to EA's residency rules meaning that Matafe was unable to compete. They decided to move on and picked up former SoaR player Dan "rpr" Ušić who was the best free-agent IGL available. My dark horse for the tournament, North cruised through the majority of the open qualifiers and rightfully deserved their spot in the final after winning several rounds and getting high kill rounds along the way. The final will be a great place for North to show they are as good as most professional players think they are and make their own announcement to analysts, casters and viewers at home that they are not to be underrated again. 


Martin "Pjeh" Aamyri, Alexander "Noth" Selfwin & Johan "Taylor" Taylor is one of the favourites to win the European online qualifiers after strong performances at the Apex Legends Pre-Season Invitational (outside of the final) and a 2nd place at the Global Loot League Finals. Pjeh, Noth and Taylor are still the only top tier team to play without Wraith in their composition, and it is a tactic that hasn't failed them so far. The quarterfinals put Virtus.Pro in a sticky situation after the second round as a game crash and early exit put VP into a hole. However, their battle royale experience and top-end skill resulted in a clutch solo 6th place by Pjeh in round 3 and then a convincing two-man second place in round 4 meant they qualified with more ease than it appeared. As one of the best teams in the scene, it is no surprise that have made another final with their edge play style and they should be contending with the rest of the scenes, top teams.

Luminosity Gaming

Elvira "Esdesu" Temirova, Maxim "Exens" Dmitruk  & Anton "Xaniya" Shkuratov

The Global Loot League winners came into the open qualifiers with high expectations of being able to go back to back in Europe and are so far on course to do this. The early rounds of the open qualifiers held no problems for LG and an early 22 kill round by the Apex Terminator Xaniya, set the pace early for them. However, LG did not have it easy from the round of 160 onwards as were constantly grouped with the likes of Reciprocity, Fnatic EU and Samsung Morningstars to name a few top teams. They struggled in the Group 2 semifinals and showed that they are not invincible by only managing to finish 9th thanks to their second round with a strong 5th place and 9 kills. They will need to show that the Semifinals was a one-off and will be looking to lock down a second title as effectively as they have Epicenter.


Nikita "Claws" Marchinsky, Dmitry "Fyzu" Petrov & Kikrill "9impulse" Kostiv

It would not be a European finals hot watch list if I did not include my favourites to win the tournament. Na'Vi did Na'Vi things during the open qualifiers and signalled their intent in round 1 which they topped with an 80 point performances including 2 wins, a 2nd place and 47 kills across the 3 games. They continued to rip through lobbies in round 3, with a further 2 game wins and a 2nd place. This trend continues as Na'Vi made the finals with relative ease and the one thing to note is that it seems there has been some progression on their rotations, which will only make them a scarier team to face. As my pick to be the outright winners, Na'Vi has to ensure they continue to improve on those rotations and do what they do best and frag out.


Matthieu "Oraxe" Ribiere, Herman "Nesh" Kobrin & Jack "Wacko" Middleton 

Being underrated is sometimes a nice thing to have as it can take the pressure off a team during competition, However, Reciprocity has been underestimated since the Apex Legends Pre-Season Invitational, despite recording a convincing 8th place there and a strong 3rd place finish at the Global Loot League finals. In making their third straight final (including the GLL direct invite) it is time for the rest of the scene to join me in saying that Reciprocity is a legitimate contender. Reciprocity was one of the few teams that never looked in trouble throughout the open qualifying tournament consistently placing in the top three of every round until the being in the Quarterfinals and Semifinal groups of death, where they did enough to make it through. Reciprocity is a team that has shown constant progress from the Pre-Season tournaments to now and will definitely be going into the finals tomorrow thinking they can win the tournament outright.

Fnatic EU

Oliver "Badoli" Kurtuldu, Matthew "Dids" Didehvar & Nikola "N1kola" Svensson

It has taken the entire Pre-Season and a roster change in signing Badoli and releasing DcTzr, but the team have finally found the form similar of Dids and N1kola's Klanen days, where they were considered one of, if not the best team in the scene. While the Global Loot League EMEA finals showed that there was room to grow with Badoli on the roster. The Open Major Qualifiers have seen the boys at their dominant best, shown by their 1st place, 19 kill game in an absolutely stacked Semifinal 2, which Fnatic EU won. In their current form, it is easy to see why Jamerson and Gaskin both picked Fnatic EU as their Wildcards for the tournament, as this trio will frag with the best of them if their play matches the potential this roster has.


Andreas "Julez" Fischer, Romain "Row" Daly & Per Stian "SiigN" Venas

One team who has likely flown under everybody's radar this tournament is the trio of Jules, Row and SiigN of Segelbert. They have been playing together as a team since November when SiigN joined as a replacement for their previous third Nitrahh and the team have not looked back. While they were making some noise during the pre-tournament scrim sessions that were taking place, they stepped up when it came to the Online Qualifiers themselves. In the nine games from round 3 onwards, Segelbert finished in the top 4 in eight of these, whilst constantly facing the likes of Fnatic EU and Reciprocity. They should be coming into the finals full of confidence and with nothing to lose which will make them an interesting factor into the finals equation. While I do not see them winning this tournament, I would not be surprised to see them in the top 5 if their form continues from last week. 

Third Impact Black

Markus "Fjeldern" Fjeld, Viktors "Forsak3n" Bernevs & Sebastian "BallonG" Eketrapp

Once again the Pepega Squadron turned Third Impact, turned Pepega Squadron turned Third Impact Black boys are in another final. While most teams had ups and downs TI Black seemed to stay between the constant 4th - 7th placing, making sure they did enough to qualify round upon rounds but not overexert themselves to a point it could have caused a detrimental effect on the Sunday finals. Now that the finals were moved back a week due to the technical difficulties that Battlefy and EA had, I fully expect them to come out all guns blazing in a best of 5 shootout. Third Impact Black is a team that has continued to improve each and every tournament and I expect no different from them here. While they will obviously be looking to win, I feel that they will be disappointed if they do not finish at least top five. 

The European Online Major Qualifier finals start tomorrow at 12pm GMT/1pm CET and while we are currently unsure whether the finals will be shown on a live broadcast, there will be some players who will stream the finals on a 5-minute delay. This will be one of the most exciting finals that the European scene has had so far and one that you will not want to miss out.

(You can find more Apex Legends Global Series Content on twitter @haloofthoughts)
(Picture Credit: EA) 

No comments

Post a Comment