EA announced last week that Apex Legends Split 2 Playoffs will be an in-person LAN tournament. We all knew this was the publisher’s intention for Apex Legends esports, but the pandemic forced the entirety of the first ALGS season online, and subsequently caused the last-minute cancellation of the Split 1 Playoffs event (which was also played online).
Nobody was daring to hope that the Playoffs would actually be a LAN. After all, the ALGS has never actually had an in-person event due to the unfortunate fact its inception coincided with the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. But it’s official, we’re going to Stockholm next month. Well we’re not, there’s not going to be a live audience, but the players will be gathering all in one room for an intense culmination of the past few months’ action.
After successful in-person Apex Legends events at the X-Games and the Preseason Invitational, fans have had a brief taste of what other esports have been organising for years. There’s something special about every competitor being in the same room, being able to see the players’ faces as they react and the celebrations when they win. Can you imagine hearing the trash talk between NRG and TSM in-person instead of reading lame Twitter beef for months on end? It’s exciting. But that’s not the best part.
An in-person LAN event has not only given teams more to play for, but created far more jeopardy in the regular Split 2 season. Apex’s online tournaments were done by region – to reduce latency and ping – meaning that 20 teams from each region progressed to a regional online tournament. However, with the entire world being funneled into one 40-team lobby, far fewer teams will make it to Stockholm than previous Playoffs. Ten teams will qualify from North America, ten from EMEA, ten from APAC North, and five each from APAC South and South America. The stakes have been raised.
The previous, pandemic-enforced system allowed teams to have average performances and make it to the Playoffs. At the Playoffs themselves, there was less on the line as the prize pool was split between the five regions. This time around, the prize pool is a million dollars, one team can win a quarter of that, but they’ll have to work much harder to get there.
The teams that have qualified for Playoffs have already been confirmed for South America and both APAC regions, but it’s all to play for tonight in EMEA and North America, even more so in the former. Not one team is guaranteed qualification with one round of matches still to play in EMEA, and the ALGS has never been more exciting due to that.
If you’re looking for some perspectives to watch through Multiview, I would suggest SoloQgoats, Alliance, and potentially Na’Vi. SoloQgoats are fan favourites and need a very good game to qualify for Playoffs. The same goes for Alliance, who had a surprisingly slow start to Split 2 and need to pull it out of the back to qualify. As one of the best teams in the region, they’ll be great to watch. Na’Vi can technically still qualify by my calculations, but basically need to win and for everyone above them to do abysmally. But with that roster, anything could happen, and that’s the beauty of it.
The top five teams are probably safe, but I stress ‘probably’. A bad day for Scarz – which it is prone to having, albeit not usually when it matters most – could see the ALGS Championship holders drop out of the Playoffs places. Any team sitting between sixth and tenth needs to fight hard to ensure it qualifies for Stockholm. Forg Gang, Kungarna, and Zeta Division are all strong teams not currently in the Playoffs places, so keep your eyes on them, too.
At the other end of the spectrum, 789 is doing surprisingly poorly (or maybe not so surprisingly seeing as the team has rapidly relocated from Russia to Turkey). Many expected 789 to be contesting for Playoffs places, but Elvira ‘esdesu’ Temirova & co need to play well to ensure they aren’t relegated.
In North America, Sentinels will be hoping to oust CounterLogic Gaming or Complexity to get to Playoffs, and the likes of SCRY and Furia are making late pushes for the big leagues. However, my eyes will remain on the top four – ESA, G2, 100 Thieves, and NRG – as those teams are playing out of their skins at the moment. Three of the four will be juking it out in the A versus C matchup tonight, so that’s what I’ll be watching.
Makeshift online tournaments have done the job for the ALGS to this point, but single-lobby LANs have created Apex’s most exciting event yet – and it hasn’t even started. I haven’t touched on the LAN itself. We’re going to see metas collide – the Wattsons of APAC North versus the Caustics of EMEA and North America’s reliance on Gibraltar. Something tells me that Crypto – who counters all of these Legends to some extent – may see a lot of play.
Esports are meant to be played in-person, and we’re finally going to get a chance to see how the ALGS fares on LAN. The Stockholm event has already created the most exciting Split of Apex competition to date, so I can’t wait for the real thing.
Source: Read Full Article