As we head into a week of hectic ALGS action – especially for the EMEA region – we’re taking stock of the new meta that’s emerged since EA added Storm Point to Apex Legends esports’ map rotation. The map is a personal favourite of mine to play in public lobbies, but that doesn’t necessarily translate to professional play.
Storm Point has more high ground than any other map, and a much larger area to cover. Movement Legends are a must – and the map’s addition has compounded Valkyrie’s rise to power in the esports scene. However, she’s also used a lot on World’s Edge, so we’re taking a look at the Legends who are more often picked on Storm Point, but switched out (usually to Caustic) when World’s Edge rolls around.
While the likes of you and me can sit around all day guessing, analysing, and posturing at why teams make the decisions they do, the best way of knowing is to just ask them. So that’s what we did. We spoke with three pros of the NA scene about their off-meta Storm Point picks.
“Ash is almost a must-pick on Storm Point,” says Jonathan ‘Kotigami’ Carlo, who has played Ash for Unlucky in the ALGS Split 2. “[She’s the] only way to instantly engage a fight on such a big map, or to simply take high ground due to its crazy verticality.”
He’s right, Ash is so ubiquitous on Storm Point that she’s practically meta. However, her usage drops significantly when play moves to World’s Edge, making her an important inclusion when discussing the settling Storm Point off-meta meta. But what makes her so much better than Wraith, who has been the traditional teleporter in the ALGS?
“Since Storm Point is such a gigantic map, instant teleport helps so much more than Wraith trying to teleport running around in the open to get you somewhere,” Kotigami tells me. It’s a tricky situation because if you misplay, you can’t instantly zap back to your original location (as Cloud9’s Zach Mazer will tell you), but Kotigami says the “verticality is worth so much more” on a map with so many ‘god spots’ up high.
Ash also synergises well with Valkyrie, the poster girl of Storm Point. “Her tactical is really good, especially when paired with Valk’s tactical,” Kotigami says. “They go hand in hand.” Ash traps ‘em, Valk zaps ‘em. Well, showers them with rockets, but you get the picture. With your opponent immobilised and damaged, it’s the perfect opportunity to push and get some kills.
Kotigami says that the only other Legend he’d consider would be Loba, but only if they landed more centrally. As they land to the north of Storm Point, they can grab plenty of loot as they rotate, and Ash’s movement utility outweighs Loba’s looting. But that’s not stopping other teams.
Douglas ‘Protectful’ Roberts has been trying to make Loba work for a while, starting with the Split 1 Playoffs. But the addition of Storm Point maximised her value, and he’s finally found the best way to utilise her for his team Oxygen Esports – and yes, it’s mostly for the loot.
“We figured we needed more loot with our spot [in Playoffs] so we brought out Loba,” he says. “After a bit of playing Storm Point without her we realised we really enjoyed having her. If you're a fast centre zone team you can get a spot somewhere in Round 4. Specifically Round 3-4 you always get armours, [shield] batteries, just all the loot. You also have [priority] on care packages if they drop near you since a Loba ult is faster than running to grab the pack.”
If you rotate early and, crucially, start the game from a central POI, Loba can grab all the loot that you need to see you through to the bitter end of a match. Her value increases as the game goes on, as if you’re well-positioned as the zone closes, you can loot from nearby death boxes as more teams fall. Full red Evo Shields, fully-kitted weapons, and even Krabers can be yours – “all the loot you need,” Protectful says – thanks to her Black Market Boutique Ultimate ability.
Oxygen currently lands at Barometer, contesting the large POI with two other teams. Importantly, they take the big tower which allows them to scan a Beacon with Valkyrie and get important ring knowledge. Then, Valk ult away and use Loba to loot up in a good position as the zones begin to close.
“If you have a solid centre drop spot you can rotate fast from, Loba can shine, since you leave fast you have little loot,” he explains. Once you’ve secured a god spot in zone, Loba can fill your backpacks up with everything you need for the fights to come.
However, looting isn’t everything in Apex Legends (no matter what your random teammates might say). Some teams prefer the old-fashioned approach of blowing their opponents to smithereens, and for that tactic there is only one man for the job.
“We tried Fuse right from the beginning of Storm Point and have felt comfortable on it,” explains Davis ‘wave’ Barone, who plays for Dexterity. “We are able to control large portions of the zone because Fuse can apply so much pressure with his Knuckle Clusters.”
Fuse’s Tactical ability, the Knuckle Clusters, fire a handful of small grenades at opponents, effectively blocking off doorways or choke points and forcing teams to delay or rethink their rotations. However, he can be difficult to master, especially when it comes to his Ultimate, The Motherlode, which creates a ring of fire that Johnny Cash would be proud of.
“His ult hurts you more than it can help you if you aren't perfect with it… It slows your teammates and it can cut you off from your team if not placed properly,” wave explains. “It takes time [to learn] for sure, I still mess it up sometimes. It gets really difficult when you have to ult with no time to set up a play.”
Dexterity is committing to Fuse for at least the rest of the season, says wave, and maybe for longer if subsequent Legends don’t impact the meta or buffs and nerfs significantly alter playability. It helps that he surprises Dexterity’s opponents, too: “People don't know how to counter Fuse yet so for us it definitely helps.”
Loba and Fuse are making a strong showing in the ALGS, and Ash is proving the staple of a new meta that is emerging – TSM’s Jordan ‘reps’ Wolfe told us that TSM was sticking with the evil robot for Storm Point when we chatted with him, too. But there’s so much variety on Storm Point teams, we haven’t even touched on Horizon, Crypto, or Bangalore, who are all making comebacks on the new map. Even Wattson is appearing in more teams in the APAC North region, a Legend who hasn’t seen competitive play since Pathfinder was meta.
Soon it seems that we’ll have separate metas for the different Apex maps – and that’s fine by me. While pro players might continue to complain about end zones (which have been changed since the complaints to be fair) or rotations, it gives viewers a very different experience to traditional World’s Edge matches. As well as a different environment visually, Storm Point forces teams to use different tactics and different Legends, keeping things interesting for casual fans.
But wave has one piece of advice for teams nervous about trying something too different: “I think overall people should try to go off-meta because everyone plays differently. Copying what TSM does won't help you, people need to learn their own game.”
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