The ALGS Championship was the biggest Apex Legends esports event to date. Regional tournaments crowned five victors from across the globe and achieved record viewership for Respawn’s battle royale. ALGS Year 2 will double the prize pool of the first season to an eye-watering $5 million and is planning to add LAN events to capitalise on the success of the ever-growing esport.
The first season seems a long time ago, as the ALGS has been in an off-season since June. With Year 2 qualification kicking off this weekend, what better way to celebrate than look back at what has happened during the intervening three months?
From BLAST to GLL, from tap strafing to roster changes, there’s been a lot to keep up with. We’ll cover the biggest changes right here to prepare you for another year of Apex esports.
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Rule Changes and Roster Changes
We’ve covered all the format changes for ALGS Year 2 in our big guide to the second season, but the biggest rule change that has impacted the off-season is the fact that esports organisations can only field one roster, regardless of the regions that those teams represent.
Fennel had already parted ways with its Korean roster, which now goes by COUQUE DASSE, just one day after it won the APAC North Championship. While this was unlikely a result of the rule change, it saved the organisation a major headache.
The team with arguably the biggest such headache, however, is Kungarna. Its EU team is arguably one of the best rosters in the world, which unfortunately underperformed on the biggest stage in June. Its NA team was comparatively unproven, but defied the odds to take the victory in at the Championship. Currently, it seems that Kungarna EU is competing under the banner of Antares. However, the players still appear to be signed to the organisation, but are just using a different name. Reignite currently seems to be in breach of this rule, fielding rosters in APAC North and South.
However, pro players have been finding even more issues with the rule, such as Martin ‘gdolphn’ Skrydstrup vowing to continue to contest the Fragment East POI in EMEA servers with his free agent squad NoName, when the team he coaches, TSM, also lands there in NA. This wouldn’t be a problem, except that with LAN events potentially returning and multiple regions contesting a lobby, his actions in EMEA tournaments could give TSM an easier ride in the international competitions by giving the NA squad a free landing zone.
These are creases that EA will have to iron out if it wants Year 2 to be a success.
New teams to watch are Bench Warmers, a free agent team consisting of Ryan 'ImMadness' Schlieve, Logan ‘Knoqd’ Layou & Beau ‘RamBeau’ Sheidy, as well as the rumoured roster of content creators Jack ‘NiceWigg’ Martin, ‘Apryze’, and Timmy ‘iiTzTimmy’ An.
You can see every roster change in NA (there’s a lot of them) in this handy post from Reddit user JevvyMedia. We would embed it, but it's that long.
BLAST and GLL both hosted tournaments during the off-season, and both incorporated Arenas into the competition. While 3v3 fighting can be exciting, it doesn’t quite give us a complete look at what teams will contest in the next season of the ALGS.
Forg Gang was the surprise winner of BLAST Titans, with the unsigned roster showcasing a ruthless streak to take the final. SCARZ had the other most noticeable performance in the EMEA-only tournament, albeit for the wrong reasons. Unfortunately, Dan ‘rpr’ Ušić slept in and missed the start of their match, and the EMEA ALGS Champions forfeited early.
GLL also hosted a tournament during the off-season, entirely using Arenas. Again, in our conversation with ALGS commissioner John Nelson about Year 2, he did not confirm that Arenas would play any part in the competition, but GLL Arena Summer was a good watch nonetheless.
Kungarna made it through the lower bracket to clutch the win in EMEA, and semi-pro side Dude’s Night Out surprised the NA tournament. However, the most interesting part of the competition was the fact that some Legends and weapons were banned.
Bloodhound, Loba, Seer, and Valkyrie were all banned (despite the fact they are not all in the S-Tier of our Apex Legends tier list), and two of the best guns in the game, the L-Star and the Prowler were banned unless you found one in a Care Package.
Could we see similar bans in the ALGS? Self-resurrection Knockdown Shields and Heat Shields are already removed from EA’s battle royale ruleset – and ImperialHal would like the Kraber to join them – so it’s not beyond the realms of possibility. Banning the newest Legend, Seer, however, may be a step too far for the tournament organiser, because they are ultimately trying to build hype for and drive viewers towards playing the game for themselves.
Speaking of changes to the game, Season 10 Legend Seer could see some play in the ALGS – that is if the next set of patch notes don’t nerf him to oblivion. Seer could potentially replace Bloodhound as a team’s scanner, but without a significant nerf to the latter, we don’t expect to see too many teams opting for this change.
The consensus is similar for the Rampage LMG, which appears to have launched in a good place in the middle of the pack – not the best gun in Apex Legends, but certainly not the worst either.
The biggest change is the removal of tap strafing, which mouse and keyboard pro players were aggrieved to learn is being removed. Respawn’s director of communication, Ryan Rigney, has since clarified that it may be turned back on, but binding forward movement to the scroll wheel has been removed and that will change the movement technique forever.
Along with a nerf to Octane, movement Legends have suffered recently. Apex Legends Season 11, which drops halfway through ALGS Year 2, could change everything of course, but nobody will be able to tell what changes until much closer to the time.
That’s a brief overview of what’s happened over the past three months. For a supposed ‘off-season’ of ALGS, there’s been a lot going on. But with ALGS Pro League qualification beginning this weekend, the fun is only just beginning.