Find out which Legends are getting buffed and/or nerfed in Apex Legends Season 9.

18:30, 14 Apr 2021

Season 9 is still weeks away, but that has not stopped the Apex Legends developers from speaking on what’s to come. In particular, the developers responsible for Legend balance have been outspoken when it comes to what players can expect in Season 9. Multiple Legends have already been confirmed to be receiving buffs and/or nerfs in the coming season.

Is your favourite Legend finally getting that much-needed buff? Maybe that Legend that’s always giving you a hard time is at long last receiving a nerf?

Let’s go over all of the Legend balance adjustments expected to arrive in Season 9.

 

Apex Legends Season 9 News

Apex Legends Season 9 - Lifeline

Lifeline’s incoming nerf is one most players have probably heard about already. In the War Games event trailer, Lifeline’s Drone of Compassion (D.O.C.) is seen reviving a squadmate without the signature Res Shield. This obviously sparked some questions.

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Apex Legends Balance Designer, John Larson, Took to Reddit to address the controversy. Larson confirmed that Lifeline would receive the following adjustments in Season 9:

  • Removing Res Shield from her Passive ability
  • Increasing Tactical ability healing speed by 60%
  • Buffing her Ultimate ability to give guaranteed upgrades

Overall, this is a major nerf to Lifeline. Lifeline’s Res Shield was certainly the strongest part of her kit. Lifeline’s D.O.C. could revive teammates from behind a protective shield, and the ability had no cooldown. Also, Lifeline was free to fight and move around while her D.O.C performed the revive.

Lifeline will receive minor buffs in return for the removal of the Res Shield, but it’s not really a fair trade-off. A 60% increase in her Tactical ability's heal speed isn’t very impactful. There are few situations where the increased heal speed will prove worthwhile. Additionally, even with the buff, Lifeline’s Ultimate ability is underwhelming. There are already so many ways to claim high-tier loot in Apex Legends. Standard Care Packages, Replicators, Explosive Holds, and Flyers all offer players the opportunity to retrieve high-tier loot. Lifeline’s Ultimate is no longer as useful as it once was, especially considering it’s an Ultimate ability.

While the Res Shield was admittedly frustrating to play against, the majority of the community are not happy with these incoming changes to Lifeline’s kit. Pros and amateurs alike took to social media to voice their complaints. There are multiple Reddit threads with hundreds of upvotes protesting these adjustments, and popular pro players such as Christian "Nokokopuffs" Feliciano wrote on Twitter, “really really bad change, a cooldown on the res shield was all that was needed if you change anything. Maybe throw in 25% fast heal.”

These balance adjustments are not yet official, but the developers seem set on testing out the removal of Lifeline’s Res Shield. It will be interesting to see if the outcry from players sways their opinion.

Apex Legends Season 9 - Octane

Octane is another Legend set to receive a nerf in Season 9. Octane was buffed at the start of Season 8, leading the daredevil to become one of the most picked Legends in the game at a rate of over 25%. Octane, combined with Revenant, has dominated the Season 8 Ranked Mode meta, largely thanks to Octane’s ability to traverse the map at rapid speeds.

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It looks like Octane’s spot at the top will be short-lived. In a Reddit thread on patch notes, Lead Game Designer, Daniel Klein, commented in reference to Octane, “we need to hit him a little bit. He's become extremely dominant (to no one's surprise), so we'll need to shave a little power off.” 

Klein continued with his planned changes for Octane. Klein plans to raise the cost of HP per Stim use to 20 HP, up from 12. In exchange, the cooldown to use Stim will be lowered to one second, down from the three to four-second delay that currently exists.

This will make Stimming a much riskier proposition. Currently, Octane players are constantly Stimming. Stim to escape, Stim to chase opponents, Stim to strafe in fights, etc. With these changes, Octane players will need to put more thought into their Stim use. Losing 20 HP per Stim is a high price to pay for a short boost of speed.

This is another balance change that has been met with some pushback. Octane’s always been a fun Legend, but it wasn’t until Season 8 that he finally became meta. Now, it seems as though the developers are looking to push Octane back down when he barely had a chance to excel. We’ll see how this adjustment to Octane’s Stim affects his overall success in the Apex Games.

Apex Legends Lifeline Nerf

Apex Legends Season 9 - Loba

Apex Legends players have been begging the developers for many seasons now to give Loba some attention. It’s not even that she needs a buff; she just needs her kit to work as advertised. 

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Loba’s Bracelet is notorious for not working properly. There are dozens and dozens of locations throughout the Apex maps where Loba’s Bracelet bugs out and doesn’t work. This is extremely frustrating to encounter as a Loba player. There’s nothing worse than being in an intense situation, and her ability just won't perform its job.

Klein once again took to social media to console players and assure them that fixes were coming. In reply to a comment in Twitch chat, Klein wrote that Loba will receive “a sh*t ton of bug fixes for [her] bracelet.” Klein added that there will also be some quality of life changes to the Bracelet, but the adjustments still won’t fix everything.

Klien’s comments represent less of a direct buff to Loba and more along the lines of them fixing her to perform how she should. Loba will receive a slight nerf to her Ultimate ability to balance out any power creep that arises from the rectification of her Bracelet.

Season 9 could be Loba’s time to shine.

Apex Legends Season 9 - Horizon

Horizon took over Wraith’s spot as the strongest Legend in the game shortly after her release in Season 7. Horizon soared to the top of the pick rate charts and has yet to relinquish her throne. She’s received multiple nerfs already, but they’ve done little to derail her popularity.

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Klein has hinted for a while about an incoming “big nerf” to this fan-favourite Legend. When discussing Legend balance, Klein wrote, “we weren’t ready with the big nerf for Horizon, so we shipped what he had first. Bigger nerf coming soon, hopefully, S9, but no guarantees.”

Going into the specifics of the nerf, Klein mentions adjusting how quickly Horizon can strafe within her Gravity Lift and making her easier to track mid-air.

Horizon has floated high above the rest of the Legend cast for too long. Season 9 aims to bring her power down a notch.

Apex Legends Season 9 Nerf

Apex Legends Season 9 - Fuse

Fuse will receive a buff in Season 9, but the logistics of that buff are undetermined.

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Apex Legends’ newest Legend is simply not very good — and the stats prove it. Klein confirmed in a post on Reddit that Fuse has the lowest win rate out of any Legend in the game.

To compensate for Fuse’s lack of power, Fuse will likely receive a buff in the coming season. In Klein’s words, “we have some plans for [Fuse], but nothing's 100% yet.”

Fuse’s incoming balance adjustments are less hashed out than other Legends’, but we’ll surely find out more as Season 9 approaches.

 

Whether you agree with these balance changes or not, the transparency of the Apex Legends dev team should be appreciated. Not many game developers are as open about their decision making as the Apex Legends devs are. 

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Plenty of buffs and nerfs have already been confirmed for Season 9. We’ll see how it all plays out when Season 9 goes live on May 4.

 

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Images via Respawn Entertainment

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