The dream team all the pros are using and why
When public matches get too easy; where do you turn in online Battle Royale game Apex Legends? Well, to Ranked mode of course! A haven for those more competitive players, Ranked features (debatably) a more skilled player base, with six competitive tiers to climb (Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum, Diamond and all the way to the best of the best; Apex Predator) throughout a current season. Within these tiers are also levels up to Level 4. As well as bragging rights, Ranked mode boasts rewards and recognition for those who climb the ranks over the course of a seasons gameplay; including exclusive cosmetic items such as dive trails, weapon skins, and charms, plus an in-game badge to show off your superior level to the rest of the lobby.
Every player begins in the Bronze tier unless they played Ranked in a previous season. In such cases, their previous tier will carry over, but be demoted by 1 level (not 1 tier). If you like to play with a pre-made dream team, keep in mind that the matchmaking will work based on the highest-ranked player in your team; so if you are in Bronze and your friend is in Platinum; get ready for a hard fight.
Commitment is key in Ranked mode, as leaving a match prematurely (due to rage-quitting most likely) will result in an abandonment penalty of five minutes to begin with, with that time escalating if you repeatedly leave games early. Don’t worry if you’re the victim of hot-headed random teammates though, as loss forgiveness should level out your points, so you don’t unnecessarily reduce overall RP.
What’s the Most Effective Team of Legends for Ranked?
Now that’s the million-dollar question. Of the twelve available Legends, whose abilities will work the best together to ensure your team becomes the Apex Champions? From smoke-screening (Bangalore) to drone-spying (Crypto), there are several useful Legends on the roster to choose from, all with their own unique skillset and buffs. Knowing which three Legends to combine for a successful match can be difficult to figure out; but you need look no further than the most recent Apex Legends tournament (Apex Legends Global Series Online Major 1 - North American Qualifier) which featured some of the most well-known gaming clans in the Esports industry (TSM, RCO, Rogue) brawling it out for the number one spot.
It’s worth noting that although this competition only featured PC players, the platform is irrelevant based on this data. So, feel free to take this newfound information into your console games. All stats taken from the NA Qualifier accurately shows the latest meta in highest level competitive gaming which can naturally trickle down to Ranked. Well, where do you think they practiced?
It will come as no surprise to avid Apex fans that Wraith is the number one chosen legend across the board; in fact, a lot of the top streamers competing in the NA Qualifier main her on a regular casual basis (Snip3down_EW from Sniper Abusers, TSM_ImperialHa1 from Team SoloMid). But who can you pair with the portal-making void-jumping Wraith to create the dream team? Surprisingly to some; it’s the electrifying Wattson. One of the latest characters to be added to the roster, Wattson is rarely seen in public matches, but really comes into her own in competitive gameplay. The final piece of the puzzle is zipline king Pathfinder. A long-time favourite of a lot of Apex players, Pathfinder, is by far the most useful legend to use for movement.
In fact, this team layout is so successful, that the winners of all five games in the Major 1 NA Qualifier were made up of Wraith, Wattson and Pathfinder, with those winners being Lil Poggies, Rogue (winner of two games out of five), Team Squidward and Sniper Abusers.
It’s important to take note that the NA Qualifier overall winner was TSM, as points count for the overall win are the same as Ranked (12 RP) and they managed to secure the most points over five games, securing the overall win.
The top three teams based on scores at the end of the NA Qualifier were TSM, Sniper Abusers and Rogue, who all used the Wraith, Wattson, Pathfinder loadout: saying a lot for the success of this combination. Looking into this team setup further, you find that the legends they are choosing to play in this competition are the players’ mains most of the time. TheBcJ from Sniper Abusers plays Pathfinder consistently, as does TSM_Albralelie, who streams using Pathfinder when practicing on Ranked mode with super-player Dizzy and others. Surprisingly, RogueHusKers is a full-on Wattson main, a rarity for streamers who usually opt for Wraith, as is the case with gdolphn from Sniper Abusers, who based on his Twitch streams is a Wraith player primarily; there may have been a coin toss for who selected her for this tournament in the Sniper Abusers team. Rogue’s full active team roster for competitive Apex Legends all play and stream Ranked together (presumably to drill themselves for tournaments) with RogueSweet choosing Wraith.
What Makes This The Most Successful Trio?
At its core, Apex Legends is a team game. Limited time solo and duos modes have come and gone, but the trio is here to stay. Team members need to work together, using their best (and sometimes worst) attributes in their favour to beat out the competition. The most captivating thing about Apex Legends gameplay is the way different legends complement each other’s tactical and ultimate abilities (or special powers, in layman’s terms).
The legend-specific abilities you can use fall into three catgeories: Passive, Tactical and Ultimate and can alter the course of a game, negatively or positively, depending on how and when they are used. Passive abilities don’t have cooldowns and are always active. These may include hearing warnings from the other side (Wraith) or running double-speed when in danger (Bangalore). Tactical abilities have faster cooldowns, usually ranging between 10 and 20 seconds until you can use this power again. These include sending out a holographic decoy (Mirage) and briefly revealing the heat signatures of enemies and traps nearby (Bloodhound). Ultimate abilities are just that; powerful and slower to regenerate (although this regeneration can be sped up with the Ultimate Accelerant lootable item) and range from Bombardments (Gibraltar) or a Nox Gas Grenade (Caustic). These abilities either deal a huge amount of damage, allot large healing resources, or allow easy travel.
One example of the ability combos is professional soldier Bangalore’s smoke launcher pairing like a fine wine with Bloodhound’s ultimate Beast of the Hunt ability, which allows them to see heat signatures through any anti-visibility defences. With this method, a Bangalore could smoke an enemy team, then send the Bloodhound in for the (literal) kill, all while leaving the enemy team briefly blinded by a wall of smoke. Unless, of course, the other team also has a Bloodhound…
This is the perfect storm that is Apex Legends; pitting similar and vastly different characters against each other in a high-velocity fast-paced battle arena, where strategy is everything. Nailing your headshots is important, but it may not always win you the game.
The reason Wraith, Wattson and Pathfinder work so well together can be easily seen and studied using tournament footage. While two of them are definitely not the typical high-powered offensive characters (in fact, Wattson and Pathfinder are categorised as defensive in the Select Legend menu) in a higher stakes arena such as Ranked, there is one thing which is more important than any other; movement.
As the rounds creep in, and the map begins to close towards the ring, rotation and movement become more and more crucial to achieving victory. Not letting yourself and your teammates get caught or trapped in a chokepoint is key, so camping is not advised. There is a lot of what could be called “camping” in competitive Apex Legends, way more than pubs, but it’s about position-holding rather than hiding. High ground is vital, as it allows your team to check their coverage and watch for threats.
While in the final couple of increasingly cosier rings, positioning is everything and only movement will get you there. In comes, Pathfinder. Titled as a “Forward Scout”, Pathfinder knows the way and knows how to get there. The robot with a smile can easily use his tactical grappling hook to push enemies or back off from a fight, while his passive ability allows him to scan survey beacons to find out the next ring location (handy for rotation). His ultimate Zipline ability can be used by teammates and enemies alike but allows a team to easily hold position or the high ground in an intense final battle.
Wraith is a fan favourite of jokingly named “tryhard” or “sweaty” players AKA those who seem to never miss a shot and appear out of nowhere (always carrying a Wingman pistol) but she’s used by higher skilled players for a reason; she is powerful. Known as an “interdimensional skirmisher”, Wraith has many useful offensive and defensive skills at her disposal. Her dimensional rift (or portal) which links two locations through a hole in space, can easily transport your teammates to another location, including allowing downed teammates to crawl through to a (relatively) safe spot to be revived. Portals can also be used to push enemy teams, with the fallback of escaping briefly again through the portal to heal or try to get a flank. It’s also effectual in the last few rings, where last-second movement can be implemented through the use of a portal, to get into the safe zone as late as possible - in hopes the other teams are already fighting each other and you can slip in unnoticed.
Wraith isn’t just a conductor for the rift in space-time however, she also has a special passive ability called “voices from the void”, warning her (and, in turn, allowing you to warn your teammates) that you’ve been spotted, or a trap is nearby. This can help with movement also, as being spotted may prompt a decision to rotate in a different direction.
In combat, Wraith proves her worth, and earns her spot in this ultimate team combo with her tactical ability; void jumping. In the heat of battle, she can quickly become practically invisible for a few seconds and retreat to a safe distance, or use this power to sneak up on unaware enemies.
Wattson is relatively new to the Apex world, only appearing at the beginning of Season 2 in July 2019, coming in with a bang but seeming to fizzle out rapidly. She is less and less seen in the world of casual games. However, she is immensely potent in her own right, and casual players may have overlooked this after the initial shiny newness of her release. Wattson’s defences are the key to her usefulness, with her electric fences serving to gatekeep areas, lockdown buildings or trap enemy players coming out of tunnels, as well as portals (friendly or otherwise). She also provides a health boost, as her ultimate ability (the Interception Pylon) slowly recharges shields within its immediate area, not wasting any of those precious heals. In the NA Qualifier, we saw the pylon being surrounded by fences, almost creating a protective shelter for the teams, cementing their current position and defending friendlies from not only all grenades, but also bombardments. The pylon can be destroyed by gunfire, however, but Wattson’s passive ability to recharge her ultimate ability fully with only one ultimate accelerant makes that a non-issue, if you have some of them in your backpack.
Another thing to mention about two-thirds of this team is the low-profile buff, applying to Wraith and Wattson, which due to their smaller stature makes them harder to hit but does come with a 5% damage increase on those successful shots.
How Will the Meta Change in Upcoming Tournaments?
Apex Legends welcomed Season 4: Assimilation on the 4th of February 2020, around a week after the NA Qualifier, wherein a lot of changes were rolled out, from weapon buffs and nerfs to map changes, and most importantly the introduction of new legend. The map changes may prove tricky to those teams used to the landscape of the previous Worlds Edge, where movement and rotation is key. So, how do you make sure you make the most out of new and changed locations?
Capitol City was the biggest point of interest (POI) in Season 3, where most teams dropped into the skyscraper-laden centre of action straight off the bat. However, with the advent of Season 4, the city has been split in two (with a massive lava fissure running through the middle) allowing teams to reduce first drop engagements and find more loot. Some buildings have been ripped in two or swallowed completely by the volcanic stream. Players used to the clean-cut Capitol may find themselves having to change up their strategy, and take advantage of the risky updraft coming up from the fissure for movement. Using the updraft from the lava fissure will cost the player 25 HP but will allow you to coast over very slowly in a pinch.
The Planet Harvester is the main attraction (and the geographical central point) for the Season 4 map, a monster of engineering whose red beam can be seen from the entire island, which adds an exciting new challenge to gameplay in that area. Gone are the small compact buildings of Fuel Depot, and in comes a multi-level design with long hallways, meaning most fights will be self-contained in the building itself. This may alter long-standing strategies of maintaining high ground in central areas but may prove more useful for locking down certain parts of the building. As Apex themselves state, Planet Harvester should also “make 3rd parties a little more predictable and hopefully easier to defend against.”
Let’s talk about Revenant. The newly introduced Legend is a simulacrum, a robot with a transferred human consciousness of a hitman, whose only reason to live is to kill. Obviously, given his murderous tendencies, Revenant is an offensive Legend, with potent movement, healing, and combat abilities. This puts him in a very good position to join the ranks of Wraith, Wattson and Pathfinder as a top pick for competitive and Ranked teams. He also boasts the low-profile buff of Wraith and Wattson, meaning he’s harder to hit.
Revenant’s abilities are based on a skilled mercenary (as his previous human life entailed) and includes a passive of high wall climbing and crouch running, a tactical of temporarily halting enemy players movement abilities (an irritation for an opposing Pathfinder or Wraith) and an ultimate called Death Totem. The Death Totem can be placed down by Revenant, then activated by the entire team to put them in a state of immediate respawn upon death, and will be invaluable for those teams who want to hold a position whilst being able to push with relatively no fear (as long as one teammate stays in position to counter an ambush.)
Our prediction is some pro teams will swap out Wattson for Revenant due to his movement abilities, meaning unlike Wattson, he can keep up with teammates Wraith and Pathfinder whilst also silencing the movement abilities of those around him.
Revenant is set to shake up matches in a major way, from Ranked all the way up to the highest tier competitive games. You’re sure to see some amazing plays with his involvement.
So, there you have it, all the info you need to create your Ranked dream team. Go grab your friends and try out this combo in live gameplay. Just be sure to watch out for the “Synthetic Nightmare” Revenant in your games…
Images via PAImages & Respawn Entertainment