Analysis: Gibraltar picked 100% in NA ALGS Playoffs but 3% in casual play. A look at legend popularity in Apex cover image

Analysis: Gibraltar picked 100% in NA ALGS Playoffs but 3% in casual play. A look at legend popularity in Apex

We break down the pickrates for this weekends ALGS Playoffs, and compare the legend choices for Pro and Casual players. What legends are used by both types of player? And why does Gibraltar dominate the competitive scene.

With the ALGS Playoffs for the EMEA and NA regions now concluded, there is once again attention on the legends that pro players used in both regions, especially now Gibraltar has reached a 100% pick rate in North America.

In particular, this weekend highlighted the huge differences in what legends pro players choose when compared to the casual Apex Legends community.

Thanks to @ApexSinghLabs on Twitter for the data on which legends were picked, and what combinations teams used.

The Top 5 picked legends per region:

Gibraltar leads NA picks:

  • Gibraltar - 100%
  • Valkyrie - 87.1%
  • Caustic - 30.0%
  • Loba - 29.3%
  • Crypto - 17.9%

EMEA picks led by Wraith:

  • Wraith - 77.0%
  • Valkyrie - 68.5%
  • Gibraltar - 64.0%
  • Caustic - 45.0%
  • Crypto - 34.5%

Gibraltar dominance

Gibraltar was the most picked legend in the NA region. He was picked 100% of the time. Every single team, in every single game chose to use Gibraltar. In the EMEA region he was less popular, but still had a very high 64% pick rate.

This is hugely different from casual play; where Gibraltar is picked only 3.6% of the time.

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Gibraltar can feel very unrewarding to play

Gibraltar is a very difficult legend to play; and this is one of the reasons he is hardly used by casual players. With his ginormous hitbox and his defensive abilities he is both difficult and boring. Why would you choose to play safe and get shredded on every rotate when you could play Wraith, Octane or Valk?

Coordination is also very important for Gibraltar to be effective. Fighting in the Gibby dome together, protecting your Gibraltar player and following up on damage from his defensive bombardment. This makes playing Gibraltar without a 3-stack team even worse than he can feel anyway.

Even professional Gibraltar players say he is unenjoyable to play and he is a handicap to the players who use him.

Dome of protection and Defensive Bombardment are perfect for Pro play

However, his kit perfectly aligns with the style of games at the highest level of Apex. Understandably, when hundreds of thousands of dollars (sometimes even more!) is on the line, Pro Apex plays out in a cautious defensive way.

The Gibraltar dome allows teams protection and a chance to reset, keeping them alive. Even just a couple of seconds of survival can mean the difference between winning and losing a tournament.

In Pro play, there are a lot more teams alive each round too. In this weekend's playoff games, there was 18+ teams in zone 3.

Even the smallest zones can have room for several pro teams. Can you spot all 10 teams in this zone?
Even the smallest zones can have room for several pro teams. Can you spot all 10 teams in this zone?

This is why teams take "bubble fights", using Gibraltar domes to protect themselves while they fight another team.

This means that they can play around the Dome, which acts as a cover. It also stops other teams from shooting you while you are fighting. With so many teams in small zones this is a major advantage.

A well placed defensive bombardment can clean up a fight or an area in a zone really easily.

Teams having this power means that more teams are forced to choose Gibby. Only two legends can stop a Gibby ult. Wattson and her interceptor pylon, and Gibraltar himself with his Dome. The more people who can potentially throw a Gibraltar Ult on your team, the more you need a Gibraltar to protect you.

Valkyrie 'Skyward Dive' crucial part of ALGS meta

In North America, Valkyrie is almost as popular as Gibraltar. She was picked 87.1% of the time. In the EMEA region, she was also the second most picked Legend at 68.5%.

Valkyrie is the fifth most picked legend in Casual play also, at 7.5%.

In the same way that Gibraltar suits the more cautious defensive ALGS playstyle, so does Valk. Her Skyward Dive means that teams can rotate much faster than on foot.

In ALGS and other high level tournaments, having one of the best spots for any specific zone can be make or break for your chances at winning the game.

With all 60 players in each lobby being so highly skilled, you cannot just rely on having better aim than your opponents. Controlling a specific choke, building or other position can be a major advantage.

Furthermore, her scanning as you fly in helps you know which spots are already taken. While some teams do sometimes make questionable 'gambles', landing on spots and hoping they are empty overall she helps teams avoid unneeded conflict and stay alive for longer.

This is something that is less important for Casual players. The scan is usually used to find where people are to fight them, rather than avoid them. This shows her flexibility and explains why Valk is well used by both Casual and Pro players, unlike Gibraltar.

Caustic's Gas a powerful defensive tool

Bearing in mind the defensive game style and teams desire not to fight until needed it is not a surprise to see that Caustic is the 3rd most picked Legend in NA, and 4th most popular in EMEA. The combination of Valk, Gibby and Caustic was the most used team in North America at 30%.

Just like Gibraltar, Caustic is a low pick rate in Casual play, at just 3.9%.

Gibraltar and Caustic are used by Pros, and not used by Casuals for very similar reasons.

Frankly, Caustic is at his best when you are sat in a building with all the doors blocked by Gas Barrels. In a normal game, that is really really boring. When you are competing for serious money, it is a lot less boring.

Also, Caustic also has a massive hitbox and is easy to destroy if you are not careful with your positioning.

Caustic Gas is both powerful for damaging attackers, but it also delays fights and makes them longer. With so many teams alive in the later stages of the game, fights are third partied much more. Having a Caustic means that rival teams will just not want to fight you. Therefore, you survive longer.

The ultimate safety legend: Crypto

Crypto is the LEAST used Legend in Casual play. ALGS developers are reworking Crypto with an update expected to his abilities in Season 12.

However, he featured in the top 5 picks for both regions. Crypto is the perfect example of the overall reasons why Casuals and Pro Players focus mostly on different legends.

In Casual play, people want action packed exciting games. Legends like Octane, Bloodhound and Pathfinder have the perfect abilities to move around the map fast, find enemies and take lots of fights.

In Pro play, people prefer a cautious defensive style. Playing for strong positions and taking fights when needed. Playing for the win, not an end of game kills/damage badge.

Crypto embodies this perfectly. Need to check a spot? Send your Drone. Want to scan a beacon? Send your Drone. Being pushed? EMP them and deal 50 damage instantly. Teammate died? No problem, the Drone can grab the banner.

Crypto EMP counters a Gibraltar Dome and Caustic gas traps

The huge use of Gibraltar and Caustic also means that Crypto, who can remove a bubble and Caustic traps with his EMP, is a good counter to those two legends.

Ultimately, Crypto is the most defensive legend in the game and allows you to get lots of information for free. In high pressure situations, this is really helpful. To the Casual, this is just boring.

It is possible that Crypto would be picked more if the Legends he counters (Gibraltar, Caustic and Wattson) were used more. None of these 3 legends are highly picked in Casual play, so neither is Crypto.

ALGS Playoff pick rates in full

Courtesy of @ApexSinghLabs on Twitter:

What is really notable is that Octane, who is the second most popular legend in Casual gameplay, was not picked a single time in either region. His hyper aggressive playstyle simply does not suit Pro play. Teams that favour more aggression tend to chose Ash because her Phase Breach is safer to use than a Jump Pad.

Will Mad Maggie fit into Pro or Casual play?

It has now been revealed that the next legend to join the Apex games will be Maggie. While much isn't yet known about her abilities, people are already speculating about if she could fit into the Pro meta. Will she be a more aggressive fun character, or a defensive style legend? If she works defensively, she could fit neatly into Pro Play. But if she is the opposite, there is no doubt she will be a popular legend pick for the Casual audience.

Respawn will be aiming for more Legends like Valk, who are popular in both styles of play. However, this has proved hard to achieve.

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