The ALGS Pre Season qualifiers ended in chaotic fashion.
The North American ALGS Pre Season qualifiers drew to a conclusion in dramatic fashion last night. Several teams found themselves either already qualified, or unable to qualify, by the final game. This resulted in teams being able to 'grief' without consequence for their own results.
In order to reach the coveted Pro League, teams either had to win one of the four qualifiers or finish in the top four slots by overall series points.
That meant that as the six game finals entered the final game, some teams were either mathematically qualified, or completely unable to qualify even with a game win.
Last ditch attempt to help Tripods qualify
One such qualified team was 'EVYLUTION'. The team comprised of Euriece, Vudo and Panic were guaranteed a spot in the Pro League via the overall series points simply by making finals. Their result in the six games did not matter.
One team who was not already qualified, but still had a shot in the final game, was the Tripods. Arguably the biggest team left in the competition all eyes were firmly fixed on the fate of NickMercs, Gent and Deeds.
With one game to go the standings were as follows:
- SKT T2 - 56
- Rise - 54
- Tripods - 48
- Tempr - 42
That left the Tripods needing to better the result of both SKT T2 and Rise to win the finals and make Pro League.
Euriece chooses to grief SKT T2 because "Nick literally gets 50k viewers"
In order to help Tripods, EVYLUTION chose to contest SKT T2 at Landslide for the final game. The objective, kill or disrupt them and open the door for Tripods. SKT T2 operated a Loba and Rampart combination from Landslide.
This was both a terrible set up for off drop fighting (which they were not expecting) but also leans very heavily into a fast rotate playstyle. Any delay to their rotate, even if they survived the grief, would have ruined their strategy.
Catching them by surprise, EVYLUTION killed SKT T2 and eliminated them in 20th place. This left the door open for the Tripods.
Tripods fail to escape ALGS Pre Season Qualifiers
However, there was to be another twist in the tale. Despite getting some serious assistance, The Tripods were still unable to qualify. They missed out by a single point to a team no one was really paying attention too, Tempr.
Tripods had set themselves up for the win. SKT T2 were eliminated in 20th, Rise were taken out in 14th with just two kills.
Tripods found themselves in a strong position in Geyser. They had managed to pick up some early kills and seemed set to finish the job. But, they lost a simple enough fight against 'Los Lics' that left the door just slightly ajar for Tempr. However, it would take a mammoth game for them to steal first place.
One Rampart changes the entire game
Yet, the mammoth game was on. Tempr found themselves in the top three, with nine kills. They were tied with Tripods when a Rampart swung into CallSpades with the Shiela in hand.
The resulting 1v1 might be one of the most pivotal fights in Apex history outside of LAN.
Using the powerful Wingman, CallSpades was able to fully kill Clankbot which netted them the singular point that meant they passed Tripods.
CallSpades' confidence as a solo player, and calm thinking to confirm the kill before he was third partied, is the single pivotal action that means NickMercs, Deeds and Gent are facing another stint in the Challenger Circuit.
More griefing elsewhere in the ALGS Pre Season Qualifiers
This was not the only griefing that came as a result of the format. N9ne Lies were also an already qualified team on overall points before finals even began.
They didn't wait until the final game to try and prevent, or help, a team from qualifying. They chose to prevent The Boys, who have been a controversial force across the qualifiers, from picking up enough overall points to make Pro League.
The Boys only needed a decent result to qualify, but faced being contested on all six maps by N9ne Lies.
To try and escape this, they chose to contest The Crypt on both maps. Either hoping to take a fight against a team they saw as an easier 3v3 than N9ne Lies, or to force the team away and hope that N9ne Lies would not contest them thinking they were already set to fight off drop.
Instead, The Crypt chose to 'react drop', meaning when The Boys left the ship they went to somewhere else that was free and this allowed N9ne Lies to contest them successfully. N9ne Lies were able to locate and contest The Boys across several different drop spots throughout finals.
The Crypt get revenge
The only game that The Boys managed to evade N9ne Lies was in game six. However, also unable to qualify by this point, The Crypt were swift to enact their own revenge for having their tournament disrupted.
Having identified The Boys swerved to geyser, The Crypt lay in wait between Geyser and Overlook. Catching them by surprise, The Crypt finished the job that N9ne Lies had started, and the Boys stumbled to 19th place. They will also face another split in the Challenger Circuit, with more than a few rivalries to deal with.
Questions over ALGS Pre Season Qualifier format
Many have been left questioning the format of the ALGS Pre Season qualifiers after this level of griefing. Almost all regions saw some bizzare gameplay as the final games of the circuit drew to a close. Not all of it was griefing. Teams simply needed a big game to have any chance of making Pro League, and this resulted in chaos and carnage.
Most big ALGS tournaments use 'Match Point' format, and this circuit has been a great example of the benefits of using that system. Giving every team the chance to win, means people are focused on themselves and not others.
Of course, there is also money on the line at the top level. There is no prizing in the ALGS Pre Season qualifiers which also has an impact.
ALGS Challenger Circuit follows tweaked format
We won't see these issues in the subsequent Challenger Circuits however. That circuit still uses overall points, but instead the top 22 teams qualify for a separate tournament. This makes it much harder to target teams.
Additionally, the top teams qualify for a winners bracket. This gives teams something to play for even if their top 22 spot is secured. Teams who win a CC automatically book their top 22 place but still have to earn points to determine what bracket they will be in.
Then, those teams meet the bottom 8 pro league teams to compete in a double elimination bracket, with a match point format finals.
Questions will be asked if there could be a similar format for next years Pre Season qualifiers. The current format rewards both the winning teams, and those who are consistent. It also keeps the format short and snappy needing just four weeks.
It's understandable why the format is different to Challenger Circuits, but the action we saw this weekend needs addressing before Year Five.