ALGS Split 1 Playoffs: 10 Things to watch
The ALGS Playoffs are almost upon us, but what should you be looking out for this weekend?
The ALGS Split 1 Playoffs will bring Apex Legends back to the global stage. With so many teams to follow across the four days, we have highlighted ten things to keep an eye on throughout the weekend.
Action begins at 9 a.m. PT on Thursday, Feb 2.
Can TSM defend Lava Siphon
TSM, who are among the favourites for to win the title in London, control one of the best landing spots on Worlds Edge.
Lava Siphon has incredibly strong loot, as well as being in a prime central position which allows them to get around the map a lot easier.
Lava Siphon is so big that in other regions, teams split Lava Siphon into a North and South. But in North America TSM have managed to control the whole of Siphon, and this has given them a huge advantage on Worlds Edge
Teams like iG international from EMEA have tried, and failed, to split Lava Siphon during international scrims leading up to the event. But, will anyone try to share Lava Siphon with TSM during the event and will TSM let them? If they can maintain their chokehold on the entire spot, they will be very happy.
Will DarkZero make it three ALGS LAN wins in a row?
DarkZero have an incredible post pandemic LAN record in Apex. As Reignite, they won the Sweden Playoffs in May 2021 even despite missing Genburten. This earned them a move to DarkZero, and they made an instant impact winning the ALGS Championship in Raleigh in July.
They have since relocated to North America from Australia, and struggled slightly to find their feet in the region. However, a strong final performance saw them slip into the top ten and the all Aussie team will be under pressure to win yet another LAN.
DarkZero have strengthened their team since Raleigh, adding experienced PVPX as a coach as well as announcing a new analyst ahead of the Playoffs.
They couldn't do it again... could they?
How will Mande perform with Alliance?
Gentle giant Mande had all but retired from Competitive Apex when he stepped away from SCARZ this summer. The Dane was instead moving to focus on his streaming career. He never fully closed the door on a return to competition, but said there was only one current team he could see himself playing with.
We now know that team is Alliance. Mande stepped in and stood in with the Swedish organisation for the first three weeks of Pro League following Vaif's decision to step away from competition. With Mande, Alliance performed strongly. But, Alliance opted to sign young Russian 'Effect' as their new permanent player.
Sadly, without a last second miracle, Effect will not have his Visa in time for the Split 1 Playoffs. As the registered sub, Mande will be stepping in and will be back on the global stage.
How will Alliance perform with Mande, can his experience help them to a global title?
Can FNATIC bring the ALGS Playoff title home?
FNATIC re-entered Apex just before the ALGS Championships in Raleigh signing an all Japanese roster. Many were surprised to see FNATIC not re-enter in North America. However, YukaF, MatsuTasu and Meltstera have put down results worthy of such a huge organisation. They came 4th in the ALGS Championship in Raleigh, and then won the ALGS Pro League in APAC North.
Apex esports is very American and European centric. Yet, Apex is hugely popular and APAC teams especially performed well on the global stage last time out. FNATIC are perhaps the APAC North region's best bet at taking home the title and helping bring some more respect to the lesser focused on regions.
Will The Guard's playstyle be effective at LAN?
In an interview with Esports.gg RKN explained to esports.gg that their heavy zone playstyle is especially suited to LAN events. Playing zone relies on other teams significantly more than an edge playstyle. Are teams nearby to prevent you getting pushed? Can you level up your evo shield through poking? These are some of the important factors that teams like The Guard have to consider when choosing how to play.
Naturally, teams always play a lot more cautiously when there is a lot of pressure. LAN events see more teams alive later in the game, and playing zone tends to be regarded as a more 'safe' playstyle.
So, can The Guard and other zone teams like iG international excel in the LAN format?
How many teams will use Catalyst in ALGS?
One of the most interesting legend choices will be Catalyst. Some teams have had varying success with the newest Apex Legend. Aurora were perhaps the most successful, deploying her to great effect. Other teams, like NRG and TSM tried Catalyst and had a less enjoyable time.
One team set to use Catalyst on the global stage is Vexed Gaming. They have been practicing with her consistently and feel that she gives them the flexibility to play aggressive but also bunker down when needed. Something that is extra important in the more cautious LAN environment.
Can Sentinels/Spacestation Gaming work together?
There has been lots of attention following the current Spacestation Gaming squad. Sources indicated to esports.gg that they would be picked up by Sentinels. This was then reflected in the ALGS official blogpost, which listed Sentinels as a team playing. But, Dropped tweeted a picture of his ALGS badge which still said Spacestation Gaming. He then deleted the tweet.
Regardless of what organisation Frexs, Dropped and Xenial represent there is still some confusion around their future as a roster. Spacestation appear to have been using the International Scrims to trial replacements for Dropped until recently. Have they suitably prepared for LAN and can they move past whatever has been going on behind the scenes to deliver in London?
Can South American teams break through?
At the ALGS Championship in Raleigh, no South American teams made the final. Team Singularity were the only South American team to make the Winners bracket.
The ALGS rules state that the Split 2 Playoff regional split will be decided by how teams from each region perform at the Split 1 playoffs. So if South America underperforms again, that could mean they lose a slot for the next LAN event. This would further weaken an already fairly shallow region. South America lacks third party tournament infrastructure and has a much smaller Challenger Circuit.
How will the ALGS Playoff lobbies play out?
One of the most interesting things to keep an eye on will be the style of the lobbies. Apex has a very aggressive meta, with a lot of teams choosing to play an edge style and rack up kills.
International Scrims have been notoriously aggressive.
Zone teams like The Guard have been complaining about how practice is playing out. Teams have been incredibly aggressive, taking lots of risks and the number of teams alive in the later rings was much lower than usual.
The question is, when it actually matters, how will teams play? History indicates that teams tend to play a lot more cautiously at LAN, when compared to scrims or smaller tournaments.
How reflective will International Scrims be, and what sort of playstyle will thrive?
How many teams will not use Valkyrie?
Valkyrie has been a consistently high pickrate across competitive Apex for some time. In Raleigh, she was picked 96%. In response, Respawn nerfed Valkyrie but it has hardly made a dent in her pickrate across the Pro League.
How many teams will continue to use Valkyrie? One of the main reasons she is so popular is because her abilities enable a wide range of other legends to become viable thanks to her Skyward dive.
The question is, will her pickrate stay above 90% and how will teams who opt to not use Valkyrie fare. Could we see breakthrough that impacts the ALGS meta moving into Split 2?
Check out our event hub for full coverage of the ALGS Split 1 Playoffs in London, and stay tuned to Esports.gg!