The planned Apex Legends LAN, set to take place in January has been cancelled. EA cited the rise of the Omicron variant as a key reason why. The LAN playoffs will instead be replaced by regional online tournaments.
Apex Legends fans were left disappointed as EA announced that the much anticipated Apex Playoffs has been cancelled. The recent rise of the new Omicron Covid variant means that fans will have to wait for the return of Apex Legends LAN.
Apex Legends has not had a LAN event since 2019. Unlike games such as Valorant, Apex has not managed to find a way to safely return to in-person competition.
Omicron Variant Scuppers Plans
EA’s statement cited the new Omicron COVID variant as the driving factor behind the decision. With the large number of players involved in an Apex tournament of this size, the logistics and health risks have been deemed too high for the event to go ahead.
Our priority is protecting our competitors, employees, tournament partner staff, and communities. As we continue to monitor the Covid-19 Omicron variant, review the continuously changing country-by-country travel restrictions, and digest the direction given to us by health officials (including the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO)), we’ve concluded a global in-person January event with players traveling from as many as 40 countries is not possible.EA’s statement
Will this hurt the Apex Legends scene?
Apex Legends LAN was badly needed to help boost a stuttering Competitive scene.
Lots of eSports orgs had joined the scene in anticipation of Apex Legends LAN returning. There will be a lot of anxiety as the year ends that some of these teams do not stay involved.
Understandably, there was a lot of frustration from players on successful teams such as K1CK.
K1CK had defied the odds, and all but secured their spot at LAN. They will be left frustrated that they will no longer have the opportunity.
Some players were left frustrated that other esports have managed to host LAN events this year, however the prevailing factor seems to be the new variant, which has added both new restrictions and uncertainty into the event’s planning.
It should be noted that events such as the Valorant Champions were organised before Omicron became of concern. There is also significantly less players involved, and no audience. Furthermore, games such as CSGO and Valorant are a smaller logistical challenge than a Battle Royale.
Clearly, EA are unwilling to take the risk of organising an event with such uncertainty. There will no doubt be a lot of frustration should Omicron prove to not be as bad as feared.
Apex Legends LAN is now scheduled to return in March. However, there will of course be a lot of scepticism following today’s announcement.
Online Playoff format to return, a stroke of good luck for some
EA have outlined the replacement format for the January Playoffs. It returns in a familiar format, with the top 20 teams in each region qualifying for online region playoffs. The $1m Apex Legends LAN prize pool will be split across all 5 regions.
However, this will be of benefit to teams such as Kungarna, Team Liquid and Rebel. These teams seemed set to miss out on the top 10 cut off, and will now stand a strong chance of qualification.
In the smaller regions, such as South America, this means an extra 15 teams will now qualify for the playoffs. This turns the season around on its head for some of these teams. This also means that the hard work of those Top 5 teams is now worth much less.
Loss of Apex Legends LAN dampens Pro League finale
This news will hang heavy over the weekends Pro League action.
Teams had been expecting to go head to head to battle for LAN qualification. Instead many more teams have already secured their playoff places ahead of time. Could we see some of the top teams experiment with different legends or playstyles, now that less is on the line? The loss of Apex Legends LAN will be on everyone’s minds.