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Guard RKN Part two – On Data Mining, Crypto and playing zone cover image

Guard RKN Part two – On Data Mining, Crypto and playing zone


Guard RKN says that data mining zone isn’t real analysis, in part two of his chat with He also talks about picking Crypto, and playing zone.

In the second and final part of their in depth interview,'s Tom sat down with Guard RKN ahead of Thursday's ALGS Pro League games. Since they spoke, those games have taken place.
The Guard went on to perform exceptionally, with RKN leading his team to an incredibly comfortable victory. This helped them climb to third in the overall standings.
In this part, RKN talks about the use of Crypto, the latest data mining scandal and what it takes to play zone successfully in the ALGS.
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Guard RKN: "I actually don't think Crypto is incredibly good."

Tom: Crypto is one of the least picked legends in the game, but is crucial to your gameplan. What would you to a casual player wondering why Crypto is so well used in competitive?
Guard RKN: "So I'm gonna start off with a shocking answer here. I actually don't think Crypto is incredibly good.
"I think a lot of people get stuck really on what characters are good, versus what's good for them. The way we play and the poi (Landing spot) that we play from Crypto is exceptionally good. You don't have a good beacon spawn rate, Crypto can hit beacon from 200 metres away. We don't we don't have great loot, so we can't really afford to fight on on early rotations. So Crypto can scout open areas, you can look at banners to see if there's teams within 200 metres of view, you can make your rotation safer, cleaner and have less risk because our ultimate goal is to get into the zone and then charge our EVO armour so that we're in a better position to fight at a later stage in the game."
Crypto is crucial to The Guard RKN's gameplan
Crypto is crucial to The Guard RKN's gameplan

Boring Crypto "not a legend you would pick to have a good time"

"Crypto has always been incredibly useful at gaining the insight that you can relatively deduce by yourself without the legend, but he just adds consistency and reliability to your game. EMP is super useful in charging your EVO armors early, you get a free 150 damage if the team doesn't drop their armors.
He's a difficult character to use effectively but when used effectively is super strong. So he just has a major gap between casual and ranked play in competitive play, because you use him in such a different way than how you would play the game just for fun. I view Crypto solely as a competitive tool, and not as a I guess fun character. You wouldn't just pick him to have a good time."

"I couldn't just, download a f***ing Excel sheet from a leading financial institution and just have the information there."

Tom: So we've talked about zone, and it's been an interesting week for Apex legends zones. Have you ever used information from the Apex Legends files to prepare for ALGS?
Guard RKN: "I have not. This came up the other day because after our first place, when [ALGS] interviewed me and asked me how I know the zones. I said that it's because I have a s**t tonne of hours in the game. And then I said there's also a little bit of an algorithm thing to it that I can't talk about.
A zone exclusion map for Worlds Edge
A zone exclusion map for Worlds Edge
What I was referring to at that time was just how the zones move. I was semi aware of the idea because of Shrugtal and because of leaks and things I had seen on Reddit from updates in the past that there was this capability to potentially find zone information. In my mind it was more of a hacker thing. I thought you actually had to, be deep and basically be committing crime or doing something illegal to get that information like these guys that are leaking."

Guard RKN knew zone information without data mining

"I only recently learned of what analysts were capable of doing with it, I have never used it, I still haven't used it now after being out publicly for two or three days. And I'm gonna be a little bit contradictory to a lot of pros here. I don't find it extremely useful. I think it might have a 5% to 10% impact on your game at best in a good situation. Not to be like the '500 IQ Megamind' but a lot of those screenshots and things that have come out I had already deduced and mapped out myself just by playing the game."
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Tom: Do you think this sort of analysis should be banned in ALGS? And what was your initial reaction to the whole drama coming out?
Guard RKN: "The only comment I really have directly about the analysts that are defending themselves for doing it versus not doing it and whatnot is just like "get better analysts XD".
When I think of an analyst, I think of someone that collects their own data, right? I did financial analysis, when I was working in finance, I did data, I did data analysis when I was in engineering school in university.

I couldn't just, download a f***ing Excel sheet from a leading financial institution and just have the information there. That's not analysis. That's just, that's just downloading information."

But I always had to collect the data myself, and then perform analysis on it. I couldn't just, download a f***ing Excel sheet from a leading financial institution and just have the information there. That's not analysis. That's just, that's just downloading information."

"I'm not sure that it counts when you're just downloading the numbers directly from the game files"

"So from my point of view, when I picture an analyst, I'm thinking someone doing what I do. Which is sitting hours a day, collecting zones, screenshots, analysing how the circle moves, making personal predictions, or whatever algorithms or whatever terminology you want to use, to understand how to play the game more effectively. To understand what you're finding in your POI. The highest likelihood of guns and where they're spawning and which POI has best beacon spawn rates and whatnot. All from personal experience and collecting that information from playing the game. I'm not sure that it counts when you're just downloading the numbers directly from the game files that in my opinion shouldn't be available. I don't agree with how it's being withheld."

Guard RKN says zone data mining is "Not criminal"

"However, I don't think what they've done is criminal because it was available. And as far as I can tell, it doesn't break any rules. But maybe it does. And that's where I leave it to. It's, it's, it's not my decision, it's up to Respawn and whatever they decide they decide. I don't think anyone was ever coming after TSM or Alliance or whoever, whatever analysts are doing any of this for their play, performance, and basically saying, "Oh, you guys are only performing because [of the leaks]" no one's saying that. Basically just saying that it shouldn't be possible to do what's being done."
Photo: The Guard
Photo: The Guard
Tom: "After the reveal of the of zone exclusion areas, do you think people are going to be like "Yeah! We're playing zone now man! We know where all the zones are!"
Guard RKN: "No, because I think they suck dude. There's no good way to say this... this is going to be the most egotistical part of this interview. Playing zone is hard. It's almost better for us when other teams try to play zone because their loot is worse."

"When Tom, Dick and Harry are pulling up in zone with their white armors and stock flatlines like us, that makes it easier for us."

"The hardest part of playing zone for us is a lot of mid game to late game we're fighting people with god loot, triple red armors, Big Maude weapons, fully kitted weapons. They've crafted so they have 10 batteries. It's difficult to fight teams like that. When Tom, Dick and Harry are pulling up in zone with their white armors and stock flatlines like us, that makes it easier for us. Our rotations are cleaner than them, we always get the spots we like and we know how to play the zones, and how we want to play them. If now we're not fighting them on triple red armour with god loot.
Big Maude provides teams with powerful weapons
Big Maude provides teams with powerful weapons
"So it doesn't particularly matter to us. If all 20 teams decide that they're going to play zone. It's it's easier to a certain extent. It's only easier when there's a tonne of edge teams in the lobby for us to get a better spot, but it doesn't make the end game any easier. So no doesn't really matter if they have the zone info or not, it's not going to make them any better, because they're not going to not going to play the end game properly".

Beacon spawn crucial to The Guards success

On Thursday, RKN and The Guard played a near perfect 6 game series in the ALGS Pro League. They were the absolute measure of consistency, making the final four teams in all but one game.
Just the day before, Guard RKN told Tom exactly what they needed to do to be successful.
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Tom: Looking back at that zone playstyle, what has to go right for you to be successful?
Guard RKN: "A major one is getting beacon zone one. Which is why we play crypto because it gives us a higher opportunity of being able to hit beacon on our initial rotate. We still can have scenarios both on both maps at the POIS that we play, where we don't get a beacon, and that can damage the way that we play. So what has to go right is we have to get the beacon and then on the flip of that if we don't get the beacon we have to recognise sometimes that it's better to just not go guessing or late rotating for a spot. It's better we just have better loot so that we can just fight.

"The end game is sometimes a clusterf**k".

"A lot of times what also has to go right is our mid game. We need to pick up typically on on a bad game one to two kills and on a good game like three to five kills on other teams rotating, third parties and whatnot. We need to be collecting some number of kills mid game to give us a point cushion because otherwise you run into scenarios where it's very hard in the top five to guarantee that you're going to go from top five to top three to winning the game. Because everyone's very good and the end game is sometimes a clusterf**k.
"You don't want to end up with scenarios where you get fifth with zero kills because that's a four point game or you get fourth with zero kills because that's a five point game. You could have rather just killed one team and died in tenth. So you try to collect as many kills as you can off rotations, third parties and angles that you can create mid game so that you have a point cushion so that if your end game goes wrong you still had a solid score. We aim for our worst game of the day to be six points".
Tom: How much of your success is defined by zones?
Guard RKN: "I can't give away too much here. Where you play and how you play zone affects the points that you get massivley. When you play zone play style, there's numerous ways to play it and some are more reliable than others. The decisions you make and the positions you play greatly affect your success.

Guard RKN: "We play zone because it's the it has the least RNG"

Tom Bull: Why do you choose to operate a zone playstyle? What are the principles behind why you're playing that way?
Guard RKN: "I have always had a super fundamental approach to BR esports. And I've always loved that typically, although theres RNG, you will always see the top teams coming in the top placements.
"It's because there is consistency in everything that you do. I pride myself on in Apex Legends being able to minimise RNG. I think that's the number one skill set in a BR that people skip over is that you can take steps to make the game [have] as little RNG as possible. You can't control always what loot you get, but you can improve it, you can't control always the rotation that you make, but you can improve it. You can't control what other teams are going to do, but you can do your best to predict and read what they're going to do and play around it."
End games in ALGS contain several teams
End games in ALGS contain several teams

Zone style gives The Guard a reliable gameplan

"So we play zone because it's the it has the least RNG. So to say, I can read the zones, I can understand where the zone is going to be, I can put us in a good position. If I know for a fact that the zones too far, and we're not going to get a good position, I can make sure then that we rotate slower, make sure we have better loot because we know inevitably we're going to have to fight a lot more.
"We play a play style that I can read more out of the game than if we were just running around looking for kills looking for the next third party, we just play to what makes sense and what you can predict is going to happen so that we have a reliable set game plan that we can execute from circle one to circle six. And we pretty much always know what the next step is going to be."

Guard RKN along with Rambeau and Keoon sit third overall in the ALGS Pro League standings and are set to qualify for the Playoff LAN as things stand. Can they maintain their momentum? Stay tuned to for the full coverage of ALGS, as well as other Apex Legends news and updates, or go back and check out part one of our RKN interview!
Tom Bull
Tom Bull
Editor | Twitter @TAG_tom_apex
From the UK, Tom is an experienced semi-professional Apex Legends player having competed in the ALGS Challenger Circuit over multiple seasons. He is a specialist in the competitive scene, with deep knowledge of ALGS. He has worked on several notable tournament broadcasts, as both an observer and caster.