The NA region’s ALGS Winter Circuit Playoffs saw some subtle shifts in the legend meta. A forgotten weapon also re-emerged.

We posted of NRG’s victory at the ALGS Winter shortly after they were crowned champions, but we decided to look a little closer. The ALGS winter circuit playoffs featured the top twenty teams from the qualifiers who had to duke it out over 7 beautiful games on World’s edge.

As mentioned in Fallout’s video for Esports.GG, there were a couple of favorites and some upcoming talent in this year’s winter playoffs Ultimately, NRG won the playoffs claiming the $48,000 USD prize but throughout the playoffs some surprise choices from the pros may lead to a new shifting meta focused on interchangeability.

Some unexpected legend picks at NA’s ALGS Winter Circuit

The first game showed some surprising Legend picks, our favorite toxic gas throwing legend Caustic made a return to World’s Edge. Several teams picked him up alongside Bloodhound and Wraith. Following the Caustic nerf from the Chaos Theory update, it was a refreshing surprise to see his return. The pick complimented the playstyle for the tournament, as teams favored towards a defensive and positioning heavy playstyle rather than a aggressive playstyle.

The Caustic pick is similar to a sword and shield: offering both a strong offensive and defensive potential with his kit. Caustic makes pushing into buildings easy with his gas and while paired with a Bloodhound seeing through the offensive gas becomes trivial.

“I have achieved resurrection.” – Caustic 2021

Caustic also provides strong defensive capabilities by bunkering down houses, terrain or cover with his traps. The defensive capabilities really shined during the matches, as no other “bunkering down” legends like Wattson or Rampart were picked. However, in most cases the dominant team composition was still Wraith, Bloodhound and Gibraltar. Regardless of its popularity, Caustic and his teammates ended up wining a couple games and placing highly throughout the ALGS Winter Playoffs.

Another couple of surprising picks were from Rare Xcellence’s HisWattson, as he played Horizon and SZN’s Keni played Crypto. Although the innovative picks didn’t place the best, it was a nice change of pace to the abundance of Gibraltars, Wraiths and Bloodhounds. Their Horizon pick was meant as a substitute for the common Wraith pick as a mobility legend for Rare Xcellence.

It had some potential as Horizon’s ultimate synergized with the obscene amount of throwables coming from teams and Gibraltar ultimates towards the endgame. Unfortunately, Rare Xcellence did not get a good chance to show off the potential of Horizon as she didn’t survive long enough in the matches before they switched Legends. While on the other hand, SZN’s Keni as well as Flashpoint’s TeQ played a Crypto as their recon which was refreshing.

Crypto provided good support and vision to SZN’s Wraith and Gibby and Flashpoint’s Caustic and Wraith team compositions. By rotating early and scanning beacons, the teams was able to position themselves well and gather crucial information towards the endgame circles.

The last and my personal favorite legend pick of the tourney was by TSM’s ImperialHal. He played the stim junkie Octane to everyone’s surprise and found a lot of success. With the recent buffs to Octane with his healing and ultimate, the pick makes him a unique contender for the mobility legend of a team composition. With the constant healing and the speed boosts, Octane fit ImperialHal’s aggressive playstyle. On top of that, the main gun that he was running this tournament was a Spitfire. This allowed him to pump out massive amounts of damage (but we will talk about that later).

The Return of the Spitfire

With the popularization and dominance of the R301, Mastiff, EVA-8, R99 and Wingman its not surprising that most of the loadouts of players contained these weapons during AGLS Winter Winter Circuit. However, an LMG made its way back from the LMG graveyard of Apex, the Spitfire.

Assault rifles typically outclass most LMGs in Apex, as the reload times and damage ramp up takes too long to prove effective, which makes LMGs relatively unviable. The only usage of LMGs are if you are lucky enough to find a Devotion and Turbocharger or if you start the match and that’s the only gun lying around.

The most iconic gun of the tournament was the Spitfire, and TSM”s ImperialHal was first to show off the power during the games. With the Octane pick from Hal on top of the the high DPS output of a Spitfire, he managed to have some of the greatest damage numbers throughout the playoffs. Due to ImperialHal playing so well with the LMG, other teams during the following matches opted in to pick it up. As a result be prepared to see more Spitfires in your pubs.

The main takeaway from the ALGS Winter Circuit playoffs is the idea of interchangeability. The majority of teams kept the same comp in terms of roles, but happily switched out which legends filled those roles. We also saw the return of a gun from a laughable class of weapons (LMGs). The professional players from the ALGS Winter Circuit NA showed us that regardless of meta and optimal play, if you got the skills, you can make anything work.

Noah Pather -

Noah Pather

| Twitter: @knowagh

Noah is a senior psychology student at the University of Ottawa, studying to become an athletic therapist. After watching Valve's Free to Play documentary in 2014, he got hooked on Dota 2 and hasn't looked back since. When he's not crushing mid-lane on Puck he is racing through King's Canyon as Octane. Self-proclaimed trilingual expert. Firmly believes V for Vendetta is the best film of all time.