esports.gg spoke to the Alliance Apex squad about their Split 2 Pro League comeback, the upcoming LAN and their role as innovators in the Apex scene.
The Alliance Apex roster pulled off one of the greatest comebacks in ALGS history in Pro League split 2. They found themselves on the cusp of missing out on the first Apex LAN in years hosted in their home country.
However, Hakis, Yuki and Vaifs assisted by manager Pontus pulled it back. They won back to back game weeks and pulled off an incredible turnaround. But how did they do it?
Alliance Hakis: “We didn’t really expect people to play with that much aggression”
One of the biggest challenges for the Alliance Apex team to overcome was the jam packed schedule. After the Pro League was delayed for Ukraine, in order to be ready for the LAN playoffs, the league had to be completed very fast. The EMEA region was completed in 6 days straight, with every team playing every day. Typically, teams would play once per weekend over several weeks.
Hakis said that “I honestly didn’t mind playing six days straight. So we could be bootcamping the whole time. Honestly preferred it that way, even though it was like a little bit rougher at the start, but still enjoyable experience for me.”
Lack of scrims between ‘game weeks’ made it harder for Alliance
However, Hakis did concede that no chance to scrim made it harder. The back to back schedule left no time between Pro League game weeks to experiment and practice.
Plus, in the weeks leading up to Pro League, several teams had decided to abstain from scrims to show solidarity with those teams who were affected by the Ukraine crisis. This meant that Alliance were not as prepared as usual for Pro League.
“For us being a scrim heavy team, not being able to scrim against teams was rough,” said Hakis. “Especially when they all completely changed their playstyle which caught us off guard. In my opinion, we didn’t really expect people to play with the sort of aggression that they did.
“So by playing 6 days in a row, it was hard to adapt fast enough which was rough. You want to be able to scrim for a week, adapt to how people are playing and then go next. Now instead this is six days straight with fast adapting.”
Challenger Circuit teams “shook up the whole lobbies”
Alliance team manager Pontus “Chef P.” Bengtsson also commented that the several teams that were drafted into Pro League at the last second changed the dynamics. These teams were replacing teams unable to react to the ban of Russia and Belarus as eligible countries. This meant that any player residing in these countries could not play without relocating.
“We basically get the news 72 hours before we were going to start playing. And we also didn’t know how many teams were going to be swapped out. In the end, they swapped out eight teams, because teams couldn’t make it due to the Ukrainian war,” said Pontus.
“So then they took in eight new teams and these teams were from the Pro League qualifier or from the Challenger circuit. These teams have actually not scrimmed versus the top teams for a long, long time. So they came in and kind of shook up the whole lobbies per se.”
Alliance benefitted from bootcamp
Alliance Yuki explained how their time at bootcamp really helped them build team chemistry and synergy.
“Bootcamp was spending a lot of time together, every second. Watching other regions games, reviewing our VODs seeing what we can improve on.
“It was all mainly centred around the game week, what we could do. We did have some leisure activities where we went out and you know play some pool had a few beers together but it was always spent together. We didn’t none of us had alone time or anything like that. The goal was to always maintain that team synergy even outside of the games.”
Alliance Hakis says poor start was a “mix of everything”
When asked about what went wrong for them in the middle of the split, Hakis said it was a real mix of everything.
“I think it was a mix and a combination of everything. like a mix of us doing bad plays along with getting some bad RNG and then just getting rundown. I think it was just a mix of everything honestly.”
In a game like Apex Legends, bad days are inevitable. Alliance experienced the full force of a battle royale over the course of the Pro League. Getting ran down by teams then thirded. Being ratted on. These things happen and sometimes are out of your control all together.
What makes a top team is how they recover and bounce back from disappointing games. Especially when the stakes are so high and the time between gameweeks is so short.
“Guys, f*ck Apex, lets not talk about it at all”
Vaifs explained how they bounced back from their disappointing gameweek 4.
“Just not think about [the game] for a while, maybe two or three hours, then we can start to discuss again. We try to ignore our frustrations, ignore everything and just try to find a way to enjoy yourself. So your frustrations get away so you can start to find solutions for the next day.”
Alliance manager Pontus added that after this poor performance, they left the boot camp and headed to a bar.
“I had to step in and say, Guys, f*ck Apex, let’s not talk about it at all. Let’s go to a bar. Let’s enjoy one or two beers together. We play some pool, we have some fun. And then we’ll go back to talk about Apex.”
Hakis headed to a blackjack table and doubled his money, according to Pontus.
The whole Alliance team added that this was where their bootcamp really paid off. They said that had they not all been together, in the same room, a full reset would’ve been “impossible”.
New mindset heading into the final two weeks
After this large reset, the Alliance Apex team changed their approach and mentality for the last two weeks. This was to react to the unexpected aggression of their rival teams.
Hakis explained that “We changed our mindset completely and said, f*ck it, we’re going full defense mode. Just Valk, Gibby, Caustic both maps and make it impossible for them to send us. Then we just play for late game, and be consistent. That’s what ended up working. Because everybody was forced to ape, everybody else and then we could just sit in safe in centre zone.”
Alliance pull off huge win to keep ALGS LAN dreams alive
With one day of ALGS EMEA Pro League left, Alliance have given themselves a lifeline. They could still secure LAN with a strong final day performance after their victory today.
Alliance adopt Caustic on Storm Point
One of the most surprising decisions at the time from Alliance was to adopt Caustic. When Storm Point was added to the ALGS rotation many players and coaches commented that this would remove Caustic from the meta.
However, Alliance have always been innovators. They have defied the conventional meta several times in Apex history, and their success with Caustic on Storm Point has once again shifted understanding.
Hakis did concede however, that they “were praying we were the only one” using Caustic when it came to Storm Point.
“Think about Caustic, he’s really useful when he’s like the only one, he definitely gets more value when there’s less Caustic in the game.
“On Storm Point he is not as effective as he is on World’s Edge as their are way less buildings and a lot more open space. But that just requires you to like, play, those areas with cover. You’re just brute forcing your way in a little bit. Which is why it’s good to be in the minority.”
“If everyone used Caustic on Storm Point, he would have less value”
“We couldn’t care less what someone writes on Twitter”
Manager Pontus said that the Alliance Apex squad don’t care what the consensus is on a legend or a certain team combination.
“But it’s also our confidence in ourselves. We couldn’t care less about what someone writes on Twitter, about us and our team picks, you know, we we have always played off meta legends in Apex. We’re always trying to find our own playstyle. If we play something that other teams are not playing, then the lobby should be scared is what I’m feeling. Because then we have something cooked up.”
Pontus also said that historically, teams have copied Alliance. It was Alliance who started the first ever Caustic meta on Worlds Edge.
In the scrims leading up to LAN, several teams have been experimenting with Caustic on Storm Point. It seems once again Alliance are changing the Apex meta.
“Every player should understand every legend”
Hakis added that their legend flexibility is a great strength. The whole Alliance squad can play every legend, and he thinks all pros should adopt the same strategy in their own personal game.
“In my opinion, every single player it no matter what role you have, if you’re IGL, if you’re support, if you’re flex, you should still be able to play every single character in the game. You should still be able to understand how they work so that you can play around your teammates when they play.”
At LAN; with all the regions bringing different styles to the table, the ability to adapt fast and be flexible will be very useful.
Alliance Apex squad never doubted they could make LAN
Hakis said that even despite needing maximum points from the last two days, Alliance never doubted that they could make their home LAN in Sweden.
Ridiculously brilliant comeback sees Alliance qualify for Sweden LAN against the odds
Alliance completed a historic comeback as they secured their place at LAN in Sweden. They dramatically earned a place in the top 10. Elsewhere, Team Empire won the title and will head to Sweden as EMEA Pro League champions.
“I was pretty confident all the way that we could still pull it through. Because we’ve been in the situation before. It’s just like, we know we’re Alliance. We know what we can do. We know we’re like, one of the best, if not the best in Europe. I think we are just experienced at that point, like we’ve been through it. It’s not impossible for us.”
“If it’s even a tiny bit possible, we’ll give it 100%”
Yuki said that even after a poor start to gameday 5, with almost everyone counting Alliance out of a top 10 finish, that it isn’t over until it’s over. Alliance were rooted to the bottom of the leaderboard, with 3 games left. They needed to finish 1st.
“I don’t think we give up until it’s physically impossible to get to learn. Even like, day five, after the first three rounds. And we had to win that day right? And we only had three rounds left. But there wasn’t any of us where we’re like, oh, no, guys, it’s impossible now. Like, it’s not impossible until we actually lose round four and five, you know, so if it’s even a tiny bit possible, we’ll give it 100%.
“And that’s how we won round four or five. still believed we could do it fully.”
Vaifs simply added, “I am always confident. I never doubt myself”.
This Alliance team will be a formidable force at LAN, they have shown fantastic bounceback ability. This will serve them well in the high pressure environment.
Pontus: “We are doing thorough preparations to be ready for what is to come”
With LAN days away, Alliance have been preparing hard. International scrims have been running on NA servers, and teams are now starting to head to Sweden for their respective bootcamps. Of course, Alliance are very used to bootcamps and Sweden is their home country.
Manager Pontus, who is leading their preparation, said the main focus is being prepared for the long hours. He wanted to keep more specific details under wraps, so as not to reveal their plans.
Yuki added that “I think I think a Hakis has a much bigger role than we do in terms of , choosing what comp we play and what playstyle we’re going to do going into that day. However, more so me and Vaifs, we kind of just have to keep up our mechanics and support Hakis in the best possible way. And just not miss shots.”
While Yuki went on to say that of course decisions are made as a team, as IGL Hakis carries the ultimate responsibility.
“The most we can do for for Hakis that is just maintain our skill, or just even improve our skill and keep our mechanics on par. So that we’re ready to follow every call that he does and to play it to the best possible standard.”
Alliance Apex division not worried about battling for drop spots
Of course, the LAN brings new challenges. Several teams from different regions are set to contest Thermal on Worlds Edge. Alliance are determined to win their spot in scrims, but prepared to move if necessary.
Hakis added “Well, we already like we’ve been in several drop spots earlier. Thermal has never been our only drop spot we’ve we’ve gotten trials, we’ve gotten old refinery, epicentre.
We know how to play from every side of the map. So that’s not an issue. But you know, we still don’t want don’t want to do it. We still want our home, you know? So we’re definitely going to fight for it, especially in scrims and then try to force people away so that we can play our game.”
Pontus added that they are prepared to move landing spots if needed. “If you see that a team is gonna throw their own game to to keep the spot, then maybe we go somewhere else, because we are comfortable with that.”
Hakis also simply stated that “We were prepared and confident for everything. So like we can drop out on any part of the map and be confident with it.”
Yuki: “Alliance is more of an adult environment than GYD”
Yuki will be going against his former teammates of Gnaske and Del (now at GMT) at LAN. He said that one of the biggest differences between Alliance and his former GYD team is the team environment.
“Hakis and Vaifs provide more of an adult environment. Everything gets kept in the game. There’s no like, instant blaming or, who did this then? Oh, this is all your fault. There’s no fault.
“It’s more of like an adult environment in Alliance and I do prefer that. We are all adults, and I think that’s how we should be,” added Yuki.
Mature environment key for Alliance Apex
Alliance are considered one of the most mature teams in the Apex scene and they pride themselves on their professional environment. Manager Pontus says that this environment is something the org really works to cultivate.
“That’s also where organisation comes in handy. And especially an organisation like Alliance, where we have a very clear core structure in how we build teams, we break down problems, and we deal with them. Apex overall is quite a young scene with a lot of youngsters playing, they don’t really have this sort of structure that that we have.
“We make it very clear in the beginning that everything we say in a team is about the game. Never anything personal. You can be how angry you want with each other. But you have to also talk about it. And you want to try many, many times to make things work before you even start looking at replacing someone.”
Can the Alliance Apex division complete the ultimate comeback and take home the title in Stockholm? Stay tuned to esports.gg to find out.