Mande leaves SCARZ, also leaves RPR and Taisheen
Mande has departed from SCARZ and will be taking a break from competitive Apex Legends.
Mikkel "Mande" Hestbek has announced his departure from SCARZ, and also ended his long time team with RPR and Taisheen. The trio were one of the longest standing teams in Apex Legends.
Mande has said he will be taking a break from pro play, as he cannot find a team that want to grind as much as him and have the same mentality. RPR and Taisheen are also retiring from competitive, and have moved over to content creation for SCARZ.
Following the departure of Mande, SCARZ are considering picking up a new roster ahead of the third year of ALGS. It is likely that SCARZ's Pro League spot will be added to the EMEA Pre Season Qualifiers, meaning 9 teams will qualify from the circuit.
Through thick and thin: Mande, Taisheen and RPR
This announcement ends one of the longest running teams in Apex Legends. Mande, Taisheen and RPR have competed together since January 7th 2020. During that time, they rose to the very top of the EMEA scene, winning the inaugural Apex Legends Championship.
Mande and RPR (Image: esports.gg)
One of the most endearing things about this roster, beyond their outstanding ability, has been their "brotherhood". Mande told esports.gg in July that "We are not just work partners but we actually care for each other. I think that’s a very important thing. Outside of streaming and if we are not playing Apex, we are actually still very good friends. We know a lot about each other and we’re very close."
Mande chose to leave North
This unique relationship came to the fore when North, the team that the trio were signed too, changed it;s policy on the nationality of it's players. They decided they were only going to contract Scandinavian players. This meant that RPR and Taisheen had to leave the org. Mande, being from Denmark, was able to stay with North and two new players would be signed to compete alongside him.
Photo: EA/Joe Brady
In Apex Legends, especially back in late 2020, being signed to a team was crucial aspect of playing full time. Without the income from an organisation, having the funding to compete in Apex was incredibly difficult.
Mande chose to take a huge risk, and stick with his team of RPR and Taisheen. Together they left North and competed together as free agents. At the time, Mande discussed on stream how he had limited time before he would have to find a job to bring in additional income.
Looking back, this was one of the best decisions that Mande has ever made. As free agents, they won the ALGS Winter Circuit #1 - Europe and landed a deal with SCARZ. Then, with the backing of the japanese org, they won the ALGS Championship in June 2021 and cemented themselves at the top of the EMEA scene.
Photo: EA/Joe Brady
Changing meta hurt Mande and Scarz
However, they never quite reached this level again. This was in some part down to what could be perceived as complacency, as well as the reality of competing in a battle royale game.
SCARZ, following their win, stopped playing the majority of smaller tournaments and scrims. Their argument was that they didn't need to practice and scrims are simply never taken seriously enough.
At the time, this was probably true. However, Apex is a fast evolving game and as the meta developed Scarz were left further and further behind.
The trio rallied as LAN's approached, but simply couldn't replicate their past success. They were further disrupted by Mande missing out on the Sweden LAN due to having COVID-19.
They achieved a respectable 11th place in Raleigh having qualified through the LCQ. Notably, excluding the LCQ which carried no prize money the SCARZ roster hadn't finished in the top 2 in any major tournament since the 2021 Championship.
There was also a clear contrast over the summer with Mande and his teammates. Notoriously, Mande is one of the biggest grinders in Apex, playing for upwards of 8 hours most days. In contrast, RPR and Taisheen have not been playing much Apex at all - and the roster has not competed together at all since August.
- Summer Circuit #3 - 1st place
- GLL Masters Summer - EMEA - 1st place
- Summer Circuit playoffs - 2nd place
- Autumn Circuit #3 - 1st place
- Winter Circuit #1 - 1st place
- Championship 2021 - 1st place
- 2022 Last Chance Qualifier 2 - 1st place
Blow for EMEA competitive scene
The departure of Mande, who has a large stream, is a blow for the already weak EMEA comp scene. The region has been struggling for investment outside of ALGS with major tournaments and sponsors all flocking to North America. The likes of ImperialHal, NickMercs and Sweetdreams make that region a much more lucrative investment for organisers.
Mande has joined ShivFPS in departing competitive. Two of the biggest streamers in the region sitting out this year of ALGS, even if only for part of the year, is yet another blow for the region as a whole moving forward.
Mande has not ruled out a return to competing, if he can find the right team. He is undoubtedly the best free agent in the region at the moment, and several teams will no doubt be keeping an eye on his situation ahead of the third year of ALGS.
Stay tuned to esports.gg for the latest Apex Legends news and updates.
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.