Sikezz says that controller players simply have better mentals cover image

Sikezz says that controller players simply have better mentals

Sikezz on XSET’s mental, breaking past TSM and DarkZero, and his famous Caustic.

Nicholas "Sikezz" Odom is aiming to bring home a Championship to end off an incredibly strong breakthrough year in the ALGS. Since joining up with teammates Brandon "ohNocturnal" Singer and Brandon "FunFPS" Groombridge Sikezz has won an ALGS Pro League, and has achieved two 4th place finishes at LAN.

XSET have also become a fan favourite team to watch. They often play with flair, and share a great sense of humour. It was no surprise that XSET moved quickly to acquire the roster when Team Liquid moved to leave the ALGS.

Season 18 Changes not really impacting XSET

One of the biggest factors ahead of the ALGS Championship has been the changes that arrived with Apex Legends Season 18. TSM coach Raven described the changes as drastic in an interview with

However, Sikezz feels that the changes have not had a big impact on XSET's game plan ahead of the tournament.

"The armor changes definitely have been a little bit different, as well as the worse loot. But I haven't really... honestly, truthfully, I haven't really noticed it too much. Take the ring changes. The only time I ever noticed it was like ring two closing and we're like in zone deep, then it like hurts. But, other than that, I haven't really noticed it. It hasn't really affected much."

(Photo EA/Joe Brady)
(Photo EA/Joe Brady)

Despite not seeing their game plan heavily impacted, Sikezz still feels this update was released too close to the event getting underway.

"It's definitely too close to the event for other teams. I mean just the worse loot in general is way too close to the tournament. We should definitely play on the old patch for sure, but... I don't think we're going to."

Sikezz feels benefit of tricky Split Two Playoffs

While XSET have had two identical results at the two LAN events this year, they could not be more different. They had a comfortable cruise into the finals during Split One, but had to battle in the second round of the Losers bracket in Split Two. It took a strong turnaround in the group stage to avoid being threatened with early elimination.

Sikezz says that their issues weren't due to game plan, or the performance of other teams. Instead, it was to do with "internal" issues.

"We didn't really learn anything from other teams. All of our issues were internal. We basically just had to have a come to Jesus moment, in a way, as a team. Get all of our priorities aligned. It was some internal struggles for sure."

(Photo EA/Joe Brady)
(Photo EA/Joe Brady)

XSET have worked hard to ensure that they do not have these internal issues ahead of the ALGS Championship. This has included relocating their bootcamp from Sweden, to the Netherlands.

"At our bootcamp in Sweden recently, obviously it's like a big thing, having no AC in Europe. Our bootcamp room in Sweden was, for split two playoffs, was extremely hot. This time we're in the Netherlands in the Team Liquid facility, it's super like cool in the room, so it's easier to play. I guess going to Sweden mid-summer was not the move!"

XSET reassured that they can bounce back when needed

Of course, XSET did eventually find their form and achieved fourth place in the finals. They have consistently been in the mix when match point format is in play. Knowing that they can not have a perfect start to the tournament and still have a chance at an overall victory is reassuring for Sikezz and the XSET team.

"Oh yeah, definitely. That is a major thing that I'm glad that we kind of proved that we could [bounceback]. We proved ourselves more or less. If things get rough that we can turn it around."

Having switched bootcamp locations, XSET have had a good build up to the ALGS Championship so far.

"It's going really good. We're all mentally in a really good place. Last bootcamp we were not mentally in a good spot during the whole thing, but this one we are. Everyone's a lot happier, people are eating better food. It's just a way better vibe."

Can XSET break past TSM and DarkZero?

XSET are a team that have a good chance to break through the TSM and DarkZero dynasty. They beat both teams to win the second split of the NA ALGS Pro League and have a strong combination of experience and flair.

For Sikezz, XSET haven't quite matched the mentality of TSM and DarkZero over past LAN events. Professionalism is what sets them ahead, according to the 23-year-old.

(Photo EA/Joe Brady)
(Photo EA/Joe Brady)

"They just keep it professional. Their environments are so professional. That's a problem that a lot of teams in the world have is their environments are very unprofessional. TSM especially, I mean obviously Evan is probably the most professional player in the world. They show up every day, they put the work in, they go hard every day. Most teams don't.

"There's probably four teams total and I have legit think in all of the world that actually have professional work ethic. As of recently that includes us, but we have definitely struggled with it sometimes."

Do XSET always take the game seriously?

A common criticism of XSET has been a lack of focus. Some accuse their experimentation with off meta legends like Pathfinder of being unserious. Do teams have to always play in a LAN style, to be successful when LAN comes around?

"No, you definitely don't. You can play multiple other comps, multiple other styles, as long as you're giving effort. Anytime we've ever tried something else, like last time for example that comp where we played Pathfinder.

"That comp for example is a is a really good comp. We just were not where we needed to be mentally that LAN. So, we had to play something else. If we would have like shown up that LAN that comp would have been perfectly fine."

Sikezz feels North America is way ahead of other regions

Unlike the Playoff LAN events, there was not a set amount of spots per region. The only guaranteed spots came from the Last Chance Qualifiers, two per region. Instead, Playoff points earned across the two previous events determined who qualified.

North America is sending 13 teams, the most of any region by far. What is Sikezz's read on why his region is so dominant in the ALGS?

"Well for one we have more controller players!"

"More controller players, the egos, NA player's egos are just a lot bigger. We have more confidence. Confidence obviously goes a huge way in pretty much everything. The mechanical skill as well. The mechanics of our players are just, at least in fighting, way higher than other regions."

(Photo EA/Joe Brady)
(Photo EA/Joe Brady)

The question is, why could this be the case? Are North American players just inherently better mechanically? Those in other regions would probably point to the disparity between non ALGS events and support between North America and the rest of the world.

"I think it is the lack of tournaments in other regions, but also I think it's the genetics honestly. There are some players in APAC North and EU that are obviously very good, but the thing is NA has so many top players.

"So then you get to constantly practice against those top players all the time, so you're going to refine your mechanics over time, even if you're not the best player."

Will more teams move to North America?

With a growing disparity, will more teams follow in the footsteps of DarkZero and relocate to North America? Teams like the Kansas City Pioneers could be prime candidates for relocation, being signed to orgs based across the Atlantic.

However, there is a danger, Sikezz says, that teams would struggle to meet the level of competition and that such a move could be counterproductive.

"Honestly, truthfully, there is probably not a single team in EU other than Alliance that could qualify for a LAN in NA, truthfully.

"NA Regional Finals is literally harder than all the group stages on LAN. I think Alliance is the only team that can make it up."

Sikezz feels that Aim Assist can't be adjusted

A major theme of the last 12 to 18 months in the ALGS has been the rise of various controller talents, Sikezz included. Xynew was playing Challenger Circuit during the Split 1 Playoffs, and won Split 2 with DarkZero. Koyful will make his LAN debut in Birmingham.

(Photo EA/Joe Brady)
(Photo EA/Joe Brady)

There has been a huge disconnect between the number of Controller players breaking through in comparison to those using Mouse and Keyboard.

This has led to calls to adjust aim assist, with developers admitting that changes are under consideration.

"Umm... I'm kind of like iffy on it... I don't think there is a way for them to nerf [aim assist] that could like keep controller players around because... It's already hard bro. It's already so hard to kill the top MNK players. I don't really think it needs to change I think it's fine where it is. Well... in comp at least... ranked triple controller squads... we might have a problem!"

Controller players have better mentalities

If there is a good balance between the inputs, why has it been so long since Mouse and Keyboard talent broke through into the ALGS consistently?

"I think it's a lot to do with their mentalities.

"Obviously a lot of controller players like Xynew, for example, was hard grinding number one Predator. Putting tons of hours in and showing that he wanted it. Then, also the mental side of it. I'm gonna throw shade at so many M&K players that are close enough to be pro but their mental's are just weak. Anytime there's any kind of adversity they just give up basically."

Xynew (Photo EA/Joe Brady)
Xynew (Photo EA/Joe Brady)

Sikezz joins calls for "Digi" to be removed from comp

When discussing things that Sikezz would like to see in ALGS year four, he admitted he wants to see more LAN events around the world. A specific hope is a LAN in Vegas. A key desire is for a few things to be removed from the ALGS. Currently, only heat shields are in the main game but not in competitive.

"I would like to see some things taken out of the game for comp. Like Digi threats... I mean, that is just the most cheese attachment in the game ever."

Sikezz on his Caustic

Sikezz has a cult status in the Apex community as a Caustic player. It is rare to see a tweet of Sikezz without someone asking him about his fabled Caustic gameplay.

"I was talking to Hod earlier about my Caustic but... he talked s**t on my Caustic. It's literally the best."

Will we see Sikezz bust out on Caustic in Birmingham?

"I want too but... They're not... they're never gonna let me cook dude."

XSET (with or without Sikezz on Caustic) will begin their campaign for the ALGS Championship when competition begins on September 6th.

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