The SoloQGoats face a tough weekend of Pro league qualifier action, having struggled in the first Pro League split. We looked at what went wrong, and spoke to IGL DiffQ about the weekends action and more.
The SoloQGoats are one of the most popular teams in EU. Both because of the personalities that make up the team, but also because of their infamous legend selection.
ShivFPS and Bangalore are synonymous in Apex. Shiv holds almost 200,000 kills on the legend. This places him the 2nd highest Bangalore on PC. However, in ALGS Bangalore is a legend that is almost never used.
Shiv and the SoloQGoats captured the hearts of Apex players when they burst onto the scene in December 2020. Their 3rd place finish in their first-ever tournament together was impressive on its own. However, they achieved these heights while defying the Apex meta, using Shiv on Bangalore.
This Bangalore use took them all the way to 3rd place in the Apex Championship, landing them $78,208 in prize money and helping them secure an invite to Pro League.
SoloQGoats Pro League Struggles
However, this strong form did not carry on into Pro League. The SoloQGoats slumped to a 33rd placed finish – placing them into this weekend’s Pro League Qualifiers. Despite their struggles, they (mostly) kept to Bangalore throughout.
What changed for the SoloQGoats?
How did the SoloQGoats come to struggle in Pro League, having performed so well in the ALGS Championships?
Their success and their ‘gameplan’ prior to Pro League was simple. Kill everything. Fight on the edge, play open spaces. The SoloQGoats might not have always racked up lots of wins, however on their day they often secured so many kills that they beat out teams with much more consistent placement.
Team Stats: (Data from ALGS Dashboard)
Points per Game – 4.78
Team K/G – 2.9
Wins – 1
Win % – 2.8%
Top 5 – 16.7%
Average placement: 11.9
In their first tournament, the Goats averaged a huge 6.5 kills per game. In the Apex Championship finals, this average was down to 4.3 kills per game.
The quality of teams in the Championship finals, and the prize money on offer, was vastly different between those two tournaments. So the reduction in kills per game is understandable and expected.
However, their kill average has continued to fall. In Pro League, SoloQGoats averaged 2.9 kills per game.
Reason 1: Valkyrie cramping their style
When looking at what has caused this decline in the kill potential of the SoloQGoats, it is hard to look past the impact Valkyrie has had on the ALGS Meta.
The ALGS Championships saw a 38.6% Valkyrie pick rate. Across the Pro League, this has just about doubled. Her pick rate was up to 72%.
Valkyrie has risen to prominence in Competitive Apex thanks to her Skyward Dive Ultimate Ability. This allows teams a free ‘redeploy’.
Access to this ability has changed how teams can move around the map – and has resulted in more teams playing in the center of the zone.
Reason 2: Less edge teams means less kill potential
Where the SoloQGoats excelled was getting kills in the early game. Fighting on the edge of the first two zones and then moving into a position for the end of the game.
The best example of a maximum potential game for the SoloQGoats came in the GLL Masters Round 3 last April. In one game, they placed 10th place with 15 kills.
They were responsible for killing over half of everyone eliminated while they were alive. The 17 points they earned from that game is more than some teams get when they place 1st in a game.
This was a tournament where the SoloQGoats experimented away from Bangalore. This was under the context of fighting the old K1CK roster for their drop spot in Skyhook. They decided in the end, to stick with her ahead of the Apex Champs.
But with more teams heading into the center of zone there are less people in the SoloQGoats path. This means that regardless of their skills, there simply are less points up for grabs heading into the 3rd zone. As the Valkyrie pick rate has increased, the SoloQGoats kills per game has headed in the opposite direction.
Reason 3: Experimentation throughout Pro League
The SoloQGoats did try to find a solution to their struggles, using 8 different legends across the 6 game weeks. They did however almost always stick to Bangalore, despite her being a completely off-meta pick.
The biggest difference between the SoloQGoats and the rest of EU can be seen through Valkyrie, while most teams (72%) in EU used a Valkyrie, the SoloQGoats only picked her 42% of the time.
This chopping and changing also made it hard for Shiv, Zipeth and DiffQ to build up momentum. Zipeth and Diff were constantly having to adapt to new legends and new roles. Despite their experimentation, they never found a winning combination that included Bangalore. They won just one single game across Pro League.
Pros and cons of sticking with Bangalore
Why have the SoloQGoats stuck to Bangalore so loyally? Picking her in 97% of their Pro League games.
One of the biggest reasons for the SoloQGoats to pick Bangalore is undoubtedly ShivFPS. The Brit is undoubtedly one of the best, if not the very best, Bangalore in Apex Legends. He plays Bangalore almost exclusively and is incredibly comfortable on the legend.
Having a legend that only a few people (or no one else!) is using can be very effective. Just like when ZeroPlus, Dropped and Rogue deployed Horizon to great success in NA. By being the only Bangalore team, Shiv and the SoloQGoats have been able to play open spaces.
This is made possible by Bangalore’s smokes, and her strong Ultimate Ability. She is however much less useful in zones with a lot of cover, or a lot of buildings as this removes her advantages.
Can the SoloQGoats make it back into Pro League?
Now the SoloQGoats will look towards the weekend’s qualification games, hoping to get back into the Pro League. The qualification is split into a winners and a losers bracket, made up of the bottom 8 Pro League teams, and the top 22 Challenger teams. 10 teams from each lobby will make the finals, to have a shot at Pro League.
Because they are in the winners bracket, the SoloQGoats will have 2 attempts at making the finals. You can see the full list of teams and the format here.
No Zipeth due to COVID
The Goats will be without Irishman Zipeth, who is resting after testing positive for COVID. He has been replaced for the weekend by Unlucky, formerly of Clean.
Unlucky brings a season of Pro League experience and some of the best controller mechanics in Europe to the team. However, will the lack of chemistry set the SoloQGoats at a disadvantage?
Will the lower quality suit the SoloQGoats style?
While there is plenty of talent across the 30 teams competing this weekend, the standard is not as high as the SoloQGoats are used to from Pro League. The SoloQGoats will be one of the strongest teams in the lobby. Furthermore, their aggressive edge playstyle may be better suited to this sort of lobby with less experienced teams.
DiffQ on the weekends action:
Esports.gg caught up with SoloQGoats IGL, DiffQ to look at the weekend’s action and look back over the Pro League.
Do you feel that you can play your ‘classic’ high kill edge style while Valk is such a high pick rate?
DiffQ: “Playing our classic edge style has been incredibly difficult in the current meta, and we feel that is part of our downfall for sure, the meta change, we feel we need to adapt and changes need to be made for the future tournaments, the hardcore edge fighting style isn’t as viable anymore in my eyes.”
Are you planning to stick with Bangalore for the Challenger Circuit and Pro League Split 2 and why/why not?
DiffQ: “We are not planning to stick with Bangalore, we don’t feel she offers enough anymore as we aren’t getting as many fights as we used to on edge. The meta is very passive in EU, lots of valk+gibbys and other passive comps that makes Bangalores impact very low. And we’ve also decide we’re gonna rotate faster and we need a scan-legend for that.”
Do you think your experimentation stopped you from building up momentum across the Pro League?
DiffQ: “I think experimentation to an extent stopped our momentum across Pro League, but we also just played poorly and overall had a hard time adapting to the meta, we were too stubborn playing Bangalore no matter what and I think that along with poor play in general hurt us a lot”
How are you feeling ahead of the weekend? Are Unlucky and Zipeth similar players in your eyes, or are you having to change your style to accommodate him?
DiffQ: “They are different players but even before unlucky joined we had decided to try to play Loba + Caustic + Valk, so he was filling in for the Legend Zipeth would have played anyways Valk, which he is comfortable on, it’s a new playstyle for all of us, but I believe we can adapt with our individual skills and I also believe in my IGL’ing when we aren’t on the back-foot every game so to speak (with playing hard edge)”
DiffQ: “If we fail to re-qualify for ProLeague I am not sure if we are going to play challenger circuit or not. The team’s been through a rough patch but I believe we can turn it around for the better.”
Big Weekend of Apex action ahead
The SoloQGoats will be joined in the qualifier lobby by other big-name teams such as Clique eSports, Phoenix Legacy and Fenerbache Esports. However, the weekend’s qualifiers will also give an opportunity for some lesser-known talent to take on teams with Pro League experience. 10 teams from the 30 in action will qualify for the second split of Pro League.
5 Challenger Circuit teams to watch
- High Society
- Space Pigeons