Ahead of the ALGS Split 2 Playoffs esports.gg sat down with XSET Nocturnal. He claims that the standard of pro play is “deteriorating.”

Brandon "Nocturnal" Singer will lead a team into his sixth major Apex Legends LAN event when the ALGS Split 2 Playoffs begin on Thursday. XSET Nocturnal is one of the oldest players set to appear on stage in London.

His years of experience have helped guide the XSET roster to several strong results, and many would argue that they are the best team in North America. Their recent Pro League split 2 win helped further establish XSET Nocturnal as a top tier in game leader.

XSET head to London among the favourites to take the title. They have performed strongly on LAN on multiple occasions, are well set up for match point success and have a good range of mechanics and experience.

esports.gg spoke to XSET Nocturnal in advance of the ALGS Split 2 Playoffs getting underway.

XSET preparing well ahead of LAN

XSET have kept their momentum from the Pro League split, with some strong scrim performances in the buildup to London. While international scrims are not completely representative, winning is infectious and confidence is key.

Nocturnals best LAN result so far came in Sweden (Photo EA/Stefan Petrescu)
Nocturnals best LAN result so far came in Sweden (Photo EA/Stefan Petrescu)

XSET Nocturnal is feeling good "We've been lucky to go into these LANs very relaxed but prepared thanks to XSET giving us the freedom to practice where we want. We have some stuff to clean up on but we're pretty confident going into this LAN."

Like several teams, XSET Nocturnal has had to navigate a range of contests for Cascades and Skyhook West against other teams. Trials, which XSET also land received changes in the mid season patch, which have now been reverted. But, has this impacted the teams preparation?

"Honestly, it hasn't had any impact at all, aside from wasting our time we genuinely felt no pressure with some of the teams contesting us. It refined our strategies going forward, I feel like if anything it just burnt very important time for teams who are still struggling to figure out the POI. I don't see them qualifying."

But, has their sustained success and a Pro League victory put pressure on XSET to deliver?

"There's a target on our back regardless of where we place. Having control of a strong POI with the best players in the game will have everyone sweating. If we're in the game, for as long as we're in the game there will be that level of pressure across the board. But the level of pro play has deteriorated regardless."

Can XSET convert playstyle into a LAN win?

It's not just XSETs Pro League victory that has them among the favourites in London. The way that XSET Nocturnal sets the team up is well suited to Match Point. While teams always change their playstyle between tournaments, XSET have a proven playstyle that is successful at LAN.

XSET Nocturnal recent ALGS LAN results

XSET Nocturnal has delivered incredibly consistent LAN results. No matter what the meta, XSET find themselves with a chance to win LAN.

In the recent ALGS Pro League split, XSET had the 2nd highest placement per game. They also had the second highest kills per game. Additionally, XSET also posted the second highest amount of game wins across the season too. They came just shy of a regional finals win as well.

A big aspect of their improvement has been on Worlds Edge. XSET were known as a standout Storm Point team. XSET Nocturnal was one of the first IGLs to master the map, an his roster dominated the early months of Storm Points ALGS lifespan.

More recently, XSET average about the same amount of points on both maps. When asked what the secret was behind their improvement, XSET Nocturnal admitted he thinks that it has been more to do with rival teams.

XSET Nocturnal at the Split 1 Playoffs in London (EA/Joe Brady)
XSET Nocturnal at the Split 1 Playoffs in London (EA/Joe Brady)

"I already mentioned before how I feel like the state of pro play has deteriorated. While we did improve in some areas on Worlds Edge I'd attribute a lot of our success to the failures of other teams. There is no identity to a lot of the teams currently playing and until you see that change we'll continue to dominate but it'll be a game of catch-up for them."

XSET Nocturnal can't put a price on value of bootcamping

Something else that helps XSET Nocturnal and his team stand above their competition is how long they bootcamp for. XSET headed to Sweden way in advance of both playoff events. Contrast that to admissions from teams like 100 Thieves, who admitted that their lack of bootcamp hindered their performance. Interestingly, 100 Thieves are bootcamping at the same place as XSET ahead of this event.

"I'd never compare my team's culture to others, we see a lot of benefit in assessing where we are mentally during bootcamps and where we need to pivot to maintain our performance. We personally come into form when all the frustrations of travel and acclimation to certain climates and other factors like running into issues with gear and so on.

Bootcamping is a key part of XSETs ALGS preparation
Bootcamping is a key part of XSETs ALGS preparation

"We've become better teammates every bootcamp. You can't assign a dollar value to that and the time invested to do that we agree across the board is important to be a top team."

XSET Nocturnal joins widespread criticism of ranked

Aside from the competitive side of Apex Legends, there is mass criticism of the game. Twitch viewership is down, as is Steam player count. The most common aspect of complaints is the current ranked system. For professional players this creates a challenge. How do you stay motivated when there is not a viable competitive mode? Beyond scrims, how do you stay match ready?

"It's hard to say anything good about the rank system right now. We've given our input on making the system more rewarding for continuous play. But, it's out of our hands when it comes to what respawn decides to do. I mainly just play to keep my mechanics up and be a goon with the boys.

Like other pros, Nocturnal finds ranked difficult to enjoy
Like other pros, Nocturnal finds ranked difficult to enjoy

"Until there's a strong incentive to play the game "correctly," you'll see ranked the way it is though and I hope respawn takes that into account, because everyone wants this game to thrive and none of the players at the top right now want to change it to benefit them alone."

Nocturnal expecting Seer to feature

Another common complaint has been Seer. The legend has been roundly hated by ALGS pros for several splits. He has received changes since the ALGS Pro League concluded. However, it seems that Seer will still be a feature in the meta. XSET Nocturnal also feels we haven't seen the last of Seer.

"I think you'll still see a lot of teams running him but I'd argue the better question would be which teams I see running it. The answer is it'll still be a strong pick amongst the top teams but you might see a heavy shift during finals."

Will this be the LAN that XSET Nocturnal take the extra step?
Will this be the LAN that XSET Nocturnal take the extra step?

For XSET Nocturnal, the upcoming ALGS Split 2 Playoffs present a chance to finally bring home a LAN title. It seems almost certain that XSET will be in the mix. But, can they find an until now, illusive Match Point win? The ALGS Split 2 Playoffs start July 13th.

For more coverage of the ALGS Split 2 Playoffs, stay with esports.gg.