A look at Apex Season 2 Promotion Tournament
With the Promotion tournament behind us, I decided to take a look at the team that managed to requalify, and the three teams that were promoted from Apex Challenger.
The only team from Apex Season 1 to requalify after getting knocked into the promotion tournament, Runaway changed half their roster in preparation. Swapping out Mono, Quad, and Runner, they brought in Coma, Bumper, and Kox to fill in the new gaps. But it’s the old members of Runaway that impress the most. Haksal, one of their DPS players, is the star of the team, with quality play on a number of champions. Shine too is excellent, with some incredible sleep darts, especially in the winners match against Afreeca Freecs Red. On a team level, they had some really good target selection and cc chaining, a sign that this roster is already gelling well. But they are not without their flaws as well. Much of their play, especially their Hollywood A full hold against AF. Red relied on them being more mechanically skilled than their opponents and would have backfired horribly against a team that was a little more prepared and a little more skilled. Still, the new players have breathed new life into this team, and taking first in their relegation group definitely shows they have some punch to them. Although they might not be title contenders they certainly look to be more of a threat than the last iteration of the team we saw in Apex Season 1, and their roster only has room to grow.
The Meta was one of the best (if not the best) team in Apex Challenger last season, so it’s no surprise that they took first in their group. The star of the show is undeniably tank player Hoon, who had incredible performances on Zarya and in places full on carried his team. Libero is also quite good, with good protection of his supports and (usually) good D.Va ults. Also of note is DPS player sayaplayer, who, despite a questionable Widowmaker pick, all around had some great games, with just the right amount of aggression. And although there are definitely standout players there aren’t really any weak links on this team. That being said, there are some areas that need improvement. Despite otherwise good ult management, there were a few support ultimates that were blown after they had already won the fight, notably against MVP Infinity in the winners match. Their relative struggle against Rhinos Gaming Titan, who they beat 3-2, is another cause for concern if you’re a fan of The Meta. Any team looking to advance to playoffs needs to be able to comfortably beat a team like RG Titan, who won only two maps during Apex Season 1 (both against Flash Lux) and failed to even make it back into Season 2, falling to MVP Infinity. While The Meta definitely looks like the strongest of the 3 new teams, it remains to be seen how successful they’ll actually be in the face of the much stiffer competition of Apex Season 2.
Afreeca Freecs Red
Sister team to Season 1 runner ups AF. Blue, Afreeca Freecs Red lacks both the coordination and mechanics of their higher profile counterpart. Don’t get me wrong, Attune is as good a DPS player as any in Apex (his mid-air kill into recall on Eichenwalde vs LW Red was one of the standout plays of the entire relegation tournament) but a single skilled player does not a good team make. Tank player LagerMan is the other bright light on the AF. Red team, being the only one who could even remotely shut down nanohana in their match against Luxury Watch Red. However, despite strong performances by both players, I don’t have high hopes for this teams chances in Apex. Support player Navi is Apex caliber, but I fear the other half of the team will find themselves outmatched no matter what teams end up in their group. Of greater concern ,however, is the lack of team play they displayed. Hanamura against LW Red in particular, was a train wreck for them, with a steady stream of players going in one by one to die isolated that went on for far longer than it should have. In the same series, they also had an ill-advised, desperate engage right before the first checkpoint on Dorado, taking a fight they didn’t have to without their D.Va there. Why they didn’t back out and set up on the high ground is beyond me. Another minor gripe I have is their refusal to play Mei on Eichenwalde last. Whether it was an issue of comfort, or simply not thinking they needed it, I find any team not utilizing Mei’s power to isolate targets and control areas on Eichenwalde last to be a sign of poor strategic thinking on their part. Although they may have qualified for Apex Season 2, they won’t last longer than a season unless they do some serious work to fix the problems they have.
Is there a group that has it rougher than MVP Overwatch fans? MVP Space was easily the worst team in the tournament last time around, and although it’s a little premature MVP Infinity may very well take up that same mantle this season. Although Brek is overall fairly solid, and Fywyn can more than carry his weight (especially on D.Va), the MVP Infinity lineup has little else going for it. Onefact, although a fine Reaper, played absolutely terribly on Soldier: 76, even losing a soldier 1v1 while he had his Tactical Visor activated (I mean how is that even possible?). Support player Larus not only had a number of ill-advised nanoboosts in the relegation matches (both in terms of target and timing) but also played too far forward, getting caught out a number of times. In this last, he is joined by the rest of his team, who went overaggressive against RG Titans both on Lijang Tower and on Kings Row, where they were completely rolled over during the first part of streets phase due to highly questionable overextensions. They also displayed poor target selection at times, most notably against The Meta on Illios when they let a Soldier: 76 sit on a rooftop for most of Lighthouse without even beginning to pressure him. And although they did manage to beat RG Titan 3-1 to secure their spot in Season 2, much of their success can be attributed to sneaky Zarya flanks into huge Graviton Surges, a strategy that won’t work against the higher caliber of teams found in Apex. MVP Infinity might be the better MVP team, but sadly that isn’t saying
much, and it will take more than that for them to hold on to their newly acquired spot in Apex.