RadoN’s key takeaways from APEX S2
The second season of OGN’s APEX is over and Lunatic-Hai have emerged as the victors, taking home ~$90,000. In this article, I bring you my key takeaways from the tournament.
Where the Korean scene stands — compared to the West — has been an ongoing discussion, ever since teams from the small Asian peninsula started participating in NA’s online tournaments. As three of the foreign teams were eliminated during the Ro16, and the former champions EnVyUS finished at a joint seventh, it seems rather obvious that the Korean teams, as a whole, are better than their European and North American counterparts. This has been only further exacerbated by the lack of tier 1 LANs in the West and the precarious state of the European scene. And while some might think Koreans are overrated, Alicus of Laser Kittenz’s put it best by saying “they’re factually already better”.
Other aspects where Korea has seemingly outdone the West is the excitement among fans in the crowd, production value, and most importantly, in producing exciting games at the latter stages of the tournament. The last can be attributed solely to the format used for APEX S2. While some dislike the focus on match-to-match preparation and how long it takes for the tournament to end, no one can deny that it has produced exciting, high-quality Overwatch. After the one-sided final in the previous season, having close and high-quality matches throughout the whole bracket stage was a huge step-up. The two double-elimination groups of four teams in the Ro8 almost guarantees that the four best teams in the semifinal are the four best present in the tournament.
That said, the results in APEX S2 are not quite representative of the real balance of power among the regions.
As their return home showed, Fnatic and C9 are no longer the strongest representatives of the North American region — the latter has even undergone changes and yet to debut the new roster. Those spots are now occupied by Selfless, Immortals and Rogue’s fully French squad, which plays from Las Vegas. None of them has shown what they are capable of offline, but all three have looked formidable in online competitions.
Excuses can be also made for the European side of things, as both EnVyUS and Misfits were out of practice for the start of the event. The former had trouble adjusting to the new metagame and the latter was placed in the group of death, which featured the eventual champions and the third place team, LW Blue. And while the current state of the boys in blue is unknown, as they haven’t competed since their APEX S2 exit, Zebbosai and co. have looked stronger after making positional switches. In addition, vallutaja’s eUnited (formerly Reunited) have been on the up and up, the Finns of Ninjas in Pyjamas are looking as dangerous as ever and the newly formed Laser Kittenz pack a lot of potential.
Each of the listed teams has looked considerably better than the Western teams in APEX S2, or in Misfits’ case, is in seemingly better state than previously. With some practice in Korea, each could put up a good fight — and some would likely win — against the top Korean squads, even the champions.
The battle might have been lost and Korea boasts a multitude of strong squads that are constantly striving to improve, but Europe and North America are still not out of the war. The top Korean teams’ level isn’t out of grasp for the West, and regardless of the APEX S2 results, Korea isn’t yet the dominant force has been and continues to be in other esports titles.
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About the author:
Hello readers, I go by the ID RadoN! My introduction to esports happened in 2009 and I’ve been following different titles within the industry ever since. Esports that I currently follow are Overwatch, CS:GO, LoL, QL with the occasional SFV and DOTA2. If you wish to reach out, follow future content, or simply know more about my thoughts on esports, follow me at @RadoNonfire on twitter.