The Apex Legends meta has had some time to settle, and now is ready to be shaken up by the arrival of Season 1. Mobility has been one of the defining factors so far, with Wraith’s ultimate, Bangalore’s passive, and to a lesser degree Bloodhound’s ultimate making them very popular. Lifeline has been a favorite pick as well, with her passive speeding up mid-combat heals.
Pathfinder and Mirage seem to have their own followings, and with Pathfinder’s reduced hitbox this season, his popularity should increase a little. Gibraltar and Caustic are among the least played legends, but a similar reduction to their hitboxes (and several other small buffs to Caustic) could see them becoming more popular. In the short term Octane will remain a popular pick for his novelty, but longer-term I expect his mobility to have lots to appeal, as it rewards a fight-seeking playstyle.
Still the closest thing to a no-brainer in Apex right now, Lifeline's ability to call in a few pieces of high-tier loot (defensive items and optics, mainly) is an asset in the early and mid-game as you try to fully outfit your squad. The one downside to this ultimate is that a rocket descending from the sky, complete with thruster SFX, can give away your position, shining a spotlight on your whereabouts to enemies.
With Wraith, Lifeline sports one of the smaller character models. Her passives (revive faster; heal 25% faster) are objectively great, allowing Lifeline to keep herself and her squadmates in the fight better than anyone in Apex. Maybe her best advantage is the directional shield she throws up when reviving, a hard counter to sniper fire.
Bangalore's fog grenades are valuable escape utility for fending off engagements that aren't going your way. Her smoke wall dares your opponents to cross an area they can't see through, giving you advantage on the other side of a cloudy bottleneck. The ability can be combined to great effect with any Digital Threat optics, which highlight enemies in smoke.
As long as you're fighting outside, Bangalore's Rolling Thunder artillery strike is a strong ult for pushing hunkered-down squads out of cover. It's also particularly good at denying revives and heals—throw out her flare the moment someone goes down in a firefight, and watch the enemy team lose their composure. Just be careful to give your teammates a heads-up: the blurring stun effect and slow movement that accompanies getting airstruck also affects allies.
★★★ QUITE GOOD
New with Season 1, Octane is prepared to become a regular pick for anyone who wants to play a high energy game and head straight towards gunfire. The speed boost gained from his Stim tactical ability is substantial, and with only a single-second cooldown, it can be used freely to get into a fight while it’s still erupting. Between this and his Launchpad ultimate, he has the capability to get himself (and his team, if they can keep up) into an advantageous position to win lopsided fights. My only knock on the Launchpad is its modest height.
Octane's passive is mainly a counterweight to his Stim's self-inflicted damage, but doesn’t make a huge impact. Overall, Octane is about fast entries and quick thinking, letting you use speed to string together as many advantageous combats as possible. In a pinch, his mobility can also get you out of a disadvantaged spot or help you dodge a Bangalore ultimate, but you’ll find those situations are the minority.
Pathfinder's Spider-Man swing is Apex's best mobility ability, giving the friendly robot quick access to ledges and rooftops that other characters can't clamber up. Likewise, his ultimate drops a permanent zipline that all teammates can use—in some map regions this can be a critical tool for escape, rotation, or rescuing a downed teammate who's stranded at the bottom of a river.
These traversal powers facilitate Pathfinder's passive, Inside Knowledge, which gives the team a strategic upper-hand by showing the location of the next ring if Pathfinder can make it to one of the several elevated beacons scattered around the map. On the downside, Pathfinder's large upper body makes him one of the easier targets in Apex, although his head is less easy to distinguish from his frame.
Wraith is seeing tons of play so far, but I'm not sold on her as a top-tier pick. Sure, her tactical ability makes her invulnerable for a few seconds, but the power of this escape move is dampened by the fact that it leaves a highly visible blue trail behind it. It's a great trick when you need to move in the open for a few seconds to, for example, escape sudden sniper fire, but at close range and when in clear view her tactical usually just grants enemies a moment to reload or reorient.
Clever uses of Wraith's Dimensional Rift have already produced spectacular Twitch clips, but the portals have a short lifespan and can't be 'fired' any distance—the time and effort it takes to pull off a perfect portal isn't easy to come by in a team fight. Her passive can be quite helpful, however—an alert system that literally whispers in your ear whenever Wraith is being targeted. Likewise, her slender character model can make her one of the harder legends to tap with a Peacekeeper.
Bloodhound's Q ability is handy for gaining an advantage in fights where an enemy's circling a building or you're fighting around something like a rock formation: highlighting enemy locations around a corner for your team is helpful. The downside is that the orange detection wave that radiates from Blood announces their presence, defeating one of its purposes as a quick building-check before breaching.
The speed boost from Bloodhound's ult might be their best perk. In the hands of a Titanfall or Quake veteran, this extra agility can allow Bloodhound to win otherwise evenly-matched duels or chase down wounded squads.
Hitboxes aren't everything, but before the launch of Season 1 Gibraltar had the largest character model in the game. It's been pared back a little, and we're still waiting to evaluate what impact it's had on him. In terms of kit, Gib's bubble shield is good for stabilizing against an ambush, or covering a revive in the absence of a Lifeline. The downside is that it blocks outgoing fire, often allowing enemies to creep closer while you're under the bubble.
Gibraltar's gun shield, which activates whenever Gib aims down sights, isn't too tough and can create a false sense of protection. It also goes against Apex's early meta, which favors mobility and horizontal movement in firefights, rather than the slow movement that happens when you're in ADS. Remember: Apex's characters all have the same hit points and movement speed.
Apex's comedic relief is, appropriately, built for trolling. Sending off a mirror image of yourself can catch nervous or inexperienced players off-guard, and pull eyes away from you and your pals in a team fight. Placing them in doorways or in front of a window usually works best for me. But even early in Apex's lifespan, players are already savvy enough to recognize and ignore most decoys. Unless Respawn makes his decoys a little more dynamic (they essentially run forward to a position you mark until they run into something), players will only get better at recognizing them.
Ditto on Mirage's passive, which activates when he's knocked down but doesn't render him fully invisible. For now, Mirage is situationally fun but his kit doesn't have the obvious, straightforward advantages that other legends do.
Caustic got the most attention in Apex's first month, seeing his traps' cooldown time, trigger time, and damage radius all buffed. Like Pathfinder and Gibraltar, he's also had his hitbox trimmed a little, though it's unclear yet exactly how much.
Caustic's ultimate remains a slow but powerful area-denial against enemies who are holed up indoors. But otherwise his standard gas traps are still bulky, slow to deploy, and obvious. These massive barrels deal single-digit area-of-effect damage that increments higher with each second of exposure, but they're easy to avoid in most circumstances. It feels great when you block a doorway and doom an enemy to a noxious death, but nine times out of ten I'd rather just throw a frag grenade. The gas also slows any teammates who are caught in it, preventing them from sprinting. Also, Respawn removed the meme-tastic perch over the doorways in bunker! RIP.
Hopefully Respawn will continue to think about how it can make Caustic's death drums more subtle or unpredictable, because unless you can lure an opponent into an indoor battle, Caustic's gassy garbage cans feel out of place in Apex's nimble, open-air teamfights.
pic.twitter.com/vG4Se0vSEfFebruary 20, 2019