Antboi, Jeloan, and Zerbow are playing competitive Apex Legends in hard mode.
Two-thirds of the team, who compete under the name Washed, play Apex on old PlayStation 4s. But that didn’t stop them from delivering an outstanding performance in ALGS Pro League qualifiers this weekend, making the cut for the ALGS Pro League with ease.
The Pro League is the highest level of Apex esports. Though it was recently opened to consoles, it’s never been played on anything but PCs. But with a fourth-place finish in the final matches that determined which teams would advance to the Pro League and which would remain in the second-tier Challenger Circuit, Washed made a big statement on behalf of the console community.
If the team had top-notch gaming PCs that run Apex smooth as butter, their debut performance in the qualifiers would have been impressive. Accomplishing that same feat with a piece of hardware that’s almost 10 years old is nothing short of miraculous. It’s basically the Apex equivalent of playing in the U.S. Open with a wooden racquet or showing up to an F1 race with a beat-up Audi.
Dot Esports caught up with Antboi in a Discord call last night, expecting to hear that he uses a new PS4 Pro and a controller like a SCUF that has paddles and other features built for competition. But Antboi, who also works full-time at Chipotle, got the PS4 he uses for ALGS competition the day after the console was released. For those keeping track, that was back in 2013.
“And I’m still on it,” he said, with a bit of pride. He uses a stock controller with no special features.
It’s hard to overemphasize the competitive disadvantage a console player has to deal with against players with fast PCs.
“I would say it’s pretty hard with the whole input delay,” Antboi told Dot Esports. “You know, I don’t even pull 60 frames. I’m at an average of like 40 on a PS4, and you kind of predict what [opponents] are gonna do. You just have to play super smart.”
PS4s struggle with a variety of things that make them less than ideal to run Apex at the level pro players demand, from graphics to latency issues. But the worst offender might be how the PlayStation can’t run the game at a stable framerate. Apex lags and stutters on the aging console, making every match a struggle against opponents equipped with expensive gaming PCs. A good gaming PC will run Apex at a high, stable framerate and has variable graphics settings, letting players turn down high-fidelity graphics to ensure the action runs smoothly. That’s a big part of the reason it’s seen as a basic requirement for competitive Apex.
But the reality is that gaming PCs are expensive. Getting the right hardware represents a significant financial barrier for most gamers.
That’s why Benjamin Ogbonnah, a supporter of the team, started a GoFundMe to set them up with decent PCs. “I did not ask them for permission to make this, nor do they have any idea I’m making this,” Ogbonnah wrote in the GoFundMe description. “But out of pure love for these boys, I took it into my own hands.”
While both Antboi and Jeloan play Apex on PS4s, their teammate Zerbow has a PC already. But Zerbow has his own quirk: He doesn’t speak to his teammates. Instead, he uses the in-game ping system to communicate.
“We go in game chat just so Zerb can hear us,” Antboi said. “He does not talk. He has never talked to me and I’ve known Zerbow for almost two years now. Not said a word.”
In the second split of the Pro League season, Washed will be competing with the best of the best. Whether they stick to console or make the switch to PCs, the team’s big underdog energy will be a great addition to the top tier of Apex.
So far, Ogbonnah has raised over $1,000 in the effort to equip Washed with PCs. And $750 of that was donated by well-known pro Christopher “Sweetdreams” Sexton, who plays for NRG. His donation was accompanied by a small comment: “pc master race.”