The Apex Legends competitive scene is getting a boost straight from the Overwatch League.
Former Atlanta Reign DPS Ilya “NlaaeR” Koppalov has signed with Russia-based team CrowCrowd and made his way to its Apex roster.
NlaeeR will join Anatoly “Wrugb” Belousov and an unannounced player on the organization’s main Apex team following the release of Konstantin “Hardecki” Kozlov. NlaeeR mostly plays Lifeline, while Wrugb can alternate between Lifeline, Bangalore, and Bloodhound.
Apex’s competitive scene received a welcome breath of life after EA Games and developer Respawn Entertainment announced the Apex Legends Global Series last month, a series of tournaments that culminate in the Global Series Majors.
NlaeeR is hardly the first Overwatch pro to move to Apex. Former Houston Outlaw Lucas “Mendokusaii” Håkansson also transitioned to the battle royale and signed with Team Liquid in August 2019. Ted “silkthread” Wang, a former Los Angeles Gladiator, and Christopher “GrimReality” Schaefer, formerly of the Los Angeles Valiant, joined Gen.G’s roster in mid-2019.
NlaeeR’s announced his retirement from the Overwatch League in November amidst controversy. The Atlanta Reign’s head coach, Brad “Sephy” Rajani, “killed” his motivation over the course of the season, according to an unofficial translation of his open retirement letter.
The player also cited disagreements with the Reign’s coaching staff, who announced his release late in the tryout process. The delay made it difficult for NlaaeR to sign with another Overwatch League team. Although he could’ve made his way to tier-two competition, NlaaeR instead opted to drop out of Overwatch altogether.