Ex-Gambit team take first day of Apex Legends Global Series in EMEA

The team now known as 'Players' proved rust wasn't an issue in their return.

Screengrab via Respawn Entertainment

The Apex Legends Global Series finally kicked off in the Europe, Middle East, and Africa today, and the Pro League returned much the way that it usually does in EMEA⁠—with Gambit dominating. Competing in different countries and under a new name in order to comply with an ALGS ruling banning players competing from Russia and Belarus, the squad showed they are still a force to be reckoned with in the region.

EMEA’s first Storm Point action brought some surprises in team compositions. Many teams in the lobby opted not to use Gibraltar, who has enjoyed a near-unanimous pick rate in the North American Pro League so far and was also the most popular legend in EMEA in Split One. Instead, many teams seemed set to try out Bangalore and her smokes with legends like Ash, Valkyrie, and Wraith, with a few Cryptos and Bloodhounds thrown in for good measure. The result of game one wasn’t a surprise, however, as the old Gambit squad, now playing under the name “Players,” easily cleaned up a lobby full of solo and duo players.

Without Gibraltar and his dome shield to help teams reset after players were knocked, the final circles of game one led to third party after third party. Players remained content to stay away from the fighting, though, sticking behind a gravity cannon near Barometer and picking off teams from long range before swooping in to clean up the last remaining players.

The fast and furious endgames kept coming in game two, as a series of rapid-fire fights and third partying resulted in the game ending before the final circle even began to close. This time, Team Empire was there to clean up the scraps so generously left for them.

Again, a Gibraltar-less squad played the edges of the circle, finding plenty of third-party opportunities. Empire opted for a Bloodhound and Wraith instead of a Bangalore and Ash, like many of the teams in the lobby went with. The combination made them a deadly fighting force, however, with plenty of mobility and Bloodhound’s scans revealing the fights happening around them. In the end, it was a relatively simple matter for the squad to realize that the last teams fighting were both down players, and they rushed in for the victory. After two games, Players managed to hold on to the top spot in the day’s overall leaderboard, but game two brought Empire right behind them.

Game three took the lobby right back to the beaches and trenches around the North Pad. This time, however, the final circles pulled directly towards the multi-level building in North Pad, allowing for more cover and more teams surviving to the final zones. The top of that building was locked down early by Odin Gamers, who looked to have the best possible position in the final zone. Players, however, did not care.

And once again, it was Konstantin “Hardecki” Kozlov leading the charge for his team. The IGL also led the lobby in kills at the halfway point, registering an unbelievable 21 final blows. In fact, after three games, Hardecki had more kills than any other team’s full squad. It all added up to a stranglehold on the lobby, with Players taking a 34-point lead into the final three games on the day.

On the first World’s Edge game of the day, Nemesis was determined to not repeat the mistakes of past teams with the high ground. Their patience and perfect Gibraltar dome shield in the end game paid off, as they took home game four of the day.

It was a huge game for the French team, who notched 17 kills in the victory for a 29-point game. The result, coupled with a quiet game for Players, meant the lobby remained competitive til the end. While Players maintained a lead over Nemesis in second place, that lead was cut from more than 30 points to just 13 in the course of one game. Game four was also a big one for teams like SCARZ and Guild, who both sat comfortably in the top five with Players in their sights as well.

Game five saw Players keep the overall lead on the day just out of reach for the rest of the lobby, as Odin Gamers grabbed the victory to help take the team into the top five overall. None of the teams that had made strides toward the top in game four could capitalize, however, and Players’ extended their lead on second-place to a healthy 21 points. A struggling Alliance team also finally showed signs of life, bagging second place with nine kills. The 18-point game was welcome for the team that dominated the Split One playoffs but had only managed one single point through the first four games of the day. The game got them out of the bottom of the leaderboard and into 13th place.

In the end, Players did just enough yet again to never truly be worried about losing that overall lead. While Team Empire secured their second victory of the day in the last game with a 23-point win, Players were cool, calm, and collected. The eight points they got in game six were the exact amount of points they led Empire by in the overall standings as well, capping the first day of EMEA Pro League with the lobby win and 25 points to jump to the top of Pro League.

It was an incredibly impressive performance from Players, the two Russian members of the team relocated from Russia to Turkey mere days ago in order to compete. Even more impressive is the mental fortitude of Artur “Artyco” Tishchenko, a native of Kharkiv, Ukraine, a city hit hard in the ongoing Russian invasion in Ukraine. Due to the circumstances, Artyco could not compete on his own PC or equipment. 

ALGS returns tomorrow in EMEA and runs through March 28 as the region completes a truncated Split 2. Competitors will have little time to rest or reset, competing every day this week, so teams needing to bounce back will have to do so in a hurry.