Apex Legends players who get serious about the ranked grind usually have a squad of three players in their party when they jump into a game. The three-stack communicates well, works together to take down other teams, and chooses legends that have good synergy. But most players aren’t so lucky. For gamers who jump into a ranked match or two after work or school, it’s tough enough to get one friend to squad up, let alone two.
That makes grinding up to Platinum, Diamond, or beyond much harder for Apex players who ready up as solos. The upcoming changes to the points system for ranked in season 13 are likely to make lobbies more difficult for the average player. Luckily, there are some simple tips that make solo queue life much easier, none of which require spectacular mechanical skill.
Former No. 1 Apex Predator Jacob “HisWattson” McMillin, who described himself as being “really good at gaining RP,” is making a career out of grinding the ranked ladder. In a Discord call with Dot Esports, HisWattson, currently the No. 3 Predator on PC worldwide, was happy to deliver a complete overview to climbing in ranked play without help from skilled teammates. The following interview was edited for brevity and clarity.
How do you approach solo queue? What’s the best way to play it?
HisWattson: The only thing that’s consistent among every single one of your games is you. You’re the only variable that is not going to change. You want to have the most influence over the game. First, you’ll want to talk to your teammates immediately. Establish that you know what you’re doing. Even if you don’t, make your teammates listen to you, talk early, and try to be a team leader. But don’t rely on your teammates. Assume in every single fight that you have to kill all three people. If you try to rely on your teammates, they’re gonna suck. Sometimes, you’ll have a teammate that pops off, but nine times out of 10, your teammates are idiots. You need to focus and rely on yourself. Take all the loot. Take all the shield batteries. Just take everything.
I’ve heard that you’ve recommended Loba. What are your top three legends for solo queue?
Yeah, I think Loba is really good. I think also legend choice doesn’t matter as much as people think. But there are definitely characters that are better than others. For example, Mirage is just terrible. But I’d say Loba’s pretty good. Bloodhound’s really good. And Wraith, I want to say, are probably the three that I’d choose.
I thought you’d say Valkyrie.
No, see, I’m not a big Valk guy. The thing about Valk, though, is that when you start your ultimate, your teammates will almost always listen to you. They’ll be like, “Oh, we’re Valk ulting.” And you can just kind of take them wherever you want. Like, you can just plop them in a good spot. So she’s definitely top five. But I personally don’t like her that much because she’s not very good at ratting. And she doesn’t do much in fights. She’s kind of like a team character.
Walk me through the advantages of Wraith. And Bloodhound is an interesting pick because I don’t think of them as a legend with an escape.
I’ll run through all three of them. Wraith is really good at ratting. And if you do mess up, you have a second chance. Because if you’re solo queueing and you die first, you’re dead. You might as well just go next. The odds of your teammates [winning a] two-vs-three is really low. So if you get messed up, you’re just going to get rolled. With Wraith, you can get yourself out. Like I said, you need to be the person trying to kill all three opponents. If you’re in that risky spot, you can use Wraith’s Q to get out and you can rat really well.
The thing about Loba is she has a really good escape. You can teleport 75 meters away whenever you want. So if both your teammates get instantly rolled, you can TP 75 meters away and start running, trying to rat or play for banners. And also, the Loba ultimate: This is a really small thing, but the Loba ult will get your teammates to actually be with you. Having all your teammates close together is really good. If you put the ult down, it’s like a little fly zapper. Your teammates go to it and stay there. And more loot is generally better.
The benefit of Bloodhound is that your teammates generally have no game sense at all. So when you scan the enemy team, your teammates will know where all three of them are, and are way less likely to get one-clipped for free. The scanning and the Bloodhound speed boost make it easy for you to carry fights. So with that Bloodhound speed boost, you can go, scan, and take a one-vs-one and get a knock. It’s a really powerful teamfighting ability. The obvious downside is that you can’t rat well. You’re not really mobile.
Do you ever use Bloodhound’s ultimate to try to escape?
Yes, if I’m ratting and I get spotted, I definitely ult. If you ult a fight and your teammates die, run away for sure. What I tell myself a lot is that if my teammates die instantly, and it doesn’t look like I can immediately trade the knockout, just run away. Literally, instantly dip. If your teammate walks up and tries to entry damage and gets one clipped, leave. Go hide in a corner and try to salvage points.
In terms of general strategy, what do you recommend: Drop hot and try to get early kills, or is it better to play zone?
Even knowing that I’m going to be the best player in the lobby when I’m in low ranks, I usually won’t land on someone because it’s such a coin flip. If your teammate lands and instantly dies, now you’re in a two-vs-three and you have an Alternator. I will try to land anywhere you can get the most loot, or land on the edge of the map. Just try to land away from people. And usually, like eight squads will die off instantly. Let those eight squads die off because you’re way more likely to win a game when there’s 12 squads than if there’s 20. Let that first wave of people die. And then look for third parties. Once you have KP, if you have even one or two KP, you can go to zone. If you get one or two kills, just say, “team, we’re going this way.” And if both of your teammates don’t listen to you, then you just have to go with what they’re doing. You can’t just go play solo.
That was my follow-up: If your squad full sends it, do you go with them?
It depends. If I have five KP, and they’re gonna go do some dumb shit, I might just go play solo. But there’s definitely a lot of times when I’m just going to do what they’re doing. I’m better off doing stupid stuff as a team than being smart by myself.
Finally, what’s your advice for ratting?
It’s really game dependent. Generally, you want to be on the side where there’s the least amount of people. And that kind of comes down to game sense. Generally, teams tend to go to areas that are higher up. Think “where do I think the least amount of people are going to be?” And that’s where you want to go. If you can, go early to the zone and rat, but a lot of times it’s better to craft medkits in zone. There’s times when I’m literally crafting medkits until ring three. I’m still in zone and chugging medkits. After that, play edge. And then once the zone’s about to move, you just run along the edge, ride the wave, and run with the zone if you can.