The EMEA Pro League restarted Wednesday afternoon, kicking off nearly a week of pro Apex Legends that had been delayed during the outbreak of war in Ukraine. Invictus Gaming won their lobby, netting two wins out of six and working hard for every point, right up to the buzzer. They eked out the win, besting runner-up team K1CK by just one point and third-place team SoloQgoats by two.
Invictus Gaming started out strong, winning the first game on Storm Point, but went out in 18th place early in game two, which ended near The Wall. There, other contenders emerged. K1CK, NAVI, GMT, and Forg Gang outlasted the rest of the lobby and had decent positioning. But in the endgame, GMT and Forg Gang were forced to bubble fight each other, and NAVI swooped in for an easy win.
That left NAVI on top after two games, with Forg Gang, 69iQ, and Invictus not far behind. The final game on Storm Point went down outside North Pad, where escape pods provided a modicum of cover for teams savvy enough to reach those spots. K1CK, SoloQgoats, and Vexed Gaming survived to fight until the final circle. Though SoloQgoats lost their star Bangalore player, the popular streamer Shivam “ShivFPS” Patel, his teammates Mark “Zipeth” Christensen and Nicholas David “diffq” Espersen were able to overcome the odds as a duo.
That gave SoloQgoats a big jump in the Apex Legends rankings. But, in the meantime, NAVI had increased their lead, putting them 12 points ahead of the field.
When the competition shifted to World’s Edge in game four, NAVI got a great bit of luck with a zone right around their home turf near Staging, where they set up on a high ridge that overlooks a wide patch of real estate. But they couldn’t capitalize on the advantage, and fell early. That left other teams to jostle for places outside Staging in a chaotic endgame where six squads looked for any safe haven in the final circle. K1CK had a huge game, but Kungarna came away with the win.
That left K1CK in the lead, one point ahead of NAVI, with Kungarna and SoloQgoats not far behind.
Game five played out around Big Maude, where Invictus, with new player Bilal “Urban” Fulat, made a series of very good calls to get shooting angles on their opponents. They walked away with their second win of the day after a well-timed third-party.
But all the action would be decided by the day’s sixth and final game. Invictus was still five points behind leaders K1CK, who had 52 points. SoloQgoats had 51 points going into the finale, a great opportunity for them as well. However, the lobby leaders K1CK fell on the early side. SoloQgoats ran into trouble under Launch Site, but were able to keep two players up. Invictus took fate into their hands and killed SoloQgoats themselves to cement a win. Though Forg Gang triumphed in game six, Invictus squeaked by with the points from killing SoloQgoats to earn first place.
This split of EMEA Pro League competition is marked by extraordinary circumstances that continue to affect gameplay. Some of the Ukrainian players are playing from Lviv, a city that was just recently under attack. After the ALGS administration banned teams competing in Russia and Belarus, seven Russian Pro League teams have been replaced by others who did not initially make the cut for Pro League. The Russian teams who remained eligible have flown to Turkey, Poland, and Kazakhstan to compete, where they’ve been playing on borrowed PCs in an unfamiliar environment. These conditions are hardly amenable to reliable practice, and that showed to a certain extent today, with a lack of familiarity between teams in the lobby.
This accelerated EMEA Pro League schedule means that the Apex action continues tomorrow at 12pm CT, where both lobbies will play again simultaneously.