Where the vast majority of popular Apex Legends players made their name on flashy characters with an abundance of movement options, like Wraith or Pathfinder, Luminosity Gaming’s ShivFPS has remained loyal to Bangalore through thick and thin, no matter how good or bad the character was considered.
Shiv isn’t the only person to try to make Bangalore work in competitive play since the earliest days of the game. Notably, the character saw some play from Team Liquid during year one of the Apex Legends Global Series (ALGS), with both Albralelie and Flanker taking turns on the character at some point in time. Shiv was Bangalore’s longest-standing champion, however, often being the only Bangalore in any given lobby throughout the first year of ALGS and maintaining the pick into the first split of Pro League.
It appears the run might finally be over, however, and it’s not because Bangalore isn’t good. It’s simply because other characters are better at the game’s highest levels. And Shiv blames one character in particular for his inability to maintain his Bangalore pick: Valkyrie.
Shiv’s competitive team, soloQgoats, have experimented with different comps around Bangalore. Early in the Pro League, the team was running an off-kilter combination of Valkyrie, Caustic, and Bangalore, and the team also tried to fit in legends like Gibraltar and Wraith. But the so-called Valkyrie meta is too strong to make Bangalore possible anymore, according to Shiv. And it’s difficult to argue with him based on their results: soloQgoats struggled mightily in Pro League, finishing 33rd out of 40 in the first split and being forced to fight off relegation to the Challenger Circuit for Split Two.
Part of Shiv’s conundrum is due to the importance of Gibraltar to the Valkyrie composition. Teams using Valkyrie’s Skyward Dive ultimate to pull off impossible rotations rely heavily on Gibraltar’s Dome Shield in situations where there’s no hope of safe landing. In general, Gibby’s bubble increases the margin of error in any composition, which explains why he has the highest pick rate in both North America and Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA), according to data from Apex statistics page SinghLabs.
And if two picks in a team’s composition must be occupied by Valkyrie and Gibraltar, it doesn’t leave a lot of room for a character like Bangalore. Bangalore’s abilities don’t add much to the composition that other legends can’t do better: Gibraltar’s ultimate is more immediate and more difficult to avoid than Bangalore’s. Her tactical is good for obscuring enemy vision on rotations but isn’t nearly as impactful as Gibraltar’s bubble. A character like Caustic also has vision-obscuring abilities that double as damage-dealing, area-denial abilities in ways Bangalore’s smokes simply do not. Compared to other legends like Caustic, Wraith, or Ash, Bangalore’s abilities in a Valkyrie-focused team composition simply look less and less useful.
It’s not that Bangalore can’t do anything. It’s that other characters can do more than her.
This end to an era still leaves ALGS fans with fond memories, including the soloQgoats’ incredible run in the year one EMEA championship, where the team took third place. And Shiv certainly isn’t abandoning his favorite character altogether. He assured his fans as such, saying that he’ll still be playing Bangalore regularly in ranked gameplay and possibly for memes in Pro League. But, for the most part, the Pro League Bangalore is dead. Long live the Pro League Bangalore.
Despite not qualifying for the first split playoffs this time around, the soloQgoats will be back for Split Two when the competition ramps back up on Feb. 26. As for the teams that did make the playoffs, you can catch them fighting for a $250,000 prize pool on Jan. 22, when EMEA’s top 20 teams duke it out, and again on Jan. 23 with the North American squads trying to claim the region’s top spot.