NRG clutch final game to tie Esports Arena in NA ALGS Pro League standings

NRG showed brains and brawn aplenty in the final game of the day to overtake their rivals.

Screengrab via Respawn Entertainment

The second split of North American Apex Legends Pro League action continued last night when Esports Arena, NRG, 100 Thieves, and Cloud9, the top four teams in league standings, all piled into one lobby to see who would come out on top. NRG managed to best their rivals with a clutch performance in the final game, tying Esports Arena in the overall standings and guaranteeing each team a spot in the $1 million Stockholm LAN scheduled for the end of April.

Esports Arena lost two players early in the first game, leaving just Logan “Knoqd” Layou to do his best as a solo. NRG also went out early, and C9 and 100 Thieves failed to make it to the endgame. A team that badly needs league points triumphed: Oxygen Esports, currently sitting in 34th place overall, won with 11 kills for a 23-point win.

Game two was played around Countdown, where C9’s Mac “Albralelie” Beckwith continued his reign of terror on the Charge Rifle this split, punishing unwary teams coming into the area. In the endgame, 100 Thieves took a three-vs-three with C9 and just squeezed out a win in the fair fight. With a 12-kill win, 100 Thieves jumped up to second place in the standings. 

Game three featured a great performance by Dubblyew as the zone pulled to the area north of Trials. Dubblyew managed to grab two Krabers from their Loba ultimate, the only team in the lobby who picked the legend that round. Sitting up in a tower overlooking the zone, they punished whoever was unlucky enough to move through their crosshairs, finishing with 12 kills. But the fun eventually ended. NRG pushed Dubblyew hard in the endgame, and although Dubblyew was able to best them as well, RCO Esports were waiting in the wings. They got an easy clean up and won the game. The top three teams walked away with a bundle of points, with little left for everyone else in the lobby. 

After the World’s Edge games, 100 Thieves were tied with Oxygen Esports for first place. The latter three games of the series were played on Storm Point, the newer map that pros are still learning and definitely the one they feel less comfortable playing. On Storm Point, teams that have quickly adapted to its new strategies seem well ahead of those still figuring it out.

Game four ended at a little set of buildings north of Cenote Cave, where Esports Arena and C9 both looked to make their mark in the endgame. C9 had good odds to win, with clear shots at opponents, a Gibraltar ultimate on deck, three fully-leveled shields, and a position near the middle of the circle. It seemed like they were invincible until Esports Arena threw a brilliant Horizon ultimate at them.

As their teammates dropped, C9’s Zach Mazer fought Esports Arena’s Knoqd in a one-vs-one. Knoqd was Mazer’s former teammate on C9 and was dropped from the team for Albralelie. Revenge must have felt sweet as he clutched the duel.

Esports Arena walked away from that match with 21 points and C9 achieved a respectable 17 after losing that endgame fight. While both jumped in the ranking, NRG had snuck to the top of the leaderboard, with Oxygen just a point behind. 100 Thieves, C9, and Esports Arena weren’t far behind, either. 

Game five’s circle was an unusual ending without much in the way of usable cover, and about half of it was unplayable rock face. Esports Arena stayed out of the scrum and survived into the top three, where they took an uneven fight against the two surviving players of 100 Thieves for a confident win. That marked back-to-back wins for Esports Arena, cementing a comeback that began on Storm Point.

Going into the final game, ESA had 57 points, only four points ahead of 100 Thieves and NRG. They were killed by C9 in the early game, giving the other top teams a massive opportunity to overtake them for the win. NRG took out 100 Thieves in a brilliant counterattack after 100 Thieves overextended in their effort to kill NRG. C9 also went out early, leaving NRG’s victory all but assured. They capped off the day in stunning fashion at Launch Pad, getting way more points than they needed with a big win in that final game.

That left NRG and Esports Arena tied atop the overall league leaderboard. Last night’s matches came after the announcement that pro Apex will be making a long-awaited return to LAN at the end of the split with a $1 million in-person tournament in Stockholm, Sweden. Only the top 10 teams from North America will make the playoffs, giving new urgency to the Pro League standings race.