NRG hang on in NA ALGS day 5

Early dominance gave way to a wild finish.

Image via Respawn Entertainment

Day five of the Apex Legends Global Series (ALGS) North American Pro League was a wild one, with the region’s heavyweight teams fully asserting themselves on the lobby. The path to victory was anything but straightforward, however. An early NRG lead slowly melted away, leading to a climactic final game of the day.

Game one demonstrated perfectly why Valkyrie has become so vital to so many teams. In a game where the second circle information indicated the zone pulling down towards Thermal Station, several teams rotated to the Southwest POI in hopes of grabbing the best late-game spot. Instead, the circle ended up pulling back up towards Staging.

Several teams without Valkyrie, like G2, were caught out by the unexpectedly pull. NRG, however, used Valkyrie’s ultimate to bypass the dangerous chokes from Thermal leading into Staging, and secured high ground in the late game, recording an easy victory to begin the game. Their Valkyrie rotate came at the expense of SHEEEEEEEESH, who had what would have become the winning spot, but didn’t expect NRG to land out of bounds on top of a mountain before quietly dropping on top of the content dream team and easily winning the fight.

As opposed to the aggressive rotation they pulled off in the first match to take a victory, it was patient play that NRG rode to a victory in game two. With IGL and Wraith player Chris “sweetdreams” Sexton taken out earlier in the game, NRG were down to duo Aidan “rocker” Grodin and Nathan “Nafen” Nguyen with plenty of teams fighting around them on the bridge at the heart of World’s Edge, connecting Fragment East and Fragment West. As the final circle closed, rocker and Nafen waited until the last possible second to engage, letting teams like G2, Spacestation, and Counter Logic Gaming take fights all around them before entering the fray and finishing the match off for themselves.

Game three disrupted the power balance in the lobby somewhat, with leaders NRG and G2 going down relatively early and allowing the rest of the lobby to creep back up on them. Esports Arena notching a second-place finish with 10 kills, but it was Furia that won the day, and they did it with a certain amount of style. Thanks to a slow start to the Pro League, Furia have swapped team compositions a couple times before landing on their current favorite. That would explain why they’re one of the only teams in North America’s Pro League running everyone’s favorite Salvonian explosives expert, Fuse.

Utilizing Fuse’s extensive ordinance, Furia took down NRG for the best spot in the endgame, and then pushed all remaining teams into each other to take the victory.

Apex at its most chaotic marked game four, with a final circle pulling out into the open just to the northeast of Lava Siphon. XSET took the victory, but Spacestation and G2 also picked up serious points as players searched for anything close to cover, crossfires took down multiple teams, and marginal gains became massive swings. 

With just two games remaining, what seemed like an easy NRG victory was suddenly opened back up to several teams. G2 rode their third-place finish to cut NRG’s lead to just 12 points. Spacestation jumped up from the middle of the pack into fourth. And with the sixth and 15th place teams only separated by nine points, the final two games still had the potential to substantially shake up the standings.

Early exits for G2 and NRG again in game five narrowed the margins at the top of the leaderboard even further. Ghost Gaming ran through the lobby in a Climatizer final circle, and Spacestation’s excellent positioning and patient play paid dividends yet again with another second-place finish. 

Ghost’s massive 14-kill victory propelled the team seven spots up the leaderboard into fifth place and set up a game six ripe for opportunity. NRG still held the lead at 60 points, but the teams below them were all within reach: G2 in second at 49 points, Spacestation in third at 47, Esports Arena in fourth with 45, and Ghost Gaming directly behind them with 43.

What started as a rout turned into a war of attrition between teams with vastly different styles: teams that liked to fight on edge, teams that preferred to find spots in the middle of the final circle and save fighting until the very last second, and everything in between. The day’s victory and 12 vital points towards qualifying for the Split 1 playoffs remained dangling just out of reach, waiting to be claimed.

In the end, it was NRG who claimed it. But just barely.

Beginning the game by eliminating Spacestation, NRG went out in 19th place after Furia caught out the team on a long rotation, giving them only three points. In their absence and down a man, G2 duo Rigoberto “Gentrifyinq” Padilla and Jordan “Resultuh” Resulta not only survived to a fourth-place finish but racked up six kills in the process. Gent swooped into and out of fights on his trademark Wraith and dealt out the pain with an R-301. The team finished second, only missing out on first place by three points, and Gent topped the kill leaderboard on the day. Those three points G2 trailed NRG by? Those were the three points NRG picked up by taking out Spacestation in the final game of the day.

Free agent team Neanderthals took the victory in the final game, but the story remained at the top of the table. NRG grabbed 12 points for themselves to vault themselves into third place in North America with one more day in week three remaining, while the consistency of Esports Arena and Spacestation placed them in first and second, respectively.

The day was also a big one for G2. They remedied their slow start to Pro League and launched into seventh place, once again amongst the top ten places that will eventually qualify for the first split’s playoffs. 

All points in the Pro League are important. But with only three more match days remaining for these teams, they matter more than ever. Those teams that have finished consistently thus far look like great bets to qualify. Those that haven’t will feel the pressure since consistent placements won’t be enough. They’ll need wins. And in North America, those are incredibly rare to come by.