Respawn to nerf Caustic, buff Crypto in Apex’s season 12

Hack is getting some upgrades.

Image via Respawn Entertainment

Apex Legends’ next season, Defiance, is set to release on Feb. 8. With it comes a multitude of balance changes to shake up how players tackle the updates to Olympus and the new Control limited-time mode.

While only a few significant pieces shifted this time around, Crypto was the center of attention, receiving some buffs to his drone and its capabilities, as explained by Respawn in a press conference earlier this week. Caustic mains were not so lucky, however. The Toxic Trapper will see a nerf to his gas traps that make him an easier adversary to fight against.

The heavy reliance on Crypto’s manual use of his drone was the issue that his new changes aim to tackle. While drawing the maximum utility from Hack will still require Crypto himself to take the controls, players now have access to a throwable deployment mode. If the ability button is only tapped, the drone will fly out in the direction you’re aiming at and travel a short distance before taking up position. This will allow for quick deployments that let you stay in the action if you only need a cursory scan nearby. If you want to use the ability as it traditionally worked, hold down the button instead to go straight into Hack’s POV. Inside Hack’s POV, a number of quality-of-life improvements have been made to the UI as well. You’ll have more information to work with when it comes to both the status of your team and yourself.

Caustic, on the other hand, will be seeing further nerfs to his kit. In season 12, gas traps will now continue to be destructible even once they’ve been triggered, allowing players to remove their impact prematurely. Their old functionality was seen as a pain point as it could turn activated traps into indestructible temporary cover, diminishing the role of abilities such as Rampart’s fortifications to some degree. Respawn didn’t see a significant shift in Caustic’s power from this change during playtests, but it should make the legend a bit easier to fight and push against.

Questions about other legends were raised as well, notably Gibraltar following his continued integral role in professional play. Balance designer John Larson acknowledged that Gibraltar was very strong in the current meta, but that the best way forward for a balance pass was a challenge to figure out. He is lower on the priority list for changes as his abilities are seen to enhance Apex’s gunplay and play to its strengths, but a nerf in the future is not ruled out. Bangalore was also mentioned, but Larson stated that they see Bangalore as the watermark for where balance should be in Apex Legends and that they would rather tweak the legends around her than Bangalore herself.

The roster of weapons did not see significant changes beyond the seasonal shuffle of different guns between the care package, crafting bench, and ground loot. A few outliers will see balance changes, though, including the Flatline which will now do one damage less per bullet, and the Triple Take which is having its damage per pellet reduced from 23 to 21. The Volt SMG will also see a round of buffs, doing an extra two damage per bullet and having two additional rounds in the magazine, as it moves out of ground loot and into the care package next season.

You can check out all of these tweaks and updates for yourself in Apex when Defiance launches on Feb. 8.


Alexis Walker
Alexis is a freelance journalist hailing from the UK. After a number of years competing on international esports stages, she transitioned into writing about the industry in 2021 and quickly found a home to call her own within the vibrant communities of the looter shooter genre. Now she provides coverage for games such as Destiny 2, Halo Infinite and Apex Legends.