The Apex Legends Global Series Championship is nearly here, with 40 of the best Apex teams from all over the world converging in Raleigh, North Carolina. After a successful return to LAN in Stockholm for the Split Two Playoffs in May, Raleigh promises to be another landmark for Apex esports, featuring the first major live audience for the game since the 2019 Preseason Invitational in Kraków.
Maybe you’ve been paying attention to the pro scene since that tournament in 2019, or maybe you’ll be tuning in to watch a professional Apex tournament for the first time. Either way, with so many teams and players to keep track of, it’s easier to watch when you have a good sense of the squads that viewers should be keeping track of.
Whether they’re favorites to win or just fun to watch, the best Apex teams in the world are usually marked by their consistency, mechanical skill, and ability to improvise when their best-laid plans inevitably go awry. These are the teams to watch when the ALGS Championship kicks off on July 7 in Raleigh.
The easiest name to include on this list, the Split Two Playoffs champions and former Reginite squad were the definition of consistency in Stockholm. Throughout their three group stage lobbies, the winners bracket, and then the finals, the team never failed to finish below 10th. The team was led by IGL Zer0, whose calls guided the team to victory alongside some stunning Kraber clips from teammate Sharky.
While DarkZero enter the Championship as the only team in the field besides TSM to win a major Apex LAN event, there’s reason to believe they’ll be even better in Raleigh. A positive COVID test kept star controller player Genburten from competing in Stockholm. While emergency substitute Jmw helped the team secure the Split Two crown, the close-range fighting power the team adds with Genburten is undeniable. If he gets an SMG in his hands, watch out: Highlight reel clips tend to follow.
OpTic entered the second year of ALGS competition as an upstart underdog, featuring two journeyman pros in dooplex and Skittlecakes, and a fresh-faced Valkyrie main named Verhulst who had only played professionally for a few months. Now, Verhulst is on TSM, while OpTic picked up former Cloud9 member Knoqd to form one of the most feared trios in North America.
They have developed a reputation as the best fighting team in the world immediately off drop, chasing other squads away from their Big Maude/Lava City landing spot on World’s Edge, then almost single-handedly eliminating Sentinels from Split Two playoff contention by defeating them again and again in an off-drop fight at The Mill on Storm Point. They’re also one of the best teams in the world at using Valkyrie’s Skyward Dive ultimate, which has been absolutely essential in the game’s meta over the past six months. And if teams needed even more reason to be scared of OpTic, they regarded their fourth-place finish in Stockholm as a disappointment.
If a team needs to “bounce back” after taking fourth overall, that’s a squad everyone should be wary of.
Outside of OpTic and TSM, NRG are North America’s premier Apex squad. The combination of fraggers Rocker and Nafen with IGL Sweet has created one of the most consistent teams in the world during the second year of the ALGS. The trio placed second and third in the two North American Pro League splits, with a second-place finish in the Split One Playoffs and a seventh-place finish at Stockholm to go along with it. They so rarely finish outside of the top 10 in any competition they participate in that it’s difficult to imagine any finals lobby in a tournament that doesn’t feature NRG.
Outside of the team’s impressive fighting ability, what stands out about NRG is their sheer flexibility when playing. They’re more than capable of identifying where games will end early on, locking down the best spot in the endgame, but can also play on the edge of zones, seeking out fights early and often. This flexibility is what makes them so dangerous since it can be difficult for the teams around them to predict exactly how they’ll play a circle and just where they’ll end up. If where they end up happens to be next to your favorite team, watch out.
Formerly known as aDRaccoon, the Korean trio of KaronPe, Parkha, and Obly should not be taken lightly. They’re one of the longest-running teams in the game, with Parkha and KaronPe originally joining T1 in 2019, while Obly joined up in 2020. The team has hard-earned chemistry over years of playing together and they also have a reputation as some of the most mechanically-skilled players in the world.
While the team finished in a somewhat-disappointing 13th place in Stockholm, they have more than enough fighting power to take on any other squad in the world and they’re unafraid of using off-meta character choices to mix things up. Whether or not they’re winning, aD is always an exciting team to watch.
Liquid were one of North America’s feel-good stories in the Stage Two Playoffs. After months of slowly building chemistry and working their way back to the top of NA, Liquid secured their Split Two Playoffs spot on the final day of Pro League. The team continued to grind, building chemistry between IGL Nocturnal, FunFPS, and rookie fragger Gildersons. In Stockholm, all of that work paid off when the team cruised to a third-place finish.
The consistency the team displayed during the Split Two Playoffs was their most obvious area of improvement. While all three players are more than capable of impressive performances (as evidenced by Fun’s Apex Predator award in Stockholm for most eliminations), their ability to put a string of results together and not succumb to tilt when games weren’t going well was a major question mark for Liquid during most of the Pro League season. Now, it seems the team has figured it out and they enter the ALGS Championship as one of NA’s best hopes.
Furia are an interesting case and the only team on this list that didn’t qualify for the Split Two Playoffs. Instead, the team are here because of their devotion to redefining the game’s legend meta, as well as a roster change that propelled them to a dominant win in NA’s Last Chance Qualifier. Furia swapped former IGL TeQ for HisWattson, a player primarily known as a content creator and ranked grinder who hadn’t consistently played in the pro scene since October 2021. While many criticized the team’s decision to make this switch so close to the LCQ, it’s hard to argue that it didn’t work out for them.
Even if Furia don’t end up threatening to win the event, they’re sure to be noticeable in their lobbies for the legends they choose to take into a fight. From Seer to Mad Maggie and Horizon, Furia are unafraid of using less-popular legends at the highest level and making them work, too. No matter how well the team does, they’re bound to be entertaining.
Fnatic re-entered the pro Apex scene in June. While its last teams in both North America and Europe disbanded after the organization left competitive play in 2020, the org is back and now an APAC North regional force with the signing of the former GameWith roster. The squad has performed well in this year’s Pro League, taking 11th place in the Split One APAC North Playoffs and then finishing in ninth during the Stockholm LAN for the Split Two Playoffs.
The trio of YukaF, MatsuTasu, and Meltstera are known as much for their mechanical aiming abilities as they are for their flashy style. Want to see someone flawlessly hit a Peacekeeper flick headshot off of a wall bounce or try to no-scope someone with a Kraber after effortlessly gliding around the map? These are your guys.
GMT struggled early on during the Split Two Playoffs and were forced to play for their LAN lives in both rounds of the losers bracket during the bracket stage. They didn’t let that stop them, however, taking first and second place in those losers rounds to qualify for the grand finals, where they eventually finished in 12th.
The team will again be without Max-Strafe, who can’t leave his native Ukraine due to the ongoing Russian invasion. This time, however, Gnaske and SirDel will have more practice time with maydeelol, who also filled in for Max-Strafe during the Split Two Playoffs. With more familiarity and a great support system with the signing of Raven, one of the game’s most forward-thinking analysts and coaches, GMT are not to be underestimated in the ALGS Championship.
FA Kitties, formerly Players and before that, Gambit Esports, were one of the bigger disappointments in the Split Two Playoffs. Despite consistently being one of EMEA’s best squads and featuring the player who many consider the best in the world, Hardecki, the team didn’t qualify for the finals of the Stockholm LAN, going out in 23rd place.
Still, any team with a player who can do this is always going to be a threat.
The war in Ukraine severely limited practice time and availability for all CIS players leading up to the Stockholm LAN, and those difficulties, alongside the absence of normal team member and Ukrainian national Artyco, most likely contributed to their underperformance in Sweden. With more time to prepare for a tournament without their normal third player and more time spent with sub pkmk, Hardecki and Leogri3x6 will be eager to show that they’re still one of the world’s best teams.
Synonymous with pro Apex, TSM might not enjoy the complete and utter dominance they held over the scene a couple of years ago, but they still remain one of the favorites in every tournament they enter. They followed up their win in the Split One Playoffs with a sixth-place finish in Stockholm and sent a very simple message to the rest of the world: we’re not done yet.
While ImperialHal and Reps are well-established as two of the most accomplished players in the game’s history, the emergence of Verhulst over the last year is equally important to TSM’s success in 2022. Verhulst was almost a complete unknown last spring and rose alongside the members of the current OpTic squad to become one of the most sought-after players in Apex. Following Snip3down’s return to pro Halo, TSM snapped up Verhulst and ImperialHal credited the change in personnel and mentality with how successful the team was in the Split One Playoffs.
Now, with a bigger LAN event than ever before, TSM are once again in their element. With what will probably amount to a home crowd at their backs, the team is ready to prove, once again, that they’re the best in the world.
The Apex Legends Global Series Championship begins on July 7 and runs through July 10. Viewers can watch the Championship live on the Apex Legends Twitch and YouTube channels, as well as a B Stream feed on NiceWigg’s Twitch channel.